Article Contributed by Jenny LaFontaine
Lester says that “Love is the answer”. It took me awhile to really experience what he meant and even as I write this more is unfolding. My journey along the way may be of help to you.
I did not have any idea how to love myself. I had done numerous self-development courses and even self-esteem trainings before I came to The Release Technique, but looking back on it I can see that I actually had resistance to really loving myself – it just wasn’t ‘done’ to love yourself.
Then I started releasing and Larry would have us let go of disapproving of ourselves and then say “Now can you give yourself some approval”. ‘Fake it ‘til you make it’ was a great term for my experience back then. I would say “Yes” and hope for the best. Nice thing was – I actually did feel a little better when I did that. Just saying “Yes” was all I needed to do – no figuring out HOW to love myself – a simple “yes” decision was enough. My experience was that the more I said “yes” to love, the easier it became.
In the first 90-day course that I did I discovered that letting go of disapproving of myself was HUGE. Lester got to be all loving by letting go of his non-loving feelings. Well I had tons of those – and back then it felt like most of them were directed at myself. Wonder why my life hadn’t been going so well! Part of the 90-day course is the 30 minute CAP calls every morning Monday through Friday when we are led through a clean-up by one of the teachers and shown how to get into CAP (Courageousness, Acceptance and Peace). It was one of my favorite parts of the 90-day course – to start every day in a place of love and peace….. and giving ourselves approval. Between that and releasing with my partner every day I built up enough momentum that the disapproval had nowhere to go except out. It seemed never ending, like trying to empty out the Pacific Ocean, but the more I released the more love I was able to give myself.
Then I hit another hurdle – the resistance. I was told as a child that it wasn’t OK to love myself – that was ego. So no wonder I was having a hard time loving myself. Then I saw the distinction between ‘human/ego love’ and ‘Divine love’. Ego love is really in Pride. “Look at me, aren’t I wonderful”. “I’m better than you”. At that time I still had a big disapproval of pride so I had it hooked up that it was wrong to love myself. Ego love separates you from others. Pride is the highest energy on the AGFLAP chart but real love is much higher still – in CAP.
Divine love is the love we already are. It is the self less love that you may see in a mother for her child, the love that connects you to others rather than separates. This is the love that is in Acceptance. Lester uses words in the chart of emotions such as: – appreciative, belonging, compassion, considerate, embracing, empathy, friendly, gentle, gracious, magnanimous, open, receptive, tender, understanding and warm. To give ourselves, and others, Divine love allows us to move up into CAP from where we can release.
Larry would say “You can’t release from AGFLAP. You can only release from CAP”. I think I was in my 3rd 90-day course before I really understood why that was! You know – one of those ‘Ah ha’ moments – so THAT’s what he meant! What I had started to notice was that any time I was stuck it was because I was either disapproving of my feelings or resisting them. Disapproval and resistance are both in AGFLAP. The way to get unstuck was to go to Lester’s Step #5 – “Let go of wanting to control (or change) the stuckness”. In other words I had to ACCEPT the stuck feeling. Amazingly enough when I accepted the feelings of stuckness ….. they just dissolved. Acceptance and love are in CAP. So as long as I was disapproving and in AGFLAP I could not release the feelings. As soon as I accepted the feelings (immediately in CAP) they could leave. So then I saw a little of what Lester meant by “Love is the answer”!
My next lesson in love was the distinction between love and UNCONDITIONAL love. On one of the 90-day mentor calls I hear “You can’t love and want at the same time”. I suddenly saw that I had THOUGHT I was loving my daughter but in reality I wasn’t loving her behavior! I was WANTING her behavior to change. That was a huge moment in recognizing the difference between loving because I wanted something and unconditional love where there is no wanting – it is a pure giving love. Funny thing was, when I really loved her unconditionally – loved her, loved what she was doing or saying, then her behavior improved. I had had it hooked up that I had to disapprove of her behavior to get her to change. That hadn’t worked but I was very persistent and kept trying! Fortunately for both of us I came across the Release Technique and learnt another, much more effective way! Love is the answer.
Shortly after that I had a back problem. Larry told me to love my back – so I did, but the pain was still there. I called my mentor – same thing, loved my back but the pain was still there. I was loving my back because I WANTED the pain to go away! So then I let go of wanting to change the pain and that helped but the pain was still there. Then it finally dawned on me – I was loving my back but NOT the pain! I was not loving its behavior. I started loving everything about my back and, almost instantly, the pain started to leave.
Now that I see the distinction it is easier to see where I have not been truly loving. One day I was loving my bank accounts. I truly loved them and accepted them exactly as they were. Then it struck me – what if the balance goes down? Can I love its behavior? Was I loving money and my accounts unconditionally or was I wanting safety from them? It was such a gift to be able to see the difference and be able to truly love everything about my money – including the bills! My releasing partner suggested that I view everything that I spend money on as a gift that I am giving myself. That is a lovely way of loving my money. Even the groceries are now a gift to myself and my family!
Just this week on one of the Financial Freedom calls Larry said that if we don’t love ourselves then we are sending a subtle (or not so subtle) message that we don’t deserve to have financial freedom …… or anything else that we really want. Think about it – the first word under Acceptance (and love) is Abundance so it makes sense that if we don’t love ourselves we are really saying ‘no’ to ourselves and to abundance. He gave us the assignment to do the mirror exercise – looking at yourself in the mirror, letting go of any disapproval and loving yourself. He recommended doing attachments and aversions to doing the mirror exercise first. A great idea – especially if you have any resistance to loving what you see in the mirror. I know I did the first time I did it. As I continued to work on it and loving myself, funny thing happened, I started to change how I felt about myself and how I looked – almost as if my face changed as I loved it.
Doing the mirror exercise is a great time to check in and see how UNCONDITIONALLY loving I am to MYSELF. Do I really love what I am seeing or do I want to change it? Do I love my behavior? What has really helped me is to be willing to really face all the feelings full on. Get into courageousness, look in that mirror and pull up ALL the judgments and let them go. After all – what is the worst thing that could happen? That I could die? Well I didn’t- but try it yourself and let me know if you do!
The more I let go of the non-loving feelings the more love I feel, the more I AM love. There have been times when the love has just been almost overwhelming. Sometimes it has ‘shown up’ when I have been working on something seemingly unrelated. Truth is, we are always working on love. Fear, resistance and wanting are all non-loving feelings. So the more we let go of them, the more love we can unveil. As Lester says – the love is always there, it is who we are.
One day I was sitting in a coffee shop. I don’t even remember what I had been releasing on but I had this immense feeling of love for everyone and everything. I couldn’t stop smiling. I looked across at an older couple sitting at one of the tables. A hint of judgment started to come up and I just loved it and let it go. As I was looking at them I had the thought that they were most likely someone’s parents and I started loving them as if they were MY parents. Then I looked at other people and loved them as if they were my own children or siblings or parents.
On one of the 90-day calls Rich showed us how to take love and ‘apply’ it to things we don’t love 100%. Think of someone or something that you unconditionally love, maybe a child or even a beloved pet. Feel that total, unconditional love and then just apply that same feeling to someone or something that you don’t feel completely loving towards. Keep going back and forth until you feel 100% loving. Try loving yourself in this way too! The more you practice this, the easier it becomes – it is a skill that anyone can learn.
Recently I experienced another piece of this puzzle. I saw the distinction between loving with my head and loving with my heart. You may ask – well how can you love with your head. Good question and MY experience was that that is where I started. Saying “Yes” to loving myself was loving with my head and that was absolutely perfect. The more I let go of the non-loving feelings and said “yes” to love the deeper I moved into BEING love – loving with my heart, unconditional love.
Now my mantra, if you will, is to “see with my heart” – for me that is unconditional love. It is the feeling that Lester describes as loving the other person and wanting for them what they want for themselves – whether I can give them that or not. I also experience that there is absolutely no energy required to love others in this way – it is easy. Love is our true nature, it is who we are, so how could that be hard.
I always wondered what Lester meant – that loving everyone is the easiest thing in the world. I think I have just had a glimpse of that.