Love is a Practice

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We have an idea in this culture that you either have it or you don’t: You’re athletic or you’re clumsy; you’re a great orator or you stumble over words; you’re talented artistically or you can barely draw a stick figure; love comes easily to you or you struggle to find flow in relationships. While there’s no denying that people are born with gifts, there’s also no denying that with enough accurate information, support, and practice, you can excel at almost anything.

Excel at love? What does that mean? It means that you won’t always feel what we call “in love” in this culture – that ecstatic, heart-thumping high that characterizes the first stage of some relationships – but that if you learn the Love Laws and commit to the Loving Actions that will kick fear out of the driver’s seat, thereby opening your heart to more expansive and sustainable states Click here to continue reading…

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Everest Turns Ten

I’ve written birthday posts for my kids for as long as I’ve had this blog. Last year I also wrote a letter to my firstborn, and read it to him in a private ceremony where I welcomed him into his ninth year. This year I’ve decided to share his birthday letter here.

I believe that one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is reflecting back their essential, intrinsic, inviolable qualities that are not based on externals, outcomes, or achievements. Children know themselves largely because of how they are reflected back by caregivers and influential adults. When we only reflect back their stuck points and challenges, it’s easy for them to develop a belief system of being “bad” or “wrong” in some way. But when we take time to reflect their intrinsic qualities of mind, heart, and soul, their stuck points are cushioned by a strong sense of Click here to continue reading…

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Life Is Not A Popularity Contest

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We’re born intrinsically worthy. Every person on the planet – every single baby – is born deserving of love. When we gaze upon the miracle of a newborn, we don’t say, “I’ll only love you if you’re the smartest, most popular person in your school and you attend Harvard one day and become a doctor and marry another doctor and live in a fancy house and drive fancy cars.” No, we love a baby because she exists. We pour love into the perfection of a baby because he’s here. I love you because I love you. And the baby feels loved for no reason at all.

But somewhere along the way, the baby learns that the loving is conditional. Perhaps it’s when he sees his mother’s eyes brighten when he reads his first words at age three. Or perhaps it’s when she hears her father bragging to his friends that … Click here to continue reading…

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The Timeless Spot of Grace

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Each person is born with an unencumbered spot, free of expectation and regret, free of ambition and embarrassment, free of fear and worry; an umbilical spot of grace where we were each first touched by god. It is this spot of grace that issues peace. Psychologists call this spot the Psyche, Theologians call it the Soul, Jung calls it the Seat of Unconscious, Hindu masters call it Atman, Buddhists call it Dharma, Rilke calls it Inwardness, Sufis call it Qalb, And Jesus calls it the Center of our Love.

To know this spot of Inwardness is to know who we are, not by surface markers of identity, not by where we work or what we wear or how we like to be addressed, but by feeling our place in relation to the infinite and by inhabiting it. This is a hard lifelong task, for the nature of becoming is a Click here to continue reading…

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The Gift of Intrusive Thoughts

I like to start every article that I write about anxiety, worry, or intrusive thoughts by saying that I hold a different view than most people about the function of anxiety in that I see it as a gift. I know firsthand how miserable it is to suffer from anxiety, but I also know that when you turn toward the anxiety and view it as a messenger delivering vital information from your inner world that can help you heal and transform your life, you shift from hating the anxiety and trying to make it go away to being able to turn toward it and learn from it. Then, and only then, can the healing begin.

If you’re struggling with intrusive thoughts you’re in a hell-realm of mental agony. A thought arrives, you hook in, and you’re in for the nightmare ride of your lifetime: descending into the underworld of a … Click here to continue reading…

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