Love: Offering the gift of our presence
By Jean Leonard, Ph.D.
What is resilient love? We often think of love as something we give or receive. And in our culture, love often comes with connotations of “doing.” We offer gifts, we complete acts of service, we go on dates, we speak kind words. While action may be an expression of love, it isn’t the whole story. Love is more than what we do. Love is about who we are. Love involves a quality of “being.” Love is about how we show up.
Love is relational. Mindfulness – the practice of paying attention on purpose to the present moment without judgment – is a relational practice. Love is inherent in the definition of mindfulness, inviting us to meet life as it is unfolding moment to moment with a quality of presence and kindness. True intimacy, the knowing of a person, a place, an experience, emerges when we really meet someone or something fully. When we can offer the gift of our presence, our relationship – to life, to ourselves and to others – can deepen. Our loving gift means more when we can offer it with a smile and can witness the joy experienced by the recipient. Our date is more connected if we are staring into our beloved’s eyes rather than at the screen of our i-phone. Our loving words are more bonding if we are speaking from the heart and are there to really hear the response.
Resilient love is about how we show up over time. Resilient love means that we are able to show up – for our friends, our partner, our family, ourselves – for both the celebrations and challenges of life. Mindfulness offers clues for surfing the waves of experience, both the delightful and the difficult. For more ideas of how to be present through the storms of life, watch for upcoming blogs on navigating change.
Jean Leonard, Ph.D, RYT is a licensed psychologist and registered yoga teacher with 19 years clinical experience. Dr. Leonard is the Coordinator of Health and Wellness Services in the Pursuits Coaching and Wellness Network. She is inspired by the resiliency of the human spirit and is honored to accompany clients on their healing journeys through individual therapy, yoga, and mindfulness coaching and classes. Areas of expertise include Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR), brainspotting, work-life balance, burnout recovery, transitions, grief and loss, women’s issues, trauma, health challenges, yoga for cancer survivors.