Tag Archives: love

Love Litany

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I once hosted my women’s group for a potluck dinner around Valentine’s Day.  Following our meal and catch-up conversations, I suggested we create a love litany. We quickly passed a rose quartz crystal (known to promote feelings of love and compassion) around our circle.  Each time the crystal came around to us, we shared a few words about something we loved.  It was amazing how quickly the mood of the entire group lifted.

I invite you to bring back that loving feeling with your own love litany. Alone, or better yet, in the company of loved ones, recite your list of loves.  Be as specific as possible, describing what you love about a certain person, place, or thing.  For instance, I love my older son’s persistence.  He’s demonstrated this numerous times, in the way he went the distance to get his black belt in karate and more recently when he taught himself how to surf.  I love the way my younger son courageously strikes out into new realms. For example, he was an exchange student to Chile and was the first from his high school to go abroad as a junior.  I also love how intuitive my husband is. He’s usually able to sense exactly what’s going on with me and will step up to help or make a suggestion that’s right on target.

Love has no limits, so there are boundless things you could add to your litany. Consider the people in your life, your pets, the activities that bring you joy, and pleasing elements of your environment. Continue your litany until you begin to run out of loving thoughts.

What I suspect may not have made into your litany was anything about yourself. If that’s the case, I challenge you to add some things you love about you.  Maybe there’s a physical attribute that you are thankful for.  In my case I’m happy for my high metabolism (thanks, Mom!) and my naturally blond hair (thanks, Dad!) What qualities do you love? I love my creativity and the way I look for the best in people. What is the best in you? Complete your litany by celebrating what you love about yourself.

Given the challenges of our troubled times, we need to have multiple tools available to support us. I hope this love litany exercise helps give you a boost.

Open Hearts

 

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How do you hug? I know this is a rather odd question, but think about it for a moment. Do you put your arms around someone with your head toward the left and their head toward your right, or is it just the opposite? Perhaps because I’m right-handed, it’s always been my habit to hug toward the left. However, I’ve learned that hugging toward the right is best because that aligns your heart with the other person’s. While it may feel awkward to change your hugging habits, you’ll likely find that heart-to-heart hugs foster a deeper connection. The next time you go to hug someone remember, “Right is right” and hug in that direction to open your heart to the other person.

You may be thinking, “Whoa! I’m not going to open my heart to another. That’s too risky.” We’ve probably all experienced the pain of a broken heart at one time or another. In order to keep from being hurt again, you may have chosen to protect yourself by not allowing your heart to be open and vulnerable. While a certain degree of guardedness can be a good thing, for instance, not getting into a car with a stranger or taking on someone else’s misery can be wise self-preservation. However, closing your heart off pushes people away and can lead to loneliness and lack of intimate, meaningful connection.

Opening our hearts can make a positive difference in our lives and relationships. An open heart increases our ability to love, to forgive, to be generous and compassionate. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, when your heart is open to love, when you feel worthy of being loved (all love must begin with self-love), when you come from a place of love, that’s what you attract.

In addition to hugging the “right” way, there are a number of other practices that can create open hearts:

An easy place to start is with your posture, drawing your shoulders back and down while raising your sternum.

Praying on another’s behalf both opens and uplifts the heart.  Plus, it’s much more positive than worrying.

If you practice yoga, there are many poses that are heart-openers: Bridge, Wheel, Cobra, Upward-facing Dog, Fish, Bow, Camel, Gate, and Crescent.

The meditative practices of Loving-kindness and Tonglen increase your level of compassion for yourself and others.

What have you found most helpful in opening your heart?