You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back. – Barbara de Angelis
It’s been several weeks since I posted about “Action” – the seventh “Heart Way Caregiving Footprint.” The delay wasn’t about procrastination. It was mostly about taking action in the business part of my life where my cup is running over with opportunity. It was also about my mood. I was angry about something that was beyond my control and anger was not what I wanted to be feeling while writing about love.
At least that’s what I thought until I began to ponder the relationship that exists between the emotions of anger, fear and love. That conversation with myself brought me to the realization that, as my husband says, “It’s all good.” I sailed through the angry mood “storm” into the peaceful, loving “safe harbor” where I am today.
Love propelled me on my journey from corporate to care, detailed in my book, “The Heart Way.” I had to trust in my love for my elderly parents, the love of my husband, family and friends, the love of my career and most of all, unconditional love for myself.
In 1985, I was invited to work on the 12th International Human Unity Conference in Hawaii. My role was to handle PR and coordinate interviews for the conference organizers, featured speakers and local media. Little did I know that my “work” would facilitate some of the most profound conversations of my life.
Dr. Gerald Jampolsky, author of “Love is Letting Go of Fear,” and his wife, Diane Cirincione, were participants in one such conversation. I had recently read Dr. Jampolsky’s book. It’s a little book with a huge message about eliminating the fear that stands in the way of our experience of love. Jampolsky believes that fear is created by our preoccupation with the past and the future. By staying in the present, we can let go of fear and experience peace of mind. This little book supported me in letting my first husband, Bruce, go live and work in California for two years while I stayed in Hawaii. It gave me tools to stop worrying and just focus on the love I felt for him and for our relationship.
I will never forget the open, kind and enthusiastic way that Jerry and Diane (pictured here) made my acquaintance that day on the windward side of Oahu. Jerry walked into the press room, extended his hand and said with a big smile, “Hi Shannon, I’m Jerry and this is Diane.” I told them I had recently read “Love is Letting Go of Fear,” and all they said was, “Thank you.” But their genuine warmth filled the tiny converted classroom. I listened to them talk with the reporter and felt that I was in the presence of compassionate genius. Later, when I shared that with a co-worker, she said, “You probably were, and you were also in the presence of unconditional love.”
I’ve never forgotten how it felt to be in the presence of kind and loving strangers that day. I do my best to emulate that ideal of “coming from unconditional love” in all of my daily encounters. Sometimes – like the past couple of weeks – I fall back into fear, mostly when someone cuts me off on the highway.
I also realized that love is not always welcome in the Boardroom. I’m not talking about romantic love, but about strong affection for another arising out of kinship, personal ties, benevolence or common interests.
Fear is a powerful force. It keeps us in dead-end jobs, or on the road away from our families. It makes us seek more money and power when all we really want is to love and be loved. Put love back into the corporation and you imbue it with innovation, creativity, fresh solutions to challenges, energy, enthusiasm and hope. Love gives us permission to be optimistic, to care deeply about our associates and customers, our products and services and our companies. Love allows supervisors to listen to workers’ concerns without labeling them as weak or ineffective.
I let go of fear when I committed to leave my job and care for my parents for as long as they needed me. My husband, Gary, let go of fear when he embraced the idea of moving with me to a new state. My parents let go of fear when they agreed to stop driving. My sister and I let go of fear when we accepted my dad’s decision not to have his leg amputated and instead to go onto hospice care. Several of my close friends have recently let go of fear by confronting bullies and “bad apples” in their workplaces knowing they would lose their jobs by coming from love.
Someone once said to me, “Hope is everything.” I believe that love is everything. After all, love – of something or someone – gives us hope. Love gives us peace. Love gives substance to our caring. Love lights “the heart way” on this journey called life.