Yesterday, my friend Nancy Bellis was speaking about some pets that she has known that lived far beyond their years. They defied statistics and her only resolute was that they knew how to "live on love". This comment got me thinking again about the power of love as the unmeasurable variable that can heal and nurture creatures and humans alike to live well beyond expectation. This L factor coupled with a strong will, which we humans possess, can create astonishing results. 

I have a dear friend and Gestalt mentor Mariah Fenton Gladis, who has outlived a deadly prognosis of ALS by more than thirty years. She learned how to arrest the rapid progression of this automimmune disease with her invincible, wise spirit that drew on the best of her own internal resources, natural medicine, some allopathic treatment and a constant tap on love from all the right places.  Her will to live came from her determination to give birth to a family of two sons and be around to guide and love them through their adults lives. In her book, Tales of a Wounded Healer, Mariah speaks of battling her own demons as well as helping others to do so. In her professional role as a therapist, teacher and survivor her message is clear.  The power of love which includes self love, is the force that can help us thrive beyond survive.

I recall how my father Daniel Gayda survived a massive heart attack that left him with only 22% of a functioning heart when he was only 58 years old. His doctors gave him 1% chance of survival. In his weakest hour, he found the courage, will and love to beat all odds .He later shared with me that Love was his single focus and his will to live followed.  He was aware that I was about to give birth to my daughter and his untimely death would have crushed my spirit. He knew he could not overshadow her birth with his death. What power love has when coupled with will, to defy death! My father's desire to live on love granted him another 11&1/2 happy and passionate years.

There is no secret that surrounding yourself in an environment of nurturing and loving people provides a sustenance that is restorative. It is when these ideal situations may not be present that one really needs to be an advocate for oneself and seek higher ground.  A friend of mine dealing with cancer decided to tell her husband that he had to leave their marriage because the levels of tension that continued to exist between them became a serious distraction for her in her own healing process. In her most vulnerable condition, she demonstrated great courage to listen to her truth and choose what was best for herself.

Living on love is dependent upon being open and receptive to listening deeply to your needs and responding wholeheartedly to yourself.  It is not to be confused with narcissim. Only through demonstrating self love can one also be truly present and loving to another.  It takes a great deal of practice to be vulnerable to love, especially if one's heart, which is a physical muscle, and a physio-emotional organ, has not been sufficiently exercised over the years. Rejection, loss, pain and hurt are real injuries that require special healing. Finding a heart based therapist can be your equivalent to a personal trainer. 

Next time your dog rolls over and wants a belly rub or your cat nestles in your lap, realize that you may be extending their life, one stroke at a time.  Next time you need a hug, your hand held or a shoulder of comfort and strength to cry on, find someone who can give you what you need. Next time your inner voice asks you to respond to a need that only you are capable of giving, do so willingly. Thank those in your life for the love they give you and thank yourself for receiving it. Thank yourself for the love you share with others and give to yourself. Keep love alive by breathing it in and out. Love breathes our life, moves our spirit and our will follows. Allow yourself to live on love. You may just find that you have extended your life or some one elses, for many more sweet days to come.


Reader Comments (3)

Girl, you just keep getting better all the time. Well, I know that's what you're all about of course, but your writing... there's something changing about the communication itself... so clear... so much stronger. I'm loving it. (And you!)

February 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria Pendragon

Thank you for the wise words, for the remembrance of your Dad and for illuminating the timeline- I had forgotten how those events coincided. It is true that doing can create feeling- do something loving and you will feel the love, round and round.

February 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMaryellen

I smiled when I read in your blog post that when i stroke my cat's fur or give my dog's tummy a rubby-rubby that I'm extended their lives. I often phantasize that when I rub a dog's belly it's really the Buddha's belly and that the act of rubbing it is more useful to me than the dog -- though the dog doesn't really seem to mind.

December 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKip Leitner

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