Who do you love?
Years ago I did this meditation exercise at a training event that was so powerful I brought it home and have used it again and again. It’s simple. It requires no props, no preparation, and has no limits. That said it can also be done with a partner and when shared in this way its power is infinitely increased.
Want to know the practice?
For the next few minutes, repeat the phrase “I love…” filling in the end of the sentence as it fits.
That’s it: “I love… “
You can recite it out loud, or to yourself. You could journal it and fill an entire poster board of “I love” statements. My favorite, you could sit with another (a new friend or long time colleague, it doesn’t matter as long as you feel safe enough to be honest). Take turns sharing. One listens while the other speaks. After each turn, express your gratitude. Say “thank you” to your partner for listening/sharing. It is as honorable to share as it is to listen!
There are an infinite number of appropriate conclusions to this sentence. The first time I did it, I received it as a bit of a challenge to list as many unique things that I love in the time allotted. It worked, by the time the second minute started I felt the pressure. What else??? And then I started finding the things that really spoke my heart’s truth.
Since then I have used this practice to focus on a single sentence of love, like a mantra for three-five minutes. Other times I use it more like a stream of consciousness exercise and let myself wander and even repeat sentences as they come into my awareness.
When using this practice with clients, it often begins the same. Some of the answers include things like, I love my family, I love my pets, I love my home. I love my car. I hear the list of “obvious” or obligatory loves. That’s not to say we don’t really, honestly love these things, its just that they are also safe and easy. But as I hold space just listening, something shifts…
The MY falls away and love is attributed to conditions and experiences and opportunities that make us feel alive. It could sound something like, “I love that… I love when… I love to… and then state a truth or condition. For example:
- “I love that the sun is shining.”
- “I love when my best friend calls me when I’m feeling down.”
- I love it when my friend call me.
- “I love to ride my bike on cool spring days.”
- “I love quiet mornings when my family sleeps and I can meditate in the stillness.”
And my favorite, a derivative of the beginning formula: “I love myself.”
Not everyone gets to the I love myself statement, but it’s kind of my secret hope that everyone will get there, eventually. Almost everyone gets to a bit of a chocking point. It’s vulnerable to speak of what we love. But in that vulnerability is the power for authentic connection!
Love is all over the internet this month, usually attached to something we NEED to buy to make us feel fulfilled or accepted or worthy. WE are already worthy of love, NOTHING CAN CHANGE THAT! But to cultivate authentic connection and reaping the benefits (like connection and belonging and confidence of our worth) of being in loving relationships with those we love, it does require effort.
Get clear on who and why you love (that’s INTENTION). Let this direction your ATTENTION so you focus on what matters most. And your ACTIONS (both the things you do and don’t do) exemplify your loving intentions.
So, I ask again. What do you LOVE, [First Name ##cap_first]? I’d love to sit with you as a witness to your love.