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Controlling vs Caring vs Responsibility

Recently, I was working with a couple and was explaining how the ego works, or rather doesn’t work, as it relates to relationships. The ego mind is great at seeing problems, but horrible at solving them. And, in fact, tends to utilize problem-solving methods that make the problem worse. I explained the difference between the manipulation of the ego and the authenticity of the spirit. Ego pushes people away and triggers resistance, while authenticity triggers responsibility. Ego manipulates, Spirit inspires. I explained that we need to notice what is actually our responsibility to solve or resolve, and what is not,…

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Avoiding The Effects of Neglect on Love

While working with a retreat guest recently, she said something that struck me as she described what went wrong in her marriage. She simply said, “We kept thinking ‘it would get better when_____ (fill in the blank.) We thought it would get better when we got married. It would get better when we finished school. It would get better when we had money. It would get better when we had children… We kept waiting for ‘it’ to get better but we didn’t do anything to make it get better. Our marriage failed due to neglect.” As I pondered this insightful…

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Memory Mindfulness for Loving Relationships

  When we reflect on our relationships, we realize that they are made up of a series of memories about the past and agreements, spoken and unspoken, of what we mean to each other and how we will treat each other. Memories are sneaky, though. We all have them to varying degrees and, unfortunately, we often remember the very same things differently. Remembering some things can ruin our relationships, forgetting others can wreck havoc. Extending your mindfulness practice to your memories will serve your creation, and re-creation of loving, harmonious relationships. May this serve as an invitation to practice memory…

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Whose Emotions are you Feeling?

The other day a man stepped into the street so I stopped my car so he could cross. Suddenly I felt the overwhelming urge to cry—for no apparent reason. Then I looked more closely at the man walking just feet away from me. He looked like I suddenly felt. “Ahhh, these emotions are not mine.” I sent him a silent prayer, grateful that I had finally learned to tell the difference between my emotions and other people’s. Recently, I read an article describing the difference between an “Empath” and someone who is highly sensitive. They distinguished an Empath as someone…

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Seven Antidotes to Feeling Stuck

  An intuitive recently came to my business and when she walked in the door she said, “There is a lot of stuck energy here from your employees.” My first reaction was disbelief and I started to argue with her, “No, they are totally happy working here.” After all, I have a loving relationship with my employees and consider them my friends. But even as I said the words, she shook her head and said, “No. They may love it here, they may love you, but they feel stuck.” My first thought was, “Am I the one who is stuck?”…

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What do you REALLY want?

I worked with a woman once who told me she wanted to get a divorce. When we talked a bit longer and I asked her what she really wanted she said she wanted a healthy, romantic relationship with her husband again. I worked with a man who said he wanted to open his own bakery, but as we talked he really didn’t want (or need) to be that committed to daily work. When we uncovered what he really wanted, he was looking for connection to the community, relationships and the “feel good” of making people happy. I worked with a…

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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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