The special ingredient in life and love

Cynthia ConnopLife tips, Love tips, purpose, relationships2 Comments

women helping women The special ingredient in life and love

I’m in Shanghai running Living Love workshops and seeing yet again there is one thing that really makes a difference to the quality of our energy and life experience.  The special ingredient in life and love is Being of Service to others. Now you may think ‘Oh, I know that’ or ‘I’m burnt out doing that’ or ‘That’s not sexy’ but what does it really mean to live that today? Caring for others, local volunteering? Having spiritual compassion or effective activism, a global desire to make a difference in other’s lives? 

In our era of start-up mission statements, corporate social responsibility, social media tribes and catchy quotes, I ask has service to others lost its true power?

we can afford to live isolated in our own worlds

A man and woman help each other in a workshop  The special ingredient in life and loveWe potentially live in an age of growing self-interest, opportunism and narcissism, where we can afford to live isolated in our own worlds. Not being exposed to those less fortunate. Taking great care of ourselves, fulfilling our needs for more exciting, meaningful and comfortable lives. 

Many of us when we hear the word ‘service’ freak out. Perhaps you are exhausted from ‘over giving’ or a reformed ‘martyr’, and you have finally learnt to take care of yourself. Or you have a family to support and can’t give away time for free…. etc. All valid things to consider. And for some people being self-focused is a necessary antidote to lack of good boundaries.

And Being of Service to others is not actually in contradiction to that. We do need to take care of ourselves, be aware and be happy. But the focus and feeling sense is completely different. 

I act in service to your opening and I am more open

When we deliberately shift our attention lovingly to the other person(s) our happiness increases and our relationships improve.  The special ingredient in life and love. Cynthia leading a group of women We act in service to the others opening and we are more open. We act in service to others freedom and we are freer. We don’t have to achieve complete openness or freedom before we can be of service. In fact, it’s a dynamic evolution, each building on the other.

In one of the workshop exercises recently the participants were holding out their arms to the side, at shoulder level, and as it got tiring, we experimented with thinking of someone we loved. Suddenly it wasn’t so tiring, and everyone could hold the position for much longer. 

Or doing the feminine Body Wave, when I ask women to look at someone else and offer their movement to support her, the intensity of practise goes right up. For the masculine, when their purpose involves benefits for others, they go deeper, and life is more meaningful.

Oxygen mask theory?

Every time we fly we are told to put on our own oxygen mask first before helping others. It’s become a common expression. And it’s true that if we are exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed it can feel like the last thing we should do is be of service to others. But when we do, in a healthy, strategic way not a ‘sacrificing’ way, we often feel much, much better. Doing what works within your capacity, to the maximum effect. Your service may not involve volunteering at soup kitchens.

An example – if I am nervous before giving a talk, I recognise that feeling, feel it quickly, then shift my focus off myself, and onto the audience. The nervousness is in me, so taking my attention out removes or reduces the fear. Then I can give a better talk and communicate my love. This works for so many things.

With your beloved

If you are feeling unsure or unhappy, experiencing negative emotions or uncomfortable physical symptoms, first do what you need to take care of yourself, then shift your attention onto the other. It’s not meant to be a negation of self but a way of being more yourself.

If you want to receive something and are not getting it, it’s freeing to just give that. If you want them to massage your feet, then offer to massage their feet. Or you want them to appreciate you, then appreciate them. It’s not a permanent solution if you are fundamentally in a relationship where you don’t receive, but it does break the deadlock of ‘I’m not getting my needs met’ and the energy starts to flow again, and you can ask for something you need later. 

In making love our service may be to receive

Woman receiving. The special ingredient in life and loveWe can train ourselves to pay more attention to others than to ourselves, and to be of service to others. A benefit is that when we are less focused on ourselves, the mountains of our ‘problems’ turn into molehills. What seems so big reduces in importance. We are part of the whole.

In making love our service may be to receive, it’s not all about giving to others. Love flows and doesn’t get stuck in any one person or identity. We are taking care of ourselves in a healthy way, and then letting our attention flow out to the other, to see how they are, to see what delights them in the dance of love and freedom. 

With love and appreciation,


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