The other day as my daughter and I were driving to Denver for my youngest son’s college graduation a friend called and asked: “What niggling blog bounces in your head that you haven’t written yet?” Funny how quickly I responded: “the one about love.” I almost heard his smile. “Then write it,” he said.
When we arrived, I asked my now nearly all adult children, “what would it be like if we all taught ourselves to breathe in love every time we walked into the next thing in our day — before every meeting, before each conversation or decision we make, as we get into our car, as we stand in line at the grocery store and on and on? How might that change our perspective, our day, our life?”
“That all depends on how we define love,” was their answer.
The consensus was that often we think of love as passive and just being “nice.” Somehow we may think of it as swallowing our emotions and skipping to a smile. But we quickly realized that that isn’t what love is.
We all started to see and deeply feel that while love definitely includes compassion and thoughtfulness, it also embodies honesty, clarity, creativity, authenticity, expansiveness and responsibility. It means being kind enough to define and clarify agreements.
Then we all then decided to try it. We thought about a challenging situation in our lives and consciously focused on breathing love into that situation. In discussing what had shifted, the wordsease, empathy, understanding, confidence and patience came up.
My youngest son realized that some of what he was doing to be nice and loving was really not allowing the other person to grow. Over time, he said he could see how that kind of love could lead to angst and easily fall into fear, anger, guilt and other reactive emotions.
It’s like the funny and real interactions of a group trying to decide which movie to see. If everyone becomes afraid to be honest (out of not wanting to hurt someone else’s feelings), the group can end up going to see a movie nobody wants to see. Little growth or creativity comes. Energy shuts down.
Again, what if before we begin the conversation, we breathe in LOVE (of self, our friends, the day, the situation). How does that shift our perspective, our priorities, our awareness and our authenticity? And the even more interesting thing is that this could also be the definition of conscious and effective leadership.
My agreement with my children as we began to celebrate the graduation weekend with many people and many activities, is that we try it and see how it feels, this breathing in love. It’s truly a heart thing, not a head thing to over analyze.
Will you join us? Slow down for 5 seconds before you walk into the next event in your day. Stop and breathe in love. Observe how you feel and what shifts.
We can expand our world and improve our health and relationships one breath at a time.