After New Years, I read J’s post. It resonated with me so much, as I completely agree with her when she says “I believe love should be our default position.” that I decided to join her on her Love Project.
(Yes, you’ll be having déjà vu feelings because I’ve already said most of these things in blog posts throughout the year, but I really wanted to have everything all in one place.)
The plan for A Year of Loving Fearlessly (with my findings now added) was as follows:
Jan: A month of spontaneous connection
In January, I’ve made people around me a bit happier on a regular basis for me and spontaneously for them, by sending e-cards, e-mails, leaving loving comments, sending postcards and letters, giving unexpected small gifts, being there when all seems hopeless, talking on Skype when in fact I’ve had the account for about 5 years and barely used it a couple of times, calling just to say “Hi”, and lots more.
Feb : A month of hugs
February was filled with hugs. I hugged: family members, pets, a few strangers, friends in need of a hug and/or just because, old friends, new friends, close friends, distant friends, online friends. Yes, online hugs have something special about them as well!
I noticed how even though my days sometimes start out worse than I expect, they can turn into good days anyway. And it has nothing to do with a Valentine’s day’s kind of love, but with genuine I’d-hug-you-if-I-were-there kind of true friendship love where one message, one question, one look is enough to lift my spirit and remind me how lucky I am to have love in my life – even if not in all the aspects I’d like for it to be present.
Mar: A month of giving what you need
From giving what I needed in March, I have learned a valuable lesson: when we shift on the expectations management button and are patient enough – we do get back what we need even if not in the exact form or from who we would’ve thought.
“Where your heart breaks and where it mends are rarely the same place, and that’s okay.” ~ Judy Clement Wall
Apr: A month of capturing love (in photographs)
In April, I still suffered from the loss of my dear camera, so the photographs I contributed at the time are older ones, but still very close to my heart and filled with so much love!
I occasionally borrowed a camera, have one (even though I suspect it’s just for show) on my phone, and meanwhile bought a new camera.
Being so inspired by J, I decided to create the <3 Capturing Love on film <3 album on Facebook where I’ll upload Love in photographs, in places I visited (and where I live). Make sure you read the captions while you’re there as they tell the story behind each photo. I’ll be adding new photos as I come across more and more love scenes around me in 2012.
You can also find a few of my photographs featured on J’s Love Project Scenes page among so many wonderful love scenes. Go check out all that Love!
May: A month of self-love
After recognizing myself in a paragraph from a lovely writer’s blog in May, I wrote myself a love letter. I gave myself permission to do one thing, for seven days. I committed premeditated acts of self-love. I wrote a list of what I’m allowed to do, and paid more attention to all that I can do.
It was a month of self-love, but also a moth of rediscovering myself, of rediscovering how much I’m worth and how while my heart may be broken to pieces not only in big life altering ways, but in tiny everyday ways, while I may be fragile to a certain degree – I’m strong enough!
Jun: A month of graffiti
During my June of loving love graffiti: I’ve left post-it messages to say there’s an endless supply of hugs in my room. To state beauty and lots of love. To wish bon appétit & yummy food to go along with the appetite; a sunny day; and a lovely day such as the person I was wishing it for. To send millions of kisses; and hugs. To say thank you for a walk and for turning my afternoon into a lovely one.
And while I was at it, leaving love behind, I was more attuned to noticing how love didn’t always come in written form.
Jul: A month of compliments
July… it was something alright. More hectic than I would’ve liked, and almost as intense as May. It was a month of growth, full of loneliness, difficulties, lost things with no option to “undo”. But it was also a month of checking in with my soul, of taking a closer look at the “why” behind my writing, of pushing myself out of my comfort zone. It was a process. And all I could do was to accept (like Becky said), moving forward in a messy eclectic beautiful discombobulated ball of confusion – and being comfortable with it.
So much of life is grey. So much is in the grey – which leaves so much possibility to be turned into either positive or be perceived as negative – not (solely) in black and white.
Life seems to me to be about dichotomous beliefs almost always.
Saying, or writing, heartfelt, absolutely true, one-of-a-kind compliments helped me color the grey areas of my July. Life’s definitely technicolor!
Aug: A month of grand gestures
In August, I have been on a mission to make some grand gestures happen. What I found out was that it’s really all about doing simple (or sometimes even seemingly small) things.
Something done straight from the heart.
I think many things qualify as grand gestures if we keep that in consideration.
Sep: A month of seeing
Not in September, but not too long ago, I heard someone say how the blind can teach us to see more clearly. I fully agree. And I think those who love us from six feet under can also do that.
What I am happy about is that the month of seeing went both ways.
Oct: A month of love letters
The best part of October was connecting with friends, mostly online friends who I’ve never met in real life, by sending them a love letter, a little handmade card. The next best part of sending love letters and small tokens of my affection was the responses I got!
However, not all of my love letters were/nor will be sent. I wrote a love letter to myself in May, and it just kept on going from there. More recently, I thanked bloggy awards. I posted a poem in memory of my uncle; it truly was the longest of farewells. I wrote love letters to my laptop and notebook, to a rose, to my bookshelf, to a particular leaf I felt the urge to pick up (and make something pretty and commemorative with once it dries), to Autumn, to my Inner Critic, to someone who used to be a part of my life, to someone who died, and to someone who came into my life for a reason yet unfortunately only a season.
Nov: A month of gifts
I had a jump start on the month of gifts which was November. In October, along with my love letters I attached/sent some small tokens of my affection. And I re-noticed some pretty important things.
Dec: A month of volunteering
December isn’t over yet I know, but I already know what my conclusions are.
Being kind and generous doesn’t need to come from a financial viewpoint. One can be just as, and more often than not even more generous by finding a way to volunteer in a more creative way.
I’m firmly convinced that the little things matter most!
Seemingly little thing like offering to do the dishes after a large family gathering, walking someone home, bringing cookies/or cake/or both, waiting with someone, sharing planning an event, making a hot cup of tea when friends aren’t feeling well.
And seemingly small things like writing a love letter which will be made into a bundle of love letters and sent to someone in need of encouragement and love and support.
The seemingly small things have the most power of turning someone’s day, week, month, year or even life around!
As a closing, I’d like to thank J from the bottom of my heart for being such an inspiration and love warrior! You’ve turned my year around, my friend <3 (I can’t wait for all you have in store for 2012!)
And I’d also like to thank all of my readers, older and new ones, for sticking with me, for all the support when I needed it and for making my 2011 such a lovely one! You are all so loved!