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Love & Connection

How do we Love? (Shepherd Hoodwin)

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001Shepherd Hoodwin’s book Loving from your Soul: Creating Powerful Relationships is a must-read book for anyone on a spiritual journey who is exploring the many facets of love. Over the last few years, I’ve read many beautiful passages about Divine Love that have floated above me like beautiful clouds, untouchable and unreachable in this lifetime. The greatest joy of reading Shepherd Hoodwin’s book is the immediate feeling and experience of love without having to do anything but read the passages and open my heart. Your heart will feel a sense of lightness, love, and faith and you’ll have a better understanding of “How do we love?” The radio interview allowed my mind to translate what I felt in my heart to concrete, practical, and actionable steps.


Segment 1: Love—The Best Anger Management Tool

Anger is my friend (see show on Anger). It didn’t start off that way, but over time I have learned to face my anger and learn from it. Shepherd Hoodwin described it perfectly in this interview when he said that everything in life, including learning from your anger, is a spiritual practice. Anger is power coming through you, a life force and energy, that arises when you have to deal with either a real threat (a robber in your house) or a perceived threat, which Shepherd aptly described as baggage anger. Baggage anger is your own anger that you project to another person due to an unresolved issue in your past. The spiritual practice happens when you can gain distance from your emotional reaction to gauge its appropriateness. My favorite quote from the book is below because to me it nails both self-love and love to others.

“If you find yourself either attacking others or trying to be loving by repressing your feelings, you have not yet accurately perceived Love. … Love is in the middle, where there is not need for repression or inappropriate expression. Love your anger. Love it all”

— Shepherd Hoodwin, Loving from Your Soul: Creating Powerful Relationships

Segment 2: How to Open Your Heart

Shepherd discusses how to open the inner door to your heart and discern whether to open or close the outer doors of your heart. In this segment we talk about what it means to open the inner doors of your heart to love, truth, and beauty, and love others unconditionally. We’ll discuss how to manage our own feelings of malaise, revenge, betrayal, and anger when in the presence of difficult people.

“Love comes into your experience primarily through the inner door of your heart.”

— Shepherd Hoodwin, Loving from Your Soul: Creating Powerful Relationships

Segment 3: How Do We Love?

Everyone has their own way of loving. My favorite book on this is 5 Love Languages, which suggests that our love style is based on what we learned from our childhood and is based on demonstrating love through affirmation (positive praise), acts of service (e.g.- doing someone’s laundry), gifts, quality time, or physical touch. In this segment, Shepherd provides some concrete stories that help you accept the love you get in whatever package it comes in versus only accepting love that is packaged in the way we want it. For example, Shepherd uses the example of a father that never says “I Love you”, but works hard at his form of love, which is being a good provider.

Segment 4: Taking Care of Yourself—Self-Love

In this segment we talk about loving others unconditionally as a means of self-love and how to immerse ourselves in positive activities, whether its rest, play, contemplation time as an act of self-love.

“When you are loving yourself, you are loving others. Love does not differentiate between the love you give yourself and the love you give others. Loving yourself is not self-centered. If you do what you truly love to do, you are in harmony with the whole. Loving yourself has vast ramifications. It is not simply a way to increase your effectiveness and enjoyment; it is your primary means of coming to know the force that activates the universe.”

— Shepherd Hoodwin, Loving from Your Soul: Creating Powerful Relationships