It’s Difficult to Be Loving When It Feels Like There's So Much Hate in the World. Danielle LaPorte Says This Is Where to Start...
When Danielle LaPorte leaves her home in Vancouver, Canada, she only has to walk about three blocks until she sees a heartbreaking scene: people living homelessly. “Some of the same guys have been on the corner for months,” she says. “I’m well informed about the darkness of human trafficking, and I have a few friends climbing out of deep depression. Every day has its own devastations.”
The reality of this is devastating. Yet rather than allowing the devastation in her neighborhood (and around the world, for that matter) to leave her heartbroken, she says she’s learned to let situations like this break her heart open, ultimately helping her feel more loving. She writes about how all of us can learn to do this in her new book, How to Be Loving As Your Heart is Breaking Open and Our World is Waking Up.
“We know that love is the game changer,” says LaPorte. “Instead of using all of our courage to go crush our material goals, I think we could start using that energy to ask ourselves and our teams, ‘What’s the most loving move to make now?’ And then we take the most loving, humane action—which of course is not always the most profitable or convenient but is always the most inclusive and joyful.”
The Sunday Paper sat down with LaPorte to talk about her new book, how it’s a call for gentleness and proof of the life-changing power of self-compassion, and how all of us can commit to be more loving in what feels like an increasingly unloving world.
A Conversation with Danielle LaPorte
You write that “the heart will always choose to focus on what’s working.” What do you mean by this? How can we see this to be true when so many things in the world right now appear to not be working?
When we attack or over-exaggerate what’s broken, we don't heal things, we just create more wounding or drama. If you’re always criticizing your body, you’re never going to get truly healthy. If you’re always winging on your partner about how they fall short, it’s not going to create intimacy.
We have to see what’s not working, notice the weeds in the garden, and deal with those problems without giving all of our energy over to them. Water the weeds, you get more weeds. Fertilize the fruit, you get a feast.
I used to go to a psychotherapist who’d been practicing for decades. He was a brilliant Jewish Buddhist who charged high rates for his patients who could afford it. He’d start every session with me by saying, “So… tell me what’s working’.” That was a brilliant move. My nervous system would immediately start to relax, love was flowing. I was able to think more clearly. Healing begins with remembering our capacity to heal.
There’s a part in the book where you talk about healing from the past. You write: “Nothing leaves us until we thoroughly love it. We can’t curse it to release it. We can’t attack it to release it. That only creates more clinging and pushback.” So, how do we love the tough stuff from our past?
Bless it. Be grateful for whatever it taught you. You don't have to be grateful for being betrayed or for feeling the shame of whatever went down. That’s spiritual bypassing. But you can appreciate the growth it caused, the resilience it fostered, how much love you found in and around you.
All the painful memories and the things you want to shake are just asking for more love and attention. Your pain just wants your love. You may have to be relentless with it. Healing requires that kind of steady love. Love it, keep loving it.
Say, Thank you for what you taught me. May you be free. Thank you for the growth, now I release you.
Then whatever it is—a relationship or a painful thought form—gets what it’s always wanted: some Love. And then it will be able to go on its way.
All of the upheaval happening in the world is pressing us to go inward, you say. Tell us what you mean by this. What’s the first step to going inward?
Wisdom comes to us when we’re still. We can’t hear the Higher Self or Spirit when we’re going from one thing to the next the minute we wake up and go to bed exhausted. Stillness is where the best directions come from.
And ultimately, our spiritual practice is for becoming more Loving. With meditation, prayers, studies, we’re not trying to earn our way into heaven or please spiritual authorities. Our dedication serves to help us be more gentle with ourselves and others.
It seems clear that being more loving can not only change our lives, but the lives of everyone around us as well—both loved ones and strangers alike. Why is this?
Every one of us is here to be the divine counterbalance. “Being light” isn’t as much about fighting off the “darkness” as it is about focusing on Love while ignorance tries to distract us. Focusing on Love is the difference between a lot of struggle—or deep, sweet peace.
Once we get tired of crushing goals and not feeling full when we get there, once our bucket list starts to leak, the yearning to be loving will get prioritized.
So, keep giving your most tender self the Love that it’s requesting every day. Loving Kindness is the healing methodology we’re all looking for. If you’re inclined, include all sentient beings in your vision for happiness and health—then back it up with action. Point your requests for guidance to the Highest Sources: to your Soul and the Source that holds your Soul.
If we give up our attachments to timing, then we can trust the inevitability of our healing. And if we stop judging what we’ve made of ourselves, we’ll make better lives with more Love.
Hopelessness feeds the purveyors of division and doom. Don’t go there. Faith is fueled by community. Look into the eyes of the person or the animal next to you with the intention to see their Light—and you’ll find it everywhere.
Let’s stick together and hold hands every step of the way.
Danielle LaPorte is a former think-tank director who speaks about the intelligence of Love. Her Heart Centered Facilitators Program + Membership evolved out of her bestseller, The Desire Map, with 400+ workshop facilitators in 32 countries. To learn more, visit DanielleLaPorte.com.