Love As An Expression
The following is the seventeenth practice of Occupy Life: One Step At A Time, practices for living life to it’s fullest, regretting nothing and stepping into the glory of who you came here to be. It is appropriate for today as we celebrate Valentine’s Day, our National Day of Love, and I wanted to share it with you.
One of the core values of my spiritual community is LOVE, and we express it in this sentence, “We are a nurturing community connecting with all from caring hearts and compassion.” The practice I would like to talk about today is the practice of expressing love, rather than receiving it. I would like to talk about having the courage to love.
I don’t want to negate the receiving of love, especially anywhere around Valentine’s Day. I appreciate love and compassion, and the joyousness of receiving love from another. And, on the other hand, I watch the heartache and helplessness when love is not reciprocated; you can’t make others love you, if they won’t.
I’ve also been reading a lot about perception and the illusion of cause and effect. This got me to thinking about being a cause for love, rather than being the effect (on the receiving end). In order to be at cause, you would be focusing on giving love rather than getting love. I know it may sound a bit like pursuing this practice from a self-centered point of view, and you are right: my experience has been that the best way to get love is to give it. Even if the love is not returned, it may improve your relationships and calm stormy waters. It helps you stay confident, and lightens your mood.
In order for us to be healthy, and in integrity with ourselves, we need to give love. Love is one of the ways we experience abundance in our lives, and in order for that abundance to continue to flow, love must flow. In other words, in order to receive more love, we must give more. Love helps us heal and opens us to energy and creative talent. It also plays a central role in all of the world’s religions, pulling us all closer together in communion with each other.
Our world is feeling battered and worn, if you believe all you read in the media. As we begin to Occupy Life fully, we can see that the world needs our love. The people we with whom we live, work, and people all over the planet need to feel nurtured by our caring and our compassion. We can’t underestimate the ripples spreading out from just one word, one thought or one deed.
Some people will tell you that to be intentional about love makes it second-rate. They are enamored with being “in love”. Being “in love” is thrilling, almost like riding a roller coaster, but loving at will is particularly loving. The love you find is authentic, and the effort you make to call if forth, especially when life may not be as smooth as you would like, is deeply caring.
It takes courage to love. I know that caught you off guard earlier, didn’t it? Did you know that the root meaning of the word courage comes from the word “heart”? It takes a great deal of courage to give love when it might not be returned – ask anyone who loves someone deeply, and they don’t love them the same way. It takes courage to open the figurative kimono and say “Here I am, I give myself to you heart and soul”, knowing that you will be separated some day.
Are you brave enough to love?
We receive many opportunities every day to love. Seize just one, and see what a difference it makes in your life!
ACTION STEPS FOR EXPRESSING LOVE
Love is deep in our DNA, part of who we are. As our ancestors evolved, so did our capacity to love: we see this in mother-child attachment, pair bonding and survival aided by teamwork. The genetic propensity to love has been passed on for thousands of years. Our brains have evolved and grown, and according to neuropsychologists, much of this growth is devoted to love and related capabilities.
What can we do to help love flow, rather than hiding it in the recesses of our heart? We are going to concentrate on our feelings of love and how to evoke them intentionally.
- Think about a time you have been surrounded by people who care deeply about you. Open yourself up to those feelings – to feeling cared about. Rest in that experience, sinking into it like you would a well loved pillow. It’s okay of opposite thoughts sneak in there. Observe them for a moment, and then return to feeling cared about. Stay with it as you begin to warm up that brain circuitry of being loving yourself.
- Get centered in your heart, and begin to think about things that bring to mind warm, loving feelings. This could be gratitude, kindness, or compassion for others. Now, let’s concentrate on the physical act of breathing so that we might create a feeling of well-being for you, and subsequently for others.
- Breathe so that your inhalations and exhalations are about the same length. Inhaling speeds up the heart rate and exhaling slows down the heart. This helps create balance and peace as your meditate.
- You can strengthen these loving feelings with soft flowing thoughts toward others. For example:
- I wish you well.
- May you live life with ease.
- May you be at peace.
- May you not be in pain.
- What else might you send to them?
- If you feel upset with someone, you can include these reactions in your awareness while also extending loving and gentle thoughts toward them. It might look like this:
- I’m angry with you, and won’t let you hurt me again. I hope you find true happiness and I wish you well.
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Georgia Feiste, President of Collaborative Transitions Coaching, Inc., located in Lincoln, NE, is a personal growth and leadership coach, writer, and workshop facilitator. She is also a Usui Reiki Master and EFT practitioner. Her passion is success grounded in purpose and passion, standards of integrity and priorities in life. Georgia may also be reached at (402) 304-1902 if you wish to schedule a 30 minute complementary consultation.