Category: 2017

Love On Demand

My husband and I are launching into year number nine together. The last eight have been quite a radical ride, yet one thing was always constant and certain between us … our love for each other.

It was a strong, romantic love. So many times I would simply conjure him up in my mind and my heart would swell. The description of how he made me feel included words like twitterpated and head over heels. Though it never actually happened, there were surely moments I was close to swooning over this man.

Like so many couples in love, on the journey of life, we experienced milestones. Just over a year ago, my love closed his doors as an entrepreneur and landed a secure, steady paying job that brings him joy. Nine months after that we bought our first home together. And four months later, we had a baby. Okay, not a human baby, we got a puppy. The gist is the same. It was fun to move through the traditional couple life events together. We felt we had worked hard to earn those privileges.

Behind the scenes, unbeknownst to me, something else was happening. That hot burning love for my man was cooling down. There was absolute certainty that I continued to love him, however it just felt different. It could be likened to the deep roots of an old tree leaving me feeling safe and secure. There is nothing wrong with that, right?

Well, we found ourselves being less physically attached to each other. The need to impress and flirt left our couple. And me, being the analytical woman I am, observed this and declared it a problem. I went to the relationship education files of my brain and the books on my shelves to find a solution. The standard marriage tips and techniques were revealed to me. Go on dates. Devote more time to each other. Kiss and hug more frequently. Yadda yadda. I already knew this and had been trying to implement the new practices.

The fire wasn’t increasing and that was frustrating. I wanted what we had … to instantly feel turned on and attracted to him. My body and soul created the pitter-patter in my heart. Being a little bit freaked out, I exclaimed to myself, “Oh my gosh! Have I fallen out of love with my husband?”

No. My higher self had been whispering the answer to me for weeks and I ignored Her. “Love is a choice.” Even as I randomly perused articles and watched videos, a phrase presented itself on numerous occasions that I refused to acknowledge. “Choose your spouse daily.” Wake up everyday and make the conscious decision to love him. Wow! I’ve heard this for decades from wives with married time under their belts. Cognitively, I understood the notion. Today, I feel it in my cells.

This is the season we are currently in. I can resist it or accept, plain and simple. For a brief time, I granted myself the opportunity to mourn what we had. While processing, I acknowledged the necessity of that easily accessed insta-love. It was the fuel that moved us through the obstacles and challenges of our early days.

New season. New chapter. Here we are. We are being called to another way of being with each other, one that requires intention and consistency. Nothing is wrong and nothing is broken. It appears, in this new day and age, folks have forgotten how to work for their rewards. I’ll admit that for a minute I considered shopping for a new model. Who doesn’t love new and distinct? <scratching record sound>

WHATEVER! I totally dig this guy! We have a good life! Through appreciation of him and us, I was able to pull those tiny weeds of fear from our garden … and CHOSE to summon those warm fuzzies back into my heart. Like the button on the TV remote, what a gift to have access to instant feelings of love!

There’s Only One Reason to Be in Relationship

This article was originally published on meetmindful.com.

There’s only one reason to be in relationship. That’s right… one. So let’s give it all we’ve got.

As an advocate for couples, I must share that in my own relationship, I bump up against obstacles and question our purpose together.

This recently happened on a day that had started out feeling incredibly crunchy.

One of our kiddos almost missed the school bus—and meanwhile, my beloved and I were in the midst of heated disagreement.

As soon as everyone got out of the house and on with their day, I declared out loud with exasperation, to no one in particular, “What’s the point of being in a relationship?”

With no resolution about finding an answer, I turned my attention to my own tasks at hand.

Later, when out and about, I found myself craving a trip to Starbucks. I typically go inside the café to order, but on this particular day, I felt compelled to use the drive-thru instead.

I placed my order, patiently waiting to receive my caffeinated treat.

Little did I know that I would be receiving more than just a drink—the woman in front of me had paid for my order!

The news struck me like a tidal wave—I was speechless.

The only language I managed to stammer to the barista was, “Wow! No way! Thanks.” And underneath my few words, another tidal wave was approaching, in the form of emotions.

Driving away from that window couldn’t happen fast enough. Just seconds after leaving, a sob escaped me and then the waterworks began.

I know—this isn’t the usual response to someone paying kindness forward. But for me, this had been the message I was waiting for—the answer to my earlier question had come to me, courtesy of the Universe, in the form of a Starbucks gift that I was required to receive.

Because really: who would drive up and decline the generous offer?

Through my tears, I saw everything. I recognized my resistance to receiving; I saw that what my beloved desires is my own happiness—and I remembered that my children give me purpose.

Every moment of every day, opportunities to be loved are presented—how many of these are missed? How blocked have I been?

This is the true purpose for being in relationship: to receive love—to have a front-row seat to live and learn the art of giving and allowing love.

When we stay out of relationships, the illusion is that we’re safe and protected inside our self-created bubble. Within the boundaries we have set, people are kept at a distance.

Based on our past experiences, the misconception is that hurt comes from the other person in a relationship.

The truth, however, is that the pain was sourced from within.

Humanity is so stuck in the belief that people and things outside themselves are the bearers of love. But could it be that love is always flowing in—and around—us? It’s the degree to which we allow this love in that determines our meter reading. Or is it that we are love?

Love is an essence; it is an expression, an energy and it goes by many names and descriptions.

We are all born as loving and light beings—the source of life itself is love.

God is love; the Universe is love.

As we grow older and become exposed to circumstances, environments and teachings, our own perception of love develops. Love becomes associated and entwined with pain and loss.

For some, love comes with consequences.

When life becomes an act of survival, love falls into that same cycle. Since love is the source of pain (we tell ourselves), could it be that its absence brings about survival? But what if simply allowing love in could eliminate the perpetual fight—flight and freeze—that consumes us?

The solution?

Be in relationship. Spend crazy amounts of time with someone. Live with them. Eat and play together. Share the air.

After receiving my proverbial smack up-side the head from the Universe via the Starbucks drive-thru, I saw through new eyes. Making dinner for my family was a gift to their health and their enjoyment of the meal was an act of receiving my love.

Lying in bed, spoon position, next to my husband was shared love—I get this every single night of my life if I choose it.

His warmth and skin are love. Our cozy bed. Our home. The cat at our feet. The mountains outside our window. The little blue planet on which we reside.

It’s all there, sourced by love.

Why else would we be here? What’s the point?

So, why are you blocking it? Why do you spend your days avoiding being loved? Why do you spend your nights scrutinizing the one who promised to love you?

Think about it.

People aren’t naturally malicious—no one is out to get you. Could it be that he made that stupid remark because he, too, has prevented himself from receiving love?

My favorite is “I don’t need love from another because I have self-love.”

My response is “Awesome! Why are you being stingy with it and not teaching others through demonstration?”

It’s all about perception; it’s about taking the opportunity to change your lenses.

My kiddo almost missed the bus because he was experiencing joy in his electronic game and his time in the shower. Who doesn’t love a warm shower first thing in the morning?

My beloved and I were in a quarrel because we had overlooked loving each other and stayed stuck in survival mode, defending our stances.

Lame—pointless, too, if you really think about it.

There is simply no good that comes from fiercely defending yourself in a futile disagreement. So, I may not agree with his opinion at times—but it doesn’t mean I can’t love him.

I can love me for my opinion and him for his.

Love is movement and flow; it is our life source—no need to survive anything.

It’s time to live with love.

Men Have Big Hearts

The ManKind Project first showed up on my radar in 2013 when I was searching for a men’s group dedicated to expanding enlightenment within their community. As a woman committed to her own personal growth and has been since 1997, I wanted to help my husband find a tribe for himself.

Much of my transformation occurred in a space devoted to and held by women. After reading The Queen’s Code by Alison Armstrong last year, it was revealed to me that I was expecting my husband to try on and practice the learning I brought home. It was an innocent, yet damaging mistake to require my husband to behave like a woman. In my mind, what I was learning was good for any human being, regardless of sex. What a revelation to really get that men and women are different for so many more reasons than simply our body parts!

It was in April 2017 that my dear Thomas put himself in the New Warrior Training Adventure with the local ManKind Project. Their purpose with this flagship program is to help men show up and live in extraordinary ways. They have set out to prove that emotionally mature, powerful, compassionate and purpose driven men can heal some of our society’s deepest wounds. “Men are hungry to make a difference. Their brilliance is often buried under years of harmful beliefs and behaviors that get in the way of them showing up with integrity, compassion, and authenticity.”

What an exciting day it was to welcome this transformed man home on Sunday evening after his NWTA weekend. He carried himself with a calm certainty about who he was as a man among men. It was incredible to be a woman in that space! It felt right.

Of course, as we got settled back into our routine, that brilliance became smudged by the classic stresses that accompany work and home life. I found myself being cynical and declaring the program hadn’t worked. Which, of course, sent Thomas to a dark place of frustration and shame. My negativity propelled him right back to a place of unworthiness and being less than. Fear is so destructive.

Fortunately, my period of obstinance was short-lived and skills of grace and compassion were reactivated. I could remember learning takes time and space to firmly root the new ways of being. As the feminine presence in our marriage, it was my duty to energetically create the environment for my male counterpart to expand into his authentic self that emerged after having sloughed off 48-years of old, ineffective male programming.

Like women in their own tribes, these men stay connected long term in their communities to remain empowered in their mission and continue developing leadership mastery. What a blessing to have these big-hearted warriors in our lives to practice emotional authenticity and personal responsibility! And what an even bigger gift for our society to have access to people, programs and communities dedicated to ending the longest running war in history. Harmony shall be restored between the sexes.

 

Blossomness

It has been about four weeks since Valentine’s Day … the day of love. My darling husband totally earned a gold star on that day for his efforts! I will reveal that this year, of the previous seven Valentine’s Days we’ve celebrated together, was the best one yet! I was left giddy by his thoughtfulness.

Today, on my desk, was an envelope (obviously a greeting card) addressed to My Love. The message printed inside the card read, “Each day I love you more.” Of course, this dear man included a handwritten, mushy message for me. One line that stuck out was, “a wonderful sense of calm.” I couldn’t agree more.

We have worked so hard to reach this place of serenity. You see, this is a second marriage for both of us and the statistics are not in our favor with 67% of all second marriages in 2012 ending in divorce.

Way back when, I recall us saying to each other that this was it. If our couple didn’t succeed, we would throw in the towel. Quit the game of relationships. Our hearts were broken the first time around and to endure that trauma again was to be avoided at all costs. Certainly, the two of us have gone through some really tough times and tried to quit each other, but in the end stayed true to our declaration to couplehood.

Comparing relationships to gardens is my thing and having tended to our garden for the last seven and half years, I have witnessed the increase of joy and pleasure in our entire family. Did you know a standard apple tree does not produce fruit until it is between 6 and 10 years of age? Imagine watching that little seedling over the seasons! Year after year of watering, fertilizing and pruning … only to end the day with no fruit harvest. You’ve dreamed of homemade apple pies and have such a desire to create them from the apples of your very own tree. In today’s world, when you can simply purchase a pie at the store, what’s the point?

It’s true what they say about happiness being cultivated through your own efforts. Master gardeners teach that providing proper care for your apple tree will contribute to its vigorous growth and timely fruiting … year after year. Awesome! The time and effort that was put toward our relationship is now paying off. The tree has blossoms on it for the first time. What an amazing journey we have been on! Together, we are masters of our marriage and have learned how to properly care for our couple. We can only imagine what the “vigorous growth” will look like because the peace and love we feel in our home is deeply rooted. From now until the very end, we have our couple to harvest from. Spring is two weeks away and I can feel in my soul that beautiful, juicy fruit is in store for us by summer’s end.

Back in Business

Well, that didn’t take long! Last summer, when I decided to indefinitely pull the plug on my business, there was fear around when or if this chapter of my life would reopen. Now, I am tickled to announce, “I’M BAAACK!”

You can’t ignore invitations from the Universe, especially ones that are so blatant. Admittedly, I’m a thickheaded one who often requires the proverbial bat upside the noggin in order to get a message. Proudly though, this time around, I was open and willing to see the opportunities, as well as feel the readiness within me.

The fact remains, I love couples. I love being in my couple and very much desire to have everyone else experience the fullness and joy that comes with sharing life with your best friend. It’s true what they say about it not being an easy path, especially in today’s culture. We are an instant gratification society with everything available at our fingertips. When we don’t immediately get what’s desired, the reaction is to look elsewhere. It is sad to witness tender, young relationships end because one of the partners wasn’t satisfied and chose to seek out someone who could produce the “right” results.

The best comparison is that of a seed planted in soil. When you meet that potential, special someone, it is the beginning of something. With appropriate care and attention, that tiny seed has the ability to flourish into something extraordinary. Everyone knows this doesn’t happen over night. Many seedlings do not reveal themselves above the soil for at least two weeks. I know some women who can’t date a man that long before it ends. One of the two of them has outrageous expectations and a very limited timeline.

Along the path of the seedling, it goes through phases comparable to a relationship. Some folks make it past the sprouting phase then lose site of the need to nourish the young plant. They look to the other person to make the relationship thrive. It is so vital to look at the relationships as a separate entity … a third party distinct from the two individuals who occupy the space.My passion for relationship educations goes deep, as does the desire to get it to the masses. It is only fitting that I am the co-founder/owner of The Radical Love Summit. This is the project that called me back into the game after taking my hiatus. The summit’s mission is to revolutionize the way people experience love and relationships. Early in 2016, I found myself discouraged at the number of relationship, love and intimacy coaches who were popping up in the professional arena. “How can I ever find a client when competing with these people?” Then it came to me (with the help of a coach) that we aren’t in competition … we are all needed! So many industry professionals is required to help move humanity out of complacency around couples and into a confidence. It is also appropriate that we gather as many coaches/teachers/guides as possible into one weekend as a service for our community. What a blessing to be a relationship coach in 2017 and beyond!

Pansies

Since when did people become such quitters? Is your job feeling uncomfortable? Quit. Is your spouse not meeting your expectations? Divorce. Does that one friend continue to irritate you? Release her. Life is too short to be so inconvenienced, right?

I call bullshit.

It seems to be the trend in the 21st century. The spiritual community has the prettiest wording for it, suggesting you release what no longer serves you. Okay, I get there are situations where this is valid, however I feel it’s too often taken out of context … a reaction versus a response. I do it all the time! Someone at work made me feel uncomfortable and my first thought is, “I deserve better than this. I’m outta here!” I’ve watched clients dump men they were seeing because he stirred her emotional pot. When did we become so soft?

Some folks say all the technological advances are to blame and we’ve turned into an instant gratification society. I can subscribe to that. Craving a burger? Turn left into the drive-thru of a fast food joint. Feeling lonely? Hop onto any social media website and be instantly “connected” to someone.

However, these reactions are so knee-jerk and lack intention. It’s sad to witness, even in myself. It takes something to really be aware of yourself and others. You might say it’s like a new kind of existence. The type of reality in previous centuries was dedicated to surviving. Our predecessors planted fields and tended to livestock for nourishment. They built their owns shelters to be protected from the elements. In the little time that remained in the day, connection with family occurred. Today, our food is delivered to the door of the home we signed a piece of paper for. So much more time available to connect with people, yet we don’t.

Why? I say it’s because we weren’t taught how. It seems connection between us is no longer for the purpose of preserving our existence. Or is it? Instead of the intention for procreation, relationship may very well be required for conservation. To nurture all that is grand and glorious on our planet. We created this amazing way of life that immediately provides for our needs and now is the time to slow down, in the same way you would after planting a seed. Give it time to germinate and sprout. What might be cultivated from our thoughtful responses?

Time. That seems to be what’s being neglected. Ha! I sound like an older generation person. “I remember when …” Time to think. Time to feel. Time to process. Time to allow humans to be. I’ve noticed that when I allow the inclination to quit to have its time in my space, the urgency dissipates. Glad I didn’t crumble under the discomfort. It’s not even that the next day was better, but rather the next moment was. Our life has sped up into small increments, requiring us to strengthen the muscles of our brains in a new way; to be more conscious and intentional. Expanded awareness.

The next time you feel that pressure to run, hide or quit, go to the tool shed in your mind and grab a shovel. Start digging into yourself and see what you find beneath the surface. What got triggered that had you react so quickly? Take time. Look at what was uncovered. Accept it. Love it. Clean it up. Tidy up the hole you dug because the seeds nearby want to sprout into something beautiful. You quitting is only hurting yourself.

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