Love is Cheesy?
Paulo Coelho, author of Alchemist spoke of his confusion when he discovered the word “cheesy” as part of our western vocabulary. He spoke to the strangeness of how we use it to reference love. Click here to hear to the full interview with Paulo Coelho by Krista Tippett here on OnBeing.
Why do we have such a difficult time with love?
Why do we apologize for gushing over the ones we adore? Or not gushing?
Why are some people triggered to a gag reflex when they see others showing signs of affection?
When a child brings a gift to a teacher – they risk being made fun of by the others in their class. When a movie depicts true declarations of love and we are brought to tears – we may be labelled as sensitive or sappy. When we kiss our partner, friends might shout in teasing for us to get a room.
Where does this come from when we we know LOVE IS ALL WE NEED. (Yes! Cue the Beatles song).
This is something I have been pondering lately and I feel that a lot of it may be around the ‘L word’ and all of the associations that our culture has formed around it. We may have heard from someone that they loved us, but then their actions show otherwise. We may have had a broken heart and felt the pain that many called love. We may have been shamed for showing signs of affection.
Love or Kindness?
I am comfortable with the word love and showing others love, but not always. Self love sounds particularly large to me some days.
Why? What if I let go of that question and the analyzing and replace the word love with kindness?
I want to be kind to myself and to others. I strive to be kind to everyone I meet. This sounds different than if I told you that I want to love everyone I meet.
I have been doing a small experiment within my yoga practice this week. Instead of setting an intention for self love I have been setting an intention of kindness towards self. It feels easier to me. I am aiming to treat myself like I treat my loved ones and friends.
I like this article, Ask the Yogi: Love in Sanskrit by Jeff Martens. He talks about the various sanskrit words for love.
Lots to contemplate on. I will leave you with my favourite poem this month.
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.