The idea was simple: if Valentine’s Day was a cliché that allowed people to find the beauty in things, to find love, could I continue doing the same thing for 14 days after Valentine’s Day? I didn’t know the answer, but I took on the challenge anyway.
This article is a quick recap of the lessons that I learnt in looking for love in everything, for 14 days. John Dewey said, “learning is reflection, on action, in action.” While I wasn’t reflecting while I was experiencing all these lessons, the learnings were sharp and clear when they arrived.
There’s a delight in receiving something that we’re not expecting. I still remember my dad surprising me with a Ninja Turtles Video Casette when I was 10. Moments like these stand out in my memory because they’re unusual, but mostly because someone else took the time to think of me and exercise their ability to give.
When was the last time you received or gave something unexpectedly? How did it make you feel?
(I’ll be exploring the idea of giving and receiving more in the coming weeks.)
Whether you’re supporting a team, a person or an idea, there is beauty in the consistency of that support. Regardless of the result achieved. Regardless of what other people say. Support without conditions is one of the deepest expressions of love.
Who or what do you support without conditions?
We can’t always have things go our way. There are billions of people in this world and each person is going to make a decision about something. The odds of their decisions lining up with your decision are tiny. Being able to appreciate someone else’s ability to make a choice, without getting hung up over the fact that you don’t agree with their choice, allows you to take a step back and see every person differently.
People are independent.
People are unique.
People determine their own destiny.
How beautiful is that?
When was the last time you appreciated someone else’s choice?
There are certain friendships that transcend time. No matter how busy you are. No matter how distant you have been. Some friendships that live outside of time and when you hang out with these people, it’s as if nothing has changed.
Reconnecting with an old friend allowed me to travel back in time, to rehash our experiences, but also share the new ones. We may change. Our circumstances may change. But there’s nothing better than having a friend who understands that life may keep us busy, but it will also bring us back together to share new ideas and learnings we’ve discovered.
When was the last time you reconnected with an old friend?
It’s funny how easy it is to get junk food and how difficult it is to make a nutritious meal. It requires an investment of energy and time. It’s almost always worth it though. On this day I learnt to overcome my own excuses and do the things that I knew mattered.
What amazed me was the effect it had on the people around me. There was a lifting of spirits that I couldn’t have accounted for.
When was the last time you gave your time and energy to the things that really matter?
On this day I had a mini-revelation. I was so concerned with the idea of what I would get for doing something “good” that I almost became irritable when I realised that no one was around to see my “good” act.
I learnt a lot more about myself through this experience. There’s a part of me that still wants to be patted on the head and called a good person. There’s a part of me that wants to be recognised and noticed for doing something positive. But there’s also another part of me that is wiser and more mature and allows me to see the bigger picture. Part of this bigger picture is fulfilling an impulse to do something, without measuring what I would get from it. Just doing something because I feel like it. There’s freedom in this. Unattached freedom. And love for yourself and others.
When was the last time you did something because you felt like doing it?
I often doubt myself, but when I have a persistent, intuitive itch to do something, I eventually do it. I realised that it takes courage to try new things. It takes courage to experiment and fail and learn from those mistakes. Love is the ability to keep on the path of innovation because you know that there’s a better way to do something.
When was the last time you exercised a little courage to try something new?
Without a doubt, this is one of the tenants to a great life. I realised that I don’t often think about my successes, I don’t reflect on them. But I do reflect on my mistakes. In fact, I dwell on them and chastise myself for making them.
I only learn from my mistakes only when I can laugh at myself. When I look at the things that I do as adorable ways of expressing myself. That’s when I learn best.
This the essence of self-learning: seeing yourself as a toddler finding its way around the world, learning as it goes along. That’s what we all are. As much as we want to believe that we have all the answers, we don’t. You and I are a work in progress and every day we get to progress a little more…if we’re open to learning.
When was the last time you laughed at yourself with appreciation?
I’m often anxious about my teaching. I see it as a responsibility. There are so many things that could go wrong. I could say one thing and it’s interpreted as another. I could miss the point of the lesson altogether. I could have someone carrying an idea around with them for the next 30 years and never challenge it.
Teaching demands hours of practice, research and understanding. However, it comes with unique learnings. By teaching, I learn best. By the idea of having to instruct someone else in something I’m not an expert in, I’m forced to go deeper into my understanding of the topic, the act, the practice. Teaching is learning. And for me, love is weaved into both disciplines.
When was the last time you learnt through teaching?
Some words mean nothing to us. We can hear them over and over again and not be affected at all. It’s a little like becoming desensitised to adverts and billboards. But there are some words that cut straight through us and point to a deep desire that we may not even be aware of. On this day, someone’s words reminded me of one of my deepest longings. There’s beauty in being able to see and feel a need that is so deep within that it can only come from the soul.
When was the last time someone’s words pierced your soul?
As much as I may think that I know a lot, there’s so much more to learn. There’s so much more to see. On this one day, I received two unique perspectives that changed the way that I saw my reality. They were profound. And they couldn’t have happened inside of me. They came from other people. Love is often the ability to step outside of ourselves and see through the eyes of another.
When was the last time you received perspective from someone else?
I firmly believe that everyone has an art. There is something out there that you do uniquely, something that inspires you. This art and the work you put into growing your artistry is the intangible stuff that reshapes the world. It can only be enhanced through love’s lense.
I’m lucky enough to see artistry around me often. My intention going forward is to surround myself with artists in every field, people who see each day as a new opportunity to hone their craft.
What is your art? And how can you live your artistry?
Patience is a big deal. With it, we can conquer the world. Without it, we can’t even conquer ourselves. But the journey to patience isn’t a fight. It’s something that needs to be embraced. On this day I was reminded that everything happens in its own time. Not when I want it to happen.
There’s a liberation in understanding this that I wish I could bottle and give out to everyone. Love is embracing time’s timing and trusting that it will happen when it needs to.
What can you appreciate for its timing? (Even if it frustrates you!)
The final day was a real challenge for me. I really had to reflect and appreciate the feedback that I was getting for the words that I chucked out into the world. Words are powerful. They shape our todays. They shape our tomorrows. However, when we learn to appreciate them instead of blaming them, we grow our awareness. Love is understanding the words that we speak into the world come back to us in some way.
What words do you speak into the world are you becoming aware of.
So, was this journey of finding love in every day worth the effort?
Looking back on it now, I have had some of the most inspired days. From morning to evenings I kept asking myself, “What have I loved about today?” and, “What does love mean to me today?”
I can highly recommend doing this kind of challegne, even if it’s in the privacy of your own journal. When love becomes your focus, you see something to love in every moment.
Until next time.
© The Brilliance Quotient 2018