The Joy and Grace of Loving

#boise #idaho #spirit #mindfulness

Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
The Joy and Grace of Loving
Have you ever had the profound experience of feeling your heart and soul filled to the brim with love — so full that you feel love for everything within you and around you? So full that the world looks brighter and clearer? So full that it brings tears to your eyes that overflow in gratitude?

For me, this is the very best feeling in the world, the greatest joy, and I feel it when my heart is fully open to loving myself and others, and open to awe and gratitude for the privilege of this life. To me, this is the experience of Grace.

This was the feeling I had when I viewed each of my babies for the first time. I could hardly contain my fullness of heart. This is the feeling I sometimes feel for no reason at all. It sweeps over me and brings me immediately to tears from the bigness of it. I love this feeling more than anything in life, so I’m very motivated to get back to it when I don’t feel it.

I’ve learned that this incredible feeling comes, not from being loved, but from loving — both myself and others. I used to think that getting love from someone whose love I wanted would be the very best feeling in the world, but I was wrong. While getting love certainly feels good, it doesn’t come close to the joy of being loving with myself and others.

What Stands in the Way?

Fear and love do not co-exist in the same moment. We need to let go of fear in order to fully love, but how?

It’s a circular thing; it’s love that heals fear — but how do we love when we have a lot of fear?

Love is not something that is generated from within us. Love is what enters our mind and heart and soul when we open to it. Love is what we live in — it’s the intelligence of the universe and the life force that keeps us alive.

But when we are filled with fear, we are not open to love. How do we get beyond the fear, to love?

Beyond Fear to Love

When we were not loved in the way we needed to be as babies, we learned to close our heart, to manage the pain of not being loved — or of being abused. We learned that love didn’t exist for us, so there was no point in being open to it.

Now, as adults, we need to have the courage to open to the love that is truly here for us. There are two sources of love: One is from others and the other is from Spirit. If we are lucky enough to have a partner, friend or therapist who is able to offer unconditional love, we might start to feel safe enough to risk opening our heart. But it is not realistic to expect unconditional love from most others, because unless they can love themselves unconditionally, they cannot love us unconditionally.

What needs to happen for you to risk opening your heart to love if you have never received love? Or if you have a history of trauma and abuse?

If you have had trauma, it is very important for you to have trauma therapy to release the triggers and/or freeze response from your body. Trauma therapies include EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique — a powerful self-help technique that you can learn free on line), SE (Somatic Experiencing), and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) — these need a facilitator trained in the technique. These therapies can pave the way to opening your heart to love.

The Inner Bonding process is invaluable in learning to love yourself. When you practice Inner Bonding, you learn how to connect with your Source of Love and how to bring it inside where it can fill you with what you need to feel the joy and Grace that are your birthright.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a relationship expert, best-selling author, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® self-healing process, recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette, and featured on Oprah. To begin learning how to love and connect with yourself so that you can connect with others, take advantage of our free Inner Bonding eCourse, and join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: “Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships.” Discover SelfQuest®, a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution computer program. Phone or Skype sessions with Dr. Margaret Paul.

Connect with Margaret on Facebook: Inner Bonding, and Facebook: SelfQuest.

For more from Margaret Paul, Ph.D., click here.

For more on love and relationships, click here.

Green – The Huffington Post
Putting The ‘Fur’ In Furlough, Dog Walkers Say Shutdown Is A Drag
WASHINGTON — Sure, canine Americans are happy that furloughed federal workers are spending more time at home. But what about their usual daytime companions, the dog walkers whose services aren’t required as long as government employees can exercise their own pets?

Three days into the government shutdown, Meg Levine said her Capitol Hill-based dog-walking cooperative — the business is employee-owned — hasn’t suffered too badly yet, even though many of her customers are federal employees currently on unpaid leave.

“It’s affected us slightly,” she said. “It’s just kind of a headache.”

Like other small-business owners in the Washington, D.C., area, Levine does have “ongoing concerns” that the customers of Just Walk DC will lose their sources of income for extended periods. Mostly, though, she’s just “very angry” with politicians and thinks her clients feel similarly.

“There certainly is a sense of frustration from a lot of my clients, who feel that this is just needless roadblocking,” she said. “For the most part, we are continuing to chug along and feeling very hopeful this will end soon. I like D.C. when it functions. Oh, this town.”

JJ Scheele, owner of Dog Walking DC, said her business has already taken a hit.

“All the walkers are down anywhere from one to three dogs” per day, Scheele said. “Because walkers don’t get paid very much and they work week to week, it’s going to make an impact on them, especially if it goes for more than a week.”

And if the shutdown is really protracted? “I don’t know what I would do,” she said. “I think they can handle a week. But after a week … I honestly don’t know what I would do.”

Christina Bell has an idea of what she’ll do if her dog-walking clients don’t need her for much longer, and she doesn’t like it.

Bell, who has her own dog-walking business, Doggy Daze DC, as well as taking on clients from other companies, said that business is down by about half since the shutdown went into effect — from about five or six hours of work per day to two-and-a-half hours.

“I just hope this is a short period,” she said. “If it’s longer than a month, then I’ll have to find something else to do. Which really kind of sucks. Because I really enjoy my life the way it is right now, you know — having my business.”

Getting a “quick job,” Bell said, would have disadvantages beyond merely giving up the pleasures of self-employment. “Working at a grocery store or something would be cutting my pay in half,” she said. “Hopefully, when one door closes, another one opens.”

There is one dog-related company thriving this week: It’s a self-serve dog wash adjacent to a Northern Virginia dog park, which is adjacent to a river. Dogs who go to the Shirlington Dog Park often find that their favorite thing, swimming, is followed by their least favorite thing, a bath. The pairing is happening with uncommon frequency these days.

“I’m getting more business because people aren’t working,” said Muddy Mutt owner Andrew Low. He added, “Usually we’re dead during the week … Twenty-five on Monday, 14 on Tuesday, 23 yesterday. That’s a lot during the week. We don’t even ever come close to that.”

But despite the record crowds, even Low is unhappy about the shutdown’s ripple effects.

“It’s been stressful for me because I’ve been sick,” he said. “I wish it would slow down.”

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