The Hard Stuff: Love
Before he became a bestselling self-help guru and Libertarian Party promoter, Peter McWilliams was, in my judgment, a very bad poet. I knew him briefly during the poet phase of his life, and he gave me a few copies of his books, one of which was titled, The Hard Stuff: Love.
That much, Peter got absolutely right.
In our consumer culture we tend to treat love as a soothing commodity, a warm, fuzzy, feel-good balm, a healing helping of emotional chocolate. That’s not love; it’s romance. And there’s nothing wrong with romance – it tastes good, it feels good, it’s intoxicating (and highly addictive), and there’s plenty of it in these pages. But still, it’s not love.
Love is the hard stuff. It’s the struggle to forgive, to surrender, to accept judgment without passing it on, to seek common ground across a yawning divide, to truly give with no expectation of return and to ultimately understand that there is literally no other way to save this planet and the multitudes of life forms on it than through the exercise of love.
This is not airy-fairy, hippy-dippy, Dawn of Aquarius stuff. This is the hard stuff. This is the practical, tactical, and strategic boot- camp kind of thinking required to get your body into an optimal state of physical health, to balance your family budget, to build a house, bake a cake, plant a garden, run a business. To love.
Learning to love isn’t taught in school (much). It probably should be. Learning to love is our real life’s work. At the root of virtually every political, emotional, financial, ecological, cultural, educational, religious, emotional – even physical – challenge we face in life there is an absence of love.
So, much as those of us who despise Donald Trump enjoy blaming him for everything wrong in the world, it’s really not his fault. He’s just the mirror and the messenger.
And for all those who love Trump and blame all our ills on liberals and taxes and immigrants and gay marriage and China and government regulations, et al.,, those aren’t the sources of our problems either.
Peter McWilliams would probably agree. During the Libertarian phase of his life, he wrote in his book Ain’t Nobody’s Business If You Do, “We have a problem with drugs? Let’s declare war on drugs! We have a problem with crime? Let’s declare war on crime! We have a problem with violence? Let’s declare war on violence! The deeply ingrained American attitude that we can solve any problem with enough force creates, feeds, and rewards the epidemic of violence we are currently experiencing.”
And as Sonoma Ashram guru Babaji states elsewhere in these pages, “If you attack, the attack will come back 10 times more. So that’s not going to help. And being passive is not going to help. But we have some beautiful traditions of expressing love, like feeding the poor, and taking care of the homeless, and helping those in need. These are beautiful rituals of love.”
To see such love work in practice, you could take a trip to Rwanda where a country shattered by the genocide of close to a million people just 25 years ago, is trying to practice the principles of love on a daily basis nationwide. You can read about Lynne Joiner’s journey there inside.
We are, ultimately one family on this planet, all connected and interdependent, while richly endowed with diversity. What links us is love. If we let it.
David Bolling, Editor & Publisher
Valley of the Moon Magazine