8 Ways to Grow Love

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
8 Ways to Grow Love
Love thrives in the bedrock of a man or woman’s heart, leaks out into the fabric of a caring bond with your lover, and seeks expression in an infinite number of ways. When you hold a baby you feel love. When men and women touch each other intimately, it becomes more than just sex or erotic passion — if fed by tenderness, affection and a loving spirit between husband and wife. It’s all about love.

Your capacity for love defines you as a human being, fills up your soul with passion and teaches you about your hang ups, limitations, calling in life and the joy you have to offer others. Love heals wounds and carries you through the deepest waters of conflict and adversity.

Ultimately, love is a force unlike any other — a power that sweeps through and defines your personal history and brings hope and wisdom to your present journey. It can truly change your world, turn it upside down with mystery and fun, and becomes the glue that holds two lovers in tandem as they ride through the intricate streets of life.

Where does this power called love come from? Within the depths of your own heart, implanted by life, the Spirit and experience. Here, you learn to listen to love’s voice as it moves you to new heights and compels you to foster a dynamite passion for your lover, your mate in life.

For men, the power of love grows when they:

1. Practice explosive tenderness and affection.

Men struggle to define softness and tenderness as masculine; yet they can rock a woman’s world and provide a backdrop for intimacy and authenticity. Close your eyes and think of times when you felt close and fond of your lover — inside and outside the bedroom. Remind yourself of all the ways you can bring tender care to your wife’s presence. What are all the ways you begin reaching out to your lover in tender ways with words, touch and other action?

2. Learn to better identify needs and wants, and to support each other in getting these met.

Begin a personal study of what you, as a human being, need to feel whole and complete. Include ideas about love, belonging, respect and empathy. Then discover what women need to feel whole, complete and loved by their man. Create an action plan to start loving habits that meet these needs.

3. Define their best self and live it out.

This means a careful identification of your core values — what you really believe about life and love that brings integrity to all your decisions in life. Then practice each one — make them habits you live by.

4. Become the sexiest man alive.

Work on your physical self and care for it. Get in shape. But more importantly, practice being romantic. Flirt with your wife. Make her feel special and beautiful — for her body, but also her mind! Start with the talent of “listening” empathically and consistently — yes, to everything she wants to talk about!

For women, the power of love grows when they:

1. Practice inner beauty.

This means defining your true identity by your own values and own model of womanhood. This involves ignoring the “beauty” messages from magazine and media and coming up with your own ways of identifying what inner beauty means — centered on your character and personality.

2. Learn to recognize and talk about their need for care and affection.

So many woman just hold it inside and bleed to death emotionally without others knowing. Learn to affirm your deepest needs and find healthy ways to get those needs met. Talk to your lover about what you want and expect and give him room to grow in his capacity to give this kind of love.

3. Honor the differences between men and women.

This creates expectations consistent with the challenges men face in knowing and owning their true feelings and desires. This involves recognizing the gift you have to bring out the best in your man by modeling a deeper connection with your own needs and demonstrating how this works in the way you love him. Men thrive on respect and often doubt their ability to bring love into their mate’s life.

4. Become the sexiest woman alive.

Work on your physical self, but more importantly, your inner beauty. Reach out to your man with deep respect that mirrors the respect you learn to hold for yourself. Define surrendering to your mate as a choice, not an obligation, knowing it comes from your own femininity and strength.

Love means power. Power that knows no limits. That moves mountains and creates joy, starts in the soul and pounds against the shoreline of life until no one can ignore it. And while we strive to find it in all our relationships in life, may we never fail to look beneath our own interior walls where we see it rest on the organs of hope and enduring peace. Waiting for release, like breath from our lungs that seeps into the air and touches the soul of our best friend, our lover for life.

Such is the power of love.

The Neuroscience of Learning to Trust Yourself
A research study just came out in the Journal of Neuroscience where scientists at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston used sea snail nerve cells to reverse memory loss. The scientists were able to help the cells compensate for memory loss by retraining them when the nerve cells were primed for optimal learning. Of course they’re hoping this has implications for working with Alzheimer’s, but the implications don’t stop there, it could also support a neuroscience for learning to trust ourselves in times of difficulty.

According to the New York Times, Helen Mayberg, a neuroscientist from Emory University called depression, “emotional pain without context.” In other words, here is this emotional pain and the brain can’t figure out where it’s coming from and so it feels lost, stuck and helpless. There is a strong lack of self-trust in these moments. The hippocampus is a part of our brain that is involved in memory, learning and also in giving us a sense of context. In other words, the hippocampus is part of what tells us it’s not appropriate to burst out in tears at work and yell at people at the top of our lungs (even if we feel like doing that). It also tells us that it may be more appropriate to let our guard down with someone who feels safe.

We know through past studies that there are various ways to create neural growth in the hippocampus. Creating an enriching environment has been connected with stronger neural growth in the hippocampus. We’ve seen growth through steady eight-week practice of mindfulness meditation, and one of the earliest studies showed this area of the brain larger in taxi drivers versus bus drivers because they had to constantly use memory to navigate versus just being on auto-pilot.

When it comes to trusting ourselves, we need to have retrievable memory of experiences where we were able to rely on ourselves to handle a difficult situation.

I have a theory that human brains (perhaps sea snail brains, too), are primed for learning in times when we are mindful or aware of what’s here. I think that we are primed even more intensely for learning when we’re mindful during an emotionally vulnerable moment.

We know that the emotional center of the brain is a primary decision maker for us throughout the moments of the day. Emotional experiences (especially difficult ones), influence our snap judgments that form our perceptions and actions.

Most of us see vulnerability as something to stay away from because there is the fear of getting hurt or rejected in it. But the truth is, we can’t learn to trust ourselves without being vulnerable. You need one to build the other.

If we can learn to intentionally pay attention to our moments of vulnerability, without judgment, and meet it with a curious and caring awareness, we can build that into our hippocampus, and make it readily retrievable when we need it most. We condition the natural ability to trust and rely on ourselves.

But like anything, it takes intention, attention and practice.

Just sitting with yourself for five, 10 or 15 minutes (or more) and paying attention to your breath or your body is, for many of us, an act of being vulnerable. The fact is, most of us are guarding against being alone all throughout the day by either staying busy in activity or staying busy in our mind.

In doing this you build trust that you can actually be with yourself with whatever is here. Through practice and repetition, the brain changes and a new thought emerges from the neural growth that “I can handle this, it’s going to be okay.”

The fact is we are active participants in our health and well-being, we all have a hand in learning how to shape our brains to trust ourselves.

It starts right now and whenever we all off the path, we can always begin again.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Here’s a link to a five-minute sample of a mindful practice to get you started.

Adapted from Mindfulness and Psychotherapy.

The Real Secret To Success: Meditation
Let me ask you a question. How much time have you spent today thinking about either the past or the present? Obsessing over things you can’t change or events you won’t be able to control? If you’re like most of us, probably too much.
 
Which is why right now I want to share a very simple tool with you that will allow you to both step out of the past for good and stay out of the future. A tool that will allow you live in this moment, which is the only place that you can truly find success and happiness.
 
And that tool is meditation.
 
Today my new book Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple comes out. As the title suggests, it is a very straight forward, easy to digest guide on how to get past whatever misconceptions or apprehensions you might have about meditation and learn how to use this simple yet incredibly effective tool.
 
As I move around talking about the book, one question I seem to get asked over and over again is, “Does mediation really work?” And my answer is always an unequivocal “YES!”
 
So to those who question whether meditation “works,” or whether it’s “for them,” let me quickly break down some of the most obvious way meditation will change your life.
 
•  It will let you do twice the work in half the time. That might seems like a snake oil salesman pitch, but it’s true. When you meditate, you become less distracted and more focused. And when the distractions are gone, it will make you more productive and efficient and what you’re doing. 

• It’s going to make you less anxious. On an emotional level, so much of our anxiety comes for that tendency I mentioned to get entangled in the past and the future. When you use meditation to help you live in the moment, so much of that anxiety just washes away.

• It will help you become more balanced. In today’s world, we’re encouraged to get amped up over so called “victories” and by extension get depressed over our so called “failures.” But we don’t have to spend our lives on this emotional roller coaster rushing between the highs of  “triumph” and the lows of “defeat.” When we become still through meditation, we realize that everything we do has value, that every moment we’re breathing is a miracle. And if we can carry even a little bit of that truth with us out of our meditation and into our day, we’ll be so much more content and happy.

• It is going to make you feel more connected. Now in a world dominated by social media and communication, you might say, “Why do I have to be even more connected?” The answer is that as much as I love tools like Twitter or texting, they don’t promote true connectedness. But when you sit in silence everyday, you begin to realize just how much you have in common with not just other people, but all the living creatures on this beautiful earth. That knowledge makes you more compassionate.  And compassionate people are happy people.

• Meditation is going to make you healthier. It’s going to lower your blood pressure, which is a condition that makes so many people needlessly ill. It’s going to make you less stressed, which we know is a killer. If you struggle with insomnia, it’s going to help you sleep better. In fact, I gave a speech last night at the Rubin Museum in Manhattan last night with David Vago, a cognitive neuroscientist at Harvard. He said that medical studies are now showing that in addition to those help benefits, meditation is show to be able to prevent cancer in people who are predisposition to the disease.
 
These are just some of the benefits. If you pick up the book, you’ll see that meditation is also a great tool to fight addiction. As well help you eat healthier and in smaller portions.
 
And all you need to do to access these benefits is to sit in silence for 20 minutes twice a day.
 
That might seem like a lot, but don’t you really spend much more time each week on practices that won’t bring you nearly as much contentment and happiness?
 
Don’t you spend more time working on your physical appearance? Your finances? Your home? Even your toys?
 
You’re already working hard at having a productive, organized and rewarding life. All I’m suggesting is you take some of that effort and direct it towards the place where you’re really going to see an amazing return on your investment: your mind.

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