You are here to be the manifestation of divine love, to be a living bridge from the heavenly to the human. When you awaken and abide in your own field of love, you become a blessing to others, and to the world. Don’t look for an angel. Become one. – Barbara De Angelis
If there’s another title for this book, it would have been “The Book for Love.” Truly a labor of love, I just felt how much Dr. Barbara has poured out into this material. Not to add that the word “love” was mentioned 1,519 times in it! Any reader would experience a heart-to-heart conversation that heals and uplifts the soul.
I personally applied what Barbara calls “Recalibration Practices” as I got struck out of balance after the passing of our beloved dog, my best bud, Duke (a 4 y/o golden retriever) on the day I finished reading the book (02-17-17). I got a first-hand encounter of Barbara’s loss of a four-legged friend, whom she considers her most treasured companion and teacher of love.
Barbara also uses ordinary circumstances and common things in life as a metaphor for the teachings she imparts, which makes them easier to understand and practically applicable.
So what does The Choice for Love teach us? Let’s take a look.
Love is a Choice
The choice for love is a revolutionary and revelatory shift in your relationship with the energy of love itself. It invites you into a new, enlightened experience of love as a vibrational state of being.
It’s the choice to allow yourself to feel the innate, limitless fullness of your heart.
It’s the choice to invite love in its limitlessness to flow through you, work through you, express itself through you, and serve others through you.
It’s the choice to have a totally conscious, committed, dynamic relationship with the field of love that dwells within you, as you.
Love is a choice that we make from moment to moment.
Barbara points out that we mistakenly believe that we need to wait until something happens on the outside for us to experience love. But we really don’t need to wait because we can choose to experience love right at this moment. It is a choice we make moment to moment.
She also traces back to the fundamental teaching that we are vibrational beings. And love is our primary condition and our true nature. It is our natural vibrational state of being.
Love and relationship coexist but they are not the same. In Barbara’s metaphor, love is the water and we are the pipes. A relationship is only a vehicle through which we can experience love. Another person is also a vehicle. But they are not the source of love. It doesn’t come from the outside in but from the inside out.
Inside, meaning our own relationship to love. And the most important relationship is with ourselves. This is what making the choice for love means — to recognize, reconnect with the unlimited flow of love within, recalibrate ourselves to that vibrational state and allow it to be expressed through us.
Excuse me, Cave
Love is always the missing ingredient in every dilemma.
When it’s dark and you bring in just a little bit of light, the darkness instantly disappears. There is no more darkness. Love is like that, because the nature of that divine field of energy is light. If you bring love to something, the darkness will vanish.
Love carries its own light. It illuminates any space it touches.
I love the short fable Barbara shares in the book. It’s about the Cave and the Sun who invited each other for a visit. The Cave that lives in darkness and then finally reaches the sky was filled with awesomeness when it saw the light for the first time.
To return the favor, the Cave invited the Sun to his place so it could experience darkness. So the Sun entered the Cave and searched for darkness. But no matter where the Sun looked, all it saw was light.
The Sun turned to the cave and said, “Excuse me, Cave. I don’t mean to be rude, but where is the darkness that you described that exists here with you? This looks like where I live — all I see is light.”
Where is the dilemma, the Cave in your life where you experience darkness? Invite the Love.
Barbara offers this most basic and powerful Choice for Love Practice, by asking ourselves these two questions:
- How can I bring more love to _________________?
- What would that look like right now?
The Big Melt
The choice for love is the choice for the Big Melt. It’s the choice to defrost all of the places in your heart that have become hard and frozen. This Big Melt will allow you to experience Big Love!
We often associate love with pain, yes? We’ve been hurt in the past and avoid as much as we could from getting hurt again. So we close off our hearts. We shut down our pipes. On one end, we may have protected ourselves from pain. But on the other, we’ve also prevented the flow of love. Our protection has become our prison.
Our hearts are like a pool with stagnant cold water. It becomes frozen. And what happens when someone wants to dive into us? They hurt themselves.
Barbara invites us to make a choice to defrost. Block by block, emotion by emotion, wound by wound, truth by truth. We have to allow the “heat” of love to help us defrost old patterns, unconsciousness, and numbness.
When you turn on that heat switch, you will feel a softening of your heart. Know that you’re not falling apart. You are defrosting!
You are pre-wired to be a magnificent and powerful emitter of Light. However, your ability to be a clear conduit for the full transmission of that divine Energy, Wisdom and Love needs to be restored to its full potential.
Ok, we almost forgot. Before we turn on that switch, first, we need to plug in!
There is a Source of unlimited power in the Universe and what’s awesome to know is that its uninterrupted supply is always available to us. We have full access to it. Barbara adds that our individual consciousness is already “pre-wired” for maximum voltage.
You are a beautiful lamp that has the full capacity to light up the room. However, you might argue that you’re not living up to that potential. That you’re not giving off any light. That there might be something wrong with you. That you’re probably defective.
Darling, you’re not. You just need to plug in!
We think of forgiveness as a gift you give to others, but even more important, it is a gift you give yourself, to release yourself from that prison of blame and bitterness. You free yourself from the past. You give it back for the purpose of your freedom. You for-give.
Barbara tells us that one of the most difficult but courageous acts of relinquishment we will ever be challenged to choose is forgiveness.
Reminds me of a lesson from A Course in Miracles that forgiveness is our only function here.
“Only function,” yet why is it so hard?
It’s the ego in us that is hard, not forgiveness. It doesn’t want to give up blame and bitterness. It wants to remain right and justified.
To forgive doesn’t mean what happened wrong was okay. Whatever happened, happened. It’s in the past. The ego relives what happened over and over again in our minds. It holds on to blame, bitterness, guilt, and resentment.
Forgiveness frees us from the prison of the past. This necessary relinquishment is not meant to break us down. It’s meant to break us open.
Live with Compassion
Living with compassion means being willing to feel the wound of the world, to not be afraid of it, and to know that when your love touches that wound, it does create a healing that travels through the mysterious vortex of our shared oneness.
One of the most heart-opening chapters in the book talks about compassion. And that’s what compassion is — an opened heart. We open ourselves to feel our wound, someone else’s wound, and the wound of the world.
We melt the separation. The “me” transforms into “we.” We remember our connectedness and remind each other that we’re not alone in the face of suffering.
Barbara describes compassion as a willingness to be in the space of suffering and bring your love to it. It is a being, not a doing. You don’t try to fix anything. You’re just being present with the experience of pain and suffering. You bring in the presence of love.
There’s a beautiful prayer shared by Barbara, “Compassion Blessing” we can offer to anyone who’s suffering, including ourselves. We simply visualize the person and silently or out loud, we say:
“May you be free from suffering. May you be at peace.”
The choice for love means the choice to love yourself for every step you’re taking, for the times when you fall down and need to pick yourself back up, and for the times you take off and fly.
Barbara asks us to assess if we love ourselves conditionally, saying to ourselves, “I will love myself when…” and waiting for the right conditions before we make the choice for love.
And most likely, we see what’s wrong with us. We look for evidence to justify our unworthiness of love. We judge ourselves.
She is now inviting us to shift from the habit of judgment to the habit of assessment. We still see what needs improvement, but with the absence of judgment, and with the presence of love.
Loving ourselves means honoring ourselves, remembering that we are pure, divine consciousness and love. It means accepting ourselves as we are, being human in all its manifestations — pleasure and pain, terror and triumph.
This will require patience. The choice for love requires us not to focus on what has not happened yet, but to see with loving eyes and celebrate what is happening.
Seeds of love, healing, forgiveness, wisdom, creativity are growing within you. They may be taking more time than you’d like and you may not fully see them now, but they are there.
The Fire of Impossibility
There is an illuminating power in all Light, no matter what its source, and the fire of heartbreak, the fire of fear, and the fire of powerlessness we feel during our impossible journeys force us to see and face so much about ourselves and our lives.
There will be challenging times. We find ourselves in circumstances we wish didn’t exist — devastation, loss, grief, disappointment, betrayal, and despair — those parts of the journey that finding our way back to love seems impossible.
Barbara depicts these impossible times as times of fire.
Fire is a life force that transmutes whatever it touches. Fire added to wood transmutes it into fuel. Fire added to food makes it edible. Similarly, the “fire” added to us is there to transmute us in a way that we won’t fully understand until its job is done.
Fire burns, but it also gives us light. It’s the Light we can use to see what’s there to see — the dark places inside us that need to be enlightened and unconscious parts in us that need to be awakened.
Fire is not meant to destroy us. It’s meant to transmute us.
The Ultimate Diluter
Love is the ultimate diluter! When we add love to any situation, any other emotion, or any interaction, it dilutes the less enlightened, more contracted energy, transmuting it into a higher, more enlightened form.
I loved this analogy!
Whenever we encounter difficult situations, we wish we could remove unpleasant emotions we’re experiencing: fear, sadness, anger, etc. We tend to shut down these feelings or cut them off from ourselves. However, these efforts don’t work and we end up suffering more.
Why? Because when we disconnect from our feelings, we also disconnect ourselves from what will ultimately heal us.
Remember the metaphor of love as water? Now imagine those unpleasant emotions as a very concentrated, dark liquid, and you wanted to lessen its concentration and intensity. You can’t remove the color, but you can dilute it by adding water.
If you had a soup that tastes too salty, you can’t remove the salt, but you can dilute it to balance the flavor by adding water.
Feeling bitterness? Intense anger? Concentrated fear? Dilute them with Love!
The Seven Essentials
Moment by moment, we need to do the real work, remembering that each choice for love will make the next choice easier, and each choice for love is changing the world.
These are the real work that Barbara offers us in making the choice for love:
- Thank someone you normally would not thank. Your partner? One of your children? A stranger? Appreciate someone today… how about yourself?
- Express your love in a way that is unexpected or to someone who is not expecting it. This increases your “love output.” You can ask, “How can I express my love?” then be creative in expressing it.
- Honor yourself for something you did today that reflects the best of who you are. Instead of looking for evidence of your failures, celebrate your wins no matter how small they are. Reward yourself.
- Forgive yourself for something you did today that reflects less than the best of who you are. Assess what happened so you can improve, but offer yourself love and compassion for what took place.
- Feel compassion for someone you would normally judge. Remind yourself that each and every one you meet is fighting a battle. How they act has nothing to do with you. If you only knew what they’re going through, you’d be more loving towards them.
- Notice or experience something as miraculous that you would normally take for granted. You’re alive!!!
- For one full minute, stop whatever you are doing. Be deeply grateful for the gift of this day and of your life. Try doing this first thing in the morning to set your day off right with the highest possible vibes.
The more you love, the more you give others permission to do the same. And that person can offer more love to the next person, who can offer more love to the next person. And this is how your love will heal the world.
The world is waiting for your love. Make that choice!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. BARBARA De ANGELIS is one of the most influential teachers of our time in the field of personal and spiritual development. For the past thirty-five years, she has reached tens of millions of people throughout the world with her inspirational messages about how to create a life of true freedom, mastery, and awakening.
She is the author of fifteen best-selling books which have sold over ten million copies and been published throughout the world in twenty-five languages.