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You know that open-hearted, safe feeling of being in the presence of someone you love and trust? Have you ever wondered if you could bottle that and feel it later, when you were alone?
What about that connected, fulfilled feeling of loving someone else passionately and unconditionally? Have you ever wondered if you could sustain that whether you were in a relationship or not?
Bestselling author Marci Shimoff (who also wrote six books in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series) explores this possibility in her new book, Love for No Reason—and it’s not just a feel-good idea. It’s backed by scientific research, and its instantly applicable, thanks to Marci’s practical, specific guidance.
Love for No Reason is for anyone who wants to:
I’m grateful that Marci took the time to answer some questions, and also that she is giving away 2 free copies of her book.
To enter the giveaway:
1. Leave a comment below noting if you’ve ever felt “love for no reason,” and if so, when you felt it most recently.
2. Tweet: RT @tinybuddha GIVEAWAY and Interview: Love for No Reason http://bit.ly/yfA8bX
If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can still enter by completing the first step. You can enter until midnight PST on Friday, January 13th.
When I finished writing Happy for No Reason, I’d definitely gotten much happier. But I knew there was still something I wanted that was beyond happiness—and that something was Love.
I reflected on the times in my life when I was most fulfilled, and they were when I was in love. But of course, those times don’t last forever. So I began wondering whether I could feel that “in love” feeling all the time, whether or not I was in a relationship or whether someone was treating me the way I wanted.
As soon as I started asking that question, I began meeting people who were lit up from inside, who were open-hearted. I had a feeling being around them that they were in love. I’d run into them everywhere. The woman next to me on the plane to Russia, the waiter in Peru, the guy in line behind me at the grocery store: ordinary people who were simply radiating love. It felt great to be around them. I thought, I want what they’re having.
So I began asking them what it was like to be in their shoes and how they’d gotten where they were. Their stories had many similarities: they were in love with life, they felt safe and secure—no matter what happened to them. They were vital, energetic; they were compassionate and loving toward themselves and others, they saw the best in the world around them. Best of all, I discovered that they didn’t just get there by luck.
I ended up doing extensive research on love and interviewing 150 people living in that state; I call them Love Luminaries. I found there were specific things the Love Luminaries did that we can all do to live with a more open heart and experience a more love-filled life. Those specific things became the 14 Keys I share in Love for No Reason.
Our excessive preoccupation with romantic love—which causes us to look outside ourselves for fulfillment and love. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with romantic love, but it can distract us from living in a state of love that isn’t based on externals, and that brings a deeper experience of love to every relationship.
Most of us are walking around like love beggars: holding our little cups out and looking to others to fill us up. When you remove the blocks around your heart, you find that there’s an unending supply of love, because you’re connected to the wellspring of love. So you’re no longer a love beggar, you become a love philanthropist. Love just naturally overflows from you. You don’t try to get love from life, you bring love to life.
Scientists in the field of positive psychology have discovered that we each have a happiness set-point, a fixed level of happiness we hover around, no matter what happens to us. I’ve observed a similar phenomenon when it comes to love.
We also each have a range of love that we feel comfortable experiencing. There’s an upper limit to the amount of love we allow ourselves to feel—that’s our love set-point. It’s like a ceiling. If we start to get too much love, more than we’re used to, we sabotage it. The good news is that we can raise the set-point—by removing the blocks that close our heart and by creating new habits. That’s great news. It means that unconditional love is a skill we can learn.
The study of love is an emerging field. Perhaps the leaders in this field are a group called the Institute of HeartMath who along with other scientific, medical, and educational institutions, including Stanford University and Florida Heart Research Institute, are working to advance the understanding that love is a measurable physiological state—not just a mood—that has positive physical and biological repercussions.
Love is the opposite of the body’s stress response. When we’re in fight or flight, we produce stress chemicals which, over time, weaken the body. When we produce love chemicals—like oxytocin, endorphins, and serotonin—these strengthen the whole system.
These two responses, the stress response and the love response, are mutually exclusive. When we’re in angry, anxious, or stressed, it shuts down the love. It actually affects the heart rhythms, how your heart beats—which affects your health.
One of the things that happens when we’re feeling more love and care is that we go into what’s called “heart rhythm coherence,” which you can actually measure and monitor on a computer screen. It’s also possible to train yourself to go into heart rhythm coherence at will.
The researchers at the Institute of HeartMath found that five minutes of feeling love and care can strengthen your immune system for up to six hours, whereas five minutes of feeling angry can weaken and suppress the immune system for six hours. The state of love has its own unique biochemistry and type of brain functioning.
Well, I can talk from experience on this one. When I was writing Love for No Reason, I was going through a divorce. Talk about on-the-job training!
One day, hanging up the phone after a conversation with my ex-husband Sergio, I felt the pain and loss of not being together anymore. Even though I knew our parting was the best for both of us, I was feeling so much love for him and my heart was aching with longing for him. I felt as if I had to shut down the feeling of love because I thought it would hurt too much.
Okay, I thought, I’m writing this book about Love for No Reason. Everyone I’ve interviewed has told me that love is who we are and that I can experience that love inside myself whenever I want. Let me give it a whirl.
Closing my eyes, I told myself, This feeling I have for Sergio—it’s my love. It’s coming from me. So I’m going to just sit here and feel it.
And I did. I really let my love flow, savoring the sweetness of that experience in my own heart. If my attention started focusing on Sergio and the fact that we weren’t together, I’d gently bring it back to my experience of love. That love was coming from me—it was mine.
I could feel it regardless of who was with me or not with me. And it actually helped a lot. Normally, the pangs of loss and sadness would have stayed with me for hours, but within five minutes of just letting myself feel my own love for no reason—I felt better.
It worked so well for me that now I recommend this little exercise to anyone going through a loss.
There’s a major shift happening on the planet right now. We’re moving from a mind-dominated world obsessed with power, control, and survival to a love-dominated world that balances mind and heart and is committed to the flourishing of all sentient beings.
Pure, unconditional love is the highest frequency of vibration there is. The more we experience Love for No Reason, the more habituated we become to living at a high energetic vibration, and the greater our effect on the world around us.
When we radiate love, we send out a powerful vibration that impacts all other life forms: humans, animals, and plants. It’s one of the biggest ways a person can contribute to this planet.
There’s a Chinese proverb that I love to quote which sums that up: “When there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person. When there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house. When there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation. And when there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.”
So my prayer and wish for each of us is that we feel that love and light in our own hearts and souls, and through that we help create more peace here on this planet of ours.
One of my favorite tools from Love for No Reason comes from the Institute of HeartMath. It’s called Inner-Ease Technique. It only takes two minutes but it has a very powerful effect on our hearts.
To do it you close your eyes and put your hand on your heart area. Imagine that you are breathing in and out through your heart. Breathe slowly and gently. With each breath, imagine that you are drawing in a feeling of inner ease and infusing your mind and emotions with balance and self-love from your heart. Continue this for about two minutes. Then take your hand off your heart and sit quietly for a few seconds before opening your eyes.
Practicing Inner-Ease generates heartwave coherence and creates “flow” by helping to regulate the balance and cooperation between our heart, mind, and emotions. This technique “primes the pump” of unconditional love and open-heartedness in our lives.
By Marci Shimoff. Adapted from Love for No Reason: 7 Steps to Creating a Life of Unconditional Love—now available in paperback. Visit www.TheLoveBook.com to purchase the book and receive your free bonus pack!
Connect with Marci on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarciShimoffFan
FTC Disclosure: I receive complimentary books for reviews and interviews on tinybuddha.com, but I am not compensated for writing or obligated to write anything specific. I am an Amazon affiliate, meaning I earn a percentage of all books purchased through the links I provide on this site.
Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest bookTiny Buddha's Gratitude Journal is available for pre-order now. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram..
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