"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

Thursday, December 23, 2010

When Love Walks Out the Door: Six Tips For Intelligent Survival

When you are in love - or believe yourself to be in love - and love walks out the door, you are not only justifiably devastated, but you may be devastated to the point of paralysis, palpitations, pain that can associate with physical nausea, and above all, a sensation of not being able to continue with this deep, bottomless pit that has formed at the center of your being. The yawning Hades, whose blackness spreads before you, is only known by those who have been there.

Ideas of some of the things you can do to help yourself back to the road of equanimity, if not inner peace and contentment, or even happiness, follow:
  1. As you examine the relationship that has just ended - as most people tend to do ad nauseam, to the point of sorely trying their friends' patience, because of the desire to understand why it ended, or what you did that was wrong, or what you could have done differently - ask yourself what truly positive thing you could learn from this most painful experience. This questioning process that almost always takes place on an inner level can lead you to the beginning of the road to recovery. Perhaps you could learn that this is not the way to allow yourself to be treated. Perhaps the learning has to do with always telling the truth, or always being transparent with your own beliefs, likes, and dislikes, and not hiding them in order to be liked or loved. Perhaps you could learn that simply loving another human being does not guarantee love in return - or at least not everlasting love.
  2. Ask yourself if the love you felt for this person who has just abandoned you, was a love that made you feel free, or a love that made you feel anxious and dependent. If it was the latter, ask yourself if you truly think it is a positive thing to feel that way, when you are supposed to be in love and therefore in the best place any of us can be. Is it possible that something so good can make you feel so miserable? I refer to how you felt while the other person was still your partner, was still with you, not how you feel now, that the other person has left. And if you agree that this is not the way one should - ideally - feel when one is in love, then ask yourself what is wrong with your scenario. In other words, why did you feel so anxious and dependent? The answer is quite simple: anxious and dependent love has its roots in neediness, and we are needy when we have not yet begun to love the self. So we love others in the hope (unconscious) of being able to love ourselves as we see the reflection of their love for us in their eyes. I have explained this in greater length in the first of the Related Articles below). Understanding this inner neediness takes you another big step on the road not only to recovery from the painful loss of the relationship, but also to finding yourself.
  3. Ask yourself if there is anything in your life that truly gives it meaning. In other words, do you feel a passion for something? Does something that you do, give you a sense of purpose, or mission, or fill you with excitement. If so, a big part of your problem is already solved, because by dedicating yourself to that, you will be able to get over the worst of your feeling of being bereft. Such a sense of purpose and meaning in life is as fundamentally important as breathing. Therefore, if you have no such sense, or if you would like to have it, but don't know what it might be, please read the second article below in order to learn how to implement something like this into your life. Having a sense of purpose and meaning in life canot be stressed highly enough. If you resolve this one, you will have come a long way.
  4. Ask yourself how well you know yourself. How comfortable you are with yourself. Because if you do not know yourself, or if you are not comfortable with yourself, you will find great difficulty maintaining a viable and healthy relationship, and you will tend to attract to you partners who are on the same wave-length of not being very aware of themselves. Make an effort to walk down this road a little bit every day, in order to change - to broaden - this aspect of yourself, so that future relationships can be very different. Also read the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth articles below.
  5. Ask yourself how much of what is going through your head right now is blame. If you are blaming the other person for how terrible or awful he/she is for doing this to you, after all you did for him/her, please know that this blaming will take you no where. It may very well be true that you have been treated badly, but what must be learned from this is that for some reason you have allowed it. The other person is not in your control, but you are. To begin to walk down this road, read articles 7, 8, and 9 below.
  6. Ask yourself what choices you have today. That's right. What can you choose today to make things better for yourself? Understand that everything you do and think, and that how you act and react is your choice. This is a long topic, there are many things to be said about it, and so I simply want to leave you with this thought: you always have a choice. Even when you are in pain. You can choose how you think about your pain, you can choose to remain immobilized, or you can choose to do something about it, such as, for example, right now, read some of the related articles below, to begin the process of bringing yourself to another level. Not of suppressing the pain, but of beginning to understand how you don't really have to be here, and of implementing some of the tools that will help you leave this place inside of you, to one where the sun shines every day. I encourage you to look at articles 10 - 14 below.

Related Articles:
  1. I Need You...I Need You Not. Does Love Imply Needing?
  2. Finding a Meaning For Your Life
  3. Tending Your Inner Garden
  4. Do You Like The Person You Are Alone With?
  5. The Unexamined Life
  6. Giving Birth To Yourself
  7. Choosing To Wallow in Relationship Pain?
  8. Anonymous Reader and Relationship Woes
  9. Relationship Pain
  10. Book Review 2 - Happiness Is A Choice
  11. The Greatest Quality in Life
  12. All You Have Is Now
  13. No One Can Control Your Emotions
  14. Taking the State of Your Energy into Your Own Hands
  15. Losing the Connection: You Still Love Each Other, But No Longer Connect
  16. Your Parents, Your Children, and the Marital Bed
  17. The Mirror of Relationships
  18. Transparency in Relationships
  19. Are You in Love or Do You Love?
  20. Emotional Unavailability: An Introduction
  21. Committed Relationships: Use Them to Grow Towards Understanding and Real Love
  22. Marriage in the 21st Century: Could Cutting-Edge Spiritual Psychology Make it Viable Again?
  23. Finding it Hard to Love Yourself? Check Out Your Boundaries
Photo: Blue Bay Beach, Kiwengwa, Zanzibar

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Our Joys

Poetry can often be inspiring, and today this crossed my desk:

Our joys as winged dreams do fly; why then should sorrow last? Since grief but aggravates thy loss, grieve not for what is past.

Thomas Percy, English poet 1729-1811

Grieve not for what is past ... our joys as winged dreams do fly ... doesn't it make sense that we behave the same way with our grief as we do with our joy? As the poet - Thomas Percy - says, are joys tend to leave us very quickly. And yet we dwell on our sorrows.

This is in fact, an unusually interesting statement about the human condition. We have a much greater tendency to stay with those aspects of our lives that are not bright and clear, that do not have sunshine and warmth, and tend to bring on the clouds swollen with rain. Why do we do this? Is it just a wired into us? Wired into our hearts? Wired into our brains?

I don't think so. This may very well be due to what part Eckhart Tolle calls the pain body, and what Chris Griscom calls the emotional body. I've written about this in the past, so I'll just briefly reiterate the basic points:
  • the pain body is seductive
  • the emotional body has an emotionally sticky quality that we find hard to pull away from
  • both pain body and emotional body are familiar to us because they represent pain, difficulties, and hardships that we have been subject to in the past
  • this very familiarity based on the amount of time we have spent revisiting those difficult moments, is what causes us to field the seductive pull
  • once we give in to the seductive pull into the pain or the negative emotions via our memory needs, we tend to wallow in the pain, much as pigs wallow in mud
  • why?
  • Because we prefer the familiarity
  • if we spent as much time revisiting our joyful moments as we do our painful ones, we might find - ironically - that we experience greater familiarity with our joy than with our pain - and wouldn't that be a wonderful state of mind to be in...
Have you ever considered why the sum total of your life very possibly seems to have an uneven tipping of the scale in favor of the negative? Could it not be simply because of where you spend much of your mental time? And don't you agree that where you spend much of your mental time is a matter of choice? And if it is a matter of choice, why not spend more time with your memories of the joyful moments, as opposed to memories of the painful ones? It really is that easy.

Photo: Assilah, Morocco

Monday, December 20, 2010

Where Are You Now?

Asking yourself where am I now at intervals throughout your day in order to discover not so much where you are physically, but where you have gone in your mind will begin to show you how frequently you are not present here and now.

This is a problem of phenomenal proportions when we pause to consider what happens when we are not in this now moment:
  • we are concentrating on a problem or worry that is not part of what we are actually doing now, and that therefore keeps us from being present in what we are doing now
  • we are reliving past pain and hurts that keep us from being present in what we are doing now
  • we are reliving past moments of joy that keep us from being present in what we are doing now
  • we are concentrating on future possibilities - good or bad - the thought of which keeps us from being present in what we are doing now
All of these examples indicate that we have left the only place where we live, where we are, which is now.
Take a moment to recall your childhood. Especially the parts in your childhood when you were aware of time passing. Perhaps someone went on a trip and it seemed to you that they had been gone forever. My father had traveled to Europe on business when I was about seven and living in Canada. A friend of my parents came to pick me up in order that I could play with his young daughter. On the way to their house he asked me if I had heard from my father. I told him how much I missed him and that he had already been gone for about a year. The friend looked at me and said It's only been three weeks.

Of course at that age it meant little to me, but I always remembered the incident insomuch as it demonstrated to me as an adult, how malleable time is. As a child a mere three weeks seemed endless to me.

Other examples you might resonate with are summer vacations. When they started, they seemed to stretch into delicious infinity. Sometimes just one single, solitary day seemed so long, so full of possibilities.
So fast forward to now. 2008. How long does a day seem? A week? A month? Even a year? Isn't it true that now they seem to pass in a flash? Monday comes, and as much as the work week may seem onerous, before you know it, it's Friday evening. January begins, and before you know it, it's Easter, then summer, Hallowe'en, and Christmas is on us again.

What really causes this apparent speeding up of time?

Without going into any kind of scientific or quantum explanation, I'd like to offer this: as children we live totally in the now. We pay attention to what we are doing while we are doing it. When we are on a swing, that is what we are involved with, with all our being. When we are building a sand castle on the beach and collecting shells, and pebbles, seaweed, and sticks to decorate it, we are involved with this creation with all our being. When we watch a movie or read a book, we are involved with this activity with all our being.

However, as adults we tend not to be involved with what we are doing, because we are off - in our minds - elsewhere. As illustrated earlier, we are worrying about something that may never take place, or reminiscing about something that already took place, or looking forward to something that will take place once such and such happens. All of these modes of thinking mean that we are not here and now. We are escaping the now moment, either because we don't like it, or because not being in the now moment has become such a habit, that we barely know how to remain there anymore.

This is huge. If we are not in the now moment, I ask you, when do we live our life? Now is all we have, as Eckhart Tolle so aptly pointed out in his The Power of Now. And if now is all we have, does it not make sense that we learn - remember - how to remain present?

Hence the question at the beginning of this article. Get into the habit of querying yourself about where you are at this particular moment. And once you pull yourself back into it - even if it is while you are involved in an activity that gives you little stimulation or joy - attempt to remain present, to do whatever it is you are doing with a sense of awareness, and in order to determine whether you could - if you really put your mind to it - derive satisfaction even from this (whatever it is).

More importantly, when you are involved in a pleasant activity, perhaps spending time with your partner or children, or out on the golf course, or bicycling through the neighbourhood, and you ask yourself the question, if you then also find that you are elsewhere inside, you will realize how monumentally important it is that you begin to be here now. Jon Kabat-Zinn's book about mindfulness Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life is excellent for further pointers, as is Charlotte Joko Beck's Everyday Zen: Love and Work, and also Tara Bennett-Goleman's Emotional Alchemy: How the Mind Can Heal the Heart.

I encourage you to explore your now. With some patience not only will you find unaccustomed joy, but you will add years to your life, simply because you will be so much more aware at so many more now moments.
Related Articles:

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Can You Forgive?

When your father walked out on you, your siblings, and your mother, your life changed drastically. Now, decades later, it still lives on in your mind, as you remember how difficult things were, and how - about 15 months after he left - you caught a glimpse of him one day on the street in the company of another woman, much younger and less stressed-looking than your mother, who had a baby in her arms. Your father had just hugged her and kissed the baby, and you felt such agony. You also felt rage. And you remember it to this day. How could you forget how he affected all your lives?

When you found your high school love - the first girl you ever went to bed with - making out with your best buddy - you were both on the basketball team - something shrivelled up inside of you and died. With that one act she took away your self-esteem. It took you years to work your way out of that. And your best buddy. After a shoving match with him after having found the two of them there, you never spoke to him again. And you never found a friend again with whom you shared the way you used to with him - before you realized what a traitor he was. Even when you ran into that first girl friend again recently, now that you're both in your forties, and you saw how she had gained weight and lost her youthful sparkle and attraction, you felt no sense of satisfaction, only pain in the memory of what happened that devastating day.

Have you noticed the common thread that runs through each of these vignettes? You remember what happened with a great deal of emotion, almost as though you were reliving the painful incident.

What's new about that, you may ask. Of course I relive the painful moment. How else could I react? Do you expect me to forget it?

Not exactly. Although there is an element of forgetting it involved in what I am about to write.

What I'd like you to think about is this: by remembering, by bringing it back into your mind over and over again - even though you only do it once a week or once a month - you maintain the freshness of the pain. Reliving a painful situation in your mind is tantamount to reliving it in reality ... have you not noticed how the tears can flow again and again, or the red-hot anger can flare over and over ... even though decades have passed?

Of course, you say, of course the tears flow or the anger flares. After all, what happened was very painful...

Let's switch to another topic for a moment: you've read about The Law of Attraction, the power of intention, heard about the movie or book The Secret, etc. Maybe you've even read some of the multitude of books about the subject. If so, you know the insistence of all these authors on one central philosophy: what you think about becomes your reality ... thoughts become things ... as a man thinketh, so shall he be ... and of course, all of these authors are encouraging you to imagine in your head, to visualize, or create scenarios in your head to the point where you can literally feel yourself inside of them, and feel the emotion or excitement that would be part of your life if your "scenario" were already a reality. They are basically stating that by so doing, that "scenario" you are so vividly imagining will eventually become a part of your life. That is the power of the law of attraction.

Now let's back track to our original subject. You reliving and remembering painful or traumatic experiences from the past to the point of physical manifestations such as tears of bursts of anger. Is that not the same as what I've just discussed in the previous paragraph, but in a negative version? You keep thinking about - visualizing - imagining - that event from the past to the point of making it a reality in your present life in the sense of how it affects you. In other words, it affects you as much as it might if it were actually happening now. So you have made it into a part of your current reality.

Is that what you want? Is that how you want to live your life?

Nothing stops you from hanging on to your anger or your pain, but only the decision to make new choices stops you from continuing on this desperate treadmill of pain. Making a new choice would be to say to yourself that for your sake, for your peace of mind, you will forgive whoever it was that treated you so badly, so that you can live a good life now. So that you no longer have to continue to relive the pain.

That is all it takes: a choice of dealing with the past differently. You decide, you choose, and your life changes. It is literally as simple as that. So when you get the old thoughts that lead you to the pain you literally say to them no, not today, thanks, I've got better stuff to do than to let you bother me again. Instead of you I'm going to think about what I want to accomplish, or I'm going to shift my energy.

Do it for yourself, and not only you will benefit, but all those whose lives you touch.

Photo: Sukhothai Temple, Thailand

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Giving Your Consent

Would you give your consent for someone to hit you? Someone to spit at you? Someone to step on you? Of course not! And yet that is exactly what we do when we allow others to make us feel inferior when they look at us a certain way, or move their mouth in a certain way, or speak to us in a certain way. We feel inferior because of something they have said or done, and yet that is only possible because we are tacitly allowing ourselves to feel that way. In other words, we feel inferior because of something inside of us that is triggered by their words.

This post is not meant to substitute some real work that you can do on yourself, but it is meant to serve as a red flag that you can observe and take notice of, the next time it happens to you, so that then you can see it for what it is instead of blaming the other for making your feel less than you are. Therefore, by recognizing that it lies in you, the process of working on it can begin. And that begins by understanding that first you must love the self. And loving the self begins by making a priority of your own inner well-being.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Photo: Shot from the village of Bubion, above the clouds in the High Alpujarras, Granada, Spain

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

No One Can Control Your Emotions

Many of us feel that when our emotions spill over, when we feel very awful (and even when we feel inordinately good), it is due to our interaction with someone, and therefore we believe that our emotions depend on the good or bad state of our relationship with each person. Obviously this is tantamount to saying that others control our emotions, and nothing could be further from the truth.

While it is true that as long as we do not make the choice to be in control of our own emotions, others can indeed evoke all kinds of emotions from us, it is also true that as soon as we begin to recognize that this is all a question of choice, we are then able to begin the process of pulling our emotions back under our own control.

Try it the next time someone has done or said something to you that makes you very angry or very sad ... tell yourself that there are alternatives to the reaction you are on the verge of having ... the very fact that you can have this thought brings you into awareness ... and once you are in awareness, or conscious rather than merely reacting, you begin to understand that you have choices. These choices are, for example, to ask yourself, if it is in your best benefit to react angrily or sadly. If you then realize that it is not, you begin to realize that the reaction (or non-reaction) that would be in your best benefit is another one. As you practice doing this, you pull your emotions into your own hands, rather than leaving them in the hands of others.

This does not mean, however, that your emotions should be coldly controlled. Quite the contrary. It does mean that however you react, you should be the one to decide, and that decision should be based on it being beneficial to your state of being.

Read more posts on emotions by clicking here and see in particular:
See also these articles on my website:

Photo: Cape Verde


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

You Don't Have to Blame Anybody

  • My mother wasn't affectionate, so now I have trouble with my relationships
  • My teacher didn't recognize that I was creative, so I never had the chance to develop my art
  • I was never given the opportunity to travel, so I don't have the advantages that others who traveled when they were young, do
  • He was talking on his mobile so that is why he crashed into my car
  • My husband always wanted to watch football on Sundays with his buddies, so I had to find someone who would pay more attention to me
  • I didn't get a scholarship to an Ivy League university because my high school counselor didn't help me enough
Recognize any of the above? Sound familiar?

All of it could be true. All of it can happen. A lot of it really does happen, and of course it has consequences.

But ... if you choose to blame someone - anyone - for why you are not where you would like to be in whatever it is you would like in your life, you are abdicating responsibility for your life. And if you abdicate responsibility for your life, you have no control over your life.

So let's look at that more carefully. You have control over your life if and when you choose how you react to events, and if and when you choose what you can do about things that have happened in the past.

Clearly, you have no control:
  • over other people's actions
  • over other people's feelings
  • over other people's reactions
  • over other people's words
  • over how you were raised
  • over anything at all that is external to yourself
But you do have - if you choose - control over all of your own actions, feelings, reactions, words, etc. And so you can rid yourself of the poison that is blame, and by taking responsiblity for how you feel, react, act, and speak, you take control in a way that gives you enormous freedom.
See also Grow in Richness, Stop the Blaming

Photo: Burkina Faso (country in Africa next to Ghana and the Ivory Coast

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Monday, December 13, 2010

All You Have Is Now

Here's what we sound like when we're talking about the future:
  • I can't wait until we go on vacation
  • I'll be so relieved when I lose these last 10 pounds
  • Everything will be perfect when we move into the new house
  • Things will be so much better when I find a new job
  • My relationship will be fantastic as soon as my partner changes
And here's what we sound like when we're talking about the past:
  • I wish I could just have my last vacation again
  • I looked so fantastic and slim when I was 18
  • The house we had when we lived in ___ was so perfect
  • My first job was just incredible
  • When I first met my partner our relationship was so wonderful
So when do we live in the present? All we have is now. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow hasn't come yet, but we insist on filling most of our present moments with wishful thoughts of the future (when things will be better), or nostalgic thoughts of the past (when things were better).

Yet what we could really be concentrating on is making our present moments better. By not doing this, we could equate ourselves to the overweight person who moans about the weight, wishes it would be gone, remembers when it was less, but never does anything in the present moment to improve the situation. If our present moment is not as wonderful as it might be, one thing to do, therefore, is to change some of the things that are not so good in this present moment.

But be careful: that kind of thinking may also take you into future mode, where all you do is spend time on how wonderful things will be when you accomplish this or that.

Therefore, in order to improve the present moment, things must be done in the present. For example, being grateful for anything at all in your present moment, as simple and small as it may be (the butterfly that you see, the blue sky, your skills in a specific area - whatever it is, etc.). This action, being grateful, has the capacity to make your present moment better.

Think of your positive points. Dwell, for a moment, on all you have already accomplished, no matter what it may be, in order to see - now in this present moment - all that you have inside of you, and all that you can use (that is already there, and that has served you well in the past) to make this now moment even better, in order that future now moments will be similarily improved.

Remember...you literally throw your life away, if you do not make some of these changes...life is to be lived now, today, and not tomorrow or yesterday.

Treasure each moment.
  • are you taking a walk or working out at the gym? Treasure that
  • are you having your early morning coffee or tea? Treasure that
  • are you driving to work in heavy traffic? Treasure that by listening to something truly enjoyable on your CD or cassette drive or radio (inspirational speakers are my favorite, but you may prefer music, or learning a language that you would normally not have time for, etc.)
  • are you taking your children to a soccer game? Treasure that
  • are your preparing dinner? Treasure that
The trick (if we can call it that) is truly to begin to recognize that each and every moment of our lives offers the opportunity for us to treasure it - if we so decide. That means we must be fully aware of ourselves as well. Choices are hard to make without awareness. And inner freedom is hard to achieve without making choices that are based on a life lived in the now.

See also:
Also see these articles from my website:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Reacting to External Things

Here's a great quote I have been carrying around with me for several decades:

If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.

Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (from Meditations)

What are things that are external to you that may stress you? Just about everything: your job, your partner, your mother-in-law, your children, daily traffic, bills, the weather, delays, not knowing how to do something, the news, you name it, ten to one it is external to you. So if it is external to you, your reaction to it is one that comes from inside of you. It doesn't just happen because there is snarled traffic, it happens because you choose it, or allow it, or are blind to the fact that you even have a choice, and so what seems to be automatic to you (your reaction), is actually something you have a say about.

Your own estimate of it: you decide how you will think and feel about something and how you will react to it, because it is your estimate of it that makes it something negative or awful or terrifying or neutral or positive in your life. By choosing how you will react, by being in charge of your reactions, rather than allowing them to blow you about like a leaf in the wind, you gain inner freedom.

Photo: Assilah, Morocco

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Opinion's of Others are Not Your Truth

How secure are you in your own thoughts and beliefs? Do you voice a belief, and then change it or back down when others tell you that you must be crazy to think that way, or when others tell you but it is impossible to think that, just look at this and that fact, or when others tell you that nobody thinks that way, or when others tell you where on earth did you get those ideas from, or when others tell you you can't be serious when you say that?

Of course this happens to us all the time. It happens in the face of others' opinions about the matter we are discussing, when the others have an opinion different to our own. Only when we feel secure within ourselves, are we strong enough to hold to our own truth.

This is a topic that makes some people squirm with unease. It's not fun to look at this aspect of yourself, but what is really important about it, is the fact the opinions of others don't tell you anything about your own truth. In order to stick to your own truth, understand that by changing your belief or backing down when others tell you why your opinion couldn't possibly be right, you are tacitly saying that their opinion has greater value than yours. In effect what you are also telling yourself is that your own way of seeing a particular matter, is not as worthwhile as that of the other person, or that the other person has a greater right to an opinion than you.

And that is evidently not true.

The opinions of others are not your truth.

Photo: La Quebrada, Acapulco
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

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.

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?


At least it's wrong insofar as the culprit is the other, and he/she had perpetrated these dastardly deeds and caused such pain and suffering in the other partner 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?

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.

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 their life. Oh, they might get a divorce, they might get a court settlement, they 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 alone is not enough.

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.

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.
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.

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. 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?

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.

See also No One Can Control Your Emotions and search this blog under emotions or relationships.

My website offers many articles related to this subject, but in particular, you may wish to look at these two:

Photo Credit: Danny Laburu - Mangrove Swamp, The Keys, Florida.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How Do You React To Things?

Your reactions say a lot about you and your chances for living a content and satisfied life. Your reactions have little or nothing to do with what actually happens and all or almost everything to do with your choices.

In order to come to a place inside of you where you are capable of choosing a reaction rather than being reactive, or reacting blindly, it is of prime importance to be aware of yourself. Without awareness, it is almost impossible to be in a position to choose.

Imagine for a moment leaving your home 10 minutes later than you should have, and so reacting by becoming more and more stressed. Your commute is on a crowded freeway, you are obviously in a hurry to get to work, and some asinine idiot in front of you almost provokes an accident. Add now to your already stressed frame of mind, your anger at this person's carelessness...your logical reaction to a typical driving situation.

So, stressed and angry, you now head for the Starbuck's just around the corner from your place of employment to get the large lowfat latte so that at least with that you have a moment of respite, but a new employee is being trained, and so your wait time is double what it normally is, and your impatience bubbles up as you pay and make a less than polite comment about the lack of efficiency of the management of the place to be training new personnel at such a time of day.

Stressed, angry, and impatient, you now arrive in your office, and your secretary tells you that your immediate superior has been asking for you for ten minutes...and of course, you are ten minutes late due to all of the above. As it is the second time you've been late this week, and as unfortunately your supervisor became a witness to it the last time as well, you now add worry to your list of reactions that are causing your day to go rapidly downhill.

And it's only 8:40 in the morning.

How could this scenario - this very common scenario - look different with some awareness? (Remember, awareness allows choice).

As you leave the house ten late minutes and feel the stress rising, you could have a brief mental conversation with yourself. You could tell yourself that becoming stressed might put you into greater danger on the crowded freeway, that becoming stressed would simply raise your adrenaline levels and make you feel even worse, and that you do, in fact, have a choice about it. That you can choose an alternative to stress, and that is to accept the fact that you have left 10 minutes too late and that all you can do is go with the ride (apart from determining not to do this again tomorrow), listen to some soothing music, or a motivational CD by one of your favorite speakers (as I advocate in many of my articles), and get yourself to work as safely and in an as expedited manner as possible.

As the careless driver almost causes an accident, you again can choose your reaction. Is it necessary to get angry? Will things be better if you get angry? No, but wouldn't you get angry if someone were so careless on such a busy road? Isn't it natural to get angry? Well, it may be natural simply because that is the reaction of most people who are unaware, but it is not your best choice. And this article is about showing you how your choices make up your morning, your day, your week, your year, your life, and so if you can choose alternatives that contribute to your well-being rather than feeling awful, then wouldn't you say that those choices are wise and eminently effective? So in this case of getting angry, choose rather to be grateful that nothing did indeed happen, and that you can continue on your way to the office. Or choose to simply ignore the incident, saying to yourself that it is not worth losing your state of well-being over someone so careless. You see how this works?

Your impatience with the new employee (or the training personnel) who is valiently trying to get you your latte could be shelved in a similar way: what do I gain by becoming impatient? I feel worse and worse. Will it get me to my office more quickly? Obviously not. So what is the point? I might just as well be peaceful within myself and wait. (Careful - I am not advocating allowing others to trespass your boundaries. If something unacceptable happens, you will need to speak up. But speaking up still does not imply going to a place inside of you where you no longer feel good...it simply means respecting yourself enough to speak up about the situation...for more on this see articles about boundaries on my website as well as here on the blog).

Finally, your worry about your supervisor's potential reaction to your tardy arrival at the office is also not productive. It will put you into a more negative frame of mind prior to your meeting with this person, and therefore your reactions in conversation with him or her may be less effective than if you continued to be in a positive frame of mind. So again, have a conversation with yourself. Is the worry of any use? No. (It might be useful to wake up a bit earlier every morning in order not to have this escalation of circumstances). Therefore the best attitude will be to face the potential music, have a plan in mind to indicate how you will ensure this will not happen in future, and you may be surprised to note that when you do meet with your supervisor in this more positive frame of mind that you have deliberately chosen from a menu of choices, that the conversation is not about your late arrival at all, but about a new advertising campaign you will be working on...

Your reactions to things, events, words, actions of others, etc., determine the quality of your life. iFrom a position of self-awareness choose those alternatives that contribute to your well-being, and that will therefore raise your energetic frequency, and improve the overall quality of your life.

Foto: Romanian Countryside

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Looking In All the Right Places

  • Where do you look when something goes wrong?
  • What do you focus on when you can't seem to get ahead?
  • Which thoughts run through your head when you've just bungled something?
  • Which feelings course through you when your world turns upside-down?
The answers to all of those questions tell you a great deal about the current quality (or lack of quality) of your life.

Looking in all the right places literally means always looking for something to appreciate, love, or enjoy, something to be grateful for, looking for something that can help you grow more, looking for something that can teach you to progress more productively, to be more you, and to consistently feel better about yourself - no matter where you are currently at.

That means that when the fan is full with what hit it, you are focusing on something to appreciate in this situation, something that will create learning in you, in other words, you are looking to find something in any and all situations life brings you to that makes you capable of some manner of appreciation.

Imagine just for a moment that you get to choose the things that happen to you. Obviously you would only choose good stuff. But let's imagine for a moment that you have a child in first grade. The good stuff would be recess time, and play time. The not so good stuff might be learning how to read and write. Or math. You get the picture. For the child to progress - although the child might not willingly choose it - he needs to go through some stages of progressive learning in order to become the competent, effective, and proactive adult that you are hoping he will indeed become.

Back to you. If you got to choose everything that happens to you, you might only choose the good stuff. But let's say there's a part of you that is wiser (as you are the - I hope - wiser adult parent to your hypothetical child in first grade). This part of you that is wiser knows that in order for you to grow on levels that have nothing to do with reading, writing, and 'rithmetic, you will need to choose a number of situations in your life that will cause you to progress in those directions.

So if you got to choose, that wiser and older part of you would be choosing experiences that might not - at first glance - look like a lot of fun and games. Maybe you have to live in an orphanage as a young child (like Wayne Dyer), maybe you get sexually abused (like Louise Hay), maybe you are diagnosed with cancer (like Kylie Minogue), maybe you become a cuadriplegic after falling off your horse (like Christopher Reeve, the actor who played Superman), maybe you are repudiated by the husband you love because you are unable to bear a male child (like Soraya of Iran, first wife of the late Shah), maybe you develop Lou Gehrig's disease (like the world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking), maybe your mother is assassinated (like Benazir Bhutto's son) maybe you get jailed for 28 years for expressing your political opinions (like Nelson Mandela), maybe you get sent to Auschwitz , the Nazi extermination and work camp, during the Holocaust, and your entire family gets gassed while you are in there (like psychiatrist and author Viktor Frankl), maybe your husband is decapitated in a high-speed boating accident (like Princess Caroline of Monaco's second husband) maybe you have to battle drug addiction (like actor Robert Downey Jr.), or alcoholism (like British actor Richard Burton, twice married to Liz Taylor), or maybe your young son falls 53 floors from a Manhattan skyscraper (like Eric Clapton's son Conor), or maybe you lose your sister to suicide (like Mariel Hemingway lost her sister Margaux). The list could go on and on. I've deliberately chosen famous names so you relate more readily. You probably know of most of these people, can picture them, and watched some of them via the international media as they were going through their particular experience.

So if you could choose what happens to you, and hypothetically, if you choose one of the above examples (never in my right mind, I can hear you say ... but just bear with me for a moment here), wouldn't you have chosen that specific experience in order to gain something from it?

Again, I can hear you saying: How could I gain something from such an awful situation? Do you remember the American couple, Maggie and Reg Green, some years ago whose young son Nicholas was shot in Italy while the family was on vacation there? His parents subsequently decided to donate Nicholas’ organs and tissues to seven Italians to enable others to live and to have a future that Nicholas was denied. Their gain was to see that their young son's life was not truncated in vain. Their gain was to see the joy in the lives of seven families who were able to benefit from their tragedy. Their gain was to look beyond the merely obvious, close-down, and personal to a broader situation where we are truly all one.

So what did they do to get there? One very important element was to focus on the right things, to look in all the right places. And part of that is: what can I do with this? How can I learn from this? How can I use this to make me a bigger, better person? How can this help me grow?

Do you doubt that most of the people I mentioned earlier did that? Remember Christopher Reeve's crusade for stem cell research? Or look at Stephen Hawkings zest for life and scientific discovery. Or Mandela's goal to end Apartheid. Yes, it's true, not all were able to use their experience in the way I'm describing. No one says it's easy. All I'm suggesting is that if you give this a try, and begin to look in all the right places, you will make your life better no matter what the external circumstances are.

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Friday, December 3, 2010

How Your Thoughts Change Your Body

Thoughts do change our bodies.

We used to receive this information only through metaphysical sources that referred to concepts contained in "as a man thinks", or "what you see you shall become" (Gospel of Philip), whether they pointed us to the Gnostic Gospels (admirably discussed by religious historian Elaine Pagels), or James Allen and his now (thanks to movies such as What The Bleep Do We Know? or The Secret) ultra-famous book As A Man Thinketh (easily - and legally - available as a free download ... contact me).

Thoughts do change our bodies.

Now we receive this information from cellular and molecular biologists, from Ph.D.'s in keynote addresses at psychology symposia in hallowed Ivy League halls, from DNA experimentation by the American military, from international neuroscientists, from a Japanese scientist who studies water crystals, and from a plethora of others.

Thoughts do change our bodies.

Candace Pert, molecular biologist, wrote The Molecules of Emotion, in which she pioneered the body-mind concept. (Her work of over several decades is based on how the bodymind functions as a single psychosomatic network of information molecules which control our health and physiology.) Do you remember how laughable many thought this was only in the 80's? How far we have come in accepting PNI (psycho-neuro-immunology), the study of the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body, which has led us to understand, among others, the connection between stress - thoughts - and the potential future appearance of cancer in the body.

Thoughts do change our bodies.

Bruce Lipton, cellular biologist, wrote The Biology of Belief and has also produced the audio CD The Wisdom of Your Cells: How Your Beliefs Control Your Biology. In its review of Lipton, Amazon writes: His experiments, and those of other leading-edge scientists, have examined in great detail the processes by which cells receive information. The implications of this research radically change our understanding of life. It shows that genes and DNA do not control our biology; that instead DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell, including the energetic messages emanating from our positive and negative thoughts.

Thoughts do change our bodies.

In Japan, scientist Masaru Emoto wrote The Hidden Message in Water. Describing this book and the author's work, Amazon.com notes: Using high-speed photography, Dr. Masaru Emoto discovered that crystals formed in frozen water reveal changes when specific, concentrated thoughts are directed toward them. He found that water from clear springs and water that has been exposed to loving words shows brilliant, complex, and colorful snowflake patterns. In contrast, polluted water, or water exposed to negative thoughts, forms incomplete, asymmetrical patterns with dull colors. The implications of this research create a new awareness of how we can positively impact the earth and our personal health.

Also see this great article about Masaru Emoto by Life Enthusiast, or watch this video showing crystals affected by thoughts and words, or watch this video of an interview with Dr. Emoto.

Thoughts do change our bodies.

Muscle Testing (applied kinesiology), long a tool used in alternative treatments, essentially allows one person to test another person's response to anything, whether this is a thought (true or false), or the beneficial or detrimental effect something (for example food or medicine or treatment) may have on the other person. Much has been written about the subject by authors too numerous to mention since its appearance in the 60's as used by American chiropractor Dr. George Goodheart. However, if you want to read something truly interesting about the subject, have a look at David R. Hawkins' books, in particular, Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior

Thoughts do change our bodies.

See also:
Thoughts do change our bodies.

So we know that thoughts change our bodies - we may have known for a long time, and now we have proof (which for many is a determinant), so what is keeping you from doing something about it? Your thoughts - which you can get a handle on with a certain amount of dexterity and ease by guaging your feelings (see also The Energy Barometer: Make Your Mind Body Connection Work For You), and consistently moving yourself to higher levels of energetic frequency, can impact on the quality of your physical, emotional, and spiritual health to a degree of such magnitude that you simply can't ignore this information.

Thoughts do change our bodies.

Photo: Blue Nile Falls, Ethiopia
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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Emotional Unavailability and the Bedroom

Much has been written about those individuals that we consider emotionally unavailable (they have difficulty being vulnerable in the emotional arena, and therefore tend to shy back from getting to that point). Much has also been written about the effect of this on their unwitting partners, who often remain blissfully unaware of the reality of their situation until years have passed, and much damage - both to them and the relationship - has been done.

Having said that, this is not meant to be a diatribe against the emotionally unavailable, as they themselves, are often unaware of what it is inside of them that continually causes them to hold those people to whom they are very close at hand's length in their lives, even after years of marriage. There is just simply a point at which they find themselves uncomfortable in certain conversations, or with a certain type of show of affection, and so they withdraw, and literally refuse to engage.

I have written a number of in-depth articles about this and several related issues:

Emotional Unavailability: An Introduction
I Need You...I Need You Not
Your Parents, Your Children, and the Marital Bed

The latest article: Having a Relationship with an Emotionally Unavailable Partner was the topic of this month's newsletter, and hence it is not yet available on my website. Should you wish to read it, please subscribe to the newsletter and it will be sent to you.
Today's post is more about the fact that on occasion emotional unavailability can lead to difficulties in the bedroom, as the emotionally unavailable individual withdraws in that arena by withholding sex. Please understand that this is rarely done with premeditation and calculation. Nor is it necessarily done to be cruel (although instances of that do, of course, occur). The main reason why it is done - and this happens subconsciously - is because the emotionally unavailable person fears opening up to the partner on both the level of love and the level of sex.

This fear, which really translates into a fear of vulnerability, generally only occurs when the emotionally unavailable person feels secure in a relationship and that is when the othe partner begins to notice that many strange things are happening. Sex is coming to a grinding halt, and the refusal to engage in emotionally important subjects for the couple commences, partially due to the fact that the emotionally unavailable partner is now secure in the knowledge that little that he or she will do, would cause the other partner to leave...

As mentioned earlier, this is not generally due to manipulation, malice, or calculation on the emotionally unavailable partner's side, although on occasion it is, but rather due to a complete unawareness of these underlying issues of fear of vulnerability in the arena of love and sex.

If this sounds familiar to you, I suggest you read the above articles on my website in order to gain greater understanding into the dynamics of these relationships. Clearly, where there is an emotionally unavailable partner, there is another partner who somehow dances this tango with him or her, either because this other partner is needy, or has poor boundaries and all its ensuing issues such as poor self-image, poor self-respect, and a lack of self-love. Relationships - especially when they are still relatively unaware relationships, where neither partner has recognized his or her own issues, are almost always a dance of some kind, where each partner's issues fit beautifully and exactly into the issues of the other.

There is a way out of this huis clos. Inform yourself, begin to become aware, make new choices, and things can and will change.

Photo: Sidney Opera

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Definition of Insanity...

We all know that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.

That begs the question: why do we continue to do it?
  • We keep doing the same thing with our food (we keep eating the same way) and wonder why we are not healthier or leaner
  • We keep doing the same thing with our thoughts and wonder why we are not happier or less stressed
  • We keep doing the same thing with our bodies (or, better said, we keep not doing the same things with our bodies), and wonder why our backs hurt, or why we have migraines, or why we feel so tense and stressed
I believe much of it happens because of inertia. We simply don't make the effort to make the required change. To get up the initiative, to become more pro-active, to acquire the discipline we need in order to form the new habit, by becoming aware and leaving our comfort zone, is actually the topic of another post, but I would put to you the sentence we have all heard so many times before: if you keep doing the same thing over and over again, it would be insane to expect different results.

So get ready for the changes you'd like to make in your immediate future by preparing yourself mentally to begin to leave that inertia behind, and to recognize that getting up and doing something is just as hard or as easy to maintain - once you are in the rhythm - as it is to maintain the habit of inertia - once you are in that rhythm. So remember: it's much more your frame of mind and the inner dialogue you have with yourself that can bring about changes than anything else.