Brain Pickings by Maria Popova always hits my InBox when I need it most. This week we revisited an old post summarizing Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving.

These words leapt off the screen for me:

love as an informed practice…  in spite of the deep-seated craving for love, almost everything else is considered to be more important than love: success, prestige, money, power — almost all our energy is used for the learning of how to achieve these aims, and almost none to learn the art of loving.

I’ve been working on my three words all year – love, kindness, and gratitude. All three have unfolded in miraculous ways making 2018 a powerful one for me. There are lots of thoughts running through my head right now, but Fromm’s idea of love as a practice, something to be mastered in the way we master classical music or French Culinary techniques is profound. 

I’ve thought of my love as something I’ve inherited from my parents. I love because I have examples to reference. 

I’ve also thought of love as luck. It’s something that is serendipitous or rather passive. Love happens. 

I’ve thought of love as an experiment. I’ve treated dating apps like a marketing funnel and tracked my dates as meticulously as some marketers track conversion rates and lead quality.

I’ve evolved these beliefs over the last year and my worldview has changed for the better.

Love is inherited, but it’s also created. Whatever assumptions about love we have – what it looks like, how it sounds, how we feel it and experience it – we can design it and we can do it together. 

Love is indeed a practice, a constant state of fluidity. It doesn’t happen. You work at it. You might fall in love, but you actively choose to stay in it. You stand in love. 

Love is an experiment, but one that is ideally in service of learning and growing. It’s self-love, familial love, friend love, romantic love, work love, spiritual love. 

Love is choice. Love is control. Love is affection. Love is kindness. Love is so many things that I have yet to see or know, but like many things in my life, I’ll pursue it with unrelenting optimism, zeal, and courage. 

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