Posts tagged with ‘relationship’

16 nov

Stay Right When You’re Wronged

RickHansonWhat happens after you’re mistreated?
The Practice:
Stay right when you’re wronged.
Why?

It’s easy to treat people well when they treat you well. The real test is when they treat you badly.

Think of times you’ve been truly wronged, in small ways or big ones. Maybe someone stole something , turned others against you, broke an agreement, cheated on you, or spoke unfairly or abusively.

When things like these happen, I feel mad, hurt, startled, wounded, sad. Naturally it arises to want to strike back and punish, get others to agree with me, and make a case against the other person in my own mind.

These feelings and impulses are normal. But what happens if you get caught up in reactions and go overboard? (Which is different from keeping your cool, seeing the big picture, and acting wisely – which we’ll explore below.) There’s usually a release and satisfaction, and thinking you’re justified. It feels good.

For a little while.

But bad things usually follow. The other person overreacts, too, in a vicious cycle. Other people – relatives, friends, co-workers – get involved and muddy the water. You don’t look very good when you act out of upset, and others remember. It gets harder to work through the situation in a reasonable way. After the dust settles, you feel bad inside.

As the Buddha said long ago, “Getting angry with another person is like throwing hot coals with bare hands: both people get burned.” You can see much the same thing internationally. Gandhi put it so well: “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

Sure, you need to clarify your position, stand up for yourself, set boundaries, speak truth to power. The art – and I’m still working on it, myself! – is to do these things without the fiery excesses that have bad consequences for you, others, and our fragile planet.

How?

Start by getting centered, which often takes just a dozen seconds or so:

  • Pause – You rarely get in trouble for what you don’t say or do. Give yourself the gift of time, even just a few seconds.
  • Have compassion for yourself – This a moment of feeling “ouch, that hurts, I wish this hadn’t happened.” A neurologically savvy trick for activating self-compassion is to first recall the feeling of being with someone who cares about you.
  • Get on your own side – This means being for yourself, not against others. It can help to remember a time when you felt strong, like doing something that was physically challenging, or sticking up for someone you loved.
  • Make a plan – Start figuring out what you’re going to do, or at least where you’ll start.

And now that you’re on firmer ground, here are some practical suggestions; use the ones you like:

  • Clarify the facts – What actually happened?
  • Rate the bad event accurately – On a 0 – 10 awfulness scale (a dirty look is a 1 and nuclear war is a 10), how bad was it, really? If the event is a 3 on the awfulness scale, why have emotional reactions that are a 5 (or 9!) on the 0 – 10 upset scale?
  • See the big picture – Recognize the OK aspects of the situation mixed up with the bad ones. Put the situation in the larger context of unrelated good things happening for you, and your lifetime altogether. See the biggest picture of all: how your experiences are continually changing and it’s not worth getting all caught up in them.
  • Reflect about the other person – Consider the “10,000 causes” upstream that led him or her to do whatever happened. Be careful about assuming it was intentional; much of the time you’re just a bit player in other people’s drama. Try to have compassion for them, which will make you feel better. If applicable, take responsibility for your own part in the matter (but don’t blame yourself unfairly). You can have compassion and forgiveness for others while still considering their actions to be morally wrong.
  • Do what you can, concretely – As possible, protect yourself from people who wrong you; shrink the relationship to the size that is safe. Get support; it’s important for others to “bear witness” when you’ve been mistreated. Build up your resources. Get good advice – from a friend, therapist, lawyer, or even the police. As appropriate, pursue justice.
  • Act with unilateral virtue – Live by your code even if others do not. This will make you feel good, lead others to respect you, and create the best chance that the person who wronged you will treat you better in the future.
  • Say what needs to be said – There is a good formula from the field of “nonviolent communication”: “When X happens (stated objectively; not “when you are a jerk”), I feel Y (emotions; not “I fell you are an idiot”), because I need Z (deep needs like: “to be safe, respected, emotionally close to others, autonomous and not bossed around”).

Then, if it would be useful, you can make a request for the future. Some examples: “If I bother you, could you talk with me directly?” “Could you not swear at me?” “Could you treat your agreements with me and your children as seriously as you do those at work?”

  • Move on – For your own sake, start releasing your angry or hurt thoughts and feelings. Stop your mind from obsessing about the past, and focus on the present and future. Turn toward what is going well, what you’re grateful for. Do things that feel pleasurable.

In the garden of your life, you have to pull some weeds, sure, but mainly focus on planting flowers.

  • Be at peace – All you can really do is what you can do. Others are going to do whatever they do, and realistically, sometimes it won’t be that great. Many people disappoint: they’ve got a million things swirling around in their head, life’s been tough, there were issues in their childhood, their ethics are fuzzy, their thinking is clouded, etc. It’s the real world, and cannot be perfected.

You have to find peace in your heart, not out there in the world. A peace that comes from seeing clearly, from building up and focusing on good things in your own garden, and from letting go.

* * *

Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a neuropsychologist and author of the bestselling Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom (in 21 languages) – and Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time. Founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom and Affiliate of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, he’s taught at Oxford, Stanford, and Harvard, and in meditation centers worldwide. His work has been featured on the BBC, NPR, Consumer Reports Health, and U.S. News and World Report and he has several audio programs. His blog – Just One Thing – has nearly 30,000 subscribers and suggests a simple practice each week that will bring you more joy, more fulfilling relationships, and more peace of mind and heart. If you wish, you can subscribe to Just One Thing here.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Dr. Rick Hanson on November 16th, 2011 in General, Relationships, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , ,

28 oct

Be Friendly

RickHansonFriend or Foe?
The Practice:
Be friendly.
Why?

Friendliness is a down-to-earth approach to others that is welcoming and positive.

Think about a time when someone was friendly to you – maybe drawing you into a gathering, saying hello on the sidewalk, or smiling from across the room. How did that make you feel? Probably more included, comfortable, and at ease; safer; more open and warm-hearted.

When you are friendly to others, you offer them these same benefits. Plus you get rewarded yourself. Being friendly feels confident and happy, with a positive take on other people, moving toward the world instead of backing away from it. And it encourages others to be less guarded or reactive with you, since you’re answering the ancient question from millions of years of evolution – friend or foe? – with an open hand and heart.

In its own quiet way, ordinary friendliness takes a stand that is almost subversive these days: Read more »

Posted by Dr. Rick Hanson on October 28th, 2011 in General, Relationships, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , ,

23 oct

The Power of Empathy

MikeRobbinsNewI had a painful, but poignant phone conversation earlier this week with my wife Michelle. She shared some challenges with me in a vulnerable and passionate way. As I started to give her some of my “helpful advice” (as I often do – being a man, as well as an author, speaker, and coach, I’m fairly well trained at giving advice), she stopped me and said, “Can’t you just give me empathy for me? That’s what I really need right now. Once I feel your empathy, I can hear your feedback.”

Her comment stopped me in my tracks. I got defensive and began to justify myself – arguing that I did, indeed, have a lot of empathy and that she should be more open to my feedback. Needless to say, my defensiveness (and subsequent arrogance and self righteousness) didn’t help things, and the conversation got worse before it got better, which it eventually did.

Michelle’s feedback, however, registered with me at a very deep level. Although I “understand” the importance of empathy, teach it to others through my work, and have the capacity to experience and express a great deal of empathy with people around me, it’s sometimes difficult for me to have empathy for the people closest to me, including myself, especially recently. Maybe you can relate?

Empathy can be tricky, particularly when we have an emotional connection (or attachment) to the people or situation involved (which we almost always do). It’s also challenging to feel empathy when we feel threatened, stressed, or emotionally triggered (all of which we can experience a lot, especially with those who mean the most to us). And, empathy is sometimes misunderstood.

Empathy is NOT:
- Sympathy
- Pity
- Agreement
- Commiseration
- Endorsement

Simply put, empathy is getting into another person’s world and connecting with them both emotionally and compassionately. We don’t have to agree with them or fully understand them to be able to empathize. We don’t even need to be able to relate to what they are experiencing specifically (although that can help). We just need to be present, connect with them where they are, and acknowledge what they’re experiencing. Empathy for ourselves, while different contextually, actually functions the exact same way, simply turned inward.

The problem is that we often allow our egos, opinions, and judgments to get in the way of our ability to experience and express empathy. If I agree with someone completely, can totally relate to them, and see things exactly as they do, it’s quite easy for me to empathize with them.

However, if I don’t agree, can’t relate, have a very different take on the situation or actually think how they’re reacting to things is potentially harmful for them and others, it’s often very hard for me to be empathetic towards them and I also worry that my expression of empathy could come across as agreement or endorsement.

While it can be challenging, the power of empathy is essential to the health and success of our relationships and lives. It is a key element to our own emotional intelligence and well being. With the people closest to us, including ourselves, and the issues that mean the most to us, empathy is even more critical, but often more difficult for us to experience and express.

Here are a few things to remember and practice to enhance your capacity for empathy:

1) Ask yourself where empathy is missing. Take inventory of your life and relationships and notice where empathy may be wanted, needed, or simply missing. As you identify situations, relationships, and personal matters that could use an increased amount of empathy, make a commitment to yourself to bring less judgment and more compassion to them.

2) Reach out to people in your life. As you identify specific situations and relationships where you could bring more empathy, reach out to the people involved and let them know. There may be an apology to give, an acknowledgement to make, or simply an admission that you want to bring more empathy and compassion (and less judgment, advice, self righteousness, etc) to your relationship. Start working to do that with the most important people in your life.

3) Ask how people are feeling and really listen to what they say. One of the best ways we can express empathy towards others is through our curiosity and listening. When people feel heard, seen, and emotionally understood, they often relax, open up, and feel supported. Asking people how they truly feel, what’s really going on in their world, AND listening to how they respond (without judgment) are some of the best things we can do to express our empathy for the people around us.

All of these things also hold true with regard to having empathy and compassion for ourselves, which is essential in this process. Like most things in life, we can’t give away what we don’t already have ourselves. Self empathy is the foundation.

Everyone on the planet, including us, is almost always doing the very best they can in each moment. We’re all just dealing with the joy, pain, growth, challenge, and more of being human. Remembering this allows us to cut ourselves and others some loving slack, and engage in life, in our relationships, and with ourselves with a deep sense of respect, reverence, and, ultimately, empathy.

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on October 23rd, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , ,

22 oct

Have Compassion

RickHansonDo You Care?
The Practice:
Have compassion.
Why?

Compassion is essentially the wish that beings not suffer – from subtle physical and emotional discomfort to agony and anguish – combined with feelings of sympathetic concern.

You could have compassion for an individual (a friend in the hospital, a co-worker passed over for a promotion), groups of people (victims of crime, those displaced by a hurricane, refugee children), animals (your pet, livestock heading for the slaughterhouse), and yourself.

Compassion is not pity, agreement, or a waiving of your rights. You can have compassion for people who’ve wronged you while also insisting that they treat you better.

Compassion by itself opens your heart and nourishes people you care about. Those who receive your compassion are more likely to be patient, forgiving, and compassionate with you. Compassion reflects the wisdom that everything is related to everything else, and it naturally draws you into feeling more connected with all things. Read more »

Posted by Dr. Rick Hanson on October 22nd, 2011 in Relationships, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , ,

23 jun

Balancing Joining and Separating

There is a natural balance within us all between the desire for joining and the desire for separation, between the desire for closeness and the desire for distance. These two great themes – joining and separation – are central to human life. Almost everyone wants both of them, to varying degrees.

People tend to focus a lot on the joining theme, both because relationships are about – uh – joining, and because spiritual practice of any kind is fundamentally about coming into relationship with things.

Into relationship with our own suffering and that of others, and into relationship with the real causes of that suffering. Into relationship with the endlessly changing and thus impermanent nature of existence and experience. Into mindful relationship with the body, with the sense of experience being pleasant or unpleasant or neutral, with all the thoughts and feelings etc, in the mind, and with the qualities and aims of consciousness itself. And – it’s meaningful to you – into relationship with a transcendental Something: God, Buddhanature, the Infinite, unbounded Awareness . . . by whatever name.

But as important as relationship is, it is also important to bow to the other great theme, separation.

The Benefits of Separation

First, a healthy capacity for separation – or, using other words, for differentiation, individuation, autonomy, and self-expression – is a necessary (though not sufficient) condition for healthy joining.

Second, autonomy is necessary for spiritual practice. Let’s consider these examples from Buddhism:

  • One is always to “see for yourself,” and make your own decisions about what makes sense to you in the teachings of the Buddha.
  • It is fundamentally up to oneself, and no one else, to engage the path of practice. No one can make us do it; we have to choose it ourselves. While Buddhism does not speak against God, it does not assert that God shapes our lives and that God’s grace is at work in our transformation.
  • We are each individually responsible for the effects of our actions – for our own karmas. Buddhism is a very gentle religion/philosophy/whatever-it-is, but it is also bluntly tough-minded.

Much as separation supports joining, experiences of healthy connection, particularly in childhood, are critical for the development of healthy self structures, ego functions, and sense of worth and confidence. By taking refuge in our feelings of connection – both present in our relationships of the moment as well as internalized from our history of relationships – we are able to move out, from a secure base, to explore and cope with the world as an individual.

For instance, in Buddhism, one of what are called the Three Jewels of practice is the Refuge of Sangha – which means the community of fellow practitioners.

Mutual Support

In other words: individuality and relationship, autonomy and intimacy, separation and joining support each other. They are often seen at odds with each other, but this is so not the case!

For example, by knowing that you are entitled to your own view of reality, that you can assert yourself appropriately, that you can disengage when you need to, that you can honor your temperament if you happen to be an introvert who is a little drained by contact and fed by solitude – then you can be more comfortable and willing to enter into the depths of joining and intimacy available in relationships, plus receive the supplies anyone needs for healthy individuation, including the attention and caring and esteem of others.

Similarly, by acknowledging, and normalizing, and respecting the need for separation and distance in others – even if it is sometimes not your preference – that helps create a zone of safety which often fosters a greater willingness to hang out for a while with closeness.

In fact, people often step back in relationships – like agreeing, perhaps tacitly, to just not talk about certain contentious topics – in order to stay close. In developmental psychology, the term is “distance in the service of attachment.”

Working out Different Desires for Closeness

Of course, in important relationships there is rarely a perfect symmetry of desires for joining and separation. That just means that it is important to be alert to the other person’s hot buttons: for many people, if they feel their autonomy is being challenged, then that pops to the top of the stack as the key issue on the table for them . . . while for many other people, the same is true regarding perceived threats to joining. By taking into account the “imperative” of the other person, you can skillfully prevent unnecessary conflicts; by explaining your own imperatives in relationships, you can help the other person understand you better.

Additionally, the natural differences between people in the priorities they give to joining compared to separation, and the differences in the ways in which they pursue those aims, are simply another thing – albeit an important one – to negotiate in relationships.

Being able to accept and own your personal joining/separation “thermostat setting” will help you to talk about it more straightforwardly and effectively with others. And you will be as able as possible to accept and work nimbly with that set point in others.

Natural Cautions about Closeness

Most psychological wounds or traumas occur in the context of relationships, including in early childhood. Further, in our evolutionary history, there were a lot of risks in encounters with people who were “not-my-tribe.” So it is natural to be a little leery of interacting at first, especially with relative strangers.

To enter into connections today with other flesh-and-blood people, and with your internal history and sense of relationships, it is skillful to be sensitive and caring toward your own alarm bells and nervousness and resistance.

It is natural to bump into those “defenses,” often subtly. It is inevitable if you are opening up, becoming more available for relationship, more accessible, more engaged, more heartfelt, more loving.

Even as you read those words, you might be aware of both the longing for those qualities in your relationships and a certain . . . squeamishness perhaps? reluctance? anxiety? repulsion??! . . . . coming up as well.

It is perfectly natural. The closer we get, often the more the impulse to distance arises – just like the more distance we get, often the more the impulse to move closer arises.

As you go through life, first and foremost, just try to bring mindfulness to these states of mind, both the longing for closeness and the desire for distance. They are a wonderful object of mindfulness and even investigation.

In accord with true mindfulness, try to maintain an accepting interest, even a kind of soft friendliness, toward the closeness and toward the distancing.

And really, if the instinct toward stepping back feels wise, or is simply too strong to push through, then please by all means follow it, and step back.

* * *

Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a neuropsychologist and founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom. His work has been featured on the BBC, NPR, Consumer Reports Health, U.S. News and World Report, and Huffington Post, and he is the author of the best-selling Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom.

He writes a weekly newsletter – Just One Thing – that suggests a simple practice each week that will bring you more joy, more fulfilling relationships, and more peace of mind and heart. If you wish, you can subscribe to Just One Thing here.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Dr. Rick Hanson on June 23rd, 2011 in General, Relationships, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

23 aug

Body-image and Our Relationships

SarahMariaHave you ever hid under the bed covers, not wanting your lover to see you?

Or have you cringed at the thought of seeing yourself in the bathroom mirror?

Were you competitive with your siblings or your parents about the size of your body?

Has anyone you love, has anyone close to you, been judgmental about your body?

Are you, or have you ever been, in a relationship where your lover didn’t like your body?

The fact of the matter is that our bodies and how we feel about our bodies and ourselves can dramatically impact our relationships, either for good or for bad.

Here are some of the ways that Negative Body Obsession can adversely affect your relationships.

- Your lover finds you attractive, but you can’t believe him or her. You are too concerned about how you look, and unable to enjoy the love that is being given to you. Without realizing it, you push the other person away and over time destroy the relationship.

- Your beliefs about being unattractive unconsciously lead you to pick a partner who reinforces your low self-esteem and negative self talk. You find yourself stuck in a negative relationships and are unsure of how to break free.

- You are alone and long for love, intimacy, and connection. You have been listening to the lies of Negative Body Obsession, which has kept you isolated and alone.

There are an endless number of scenarios and examples, but the simple fact is that if you are living in the trap of NBO, you are unable to connect with other people for real. The beautiful, amazing fact, however, is that true intimacy and connection are available. No matter what your size, shape, condition, or anything else, you can enjoy deep love and sharing. But this is only possible if you learn how to ignore the lies that say you and your body are not quite good enough.

If you have lived a life listening to Negative Body Obsession, you truly do not know the relating that is possible to enjoy with other people. Negative Body Obsession acts as a true barrier. Insecurity and negative self-talk truly make it impossible to enjoy the love that is available. Even if you are involved in many relationships with different people, if you are listening to your negative thoughts and beliefs, they are preventing you from truly connecting.

It is imperative that you understand the cost of entertaining your negative beliefs. The inability to truly connect with other human beings, the inability to truly relate, is a huge cost. I recall a spiritual teacher once saying that love is food for the soul. Just as our body needs fuel to survive, so our soul needs love to survive. Now, you can live off of a meager diet, lacking in vitamins and minerals, devoid of nutritional content, and you will probably survive. But will you thrive? In order to thrive, you need a diet that is nourishing and health promoting. So it is with your human relationships and interactions. Are your relationships truly nourishing you? Are they supplying you with the deep love, connection, and intimacy that feeds your soul?

If you are living with Negative Body Obsession, or negative beliefs about yourself, the answer is no. The answer has to be “no” because these negative beliefs are making you unavailable to enjoy what may be right in front of you. They are acting as a shield, blocking out the love that is possible for a human life.

If you long for love in your life, for the true enjoyment that comes from sharing yourself with other people, make a commitment to yourself to finally break free from your negative beliefs about your body and yourself. When you turn your back on Negative Body Obsession, with its never-ending lies and delusions, you open yourself up to a life that is richer than your wildest dreams.

If you are finally ready to end the negative self-talk and enjoy the relationships you long for, register for our September call on Body-image and Relationships. Join me and well-known author and relationship expert Lissa Coffey for 60 minutes dedicated to helping you transform and discover the love that is always available when you allow it.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Sarah Maria on August 23rd, 2010 in Relationships | No comments Read related posts in ,

23 aug

The Importance of Unplugging

MikeRobbins96What percentage of your waking hours are you “plugged in” (i.e. checking things on the internet, doing email, texting, playing with your wireless device, watching TV, posting to Facebook or Twitter, and more)? If you’re anything like me and most of the people I know and work with, probably more than you’d like to admit.

Recently I began to confront my own obsession (borderline addiction) to being plugged in. For many years I’ve justified my somewhat obsessive nature about email and internet use by the fact that I run my own business and have to stay connected in order to make sure I’m taking care of my clients, generating new business, and not missing out on important opportunities.

However “true” this may seem, in the past few years (especially with the addition of social networking, texting, and other forms of “instant” communication and information sharing), it has become clear to me that my desire to stay connected has gotten a bit out of control and has had a negative impact on my life, my well being, and my relationships.

From entrepreneurs to sales people to managers to stay-at-home moms – just about everyone I know and work with seems to have some form of electronic obsession impacting their lives in a negative way.

About a month ago, I woke up on a Sunday morning and said to my wife Michelle, “I’m going to have a media free day today – no email, iPhone, internet, TV, or anything else. Today, I’m going to be totally unplugged.” She looked at me with a bit of amazement and disbelief – I think both because I was actually saying this and because she wasn’t convinced I could do it.

I had my own doubts and a few weak moments early in the day where I almost fell off the wagon and checked my phone. However, I was able to do it and by the end of that day, I felt great. I was able to relax and be present in a way that felt grounded and peaceful. The past four Sundays I’ve been “unplugged” and I’m loving it.

What if we unplugged more often? What if we gave ourselves permission to disconnect from technology and the “important” world of uber-communication? While for some of us this is easier than others, most of us could benefit from a little more unplugging and a little less emailing/texting/web or channel surfing in our lives.

What’s funny to me is how hypocritical we often are about it. When our spouse, co-worker, or friend is busy on their phone, checking email, or being “obnoxiously” plugged in, we often get annoyed. However, when we’re the one doing it, it’s almost always “necessary.”

Here are a few things you can do to start unplugging yourself in a healthy way.

1) Take inventory of the negative impact of technology in your life. How much stress, frustration, and difficulty does being constantly “plugged in” cause for you? Think about this on a physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual level. Admittedly, this is a bigger issue for some of us than others. However, the more honest you can be with yourself about it – both the impact it has on you and any underlying fears that may be associated with it, the more able you’ll be to alter your habits.

2) Challenge yourself to take conscious breaks. See if you can schedule a full day to be “unplugged.” If that seems to scary at first, try a morning or a few hours. And, if doing a full day seems easy – try a full weekend, a work day, or something else that will be a stretch. I’m working up to doing a full weekend myself and entertaining the idea of week day (although that seems scarier to me at the moment). Push yourself, but go easy on yourself at the same time – baby steps are important and perfectly acceptable with this.

3) Unplug together. See if you can get other people in your house, your family, or those you work with to unplug with you. Doing this with the support of other people can be fun and make it easier. It will also create accountability for you and those around you.

Our issues and challenges with technology and our obsession with being connected and online 24/7 don’t seem to be going away or getting better culturally. In fact, if we just take a look at our own lives and habits in the past few years – for most of us, things are getting worse. It is up to us to interrupt this pattern and to disengage from our electronic obsession in a conscious way.

While unplugging may not always easy or encouraged in the environments we find ourselves in, it’s crucial to our success and well being in life. When we’re able to disconnect ourselves, we can regain some of the passion, energy, creativity, and perspective that often gets diminshed or lost when we allow ourselves to get sucked into our phones, computers, TVs and other devices.

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on August 23rd, 2010 in General, Global/Social Change | 1 comment Read related posts in , , , , , , , , ,

20 jan

Ripe With Love

Back a few years ago, I fell in love with someone new. The moment I met him, I knew he was someone I wanted to know deeply. I met him with a wide-open heart.

You know that feeling of being so ready for love? Where the eagerness and light-heartedness far outweigh your wisdom and discernment? That’s where I was.

You see, I had just completed an intense transformational retreat where my heart was broken open – open so wide, that it found its way back to its natural tendency to trust. I had finally come through the deep grief of my late-husband’s death, a death that had plucked me out of Kansas and dropped me in Oz. Death didn’t provide me with ruby slippers, though. Death seems to be like that. It doesn’t give you a way home to the old life. Instead, you must travel through the darkness to discover the new life waiting on the other side.

So I found myself with this brilliant heart of light. I had known deep lasting love with my late-husband, and I felt eagerness to love again. But, I was different now, and I didn’t yet know how different I was.

So, here I was ready for love. I dove right in. It was deep and rich and sweet. Then it ended. He ended it. It wasn’t mean to be. I can see that now, but back then, I didn’t see it coming. My very pink heart took one hell of a hit.

I fell hard. I curled up inside my shell and thought long and hard about giving my heart away so easily. Why hadn’t I seen it coming? Why did I trust so easily and carelessly?

And then I saw it. I saw how I had left myself to be in relationship with him. I didn’t see it happening at the time. But, in the aftermath of rejection, I realized I felt untethered and unmoored. I was no longer solidly in myself. I was hanging out there. I was perched precariously in no-man’s land – literally. The man I thought was there had moved on.

Somewhere along the way, I had gone from ‘in here with me’ to ‘over there with him’. The realization shook me to the core. When had it happened? How could I have done that to myself?

I decided I wasn’t going to date again until I found the wisdom that must accompany the open trusting heart. I needed time to understand. I needed time to make sense of the lesson that was being offered up.

So I sat with myself. And I felt. And I danced. This is when I began to dance as a practice, a practice that provided the opening to embodiment. And, I began to be really honest with myself. I began to see how much I had projected onto this man. I could see how enveloping an open heart can be when it’s not grounded in oneself and balanced with discernment and wisdom.

My teacher has since talked about what happens when the heart opens, how it can lead us into places we don’t expect to be when its not yet tempered with the wisdom that comes after the opening. But at the time, I had to learn this myself.

While he wasn’t all that gracious or compassionate in how he went about ending the relationship, I saw his ending it as rejection. This was another sign I had left me. The good thing about this was that the feeling of rejection was my doorway in, my doorway into me. I suddenly saw me, my own reflection in his rejection and I realized it was time to come inside to find the love I was longing for. I wasn’t really longing for him, the man out there. I was longing to know me, to stand by me, to stay with me from the beginning.

Then, they came unannounced, as they so often do. Words came. Words came up through my body and out through my fingers. Wisdom wound its way up from somewhere down in the dark recesses, places I had pushed away a long time ago.

Wisdom coursed out my fingers onto the page. No editing was necessary, for it knew itself fully before it was formed.

When the writing was done, I stood up from the desk and went to throw up. I threw up as if I was expelling something poisonous from my body – and I was. They were poisonous beliefs that kept me looking out there for love. As these beliefs were released, wisdom, that had longed to see the light of day, flooded my body and mind, wisdom that was meant for me.

Wisdom hungers to be known by the one it loves.

ripe with love

You see me here, strong and soft, eager and afraid,
my heart racing with desire
to be seen and heard,
to be held and to hold.

I am here,
emerging
from this bondage placed on me long ago,
from this cage of sin, fault, and fear.

I found the key
to my release when
I saw myself
in the reflection of your rejection.

My open heart was
both weakness and threat, lover and enemy.
You saw me seeing you
and you shut the door on my escape.

But freedom is funny,
it was mine to find all along.
Redemption came
when I filled my emptiness, with the fullness of me.

The dive was deep, the way was dark.
On the surface I had only seen,
how I never quite matched up
with everything I was expected to be.

But as I dove deeper into the depths of my being,
A glorious Light began to emerge.
It came from a time long ago,
It called me home in a language I had long forgotten.

There, deep inside me, I found the seed
Planted long ago, at the beginning of time.
My deepest Self, my truest Truth
My inner being in perpetual Spring.

I am ripe with love,
Ripe with the nectar of passionate presence
I am here to hold you,
within the folds of my velvet petals.

Fall down, deep down, into the depths of my being.
For I blossom in time to break your fall
As you land with a thundering whisper,
“Catch me, please catch me.”

Open yourself to the center of me.
Drink deeply the love that has been waiting for you,
waiting with timeless patience,
knowing what has always been, will be again.

Let me lay side-by-side with you.
Let me feel again how perfect the fit is,
if we only allow ourselves to relax
into the shape we already are.

Remember the rightness of this fit.
Don’t fight what you know to be true.
I can love side by side again,
Knowing the love comes through me to you.

You see me here,
soft and strong, knowing and sure.
My heart is filled with the truest Truth and the brightest Light
See your Self reflected in my love.

~ Julie Daley

::

Why am I sharing this with you today? After I wrote my post of last week, The Courage to Sin, I remembered this poem, written as I traveled from ‘out there’ to ‘in here’, as I came back from ‘out there with him’ to ‘back in here with me’. I remembered how I had wound my way out of the structures that I had believed in for all those years, structures that told me I could only find love ‘out there’.

And in writing the post about sin, I revisited the sense of rejection: rejection of self, rejection of body, women rejecting each other, rejection of men, and rejection by society of the natural, intrinsic beauty of the feminine nature of things. Perhaps I’ve gone from the microcosm to the macrocosm. Seems like I’m traveling in circles.

I see that current-day cultures, fed by patriarchal beliefs and practices, reject the woman who speaks truth, the woman with a voice, the woman with fire, the woman that no longer wishes to roll over and play pretty.

Just as it was with the man ‘out there’, so it is with the world ‘out there’. I can’t find the wisdom ‘out there’. I can only find it in here, in the depths of my own being. And if I’m seeing rejection, then I’ve left myself. That’s the real pain, rejection of self.

Anything growing needs roots down deep into the earth to support its growth, to give it nourishment as it opens to the sun, rain, wind and stars. And so it is with humans. We, too, must have strong roots, grounded in the earth, so that we are nourished with wisdom, the wisdom of the feminine principle, the wisdom of Sophia. With this available to us, we can marry this with our internal masculine and come into a more balanced harmony within.

I have found my heart can open, and stay open, even in the most difficult times, as long as I am rooted in the body, rooted down into the center of things. If I am to truly love another, and I’m not just talking about the other I’m in relationship with, but all beings, my love must come from this grounded place within my own body, within my open heart. When the body is grounded in the earth, the heart is held by the body, and the mind is held by the heart, clarity, compassion and sovereignty can flourish.

I must remember this now as I begin to voice the truth of my own experience and as I listen, with an open heart, to women and men voice theirs.

This is where our power resides as human beings. It is available to us when our open hearts are grounded in wisdom. Power that isn’t power to dominate, but power to all the love we have to give. The seed of our wisdom was planted long ago. It remains, simply waiting for us to turn and look within.

::

And, you?

I wonder what you’ve experienced? What have you learned about an open heart and wisdom? What lessons have relationship, loss, and death taught you? What journeys have you taken within? How has wisdom hungered to be known within you? I’d love to hear. I’d love to know what you’ve discovered down in the depths of your own body and in the openness of your heart

Julie Daley is a coach, creativity catalyst and consultant. She leads women out from under the shadow of others and into sovereignty, interdependence and joy. Find out more at UnabashedlyFemale.com.

Posted by Julie Daley on January 20th, 2010 in Personal Stories, Relationships, Spirituality | 1 comment Read related posts in , , , ,