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Love is Simple not Simplistic

This post refers to a poem I sent out to subscribers to my Poem for the Day. This is the poem:

What is love but trust. What is trust but your heartbeat. What is your heartbeat but the pulse of love.


A response from a friend to yesterday’s email prompted me to ask myself what I think love is. Or what I meant by saying that ‘love is trust and trust is your heartbeat’ and all that silliness. This is what I came up with.

First of all, it’s obvious what love is. Love is a word. The question is what real thing is being pointed to when someone uses that word. To me, a ‘real thing’ is something I’ve experienced. Everything else is an abstraction—someone else’s words.

The word love often refers to romantic love—with all its angst, passion, fire, jealousy, and yearning. To me, that ball of wax is a lot of things, most of which aren’t what I’m calling love, or what I meant by love in yesterday’s poem.

When I said love yesterday, I was referring to something I experience when I let go of the need to dictate with my mind what should happen. Now if you’ve met my mind, you know he likes to chatter. He also enjoys telling delightful stories with titles like, “If That Person Doesn’t Text You Back in the Next Half-Hour, You’re Likely to Die Friendless in a Ditch.” Not a super loving guy, my mind. Not that he doesn’t sometimes try to be super loving. He’s got tons of great ideas about what it means to be super loving, most of which involve being super nice even when you want to super scream.

Luckily, I’ve found a different path. If I can ignore my mind (I know, I know, that’s not very loving), it’s like opening a trap door underneath him and just dropping through it to a place that’s also internal but much more spacious. It feels vast, open, uncompelled, effortless. From there, instead of knowing what should happen, I can let something happen. Something arises.

When it does, it feels like it comes from both beyond me and from the deepest me—the me I have no questions about, the me that needs no justifying, the am that I am for reals. The something that arises feels like love—or that it has love baked into it.

So love is simple. Love is allowing. But it’s not simplistic. Because the something that arises from that allowing is something precisely and solely relevant to the specific moment in which I allow it. A well-timed joke, a hand on a shoulder, or just listening. Whatever it is, it is not a recipe. It cannot be mass-produced, packaged, and shipped off to every new situation. It lives and breathes in concreteness. Its value derives from the context in which it happens. There is also often a lightness or humor in it. It’s like, I don’t know, a heavenly helicopter—with a rope that touches the earth.


The last line refers to another poem for the day, which you can find here.

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