A dear friend of mine recently went on a very special trip. She didn’t focus on destinations; rather, she focused on people. She chose to see, in a relatively short span of time, the people in the world who love her the most. Not only her family, mind you; she included some of her closest friends and only two family members. She said that she needed her heart to be filled with love after two very difficult years had sapped her of her energy and vitality.
It got me thinking about the wisdom of choosing to go on a trip that put her in contact with people who could fill her heart with love. I find myself often caught in planning trips based on destination and experience; what if, instead, I regularly planned trips based on people and how it will leave me feeling? And could I, somehow, learn to fill my heart with love on a day-to-day basis? You know, since I’m not made, quite unfortunately, of gold. If not, oh boy would I be travelling ALL the time.
How to create a space filled with love
While no relationship is perfect, there are those special ones that only fill you with great joy, even if a disagreement occurs. I am lucky enough to have a handful of those in my life, and just thinking of these dear souls makes me smile. (Yes, I’m smiling as I am writing this.) My home is peppered with little items connected to these people, things that I use almost daily, which brings warmth to my heart.
Another thing I have done, based on the advice of a friend, is to bring back from every place something that I can use, rather than a more stereotypical souvenir. We got a nice spatula from one of our trips, and kitchen towels during another one. Every time that we use these items, we are reminded of the trip, which is always a wonderful memory.
There are also the often used (for good reason) flowers and scents. Flowers can be expensive; but I have found that even a good, fake flower can brighten up a room. A friend of mine has a small bouquet of fake flowers that she plumps up with as many real flowers as she can afford that week. Another one, who doesn’t live in a place that ever sees winter, uses whatever is available (which means, sometimes, that she only uses leaves!) to create bouquets for her home.
Scents can range from perfume to candles to even baked food—whatever reminds you of your loved ones and makes your heart happy. If you don’t want to keep the baked foods, you can bake for a neighbor, a friend, or your colleagues, which will bring you double the joy.
How to add more love to your daily life
When you go shopping, is there a cheerful cashier that can serve you, with whom you can share laughter-filled banter? Is there a barista at a coffee shop you particularly get along with? Is there a co-worker that always has some interesting news to share? Do you know a janitor at your office or school who is super cheerful? These people most probably also would need as much of a boost as you do; seek them out, and cheer each other up with a simple conversation. You’d be surprised how a simple “How are you” can turn, quite easily, into a mood-boosting conversation.
How to add more love to your week
I talked about the idea behind this post to a couple of my friends, and together, we came up with a couple of things that can be incorporated into a weekly schedule, adding a good dollop of love into your life. The most obvious to us, since we are both aunties and mothers, is to sit on a park bench for even 15 minutes a week, in the sunshine, and listen to the sound of children laughing and playing. We decided that watching an old school, cheesy, feel-good, resolve-everything-neatly-in-twenty-two-minutes sitcom has its place in our week. Scheduling a long phone call with someone who makes your heart sing was another tried and tested method that helped significantly boost love in our week—as was putting loud, happy music on, even (or especially…) if it’s during chores.
How to do this on an annual basis
Taking a trip every year not to visit a place, but to visit someone (or to visit with someone at a place you really want to visit!) will do a lot of good, as well as bring together a couple of the above mentioned elements. You’ll have to chat with this friend often to plan the trip, you can bring back a souvenir, you can put loud, happy music on while packing and unpacking, and you can make memories that will take you through rough times.
We are surrounded by messaged meant to breed discontent, all in the name of making us buy more, but at the cost of our emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. People like us, who are interested in personal development and community-building, need to make sure our joy isn’t sapped by these things happening in the world. Adding a couple (or all!) of the items in this post on your to-do list might do you more good than you can imagine. If you test any (or all!) of these tips, do leave a comment below sharing your experience, or your own tip.