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Thursday
Jun092016

The Best Thing in Life is Not Free

Whoever said, “the best things in life are free” was dead wrong. One of those best things, LOVE, actually comes at an enormous price. No, we are not talking about diamonds and pearls, but something even more precious to us--our ego. The ego is in the business of keeping us separate from others rather than feeling connected, and it won’t allow us to have true empathy for another. It is concerned with reward (what’s in it for me?) and image (how will that look to others?) and protection (don’t be open or vulnerable) and will do everything it can to keep us from seeing the connection we share. The more the ego is running the show, the less capacity we have to genuinely love. But to tame that ego is one of the greatest challenges we face as human beings.

I was reminded of this recently when I felt hurt in my relationship by something relatively minor, but my ego wanted to make it a big deal. It kicked and screamed loudly, throwing a tantrum in my mind like a 3 year old. That is one of the ego’s specialties you know, making something very important/dramatic out of something so small. I allowed it to take me down a path of negativity, judgment, and projection for quite a while before turning it around. Ironically, I coach couples every day on the importance of repairing hurt as quickly as possible, and in this instance I failed to follow one of my own principles. To my ego I say, "You may have won that battle but you will definitely not win the war!"

I know LOVE will be victorious as long as I am willing to pay the price of that oh so precious ego.

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Wednesday
Mar092016

If Romeo and Juliet Had Lived....

Have you ever wondered what would have happened to Romeo and Juliet if they had lived? Would their burning love and desire for each other have lasted throughout their lives? Would they have frolicked in the fields, finished each other’s sentences, and made passionate love all the time? The answer is NO! Because their relationship was based on good old “romantic love,” I think it would have gone like this:

 

Romeo, Romeo where art thou my dear

I can’t live without you, please please come here.

Juliet, Juliet you’re the only one for me

I only feel alive when I am with thee.

Our dream has come true and we are complete

The love we have searched for is now at our feet.

 

(Fast forward 10 years)

 

Romeo, Romeo I can’t stand you near

You don’t do a thing and you bring me no cheer.

Juliet, Juliet stop calling me lazy

It’s your nagging and nagging that’s driving me crazy.

The dream has now ended because we can see

That you’re not the person, you were supposed to be.

 

But if Romeo and Juliet couldn’t do it, is a relationship filled with love and passion even possible? YES it is! And we are all capable and worthy of experiencing it. Yet, the relationship must be rooted in something deeper than romantic love. It is the One Love that comes from our Spirit and exists within each of us. Call it what you will, Higher love, Divine Love, Universal Love, etc., but it must be cultivated in our hearts so that we can see through the outer shell and behold the beauty within our beloved.  

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Saturday
Feb132016

Cupid Must Die!

In honor of Valentine’s Day it is time to lay Cupid to rest. He goes around shooting innocent folks with his bow and arrow, leaving them with uncontrollable desire and causing them to “fall” in love. But we should say goodbye because he is now doing more harm than good.

Now before all of you romantics enter into a deep state of grief, let me be clear I am not saying that romance should end. Romance adds spontaneity, excitement, passion, curiosity, etc., to relationships and should be exercised regularly. What I am saying is that our concept of romantic love needs to be discarded. We are still holding on to the idea that if we just find the right person, i.e. get pierced by Cupid’s arrow, then we will know how to love. Genuine love does not work that way. We must cultivate it from within (BTW-we all have an unlimited supply of it) and radiate it outward so that we are in love with life, with ourselves, with the Earth, with Humanity, and then include our significant other in that love. We cannot sit back and wait for love to find us because it is already here, waiting for us to peel back the layers of defenses and fears to let it shine through.

It is true that the experience of falling in love can have the effect of removing the layers, but as we all know this is temporary. At some point in a relationship our partner will begin to annoy us, no matter whom we are with. If we want to be loving people we must continue to develop the skill of setting the layers aside and returning to love, and I believe this is part of our life mission.

So Cupid, please lay down your bow and go quietly into the night. Don’t put up a big fight and make this hard on yourself. It’s the modern age my friend, and a bow and arrow won’t do you much good anymore. Thanks for your service and don’t worry, we already have a replacement for you—DIVINE LOVE. 

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Thursday
Nov122015

What Is Your Ultimate Dream as a Parent?

If you are a parent, what is your ultimate dream? I posed this question to myself recently and answered it in the form of a letter my daughter would write to me when she is an adult:
 
Dear Dad,
     I am so grateful for the father you have been to me. You allowed me to be myself and forge my own path in life, all the while supporting and loving me. I always knew you believed in me, even when I struggled or made mistakes. This helped me believe in myself and develop the inner strength needed to overcome challenges in my life. You were so easy to talk to because you listened intently to what I had to say, without forcing your opinion on me. I felt comfortable sharing things with you because I knew I wasn't being judged. When you made a mistake or got frustrated with me, you admitted it and were willing to apologize. When you had to say "no" you did it with kindness, and although I may have been outwardly frustrated I knew it was coming from love. Throughout your life I noticed how you took great care of yourself--physically, emotionally, and spiritually--so now I do the same.
      Your love and care for Mom showed me that relationships with significant others are meant to be supportive and nurturing, because I saw it firsthand. I remember you two expressing appreciation for each other often and quickly resolving your differences with respect when they arose. And most of all, through your example, I learned how to live an extraordinary life filled with love, joy, and success-unafraid to FOLLOW MY DREAMS. Thank you for being my father and for all you have instilled in me. 
 
Your Loving Daughter
 

 

Yes this vision is lofty, and I am certainly not on target all of the time, but I will continue to strive to make this dream my reality. This exercise was powerful because it has helped me to consider more often whether I am being the parent that would receive this letter. I will stop and ask myself, "Am I modeling these values? Am I being this type of parent?" If you are a parent, I encourage you to do the same exercise and see what arises. What is your dream letter that your child would write to you as an adult (or some point in the future if they are already an adult)? 

 

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Thursday
Oct012015

The Secret to Living an Extraordinary Life

Jacob was not satisfied with his life. Just about every aspect of life, including his marriage, work, friendships, etc., felt stale and stagnant. He couldn’t even remember the last time he felt excitement and passion for something. He had heard about a wise old sage that could answer burning questions, so he decided to seek his counsel. At the meeting with the sage Jacob presented his dilemma, “Dear Sage, I have heard that you are wise and can help answer important questions. I am not happy with my life and need guidance. I ask you, how can I live an extraordinary life? Is there a secret you can share with me?” The sage looked curiously at Jacob, pulled out a large crystal ball, and peered carefully into its center. A look of alarm suddenly appeared on the sage’s face as he replied, “Forget about living an extraordinary life. I have seen your future and you will be dead by tomorrow morning!”

Jacob dashed out the door and began sprinting toward home as fast as he could. On the way he couldn’t help but think of all the time he had wasted worrying about trivial matters. When he arrived, he fell to his knees in front of his wife and proclaimed, “My dear, I sought the wisdom of the sage and his crystal ball foretold that I will be dead in the morning.” They both knew this was their last day together so they opened their hearts, cried together, and allowed themselves to forgive all past grievances. They openly expressed their love for each other and felt gratitude for the journey they co-created in this life. There was no reason to fear getting hurt anymore so they were able to look deeply into each other’s eyes and feel an intimate connection.   

Jacob looked at his children and suddenly realized he had been placing unnecessary expectations on them to be a certain way. Knowing this would be his last time with them, he let go of all the expectations and just loved them fully in the moment, and they played, laughed, and hugged each other for hours. He stayed up as long as he could because he wanted to make this night last, until finally falling asleep.

The next morning Jacob woke up and was surprised to be alive. He ran back to the home of the sage, burst through the door and exclaimed, “I am still alive! How could this be? Was the crystal ball mistaken?” The old sage looked at him and calmly replied, “You asked for the secret to living an extraordinary life. The crystal ball was not mistaken. It gave you the answer you were seeking.”

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