Category Archives: Love

LOVE

It’s time for love. Now, more than ever, we need it. There’s always been a lot of crazy in the world, so it’s not that there’s so much more or even less, though I understand there is less suffering than in centuries past. More people are living longer, healthier lives, and then at the same time we humans are doing what we’ve always done to make life interesting – we create drama, some of which I find not all that much different than “Game of Thrones.”  No, I haven’t watched even one episode (I’ve seen the trailers), which I know means some of you will never speak to me again. And, yes, I’ve created my fair share of GoT drama.

But truth be told, when I turn my television on, I need something to make me laugh and take my mind off the seriousness of life I am continually confronted with on the daily.  Politics, part of that daily experience, are the current Reality Shows of today. Forget “Housewives of New Jersey,” for table flipping, just tune into Fox, CNN or MSNBC.  Doesn’t matter which narrative you feel called to follow, it’s looney. Okay, I might be a bit judge-y here, but please, somebody, pour a little kindness atop this whole nutty circus story. Ultimately, we’re all crafting our own unique narrative every day.  And there are any number of people who think my particular narrative is crazy and even downright un-something or other. And they could be right, or wrong, depending on which side of a particular belief system they’re sitting on.

We all get to choose the story of our lives that we’re crafting, and for me, love must be the central character of mine.

And I mean big love, the agape kind. I tend to think, believe actually, that love is the one main sacred force of the universe. Love is God (Insert your namesake). Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a sermon on love, a recording of which I heard not too long ago, where he breaks love down into three different categories. First, I love that Dr. King was talking about love in 1957, at such a necessary time for more love when the U.S. was just beginning to look at its deep prejudice towards black people in America. And, it seems we’re having to do the same thing again today, calling more love forward, with less than loving comments made by certain politicians about certain ethnic groups.

On November 17, 1957, Dr. King gave this sermon at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. He broke love down into three distinct categories – eros, philia, and agape. First, he said of Eros, that it’s “a sort of romantic love, though it’s a beautiful love.” He goes on to say the Greek language talks about Philia, a “sort of intimate love between personal friends.” And then the Greek word Agape, “This is the love above eros and phila. Agape is a love that seeks nothing in return.  It is an overflowing love; it’s what theologians would call the love of God working in the lives of man.”

I remember being glued to my car radio when I heard Dr. King’s sermon. I felt it had hit the love nail right on the head because I had experienced these three types of love in my own life. Love of a super hot and super sweet man, love for my family, and then a higher love, if you will, of human kind and God. The one common denominator in these three types of loving is me. And if my heart is open or closed these three types of loving – eros, philia, and agape, will or will not flow.

So, if I’m not open to love I’m blocked, protected, or closed. Experiencing a lack of loving is an experience I know all too well. First and foremost, it creates a deep inner pain of longing, if we can admit to it, and if not expressed and fulfilled we find any number of substances to cover and or fill the void. A whole bag of organic blue corn tortilla chips with hummus works for me. Bottom line, we will get our needs met on one level or another.  And for some, this lack of loving will create an internal revolt resulting in anger, hatred, revenge, and actions which bring most of us to our knees and to the doors of heaven to question our faith in human kind. A lack of loving can be catastrophic.

Heart blockages are painful on many levels, and it takes strength to love and to be open to love. Sometimes we think we’re loving, but our love has conditions to it. You behave in this way and I’ll love you. You buy me this gift and I’ll love you. You get good grades and I’ll love you. You behave or even believe in this way and you will be loved and accepted. We all know these scenarios. The conditions are often spoken in the name of God. But conditional loving in not really loving at all, it’s expectation laden with judgment – quite the opposite of loving.

We’ve all experienced conditional love, but conditions don’t support true love or us in opening up our hearts.Opening our hearts is an act of great vulnerability and of great courage. It takes real balls to open your heart and love another, but the rewards are beyond measure, beauty and joy.

And it’s so easy to choose another focus for my energy and personal narrative. I can choose to judge, and have so many times, another person or situation, or most of all, myself. To be loving, to speak loving words, to be considerate or empathic, requires great courage in the face of the easier, more sarcastic response. Love is a choice. What are you choosing in each moment to participate in? What are you putting out into the world? Is it love, or is it not love? For some, it’s simply walking past someone in need. For other’s it’s condemning a particular person for their skin color, their sexual orientation, their gender, nationality, or their religion. See how tricky this gets?

Beautiful lyrics by Hal David, with music by Burt Bacharach, written in 1965.  I love the Dionne Warwick version of “What the World Needs Now Is Love,” and Sara Bareilles’ version is epic.

I don’t know about you, but every day, in every conversation, every email, every text, every Facebook post, every Tweet on Twitter, I think about how my words will affect the person reading or hearing or seeing what I put out into the world. This is my world. I claim it as mine. And I share this great world with all of you. And I’m doing my part to make this place we call home just a little bit better, and a little bit brighter.  Whatever anyone else chooses to do is their choice. What are you choosing? Are you choosing love? Are your actions, your words, your posts loving? Do they carry the energy of love with them – Agape? Don’t kid yourself by thinking you make no difference, or what you think and put out into the world has no effect. It does. Every thought we think, every word we write and say is like a rock thrown into the pond. It has a ripple effect that goes on and on touching everyone it comes in contact with.

It’s time for love. But you will have to choose it. Some will not. Some will hesitate. When you do choose it, it will require your courage, take one hundred percent responsibility, and great care. Love your children, love your parents, love your partner, love your friends, love your community, love your place of worship, love your God, and don’t forget to love yourself. Just remember not to not love others in the process when they love something or someone that looks just a bit different than you. God gave us our differences, like colors, and it’s why our world is as vivid and alive as it is, but ultimately, it’s love that brings these colors together in the richest of tapestries. Love creates vibrancy in our world, and it’s love that has the power to change all, make better, and free us to create the narrative of our lives placed in our hearts at birth. Live with love. The world needs us.

 Barry Alden Clark has coached thousands of individuals in connecting more deeply with their hearts, their life purpose, and helped create a pathway for these folks to move forward in a direction more aligned with who they truly are. 

Making Your Dreams Come True

Single Mom Goes From American Hustle To Living Her Dreams in Abu Dhabi

Author: Tenille Livingston – Motivational Speaker & Writer

How far would you go to live the life of your dreams? Tanai Benard a school teacher and single mother of three children ages 5,6 and 8 made a decision that ultimately changed their lives forever. In 2013, Tanai’s marriage was in shambles and at the time her then husband agreed that they were in need of a change. Tanai figured that moving to another country would be the best thing for the family of five, yet she soon learned that her then-husband had other plans.

 

While packing and getting ready for their new journey in the UAE she received a call from her husband who worked offshore, saying “I am just going to stay aboard the ship and ride it out.” As you can imagine Tanai was devastated as her plans for her family took a turn for the worse. She had to now accept her husband’s decision and began their new journey without her husband by her side. There were other devastating surprises along the way, but that didn’t stop Tanai from moving forward with her life and starting over as they boarded a plane four deep.

 

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When Tanai finally shared the move with her family their first response was “Where is that?” No one in her family knew exactly where Abu Dhabi was located on the map. Her family was supportive about her move, but she had yet to share the news about the big move with her mother and father while making her family swear to secrecy. After going through the interview process and accepting the teaching position Tanai made the final decision to move her now family of four to the UAE.

 

Now comes the hard part, it was now time to share her final decision with her parents. Though she was prepared to persuade her mother about the move she surprisingly enough gave her daughter her blessing. Her father, on the other hand, said, “Why are you taking my babies over there with them terrorists?” Her dad’s reaction was to be expected. Though her dad had stated, “I will NEVER visit!” Tanai recently with much persuasion convinced her father to come and visit with her and the children in August of this year.

 

Since their move to the UAE, the kids by amazement have grown and matured beautifully. After dealing with the reality of their parents’ divorce they are excelling and currently attend an American curriculum private school where they are learning Arabic and French. All three children maintain an A or A/B average. The children now get the opportunity to be a part of extracurricular activities and interact with other children from all over the world.

 

There are many single mothers across the country with big dreams, yet many fail to step out on faith and make their dreams a reality. As I read Tanai’s amazing testimony of faith, it brought me to tears and encouraged me on my journey. I soon wanted to pick up the phone and encourage her, so I reached out to her via social media and we spoke.

 

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After learning more about her story and how she overcame the many obstacles in her life, I couldn’t wait to share her story with HuffPost readers all over the world. Even with all odds against her she never gave up while fearlessly going after the life she wanted.

Today, traveling is a new hobby for Tanai and her three children. It is now her personal goal to ensure that her children get a chance to experience new adventures every 100 to 130 days. The life in which Tanai’s three children are living is a dream for many mothers all over the world, but a dream in which Tanai has proven can become a reality if you have the faith to believe and take the necessary steps towards your dreams.

 

The decision that Tanai Benard made in 2013 has awarded her family opportunities which in the past she would have only imagined. Many teachers in the United States are far from living the American dream and underpaid while living paycheck to paycheck. This experience has not only changed her life but has given her a whole new outlook on the American Dream.

Tanai struggled while living in the U.S. from paycheck to paycheck. Prior to her move, she was an engineering student with a full course load while working full time with three children. She can recall being on almost every government assistance program available. Life is good in Abu Dhabi, and they don’t have the same concerns. Many women around the world can relate to her story of perseverance.

 

Who would have thought that a single mother of three who once lived in the projects in Southeast Texas would one day live the life of her dreams in a faraway land? It is her faith and great determination that leads to endless possibilities. I dedicate this post to all women, of all races, professional backgrounds and religious beliefs that have faced adversity.

 

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tenille-livingston/single-mom-goes-from-american-hustle-to-living-her-dreams-in-abu-dhabi_b_7490560.html

 

Love Your People

Time passes so quickly and the person we thought we would never lose is suddenly gone. And by suddenly I mean here one day gone the next. Shit if truth be told it is really here one second gone the next. Whether they died from an illness or in a sudden occurrence; when they leave we are in shock that a living, breathing person is no longer in their body, talking, laughing, crying and communicating with us.

Where did they go? I believe their Spirit has left their body. But where did they go? Are they a miraculous substance, entity or stars floating out beyond our grasp? Will I see them again? I am so confused (and that is confused with a whole bunch of Os) sometimes because I only know the physicality of another person.

But I do believe in Spirit. And yet I have asked where does the Spirit begin and the body separate? For me it’s all intertwined like macramé with primary and secondary knots, which is a lot to ponder; at least for me. Sometimes I get all twisted up by it. And my inability to find a satisfying answer makes me mad. Sometimes. The other times I am stilled and comforted by my Faith that I will see them again. I am grateful for my Faith.

If someone you love does something that gets on your nerves, tell them and then tell them you still love them. We can love and be irritated by our folks. Life is short. And while we get so worked up physically and spiritually by that thing, know this: that intolerable thing will be the one you miss the most. You will romanticize that thing the most after they are gone. You will crave that annoying trait. You will say I would give anything to hear them say: shut up, be quiet, go-away, you’re so stupid (insert whatever irritates you here) one more time.

If it really bothers you tell them. If they don’t stop figure out a way to change your reaction. Hey you might learn something about yourself – like why it bothers you so much. Either way let it go. Figure it out. Forgive them. Love. And cherish every moment you have with your people.

Remember: Here one second gone the next.

When it happens your life will never be the same again. You can’t defuse that bomb. Don’t wait for a can’t-turn-back-the-clock moment to love more. Do it now.

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Re-Love Your Life

Everyone wants to escape sometimes usually for one of two reasons: trauma or boredom. But instead of turning everything upside down, why not re-Love your current life? Recognize that we don’t need to run away, to a place that we perceive as better because wherever we go, we take ourselves and remember if you aren’t happy where you are you aren’t going to be happy where you run to.

So take the time to figure out little ways to re-Love your life. Maybe for you it means:

• Creating a sanctuary in some unused space in your home and keep in mind it doesn’t have to be a big space; it can be a reading nook with a chair and floor lamp or a chaise in a corner where you can just close your eyes and breathe or lay back and put earphones on and listen to some music.

• Put aside some time where no one is allowed to bother you, including yourself, which means no multi-tasking, just do what you set out to do. For instance if you plan on listening to music do just that no listening to music and reading. One or the other. Immerse yourself in the experience and feel it.

• Write yourself a love letter, listing all those wonderful attributes you know to be true. And if you don’t yet know how great you are then write down what you want to be true of yourself like: how smart, fantabulous, funny, and joy-filled you are.

These are just suggestions. You can figure out ways to re-Love your life by asking yourself what do you really want and then listen. Whatever will make you smile and appreciate your existence is a way to re-Love your life.

Remember: The Universe delights in our actualization. ~Jeff Brown

Celtic Everlasting Love