If you don’t have a loved one to share this holiday with, this day can be filled with a sense of inner loneliness and sadness.
No matter what category you fit into, it’s important to realign with what love truly means for you as you inhabit this earthly life. Mindfulness and meditation offer us portals through which we can reconnect with the kind of love that fosters inner connection, confidence and kindness. This particular form of love is available to us in any moment — and is simply one breath away.
As a mindfulness-based psychotherapist, I see clients that are desperately seeking a way to feel at home within themselves. Whether they’re going through a divorce, changing careers or constricted by stress and anxiety, one of the common denominators is that they’re on the path of excavating self-love. I often teach people that we can only meet those who sit before us at the heart-depth we’ve met ourselves. If our inner pool of self-love is shallow, we’ll have little to give those precious beings in our life. So how does the gift of mindfulness help us to excavate that authentic, inner love we seek most?
Here are three practices that will help you reconnect to your own heart, radiating love into every relationship in your life and beyond:
1.) Turn Love Inward
We’ve heard it all before — “you should love yourself.” This is all fine and good but the big question is, how do we tap into that meaningful, all-encompassing, embodied self-love? It begins with awareness. In meditation each morning and in mindful moments throughout the day, become non-judgmentally aware of how you talk to yourself. As humans, we have approximately 60-80 thousand thoughts a day and about 70% of those thoughts are negative in content. But through awareness, we an bring light to our default modes of thinking. Through the light of awareness, we possess the opportunity to change our inner narratives. For example, how often do we wake up in the morning and say “wow, I received the perfect amount of sleep. I am so proud of all I accomplished yesterday and I know I have all that I need within me to live a meaningful, peaceful, love-filled life today and all the days of my life”? Nope. We typically wake up in scarcity consciousness, feeling as if we didn’t get enough sleep and that we will fail to get everything on our to-do list done today…thus, fueling that nasty inner critic that says “no matter what you do, you’re never enough.” Turning love inward means to speak impeccably to yourself, with loving, supportive words. YOU possess the power excavate this inner love, moment-to-moment. Make this mindful mantra a daily practice — I love who it is I am and I trust my inner goodness.
2.) Practice Universal Love
One of the main tenets of mindfulness is interdependence — that we are all intimately, eternally connected. When we feel interconnected with the world, our sense of separation melts away and what is left is spaciousness for love to emerge. I often teach a meditation that prompts students to imagine they are in space peering down at Earth. In this moment, we’re seeing Earth as one whole unit which fosters a sense of interdependence from within. As you see this image of Earth bright and vibrant in the mind’s eye, breathe into the center of your heart — bringing your concentration here. Repeat this heart-centered breath at least 10 times. In this moment, repeat the Universal mantra of lovingkindness:
- May we all me happy
- May we all me healthy
- May we all be free
- May we all live with untethered love
3.) Slow Down
In a society where perpetual busyness is our modern day epidemic and “doing more with less” is the norm, intentionally slowing down your life can be the most powerful form of self-love. Gandhi taught that “our actions express our priorities” so when you’re journeying through the day, notice where you spend your precious time. When we sit to meditate, essentially, we’re choosing to uphold our inner peace, happiness, and love as a priority. What’s more precious than that? Whether slowing down means committing to a daily meditation practice of taking that wellness retreat of your dreams, these alchemical acts of slowing down fuel our greatest relationship of all — the intimate connection we have with ourself in both moments of light and darkness. Slowing down is the ultimate act of self-love…this love which is found in the power of your presence.