“I’m no longer afraid of being hurt and heartbroken,” a friend recently told me. She’d been through a rough time: a nasty separation from her husband, a shaky reunion, and then a divorce. Now dating a wonderful new man, she says, “I am opening my heart again and it’s been an incredible feeling.”
Whether you have been through a difficult breakup, a dissolving marriage or even the death of a partner, you have endured the searing pain of lost love. If you’re ready–or want to be ready–to have a new experience of love and intimacy, here are some practices that can help guide you on that journey.
Release the Past
Use the mantra Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu.
Practitioners of Jivamukti yoga are very familiar with this mantra, which means, “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”
Desiring happiness and freedom for other people–yes, even your jerk of an ex–helps you have more empathy and live in a harmonious way.
Start Each Day Right
Breakfast is important, but so is this nourishing quote from Roman emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius. “ When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive–to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. ”
Begin each day by celebrating your unique human capacity for love. Breathe in deeply and focus on the sensation of expansion.
Try this mantra, written by life coach Erika Dolnakcova. “I am deserving of a loving, supportive and respectful relationship and I am now divinely guided every day to meet the person I want to share my life with.” Say it daily, out loud.
The idea that “I deserve good things” can be hard for some people to feel comfortable with, but think of this advice, from the writings of Marianne Williamson. “We ask ourselves, ‘who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.”
You could also try a mudra, a symbolic hand gesture, while meditating. Sabrina Mesko’s book, Healing Mudras , offers this one for attracting love: Hold up both hands and extend your fingers up. Bend the middle finger and ring finger down and use your thumbs to press them into your palms. With your elbows raised, hold the posture for three minutes, twice a day, while picturing yourself surrounded by a field of love and light.
Now it’s time to let go of any fears or behaviors that may be holding the people around you at arm’s length. Amanda Owen, author of two books on the power of receiving love, has referred to three practices:
Accept. Take and enjoy what people offer you, whether it’s a compliment, an offer of help or a gift. Be authentic. You don’t have to be “together” all the time, so let other people know what is actually happening in your life. Have gratitude. Try keeping a gratitude journal so you can look for ways to appreciate what life is offering you. And don’t skimp on the thank you notes or emails.
Make It Last
Affirmations “verbally affirm our dreams and ambitions,” writes Dr. Carmen Harra, a psychologist who often works with couples. Harra says that affirmations can even help rewire our brains for happiness. So if you’re in a relationship, use an affirmation such as “My relationship is becoming stronger, deeper, and more stable each day. Say it out loud three times a day. A few hugs and smooches probably couldn’t hurt, either.
Kathryn Drury Wagner is a freelance editor and writer based in Los Angeles. Her book for young readers, Hawaii’s Strangest, Ickiest, Wildest Book Ever! came out last fall.
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