My dog ate a ten-dollar bill in the prosperity corner of my house today. I will get to the relevance of this canine maneuver in a minute. Let me first pose our ASK MARYANNE question which is, “When I ask someone I just met an important question, like ‘Are you married?’
My mother told me I was lucky if I could count all my real friends on one hand! Must have been fifteen or so years ago now, when it occurred to me after a string of disappointing intimate relationships that maybe she was right—again.
To an outsider looking in, it must appear that our dating culture is based around monetary worth. And that’s not too far from the truth – we use money as a tool not only for dating, but for hanging onto a relationship that might otherwise fall apart.
While most of us have developed various coping mechanisms and strategies for dealing with blustery situations, including confrontation, therapy, drinking heavily, freaking out, leaving, and divorce, the pink elephant is quite a different animal!
There are literally hundreds, if not hundreds of thousands of ways we can behave, things we can do that could be considered loving. Yet it is from where the gesture comes that distinguishes the loving act from the empty gesture. What good, for example, is it
Love it when you send me questions! Here’s a recent one.
Hello there, I hope you can help me,
I live in Ireland and I met a girl a few weeks ago whom I like. I asked her out and she said she couldn't ‘cause she has a child and couldn’t get a sitter, so she invited me around
This week is about exploring and embracing your passion, even if it scares you! Listen to the Italians who know a lot about passion, especially when it comes to the “f” words; food, family and friends. Take their lead and spend some time
I can remember getting what for me was my first big break in my budding media career. I squealed with delight when the producer called from a popular syndicated radio show asking to interview me. My heart pounded, my mouth went dry
I’ll have one fabulous relationship; hold the full spectrum of unpleasant human emotion please!” Used to be, it could bring me to the edge when anyone would tell me to “calm down” or “just relax.” “OH, you think THIS is upset? Well, you haven’t seen
Seventy-eight million of us baby boomers who grew up in United States during the 1970s remember this slogan as an iconographic hallmark from the feminist movement, an unofficial benchmark signifying that women were emancipated and free (if you considered smoking and wearing pants
- Unavailable partners
- Feeling like you’re not a priority or valued by your partners
- Attracting men who are not interested in commitment
- Not interested in or attracted to men who show you lots of interest
- Attracting partners who don’t treat you well
- Feeling unworthy of the relationship of your dreams
- Feeling tired of dating people who aren’t a good match and ready to give up on love
First, this is a rant, not a blog. I hope you will indulge me anyway. There are few things I feel more passionate about, and I know I am not alone. Having been a single mom for over ten years, I know so many of you can, do and will relate. And I must warn you, it’s rated R, so I apologize in advance for any offense that may occur. Here we go… Remember the wave of abortion clinic bombings in the 1990? These acts of domestic terrorism remain a scourge on our national identity, and according to the most recent National Clinic Violence Study, a shocking 20 percent of clinics still report experiencing “severe violence,” including arson, bombings, chemical attacks, and gunfire.
A few years ago, according to Maria Sudekum Fisher, with the Associated Press: Scott Roeder had confessed publicly before the trial and admitted again on the witness stand that he shot Dr. George Tiller in the head in the foyer of the Wichita church where the doctor was serving as an usher. He testified he felt the lives of unborn children were in “immediate danger” because of Tiller. WICHITA, Kan. — A man who said he killed one of the most prominent abortion providers in the U.S. in order to save the lives of unborn children was convicted Friday of murder. The jury deliberated for just 37 minutes before finding Scott Roeder, 51, of Kansas City, Missouri, guilty of premeditated, first-degree murder in the May 31 shooting death of Tiller. Roeder faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
No words can suffice for the tragic loss to the Tiller family. I can barely imagine how difficult and painful it must be to lose someone in this way. And as I sit and contemplate, I notice my own prejudice arise. Curious in the midst of this horror, I wonder why we curse the symptom and not the problem, or at least the propaganda.
Instead of spending our hard-earned money to fight what has now become a political issue rather than a moral one, why don’t we suck it up and deal with the real issues? One of which is staring us ALL in the face. Instead of killing the messenger, let’s look at the truth. We scream “Pro Life” instead of “Pro Dad.” Maybe women would stop getting so many abortions if certain men (millions and millions of them) stepped up to the plate and actually took responsibility for dipping their wicks every time the urge came along—and if women stopped using their bodies to lure men into relationships because of their own insecurity and low self-esteem. Perhaps that would be a start. Then, maybe, as a culture we would all be able to see the catastrophic effect our ignorance and/or narcissism is causing us all. Perhaps then we would recalibrate with our inner wisdom, which clearly points towards sex as a sacred act and parenting as a privilege, one which lasts FOR BOTH PARENTS for up to eighteen years. Translated: you PLAY, YOU STAY, and YOU PAY. Perhaps if we were all more honest we would stop using abortion as birth control and address the underlying issues that motivate us to use sex as a means to an end.
The primary reason we have the urge to merge is to procreate, but the absent-father syndrome in this country tells me this is not common knowledge—or perhaps some of the very men themselves, I suspect, propagate Pro Life, as smoke and mirrors maybe, when they really don’t give a shit.
So I say unless you unless you have yanked your uterus, tied up your boys, or live in alignment with the universal truth that we are each responsible for EVERYTHING in our own reality—including how children are raised and who they become as a result of your choices—I call bullshit and say let’s start a real campaign:
NEWS FLASH~ America goes Pro DAD.
Men throughout the United States are suddenly becoming awake and aware of the awesome responsibility it is to have SEX. They are coming in droves to realize that a father’s role is to personally escort their children into the world, into relationship with the other, and into how to survive, understanding that a mother teaches the children how to love themselves. They are seeing that TOGETHER parents create an environment where the child is respected, safe and witnessed for their unique magnificence. (Apart, the single mother is deficient in her ability to emotionally and physically accommodate the child’s most basic human needs.) Not every sex act needs to result in a child; both men and women are realizing it is EVERYBODY’S responsibility to be clear on why they are doing what they most assuredly are doing! Abortion rates have dropped to an historic low.
What year will we be able to read that?
He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me… and her too? I can’t tell you how many times friends or clients have complained about their disenchanting, painful encounters with “leakers.” Men and women who seem so great at first, almost to good to be true and then…wham, bam, ouch, waah… What’s a leaker, you ask? Or maybe you already know. Maybe you are one. For those who don’t, it’s a term I adopted from my father, tweaked and used liberally when appropriate. It describes someone who leaks their sexual energy—and not in a “good way”; someone who wants you to want them, who enjoys and prefers the chase, the hunt, the rush and the kill. Sounds messy eh? Oh, yeah. It can lure even the sweetest, most naïve person to sell their precious soul for just a taste. They will lead you on, bark up your tree, pursue you like you have never been pursued, woo you up the highest mountain. They are often incapable of intimacy, married or already in one or several relationships because they need so much attention, are narcissists or just flat out want to hump and dump you because…they can.
Leakers move like liquid chocolate, envelop you with their smoldering languid glances, devour you with their luscious smiles, seduce you with their choreographed confidence until you beg to drown a slow death in exchange for just a sip.
It’s that irresistible something you can’t put your finger on, but you want to be near or keep coming back for more of, ‘cause its feels sooooo good. She’s the seductress, the hedonist, the junkie; he’s the shadow hissing and whistling, cat-calling you like an ancient siren that renders you deaf, dumb and blind to their intention—which is to eat you up and spit you out. If you have low, loads, or no self-esteem, no matter; the leaker’s pull is like a vortex few can withstand as our hearts ache and long for what the shadow only pretends to bring…never-ending passion.
Steamy…right! Yeeeesssss, it’s the best. I mean, come on, who doesn’t want to be the object of that kind of rapture at least once (or once in a while)? I liken leakers to sharks; they command a certain awe, are certainly powerful and dangerous (which is exciting and could, in fact, render me senseless). The difference is, there is no doubt in my mind about whether or not I jump in a shark tank. For all you shark divers—pick another metaphor!
The deal with leakers is knowing how to tell them from the likers. Unless you are a leaker junkie and have no intention of quitting. For the rest of you, here are a few tips that will help you navigate the dangerous waters of telling the leakers from the likers.
- The first time you meet a leaker he/she will make you feel like you are the most special person in the whole world, forgetting where you are, as if you are the only two people in the whole room/train/dance club/world. You might never eat or sleep again, or at least will check your email (VM, whatever) 10 times an hour to see if they called, twittered, pinged you. Like a crack addict waiting for his junk. VS: The first time you meet a liker you feel curious, a subtle yet particular interest to know more; you recognize their personal boundary and respect it, feel their reciprocal awareness of you but are not overwhelmed by it. You are left with a warm feeling.
- The leakers leave you feeling insecure. VS: The likers leave you feeling good about yourself.
- The leaker’s affection isn’t exclusive to you and you start to wonder what you are doing wrong or what is wrong with you that you can’t keep their attention. VS: The liker behaves this particular way in your presence alone, cordial and social to others but qualitatively different.
- The leaker moves fast. VS: The liker isn’t in a hurry; they know what they want and will wait.
- Leakers are exciting but get bored and indifferent easily. VS: Likers are more like a slow burn, not so quick to jump, they ramp up, like the buildup, and are into sustainability.
- Leakers have a rep for being, well, leakers; cheaters, players, have problems with commitment, etc. VS: Likers have a history of trial and error, like most, but have a track record of longevity and heart and partner(s) who’ll vouch for it.
So, whether you are a leaker trying to quit, tired of getting leaked on, or simply satisfied to finally find a name for those folks who do that thing they do—there you go. And after all these years on my own path I can safely say I keep a healthy distance from the shark tank, however fascinating they are. As the saying goes; look, don’t touch! A little goes a long way!
Remember the Bachelor? Not to rake him some more, its just that hes such an easy target, poor thing. Heres a guy, who thinks and unfortunately tells two different women hes in love with them both, and yeah does it in front of the whole worldwhich leads me to the conclusion hes not so bright, or simply has no idea what love is. His head or his heart, he laments never considering the third and more obvious optionhis Johnson. Thats right, his gender defender, his wiener ultimately making decisions that later on he will pay for. Boner after boner trying to interpret these strong chemical feelings along with an overriding guilt about a little boy whose mother leaves his dad, which is rare. He cries, torn between his head and his other head. Enter the victim, Melissa, setting herself up, hoping this time rejection will be a distant land rather than her own default. While the other gal, forgot her name, sits and waits patiently for her spell to work, filing her claws. Melissa, the perfect mother for his kid, warm and soft, self-sacrificing as most victims are; versus the viper, the seductress, interested only really in herself and what she will get, cold and aloof, who lures him in with her sexuality. Its textbook. The Madonna/whore syndrome. Duh. Neither one will last. I sit, seeing what I see. Knowing what I know about relationships. And I wait, not to be right, but wait hoping someone will wake up. While we are at it, ladies, what are you thinking? Where did the first baby mama go and did you really drop in with his family?? Hellooo. These are huge red flags. If you both werent so busy trying to win (Melissa love, the other one just to win), you would notice that this man has said in the span of days that he is in love with two women, gives his word to spend the rest of his life with one and then on a dime blows her off, kicks her to the curb and follows his other head toward certain disaster.
I promise. That relationship is doomed to fail. Not because they arent right for each otherthey probably deserve each otherbut because of the obvious: This is a guy clearly has a BAD picker. The mother of his child left him, left her little baby boy? How often does this happen that a guy picks a bad mom unless he is ***-ed up? How many moms leave their kids? Come on, its not the rule. He likes the abusive type of women. The self-centered control freak. That what turns him on, as they say. The way I have it is, thats what love looks like for him and his penis had a stronger reaction to this pattern recognition than to the sweet victim type which he has no pattern recognition for. But she has a vagina and therefore he figured he could take the high road and secure a baby mama, and do the right thing. And this isnt the first time he has made a mess of things in televisionhe was rejected before.
Enough about my psychobabble, lets just break it down like this. Here he is, torn he thinks between two completely different women and even archetypes. The victim and the narcissist. One girl will love him too much, the other will never be had. Hes thinking, This ones good for me, the other one I desire. Neither of which are about love, rather they are about wants and needs.
When we are in our early twenties its a time of self-exploration, What do I like, not like, why am I here, what will I do, who will I be? Me me me. Its natural and an important phase of psychological development. Its often associated with high drama, pain and lots and lots of lessons. At some point you start to make the shift from I to we, around age 28 usually. Not that folks cant be happy before that, or find true love. Its just that when we are unaware of who we are, what phase we are in, and are aimlessly led through life by our unattended wounds, we generally are people who recreate their family dynamics over and over again until we wake up and self-inquire. Make the distinctions between who we are, who we are not, and what we want. Otherwise, as I said, the behavior is predictable and, honestly, frustrating to watch (having been there myself, I want to scream and say, Hey, cant you see what you are doing!) The answer is almost always sadly no. Unless someone has a strong desire to seek the truth.
Being on a spiritualor whatever you want to call it, self-improvement or developmentpath is the road less traveled as it requires facing yourself, being responsible, self-inquiry, and so on. Without which we dont progress beyond the narcissistic egoic stage I mentioned before. More to the point we dont really get what we long for, we dont find true love, as it will always elude the ego. It can never be had from there.
What I am saying (and I know, in long run-on busy sentences) is that is that love is not a feeling, its a verb. Its a state of being. It doesnt choose one person over another and it does NOT have a shelf life. I have said, like our bachelor, I love you, many times. Depending on where I was at in my life it meant different things. It meant I need you, I am glad you care about me, please love me back, lets have sex, dont ever leave me, and on and on. Until I grew upwhich is a choice I get to make every day, by the way. To be mature and responsible. And practice the art of loving. Starting with me. We cant give what we dont have, people. All you have to do is look at your life to see the truth of it.
So why not go for the good stuff? Love yourself first, learn about yourself, who you are. What your unique contribution is in life. What your gifts and strengths are. And in the meantime honor every persons path you cross as a precious opportunity to contribute something to each others lives, rather than being so interested in what youre going to get. This is a true element of love. Either way, youll always be true to yourself!
I heard Dr. Laura recently talking about how our kids are spoiled, entitled and have no respect. It made me think; where, as a culture, did we cross the line, folks? I would never have behaved that way as a kid—most of us wouldn’t have dared. Plain and simple, my father was scary and I respected him. He was the boss of the house and that was that. That’s just the way I was raised. Now we have the other extreme; the parents who are so permissive and indulgent that our kids have gone wild and are out of control.
Once I was in a parking lot and a whole pack of kids practically jumped in front of my car, leaving me no choice but to slam on my brakes. At first I thought, They’re kids, they’re not paying attention, but then one of them flipped me off while the others silently glared, no less culpable in my book. I immediately felt outraged on top of feeling so blatantly disrespected, never mind that if I hadn’t seen them in time I could have hurt or even killed one or more of them. My son ducked down, because he knew I was upset and begged me not to say or do anything, but I felt like I couldn’t help myself. I snapped. I had for the last time taken it from some punk kid. I just had to do something.
So we parked and headed into the Subway sandwich joint, my son reluctantly following me (he was 10 at the time), and walked right up to the kid who was standing in line with his little entourage. And said, “Excuse me,” No response. “Excuse me?” He finally turned around and stared at me. By the way, there was a line out the door. My heart was pounding, I was so incensed. I said, “Did your parents teach you to behave so disrespectfully?” He tried to blow me off and turn around. I said, “I would love to meet the parents who raised a kid to not only walk in front of a 6,000-pound moving vehicle, but one that’s so rude as to flip me off as if I had done something to deserve such disrespect.” He rolled his eyes.
I said, “What you do when a car takes care to stop to let you go ~ which apparently you didn’t know, which I am going to now teach you? When someone lets you go across in front of them, particularly when you are not in a crosswalk, you give a courtesy nod or a wave, like thanks. You don’t flip someone off.” He rolled his eyes. “And just so you know, I am not leaving until you apologize.” Folded my arms and stood there waiting. My son looked like he wanted to evaporate. Oh, and I was loud! All the other people in line got really quiet, even the helpers behind the counter. We were all waiting by then. He muttered something sarcastic under his breath; his friends were muffling their laughs. I stood there and said it again; “I am not leaving until you apologize. Your behavior is unacceptable and I am not leaving.” By then, I was more upset that this kid was going to go on in life thinking that that was any way to treat people, and I would take a stand for him becoming a better version of himself.
He gave in and gave me a weak apology, and then the most surprising thing happened. Everyone who was witnessing this started clapping and whistling! I got chills all over as I looked at the kid, certain he wouldn’t soon forget this, even if he did think I was some crazy lady. Believing that my taking a stand might actually make a difference.
One of my longtime heroes, Alice Miller, says a child needs three basic things growing up; to feel safe, to be witnessed, and to be respected. Yet there seems to be some confusion around the term “respect,” some real disconnect when it comes to making the critical distinction between respect and being overindulgent, overly permissive and downright spoiling our kids.
I am certain part of this confusion is a backlash to the corporal punishment so many of us grew up with. We were raised in an environment where it was “My way or the highway,” “If you want something to cry about, I’ll give you something,” or even stoic looks and glares that we understood meant we were to be seen and not heard. So what do we do? We give our kids a voice. We secretly declare we will never subject our children to such cold, dismissive, or even abusive behavior; we will use our words and let our little one feel all the way out loud. Looky what happened! We are seeing the pendulum has swung so far to the left that many of us have raised a culture of kids who have voices, all right, but have no idea what it is to respect that voice or others. By trying to give our children what we wanted or needed, we have overlooked helping them develop into healthy, thriving, members of society. We have raised a growing number of self-centered, rude, entitled, spoiled little brats who feel like life owes them the same air-time we gave them.
Here’s the good news: it’s not too late. We can stop this madness. The first thing we can do is take responsibility for creating the beast BY RELAXING AND SEEING that we indeed tried to give our children what we needed, neglecting to check in and see what they actually needed. Yes, we want them to have a voice, but first to understand the dynamics of responsible communication, which are always built on respect. And then to see clearly what our kids really need in order for them to thrive out in the world. Because, here is the thing: while you may think it’s okay to indulge them or defend their snotty, entitled behavior, I can tell you that most will not. This will not be tolerated at school, when applying for a job, or in a healthy relationship. And, it’s just not part of the recipe for happy, joyous living. Encouraging them to be so self-centered (and not in a good way) is setting our kids up to fail.
In this time in our history, being part of a community has never been more important. Even though I used to think my father was so harsh and didn’t care about me when he set such intense consequences if I was disrespectful or out of line, both my parents took care to teach me about respect, and that manners are one of the ways we show each other that respect! In the light of what’s happening with or own kids, I think it’s high time we step up and get that we are doing more harm than good here. Our kids, in the long run, will not benefit from our extreme submission. They will be better off, I believe, if we are a little less friendly and indulgent, knowing it will serve them in the long run. We need to set an example and teach them how important it is to treat people with respect.
I have wanted to write this blog for weeks, its answer pressing on me as I sit sneezing, coughing, achy, stuffy head, Kleenex feverishly strewn about in a trail from my bed to my computer. So I sit Indian style in my favorite jammies, gurgling, nursing my tea, missing dancing with my beloved friends this Sunday morning, torn between caring for myself and showing up for the rest of life. I know it is my practice to listen daily to my body and follow its wisdom: sometimes to sweat my prayers and celebrate freedom of being, sometimes in stillness, and at other times alone. Then I picture my husband dancing among my friends, churning about, his eyes closed, people spinning past him, hugging on to him, sharing their beauty and authentic presence with him, when I realize the gift of friendship that I find on that very dance floor lives inside me no matter what state I am in. I exhale and relax into my healing comforted by the truth of it. Because it wasn’t always so, when I first arrived in my dance community many years ago. I had two intentions: 1) To be free, totally free in my body and to have my insides match my outsides and celebrate, I am that that I am. And, 2)To attract a group of friends that I would grow with, perhaps get old with, that cherished my same core values and shared a deep commitment to the path of higher consciousness. I knew very little about such a community or this freedom. What I knew was a world where people pretended to be people they were not, said one thing and did another and valued money, power and prestige above all. People who were stiff, stuck and dying inside. But I was determined to find that or bust.
Which is probably why this place found me. Given that I had no idea people like this existed, I wouldn’t have even known what to look for. It doesn’t really matter because a bridge burst forward from my heart and planted itself in this place that I now call home the moment I stepped on the floor. I was greeted like a long-lost friend, swept away by their genuine care, though not a word was spoken. Whatever I had they were ready for, they didn’t even flinch. I screamed and cried and stomped and spewed and then magically, little by little, unraveled and melted. They just loved me.
Finally I had found a place to live, a real live place where people connected the inner spirit world to a place big enough to hold everything, a place where love IS the answer instead of a metaphor. Where no matter who you are, where you come from, or what you left behind, you are welcome and included, all the way out loud! A place where friendship is a way of life and spirituality is synonymous with reality and valued above everything.
So for me the idea of too many friends seems mutable until we understand what it is we seek and why. Primarily because friends, the kind that I am speaking of, cannot be had, accumulated or acquired. Friends are gifts like the sky and the wind. Spirits that flow in and out of your awareness and life, magnificent reflections that dance in and around you offering opportunities to heal, prosper or bless.
Like all gifts, friendship is a gift that we must be open to receive. An unfolding paradox that invites us to feel, deal, and heal as we peel back the layers of false self, tenderly, respectfully, carefully revealing what is most high and splendid in reverence of each other.
Today I can truly say my life is filled with friendship. And who I have become in the presence of each one is unique as it is plain, someone that treasures the courage it takes to stay on the dance floor, moving in and around each other as gracefully and compassionately as possible. No longer wondering how many friends are too many, as I have come to find that you have a friend in me and that is enough.
Blessings to you Gabrielle and Kathy, my teachers and beloved friends always.
When you think about sustainability, what comes to mind—global warming, going green, doing your part to lessen your carbon footprint? How about relationships? We should compost old relationships and only get involved with organic people? Not exactly, no. Although the concept is intriguing, this would be implausible for most of us, given our cultural proclivity towards big “relationship footprints.” If you have had a few relationships you know what I mean, especially ones that have been a source of pain or suffering to some degree. (Some of which have compelled you to dispose of them by almost any means, organic or not.) But what of the ones you wish to keep, nurture and grow rather than watch die prematurely or unexpectedly? Given all the energy most of us spend putting ourselves “out there” on the emotional limb (oftentimes left with nothing more than a “seed,” or perhaps less some seed, as the case may be), let’s wise up and turn those seeds into wisdom. Let’s instead get on with how to make our lives fertile so that we can more optimally attract and create more healthy, fulfilling, sustainable relationships. Ones that have the greatest potential for an amazing harvest, for season after season to come.
Relationships can be complicated, given the myriad of unique nuances that make up any one individual, the layers of experiences that create the filters we each see reality through. The real enigma seems to be a matter of skill and planning—how to create a optimal climate for potential for growth within this human complexity. Just like plants, relationships grow and flourish under optimal circumstances and care as well.
Okay, enough with the plant metaphor. You get it (hopefully). The deal is that if we come to relationship broken up, with some serious unexamined baggage, expecting to attract great relationships, odds are the next one will end up much the same—in disappointment and regret. At some point, as I have said many times, you gotta be thinking, “Hey, maybe it’s not just them.” Friends and lovers alike, we need to bring our “A” game to the party and expect nothing less from our prospective playmates and potential soulmates as well.
Here are some pointers for how to sustain any great relationship (platonic or otherwise), once you have carefully selected who you want to be in it with:
- Respect Here’s a word. Know what it means? If you don’t, you have no chance at REAL, lasting intimacy (in my not-so-humble opinion). If you respect yourself, just double it. Don’t just talk about it either—this is an action item. Respect is not a feeling, it’s a way of behaving!
- Responsible communication You get to choose from every word in the English language (or whatever language you share) in whatever tone you choose to communicate your thoughts and feelings to another, so choose carefully. You have no one to blame if you don’t tell the truth or say what you want. My teacher says “We are always doing one of two things; creating separation or connection.” What is your intention?
- Integrity Do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it, as often as humanly possible. And don’t BS yourself. Nobody trusts a flake, nor does anyone want their vulnerable hearts to be in the care of one. If you love and respect someone, ACT like it!
- Compatibility If you are mad about the outdoors, can’t live without reality TV, are a screaming (or worse, Nuevo) liberal, or abhor people who over-accessorize or don’t keep up on current events, then you probably wouldn’t want to hang out with…me, for example. Just because someone has good energy doesn’t mean you do real life well together. Watch what people DO, not only what they say. Make sure they match or you’ll be sadly disappointed, eventually bored and even resentful. There are 7 billion people on the planet—check some more of them out and quit trying to make someone they are not!
- Compassion Walked a mile in their shoes, have you? I recommend before you think you know whatever you think you know about the person you say you love, one of the most loving acts of all is to try and understand as much as you want to be understood. Old adage for a reason. ‘Cause it’s a damn good one!
- Expectations The fastest way to get back to love in any relationship is to want nothing. Period. Try it. No one is responsible for your happiness or anything else, unless expressly agreed to.
- Consciousness agreements One of my all-time favorites. Let people know what’s important to you up front. As soon as possible, in fact. In any relationship the time to negotiate is up front, not after you are in deep! Don’t want to party a lot, but notice you keep giving in and feeling bad about yourself—but afraid to lose your friends if you stand up for yourself? Don’t want to have sex so much, but because you’re afraid they will leave, you do it anyway (see compatibility)? Two of my “needs” (if you can call them that) in a friendship is that a) we don’t make unilateral decisions about ending the friendship, and b) if we have a problem we bring it to the other person as soon as possible. What are your non-negotiables?
These tools and skills have helped me immeasurably over the years and I rely on them all today, as they are responsible for helping me maintain the loving, healthy relationships I have today! Remember, relationships take work, they are not just “add water,” and people are not disposable. They are precious blessings, and in their presence I feel blessed to keep on my path to becoming the best version of myself, as well as have the privilege to witness l those I love do the same!
One of my favorite Maryanne mantras is (with gestures): you have to learn how to use this (your head) before you do this (have sex) so you don’t break this (your heart)! And for many of us we can sadly add…again. Sounds simple enough, right? Yeah, well, we all know that when we get the urge to merge it can be so intoxicating that we give in to it, hoping this chemistry will magically translate into Happily Ever After. Yes, I did say you break your own heart, ‘cause love doesn’t happen outside yourself, and while your heart may feel broken, the heart cannot break per se. Love and the heart, like everything else, is energy—in this case, when it comes to relationships, a shared field of energy. Given that energy does not break, rather it changes form, how then can we avoid this painful changing of form, perhaps, for some of you, again? The easy answer is; you cannot, as the only thing constant in life is change. I am sure that is not the answer you were looking for. Unfortunately however, it’s as true as the fact that the sun is the sun—no matter how much you may not want it to set, that’s what it does and there is nothing to do but accept it. Unless you’re hopelessly romantic or convinced you’ll be the first person who ever lived to successfully stop it, so you’ll chase the sun trying to convince yourself it’s possible, like so may of us do with love.
As for me, I felt my heart had been slain a thousand times by men and love; my dreams had been trodden on, discarded, discounted; you name it, I felt it! I decided that I would narrow my search. Instead of the perfect relationship, I would seek the thing that would never leave me, abandon me, dispose of me, ignore me, be indifferent to me; the one something that would always be true. I would look for the highest truth of all, the real Happily Ever After, and I wouldn’t stop until I found it. While I am happy to say that after many years of searching I did find real and true lasting love, ironically, it was in the last place I thought to look—inside of me and in my own heart. Not in someone else’s embrace or bed, not actually with anyone else at all. Looking back I would say, after all these years of becoming heart smart, discovering that the field of love I had sought for so long is inside of me continues to be one of the greatest gifts and highest truths I have ever awakened to. In addition to realizing the fact that no one can break our hearts, we see we have no need to seek for love, simply rather to discern those people whom share this reality from those who don’t. Hence, the inner-view.
Since we are love, we now set out to selectively share our lives with people who share similar values and beliefs, who agree that attracting and creating a healthy, fulfilling relationship is about more than chemistry—it’s about, soul, spirit, compatibility, and respect. So let’s together set our sights a bit higher than our hoo hoos, and get and be heart smart together, so we can live in harmony with the way we were designed and intended.
Five steps to being heart smart: Develop a practice of self-inquiry: the mind is here to serve our body so we can follow our spirit. Remember, love is a field and energy, and just because you FEEL love near or towards someone doesn’t mean they are the best choice for you. Part of loving yourself means not compromising your safety, integrity or heart’s desires. Understanding that sex feels good and ultimately triggers expectation and attachment, think it through before you do. Just because you think love happens outside yourself doesn’t mean it’s true! Be a seeker of higher truth!
Finding out who people are: seems like it would be relatively easy, primarily given that your body registers more than 90% of all perceptible information pre-cognitively. As a human being your internal navigational system, your intuition and senses, were designed to help “know” what you need to know about anyone within seconds, literally; sometimes sooner if you are extremely sensitive and tuned-in. Think about it: the last time you met someone, what reaction did your body have to them? Your body either opened or closed, expanded or contracted. At this point you are somatically interpreting all the bazillion bits of data, like posture, tone, smell, gait, eye movement, and so on, at light-speed and drawing critical conclusions; are they angry, aggressive, combative, kind, relaxed, tense? Basically attempting to determine if you are safe, and on how many levels; physically, emotionally, etc. In one of Ayn Rand’s books, one of the characters says; Everything you need to know about someone you will learn in the first 30 seconds of meeting them. And I would add, If you are paying attention!
Within milliseconds that data reaches the "belly brain" or "intuition," (not to be confused with the “mind”) and then the next, and less accurate in some definable ways, filtering process occurs. This portion is largely habitual behavioral recognition, which means it’s a historical filter in the mind, like a database of experience that’s being flicked through at a thousand miles an hour in attempts to recognize familiar patterns (good and bad), speech patterns, common references—any and all data you have that will classify this person into some category that is understandable and recognizable. As a response, your body will expand or contract. And here’s where we get into trouble.
Depending on the various programs and beliefs that we have inherited, learned and acquired, many of our filters have become reflexive defense mechanisms which kick in, sort of like human air bags or safety barriers; he’s obviously uneducated, men who wear tennis shoes with jeans are losers, women who have chipped nail polish and swear are obviously uneducated, women with boob jobs and hair extensions are insecure, fake and high-maintenance, etc. Not that this second phase is inherently bad, but when left unexamined or cross-checked against out first true instinct, we almost always find we have set ourselves up for trouble!
Think about that for a moment. You broke up with someone and you look back and almost always say to yourself, “Gawd, and I knew this-or-that, too.” Because, well, you did! But you over-rode it! So many of us do. It’s become a cultural norm to ignore our intuition. Up until recently, even talking about intuition openly was considered esoteric! Which is sooooo bizarre, given that the body NEVER lies. Rather than blaming this on our overly patriarchal culture, I would urge you to reconsider relying on “second-hand” information. Take some time to review your own life and see how relying solely on your rational brain has not done you justice. A clue: this brain of ours is largely a pain and pleasure center, and scientists are showing now that it is not, in fact, the generator of anything, but a receptor. As ancient wisdom would have it, a wonderful servant but a terrible master. The “belly brain” i.e. the intuition, is the connection for truth and part of the bigger universal field. Sorry, brain!
So why would we do that, over-ride this perfect and flawless gift that was designed to steer us away from danger and towards our heart’s greatest desires? Oh my sweeties, this is the cry of the divine feminine, and why it is sooooo critical that we resurrect and re-awaken “her” inside each of us! Many books—in fact, volumes—have been written to explain this horrific, historical, ongoing death; but for now I will say that we have and will continue to put ourselves in harm’s way unless we learn to re-connect with our BIG brain, and re-learn to inner-view.
For now, take out a pen and paper and go ahead, see for yourself. Look back and see who’s smarter, your body or your brain? And stay tuned for Part Two next week on how to resurrect and build back that ability to be heart-smart!! Awaken our divine intuition…
I know, most of us cross our legs when we think about GOD and sex simultaneously, so surely it’s a stretch to imagine praying could be spicy. And then there are those of us who a long time ago made the separation between church and mate and don’t give it a thought. But why not? What if we did at least entertain the notion? Why must we make the leap from the puritanical to the profane when there’s all this juicy, sacred soul-filled stuff in the middle? Maybe it’s time we took another look at what it means to pray, and how it can and does pave the path for a richer relationship experience. Versus letting another type of opportunity to create sacred connection slip away because we are filled with shame, guilt or have purposefully limited our scope of prayer to be solely petitionary (or pointless) rather than a means for enhancing intimacy.
A new way to pray~
Jesus Christ, who few would argue was an authority on prayer, said (and I will paraphrase); prayer is how we commune with the kingdom within or, in other words, the way to connect with the Divine that resides inside you. Not quite the popular version that most of us cling to, where you ask God for stuff or to get you out of a jam. Rather the right here/right now/just close your eyes and drop in, instant way to connect to the source of everything, to the magnificence and splendor that we truly are. Knowing down to your toes and in your bones that you are that. This is the prayer I am talking about, the prayer that makes you feel…juicy, alive and YES, even spicy. In this prayer we get a glimpse of our authentic self, and the gift has a rippling effect that is ultimately profound.
Practically speaking, every time we turn inward in prayer, wanting only to behold our connection to all that is, we have an opportunity to radiate that connection outwards, naturally creating an optimal climate for intimacy. And don’t take my word for it, try it. You want to spice things up, turn inwards. Sit in a church alone, in a park on the bench, go for a walk in the woods, take a turn on a labyrinth, or sit quietly right where you are and get consciously connected and let the force run through you and then up out into the world. Or if you can handle MORE, add that spice to your relationship; sit with your special someone and share the experience. Doesn’t have to be a big deal because, the truth is, there is no bigger deal. Giving one another the gift of presence and a moment of prayer… watch out …this is the spice of life!