“I feel our nation’s turning away from love…moving into a wilderness of spirit so intense we may never find our way home again. I write of love to bear witness both to the danger in this movement, and to call for a return to love.” – Bell Hooks (2000)
To ground ourselves in love’s wisdom…
…is anything but easy. Love takes constant reflection and practice. Lucky for us, Black feminist and activist bell hooks (born Gloria Jean Watkins) writes about how to do just that in All About Love: New Visions– a must-read for feminists, lovers, social justice practitioners, and humankind, period.
It’s one of those books you refer back to for the rest of your life. Because love is necessary work and it is in love that we learn to resist, thrive, and lead under any circumstances.
Use these 10 handpicked quotes from the book’s first few chapters as reminders to nurture and celebrate our gente’s beauty, joy, and power. To ground your heart and body in times of stress and anxiety. To help each other return to love in action…
1."We yearn to end the lovelessness"
“To open our hearts more fully to love’s power and grace we must dare to acknowledge how little we know of love in both theory and practice…We yearn to to end the lovelessness that is so pervasive in our society. This book tells us how to return to love.”
2. "We do not have to love. We choose to love."
“Will also implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love…When we understand love as the will to nurture our own and another’s spiritual growth, it becomes clear that we cannot claim to love if we are hurtful and abusive. Love and abuse cannot coexist.”
3. "There can be no love without justice"
“There can be no love without justice…abuse and neglect negate love. Care and affirmation, the opposite of abuse and humiliation, are the foundation of love. It is a testimony to the failure of loving practice that abuse is happening in the first place.”
4. "The heart of justice is truthtelling"
“The heart of justice is truth telling, seeing ourselves and the world the way it is rather than the way we want it to be. More than ever before we, as a society, need to renew a commitment to truth telling.”
5. "When we love we can let our hearts speak"
“Redeemed and restored, love returns us to the promise of everlasting life. When we love we can let our hearts speak.”
6. "When we can see ourselves as we truly are and accept ourselves, we build the necessary foundation for self-love"
“When we can see ourselves as we truly are and accept ourselves, we build the necessary foundation for self-love…whether we learn how to love ourselves and others will depend on the presence of a loving environment. Self love cannot flourish in isolation.”
7. "The light of love is always in us"
“Do not expect to receive the love from someone else you do not give to yourself…The light of love is always in us, no matter how cold the flame. It is always present, waiting for the spark to ignite, waiting for the heart to awaken.”
8. "Renewal is an act of self-love"
“When we work with love we renew the spirit; that renewal is an act of self-love, it nurtures our growth. It’s not what you do but how you do it.”
9. "Love is an act of will, both an intention and an action"
“Love as ‘the will to extend one’s self for the the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.’ Love is as love does. Love is an act of will–namely, both an intention and an action.”
10. "We still believe in love's promise"
“Everywhere we learn that love is important, and yet we are bombarded by its failure….This bleak picture in no way alters the nature of our longing. We still hope that love will prevail. We still believe in love’s promise.”
…remember, this is just a taste!
Whether you borrow a copy, check one out from the library, or get your own– read the whole book to learn about the ethics of love and put love into practice. Then pass it forward.
Sofia Campos is a warrior, healer, undocumented, resister of borders. She’s also a Capricorn who loves reading, dancing, and hot chocolate. Follow her at @campoSOFIA or @soulfiyah on IG