02/13/2013 11:29 am ET Updated Apr 15, 2013

Welcoming Love

I don't know about you, but I am cursed with an incredible inner critic. This voice has been around for as long as I can remember. It feels tenured in fact and is always lurking, ready to pounce into action the more imperfect things get, which is, um, like all the time. The bummer here is that when held hostage to my critic's pounding reign, love for myself appears lost.

The love I'm talking about here is pure and contingency-free. I like to imagine this love as an ever-flowing fountain, bursting with warmth, kindness, and compassion from each one of our hearts. If you can't go with me on the fountain in the heart picture just yet, can you visualize at least muting your critic and replacing it instead with a little loving cupid on your shoulder?

Last week, after a sitting practice and in honor of Bob Marley's birthday, I played his albums for hours. Everything felt so bright, so light and buoyant. The room glowed. It suddenly dawned on me that I was in a state of majorly resonant love, and that all my favorite Bob songs were in fact his love songs.

Just then I looked up into the sky, and there was the glorious near-full moon. My heart sprang to life, and there were tears and laughter and everything in between. I was deeply grateful. The wonder of feeling such love without relying on my kids or husband for it was powerful. I also realized that love, self love, is a practice, something to be touched every single day.

Here's a little sequence that you might consider if your inner critic has got you down:

1. Sit quietly, close your eyes, and get in touch with the critic that is setting up all those rigid conditions. This voice shouldn't be hard to conjure. It is usually the one most available and pronounced.

2. Turn down that voice. Better yet, turn it off. In answer, breathe life into and turn up the affectionate cupid in you. Feel the love of cupid's arrows pour into the fountain of your heart.

3. Fortified by this, really allow yourself the experience of the pulsing of love through the tributaries of your body. Revel in it. Say thank you for it.

4. Last, do the thing that enables the full expression of this love. For me, it was dancing and singing to Bob by the light of the moon. For you, well, that's up to you.

This is just one way of welcoming love more consistently and routinely. Best to let it, as Bob says, "come tumbling in." See how at first it drips, then leaks, then downright pours into your life. Love is that brilliant, and that self-multiplying. Why not give it a try?

There is, so far as I can tell, not a thing to lose.

In sweet love,


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