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Romantic love gets a lot of attention this month during the celebration of Valentine's Day, but what about LOVINGKINDNESS?  What is LOVINGKINDNESS? How do we develop it and practice it in our daily life? 

             This time of the year is filled with reminders to give chocolates, flowers or Valentine's cards to the ones we love.  It is typically thought of as a season for romantic love, but many school children exchange greetings and families also celebrate.  In this newsletter the emphasis is on LOVINGKINDNESS.  
 

The word lovingkindness has not been commonly used in our culture, but can be found in many spiritual teachings. It also has a very practical application that enhances our wellness in mind and body.  Let's take a look at this further.
 
 
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What is Lovingkindness? 

Recently I attended a lecture given by Sharon Salzberg, an author and teacher of meditation (hosted by the University of Miami UMindfulness). In her book titled "Lovingkindness," she explains that the word "metta" in Pali, the language spoken by Buddha, means love or lovingkindness. It is the first stage, and foundation, of evolving other attributes, which lead to being well. Other attributes, joy and equanimity, have been discussed in prior newsletters.  

When it comes to lovingkindness, we are already equipped with this state of being, and it is up to us to relearn or uncover our true nature.  As we tap into this state with increased self-awareness, we become more connected with our own "loveliness" as well as what is beautiful and lovely in others.  This leads to compassion for others and helps us to radiate true love.  

 

                 


This is different than the intense passion or attachments that we often equate with sensual or romantic love. Thich Nhat Hahn, who was nominated for the nobel peace prize, is another author and teacher of spirituality who emphasizes that true love is not the same as our ego driven attachments, which cause suffering.  

We have the potential to be driven by fear or anger, which is often manifested in grasping toward others to compensate for those qualities. Or, we can reconnect with our positive qualities first, then true love can be extended toward others, including loving sexual bonding; the foundation is lovingkindness.

                       
 
 
HOW DO WE DEVELOP LOVINGKINDNESS?
 
1.  Self love. Most people have heard of the golden rule.  It is evident in cultures around the world and in every major religion.  The emphasis is often on the code of conduct or moral order in society.  However, in this context it is a reminder that we cannot love from an empty heart.  If we are to treat others with love and kindness, we have to begin with love toward ourself.  

Can you spend time in quiet reflection with yourself and practice an attitude of acceptance and kindness?  Can you bring yourself to a state of stillness and comfort even when facing difficult situations?  These are practices that can be developed over time, and can be integrated with or without a religious structure.  




2.  Compassion for others.  The word compassion can be defined literally as "suffering with".  It is the ability to see another person with an understanding of what is causing them to suffer, and to have a kind, gentle approach with the desire to help remove what is causing their pain.  This is a real challenge when the person you are dealing with is acting out in behaviors that are aggressive, unpleasant or demanding.  It takes practice to look beyond dysfunctional behaviors and see the nature of the person within.  

Scientific studies have documented measurable improvements in psychological and emotional wellness when people practice a lovingkindness meditation.


May you experience a loving state toward yourself and others as you too begin or develop your practice of lovingkindness!


           IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS:  

Wellness Counseling Services would like to congratulate Marianne Cortes, LMHC on the upcoming birth of her new baby.  She has shared in the growth of Wellness Counseling since July 2013 and has been a wonderful asset, who will be missed.  Best wishes to Marianne and family!  
For those who wish to keep in contact with Marianne, she can be reached by:  305-962-2377 or marianne.cortes10@gmail.com

Lydia Cerpa, LCSW has accepted an offer to serve on another overseas assignment as Military Family Life Counselor (MFLC).  Lydia will be working on a base in Germany for a year.

With both of us out of the office, Wellness Counseling will no longer be practicing at the Brickell office. Communication with you will continue through these newsletters and Facebook.  Upon Lydia's return to the USA, the new office location will be announced, for anyone interested in resuming sessions.  

Feel free to contact Lydia at: cerpa@thewellnesscounseling.com. 
 
Therapy provides an opportunity to reflect on lifestyle patterns, gain insight, and learn new tools to develop a healthier, balanced way of living.

Know someone who may be interested in the information covered in this newsletter? If so, SHARE! 


At Wellness Counseling Services we offer individual psychotherapy, personal coaching, couples counseling and family therapy.  We use an integrative approach, offering training in Mindfulness meditation for stress management.

We provide Neurofeedback, a non-invasive and innovative brain training program used to remedy symptoms and enhance mental performance.
 
 
Wellness Counseling Services
905 Brickell Bay Drive Suite 228
The Four Ambassadors, Tower 2
Mezzanine Level
Miami, FL 33131-2923

 
 

Marianne Cortes, LMHC
Lydia C. Cerpa, LCSW
305-335-6455


cerpa@wellnesscounseling.com
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Miami, Fl 33131

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