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The Heart Loves What It Loves

The Secret to Loving Yourself – Embrace Change!

Love is change. How is that true? Well, life is always changing. Change is the only thing that never changes. Seasons change. Time moves forward nonstop. The earth changes. Over millions of years, even mountains wear down. Everything is born, grows old, and transforms. The great cycle of life reminds us of the truth of life. Life is change.
hand holding up an autumn leaf with a heart cut out of its center

Love is life. Love is the deepest essence of what this heart-journey is about. It seems that the entire journey is about finding love, whether it be self-love or loving another, and learning how to keep it and let it go.

If love is life, and life is change, then by association, love is change.

When you find love, your life will change. Love is the biggest motivator. When I went from being a celibate monk at Kripalu to getting married, everything about me changed. I learned how to cohabitate and, although I wasn’t perfect, I was able to accommodate the needs of my partner and work things out. My priorities changed and all I wanted to do was spend time together, love, and be loved.
close up of bride and groom exchanging rings
This was the greatest feeling. It felt so right, so natural, and easeful. For a very long time, the part of my heart seeking love found it and I was content. Then things changed. After many years of unrest, I realized that it was unhealthy for me to stay in the relationship. This was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. Over time, I was able to embrace the change. New growth, new possibilities, and new areas of my heart opened up.

We need to learn how to let the heart love what it loves. When we fall in love with someone, it might be the most impractical thing. There might be extraordinary barriers like living a long distance from each other, having complicated family dynamics, or perhaps this person has a mean streak. But love helps you overlook the shortcomings of the other. Love casts an invisible blanket of perfection over the beloved covering up all of the incompatibilities, hidden red flags, or personality quirks and limitations. Despite all of the reasons why a relationship appears to be a complete train wreck before it even gets started, still the heart loves what it loves. And who’s to question it?

When you fall in love with someone or something, your life will change.

I remember falling in love with jazz. That’s what prompted me to transfer from the University of Michigan Music School to the University of Miami Jazz School. When I found yoga, (there happened to be a yoga studio right across the street from the University of Miami), I fell in love with that. I fell in love with the way it made me feel. I fell in love with the possibility for living a healthier and happier life. I fell in love with myself again. Big changes happened for me, namely that I moved into Kripalu and released music as my profession. Love is learning how to let go of attachments and flow with life. The heart loves what it loves.

In love, there’s always the thrill and the threat. The thrill is the ecstatic feeling of release, joy, feeling completely seen, held, and loved for who you are. A freedom that is unlike anything else.
watercolor image of an ocean sunset with a heart shape in the water
At the same time, there’s the threat or risk of losing the love we have, or the fear that it won’t work out after we make the commitment to change. In love, we need to make space for both the thrill and the threat. Both are real and both exist simultaneously. In fact, they feed into each other.

The threat of what there is to lose puts the thrill in the thrill.

It gives rise to the thrill of letting go of control. We so want to let go, but usually we’re attached to the fear. When we focus more on the fear, we can freeze, overthink it, and become disillusioned.

Matters of the heart need to be dealt with by the heart, not the head. That’s what happened to me. It’s why I was able to be so certain that I wanted to move into the ashram. It was all from my heart. Logically it was a really poor decision, impractical, even reckless. But it’s what I knew I wanted. I wanted it with all of my heart and all of my being. This is when you know it’s the right move.

When you love yourself, your life will change. And the change is always for the better because life has your back. Life is always happening for you, never to you. When you let go and follow your heart, you begin to trust yourself more. You trust the process. You trust life. Then the waves of joy begin to flow. This is what we’re made for – love and change!

I think back a few years ago when my dad died. I just wanted to turn the clock back to bring him back. I wasn’t ready to let go of him. Even though we weren’t that close physically as he lived on the West Coast and I’m on the East Coast, we had a primal connection sourced in the heart. We loved each other. We didn’t always agree on lifestyle, but we respected each other’s decisions. I had a hard time accepting that he was gone and that I’m now without a father. I didn’t want to embrace the change. I had a strong attachment to what we had. I felt myself clinging to the memories of the past, which gave me comfort, but didn’t bring him back. Nothing could bring him back. He changed. I loved him. Now I had to change.
picture of Sandy Norian, Todd's Dad
We have a choice in life. We can resist change, or we can flow with it. When we refuse to accept change, like the loss of a loved one, in a sense, we’re clinging to the past. Maybe what’s deeper down, is that we’re afraid of change. We didn’t ask for the change. It happened and now the choice is ours to resist or accept it.

Yoga is the process of embracing change.

We take a deeper look within to see the reality of life. Life is change. When we can let go into the unknown and flow with change, the current will take us around the bend to see a bigger vista that opens up as a result of the loss. Life keeps going. Change is ongoing. Yoga is saying yes to change.

Grief is another manifestation of love and change, and it can be both positive and negative. The negative side of grief is that it can hold you back, keep you fixated on the loss and the sadness. But when you can allow change to happen, grief takes you into your heart where it transforms into gratitude, both for what you lost and for what you gained.

You appreciate the gift and the blessing that your loved one gave you. You see the truth that even though your beloved died, they didn’t die. They changed. They shifted from the gross to the subtle. In the subtle you can sometimes connect even more deeply with your beloved.

As divine beings, we exist in two planes. We’re here for a brief time in the physical, while at the very same time, we dwell in the universal spirit that is always here, always was, and always will be. At the time of death, we shift from the experience of the five senses to the subtle plane beyond the senses. You can find teachings about this in many of the mystical traditions. Check out “The Tibetan Book of the Dead” for reference.
May you find the courage to embrace change and move on, flow forward, and enjoy the journey. May you allow your wild heart to love what it loves and release the resistance to the change that will inevitably arise.

I invite you to practice with me and the Ashaya Kula this month in the Membership program as we focus on the Yoga of Self-Love. The practices focus on how to be with your heart, release attachments, and fall in love with life again!

To change. To life. To love!


Todd and the Ashaya Yoga Team

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