I stumbled upon this old card that Julia made for me when she was about four years old and just learning to write and spell. It read, “To Mommy, Form (spelling from), Love, Julia”. Amazingly, when I re-read this same cherished card this week, it read quite differently: “To Mommy. Form Love. Julia”. The message to form love, to create love, was there all along, yet I hadn’t seen it.

A powerful message from my now-almost teenager from her little girl days. Though she may not have consciously intended this, there nonetheless is tremendous wisdom in these words to “form love”.  I see in myself, and know from our conversations, that many of us can get caught up in forming the opposite of love–that is, fear. We listen to the battlecry of fear because we think it’s helping us be a better (mother, spouse, friend, employee), but in reality fear masquerades as protection and in that costume, robs us of the joy of the present moment. In fact, some contemplative thinkers, like Marianne Williamson, insist that it’s impossible to simultaneously hold the energy of both fear and love. Fear crowds out love and love dissolves fear.

So, is it possible to create and stay in a state of love (not romantic love necessarily, but a state of fearless connection to the present experience)? If we do, will we still be wise, will we pursue excellence and be happily engaged in the lives of our loved ones? I believe wholeheartedly yes. Because surrendering into a state of love unlocks bound-up energy, frees up more joy, and inspires a more grounded connection to ourselves and others. To consistently open to love means that our perceptions aren’t distorted by the static of the Fear Channel. It means we see ourselves and each other with both clarity and compassion. And that is not only fun, but meaningful.

Staying on the path of cultivating love? I wish I could say it’s one and done. Like anything valuable in our lives, it takes persistence and commitment and a willingness to stay the path, even when– especially when– life is challenging. Don’t let fear or anxiety or worries upstage the true awesomeness of your life. Now is the time, again and again, to return to the heart of the matter, to choose to form love and let go of fear. That way, no matter what is going on externally, you have the confidence that you can soothe your own soul from the inside out.