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Love is such an ambiguous word, isn’t it? Depending on who you are, you just reacted to the word “love” with a smile and possibly a giggle, or with an eye-roll. What is love, anyway? There is a very simple answer to that query: love is putting others above yourself. Whatever love is, you should love yourself, others, and your world deeply. And what better way to learn to love than by looking to the natural world for guidance? If you think about it, loving nature is not one-sided. Nature loves us back by providing trees for oxygen and clean air, a sunrise every morning, and sunset every evening, dirt to dig our toes in, and water to swim in and drink. Even in this technological day and age, we are sustained entirely through our planet. Thank the earth for taking care of you by taking better care of her! She will love you back for it. 

Be Welcoming

Take some advice from a dog, and always run to greet your loved ones when they come home! 

Dogs didn’t get the label “man’s best friend” for nothing! Yes, they’re cute, but that’s not why they make the best animal companions. Dogs so sweetly run and greet us when we walk in the door that it’s hard to not feel a surge of affection for them. If you welcome your loved ones with open arms, a smile, and pure joy, your loved ones will notice the attention and respond with equal, if not more, affection. Simply put, you will make stronger friendships and relationships. How special does it feel when you show up to a friend’s house and they open the door with a huge smile? This kind of welcome can make even the most jaded affection-phobe a friend. Just watch how the dogs do it and start wagging your tail now because closer friends are on the horizon! 

Add Some Sweetener

Be like a bee, and look after your honey!

“Mommy, how are babies made?” “Just look at the birds and the bees, darling.” This advice may have been endlessly perplexing as a child, but there is more than a hint of wisdom in it. Bees have a hive, and in their hive, they work tirelessly to ensure that their honey is being properly cared for. The moral tucked away in a beehive is that love takes work. You’ve got to look after your honey, or it will go bad. Take some time to figure out what your significant other really needs to be happy, healthy, and strong, and then work hard to fill those needs. Your honey will be sweeter than ever!

Another wonderful thing about bees is that their day job helps take care of the environment. To make honey, bees have to first buzz around flowers, pollinating them. They do this by brushing up against the pollen sacs on the flowers with their fuzzy legs. When the plants are pollinated, they can then start producing more plants, and more plants lead to healthier earth! You can find little ways to help the environment as you work, as well. You can put up a recycling bin in the office, bike to work, use less paper, and so many other options. Every time you do something good for the environment, think of it as a love letter to the earth that sustains you. 

Give Yourself a Break

Follow in the sunset’s orbit, and keep your inner fire burning!

The cold winter months always feels like the hardest. Work piles up, the weather is grey, and a vacation is nowhere in sight. If you’ve been feeling run down and your love feels like it’s stopped up, it may be time for you to relax and give yourself some self-care. It’s impossible to love others well without taking the time to love yourself. Why not love yourself with the same intentionality that you love others? Keep your fire burning by figuring out what replenishes you, and then doing it! Maybe it’s being alone in the mountains, maybe it’s a day off from work and reading, maybe it’s a dinner party. Whatever your self-care method is, be sure to stick to it. Banish your worries to a notebook by physically writing them down before you start relaxing, take a few deep breaths, and settle in. 

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says ‘Go to sleep, darling, till the summer comes again.’”

–Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass 

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