By: Vince DiPasquale
February is always considered the “love” month and the unpredictable month. What a combination! During this month we celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day, the patron of love. Just as the weather in February is unpredictable so is the meaning and understanding of the special and most powerful word, love. In our world today we use the word love to sell products and to make it into something to control people. Let’s examine this word from an unhealthy way first and then spend the majority of this article on the healthy meaning of this word.
Unfortunately many times we confuse the word love with the other “L” word, lust. Love doesn’t mean ownership or possession. So many times when it comes to relationships we have a tendency to have many expectations. An old song went like this, “You are my life, my everything, my all.” This means that you have no sense of self. Love doesn’t mean to control or expect, love is the energy of freedom and growth. Our TV, movies and especially our soap operas, use the word to control and manipulate others. Love is not just an emotion, it is an energy that was God-given to each of us at birth. We use love as a fantasy. There are three types of love. Falling in love is simply attraction to someone. Even a healthy person falls in love on the average of three times a week. Attraction is normal but only based on external looks. Romantic love is wonderful and great but only for moments. You can’t be in romantic love 24 hours a day because it won’t work. It is only for special moments. Love of the spirit or spiritual love is the most powerful energy that involves growth for ourselves and is then to be shared with others.
I truly believe that at the moment of our birth God gave each of us the special gift of making us all lovers. As we go on our life journey we begin to forget this powerful energy that we have been given by God. As a result we have to make time in this dysfunctional world to relearn how to love ourselves. The ultimate relationship that we have in life is with ourselves. Even our 12 Step program tries to teach us this valuable lesson. The first 11 Steps of our program remind us to work on ourselves. The 12th Step says to share our love with others after we have had a spiritual awakening. Everything we do in life reminds us that we are on a spiritual journey. Remember the definition of the word spiritual. It comes from the Latin and Greek, spiritus actualis, an awakening or a discovery of our spirit. Our spirit is who we really are. Our body is human, it will grow old and one day it will die. Our spirit is the part of us that will live on forever. Our Creator gave each of us the great energy and power so that once we are able to gradually learn how to love, honor and respect ourselves, the energy inside will flow out to others. Norman Vincent Peale’s famous book, The Power of Positive Thinking, reminds us that we can accomplish anything if we just believe in ourselves and continue to grow. The greatest investment we can make in life is the journey of self. Growing in the spirit and energy of love is an ongoing adventure that will take us beyond our wildest dreams.
As we continue to discover this great energy within us we will go on the greatest journey of life to connect our love to others. Remember we are not islands. We have a tremendous need to share our gifts with others. This is the nature of all relationships. Our first natural relationship is to parents and family. Even though they may be dysfunctional at times we will always have a need for family. It’s through family that we have a place to share and develop our own gift of love. Since we are natural lovers, if we can work through our struggles and hurts, we will grow in this wonderful energy. Love teaches us to forgive, to heal, to be open to all experiences as a place to discover our strengths. Remember we are taught in our 12 Step program that every experience we have gone through in life, if faced through the spirit of love, will bring us the gift of strength, hope and growth. This is our purpose in life, to continue to learn and grow one day at a time always remembering that we are never done. People, circumstances and situations will come into our life to be our teachable moments. If we try to look at them through positive eyes and loving energy we will be open to discover our growth. To me this is the excitement of life. As I enter my 80th year on this earth, I hope and pray every day in the spirit of gratitude to be open to the lessons that are still in store for me.
Let’s all take time during this love month to recommit ourselves to spending time each day learning how to love ourselves. Let’s remember we are each God’s creations, made in His image since our Creator is the ultimate lover. He teaches us to love each person on our life’s journey as we would love ourselves. Each one of us is exactly who we are supposed to be. We are not an accident or a mistake. Let’s all look in the mirror and marvel at God’s creation. Make our theme for this month and our life, “To discover the gift and energy of love within us, then that loving spirit will flow to others.” Relationships are the gifts of life. Let’s value each one; even the negative has a positive. Let’s be open to love and growth. Stay warm, open and celebrate the month of love with self and others.
God bless us all on our journeys.