The Only Reality is Love

Old Masters' Rose

Old Masters' Rose

If we choose, we can keep our heart alive and be fully in life at any age. Lived correctly, the curtains of our heart continue to open like the petals of a flower as our life progresses. 
Alan Cohen

I have been planting seeds of faith on this Valentine’s Day. I’m preparing applications for training in new skills, signing up for a webinar on self-publishing, listening to a friend share a personal crisis, doing home things like laundry, writing this blog, researching career options, and spending much time in prayer and meditation. I also had the pleasure of working on my deck in the sun, getting planters cleaned up and prepared for spring, sweeping the litter of fall’s dying away. It feels like a new beginning. 

After a long snowy winter, today’s warm temperatures (60 degrees) and sunshine have made it feel like spring. I just came in from my sunny deck after trimming back all the dead sticks leftover from winter’s cold. Though it is too early to plant, there are still living surprises waiting beneath the dead leaves and naked sticks. I didn’t expect anything in my planters to survive this coldest of winters, yet there is a marjoram plant with tiny green and white leaves showing, a green sprout of mint and Vietnamese coriander peering out from under the dead sticks of last year’s luxuriant growth, and even the chives are greening beneath that mat of dead chive that hung like tan hair over the side of the planter. Now things are cleared, clipped back, and swept around. It’s still naked, but the clarity of line has returned, and it truly feels like I’m getting ready to welcome spring.

This is an act of faith and love, believing that by summer’s high sun and green glory I will still be here in my little house on the hill, still be able to pull a bit of sage or basil for pasta or salad, still able to enjoy a spring of mint in my iced jasmine tea. It is a statement of belief that no matter how stark the landscape is today, tomorrow will bring a renewed greening of my life. I know that I can make a home anywhere, but it would be a precious gift to be able to stay here, in this miracle Casa de Suenos (House of Dreams). That will take another miracle of growth as I reinvent my writing career and create a more sustainable financial support system. For those of you who have been buying my e-books, an immense gratitude to you, for those sales are gifts to me, and a sign of a better and more prosperous season getting ready to unfold. 

On this Valentine’s Day, I wish you love, for love is the only Reality there is. Wealth can disappear, health can be compromised, and talent, position, and pride can be brought low by unexpected devastation. I know of few people whose lives have not been touched by sorrow or loss in the last two and a half years. Friends have faced terminal illness, job losses, financial reverses, foreclosures, bankruptcies, health crises, career dips (or call it career “cratering”), and dark nights of the soul. We have said goodbye to the world as it was. Now the long winter, though still hanging on for awhile longer, is going to come to an end. A new season of growth will one day fill in the barren places of winter’s loss as the seasons change, as they inevitably will. Today is a good day to remember to plant the seeds of love in your life and in the lives of others. 

Affirmative prayer

I read this prayer treatment in church this Sunday (Center for Spiritual Living, Nashville). It is a comfort to read this truth aloud, a sign of spring in the long winter I have been through recently: 

In the true meeting of hearts and minds there is scarcely even the need for words. I know that in the one Mind there cannot be any misunderstanding; in the one love, all are included. I have absolute faith in the principle of life, the law of love, and so I now permit love to express through me, to radiate from me. 

Love transcends all other manifestations. I am filled with confidence that love is a law, and as I embody love and express it, every situation is filled with harmony and every relationship becomes beautiful and worthwhile. Love rules supreme in my life.

by Ernest Holmes (page 103. Creative Ideas by Ernest Holmes, © 1973, 2004 Science of Mind Publishing) 

Introducing an inspiring friend: 

I have pretty good “shopping karma” when I’m on a roll. A combination of skill, serendipity, and a light heart often bring me to the perfect dress, book, or even a house or car. It’s all a matter of the right attitude. Well, my dear friend J.M. Kearns has a new book out and it is the perfect Valentine’s gift for you, if you’re a woman who wants to connect with the right man for her. It teaches you to use your good “shopping karma” in the pursuit of love. 

J.M. (or Mike, as his friends know him) offers a wry and witty take on the dating game. It’s a much more personal book than his first, Why Mr. Right Can’t Find You, with some great stories of his own experiences included. It’s fun to read the back story on his search for love, because we got to know each other at songwriter nights back before he met Debra, his partner the love of his life.

Of all the myths that discourage you from proactively shopping for a good mate, the premier one is this: True Love only happens to the woman who doesn’t seek it out. If she will just wait, the perfect man will ride into her life. (Or if he doesn’t, she never could have found true love anyway.) It’s all a crock, and it gets in the way of good shopping. You know how to shop, how to make the fine distinctions and look in the right places. But maybe you haven’t always approached mate-finding that way.

Kearns offers a shopping advisory for every woman who’s looking for the perfect mate. He says, “It’s time to step into the twenty-first century and enter the final frontier. We’re not just talking the shopping talk. It’s time to walk the shopping walk. The few, the proud, the shoppers.” He shows you how to use the quintessential “feminine” skill of shopping to find Mr. Right at last. 

Even a good shopper needs a guide. J.M. Kearns is your coach, encouraging you to come from your strengths, not your weaknesses. He helps you focus on what you’re really looking for and maximize your chances for a love that really lasts. 

You’ll discover where to look for a man and how to connect, whether in person or online. You’ll learn to see beyond the packaging to the quality inside and to be bold about your own desires and needs. After you find your beloved, you’ll find out how to make sure you’ve made the right choice and ways to nurture a relationship that can grow into a satisfying long-term partnership. 

From understanding how a man ticks to what makes a man a keeper, Shopping for Mr. Right shows that your finely honed shopping instincts can empower you to find—and keep—the rarest treasure of all: a lasting and happy relationship with the right man for you.

Why shopping, why now?
Kearns says, “In both my previous books, I tried to yank mate-finding out of the hands of "destiny" and put the reader in charge. This book delivers the knockout punch by invoking the power of shopping. You know, as I say in the video, shopping is sort of mystical. It's an interaction between the person you are now and the person you want to be. But it's also very practical: it calls for you to be discerning, realistic, proactive, and to project into the future, to see how a thing will perform down the line. All this is also true of the search for love -- or should be!"

Quotes from the book:

You already have something special that will attract your dream man if he gets a chance to experience you—something that won’t register the same way to other men. Namely that you are you, and he is he. Given access to you, he will appreciate your soul and body—all of you—in a way that isn’t attainable by most men. And it will happen as naturally as breathing. You won’t need to use special tricks to trap him. Because being with you will set him free, and he will be at home with you in a way that most other men couldn't be.

The sexes are different, in delectable ways we all instinctively understand, and in mysterious ways we may never fully fathom. But far from being aliens, a man and a woman together are one of the most invincible forces on the planet.

Excerpt from Chapter 26 on testing out a potential relationship:

Test love by trying love: 

Good fortune comes to those who are willing to take risks and test their dream. So it’s time to find out what you and Mr. Possible have got. Here are twelve exciting diversions that will help focus the trial period and make it productive.

During the first six months to a year, try to complete at least seven of the following items, preferably more. (Many of them may happen naturally; a few are diabolically designed to take you out of your comfort zone.) If you don’t get through seven of them in six months, that’s fine—you just need a longer trial period. Like baseball, love is not a timed game: it takes as long as it takes. The right moment to commit is when you’ve learned enough about each other, not when you’ve logged x months together.

If any of these assignments scare you, make them mandatory.

Here they are:

1. Go on a road trip to a place neither of you have been before, for at least three days—just the two of you. Take turns driving, map-reading, and so on. If possible, get lost at least once.
2. Whichever of you is less versed in cooking, make a meal for the other.
3. Visit his parents (and yours) and stay overnight if you can. If parents aren’t doable, visit another close family member. Try for a dinner with a wider group. If convenient, talk to some of his family members without him present. 
4. Throw a party and both invite your best friends, so they get a chance to mingle. 
5. Each of you tell the other about a major challenge you’ve faced at work, how you handled it, and what the outcome was. 
6. Buy the book and find out the rest—they are intriguing and fun!

Check out this website for more books and music from J.M. Kearns:
The video on the home page is a hoot!