I like to think about life in terms of happy moments and firsts. I don’t like to think about life…
Love Is All We Need
When I was a teenager, I watched an extraordinary movie called Cinema Paradiso and it left an indelible impression on me. It was about a little boy from a small Italian town who eventually leaves as a young man to Rome to chase his dreams of becoming a major movie director. Salvatore makes it big in life only to return home after 30 years to attend the funeral of his childhood film teacher. He is swept with emotion and nostalgia when he returns to his childhood hometown for the first time since he left as a young man. He wanders through town, reliving his childhood and remembering his first love, his first kiss, his first everything. In reflecting over his childhood, Salvatore breaks down. He realizes that everything he ever really needed in life was back home. In fame and fortune, he found emptiness. In passion and love, he found truth. The moral of the story is that we should all have the courage to do what it is that ignites our souls, to chase our dreams, and to unleash our greatness in life. However, we should never lose ourselves on the journey. We must hold onto our roots, our values, our inner child. In life, everything begins and ends with what is in our souls.
I still vividly remember how Cinema Paradiso ignited something in me, setting my imagination on fire as I sat in that movie theater. As corny as it sounds, this little movie gave me some of the most magical lessons about love, life, and happiness. After watching it (and rewatching it many times over), I promised myself that I would be fearless in following my heart in everything I did in life, and that I would never settle for anything less. I remember thinking that I would rather live a life full of disappointments than a life full of regrets. It might take courage (and a lot of failures and heartbreaks) to live the life of our dreams, but it is the only way to live for me.
You see, love really is the magical ingredient of life. To live – to truly live – we must dare to love deeply, greatly, and fearlessly. Love is not about wanting to be with someone or wanting to do something in life. Love is about not being able to breathe without that someone or something in your life. It is your existence. It is your purpose. It is your reason for living. A life without love is emptiness – it is a parched flower starved of water, an eternal winter without spring, a dark midnight without sunrise. For me, love is the greatest act of courage in life. It is embracing the truths that live in our souls, and daring to live them. And when you truly love something, it becomes your destiny. And when you truly love someone, his/her happiness becomes your happiness. In many ways, love is sacrifice. For our greatest loves, we are willing to sacrifice everything. In life, we don’t choose what or who we love. Love happens magically as if it were somehow written in the stars of destiny. And, as with all matters of the heart, it really is all or nothing.
Our souls are ignited. Or they are not.