1. A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.
2. A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is disposed to make a pair; the emotion of sex and romance.
3. An intense emotional attachment, as for a pet or treasured object.
4. A person who is the object of deep or intense affection or attraction; beloved. Often used as a term of endearment.


What is love? You think you know? Grow up with a hundred Disney movies that made your heart go to and fro?

Do you know love?

Buddha is recorded as having said, "The thought manifests as the word. The word manifests as the deed. The deed develops into habit. And the habit hardens into character. So watch the thought and its ways with care. And let it spring from love, born out of concern for all beings."

So maybe Buddha isn't your thing. How about a nine year old named Natalie who in her youthful innocence wrote, "Don't say you love somebody and then change your mind…Love isn't like picking what movie you want to watch."

There are two types of people who say they love. The first and significantly larger group say they love but when push comes to shove they are nowhere to be found. The second is always around.

Love isn't easy. I learned that the hard way every time I looked through the fence posts thinking to myself, "The grass is truly greener over there, maybe I'll try it for a few, who could it hurt?"

Is that love?

For one human being to love another:
that is perhaps the most difficult of our tasks;
the ultimate, the last test and proof,
the work for which all other work is but preparation.

- Rainer Maria Rilke

I look back at my younger days, naïve about love, loyalty, integrity, all the other stepping stones I write about here. I could look back and decide those memories are too painful, throw them in the fireplace and turn them to ashes; instead I've chosen to learn from them.

Doc Childre and Sara Paddison once wrote, "Love is not automatic. It takes conscious practice and awareness, just like playing the piano or golf. However, you have ample opportunities to practice. Everyone you meet can be your practice session."

Start with yourself. Practice learning to love yourself. I know it's an axiom but it's one I've found to be true, if you cannot love yourself you cannot love anyone else. Loving oneself is not about "Me! Me! Me!"--that's an illusion. True love for oneself is a bird of another feather.

"Love and magic have a great deal in common. They enrich the soul, delight the heart. And they both take practice." - Nora Roberts

Become a magician. Create a wand in your mind which you can point at yourself while you're looking in the mirror in the morning and say, "This is who I am. I can be more, but for now this is who I am. I'm not perfect but I'm perfectly me and deserving of love and capable of giving it to others." This is the first spell most of us forget to cast in the morning.

It's easier, of course, to rush ahead blindly saying, "Yes, of course I love myself, I'm ready to love others. But are we? Even Mother Teresa knew of this when she said, "There is more hunger for love an appreciation in this world than for bread."

If we do not learn to eat our own bread with contentment we will be like hungry ghosts seaking the perceived feasts at others' tables.

Loving is an art form. "The first duty of love - is to listen," said Paul Tillich. This is the first exercise. The second is to share it verbally with others.

"I like not only to be loved, but to be told that I am loved." - George Elliot

Take all the stepping stones at The Temple. Place them together. Place them in a line. Stack them. They all amount to the same thing.

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking.
It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.

I Corinthians 13:4-8