Love as a verb
By Nimue Brown
One of the ideas that Pagan author Halo Quin has brought into my life recently is the notion of love as a verb. She’s been talking about this around self care especially. Many of us find the idea of self-love disconcerting at best. If it feels really alien as an idea it can be impossible to work with. However, when the focus is on what you can do rather than how you feel, it becomes easier to think about.
It’s worth asking what we can do to take better care of ourselves. What do I need right now? What would help me? What does my body need? What would help my heart? What does my soul require? It’s good to check in with yourself regularly and to think about these things and then act on them. Self care as something we do, rather than as an idea, is a good deal more effective.
‘Love’ as a word is easy to bandy about. I’ve had a few people in my life who liked to say extravagant things but never really followed through on it. When love is a feeling that lives inside you, that can be lovely, but if it isn’t expressed through actions, it’s of limited use to anyone else.
This is definitely also an issue around religions. The idea of the love of God is something quite a lot of people like to talk about – especially right wing politicians. Without the actuality of putting that love into the world, it isn’t of any use to anyone. It may in fact be more about self delusion and hypocrisy.
For Pagans, I think the most important question around spiritual love is whether we love nature as an idea, or whether we’re doing anything with that love.
When you love actively, you build through action. In any context, turning love into deeds has the impact of putting your love into the world in ways that will make a difference. If the love that lives in your heart doesn’t inspire you into action, that’s worth thinking about. It may be a consequence of a worldview that divides soul things from the physical world. We exist as physical beings, and if love does not flow from us to inform what we do, then what are we doing with our lives?