After you read the blog - be sure to review the Mindful Living tips, check out the guided meditation and answer the prompts in the Reflect & Journal section.
One thing I know for sure is that while everyone has a definition of love—whether it’s a noun or a verb—it has the capacity to spark a sense of inner peace and a feeling of being in harmony with the people, animals and environment around us. It is essential to cultivating happiness, building new relationships and restoring old bonds.
When we place our attention and intention on spreading love, we develop healthy emotions that nurture our well-being and nourish empathetic concern for others. It’s like an elixir that can help amplify living to our full potential and help us transcend challenges and suffering. From my experience, when love is at the center of my everyday actions, it enhances my life and its ripple effect has the potential to make others feel cared for and loved.
I experienced this on my recent birthday celebration as I transitioned into a new decade. My family and I went on a butterfly expedition to El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Preserve in Michoacán, Mexico. For quite some time, I had been dreaming of celebrating alongside the Monarch butterflies' calming and magical presence. My love for butterflies has grown deep based on a 30-year passion of growing a garden exclusively for these exquisite insects. I envisioned syncing my rite of passage with one of nature’s purest examples of growth and transformation.
On January 27th, my long-held dream unfolded after a long and challenging trek up a hillside to the butterfly sanctuary. When we arrived at the viewing site our group became captivated by the unique surroundings. We stood in silence, mesmerized by all five senses on overdrive, a vision of chaos and flow among the trees and flowering plants. The sight and sound of the thousands of butterfly wings fluttering in the wind was spellbinding.
We learned from our guide that the very moment the butterflies’ wings become warm and nourished from the morning sunshine, the entire communities of old and young leave their nesting grounds to start their daily journey down the gorge. This is where they refresh themselves in the ponds at the base of the mountain, then head back up to the top for another night of rest.
After several hours of butterfly watching, we hiked to a small clearing on the cliffside for a bite to eat. Again we sat in silence, awed by what we witnessed. It was after our simple lunch that we whispered our appreciation and reverence of the indescribable ecosystem the butterflies created. Our reflections included an outpouring of emotions and fond memories around my mother’s love for the magnificence of the natural world. We recognized that our appreciation for Mother Nature was passed on through the generations of our family as a result of my mother’s love for nature. At that very moment, I could feel the bond of our family grow deeper because of the ripple effect of love.
As I transition into my new decade, one of my goals is to place love at the center of all the little moments that make up my day. When I wake, I will reinforce my intentions to be diligent in embodying words, actions and a presence that affirm a heartfelt expression for the well-being of others, the planet and myself. Like my mindfulness practice, I plan to stop and notice my thoughts and feelings right in the moment, with an open heart and non-negotiable acceptance. This implies accepting and loving all aspects of myself unconditionally, so that I can then accept and love others unconditionally. It means looking inside to heal old wounds and holding myself accountable when I falter, as part of the human experience.
My hope for the world is that we forge our paths moving forward, with love at the center of all our interactions, with deep care and concern toward all humanity, in harmony with nature and the planet.
If you’re curious and feel motivated to feel more love in your life, try the tips below.