Manifesto magic: 4 different takes on love

Time for some manifesto magic. I wrote about my love of manifestos – the certainty of them, the optimism of writing out your aspirations as faits accomplis, the boldness of life plans deeply rooted in personal values – way back in August last year, when I featured three manifestos that were all about living a creative life and making art.

This time, I’m sharing four manifestos that are, each in their own way, about love – loving our bodies, our dreams, ourselves, and each other. Because when it’s all said and done, it’s not our accomplishments or our failed enterprises that we celebrate or mourn… it’s how well we loved.


The first is from Curvy Yoga. It’s a powerful affirmation, whether you’ve struggled with body image issues or not, but especially if you have.

The Curvy Yoga Manifesto begins with this: Believe in the beauty of curves. Soft is strong and round is fierce.

I absolutely LOVE that. Go read the rest and be reminded that your beauty has nothing at all to do with the size of your jeans.


The second one is from Danielle LaPorte, and it’s the manifesto that started my manifesto love affair. I read it at a time when I was feeling particularly unmoored and unlovable. I remember wanting to crawl inside these words:

Someone you haven’t met yet is already dreaming of adoring you… Someone wants to kiss you, to hold you, to make tea for you. Someone is willing to lend you money, wants to know what your favourite food is, and treat you to a movie. Someone in your orbit has something immensely valuable to give you — for free… Someone just this second wished for world peace, in earnest… Someone is regaining their sanity. Someone is coming back from the dead. Someone is genuinely forgiving the seemingly unforgivable. Someone is curing the incurable.

Encouraging, right? That must be why she called it the The Manifesto of Encouragement. There’s more. Go see.


The third manifesto is from Jonathan Fields of The Good Life Project. He calls it a creed, which works; when I read lines like these, it feels like I’m offering up a prayer to myself:

Be fierce with your time. but generous with your heart… Find awe, let it shake you, melt you, lift you, then share it… Build a tribe, people matter. Love so deeply, it cracks open the world… Expose your soul, vulnerability is a gateway to strength… Pause often, listen deeply.

Go read the rest of  the creed. Pause. Breathe. Repeat.


The last one is from me. It’s The (fearless) Love Manifesto, and I’m so excited because it’s finally available as an 8×10 print in my Etsy shop. I got requests to make the manifesto into a print months ago, but I was nervous and didn’t know anything about how to make art-quality prints, and I felt safer just sticking to cards… that is until I started to feel cramped in my tiny, little comfort zone… in that way that tiny, little comfort zones can often make you feel. So now, after hours of research (and a new printer, and archival inks and archival paper, and learning how to size for frames and matting, and a whole shitload of other things I didn’t know), it’s here!


Copyright information doesn’t appear on actual print.


And there’s more coming to the shop. I’m on a roll, with dragonfly prints, 5×7 art cards, and some mini posters made out of illustrations I did for the blog. Plus, I’m in the midst of making art out of discarded things because the world needs more art… and fewer discarded things.

Stay tuned.



  1. jillsalahub on June 13, 2013 at 6:16 am

    My burning question (my mission, my purpose, my obsession, my curse): How do I ease suffering, in myself and in the world, in this moment and the next (and the next)?

    • J. Patrick Bennett on June 17, 2013 at 11:33 am

      I’d like to chime in on this one.

      I ask this question most mornings, framed in my own words. I don’t always have an answer. Some moments I draw blanks and resign myself to be watchful. Every now and again I find myself already doing what I am able to do to alleviate suffering where I find it, be it in myself or another.

      I have found a few things to remain constant.

      0. What I will bring into the world I must bring through myself, one beautiful step at a time. Cities and homes and lives are built on foundations. Do not skip steps, no matter how mundane the work may seem. Live slow, and full. Be deliberate.

      1. Keep your focus right here and now, where you are. If I find myself focusing on suffering, or hunger, or violence, I can know that I am not fully present. Bring it back to what is happening, right here, right now, where extraordinary life is specific, deliberate and happening.

      2. Be grateful. I remind myself every day how grateful I am for my life, and the people that make my life fulfilling and interesting. We are not put here to suffer. If you doubt this, read Lin Yutang, The Importance of Living. I’m confident that his words will be enough to convince even the most stalwart curmudgeon that it is alright to enjoy life.

      2a. When you adopt the position in 2. above, you will notice that others are inspired by your generous and free spirited energy, and they will adopt it for themselves. Also, when you keep a serene composure, your effort, work and sacrifice will rejuvenate you, rather than leave you feeling drained.

      3. I realize that lists are probably best left to Umberto Eco, so I’ll end this one here.

      Thanks for allowing me to chime in! This is a topic of importance to me. I freely offer what I know. May it serve youl well.

      Sweet words once again, lil’ j.

      • j on June 17, 2013 at 2:46 pm

        Beautiful, J, especially this: “Bring it back to what is happening, right here, right now, where extraordinary life is specific, deliberate and happening.”

        I have no doubt that your words, as always, will serve me well. xo

      • jillsalahub on June 17, 2013 at 3:40 pm

        Thank you, Big J (wait, does this make me Medium j?). This is a great list. My practice is this question, asking it in every moment and Iappreciate your insight.

        • J on June 17, 2013 at 4:30 pm

          This is my practice as well—I appreciated your excellent question out of the gate.

          I submit to the order of j that your title shall be regarded as “Just Right J”.
          That would be “J.”, always receiving the definitive period after it, signifying that after what you’ve stated, naught more should be added.

          j is, of course, j with one foot in the wild water, and for those who learned it as I did in the seventies, a halo, a parhelion over the head.

          J is, well, lumbering J—dog-oaf and loyal recluse, hooky and upright.

          J. is a cup nestled upon a smooth stone, which is the quintessential object of the contemplation of our beautiful universe, the place where we sit together until only the stone remains. J. is the ability to know that there is There, right here. A kinetic letter, a promise in action (not to be confused with motion, thank you Mr. Hemingway).

          Does this please you?

          • jillsalahub on June 18, 2013 at 3:25 am

            Not only does it please me, I am utterly in love with it.

          • j on June 18, 2013 at 12:04 pm

            Me too. (As I am with the two of you!)

  2. j on June 13, 2013 at 6:42 am

    I absolutely love that, Jill, from Jonathan’s creed: Genius starts with a burning questions, what’s yours?

    Unlike my question, which is self-directed and governs how I am in the world, yours is outward-directed, addressing a specific problem. I think it is from questions like yours that innovation stems, and real change happens. I’m humbled in the best possible way (and will happily be a minion in your quest!)

  3. Cynthia on June 13, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Sweet j, I don’t even have words for how much I love this post.

    I was going to respond to the “burning question” through email, but since Jill opened the door here, I’ll go ahead and walk through and join her. But before I do that, let me say – while you see a difference between your burning question and Jill’s, be careful with comparisons. We are all bringing to the world something unique, and the difference could be found in the point of view between an introvert and extrovert. Who knows? We are who we are. Your answer to this question also addresses a specific problem, because I don’t know anyone who doesn’t need courage. Your willingness to be brave also inspires others to be brave, which in itself is the bringer of change.

    My burning question is: When all is said and done, what is the truth of my heart, my being?

    When I (remember to) ask that question, and allow its fire to burn away anything that I might be holding onto, (like a grudge, for example), it is there that I will always find that, the simple truth is that ‘I love, I care,’ when maybe some part of me doesn’t want to, for whatever reason. I’ve found love in my heart so often, that now I’ve grown to trust that that is it’s natural state of being, and anything else is merely something I’m reacting to, taking personally, trying to add, etc. I’ll always and eventually make my way back to that question, and every time I have done that… I let go.

    • j on June 13, 2013 at 10:03 am

      Thanks, Cynthia.

      I didn’t really mean to devalue my own question. I know it’s absolutely the right burning question for me, but the bigness of Jill’s made me want to tell her how inspiring she is.

      I love your description of how asking your question affects you. I can imagine the power of it… and the practice it would take for the habit of asking to form. When I’m angry or hurt, it’s hard for me to see anything past the anger and hurt. But I can definitely see where working your way back to your heart, your essence, would be the fastest path to understanding and/or release.

      In the comment thread of another post, my friend Michael pointed out that forgiveness is more for the forgiver than for the forgiven, that we do ourselves the greatest service when we let go of our anger (and all the rest of the baggage-y bullshit that comes with getting hurt). Your question feels like a way to get there.

      • Cynthia on June 13, 2013 at 10:37 am

        Oh good! I was throwing you a float ring thingy… just in case. <3

        And I'm with you – I'm so glad and thankful there are people in the world such as Jill.

        In the practice of asking that burning question, I also discovered that the very fact I'm hurting, or angry, or reacting is BECAUSE of that love dwelling in my heart. If I had no love there to begin with, then whatever was done wouldn't matter to me in the least. I'd be apathetic toward anything done. The presence of anger, et. al., is actually an arrow pointing right at the love and caring in my heart, and most of the suffering I experience is with the attempt to shut that love off, or dam up it's flow, or pretend it isn't there. Who does that hurt first? Well…me, because I'm the one doing it, first to myself, then to others. Which is where I've found the wisdom in Michael's words play out.

        And there's a profound wisdom to be found in love that is beyond anything I, my little self, would normally consider. And it can only be found in opening the gates to my own heart, and allowing it the freedom to flow, (by the removal of shit that the act of forgiveness provides).

        • j on June 13, 2013 at 10:45 am

          “And it can only be found in opening the gates to my own heart, and allowing it the freedom to flow, (by the removal of shit that the act of forgiveness provides).”

          Beautifully said.

  4. Joanne Marie Firth on June 13, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Say yes to love. I can’t wait to see your discarded art. This is gonna be great. Thanks for all of your words of wisdom. They really work! xo

    • j on June 13, 2013 at 10:46 am

      Thank you, Joanne! I’ll definitely start posting pictures on Facebook. May be a bit before I produce anything good enough for the shop.

  5. lunajune on June 13, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    My mission… to live in this moment and to let each one come, wash over me, explore with me, share with me, and move on. To truly live like this, the more I try not to hold on, the more this wonderful world shares with me, appreciating all the lessons I’ve learned on the way, letting go the stories that held them to me has freed me in ways I can not explain. The me I was 10 years ago could never have imagined how joyful and free and full of love my life has become with this choice. Truly the words of Gandhi changed me, by changing myself <3 thank you for all you share, for all you inspire daily

    • j on June 13, 2013 at 4:10 pm

      Oh, June, you’re such a bright, shining light. Actually, I’m experiencing much the same thing – letting go, opening up, and finding a life full of love. I’m absolutelycertain the person I was 10 years ago wouldn’t recognize the person I am today. (She wasn’t writing or doodling!)

      Let’s hear it for northward trajectories!

  6. julia on June 13, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Dear J…there is so much goodness in this post, I don’t know where to begin. Just know that I’m here, that I’m reading you, that, as always, my heart is fuller/wider/bigger because of YOU.

    As for your answer to that great question…I have no doubt that you will apply your bravery to serving the world – you already do that HUGELY. So the braver you’re willing to be the more we lucky ones benefit. It all goes together beautifully. By the way, your courage constantly inspires me so please know that you are already superhero brave.

    As for my burning question…I think it’s something like this: How do I best use my uniqueness/gifts to serve others?

    I love you.

    • j on June 13, 2013 at 4:14 pm

      Everyone who isn’t on my mail list is wondering what we’re all talking about! Incentive to get on my list! 🙂

      I think you’re answering your burning question every single day, my friend.

      Love you back. xo

  7. Nina Badzin on June 13, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    I need a manifesto STAT. What an important exercise! Love the poster.

    • j on June 13, 2013 at 4:16 pm

      Writing it is a really powerful exercise, trying to hone in on what your values are and then how to live a life that reflects them. I would love to see what you come up with, Nina. “Put the smart phone down” would be in there somewhere (though maybe more poetically worded).

  8. Alarna Rose Gray on June 13, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    I just came here because of Nina. Your poster is profound. It burns. We need more love warriors like you 🙂

    • j on June 13, 2013 at 4:18 pm

      Thank you, that made my day! The world needs more love warriors, that’s for sure! So glad we connected.

      • Alarna Rose Gray on June 19, 2013 at 4:25 pm

        You’ve started something in me, that’s for sure. I’m writing a post on it this week – I wonder if you would mind if I include your manifesto image in the blog and link it back to your shop? Wouldn’t want to do so without your permission… My best to you.

        • j on June 19, 2013 at 5:46 pm

          Absolutely! I’d be thrilled. I can’t wait to read your post!

          • Alarna Rose Gray on June 19, 2013 at 7:10 pm

            Oh, great Judy, thank you! I hope it lives up to your creed 😉

  9. Rita on June 13, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    I am in love with this. more than anything. maybe ever. xo

    • j on June 13, 2013 at 9:55 pm

      I sure hope you mean my manifesto. But even if you mean the post and all the manifestos… yay! Thank you!

  10. Rita on June 14, 2013 at 7:13 am

    ha…just all things related to you in general but this manifesto in particular. i must have it

    • j on June 14, 2013 at 9:57 am

      Aw. Swoon. xo

  11. Estrella Azul on June 14, 2013 at 8:52 am

    These are all so beautiful, thank you for sharing!
    Love that you had the courage to make a print out of the Fearless Love Manifesto, it is one of my very favorites <3

    • j on June 14, 2013 at 9:58 am

      Thank you, Estrella. Definitely want to play more with typography. I swear I have more ideas and energy than time right now!

  12. nessa1313 on June 14, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Now I want my own manifesto. I’ve got to re-read and ponder and mull.

    Flash 55 – The Accidental Gardener

    • j on June 14, 2013 at 10:00 am

      Seriously, do it. It’s kind of amazing the clarity it gives you when you consciously tie your day-to-day life to your deepest truths and values. (Tell me if you write your own!)

  13. Clare Flourish on June 16, 2013 at 10:36 am

    “You choose which way to tip the scale” is (oops- Englishness moment) rather good.

    • j on June 17, 2013 at 9:00 am

      🙂 Why, thank you!

  14. Annie Neugebauer on June 17, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Beautiful print, j! And I absolutely adore the Jonathan Fields creed. “Be fierce with your time. but generous with your heart.” Perfect. Thanks for sharing these!

    • j on June 17, 2013 at 2:47 pm

      Thank you, Annie. I was really happy with how the print came out. Only took 3000 tries! 🙂 And yes, I love that line especially in Jonathan’s creed.

  15. […] You click… […]

  16. Karin on June 27, 2013 at 6:25 am

    Your manifesto is my favorite on this page–but another manifesto which I love love love love is bentlily/Samantha Reynolds’ manifesto on living life.

    Such inspiring words for all of us to live by 🙂 Makes me want to make one (or just steal yours hehe). 🙂

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