The power of love–pass it on!

We’ve heard these ideas over and over: Love is powerful. Love heals all wounds. Love what is. Love yourself. Love your neighbor as yourself.  All you need is love.

For many years, I had no idea what people were talking about. Sure, I loved my family and friends. I had romantic partners and knew that I was “in love” with them. But I had no concept of love as an energy, and how to actually source that energy.

Then I learned this exercise from Gay Hendricks. It changed everything for me. I’ve written about it in my books and posted about it often, really at every opportunity I have.

This exercise is the bridge into the power of love. It allows you to create a direct experience of what love is and then use it in a variety of ways: to shift other energies in your body; to move out of emotionally stuck places; to create connection with yourself and those around you; to shift into acceptance of what is so that then everything can change. It heals all wounds and allows you to love your neighbor–and you.

So–happy Valentine’s week. I’m passing along this diamond-studded, platinum gift from Gay to you. (This is version is my paraphrase. If you want it directly from the source–which I highly recommend–Gay just published a new edition of his classic book, Learning to Love Yourself.)

Sit or lay down and get comfortable. Notice your breathing and become aware of your inner world. Take a moment to wander around in there, noticing sensations throughout your body.Think of something or someone you love easily. Easily is the important point here–choose something or someone that doesn’t bring up any contracted feelings (e.g. conflict, sadness, fear, anger).  Your children might be a good choice (so long as you’re not in a current conflict with them), or think of a beloved animal. Partners tend to bring up more complicated emotions, so may not be the best focus. You can also imagine a beautiful landscape or amazing piece of music; just something or someone you love easily.

Got one? Good. Savor it. Let yourself imagine the details of what or whom you’re thinking about, immersing yourself fully into those details. Breathe as you imagine, so that you start to feel the body sensations that might come with thinking about this: maybe warmth in your chest, an expanded and/or open feeling in your heart, or a pleasant buzzing. Enjoy these sensations. Allow them to get bigger and bigger, until they fill your whole torso. Let them spill over into your arms. Now let them go up through your head, and down your legs. Can you fill your whole body with these sensations?

Pause there, and notice–you’ve just loved yourself. By imagining how you love this other being or place or experience, you’ve created the actual chemicals that are the sensation of love. And that’s what loving yourself is.

Isn’t that cool?? I love this part. I don’t have to do the nice thing or be the good person or be sure I was thoughtful or kind or saintly or anything else. I can love myself just because I choose to. Anytime, anywhere. So can you.

How are you feeling now? Let’s add one more step, on to the power of love:

Find a sensation in your body that isn’t pleasant. It might be some tightness or an ache or pain. Got it?

Go back to that same something or someone you were thinking about. Generate some love. Imagine that love as bubble wrap, and wrap up the tightness, ache, or pain. Keep breathing into the love, allowing it to enfold and expand the contracted sensations. As you keep doing this, what do you notice? Has the pain or tightness opened up? Do you feel that sense of warmth and expansion taking its place? Keep breathing into the expansiveness as you experience it filling that whole area of your body.

To me, this process is pure magic. The idea that I have the ability to shift my state from contraction to expansion whenever I want gives me the keys to the kingdom. Suddenly I can interface with my body entirely differently. I can decrease pain, I can shift out of fear or anger or sadness, even shame and despair. I can love you just because I choose to. I can “love what is” by using this tool to tune into whatever is happening and actually physically love it.

Take this with you and enjoy the power of love. And be a real Valentine–pass it along.


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