Right out of high school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life, so my mother suggested I enter the Licensed Practical Nursing program at our local hospital where she worked as a nurse. It was a one year intensive program and at the end I became an L.P.N. I only worked for a couple of years as a nurse, but the unit that I was first assigned to was Pediatrics. On occasion, a baby would be admitted with the diagnosis of “Failure to thrive.” Which meant that no one thing could be found wrong (such as a heart, stomach, or blood problem) but the baby was loosing weight (or not gaining), and when you looked into his or her eyes, they were vacant. It wasn’t put in these terms, but the diagnosis really meant, “This baby is not loved.”
The parents, if they did come to the floor with them, left immediately and generally were not seen again. At home, these babies were propped up with bottles, and ignored, so they became ill, not so much from the wrong formula or from not being fed at all, but from a lack of love. What they needed, what they were not getting, was someone’s focused, loving attention.
There is so much talk about proper nutrition and making sure that everything is organic and natural, but underneath it all, what we really need is to give and to receive love. I truly believe that any human being could thrive and be healthy, no matter what we ate, if we did it with deep reverence and appreciation.
So what am I doing “mindlessly” that might be negatively affecting me or someone else? Am I talking on the phone with my father, while trying to answer emails? Cooking dinner, fuming about Jack being late with some ingredient? Feeling annoyed as I drive to see my mother, when I think I should be doing something else? Something more important?
There is nothing more important than doing what I am doing (whatever it is) with love. Paying attention is an act of love. Falling asleep blessing everyone who reads my words, sending thoughts of love and comfort, instead of worrying that I misspelled a word, is an act of love. Slowing down to pet one of the cats as I walk past is an act of love, sitting for a minute and watching them eat their breakfast, instead of rushing into my day is an act of love. Looking at myself in the mirror and saying, “I love you” instead of noticing new wrinkles, is an act of love.
All of the things that those needy babies were lacking, we still need as adults, but so many of us have adjusted to life without tenderness and compassion, true presence and attention, and have forgotten why we are really here. Maybe this weekend we can make it a point to slow down just a little, and do everything in a more loving way. When you pass a mirror, take a moment to look into your own eyes and say, “I love you”, silently say it to the grocery store clerk, the car that speeds past you, the person calling on the phone…radiate who you really are, pure love, and see what happens!
“Divine Love is the only real power. If you can realize this fact even dimly it will begin to heal and harmonize every condition in your life within a few hours. The way to realize this fact is to express it in every word you speak, in every business transaction, in every social activity, and, in fact, in every phase of your life.
An early New Thought writer said: ‘Knead love into the bread you bake; wrap strength and courage in the parcel you tie for the woman with the weary face; hand trust and candor with the coin you pay to the man with the suspicious eyes.’ This is beautifully said, and it sums up the Practice of the Presence of God”. Emmet Fox