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Center for Action and Contemplation
The Seven Stories: Part Two
The Seven Stories: Part Two

Love Is the Protagonist

Thursday, February 8, 2024

On the CAC podcast Love Period., Sikh activist Valarie Kaur describes what happens when Love becomes the ethic and the story by which we live:

Love is a wellspring from which we all can drink, but we may be coming to the wellspring from different paths. You can come to it from different sources of inspiration, but the love ethic itself is what is available for all of us, no matter who we are.…

I describe love as sweet labor, a fierce and bloody and imperfect life-giving choice that we make. And if love is labor, then love can be taught. Love can be modeled. Love can be practiced. What I find so invigorating is that more and more of us now are naming the practices—how to be brave with your grief, how to honor your rage, how to let go of things that are dragging you down and the little critic in your mind that’s keeping you from realizing your full self. The more we can share the good news around these practices, the more we can say, “All of us can have access to building beloved community right where we are.” [1]

Author and civil rights activist Grace Lee Boggs (1915–2015) wrote about the power of collective commitment:

When people come together voluntarily to create their own vision, they begin wishing it to come into being with such passion that they begin creating an active path leading to it from the present. The spirit and the way to make the spirit live coalesce. Instead of seeing ourselves only as victims, we begin to see ourselves as part of the continuing struggle of human beings, not only to survive but to evolve into more human human beings.[2]

Valarie Kaur continues:

I’m seeing people waking up, being in relationship, grieving together, raging together, marching together, reimagining their own area of public life, their own sphere of influence in ways that I never imagined possible before. In those acts, in those moments and those gatherings around fierce love, I feel like I see glimpses of the nation, the world, that is wanting to be born.…

If we can create and nurture and inspire more and more of those containers, every school, every home, every workplace, every church, every house of worship, every neighborhood can become a pocket of that kind of beloved community, because this love stuff is not saintly. It’s practical. It’s pragmatic….

In the moments when I feel alone or afraid or that this love is absent, I just have to open my eyes, feel the earth beneath my feet, remember my grandfather’s love, know that separateness is an illusion. If I just sink into the present moment here and now, I can access the love that has been poured into me, the love that I am capable of, the love that surrounds me on all sides. And that can give me enough energy to take the next breath and then push. [3]

[1] Adapted from Jacqui Lewis, “Travel Lightly, Downsize the Burdens You Carry, with Valarie Kaur,” Love Period., season 2, ep. 3 (Albuquerque, NM: Center for Action and Contemplation, 2021), podcast. Available as MP3 audio and pdf transcript.

[2] Grace Lee Boggs, Living for Change: An Autobiography (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1998), 255.

[3] Lewis, with Kaur, “Travel Lightly.”

Image credit: Joel and Jasmin Førestbird, Untitled (detail), 2018, photograph, public domain. Click here to enlarge image.

Stories are layered like the rings of a tree.

Story from Our Community:  

Both my parents died within 10 weeks of each other, and the Daily Meditations have helped me greatly on my journey. I realized that I had underestimated the total transition you make when you experience grief. When I was grieving my parents, … I also found that I was grieving an old version of myself. Although there has been growth in this transition, I find myself craving that old state of innocence sometimes. Recently, I have been offering this experience up in prayer. I realize now that so much in life is out of my control. If I had realized that sooner, I would have saved myself a lot of struggle. I find great freedom in knowing that now. —Jackie B.

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