Real Love

Arjuna Ardagh is one of my favorite spiritual teachers.  I took the Awakening Coaching training with him and I absolutely loved it!

He published a new book in May of this year called “The Last Laugh.”  It falls into the genre of “visionary fiction”: a book that instructs while it entertains.  Shortly after it was published, I got the Kindle edition.  I thoroughly enjoyed it – to the point where I bought a hard copy as well.  It’s just so much easier to refer to page numbers and I have to say that I do like the feel of a paper book in my hands!

The protagonist, Matt Thomson, is at a rough spot in his life.  Due to a series of events, he meets Joey who is a sage and a teacher.. with a wild side!  Joey talks to Matt about “real love.”  This really spoke to me:

“Real love only gives; it seeks nothing in return.  Real love can only arise from knowing who you are.  When you recognize your own self to be limitless, then there is no sense of lack, no sense of limitation, there is only giving.  If you perceive yourself to be small, limited, only a name and a form, there must always be lack, always need, always a feeling of something missing.  When the heart is awake, it overflows.  When it sleeps, it lives in acquisition.”  (pages 87-88)

This reminder came to me at a perfect time in my life.  I’d just been feeling really let down by a friend who wasn’t meeting my needs the way I wanted.  This was a great wake-up call and I could see clearly that I was coming from a place of lack and scarcity.  Once I realized that, I could let go of my grasping, my neediness and my expectations.  That was so liberating!

Have you read “The Last Laugh”?  Can you relate to what Arjuna says about real love?  I’d love to hear what you have to say!

 

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Cultivating Shame about our bodies for profit… now for men, too!

As women, many of us are very critical of our bodies.  We have an idea of what we “should” look like, and the belief that we are not attractive unless we conform to the cultural stereotype of beauty.  I think this is starting to change and most of us realize that the models portrayed on the fronts of magazines have often been Photo-shopped.  We have been trying to live up to an impossible ideal.  Despite some increased awareness, millions and millions are dollars are made by companies who profit on perpetuating the belief that we need to look better in various ways.

In my experience, men tend to be more accepting of their bodies and don’t have the level of shame around them that many women do.  Well, guess what – now men are learning that there is something wrong with them too!  A local spa has been promoting hair removal for men with the slogan, “Because you’ll never hear a woman say, ‘I love a man in a fur coat.'”

I know someone who thinks her husband is totally hot – because he has a lot of body hair and is bald.  To her, that is desirable and attractive.  I think she would say that she DOES love a man in a fur coat!  But my point is that there is a profit to be made by planting the seed that there’s somehow something wrong with us that needs to be fixed.  Maybe it’s a hairy back.  Maybe it’s cellulite.  Maybe it’s gray hair.

Let’s raise our awareness and just say NO to profiting from cultivating shame about our bodies.  Let’s celebrate natural beauty, and be grateful for all the gifts our bodies give us.  When you think about it, it’s really quite miraculous!

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Tips for Safe and Successful Online dating

Online dating is one strategy for meeting people and, hopefully, actually getting out and dating!  If you’re new to online dating, or just want some pointers, you’ll want to listen to my radio interview with Ron Capocelli on “Get Relationships Right” on Web Talk Radio.  Ron is a fellow relationship coach and he and I are becoming good friends and colleagues!  You can learn more about Ron and what he does here:   http://inspiredcommitment.com/

And to listen to the radio show, here’s the link: http://webtalkradio.net/internet-talk-radio/2013/06/17/getting-relationships-right-tips-for-success-and-safety-in-online-dating/  We discuss many topics such as how to choose a site, some safety tips for the first few dates, choosing a user name and more.

You can download the show (at no cost) and listen to it on your iPod or mp3 player.  It’s just over 30 minutes long.

Enjoy!  🙂

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True Love – Part 3

This is my third blog about Daphne Rose Kingma’s book called “True Love: How to Make Your Relationship Sweeter, Deeper and More Passionate.”

The third section of Daphne Rose Kingma’s book is called “The Transformations of Love” and this is where she addresses the higher meaning of our loving relationships.  On page 140 she writes,

“… it [the relationship] is the coming together of two persons whose spirits participate with one another, beautifully and painfully, in the inexorable process of their individual becoming.

In this respect, relationships are like relentless grinding stones, polishing and refining us to the highest level of our radiance.  It is this radiance which is the highest expression of love — this is why a relationship is a spiritual enterprise.”

She talks in this section about the value of consoling one another as we are presented with life’s tragedies and challenges; how important forgiveness and tolerance are toward your beloved; and the value of consecrating your relationship by doing special rituals and meaningful observances.  I like how she talks about the nuts and bolts and the reality of being in a relationship which is not all sunshine and roses all the time!

I think this is a gem of a book.  If you can get a copy of it, I highly recommend it!

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True Love – Part 2

Yesterday in my blog I talked about having come across a wonderful treasure: Daphne Rose Kingma’s book called True Love: How to Make Your Relationship Sweeter, Deeper and More Passionate.

Today, in Part 2 I will share with you some of the highlights of the second section of the book called “The Practices of Love.”

In the “Love Yourself” chapter she says,

All too many of us consider love to be the miracle by which, finally, we will become complete human beings.  This is the fixer-upper notion of love, the idea that we are not all right as we are, but if we can just get loved by somebody, then that will prove we’re ok.”

The truth is that to love someone else, and to be loved, we have to love ourselves first.  She talks about loving yourself enough to be authentic: having the courage to say what you feel and ask for what you want.  She suggests ways to cherish your beloved – like criticizing only in private, behaving yourself in public and praising the ordinary.  Many times we are so focused on things from our point of view that we forget to be compassionate toward our partner and what he/she may be going through.  Another example of loving behavior is to depart and reunite with loving gestures.  I have a friend in her late 70’s and her husband is in his mid 80’s.   They greet each other with a hug and a kiss and when they part, they do the same.  So often it’s the small gestures that mean so much.  It’s easy to take our partner for granted but making time for loving actions goes a long way even after decades of marriage!

Tomorrow I will talk about the third section of True Love called “The Transformations of Love.”  Stay tuned!

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Listen to my Radio Interview!

I met Ron Capocelli, a relationship coach at www.inspiredcommitment.com at a coaching event recently, and he generously invited me to be interviewed on his internet radio show called “Getting Relationships Right.”  He and I had a lively discussion about various aspects of dating.  The theme was “Are you really ready to date?”

The discussion lasts for just over half an hour, and I invite you to listen here: http://webtalkradio.net/internet-talk-radio/2013/04/15/getting-relationships-right-are-you-really-ready-to-date/  You can also download it so you can listen on an mp3 player.

You’ll pick up some practical tips and get three foundational principles that will prepare you to stay sane in the dating game!

 

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"When Strangers Click: Five Stories from the Internet"

Last night I watched a film from 2011 called “When Strangers Click: Five Stories from the Internet” last night.  I found it fascinating.  It showcases five people and their experiences with meeting online.  Some of the stories are heartwarming; others show the pain of the dark side of online dating where people are not always who they seem to be.

What I like about this film is that it can give us hope: one couple who were overseas when they met actually married and have stayed together for 9 years.  At the same time, it’s realistic: one person had a very disheartening experience and continues to be single.  There is a wide range of experiences in this film – typical of people’s varied results with online dating.

I have to say that I marveled at the couple who met and developed a virtual relationship through Second Life ( “a free 3D virtual world where users can socialize, connect and create using free voice and text chat”).  It’s not for everyone, but it seemed to work for them.

What do you think about online dating?  Do you like how your world opens up to people you wouldn’t ordinarily meet in daily life – or do you prefer the old-fashioned way?  What are your concerns about online dating?  I’d love to get your comments!

 

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The Complexity of Desire

I just watched a most interesting TED talk by Esther Perel called “The secret to desire in a long-term relationship.”  Be prepared for about 20 minutes of intriguing questions and her thoughts on why it’s so challenging to maintain desire in a long-term relationship even when there is intimacy in other forms.

Perel says that we all have needs for security,predictability, safety, permanence,  and also for adventure, mystery, surprise and the unexpected – and reconciling these within a committed relationship can be extremely challenging.

There was one particular part of her talk that stood out for me.  I’m a big advocate of “first attention on self” so we are intentionally aware of what is going on internally.  This allows us to “be there” for another but not to lose ourselves.  Rather than focusing on the other as the source of desire:  “you turn me on when…” or “you turn me off when…” she has the listener be curious about “I turn myself on when…” or “I turn off my desires when….” and, conversely, “I turn myself on when….”  This is all about taking radical responsibility for oneself.  She points out that if you’re dead inside (or you hate your body, or you’re exhausted from work etc.) it doesn’t matter what anyone else does,  because she says, “There’s nobody at the reception desk!”

I’m curious about what you think.  Please post your comments below.  Here’s the talk:   http://on.ted.com/Perel

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7 Weeks to Attract the Love of your Life?

Katherine Woodward Thomas starts a live online Calling in “the One” course this evening.  I’m a Certified Calling in “the One” coach and I know how valuable this program is.  I have to admit that I feel a little uncomfortable with the claim “7 weeks to attract the love of your life.”  In the marketing it is implied that if you take this course, you will find your true love right away.   When I work with people, I like to clarify this a bit.  I can’t guarantee that you will find the love of your life in 7 weeks if you mean a beloved partner.  What you will gain after 7 weeks of this work is a much deeper insight into yourself.  You will learn more about your limiting attitudes and beliefs, you’ll learn some great communication skills and you will be much better prepared for love.  Yes, you will attract the love of your life… and the love of your life is YOU!

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Ambivalence

In her book “If I’m So Wonderful Why am I Still Single” Susan Page has involuntary single readers really examine any ambivalence they may have about being in a committed relationship. Most people who long for a relationship can come up with many benefits, but have you actually looked at what you anticipate you might lose if you were in one? There will be challenges – this is inevitable. Really being honest with ourselves and bringing up the pro’s and con’s will allow us to be more conscious about our choices, instead of being sabotaged by self-defeating behaviours.

Join me on Saturday January 26th for part 1 of a 3-part series in which we focus on this essential book for singles! Get more information on my Fireside Chats page.

Are you ambivalent about being in a committed relationship?  What would you gain?  What might you lose?  Which list is longer?  Please share your comments!

 

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