Last weekend I attended the funeral of a friend's father. What struck me most about the remembrances that his family and friends offered was how much everyone spoke of his love. He loved his family, he loved life, he loved his friends, he loved his neighbors, he loved his patients. And they all knew it. Because he had told them and shown them so each day.
I want to live a life with that much love.
Let's keep the Val in Valentine's Day... or something like that. Let's not forget what this is all about. Let's make sure that today is a day that we are open and generous with all our love. One thing I've learned about love is that the more I give out to the world--to my family, my friends, strangers, enemies--the more fantastic I feel.
In addition to the normal ways we think of expressing love, my mindfulness practice has shown me how fostering gratitude and kind wishes for others and myself has increased my capacity to love. Today I'll be boosting my gratitude and kind wishes quota and I invite you to join me!
Gratitude: Try this simple gratitude activity today. Quick, come up with 5 things you are grateful for! They can be small, simple things like the smell of your coffee or a hug from a friend. Or they can be BIG, complex things like the Internet or your family.
Especially when I'm down, stealth gratitude like this helps me gain some perspective, and often reminds me that we're all connected in one way or another.
Here's what I came up with this morning: 1) I'm grateful for all of the support and love I've felt as I launch this teaching program; 2) I'm grateful for my husband Greg's design sense and unwillingness to quit while updating my website; 3) I'm grateful for a ride to San Francisco this morning so I can go to the Wisdom 2.0 Conference; 4) I'm grateful that there's a conference all about mindfulness and technology happening only 45 minutes away from my house! ; 5) I'm grateful for the chance to share with you .
Kind wishes: This one may take a little practice because it can sometimes feel forced at first. But I've learned it's the kind of thing that you can fake it 'till you make it. Try sending yourself three or four kind wishes for the day.
Here's what I'm feeling for myself today: May I be calm, may I be happy, may I welcome new surprises with ease and joy, may I be open to all possibilities.
If sending them to yourself is too difficult, try sending them to someone you see almost every day who makes you really happy. You can send personalized and specific ones like the last two of mine, or you can do broader wishes like my first two.
Try doing these for a couple of days and notice how you feel.
Ok, that's a lot of 'self-love.' I found that I've got to build that up before I can genuinely go forth and spread my love around to others.
My favorite way to share my love is through attention. Giving someone my complete attention when I am with them seems like the biggest gift I can offer.
How do you show your love? However you do, make sure you do!
Love love love.