Love is everywhere.
During my sixty-three years of life on this planet I have come to understand love as something always present in every visible and invisible molecule. I envision the power of love as an electrical current that we can tap into at any time via conscious intent. When we allow ourselves to shut down by becoming too busy, fearful, stressed, or jaded we may lose awareness of the love current, yet we never lose access to it. By choosing to focus on love we awaken our ability to alter or change our environment.
Fifteen years ago I received a challenge from a friend, who for purposes of this article, I will call Jill. “Try focusing on love when you prepare your meal and let me know what happens.”
Yeah, right. I thought this was the strangest thing I had ever heard.
My friend Jill knew I quavered on shaky confidence the first few years fresh out of a troubled eighteen-year marriage and subsequent agonizing divorce. Out of love and concern for my healing Jill’s initial dares were harmless prods inviting me to try odd things I had never tried before. “Come up with a list of people who became famous after age sixty.” The exercise gave me hope that all was not lost as I faced a new beginning in middle age. She suggested “See if you can make a delicious soup using as many root vegetables as you can find,” in order that I might direct some of my energy toward keeping my body healthy, strong, and by way of root vegetables, grounded as I set to putting my life back in order. She heard I liked art and commissioned me to design two paintings among other tasks to bring out the repressed parts of myself.
Most challenging of all for a then sick-to-my-stomach shy, bedraggled person, Jill cast a wider net in hopes that I might tap into and capture my own current of love. “A friend is having a party. Please come and tell her guests stories on her deck. You can do it! It’ll be fun!” Jill’s requests sometimes seemed outrageous, yet I knew her motives were driven by her knowledge of the love current.
Jill and her husband, Earl, who found enjoyable entertainment in my sharing of personal stories around the kitchen table, insisted I was a natural storyteller. Encouraged by their smiles and applause I started writing my own fictional stories. I had just taken my first open-minded baby steps in the direction of personal healing and spiritual growth so, fear-be-damned I forged ahead with Jill and Earl waving their pom-poms all the way. I did everything she suggested including acceptance of the invitation for the deck party storytelling. Fun and storytelling on a stage, with strangers no less, had not yet found a comfortable kinship in my brain. On party night I thought I might be nursing an ulcer, but pain and all I surprised myself with a hilarious adlibbed intro disguised as an old woman wearing a hooded cape and sneakers. Everyone roared and my confidence grew a few sizes larger.
With many of Jill’s dares under my belt, she came up with the “put love in the food” challenge after I told her about my desire to pay another friend back for helping me with some home repairs by making him a nice vegetarian meal; a friend who happened to have been one of the strangers in the audience on the auspicious evening of my storytelling debut one year prior. After nursing some healthy skepticism, I decided to give Jill’s latest challenge a whirl. If a veteran shy person could make twenty-five people laugh at a party after enduring a long, grueling divorce, anything was possible. Still, the skeptic in me devised a scientific test sure to debunk the crazy idea that focusing on love would make any kind of impact. Only one of my dishes would receive a concentration of mindful, loving intent…the one I least expected to earn rave reviews.
The menu consisted of a veggie sandwich on homemade bread, garden veggie soup, carrot salad, and fresh berry pie on a homemade shortbread crust. I spent the morning whipping together the abundance of ingredients each recipe required in silence, but with a mind full of useless chatter as I always had in the past. Before I gathered the four simple ingredients for the carrot salad, I found a favorite CD that brings out my happy, slapped it into the player, and got to work. I danced around the kitchen measuring, shredding, and stirring, while chanting “Love, Love, Love!” In my mind’s eye I urged little red hearts and love-filled memories to play out in living color. If nothing else I had more fun making that simple carrot salad than I had ever had in my life!
My guest arrived hungry and I set each dish on the table with flourish, first the soup followed by bread, sandwich fixings, and carrot salad. If I do say so myself everything matched my gourmet standard and tickled my taste buds the way fresh-made recipes tend to do. The surprise came when my guest exclaimed over and over again, “Oh! WHAT is in this carrot salad? It’s dee-licious!” He asked for a second helping and later dove for the bowl a third and fourth time, continuing to marvel at the simplest of all the recipes. As we scraped up the last bites of berry pie, my friend still babbled on about what I considered a humble, run-of-the-mill carrot salad.
These experiences made a believer out of me on many counts. I learned that positive intention goes a long way toward a successful outcome, whether it be at work or in play. We can draw love out of people and situations or create our own infusion to inject into whatever needs an extra boost. Jill’s belief in me, her love, and quirky requests encouraged me to move forward and stretch myself into realms I never imagined possible. In mid-life my courage swelled, manufactured by tapping into the love current and a desire to live life as I had not allowed previously. Love helped me ride the waves of my personal quest and kept me from being swallowed up by fear.
I realized that if love can transform a modest carrot salad into an exquisite ambrosia fit for a king, love can transform anything. Love is the stuff we are made of and we can conjure up love’s magic any time we so choose.
What magic will you do with the love current, now that you know its power?