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Born in the US, raised on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, lived in Italy, the US, and Canada. Lover of language, travel, colour, and the natural world.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

It takes a village

Photo property of Ariana Salvo. May not be reproduced without permission

The expression "it takes a village to raise a child" is an African proverb that was supposedly popularized by Hillary Clinton. It came to mind today because I woke up this morning thinking about my village back on Prince Edward Island. The photo above is not everyone back on Prince Edward Island that was a part of my community, but when I look at this group of people, there is not one person in this picture that I do not love deeply -- whose kindness and friendship has not changed my perception of reality and relationships in profound and lasting ways.

Often in life we do not allow ourselves to love people outside of our immediate circle -- our husbands, boyfriends, wives, girlfriends, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, maybe a small circle of close friends -- with an open heart. There may be good reasons for that. I am not sure. All I know is that the group of people in this photo -- my village of friends on Prince Edward Island -- completely transformed the way I love other human beings, and my capacity to love. When I moved to Prince Edward Island my love capacity was probably the size of a large bucket. When I left it looked more like a large oil tanker. I learned that there is no limit to love. The more you give, the more you are able to give, and the more you receive, the greater your capacity for receiving becomes. It may sound inconsequential, but sometimes the simplest things are the most revolutionary, and learning to love others wholeheartedly and being loved back is probably one of the most revolutionary things I have ever experienced.

The people in this photograph shared stories and laughter with me. They imparted knowledge to me. They listened when I needed to talk, encouraged me, believed in me, and served alongside me. They reminded me to not take life too seriously, challenged me, prayed with me, cheered me on, and reminded me what was important when i occasionally lost my way. They cooked meals for me, went for walks with me, recommended books, and welcomed me into their homes and families. They gave me rides, loaned me their cars, drove me to the airport when I traveled, and were waiting at the arrivals gate every time I came home. And all of this without ever asking for anything in return. There were no conditions placed on the love they showed me. No requirements. No limitations.

I was talking to someone recently about love, and they told me that they had never been in a community that they felt as loved and supported in as I describe having felt on PEI. It saddened me to hear this, and at the same time made me realize how much greater our potential in life as individuals and as a society is when we are given the support and love of our community.

I have been thinking recently that thanks to the people in this photograph, I have so much more love to give to others, and that loving without motive or expectation is an agent of change at the most profound level of human existence. There is so much need for love in the world. What a gift to not only know what it feels like to be loved deeply by your village, but to understand in your heart that, having been showered with so much love, you are in a position to shower others and perpetuate the process of social and spiritual transformation so that it extends far beyond yourself and your own family to encompass all human beings.

Like I said, sometimes the simplest things in life are the most revolutionary. Have a superb weekend, friends!!


  1. You gave a lot of love too, Ariana. Not just to me, but to others. And people respond to love.

  2. Thank you for your comment, Jeff. Yes. I did. Easy to do when so much was being heaped on me! And yes, they do. I knew this before PEI, but my experiences there reinforced this lesson for me. People not only respond to love. They completely transform.