Love Is. An Interview With NY Times Bestselling Author Marci Shimoff

February 28, 2012 by Chris Grosso

Marci Shimoff is a #1 NY Times bestselling author, a celebrated transformational leader, and one of the nation’s leading experts on happiness, success, and unconditional love. She is the author of the runaway bestsellers Love for No Reason and Happy for No Reason, which offer revolutionary approaches to experiencing deep and lasting love and happiness. These books soared to the top of many national bestseller lists including The New York Times, Amazon, and the Wall Street Journal and have been translated into 31 languages.

Marci is also the woman’s face of the biggest self-help book phenomenon in history, Chicken Soup for the Soul. Her six bestselling titles in the series, including Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul and Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul, have met with stunning success. Combined, all of her books have sold more than 14 million copies worldwide and have been on the New York Times bestseller list for a total of 118 weeks. Marci is one of the bestselling female nonfiction authors of all time. In addition, she’s the host of the national PBS television show called Happy for No Reason and she’s a featured teacher in the international film and book sensation, The Secret.
President and co-founder of the Esteem Group, she delivers keynote addresses and seminars on self-esteem, self-empowerment, and peak performance to corporations, professional and non-profit organizations, and women’s associations. She’s been a top-rated trainer for numerous Fortune 500 companies, including AT&T, GM, Sears, Kaiser Permanente, and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Marci inspires people with her breakthrough methods for personal fulfillment and professional success.
As an acclaimed authority on success and happiness, Marci is often approached by media for her insights and advice. She has been on more than 500 national and regional television and radio shows and has been interviewed for over 100 newspaper articles worldwide. Her writing has appeared in major magazines, including Ladies Home Journal, SELF, and Woman’s World.
Marci earned her MBA from UCLA and holds an advanced certificate as a stress management consultant. She is a founding member and on the board of directors of the Transformational Leadership Council, a group of 100 top leaders serving over ten million people in the self-development market. Through her books and her presentations, Marci’s message has touched the hearts and rekindled the spirits of millions of people throughout the world. She is dedicated to fulfilling her life’s purpose of helping people live more empowered and joy-filled lives.

The Marci Shimoff Interview

TIS: So Marci, I’d like to begin by asking what your inspiration was for writing Love for No Reason and what this book offers that other books on love don’t?

MS: Well, I seem to have come out of the womb with existential angst and wasn’t a happy kid, so I’ve been on a lifelong search trying to discover how to live the best life possible. I committed my life to doing what I could to experience greater happiness, which ultimately led me to write a book on the subject called Happy for No Reason. I interviewed 100 happy people– I call them my Happy 100–and I learned amazing ideas and techniques from them that I began integrating into my life. I put them into practice–and they worked! I went from a D+ in happiness to an A-.

After writing Happy for No Reason, I did some more soul searching. I asked myself, “What do I want more than happiness?” and there was only one answer—the only thing that trumps happiness is love. Not the kind of love we are normally taught about, but the kind of unconditional love that is a deep inner state which doesn’t depend on any person, situation or a romantic partner. That’s how I define Love for No Reason: it’s an inner state of love. If you think about the times in life when you’ve been the most deeply fulfilled, they’re the times that you’ve felt love. Whether it’s watching a sunset, spending time with a pet or being with a partner with whom you feel an intensely deep connection. I wanted to know if we could live in that state of love, not just every so often, but as an ongoing reality.  The answer is YES. There are people who are doing just that, and I wanted to share with the world how they’re consistently living in a state of love.

So the difference between most books about love and Love For No Reason is that traditional love books focus on love as a stream of energy between two people, whereas this book focuses on love as a deep state of being that you can live in no matter what’s going on in your life.

TIS: I see. So you’re essentially offering a new paradigm of love.

MS: Yes. It’s a new paradigm of love. Most people think of love as an energy between two people, which it is, but it’s not only that. When we think of love in those limited terms, we become what I call “love beggars.” We walk around looking for love outside of ourselves. We’ll go up to people as though we have a beggar’s cup in our hands and look to them to fill up our cup. The problem for most of us is that the cup has holes, so love goes out just as easily as it goes in. What happens when people are living in the unconditional state of love, however, is that they recognize they are the ocean of love; they know it’s their essence. And they naturally overflow in this love. So instead of being love beggars, they become love philanthropists.

TIS: I like it!  Another aspect of Love for No Reason that I liked was the fact that you offer tested scientific data to back up this new love paradigm. Can you talk a bit about that?

MS: Yes, what’s great is that this isn’t just airy-fairy talk; there’s actual science to back it up. The study of love is an emerging field. Perhaps the leaders in the field are a group called The Institute of HeartMath who have found that we have many physiological, psychological, and social benefits when we’re living with greater love, care, and compassion.

One of the things that happens when we’re feeling more love and care is that we go into what’s called “heart rhythm coherence,” which you can actually measure and monitor on a computer screen. It’s also possible to train yourself to go into heart rhythm coherence at will. HeartMath found that five minutes of feeling love and care can strengthen your immune system for up to six hours, whereas five minutes of feeling angry can weaken and suppress the immune system for six hours. Love releases very powerful, beneficial chemicals into the body.

There’s a great story I included in Love for No Reason about twin premature babies that illustrates this point. One of the twins was particularly weak and the doctors believed she was going to die. The tending nurse did something that was against protocol and put the other, healthier sister into the same incubator as her sister who was dying. The stronger sister put her arm around her twin and instantly, the weaker twin began to improve. The littler twin ended up surviving, with no reason other than the love and care of her twin. So you see, love is lifesaving.

I believe love is why we’re here on the planet and that ultimately it’s our purpose for life. They say people who’ve had near-death experiences often report back that at the end of our lives we have a life review and we’re asked one question, and that question is, how much did you love? So, in life we have a one question final exam–and it’s not the kind of exam you can cram for at the very end. One of the main reasons we’re alive is to expand our capacity to love.

TIS: Wow, so all you really need is love?

MS: (laughs) Yes, it’s true. The Beatles had it right!

TIS: Okay, so switching gears here for a moment, the holiday season is upon us and with that, for many, comes excessive unhealthy eating, often resulting in weight gain, proceeded by feelings of guilt and shame. How can one incorporate love to help in this situation?

MS: That’s a great question. The basis of all love is self-love and we certainly suffer a lot in our society from lack of self-love. When we don’t take care of ourselves, it’s really just a symptom of not loving ourselves. So the worst thing that we can do is to beat ourselves up for how we’ve already treated ourselves. I’ve found the best thing to do is to really be loving, kind, forgiving and compassionate with yourself. There are some wonderful practices for that which I talk about in Love For No Reason. There’s a beautiful forgiveness practice I love which is quite simple. It’s called “Ho’oponopono” (pronounced: ho-o-pono-pono) and it’s a lot easier to do than it is to say. It’s a Kahuna Hawaiian technique, which involves repeating four phrases internally toward yourself or the person whom you’re having a hard time forgiving. If you’re having a hard time being compassionate to or forgiving of yourself or others, you repeat these four phrases directed to yourself or the other person: “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.” And just by saying and feeling those phrases, you will find your heart starts to melt.

I truly believe that forgiveness is the fast track to greater love and it’s the path that can really heal all. We all have areas of our own lives where we have a hard time forgiving, whether it’s with ourselves, or others, but when we can practice forgiveness, many of our self-destructive habits will begin to fade away. So if you have over-indulged during the holidays, for example, please don’t beat yourself up, but rather have compassion and forgiveness and perhaps, even try the Ho’oponono technique.  

TIS: That’s a great perspective and thank you for sharing the Ho’opnonono technique. I’ve personally used it in the past and experienced positive results myself. So getting back to Love for No Reason, you outline 7 Doorways to unconditional love.  Can you briefly walk me through those?

MS: Sure. When I interviewed my Love Luminaries for the book, I found they all shared certain qualities that allowed them to live with an open heart. When I looked at all these qualities I saw that there was a great correlation between those qualities and the seven energy centers, or chakras, in the body. In fact, I found that these centers are the doorways to experiencing greater love in our lives, so I’ll quickly go through them and share how they relate to love.

The first doorway (or chakra) is what I call in the book, the Doorway of Safety. This doorway relates to feeling safe in life and being present in the here and now. It’s only when we are really grounded and safe that we’re able to relax and open up our hearts.

The second doorway has to do with vitality. It’s about feeling alive, vital, and feeling the life-force flow through us. This doorway is also known as the creativity center and it houses a great sense of aliveness in it. When we’re feeling fully alive, we’re able to fully feel love. This doorway also relates to feeling our feelings fully. Not suppressing our feelings of anger, sadness or grief but allowing them to be felt. What’s amazing is that when those feelings are felt, they actually dissolve into love.

The third doorway is the Doorway of Unconditional Self-love, which corresponds to the energy center located in the solar plexus area. As I said earlier, the key to feeling love and living in love is having self-love. I mean real unconditional self-love, not “I love myself because I’m a good wife” or “I love myself because I do a good job at work” or “I love myself because I look a particular way.” It’s because I love myself no matter what. That’s where our real power lies, in the ability to love ourselves unconditionally.

The fourth doorway is the Doorway of Openness located in our heart center. It has to do with being open to both giving and receiving love. It’s not just about being able to give, but it’s also about the ability to be open to receive. There’s a certain vulnerability in receiving. When we truly take in and appreciate all of the gifts of life, then our hearts are truly open in love.

The fifth doorway to experiencing Love for No Reason is the Doorway of Communication, which corresponds to the energy center located in the throat area. This doorway relates to speaking and listening with compassion, rather than judgment. There are some wonderful tools and techniques available to help us speak and listen with compassion that I’ve included in this chapter.

The sixth doorway is the Doorway of Vision. This relates to seeing with the eyes of love and corresponds to the energy center located in the third eye area of our forehead. When this doorway is open, we’re more able to see life through love instead of differences.

And finally, there’s the seventh doorway, the Doorway of Oneness, which corresponds to the crown center, located at the top of the head. This doorway has to do with feeling whole and connected to all of life, connected to spirit.

When these centers are strong and well-developed, all of the doorways are open. Then we’re able to fully experience love—and radiate it to the world around us.

TIS: That’s an excellent condensed version. I’ve read through those chapters in your book and you really do a wonderful job of elaborating on each doorway and offering user-friendly ways we can incorporate various techniques with each one into our daily lives.

MS: Well, thank you very much.

TIS: Absolutely. So when we spoke last week Marci, you shared a bit about an amazing opportunity you had to interview Ram Dass for the Love for No Reason book. Can you tell me more about that experience and the insight you gained from speaking with him personally?

MS: Yes, one of my early heroes in life was Ram Dass. During my freshman year in college I got a copy of Be Here Now and it became the equivalent of my bible. I carried it everywhere with me and even still have my original copy. I’ve always loved Ram Dass’ great wisdom. Coincidentally, just after I’d finished writing Love for No Reason, I discovered Ram Dass had written his newest book which was called Be Love Now. The two books were so complimentary and basically saying the same thing that I asked him for an interview. We had the most delightful, beautiful, heart-opening conversation. It was via video Skype and is available for free on his site, and also  at What I loved about the experience was not only the conversation but the actual love that was vibrating in the midst of our interaction. You could just feel it. Everyone who’s watched the video has said to me, “Oh my God, it was like a love fest.” One of my dearest memories from the conversation was when I asked him, “What do you daily to experience more love?” He said the biggest thing he does is make a short trip several times a day, and that trip is the 18 inches from his head down to his heart. When he’s caught up in his thoughts, he moves into his heart center and repeats the words, “I am love” feeling them completely from his heart until it just becomes “I am.” He comes from the heart rather than being caught up in some intellectual understanding, so it’s like a vibration.

Science says that everything in the universe is energy.  I believe love is the highest energetic vibration and the way we move into that energetic vibration is through the heart. So I love Ram Dass’ call to move those 18 inches from your head, with all its thousands of thoughts, down into the heart, just by putting your attention there and saying “I am love.”

TIS: That’s absolutely beautiful. And there was another individual you had the chance to meet with which I was hoping you could talk a bit about and that was HH The Dalai Lama.

MS: Yes, meeting with HH The Dalai Lama was one of my favorite interviews. I was fortunate to be in a small group meeting with him as I was working on Love for No Reason. There were probably twenty people in the room and I got to sit directly across from him, about eight feet away. The love in the room was palpable. I remember him distinctly telling a story about how when most people meet others, they look at the secondary differences between them. He said that really, there is a primary sameness we all share and when he meets someone, he doesn’t look at the secondary differences, he looks at the primary sameness. So it doesn’t matter whether he’s meeting the head of a country or if it’s a person in the street, he feels the essence of the humanness that connects us all. I think about that often when I meet someone and my mind starts comparing: “Oh that person is taller than I am” or “They’re smarter than I am” or whatever I may be thinking on the surface. When I remember His Holiness’ words, it allows me to just drop those thoughts and embrace the feeling of connection and love. I remember that I know this person’s heart because they are human and have a heart like mine.

TIS: Thank you for sharing that timeless wisdom.

MS: My pleasure. 

TIS: So here we are on the cusp of 2012 and there is so much conjecture about what the year will bring.  Talk of anything and everything between mass awakenings to doomsday prophecies. What’s your take on humanities future in 2012 and beyond?

MS: It’s such an exciting time. I think it’s the time that those of us who read your blog, and are open to a conversation like this, have been waiting for. It’s our opportunity to step into a higher level of consciousness. The challenges we’ve had personally and globally have been the catalysts needed to let go of old ways of being that aren’t the vibration of love. What we’re walking into in 2012 and beyond is the transformation to a new way of being and that new way of being is vibrating at a higher energetic level. We’re all being called to bring that forward individually in our own lives. I think it’s a great time because there are fabulous tools and techniques available that work fast and effectively to help us make these necessary shifts. That’s part of the reason why I offered so many tools and techniques in Love for No Reason. There are fourteen keys to experiencing greater love and with each key, I offer what I believe to be the most effective tool out there. So this is a time when, if we’re awake to it, we have an amazing opportunity to start living a different life. By that I mean the life that our souls came here to live. We’re all being propelled forward and it’s not always easy, but through supporting one another we can do it. There’s a wonderful support network developing worldwide of people who understand what this big calling is, the calling of love. People often ask me, “Is it selfish to want to experience more love? Aren’t you just focusing on yourself?” and my answer is that it’s the least selfish thing you can do. When you start living more and more in higher states of love, it affects everyone around you and it’s the biggest way you can contribute to this planet.

There’s a Chinese proverb that I love to quote which sums that up: “When there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person. When there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house. When there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation. And when there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.” So my prayer and wish for each of us is that we feel that love and light in our own hearts and souls, and through that we help create more peace here on this planet of ours.

TIS: I couldn’t agree with that sentiment more Marci. So in closing, I did want to mention that the paperback version of Love for No Reason is being released on Jan 10th with some bonus items as well. Can you touch on that briefly?

MS: Of course. As you said, it’s being released on January 10th and there are 12 wonderful bonus gifts you get if you purchase the paperback, including the Ram Dass video we spoke about earlier. You also get a master session recording that shows you how to use EFT to experience more self-love.  And there’s a 21-page workbook including the powerful Love for No Reason exercises, love quotes, and so much more. I think it’s a great way to start off the New Year. It’s at

TIS: Absolutely. So before we wrap this up, I wanted to mention that I’ve almost finished reading Love for No Reason and have gained so much insight into the new “Love Paradigm” you talked about. I’m implementing many of the techniques you offer in the book daily and am literally seeing virtually immediate results! And this is no sales pitch on your behalf Marci (like you’d need it anyways), but I proudly stand behind these words.   

MS: Well, thank you very much, Chris. I love the work you’re doing too! You have a huge new fan in me as well.

For more information on Marci’s book, Love for No Reason visit

To Visit Marci Shimoff Online Click HERE!

To Read My Bookworming Blog With Marci Click HERE!

If You Liked This Interview, You May Like:

TIS Interviews Lama Surya Das
TIS Interviews Rameshwar Das (Co-author of Ram Dass’ Be Love Now)
TIS Interviews Dr Robert Thurman

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Chris Grosso is a writer, public speaker, mental health youth group facilitator, and author with Simon & Schuster. He also writes for Revolver Magazine, Fangoria, and has spoken at a bunch of fancy-schmancy festivals and conferences (as well as even more events that were significantly less than fancy-schmancy). Chris's podcast, The Indie Spiritualist, is hosted on Ram Dass's Be Here Now Network.
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