Archive for the 'Water' Category

Learning to Feel

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Our feelings are like weather patterns. They are changeable and act on the environment with great power. They inform and distract with their intensity. They reflect the nature of the moment with great accuracy. Our ability to experience and share our feelings in meaningful ways is one of the profound marks of our humanity.

Yet feelings are, for many people, a locked box; an experience that overwhelms and is difficult to express. We are taught in a variety of circumstances and for a variety of reasons to suppress our feelings. We learn to silence our feelings so well that the messages in our bodies are not even discernible. Suppressed feelings are not as invisible as you might think. They take on a life in our dreams and eventually become diseases in our bodies. Our inability to express our feelings cuts us off not only from our own experience but limits the connection we feel with the people we love most.

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Making Time

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Making time for love is an important barometer of the commitment and sustainability of your relationship. When you consider the outrageous scheduling hoops we agree to without qualm in our work setting, or even more intensely in managing our children’s activity calendar, it makes you wonder how the idea of scheduling intimacy could still be so taboo.

Yet, taboo it is, with an overriding belief that sex and intimacy are somehow tainted if they are not spontaneous and immediate. This belief system is connected to the shame and guilt we carry around from our adolescence when we could only describe a make-out session if we could first say, “I don’t know how it happened, but suddenly we were just doing it!” We can only fully embrace our sexuality if it just happens to us. Planning for it forces us to claim the most unpredictable, and to some degree uncontrollable, part of our life.

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The Promises That Matter

Friday, March 27th, 2009
“A promise is a commitment you make with your heart. Promises are not like other decisions that we make that have open ended options of easy termination if it doesn’t suit our needs or doesn’t make us happy. The act of promising releases the right to reason on some level, because keeping a promise requires us to go beyond reason. Staying true to our word in spite of the inconvenience and discomfort is the core of a promise.”

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Celebrating an Inner Holiday

Friday, March 27th, 2009

This holiday season I want to find a quiet connected space for myself and my family. I want the time to rest and breathe and wonder. I am sick to death of shopping for things to make me or someone I love happy. I want someone to look into my eyes and hear my confusion and sift through my feelings with me.

Lynn Jericho has been studying and writing about this search and has called it the Inner Christmas. This year she made a lovely little computer movie which actually brought my breath back and reminded me what I want to give and receive this holiday season. Here is the link, you won’t be sorry you took the time.

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Belonging and Renewal

Friday, March 27th, 2009

For most of my life I have lived away from my native home and my husband has always said, “You can take the girl out of New York, but you can’t take New York out of the girl.” Being a Jewish girl from New York has been a part of my identity as basic as my blue eyes. Yet for all of the space that this cultural identity has taken up, and the personality attributes that accompanies it, I have found very little comfort in where I come from. Functional though it may be in getting things done, it has always required some kind of explanation or excuse.

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The Exchange of Self

Friday, February 13th, 2009

“The supreme happiness in life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.” -Victor Hugo

Holidays magnify the best and the worst of our relationships. There may be no holiday that reflects this more brilliantly than Valentine’s Day. I spent many years in my 25 year marriage waiting for just the right gift, or the right words on the right card to show me how much my husband appreciated and loved me – I believed then that single moments or holidays done right could heal the long standing differences between us. The years that worked the best were the ones where we were already on solid and intimate ground. The years when we were estranged or exhausted, Valentine’s Day served only to illuminate our distance. The good ones and the bad ones have both taught me about reasonable expectations in relationships and for Valentine’s Day.

Collectively we are heavily invested in this holiday of love. Worldwide spending is over $28 billion and here in the US sales are expected to top $13 billion. That is a lot of love to be celebrating, given that so many of us are broke and afraid for how long it will take to prop up our ailing economy. This is a testimony to the fact that our need for love, both giving and receiving it, is as basic a need as our needs for food and water. Humans thrive on love, our existence without meaningful relationships is a shadow of what we were put on earth to do.

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The Vitality of Sleeping…Together

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Sleep is our most basic human need. Some thirty million of us will attest to the impact of insomnia on well being. Indeed, unlike fasting from food which humans can survive for weeks, being deprived of sleep can kill you in days. The impact is so severe, that it not only precipitates physical disability, but also insanity which it is why it was one of the cruelest and most inhumane torture methods ever devised. Considering that complete lack of sleep is fatal, it is not really a stretch to realize that consistent late hours and a growing sleep debt we all share is responsible for a wide variety of illness, injury and disease. The ability to rest and rejuvenate is at the essence of our vitality.

Under the best of conditions, maintaining loving relationships is one of life’s biggest rewards and challenges. Many of us don’t realize how big role exhaustion plays in our relationship skills. The patience to nurture the bonds of intimacy in our relationships is not strengthened through fatigue, rather it is often one of its first victims. The struggle between sleep and sex is a common one for most couples in long term relationships. Tiredness is one of the most commonly cited reasons for not being intimate.

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In Sickness and In Health

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

If love is so healing why does it hurt so much? This is a good question with difficult answers. Love the verb is a constant practice of feeling compassion, giving the benefit of the doubt and struggling to feed our goals and desires, as well as those of whom we love. This aspiration is a juggle even in the most functional of relationships; and the score rarely comes up 50-50.

Approaching our intimate relationships with the intent of an action verb is realistic, if not a bit daunting. The romantic version of the verb, the measure we use for our love relationships, reflects the illusion of love as a vacation. We sit side by side in some beautiful natural location and the only action required is offered by the love that we feel, washing over us, filling us, just as easily as the nearby waterfall washes over and fills the streambed. Physical intimacy carries the potential to generate this experience; flush with heightened hormones and released tension; lovemaking seems to encompass all of what is love.

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Showing Up

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007


When I teach about the Ecology of Love and talk about the water that lives between people I often use the term “showing up” to describe the flow that happens in relationships. In relationships, like the ocean, there is an ebb and tide to how we are present for each other, but if the water in the relationship is always out, then both people feel alone more often than they feel like there is someone at their back. Many people go through years in partnerships where the experience of loneliness is profound. It is something that I struggle with in my own marriage, each of us having a different sense of what togetherness means and how much of it we need.

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A Romance of the Ordinary

Sunday, January 21st, 2007

womanfieldflowers“I tell you, the more I think, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.” — Vincent Van Gogh

I found this quote recently and have been hanging onto it, almost like fingers clutching a ledge, as the onslaught of stories and information pours on about the demise of our current state of relationships. Last week’s coverage of the historic turn of events where more women (51%) are living without a spouse than with one. Depending on your race the statistics are as low as one in three (Black women) and only as high as 6 out of 10 for Asian women.

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