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How Love Liberates
"I am grateful to have been loved and to be loved now and to be able to love, because that liberates. Love liberates. It doesn't just hold - that's ego. Love liberates. It doesn't bind. Love says..."I love you. I love you if you're in China. I love you if you're across town. I love you if you're in Harlem. I love you. I would like to be near you. I'd like to have your arms around me. I'd like to hear your voice in my ear. But that's not possible now, so I love you. Go." - Maya Angelou
"Love liberates," declares the great octogenarian poet, Maya Angelou. In two words, Angelou articulates the trait of the most admirable, creative and joyous people, whom I call, The Good Among the Great.
The trait is to be loving; and to have deep, long-lasting loves, and for those loves to be highly respectful of the person adored. These are loves that don't smother or bind, even when between parent and child. Between adults, these are often intense relationships between autonomous individuals who do not cling to each other. This is much more than a romantic feeling. It involves great joy and admiration to be sure. But it can involve great effort and pain.
As the best selling author Scott Peck defined love, it is "the will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth." So, you may have to say goodbye to a spouse shipped off to war, or let go of an addicted child -- not knowing if they'll live or die. You will, undoubtedly, have to push your self through painful reflection to recognize your own faults and fears.
Love is joyous and sweet. But it is also painful because life is painful.
And as Angelou teaches, love can also be the key that unlocks our psychological cages. On Oprah Winfrey's marvelous new television show, Master Class, on her OWN channel, Angelou explains, "I am grateful to have been loved and to be loved now, and to be able to love. Because that liberates. Love liberates. It doesn't just hold. That's ego. Love liberates.
When my son was born I was seventeen, my mother had a huge house, 14 room house. At 17, I went to her and said 'I'm leaving.' She asked me, 'You're leaving my house?" And she had live-in help. I said, 'Yes, I've found a job and I have got a room with quilting privileges down the hall and the landlady will be the baby-sitter.'
She asked me, 'You're leaving my house?'
I said, 'yes, ma'am.'
'And you're taking the baby?'
I said, 'Yes.'
She said, 'Alright. Remember this, when you step over my door sill, you've been raised. You know the difference between right and wrong. Do right. Don't let anybody else raise you and make you change. And remember this, you can always come home.'
I went home every time the world slammed me down made me call it, 'Uncle.' I'd go home with my baby. My mother never once acted as if, 'I told you.' She'd say, 'Oh! Baby's home! Oh, my darling, Mama's going to cook you something. Mother's going to make this for you.' Love! She liberated me to life."
This Valentine's Day, who will you liberate through your love? Who will liberate you?
Cheers from Sonoma,
Donald Van de mark is the author of, The Good Among the Great, 19 Traits of the Most Admired, Creative and Joyous Human Beings. Check out Donald Van De Mark's series on the 19 Personality Traits of the Best Human Beings.
Donald Van de Mark is a motivational speaker and has interviewed hundreds of leaders in business and politics including: Andrew Weil, MD, former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley, Jack Welch, Starbucks' Howard Schultz and Intel's Andy Grove, in his nearly 3 decades as a correspondent and anchor at CNN, CNBC and public television. He is the host of The Wisdom of Caring Leaders and The Wisdom of Teams, training videos used by corporations and schools to teach leadership skills.
Donald integrates practical tips from these great leaders to provide a riveting motivational speech on the personality traits of successful people.