A couple of weeks ago while we were in Canada celebrating my 60th Birthday, a friend gave Bruce and me the gift of this Brian Andreas print called ‘Legacy’. The simplicity and depth of the image and text combined is so deeply resonant, every time I read it I’ve felt moved and inspired. The text says:

I promise you not a moment will be lost
as long as I have heart & voice to speak
& we will walk together again with
a thousand others & a thousand more
& on & ON
there is NO ONE
among us who
does not know
the truth:
there is NO future
without love.

It’s clear to me that the moment when every one of us truly knows ‘there is no future without love’ is unlikely to occur in my lifetime. And the inspiration I feel isn’t so much about ‘making a difference’, it’s not even about ‘being a difference’, at core this is about me living the me I came here to be in all my relationships.

We may want to love and be loved, but the questions that seem to be ‘up’ – in my life, and in the lives of those around me – is this. In the nitty gritty of our lives,what does loving or being love look like? When life gets tough, when we feel scared, when we lose ‘that loving feeling’ – what then?

The fairy tale or pop song version of love has seeped into our western culture and psyche at a very visceral level. And while I love the buzz of that ‘in love’, new relationship energy feeling, I’m equally clear that the love the Andreas print refers to, and what our hearts truly yearn for is far more nuanced that that!

Is that white picket fence, happily ever after, with 2.5 kids and a dog really enough to satisfy the yearning of our hearts? What might love really be calling us into experiencing, expressing, co-creating and contributing in our world?

What if our yearning for love was actually a call to the biggest adventure of our lives?

The ‘C’ in RICH Relationships stands for courage. And I don’t mean the grit-your-teeth, screw-up-your-courage-and-just-blindly-do-it kind of courage. That’s the kind of courage that matches our pop song version of love!

The courage I’m talking about is one that’s grounded in our commitment to being in integrity – with ourselves, others and Life. In this way of being we are attentive to and responding to the unique calling of our lives. Noticing, accepting and nurturing ourselves and each other. Sometimes, that nurturing calls us to courageously explore the edges of what is possible in all our relationships. What does the experience of loving look like here? An adventure for sure!

Another part of living this adventure is expanding our capacity to choose our responses to each moment of life. To be clear, I’m NOT advocating shying away from the scary or painful parts of our humanity. I AM standing for a commitment to harvesting the value in every experience. This is surely not for the faint of heart. Ultimately this courageous commitment allows us to celebrate what is, and for those who dare to express love in this way, the reward is true freedom!

Even when we can’t quite see our way to celebration, just living in the question ‘where might there be value in this?!’ makes a difference. I love the story of the little optimist boy. When asked why he was wildly digging through the pile of manure he found on his bedroom floor, he excitedly replied “with all this shit, there’s GOT to be a pony here somewhere!”

That courageous commitment to curiosity – asking ‘I wonder what this is drawing my attention to?’ or ‘Hmmm, I wonder, what else is possible here that I’ve never thought of before?!’ These questions disrupt our familiar ways of thinking and being, and bring us back home to the whispers of the deepest desires of our hearts. In attending to and sharing our discoveries, we deepen our connection with ourselves and each other. ‘How might I be a contribution?’ ‘What would a more loving community look like, and how could we co-create that?!’ Imagine the possibilities!

This way of being for me is the underpinning both of what loving really looks like, and the yearning of the hearts and voices of those I want to be in community with; a community where we share what it means to actually live this, and the tools and practices that support us in doing so. What are your challenges, possibilities, tools and practices?!

Nurturing juicy co-creative partnerships
…with ourselves, others & life!