A simple definition of love

For several days, in the rush of holiday preparations, I had passed this ginkgo tree multiple times to and from the house. Each time I felt a tug from my heart pulling me towards the tree. Yet I continued on, immersed in my to-do list.

Finally, on this particular day, I said “yes” to my heart’s calling. I popped myself out of the doing trance of errands and appointments. I parked the car, made my way across the neighbor’s yard and stood under the tree. In a matter of minutes, as I took in, perhaps even became a part of, this dazzling display of light dancing into form, my heart expanded and I sensed my connection with all of nature.


I’d like to offer this simple definition of love:

Love is me saying “yes” to me, you saying “yes” to you.

That’s it. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Want to know how much you love yourself? Pay attention to how often you say “yes” to what pulls you, fascinates you, allures you.

That means bypassing resistance showing up as “I don’t have time,” or “It’s just a tree.” Resistance is sneaky like that. It disguises the “no” in your heart — the “no” you have towards yourself — as reasonable practicality or a should of some kind. “I should have my tires rotated.”

The trick is to see through the disguise, to recognize the “no” for what it is, and to say “yes” to you anyway.

Say “yes” to the gravitational pull, calling you to follow your fascination, to participate in the mystery, to fall in love. Whether it’s picking up the phone to schedule that guitar lesson, or pausing to smell the roses on the way to the mailbox. It’s all the same. Your “yes” to you.

I don’t know why I love trees so much. I just do. I could give plausible reasons, like “I enjoy their steady peacefulness and their pleasing shapes and smells.” But in truth, the why does not matter. What matters is the “yes” I choose, in response to the allurement, and in spite of the “no” that pops in every once in a while. On this day, I added one to the yes column  by following the impulse to let myself have this experience with this tree.

Life keeps offering us the invitation to love ourselves. I see myself stacking up yeses over time — I have a big heaping pile of yeses in my heart now. I didn’t used to. I used to have a big stinking pile of no’s. And, the no pile, well it’s there, but it sure is dwindling. Yes by yes.

In every moment you are given the opportunity to say “yes” to you. Where is your yes calling you? Are you willing to fill your heart with your yes for you right now? I’d love to know what your yes is.

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