Halfway through a year of fearless love

It’s July, and I’m officially more than halfway through my year of loving fearlessly. A list is in order!

Things the Love Project has taught me so far…

  1. Love is everywhere. Hate is too. And cynicism, and prejudice, and greed, and cruelty. It’s all out there. In the gigantic, messy spectrum of human experience, ugliness is as easy to find as beauty; rudeness and intolerance as prevalent as kindness and generosity. So maybe the best thing we can do, for ourselves and the world, is make sure our own actions tip the scale toward love.
  2. Love doesn’t happen to us, it happens because of us, because of who we are and what we do. It happens because we make it happen, because we choose it. On any given day, we have the opportunity again and again to choose isolation, withdrawal, anger, fear… or love. Love is untidy. It’s unpredictable. It’s often inconvenient and occasionally terrifying. Love happens, I’m convinced, when we are magnificent and badass enough to make it happen.
  3. The smallest gestures count. At the start of this project, I had an image in my head of a hippie girl plopping flowers into the barrel of a soldier’s gun. I wrestled with the futility of that, with the idea that my love project could be easily dismissed, seen as idealistic at best and frivolous at worst.  But there is power in our efforts at connection. I’ve received the most beautiful comments, messages and emails telling me that it’s not just hearts and minds we’re changing, it’s lives.
  4. Self-love maybe the hardest love of all, but it is the most necessary. I am absolutely, totally, 100 percent convinced that your ability to love others is directly proportional to your ability to love yourself, and no matter how you justify it, selfless love is lesser love. When your well is full, you’re more generous, more open, less full of expectation, less clingy. If I doubted this truth before the Love Project, I don’t now. Love yourself… all else follows that.
  5. Hugs are magical. No doubt about it.
  6. Everybody needs love. Even the cynics. Especially the cynics.
  7. Acting on your most generous, loving impulses, makes you feel generous and loving. It’s freaky.
  8. Sometimes choosing love means choosing to stay – through one more day, one more difficult conversation, one more heartbreak. Other times, it means letting go. Sometimes walking away is the most generous, loving thing we can do.
  9. Heartbreaks are the inevitable downside of living a love-filled life, but they are also the proof that we’re doing it right, that we’re staying open – to experience, to joy, to surprise, to expansion – risking our hearts, daring to leap. Truly living.
  10. Love is GORGEOUS. Don’t believe me? Look! And making a conscious effort to capture that beauty (with your camera if you have it, and with your heart either way) will change how you see the world. I guarantee it.

(Originally posted on Zebra Sounds July 5, 2011.)

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