The number one thing to succeed in love and life

The biggest secret to Success in Love and Business is right here and exceedingly simple.

This key is the biggest one of all and is probably the 
most subtle. It is the ONLY thing that works every time and 
must be in place for things to thrive.

And it is probably the last thing that any of 
us ever want to do. The #1 absolutely essential element to be successful, peaceful
and,  most importantly happy is…surrender. I really had to learn this the hard way.

Back in the day, I went from one unsatisfactory 
relationship to the next and couldn’t figure out 
what the problem was.
This was especially true after I had done some really deep work 
and study on how to find a great fellow.

My hours, days, and years of blood, sweat, and tears 
paid off with…another failed relationship.
I was so disheartened that I seriously thought of 
taking a vow of celibacy and devoting my life to 
meditation. True story!

My very wise spiritual mentor told me: “Keep meditating and doing what you are doing. 
Let God decide whether
or not you should go that path.”

My mentor wasn’t always right, but in this respect, 
I knew that the things that I had thought of had not 
been working, so I decided to give it a shot. Even though I wasn’t super sure about god, 
I essentially said,  “Alright, God, show me what to do.”

Within a few days, I met Vj, who later became my husband.

This story illustrates to you what surrender can look like.

The way that I actively surrender (may sound like a
 contradiction, but it’s not) is to say to myself in 
any situation where I feel a little squeezed or 
ruffled: “Ok, this is as it is. It is not as I expected 
or wanted it to be but
perhaps it is even better.”

The shorthand of this is “Hmmm, that’s interesting!”

A dear friend and mentor once said to me, “To live in victory is to live in a constant state of surrender.”

He was so right. Anytime I feel out of sorts, if 
I surrender (not resign which is another topic altogether)
it seems that
life opens up to the miraculous and
 seemingly impossible.

I cannot sing surrender’s praises enough. It was the principle
behind which I increased my income 5x, too, but that
is another story for another time 😉

A Guided Meditation to Relieve Holiday Family Stress

A Guided Meditation to Relieve Holiday Family Stress

The Problem with Boundaries

 

The Problem with Boundaries

The term “boundaries” drives me crazy.
It implies that we need to have a barrier against others in order to be safe and secure. This is in direct opposition of the human need for connection and intimacy.

Also, when we use the term “boundaries,” it puts us in the position of victim and the other person as villain.

It creates an atmosphere where we need to be constantly on the defense, expecting others to do us wrong, sustaining the dynamic of antagonistic relationships, which have become status quo in love and life.

A more uplifting approach is to take care of oneself. What that means is that people know well ahead of any mishap what your expectations or needs are. When we act in a way that is full of integrity from the onset, we set others up to win because they have all of the necessary information.
How that can appear is something like this:
“I would love to pick you up on the way. However, I need you to be on time, otherwise, I will leave without you.”
This simple statement, gives you the opportunity to serve, but on clear terms. The person can check in with himself and determine whether or not he  agrees to the terms.

You may ask, “But what if they agree to the terms in word but not in deed? They agreed but were still late.”

If they are late, you get to make good on your word and leave. There are no surprises since you have already set the stage.

Having expectations ahead of time eliminates all sorts of drama.  Conversely, boundaries are often an afterthought, after an “offense” has been made.

A great way to clean that up is this: “I didn’t mention it at the time that it is really important to me to be on time.  Since you were late today, I ask that you be on time going forward.” Or bolder still, “Since you were late last time, going forward, I won’t be offering you a ride.”

This very simple principle can be applied to all sorts of situations, even ones in high stakes relationships like close friends and family. Those who love you will appreciate having more information and an easier time knowing where you stand.

Your Assignment: Is there someone in your circle who abuses one of your unwritten “rules” but doesn’t know it? If you are harboring some resentment, can you lovingly tell them, “I don’t think that you know this about me but, I need…” and then release your expectations of them, knowing that they will do the best they can in this time and space. Can you allow them to do what they need to do but also take care of yourself in the process?

No One Can Make You Angry

We live in a culture that has many agreements that simply don’t serve us.  One that is very prevalent is the idea that other people or situations can make us angry.  We love to blame others for our misery.

The trouble with that is:

We refuse to take personal responsibility and therefore, we have no power or control over the situation.  When other people are the problem, we are caught in the web of blame and powerlessness because there is NOTHING that we can do about other people’s actions.  Only when we take responsibility for our emotions are we able to be truly free.

This does not mean that we repress or deny our emotions. It simply means that we don’t put the responsibility of them onto others.

Anyone can give us an opportunity to choose anger (or joy, fear, frustration, etc.).  And sometimes, it happens so fast, that we don’t feel like we have a choice.  In these instances, we can choose the second response: what to do with that anger.

In these situations, what I know that works best is to breathe, feel into my body what is happening and if it is appropriate express the emotion.  It could sound something like this: “Wow!  I am feeling a wave of anger come over me.  This is really interesting.  I am going to check in on this and get back to you.”

When we train our loved ones that statements like this mean we take 100% personal responsibility for our emotions instead of using them as punishment wonderfully miraculous things begin to happen.

I remember when I was first allowing myself to feel and express anger.  I told my husband, Vj, that I was on an anger discovery journey and didn’t know what that would look like.  He said something one morning that I allowed to activate the anger response in me.  I was breathing deeply and noticing my face wanting to contort when he asked, “Is this you being in touch with your anger?”

“YES!!” I said with a big smile and I felt the force come out but it wasn’t directed at him.  I simply allowed it to dissipate and, poof, it was gone.  Then we had a great laugh about what he had said and how cute it was.

Your Turn:

Are you ready to take 100% personal responsibility for your emotions?  If not, are you willing to try to increase the percentage so that you can be free?

Why do we create conflict?


Perhaps the reason that we create conflict is because being in the pure bliss of the present moment is far too intense to handle.

Even when things are tough, if we are able to fully surrender to that moment, releasing all resistance, there can be a feeling of awe and wonder.

The trouble is, that the usual automatic response is to resist any intense feeling, especially one that we have labeled as “bad.”

The resistance to feeling puts the clamp on the hose and causes even more suffering.

We have conflict for the same reason that we have fantasy, so that in the moment, we feel like we have control over the situation.  Whether it is “worse” or “better” than reality is irrelevant.  In fact, this attempt as control is normally just a habit—to keep one out of the bliss of the present moment.

The illusion of control is so insidious; if we think we know how things “are,” then we deceive ourselves into thinking we have a predictable outcome.

Unfortunately, this resistance to what is keeps us in the grip of the problem we are trying to avoid.

When we can be truly present, there are no conflicts.  One of my mentors, Christian Mickelson, says that all fear is fear of feeling.  I believe it is any feeling that is outside of one’s normal bandwidth.  Every day we get opportunities to increase our bandwidth, or go outside of our comfort zone.  When we do, an internal alarm sounds and we have two choices

1. Escape the present moment in conflict, fantasy or some other distraction

2. Breathe into the intensity of being alive. This is the one that expands our bandwidth.

An exercise to increase your bandwidth:

Look at yourself in the mirror.  Look deeply into your own eyes and lose yourself for a few moments.  If you can be present for a split second, that is a miracle.  Now tell yourself that you love yourself.  Allow for all of the resistance to this exercise to arise and notice it.  There is no need to resist the resistance.  Simply breathe and see how long you can handle it.  Tomorrow, see if you can do it for a little linger.

 

Feeling a little squirrely?


I often hear from people that just when they get into the flow and are feeling really powerful, something happens that seems to derail them.

They may intellectually know that they are given an present opportunity to stretch out of the comfort zone will eventually benefit them.  However, in the middle of it can feel pretty terrible.

The kind of people that I surround myself with are always seeking the fully expressed life.  So how do we all handle the internal and external challenges?

One approach that I use is a tenacious commitment to my goal.  In our marriage, Vj and I hold unified commitment as our highest shared value.  That means that whatever happens, we will work it out as a team and fairly.  No back doors and no playing dirty.

Another approach is a deep desire to stay focused on the big picture.  There was a time when Vj, had some pretty hard external hits in business.  I said to him, “I am sorry that things aren’t easier for you.”

His response, “I didn’t ask for an easy life, I want the full human experience!”

Sometimes when we are in the middle of the big squeeze, it can be hard to keep our eyes on the prize.  When we are feeling emotionally challenged it is harder to connect with others and with our joie de vivre.  It can be a scary place to be, especially when it is dressed up so convincingly as “reality.”

A third approach is to shift perspective whenever necessary.  I love the metaphor my friend Fiona Moore uses: Fear (or discomfort) is simply resistance.  It is like the resistance that we feel when we do yoga and we are stretching our muscles to become longer.  The fear is an indication that we are coming into a bigger version of the Self.

Your Turn:

In moments of heightened emotional states, could you use a tenacious commitment to your goal?  What about focusing on the big picture or shifting your perspective?  What would you need to make that happen?  Set yourself up to win with whatever support systems you need to glide through the turbulent spots.

Let me know how it goes!  I am rooting for you!

How to be an Amazing Partner


The key to being an incredible partner is very simple.  Know you stuff: make friends with your neurosis, fears, foibles, shadow and don’t put it on your partner.

This means that they are no longer responsible for your happiness or unhappiness.  These stories, fears, and junk were installed long ago and luckily, will get activated by your partner.  You have a choice, lean into it as a partner to heal old wounds and get the prize of deeper intimacy or blame the other and reside in misery.

Culturally, the later is more popular but it doesn’t have to be that way.  When you are willing to take responsibility for all of your interactions, you can be free.  When you open up to the idea that all conflict, obstacles, and problems are 100% projection of your fears and stories, you have a choice.

When other people are the problem, you are screwed!  If you see how you co-created any mischief, then you can be free to choose happiness, which is your birthright.

Your Turn:

Next time you are agitated, notice how often you have felt that particular agitation before.  Make friends with the idea that it may simply be a habit and that some old part of you would like some attention.  In that moment, you can ask for help from your beloved and create a deeper bond than ever before.

Are we there, yet?

 

In this Art of Relationship community, we often speak about the power of giving others the dignity of their own experience.

And now my wish is that you expand into doing that more and more for yourself.

Many people have voiced how upset they are with themselves that they aren’t “further down the path” or they aren’t “there yet.”

I ask them, “Where?”

It may sound trite, and we all know it intellectually, but many of us who are on a growth path get caught in the egoic trap of wanting to be more spiritually well-balanced or advanced than we really are.

Even worse is when that needy feeling turns into criticism and self-judgment.  In extreme cases, it is used as evidence to rationalize self-hatred.

A friend in L.A. always says: We will never rise above human and we will all have moments that are unspiritual in nature.

So what do we do when we are in a valley of dark emotions, feeling overpowered by our shadow, or simply depressed?

The answer is simple, yet not always easy to employ: allow yourself the dignity of this experience.

You never know what part this is playing in your growth, how it will later serve you and make you more useful to god or her kids.

The yogic way is to go into the experience and then move on.

“Resistance is useless!” said the Borg, and they were right!

When we allow ourselves the full spectrum of emotion, then we can more deeply experience our humanity when things are going well, too.

Your Turn:

Where are you resisting a part of you that you’d rather not experience?  Can you open up and make friends with it, even just a little bit?  Can you allow yourself to be perfectly imperfect exactly as you are?

Qualities Worth Cultivating

All too often, very unsavory qualities are associated with relationships.

Turn on any television and you will see:

  • Jealousy
  • Revenge
  • Competition
  • Addictive behavior
  • Possessiveness
  • Drama
  • Instability

You can see how this appeals to our lower natures.  It make for good television drama, and unfortunately, we can see it replicated over and over again on the street, in our families and even in our love lives which results heartbreak, isolation, and loneliness.

Now let’s turn to unsung heroic qualities that cultivate happy relationships.

The overall quality is GRACE, which by definition includes ease, flow, and effortless movement.  It also contains respect, kindness, and compassion.

When we can cultivate these qualities in ourselves first, they can then overflow into all of our relationships, whether it is with a stranger on the street or our potential beloved.

You won’t see much of the above characteristics in advertisements or “reality TV,” but you will notice that they are present in loving, committed, relationships that last.

Your Turn:

How can you cultivate a graceful air in your being?  What creative measures can you take to include more ease, flow, and compassion into your daily life?  When you do, what sort of miracles do you see taking place?  How do your relationships benefit from your grace?

 

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