Wednesday, June 5, 2013

"Love for No Reason: 7 Steps to Creating a Life of Unconditional Love" by Marci Shimoff

   Love. I'm not very good at it, never have been, even after having two husbands, several boyfriends, and now the best life buddy ever in DMan. Love is mushy, and I hate mushy stuff. I've never gotten the hang of balancing the give and take in relationships, plus I'm prone to sinking into the black funks of depression. When I'm there, I shut everyone out, including sweet DMan, and what love I can usually muster dries up like a popcorn fart. So when I saw "Love for No Reason" by Marci Shimoff on the shelf, I figured I needed to study it and maybe I could learn to be better at love, for DMan's sake if nothing else.
   Boy, was I wrong. The book isn't a guide for how to love better in relationships at all; it's so much more. "Love for No Reason" is about infusing your entire life with love, an "inner state of love" that doesn't rely on anything outside yourself to make it happen. To get there, Ms. Shimoff and co-author Carol Kline take you through seven steps, which align with the seven chakras (or energy centers) of the body, that allow you to blast through any love barriers you have and pump up the volume of your unconditional love.
   If it sounds a little hippy dippy (as my brainiac buddy Sheldon Cooper from "Big Bang Theory" would say), it is. Now I totally believe in chakras, but reading the "Love for No Reason" themes nearly made me close the book for good as a bunch of hokum: #1 Love Is Who We Are; #2 The Purpose of Life Is to Expand in Love; and #3 The Heart Is the Portal to Love. Even after finishing the book, I'm still not sure I buy into themes 1 and 2. And theme #3? Every love song ever written says love comes from the heart, so why does that have to be a theme? Then the people interviewed for the book are called "Love Luminaries"    -- gag me with an over-the-top spoon. But I read on through the hippy dippy and gag reflexes and I'm glad I did. There is beaucoup good information throughout the book, based on scientific research too, about how bringing more unconditional love into your life can help you live healthier and longer, enjoy life more, be more fun to be around, and even make the world a better place. And the action steps to get there aren't complicated or costly. The authors lay out simple changes anyone can make to boost their love for no reason.
   I want to share three things (and there are many more I could share) that made an impact on me. I pray every day, and thanks to my mama who is a prayer warrior extraordinaire, I have a big list of folks with serious health problems to pray for. While I'm happy to be able to do something for these folks by praying, I often wind up feeling anxious and depressed by putting myself in their place and trying to anticipate their needs. Not any more. Now when I pray I just send out love to them, I smile while I'm doing it and even put my hands over my heart to connect with the energy flowing out, and I feel that I'm doing us both some good. The heart chakra step about "living with an open heart" reminded me to be compassionate and giving but also to give what I have and not more, that I've got to take care of myself and keep my "love tank" filled up in order to give and love unconditionally. I'm bad about giving too much and then getting grouchy about it, so I needed some reminding. Finally, the chapter on communication (throat chakra) hit home about my subconscious mind believing every word I say after the statement "I am." I know this one sounds real hippy dippy, but it's true. So now when I look in the mirror I say "I am fabulous" instead of "I am old (or wrinkled or fat or saggy)," and when I screw up at work I say "I am doing my best" instead of "I am stupid (or ignorant or such a wasteoid)." At least I'm trying to say the loving things more than I say the others.
   If you've read any of my other reviews, you know I'm a sucker for quotes. There are TONS of great quotes in this book, including one I'll share at the end. And the personal stories of the interviewees are wonderful! Two of my faves are from Melissa Etheridge, about how cancer taught her to choose love over fear, and from Johnny Barnes, who says, "The way I see it, this world was made for love. When the good Lord wakes me up mornings, puts a song in my heart, joy in my soul, and a smile on my face, I just have to give it away."
   Even if you skip over the exercises (some of which are very good) and just read the chapter summaries and stories, give it a go and I bet you'll love "Love for No Reason."

"There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer . . .
No door that enough love will not open
No gulf that enough love will not bridge,
No wall that enough love will not throw down . . .
It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble,
how great the mistake,
sufficient realization of love will resolve it all.
If only you could love enough,
you would be the happiest and most powerful being in the universe."
-- Emmet Fox, twentieth-century author and teacher

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