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Excerpted from A Home for the Heart by Charlotte Kasl. Copyright 1998 by Charlotte Kasl. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"Love is the energy at the center of all life. It is the reality beneath our fears, the breath within the breath, the seed of all that grows."

  Charlotte Kasl
A Home for the Heart
, Part 1

"Love is the only satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence."
- Erich Fromm

Love is the energy at the center of all life. It is the reality beneath our fears, the breath within the breath, the seed of all that grows. Loving ourselves, loving others, and loving spirit/God are inseparable, for all life is interconnected and sacred. Love is an energy force like the air you breathe; if you withdraw your love from anyone, you take your breath away.

We become increasingly able to love as we integrate ourselves and become whole. Our wholeness is expressed in a lust for life and a capacity for joy, delight, and adventure. Our wholeness gives birth to compassion, which Ram Dass describes in Compassion in Action as "the tender opening of our hearts to pain and suffering." 

For most people, the journey toward love requires that we penetrate the armor around our hearts, feel our grief, and open ourselves to all our feelings. In doing so we become more truly alive, deepen our self-acceptance, and become less and less dependent on others to validate our worth. This frees us to stand in the center of our power and to give generously of ourselves from a sense of inner safety, potency, and vitality. 

The ability to give generously of ourselves without feeling we are giving up something or being controlled is at the heart of intimacy because it reflects our individual strength and development.

We reach for words to describe love, but, ultimately, love is an experience of unity, peace, or ecstasy that goes beyond words. 

Too often people mistake love for fancy presents, sentimental greeting cards, or lavish praise. But love is not sentimental; love takes discipline, awareness, and a willingness to step into the fire of transformation. It is born of the minute-to-minute choices we make throughout our days as we bring honesty, integrity, and compassion to all we do and say.

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