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"A revelation of insight into the foundations of human suffering & transcendence. It not only lays out essential steps for inner freedom and joy but illuminates the way to true human potential." Paul Rademacher, author: A Spiritual Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe

"The masterwork of a profoundly gifted healer of the soul. Dazzling, challenging, wondrously useful." Peggy Rubin, author: To Be and How To Be, Transforming Your Life Through Sacred Theatre

"Rewiring the Soul is one the best introductions to the spiritual life I've ever read. Not esoteric but real-world and practical. The implications are profound." Peter Shepherd, author: Daring To Be Yourself

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Why Not Stop Believing in Your Limitations?

How can I stop believing in my limitations is what is most likely going through your head, maybe even in derision at the author's naiveté at believing such a thing is even possible...

Let me put it to you like this: how much of your psychic energy does it take to continue to believe in your limitations? (I'm using the word 'psychic' in the sense of inner energy, as opposed to physical energy). Could you agree with me that it might take an equal amount of energy to sustain another kind of belief? One that holds that your limitation is not one.

If you believe you can't run a marathon (assuming you have use of your legs), you can't, right? But what might happen if you began to believe you could?

If you believe you can't return to university at 43, you can't, right? But what might happen if you began to believe you could?

I imagine you get my drift. When you believe something about yourself it may be due to any number of reasons, some of which are:
  • upbringing and your parents' beliefs
  • having tried something once, not having succeeded, and then having decided that you will never be able to do it
  • things society says about people like you (whatever that means)
  • never having challenged the belief
  • knowing - somewhere deep inside of you - that as long as you believe in your limitation, you don't have to risk trying something you haven't tried before
So what would happen if you decided to believe in different things than the ones (or at least some of the ones) you have believed in up to now? In other words, invest the energy you currently invest in believing in your limitations in believing that you can overcome your limitations.

Reinforcing one type of belief is just as difficult in one direction as in the other one. Or just as easy. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Bless You!


How often do you get upset or angry enough, in order to think of a word that's not very kind - to say the least - about the person who has just caused your anger? Maybe even angry enough to say or think f--k you!

Today's post is merely a reminder. I imagine you've heard this before.

There are two points I want to make:

The feelings that arise in you due to another's words or actions, are yours. So life is throwing you a little gift when those feelings of anger arise, in order that you look at something inside of you. (Don't think I am saying whatever is said or done is ok, or that you are somehow responsible for it ... all I am saying is that when those feelings arise, by looking inside, you might be able to figure something out about yourself. Such as, for example, that perhaps you need to say something without losing your cool in order to let the other person know that what they have said or done is totally not acceptable...

But the other point, the main point of today's post, is that you have the choice to merely think (or say) bless you. You can still go down the other road described in the first point, but if you are so close to expressing an expletive, saying bless you may just keep you from doing so. Then you can go away and think about the whole thing. Perhaps next time, you'll be able to address the matter in a healthy way, or the time after that. But in the meantime, you've done something good for your own energy (maybe even the other person's energy), by saying bless you. And remember, you can apply it to the guy who squeezes past you in traffic, or the customer service person who is obtuse or rude on the phone, etc.

It's like having the perfect solution to all those nasty impulses that you have when someone is out of line. Sooner or later you'll find other ways of dealing with these situations. But right now, saying bless you when you are riled, will begin to bring you to a better place in your life.

Try it!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Aging & Wisdom

“The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” William James
“Respond intelligently... even to unintelligent treatment.” Lao Tzu
"We are as happy as we make up our minds to be." Abraham Lincoln
"To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it." Confucius

Life span theorist (with an emphasis on cognitive plasticity in old age) Paul Baltes of the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, wrote much about what has been termed the "Berlin Wisdom Paradigm". This holds that as we age - even into our 80's and beyond - we (may) become wise, although this depends on a series of factors:
  • Rich factual knowledge about life – on topics such as human nature, behaviour and development and social norms 
  • Rich procedural knowledge about life – for example, having processes for decision making through weighing up pros and cons, including emotional content
  • Life span contextualisation, for example knowledge of different life stages, and the impacts of significant events/periods of life
  • Value relativism and tolerance, appreciating difference and having sensitivity 
  • Understanding that not everything is certain, and having ways to deal well with, or live with, uncertainty (Source)
(Baltes helped pioneer life-span developmental theory, which argues that in order to understand, say, a 60-year-old person, you need to take into account the individual’s biology, psychology and sociological context at various stages of life, as well as the cultural and historical era in which he or she lived. Source)

Indeed, together with his partner Margaret Balten, Paul Baltes wrote in "Harvesting the Fruits of Age: Growing Older, Growing Wise":

"The good news of old age even includes some aspects of psychological functioning where there is hope for age-associated advance in functioning. Two examples are emotional intelligence and wisdom. In emotional intelligence, that is, the ability to understand the causes of emotions (such as hate, love, or anxiety) and the ways to control and use them effectively for problem solving, we seem to improve with age. This improvement is particularly noticeable when difficult interpersonal problems of life are involved."

"The second example of an instance of positive aging and a new frontier of mastery is wisdom. Historically, wisdom is the peak of human excellence, the perfect integration of knowledge and character. In extensive research being conducted at the Berlin Max Planck Institute for Human Development, wisdom is defined as "expert knowledge about life in general and good judgement and advice about how to conduct oneself in the face of complex, uncertain circumstances." New York Times

"Our research results have supported the notion that wisdom is a domain where older adults can excel. Older adults in particular seem to have acquired the dispositions and skills to benefit from such social exchanges with others to solve the dilemmas of life. Here may lie the foundation for the many success stories of grandfathers, grandmothers, and older mentors who are able to express warmth, understanding, and guidance."

"For us, such findings on the age-friendliness of wisdom-related knowledge and skills are cause for optimism. Only during the last century have so many people reached old age. With more and more people living longer, and thus — at least potentially — growing wiser and wiser, who is to say what the aging mind may contribute to the future?"

To this end, and to further understand these concepts in more manageable, laymen-like terms, I offer two articles from the New York Times:
And for anyone who delights in a slightly more academic approach:
Photo: Chad

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Emotional Unavailability: An Introduction


Emotional unavailability can be devastating to everyone touched by it. People often mistakenly understand it as a ploy on the part of the emotionally unavailable person to use others, or to get without giving, and while it is true that some of that may happen at times, it is also true that it consistently undermines the existence of the one who suffers from it, and consequently wraps its painful tentacles around those who are in the life of that person.

It’s a subject fraught with pain and difficulty, potentially more so for the person on the receiving end of an emotionally unavailable partner or parent or friend, but also on the side of the individual who “plays” out the role of the emotionally unavailable person, as they too, can suffer tremendously from it.

Defining the Emotionally Unavailable Person

How can we define the emotionally unavailable person? These are individuals who are:
  • cut off from their own emotions and emotional processes
  • cut off from others’ emotions and their emotional processes
  • very disconnected from the emotional content of their lives 
Let’s take a closer look at all of these points.

Cut Off From Their Own Emotional Process

Imagine that a friend or a partner abandons you, either out of the blue, or after an argument, and has now disappeared from your life. Imagine that you feel that you did not deserve such treatment. Clearly, you would experience feelings of hurt, disappointment, pain, sorrow, and so on. You might also feel angry and indignant.

The emotionally unavailable person, however, would not only not acknowledge most of these feelings, but would probably say that the whole thing is not really that important, or that it was just as well that it happened. In other words, they would have little recognition of these feelings swirling around inside of them. They might complain of gastric upset, or a headache, or back pain, or knee discomfort, or unexplained difficulties in walking, or any other manifestation that shows that the process went into their body due to it not being acknowledged on the emotional level.

On the other hand, if this person has begun a relationship with someone, and they notice that they are thinking about the other person a lot, and that they enjoy spending time with the other person, and that somehow the sun shines more brightly when they are around the other person, they would not interpret this as the beginning of love, the way many other individuals might, but would perhaps say, after a brief time of enjoying the “warm sunshine” of the other’s presence: you’re crowding me, or I need more space, or we need to cool it for a while, or I don’t know how you do it, but you’re really maneuvering yourself into my life, or this is going too quickly for me, or simply I really don’t want a relationship, or I always said I didn’t want a commitment (although they may often marry or cohabit, but although they may share bed and house, they rarely share themselves.

Clearly, the emotionally unavailable person is saying this because they are beginning to feel discomfort in the presence of the other person because they are unable to handle the surge of their own emotions in connection to the other person. This is not conscious, nor is this done or said from a position of nastiness or miserliness, much that it may often appear to be that. This is, in actual fact, a defense mechanism, learned, in all likelihood, in childhood, to safeguard the child against hurt from people he/she had loved and who somehow drastically let him down. Sometimes this letting down happens only in the perception of the child.

Early childhood attachment studies (Ainsworth & Bell, 1970) indicate that abandonment by the parents, and particularly by the mother, creates much greater problems with later emotional availability than even physical abuse. Abandonment, logically, does not only mean a totally absent parent, but also a parent who disappears for a period of time in the early life of the infant (especially during the first 12-18 months of life), such as those children whose parents must leave them in hospital, or some kind of institution and are not able to visit frequently. Nevertheless, the experience, whether it truly happened, or was only perceived, or happened for totally innocent reasons (the child’s life had to be saved by hospitalizing it) carries enormous weight in the adult and with his or her relationships with persons of the opposite sex (or the same gender in the case of gay relationships).

Cut Off From Others’ Emotional Processes

It follows that the emotionally unavailable person has not a clue about the state of another person’s emotions, even when faced with that person’s tears or recriminations, or pain, which may be totally evident to others, but not necessarily to the emotionally unavailable person. In the face of these emotions in the other person, the emotionally unavailable person often feels put upon, burdened with an onerous duty, that he or she mainly wants to escape from, because it feels far too heavy, and heavy often feels dangerous. That makes for a very difficult relationship, to say the least.

Disconnected From the Emotional Content of Their Lives

Despite the disconnection from the emotional content of their lives, emotionally unavailable persons might be connected to bits of it with those people they do not feel threatened by. For example: they may be very loving and tender to the children – especially the very young children - of other people, or very caring and tender to other people’s partners (in the right way, not in the wrong way, i.e. as good and supportive friends). Or they may have a deeply caring relationship with a pet, or be very much into caring for plants, gardening, and so on.

But the connection to their own emotional content is generally non-existent.

I repeat, emotional unavailability tends not to be conscious. The emotionally unavailable person spends an enormous amount of psychological energy maintaining the “wolves at bay”. In order not to have to deal with their own emotions, their defense mechanisms have become automatic, and spring up, the way a bridge over a castle moat springs up to prevent intruders from approaching too closely. It is only when this process becomes conscious, that the emotionally unavailable person is in a position to do something about it, and this person may fight hand and foot in order to not become aware. They may insist that they don’t want to leave their comfort zone, or that they never wanted a commitment, and shrug their shoulders and leave it at that, never having come any closer to a conscious realization of their inner scarring and crippled spirit (see also Scars).

Sexuality

Often – but not always - the emotionally unavailable person is also unavailable sexually, or, if they have made some outward commitment, such as sharing a home, or having a child with the partner, they may withdraw emotionally and sexually, finding it far too emotionally taxing to be engaged on more than one level…in this case, simply living together is enough. Becoming distant from one’s partner or not being sexually responsive are also ways of cutting off genuine relating. This is a long topic, and I will write a separate article about it at a future date.

What if you’re the Partner of the Emotionally Unavailable Person?

What does emotional unavailability tell you about you if you are with an emotionally unavailable partner? And how can you deal with it?

There have probably been issues with the parents and unmet or disappointed emotions on your part, leaving you feeling bereft and alone, like an abandoned child. You may have learned a dysfunctional model of love, where love was never freely given. This in turn may have created a deep well of neediness, neediness, neediness, and more neediness, which in turn caused you to have a lack of boundaries…please step all over me, just as long as you love me. This is implicit in a lack of self-respect, self-worth, self-love, etc., and there tends to be a desire to fuse or merge with a new partner almost immediately. Frequently there is a loss of identity, and of course one tends to be addicted to the partner which implies withdrawal symptoms of the worst kind if and when the partner leaves.

This process is also unconscious. What the person with this aspect of dysfunctionality is aware of, is the pain. But he or she interprets the pain as the fault of the partner, the emotionally unavailable partner, because he/she is not behaving the way this person would like him to behave. Consequently, blame is placed firmly on the shoulders of the emotionally unavailable person by the partner who is not getting what he wants, and hence this partner does not become aware of his own need to clear up the issue of neediness and lack of boundaries and lack of real meaning in the life.

Whether the emotionally unavailable person is behaving “properly” or not from an emotional point of view, is actually not the point, because it is not a question of “fixing” the emotionally unavailable partner. Yes, it is true that those issues need to be worked on, but it is also the partner who feels rejected or feels that the other is cold and unemotional, who needs to take a good look at the reasons he or she is attracted over and over again into situations of this nature (also see the Neediness article mentioned above). It may mean, that as you work on yourself in order to resolve these issues, you may need to get out of the relationship, and get out fast! Again, this is a long topic, and I will write a separate article about it at a future date.

What Can the Emotionally Unavailable Person Do?

This depends in great measure on the person’s desire to change. Sometimes clients come in saying that they want to be able to offer more to their partner; that they are aware of the fact that they give so little in the emotional arena, that they are somehow stunted, even crippled (see Scars above) and that they want to be done with that. This is really the first step: becoming aware. As you become aware, you begin to look at the fear and the pain – both your own and that of your partner. All of this requires a great deal of self-honesty and that is never easy, especially if you are used to hiding behind your defenses that you have perfected and honed over the years.

At this point it helps if you decide to make use of that ability that we all have but don’t always invoke: our right to choose at every moment of every day, and in every situation of any kind. So we can choose our reactions, our actions, our thoughts, and our words and gestures, but we must remember to remain aware for this to have a hope of happening. We can also choose to change what we feel. I know that sounds almost impossible, but it’s not. However, it is a topic (once again) for another article (see also Making Choices: Taking Responsibility For Our Lives). Choosing to choose to behave differently is one of the most powerful tools for change in the life of the emotionally unavailable person.

Then do what you would do for any new skill you wish to perfect: practice, practice, practice (it may not make perfect immediately, but it will make you change very quickly, at least some of the time). Observe your body at all times…use the mind-body communication service! (see also The Energy Barometer, Make Your Mind Body Connection Work For You). Finally, don’t expect to climb Mount Everest in a day: be good to yourself taking the first small steps, forgive yourself for mistakes you are bound to make, and remember, the child who is learning how to walk may appear to fall frequently, and just not put it all together into a cohesive whole – until one day, he not only no longer falls, but is walking perfectly, as though it had formed part of his repertoire all of his life. The same goes for you. Want it, believe it, and do it.

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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch


Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

Find more free articles from my monthly newsletters as well as more information about my work at Advanced Personal Therapy

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Showing You What You Can Become


Years ago, in the late 70’s, I chanced across Wayne Dyer’s book Your Erroneous Zones. (I was living in Spain and had to read it in Spanish Tus Zonas Erroneas back then, and I've also read it in German Der Wunde Punkt). I was in my twenties, and when I read the last chapter of that book, a chapter that shows a person free of erroneous zones, i.e., a person who is in such a good place inside of him or herself, that he has taken total responsibility for his own well-being, makes conscious choices, and is very aware of him or herself, I asked myself how it could be possible to get to that place. I yearned to get there. And I took the description Dyer offered of such a person as a model to follow. And because I had a model to follow, I was able to grow into that direction. (And of course it wasn’t just having the model, it was also determining to actually do something about it, so self-initiative and some kind of discipline also form part of it).

Abraham Maslow, and his hierarchy of needs gives another model to follow (which Dyer in fact based much of his early thought on). The self-actualizing individual at the top of Maslow's pyramid, is an individual who indeed gives us something to think about … how many of us are in fact there, or even moving towards that? And if not, why not? Frequenly, in particular because of the way our school system works, many of us are not in that place simply because we don't know it exists...

There was another book in my life that was conducive to showing me what I could become, and I didn't chance across this one until I saw it in a bookstore in Geneva in May of 1989, now in my thirties. I had done what I'd like to call much of the psychological work, perhaps less of the spiritual work, until I saw what could be in Gary Zukav's second book The Seat of the Soul. Again, it gave me an excellent road map. This one gave directions towards similar goals as the Dyer book mentioned above, but it focused on the spiritual aspect of moving towards the inner freedom and well-being refered to earlier; it focused much more clearly on the growth of the soul, as opposed to merely the growth of the psyche.

So what this is really about is the fact that growth can sometimes be infinitely accelerated if we see what is possible; if we see what we can become.

But this goes way beyond the little boy who wishes to emulate his policeman or fireman father, or the little girl who wants to be a doctor or lawyer like her mother. This is about what is possible from the point of view of inner freedom, of becoming totally responsible for the self, of taking responsibility for one’s own happiness, of learning how to make conscious choices, and of becoming aware of the self.

So when you meet someone who lives in an inner place that you find wonderful (even though it may seem light years from where you find yourself), or when you read about someone who does so, or when you read about an ideal you can aspire to, and you see that this is showing you what you could become, then use it as a map. Because you can also go there.

P.S. and in case you are curious, since then - since the experiences recounted above - there has been much fine-tuning in my life, much re-visiting of areas and issues that needed greater work, as I know there will continue to be until the day I pass, and much of the fine-tuning came about through other books, and also through human beings I've been fortunate enough to meet or observe or study, but the essential bits were put in place through those two early books by Dyer and Zukav.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Why Does My Partner Treat Me Like This?


The eternal cry of the broken heart; the eternal cry of the emotionally abused person; the eternal cry of the person who feels the pain, the frustration, the jealousy, the violent emotions that are the result of living with someone who treats them in ways that are less than loving.

Agonizing Pain

The type of pain that ensues from such a relationship leaves no doubt in anyone's mind (especially anyone who has experienced it) that it is agonizing in its sheer numbing - or hysteria-producing - effects. No one would deliberately wish this upon anyone else, and if we have a friend or family member who is currently going through such a situation, we can almost feel their pain, and we would generally do anything to get them out of that horrific place in their minds and hearts into which they have been placed due to their unfeeling or cruel partner.

Because that is the reason for their pain, right? They currently have or they had in the past a relationship with someone who simply did not treat them correctly, someone who was abusive (whether the abuse is emotional, psychological, physical, or sexual makes no difference) or emotionally unavailable or addicted to some substance, etc. And because of this partner, they are now going through the gates of hell on earth.

Because that is the reason for their pain, right?

Wrong.

Your Partner’s Dysfunctions

At least it's wrong insofar as the culprit – the one to be faulted – the one at whose door we can lay all the blame for such suffering - is the partner. He/she perpetrated those dastardly deeds and caused such grief and pain due to his/her cruelty, coldness, dysfunctionality, twistedness, etc. We could surely come up with a long string of additional adjectives to describe the kind of behaviour this type of personality evinces.

So what is wrong with this picture?

Innocence & Guilt

No one is pretending that the guilty party is behaving properly. No one is saying that the way they are treating the innocent party is right. What we are saying is this: as long as the "innocent" party is saying (to the world or to the self) that he/she is in this situation of suffering and pain due to the actions of the other, i.e. the "guilty" party, no one, including the "innocent" party, will get anywhere that might be called an improved state of being.

Let me say that again – because this is the most important concept in this entire article: as long as the "innocent" party believes that he/she is in this horrible situation due to the actions of the other, no one, including the "innocent" party, will get anywhere that might be called an improved state of being.

Responsibility

This is so because as long as the hurt person does not take responsibility for their hurt (as the dysfunctional party ought to take responsibility for their own cruel or cold behavior), the hurt person will not improve his life. Oh, he might get a divorce, she might get a court settlement, he might get custody of the kids or the house, or anything at all that on the surface seems to even out the erstwhile imbalance in this relationship of inequalities, but that has nothing to do with repairing the inner damage.

I cannot emphasize enough how important this point is. Walking away from behaviour - on the part of another person - that is not acceptable, is a very important first step. But walking away and continuing to look at the situation from a blame perspective is simply not enough. Not only is it not enough, it is conducive to perpetuating the pattern in the next relationship and the one after that, and so on. Some people come to my practice and tell me this is a question of their bad luck in choosing partners unwisely.

The Way We Grow

Well, in a way we could agree that it is...but much more importantly, it is a question of their not taking responsibility for their own role in the affair. Careful, this is not about blaming themselves. This is about realizing that - as Jung might have put it - the incredible intelligence of the psyche has led them - over and over again - to be attracted to individuals and hence enter into relationship with them, who will cause them such pain and frustration in specific areas of their lives, that if they choose to do so, these situations can be used to grow as individuals and to overcome the challenge of this particular lifetime.

Filling Holes and Creating Balance

To overcome the challenge ... you might say we all have a mission in life (and here I am not referring to the life purpose or mission with regards to the mark one can leave, but to the mission with regards to the self, with growing the self, with Giving Birth To Yourself, so to overcome the challenge we need to begin to understand the foibles, the unhealthy parts, the dysfunctionalities of this lifetime that we have chosen to work on.

So that means that we would need to look at those bits of ourself that we seek to fill through the other. What attracts us to another at the outset? What do we fall in love with? Because it is precisely there where we can see what is not whole in ourselves. And if we have been able to identify that, then we are in a position to understand where we have to work on ourselves; where we have to fill our own lagunae, our own holes, rather than trying to find safety through another. Many of the articles indicated throughout this one, address this particular issue in greater depth, because it – the why we fall in love with specific individuals - is germane to understanding this problem that besets most of us in almost all of our relationships (even those that are not painful or difficult).

Jewels in Our Lives

If you look at it from that point of view, the fact that someone in your life is pushing you to the limit, causing you pain and frustration, might be regarded as something akin to a jewel. (I can already hear the invectives that are being hurled my way for that last sentence). Your partner could be viewed as a jewel. Only - I hasten to add - because he/she has been the instrument that has brought you to this point of frustration or pain; only because by coming to this point, you want to go no further in that direction of negativity, but want to resolve this issue in your life once and for all. And so you begin to look at yourself and your role in accepting such pain. Not to blame yourself, but to learn how you can grow beyond such feelings and hence never need to experience them again. Once you've been through the measles you don't get them again, right?

Relationship With the Self

But - and I know I'm repeating myself here - I need to reiterate over and over again: this is only achieved if you look at the self, if you commune with the self, if you pull responsibility for all your thoughts, feelings, emotions, actions, and reactions into yourself. This offers freedom, this offers growth, and you are the only one who can do it for you.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Knowing & Not Paying Attention

Some time ago I wrote an article for my monthly newsletter Introducing Our Second and Third Brains: We Do Think With Our Heart and Instinct (and it is also available in Spanish as Presentando Nuestro Segundo y Tercer Cerebro), in which I explained that research has now proven that we have neurons (the type of cell we have in our brain), not only in the brain, but also in the gut (the intestine) and the heart (the actual organ in your chest).

At the end of the article I suggest that we should henceforth, knowing that this is so, make use of all three of these "brains" in a balanced way, when it comes to making decisions, instead of mainly allowing our rational brain to be the decisive force. I point out, that with brain scanning equipment, it has been possible to determine that sometimes the information reaches one of the other brains first, and only then, is fed to the brain inside our skull, from that other brain.

And that, of course, tells us, that what we know instinctively, is coming to us through the neurons in the gut, and so our gut feelings are giving us knowledge that we generally ignore.

So we know something and we don't pay attention. We would not do that with our rational brains. Or at least, we would not do that with such ease, with such carelessness. We would consider carefully whether we could afford to ignore such information as that which our rational brain - the neurons in the brain inside our skull - is feeding us.

But when the information is instinctual or emotional, we pay scant attention.

I know many articles have been written about intuition. I don't really want to go to the place that helps you identify how to be more intuitive. I merely want you to recognize that what we have known so long metaphysically ... that intuition (or gut feelings) are of value, we now know scientifically.

Don't ignore your own inner knowing ... pay attention to what your other brains are giving you.

And if you don't recognize their language very well, because you have rarely paid attention to them, begin the process of familiarizing yourself with them. Imagine having an old VW from the 60's in your garage, which works quite well, and you are in fact, quite happy with it, and then discovering you also have a much faster, much more classy and elegant, and above all, much more powerful Porsche ... wouldn't you want to use it too? Even if you now had to learn how to handle it ... so very different from the VW?

Photo: Arch with Pilastar. Libya

Friday, May 20, 2011

Are You Attaining the Thing You are Gifted For?

South Africa lies close to my heart. I enjoyed three incredible weeks there some years ago. One of my closest friends from adolescence in Canada was murdered while living in Johannesburg. An important person in my family’s life is from Durban. And long before I had ever visited the country, while I was still living in Mexico, tears of joy coursed down my cheeks as I saw the release of Nelson Mandela and the eventual end of Apartheid.

"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of it? We must have perseverance and above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained." Madam Marie Curie

I recently watched an excellent BBC interview of Desmond Tutu of South Africa by Fern Britton. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has spent a lifetime fighting injustice in South Africa and other parts of the world. It won him a Nobel Peace Prize.

But his intention as a child was not to enter the church … he wanted to be a physician. For a black child from the townships during Apartheid, that was an impossible dream due to the cost the education would imply. So he decided he wanted to be a teacher. Even that turned out to be impossible, because laws were passed that closed that door to black men. And so he entered the clergy. The rest is history.

But what compels me about this story is something else. Here we have a human being who had a dream. He was barred from it. Then he had another dream. He was also barred from that. So he chose one of the few things left to him barring work in some trade or working as a labourer.

There is a wonderful lesson here. Doesn’t this tell us that even when we are forced down a road that is not of our initial choosing, we are still capable of making a difference by making the choice to do so? Of living a life well worth living?Who knows Tutu’s thoughts when he finally chose the clergy. Who knows what he did with his shelved dreams. What we do know is what his life now symbolizes, not only in South Africa, but in the world. He gave his best. He gave to others. And he made a difference. He attained, as in Madame Curie’s words above, at great cost, the thing he was gifted for.

Are you attaining the thing you are gifted for?

Photo: Cape Town

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Are You Tired of Your Life?

If you are tired of your life; if you would like to just walk away from it (not by doing away with yourself, but by switching to another kind of life); if your life seems faded and lacking in interest; if the main way you have of getting any adrenaline going is by going out to buy something new, or by partying, or getting another deal that fattens the balance in your bank account, or by having a few more drinks, or a few more snorts, or by getting a divorce and finding a new, more exciting partner, so that your life feels more exciting (for a time), or by moving to a new city or new country, or by having another child (or adopting one), or giving your name (but not your soul) to yet another charitable organization; if you find no real meaning in your life; in fact: if it seems to you that you really never - at any time - felt as though there was a real meaning to your life, then pay attention closely.

All of the above is giving you a big message. In a way it's a though you had a loving older sibling looking over your shoulder and tapping you on the arm saying: don't you want more than this? The message you are getting by the way you feel (and the word feel is germane to the whole significance of this post), is hugely important.

But we tend not to pay too much attention. Especially if our lives are more or less running smoothly. So we tell ourselves that the way we are feeling is nonsense. Perhaps you have a great job and a good marriage. So how could it be that you feel so tired of your life? It could be that the job, good as it is, means nothing to your intrinsic self, and you feel no real connection with your partner. So although things are good, i.e. you have a great salary, are due for a promotion, great health benefits and pension fund, every morning when you get up and go to that job, you have to force yourself to go there and not drive elsewhere instead. (Where elsewhere? We'll get to that in a bit). Or your partner is loving, and caring, and you have a couple of great kids together, you don't quarrel, and there is no obvious reason for you to feel as though the relationship isn't alive, but it isn't. You two just are not connecting.

So, as I said, we tend not to pay too much attention to the way we feel under such circumstances. But this way we feel comes directly from somewhere inside of us, as said, as though it were a loving older sibling. But it's not. It is our intuition.

In an earlier post about the subject (Intuition is Your Connection To The Divine), I wrote: "This voice inside of you ... that so often you pretend not to hear. This knowing inside of you ... that so often you ignore. This knocking at your inner door ... that so often you turn away from. This thing that pursues you over and over again, talking to you, making you think about whatever it is that you continue to turn a deaf ear to, this thing is your intuition and your connection to the divine."

[...]

"But why is intuition our connection to the divine? What is the divine? Is it not the eternal part of each of us? Is it not the part of us that connects us not only to all others, but also to all creation? And if that is so, then isn't it logical (if I may use such a word in such a context) that somewhere inside of each of us there must be a connection to this divine part?"

So going back to the initial question of this post: are you tired of your life? - I posit that you might recognize that there is a strong connection between the feelings you are having that keep insisting that your life is not as it should be, and the desires of your soul. The desires, that if they were fulfilled, or we could say, that if you were on the way to fulfilling them (even just at the very, very, very beginning of that way), would give you much satisfaction; would give much meaning to your life, and would mean, that you would no longer be tired of your life. Quite the contrary ... you would be filled with adrenaline, excited, stimulated, and all those good things that currently you only achieve via superficialities, and whose effect never lasts long enough. Read more about finding meaning in your life in Finding a Meaning for Your Life.

And in another post about the subject (Intuition and Healing and Dreams) I wrote this: "Our intuition, our bodies, the state of our health is often the path to greater understanding, healing and growth. Since neuroscientists have discovered that we have more than one brain, the second one being in our intestine and the third one in our heart (both of these areas contain a vast number of neural cells that feed the brain with information, which the brain then processes in order to make decisions), we can say that our “gut” feelings, or our “heart” feelings told us to behave in a specific fashion. See also Introducing Our Second and Third Brains: We Do Think With Our Heart and Instinct about this subject."

There is a beautiful quote by Jalal ad-Din Rumi that goes like this:

When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.

Isn't it true that when your soul is allowed to be your guide, you feel joy within? You almost don't even have to know what it is that your soul is guiding you towards, if you allow yourself to be steered by the joy you feel inside when you are moving in that direction.

Somehow you know, if you ever listen to any of this type of dialogue with yourself (and I know that many people are not used to doing this, despite the fact that it is in actual fact very simple), when you are not on the right track, because you feel a twisting inside, a lack of joy, you feel that something is not right.

We're not talking here about ethics or morals or doing charity work or anything at all in particular ... because the music of your soul - as Rumi refers to it - may let its melodies be felt in any kind of activity or thought or reaction or behaviour. What is important is that there are certain activities or modes of behaviour that make you realize that the river no longer moves within you, the joy no longer flows, just as there are other activities or behaviours that create precisely the opposite feeling.

What if there is no joy within, what if you feel as though there is no connection to the moving of that inner river?

If you are aware of it, you have already come a long way ... more than many. Even if all you are aware of is the lack of joy. So then you could start listening to your inner voice, your intuition, a small step at a time, exploring, searching, to find out what gives you joy. Perhaps you could try doing the opposite of some of the things that you do but that don't allow you to feel the river within.

When you do things from your soul, when you have that connection (see also Tending Your Inner Garden), when you pay attention to the joy inside, you are on the road to the place you meant to go to when you came here.

When you do things from your soul, your life has meaning, you feel a a connection in your relationships, and you feel a river moving in you, a joy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fragments That Have Authority Over You

Have you ever given some thought to why you react the way you do on certain occasions?

For example:
  • why do you feel intimidated by haughty maitre d's
  • why do you react coldly when you are told by your boss that something you have done needs rectification
  • why do you get upset when a store clerk does not come to help you immediately
  • why does your stomach tense when you need to ask your husband for money
  • why do you feel anxious when you are preparing a report despite the fact that you know you'll be able to complete it well before the deadline, and with ease, because you've done this type of report before
  • why do you feel insulted when the person accompanying you in the car ... your passenger ... but not necessarily your spouse, tells you to watch out for the car that is coming, even though you've already seen the car
These and many other examples I could mention are frequently the red flag of something that has authority over you, of fragments from your past that have authority over you.

Events and feelings connected to those events from your past may be in charge of parts of your life because you have not yet come to terms with whatever it was that happened. And coming to terms with something often implies forgiving someone from your past in order to disconnect yourself from the energetic connection you still have with the feelings that such an event evoked in you. Without the process of forgiving, you not only continue to feel unwanted emotions whenever you remember the past event, but, and this is even more important, you continue to react in ways that are no longer pertinent to your life, due to your emotional connection to that past event, even when you are not consciously aware of the past event.

See also:
So when you react coldly when your boss has some minor constructive criticism about something you have presented him with, it may be connected to the time your father criticized a beautiful painting you had just drawn for him when you were eight, telling you that lions did not really look like that, and that in Africa, skies could not have that impossible colour. When he said those thoughtless words to you, his young child, it hurt you so much, that to protect yourself, you covered up the hurt with coldness, to help you not to feel it the same way. This protective mechanism is now still in place, and may work against your best interests by your reaction with your well-meaning boss. Hence, we say, you are controlled by this fragment.

Being controlled by fragments from your past means several things:
  • you are not totally aware of everything that is going on, because these fragments cause you to react in ways that are not part of free choice, they happen because you are in the dark about them
  • hence you are not in control of your reactions (remember you can't control what happens to you, but you can absolutely choose how you react to events, but only if you are totally aware)
See also:
Frequently you can become aware of fragments having authority over you if you begin to pay attention to how you feel at all times, not only emotionally, but also physically. So if you notice a downward spiral in your feelings when certain things happen, you might be on to a clue about one of your fragments. Also, very particularly, you should notice when your solar plexus (stomach area) begins to clench or feel uncomfortable. That is always a clue that something is going on that is not right. It could be that someone is behaving with you in ways that are not acceptable, and that you need to check out your boundaries (also see: Finding it Hard to Love Yourself? Check Out Your Boundaries), or it could be that you are about to have a reaction to something that is the result of one of your fragments, and the reason your stomach is clenching, or your heart is pounding, is because it is directly connected to something that caused you great pain, or upset of some kind when you were younger.

Discovering these fragments and their - heretofore unknown - impact on your present life, will take you down the road to inner growth and above all, inner freedom.

Photo: Aguille Percé, French Alps

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Feeling a River Move Within You

There is a beautiful quote by Jalal ad-Din Rumi that goes like this:

When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.

Isn't it true that when your soul is allowed to be your guide, you feel joy within? You almost don't even have to know what it is that your soul is guiding you towards, if you allow yourself to be steered by the joy you feel inside when you are moving in that direction.

Somehow you know, if you ever listen to any of this type of dialogue with yourself (and I know that many people are not used to doing this, despite the fact that it is in actual fact very simple), when you are not on the right track, because you feel a twisting inside, a lack of joy, you feel that something is not right.

We're not talking here about ethics or morals or doing charity work or anything at all in particular ... because the music of your soul - as Rumi refers to it - may let its melodies be felt in any kind of activity or thought or reaction or behaviour. What is important is that there are certain activities or modes of behaviour that make you realize that the river no longer moves within you, the joy no longer flows, just as there are other activities or behaviours that create precisely the opposite feeling.

What if there is no joy within, what if you feel as though there is no connection to the moving of that inner river?

If you are aware of it, you have already come a long way ... more than many. Even if all you are aware of is the lack of joy. So then you could start listening to your inner voice, your intuition, a small step at a time, exploring, searching, to find out what gives you joy. Perhaps you could try doing the opposite of some of the things that you do but that don't allow you to feel the river within.

When you do things from your soul, when you have that connection (see also Tending Your Inner Garden), when you pay attention to the joy inside, you are on the road to the place you meant to go to when you came here.

When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.



Photo: Tobago Cays, West Indies

Monday, May 16, 2011

Choosing Gratitude - Choosing the Now

So many people find their lives so full of worry, sorrow, pain, anxiety, and fear. Especially in this climate of the global economic crisis.

Here's something you can do to deal with those difficult and dark emotions: as you find yourself immersed in yet another negative or hard thought or feeling, and find yourself succumbing to its way of pulling you into a black quagmire, do this:
  • chose to do something different about this today
  • chose to focus elsewhere (as opposed to the worry or the fear)
  • chose to feel gratitude for something right here and now (a butterfly, the blue sky, a whiff of heady jasmine from the garden next door, your laptop that connects you to the world in such fascinating ways, your dog, your child, your capacity to run, etc.) Whatever you feel gratitude for is not important, what is important is that you do feel gratitude.
  • as you do this, you will find yourself in the present moment. And in the present moment you are not in the place where you need to worry or fear,
  • the present moment brings you to the now, where the past or future have no place.
  • remain in the present moment for a while, choosing to continue to focus on something for which you feel gratitude.
  • one you notice that you feel better, move to your other duties, but continue this exercise as soon as you find yourself giving way to difficult or dark thoughts and feelings.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Light In the Dark - Love In Hatred

Once a candle has been lit in a dark room, the darkness will be dispelled and the room will be light, and will continue to be light, as long as the candle burns, and as long as other candles continue to be lit from the flame of the initial candle.

So obvious.

Once love has entered a place where there is hatred, love can begin to dispel the hatred, and the place where only hatred reigns will be smaller, and will continue to grow smaller, as long as love remains alive, and as long as others continue to bring more love after having warmed themselves in the flame of the love shown by the initial person who brought it into hatred.

Perhaps less obvious, but just as do-able as the candle metaphor.

Let us all be candles, and let our flame - our light - be filled with love.



P.S. Yesterday's (May 12th) blog about compassion has disappeared, apparently due to a glitch on Blogger and they are working on restoring all lost data ... let's see ...

Photo: India

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Compassion: Only for the Hungry, or Also for People Who Hurt You?



Most people have no problem in understanding how to feel compassion for the poor and hungry from third-world countries, or even those in similar positions in our own wealthier nations. And certainly, most people understand why we would even begin to entertain the idea of feeling compassion for people in such a predicament. It seems the normal, human, charitable thing to feel, doesn’t it? This may even lead a good portion of the people feeling such compassion to actually undertaking something tangible that might ease the burden of those who suffer from poverty, hunger, homelessness, persecution, etc.

Partners Who Hurt, Cheat, Lie

Often when clients walk into my office for the first time, they will expend an inordinate amount of energy telling me, during that first session, how much their partner, companion, or spouse has hurt them, cheated them, lied to them, deceived them, manipulated them, changed on them, or abandoned them, to name only a few. And, of course, I am expected to empathize with their position, and essentially see that the other party is someone who can only be defined in unspeakable terms.

It Takes Two to Tango…

At this point I frequently intervene and offer the opinion that it does take two to tango (so, for example, if he/she did such-and-such to you, why did you let it go on for so long?), and further, that no matter what “relationship crime” the other party has actually “committed”, he/she also deserves some compassion because who knows what has happened in their life up to that point (and particularly in their early life) in order to bring them to behave in such a despicable way.

This will occasionally merit me a baleful glare from my client. But often I also see a glimmer of understanding, or even of agreement. Sometimes I think it’s their way of assuaging their own angry thoughts at themselves for having fallen in love with the other person at all, of justifying to themselves that there was something wonderful there for them at the beginning (as indeed there tends to be…see my article about Committed Relationships), and that therefore it is not necessary to view themselves as total relationship failures for having chosen so badly. Indeed. But there is more to be looked at.

The Why and the How of it all

Why we might feel compassion for someone who has hurt us seems to be easy to understand. They may have become the way they now are; this awful way they are behaving with us, in other words, because of, as mentioned earlier, difficult traumas in their childhood, perhaps painful relationship patterns prior to meeting us, or a myriad number of other plausible reasons that might allow us to get a glimpse into the inner makings of this other person.

But how do we go about feeling this compassion, when what we really would like to do is wring their necks, or never let them see the children again, or take them for what they’re worth and leave them without a penny, or make them pay in some other way that will truly make them realize just how much they have hurt us?

How do we find it in ourselves to bring up any measure of compassion when they obviously are such absolutely awful people? People who have perhaps hurt us more than anyone else. Deliberately. Hatefully. Viciously. A betrayal of this nature, where once there was love, and now there is only blackness, is perhaps more difficult to deal with than any other kind of betrayal because we see it from the position of deliberateness on the part of the other person. They wanted to hurt us. They did so knowingly.

Finding the Way to Compassion in the Mirror of our Self-Image

While major religions spend a great deal of time preaching compassion, religion is by no means the only method to find your way to compassion. Rather, I would venture to say, the first step might be by taking a look at yourself. By seeing what is inside of you. By getting to know yourself, your intentions, your desires, your needs, your fears, your vanities, your pride, your ego, your priorities, your patience, and your degree of self-awareness.

Self Awareness and Responsibility

Self-awareness is such a tricky thing. If you don’t have it, you generally don’t know that you don’t have it, and when you begin to acquire it, you keep forgetting about it until you make a discipline of it, of forcing yourself to be self-aware at as many moments as possible in your life. Only then does it have a chance of becoming second nature, and thus of you being self aware at almost all times. This implies that you begin to take responsibility for everything you feel, think, and do (see my February 2006 Newsletter: Taking Responsibility For Our Lives), and as you take on responsibility for all that, you begin to understand that what another person has done to you is his/her responsibility, his/her problem, his/her issue to be resolved, and that no matter how much you may rant and rave or crave revenge, you will never be able to change the other. You can only change yourself. As we absorb the truth of this statement, we begin to understand that what others do unto us is truly only interesting and important from the point of view of how we react to their words or acts.

And how we react depends in large measure on our degree of self-awareness. It is at this point that the possibility for compassion enters the picture. The more self-aware you are, the more you know you have choices and alternatives at every turn of the road. Therefore you begin to understand that someone who has hurt you (hurting others generally implies, among other things, fear in the one who hurts; fear of feeling insecure, fear of chaos, fear of loss of control, etc., but that is a topic for another article) has done so from a position of blindness, of a lack of self awareness.

Careful now, I am not suggesting we simply excuse all these people and say, “oh, they didn’t know what they were doing, so it’s ok”. Of course it’s not ok. But because you are now capable of understanding where they are coming from; in other words, from blindness, you are now able to feel compassion. How they resolve their own issues that cause this behavior on their part, is their problem. Perhaps you will want to be supportive in helping them shed light on it, perhaps not. But in the meantime, you have resolved an enormous issue of your own, by looking at yourself, by resolving to become self-aware, and by choosing the path of compassion rather than the path of hatred, anger, self-pity, or revenge (For more about Destructive Emotions, see the collaboration in book format between Western psychologists, neuroscientists, philosophers and Buddhist scholars, narrated by Daniel Goleman).

Compassion for others does have a ripple effect. Try it and observe what happens…not only with others, but most particularly, inside of you.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Marshmallows & Success

Joachim de Posada shares a landmark experiment (at Ted.org) on delayed gratification -- and how it can predict future success. With priceless video of kids trying their hardest not to eat the marshmallow.



If you have difficulty viewing the video here on my blog, go directly to the website by clicking here.

Here's what TED has to say about him: Joachim de Posada's infectious energy and humor have turned him into a popular motivational coach. Working in Spanish and English, he helps companies and teams find deep and lasting reasons to succeed. His books include How to Survive Among the Piranhas and his latest, No te comas el marshmallow ... todavia, or Don't Eat the Marshmallow ... Yet. (He's recently updated the book for the recession, calling it Don't Eat the Marshmallow ... Ever.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I Need You…I Need You Not


Why is it that so often when we feel we are in love, we also feel we are in bondage if anything happens to shake the feeling of “security” in the love? Why does love so often make us dependent on the other person? Shouldn’t love be a marvelous and freeing feeling rather than these other sensations of need and fear and dependence?

Songs Say it All

Songs so often say it all: “Can’t Live, if Livin’ is Without You”, “I Need Your Lovin’, “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone”, “I Fall to Pieces”, “It’s You I Need to Take the Blues Away, It Must be Love”, “Without You I am Nothing”, “I’m Drowning Without Your Love”, If you Leave, I Won’t be Able to Breathe”, etc.

The message each of those songs gives is that when the person we love is no longer with us, we can’t go on. We need that person to be able to stay alive…at least figuratively speaking. Without the person we love, we are nothing, we can not bear to live.

And while we all know that this is not exactly true, most of us have certainly been in the position of feeling something akin to those words.

So what does it mean? Does it really mean that loving someone implies that we need the other person so much that we simply feel we can not go on without them? Or could all that be a fallacy?

Typical Love Scenario

Let’s examine what happens in a typical love scenario…

Boy meets girl (man meets woman), chemistry, infatuation, bliss, love, we’ve all been there and know how that part of it goes. But what is really happening? Raging hormones answer only a small part of the question, even though they can create a vast impact. An article in the weekend supplement of Spain’s daily El Mundo (8/7/06) refers to University of Pisa’s Donatella Marazziti’s work on romantic love activating parts of the brain associated with addiction. She has found that falling in love is a bit like going crazy from the point of view of brain chemicals and hormones (see also New Scientist).

Jung and the Intelligent Psyche

Carl Gustav Jung said that our psyche is so infinitely intelligent that it attracts us to certain individuals (as certain individuals’ psyche causes them to be attracted to us) in order that we experience precisely that which we need to grow. (See my April 2006 Newsletter: Committed Relationships: Use Them to Grow Towards Self-Understanding and Real Love).

So how do we typically grow? By going through an experience of some sort that may not be easy. We grow at school by learning, studying, and taking exams. We grow in life by becoming more aware, and we generally tend to become more aware when some life experience obliges us to do so.

By extrapolating, we might say that in relationships (see also these posts about relationships) we grow most quickly through experiences that are not necessarily easy. And going back to Jung, he clearly proposes that throughout the course of our lives it is our psyche that in its infinite intelligence leads us to be attracted to precisely those individuals who most have the potential to be instruments in our individual growth. In order for that to work, evidently we first have to be fully in relationship with those people. So we fall in love, we begin to feel that our happiness depends in some measure on the other person, and so begins our need of that person.

External vs Internal Needs

An external need, in others words, when we depend on something external to ourselves for our well-being, frequently carries within it the seeds of failure. In the case of a relationship, it may often be the cause of power plays between the two people, the less needy one being the one to dominate the relationship, and the needier one to resentfully accept this dominance due to his or her need for the other partner.

Obsessiveness, Possessiveness, or the Need to Control

Power plays are not the only manifestation of relationships mired in mutual need. Another frequent expression is obsessiveness or possessiveness, or a need to control. And you can imagine – if you haven’t been there – the kind of resentment and negative feelings that this can generate on the part of both people. Akin to any substance addiction, obsessiveness or possessiveness or the need to control can take people to hellish places in their hearts and minds that few of us would wish to visit. I have created an entire workshop on this topic, because although this type of addiction is often masked by a veneer of sophistication, it occurs more frequently than most people suspect, and makes the existence of those that suffer from it a living nightmare.

Does Needing Mean You Really Love?

So why do we become needy in relationships? Of the roughly 40% men and 60% women that come to my private practice, many would initially answer that ‘needing’ your love partner is how it should be. But why should love imply a feeling that almost always develops into something negative, and at best, makes those who feel it, as said at the beginning of this article, that they could not live without the beloved, thus ‘proving’ in their minds, that this is really love? Is that really what love is all about?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to assume that love means freedom rather than independence? (See my article Are You in Love, or Do You Love?). So what does needing our partner tell us?

Falling In Love With Yourself…

Let’s start with the falling in love part. What are we actually falling in love with? Stated simply, we fall in love with those bits and pieces of ourselves that we have not yet recognized, but that we find (via projection) in the partner. Is she tender and understanding? Is he funny and the center of the party? Is she strong and enterprising? Is he confident, with a great sense of integrity? All of those qualities may well be part of your partner’s character, but the fact that you fell in love with those specific traits, tells you that they are actually part of your own character as well.

Since you do not yet manifest those qualities, because you have not yet recognized them in yourself, you need your partner to be able to ‘be in touch with’ that part of you. That is what ‘hooks’ you on your partner. Your partner’s presence in your life gives you contact to those parts of you that you have not yet developed, making you feel that your partner is absolutely indispensable to your well-being.

When Your Partner Leaves

So then, when something happens to the relationship, or your partner leaves, or threatens to leave, is when the strong feelings of need arise. This is the time when you should realize that these strong feelings of need are a vast red flag letting you know something is going on inside of you that only you can do something about. If you ignore it, or translate it into “I was deeply wounded by my partner”, or “my partner did not return my feelings when I most needed him/her, so I guess that means I always choose the wrong people”, or “next time I will choose better, so that this kind of thing never happens to me again”, then instead of resolving your inner dilemma, you will merely perpetuate it by maintaining the status quo inside of you, falling in love with yet another person that puts you in touch with bits of you that you have not yet recognized in yourself, and thus setting yourself up to be ‘needy’.

Can it be Solved?

So what is the solution? Simple to state, less simple to execute (mainly because it requires some of that inner discipline that most of us don’t want to exercise): work on those bits of yourself that you catch a glimpse of in the beloved. Examine yourself to see where they might reside in you. Work at developing them; growing them. If you do this, I guarantee you that the next time you fall in love, it will be with a smaller degree of external need, and hence, a greater degree of internal freedom. Or, if you remain with the same person, your love will grow into something infinitely more loving.