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Know This Love: A mission begins

A vision came to me a couple of weeks ago for a project I knew I needed to undertake. It wasn’t the burning-bush or God-descending-from-heaven sort, just an image that entered my mind along with a feeling of intense joy.

I’ve taken heed, and that vision has now taken shape. What I’m sharing with you today is a brief story of what that vision looks like.

I used to be a very different person. I was negative and chronically ill – almost always in pain, exhausted, and depressed. After a decade of trying to heal without success, I was suicidal and ready to leave my body. But I finally realized that I was not healing the root of the problem.

I had confused myself for an individual, a body with a story of suffering and separation. I was not loving myself, because I didn’t even know who I was.

When I came to understand who I truly am and why I’m here, that began to change. That’s a very short version; when I get around to writing the book that’s been running around my head for a decade, I’ll give a complete accounting.

Ironically, the name “Know This Love” comes from this column I have written off and on for SFBay. Here I’ve discussed spirituality, self-love, consciousness, and random topics I have found interesting.

I feel I wrote some of my best columns during a time when I most needed to hear what I was writing, a time when I was flipping back and forth constantly between the light and the dark, so to speak.

So in a very real sense, these messages have sometimes been more for myself than for anyone else. I suppose this may be true of the project as well, because it has been an integral part of my healing process.

I am so grateful for the grace that gave me the space and experiences to come to these realizations. If it hadn’t been for loving people in my life reflecting the truth to me again and again, and for the grace of whatever you want to call God/Love/the Universe, I would not have lived past my teens.

So Know This Love, then, is just a simple way that I can remind people that they’re loved, safe, whole – perfect just as they are. That they are here in the world for a reason, and someone has noticed and appreciated their presence.

How will I do this? I’ll just pass out these little cards that say “YOU ARE SO LOVED.” That’s it. What’s more important than that?

Sometimes I’ll leave before people can say anything, but sometimes I’ll stop and connect with people to listen to their stories. I’ll share some of them here in this column and on the blog for the project.

At times, in moments of self-doubt, I feel weird about doing this – particularly the story-sharing bit. It could come off as trying to get attention for doing good things for people.

But that’s not my intention, and if anyone thinks that, well, that’s OK. The innumerable blessings that random acts of kindness — or even just simple human interactions — can create in the world far outweigh any worries I have about how it will be perceived. This is far bigger than me and my little ego – or you and yours.

I intend to do this wherever I go: from San Diego, where I currently live, to Minnesota, where I grew up, to Chile, where I once briefly lived and plan to visit again, to wherever else in the world I have the privilege of traveling.

I hope that you will be inspired and uplifted by all of it. I encourage you to email me with your own stories, if you’d like. I won’t use them without your permission, of course.

You never know what one kind word can do for someone. If we can change one life with this, it will all be worth it. And what if we can change ten thousand? This is the meaning of Love in action: to create Heaven here on Earth.

The blog, if you’re interested, is

Matthew Stensland-Bos explores consciousness, love, healing, and grounded spirituality in Know This Love, a weekly SFBay opinion column.  You can find him on his website,

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