Although it is there, love is an aspect of life that must be cultivated. To cultivate love, one place we can start is by loving ourselves. Self-acceptance, for many of us, can be challenging. However, by loving and accepting ourselves, without judgment -- who we are and where we are in our life's journey, is a powerful way for us to heal wounds, release pain, find forgiveness, and create a deeper connection with the divine. Cultivate love by creating an internal conversation that says "I accept who I am. I love who I am. I accept where I am on life's journey. By loving myself, I will continue to grow and be a healthy, whole human being."
Loving ourselves means that we are taking care of ourselves. We are listening to the wisdom of our bodies. We treat ourselves kindly. We let loving-kindness be our guide as we interact with other people and the world which we all share. As we open up to love, we need to know that we are worthy of love.
Love is associated with the heart. So, we can also cultivate love by opening our hearts. By opening our hearts, we are letting love in, and we are letting love go...it flows outward into the world and is shared with other people. Only after we have fully created love in ourselves, can we fully love others. We cannot expect to be fulfilled by others first. We must start with ourselves. (It's like being on an airplane and putting on your oxygen mask first, before you help your neighbor.) We must forgive and heal within ourselves through love and self-acceptance. For, once we have discovered how to cultivate love in ourselves, we truly know how to create it with others. Once we have experienced forgiveness and healing of ourselves, we are truly in a powerful place where we can cultivate love in the world and share love unconditionally with others.
Photograph by Jon-Erik Lido
Recipe for Love
In a blender, combine...
- 1 ripe avocado
- meat of 1 young coconut
- enough coconut water to blend (about 1/3 cup)
- 1 inch of vanilla bean
- about 1/4 cup of agave (less or more according to taste; I used slightly less)
- heaping 1/4 cup of raw chocolate powder
Garnish with mint leaves. Serve alone or with fresh cherries, raspberries, or strawberries.
Chocolate has long been associated with love. It is the archetypal food of lovers. As you prepare this recipe, you are invited to do so with an open heart. Before you eat, consider offering up words of gratitude to the divine and a blessing for ever-present loving-kindness in the world. Then as you eat it...if you are alone, consider loving yourself, honoring yourself, and accepting yourself without judgment. If you are with someone, consider how you love each other and accept each other. Cultivate love, let it grow, share it, give it away.