Love is a spiritual organism connecting people. Love is to the mutual world as gravity is to the external world. Though it evolves over time, love is a circle with three phases. These phases blend into one another seamlessly, around and around again, potentially lifelong. The phases are as the sweeps of a second hand, beginning at 12: first downward, then across, finally upward toward closure – and repetition.
For love’s perpetuation and fulfillment, all three phases must be sweep through continuously and in order. It’s like baseball: to get home, which is the goal of batting; you must touch first, second and third base – each base, in order. Miss one, you’re out. Likewise, to attain a mutually satisfying love, you must touch each base in sequence.
The three phases of love’s circle are receiving, sharing and giving. Love begins as a gift, whether as a child receiving mother’s love, or as an adult receiving another’s love. To receive love, we must be receptive to it, and to the one who offers us love. We must also have a sense of worth, of lovability. If we have bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness in our hearts, we cannot but reject incoming love. The barriers to receiving love lodge within us: we are our own traffic cop, our own judge and jury. We have that power over love.
Once we receive love, once we round first, the impulse of the heart is to join with the other and share in loving. Yet second base is the farthest from home, and can become as an island unto itself, when two persons enter into a union of mutual caring. Being loved, we love back, maybe not to the same extent as the other loves us, maybe to an even greater extent; but we love back.
When someone loves you and you let love in, you’re going to love back, you’re going to affirm the other’s caring. Receiving love changes your life; sharing it with another changes the world, by adding a new relationship to it. If everybody lived in at least one fulfilling love relationship, the world would be very close to heaven.
The sweep of love does not stop; it seeks to give itself away. We cannot stay at second base; our hearts seek to give to others something of what we have received and shared. It is more blessed to give than to receive because it makes us happier, more complete, closer to the highest in us. Giving love is a way of life, a rewarding mission worthy of our utmost effort.
To continue to give love to others, whether to children or spouse, to family, friends or strangers in our midst, we must continue to receive and share love in relationships of mutual caring. You cannot get blood from a stone or keep your car running without regularly filling it up. Nor can you keep giving without also getting – and not just what you get by giving to others. You also need to be loved for being you; you still require mutually nurturing relationships in which to live and more and have your being and belonging.
The circle of love must not be broken. The second hand must not stop its sweeping; the bases must be rounded again and again for the game to go on. Let yourself receive love, share love with those most precious to you, and give love to all who will take. In so doing, you will continuously renew love and yourself in the process.