Live the Love
The first Christmas I spent alone was in 2011. My youngest daughter and I were living in Los Angeles, California and she had signed up for a holiday pet sitting gig. When a friend of ours had a pet sitter cancel on her, I volunteered to step in. Lesley had decorated her home for the holidays, including a tree with twinkling lights. It felt festive and I was content.
On Christmas morning, one of the dogs licked my hand to wake me up. As I climbed out of bed, I forgot it was Christmas. I was only thinking about taking the dog out for his morning walk and trying to remember where I had left my shoes and coat. Sleepily walking into the living room, I stopped for a moment when I felt…something. What’s going on, I wondered? What is that feeling? Half-asleep, I began to identify the feeling as love. It was palpable, like I had walked into a cloud of emotion and I could feel this pulsing, beating heart. Waking up a little more, I remembered it was Christmas. Wow, I thought. At this moment on Christmas, the world is pulsing love. A collective bubble of love.
Walking in the neighborhood, passing people with a “Merry Christmas,” stopping at the local coffeeshop, still feeling the love, I wondered what it would be like if we all walked around pulsing love like this all the time.
When the Consciously Woman community asked us each to share a way that we share our love during the month of December, I reflected on what is different this month? Do I share love differently?
I was raised in a family of volunteers. Both of my parents were raised during the depression and then WWII. They remember food rationing and neighbors who didn’t have jobs. Sharing what you have and helping in your community is normal. My mother has always been a huge supporter of UNICEF and teaching us to share what we have with children of the world. As a Girl Scout Leader, my daughters grew up volunteering every month. Stream clean-ups. Food bank collecting. Singing at nursing homes. Collecting money for UNICEF. Building community.
My passion and my devotion, at this time in my life, is to women. I’ve seen when women are filled up with love and attention, they spread that love to others. They don’t stop and keep it all for themselves. When I heard the words, “Heal My Voice,” and started a non-profit to support women’s voices, I saw a world with women reclaiming their inner authority and using their personal power to lead in their families, communities, businesses and the world.
This is my mission. Be willing to spread love, pay attention and you will be guided to the places you are called to serve. One year, a woman who was in an addiction recovery program read an article about Heal My Voice. She sent me an email and asked if I was going to speak in her area because a group of women from the program wanted to hear me speak in person. I arranged to come and speak to the women at the recovery program about the importance of healing their voices and writing. We started a year-long writing circle there. Her asking, allowed me and some other Heal My Voice authors to give to the women in the program. The ripple effect was felt in their families. Did we spread love to them? Yes! Did we receive love? Absolutely!
Maybe December is just a month to reset and remember to love and be generous with each other. It is a way to end the year on a high note and carry that pulsing energy into the next year.
If you don’t have any ideas of how to spread love, here are some easy ideas:
- Donate food to the food bank every month. People are hungry all year long. A can of tuna or beans or 30 items every month. Do what you can.
- If you stop for coffee and a breakfast sandwich on your way to work, buy two and give one to someone else.
- Clear stuff out of your house every month and donate to a thrift store. 1 item, 10 items.
- Pick up litter. Carry gloves and trash bags and pick up trash in your neighborhood, the grocery store parking lot, the local park. Spend five minutes picking up trash.
- Smile at strangers and people you know!
- Open doors. Offer to help someone with their groceries. Return a cart for someone.
- Let people help you. Pay it forward.
- Cook dinner for someone.
- Celebrate people on social media.
- Practice self-care so you have more to give!
Live the love by making it a year-long practice.
Written by: Andrea Hylen; Heal My Voice