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What is love?

Nina London and her husband, Bill Rosser (Photograph by Eleonora Virchaux)

What is love? It is an irresistible radiant energy that lights us up, gives us strength and lets us fly.

My husband, Bill, has this beautiful gift to love, and he shines its light on me every day.

In the wild mountains of Northern Thailand, I stand in the early morning sun, practising the graceful moves I learnt over the years from masters in the ancient art of Chi Gong. The wind blows across the shimmering green rice fields, carrying the scents of water and earth. The low bellow of water buffaloes startles white cranes into glorious flight, long tapered wings beating the steaming air.

I have been practising since sunrise and I wait in quiet anticipation for my students to arrive.

No one comes.

I go home, sit on our steps, and cry.

Bill panics because I rarely cry. He holds me in his arms and consoles me. “It happens. Next time you will promote your class better. People will come.”

The next morning, as dawn spreads across the emerald fields, I once again practise in solitude, waiting for people to come.

I see a bicycle driving fast in my direction. A flash of white, and I recognise Bill’s Panama hat. My heart soars! I never expected him here!

He played blues harmonica at a club the night before and came home very late. It is a long drive back to our house from the old city of Chiang Mai. He was exhausted after the show and I left him snoozing soundly at sunrise.

I run to him as he drops his bike. He holds me close.

“I want to be in your class and I support you,” he murmurs. I feel the warmth of his breath in my ear.

I push him away and look into his grey blue eyes. “I know how much you love me. You just showed me.”

Bill has showed me so many times.

When I arrived in the evenings on the ferry at Cavello Bay, he stood on the dark causeway to our house, shining the way with his flashlight.

When I cried in despair during my harsh cancer treatments, he rocked me like a child, kissing me and telling me everything would be OK; soon we would be dancing and laughing again.

Driving through the north country of Thailand, Bill stops the car. "I know how much you miss swimming in the turquoise ocean,” he says. Then he disappears into a little roadside store. He comes out with two brightly painted wooden fish. "These are parrot fish to remind you of Bermuda.”

I clap my hands and laugh in delight!

I tell Bill a story of my mother’s enormous love for my father. They were married for 33 years when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The doctors told us my father had only two months to live.

They did not prescribe any medications, any treatments.

Instead of giving up, my mom spent days researching how she could help him. Somewhere in the far Siberian taiga is a village where a 90-year-old woman, a shaman, prepares a mixture of herbs she picks to strengthen the immune system.

My mom set out alone from our home in Irkutsk, 400 miles away. She travelled hours on an old train, then a ramshackle bus and walked to the tiny village where she finally found her. She brought back the herbs.

I don’t know if it was the herbs, the placebo effect or the magic of love, but my father not only lived another seven months but returned to teach again at the university.

There are sacrifices of care and support which help our loved ones in ways we do not understand.

There are big efforts and small ones; pearls on a necklace we craft for those we love.

Tomorrow morning, I will practise in the dawn light. My students will come. Bill will sleep and dream of me.

Nina London is the founder of Mermaid Wellness Centre for Women, a certified Chi Gong and Laughter Yoga teacher. Her mission is to support and inspire mature women to make positive changes in their bodies and mind. Contact her at www.mermaidwellness.com and on Instagram: mermaid_wellness

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Published February 02, 2023 at 7:46 am (Updated February 02, 2023 at 2:21 pm)

What is love?

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