Martha Beck says that a love feast is anything that feeds the true you – whether it’s emotional, intellectual, physical, or spiritual. If you reach out to someone, you’re laying a love feast. If you give affection to someone, that’s a love feast. Give gratitude or pay a compliment…Bam! Love feast. If you wish someone well, cheer them up, give them a high five, atta-boy or atta-girl, pat on the back, etc., you’ve made a love feast!
Ben Franklin said, “If you would be loved, love and be lovable.” That sounds cute. Seems sensible.
But have you ever put yourself out there, served up a big ol whopping love feast – the centerpiece of which was your authentic, imperfect self – and were met with, “No thank you. Didn’t order that. Not hungry for that. Not even sure what you’re servin there.”
What do you do with that kind of rejection?
You keep loving yourself. You keep expressing love. You keep giving and getting. You continue to act on the love you feel.
It’s about audience and it’s about reciprocity. It’s about giving and receiving. For me, it was about finding the tribe who didn’t value me for my material contribution or who sought false flattery and insincere praise from me, but rather who wanted me to be my gloriously convoluted, vulnerable self.
Sometimes I showed up with lip gloss and high heels on and some sass in my step. And sometimes I showed up looking like death eating a cracker and acting like the poster child for failed poets. EVERY time, they loved me and supported me and a big old tie-your-napkin-‘round-your-neck love feast ensued.
I’ve experienced some personal pain lately. Some difficult choices were made. My fellow love-feast diners not only had my back, they insisted I continue to live outwardly, live lovingly, and gave me a safe spot for release. They made room for my complications. They made space for my crazy.
I am glad to know these fellow feasters. When I look back on this chapter of the journey of my life, their joy will surely paint the mile markers alongside the road.
With whom will you love feast this week?
If you’re new to the idea of a love feast, I’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org