Monday, July 23, 2012

The Many Faces of Love

Throughout the day we hear the word Love used in so many ways and fashions, from the profound to the mundane. We have words for nearly everything but only one which truly stands for Love. The word Love has many branches, many faces. It is on the tip of everyones' tongue, but surely there is a difference from when one says "I loved that movie" to when one says "I love you". What is this difference? 
- what is the difference between a loving the forest and loving a baby duck? 
- what is the difference between between loving the sunset and having romantic, lusty love? 
- what is difference between universal love and love of a movie? 
In today's blog, I'd like to highlight the contrasting faces of Love. This distinction is important because maybe it can help us with our own search for love. We can narrow down on what form of Love we are searching for and not get lost looking in all the wrong places. 
The first face I will describe is the face of Agape Love. Agape Love is the capital-L Love. Agape Love is unconditional love. Agape is a Greek word for Love used throughout the Bible to express the deep, all-expanding power of Love. Agape is an ethereal expression that cannot be reduced to words alone. The all-encompassing title of Love is seen best through expressions of Agape Love. 

A second face of love I shall describe as Motherly Love.  We often hear of this love as the deepest potential bond between two human beings. We hear of the story of a mother lifting an entire car to rescue her child. Indeed, this apparent strength could only have come from the mothers' love of her child. The warmth and nurturing that a mother can offer to her child is one of the greatest gifts of all. We do not even have to be mothers, or even women, to begin embracing this form of love. 

The third face of Love can be described as Sexual/Romantic Love. Sexual/Romantic Love is uniting one's natural desire with a sense of intimacy for another person. This feeling of desire is often coupled with love. This is what I mean by Sexual/Romantic Love. Lust is not thought of as a form of love because often times lust is a feeling of desire/want usually without love. It is my personal belief that there is no love in lust. Having said this, one must be cautious not to assume that sex alone will not necessarily procure love. But when sex is coupled with love, then what more can I say than Yiiipppppeeeee!!!! 

The fourth face of Love is that of Committed Love. In 1 Corinthians 13:4, it explains that “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” This form of committed love is usually found through time-honored experience together. 

The fifth and final face of love to be mentioned is the Love of nature and its beautiful creatures. The love of beauty in Nature, I believe, is a gift only from above. We can feel natures’ love for us when we feel the sun on our skin, hear the birds churping in the morning, or smell the luscious scent of rain. We can take refuge in the forest, as well as in her healing qualities. This is also a form of Love.  

With these many faces of love (and surely there are many more) should we perhaps expand our vocabulary of the word Love to reflect its many faces? What are some of your ideas about how we can? Always appreciate hearing from you. 

With the warmest Aloha, 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Simplicity is Bliss

This is Tara Brock and I'm writing today about the "Happy Planet" called Earth. The question is, do we live on a  planet that experiences true happiness, or do the difficulties outweigh the potential to be happy? According to the Happy Planet Index (HPI), the happiest countries where measured by experienced well being, life expectancy, and ecological footprint. Over 150 countries participated and the results were surprising! According to the HPI , the United States is listed as 105/151. This number is suprising because although the US is a wealthy nation, the harmful ecological footprint that the US is leaving as its legacy greatly dampers the overall national happiness.  

It's uplifting to me that there is such a thing as a Happy Planet Index because it shows awareness that there may be an imbalance. That being said, there still remains the potential for change. Environmental sustainability is one way to ensure future happienss. When a nation is at war over natural resources, it is a sure thing that  happiness goes out by the wayside.  We are learning that happiness does not have to be destructive. 

According to the HRI, material wealth is not any measure of happiness, either. In fact, material wealth maybe the antithesis to what we think happiness is.  Why is the United States 105th on the list when we have such high standard of living? Does our need to consume at such a high rates leave us feeling increasingly dissatisfied? This is a question we all must ask ourselves. Our insidious need to 'keep up with the Jones' can potentially erode our right to happiness. Stress takes us off the course of simplicity, which in my belief, is the secret to happiness. Upon examination, we realize that simplicity really is bliss.  The attributes of simplicity and calmness are the antithesis of fear and discontent.  

One ancient culture and people that believes in happiness, both on a personal and political level, are the people of Bhutan. As I wrote about in my last blog, one thing I find worth mentioning is that the people of Bhutan are an ancient people. They have ancient traditions and ways of wisdom that were passed on to them and their families many moons ago. The wisdom of the ages outweighed the persistence of capitalism, which may correlate to their increased happiness.

This blog is not intended to portray happiness like Disneyland with  sunshine, butterflies, and expensive toys bouncing and fluttering about. But instead, it  is a commentary designed to inform the reader about the measurement of real-life happiness on planet Earth. 

What makes you and I happy may be two different things. However, where we do have a common base is that happiness is something that we all long for in some way or another.  We can not know happiness is unless we have also experienced its opposite. I do believe, however, that our planet is a wonderful place to leap from in order to fully grasp the meaning of true happiness. 

Please feel free to drop me a line or email me regarding what you have just read. Your comments are always valued to me. 

With my warmest Aloha,