The subject matter changed but the pattern of the fights remained the same, except the fights were getting worse and worse. It took days to recover and their marriage was damaged a little bit more each time.
But wait. Angie remembered a new ‘technique’ she had recently learned at a Healthy Love Workshop that she might be able to use instead of fighting. She told Harlan she had to go to the bathroom and abruptly left the scene of their often repeated, old, marital battle. In the bathroom she worked at remembering and reminding herself of the major aspects of what the workshop leader had called The Love Centering Technique. Then silently she practiced the breathing, movement and meditation behaviors she had learned at the workshop. She did this for just three minutes. She noticed she felt calmer and more powerful, and she was thinking differently – perhaps more clearly and far less defensively.
She then went back to Harlan who was even more angry than when she left. She heard somehow differently what he was furiously saying. She, herself, said far less than before and she spoke in much kinder yet firm tones of voice. She also noticed her face was more relaxed and thought probably her facial expressions were less severe than before, perhaps occasionally she even looked softer. When evaluating this she managed a brief, small smile. The smile seemed to confuse Harlan and slow him down. Then Angie became aware that, while she still felt quite firm, she was no longer angry and, even better, she was no longer feeling so hurt and vulnerable with what Harlan had been derogatorily screaming at her. She was thinking more clearly and wanted to come up with ideas that might help to go in a positive direction.
Angie subtly continued to do the breathing, movement and calm thinking she had learned and she realized she was seeing and hearing the frustration and hurt behind her husband’s angry words, and it dawned on Angie that she was starting to feel a distinct sense of love for her husband. Feeling sorry for him came next. She could see he was caught up in an agonizing pattern of their terrible fight habits. However, this time she was not. Angie began to speak to Harlan in very kind tones of voice saying she understood he was hurting and she cared. Harlan became befuddled and he could not quite maintain the intensity of his accusations and blaming statements, though he continued to try.
After a while Harlan was expressing only his hurt and Angie, while accepting no blame, showed that she truly was sad that they both were often deeply hurt by this way of dealing with each other. She reached out and softly touched Harlan and he looked even more bewildered, but then he began to be less awful and just a bit more kind. Slowly their ‘argument’ turned into a ‘talk’ and finally in silence they held hands not knowing what else to do. Soon they hugged and went about doing regular things, both in a much better place.
Nothing was verbally resolved, no decisions made, and no apologies delivered yet Angie and Harlan had started treating each other in a cautiously, yet distinctly, more loving way. This change happened right in the midst of Angie and Harlan’s marital difficulties and that had never happened before. Could this be the start of something new and better, and could Angie be the catalyst for repeat performances of this new way of dealing with each other?
According to Angie’s description, by love centering herself before re-engaging her husband she had triggered both of them into a new way of responding to each another. She repeated this love centering technique each time she and Harlan began to have difficulties with each other. It didn’t always work perfectly but it worked far better than the old habit patterns that were destroying them as a couple. Angie’s understanding is that sometimes one person, intelligently and purposefully, can use the power of love to change a couple’s destructive dynamics and do something constructive instead. It is even better and faster when both people are working to make that change but, yes, one person can make a difference.
Angie and Harlan have since both learned ‘love centering’ and used it in a number of other situations. Angie used it before having “the sex education talk” with her daughter. Harlan used it before going into a contentious, dispute resolution conference at work. You see, love centering is an act of self love too; it physiologically, psychologically and emotionally helps one to center in a calmer, stronger, healthier place in order to act more positively and beneficially in most situations. Angie and Harlan together used love centering as part of a drug intervention experience with a family member.
Angie found it extremely useful before going to comfort a friend who had just lost a spouse to cancer. Harlan and Angie say that each time they have used love centering it has helped them do a hard thing better. Angie knows that love centering probably is a technique that will not work for everyone and that some people would find it far harder to learn and practice than others. Nevertheless, she, and now Harlan too, are strong advocates of the love centering technique and they urge everyone to give it at least some study and consideration.
If you are interested in this technique and if you work at it you may be able to teach yourself love centering. This technique seems to be most easily learned by those who are good with affirmations, meditation and introspection practices, and those trained in certain Eastern philosophies and disciplines. However, a wide spectrum of people have learned and found love centering well worth their while.
The love centering technique itself is a quick, simple procedure that may make you healthier, happier and more generally effective in your interactions with others. Love centering also may make all your love relationships go better and may make your dealings with difficult people go smoother. And love centering has been known to be profoundly effective in helping people improve their relationship with themselves. Even if you lose an altercation if you go into it love centered, and maintain that attitude, you are likely to lose less and come out much better.
Essentially love centering is a brief, meditation affirmation technique. It also can be done prayerfully as a simple, short spiritual practice. Love centering counters being ‘centered’ in self-defeating, negative emotions. If you let yourself become centered in fear, anger, money lust, status, etc. you are likely to be sabotaging your own psychological health even when you are outwardly victorious in regard to the subject. Love centering also has been a great help to a number of individuals seeking to bring forth their best and most able selves.
If you wish to maximize your competency, release your constructive and creative powers, and generally do life better, love centering may provide you with a very useful tool. Love centering is suspected of being physically healthful especially when facing difficult, high pressure situations. It appears to help deal with stressors, counters stress reactions and helps the brain produce healthful neurochemistry. It also may influence longevity.
There are several approaches to love centering. One works like this. To do a full, class ‘A’, love centering exercise it is best to start by getting off to yourself so you can remain isolated from others for six minutes at the very least. Once you are alone sit down in a straight and symmetrical posture with your arms hanging down at your sides or placed comfortably in your lap, with both feet on the ground, with your head up and looking straight forward. Putting a sense of energy or intensity into it, slowly think silently to yourself, “I am now going to center myself in love”, then pause and take in and exhale a deep, slow breath. Then think, “I am centering myself in love.” Pause and take another deep, slow breath. Now think, “I am centered in love”.
Take a third deep, slow breath and exhale it slowly. You can repeat this three times or more to help you get into a feeling of being centered in love if needed. If you prefer you also can say these words out loud, but remember, do everything quite slowly. As you do this, imagine that love and its awesome, universal strength is flowing all over and through your body, from the universe toward your heart.
Imagine your heart filling up with amazingly powerful, wondrous and serene love. As you do this continue to breathe deeply and slowly, relax your arms, open your hands and slowly raise your arms over your head. At this point you might think, “I raise my arms to the universe to symbolically connect with a great love force in the universe. I open myself to that love and let it flow into me.” Then symbolically you might scoop a big handful of that love and slowly bring your hands to the center of your chest while you think, “I bring that love into my heart” as you gently press the palms of your hands to the center of your chest.
Continue to breathe deeply and slowly and imagine your heart filling with exquisite, powerful love. Then you can think, “I center myself in love and only love”. Repeat this three times. Let your arms relax and go back to hanging at your sides or placed in your lap. Repeat this entire sequence of movements and thoughts three times or more while remembering to breathe slowly and deeply.
An important next step is to bring your hands to your heart center and meditatively and purposefully say to yourself, “I center myself in love, not in fear, or anger, or worry or anything else besides love.
I fill my heart with love and its awesome power. I will let love radiate out from my heart to my whole being and to everyone I am soon to encounter”. Repeat this two to five times. Then with hands remaining at your heart, and remembering to breathe slowly, resolutely say to yourself, “I center myself in love and I will powerfully and effectively come from love for the people (or person) I am about to deal with and toward myself. I will let love empower and inform all that I’m about to do.” Slowly repeat that two to five times.
After doing this meditative affirmational exercise take one last deep breath and notice how you feel. If you feel love empowered, loving and lovable, calm and confident then go forward toward what you have set yourself to do. If you do not feel sufficiently empowered repeat the exercise again. After that if you still do not feel sufficiently love filled and love centered to be able to act with and from love you might do one of two things.
You can admit you are not now making this exercise work for you and so it may be best to go on to something else and maybe try again later, or you could blame the exercise and say it doesn’t work and never try it again. Do remember that nothing works for everyone and nothing works every time. If it’s not working for you, or at least not working yet, don’t be negative to yourself about that, don’t ‘beat up’ on yourself because that would be de-powering, poor self-love, inaccurate and inappropriate.
After love centering yourself and doing whatever you have set out to do you may wish to evaluate how loving and how successful you were in your post-love centering endeavor. In my experience a good number of people find the more they do love centering the better it works for them. However, that is not everyone’s experience. As we have noted before it is not expected that this sort of technique will work for everybody. Meditative, affirmational and inner, self oriented approaches are highly useful for some, but not for all.
Becoming good at love centering usually decreases the amount of time it takes to get there and the more powerful it becomes. It’s like exercising a muscle, use your ‘love muscle’ often and it will be there quickly and strongly when you need it.
There are many possible alterations, adaptations and differing applications to love centered approaches. For instance Luke uses love centering in his work as a labor relations contract negotiator. He says it helps him keep the parties involved from getting angry at each other which sabotages the negotiations. Laura uses it as a hospice nurse dealing with grieving relatives. Riley has found it helpful in certain difficult situations he faces as a policeman. Suzanne and Sheila say it was love centering that got them past their decade’s old, sibling rivalry problem.
Lots of people alter the words used and that’s good because when you are saying your own words it’s often more effective. After practicing this technique often the words can be shortened. Jesse said all he needs to say to himself is, “I center myself in love and its great strength, and with love I will remain calm, compassionate, carrying and able to reason” before he goes in to preside over the next family court session as a judge.
Some people minimize the motions and behaviors involved in love centering. In the midst of an argumentative difficulty Tonya takes a slightly deeper breath, and discreetly raises one hand to the middle of her heart area silently saying to herself, “I am centering myself in love now” and then carries on with her work at a complaints desk in a large corporation.
To see if love centering can work for you I suggest you ‘try it on for size’ about five times in its full form. It usually takes that to get a sufficient feel for it. If it’s not working by then it’s likely not a practice that fits you sufficiently. Of course it has to be tried sincerely and with some energy. If you think your skeptical, doubtful mind will be a difficulty as you try to do this you may be in a sort of resistant or self defeat mode and not able to experiment with this technique at this time. That’s okay, there are lots of other things to do.
However, your skeptical mind need not fully believe in this kind of technique because it is accomplished by ‘doing’ rather than ‘believing’. Of course, deciding it won’t work for you before you have really tried it probably will result in it not working for you because of the dynamics of self-fulfilling prophecies. It is my suggestion that you consider it, experiment with it, and discover if you can make your life a more love empower life by using this tool called The Love Centering Technique.
As always, Go and Grow with Love
Dr. J. Richard Cookerly
Do you have people in your life who often seem to be coming from love toward you and toward almost everyone else? If you do are you studying and to some degree copying them?