Thursday, June 27, 2013

Trust is a Process

I have heard many times that trust is something that is earned. People say that it takes time to trust someone. I understand that there have been times when you feel as if your trust has been betrayed. Trust is absolutely necessary in all relationships. When there is a lack of trust, you can't possibly be open enough to allow love in. It's impossible to have a loving relationship if you aren't trusting.
Although it may be a journey and not something that happens immediately, you can learn to trust, even if you've been hurt before. You can become more and more trusting in your relationships even if your trust in another has been betrayed.
I have come up with a list of things that you can do to trust more and more each day. Be patient with yourself and trust in the process of becoming trusting.

* Trust yourself. Cultivating trust starts with trusting yourself. If you trust yourself completely then you will trust others naturally. To trust yourself is knowing that you will make the best decisions for yourself. You have your own best interest in mind in all that you do. This is not a difficult goal if you love yourself and have your own best interest in mind. Remember that you are the most important person in your life. If you're not well, others around you suffer also. Take care of yourself, make decisions that are good for you. Before making decisions ask yourself, "Is this what's best for me?" This is not meant to be done selfishly (trying to get something from others) it is meant to be done out of love for the self.

* Trust the Universe. The past has happened already and what has happened can't be changed. Thinking about the past and wishing it were different is like thinking about not liking living on planet Earth. Thoughts like these are useless wastes of time as nothing can be done about either. The future hasn't happened yet and is really just a figment of your imagination. Daydreaming about the future in a creative, positive way can be fun, but worrying about the future is like worrying about a daydream. Whatever is happening right now is your life and it is what it is. You are where you are, you are with who you are with and you are doing whatever it is that you are doing. You can make new choices whenever you like and there is no such thing as wrong decisions. Even if you make a choice that lead you to a place that you aren't happy with, you can make a new choice that will lead you somewhere else. If you trust yourself to have your own best interest at heart, then you will naturally make decisions that will lead you to more and more well being.

* Don't deny or resist when you feel mistrust. Instead of pushing down your mistrustful feelings, acknowledge them. Saying to yourself something like, "I'm feeling distrust" and allow yourself to feel it fully. Feelings want to be acknowledged, that's why when they are stuffed down they resurface stronger than ever. You will find that when you allow yourself to feel the distrust (without reacting to it in any way) it will quickly dissipate.

* Choose to trust. Very few, if any, people trust naturally. Most people will feel some mistrust. This is okay, but instead of living and behaving in distrustful ways, you can choose to be trusting. You can say to yourself, "I choose to trust" and then live in trust. Start small, start by choosing to trust that today you will be able to eat enough and that you will be able to feed your family. Trust that you will be able to make it a good morning. Trust your mate to make decisions for himself without your input. Choose to trust whenever you can remember to do so and eventually you will be trusting.

* Take it easy. Sometimes perspective is needed. Think of your life as a whole. Is what is going on right now even going to matter at all in a year from now? Is it even going to matter in a week from now?

* Center yourself. Meditate, take time off to return to yourself. When you can feel a sense of balance, you'll feel better and when you're in a positive state you'll naturally feel more trusting.

* Reflect on the reasons you are feeling mistrustful. Much of the time, the reason you are feeling mistrustful has nothing to do with what is actually going on right now but has to do with something that has happened in the past or something that you are worried about possibly happening in the future.

* Instead of focusing on your feelings of distrust, focus completely on being trustworthy yourself. This is absolutely the quickest way to restore trust in your relationship. Trustworthy partners always do as they say they will do. They are transparent and honest at all times, even when it is difficult to tell the truth. Trustworthy people respect others and are interested in their well being. They speak and act positively on the others behalf, whether the other person is present or not. The way that I think of trustworthiness is a person that can be depended upon to speak and act at all times as if they desire the good feelings and well being of the other as much as or more than that person desires it for themselves. This means you are his friend and ally at all times.

* Focus on building a strong bond of friendship. You get what you focus your attention on and take action on. Focus on being a good friend and speak and act as if the other person is your closest friend. If you are a wonderful friend and treat your relationship as if it is a close friendship at all times, this is what they will become in time.

* Be present. Let him be who he is in the present without a role or expectation of how he should be and give yourself permission to be you. You can be present with another by listening to what they have to say when they are speaking with your full attention as if it is the most important thing in the world at the time. It truly is if you think about it, there's no thought that you could be having while they speak that could possibly be more important than what the other has to say. This means you aren't thinking of what you will say when they are done speaking, you aren't thinking of what tomorrow will bring, how well you're matched or how what he or she is saying effects you. Be there with the other. Miracles happen when you are able to be with the person in whatever is going on. So, if you're watching a movie, enjoy the movie. If you're walking, then walk and enjoy the scenery. Present moment means experiencing the now and here with your entire being. When you are on your walk and talking with another listen to each word they say, feel the breeze, smell the flowers and hear the birds, when they say something that strikes you funny, laugh and feel the joy of the laughter. Presence means immersing yourself in the moment and absorbing what is with your entire being. Nothing else matters but what is happening right now, that is where your body, mind, heart and soul are.

* Act as if you trust completely. Whenever you act as if something is true it will become true. Ask yourself how you would behave if you trusted this person completely. Would you go through their phone? Would you entertain thoughts of them betraying you? Pretend that you have every reason to trust this person.

Life is too short not to trust yourself, others and life itself completely. There is every reason to trust and no reason not to. Give yourself a break if you find this difficult, we all do at times. It's a day by day process and will unfold however it will. Relax and put your focus on trust.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

1 Cor.13:4-7 My Thoughts

“Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Cor.  13:4-7) 

Love is patient. Love accepts the other as they are and loves them peacefully while they go through whatever it is that they are going through, however long it takes. Love loves through bad moods, illnesses, mistakes and all imperfections. 

Love is kind. Love considers the feelings of the other and wants them to be well and feel good. Love is the action of giving love in ways that will bring more well being and assist the other in feeling good. Love is loving kindness in thought, feeling, speech and action.

It does not envy. Love doesn't feel resentful because another has something that it wants. Instead, love is happy for you when you are happy. Love supports you in all that you do and want to do.

It does not boast, it is not proud. Love doesn't keep track of the things that it has done well. It doesn't keep score at all. Instead love is humble. Love understands that we are all the same, all equal. It puts itself above or beneath no one. 

It does not dishonor others. Love only knows how to bring well being and make others feel good. Nothing about love is painful. Love respects others, holds them in high regard, celebrates others as they are in their uniqueness and sees the best in them.

It is not self-seeking. Love does not seek outside itself to be filled. Love understands that concern with the happiness of the self and seeking to get something from another is taking and love only knows how to give. Love finds ultimate pleasure in service. It desires for the well being and good feelings of the other as much as the other desires it for themselves. Instead of seeking for another to fulfill it's desires, love endlessly asks the question: "What is the most loving thing that I can do for this particular person in this particular moment?" Love knows that love is an action, not a feeling. It doesn't need to feel love toward another to give love to them. It's so easy and natural to give love when another is behaving in ways that please you, but if you give only in those times is that truly love? The incredible strength of love is to give love generously without expecting to receive anything at all in return.

It is not easily angered. Love understands that whatever is not love is fear. It knows that when it seems that another is being unloving, what they truly are is afraid. Love sees this fear as an injury that needs tending to and healing. Love heals and soothes by extending acceptance, forgiveness and peace.

It keeps no record of wrongs. Love keeps no score of any kind, but instead sees each moment as an opportunity to bring well being and good feelings to another. It has no thoughts of victimization, but accepts the other as is and forgives each slight immediately. Love is the act of extending loving kindness in the present and treats each new moment as a fresh beginning. Love is in a constant state of giving in the present.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Love doesn't know that evil exists. Where there is love, there is only light, goodness and well being. Love is truth, for love accepts completely others without desire to change them in any way. It sees the good in all situations and all people. Love understands that knowing truth is always better than denying it, hiding from it or protecting the self or others from it. Denying that something is true is only to bury it and it will surface eventually. If we share who we truly are and accept and love another as he or she truly is, then we can love each other truly. Otherwise, it is only two masks acting out a part and never really knowing who the other is. The soul knows all and feels great freedom when the truth is spoken and lived. 

It always protects. Love only knows how to give in ways that increase well being and good feelings. It keeps lover and beloved safe from harm because it takes action to bring this well being and good feelings to the other. Love doesn't have any idea that it can be any other way. It only knows how to be love and give love by taking lovingly kind actions. That is the force-field that is love. It is incapable of harm.

Always trusts. Love knows that all is well and that others are only adding well being, even when appearances suggest otherwise. From the perspective of the ego things may appear to be unsafe, but love knows it can surrender because it sees the bigger picture. It knows that the universe itself is constructed of love and that each individual is part of this whole. What we do to one, we do to all and that includes ourselves. Know that you are love, you are the source of love itself, and give it in all situations, to all people, at all times and there will never be a reason not to trust.

Always hopes. Love expects that love will always be there in inexhaustible abundance because it knows that within each being there is an endless supply of love. Love understands that each one of us is the source of love and we can tap into that by giving love. Therefore, no matter how hopeless a situation may seem, the source of love is always within, always available and there is nothing to ever fear.

Always perseveres. Love continues to give in kind ways no matter what. Love acts in ways that increase well being and good feelings whether it "feels like it" or not. Love extends peace and joy at all times, through every challenge and difficulty. To me, this is what true commitment is.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


My best friend and my youngest son Wesley are amazing together. There is something between them that makes for wonderful, caring and extremely close interactions. When they are together they have the energy that most couples would give anything for. Being that creating close and loving relationships are my greatest passion, I've studied them and reflected on what it is that makes them so close. I'm sure there are many other factors, but the one that I see the most between them is understanding. They just "get" each other. It doesn't matter that Wesley is a little boy or that Shannon is a college student.
One definition can be found here, but in summary it tells us that understanding is the ability to comprehend and appreciate. The synonyms of understand are: accept, be aware, be conscious of, be with it, catch on, figure out, find out, follow, fathom, get the hang of, get the idea, get the picture, get the point, get, have knowledge of, identify with, infer, interpret, know, learn, make out, make sense of, master, note, penetrate, perceive, realize, recognize, see, sense, sympathize, take in and take meaning. 
According to this source, understanding is to be sympathetically aware of other people's feelings: tolerant and forgiving. Having insight and good judgment. An informal or unspoken agreement.  The synonyms it gives are: agreement and sympathetic.

Understanding between two people is one main component that builds a strong foundation of friendship in any relationship. Without understanding there are two separate people who aren't connecting in any way. With understanding the two people now are connected, there is a happy, invisible bond between them. The difference between understanding and misunderstanding in a relationship is the difference between a joyful, easy relationship and a distant one filled with conflict.
To understand the other in your relationship is a goal worthy of your best energy. I like to use models and I believe that Shannon and Wesley are perfect models for creating understanding. If a six year old boy and a grown woman can understand each other completely, anyone can.
To take some lessons from Shannon and Wesley and increase the level of understanding in your relationship, try following the advice of the dictionary.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Is It More Important To Love or Be Loved?

I want to be virtuous and say: to love is more important than to be loved. The truth in me says that they are one and the same.
You can't love without being loved and you can't be loved without loving. Love is simply love, given and received it's still love.
When you give love to another, you are giving only what you possess. You can't give away something that you don't have. If you are giving love, that must mean that you feel that you have it to give. You must know that you are lovable and worthy of love if you are giving true love. That would mean that you have it within yourself to give and you know it and therefore are capable of giving it. Otherwise, it would be like giving an empty gift box with nothing inside. The love that you would "give" would just be something that you give to get something in return.  You have to barter to get it, you have to pay. In essence you say, "This is me, but because I'm not good enough as I am to be loved, I have to pay this extra to earn love". So you pretend to be "better" than you are. You do things in spite of yourself to please others. And it truly is "in spite" of yourself. It's like you're punishing yourself for not being good enough to be loved by doing these things that will please others but cause you to feel just a little bit dead inside. Are you not good enough as you are?
The interesting thing is that you would think that what you would be given in return is love but it is really just another empty box. Because you would feel as if you were lacking love within yourself, no one can give you something that you would receive as love. You are, in your mind, unworthy of love. You would always see the other as giving you an empty box, no matter how hard they tried to convince you that the box is full. The only way to fill the box is to not want the box at all, but to instead delight in the feelings that come from giving a box full of whatever makes the other feel good. 
The reason that to give love and to receive love, or to give love and to get love are the same things is simple: you are love. You are love. You may think it comes from an outside source, but consider this: you are the only one that can feel love within yourself, and you are truly the only one who can give love. Others can give you love and you will recognize it as love if it is given in a way that you believe love should be given. But what about all the times that others try to give love to you that you don't recognize as love and so don't allow it in? Can't remember an example? What about all the times that you have given love to others and they don't recognize it as love? This is what you would call a misunderstanding, or a not getting of something. So, when you don't get love (don't understand when love is being given to you) then you don't get love (you don't receive it as love, you don't see it as love).
What if you were to see yourself instead as the source of love? So everything that you give would be love and everything that you receive as well. In the giving of love, love would be felt and feeling love is receiving love. This would seem that you are pardoning sinners and giving yourself permission to be a sinner. However, if you see yourself as the source of love, you would surely understand that the other "selves" out there in the universe are also sources of love. The anger that you receive from someone may be, when translated, "I'm so hurt by the world right now, I feel so alone right now and I wish that someone would just talk to me for five minutes." Examine your own thoughts for a moment, would you not say that they are similar to this? When I feel angry I am usually thinking something that sounds like: "I am so hurt and I really just wish that you would love me (appreciate me, respect me, etc)." This is a request for love. Requests for love must mean that you or the other are out of touch with themselves as the source of love and could use your re-direction, your assistance. Only you can do this, because only you can do anything. Wait for another to effect change in your life and call it control, because that is what it is. We can all see the dangerous effects control has in our own and other's lives. When we think things like this we are thinking lack thoughts, we are not seeing the truth that we are the source of love.
If you sit now and think of someone that is not here with you that you really care about, you can surely generate within you some warm feelings. Think of someone now and visualize something that they did for you that was kind and loving. If you do this you will start to feel warm feelings. This is love. What else could love be? If you weren't the source of it, how could you possibly feel it without something external happening? "But something did happen. They did (fill in the blank) and then I felt love." Yes, they did something, in the past. The past is a figment of your imagination. You don't have the past in your hands, you can't touch it. It's within you as a thought, an idea and/or feeling. You create it.
Besides, aren't you the only one that you have control over? Aren't you the only one that you can cause to act just the way you want in the world? You can't force another to love you. The only thing that you can do is give love and experience the wonderful feelings of love. Nothing else besides this can be expected. You can only tend your own inner garden. You can't tend other's inner gardens, you can't monitor and cause effect on their inner self because you aren't there. You are in you, experiencing your perception of the world outside of you, through various filters and lenses. The love that you give, if it is true, springs forth from deep within. It always originates from warm, loving thoughts, that result in warm, loving feelings. If love isn't warm, loving thoughts that result in warm loving feelings emerging and being expressed outwardly, than what is it?
Only you can control these thoughts, and they've never, in the history of human kind, come from an outside source. You can start deep within, having the thoughts and feelings of warm love and allow yourself to be an expression of that. Whatever actions you take flow from those thoughts and feelings and can only be those thoughts and feelings (warm and loving). You are, once again, the source.
The definition of source is: the point at which something springs into being from which it derives or is obtained. The point of origin, such as a spring of a stream of a river. One that causes, creates, or initiates, a maker. One that supplies information. Beginning and the point of supply. 
The synonyms of source are author, authority, birthplace, cause, commencement, connection, determinant, expert, inception, origin, opening, rise, root, specialist, start, wellspring. The antonyms of source are: effect, end, result. 

You cause love to happen in your life by thinking it, by feeling it. Thinking loving thoughts and from there, feeling loving feelings is the only thing that you have to do if you want to experience love in your life. This is true for loving and being loved. This is true for two big reasons and a million small ones. The two big reasons are: #1. the warm, loving thoughts and feelings inspire only warm, loving action. Warm, loving action likely causes warm, loving effects. #2. the warm, loving thoughts and feelings themselves are actually what you are seeking. The specific conditions are just what you think you need to catalyze the warm, loving thoughts and feelings. Love is only love if it is unconditional. Unconditional = unseen. Only the inner world can be without any conditions at all, so only the inner world that you exist within can be love. The warm, loving thoughts are all that you need, and they come from you, once again: you are the source of love.
However, you are the source of your fear as well as this also comes from within. You can't point out fear for another to observe. Fear is the wall that you decide to build that love can't penetrate. The fear is attachment. This is the: "I need these set of circumstances and this outcome to happen in order to think those warm, loving thoughts. If they don't than I will be deprived of love." In short, "I am incapable of love." You are attached to the idea of specific circumstances that must occur in order to fulfill your fantasy of how the other should behave if they truly loved you. This certain outcome must happen, or I will be deprived of love. But you deprive yourself of love the moment you put conditions on it, the moment you set within you a belief that love is something that can be seen on the outside. Aren't these ideas something that you invent, something that you decide? Once again, you are the source.
Therefor, you can conclude that the best option is to pour love in each moment. The only moment you can ever have any effect on is right now and only you can cause this effect (as the source). Give love into whatever moment this is. Give it by being it. Be it from within. There is nothing else to do. To do something kind for your mom is only loving if while you are doing it you are thinking warm, loving thoughts of her. If you are thinking how much you appreciate her and how much you want her to be happy you will have a smile on your face as you are doing this. You'll enjoy it because you are having loving thoughts and feelings for her and you really want to see her happy. The same way that you pour water into plants to see them bloom. If you are thinking thoughts of being obligated or giving her something in order to please her or with an expectation of her giving something in return, this builds resentment and creates negative feelings within you. Love is not a negative feeling. At least I've never heard of anyone who has ever felt love as painful. The loss of love can be felt as pain, but love itself is pure bliss.
The next time that you become insecure and wonder if you are loved remember that it doesn't matter. You'll never know for sure anyway. No matter what the other person gives you, or demonstrates to you, you are not within them to know their thoughts and feelings. You can only know for sure what you are thinking and feeling and so you can only think and feel love. You can't think warm and loving thoughts for another, only for yourself. You can be afraid of this, or you can allow it to empower you. You can feel as if you are alone, or you can know that you are connected with everything, never alone and allow it to inspire you to be love so that all else will be love as well.
In short: to love and to be loved are both the same things because you are the source of all of your thoughts and feelings and this includes love. The only thing that you can control, or have any effect on, is your own thoughts and feelings and what you give or what you understand as love being given to you. The feelings for both  the giving and getting are generated within, therefor you are the source. Truly loving actions can only be inspired by truly warm, loving thoughts. Expectation of receiving something in return for the love you give is just resentment in disguise, even when the expectation is fulfilled. It's sort of a pre-resentment. This is like pre-judging, or judging based on other's opinions before you've experienced enough to form your own opinion. Then the only thing to do is think warn, loving thoughts and the rest will fall into place. Do this by acknowledging that there is nothing to judge, you are not qualified to judge. All things and people are fine the way they are and don't require anything to be added or taken away to be worthy of love. 

If you're like nearly all humans, if not all, then there will be times that you find it difficult to think and feel warm love. Resort to gratitude. Feelings of appreciation are warm, loving feelings. You can appreciate everything for one reason or another, even if it's something that seems bad, there is a flip side. When you are stuck and can't get yourself to think love, ask yourself what you appreciate. This will get you back on track and help you to rise up to more and more pleasant feelings. I like how Anthony Robbins suggests that if you can't answer the question: "What do I appreciate?" ask yourself, "What could I appreciate if I wanted/choose to?" Once again, you are the determinant and the authority, both synonyms for source. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

What Fun Does for Your Relationship

In the course of our everyday lives there is so much to do. There's laundry, dishes, children that need tending to and dinner to be made. There is a lot that needs to be done and this drains the enjoyment out of life. When our lives become more about obligations they become less about living. When you are married, or in a long term, exclusive relationship the obligations and everyday mundane chores, errands, appointments etc. become such a big part of life and fun takes a backseat. You forget to have fun at all and the two of you become business partners in the business of running a household. Even if you are loving and kind to one another, without fun and enjoyment in your relationship it becomes like business in some ways. It's not that we want this to happen, it's simply that like all things, if we don't put energy into play and fun, it isn't what we experience.

Having fun and playing with your mate adds some vital "friendship energy". In my humble opinion, it's one of the very best things that you can do for your relationship. When you inject regular laughter, playful teasing, affectionate wrestling, goofing off, etc. you are breathing joyful life into your togetherness. The more often that you play, laugh and touch each other affectionately, the less time you have for arguing, feeling bad about one another or feeling disconnected.

Having a warmly close and deeply loving friendship with your mate is building a strong foundation that will remain strong when challenging times arise. When you are having good times together, this friendship is strengthened and you enjoy the joy of life together. The good news is: you don't have to wait for him to get more exciting! Take 100% responsibility for the relationship and create some fun, playful excitement yourself.

Think of your entire life as just a series of moments. You want to create the best possible moments that you can throughout your entire life. You can't do this anytime but right now. You can't create wonderfully fun and playful moments with your mate in the past, it's already gone. The future is just a figment of your imagination, so you can't create anything there. The only thing that you can do is use what you have to create the moment that you want in the moment that you are in. You do this by being what it is that you want to create. You want fun, play and laughter, then you must be fun, playful and laughing. This is the only way this is done.

Another great benefit of living this way is: two things cannot occupy the same space at the same time. In other words, if you are being playful, fun and loving, you cannot be resentful and hurt at the same time. It's impossible. This focusing on the fun and play will create more and more moments of fun and play in your relationship. The more you focus on it and be these things, the more playful and fun your relationship will be until eventually, it will be the mode through which you operate.

 Have you ever noticed that when you are with a good friend, even the most boring, mundane things can be made into something fun? You don't need to plan anything special in order to have fun. As a matter of fact, I challenge you to make EVERYTHING and ANYTHING fun. 
I read a challenge recently on a blog that went something like this: when your mate is home, every hour do or say something that makes them feel good. I loved this and wish I could give credit, but I read so many blogs and unfortunately I failed to bookmark this one. Wish I had. I'm going to steal this challenge idea and challenge you to bring more play, fun and joy into your relationship by intentionally being playful, fun and/or joyful every single hour that you are with your mate. I would actually like to recommend that you do this whether or not you are with your mate. Just add some play, fun and joy to your whole life.
I decided to try this and I set alarms to go off on my phone every hour. When they went off, I'd tickle my man, pinch him, wrestle with him, tell him a silly joke, tease him a little or whatever silly, playful thing I felt like doing when the alarm went off. We had the best day ever and it actually carried over to the next day when he started initiating the play. It was a very successful experiment and our relationship feels fresh and new. I feel like we reconnected as best friends. 
Try it. You don't have to do anything extravagant; this is meant to shift energy and very small things are sufficient. Your alarm goes off, pinch his bum. It goes off an hour later, tell him a dirty joke. It goes off again, initiate a round of wrestling. This is all done in a light spirited, playful, warmly loving way. See where it takes you. There is already enough seriousness in the world, you don't need to add to it. 

Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.” 

Monday, June 3, 2013

But What if I Feel Like Crap...?


Today I woke up angry. I was feeling resentful, distant and like I wanted to escape from my life. I wanted to run away, go live in the woods and start over as a hermit. The reasons I felt this way aren't important, what is important is that I chose to take time and think about how I could respond. I was crabby and I wanted to speak my mind. There was a lot I could have said that would definitely have caused some hurt feelings and at the time I actually wanted to cause hurt feelings. Now, being in a different state of mind I don't really even understand why I felt that way. I can't even relate to that person anymore, that was who I was this morning. Now it is the afternoon and I'm someone different. 
I am not saying that anyone should ever suppress their emotions. This is like causing yourself to have emotional cancer. It will just be stuffed down where you think that it won't effect you or any other person around you. You'll think you have it "under control" but really because you're pressed it so far in, so far down, now it is in the core of you. You were unable to allow it to be accepted and released and so it festers and becomes the background in all that you do. It may be subtle, and even at times barely noticeable, but it will be there. 
When I looked up the antonym for suppress the result was the word submit. I wasn't expecting such perfection in an online antonym generator. Submit and submission is such a perfect word. When an emotion is felt to react and express it without thought of how it will effect others may feel better temporarily, but the havoc it wreaks in your life and in your relationships in the long run isn't worth it.To suppress it is to stuff it down, to end what you are thinking and feeling forcibly. Neither of these do any good for anyone. When you  react and express negative thoughts and feelings, you hurt the people that you love. When you suppress an emotion and stuff it down you hurt yourself at your core and from there you hurt others because it's impossible for you to give love to others completely with your whole self.
The only thing that can be done when an uncomfortable feeling arises is to submit, to surrender. To submit to the fullness of the feeling in the moment. Accept that you are feeling it, know that no matter what the feeling is, it's okay. There is nothing wrong or shameful about anything that you could be feeling. Humans feel the full range of human emotions because it's human. It's human to feel deeply, to feel rage, to feel anxious, excited, despair etc. Whatever you are feeling, no matter what is going on, it's okay. Feelings just are. There are no such thing as inappropriate feelings.
The unpleasant feelings that come up from time to time are part of the life experience. When I feel them instead of trying to distract myself or escape I try and remember that these feelings are a gift. They have messages and lessons and are helping me to grow. I allow myself to feel them deeply. I will just be silent for a second and acknowledge the strong emotion, no matter how "bad" it is. I allow it to be. Sometimes I give it a label without saying "I am". I'll say something like "There is a feeling of rage in me". It helps if you can get two minutes to yourself when you are feeling this strong emotion and you can drop to your knees and allow your body to feel it fully. Don't stay stuck in your mind, don't think about what you want to do about this feeling, there is nothing to be done. Just kneel on the floor and allow it to be whatever it will. Accept it. Sometimes I'll kind of meditate on it. I'll close my eyes and "feel" the shape and color of the emotion. I'll rate it on a scale from 1-10, one being a completely manageable annoyance to 10 being I can't handle this and I'm about to freak out.  
Something happens when you acknowledge and accept what you are feeling and allow yourself to feel it completely. When I do this, I feel myself transform. I feel the emotion going from unbearable to suddenly I'm okay and I can handle it. 
Then, I continue my meditation even further if I have a little bit of time to be alone. If at all possible I will sit silently for a minute or two and breath. I will feel myself turning inward and finding my "still center". This is difficult to explain, it's the part of me that is me, not my body and not my mind but the true essence of me. I guess it is my consciousness, my "observer". I find that and I ask myself, "If there was nothing outside this part of me, would I be upset right now?" In other words, if there were no other people, nothing that needed to be done, no material world that existed, how would I feel? This always transforms me further. I always feel more centered, more calm and I gain a greater perspective. 
Then I take this even further. I am usually still on my knees at this point so it's a perfect time to pray. I would never push any agenda, pray to whomever you feel listens: God, higher self, guides, universe etc. It is all the same thing with many different names. I ask myself, "What do I want to feel?" It's usually directly opposite of the terrible emotion that sent me to my knees in the first place. For example if I'm angry, I will usually want to feel peaceful. So, I ask for assistance. My prayer usually sounds something like: "All powerful, benevolent universe, please assist me in being peaceful today." I say today because feelings should be allowed to flow and change constantly, to ask to be peaceful always is to ask for stagnation. 
Then I feel peace. This can be difficult to do if I have just experienced something that really triggered a challenging emotion in me. If I can, I sit until I feel just a little bit of peace. I do whatever I have to do to get there. Usually breathing in deeply and imagining that I'm breathing in peace and that I'm being filled with peace works very well. I continue to do this until it feels like I'm as peaceful as I can get. I can't speak for everyone and if you try this method it may be different for you, but I always just know when it's complete.  Still on my knees, I pray for every being in the universe to feel peace and I release it. I feel the peace being sent out. If you're really visual, imagine the "peace energy" leaving you and being dispersed throughout the Universe. 
The final step: say thank you.
This entire process seems like it is long and you may feel like it is a lot to have to go through when you are feeling upset. However, I've never had this take more than ten minutes and I've always felt such amazing relief when I was done. My energy was different when I emerged from the bathroom (that's where I usually go if I am with people when I need to do this), and people feel this and respond differently to me. 
It's easy to forget what to do when you're in a highly charged emotional stat. Do what your body feels like doing or write down the steps below if you feel you need to and carry that paper with you.

To sum up:
* Whatever it is that you are feeling, accept it as your experience of the moment. Acknowledge it (label it without using "I am" if you have to) and allow yourself to feel it fully. Drop to your knees if you have to. IF you feel like crying, then cry.
* Close your eyes and give the feeling a shape and color.
* Rate the feeling on a scale of one to ten.
* Breath deeply and be completely still. Find the still center within yourself that is not your body or your mind.
* Ask yourself, "If there was nothing outside of me to trigger a feeling in me, how would I feel right now?"
* Pray for assistance to be whatever it is that you want to feel: loving, peaceful, joyful, passionate etc.
* Feel that feeling. Breath it in until it fills you.
* Release that feeling into the universe. Pray that every being in the universe feel that feeling. 
* Say thank you and feel the feelings of gratitude. Say thank you for the guidance of the emotion, the fact that you are able to feel emotions, the feeling that you now feel etc. If you want a blanket statement, just say thank you for everything. 

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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Love in Every Moment

There are no guarantees in life, nothing is certain. Even in the next moment your very life could be taken away. The people that you love may be here with you now, but that doesn't mean that they will be for even one more second.  
Today could be your very last day on Earth. The sunset you just witnessed this evening could be the last time you ever see the sun. When your spouse leaves for work in the morning, it's not an absolute certainty that he will come home.
This is what is amazing about life. The temporariness of life, the fragile nature of our existence is so beautiful because of it's fleeting nature. If we could be absolutely secure in our relationships, if we knew without a doubt that the other person would be there always, no matter what, there would be no reason to appreciate them. Our relationships would lose feeling and depth because we'd know there would always be tomorrow and in this certainty we'd lose the urgency to appreciate our experience with the other in the here and now. If we were guaranteed to live forever, life itself would lose all meaning. What would be the point in living today if we knew there was no end?
Absolute certainty of anything is impossible. Seeking security is futile, nothing is secure and in longing for something certain we lose the only thing that is certain: this moment. Why would we want this security? The only way to be completely secure is to be stuck; trapped; stagnant. You are semi-secure when you are alone in a room. The moment you step outside, the moment you interact with another and allow yourself to care about them, anything can happen. Beautiful, wonderful things can happen, but loss and death are also possibilities. Without the threat of loss nothing is treasured.
The instability of life is magical. You never know what will happen next; what awaits you just around the corner. You never know how the people in your life will "show up" or even if they will. Love can only happen in this moment. You have loved in the past, but that is gone forever. Who knows if it ever really happened in the first place. You can't love someone in the future. The future is just a figment of your imagination. It will never arrive, except as the present moment.  
To truly understand and accept this is to be open, here and now, in this very moment to love completely every moment of your life. This is the great surrender that frees us to love entirely. When you know that any moment could be your last moment with someone, you free yourself to allow others into the core of your being without fear. Your defenses are dissolved because you realize that there is nothing to defend. We are all temporary expressions of a soul of all that is. We are all connected, our essence is all the same, not only made of the same thing, but it is the same thing. We all have the same fears, the same hopes and desires. We all love and are all growing in our own way. 
Intimacy can only happen when you allow yourself to be open to another. When you are fully present with someone, appreciating them as they are without labels or roles, just being open to them as an ever changing being you can truly experience their deep, true self and they can experience yours. This can only be done when you are open, you can only be open when you are present and accepting of what is and you can only be open and accepting of what is when you know that all experience is temporary, ever changing and connected. 
The moment you try to capture another, possess them or make them fit the vision of who you think they should be for you according to the role or label you've assigned to them, in that moment you destroy intimacy. Intimacy is a flow of love. It is an open acceptance of another without attachments and without an agenda. It is a deep listening of what is and then letting go of that in the next moment to allow that person to be as they are in that new moment. It is seeking to understand, truly without the wanting the other to say a certain thing, behave a certain way. This freedom is the safety net that allows a depth of connection because there is only good that comes with the closeness. There is only love, acceptance, approval, encouragement and understanding. 
If another enjoys being with you and feels safe, they open up so you can know them and the closeness grows. Then the time that you spend is valuable to the both of you. Although you still can't guarantee that person will be there in the next moment, the moments you have created with them are gifts instead of bad memories. If another feels pressured to be a certain way when they are with you, when they feel that you love, approve and accept only the part of them that you want them to be, being with you is painful, even if they aren't consciously aware of it. They will close off, look for small ways to avoid being with you (like watching TV or "tuning out"). They will defend against you. How can they be expected not to?
However, this doesn't mean that you have to close off when another is behaving in a way that causes you to feel as if you can't be yourself or that you have to close off. You choose how you respond, and you can choose to open and loving instead. You can choose to be true to yourself regardless of what others are expecting of you and be loving at the same time. Anything is possible. People have climbed the highest mountains in the world, overcome insurmountable obstacles. You can choose to be present and defenseless with others.
Intimacy then is a simple formula:
* Be with the other fully in the present moment.
* Allow them to be as they are with your loving approval, free of your imposed agenda or expectations of how they "should" be.
* Accept that all of life is temporary and this moment is the only thing that you are guaranteed. Appreciate the time you have with another as if it is the last time you will ever see them.
* Look at them in their eyes and seek to connect with the truth of who they are, not who you want them to be. Know that this is ever changing.
* Seek to understand, to listen, to encourage, uplift and bring them well being in this moment, not in some future time. 
* Live in the flow. When the other is with you, enjoy that time with them, when they are not, enjoy that time as well. Allow love to be formless, not in the form of a particular human being or condition. 
In short: Love the person that you are with right now as if you will never see them again. They are the most important person in your life because they are your life if they are with you now. What you are doing is the most important thing you could possibly be doing because you are doing it right now and right now is your life. Do all that you do, right now with all that you love possess in your heart and soul. Love and live as if this is your last day on Earth and nothing is guaranteed.