By Freya Secrest
“Work is Love in Action". . ..
This phrase came up during a breakfast conversation when my children were home visiting during the holidays and has been very "alive" for me since then. It is a phrase that comes from my time at Findhorn. It was the principle through which we were encouraged to engage our daily work (in the garden, kitchen or office) and pointed to the attitude at the heart of Findhorn’s co-creative explorations with nature as well as within their human community – let all your work and effort be a loving act. It was a good lesson for me in my youth and has interwoven itself through my life as a useful attitude to bring to every enterprise.
During that morning conversation with my children, ‘work is love in action’ was connected to exploring new entrepreneurial ventures they were each starting. What brought juice to their commitment to day to day duties – often very mundane, but so necessary to get a new business venture going? How does one bring enthusiasm and meaning to daily and repetitious responsibilities? What might help their initiative to root and succeed, bringing fulfillment in both present effort and long-term goals?
We all agreed that doing something we loved increased energy and stamina; but to choose to make any chore-like activity an action of love stretched their idea of work into new territory. Talk of love was not unfamiliar at our family table, but for these new entrepreneurs it suddenly had new relevance. That their goal to create a successful business could be furthered by expanding their view of love created an unexpected resource of energy and power for them.
For me, that conversation has inspired a New Year’s re-assessment: where do I bring love into my habitual actions; where do I forget to? Where can I polish my love-in-action skills and improve the odds of success in my own projects?
In this, David Spangler’s reflections on Spectrum of Love have been helpful to me. He posits a view of love as a continuum that at its simplest expression is honest perception, in which I am willing to just see another, draw them into the field of my conscious awareness and know them to exist. From there David’s spectrum recognizes a series of stages expressing love as connection - acknowledgement, honoring, appreciation, caring and affection and beyond. Any one of these experiences are part of his spectrum of love – each one gives shape to a different depth of connectedness with the surrounding world.
This spectrum of love model affirms different entry points in my ability to connect with others in my world and creates an attitude of respect where I can focus my love-in-action intent in any given situation. For example, with someone who has social values widely different from mine, I look first to connect through the doorway of perception or simple acknowledgement. By allowing myself to acknowledge the person as just themselves, I can look for a connection point beyond our differences, finding perhaps a common interest in a hobby or family activity. I look to enter the spectrum of love at a place where engagement and connection is possible and honest to each of us. (For someone more familiar to me, I have a wider range of experience to build upon. If I feel disconnected through a thoughtless word or deed, I can reestablish my connection by recalling something I appreciate about them from another situation.)
Making my daily activities an expression of love-in-action in this way has been ongoing since those early Findhorn days. It is a choice to bring the juiciness of connection, joy, and pleasure into the daily tasks before me. It creates a spirit of partnership and has encouraged me to give that mysterious force called ‘love’ a working definition, a handle that allows it to inform my world. At this point, "Work is Love in Action" becomes MY work to put love into action. It is a moment-by-moment choice I make to connect and to make that connection go as deep as possible within the scope of a particular situation. It is an attitude that seeks to support the best in myself and the world around me.
That does not mean I am always passionate about an activity in itself, or deeply resonant with every person I work with, but it does mean I look to honor a personal standard of how I engage with each person or activity in my life. Making my work an act of love-in-action is my responsibility. It is a strategy of connection, a path for participation in a loving and living universe.
Though it takes some courage and determination, success in work through making it our love-in-action emphasizes ease and not pressure and builds from a yes-and attitude. It refreshes and regenerates our lives with enthusiasm and joy, and flows out from there. It is with interest and respect that I see my children step forward thoughtfully to make their work now an act of their love, caring and commitment.
Views from the Lorian Community publishes essays from a team of volunteer writers expressing individual experiences of a long term, committed practice of Incarnational Spirituality (and the general principles shaping such a practice.) Views expressed do not necessarily reflect the sentiments or thoughts of any other person in Lorian or of Lorian as a whole. If you would like to subscribe, please visit our website and click on Follow Our Blog Via Email. Or email the editor:firstname.lastname@example.org.