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Entries in Relationship help (16)

Thursday
Oct062016

Facing The Dragon That Guards The Treasure 

Sarah was a treasure hunter searching for the most precious heirloom in the world. It was so rare that only ONE existed in the entire Universe. Long ago, she was given information from a wise guru that she was the only soul who could retrieve this treasure. He told her that it was impossible to move from its resting place unless her hands touched it. She knew this was her destiny, and it became her life long mission to find it. It was rumored that dragons sometimes attack people who search for such treasures, so she was wearing a large, heavy suit of armor to protect herself. Even though it was cumbersome and uncomfortable, she wore the armor just in case she came across any fire-breathing dragons.

Finally, after many years of searching, her journey was nearly complete. Just ahead through a narrow passageway, she could see the heirloom waiting to be discovered! She could hardly contain her excitement until she realized there was a big problem. In order to retrieve it, she would have to take off her armor to fit through the passageway. The opening was so narrow that there was no way to squeeze through it with the armor on. But she worried that the dragon was waiting on the other side protecting the treasure. What a predicament for her! Without the armor she could be badly burned or maybe even killed by the dragon. Yet, she wanted this treasure more than anything. What should she do? What would you do?

More often than not, we choose to play it safe and not take the risk (at least I do). We may rationalize this decision and convince ourselves that we really didn’t want the heirloom anyway. Or we may stand in front of the passage with our armor on for days, weeks, even years, feeling a tremendous yearning or inner conflict that will not subside. We really want it but we are afraid to go get it. What if we’re not capable? What if we fail? What if we are not worthy to receive it?

This dilemma is representative of arriving at a growing edge, when we are striving for something important in our lives. And standing there at that growing edge it becomes apparent that we will have to take a “risk” in order to proceed forward. Whether we want to attract more wealth, find a life partner, move into a new career/vocation, create a work of art, or whatever it may be, it is important to recognize that the goal or accomplishment we are seeking is NOT the heirloom. The actual heirloom is the new self that we must allow to emerge and express itself in the world. In other words, the real reason to strive for goals and accomplishments is to transform into a greater version of ourselves—to become (or realize) the person who can achieve it. The armor is the old self that we are afraid to shed, so we often just keep holding on to it. We believe that armor protects us and keeps us safe, but we cannot become the greater version of ourselves while still holding on to the old self.

But on rare occasions, usually when we just can’t stand to feel stuck anymore, we gather the courage to take off that armor and go through the passage. When we finally make it to the other side to retrieve that most precious treasure, we come face to face with that guardian dragon we feared so much, and it turns out to be a tiny lizard that couldn’t hurt a fly (well, actually they eat flies but you get my drift).

What is the greater version of you (the treasure) that wants to come forth and shine through? Are you ready to let go of that armor to make space for your greatness to blossom?

 

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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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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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Thursday
Sep102015

Grace Is a Knockin'--Will You Let Her In?

She loves to play hide-n-seek. But if you go searching for her, you won’t find her. If you try too hard she stays hidden in the shadows, just out of reach. And yet she is always there, knocking on your door in plain sight. Her gifts are more valuable than all the riches in the world and more powerful than nuclear bombs, yet they cost nothing and she bestows them with the lightest touch. The only way to receive her gifts is to drop the protective armor around the heart and provide the opening. She enters through the receptive heart—the door must be open. She knows exactly what you need and if you allow her, she will change your life.  It only takes one moment, this moment.

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