Author Posts

Finding Your (Heart) Center in Relationships

Often in my work I encourage people to create a target of all the things they want in their lives and we post them on one side of the room. These usually include words like: love, happiness, peace, health, adventure, abundance, spirituality, joy, family, travel, etc. I then invite them to create an equal target of all the things they don’t want and post those far less desirable experiences on the other side of the room. This list generally includes hatred, prejudice, jail, divorce, anger, fighting, disease, unprepared-for-pregnancy, and addiction, to name a few. I then ask my participants to…

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What Is Your Crazy?

When I was twenty-one, my grandma was bedridden and needed full time care. She was worried that the lady living with her and taking care of her was crazy and asked us to get someone else. Fresh out of college with no idea where to go, I took the job and moved into my grandma’s house to relieve the “crazy” lady of duty. Even though she was moving out, she took her job of training me in the care of my grandma very seriously. One morning while teaching me to make oatmeal the way my grandma liked it, she carefully…

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What’s the Point in Relationships!

Sometimes I hear people question whether it is even possible or realistic to make relationships work.  With discouragement they lament, “There is almost no one I know who is in a relationship that works or in one that I would want to be in. Why should I keep looking for one (or trying to improve one)? What is the point?” A holy man was once asked, “How do we measure the progress of our spiritual growth.” To which he answered, “Look to your relationships.” Relationships are what your life is made up of—whether with a romantic partner, family, children, coworkers,…

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The Negativity Trap of Self-Improvement

The “self-improvement” arena advocates positive thinking, being mindful and aware and taking positive steps toward forward motion. What could possibly be negative about that? The yin and yang of self-improvement is that, in our very effort to improve often hides the subtle, yet nagging and constant thought that something more needs to change. By default, we have to disapprove of something in order to want to improve it. Since you can’t fix something unless it is broken, it’s easy to get into an unconscious problem seeking mindset. This came into my awareness the other day when I was standing in…

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When Loyalty and Integrity Collide

When I was in my twenties, my dad gave me a Franklin Day Planner and audiotape on time management. The speaker was Hyrum Smith, co founder of Franklin Covey. He offered the exercise of identifying our values, defining them and prioritizing them. I diligently pulled out my journal and did as I was told. I wrote things down like: Love, Spirituality, Health, Beauty, Service, Wisdom, Trust, Trustworthiness, Honesty, Responsibility, Loyalty, Integrity… and then proceeded to define what they meant to me. This is an interesting exercise because, if two people, even in the same relationship, tried to define “love,” or…

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Love Will WIN

Over the last several months, I have found myself struggling to accept the division in our country. I prefer to think we are all moving in the same direction, that we are becoming a more loving, accepting and compassionate planet. Yet, we have all seen a lot of evidence to the contrary. As I hear more and more friends expressing despair, fear and disbelief and as those emotions creep up in me, I become aware that every effort I have made externally to change things, Facebook posts, verbal proclamations, even political signs in front of my house, have only served…

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Create Your Relationship Resume

  Most of us look back on our past relationships and see them as failures and allow that belief to weigh us down, becoming the “baggage” we carry forward. We somehow think that the only definition of success in the realm of relationships is “lasting.” What if we could switch from seeing our previous relationships as failures to seeing them as great adventures in learning and growing? What if we redefined success, from “lasting” to “learning”? A while back as I was updating my job resume, I listed the skills that each position either utilized or enhanced. I thought about…

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Love School

The Gottman Institute reports that the average couple waits six years before seeking help for marital problems and that half of the marriages that end do so in the first seven years.   As a wedding celebrant I see couples flocking to Maui to get married every day, and yet, as a relationship coach I rarely see them seek to learn tools and skills at the beginning of the relationship that can help keep that marriage strong. Quite simply put, love is not enough to make a relationship successful.   We’ve all heard the Serenity Prayer: “Lord, Grant me the…

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Intimacy Education

Ever wonder where we get our relationship skills and beliefs from? It concerns me that teenage girls are learning their relationship mindset from romance novels filled with the yearning of unrequited love. These novels torment the reader with desire—usually for someone the heroine can’t have, at least not for long. Or we are taught via movies/books (like the Twilight Series) that we must make the devastating choice in “the one” between a vampire and a werewolf—as if there is no other appropriate match out there. Or, like in Les Miserables, we are taught that one glance is sufficient for determining…

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What is Real Love?

  I recently read an article about the multitude of celebrity break ups that have happened. The article reported, “Couples were breaking up left and right – leaving many to wonder if love is even a real thing anymore.”  It then went on to site all the couples that had split. Since love certainly appears to be a “recyclable,” I decided to take a deeper look at love to see what is going on, and lo and behold I discovered the real problem. We don’t know what it is! We are all seeking it, giving it, taking it, wanting it,…

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