The Love/Hate Exercise

Here’s an emotional intelligence exercise we ran at the “How to Live from your Heart”workshop that was effective for lots of the participants. Be forewarned, you may feel silly, because it requires… playing:

  • Find a neutral object. I’ve led groups to do this with everything from a crack in the concrete floor to a glitter-covered foam skull.
  • Do a quick body scan. In other words, take mental inventory of how your body feels in this moment. Notice tightness, relaxation, pains, tingling, stiffness, flutteriness, tickles, temperature, sweat level, etc. Take a “snapshot” for later reference.
  • Spend one minute “hating” it. eg “Stupid glitter, all showing off. Look at it just sitting there sparkling like an idiot.”
  • At the end of the minute, stop “hating” and do another quick body scan. What’s different?
  • Take a clearing deep breath or two and repeat the exercise, this time adoring that sweetest object, that most amazing and precious thing, the thing you are so lucky to be near!
  • Body scan, compare, breathe.

It’s very likely that just by pretending to hate and love a thing, you have started to increase your awareness of, access to, and toleration of your emotional state. Feel free to swap out “love/hate” for words like “adore/despise” or “desire/repel”. I encourage reports back on any changes you notice, and any resistance you feel to such foolery. Big love, leaf

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