On Intimate Love

On Intimate Love

You can only be loved to the degree that you love.  You can only love to the degree you love yourself.

If I could give intimate love an image, I would see zillions of gold fibres in an elaborate matrix.  Each of these fibres would have emerged from a shared experience – first kiss, first fight, sex, joint decisions  – in other words, every experience you have had together has formed a bond that creates a strong, permanent but invisible connection. 

This matrix is complex in that it interconnects with all of the matrices of all previous relationships.  There are fibres that have lost their luster, fibres that are frayed, and fibres that are tangles and knotted.  These damages are experienced as emotional pain – fear, insecurity, anxiety, depression, anger, shame and guilt.

Becoming consciously aware of who you are and how you are ‘gold-fibered’ is required for a healthy relationship with yourself.  Your relationship with yourself needs to be one of compassion, patience, acceptance and love.  While this is a lifetime process, just being in the process prepares you for healthy relationships with others. Otherwise you will spend valuable time trying to get your partner to untangle threads that are unseen and unknown to both of you.  In other words, you may struggle to get your unmet needs met so that you can feel loved.  That is not the purpose of love.  The purpose of love is to join together to heal and become the best version of yourself and assist your loved ones to do the same.

In my book, Growing Home – A Lifetime Process of Self-Awareness and Transformation, I describe what I see as the difference between love and a Desperate Need for Connection (DNC).

Most of our romantic and intimate relationships have a component of DNC, which leads to co-dependence and struggle. DNC behaviours are based on hurt, fear, anger, impatience, frustration and judgment. The root of this experience is in your earliest formations within your family of origin.  Most of us have damaged matrices from those times.

To move from a DNC experience into a process of learning how to love in a mature and healthy way requires time, patience, courage and insight.  Discovering and healing the tangles and frays that exist within you will bring you an experience of love that you may never have known.  

As your awareness increases you will have the capacity to learn how to love yourself.  This will help you to untangle many of those gold fibres that have been hurting you for so long. 

Think of your partner and remember a time when you were arguing.  Close your eyes and imagine it is happening right now.  Observe what happens within you.  Does the argument have something to do with requiring the other person to be responsible for what you want or need? - to see things your way?  - to do things your way?  - to care about your feelings more than their own? – to treat you a certain way?  If so, you are practicing DNC not love.

Whatever we do, think or focus on gets stronger.  You do not want DNC stronger because the stronger it gets the more you will hurt and the more damage you do to your own gold fibers and the fibers of your loved ones.

Focus on love of self and love of others.  I invite you to read my book to help you get started.  In the meantime:

- Practice being loving and compassionate with yourself, no matter what and,

- Choose gratitude to help you to be mindful of what really matters to you.

Love is deep and permeates your whole being and then radiates to everyone around you.  You will love it!























Power Struggles Don’t Work!

Growing Home: End Your Inner And External Wars

Do you fight with your loved ones?
Are you afraid of others’ judgment?
Are you impatient when others disturb you?
Are you self-critical?
Are you critical of others?
Do you worry?
Do you tend to want things your way?
Do you think you should get your own way with your kids?
Join the human race!  We are busy, stressed and often impatient because we believe we don’t have enough time to live.  We get frustrated because we want life to be easier!
Our brains get caught up in this chaos and we end up feeling helpless and frustrated that we can’t find ways to be more effective as parents, partners, friends, colleagues and people.  We often feel badly about how we are handling things and can get quite down on ourselves.
Our daily frustrations can start to feel like daily battles.  Family atmospheres can be pretty tense.  In fact the environments in families, offices and communities can feel toxic and even like war zones given the level of fear and defeat that exist. 
What is your first response when your child refuses to get in the car?  Or when your spouse forgets something important to you?  Or when your colleague doesn’t get things done on time?
We live in an ‘Us against Them’ world.  When politicians disagree they take sides against each other and we join them in that duality instead of seeing someone with differing views as a valid human-being worthy of respect and esteem.  On a personal level when something frustrating or annoying happens we often assume the worst and we can lash back – even if it is an unknown person like a fellow driver.
Energy that is used against another person is a type of war energy.  In war mentality we defend and offend in order to have some sort of power over another.  In our relationships, we put on our protective gear (defensiveness, silence, excuses, and/or refusal to listen) and pull out our weapons (anger, impatience, criticism, judgment, stonewalling and/or condemnation). When engaging in this kind of a dynamic we hurt ourselves and we hurt the other, even when we don’t intend to do so.
Humans are very skilled at keeping a focus on threats to survival.  In fact, we are so skilled we see threats when there are none.  And when we can’t find threats, we make them up -  “I know he did that to get back at me” or “I know she thinks I am stupid!”
Why do we do that?
We are wired to keep our focus on danger in order to keep safe. The moment we enter the world we immediately sense what is safe and what is not and we learn to respond accordingly.  As a result, our negative mind becomes overdeveloped and fear becomes our constant companion.  We actually learn to believe that listening to fear will keep us safe.  For example, “if I do that presentation my colleagues will know I don’t know enough, so I just won’t do it.”  This fear-based thinking is at the root of much of our anxiety, impatience, fear, lack of confidence and low self-esteem.
Does fear keep us safe?
The short answer is no.  Avoiding the presentation will only reinforce your lack of self-confidence.  It might give you the impression of safety since you feel better not exposing yourself.  Avoiding something only gives fear dominion over you and how you live.  Presenting to colleagues can give you a chance to overcome your fear, share your knowledge and be of service to others.
The negative mind is designed to be aware of actual threats.
In the beginning of time when the bison stampeded, people were alerted by their intuition that danger was imminent. Because they trusted their intuition, they would have time to prepare for the threat.  We are still able to detect subtleties but have become hypersensitive to things that are not actually dangerous.  Also we take things personally and feel in danger as a result.  For example a person recently told me “my boss didn’t speak to me all day and I could feel the anger coming at me – I am terrified I am in trouble and I think I am going to lose my job.”  This person’s radar may have been accurate but he may not have been using his intuition to determine if there was a real threat.  The boss’s state of mind may have had nothing at all to do with him. 
Our minds are deeply affected when we use war-like words such as furious, terrified, or powerless.   When our minds hear those words we physiologically prepare for a war and the ‘fight, flight or freeze” response kicks in.  This will be felt as anxiety, anger, terror or panic.
We have habituated to our fear states in a way that no longer serves us and in fact can create danger for us.
To add fuel to our inner fires we witness our world at war on an hourly basis – and I don’t limit that to the actual killings and torment that prevail, I mean the wars we wage against people we label as threats and the internal wars we wage against ourselves.
Here are some examples that you may relate to….
In me against others:
If my child doesn’t obey me I have to show who is boss.
If I keep track of all the errors, my spouse will change
If I give into pressure others will walk all over me
I can’t stand it when my spouse…
If only my boss would…
What is wrong with him/her?
How stupid can you be?
What an asshole!
In me against myself:
If I do that, people will think there is something wrong with me
If I tell people how I really feel they won’t want me
If I don’t get that promotion people will think I am a failure
If I don’t get this done then I am in real trouble
If I don’t agree with my friends they will ostracize me
What if my others don’t like me?
If I don’t do this perfectly people will think…
… the list is endless.
We create stories and scenarios in our heads that we believe and that keep us locked in fear.  All of the thoughts above are made up and when they are made up, the person inventing the story believes it fully.
The Donald Trump era is the most graphic example of how our fellow citizens-of-the-world turn against each other.  People turn their attention and spend their time on social media to load up their arsenals against Trump by finding proof upon proof of his inadequacies.  Don’t get me wrong, I have no confidence in his presidency but I refuse to let myself be a hater because that puts me at war with him and within myself.
Just because I don’t agree with someone does not mean I have to be at war.  When someone is different we tend to close our hearts and begin the process of self-protection.  This could be against Trump but it can also be your friend, spouse, colleague or child.
Think about this – the last time your spouse did something that annoyed you – what did you feel and how did you handle it?  Or substitute your child, friend, sibling, or parent – did their behavior feel threatening to you?  Did you respond by fighting?
Why do people fight with one another?  We fight when we want our own way or when we disagree because fighting is the primary way we have been taught to achieve influence.  Is it possible to disagree without fighting, without hurting others?  Is it possible to disagree and not make the other person your enemy?  Is it possible for you to stay safe by keeping your heart open rather than fighting, shaming, defending and judging?
Please do some soul searching. It is not just aggression that creates a war-like atmosphere.  Self-defending is usually done in response to a perceived threat. Giving someone the silent treatment is a form of aggression.  None of us are innocent.
From a psychological and yogic perspective the only way to have influence and to maintain a sense of safety is by keeping open.  Our hearts and minds need to be wide open so that we can intuit when something is an actual threat.  When communicating with loved ones, unless they are abusive, we need to listen and care about their perspective.  Love is about being able to tolerate the differences and care about the person who may feel like a threat to you but is actually a person who needs your understanding, love and patience.
Is it possible for you to keep your heart open when you are irritated, afraid, impatient, judgmental and angry? 
Let’s have some discussion around this.  I invite you to give some examples of where this has been difficult for you and how you would like to find new ways of being in relationship that keep you and your loved ones safe.
What if we actually believed that everyone was a valuable human soul and not an enemy?
Imagine if our goal in relationship was wanting the other person to feel safe in your presence.  What would you have to do to make that possible? 

Growing Home

Dear Reader,

Welcome to my new website designed to highlight my book Growing Home – A Lifetime Process of Self-Awareness and Transformation.

The intention of my work is to guide you toward the discovery of your true self so that you can become the person you are intended to become.

I just finished reading Liane Moriarty’s book, What Alice Forgot, about a woman who suffers amnesia and cannot remember anything about the past 10 years of her life.  She has no idea she has 3 children and can only remember being madly in love with her husband.  She quickly learns that she is in the middle of a divorce, which she cannot fathom. She has no idea of how life has taken her from being a carefree, loving young woman to an uptight, status driven, superficial woman.  She remembers how she could see only the goodness in her husband but became a wife that could only see what aggravated her.  Sound familiar?

This gradual darkening of the human spirit can happen when we are not living consciously.  We believe that love is our entitlement.  We are brainwashed to believe that we deserve to have everything we want.  We can get lost in a sea of demands and expectations that eclipse our soul’s purpose.  If we are busy getting ahead in life by working too hard, buying too much and trying to prove we are special, we have our focus on a path to misery.  We are told that having the right dress size, the best car, the biggest house and an important job will ensure life’s happiness.  These are false premises appearing to be real.  

Rather we are all born with an inner light that is meant to shine and light our path towards making a difference in the lives of others.  My book describes what happens to diminish the light and send us on wild goose chases in pursuit of happiness.  It also describes how to go about finding the path you are meant to be on.  To find this path may mean going against the grain, which is not for the faint of heart.  To thrive in life we need courage and we need support along with many other important ingredients like the ability to love and be loved.

Yes that is correct – the ability to love and be loved.  Contrary to popular opinion this ability needs to be nurtured, developed, tested and challenged over and over again in order to be strong and durable.   I believe we are born with the template to give and receive love.   During early childhood, depending on the circumstances, we become self-protective, self-gratifying, and self-aggrandizing which are all counter to the act of love.  Loving requires a solid base of self-knowing, self-respect, self-trust and self- compassion.  Receiving love requires the capacity to be vulnerable and to accept acts of kindness and compassion with equanimity and humility.

Growing Home is about healing the wounds that prevent us from loving and being loved.  It is about remembering that inner template, the pure light of the soul, and bringing it back to life.  

My goal in life is to have the capacity for unconditional love.  That starts with learning the way of loving and honouring myself as I am in the here and now. I intend to be my best self at every given moment and I need to develop an acceptance that my best is not always what I am hoping for.  That acceptance in the here and now is key to my continued growth.  If I am rejecting and judging myself, my energy will be used to continually defend myself with guilt and shame.  Guilt and shame are toxic energies.  Self-compassion, on the other hand, will gently guide me towards the healing and generating the capacity to live in joy.

As I work on the process of self-acceptance I find myself more able to accept others without judgment.  In today’s world that is a tall order because we live in a world where hate and fear are the fuels used by Power Seekers such as politicians, corporations and terrorists to get us to feel dissatisfied with our lives so that we are compelled to vote, spend, rage, hide, ignore our fellow humans’ suffering, turn to pornography, substance abuse and control over others.  This cycle of suffering is perpetuated by more fear and hatred.

Love is the antidote to suffering.  We are told by the hierarchical systems that love is Walt Disney/Oprah/Pollyanna soft, weak and meaningless.  Imagine if you were living on a planet where all humans were considered sacred and you arrived on earth.  You discover that earthlings need superiority and power over other earthlings and that the people who are granted power have money and they get to decide who gets taken care of.  If the earthlings are white they are safer and have more chance at getting what they want.  If they are white males they are even safer.  Better still, if they can play a sport professionally or be an actor they get paid millions of dollars but the people who teach the children are given low salaries.  You would also marvel at the earthlings’ understanding of love.   You would see that they are very confused and mistake real love for the infatuation portrayed in Hollywood.  You may even be surprised to learn that earthlings, in spite of religious teachings, and attempts at creating healthy marriages and families, don’t really know what love is.

There is no school system, that I am aware of, that teaches the skills of loving such as open-hearted communication, self sacrifice, self honouring, respect, kindness, listening skills, equality, reverence, and how to encourage and elevate others.  We want it.  We strive towards achieving it but we keep getting disappointed when our attempts fall short.

Growing Home is about returning to the potential of your soul to live in a state of love.