What Is Love Anyhow?

Please join me in welcoming Debbie Seid to Craig Lambert Couples Therapy. Debbie is a relationship educator who has helped countless couples build stronger relationships. She is also a life coach and pioneer in the field of personal transformation. Debbie is a best selling author, creator of The Ladder of Life, and has written numerous articles in the area of Psychology, Personal Development and the mind/spirit/body connection. Debbie draws on a variety of approaches in her work with individuals and couples including Mindfulness, Law of Attraction, NLP, Imago Therapy and The Ladder of Life. I am delighted to present the first of many blog posts by Debbie Seid, What is Love Anyhow?
~ Craig Lambert

I struggled with Love as a concept because I didn’t really know what it meant. It’s funny… we have only one word to describe so many different types of love: parental love, romantic love, sibling love, friend love, love of food, love of what we do, love of a piece of art, jewelry, clothing, love of something beautiful to us like a sunset, sunrise, the waves crashing, a beautiful walk through nature… and let’s not forget love of our pets.

So what does it really mean when we say love? The problem is that we don’t really know. A 19-year old client told me that when he hears the word love, it gives him the heebie jeebies! I don’t know what he was specifically thinking about, but it helped me understand just how confusing the word is. When I asked him what he loved, he told me nature… I then asked him what he loves about nature, and he told me “the peace and calm.” Peace and calm.. hmmm. That is love! When he is in nature and experiences the peace and calm, his heart naturally opens and he is accessing loving energy. One could easily argue that his love of nature is what results in peace and calm, and that peace and calm are the byproducts of loving energy. Either way… loving energy has a peace and calm quality to it, and it is what we feel when we are at love.

I’ve spent a lot of time reading about love, thinking about love, and trying to feel love. I have studied many in the field who “specialize” in love. And most importantly. I have worked with my clients and learned so much through them about love. I have come to a 3 important conclusions about love:

1. Love is what happens inside our bodies when we do one thing… when we open our hearts (yes, it’s really that simple). When we open our hearts, our minds immediately quiet and nothing feels better. You can see it in our eyes, you can hear it in our words, and it shows up in how we respond to others. Whether we are with our partner, our children, our parents, our neighbors, whether we are with our pets or friends or coworkers… when our hearts are open, we are experiencing the energy of love in our bodies and things just seem to flow.

One of my favorite activities is taking people on a meditative hike up one of the most amazing places in San Diego. After we clear our energy and get in touch with what gives us joy (and opens our hearts) and what creates frustration or anger (and closes our hearts), I introduce them to my favorite walking meditation poems from Thict Nat Han. It goes..

As I walk my mind does wander, (duh)
Hearing sound my mind returns (this is an anchor we will discuss later)
With each breath my heart does open (this is the key)
With each step, I kiss the earth (okay, do we ever think of this?)

What I have found is that people can easily recall situations that open their hearts… a wedding, a birth or even a death. Maybe it’s a touching card or witnessing something loving. Whatever it is, we have many examples of when we open our hearts. What we don’t have easy access to is opening our hearts on purpose – without any environmental trigger. How to open our hearts on purpose is foundational to experiencing the energy of love!

2. Love is an energy, just like fear is an energy – but love vibrates at a much higher level than fear. Here is why that is so important. When we vibrate at a higher level, we attract things to us at the same level of energy. What vibrates at a higher level are the things we want to create, the relationship we want to be in, the business we dream of creating, or the health we want to attain. Whatever it is in life that we truly want vibrates at a higher level than the pain we experience that reminds us of what we want. A toxic relationship reminds us we want a healthy one, a boring job reminds us we want more from our time at work, draining friends remind us that we want to be uplifted by our friends not taken down, and breakdowns in our health remind us how much we want to feel good.

3. The energy of love feels so good because it is at our core, who we really are. When we open our hearts, we connect to that part of us that is pure loving energy. That part of us that is often overshadowed by our heads, by our thinking, by our desire to impress, to look good, to be right. The shift that is always called for is one from head to heart. When we bring in the heart we bring in our our true self: the essence of who we are, who we were when we came into this world, and who we will be when we leave it.

To find and experience love, spend more time playing where love exists. Spend more time being compassionate, empathetic, excited, appreciative, kind… spend more time being vulnerable, forgiving and honest. Spend more time being delighted and inspired… What does this mean for you and your partner? Basically always look for what is going well, and never forget to appreciate what they do, what they say and who they are. Always say thank you and mean it, always forgive your partner when they mess up and really let it go, always try and find ways to delight your partner and find something that will make them light up at the end of the day… and finally, always listen – really listen – because there is nothing more grounding, more loving then when our partners want to know what is going on with us. It shows they care… and it activates love.