Speaking about learning lessons in life, funny how a bumper sticker can capture a whole philosophy in one simple phrase. Saw this one on the car in front of me at the gas station yesterday and I had to pause and reflect on it.

“That is exactly true”, I thought to myself while pumping gas.

I have always believed life is a school. I’ve been known to quip: “And some people are stuck in kindergarden”, “This is a test, this is only a test” and “If life is a school, why does it take me so long to learn the lesson?”

But this bumper sticker made it all so clear.  Love is the lesson. Life is all about learning to love, isn’t it? Learning to love ourselves, others, and God in a balanced and healthy way. It takes practice, doesn’t it? Most of us tip towards one direction or another and it’s only when problems arise, we realize we have been out of balance with our relationships. For example, take the workaholic who neglects his/her family and ends up dealing with an affair, a divorce, or a rebellious teen. The scales were tipped too heavily on the work facet of life, right? Or the mother who idolizes her kids but neglects her own well being. Who is she not loving?

So what to do? When problems arise, don’t just push through them or ignore them. Problems in my life are a sign that something is out of balance and needs to be tended to. I must take responsibility for my life. I cannot continually blame my parents, my boss, or other people. That’s what Adam and Eve did way back when and it still is not the answer.

The answer is to realize what part I have played in the dramas in my life. Ask myself these questions:  “How loving have I been – to others, to myself and ultimately, to God?” “Did I do the honorable thing?” Most of the time the honorable thing is the most difficult thing to do. But that’s where courage and integrity come in. Am I living according to my highest values or am I succumbing to the pressures of others, society, my past hurts?

If I want to move forward in my life, I must take responsibility for my actions. It is true, we do reap what we sow. Call it karma if you like, but you get the idea. Whenever we fail to do the loving thing – towards ourselves or others, it will always come back to us. Learning to love is a lifelong practice and the good news is we get plenty of opportunities.

Who can you be more loving towards today? Your spouse? Your coworker? Yourself? Love to hear your thoughts on this post so drop me a note when you can.

Until next time, keep looking up!

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