After a much needed wet winter, spring is now in full bloom. Trees are green, wild flowers scatter the rolling hills, gardens are being planted, farmers markets are popular again, and the birds and bees are doing their thing (if you know what I mean 😉 ).
The other day while I was in my backyard, I noticed two butterflies fluttering around each other. Aside from trying to prevent my cat from pouncing on them, I was in awe of these two creatures performing this ritual. In their own way they were expressing love. How do you perform this dance with others in your life?
We tend to think of essential nutrients as water, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals. But what about love? We all need love, right? At least according to the Beatles we do 😉 Love has been shown to improve well-being, purpose, longevity and even cardiovascular health. But with so much of us focusing on macronutrients and exercise we may be missing one of the key components to a healthy life. I recently read a book, Staying Healthy With Nutrition, and the authors referred to love as an essential vitamin for life. Are you getting enough vitamin L?
So what exactly is love?
What first comes to mind is “romantic love.” Songs have been written about it, wars have been started over it, and most people search for it at some point in their life. My personal definition of love includes a feeling of intimate connection and fondness of another. Aside from romantic love there are many other forms out there. Friendship love. Family love. Animal love. Ice cream love ? Spiritual love. Self love. I would even argue that you can feel love for a complete stranger in a moment of deep connection.
But how do you know if you have enough love?
You need to hear “I love you” at least three times daily, and receive at least 10 hugs and 5 kisses daily. It also helps to be sent flowers at least twice a month. Just kidding!!! I don’t know 🙂 I think you “just know” if you have enough love in your life. It is something you feel and it is different for everyone. The cycle of love is always changing and you may feel it more in some moments than in others. Are there certain areas of your life where you feel fulfilled, while others seem to be lacking? You may feel very fortunate to have family love in your life but notice your self love is lacking.
What are some ways you can attract more vitamin L in your life? One of the best ways to receive love is to give love! Here are some ideas to get you started.
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life out of what we give.” -Winston Churchill
I know. We have all heard volunteering is a great way to give back your community. But what are the benefits? Community support? Helping those in need? Yes, of course those are important, but it goes much deeper than that. While it may seem at first you are helping others, in many ways they are actually helping you!! Volunteering is one of the best ways to “Feel the Love.”
I have participated in a variety of volunteer events over the years. I am sure the people I have helped appreciated my time, but I guarantee you most of them will never remember me. But I will remember them. These volunteer experiences shaped my world view and taught me to have compassion for those that are different from me. Everyone has a different path to walk in life and volunteering allows you to have a glimpse of what other people experience in their lifetime. Giving back to your community not only allows you spread the love it gives you the opportunity to receive the love.
If you want to feel loved from your relationships you must be willing to put in some effort. Relationships are like house plants…They need to be attended to or they will die (Or at least fade away. I don’t want to be too depressing.) Just like house plants some relationships require more care and attention than others. Some need more water. Others require less water. The important thing is to know what your plant or relationship needs so you know how to best provide it. I understand, THIS IS NOT ALWAYS EASY! But if you continue to care for it, then you will receive the most beautiful bloom (code for “love” in case my analogy is not clear 😉 ).
“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
I will be the the first to admit, developing the courage to forgive can be a very challenging process. Sometimes it can take minutes to forgive while other times it may take years. Each conflict has many layers and there may be situations that you feel are unforgivable. I get that! But I also feel holding on to hatred and anger can make it more challenging to feel loved and be loved. There is less energy to devote to love if your vessel is filled with negative emotions. Is there something you can let go of? Learning to forgive can be a healing process for yourself. It does not always mean relationships will go back to what they used to be. It just signifies you are making more room in your life for positive emotions such as love.
Get Out In Nature
You might be thinking, “How is nature going to attract more love in my life?” Okay, secretly I just love being out in nature and enjoy spreading the message to others. This last weekend a group of friends and our dogs went for a hike in Lassen National Forest along a beautiful creek. It felt so good to be outside creating memories with friends and sharing our love. Plus, being out in nature gave me the opportunity to recognize my interconnectedness with the world around me. Going out in nature is a nice respite from the stressful, fast paced lifestyle that many of us lead and allows you the opportunity to slow down and focus on what is important.
Practice Daily Acts of Kindness-
“In this life we cannot always do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”- Mother Theresa
You do not need to travel abroad every year or volunteer weekly at the Salvation Army in order to attract love in your life. You can start with where you are right now! Practicing daily acts of kindness is one of the best things you can do to spread love and feel more loved. Hold the door open for someone at the coffee shop. Buy lemonade from that cute kid down the street. Call a family member you have not talked to in a while. Go check on your elderly neighbor. Tell a co-worker how much you appreciate them. Let someone go ahead of you in the grocery line. There are lots of opportunities throughout the day to spread love. You just have to keep your eyes open.
Now that I have shared with you some of my ideas on how to attract more Vitamin L into your life, what are your strategies?