Growing up in Venezuela, Irene Greaves said her first teacher of love was her older sister, who had special needs. Since then, Greaves has lived all over the world and continues to see love as the common theme among her travels. Now as a Houstonian, Greaves brings her program Lovescaping to schools and other places across the state to teach children and adults social-emotional skills through the lens of love.
How did you begin the journey of exploring love in action?
“[My sister] is the personification of love in the world. She taught me that every human being is unique and different. She taught me how to be patient, empathetic, and compassionate. In the last eighteen years, I’ve been incredibly privileged to live all over the world, always working in education and community development. In all that living and loving with so many different humans across the world, I learned that love transcends all differences. Love is not a feeling. Love is an action.”
How would you describe the practice of Lovescaping?
“It’s a way of life, based on practicing love as an action. Lovescaping is the intentional practice of humility, empathy, respect, communication, care, compassion, patience, honesty, vulnerability, trust, solidarity, liberation, gratitude, forgiveness, and hope. Love cannot exist without each one of these pillars being practiced. There cannot be love without respect. There cannot be love without honesty. It’s who we are at our core and how we practice each one of these pillars every day of our lives with all of our interactions.”
On a frustrating day when someone doesn’t want to choose kindness, how can they redirect themselves?
“Your breath is your superpower. You would be shocked at how big of a difference taking a deep breath makes before you react. In a moment where you’re feeling tension in your body, you feel your heart rate going up. Let me sit and take some deep calming breaths. Even just one deep breath will bring your body to a regulated state, so you can respond and not react.”
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