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Expanding Our Capacity to Love and Be Loved (Lesson 1)

You’re about to read Chapter 1. Want to start this story from the beginning? Go here.

My shoulders hurt.

Which is, I suppose, the logical outcome of 26 very slow arm stretches.

“I open myself fully to give and receive love.”

The practice for Lesson 1 is basically a form of yoga. That works well for me because I love yoga. (And I also love that if you don’t already love yoga, you get a taste of it in this exercise.)

But before I got to the practice for Lesson 1 I had to read the text for Lesson 1, and before I read the text for Lesson 1, I had to read the Preface and the Introduction.

A few words about the Preface

The Preface is essentially the author’s testimony and it is rather convincing.

Basically, she decides she wants to be engaged by her birthday. She’s so serious that she tells a friend, who believes in the possibility but also holds her accountable.

Because transformation is magical, but it isn’t magic. It requires action.

So Katherine does things differently. Most specifically, she clears away all her old baggage and spends her time on self-care and emotional clean-up.

She found this process to be uncomfortable but necessary:

“I really believe that if you want to create something wonderful in your life, if you truly want to make a big change, you’ve got to learn to tolerate the ‘in-between time.’ That’s the period in which we let go of who we know ourselves to be in order to allow for the possibility of who we might become.”

Yeah. Word.

So she does her work.

Then she connects with her future husband in a way that would stun me if I weren’t already such a believer in miracles.

So, okay, her process got her results. How can we follow suit?

A few words about the Introduction

This, of course, is what the Introduction prepares us to do. I won’t waste time getting into the details because you’ll need to read it yourself if you’re going to actually participate.

But I will mention that I felt appropriately chastened when she addressed the daily time requirement for someone like me, who plans to do one lesson a day for 49 days straight:

“While I understand this might seem like a lot of time to some of you, consider the amount of time an intimate relationship is going to require of you and assume that commitment starts now.” 

Um. Consider me called out!

Because something that I actually appreciate about my potential life partner putting our relationship on pause? All the unstructured time.

And while I am not often idle, there is definitely a lot of time that I WOULD be giving to him/us that I am instead able to put toward…well, whatever I want.

It’s like, okay, yes, my PREFERENCE was to be giving and cooperative, but, hey, sure, I can totally do everything my way all the time. If you insist.

Anyway, Katherine is telling me that even though I have no official obligation to a partner, I still need to set aside time to call ’em in.

Fortunately for me, my new boss said doing this work and writing this blog can be part of my job. Isn’t she awesome?

What I learned in Lesson 1

I know I will sound like an asshole when I say this, but, I didn’t actually learn anything in Lesson 1.

Granted, I’ve done Lesson 1 twice before. Plus I’m knee deep in A Course in Miracles and daily meditation, not to mention I’ve been a student of yoga and spirituality for my entire adulthood.

So it would be a little disappointing if the concept of a willingness to grow was news to me.

Still, I didn’t mind the reminder. And I especially appreciated the assertion that being spiritual means “learning to be completely vulnerable and undefended while at the same time being 100 percent authentic and true to ourselves.”


Oh my holy goodness, is that my goal. I was even doing pretty decent with it during Round One with my potential life partner. (Let’s call him Paul.)

Paul and I were amazingly honest with each other and we balanced our individual personalities and needs quite effectively. At least until we got scared.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Any-who, when it comes to either Round Two with Paul, or Round New with someone else, I would certainly like to be an even better partner than I already am/was.

So, to start?

“I invite you, therefore, to consciously take on expanding your capacity to love and be loved as a goal that you can call your own.”

My goal is to consciously expand my capacity to love. I am ready to grow. I am willing to change.

“Spiritual partnership implies a goal of encouraging and supporting the unfolding of each other’s soul’s reasons for being here in the first place,” says Katherine.

My goal is also to support the unfolding of another person’s soul in the context of spiritual partnership.

And although I am on my own for now, I know I will have a partner in good time.

Which is why I am down with the arm stretches and sore shoulders.

Lesson 1, in practice

Lesson 1, in practice, meant sitting quietly and being with my breath for the space of 26 inhales and exhales.

Throughout that time, I was to hold my arms outstretched, first in front of me, and then wide to my sides.

I reached so far back with each inhale that it felt like my heart was soaring high.

At the peak of my breath, just before each exhale, I mentally professed the prescribed mantra: “I open myself fully to give and receive love.”

I am a slow breather, so it took me probably ten minutes to get through the full exercise.

My arms got tired around breath 5.

But I kept going, because love keeps going, and I knew I was strong enough.

Instead of focusing on the weight of my arms, I engaged the muscles of my abdomen. I paid attention to the lifting of my heart, the delicious liberation of spreading my wings wide.

When I finished, I felt satisfied.

Lesson 1, a question

Also, a question settled into my head, one I scrawled in dry erase marker on the tile of my bathroom wall later that evening. Something I hope to ask myself all the time.

Because, given that I am open to fully give and receive love, I will also need to know:

What does it look like when love leads?

Love > fear,


Want to know what happens next? Proceed to Chapter 2.

Missed what happened before? Go back to the beginning.


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Love > fear