Are you hearing that as ‘what would you do to get love?’, because that isn’t what I have in mind this morning. I’m asking a different question all together. I’m asking ‘what would you do to support, nurture, and invest in love’? They’re very different questions.

I already know, with fair certainty through day-to-day observation of human primates in their suburban habitat, that human beings will do almost anything to have love, or to say they have love. The mystery for me, and thus the question, is how peculiarly few people seem to make the connection between being loved, loving – and all the many verbs involved in nurturing love, supporting love, building a foundation on which love can stand, cultivating an emotional environment in which love can thrive, and just generally actually demonstrating loving behaviors. Love isn’t a noun that one can rob from existence on a whim, branding one being or another as property. Love can’t be taken. Love can’t be demanded. Well, I suppose one could make the demand, but I seriously doubt love comes running when called, based on such a demand.

A lot of people say they want love. Some of those same people seem to expect that saying so is preparation enough to be able to love well and skillfully, or to be ready to be loved – and thus be ready for all that reciprocal enduring affection demands. It doesn’t appear to work that way at all.

What are you willing to do, about you, in order to find/have/get/make/acquire/experience love? There are verbs involved. There are no guarantees, and no returns. Your results may vary. It may be necessary to begin again, and to practice new practices. It may be necessary to choose change. No kidding, you may not be ready for love and loving because of who you choose to be right now. No one else can do anything much about that, besides the person in the mirror. It was a slow journey coming to terms with some of that, for me. Yes, I am still talking about wholesome, safe, connected, nurturing ‘unconditional’ love. That it is ‘unconditional’ doesn’t mean that it will survive someone just insisting on continuing to be a spoiled brat, or a jerk, or distant, or disrespectful, or cruel, or any number of potentially entirely self-selected character flaws that love might enjoy us working on some little bit along life’s journey. “Fuck your needs, love me anyway!” is not what unconditional love is about, as I understand it myself. It’s more… “Oh, hey, fuck – I’m sorry I’m still working on that, so human; thank you for loving me, and appreciating my best qualities while I work out the details on my bullshit over here.” (And it’s probably a value add if everyone involved is similarly committed to, and invested in, working out their own shit, and walking their own path… seems likely, at least.)

I’m no expert – not on life, or on love. I see a path ahead of me, and I enjoy the part of the journey I get to walk hand-in-hand with love. It’s taken a while to recognize how much more of myself goes into that than I understood as a starry-eyed young woman, all hormones and blood-boiling libido. There are a lot of verbs involved, a lot of listening, some good self-care and boundary setting/respecting. My results vary; it’s a very human journey.

It is always a good moment to listen, to begin again.

It is always a good moment to listen, to begin again.

Today is a good day to love.