“There’s nothing you can know that isn’t known. Nothing you can see that isn’t shown. Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.” (Lennon & McCartney, 1967)
Have you ever felt like you’re being expected to uncover something—perhaps as you’re working on a paper or research project—and there’s pressure to perform? There’s a competitive way about our society where our sense of value is intimately attached to how we measure up to others. On the flip side, have you ever been with someone who can make you feel special, worthy, happy, just for being yourself? That is so opposite to the way we’re encouraged to live. What’s the point if we’re not being productive? Why be appreciated just for being?
In September, a vanload of us went to Vancouver for the weekend, and we visited the Down-Town East-Side, and also a man living in sanctuary in a church because of a deportation order by Immigration Canada. We interacted—albeit relatively briefly—with people who were dealing with lives where finding meaning was a struggle. Feeling worthy and special could be a far cry from their reality, as poverty and drugs surrounded them, or they were confined to the four walls of one building day in and day out.
If there’s one thing that is common in the human experience, I believe it is to feel accepted fully by at least one other person in life. Hopefully, one grows up in a home where parents are loving and accepting—but there’s no guarantee. And, hopefully, one can find a partner in life who fully accepts them and loves them. Our culture certainly engrains all kinds of dis-ease with our self-image: live large (but remain in debt), be beautiful (but never satisfied with your looks), share (but only if you get something back). It’s hard to be a person of integrity; it’s hard to show love, especially when we’re not feeling the love!
If we could shed the notion that we only need others for what we can get out of them, and move towards an ideal where we all need each other because we all have unique gifts to share with humanity, I think we would be well on our way to a peace-filled world. We need to see the common life we share, as well as the unique lives each of us are, in each other! We need to work at changing our society from one of valuing primarily production and consumption to one where we value life and freedom to be. As I see it, love is about life and being.
John Lennon said his art was dedicated to change. I like that the sentiment in “All You Need Is Love” is about how nothing is new, and so it’s easy; yet love, itself, keeps things feeling new. When we genuinely care—or love—life is pristine, and fresh!