Today’s exercise in A Year of Conscious Living focuses on giving love, to oneself and others.

It’s axiomatic that love hurts. Opening yourself to the possibility of loving another living being comes with the very real likelihood that your love will be rejected or will someday end. It might feel easier to shut yourself off from the possibility, but on the other hand, the rewards are unimaginable.

What does this have to do with writing?

What is writing without love?

You must love other people enough to listen to, observe, and learn about the human condition, and the world enough to notice its beauty and the emotional resonance that differs from place to place.

You must love your characters enough to portray them vividly, in all their complexity. You must love yourself enough to commit to your creative practice, set aside the time, and continue even when the work is hard.

Of course, we won’t love everything, every day. But without love of some kind, your writing will feel flat, unalive.

Today, take a few minutes to fall in love with something and commit it to memory. Choose anything – a person, a piece of art, a kind of food or material, a place, a plant or animal, or a sensory experience. Describe your choice in detail. Examine why you love it. Consider what memories and emotions it evokes.

Love something.