Tuesday, March 16, 2021

A Festival of Love

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark, 
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks 
Within his bending sickle's compass come; 
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, 
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man or woman ever loved.

Most think of Shakespeare's SONNET 116 as a tome to romantic love, but when you listen carefully, dig deeply, he speaks as well to the love of living and experiencing life to the fullest, no matter what shows up or what your age may be. He speaks as well to how the Universe, from the Big Bang through eternity, is the energy of creation everlasting – the very essence of love.

Our awakening is a love-fest of depth, passion, enlightenment, Spirit, and...

Philia — Affectionate / Authentic Friendship Love

Pragma — Enduring Love

Storge (storjay) — Unconditional / Familial Love

Eros — Romantic /  Passionate Love

Ludus — Playful / Flirtatious Love

Philautia — Self Love

Agape — Selfless / Universal Love 

Our festival of love shall illuminate them all. 

First is the love of Spirit – AGAPE. As defined by Ernest Holmes, love is the "Self-givingness of Spirit through the desire of Life to express Itself in terms of creation. It is a synonym for God, says Emerson. It is a cosmic force whose sweep is irresistible."

God is unconditional love. Many confuse that with only the positive things happening in our lives,  however, the unconditional love from the Universe, the Highest of One, the Divine Source, Spirit, whatever you want to call It, knows only giving, not good or bad, positive or negative. There is a “Divine yes” that will never be denied to us. This “yes” may announce Itself through joy and peace, or pain and loss. Yet It awaits our acknowledgment and response. It is a “yes” that leads to joy, love, challenge, growth, and the on-going “yet-to-be” of infinite possibilities. It is that soul’s calling of our “heart‘s desire” which first appears as a curiosity or an interest, a nudge from the Universe growing to be a pull to know more. 

Learning to listen through regular spiritual practice brings trust, hope, awakening, and finally, a vision that we can embrace and embody and envision into our belief and life. Agape Love, Self Love – Divine Love is All Love. The capital 'L' love that shines in our Oneness as humans and all living beings reminds us of who we are...what Self is.

That boundless power, source of every power, manifesting itself as life, entering every heart, living there among the elements, that is Self. ~Upanishads

That is YOU...found in the countenance which is you. Enoch (great grandfather of Noah) recounts: 

I saw the view of the face of the Lord, like iron made burning hot in a fire and brought out, and it emits sparks and is incandescent. Thus even I saw the face of the Lord. 

It is not just a burning bush or the face of Moses or Jesus or Mary or Muhammad or the Buddha, the likeness and image of the Divine is in all those things - the likeness and image is in you. So much is resolved, loosened up, and empowered when we remember this. Take it to heart, live it, embody it, think from it, and be it in mind, body, heart, and soul.

That was an example of Philautia – self-love, a practice of meditation and prayer is the ultimate of self-love, giving you healthy self-esteem, insight into the highest you, a calm, centeredness – an opening for wisdom. Now we shall step into the realm of Eros – romantic love

In Madame Bovary (1856), Gustave Flaubert tells us about Emma Bovary's ideas about romantic love from "the refuse of old lending libraries," which...

...were all about love and lovers, damsels in distress swooning in lonely lodges, postillions slaughtered all along the road, horses ridden to death on every page, gloomy forests, troubles of the heart, vows, sobs, tears, kisses, rowing-boats in the moonlight, nightingales in the grove, gentlemen brave as lions and gentle as lambs, too virtuous to be true, invariably well-dressed, and weeping like fountains.

Is that how you see romantic love?

I am in love! Not just romantic love – though she's here. I am in love with my friends, my job, my ministry, my family, Southern California. I am in love with the taste of peach cobbler w/thick doughy, chewy crust and crumbles topping (gluten-free, of course), french fries, pumpkin pie, dense rich flour-less chocolate cake. I am in love with the smell of cut grass, a blazing fireplace or fire pit...the air after it rains. I am in love with the music of Debussy and the sound of crickets at night.

Eros...romantic love...is celebrated on February 14th. St. Valentines Day has many stories:

One was begun by Pope Gelasius I in the 5th century to combine the honoring of a temple priest who was beheaded by the emperor Claudius II for helping Christian couples wed and the Roman feast of Lupercalia, a naked, drunken Pagan fertility festival of goat sacrifices, misogyny, and a matchmaking lottery. Other St. Valentine's are celebrated at different times:

St. Valentine of Viterbo on November 3

St. Valentine of Raetia on January 7

St. Valentine (Valentina), a virgin martyred in                    Palestine in 308AD on July 25

Now, thanks to the industrious threesome in 1920's Loveland, Colorado of Joyce Clyde Hall (Hallmark Cards, K.C. MO), Mary See (candy maker, L. A.) and John Valentine (FTD), Downer's Grove Ill), who colluded and captured the market for this holiday, it's why we believe that without a combo of candy, card, and flowers - Valentines Day is ruined.

Let's now talk about what the Greeks call Storge - familial love…not just the love of our blood relatives, but our relatives in any and all of the individuation of the Divine. And the type of love called Philia, which describes the friendship and shared goodwill of Oneness. I have a couple of questions for you:

What are the ways we let ourselves be distracted from remembering and living from our worthiness as divine, unique, and radiant creations of Spirit?

How can we “let God be God in us” in our daily lives...
with our family, in our jobs, at the grocery store?

When we have broken our god of tradition and ceased from our god of rhetoric, then may God fire the heart with [Its] presence.   ~Emerson’s Essays: The Over Soul

God as Source is everywhere, equally present, and always fully active. God as Presence is an innate connection full of wondrous creativity, limitless possibility, radiant inspiration, and perfect order, always available to commune with...but we must do our part. Today, I celebrate the glory & divinity of that which I AM and honor my Self, I honor nature, and I dignify the creation and creator that I am. I am the believer, not the belief, and I am in love with and grateful to that Infinite Invisible for which I am a part; the loving energy that soars within me, through me, and around me. To the degree that we are willing, open, and receptive participants and agreeing partners with Divine Love, on this and all other days, our lives can and will correspond to and demonstrate that Divine Love. 
Be a spectator no longer and ask yourself what brings you joy and what rises a feeling of passion and possibility in you. Radiate love, intention, and passion allow It to guide you to your next step and then your next and your next. Though some of the histories around Valentine's Day may not be so pure, I will still be flowering, candying and card writing to my special loved one, but also to myself, in appreciation of the God in me for the love It has for me, the love It gives to me and the love It is in me, as me. 

Plato taught that love aims at beautiful and good things; the possession of which he called happiness. And happiness is an end-in-itself. Of all the good and beautiful things, the best, most fabulous, the richest, and most dependable is the wisdom of Truth which is why Plato called love not a god, but a philosopher. Today, I have the philosophy, the awakening, the perspective, and the good sense to create a happy, prosperous, vibrant life and that is what I celebrate on this Valentine's Day and all the days around it.

…who's joining me?

Affirmative Incantation
Love is what I am and I love ALL that I am!
I am one with the infinite possibilities of the unconditional love of Spirit.

I celebrate my body expressing in health, intimacy, work, and play.
I celebrate the beloveds in my life whether romantic, family, or friends.
I celebrate my talents, my creativity, and that divine way I express my powers and abilities.
I celebrate my bank account, knowing that no matter what numbers it shows this day, I will reveal the better on the next.

With trust, joy, appreciation, and delight, I let God be God in me, through me, for me, and as me.
The ultimate Love supports me right here and right now.

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