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I am back with another weekly practice for you, and this one is one of my long-time favorites. And when I say long-time, I mean LONG-TIME. I started using this one more twenty years ago.
Here’s what it is: ask to be a representative of love.
In the morning, when you wake up, ask to be the representative of love as you move through your day. Ask to be the representative of love in your relationships. Ask to be the representative of love in your family, your workplace, your interactions.
Simply say, with heart and willingness: May I be a representative of love today.
And then, whenever you face a significant situation or one you want to be particularly intentional around, set this intention again in a more specific way.
May I be a representative of love in this meeting.
May I be a representative of love in this classroom.
May I be the representative of love on this email thread.
May I be the representative of love at this social gathering.
The interesting thing is, of course it’s not clear at the outset what being the representative of love is going to look like in any situation. That’s why this is an open-ended prayer, not a behavioral prescription. You get to be surprised and moved and taught as it’s revealed to you, in each situation – what love means, what love entails – here.
I’ll tell you about one powerful time I used this practice. It was in my prior career, when I was working inside a large organization. I had a meeting in which there were some very high stakes around the funding of a particular project. Lots of different opinions, big egos, and competing agendas in the room. My initial stance was a mix of fear and self-obsession: how was I going to fare and come across? I also felt resistance and frustration – I really didn’t want to deal with the politics and posturing. A part of me wanted to just check out.
Instead, I set the intention to be the representative of love in the room. Other people could represent their agenda or the drive to win or whatever they’d be representing. I’d intend to be the representative of love.
So how did that unfold in this particular context? Well, because I’d set this intention, I came into the meeting with a different kind of presence and warmth. As the dialogue started, I noticed that instead of thinking of my own point of view, worrying about how I would come across, or feeling annoyed at others, I was naturally thinking about what would be of service to everyone in the room and the people we were trying to serve through the decision being discussed.
My thoughts went to the common ground across the divergent viewpoints, and the limitations with all the ideas being expressed. In other words, there was a strange and stunning way this simple intention took me above the fray of the debate to a perspective on it that was truly helpful.
And because I knew I was speaking not for myself but for love, I was able to express that perspective with a kind of confidence I wouldn’t have otherwise had. It ended up being a meeting where I contributed something valuable to the project, and people took notice – it was valuable for my own advancement to doing the work I wanted to do as well.
In my personal life, I also use this practice all the time. When I’m feeling challenged in a relationship, I will often ask to be a representative of love in my interactions with the person. I’m always amazed by how much it helps, and the new pathways forward I can suddenly feel my way into.
Now let me underscore one important thing: there’s a reason we ask to be a representative of love, rather than deciding we will be, because we simply can’t do this on our own.
We can’t will ourselves to be representatives of love.
We can’t control this.
We could try to act in a way that we associate with loving behavior, but that wouldn’t be the same as actually embodying and emanating loving energy. For that we need some help, some grace. So we say this as an intention, a humble request, a prayer to something larger than us. And we are lifted as it is answered.
Let me know how it goes as you try out the practice this week.
With … well, you guessed it – love,
photo credit: jozef van ballaer