How do you infuse love in your organization?

How do you infuse love in your organization?

Several years ago I was inspired as I read writings from Stephen Post and Thomas Kitwood defining love in dementia care.

“Love within the context of dementia care includes comfort in the original sense of tenderness, closeness, the calming of anxiety and bonding.” (Kitwood, 2003)

“Altruistic love involves both a judgement of worth, and a related affirmative affection. Love is manifest in care, which is love in response to the other in need; it is manifest in compassion, which is love in response to the other in suffering; it is manifest in companionship, which is love attentively present with the other in ordinary moments.” (Post 2003)

As I reflected on their writings, I thought of my esteemed colleague Misha Butot – Fourteen years after graduating as a social worker, while working as a counsellor, educator and yoga teacher, she recognized that love was a theme in all of her work. As a masters student Misha approached people across Western Canada who were involved in social justice work. She asked them if love was relevant in their work and what love in professional practice looked like for them. Even though they were diverse in age, gender, work and focus, ten common themes emerged. Fourteen years later, I approached Misha and asked if we could revisit those themes and translate them into plain English.

As we worked on this “translation” we were inspired by the stories from the research participants, we reflected on our own lives and we wrote a personal commitment to love in our professional practice.

This year, as we consider the most important theme of cultural safety in health care, I am inspired by the thoughts of Dr. James Makokis, an indigenous physician, “Racism is hate. The opposite of hate is love.” and he asks, “How will you infuse love into your organization?”

Racism is hate. The opposite of hate is love.” and he asks, “How will you infuse love into your organization?

Dr James Makokis

In this month of February, as many celebrate Valentine’s Day, love and friendship, I invite you to consider:

What does love look like in your practice?

How do you infuse love into your organization?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

4 Responses

  1. Right on Kath!
    John 13:34,35 indicates 2 dimensions, loving and having love. I think this teaches that we choose to treat others in a loving way, however we feel towards them. Having that feeling of love is the second and essential progression, but we can always begin with the first.

    1. Ron, interesting, I sometimes think about the VERB love, vs the FEELING love. There are times when I have needed to “VERB LOVE” a person, and I know that sometimes, after “VERB LOVE” the person, the “FEELING LOVE” comes.
      To me, the “VERB LOVE” means to treat someone with respect, kindness, generosity… etc.

      This quote on racism = hate, and love being the opposite of hate… is incredible.
      Love to you

  2. I have read “the opposite of love is not hate but apathy”. The opposite of apathy is interest, concern, passion, enthusiasm, care. These could be demonstrations of love in action because love is action.

    1. Lynn,
      Interesting that you say that, as I was thinking about that quote after writing the posting.
      I think that there is some wisdom in that statement. The opposite of love is apathy. Hm…
      And, and opposite of apathy is interest, concern, passion, enthusiasm, care… (Here I am – rewriting your words – somehow they become more a part of me as i enter them into this reply. ) Those actions are certainly ways to show love, and they are also ways to help develop love.
      I was asked the other day about how to love someone who is difficult to love.
      I figured that the first thing to do was to get to know them, because when you KNOW someone, then you have compassion, understand the struggles, and then, what is not to love?
      What do you think?

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Courtney Murrell is a PSW who works in hospice palliative care.

When she is not at work, she is spending time with her family, going on hikes or writing. Courtney is a lifelong learner and loves to share her passion for writing as a wellness practice.

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