Fear, anger, distraction, boredom, annoyance, resentment, pettiness, sadness, loneliness, anxiety, stress – these are all normal parts of the human experience. Try as we might, we cannot find a permanent or healthy escape from them — no matter how hard we work to be perfect or beautiful or rich or numb.
There is a great balancing force to all of this – love. This has been taught for as long as there has been teaching between human beings. Being loving toward ourselves and others is a great ferry that gives us safe passage through the challenges of daily life. It doesn’t remove the challenges – which is good, because they are opportunities for tremendous growth and wisdom – it just gives us a solid mode of transport through them.
Despite the power of love, we repeatedly forget to practice it. We resist, yell, sulk, self-medicate, and cling to powerful judgments of ourselves and others. This is because we are human. To forget to love is human, not hypocritical.
I love the word “remember.” It comes from the Latin rememorari with is made up of re- “again” + memorari “be mindful of.” To remember is to be mindful again.
We forget to love because we get lost in strong uncomfortable feelings or thoughts, or we get distracted by something shiny. To remember to love is to be mindful of loving again. Over and over – this is life.
We do this by bringing our attention to this moment on purpose. We do this by taking a breath and connecting with the part of us that can feel hurt without closing down. The part of us that is always whole – even when we want to run away. The part of us that knows that all human beings struggle and we can support each other in the complex adventure of life.
Too touchy-feely? Too out there? Perhaps. But consider that anxiety, stress, depression and loneliness have been on the rise in the workplace for decades. The cost in terms of loss of productivity and healthcare costs is staggering. Consider that we are medicating children at younger and younger ages for depression and anxiety. Consider that hundreds of people are dying everyday from gun violence and drug overdose in this country. Maybe paying attention and remembering to cultivate our incredible capacity for love is not so “out there” after all.