IMG_2921We 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 of love.

If the practice of love doesn’t come easily to you, this will require some re-conditioning of your habitual mindsets and active, daily practice. Just like if you practiced yoga every day you would eventually be able to touch your toes, if you practice love every day you will be able to touch your heart. And when you touch your own heart, you will be able to expand the love and attraction you feel for your partner.

I can hear what you’re thinking: Does it really have to be so hard? If you’re with the right person, shouldn’t love be effortless?

This is the massive cultural misconception – that love is easy with the right person. The converse of this misconception is that if it’s hard, you’re with the wrong person. Love shouldn’t be hard is the belief we absorb from the time we’re old enough to absorb the cultural messages around love. Love should be effortless. Love shouldn’t be work. If it’s work, find someone else. Love should be your haven in the harsh sea of your life.

But for many people love is hard. They’re with the most loving partner in the world and they can’t bring down their walls for any sustainable amount of time. Transfer this same person into a relationship with an unavailable partner where they play the role of the pursuer in the classic pursuer-distancer dynamic and the love gates would open wide. But if that same partner turned to face her head-on, the gates would seal back up and she would want to run for the hills.

There are so many reasons we put up walls with someone who’s available, and underneath all of them is the awareness that with loving comes vulnerability and with vulnerability comes the possibility of being hurt. We’ve all been hurt by love. We’ve all been left, shamed, steamrolled, invaded, judged. We’ve all clutched our hearts from the ache of heartbreak. Our hearts have been broken by parents, siblings, peers, relatives, teachers, and lovers. To be human is to love and to love is to be hurt. There seems to be no way around it, except to wall off and stop loving.

But you don’t want to stop loving. You want to take the risk again. You want to learn to open your heart to the beautiful, vulnerable, imperfect, sometimes annoying, kind, caring partner who stands before you. And you know there’s a way to risk again but you don’t know how. You sense that there’s a roadmap to help you learn the Love Laws and Loving Actions that would help you soften your walls and move toward your partner. You intuit that if you could do this – if you could spend more time open-hearted instead of armored behind the walls of protection – you would feel the love and attraction for your partner that you’re longing to feel.

There is wisdom in this longing, for there is, indeed, a path to guide you toward your open heart. It’s not fast work and it’s not easy work; healing never is. But if you’re ready to follow your longing toward its nucleus of wisdom and begin to access longer states of feeling open-hearted, loving, and attracted to your partner, the next round of Open Your Heart is for you.

Registration is now open for round four of Open Your Heart: A 30 day program to feel more love and attraction for your partner. Whether you’ve been together for two months or twenty years, I look forward to guiding you, as I’ve guided hundreds before you, along the pathways that will help you open your heart to more sustainable states of loving and being loved.

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