Love: The Beginning (Book 4, Chapter 37)

The live show from London is up! Get ready for some classic Casper-Vanessa banter, a “gladiator-style” 30 second recap, and (grab your tissues) a heartwarming story about love from the one and only Stephanie Paulsell.

Vanessa begins the show by telling the audience about “the most evil thing [she has] ever done.” You definitely don’t want to miss this story--or Casper's amazing reaction. Vanessa looks critically at this story and explains how there was a more loving way for everyone involved to address each other. She advocates for us to be aware of everything surrounding us and our lives when we talk to one another in order to be more compassionate. “If we are going to be loving to each other,” she says, “we have to observe which structures are at play that try to stop us from being loving.”

Get ready for an epic battle. Casper and Vanessa duke it out during the 30-second recap and one comes out with the crown.

Then, the pair look at how Dumbledore addresses the student body after Cedric’s death. He says that in these “dark and difficult times,” we all have to make a choice between “what is right and what is easy.” Is this a loving speech? Vanessa and Casper ask. Is Dumbledore doing what is right or what is easy?

Vaness and Casper then turn to their spiritual practice of the week--Pardes. Pardes means “orchard,” Vanessa says. Like in an orchard, you can reach up and grab any fruit (or in this case, piece of text), and it will inevitably be juicy. They pick one word and trace it through the book, finding new meaning in the text and seeing it in new ways. And, if you didn’t already know, you’ll find out which House Casper is a part of. We also get a peek into the amazing visual make-up of Vanessa’s brain (hint: puppies).

Then, Stephanie Paulsell tells a story about falling in love with her husband. The person writing this blog post is their daughter, so she happens to think that both Stephanie Paulsell and her husband are pretty great. She also did not know that prior to walking down the aisle, the first thing her mother thought of was death. “I realized I’m going to die one day,” Stephanie says, that in promising to spend every day until death with this other person, death is inevitably down the pike. This writer’s mother wowed with her wisdom, saying that love, like spiritual practices, “confers a vision...of the world and of yourself.” Getting close to the things you love, whether people or books, “cracks things open.”

Through their second spiritual practice, Florilegia, Casper and Vanessa reassemble pieces from the chapter. You’ll definitely see it in a new way.