Leo Buscaglia - An Exclusive Interview

With sorrow, we note that Dr. Leo Buscaglia has died of a heart attack on June 12, 1998. We will miss Leo, but we also take comfort in all that he has shared with us and the legacy that we can further by keeping love alive!

Leo himself expressed it well: "I know for certain that we never lose the people we love, even to death." I am especially grateful to Leo for his kindness and support of my work over the last several years

Veronica Hay, Author/Publisher




Leo Buscaglia, Ph. D., has written thirteen books, most of which deal with the experience of love.

At one time, five of his books appeared on the New York Times best-seller list concurrently.

His first book, Love, has been a continual best seller for twenty years.

Over 18 million of his books are in circulation and have been translated into seventeen languages.

Veronica: You have dedicated yourself to the study of love for the past 25 years, written 13 books, produced various tapes and appeared often on public television. Why do you think you have chosen this adventure?

Leo Buscaglia: I don't think I chose it. I think it chose me! I was one of those fortunate individuals who grew up in a large, passionate, demonstrative Italian family where we were taught to love as naturally as we breathed and ate giant bowls of pasta! It was amazing to me that there were those around who had not been quite so fortunate. I could not help but wonder, "Is all lost for them?" Of course, in my search for this answer I discovered that since love is a learned phenomenon, it is never too late to learn to love.

Veronica: Would you tell us about your very famous "Love Class" and how it got started?

Leo Buscaglia: I started my Love Class as a result of the suicide of one of my most talented students. She showed no sign of her despair. Then one day she took her life. I had to ask, "What's the good of all our learning, knowing how to read and write and spell if no one ever teaches us the value of life, of our uniqueness, and personal dignity?" So I started my Love Class. I taught it free of salary and tuition just so students could have a forum to consider the truly essential things. I really didn't "teach" the class. I facilitated it - helping the students to discover their own magic.

Veronica: So many of the teachings, books, and songs, etc., all tell us the same thing, love is the answer. In the final analysis, love is the only thing that really matters. It is the only thing we take with us when we leave. Why then is it so difficult for many of us to realise this before it is too late?

Leo Buscaglia: Because we take love for granted. We assume we are all perfect lovers and all we need do is wait and our love will grow and blossom as readily as a flower in spring. Not so. Love doesn't grow unless we do. It takes patience, knowledge, experience, determination, and every positive trait we possess. In addition, love is always changing and unless we stay aware and change with it, it eludes us.

Veronica: Having the capacity to love is not the same as having the ability to love. Would you explain that?

Leo Buscaglia: We are all born with God-given, unique traits and skills. But, as with all possibilities they will remain unrealized unless they are developed, nurtured, and put into practice. You may have the "capacity" to love, but if left undeveloped, you will never gain the "ability."

Veronica: A life of love is..?

Leo Buscaglia: A life of love is one of continual growth, where the doors and windows of experience are always open to the wonder and magic that life offers. To love is to risk living fully.

Veronica: We hear a lot today about unconditional love. Are human beings really capable of that?

Leo Buscaglia: I don't believe in unconditional love. In fact, I think it's unwise. My love has had a condition that if ever my love keeps you from you, from your growing, and realizing your personal potential, then I must step aside. No one has the right to stand in the way of another's joy, development, or unique perceptions.

Veronica: Everything is interconnected. How does love relate to this truth?

Leo Buscaglia: We live in a small world. Not a leaf falls that doesn't effect a myriad of things. When we reach out to someone in love and the effect is made - everyone, everything which comes in contact with the person we've effected is better for it. Of course, the converse is true, too.

Veronica: You state in your book, Born For Love, that "It is when we ask for love less and begin giving it more that the basis of human love is revealed to us." Would you elaborate on that?

Leo Buscaglia: The essence of love is getting out of oneself and into others. When we care less about our feelings, our rights, our happiness, our security, etc., and begin to concern ourselves with the feelings, rights, happiness, and security of others, we will have found the true power of love.


Veronica:What are some simple every day things we would do to bring more love into our lives?

Leo Buscaglia: We can ask ourselves daily what we have done to make the world a better place, to make someone smile, to help someone to feel more secure, etc. It's the simple things which have the greatest effect. We must never underestimate the strength of a smile or act of kindness.

Veronica: How do we create healthy, loving relationships?

Leo Buscaglia: By caring enough to work on them as diligently as we would if we wanted to perfect a game of golf, or tennis, or become a gourmet chef. These things don't just happen. They require continual work. Yes, we are born for love, but it will die if not nurtured.

Veronica:You inspire a lot of people, Leo. What inspires you?

Leo Buscaglia: I, in turn, am inspired by other people. You can't imagine the joy I feel when I hear that something I've said or done or written has helped others to regain their sense of dignity, to motivate them to develop their unique potential, to encourage them to reach out to others in love.

Veronica:What is different now, 25 years later, in your study of love? What (in short), have you learned in all those years?

Leo Buscaglia:
I have learned that love is the most powerful force available to us. When we have real love we have the strength to perform miracles.

Veronica:What would you like to be remembered for?

Leo Buscaglia: I'd like to be remembered for being a good, kind, loving, gentle man who attempted to live wisely, and who cared a lot.

Veronica:What are you up to these days, Leo?

Leo Buscaglia: I'm living more fully than ever and am discovering new magic every day. I have never felt so alive!

Veronica:Thank you Dr. Buscaglia.

Dr. Buscaglia has given this magazine his permission
to reprint his Love Quiz below. Enjoy!

Love Quiz

Asking yourself questions and answering them honestly is a good path to self-knowledge. In keeping with this idea, I'd like to propose a few end-of-the-day questions for each of us . . .

· Is anyone a little happier because I came along today?

· Did I leave any concrete evidence of my kindness, any sign of my love?

· Did I try to think of someone I know in a more positive light?

· Did I help someone to feel joy, to laugh, or at least, to smile?

· Have I attempted to remove a little of the rust that is corroding my relationships?

· Have I forgiven others for being less than perfect?

· Have I forgiven myself?

· Have I learned something new about life, living or love?

. Have I gone through the day without fretting over whatI don't have & celebrating the things I do have?

If you are not satisfied with your answers, take heart. Tomorrow you get to start all over again! If you will it, this is one quiz you can never fail.

Veronica Hay is the author of "In a Dream, You Can Do Anything" - An extraordinary collection of writings that will uplift you, motivate you, inspire you, and gently guide you along the inner path of your life. An inspirational cardshop in an E-book. One Price - One Time Purchase - Unlimited Use. 40% DISCOUNT at the following link:
Click here for more information and audio samples.
Veronica's work inspires others to be more of who they really are. Email: veronicahay@telus.net


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