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Build your love muscle

I’ve been following a meditation teacher for awhile now. His name is Jeff Kober. In addition to being a Vedic meditation teacher, he’s also an actor and played a pretty mean dude on The Walking Dead a few seasons back.

Kober writes these wonderful “Vedic Meditation Thoughts of the Day” and one of his recent posts really stuck with me.

It was called, “Some Thoughts on Love”. In the post he talked about the power and importance of love. That love starts inside and spreads itself outward. That any situation can be upgraded with love. That love is an action. That love comes from the spirit, not from the ego.

He says, “To love, especially at those times when we seem least capable of it, is to build a muscle that will serve us for the rest of our life.”

WOW. Powerful!

Especially the idea that love is a muscle we can build. We can work on this just like we would our quads or biceps at the gym.

What I love most about Kober’s posts is that he doesn’t just share a thought or teaching, but he always offers a practical invitation at the end for how to integrate the idea into your day.

In this post on love, he suggests that when we are faced with a challenging situation to bring our attention into our heart, imagine a glowing ball of energy there and send it to the person or situation and expect nothing in return.

What a beautiful idea – send love to others without them knowing and without expecting anything in return.

After thinking about this idea and discussing it with my husband I started to put it into practice. But before I share what happened, it is important to know a little secret about me.

I have a very well developed inner critic.

She’s pretty vocal. Pretty loud. Pretty convincing. She keeps me playing small a lot of the time. She holds me back. She doesn’t like change but loves the status quo. She’s my ego. And she’s definitely not coming from a place of love.

While she is by far the hardest on me, she also likes to speak her mind when it comes to others. She does this because she wants to keep herself safe and useful.

She shows up in traffic, at the gym, at the grocery store. She likes to compare herself to others. She likes to gossip and point out other people’s flaws. She likes to win and enjoys blaming others. She likes to criticize and judge. And to be honest, she makes me feel pretty awful about myself much of the time.

Well recently, with Kober’s daily thought fresh in my mind, I had the opportunity to choose another way. To start building my love muscle and listening from the voice of love as Kober suggests.

The first thing I did was start to notice how often my inner critic spoke up. Which was pretty much my whole drive into the gym after leaving home a few minutes late and encountering Black Friday traffic, an accident and limited parking.

My inner critic was in high gear. Bitching about other drivers, berating myself for leaving too late, and complaining about not being able to find a parking spot. I’m sure you can relate to this familiar scenario.

Given that my inner critic was on an internal rampage, when I got to the gym, she just kept going. I was rushing and worrying about being late, comparing myself to others, judging how fellow gym goers were working out, criticizing the instructor. It kept escalating and I was working myself into a critical judging frenzy!

And then, in the midst of a series of squats, I stopped. I noticed what was happening. I took a breath. Paused. And I remembered Kober’s suggestion. Find the love. And then send the love.

I connected to my body and my breath. I became grateful for the entire situation. I started to send love to each person in the room. In my mind I thanked them all for their energy and wished them positive, successful workouts.

And in a matter of seconds it all turned around. The negativity was gone. The critic was gone. All that remained was the voice of love. It felt really amazing to send that love to my gym mates without them even knowing.

I practiced this the whole way home. Sending love to other drivers. Noticing and being grateful for the beautiful sky, the warm sun, the birds, the songs that came on the radio. And my whole day was different. It was more positive, more grounded, more loving. I felt a sense of peace, joy and happiness.

Since then I’ve noticed whenever I start to get a little triggered and feel that inner critic start to rear her ugly head, I pause, breathe and move into that place of love. I send love to whoever or whatever is the object of my criticism, and it really does work.

In fact, every time I’ve done this over the last few days an amazing thing happened. I’ve been inspired by a great idea – for either a blog post, service offering, connection to be made with a friend, something I wanted to do for myself. How cool is that? A great idea popped in just after I started to send love.

And one of those ideas was to write this blog post. To share what my experience has been. To give you perhaps a new tool to use. To hopefully inspire you to make a different choice. This practice can work in practically any situation. And it can also work toward ourselves as well.

Whenever you find yourself in a place where you are criticizing yourself or someone else, I invite you to tap into that place of love within you and send it either to yourself or to another person or situation.

It’s a simple strategy with a powerful outcome. And it’s a practice. Just like working those abs. It takes awareness, consistency and determination.

Start building that love muscle and see how strong, empowering and freeing it can be.

Over to you. Do you have an inner critic that needs a little taming? Would you like to tap into this voice of love more often? Have you ever tried something like this? I’d love to hear if any of this resonates with you in the comments…

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