Here is the story of how a great, big fat fun, awesome (j) idea gets born…
Once upon a time, I was sitting in a Peet’s writing my review of Julie Klam’s book, YOU HAD ME AT WOOF, while waiting for The Boy (who was playing D&D with his insanely smart, geeky, nerdy friends who live 45 minutes away from us). I had been there a long time. I was cold from having been rained on. I couldn’t find the words I wanted for the book review I was writing, and there was a woman on a cell phone two tables away who was NOT using her indoor voice.
I was feeling frustrated and bitchy, and then my cell phone rang.
It was a text from my best friend’s niece, who I adore but don’t hear from often. It said, “Hey J, you’re beautiful. Love Hayley,” and it was as if she’d walked in and hugged me. I unwound. I relaxed. I grinned and texted her back to tell her that she’d just made my day. She replied, “Yay! I wanted to spread the love. xo”
I carried that little gesture around with me for days. I kept thinking about how touched I was by the unexpected connection, how simple it was for her to actually, truly “spread the love.”
And then I decided that’s what I wanted to do in 2011. I want to spend one whole year consciously, unabashedly, fearlessly spreading the love. It sounds easy and, of course, it should be. What’s easier than love, right? But I know better. I know how life, and bad guys, and deadlines, and sleep deprivation can get in the way of good intentions, so I sat down and mapped it all out – a new way of spreading the love for every month in 2011.
January is the month of “spontaneous connection.” My goal is to spontaneously connect with someone new every day. So far I’ve sent two postcards (well one, but the other just needs to be walked to the mailbox). I called someone I’ve been intending to call for way too long, texted a sick friend, and looked for the perfect card to send to someone I miss. I couldn’t find it, so I’m making one instead.
Every now and then, I can tell that I’m stumbling onto something big. That’s how this is. I feel certain that I will not be the same person at the end of 2011 that I am heading into it. Like my Beckoning the Lovely project, this one is a commitment – a year of being present and aware and creative and daring, all in the name of love and connection which is, I think, maybe how the world should be powered.
I’m hoping you’ll join me. Every Monday, I’ll let you know how The Love Project is going. I’ll start this coming Monday. By then, I’m hoping you’ll have some love stories of your own to tell.
Soon after I thought of doing this I wrote to a friend. I was all hopped up on the possibility of a year-long love project. The more I wrote, the more excited and adventurous I became, until suddenly I felt a little self-conscious. I stopped. I double spaced. I took a breath. “I know it’s a little… Pollyannaesque,” I typed, finally, “but fuck it. The world needs more of that too.”
He wrote back. “j, you have got to put that in the post.”
So there it is.
Let the Love Project begin.