LOVE STORIES CAN CHANGE THE WORLD
A Human Love Story is all about sharing; our lives, our experiences, our humanity. When we share the stories of our loving interactions we engage in a powerful act of connection. In this 'sharing space', we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and through that vulnerability we are truly 'seen' and recognised. This recognition allows us to make deep connections with others. We begin to nurture compassion as we listen and share. Through this compelling compassionate action we start to build the roots of deep community.
These powerful stories express our shared human endeavour to love and connect in every continent on this beautiful earth. Through sharing these stories together and collecting them on our online audio archive we help foster understanding across cultures and societies. We begin to recognise ourselves in the stories of others, allowing fear to subside and compassion and connection to grow. In this way we can start to bring down the barriers of race, class, colour and gender, exploring what we have in common, and discovering a shared and vibrant humanity.
Sharing our love story becomes the first small step in reclaiming the discourse about how we view ourselves, our place in society, and how we want our communities and society to be shaped. They precipitate the exploration of a new paradigm, a societal construct with loving action placed at the centre, exploring the potential of establishing deep community based on a mutually loving relationship between individuals and the land in which we live.
WHAT ARE OUR LOVE STORIES?
In giving our love stories space and time we set them in their proper place as the defining experiences of our humanity. Our love stories are our life stories, our experiences of connection with others.
For some people their love story will span decades and tell a tale of romantic love evolving through the passing years. Others' stories express fleeting moments of connection, care, concern. Most love stories are marked by sadness and loss. Some stories are concerned with maternal and paternal love, others with a love of place, a visceral connection with spirit through landscape. One gentleman I met on the Downs played out his love story each day as he walked the same route in remembrance of love lost. Many people say they have no love story but long for love all the same. Each story is different. Each beautiful. Each valuable. And our love story will change from day to day. They meet us where we are, at that moment.
I believe our love stories are poetry from the heart of who we are, they dwell in the core of our being. The ancient Greek term ‘poetics‘ actually means ‘to make’, it is a verb, a doing word, an action that transforms and continues the world. So our love poems are dynamic, our telling of them transformative. We reconcile thought with matter, our soulful spiritual life with the world in which we live. In sharing our love stories we engage in the poetics of love, but also in the politics of place.
GATHERINGS & SHARINGS
The stories of our loving interactions are the great stories of our lives and they can be heard on the train, in the park, in homes and in all places where people come together. With A Human Love Story I meet with individuals. I organise gatherings in communities. I visit uncomfortable places. I also pilgrimage through the country meeting people where I find them; on the path, on the street, in the pub, around the corner, at the opera, in church, in prison, in their homes. In all these differing circumstances we come together as equals, sharing stories of our loving interactions in a safe and caring environment. We engage in an act of vulnerability and openness. Whether amongst groups, or when meeting with individuals, I believe in facilitating encounters where people can connect deeply, feel safe, tell their story and be heard, wherever and in whatever way that conversation may find its form.
The sharing of our love stories together is where the true work of community takes root. However, during these gatherings and throughout the course of my pilgrimages I also seek to record as many of these love stories as I can. These emotive human stories are then brought to the public all around the world through our online audio collection. In this way the love stories can spread around the world and others can find comfort and insight. The community can grow exponentially and connections across borders can be established and flourish. Since 2015 we have been listened to on every continent of this planet and in more than 100 countries.
ONLINE AUDIO COLLECTION
The online audio archive is home to our living collection of love stories. Of the hundreds of stories I have heard and shared only a small proportion are available to the public. Many stories are too tender for people to share publicly, and these stories are kept privately amongst individuals and within the hearts of those who heard them being told. But dozens of stories are available in this beautiful living collection. They are for you. Listen, share and find connection in these poignant, comic, joyous and sad stories of love. They are the root and branch of community.
PILGRIMAGE - HOSPITALITY & THE STRANGER
An essential tool of the project is the journeying; by foot, as a pilgrim. Since 2012 I have walked over 1000 miles. I walk carrying only a simple bag and a stick. I explore the idea of hospitality, the stranger, the guest. I present individuals and communities with the opportunity to extend hospitality in a variety of ways. How do we respond to the stranger in our community, at our front door? What does that tell us about our community and the way in which we communally express love? What is the importance of a smile? An open hand? Through walking I enter a place stripped of my possessions and status, open to an open encounter, gently arriving, quietly leaving, unencumbered and free to meet people where they are.