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Throughout history, love has been viewed as mysterious, complex, difficult, yet something none of us wishes to live without. It is, perhaps, the world's most powerful emotion creating diverse consequences from great joy, to horrific wars to inspiring magnificent works of art such as Rodin's 'Kiss,' Emperor Shah Jahan's Taj Mahal, sonnets from William Shakespeare, countless poems from Elizabeth Barrett-Browning and heartfelt lyrics from thousands of songwriters.

Sought after for the joy it can bring, feared for the power it can have over us, love remains universally undefined. Whatever we perceive it to be, there is deep within every human being a desire to love and be loved. How we attempt to satisfy this yearning is an intensely personal part of our life journey.

I look forward to hearing this Valentine month's feature story - The LUSCIOUSNESS of Love - will move you a little closer to the many true loves of your life.

J.

 









Recent quotes from Coach Joyce K. Reynolds have appeared in The Wall Street Journal; Chicago Tribune; USA Today; CareerJournal.com; American Airlines Magazine; Florida Trend; Microsoft's bcentral.com; Cosmopolitan; Working Mother Magazine; Learning/Discovery Channel/tlc.com; Sun-Sentinel, Glamour, Woman's Day; Sales & Marketing Management.



 


     
 

Love has many faces and takes countless forms none easily defined. It is unique to each of us by virtue of our own experiences. Along with many types of loves, there are many different ways to show our feelings of love. Special people such as sweethearts, spouses, parents, siblings and friends, our work and avocations, nature or our pets all inspire different expressions of love. Perhaps overseeing all is the love we feel for a spiritual force, a higher authority, something many call 'God.'

Whether our love is depicted by passion, a sense of loyalty or gratitude, respect or devotion, companionship or trust, we will find greater satisfaction in these expressions and their consequences if we improve our understanding of what role love plays in our lives.

Here are some things to consider:

1. What It's All About.
The word 'love' - which dates back to before the 12th century - has countless definitions. Webster starts with 'strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties' - e.g. parental love for a child. Next is 'attraction based on sexual desire, affection and tenderness felt by lovers.' Followed by 'affection based on admiration, benevolence or common interests' as in love for his old schoolmates. Or, an assurance of love, e.g. give her my love; a warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion such as love of the sea; the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration, e.g. baseball was his first love. In other words, love is many things to as many people making it difficult to nail down - a bit like defining water. Whatever meaning we attach, it is clear that it is a necessary ingredient for a fulfilling life. A gift to be often given and received.

2. How Do I Love Me?
Even as Oscar Wilde said “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance,” author John Welwood said, “For many of us this may be the hardest path of all - opening our hearts to ourselves.” In talking about self-love, they are not writing about the narcissistic variety that refuses all outside offers of love. Rather, it is the innate love and self-respect with which each of us is born. The fact is only when we live and breathe self-love can we begin to enrich the lives of others. When we are whole people in this way we can move into meaningful relationships with others. Only after embracing ourselves fully - the good, bad, the funny, the ugly – can we offer the same full gift of love and acceptance to others. As we nurture ourselves, we begin to inspire others to do the same. We, thus, cultivate a sense of connection to the bigger picture and become powerful and unifying forces. So, instead of putting untold energy into looking for love and acceptance outside, we are improved, strengthened and satisfied by cultivating a deep inner sense of love.

3. Love Will Find a Way.
Certainly, while we start out as innocent, naturally-loving individuals, all human beings experience physical and emotional traumas at one time or another. Over the years, the wounds that result complicate or facilitate our lives depending on how we attempt to ignore or treat them. We can either remain scarred or we can seek healing. When we choose the latter, we have the opportunity to learn, grow, and expand. The softening of such deep wounds relies on many things – willingness, education, therapy and patience. Even Sigmund Freud agreed when he posited in a letter to Carl Jung that “psychoanalysis is essentially a cure through love.” But, what most undoes such damage - as even medical doctors are coming to recognize – is the enormous healing energy of love.

4. Stand By Me.
Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia presented the most innocent of loves when describing a contest he was once asked to judge. The aim of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was a four-year-old boy whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap and just sat there. When his mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry." There could be no better portrait of patient, instinctive and all-encompassing love and how profound its expression can be. Perhaps the most binding love on earth is expressed through the sturdy, consistent and unquestioning love we give to and receive from our friends.

5. You Can't Hurry Love.
In the film, When Harry Met Sally, we get to witness the quintessential you-can’t-hurry-love story. This seemingly silly piece of fluff illustrates that arriving at love is sometimes very unexpected and very much a process. That it emerges from quality time spent absent of expectations. And, that despite all manner of mishaps, trust and commitment can emerge and grow. So, instead of investing time concentrating on the qualities we want in someone else and rushing out to find him or her, we can make our waiting time more useful by developing those qualities in ourselves that we desire in others.

6. Unbreak My Heart.
While love often goes awry because of too high expectations, there are other deeper causes for broken hearts. According to Dr. Ayala Malach Pines, head of the behavioral sciences at Ben-Gurion University, we often choose partners who remind us of significant people from our childhoods such as our parents. The result is that we, unconsciously, set out to recreate the patterns that were established in those relationships. It is when these patterns are less than healthy or happy that future relationships can become contaminated. “One red flag in a potential relationship,” Pines says, “is trying to fill an emotional hole from childhood with attention from a mate and mistaking it for love." If we work on overcoming such destructive patterns, we move closer to achieving whole-hearted and lasting love. The decision to move in this direction takes great courage but also promises great rewards – among them, the healing of own broken hearts.

7. Love's Labor Never Lost.
The Dahli Lama offered, “When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.” For those of us who have ‘loved and lost’ that doesn’t sound easy. And, it is not. However, we can come away whole from disappointments in love if, after the hurt has subsided, we are willing to open our eyes, take responsibility and examine all that happened, identify the things we wish never to repeat and grow from the experience. With this kind of dedication and purpose, we will begin to eliminate those things that stand in the way of achieving the very relationships we wish most to experience.

8. That's The Glory of Love.
Love is strong but gentle, profound but kind. It transcends doubt and quiets fears. Love is easily expressed when we give our attention, our time, our focus to someone or something outside ourselves. All that is required is that we employ our senses - our ears to listen, our eyes to offer undivided attention, our hands to provide a gentle touch. Real love enables us to celebrate our likenesses and accept our differences. Love is friendship that is strengthened by shared experiences, delicious when our senses are stimulated and unconditional when expressed through total acceptance. The true glory of love is that everyone can give and receive it.

9. What the World Needs Now.
Pianist Arthur Rubinstein said, "I'm passionately involved in life. I love its change, its color, its movement. To be alive, to be able to see, to walk, to have houses, music, paintings — it's all a miracle." Rubinstein’s heightened appreciation for all of life and his ability to appreciate it through the mind of love offer us much food for thought. When we choose to love ourselves and our world, we contribute to the continual good health and development of the universe. And, when we express our love to our families, in our work and towards our communities, we are following the thoughtful advice of Swami Muktananda, “Whatever effort you may put forth is returned to you many times over. Always think of others with love, with friendliness, with respect, and think of yourself in the same way.”

10. From This Moment On.
Albert Einstein - not surprisingly summed - it up. "A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of love to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."



 


 
 

Kids on Love

"I think you're supposed to get shot with an arrow or something, but the rest of it isn't supposed to be so painful." Harlen, 8

"Spend most of your time loving instead of going to work." Tom, 7

"It's like an avalanche where you have to run for your life." Roger, 9

"Love will find you, even if you are trying to hide from it. I have been trying to hide from it since I was five, but the girls keep finding me." Bobby, 8

"Lovers will just be staring at each other and their food will get cold. Other people care more about the food." Brad, 8

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen," Bobby - age 5

"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate." Nikka - age 6

"There are two kinds of love. Our love. God's love. But God makes both kinds of them." Jenny - age 4

"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday." Noelle - age 7

"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well." Tommy - age 6

"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day." Mary Ann - age 4

"I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones." Lauren - age 4

"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you." Karen - age 7

"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget." Jessica - age 8




 


 
 

Listening to Love
Author Unknown

Sometimes we close our eyes and just listen to the echoes of our hearts. We all fall in love and there are times when we love so much that we lose ourselves in our emotions. More often than not, we wonder why there is love that grows, and love that grows cold. We would start to search for answers and try to find where love has gone wrong. But in the end, we find ourselves where we started for we cannot question love when it has its own reasons. Love will always be as it always has been silent, mysterious and deeply profound.

Many of us believe that love is forever, that love never dies, only to be disillusioned in the end when we find our hands empty and our hearts longing. We mistakenly have looked at love as a need to be fulfilled. But love is a gift given to us. We should not hold it in our hands for we may never find the strength to let it go when it decides to leave. We should only embrace its warmth and glow while it lasts and then freely open our arms when its time to say good-bye.

When we fall in love, we don't want that feeling to end for it is everything we are, everything we wanted to be. We pray that love will stay and grow in our hearts. But if it doesn't then we should never let our lives be taken by it, for life should not end where heartaches begin.

There is always a reason why we have to move on. When we have to say good-bye to the feeling we wanted to stay forever, let us not wave our hands with a heavy heart. For love will have to set its wings free and find the place where it belongs. We may have lost it but then again, when we close our eyes and listen to the echoes of our hearts, we will hear that feeling resounding silently forever.

Then we'll know that love never left us, for the good that we have become because of love will always stay. Love will always be there, reminding us that we should be thankful and happy not because we have lost love, but because, for once in our life, that feeling called love lived in our hearts and made us happy.




 


 
 

Once upon a time, there was an island where all the feelings lived: Happiness, Sadness, Knowledge, and all of the others including Love. One day it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink, so all repaired their boats and left. Love was the only one who stayed. Love wanted to persevere until the last possible moment. When the island was almost sinking, Love decided to ask for help.

Richness was passing by Love in a grand boat. Love said, "Richness, can you take me with you?" Richness answered, "No, I can't.. There is a lot of gold and silver in my boat. There is no place here for you."

Love decided to ask Vanity who was also passing by in a beautiful vessel, "Vanity, please help me!" "I can't help you Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat," Vanity answered.

Sadness was close by so Love asked for help, "Sadness, let me go with you." "Oh...Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself!"

Happiness passed by Love too, but she was so happy that she did not even hear when Love called her!

Suddenly, there was a voice, "Come Love, I will take you." It was an elder. Love felt so blessed and overjoyed that she even forgot to ask the elder her name. When they arrived at dry land, the elder went her own way. Love realizing how much she owed the elder asked Knowledge, another elder, "Who helped me?"

"It was Time," Knowledge answered.

"Time?" asked Love. "But why did Time help me?"

Knowledge smiled with deep wisdom and answered, "Because only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is."




 


 
 

Question:
I'm the EVP of a mid-size ($500 mil) company and have 20 direct reports. I am very attracted to one of my new VP's. Neither us is married and we've begun to kid about getting together. I'd really like to see her outside work but I'm nervous about getting involved with someone who reports to me. I also think that my department is starting to notice something. Any suggestions?

Answer:
Let’s face it, work is a natural place to meet people who have potential for relationships. "It's part of the business of life," said sociologist Jan Yager. With men and women thrown together in larger numbers for longer hours and working closely, it is inevitable for workplace romance to occur. In fact, in a survey by Details Magazine of 400 corporate executives, forty percent said they had dated a co-worker and 71 percent said it was okay to do so. In another study of 500 managers and executives, the American Management Association found that 80% of workers surveyed knew of or had been involved in a workplace romance. That said, there are a number of things to consider before you fan the flames of on-the-job love.

For an office romance to have a chance at success, the two involved must have a clear understanding of the boundaries separating the romantic relationship from the work relationship. Even so, they must face the fact that there will be inevitable distractions and tension in the workplace. That with all the discretion in the world and no matter how capable the participants are of handling it, colleagues may complicate things. In fact, you’ve already observed that your mutual attraction has been noted by some of your staffers so the likelihood of avoiding office gossip is probably unrealistic. You’ll also want to be aware of the fact that - all spiciness of the situation aside - office romances have a tendency to make people uncomfortable.

Your VP report may actually have more at risk than you in this situation. If it looks like you’re favoring her in any way, she’s likely to face backlash from your staff. As Harry Britt, Coopers and Lybrand's top ethics officer said, "If you have someone who's rating another on performance evaluation, that may cause animosities among people who think there's favoritism." Women in the position of having an office affair that involves their boss also run the risk of being stereotyped as having made their way sexually, not professionally. And, it might also make her vulnerable to unwelcome advances from other colleagues.

And, then there’s the big picture. Most companies do not have written policies on workplace romance. However, while they have in the past had a tendency to look the other way when it came to office flirtations, when it today involves amorous relations between a boss and his/her subordinate, companies have less tolerance. The reasons are obvious.

When such affairs come to hostile endings – which they frequently do - companies risk major liability and damaging lawsuits involving sexual harassment or other workplace infractions. (You might also want to note that bosses are now being held equally accountable for such affairs rather than letting the subordinate alone pay the price of workplace romance gone bad). So, there’s a lot to think about before you take that step and ask for the date.

On the other hand, you might just want to follow the advice of Dali Lama, “Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.” Your choice.


 

 
 
©2003 by Joyce K. Reynolds. Duplication with credits only please. Click here for easy access to all books referenced. For complimentary 20-minute Coaching session e-mail jreynolds@jkr.net or visit www.business-coach.org. Click here to send this newsletter to a colleague. Executive Business Coach on bluesuitmom.com Click here to Unsubscribe. Newsletter maintained by Web Factum, LLC.