A few years ago, a client was having multiple problems with members of his family. After considering a number of different strategies for dealing with those who didn’t seem to understand his change of lifestyle, he came up with the solution: go where the love is. I remember at the time asking him if I could use his quote, which he agreed to. And it turned on to be the best strategy of all – focusing on those who offered him support and love and taking the attention off of those who were complaining or criticizing (but not writing them off entirely).
I’ve come to realize that this is also a great motto or mantra for many areas of our lives. If we follow the de-cluttering experts when we clean our closets, the essential question is: Do you love it? When we are re-arranging or re-decorating our homes, the feng shui experts put a great emphasis on directing love into your surroundings. Objects of beauty become even more essential to our wellbeing when they hold meaning for us and make our hearts sing. And it’s great to fill our homes with the things we love, be it bookshelves full of our favorite authors, toys all over for the children we care so much for, or images of the spiritual beings that inspire our lives.
A meal created with joy will draw others to the table and leave them feeling nourished and comforted. Our mothers and grandmothers were often great examples of this simple truth. Cooking can be compared to the alchemical process. As the fire enlivens the ingredients or the fire of your heart chops or pickles or tosses the salad, the essential energy is of course love.
And to our friendships and families, don’t you find that when you really love someone, there is always time for them? The precious nature of those relationships cannot be underestimated, whether they be right around the corner or across the country or the globe.
There are also situations where we have go, taking love with us. It could be a job that we’re not crazy about, doing the dishes or shoveling snow. But if we add love and practice mindfulness in the process, we may find our negative thoughts disappearing in the midst of it all. I don’t present this as a simplistic solution to difficult situations which may take more in-depth work, but an “attitude of gratitude” really can’t hurt.
And if you are at a crossroads, deciding what to choose next or seeking to make major life improvements, one thing I know for sure. The best way to make a decision is to listen to your heart and go where the love is.