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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

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"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, December 11, 2018

The Nature of True Intimacy


Recently I read the following quote by Upendo Kupita Juu: “Intimacy is not entirely physical. In fact, it can have no physical interaction at all. For an intimate relationship to take place, allow someone into your thoughts. Let them hold and caress your feelings. Let them be intimate with your mind. Allow for the emotional intimacy to be the reason for passion to be bred. Now that intimacy is long lasting.”

You may never have considered this aspect of intimacy, simply because our socialization process since we were young, led us down paths that consider intimacy to be only (or mainly) about sex. Not so.

If I had a hundred euros (or dollars) for every couple that has come to see me about a failing sex life, I’d be wealthy by now. We don’t seem to understand that without what I am going to call spiritual intimacy, which goes far beyond emotional intimacy, the physical one simply doesn’t last. As a matter of fact, it hasn’t got the slightest hope, unless perhaps we’re talking about adrenaline & drama-laced relationships of the kind I referred to in my last two newsletter articles (June 2018 & July 2018), which are - as most people who have engaged in one or more of these know very well - highly dysfunctional anyway.

Let’s look again at what a part of the above quote says:

For an intimate relationship to take place, allow someone into your thoughts. Let them hold and caress your feelings.

Allowing someone into your thoughts – allowing someone to hold and caress your feelings … wouldn’t you agree that this kind of intimacy goes far beyond knowing what each other’s political affiliations are, professional aspirations, financial desires, and so on? And wouldn’t you agree that this kind of intimacy goes far beyond telling each other that you love each other? That you want several children and that you want to eventually live in the country as opposed to the city, or vice versa?

At the risk of simplifying what happens in so many relationships, what I am trying to say is that the apparent intimacy of so many couples rests on sharing bed and home, children and bills, social life and vacations, and all the many conversations about thoughts and feelings that focus on these arenas, but not much more that goes beyond that. Not, I hasten to add, because couples are superficial, or not tremendously intelligent, or thoughtful, or articulate, but because, as said earlier, this is what so many of us were raised on, and that we therefore emulate. The sitcoms we see, the billboards, the magazine articles, our social media, all keep us – unless we seek out more – in a place that does not generally develop an intimate intimacy with intimacy.

We can share our deepest, darkest past with each other, our dreams and aspirations, but even that may still be distant from true intimacy, if it is not interwoven into our daily lives. Intimacy is not something that happens occasionally, but that – if we are truly intimate – is an ever-present part of all our shared hours. Unless this is understand by both sides, a woman may be more deeply intimate with a female friend than with her husband, and a man (although less frequently) likewise with a very close friend.

And that is not healthy for true intimacy.

So. What can be done?

For me, an initial foray into this kind of thinking does requires some intimate awareness of the self and one’s thoughts, feelings, reactions, and actions. Without such awareness, how can you (or I) hope to create true intimacy with another?

Another important aspect to this is the desire and willingness to really go there. Am I interested enough in this other person (especially if that person is my partner or spouse), to want to go to the ‘bother’ of achieving such intimacy? I use the word ‘bother’ deliberately. This isn’t something that just happens. It has to be worked on. This is a delving into the other individual – and into the self – with a profound desire to connect on levels that go far beyond what we usually use to connect to each other, such as the fact that the roof has a leak, the kids need new clothes for school in the fall, one of our cars should be replaced, which movie shall we watch, or what we should do this weekend.

You may be thinking that I still haven’t given you anything specific to do in order to begin creating true intimacy. Here’s how I see it. If you begin a deeper relationship with yourself; one that allows you to connect to your true inner essence, by becoming more present and aware, perhaps by using mindfulness as one of your tools, a tool that will simultaneously lead you to greater self-love and emotional maturity, you will – without a single doubt – automatically crave greater intimacy with your loved ones. In fact, without such intimacy, a relationship will seem like a dry desert, where the intimacy could be equated to life-giving water. And you will attempt to move into that direction simply by focusing more on that inner essence of the other. That may be your child, your sibling, your parent, your friend, or your life partner. Not because you have deeply serious conversations, but because you are conversing about whatever topic is on the table, with the inner essence of the other and not only the outer visible part.

You might also like to read some books that walk you down this road, although they don’t give you cookbook recipes to get there. Thomas Moore’s Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life, as well as his Soulmates: Honoring the Mysteries of Love and Relationship, are a good place to start. Another good one is Why Love Matters by Sue Gerhardt, and finally, Zen Therapy: A Buddhist Approach to Psychotherapy by David Brazier. While these books are wildly different, they nevertheless all focus - in some fashion - on intimacy. Some novels, albeit quite old, that connect into this intimacy are The Razor’s Edge by Somerset Maugham, and The Magus by John Fowles (not the film). And while it is slightly harder to pinpoint films that walk this path, The Prince of Tides might be one to start with, as well as Out of Africa, The English Patient, Shadowlands, and The Bridges of Madison County.   

The important part is that you work on becoming intimate with yourself. By so doing, becoming truly intimate with another will begin forming part of your priorities; it will become something that you will actively seek in any important relationship, and you will recognize that without it, a connection to another person merely touches the surface of all that is possible.

***************


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Freedom From the Torture of Your Thoughts




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**************************************************

See the preview (click below) to my online on-demand video course  




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"Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin"


  *****************************

CHARLAS EN ESPAÑOL EN YOUTUBE


Vampiros energéticos: Su efecto destructivo en tu vida



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****************************


BOOKS - LIBROS - BÜCHER


Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books (also in Spanish & German). My latest book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is available globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.


Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (English). Available globally in paperback or Kindle e-book versions


Bücher von Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (Deutsch) ... JETZT bei Amazon (Taschenbuch oder E-Book) erhältlich 
DEINE SEELE UND DU
  

Angefangen mit Rewiring the Soul - auf Deutsch: Deine Seele und Du, jetzt weltweit erhältlich als Taschenbuch oder Kindle E-Book (Blog hier), werden auch meine anderen Bücher in Zukunft auf Deutsch bei Amazon erhältlich sein.

Libros por Gabriella Kortsch (español) ... ahora en todo el mundo en Amazon en versión bolsillo y Kindle



Note: Also see my other other blog 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. 

My blog posts are also featured on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest & you can find me on Instagram 

Friday, November 2, 2018

A Portrait of a Healthy Relationship


If you want to scale Kilimanjaro or Everest, you might spend some time looking at images of others who have succeeded in the process, and reading books describing how they went about doing it. If you want to create a garden, you might begin by looking at glossy gardening books to get a feel for what depicts that which you have in your heart, or you might get some advice from a landscape gardener, and sign up for some practical classes. If you plan to move to a new country next year, and wish to be fairly fluent in its language by the time you arrive, you might start by taking some classes, by watching some films in that language (perhaps with subtitles in your own), in order to acclimatize yourself to the sounds of its words.

With healthy relationships, we can do a bit of the same. Most of us have not had wonderful role models in the relationships we have observed over the years – whether in our own families, or with friends and acquaintances - so it makes sense to look to some ideas and guidelines in order to form a vision in our minds and hearts about how a healthy relationship behaves. I might also mention that occasionally a celebrity couple that I am able to observe over a number of years from a distance, and that ticks all the seemingly right boxes with respect to having a healthy relationship, may, however, suddenly go through major events that trigger emotions in one or both parties. At this point then, you can truly see – assuming you understand some of what I will relate in the rest of this article – how poorly many people react – who, on the surface may appear to be well adjusted – when in the throes of emotions that they have not yet learned to regulate, especially if they have not yet begun the process of truly getting to know the self.

So let’s attempt to describe a healthy relationship. And please know that wherever either of you could arbitrarily be placed on the continuum of emotional maturity, is not nearly as important, as that you both currently find yourselves somewhere on it. Typically, the one who has walked further (not necessarily the one who is chronologically older, or even the one with a higher degree of education) is able to help the other partner navigate this continuum – not as a teacher, therapist, mentor, elder, or preacher – but rather, as a companion on this path. “Watch out for these loose pebbles; careful, there’s a branch in your way – don’t let it hit you in the face as you pass; the creek’s depth at that place there in the middle is deceptive – you might think it’s shallow, but it’s actually rather deep; I had a hard time climbing this part of the ascent myself – it’s quite tricky.” You get my point?

Here then, are some major elements required to make a relationship healthy, in no particular order:
  • Both partners are invested in personal growth.
  • Therefore both are able and willing to look at the self when issues arise, even if this inner process is still in its infancy (no matter the age of the person), and is still often very difficult, and may be quite painful.
  • Healthy boundaries form an integral part of the relationship (your partner respects yours, and you respect his/hers). That means, for example, that when having a conversation about something either of you considers an issue, your partner actually helps discuss it, rather than attacking or blaming you. I.e., if the man says he’d like to discuss how hurt he gets when the woman doesn’t show affection, in an unhealthy relationship she would blame him for something that may be totally unrelated in order to take the focus away from her, as opposed to openly looking at the issue.
  • Having healthy boundaries also implies that both are actively working on loving the self. It is nearly impossible to have good boundaries if you do not yet love yourself.
  • Both partners understand that learning how to self-regulate (thoughts, emotions, actions, reactions, self-dialogue, etc.) is paramount to the health of the relationship and are therefore committed to growing in that direction every day.
  • Both know that remaining aware, conscious, and present at all times is key to every point listed here.
  • Equally, both understand that growing into emotional maturity is a priority, a goal of utmost importance. Also see my July 2018 newsletter: How Your Degree of Emotional Maturity Influences Your Partner Choices.
  • Both recognize that the relationship is one of their most valuable tools for self-growth. In other words, it is precisely the issues that arise within the relationship that allow such growth to take place. This is only possible if both look at it from that point of view, and actively work at resolving all the personal and inter-personal issues that arise.
  • Of similar importance is the fact that neither partner feels a need to conform to the other partner’s idea of how they should be.
  • Both partners freely take on the responsibility for their own inner well-being and happiness, recognizing that this is not something that they should expect from the partner. This includes, of course, celebration with your partner, when he/she achieves something, just as your partner would celebrate with you. There is no sense of jealousy about the other’s successes, or if there is, such feelings are examined as part of the growth process.
  • You honour each other’s desires, needs & opinions, which requires that you both communicate very respectfully until you find a resolution that satisfies both parties. It therefore implies the tremendously important fact that neither of the partners determines that his/her position be the only validated one.
  • You both have a life apart from the relationship, which may include some friends, activities, hobbies, or sports. This strengthens the relationship, as opposed to one where you both try to do everything together, resulting in one or both giving up people, interests, or activities.
  • Independence (differentiation): this is a large topic that ties in with many of the other ones mentioned thus far. Healthy couples are differentiated. I.e., they do not depend on each other in some fundamental ways. In the words of David Schnarch, author of Constructing the Sexual Crucible, who actually put the term differentiation as I’m using it here on the map, differentiation is basically the ability to balance humankind's two most fundamental drives. One is our urge to be connected with other people, and the other is the urge to be free and autonomous and direct the course of our life. So both wanting to be in a relationship and wanting to be our own person are the two most fundamental drives and the two fundamental problems that couples have in emotionally committed relationships. So differentiation is the ability to have both: to be very much involved in a relationship and also be able to be your own person within that relationship. When you can do that, you basically have the best of both worlds, including the kind of relationship everybody wants to have.” This is, as stated in one way or another throughout this article, only possible if both parties are on a growth path.
  • You are both on the same page with regards to children, religion, and finances. By that I don’t mean that you both believe exactly the same thing, but that you have agreed to honour and respect the other’s position in these matters, and, that you have agreed prior to making a commitment how these matters will be dealt with in the relationship. If you are already in a relationship where these matters were initially left in the wind, you would now address them.
Don’t believe that because you are currently only able to tick a few of the above boxes in your current relationship (or perhaps not even one box), your situation is hopeless. Get your partner to read this. Get yourselves on the same page, and begin to work at simply one of the points illustrated above. You might want to get some books, or find a therapist or counsellor to help you manage the first steps, but more than anything, it is about getting yourselves on the same page. Both of you need to be invested in this process. If that is the case, you will get there. I promise you.

And if you are single or newly-separated or divorced, again, don’t despair. Work on yourself as you can, and when you cross the threshold to what might be a new relationship, be observant and very aware. Is this new person invested in a similar process? If not, tread warily, carefully because a lack of investment in such a process might simply lead you into another relationship of the kind you just ended. But if they are invested in a similar process, walk on over that threshold. You just might be taking one of the best steps of your life.

***************


VIDEO COURSES IN ENGLISH


See the preview (click the image) to my online video course:
Fatherless Women & Motherless Men





Now Available
"Fatherless Women & Motherless Men"

Click HERE for the rate of US 15


***************

See the preview (click the image) to my online video course:
Freedom From the Torture of Your Thoughts




Now Available
"Freedom From the Torture of Your Thoughts"

Click HERE for the rate of US 15

**************************************************

See the preview (click below) to my online on-demand video course  




  NOW available

"Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin"


  *****************************

CHARLAS EN ESPAÑOL EN YOUTUBE


Vampiros energéticos: Su efecto destructivo en tu vida



En YouTube aquí


****************************


BOOKS - LIBROS - BÜCHER


Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books (also in Spanish & German). My latest book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is available globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.


Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (English). Available globally in paperback or Kindle e-book versions


Bücher von Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (Deutsch) ... JETZT bei Amazon (Taschenbuch oder E-Book) erhältlich 
DEINE SEELE UND DU
  

Angefangen mit Rewiring the Soul - auf Deutsch: Deine Seele und Du, jetzt weltweit erhältlich als Taschenbuch oder Kindle E-Book (Blog hier), werden auch meine anderen Bücher in Zukunft auf Deutsch bei Amazon erhältlich sein.

Libros por Gabriella Kortsch (español) ... ahora en todo el mundo en Amazon en versión bolsillo y Kindle



Note: Also see my other other blog 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. 

My blog posts are also featured on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest & you can find me on Instagram 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

How Your Degree of Emotional Maturity Influences Your Partner Choices


Have you ever stopped to think why you fell in love with that person when you were 16? And that other person when you were 21? And then, of course, the one you married when you were 26? Why did you fall in love with precisely that one? Let’s not forget the one you fell in love with after your divorce. And perhaps there was someone else after that as well. And perhaps even others. What was it that made you feel that way in each of those cases?

When I was quite young, but having already had a few relationship bumps – and not yet knowing what I know now - I remember thinking that relationships were a bit like rungs on a ladder. Each relationship brought you up a rung or two, provided you had bothered trying to learn something from what caused it to end, and ultimately, to fail.

While trying to understand the endings is important, I believe it is at the beginning, and in hindsight, looking back to those beginnings where you learn just as much, if not more. But you need first to understand how you are influenced when it comes to your partner choices. Here is where your emotional maturity comes into play, as well as your unresolved childhood issues.

Exactly what is emotional maturity? Here are some points to consider:
  • How well do you self-regulate when someone pushes your buttons, or when life erupts in chaos? In other words, how quickly are you able to bring yourself to a place of inner harmony and equilibrium when that happens, without erupting in some fashion?
  • How well – and how frequently do you need to do this - do you self-soothe when you are anxious, panicked, afraid, worried, annoyed, irritated, or stressed? Again, how quickly are you able to bring yourself to a place of inner harmony and equilibrium when that happens, without erupting in some fashion?
  •  How aware are you of yourself? Are you paying attention to the red flags that arise when you don’t self-regulate and self-soothe? In other words, do you notice when you ‘lose it’, or fall apart, or when you consistently blame, judge, and criticize others, and do you then try to proactively think about it, get help, or learn what it might mean in your life?
  • How much do you depend on external soothing mechanisms such as alcohol or substances, gambling, online addiction (gaming, porn, etc.), excessive shopping, indiscriminate sex, frantic socializing, and just as frantic a continual quest for youth, beauty, etc., as a substitute for healthy self-regulation and self-soothing?
  • How much do you depend on blaming circumstances or others in order to feel good about yourself and your life?
  • How healthy are your boundaries? How much are you willing to accept from others – deliberately closing your eyes and mind to their treatment of you - despite knowing that they are trespassing your boundaries?
  • How good are you at changing your self-dialogue in your own benefit, i.e., how good are you at taking care of your thoughts in such a way that they don’t torture you, and that you don’t endlessly ruminate about whatever it is that is currently upsetting you?
  • How much – and how well – do you love yourself? Not just right now, but all the time? In other words, how well do you care for yourself in such a way that all of the points in this section form part of your daily process?
Now imagine you could grade yourself on the above eight points, and that the highest possible grade for each point was ten, giving you – assuming you were high up on the emotional maturity scale, a grand possible total of 80 points. Now imagine you are being very honest, and perhaps grade yourself at four or five on each of those points.

So we come back to the question of how your degree of emotional maturity influences your partner choices. If your point total (and this is merely to illustrate what I’m saying) is between 40 and 50, you will attract someone of the same emotional maturity. If it’s at 20 or at 75, a similar thing will happen. Someone who has advanced beyond you on this imaginary scale of emotional maturity, may be initially attracted to you, but rarely longer than just initially, because the disparity on that scale, will push them away from you to someone else who has “reached” a place close to their own on that imaginary scale. Unless someone is deliberately looking for a trophy partner of some kind, in which case ‘falling in love’ doesn’t generally enter the equation anyway, emotional maturity tends to weigh more heavily than other factors such as looks, education, socio-economic factors, age, cultural background, etc.

The second element that influences your partner choices is what resonates in you when you meet that new person on a deep, subliminal level. In other words, something about that person quickens something in you emotionally and psychologically, which then typically and swiftly becomes chemistry as well, and that something in the other has to do with one or more of your own unresolved issues, typically from childhood. (Last month’s article, The Adrenaline Rush of Relationship Drama touches on this as well).

To illustrate an unresolved issue briefly that may create a resonance of sorts between you and a potential new partner, imagine you had a slightly cool and rejecting parent, or simply a parent who, in your estimation, did not give you the kind of love and approbation you yearned for. Yearning is the key word to understand this. What you yearn for, if you don’t receive it, may cause you to twist yourself into all manner of contorted psycho-emotional behaviours, the most typical being the case of developing unhealthy boundaries and most definitely not learning to care for and love yourself, and hence taking care of others in some way long before you consider taking care of yourself. And this pattern – assuming you are unaware of it – carries on into your adult relationships.

Once you feel the resonance of this something in the other, you become attracted to the other. You may tell yourself the attraction is due to this or that other factor, but in hindsight and awareness of the self, most concur that it was the resonance, and most importantly, that they were actually aware of this on some level. There might have been a similar tension in the gut to the one you used to feel as a child when the new person appeared to momentarily lose interest in you. If this is repeated several times over those early encounters, your awareness of it is in that tension level, but not necessarily on a conscious level (where you would say to yourself that this person is not treating you the way you want to be treated). Rather, what you might tell yourself, is that this person is, in all other respects, so wonderful, that they will shortly see themselves the way you see them, and therefore then, with the strength of your love behind them, they will no longer behave that way. This is how we become the Steven Spielberg’s of our own lives and produce magnificent movies about our potential partners that may have little to do with reality. So in the example offered above, what resonated, was a similar feeling of distance and perhaps a perception of lack of approval. If you think that would keep most people away from someone like that, remember – as stated - that the resonance is not conscious, nor are you conscious of the fact that the reason you feel the resonance is due to the similarity of this new person – at least in this way with respect to your unresolved issue - to one of your parents or another important person from your childhood.

Knowing all of this – becoming aware of it, especially by making use of the knowledge of your relationship patterns (for greater detail see my books The Power of Your Heart: Loving the Selfand The Tao of Spiritual Partnership) from the past – and constantly stretching your emotional maturity to reach greater heights will impact with great benefit on your present and future relationships. This, as so much else, is a choice you make every day of your life.




VIDEO COURSES IN ENGLISH


See the preview (click the image) to my online video course:
Fatherless Women & Motherless Men





Now Available
"Fatherless Women & Motherless Men"

Click HERE for the rate of US 15


***************

See the preview (click the image) to my online video course:
Freedom From the Torture of Your Thoughts




Now Available
"Freedom From the Torture of Your Thoughts"

Click HERE for the rate of US 15

**************************************************

See the preview (click below) to my online on-demand video course  




  NOW available

"Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin"


  *****************************

CHARLAS EN ESPAÑOL EN YOUTUBE


Vampiros energéticos: Su efecto destructivo en tu vida



En YouTube aquí


****************************


BOOKS - LIBROS - BÜCHER


Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books (also in Spanish & German). My latest book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is available globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.


Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (English). Available globally in paperback or Kindle e-book versions


Bücher von Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (Deutsch) ... JETZT bei Amazon (Taschenbuch oder E-Book) erhältlich 
DEINE SEELE UND DU
  

Angefangen mit Rewiring the Soul - auf Deutsch: Deine Seele und Du, jetzt weltweit erhältlich als Taschenbuch oder Kindle E-Book (Blog hier), werden auch meine anderen Bücher in Zukunft auf Deutsch bei Amazon erhältlich sein.

Libros por Gabriella Kortsch (español) ... ahora en todo el mundo en Amazon en versión bolsillo y Kindle



Note: Also see my other other blog 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. 

My blog posts are also featured on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest & you can find me on Instagram