Today we’d like to introduce you to Irene Greaves.
Irene, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Lovescaping was born out of the realization that everything I have done in my life has been first and foremost a labor of love. Two and a half years ago, as I was finishing my Master’s in Education, I wrote a paper in which I argued that love is the sine qua non of education, and I proposed a new paradigm altogether, a philosophy of life-based on practicing love in action: Lovescaping. We are not born knowing how to love, we learn to love- but where?
I am originally from Venezuela but have had the great privilege to study, work and volunteer in different countries around the world, including Italy, Mozambique, China, Guatemala and the United States. Above all the differences that make these places unique, there is one thing that stays constant throughout, a common denominator: love. Every human being yearns to love and be loved, and I have witnessed the transformation that people undergo once they are loved.
Lovescaping is my response to all the ills our world suffers. I am convinced that there is no greater need in our world at the present moment than learning to love. Lovescaping is constituted by the following 15 “pillars,” without which, love cannot exist: respect, care, honesty, communication, empathy, trust, patience, compassion, liberty, humility, vulnerability, solidarity, hope, gratitude and forgiveness. Lovescaping is intentional and purposeful, and my goal is to teach people how to practice each one of its pillars in order to learn how to love.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Is it ever a smooth road? I don’t think so, but that makes it all the more interesting, worthwhile, challenging, terrifying and exciting at the same time. It definitely took me a long time to be able to first name what it was that I wanted to do. Saying “I want to teach people how to love,” sounds so simple, and yet it was only recently that I was able to put these words out into the world and actually build a curriculum around teaching the 15 pillars of Lovescaping.
It is always so much easier to make sense of life in retrospect, to connect the dots and understand that it’s a journey, a process to get to where you want to be. I am still in the early stages of this life project, and this is just the beginning, but I have taken the first and most important step of knowing exactly what it is that I want to achieve, how I will achieve it and why I believe in it.
Lovescaping – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Lovescaping is the work of my life, a pioneering approach to teaching social and emotional skills rooted in learning how to love. All the pillars that makeup Lovescaping have been derived from my experience teaching and working in community development in different parts of the world. I reached the conclusion that what I was doing with my students, my colleagues and my community as a whole was in essence, teaching and learning how to love. That led me to the realization that these pillars are universal values and actions that we can all learn to practice.
There are multiple mediums through which I am delivering my Lovescaping curriculum. One of them is partnering up with schools and non-profit organizations to implement my curriculum during the school day and in after-school settings to children and youth of all ages. Another medium is through workshops, presentations and coaching for adults, which are adapted to the needs/context of the particular group. Ultimately though, Lovescaping is a way of life, and it is through my daily actions that I show that I am a Lovescaper.
What I am most proud of at this moment is that I have let go of all the fears associated with starting something new and gave that “leap of faith” to really put myself out there and pursue my life’s mission. I believe that the single most important element that sets Lovescaping apart is that I am addressing the greatest need I see in our world: lack of love. A society that practices love in action has no room for discrimination, hatred, aggression, racism, xenophobia, and all other forms of violence and oppression. Love truly has the potential to change and heal our world.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I would say that my entire life is made up of small proud moments. What makes Lovescaping so incredible is that you are constantly being nurtured by the love you give and the love you receive. There is nothing that makes me feel prouder than witnessing the transformation that people undergo when they begin to develop self-love.
I believe the ultimate success in life is to love and be loved. Success entails adding value to this world and leaving it better than how I found it. Lovescaping is the value I wish to add to our world, and the number of people who are transformed by love will be the evidence of its success. There are two qualities that make love unique: it is infinite and it is contagious.
The former allows us to love as many people as we can, and the latter makes it spread exponentially. You see, the more love we give, the more we get, and the sort of virtuous cycle that results from giving and getting love is immeasurable. Love has the ability to heal even the deepest wounds, and it is never too late to start loving. When human beings start to practice love in action, our entire society, as we know it, will change.
I dream of a world where every human being intentionally practices Lovescaping.
- Website: http://www.lovescaping.org
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