Renaissance of Love
Love has been changing and transforming since before humans have existed. The ancient scripts write of love; the mystics, poets and all religions, even you and I tell stories of love. Love is an action, a state of being and in its purest essence a continuous returning home to our natural state. This expanded love is free from narrow minded thoughts, habitual emotions, and conditional ways. We can begin now, exactly where we are, invoking and co-creating this renaissance of love.
Self love is the foundation of all other loves. In order to truly love another, you must first learn to love yourself. This is the true love affair; from which all other loves grow and reflect. We start with ourselves, by being gentle, patient and by radically accepting our glory and our flaws. The more we can love our shadows, insecurities and wounds, the more we can hold space to love others through their imperfections. Embrace and discover who you are and what gifts you have offer to the world.
Returning to love
The journey to love expanded is simply returning home. Home is not a particular place, space, or face. Home is complete acceptance for what is and the courage to rise for what needs to be. I believe that this pure love, this coming home, is our natural state. Fear and worry are traits we pick up along the way, that we have to learn how to let go of. There is no one prescription for returning to love that is universal. Some common themes are: spending time in nature, swimming in the sea, walking bare foot, alone/solitude time, a hot bath, making music, writing, creating art, dancing under the stars, howling at the moon… you have to experiment to find things that really speak to you, those that open your heart and bring you back to the joy and celebration that is your birthright.
However, there is a trap, a big misconception that once you have arrived you are here and here to stay. Even though we have arrived at love’s door, chances are at some point we may still get turned around in the chambers of fear. We are human after all, we fall and we get back up. This is a process of returning, again and again. Imagine you bring water up from the well to quench your deep thirst, you feel satiated as the fresh water trickles down your chin. The bucket may last you a day, a few days, but you will get thirsty again, and will have to return to the well to continuously draw up water. In this way, we proceed to take action. Over and over again we must return to that well to quench our thirst.
Love expanded vs Practical love
Practical love is most commonly a love that comes with it’s own rules and conditions. It says, “I only love you if you do this, look like this or behave like that.” How common is it to feel overflowing love for someone when they do something super sweet for us, and the opposite to feel grumpy or annoyed towards someone when they don’t meet our request?! A massive leap on the road to love expanded is leaving behind all expectations. As far as the behavior of our loved ones, we can simply make requests, and respect and appreciate whether those specific requests were met or not. For example, a communication dialogue I find very effective: “when you don’t clean up your dishes, i feel annoyed, upset, and that i’m constantly picking up after you. My request is that you please help to clean the dishes after we are finished eating.” In this way, love expanded is also extremely practical, the main difference being is that it is unconditional. Desire is the vehicle of transformation, it is our attachment to the outcome of these desires which is the root of suffering.
How do we consciously and unconsciously restrict love? By allowing our old thought patterns, our concepts and ideals of separation to direct our actions and emotions. The more we place shame, criticisms, and judgement on ourself or others, we are paddling further away from the island of love. In oder to tap into this expanded love, we need to let go of our own stories, putting down the script of how we think things should be and allowing them to just be. The return to love is a return to simplicity, a listening, a softening and an awakening. When old thoughts bubble to the service, it is best to look at them, see them as they are and allow them to purely be. In this sense, less is more. if we judge our judgements all we do is create internal war and further separation. If we allow, embrace, and feel we can begin melting away old tensions, healing ancient wounds and creating new feedback loops in our ways of being in and viewing the world.
Start where you are, now, and live from an authentic and honest space. We don’t go far by pretending to be someone we are not. Just like everything in life, getting better at a skill requires discipline and continuous practice. In order to build a new muscle, we must begin with simple exercises and disciples. Acknowledge our faults and realize we are in the midst of an amazing learning process. Learning a new language is extremely humbling, and we must remember that it requires patience. We have a tremendous capacity to change and transform ourselves. However, old patterns are trenched deep in our subconscious, and creates blind-spots around love. Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and ask for help when needed is critical on this journey. Begin again, over and over until this new paradigm of love becomes your natural way.
10 steps to start on your path of Love Expanded:
1. Everyday write 10 things you are grateful for. The attitude of gratitude is extremelypowerful and will begin training your mind towards positive and affirming thoughts.
2. Remember, it’s never personal.. even if it feels so personal
3. Listen carefully. The mind screams and the heart whispers.
4. Take time daily to return, whether this is through writing, reading, dancing, walking, meditation.. do something for you and only you.
5. When mistakes are made, remember we are only human. treat yourself and others as if they were a child; embrace them, tell them it’s ok, and move forward.
6. Drop all expectations, of yourself and others.
7. At the end of the day ask yourself these questions. “What did i do today to love myself?” “What did i do today to love others?” “How can i love more fully tomorrow?”
8. When you catch yourself in a negative or old thought pattern, stop, take a deep breath, and create a new thought. Repeat this new thought over and over, like a mantra. Eventually these positive thoughts will become impulse instead of feeling forced.
9. Spend sometime bathing in the unconditioned love of babies, animals and nature – these are some of our greatest teachers.
10. Look into the mirror, deep into your eyes, and practice sending out love and light through the eyes only, without speech. Train yourself to soften into love.