I’ve been feeling very contemplative lately. Maybe it’s because Spring is in the air, and there’s a feeling of renewal, of new life and new possibilities – but walking through the park the other day, I noticed how many couples were stretched out on the grass, busily canoodling, kissing and cuddling, while the birds noisily chattered and courted and cavorted in the trees above.
It got me thinking about how it seems to be part of the human condition to want to find love, to fall in love and to focus our efforts on finding ‘the one’, so we can enjoy those feelings of being in love. But are we missing the point? What if love’s not about mushy Valentines day sentiments and the Hollywood happy ending. What if it’s something we can all access, at any time, whatever our situation or relationship status? What if love really is (to quote a famous song title) all around us?
Here’s a beautiful story I read recently, which illustrates how love is everywhere, if only we learn to look for it:
“Recently, a friend asked me to go for a walk through his favourite park. We left home and he started talking about his corporate strategies, his ideas for a renovation and some other personal matters. We walked for an hour and I listened to his stories. Then I asked him if he’d like to do the walk my way.
This time we walked in silence. We got to a tree, I put my hand on it and invited him to touch the bark, to get dirty, feel the texture, imagine the journey the bark had been through to get there. Then I pointed to a bird hopping around the branches above; a beautiful, brightly coloured bird, and we both smiled at each other. I saw a glint in his eyes that wasn’t there before.
We walked on and came to a grassy hilltop, damp from the previous night’s rain. I lay on it, soaking myself in the warmth and the smell, then rolled down the hill, like a child. I began to laugh. He followed, reluctant to get wet, but by the end he was sobbing into his hands.
I found a magnificent flower dropped from a branch. I placed it between my palms and handed it to him, with a smile, and gave him the hug of his life. His eyes filled with tears again, and we walked slowly home.
We must re-learn the art of stillness. It may be confrontational at first, but eventually this experience of falling in love will become permanent, always behind the reality of everyday life.”
This, for me is the key to love – and whether you’re single or in relationship, you can fall in love again and again with life, whenever you choose.