We are a wounded bunch, we humans, and yet we are entering a new possibility of healing on this planet that is calling all of us to open up our wounds to the light. I know that transformation of our pain is possible, that forgiveness is a real thing and that a single positive resolution is enough to shift the trajectory of your life. The key to allowing the light into our wounds begins with a simple commitment to have the courage to listen to our deepest longing. Real change is not driven by anything or anyone outside of us. Rather it is a call from your soul to remember who you really are. Three years ago when I began my positivity quest challenge, I knew in my heart of hearts that all that I had tried to accomplish would be meaningless if I couldn’t find and sustain a positive relationship to my life. Now I challenge you to choose from one of these five powerful starting points, each one with the power to transform life, as you know it. Choose the one that resonates most deeply and make your promise to it public. The more people who know about the shift you are intending to make, the more power it has.
Archive for the 'Sustainable Love' Category
Not long ago at a conference, a woman I was sitting with was saying how happy she is to have no contact with her children. The next day, another woman was describing what a relief it was to no longer communicate with her mother. These comments are not unusual. In fact, according to Dr. Josh Coleman, author of When Parents Hurt, the phenomenon of complete dissolution of relating is increasingly common. As a psychotherapist he has counseled people on both sides, but acknowledges that regardless of what side you are on, the termination of the parent-child bond is a seminal one and more difficult than many anticipate.
This holiday season re-think your gift giving rituals by focusing on how you spend your time and attention in your most meaningful relationships. There is no gift you could purchase that will more profoundly enhance the emotional connections in your life than the gift of your focused attention, which explains why most people cannot distinguish between the experience of being deeply loved with being deeply heard. What we remember and what makes up the stories we share years later is rarely found in a box, but rather comes through the moments when we share our full presence with the people we love.
It was a curious time a few weeks ago as I moved between the Good Vibrations Sex Summit in the heart of downtown San Francisco to the Science and Non-Duality conference in Marin County. Crossing back and forth over the Golden Gate Bridge, and many moments since, has helped me to reconcile the sexual state of the physical world with the new scientific ground being broken by quantum physicists. Good Vibrations is a beacon of light in the world of human sexuality, standing up for the rights of sexual education and encouraging the exploration of sexual pleasure as a human right. It was more colorful than you could probably imagine. It was Friday night at the Castro theater, where they hosted the International Erotic Short film festival. Many of their guests, as well as the film’s narrators (San Francisco drag queens and Carol Queen), were in sexy Halloween costumes along.
“Tantra loves, and loves unconditionally. It never says no to anything whatsoever, because everything is part of the whole, and everything has its own place in the whole, and the whole cannot exist with anything missing from it.” ~Osho
“Faith is where you hold your heart.” This is what one of the master teachers shared when he was translating the ancient practices of Tantra yoga into a modern life. Tantra means to stretch beyond your limits. The multiple layers of practice that Tantra embodies have a singular goal of preparing you as a vessel that can contain the divine. One of the ancient texts says that our birth, our very life, is a gift so that the divine can know itself through you. And according to the texts there are many powers bestowed on those that actively pursue this faith, which as heady as all this sounds, translates seamlessly into the stuff of making love work on a daily basis. The beauty of focusing on these capacities is that they are at once prescriptive and rewarding, which is to say that they offer a clear measure of how you are holding your heart and whether there is any room for the magic of the divine to settle within you. The following elements of Tantra can be used and defined in the contexts below.
“And in the end, the love we take is equal to the love we make…” -The Beatles
I have come to say good bye to my friend as she enters the hospice phase of her cancer journey. During the long 6 hour drive to get her, my memory of our meeting came back to me as though it was 20 days ago and not 20 years. She is an artist and most of my memories over the years with her are punctuated with her work- drawings for our almost card company landed on t-shirts and long narrow canvases with the moon rising, illustrated children’s books and homemade games when our kids were smaller. In the midst of these memories, I welled up in tears, wishing I had been a better friend. I wished that I had looked for another way to reach her when our lives pulled us in different directions. Of all the friends I have known in my life, she is one of the very few who always had nothing but love for me.
I have been studying gratitude as a the open door to a positive life and one of the most profound vehicles to love for some time. As part of my research, we have had an ongoing contest asking our readers to share their own stories of how gratitude has transformed their own lives and relationships. Here is an unforgettable story of gratitude.
I embrace the gift of how my life has developed from birth to now. At an early age, I was very visual. Reading books came easily to me by age 3 and is still one of my first loves. I am an accomplished writer with several books just sitting there for me to finish. By the early teen years of my life, I became very accomplished at sketching. I especially enjoyed observing all the shadings of hands and faces and duplicating what my eyes could see on poster boards, a wall, chalk board or just notebook paper. I have spent countless hours appreciating nature, down to the slightest detail like: how the leaves on a tree swaying in the breeze captures light and seem to sparkle in the sunlight; the perseverance of the ant who carries a crumb all the way across a wide driveway to the ant hill; the personality of birds in the morning with their unique chirps of urgency, joy, fear; the various smells on a country bike trail; the feel of clean flannel sheets in the bitter winter months, the taste of kiwi in season. It seems that my whole life has been a festival of senses that I can have in memory to live over again as I please.
Recognizing that our relationships are our most gentle teachers in life is a great way to approach the work involved in staying with them. We too often don’t value and trust the huge amounts of resources that we have invested into them and are too willing to dispose of them before really digging into the work before us. While some relationships were a bad idea from the day they started, the majority are actually perfectly designed to help us grow into the best people we can be. I have been sharing these love tips for years and consistently hear back from our friends and customers that doing the work of love rewards them in ways they couldn’t have imagined. Remember that often the feeling of hitting the wall in love lives in us only moments before a breakthrough that gives meaning to our promises. Make this New Year full of love.
“Healing requires far more of us than just the participation of our intellectual and even our emotional resources. And it certainly demands that we do more than look backwards at the dead-end archives of our past. Healing is, by definition, taking a process of disintegration of life and transforming into a process of return to life.” -Caroline Myss
The holidays present a feast of opportunity to listen to the wisdom in your broken relationships. Most everyone shares these, whether they be wounds from a recent divorce, a sibling or parent relationship that remains sharp with bitterness, or a persistent disconnect with your partner, which the holiday season only serves to magnify. Old hurts seem to more easily resurface in the twinkling lights of what should feel loving and we frequently walk away from our holiday exchanges feeling more alone and less connected than ever. Even the empty space of silence that lives in the broken spaces between you and the people you once loved seem to expand at this time of year.
Relationship Bootcamp Week 5
“Love doesn’t sit there like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all of the time, made new.” ~Ursula K. LeGuin
Almost anyone can fall in love; our biological imperative to mate kicks in opening our hearts and flooding our nervous system with the euphoric experience of idealized connection. In these early moments of love’s embrace, we experience love viscerally. Every exchange is charged with the energy of passionate recognition and the deep cellular relief of being embraced just as we are. Everyone who has fallen out of love knows how far the fall is. It is easy to become jaded in that challenging transition to loving someone, which doesn’t have the bells and whistles of the sweet fall. Keeping love going is an endurance sport.