Loving Ourselves & Others
February 14th is a day dedicated to thoughts of love. (Though the aisles of the supermarket might give you reason to think that it’s a day dedicated to thoughts of sugar.)
In our work with Girl Group and also in our recent partnership with Mirman School in Bel-Air, we’ve been thinking about love. We look at the ways we can love ourselves and others. What does love look like? As parents, we struggle with what it means to love our children, we wonder about the definition of “good parenting.” How can love be expressed as both boundary and freedom? As individuals, we spend our days asking if we are good enough? Strong enough? Pretty enough? Social media clouds our judgment, the words of friends wound us and tiny slights pile upon our shoulders. How do we create a counter movement? How can we hold ourselves and each other?
This week, in Girl Group, we read two poems, “Love for Other Things” by Tom Hennen and “Invisible Work” by Alison Luterman. Both poets ask us to honor the small things. “It’s easy to love a deer,” Hennen says, “But try to care about bugs and scrawny trees…” We asked the girls to open their minds to invisible work and to cultivate gratitude for the unseen strangers who make our days simpler. We asked the girls to think of their own “invisible work,” and to consider how humanity is bound together by these efforts. The poet Alison Luterman
“thought of the invisible work that stitches up the world day and night, the slow, unglamorous work of healing, the way worms in the garden tunnel ceaseless so the earth can breathe and bees ransack the world into being…”
THINK: What does “invisible work” mean to you?
TALK: Around the dinner table, express love to each family member for one “other thing,” they do.
WRITE: Perhaps write a card or email to someone who has made a difference in your life just by being in the world. A crossing guard, grocery clerk, teacher or friend.
DO: “Ransack the world into being” think about what this means and do it! Invite your friends to dinner, take a walk in the green grass, drop a batch of cookies at the local fire station or volunteer with a local non-profit.
BE: Practice a modified version of the Loving Kindness meditation. Close your eyes and sit quietly for a few minutes. Send out beams of love and thanks to the small things and invisible workers.
Tanya and Wesley