LOVE: Like Unwrapping a Box of Chocolates
Listen to Sandy:
Where have I felt loved? That’s a big question and not so easily answered. Not because I haven’t experienced much love, but because there is no black or white answer.
In my lifetime, I have done a lot of things; I have put myself “out there” as a performer, singer, actor, teacher, counselor, parent, friend, daughter, and leader more times than I can even recount. In those times, I have basked in respect, camaraderie, joy, acceptance, gratefulness – many of the attributes that you might associate with love. But has there been a moment when I was saturated in feelings of love? I’ve had to think about this.
This is a question more easily answered by a 13-year-old, who hasn’t lived life and had a lot of life experiences. But as a 66-year-old who has lived a large life and as a result, I am filled with the knowledge of my experiences, there is no black-and-white answer to this question. As soon as I can remember a time where I felt loved, looking back on it in the big picture of things with understanding and knowledge, I can easily say, “…yeah but.” It was only a moment. Does that sound hard and bitter? No, it shouldn’t, because I’m not. What I’m saying is that love is an emotion that we feel. We take home that feeling from a situation or a moment we have experienced.
Probably the most awesome “feeling” of love is experienced while having sex. But we all know that sex does not always equal love! When we cook meals for our family, they might show their appreciation and you’re going to feel loved, but they’re also just thanking you and showing emotion for their food because they’re hungry. If I get on stage to perform and get a standing ovation and people come up to me afterwards and tell me how great I am, sure, in that moment, I’m feeling love. But in reality these people are just happy to be given something that makes them feel better. I’m a conduit and they appreciate the message. We are all messengers!
So when I dig a little deeper (because this is a vast subject, this love thing), I find that this feeling of love is really about how we are feeling about ourselves. It’s about self-love, displayed through authentic acceptance, forgiveness, and grace – for me! Embracing my faults, failures, inadequacies, and all the things I bring to the table as a human being.
Love becomes palpable when I act out of love in whatever I do, it’s not as a transaction for validation.
Of course, I feel love when my grandchildren hug me, or when my son and daughter share an embrace. I could say that it’s a given [to feel love], but obviously it’s not. There are people who never feel loved from their family. But in my case, there is an authentic moment of love in the interactions that I have daily with my children and my grandchildren, because that is what I have groomed with them. It’s not because I have performed in a way to deserve it. This is the biggie, love is not a transaction, it’s not a reward. It is a choice we make first within our own minds.
Bottom line, you will feel love when you love yourself and you allow your actions to be based on authentic motives without fear or judgement. Those are the moments that shout “LOVE WAS HERE!“. The ripples of authentic love are boundless, diverse, and surprising – like unwrapping a new box of chocolates!