Love Is Why

Have you ever had a song come to you seemingly out of the blue that keeps playing in your head? Have you stopped to notice if the song lyrics may bear a message to you about what’s going on in your life? This happens to me quite often, especially first thing in the morning as I drift into consciousness. Over this past week alone, I awoke to a different song playing in my head just about every morning, each with a different message.

The most poignant and beautiful song came to me this past Sunday morning, titled “Love Is The Reason” by Kathy Zavada, a spiritual singer-songwriter. Here are the specific lines to which I woke up:

And I pray that love will use me in the most beautiful of ways
Oh love is the reason I am here

When I listened to the entire song, other lines leaped out and went straight to my heart and soul:

Or perhaps it’s just to live this day each moment as it comes
With the willingness to give yourself to love

Love is our Truth

For much of my life, what I knew about love was the limited human version that comes with conditions. You know, if we behave a certain way, we “earn” love; if we don’t, we’re denied. We also expect love to be reciprocated. That is, when we express love, we expect it in return. If we don’t get it back, our instinctive reaction is to either withdraw and withhold love in kind or to over-extend beyond our 50% in the hopes that our counterpart—e.g., a parent, a friend, a romantic interest, etc.—would finally respond proportionately. Yet, Love in its purest form is neither conditional nor necessarily reciprocal. Love is our Nature, the Truth of who we are. We can tune into It, live It, and express It, or we can block It out, and shove It down, even if unconsciously. We then search hopelessly outside ourselves for conditional and reciprocal love to do the impossible job of filling the void within, which is left by being disconnected from our Truth.

The lyrics to the above song fed and filled me in such an exquisite way that I can’t begin to string together the right words to do the experience justice. All day long on Sunday, I wanted to stand on the highest mountain top and exclaim from the depths of my soul, “Yes, yes, yes, please use me! Love is why I’m here! Why I’m still here!” As pure euphoria gradually melted into quiet contemplation, I thought about what it really means to be used by Love, to truly surrender to It. In what ways have I and haven’t I been willing to give myself to Love from one moment to the next?

My ruminations took me to different relationships in my life. There was the sunset of a 12-year-old friendship, which was very recently taken off years of prolonged life support. I thought about truly loving this friend—and myself—enough to let the paths of our evolved selves diverge, instead of continuing to force it to be something that has long outlived its season. I marveled at the amazingly synchronistic new connections I’ve made just as recently. They are magical answers to my heart’s desire to have soulful connections close to home. I also pondered the dawning of one friendship that’s blooming in a manner that defies the gravity of reasoning. This precious gift offers me the opportunity to choose consciously to be present with an open heart, regardless of come what may. I thought about how my parents are the perfect teachers of unconditional love in my life. Even though it isn’t part my culture to say “I love you,” and even though we’ve hurt and disappointed each other countless times—and will probably hurt and disappoint each other again—I do love my family. And, even though the part of me that feels far more at home with western sensibilities longs to hear my parents say those three coveted words to me—even just once in my life—I know in my heart that they do love me in their own way.

Willingness to receive Love

Specific relationships aside, I thought about being willing to receive—not just to give—Love. Giving and receiving are parts of the same universal cycle. We can’t have one without the other, lest it cuts off the circulation of Love. I think you’ll agree that, in human terms, being the giver is easier than being the receiver. The giver assumes the power position, and is able to maintain control, while getting the badge of honor for being loving. The receiver, on the other hand, assumes the less noble or venerable position of needing something that hinges on the whims of another. The vulnerable receiver is exposed to all kinds of potential risks, including being rejected, abandoned or ingratiated, and, most importantly, needing to relinquish control.

Surrendering to Love isn’t easy. It takes a healthy dose of self-esteem and a truly open, allowing heart to be vulnerable. When I was down in every sense of the word following my near-fatal car accident at the end of 2008, I experienced a period of forced surrender that ended up being a great teacher. Splitting headaches and daily bouts of stomach-churning dizziness meant that I was literally down for the count a lot. During those times, I’d go into meditation, and were shown some of the most profound visions and insights of my life. I was able to receive all that, because my defenses were down, and I was open, even if involuntarily so. I didn’t have the physical, mental or emotional strength to resist Life, to resist Love. I wasn’t in control, other than returning to my sorry safety net of a job way too soon, which ended up delaying my recovery. The story I told myself was that my boss, my team and my clients needed me. The truth was I needed them. I was very good at my job, and needed to feel some measure of control over the massively vulnerable state in which I found myself. I needed to escape from the grossly disarming feelings of wanting to crawl out of my own skin.

I had no choice but to let people be there for me, including driving me everywhere I needed to go for 8 weeks (which I’ll admit really should have been much longer). It was a truly humbling time. I came face to face with the fragile human being who needed others after all, hidden behind the strong, independent career woman who didn’t know how to receive graciously. One of the lessons I learned was that it’s actually loving to let others be there for me, to show me love, to give them a chance to exercise their power of giving. What I learned—and of which I still need to be reminded sometimes—is that it takes greater inner strength and security to be the receiver than to be the giver when it comes to being Love in human form. While it’s clearly important to give Love, to truly give myself to Love means being a gracious receiver, too. And that requires a willingness to be vulnerable, a willingness to fall into the arms of Love.

I’ll continue to pray that Love will use me in the most beautiful of ways, that I’ll be willing to give myself to Love. After all, Love is why I’m still here.

What about you? Is Love your why? Please share your thoughts/feelings below.


Note: You can listen to “Love Is the Reason” on Kathy Zavada’s website.

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About Alice Chan, Ph.D.

Dr. Alice Chan is passionate about developing conscious leaders and organizations. Her path to serve her life purpose has included being an award-winning Cornell professor and a leader in the corporate world for nearly 15 years. She’s the author of the book, REACH Your Dreams: Five Steps to be a Conscious Creator in Your Life, and creator of the program, 30 Days to Living Your Best Life. All content on this blog and website is her own, not the opinions of her employer.

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Shelley Lundquist
Shelley Lundquist

Dear sweet Alice, your posts always move me. This is a lesson that has taken me a long time to learn. But I am capable of great love and am opening myself up to receive it. Believe in it. Allow it. Let it flow, because it just "is." And yes, it means being vulnerable, but however it evolves, you must trust that being open and allowing it to be will always make you stronger. And you are a very special woman with a giant heart and so much to give. Let others give to you too. You are very loved, my dear friend.

Billy Shaw
Billy Shaw

Is love real? I love my family, I believe unconditionally, the pain I feel since they left me on 2nd Sept. 2008 is absolutely real. I pray to God all the time for their return yet almost 4 years later they show no sign of coming back. Am I destined to die without ever seeing them again? If love has power as a human emotion then why won't the power work in my case?

Jodi Chapman
Jodi Chapman

I love you so much! Love always pours out of you, and I am so blessed to often be on the receiving end. What a beautiful gift that I'm so, so grateful for.

Scott Mabry
Scott Mabry

Alice thank you for this amazing post. I felt chills as I was reading it. I suppose we know these truths in our hearts but you painted a beautiful picture of what love means and how it is truly manifested. I imagined people and relationships in my life in the context of your post and was inspired to look at them in new ways. Thank you for sharing your heart. It is clear that your mission is to bring love into the world.

Alice Chan, Ph.D.
Alice Chan, Ph.D.

Thank you, dear Shelley, for your kind words, as always, in addition to adding your own insights. From the people I've met over the years, this is a lesson that doesn't come easily and does take a while to internalize. Love is perhaps the greatest paradox for human beings to grasp: The more we're willing to be vulnerable, the more we access the inner strength within us all along. It really is a beautiful paradox! Thanks again, my dear friend, and your love is felt and returned abundantly!

Alice Chan, Ph.D.
Alice Chan, Ph.D.

Billy, my heart truly goes out to you for the deep pain you've carried with you. I know firsthand how devastating it is to lose whom you love so dearly, and wonder if you'll ever be whole and happy again. It can be so all-consuming that we don't know how we could possibly go on living without them. I do very much empathize. Since you speak of God, let me offer what I'd do if I were in your shoes. God is Love, and Love is God, and this Love--which is our nature and the state of our spiritual being--is within us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, regardless of whether we are, in human terms, good or bad, loving or intolerable. When we become so convinced that Love has to look a certain way and be fulfilled by very specific individuals, we disconnect from that ever-present, unlimited, unconditional Love that's always, always there loving us. So, the only prayer I'd ever need is that I feel God's Love within me, even if it starts with feeling that just a hint more every day to help me release the pain I feel just a hint every day. At the beginning, it may feel like two steps forward and one step back. With this prayer, I affirm that God/Love brings what's for the highest good for myself and the family I've lost, that the highest happiness for all involved is already done. My family may or may not return to me. But, in the end, I know we're all loved the best way we can be loved--very likely beyond what I can even begin to imagine right now. And, I fully and undoubtedly believe that the perfect people to deliver the human part of that Love will (re-)appear when I truly give up my attachment to who must love me, when I truly embrace to the Divine Love within me. I wish you all the best, Billy, and sending you many blessings, Alice

Alice Chan, Ph.D.
Alice Chan, Ph.D.

Everything you said and more, Jodi! I'm blessed every day by your friendship, support and love. You make my world brighter and more beautiful every day. So much love back to you!

Alice Chan, Ph.D.
Alice Chan, Ph.D.

Scott, you truly honor me with your kind words. It's entirely a writer's dream to be able to read the kind of resonance you expressed. Writing is one way in which I express Love, and to see my expression reflected back to me through your words is priceless! Thank you for reading, internalizing and expressing - I'm truly grateful for what you shared so thoughtfully and so genuinely. You are a true blessing to me.


  1. […] irrelevant. In the consciousness of Love, whatever history we’ve shared matters not one bit. When Love is Why, it doesn’t matter that my family looks like one spectacular cosmic mistake, binding by blood […]

  2. […] the past, I had written about being a gracious receiver. Many of us, especially women, were raised to be givers and didn’t learn how to receive. Unless […]

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