Do it for Love

A brilliant therapist nearing retirement once gave me a radical way of looking at life and emotions. She said that for most of her training and career she got it wrong when it came to feelings and her understanding and exploration of them. Only in her sixties did she discover that it all came down to only two emotions: love and fear.

She described these as two frequencies, explaining, “We are either operating on a frequency of love or fear.”

Whenever I am getting things mixed up and messed up; when I am frustrated, anxious, self-pitying, full of dread, riddled with resentment, doubt or despair, I know which frequency I am on: fear. It is then that I must step out of it, and nudge my weak and wobbly self up to a higher frequency: love. What a splendid relief when I move up to love: I become inspired, purposeful, energetic, hopeful, engaged, and filled with vitality.

Of course, every day presents situations and stresses that threaten to drive me down to that lower vibration of fear. I can’t control what is outside of me. But I have the power to take charge of what lies within me. I can choose not to dwell in fear. Love is much more powerful and life affirming. But will I let it fill me and fuel me? Will I let love be my food, my drink, my air, my words, my actions? That is a goal worth pursuing.

I heard an inspiring lecture about this kind of love years ago at UCLA. The presenter was Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles.  His greatest love was writing, and he dedicated his life to it. An enormous old talent, he entertained the audience with fantastical stories from his childhood. He told of his writing career being sparked, at age 12 in a magical moment when a carnival entertainer, Mr. Electrico, touched him on the nose with an electrified sword, made his hair stand on end, and shouted, “Live forever!” In that moment he decided on a career as a writer, to do what was foretold: live forever.

He spoke with a soft gruffness; his words were like poetry. His theme was about work, career, and making good choices in them. “Do it for love,” was his repeated chorus. He told stories of how everything good that he had ever accomplished, he did for love. “Absolutely nothing else,” he said, “ … only for love. Not money, not ego, not fear, not fame, not to please someone … only for love. Whatever you do; do it for love.”

He told a poignant tale about being asked to write an article for Pro Football Magazine. The editor wanted an article written by the celebrated author. But on the topic of football, Bradbury admitted, he knew little and cared even less. He was completely blocked and unable to produce something. He feared he would not meet his deadline. Finally, he decided to watch a football game … and fell in love with what he saw. The block disappeared. He then wrote a beautiful poem that was published in the magazine.

Bradbury marveled, “I could only do it when I did it for love.  And that poem was so damn good, they put it on the cover of Pro Football Magazine; they sold more copies than ever … and it was the first time in history a damn love poem was on the cover of a football magazine!”  The crowd erupted in applause.

I have never forgotten his story.  On a certain level, this is the central message of nearly every religion, including Christianity. Love conquers all. Perfect love casts out all fear. God is love; love is God.

This is my goal: to do what I do for love, and nothing else … to live in love, not fear.

Please consider sharing any thoughts you have on this subject by posting a comment. I would love to hear from you.