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The Language of Growing in Love

Posted: July 12, 2012 by Rob Voyle

The Language of Growing in Love

Here is a simple exercise on love that could work well as part of a wedding homily or spirituality class:

Think of someone you really love and who loves you... As you remember them be aware of your love for each other... Remember (but back together in consciousness) that love and be aware how important and deeply valuable your love is...

Since the love is so valuable take a moment to hold onto it so you don't lose it... Make sure you grasp it firmly so no one can take it from you or that you don't lose it because it is so valuable...

Now put that experience aside, distract yourself by wondering what you will eat at your next meal or some other thing.

Now come back to the person you love. Rather than holding onto the love, let the love hold onto you and the other person... Be aware of what happens when love holds onto you rather than you hold onto love...

Many people when doing this exercise report that being held by love is freeing, enlarging, warming, opening, and wanting to share it with others. Whereas holding onto love, makes the experience of love smaller and often fearful. Holding onto love leads to grasping, possessiveness, greed, and jealousy.

This exercise points to the language we use about love. We say we are "in love" with someone. That means that love is the "container" or space we find ourselves in. Its not that I love my beloved or that my beloved loves me but that together we find ourselves in a reality of love that transcends both of us.

Notice in the above experience the external reality has not changed but everything is different simply from changing perspectives.

Changing language and perspective is a core aspect of the Appreciative Way.

If you are struggling with a persistent problem then one of the first steps is to change the questions you are asking. Many of the times we are asking how can I have less of the problem rather than asking: what is it that I want more of?

Another common question related to problems is: who is to blame for the problem rather than what do I need to do to have what I want more of?

Changing perspectives, and reframing are just some of the tools for transformation tools that I teach at the Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry and Congregation Development programs.

Rob Voyle

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About the Author

Rob Voyle

Rob Voyle

The Rev. Dr. Rob Voyle is a leader in the development and use of appreciative inquiry in church and coaching settings.

Rob's Approach to Training

  • Helpful: Training must provide practical, sustainable solutions for today's challenges.
  • Humorous: Creativity and humor go together as people enjoy new insights.
  • Healing: I create opportunities for people to experience transformational insights that lead to new ways of living, working, and being in the world.

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