My story, as I would come to understand it, started right in the middle of a larger, much more fascinating (at least in my opinion) story and what I have come to refer to as my “love epiphany” happened in a completely unexpected place at an equally unexpected time.
I had just arrived in Vancouver and my Aunt picked me up from the airport. As we were driving back to her house for a visit I was STRUCK (and I mean “S.T.R.U.C.K. STRUCK”) with a sudden and immediate ‘knowing’.
All at once the results of everything I had been studying came to a head and became absolutely clear in my mind. The strangest thing about it – as it is for most people – was that it’s not as though I hadn’t heard it before.
You have too. I’m sure of it.
Love is all you need. All you need is love. The greatest of these is love. The power of love. Love is a many splendored thing. The list goes on.
But the true nature of love is so misunderstood, I found myself finding it hard to believe that I had ever even used the word in context and had the audacity to think that I was using it correctly.
No, love – true, unbridled, deeply understood love – is in fact extremely difficult to find.
But once you “get it” … oh, once you get it …
I can’t wait for you to have the love epiphany in your life.
My epiphany happened, as previously stated, during an otherwise completely normal, standard, general, garden variety, run-of-the-mill car ride, during a conversation with my aunt, on our way from the airport to her place, where I would be staying for a couple of days.
As we drove, I had a sudden and instant knowing. I had just suddenly come to understand love. Real love. True love. Love in it’s original definition. I am paraphrasing slightly, but the gist of the conversation was something to the effect of this:
My Aunt: What?
Me: Hang on!
My Aunt: Why? What’s wrong?
Me: Just a sec! I’m thinking!
My Aunt: Ok! But you’re scaring me!
Me: I’m sorry, but I just have to think this through!
Then, after a short period, I said, “I can’t believe it. I totally get it. I totally understand it now.” “Understand what?” she asked. “Love.”
I then went on to wax poetic on everything that had just been seemingly poured into my brain, but this was to be my first encounter with what would become a common scenario: the agreeable, caring person’s, “yeah, I totally get what you’re saying.” There have been a precious few situations where, once I have explained my understanding of love, I have actually been met with a, “Holy s%$#! I get it now too!” No, unfortunately, it’s usually, “Yes, I know what you mean,” which rarely parlays into a deeper, more revealing conversation where I come to truly believe that the person I am speaking with REALLY knows what I mean.
My aunt, God love her, as do I, treats me like the purest and finest gold. She cares for me like my own parents always have – from the absolute depths of their core, but in that moment – as bad as I wanted to – I couldn’t bring myself to believe that the gravity of the experience I had just gone through was truly understood by her.
In short, there had been a tremendous number of things going on in my life at the time, the usual culprits of a life seemingly less love-filled: low on money, low on motivation, lousy relationships, frequent business and career failures, and a recently-reignited interest in the Bible. More specifically, an interest in proving the authenticity of the Bible to myself. I was not having much luck doing so, but it also didn’t really bother me. I was already struggling to believe it, so I was used to not believing it. Believing it would have been new and exciting. It would have been a bonus. So I wasn’t losing any sleep over it. More on this later.
The first thing that had hit my mind as we were driving – the thought that was followed by the pouring in of other thoughts about love – was the concept of Jesus’ disciples asking him about the ten commandments and specifically, which of them was the greatest. True to form, Jesus sidestepped the answer and rolled in some new information into the mix, which was (as I understood it – and I should note that I am going COMPLETELY from memory for absolutely everything I am writing here) the greatest commandment is not one of the ten commandments, the greatest commandment is to love. But it’s not even a commandment, it’s just love. Love.
As soon as this thought hit my brain, the ones that followed were things like song titles and lyrics, which, when associated with the people who wrote them, suddenly took on a whole new meaning. John Lennon, for example, seemed to REALLY know a thing or two about love IF you know what love REALLY is. If you know what it really is – suddenly John Lennon makes a WHOLE lot more sense. The more I thought, the more these things came flooding in. I couldn’t believe it. It was a veritable treasure trove of knowledge being injected into my mind. I was astonished. It was like the revealing of the most outward-facing, yet hidden-in-plain site secret that I had ever come to know of!
Love Over Time
As I have continued to explore the idea of love, I have come to a point where I can use love in absolutely any applicable scenario as the bar by which the answer to anything measured against it can be answered. This has come in to play in my relationship with my wife, my children, my family, my friends and my business associates. Even acquaintances.
More often now than ever, when faced with a problem or a question, I can simply think, “What does love say?” What is the loving thing to do? Once you start to do this, you too will suddenly see the ease in which questions can be answered, matters can be resolved and so so so much more.
An example that comes to mind is how we deal with our children as parents. Most often, and I have been and occasionally am STILL guilty of this, we turn to whatever we have been taught – which in many cases is, what we were taught by our OWN parents when we were just kids ourselves.
“Go to your room!” Or, “Sit there and think about what you have done.” Now, I don’t know about you, but looking back on my childhood, first of all, I can’t think of a SINGLE lesson that was taught to me by putting me in my room. If I was told to think about what I had done, I certainly don’t remember it now. In fact, as we get older the most common things we reflect on are the good times, the love-filled experiences that we had.
This got me to thinking one day when we had been finding ourselves repeatedly sending our son to his room because that’s just what you’re supposed to do, right? Now, I disagree. Having reached the point of clearly being able to see that simply sending him to his room was not changing anything, instead of being the definition of insanity and continuing to do it anyway, I decided to see what would happen if I let love be the answer. From that point forward, instead of simply sending my son to his room, I would first have him come to me, maintain eye contact with him and in a loving and caring way let him know that his behaviour was not loving and all I wanted him to do was go to his room and think about love, then, come back when he was ready to tell me something – anything – about love. I made it clear that he didn’t have to spend any lengthy period of time in there. As long as he could come back and tell me something about love, he could literally cross the threshold to his room, turn around and come right back and talk to me about love.
The first time was met with defiance, which was to be expected. It took some time for him to get through the usual emotions (most likely associated with all of the previous times that he had been sent to his room) and get to the point where he not only understood, but was also willing to take part in the exercise. Eventually he did though. He came back out, came to me and said something to the effect of “love is hugs.” I said, “That’s right. So why don’t you give me a hug and then you can go back and play with your friends.” Which he did, and he was off!
The next and subsequent times got progressively easier – and fast! He got to the point where he didn’t even need much of a preamble. I could say, “I just want you to go to your room and come back and tell me something about love.” And while was saying that, he was already on his way and he would actually just cross the threshold, turn right back around with a smile on his face, come right back to me and tell me something about love. To me, it isn’t important WHAT he says about it, it’s THAT he says something – anything about it. It also is of no consequence – as it turns out – how long he would spend thinking about it – again, as long as he thought about it.
The long term effects of doing this are the things of legend. First of all, the frequency of these episodes diminished exponentially almost immediately, but more importantly, we have spent ZERO time with any negative air in the house and in fact on the day I’m writing this, an event unfolded that resulted in our 6-year old son actually quietly putting himself in timeout. He just very calmly removed himself from the situation, went to his room, closed his doors and remained very quiet for a few minutes. I went to check on him and he was just laying down in a very reflective pose and I had to convince him that he was totally ok to come out. He said, “Ok, just give me one more minute,” which we did – and then he came out – happy and filled with love.
The frequency of love-based and love-infused behaviour and treatment among everyone in our family has always been present, but in the typical parent-child relationship arena has been the usual struggle – UNTIL we changed to a love-first approach.
This is just one of countless examples, but the revelation is always the same. When love is factored into the equation, the answer is always clear and it ALWAYS works.
Love Is …
It seems like everything is a side effect of this one, catalyzing change that we have made, being that is …
To be continued…
Now I have less stuff and I love way more.
Clear the way for love!