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Entries in communication problems (11)

Sunday
Sep182016

Don't Make the Mistake of Tolerance in Your Relationship

One of the biggest mistakes we can make in our relationships with significant others is to sit back and wait for a problem to surface, struggle with it for a long time, and then decide to try and get help with it. Another version of this is to gradually become disconnected and wait until we feel miles apart to try and reconnect. The problem with this is that the longer we stay in a rift, the more challenging it is to repair and reconnect. I have found that it is so much more effective to be proactive, continuing to nurture connection and intimacy so that the problems do not become so large and difficult to manage. Being proactive can take many forms, such as reading books about relationships together, taking personal or couple retreats, participating in workshops/classes, scheduling time to connect, going to couples therapy for a check up, learning new communication tools, or any other form of growth-oriented activity that deepens connection.

Many of us have gotten so good at tolerating friction and feeling disconnected that it becomes the norm. So I urge you, no more tolerance of so much strain or even mediocrity in your relationship. Time to take action now!

We still have a few spots left on our upcoming Relationship Tune Up Workshop. If you are interested in deepening your connection with your partner, please visit http://www.theenlightenedmind.net/workshops-and-events/   for more information.

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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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Friday
May082015

After the Fight--3 Steps to Reconnect

We are very likely going to hurt each other in relationships, and I don’t know if there is a way to avoid it. Therefore, the ART of reconnecting and repairing after emotional pain becomes a crucial component in a long term, loving relationship. Much of the time our repair attempts are incomplete or outright fail, and a true reconnection with our partner is not established. We then hold on to anger or resentment (sometimes unconsciously) and slowly begin to drift apart. It may even get to the point that we are irritated by almost anything our partner does.

In order to prevent this from happening, a complete reconnection must be established any time feelings have been hurt. This means that we must be able to look into our partner’s eyes and feel authentic love and appreciation for them again. If we don’t feel that way yet, then we haven’t fully repaired the connection. It is essential that we do not stop until full reconnection is achieved so we don’t hold on to the past. This process is not about solving a problem or negotiating something. For example, if the original conflict arose over a dispute over who would do the dishes, this conversation is not about figuring that out. It’s about repairing the emotional damage that occurred in the dispute. Once reconnection is established, you can then more effectively discuss the issue of dishes. 

Creating a formula for reconnection is tricky because it is an art form, and it may look different each time. However, there are 3 key steps that are present in most successful endeavors:

Step 1-Readiness/Willingness

Ask yourself the question, “Am I ready and willing to move toward reconnection?” This requires an honest self-assessment as to your emotional state and willingness to engage in a meaningful way. This does not mean that you must feel completely healed already. You may still feel some pain, but you have moved past being immersed in blame and defensiveness. If you are not at this point of readiness it usually does little good or causes even more harm to attempt. If you do make an attempt and realize you are becoming too reactive, it is best to shelve it for a period and come back when you feel ready again. 

Step 2 – Ownership/Responsibility

In your mind and heart you must accept full ownership of your feelings and your contribution to the situation, and this must be reflected in any words you use. If even the slightest hint of blaming your partner comes through, it will likely derail the situation.  When words are required, it is best to speak more about yourself and your experience and very little about your partner.  This is not to say that you should blame or criticize yourself either; this prolongs the process as well. If an apology feels appropriate, which in some cases is not, be certain it is heartfelt-no hollow apologies! When it is sincere you will feel it deeply and only need to say it once.

Step 3 – Forgiveness

This last step is arguably the most challenging and misunderstood of them all. It involves a true letting go of the emotional pain/attachment around the situation and the ability to have compassion for your partner at the same time. The way you feel is the barometer as to whether you have reached the level of forgiveness. You will be able to look at your partner and feel authentic love and appreciation again. Just like an apology, contrived forgiveness is not effective. If you are not at that level yet, let that be OK for now because it cannot be forced. However, each day you can make a conscious choice to keep moving toward it. In a quiet state of mind, ask yourself questions such as:

What am I afraid will happen if I forgive?

Do I have to continue holding on to this?

How much am I willing to forgive in this moment?

 

And remember, don’t stop until you reach the freedom and glory that true forgiveness offers.

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