We must ask ourselves, “How can I bring love forward and be a part of the healing process?”

As a part-time elementary school librarian, I spent most of my time reading aloud to children on Zoom for the past year, encountering their never-ending curiosity, constant open-heartedness, and unceasing desire for connection. I think we can unequivocally say this was a demanding and difficult school year for everyone—students, teachers, parents, and administrators. Yet, at the same time, I can also say there have been some invaluable gifts that I’ll hold onto and remember for the rest of my life. 

The author reads to students online

Day after day, I sat in front of the computer screen reading and bringing books to life, while being present and listening to the children in front of me. Throughout the many months, I experienced such genuine desire in our students to connect and share their thoughts and feelings, as well as their Lego structures, drawings, and pet cats. During our time together, I felt like we were magnets drawn to one another, despite the small squares that enclosed us on the screen. We laughed over silly things like a frog putting on flippers to swim, found courage in stories about people overcoming obstacles, and felt inspired by books about artists, scientists, and activists. 

One day, after reading a book about sheltering in place to a group of 5th grade students, and discussing how love in our hearts was something we all shared, one of the boys said, “During this time of staying inside, I’ve realized how connected I am to everyone in the world.” 

…students expressed joy, gratitude, and their love in many ways, like making heart shapes with their hands, blowing kisses across the screen, and giving virtual hugs.

Yes, he was right, this pandemic experience has given us an opportunity to realize we are all interconnected, and that love is our common ground. I believe we are all connected to a constant flow of love, and our hearts seek to connect and share this love with others.  

Screenshot of students showing t-shirts which read: “I virtually zoomed through kindergarten”

During our last online class of the school year, students expressed joy, gratitude, and their love in many ways, like making heart shapes with their hands, blowing kisses across the screen, and giving virtual hugs. Feeling their grateful hearts overflowing with love, even virtually, has reminded me once again how powerful the energy of love is, and how love can transform any situation we face.  

I truly believe that an attitude and stance of love and gratitude can help us move forward out of the paralyzing fear of the pandemic and into a sense of greater trust in the present moment. Just the other day, my husband and I were sitting outside having lunch at a local delicatessen when a man in his forties, wearing a gray shirt with his company’s logo, asked if he could join us. He pointed to a bracelet around his left wrist that read, “I’m vaccinated.” We’re vaccinated, too, my husband said. He and his 15-year-old daughter sat across from us, unwrapped their sandwiches, and we all had lunch together, talking and eating out in the fresh air. At first, I felt myself freeze after so many months of Covid worries, but then I reminded myself that we were fine, and I opened my heart to the present moment. It was pleasant to chit-chat with strangers and enjoy a few moments of connection. 

In my new book, The Divine Heart, I talk about love as a dynamic relationship that is always growing, expanding and unfolding, and that empowers us to face our current challenges: 

As we are called to integrate so much paradox and pain, we need love to help heal, strengthen, and restore ourselves….Born of love is hope. In the depth and breadth of our sadness, we will find grace, love, and a way forward.”

Hope is knocking on our door, and love is waiting.

We must ask ourselves, “How can I bring love forward and be a part of the healing process?” With a grateful heart, (a “great-full” heart, as Kristi Nelson, executive director of gratefulness.org, often says) we can trust that the more we choose the path of love, the more we will be a part of the way forward. 

This is a good moment to connect to the abundance of love, to its energy, and to strength and kindness, and to remember that we’re capable of growing in love. I experienced that all year with my students, each of them a gift to me with their open-heartedness, curious minds, and playful intimacy. As we embark on this collective journey from fear back to love, can we offer each other inspiration and encouragement along the way? Hope is knocking on our door, and love is waiting. Let us welcome it in and rebuild our sense of community together with love.

7 Ways to Live in Love, Every Day!

Love is the most generous and healing energy we experience as human beings. When we’re anchored in the source of love, we can find a way to move forward with greater happiness and hope. 

  • Find Quiet Moments

Find quiet moments throughout the day to drop into the depth of the love that holds and sustains us. Pause and take a few deep breaths. Breathe in the energy of love and then breathe out the energy of love. 

  • Practice Listening

Listen to yourself or someone else with a compassionate and caring heart. Listening is everything—give yourself and others the space to truly be heard. Being heard is healing, so don’t feel like you have to rush in and give advice or try to fix anything. 

  • Delight in the Joys of the Season

Notice the gifts of the season that are all around us—the flowering trees, the singing of the birds, the surprise of new buds. Pay attention to how you can water the seeds of joy in your life and the lives of others, even during difficult times.

  • Be Kind to Yourself and Others

Practice the gentleness of acceptance and enfold yourself with love, whatever you may be feeling, right now. Place your hand over your heart and breathe in compassion for yourself and others, remembering that most of us are feeling some level of stress and strain these days. 

  • Cultivate Gratitude

Remember to find gratitude for all that is sustaining and supporting you, even in the midst of fear and loss. You may want to start your day with a simple expression of gratitude by saying, “I am thankful for this new day.” During the day, make a habit of noticing the things you are grateful for.

  • Nurture Your Heart

Identify what can anchor you in your heart during these uncertain and shifting times—is it being in nature, finding moments of peace in meditation or prayer, talking to someone you trust? You could make a list of these to help you remember. 

  • Value Connection

During this last year, we’ve come to realize how important connection is for our well-being. Find ways to stay connected to life by interacting with people, animals, and nature. Share a meal with the people you live with, spend time in nature, or connect with your pets. Recognize how interconnected we all are with each other and with all of creation. 

These are just a few of the ways it’s possible to cultivate love on a daily basis. Please share any other ways that may work for you in the comments section below to contribute to the healing and growth of us all.

Stories of Grateful Living
Colette Lafia

Colette Lafia

About the author

Colette Lafia is a San Francisco-based spiritual director, workshop leader, and writer. She is the author of Seeking Surrender: How a Trappist Monk Taught Me to Trust and Embrace Life, and Comfort & Joy: Simple Ways to Care for Ourselves and Others. Colette has a passion for helping people connect more deeply with the presence of the sacred in their daily lives and blogs about it at www.colettelafia.com.