1.18.2013

The Enlightening Mat: Fear of the Loss of Love

ducks drawing watercolor illustration losing love
losing love

No matter how much love you cultivate in your life, it's highly possible you cling to a deep fear that you could lose it all at any time. As a strategy to protect yourself from this fear, you may resist giving your love away to others or spend an enormous amount of energy securing many external sources of love.

Fear of the loss of love is the third universal fear that holds you back from openly sharing your true nature with the world. To read my whole blog series on the six universal fears, click here.


Fear of the Loss of Love


Being afraid of losing love implies two things:
  1. You are resisting the belief that conditions are uncertain and everything including love will arise, suffer change, and pass.
  2. Love is only available from outside yourself and beyond your personal control.
The first point goes back to my earlier blog post on The Second Noble Truth: All suffering results from craving. Your fear of the loss of love, originates with your desire to have a particular source, type, or amount of love remain constant. The need for certainty is denying the perception that the whole of life is in a constant state of flux and everything, including love is existing in a cycle of birth, decay, death, and rebirth.

The second point is a hard habit to shake, especially if you grew up digesting fairy tales such as Snow White and Cinderella or Disney movies like the Little Mermaid. In all of these stories, women are waiting for a transcendent love to arrive from outside themselves, while men have to go to extraordinary lengths to receive love in return.

Believing that love is a force centered outside yourself and can be given or taken away based on the whims of another human being, will only strengthen your fear of the loss of love.


How to Dissolve Your Fear of the Loss of Love


In our society many people have stereotyped love to be something you do for somebody or to
somebody. Very few people have learned that love is something that should be centered within you,
and that the basis for loving others is the love you have for yourself. 

- Dr. Bruce Fisher and Dr. Robert Alberti, Rebuilding When Your Relationship Ends

The number one thing you can do to dissolve your fear of the loss of love is to relocate your center of love to a place within yourself. Love centered within is always abundant and so losing love from the outside just becomes part of your ever-changing landscape of grieving the passing moment and opening to the new one that has arrived. Cultivating a center of love inside yourself that replenishes automatically just like your blood cells means that you are love itself and therefore have no fear of losing it.

Grow a center of love that comes from an unending well inside you by starting a love affair with yourself. I think the most practical way to cultivate this love from within is learning how to make personal requests to meet your needs for affection, nurturing, support, quality time, words of praise, touch, etc. Just like you take time out to care for the needs of other people by going to the grocery store, listening to someone's story, doing laundry, and paying bills, make a date with yourself to start caring for your need for love. Make personal requests to fulfill your need for self-love by working on painting, reading a book, going to yoga, spending time alone out in nature, or cooking your favorite meal. The more you see that you have the ability to meet your need for love by caring for yourself and appreciating your true nature, you will relocate and grow a center of unconditional love within, which will then spill out into your life.

For an easy exercise that will help you start learning how to make personal requests, click here to download a free copy of Chapter 8 "Make Personal Requests" from my book Lemonade Mantras. Use this technique to work with your needs for love, support, affection, joy, etc.

The other way to dissolve your fear of the loss of love is to begin a practice of working with your suffering in regards to changing conditions. The Bikram yoga room is a great practice field for working with the loss of love because you can start small and build on this awareness.

For instance, noticing your feelings around the microcosm of birth, decay, death, and rebirth that happens in the yoga room will help you attune to the uncertainty of love. What do you feel like when you first arrive to class? Are you excited to see people you care for and make connections? What do you feel while you're struggling during the middle of class? Are you already emotionally shutting down, anticipating the end, and wondering what comes next? And after class when you say goodbye to friends, teachers, and comfort of the yoga room, do you feel a loss of love? How do you react to this change from the yoga room back to your real life? Do you accept that a whole new set of conditions will meet you tomorrow at class or are you wanting the love in the yoga room you had an hour ago to happen over and over again?

Once you become aware of how you deal with the cycle of birth and death of love that happens in the yoga room, then you can move to bigger things such as when your favorite teacher moves to another studio or a good friend stops coming to class at the same time. Learning how to acknowledge these changes in the yoga room and accept the new conditions that arise will help you see that love flows in a never-ending circle of openings and closings, and your concept of the loss of love is a limited perception of what is truly available to you.

The Enlightening Mat is a blog series exploring moments of awareness that come to Beth Hemmila while practicing Bikram Yoga.

To shop for yoga charms that celebrate the different poses click here to view this blog post Sterling Silver Charms for Bikram Yoga Postures

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