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FEATURE - February 2019
4 Steps to Living As Love in Every Moment
By Laura Wolf
The unconditional love we long for is always available to us but sometimes we forget how to tap into it. Love surrounds us and infuses us at all times. And love is actually simpler to access than you might think.
Every moment of waking life we experience thoughts, feelings and sensations. Sometimes we feel excited, expansive and joyful. In those moments, we don’t necessarily need to practice tapping into love because we are already living as love.
Other times, we may feel sad, angry, ashamed, afraid, heavy, hot or contracted. In those instances, we attempt to avoid or shut down the discomfort. We might eat, drink, get on social media, compulsively clean, pick a fight with our lover, judge others, work long hours, stay busy or a myriad other strategies to not have to feel whatever is happening inside. Amidst the intensity of the feelings, sensations and negative thoughts swirling around inside of us, we may be tempted to believe that we are separate or disconnected from love. But that is the farthest thing from the truth. Love includes everything; there is noting that love does not love.
I’ve often heard it said that fear and other so-called “negative emotions” are the opposite of love. Matt Licata, psycho-therapist and author of The Path is Everywhere and The Unfolding Heart, helped me to understand several years ago that love has no opposite.
Licata writes, “Some will tell you that fear is the opposite of love. And in this teaching the war begins. But love has no opposite, for it is whole and without division. Love is the field in which all form comes and goes, including the temporary, wavelike appearance of fear. It is the vast, tender space in which all emotions, feelings, and physical sensations arise, play for a short while, and then dissolve. Just like passing clouds could never taint the purity of the sky, the temporary dance of fear could never stain the majesty of what you are.”
Uncomfortable thoughts, feelings and sensations are actually harbingers of love. A harbinger is a person or thing that signals the approach of another. Harbinger is also defined as a forerunner of something. When uncomfortable sensations arise, they the forerunners to love, signaling us to pay attention, to slow down, to get present and love ourselves. It’s as if the sensations are saying, “Hey! Over here! You need some love right here. Now, please! You need some love right here, right now. Please!”
When you tune into the pure raw intensity happening inside of you, and offer it presence and love instead of trying to get rid of it or shut it down, you engage in the experience of unconditionally loving yourself.
Gay Hendricks, best-selling author and world-renowned relationship coach says, “The quick ticket to ecstasy is to catch yourself feeling in a very low state of mind--depressed, stupid, hateful--and to love yourself for feeling that way. When you do that you can experience a rocket ride right to the top. Love does not take time; it's possible to transform depression into ecstasy in a flash. But please do not accept my word for it. Try it as an experiment next time you are feeling low.”
So how do we go about loving ourselves when we’re feeling low? Here is a simple Four-Step Recipe for ‘Living As Love in Every Moment’:
Step 1: Notice
Like a scientific observer, without judging your self, notice what is happening inside of you–particularly on the sensational level. Example: “I notice that my throat is tight and there is a burning sensation in my heart area.”
Step 2: Allow
Bring your awareness to rest gently in the location of the sensations and practice allowing them to be there for a few breaths, instead of trying to make them change or go away. The sensations may be very intense at first. They might get more intense when you focus on them. They might shift and change as you focus on them. See if you can simply allow the sensations. Sensations are just energy moving around in your body. (After you “Allow” for a few breaths, “Notice” again. What’s happening now?)
Step 3: Soften & Make Space
Imagine softening around the outside edges of the sensation and gently opening up some extra space around it. Do not try to force space into the sensation (it will likely resist.) Just expand around the outside of the sensation so that it has a little breathing room. If you expand a lot really fast and can’t feel the sensation at all anymore, you may have disassociated or run away from the sensation. Play with it. See if you can expand and also stay connected to the sensation. (After you “Soften & Make Space” for a few breaths, “Notice” again. What’s happening now?)
Step 4: Compassion
Use your heart and your imagination to very gently send compassion or love to the sensation. Imagine the Universe, the stars, the Divine or angels also gently sending love and compassion to you. (After you send and receive “Compassion” for a few breaths, “Notice” again. What’s happening now?)
Each one of these steps is a way of ‘Living As Love in Every Moment.’ The more you practice them, the more loving and compassionate you will become towards yourself and towards others. Uncomfortable sensations are not only asking us to love ourselves, they are also inviting us to remember that we are loved. As we slow down, soften and allow love in, miracles happen.
Hendricks, in his best-selling book, Learning to Love Yourself, reminds us: “You don’t need to go around loving yourself all the time for your life to work wonderfully. You just have to go around being willing to love yourself. Willingness lets you flow with the stream rather than against it.”
The next time some uncomfortable feelings and sensations arise in you, I invite you to think, “Oh! These must be harbingers of love.” And then practice living as love in that moment.
As we slow down, soften and allow love in, miracles happen.
Laura Wolf is a shamanic soul guide who leads inner and outer journeys around the world. Founder of Evolutionary Life School, Turn On Your Feminine Magic and the Wildwoman Weekend, Laura helps clients to unlock fear, access deep self-compassion, claim their power and live their sacred purpose. www.laurawolf.com