Last season, in alignment with the Spring Equinox, we made a conscious decision to center Love, a rebirthing as Love I dubbed it. I started to write this blog post back then but never finished it. Lucky world, I am feeling called to shout it even louder now. After Love’s most recent publicity via the words and actions of Marianne Williamson and the nation’s response to her “Loving” ways, I felt a little triggered by the outcry of “crazy” against her. This article is not meant to be a defense of her performance or candidacy (note: I didn’t actually watch the debates, it’s a response to the people’s response to Marianne and her use of the word Love).
I know what some of you are thinking. The word Love conjures a myriad of responses; doubt, laughter, eye-rolling, patronizing, jealousy, dismissal, and even anger. At best sometimes Love gets to be cute, like in the cartoon film Bambi when the animals giddily discuss twitterpation, sweet and soft, and what gets celebrated on Valentine’s Day. But I’m here to tell you that Love needs a new PR manager. Somewhere along the way, someone or something sensed the power of love and has been conspiring to keep it limited, in a box, only called upon during romantic occasions, demonized and demoralized. I’ve not been trained in PR, but I am accepting this volunteer role on the behalf of Love.
These past few years, we’ve seen a resurgence of activism into the mainstream: #blacklivesmatter, #metoo, #assaultweaponsban, #endchilddetention, #tenantsrightsmatter, #loveislove, the list is long. Thanks to the internet, more people are engaged in some form of activism than ever before, and while it may often take the outward form of a fierce fist or strong language, at the center of it all is a desire to make the world more compassionate, dare I say, more loving to the individuals intended to benefit from the activism. So why does Marianne Williamson get mocked for her beliefs? Why do we denounce Love and its role in governing, the legal system, the corporation, the community, activism and politics? Why?
I blame the Patriarchy, or in other words, toxic masculinity. We’ve lived under its domain for so long that we know nothing else, can’t imagine surviving under anything else. It has used fear to ensure that we feel safe only when it is exercising its control and force to hold the system together. “Great protector” has been its campaign slogan when really what it’s been doing is using the power that it’s grabbed to maintain power, wealth and control of the systems that keep the rest of us in our places. Now that many are awakening to the harm that’s been done by the Patriarchy’s extractive ways, there’s a movement to overtake it, to change the way we are doing things, but I warn, this will not work if we use the same tactics that have been employed in elevating and maintaining the Patriarchy’s status as great protector.
I think many of us know this already. Just this week I attended a Hudson Valley Women in Business/Hudson Valley Tech MeetUp event that was titled “Leading with Love” and next month I am moderating a panel of women speakers at “Three Days of Peace, Love and Women’s Small Business.” Groups are beginning to organize differently, hierarchies are being questioned, distribution of wealth is being discussed, caretaking for all in the community is a priority for many, but we’re still afraid to call it what it is, Love. Because of the Patriarchal programming that goes so very deep, we are afraid to step into the identity of Love and would rather believe we are getting things done because we are strong, powerful, clever, intelligent, well connected, or well financed. Now those are not bad tools to have in and of themselves, but they are the exact tools the Patriarchy used to achieve its status so how do we live differently? By centering Love instead of Fear.
This won’t be easy at times because we may find ourselves going against the grain, mocked even, for suggesting that we do things differently than how we’ve all believed they needed to happen to stay afloat. An employee needs to take a day off because their child, parent, loved one is sick, and we support them even though that means we fall behind on an important project. So and so doesn’t need my product, so I am not going to use slick marketing to try and make the sale anyway. We use more expensive materials to make our products even though we make less money so they last longer and don’t end up in landfills. We make less as a corporation so that our employees make more. We work towards a restorative justice system that rehabilitates rather than punishes. We forgive someone who harmed us because we can see how they are suffering too. We distribute the wealth across our community just like our Mothers taught us to share with our friends when we were little.
So as you can see, centering Love doesn’t mean sitting and sending prayers to people in the hopes that they or whatever situation they are in will be healed. Of course, if you want to sit and send prayers to people in the hopes that they or whatever situation they are in will be healed, please go ahead and do so. I support that! But yes, action will always be required. Action will always play a role in the process of transforming our communities. Your choice is going to be what type of action to take and why. Action when infused with Love will ALWAYS have the greatest impact upon us all.
You can dislike or mock Marianne Williamson for many things, but I hope you now think twice if you’re mocking her for her Love. I had never much followed her, nor was I aware of her book, A Return to Love, but I might just have to read it. For me, now is not the time to give up on Love…I’ll be doubling down.