Is Love Really ALL You Need?

heartttSing it with me like we’re the Beatles: “All you need is love, love, love is all you need.”

Are you buying it? Is love really ALL you need?

If you’re Marianne Williamson, the answer is yes.  Marianne, who wrote A Return to Love and several other books that heavily influenced my early recovery, is often quoted for her words on love and forgiveness.

When I’m spiritually fit and seeing the world through a clear lens, love IS all I need.  I find myself agreeing with Marianne, Eckhart, Wayne, Deepak, even the Dalai Lama about be-ing love. I mentally send buckets of love out into the Universe to pour over the heads of those not as far along the spiritual spectrum as me . . . ah, those poor, unenlightened souls.

And when I’m not spiritually fit?

Oh, you would have to ask. During the myriad of times when I’m hitting sour notes and damning the grasshoppers that hop-and-touch me as I walk across summer grass, I’m certainly not singing love’s praises.

You’d think it would be the opposite, wouldn’t you?

Nope, I’ve got no use for the seekers’ quotes when I’m restless, irritable and discontent. I would rather–forgive the imagery here, please–sit in my own shit because it’s warm (That’s a quote from one John W. Admire, another great influence to my recovery.).

I can get spiritually unfit quickly when I’m in that warm, poopy place. Fortunately, I don’t go there often.

Now is not one of those times, in case you’re wondering. But I am thinking a lot about a friend who is super-special to me. I spoke with her yesterday and it seems her life is in the pits on every front–work, primary relationship, self-worth.

She sounded tired and alone. My heart breaks for her. But if I said to her, love is all you need, she would have probably hung up the phone.

I didn’t, of course. But I’ve been thinking it.

What happens when the wheels come off the bus?

My friend lamented that she wasn’t doing good things for herself, that she was too angry and frustrated and over the whole idea of taking care of herself. How could I say to her that this is the exact time to feed her soul lots of love?

I’ve been in that emotionally drained morass of pain before so I know a little about what my friend is feeling. Why do we hurt ourselves more by denying self-love when we need it most?

Human nature, I suppose. I recall the kind words people in recovery say to newcomers, “Let us love you until you can love yourself.”

Wise words. Even as I asked my friend to give herself some grace for the things she’s doing right, I know that I can help her too. I can send her love.

Ice cream scoops, minnow buckets, Texas in-ground pools all filled with love for a woman who is always unconditionally, no-questions-asked there for me. I hold a vision of brighter times for her, a vision of her finding her laughter again, a vision that sees her heart overflowing with love of life.

Blondie, this one’s for you. I’m sending you love.

Love is all around us all the time. Love is the ethers that we swim in. Love is the amniotic fluid of the soul. ~ Marianne Williamson

Photo courtesy of greyerbaby

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  1. Oh the synchronicity, Beth! I’ve just been reflecting on how easy it is to spout words of love, but they can be empty sometimes or not what the other person needs.

    I think the secret is to simply be there for the other person. That itself is love. And, to really, really listen. Sometimes in the listening, there might be an opening. But, if not, no worries because presence is care itself.

    And, I fully agree that it can be powerful to send love to others invisibly.

    • Beth says:

      Hi Sandra,

      Sometimes the invisible, virtual kind of love is more effective because the receiver knows just how real the love is, making it so powerful. Agree about the listening part. That’s a gift and a skill and one I sense you have in abundance.

      Peace and hugs to you!

  2. These words so spoke to me because they came from my friend that knows me well & I trust to give it to me straight (did I say straight? :))

    I know that I am loved & by many – there just seems to come times that I needed the re-fuel that these words provided. My warm poo is no longer comfortable & the stench is unwelcome…

    My new mantra is: If you can’t handle the heat, put your asbestos panties on! Well friend, your love has lifted me higher (you’re not the only one that can quote songs) so me & my panties took a healing 4 mile power walk today to set the self-love in motion!!! I LOVE YOU SO – XOXOXO

    • Beth says:

      My dear fire-retardant friend,

      I trust you know that the whole warm poo thing was not a judgment on your recent history. Just sharing how I sometimes handle things . . .

      So glad to hear about the power walk and that you’re back on the lovin’ life trail again. I LOVE YOU SO RIGHT BACK!

      Faithfully by your side, I am!
      Your Bubba Gump

  3. Peggy says:

    Hi Beth,

    My best friend and I had the type of friendship where we could call each other out on our poop. Whether we were sitting in it or flinging it around like wild monkeys. We get on the phone and whichever one of us was being poopy, the other (less poopier one) would give the wild monkey “5 minutes.” Sometimes it took more than 5 minutes but we called them our “5 minute pity parties.” Then it was up to the one not having the pity party to give the pitiful one a gentle dope slap. Love really is all you need provided it comes with a dope slap from your bestie every now and again…

  4. Beth says:

    I get it, Peggy! Love the image of you and your bestie dope slappin’ each other. Only besties allowed!

    Thanks for stopping by and hanging out here for a bit!

  5. Cathy says:

    What a great friend you are, Beth. Love can make a difference and I too feel for people when they get so down that they can no longer see that. That is wonderful that you were there for her and hopefully with a little time, things will change! Thanks for an encouraging post!

    • Beth says:

      Cathy, I think you’ll agree that it’s easy to be a good friend when you surround yourself with people you admire and respect. She is one of those very special people in my life . . . and she lives in California too!

      Y’all have more than one thing in common!

      Thanks for your note!

  6. Kyczy Hawk says:

    Beth, as you know I was right where your friend was/ is / is just coming out of. The HEAD knows and the rest of the self is powerless. So, yes, I needed, we need – to float in the Texas sized pool of “otherlove” until the self love (self acceptance) can reappear. Thank you for this column. This is the deal – this is the way it is. From the outside and from the inside.

    • Beth says:

      Dearest Kyczy,

      I’m happy to report that I heard from my friend Cathy today and, like you, she has busted through the black veil. She has plans, but more importantly, she has hope and a humble heart that knows surrender is merely a giving over. I am so proud of both of you! Anytime you need a boost, you can always count on me! We sisters in recovery gotta stick together!

  7. Ah, I can see and hear John and the boys singing it out! Damn, those were good days (Hello, Goodbye). You ask, “Why do we hurt ourselves more by denying self-love when we need it most?” Man, the holy grail of counseling. If I had the answer to that question – well, I dunno’. No doubt, human nature. As Sigmund Freud said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” Nonetheless, to love, Beth. Still damned fine shtuff…

    • Beth says:

      The imp in me is dying to point out that years ago, another Bill in a big white house on in the east didn’t think a cigar was just a cigar . . .

      Goodness, it must be Sunday afternoon! Anyhoo, here’s to a great week of nobly righting the world’s wrongs, in our minds anyway! Sending you hugs and appreciation for hanging out in cyberspace with me!

  8. herby bell says:


    You just nailed it for me again that emotional intelligence is such a handy thing. Sitting with…finding THAT feeling among 4 quadrillion and once named and owned, it expresses itself in all of its glory and then ascends up and outa the hole in the top of my head. THIS makes room for Gus to HELP ME make room for Love from above, down, inside and out like a battery coming up to full charge.

    Love is round and that dude’s got some edges and bald spots on it. Getting’ all loved out when you’re not feelin’ it is like eating when you’re not hungry. Just ‘don work.

    BTW, this post works for me. Thank you!

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