In an  interview with Krista Tippett, angel Kyodo williams talked about love. Rev. williams is an esteemed Zen priest, and the second black woman ever recognized as a teacher in the Japanese Zen lineage.

She described the limitations of our culture’s idea of love: “What our culture calls us to do,” she says, “is to use love to be a quantifier of “Do I have a preference for you?… Am I aligned and in agreement and affinity? Are you reflecting back at me what I want to be reflected back at me? And if you are, and if you are enhancing my idea of myself,  then I love you.”

Rather than this selfish definition of love, Rev. williams suggests “love is space… It is developing our own capacity for spaciousness within ourselves to allow others to be as they are — that that is love. And that doesn’t mean that we don’t have hopes or wishes that things are changed or shifted, but that to come from a place of love is to be in acceptance of what is, even in the face of moving it towards something that is more whole, more just, more spacious for all of us. It’s bigness. It’s allowance. It’s flexibility. It’s saying the thing that we talked about earlier, of “Oh, those police officers are trapped inside of a system, as well. They are subject to an enormous amount of suffering, as well.”

I’m looking forward to carrying this definition with me into the month. When I say “I love you,” I can be saying “I’m giving space for you and all you are.” May I go forward with the bigness of love opening my heart.