An experiment in love

I don’t think I’m a particularly negative person (although some that know me well might disagree), but I certainly recognise there’s room for some extra positivity in my life.  So, when a two-hour bush walk with my new Zambian friend ended with a seven hour deep conversation on every contentious issue imaginable – religion, politics, democracy, colonialism, war, polygamy, veganism, drug use – I expected a touch of bitterness on certain items.  Rather than being provoked, my friend just shrugged his shoulders and said, “Just practice love.  It’s the only thing that has the power to win out in the end”.

Now this concept is not a new one, but it’s one that is difficult to follow on a daily basis.  As it happened, this conversation coincided with a movement among my Swazi friends to publicly share seven days of positive thoughts on Facebook, and then to nominate two people each day to do the same.  Normally I would have ignored such a nomination as harassing chain mail and too much effort, but I felt challenged to see if I could “just practice love”, that I decided to embrace it.

What followed was transformative….at least, for me.  Despite a relatively bad week that would normally have left me hyperventilating with a mild cardiac arrest, I instead felt overwhelming peace and a ridiculous amount of comedy in my predicaments.  What’s more, my Facebook newsfeed was now flooded with posts of positivity, breaking up the standard depressing bulletins coming from Australia and the rest of the world.

They say that faking a smile can trick your body into being happy.  I dare say that a few moments of positive reflection each day does the same thing.  Except that there’s no faking.  This stuff is real.  Not only is it real, it’s not unique to me.  The stuff that makes my life so brilliant is stuff that is available to almost every single one of us.  That’s not to say that there isn’t any bad – there’s plenty of that – but if we just practice love, it might really just win out in the end.

So, for the benefit of those that aren’t lucky enough to be my friend on Facebook, I have included some of these positive thoughts below, both my own and from my friends who carried this torch forward.  In the spirit of the movement, I nominate each one of you reading this to share seven days of positive thoughts with your friends and family and, remember, just practice love.

  1. I’m grateful for the smell of the bush in winter after a rain at night time.
  2. I am grateful for the freedom and opportunity which permit me to contribute designing a life I love, each and every day.
  3. I’m thankful for life’s little speed bumps that keep me in check & remind me not to take myself too seriously.
  4. You have the ability to make a difference some way, some how, whether it be an act of kindness, taking a stand, sharing the knowledge, or getting involved.  Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.
  5. Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.
  6. I’m thankful for Sundays, because they mean I’m lucky enough to be employed.
  7. Where obstacles and problems seem stacked up hopelessly against you, there is always something you can do….out-create it!
  8. I’m thankful for the sunshine that brings light and energy to my days, and for the darkness of the night that helps me to reflect and revive.
  9. I am thankful for science and technology that allows me to stay informed and in touch with those I love, regardless of where I am in the world.
  10. I am forever grateful for my mobility – and – I am thankful to have my senses to see, hear and smell the beautiful things around me.
Categories: Life in General | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “An experiment in love

  1. Nice platitudes but my way is easier and time-proven: “Love one another as I have loved you”.

  2. penny

    Love it Isabel 🙂 It brings joy to my heart to be part of this chain reaction! Now (you know me)…tell us about this new Zambian friend!

  3. Cecilia Ross

    Here are my current three favourites. No time to confirm citations so paraphrasing is mine:

    The family is the school of love. (Pope St John Paul II)

    Evangelii Gaudium (The joy of the Gospel) (Pope Francis)

    Where there is no love, put love and you will find love. (One of the St Johns – St John Vienney, I think)

  4. here’s another one: try to look for acts of kindness each day. Doesn’t have to be your own acts of kindness, just anything that you observe someone do for another. studies have shown this is also transformative.

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