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How do you make love visible?

Labor Day is coming up in a hurry and it made me think of an ancient question that is as important now as it was a year ago or ten years ago or a thousand years ago: "Why do we do what we do? How can we have a happy, meaningful life?"

The answer is summed up in the simple word: "Love." If our labor -- and our life -- is filled with Love, authentic love, it will be meaningful, and happy, and blessed.

On the other hand, if we do what we do simply because it's a habit, or because we want to survive, or be famous, or earn a lot of money -- it would be better, as Kahlil Gibran said, to stop working and become a beggar.

Actually, Gibran's quote about work and love is so good that I'm going to give it in full here:

"Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy. For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man's hunger."

The paradox of love

Love is such a huge paradox. For one thing, who can understand what love is, really? Some people may think they know, and of course a trillion books have been written about it. But I don't think anyone really knows.

Ultimately Love is indescribable, and yet -- paradoxically -- it can be experienced.

It can be experienced in important moments, of course, but the real magic of love for me is that we can taste it, and feel it, and share it, and express it, in the little moments of our lives.

Filling our little moments with love

No moment is so small, insignificant, or boring that it cannot be lifted up and transformed by love.

When we love the little moments that God gives us, the apparently unimportant moments, our entire life is re-created and shines with new beauty and meaning.

Just now I heard a Raven call somewhere close by. Mind you, in the interests of full disclosure, I'm quite fond of ravens. Nonetheless, it was a lovely sound, and a lovely moment.

It reminded me of Love's greatest gift: It opens our heart to the oneness of  life and all creation.

What is your labor of love?

Back to Labor Day – and labor. My work lately has been writing and finally (yesterday) finishing my first e-book, The Wisdom of Serenity: Reclaiming Authentic Happiness.

I plan to offer this e-book as a free download later this month. It took me about three months, off and on, but I can honestly say it wasn’t WORK, it was LOVE. I enjoyed every moment – just as my wife, JoAnn, enjoys every moment of her quilting.

What’s your "labor of love?" How do you make love visible? Do you have any thoughts about Love you’d like to share?

I’d be delighted to hear from you. Please write, won't you?

Picture credit:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3170/2683891716_1fcee91df9_m.jpg

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Lori September 2, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Hi Chris,
I am also a lover of ravens. I have huge respect and admiration for them. My hubs had a “pet” raven who lived nearby (he didn’t cage the bird, he just befriended the bird). It often brought shiny things to him as gifts. I think this is amazing.

Chris, please let me know when your e-book is available. I’d love to read it! Good for you, you must feel good having it complete. {pat on back}

Have a great day and thanks for linking your post. I enjoyed it very much. 🙂
~xo
Lori recently posted..LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!

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Christopher Foster September 2, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Such a pleasure to hear from you Lori and I am delighted to have connected with you and your blogging friends. What an inspiring project you initiated, RAOKA, Random Acts of Kick Arse. Your themes are so uplifting and I’m looking forward to the next one, which if I remember properly is grace?

So happy to be a part of RAOKA. I’m also VERY happy to meet a fellow raven lover.

Your story about the raven who became friends with your husband and brought him shiny things as gifts is adorable. So touching. I studied ravens before writing a story of a brave young raven with a proud mission to restore the honor of ravens. The book went into 11 translations … be delighted to send you a signed complimentary copy if you’d like….
Love and blessings to you Lori and take care.

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Tess The Bold Life September 2, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Wow this is the best! My friend Lori thought I would like your blog and invited me over. I love
Kahlil Gibran and that quote. A while back I decided to begin being a guest writer on other blogs to get my name out there.

A good friend told me not to write unless I was feeling love and joy. I knew exactly what she meant and lowered the no. of guest articles I wanted to submit. It’s exactly what that quote says to do.

What a great reminder! I’ll be back. Your blog is a treat and it’s exactly how I feel about life.

Oh my first labor of love is my family/friends. Nothing matters more to me. Nothing;)
Tess The Bold Life recently posted..Feeling Jealous Shine Your Light On It…

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Christopher Foster September 2, 2010 at 6:54 pm

One of the quotes I really love goes something like this: “God works in mysterious ways his wonders to perform.”

I’ve probably mangled it but that was the gist of it. Anyway, where I want to get to here Tess is this. I’ve seen your name a number of times on the web and read comments you’ve left to various posts — and made a kind of mental note it would be nice to connect with you. Then hey. I turn on my computer and I see I have a comment waiting and there you are…

Thank you so much for your words. They are very meaningful. This is what the world needs more than anything else: love and joy. I look forward to connecting with you more via your blog and via this amazing creation of the internet.

I’ve loved Gibran since I was a boy. I suppose he helped fuel a love of poetry and even more than that, a strange yearning that was in me to go beyond the traditional middle class British world in which I was raised and find the meaning of life…

I already sent love and blessings to Lori. Can I send love and blessings to you too Tess?

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Lori September 2, 2010 at 7:07 pm

I’d LOVE LOVE a copy, Christopher! You are so generous! I’ll email you off line to thank you again and send my address. You are a blessed soul.
I am grateful to meet you.
Love,
Lori
P.S. Glad you got to meet my good friend Tess. She’s wonderful. 🙂
Lori recently posted..LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!

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Christopher Foster September 4, 2010 at 6:33 pm

I’ll put the book in the mail Monday Lori. I’m so VERY happy to have connected up with you and Tess. I’ve found a whole new family of friends and kindred spirits… RAOKA…random acts of kick arse. Looking forward to participating in next month’s theme of Grace with you all. My goodness. Which one of us would make it through a day without grace — let alone a life.

I love the name of your blog. But who is Jane???

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Uzma September 3, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Hello.
What a lovely post. It’s so evident that your words flow so easily from the heart to touch all of us.
I love Gibran too.. What is my labour of love, I don’t know though. Or if I do, I can’t seem to see it..I know I love wisdom, I love seeking, and beauty and kindness .Do help. How does one find one’s labours of love
Uzma recently posted..To nourish the soul

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Christopher Foster September 4, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Such a pleasure to hear from you again Uzma. Thanks for visiting my blog. “How does one find one’s labours of love?” a great question. I read it out loud just now to JoAnn (sitting in the living room reading one of her magazines). She’s very direct. This is what she said: “It’s what you enjoy doing. It’s something you would do whether you got paid for it or not…”

I enjoy writing Uzma. I just do. And just as well, becoz to be honest, I’ve been doing it without much tangible reward for quite a long time…but what do YOU enjoy doing? What did you enjoy doing when you were younger, a child even? We tend to forget that, but often it will give us a good starting point if we stop and think about.

My thought in answer to your query is: First of all, take a few moments when you can be quiet and alone and do some abdominal breathing for a few minutes to make youself nice and relaxed. Then put the question out to the universe: “Please help me. What are some things I really enjoy doing?” It doesn’t matter if it’s something apparently small and insignificant… arranging some flowers in a vase, phoning a friend and talking to them a bit about their troubles and triumphs, going for a walk and looking for something inspiring in Nature that you can connect with…

I find being genuinely interested in other people and in what interests them and brings them alive is of itself a very enjoyable labor of love.

But remember God isn’t far away. God is present with us in that stillness from which all true answers come.

Love and blessings Uzma. I’d love to hear from you again.

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Lance September 5, 2010 at 5:10 am

Christopher,
Love. Four little letters, strung together. An emotion, an action, a feeling…that can mean so much.

When we can connect more deeply with our own heart – I believe that we reach in and mroe fully experience the oneness of our world.

This connection we have to each other…

When I’m in this place ( a place of authentic love), I just so completely feel that connection more deeply…that oneness that unites us…

…and the world feels right and good…
Lance recently posted..Sunday Thought For The Day

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Christopher Foster September 5, 2010 at 5:19 pm

Amen to all you say Lance. I’m thankful to have connected with you and look forward to meeting you in person before too long…Every good wish.

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Lori September 5, 2010 at 10:47 am

Hi Christopher!
I’m so happy you have found camaraderie with the RAOKA tribe — such wonderful and giving people participating. You fit right in! I’m so happy we’ve found you, too. I’m looking forward to writing about grace, too. Will be another wonderful month, for sure. 😉

Thanks for your kind words about my blog, but ah yes, “Who is Jane?” is a good question. When I started my blog, I realized I wanted a memorable, catchy name, and liked the concept of “nimble,” adjusting to ones circumstances, nimble mindfulness, etc. So initially I thought “Jack Be Nimble” like the nursery rhyme. But, since I’m the author and also female — it didn’t feel right. So, I just feminized the name (like Jane Doe, ya’ know?). Looking back, it’s a bit confusing to visitors, but it’s too late to go back now. And, I’ve grown to like the name, too.

Thanks for asking! That was a great question.

Also, thanks for sending the book! I can’t wait to read it! (Apologizes for filling your comment box with my ramblings…)
Love,
Lori
Lori recently posted..LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!

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Christopher Foster September 5, 2010 at 5:17 pm

I think “janebenimble” is a great name Lori. It evokes a quality of playfulness and liveliness that is absolutely charming. Thanks so much for sharing some background about it, and thanks for your interest in my book. Talk to you soon.

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Ramblings of a Woman September 8, 2010 at 10:30 am

Christopher,
We have to do what we love or life becomes meaningless. I am currently looking to do what I love, and I eventually would like to make a small living from it, but I know that cannot be my focus. I just need to do what I love and I will be taken care of!
Ramblings of a Woman recently posted..Is simplifying your life too complicated

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Christopher Foster September 8, 2010 at 11:26 am

So good to hear from you again Bernice. Absolutely. We need to do what we love or life becomes meaningless. I just want to encourage you in your process. There’s a saying that “as you sow, so shall you reap.” It never fails, just as love never fails.

As long as we do what we love — or putting it another way, as long as we love what we are doing — things will work out and we WILL be taken care of. There’s a law here, not a human law, and the law works. By the way, I’m in exactly the same situation as you so I can really empathize with you Bernice….. Whatsay? Maybe we can compare notes a year or so down the road… see what transformation love has brought…?

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