What Can Love Do?

I’ve been very sturm-und-drang since I’ve come off of hiatus, and I realize that for a lot of people that’s not what a personal development blog should be about. There’s supposed to be cheer, and comfort, and inspiration coming off of the screen. Things that make us feel better about ourselves, even if only a little.

Well, I promise, I will try to do that. But I’m back doing this simply because the message that I thought was well and thoroughly understood by everyone was not. That message was simply that we can make everything that much better through love — love of self, love of others, love of the world. It’s a common theme, from Buddhism to T. Harve Eker…but apparently it wasn’t as commonly known or accepted as I thought.

Just under half of the nation voted for a leadership that was grounded in the idea that some people were less deserving of love than others — and most of the time, the “some people” were defined by “people who don’t look or act like us.” Kind of a weird premise for a country whose main symbol is supposed to be about people free to act how they want no matter what they look like…but that’s neither here nor there. The person doesn’t really concern me, to be honest; as someone tweeted, we don’t need to worry about him building a wall since he apparently can’t even build a cabinet…

It’s the Rest of Us That Worry Me

I’m as guilty as anyone of letting things slide. Of letting people drift out of touch, of letting the seduction of the couch or the ease of text take the place of actual physical contact. It’s easy, especially when things seem ok; you’re sure that they’re doing fine, and it’s been a long day, and really, it’s easier to just sit here.

Except now you really can’t trust the “highlight reel” that is social media or text messages. That person who you “check in” on who says they’re fine may be hanging on by a ragged edge…and not want to burden you with that knowledge. The one happy picture that you see on Facebook with the delicious hamburger may be the only meal the person is having that day — not because they can’t afford it, mind you, but because the depression only gives them enough energy to do that much, to pretend to the world that “everything’s fine.”

That’s why I say Love Has Work to Do.

That work is to reach out. To gather your tribe, to check on people, over and over. In person where possible. Have lunch, have coffee, meet for MasterMind meetings, go to see music, take each other shopping. Have contact. Look people in their faces, share the fears.

Because if things do get worse, it is that personal contact that’s going to support you. The tech world is a house of cards delicately balanced on a happy coalition of government and business; if that coalition stops being happy, or stops being friendly to a particular group — it is those personal touches that will be more essential.

I know, we’ve been conditioned to be, as Ms. Turkel put it, “alone together.” That’s not going to cut it, not now. In the past 24 hours, one of my friends has been banished from her family’s holiday gathering because she was honest with them about her (completely legal and healthy) life. Another friend and colleague, on her way to L.A. from her home in Canada, was stopped at the border and told she is banned from coming to the U.S. for ten years because they suspect her of illegal activity. The fact that their only evidence is her completely legal occupation doesn’t seem to matter. Another friend has had to cancel sponsors for an event that she runs because their political alignment makes the attendees feel unsafe.

This is the world we live in and, as my lawyer mentioned to me today, “…it’s not even 2017.”

There’s your work of love. Find someone important to you this weekend and make contact. As in physical contact, so that they can see that you are a real person, who sees them, who cares about them, who they matter to.

It’s inconvenient work, but it’s not hard. And it may be the most important work that can be done in the days to come.