This I Believe

Chip - Menlo Park, California
Entered on May 16, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65

I Believe in Love

I watched the movie “HAIR” last night and I got to thinking about the 60’s, flower power, hippies, and the halcyon days of my youth.

I was fifteen years old in 1968 and all I really wanted to be was a “flower child.” I carried my guitar everywhere, playing the folk-rock songs of Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, and their like. I wore bell-bottom jeans, with lots of patches, shirt’s that looked an awful lot like my sister’s blouses, a fake-fur vest. I wanted to grow a pony-tail but my Dad, a decorated WWII vet and Nixon democrat wouldn’t have it, so I just wore my hair a bit longer than he’d like, but not quite “hippie-length”.

What I remember about that time is that I passionately believed in the transformative power of peace and love and joy. “Make Love, Not War.” “All You Need is Love.” “What the World Needs Now is Love.” These weren’t just song titles or bumper-stickers to me. These were calls to action. I naively believed that the answer to every problem was “love”. The funny thing is, I still believe it.

Most of the movies and books and TV specials that I’ve seen about that time don’t really match my memories and experiences. The media seem to concentrate on the drug-use and indiscriminate sexuality of the times. But they miss the fervor and passion of the underlying philosophy – a philosophy of loving your neighbor, waging peace and practicing tolerance and acceptance.

In my work as a personal growth coach and workshop leader I’ve met more than 15,000 people on four continents who all believe in love, or would like to. Some see themselves as aging hippies. Some see themselves as “red state” conservatives. Some are quite well-off. Some are struggling, doing just a little better than survival. Some are in their twenties. Some are in their eighties.

I’ve worked with a few priests, several nuns, and I don’t know how many sex-workers. I’ve met people who identify themselves as heterosexuals, homosexuals, transsexuals and intersexuals. The thing they all have in common is the desire to get love, give love and have their love received.

Somehow, in this fast-moving, hard-working, media-saturated society there are a lot of people who long to live together with their family, friends and neighbors in dignity, respect, trust, kindness, compassion, honesty, and love. We like to share hugs. We like to look into each other’s eyes and really listen to each other. We like feeling that the world might just be a bit friendlier than the fear-merchants would have us believe. We like to think that maybe we are all God’s children, made in the image of the divine and carrying the spark of the divine within us.

We like to think that, if you choose to, you can see all human behavior as either being an act of love or a cry for love. And the more we answer those cries for love with genuineness, empathy and understanding, the more life seems filled with love. Maybe this love of ours won’t solve all the problems of the world, but it’s certainly better than the alternatives – fear, hatred, intolerance.

And person by person, workshop by workshop, my world is filled with friends and family, with peace, with joy, with music and movement and laughter and love.

Just like I dreamed it would be when I was fifteen.