To love all things does not mean to feel heated passion for everything and everyone. To love all things means to forgive and be compassionate toward ourselves and others, including those who think differently than we do.
To love all things does not mean to never ever feel sad or angry again. Far from it. To love all things means not resisting ‘what is,’ which includes your emotions, whether they feel good or not.
To love all things does not mean to be passive, to condone abusive or unethical behavior, and to ‘give up’ your will to change the things that can be changed. To love all things means to stop resisting what has, is, or could happen and pushing away those uncomfortable feelings you feel inside (Guzman-Poole 2022).
To love all things means to “stop arguing with the moment that’s in front of you and using your will [and power] to wish it was something different.” (Guzman-Poole 2022)
As the wise Plant Teacher Bobinsana once taught me, there is a potentiality, infinite possibilities that exist in everything. When you resist the moment that’s in front of you and wish it was something different, then only one possibility exists: the unfulfillment of your expectation or desire.
Since Bobinsana is a plant, she cannot physically move. Neither can her plant sisters come running to help her or save her from dire situations. She is on her own (physically speaking) and she cannot escape (!). Thus, she has no other choice than to accept and receive everything as it is—to surrender to life. When it rains, it rains. When it is scorching hot, it is scorching hot. When there are bugs eating her leaves, well… there are bugs eating her leaves.
Complaining about these situations would only accomplish two things:
- waste precious energy
- make these situations go from bad to worse
Because once labeled as ‘bad,’ these situations cannot be anything else. Why? Because the very act of observing and measuring a characteristic causes it to leap out of its infinite probable states and become actual (Cowan 2014). In other words, the moment we observe and measure—or label—something as ‘bad,’ it can only manifest as ‘bad,’ while all other possibilities remain forever hidden.
Labeled as ‘bad,’ the rain, the hot sun, and the bugs can only be affronts to Bobinsana’s personal preferences and disruptions to what she would like to be living out. Without a means to control these situations to make her desires win (by changing location, for example), if she were to sulk or become sad and angry, it would only make all these situations even more frustrating and her, even more unhappy.
“If you want the rainbow, stop complaining about the rain.”— Dolly Parton
Instead, by saying “yes” to everything that life presents to her, Bobinsana can relax into these situations and receive them as gifts. Rain then becomes a source of water, refreshment, and cleansing. Sun brings heightened photosynthesis, which means more energy for her growth and maintenance. It also means less carbon dioxide and more oxygen in the air for plants and animals. Bugs eating her leaves allow her to provide sustenance to insects that then go on to feed a large number of living organisms—predatory insects, birds, frogs, etc. These situations are all opportunities for her to grow (literally) and to contribute to the web of life—to the abundance in the world—in a variety of ways.
By not fighting ‘what is,’ by accepting—or loving—all things (and people) as they are and for what they are, anything remains possible.
I was recently reminded of this principle when a woman I barely knew made an abrupt negative comment on the way my fellow volunteers and I were preparing a meal for the attendees of a community event. My usual response would have been to take it personally, to reply with a stern gaze and tight lips, to label her as abrupt and controlling, and to avoid interacting with her (at all costs) from that moment on. Instead, I stopped in my tracks and decided to be patient with her, to remain present and open-hearted, and to ask her open questions about her comment. The result was nothing short of amazing. She mellowed right out, joined our task force to prep the meal, and happily shared her expertise with us. No need to say that the meal was exquisite and a great success!
To love all things is great power. To love all things is believing that anything is possible, even the best-case scenario despite all evidence to the contrary. To love all things is to be courageous. It is to have the courage to be and to do the good and loving thing, even when everything pushes you to do nothing at all.
Is loving all things something easy to do? Absolutely not!
Is loving all things something worth practicing? Absolutely yes!
When you stop fighting what is, you “develop a poise that is unshakable [i] […]. No longer will you need things to go your way to wear a smile on your face, it will always be there. […] Every moment will be a great teacher, another opportunity to grow.” (Guzman-Poole 2022)
To love all things is “making friends with ourselves and with our world. It involves not just the parts we like, but the whole picture, because it all has a lot to teach us.” (Chödrön 2010)
Chödrön, P. (2010). The wisdom of no escape: And the path of loving-kindness, Shambhala Publications.
Cowan, E. (2014). Plant Spirit Medicine: A Journey Into the Healing Wisdom of Plants, Sounds True.
Guzman-Poole, A. (2022). Choose Love, Self-published.
[i] Bobinsana is a great teacher here as well. She is a very strong and flexible plant. Her tap root—or primary root—grows seven times deeper in the earth than her tallest limb above it. She is therefore firmly rooted in the earth. She is also fibrous and filled with water (hence her preference to grow close to water bodies and many referring to her as Sirenita, which means little mermaid). Together, these qualities allow her to sustain incredible amounts of pressure and tension without breaking, not even a slightest crack. She, too, is unshakable in the face of most external conditions.
Bobinsana (Calliandra angustifolia)