ARTICLES | 10 Steps To Enlarge Your Heart | By: Alila Ananda Grace

the renaissance of loveMystics speak about love in ancient scriptures. Poets write of it. Love is the focus of all religions. You and I tell stories of love, but what is love? I believe love is an action, a state of being, and in its purest essence, a returning home to our natural state.

Self love is the foundation of all other loves. To truly love another, you must first learn to love yourself for all your other loves will reflect and grow from this relationship. We start loving ourselves by being gentle, patient, and radically accepting both our flaws and our glory. The more we can love our insecurities and wounds, the more we can hold space to love others through their imperfections.

I believe pure love is our natural state. We pick up fear, worry, anger, and sadness along the way. We must learn to let go of these feelings to return to our unconditional love within. People return home to this space in different ways. Some spend time in nature, walk barefoot, sit in solitude, take a hot bath, make music, write, dance under the stars, or howl at the moon. You have to experiment to find the activities that open your heart and bring you back to the joy, celebration, and peace of mind that is your birthright.

There’s a trap, however, a big misconception that once you arrive at this state of pure love you are there to stay. Although we may have found love’s door, chances are at some point we will still turn around and re-enter the chamber of fear. Imagine you’re bringing water up from a well to quench a deep feeling of thirst. You feel satiated as you take your first sip. The bucket you filled may last you a day, maybe a few days, but it will eventually become empty, and you will get thirsty again. You’ll have to return to the well to fetch more water. Over and over again we must do what helps us return to that space of love to quench our thirst to know its grace.

love expanded - alila anandaThis state of pure love, which I call love expanded, is different than practical love. Practical love comes with its own rules and expectations. Practical love says, “I’ll only love you if look like this, have this, or behave like that.” How common is it for us to feel overflowing love for someone when they do something sweet and to feel the opposite when they don’t meet our requests? The more we place shame, criticisms, and judgement on ourselves and others, the farther we paddle away from the island of love expanded. The find ourselves back on its shores, we must put down the script of how we think people should be and allow them to just be what they are with open arms.

Begin your journey to love expanded. Humans have a tremendous capacity to transform.

10 Steps To Touch Love Expanded:

  1. Write down 10 things in your life you are grateful for everyday. Gratitude is extremely powerful and will begin to train your mind to think positive, affirming thoughts.
  2. Remember, whatever happens to you is not personal – even when it feels that way.
  3. Listen carefully to learn to distinguish the voices within. The mind screams and the heart whispers.
  4. Take time daily to do something for you and only you.
  5. When mistakes are made, treat yourself and others as if they were a child. Embrace them. Say it’s okay. Move forward.
  6. Drop all expectations.
  7. At the end of each day ask yourself: What did I do today to love myself? What did I do to love others? How can I love more wholly tomorrow?
  8. When you catch yourself having a negative thought, stop, take a deep breath, and create a new thought. Repeat this new thought over and over. With time, these positive thoughts will become your go-to thought patterns.
  9. Spend some time bathing in the unconditioned love of babies, animals, and nature. These are some of our greatest teachers.
  10.  Look into your eyes in the mirror and practice sending out loving light through the eyes only. Learn to express love without speech. Train yourself to soften into the space of love expanded.

shakti profile photoAlila spends her time living and teaching at holistic centers, ashrams, and sustainable communities all over the globe. She offers play shops, conferences, retreats, and healing sessions throughout the US, Costa Rica, India, Thailand, Israel, New Zealand, and Australia, continuing to share the truth unfurling in her. To learn more about her offerings, visit Medicine Dancing. Read more of her writing at

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