Is action the only access to impacting life?
Let’s start the conversation with a quote. Not any quote, quote that contains the seeds for transforming the quality of life (my life, your life, our lives, life itself):
“It is important that you get clear for yourself that your only access to impacting life is action. The world does not care what you intend, how committed you are, how you feel or what you think, and certainly it has no interest in what you want and don’t want. Take a look at life as it is lived and see for yourself that the world only moves for you when you act.”
Hold this quote in mind, allow it to be the grounds of our conversation. And let’s turn the conversation to love.
What is love as action?
Catherine Cadden has grappled with this question. And in so grappling she provides the following answer:
“I defined Love as listening, observing, validating and empathizing. All action.”
Listening for what? Observing what? Validating what? Empathizing with what? The answer is to that which he have in common with our fellow human beings: our universal human needs.
– listening is an action and i/you can choose, at any-every moment, to listen for the human needs that are giving rise to my behaviour, your behaviour, his behaviour, her behaviour, our behaviour, their behaviour;
– observing is an action and as such you/i can choose to observe human behaviour (as it is and as it is not) and use that as an access to the human needs that lie at the source of the behaviour;
– validating is an action and as such i/you can choose, at any-every moment, to validate the human needs that lie at the source of my behaviour, your behaviour, his behaviour, her behaviour, our behaviour, their behaviour;
– empathising is an action and you/i can choose to empathise with ourselves and our fellow human beings at the level our universal human needs.
What is love as ‘direct action in love’?
It occurs to me that Catherine Cadden has not stopped at ‘love as an action’ like so many of us have done. She has gone further. She calls it ‘direct action in love’. What kind of love is ‘direct action in love’? It occurs to me that this is conveyed by her, in her TEDx talk, through the following quote which she shares in her talk:
“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar, it sees that the edifice that produces beggars needs restructuring. ”
– Martin Luther King Jr, “Beyond Vietnam – A Time to Break Silence”, delivered 4 April 1967
At this point, I share with you Catherine’s TEDx talk and ask that you offer yourself the gift of listening, truly listening, to her speak:
Given that I find that myself so easily sucked into a criticising mode of being (even if I do not verbalise and act it out) I leave myself (and you) with the following quote.
“Boy, I sure hope whoever threw this tantrum gets heard so they won’t think they need to do it again.”
– Eva, 9 years old
To get the transformational quality of this utterance, this mode of being-in-the-world, it is necessary to listen, truly listen, to Catherine’s talk.