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super simple method to love anyone

“i suddenly cared for him and yet, nothing on our physical realm had changed.”

last year, trav + i took part in an incredible journey called life as an artform.  LAAA is, to put it simply, an intensive 3 day personal growth workshop while living with a group of strangers.  now, i consider myself to be a slow to warm up person.  my natural instinct is stranger danger and i struggle with talking to people that i don’t know.  so this idea of living with strangers, revealing intimate parts of who i am including all the dark + ugly stuff, well that scared the shit out of me.  but truly, i can’t say enough good things about this experience.  and i can’t wait to go again.

one of the most memorable + surprising exercises was at the beginning of day 1.  jesh asked us to choose a partner and to sit on the floor, facing one another.  trav + i didn’t partner together for any exercises throughout the 3 days as it just wouldn’t push us enough.  so, i paired up with a random guy (who turned out to be really rad + one hell of an artist), titus.  we were then asked to stare into each other’s eyes for an elapsed period of time.

this was over a year ago now and i still remember how awkward i felt.  as i looked into titus’ eyes, i laughed.  then i proceeded to feel his eyes looking back at me.  that feeling of judgement creeped in and my cheeks flushed hot + red.   i just wanted him to look away.

then we were asked to imagine one another as babies as we continued to look into one another’s eyes.  i took a breath and pictured titus as this chubby little toddler, with his ever-cool hair + glasses.  he was adorable!

then we were asked to imagine one another as elderly, all the while keeping our gaze.  i saw titus on his death bed (ya, i get right down to it).  i imagined him living a full life, saying his goodbyes and passing on to another plane of existence.  my heart ached.

jesh asked us to speak up about how we were feeling.  i told the group my weird truth.  although we had barely exchanged 10 words, i didn’t feel that titus was a stranger to me anymore.  i suddenly cared for him and yet, nothing on our physical realm had changed.  we still knew virtually nothing about one another.

i took home a few things from this exercise:

our imaginative realities are real in their own right.
our imaginations can be very powerful tools.
as cheesy as it may sound, our eyes really are windows to our souls.

and mainly, this lesson: we are capable of loving anyone.

this video // story gets me at the core and is what spurred on some of my memories of LAAA.  if you haven’t seen it already, enjoy..

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