Many people experience romantic love at least once in their lives, and hopefully most of us know familial love and the love of friends. And perhaps we’ve been in love with our pets, or our projects, or the ocean, or chocolate.
Whatever the object of our love, the best part about loving is how it makes us feel, even before we know we are loved in return. The simple act of loving dispenses huge benefits for mind and body. The emotion of love makes us feel good inside and out.
Because of this, it makes sense to cultivate our involvement in loving, to nurture it so that it grows. Surely, the more we are in love, the more peace and happiness we can know.
When you become stressed, or depressed, or overwhelmed, maybe the best way out of it is to focus on loving.
You may already know recipient of your love, or you might have to seek it out. You might have to decide what you want to love right now. It could be a different person or thing every time you do this practice.
First, make a sketch of your love.
This might be an image of the object of your love, or a picture of your feeling of love, what it looks like to you. And by the way, you don’t need to be an artist to do this. Make lines on the paper and forget about being artistic.
Then, write for a full 20 minutes about your love.
Again, your words may be about the one you love or about the state of loving. Use a timer for this one and don’t let yourself stop writing until the binger sounds, so that you’re forced to go the edge of your imagination and then go even further. Dig deep!
From your sketch and your writing, develop a brief mantra that you can carry with you to soothe tough moments in your day.
Repeat the mantra whenever you begin to feel stressed.
Here’s an example:
Between work, family, social obligations, and a ton of other responsibilities, you have become used to constant stress. By mid-week, you’re always exhausted and you even wonder if that spell you experienced while driving the kids to soccer practice might have been an anxiety attack. You’re smart enough to finally close the door and insist on some quiet time with your journal, knowing that if you do not, something’s gonna explode.
But rather than recounting your woes in your journal, this time you focus all your thought on something you love, conjuring the full sensation of your loving, perhaps in the way outlined above. You spend a full half hour in love.
Here’s another example:
You’ve been dissed, hurt in some way, and you’re having trouble getting over it. You think about it all the time and cry far too often. The world is ugly to you. You use your journal to describe your despair.
Then one day, you use your journal differently. Your attention has been drawn to a tree in the yard, or a song, or a happy memory. You allow your love to play around its object, sketching it, describing it, and then consolidating it in a single saying or mantra.
In both these cases, you go back to your life after journaling, and all the same stresses are there. But no doubt you are stronger and less vulnerable to their ravages. It won’t take many more such journaling sessions before you know with certainty that your love (and your journal) can conquer anything.
By Mari L. McCarthy – The Journaling Therapy Specialist, founder of Journaling for the Health of It™. Mari offers counseling and encouragement to writers through her many online journaling resources as well as private consultations. Please see http://www.createwritenow.com/journaling/. Mari’s latest publication is titled, Create Self Space: 7 Days of Journaling to a Clutter-Free Life. Please visit http://store.createwritenow.com/declutter-your-life/ for more information.