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Loving without Giving Yourself Away

Whether you are falling in love, offering counseling, or listening to a friend, you give the biggest gift by staying connected to yourself at the same time.

The pleasure and intensity of a strong connection or focus can be a wave that you seem to enjoy riding in the moment, but at the end you may find yourself a bit lost and depleted. 

Martial arts and energy practices like tai chi, and chi gong all emphasize balancing your physical and energetic bodies in your center and maintaining a relaxed expansive focus.  In these arts you learn that movement requires less contraction and muscle than you habitually engage.  Learning to relax and move in a more subtle way, energy can flow freely and keep you healthy and nourished.

All this remains true in the social, mental, and emotional realms as well.  Even as you give your loving attention to another, you can do so while maintaining a sense of your own needs and energy in a relaxed state.  This might feel like a physical and energetic settling back and into your core.  You might do this by focusing on your breath; aligning your posture over your center;  bringing awareness to receiving through your crown and root charkas and feeling the hara line that runs through your center between them; pulling your shoulders back and relaxing your face;  repeating a mantra to yourself, feeling your feet, or anything else that gets you present in yourself.

You might be able to give yourself and the other attention at the same time or you might simply shuttle back and forth consciously.

Forward or slumped posture, lack of energy, disorientation, narrow and exclusive focus, muscle tension, and doing and saying things that aren't authentic for you, can all be symptoms of giving yourself away. 

Giving yourself away to your clients, your friends, or your beloved leaves you less resourced and more reactive.  In this way a cycle of depletion gets created and you might find yourself avoiding the people you love most.

Take a moment now and reflect on your recent interactions.  Notice if any of the symptoms of giving yourself away are present.  Choose a particular relationship or context in which for the next week you will practice staying with yourself while giving loving attention to another.

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3 Responses

  1. May 13, 2011

    I really must say how helpful I find your Gems. Somehow, each week, the one that arrives in my inbox is so spot on for where I am. They are 'jewels without price'. Being a tai chi practitioner (regularly in the past, less so nowadays) I know just what you mean with this one and am prompted to revive my practice to build myself up again.
    I have been in a relationship with someone who while having many good qualities, also suffers from anxiety disorder, which basically seems to mean he has many "jackals" around him. I frequently get triggered into reactive defensiveness, so I appreciate the virtual support of your posts. I try to approach our conflicts as sessions of Push Hands, not always with a great deal of success, but at least with a sense of there being a bigger picture somewhere.

  2. May 13, 2011

    I am a Case Worker for a non-profit and I always must be diligent to not get caught up in the web of my client's issues, but to keep an open mind, a caring hand, and keep myself whole as well. Sometimes a difficult balance.

  3. Jun 02, 2011

    thanks for your comments and your comittment to your own practice.

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