Why Won’t You Apologize?

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Sue is at the stove making dinner. As she turns to tell her children to get ready, she sees six-year-old Adam ripping a Barbie doll’s head off while his four-year-old sister stares at him with fear in her eyes. Adam is watching his sister and seems to take pleasure in her response. Sue is shocked and disgusted. Before she is aware of how she feels and why she was triggered into those feelings, she says to Adam. “You are horrible! That was just mean and malicious! How can you do such an awful thing? Don’t you care about your sister’s feelings at all? You need to apologize to your sister right now!” Adam feels deeply ashamed. He hears that there is something inherently wrong with him.

Twenty years later, Adam and his girlfriend Sarah are having a fight. Her choir had their first performance and he forgot. He stayed late at the office to work overtime and went out for a drink with his colleagues afterwards. His seat in the theatre stayed empty. Sarah is upset. “How could you forget? Don’t you care about my life and my feelings at all? You are horrible!” Adam’s shame is triggered again. He doesn’t say anything. When his girlfriend says, “you should apologize, but clearly you don’t care!” Adam gets defensive. What he doesn’t do is take responsibility for his mistake and apologize.

Apologies are almost impossible when we are stuck in a place of shame. Being able to say, “I am sorry” requires a solid foundation of self-worth. We need to feel that we are fundamentally lovable even if our behaviour in a situation has caused somebody else pain. Adam has learned that he is fundamentally flawed. Criticism and the anger of a loved one trigger self-loathing in him. He feels like he is six years again, being told that he is horrible. Only when we have a solid basis of self-esteem can we take responsibility for a mistake and for the effects our words or actions had on another person.

Sarah is hurt and continues to be upset. Adam feels not good enough and, in an attempt to stop the uncomfortable confrontation, he says, “I am sorry” in an irritated voice. His apology comes with the meta message that Sarah’s feelings are silly and annoying. He adds, “You could have reminded me again yesterday that the performance was tonight” and essentially blames her. A little later in the conversation he says, “I am sorry but you are overreacting. It’s not as if you had a solo performance!” Because of the deep shame he feels, he is unable to validate her feelings and take responsibility for his absence with an authentic and heart-felt apology.

What constitutes an effective and honest apology?

  1. It is never too late to apologize. If we apologize within the first minutes after an event, the repair is easier. As Stan Tatkin points out, when we can repair very quickly, the experience does not pass from short term memory into long term memory. On the other hand, if the repair does not occur quickly, the behaviour is regarded by the injured party as a “trait” and will be encoded in their memory as such.

However, Adam can still apologize when he has calmed down and has taken a moment to put himself in Sarah’s shoes. Going back to the conversation at a later point means a double apology is required; a heart-felt “I am really sorry, I wasn’t at your choir performance as I had promised” followed by, “I am sorry I felt too ashamed to apologize properly right away.”

  1. Apologizing requires listening and understanding. The willingness to sit with Sarah’s disappointment and validate her feelings is required from Adam. “You must have been so disappointed”, “I understand why you felt like I didn’t care”, “I am sorry you felt abandoned” and so on.

  1. Apologizing means taking responsibility for one’s part in a situation. Adam needs to look into Sarah’s eyes and show her through his body language, his tone and his words, that he is sorry for forgetting. An authentic “I know I really screwed up!” or something similar shows that he is not trying to pass the blame.
  2. The word “but” negates an apology. A true apology only focuses on our behaviour, without making excuses. Harriet Lerner in her book “Why Won’t You Apologize” reminds us to keep “but” and “if” out of our apologies. “I am sorry if I offended you” is for example also a non-apology, as it questions the validity of the other person’s feelings.

Just as there is an art to apologizing, there is also an art to receiving an apology. In accepting the apology, there is also no place for a “but” or a lecture. Sarah needs to receive Adam’s heart-felt apology with grace and openness. She needs to simply thank him for apologizing and save any further discussion, for example about Adam having been forgetful lately, for another time.

As parents, grandparents, and educators, who want to raise children who are ready to say sorry, we have to keep in mind that saying less is more. If a child apologizes, we need to accept the apology with a simple thank you instead of following with a whole lecture. We need to give them credit for being mature and responsible enough to offer a true apology. Making statements about the child’s character instead of their behaviour and lecturing them only causes further shame instead of a positive experience. A true heartfelt apology is not just a gift to the person we are apologizing to but it is also a gift to ourselves as it raises our self-worth when we are able to take responsibility and act in integrity. Let’s remember to make apologizing an experience of personal growth and increased self-esteem for the next generation.

 

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Angelika

Relationship Coaching

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greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

The Blind Passenger

I had been contemplating this year’s Thanksgiving blog, when I came across this beautiful story by an unknown author on Spiritual-Short-Stories.com. It is perfect the way it is written, so allow me to just share…

The passengers on the bus watched sympathetically as the attractive young woman with the white cane made her way carefully up the steps. She paid the driver, and using her hands to feel the location of the seats, walked down the aisle and found the seat he’d told her was empty. Then she settled in, placed her briefcase on her lap and rested her cane against her leg. It had been a year since Susan, thirty-four, became blind. Due to a medical misdiagnosis she had been rendered sightless, and she was suddenly thrown into a world of darkness, anger, frustration and self-pity.

Once a fiercely independent woman, Susan now felt condemned by this terrible twist of fate to become a powerless, helpless burden on everyone around her. “How could this have happened to me?” she would plead, her heart knotted with anger. But no matter how much she cried or ranted or prayed, she knew the painful truth: her sight was never going to return. A cloud of depression hung over Susan’s once optimistic spirit. Just getting through each day was an exercise in frustration and exhaustion.

 And all she had to cling to was her husband Mark. Mark was an Air Force officer and he loved Susan with all his heart. When she first lost her sight, he watched her sink into despair and was determined to help his wife gain the strength and confidence she needed to become independent again. Mark’s military background had trained him well to deal with sensitive situations, and yet he knew this was the most difficult battle he would ever face. 

bus-city

Finally, Susan felt ready to return to her job, but how would she get there? She used to take the bus, but was now too frightened to get around the city by herself. Mark volunteered to drive her to work each day, even though they worked at opposite ends of the city. At first, this comforted Susan and fulfilled Mark’s need to protect his sightless wife who was so insecure about performing the slightest task. 

Soon, however, Mark realized that this arrangement wasn’t working – it was hectic, and costly. Susan is going to have to start taking the bus again, he admitted to himself. But just the thought of mentioning it to her made him cringe. She was still so fragile, so angry. How would she react? 

Just as Mark predicted, Susan was horrified at the idea of taking the bus again. “I’m blind!” she responded bitterly. “How am I supposed to know where I’m going? I feel like you’re abandoning me.” Mark’s heart broke to hear these words, but he knew what had to be done. He promised Susan that each morning and evening he would ride the bus with her, for as long as it took, until she got the hang of it. And that is exactly what happened. For two solid weeks, Mark, military uniform and all, accompanied Susan to and from work each day. He taught her how to rely on her other senses especially her hearing, to determine where she was and how to adapt to her new environment. 

He helped her befriend the bus drivers who could watch out for her and save her a seat. He made her laugh, even on those not-so-good days when she would trip exiting the bus, or drop her briefcase. Each morning they made the journey together, and Mark would take a cab back to his office. Although this routine was even more costly and exhausting than the previous one, Mark knew it was only a matter of time before Susan would be able to ride the bus on her own. He believed in her, in the Susan he used to know before she’d lost her sight, who wasn’t afraid of any challenge and who would never, ever quit. 

Finally, Susan decided that she was ready to try the trip on her own. She said goodbye, and for the first time, they went their separate ways. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Each day on her own went perfectly, and Susan had never felt better. She was doing it! She was going to work all by herself! 

Blind-Passenger-silouette

On Friday morning, Susan took the bus as usual. As she was paying for her fare to exit the bus, the driver said, “Boy, I sure envy you.” Susan wasn’t sure if the driver was speaking to her or not. After all who on earth would ever envy a blind woman who had struggled just to find the courage to live the past year? Curious she asked the driver, “Why do you say that you envy me?” The driver responded, “It must feel so good to be taken care of and protected like you are.” Susan had no idea what the driver was talking about, and asked again, “What do you mean?” 

The driver answered, “You know, every morning for the past week, a fine looking gentleman in a military uniform has been standing across the corner watching you when you get off the bus. He makes sure you cross the street safely and he watches you until you enter your office building. Then he blows you a kiss, and gives you a little salute and walks away. You are one lucky lady.”

Tears of happiness poured down Susan’s cheeks. For although she couldn’t physically see him, she had always felt Mark’s presence. She was lucky, so lucky, for he had given her a gift more powerful than sight, a gift she didn’t need to see to believe – the gift of love that can bring light where there had been darkness.

This touching story has me wondering if we aren’t sometimes all like this blind woman? We feel alone, struggling to go about our life, meanwhile we are watched over, protected and held without being aware of it. We are, in fact, safe and abundant beyond our wildest imagination. There is an abundance of love and support—if we could just see it. What if we opened our hearts and looked around to notice the fullness and abundance in our life with gratitude.

Thanksgiving - Happy Thanksgiving 3

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I love you! I love you! I love you!

Energy follows attention. What you focus on, is what you get. That universal law applies to our relationships as it applies to anything else.

In the past, there was a theory that it is good to get your negative feelings out. Unfortunately, venting at our partner leaves him or her with bad memories. Over time, our brain responds with apprehension to high energy interactions. In fact, our brain starts to associate our partner with negative situations and with danger instead of with feelings of safety. Our brain goes on alert because we remember the hurt and emotional pain. Instead of triggering endorphins (feel good chemicals), the stress hormone cortisol is triggered. Our main job in our relationship is to be a source of safety for our partner, instead of another source of stress.

Our brain has, as Rick Hansen calls it, “a negativity bias”. We remember negative events more easily than positive ones. For our ancestors that negativity bias was important for survival. Drs. John and Julie Gottman state that five positive exchanges or comments are required to override one negative one. If we hear more critical comments than affirmations or appreciations, we are often left feeling defensive and uneasy with our partner.

Another reason why venting is not beneficial is that whatever you express, you also experience. Whatever you do to others, you do to yourself. When you yell at your partner, it is as if you are yelling at yourself. Your brain reacts to your own negative yelling in the same way your partner reacts. It triggers danger cues and the release of cortisol.

What would happen if we flooded each other with positive emotions and we were able to connect intensity with positive exchanges? Hendrix and Hunt suggest the following couple’s exercise.

3 Minute Exercise That Re-Patterns Our Brain

In preparation for the exercise, make a list of

  1. your partner’s physical characteristics which you like
  2. their personality traits which you admire
  3. some of their recent behaviours you appreciate, and
  4. come up with a global affirmation, e.g. they are terrific, thoughtful, fantastic, amazing, wonderful etc.

positive flooding

One partner sits in a chair and the other one circles him or her and floods the partner with positive adjectives. The first minute is focused on the physical characteristics. The circling partner identifies and appreciates all of the physical features of their partner in a normal tone or volume, e.g. I love your smile. I really like your silky hair. I love your soft hands.

During the second minute, the circling partner focuses on appreciating traits in a more excited tone, while raising the volume of their voice, e.g. I appreciate your warmth. I appreciate your kindness. I appreciate your intelligence.

During the last minute, the circling partner values and affirms behaviours the partner has displayed. This time they are raising their voice even more, e.g. I appreciate that you picked the kids up from school yesterday. I am thankful for your advice in regards to my boss. I am so grateful for you sending Aunt Edna a gift.

At the end, the circling partner comes around and stands in front of the sitting partner. He or she yells, “I can’t believe I am in a relationship with (married to) a person as amazing as you. I love you! I love you! I love you! You are wonderful/amazing/fantastic” etc.

Then both partners stand and give each other a full minute long hug to calm down.

 

The rationales behind this exercise are

  1. This interaction exercises, first, the sympathetic nervous system, and during the hug at the end, the parasympathetic nervous system. It activates the bonding hormone oxitocin.
  2. It creates new safe memories of our partner. Intensity is now connected to positive memories.
  3. It also takes us out of the resentful part of our brain where we have kept a list of the things our partner has done to frustrate or hurt us. It moves us into the part of the brain that wakes us up to how wonderful our partner is. Our perpetual issues or relationship problems have, of course, not disappeared. However, the shift into our prefrontal neo-cortex opens up the option to deal with them in a more civilized and calm manner than our primitive brain is capable of. From that part of our brain, we can be more curious about why our partner is the way they are, instead of being judgmental with each other.

 

If you are hesitant to try this dynamic exercise, consider cutting out negativity and shifting into appreciation with a different ritual. Drs. Gottman for example suggest a weekly “State of the Union Meeting”. The couple sets aside one hour a week to reconnect. The State of the Union meeting begins with giving each other affirmations and appreciations. Harville Hendrix and Helen Hunt propose to end each day by sharing three things we appreciate about our partner and vice versa. This conscious practice of appreciation requires us to pay attention to what we enjoy about each other.

positive flooding - joy

Re-patterning our brain, as well as other activities of shifting into appreciation, give us the opportunity to revive the love we have for each other. Gratitude and appreciation foster a secure bond and allow us to continually build a sound relationship house.

Contact

Belief Change and Relationship Coach Angelika,

905-286-9466,

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

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6 Ways of Keeping the Spark Alive in Your Marriage

A gorgeous young client of mine, who is dear to my heart, got married this weekend. I felt very honoured that she invited us in the small and intimate but truly beautiful celebration. It was such a pleasure to meet her family and friends, and to watch the couple step into this level of commitment. She and the groom, who are both very conscious people, had clearly put a lot of thought into meaningful traditions they wanted to include.

One beautiful custom they incorporated was the wedding sand ceremony. They both took turns pouring different coloured sand into one clear glass, forming a layered effect, expressing the coming together of their two souls into one new family. Then they shook the glass to mix the sand, symbolizing the strength of their relationship. Just as the sand cannot be parted neither can they. They are filled with optimism, love and joy as they are beginning their journey together as a new family.

wedding-sand-ceremony

Prior to this special day of hers, I was searching for some words of wisdom to share with her. I have seen her grow over the last few years, change into a powerful “manifestor” and attract the partner who is perfect for her. I have no doubt that their bond will increase with each passing day and that they will create a full and exciting life together. What advice is there that is actually useful when starting out as a married couple?

North Americans today have higher expectations than they historically ever did. We expect marriage to offer a route to self-discovery and personal growth. Time magazine author Belinda Luscombe, in the special edition on happiness, quotes Lisa Grunwald (who together with her husband Stephen Adler put together “The Marriage Book”), “The promise you make is not just to be faithful and true and to stay married, but to try and bring out the best in each other”. Couples can indeed “achieve an unprecedentedly high level of marital quality, but only if they are able to invest a great deal of time and energy into their partnership” (Eli Finkel).

The ones who know how to go about investing into their relationship would be couples who have been married for decades and have found ways to keep the love going. Karl Pillemer, a Cornell professor, interviewed 700 elderly people and recorded their wisdom in his book “30 Lessons for Loving”. The most important lessons about keeping the spark alive are

  1. Think Small (and Positive)

What keeps the love flame burning are the unexpected kind gestures, successfully long-term married couples say. Make a habit out of doing small, positive things for your partner. In other words, “turning towards” each other as Drs John and Julie Gottman advise, and having an accurate “Love Map” of your partner. That Love Map is a clear guideline to knowing what makes your partner happy or relieves their stress, and doing it often and unexpectedly. According to Pillemer’s interviews, three types of gestures when used frequently have a great impact on the relationship: surprises, chores and compliments. In the words of Gary Chapman, you are speaking these three out of five love languages of “doing services”, “words of affirmation” and potentially “giving gifts”.

Keeping the Spark Alive PIC 2

 

2. Become Friends

The importance of physical attraction to each other is a given. However, physical and sexual attraction are not enough to keep a relationship going over the long term. We grow older, our physical appearance changes, and friendship must become as much a part of the relationship as romantic love. The interviewed elders were also completely on board with Dr. John Gottman’s research on friendship among couples. Friends know how to have fun together and be good company for each other, no matter how long they have been together. Friends are also open to one another’s interests. The advice that these couples provided was to learn to enjoy your partner’s interests.

Keeping the Spark Alive PIC 3b

 

3. Expect An Active Sex Life

The elders describe their intimacy being as good or better than when they were younger. They have learned what their partner likes and they felt more secure and more comfortable with each other. The sexual spark changes and deepens, they say. “There is a kind of quietness there that’s quite deep. It’s very fulfilling. You feel a peaceful intimacy that’s in a way really more meaningful than the frenetic thing”, shares one of the men Pillemer talked to.

Keeping the Spark Alive PIC 4

 

4. Give up Grudges

Sometimes you hear the piece of advice “Don’t go to bed angry”. I have always felt that that was a bit of a cliché which worked for some people but not for others. What is a better and more useful piece of advice is “Don’t Hold Grudges”. When we keep resentment smouldering instead of resolving issues and letting go of the past, our relationship is in trouble. Most things we disagree about are not worth a long-term fight. Let hurts and conflicts truly go. Be quick to apologize and forgive. In fact, make forgiveness of your partner a regular practice.

Keeping the Spark Alive PIC 5

 

5. Get Help

If the spark feels like it’s dying, get help through counselling. Make a genuine and wholehearted attempt at working on the relationship. Relationships go through difficult periods. We might need to learn more successful communication skills, learn to forgive, or learn how to build a stronger relationship. The elders believe—and I wholeheartedly agree—that counselling or coaching is not just for overcoming a crisis but an important tune-up to keep the spark alive and to create a successful marriage or long-term relationship.

Keeping the Spark Alive PIC 6

 

6. Other “Secrets”

Some other “trade secrets” for keeping your marriage fresh, vibrant and exciting for a lifetime that the elders shared were: Take care of your physical appearance, travel more, reach out and engage together—for example in volunteer services—as a natural extension of your affection, embrace change, and last but not least, the beautiful advice to treat your relationship as if it was a “life-time date”.

Keeping the Spark Alive PIC 7

Would you like to make your marriage a “life-time date”? Does your relationship need a tune-up? You can take a workshop or book individual coaching sessions.

Contact

Belief Change and Relationship Coach Angelika,

905-286-9466,

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

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What Makes a Happy Life?

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Every year, at the end of the summer, when I have returned from our trip home to visit family, usually combined with a little holiday somewhere else in Europe, I am in a contemplative mood. I wonder what creates the happy and content feeling of the summer and how to keep it going the rest of the year. In previous years, I have written about vacations being a Vacation Away From My Planner Self, about Our Vacation Self and whether Vacations Make Us Happier.

As uncovered in previous years, the link is not a direct link between holiday time and happiness. There is, however, a correlation of happiness and spending time with family or close friends. The level of happiness is not dependent on the fact whether I can afford to go on vacation, but it is dependent on what I do during my time off. Deep nurturing connections, love, laughter, support, and acceptance are all factors in our experience of happiness. Spending time with a loving partner, or having fun with your family members or people who you feel close to, have the effect to increase your happiness.

One of the longest studies on happiness is the Harvard Study of Adult Development. For 75 years, several generations of researchers tracked the lives of 724 men from two very different walks of life. 60 of those 724 men are still alive today. Perhaps a bit gender biased in the original set-up when first started in 1938, the study at a later point included their wives as well. One group of the participants in the study started out as Harvard sophomores who almost all went to serve in WWII after college. The second group consisted of boys from one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Boston, young men from some of the most troubled and disadvantaged families.

Harvard Study+of+Adult+Development

Robert Waldinger, the 4th director of this study, reports about the findings and lessons on happiness in his excellent TED Talk “What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness.”

The one main lesson that stands out in this 75-year-long study is that happiness is “not about wealth or fame or working harder” (Waldinger). Instead, the one important insight not to miss is that “good relationships keep us happier and healthier” (Waldinger).

Mark Twain - The Good Life 2

 The Harvard researchers have learned three important facts:

  1. Social connections with our family, our friends, and our community are extremely beneficial for us. They keep us physically healthier and allow us to live longer.
  2. It is not enough to have relationships, for example to be married or have family, but the quality of our close relationships matters. High conflict marriages in which we feel lonely and unsupported are detrimental to our health. When we are in a relationship with little affection or with toxic interactions, the stress and loneliness shorten our lives. Living in the midst of good warm relationships, on the other hand, is protective.The Harvard researchers found that they could predict—based on the relationships people were in during their 50ties—how healthy they would be at age 80. The men who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80. In addition, most happily married men and women reported that on days when they had most physical pain, their mood still stayed positive. Men and women in unhappy relationships, on the other hand, experienced that their physical pain was magnified by their emotional pain.

couple, old, happy

  1. The study also showed that good relationships do not just protect our physical bodies, but they also protect our brains from decline. There was a clear correlation about being in a securely attached relationship in your 80ties and memory loss. Happily married people experienced that their memories stayed sharper longer. Those people who were in relationships wherein they felt unloved and felt that they couldn’t count on their partner experienced greater memory decline.

This does not mean that we have to always get along well. Relationships don’t have to be smooth all the time to be healthy. Waldinger reports that some couples could bicker day in and day out, but as long as they felt that they could count on one another when the going got tough, those arguments didn’t take a toll. That is in line with John Gottman‘s research findings. He showed that marriages don’t suffer because of arguments, but that it depends on how a couple argues and what basis the relationship has.

As humans, we like a quick fix, but as Walding points out, “relationships are complicated, messy and hard work” and that this work never ends. I would like to add that relationships are also full of moments which are simple, joyful and easy. However, relationships always require attention and effort.

Harvard Study, old couple

The people in the study who were the happiest in their 80ties were the ones who had “leaned into relationships with family, friends and community”. What does it mean to lean into your relationships?

It starts with making time for family and friends, or doing something new together with a loved one, or reaching out to that family member you haven’t spoken to in years. Forgiveness, letting go, healing our own wounds, opening our hearts, reaching out to have difficult conversations, and communicating successfully are all part of building relationships which keep us healthy and happy.

Relationship Energetics provides you with tools and opportunities to build a good long life by building better relationships. Join Dhebi DeWitz and myself for the three day

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The Purpose of Our Intimate Relationships

Naomi and Ben are both in their late twenties. They are part of a bigger group of friends. On and off they have crossed the line from platonic friends to friends with benefits. Ben seems to be comfortable with this spontaneous commitment-free arrangement, but Naomi is growing more and more dissatisfied with it. Yet, she feels the need to follow popular relationship advice and pretend to be strong and self-sufficient, appear busy and not interested in a serious commitment. Ben can have his cake and eat it too; he gets the excitement of being together intimately while not truly needing to be vulnerable. Meanwhile, Naomi is trying hard to be mysterious and is not expressing her genuine needs and feelings. She has noticed that Ben is more interested in her when she goes out with other guys. Lately, she has half-heartedly started going steady with Rick. All of a sudden, Ben’s interest is really peeked. He wants Naomi to break up with Rick and go steady with him instead. Naomi feels excited, yet guilty. She is confused by Ben’s change of heart as well as by her own feelings. What is at the bottom of this situation?

Attachment theory designates three main “attachment styles”, as well as combinations of them: securely attached, anxiously attached and avoidant of attachment. Stan Tatkin has named these three styles as being an anchor (secure), being like a wave (anxiously torn between attachment and non-attachment) and being like an island (avoiding attachment and favouring independence).

Attachment theory is based in research with children and their primary care-givers, and considers our evolutionary programming. We have been programmed by evolution to single out a few specific individuals in our lives and become attached to them to increase our chances of survival. Our brain has a mechanism that consists of emotions and behaviours that ensure our safety and protection by staying close to our loved ones.

baby-father-hands-cropped

In the 1940s, parenting experts warned that “coddling” would result in needy and insecure children. Parents were told to let their infants cry themselves to sleep, and train them to eat on a strict schedule. In hospitals, the common practice was to separate mothers and babies at birth and keep the babies behind a glass window in the nursery for the first days of their lives. In the 50s and 60s, attachment theory (Mary Ainsworth, John Bowlby) proved that infants who had all their nutritional needs taken care of but lacked an attachment figure failed to develop normally. Their physical, intellectual, emotional and social development was affected.

In fact, attachment is an integral part of human behaviour throughout our entire lifetime. Our learned attachment style is relevant for a variety of relationship situations in adulthood. “We live in a culture that seems to scorn basic needs for intimacy, closeness, and especially dependency, while exalting independence. We tend to accept this attitude as truth—to our detriment” (Amir Levine, Attached). The co-dependency movement and other similar approaches portray healthy adult relationship attachment in a way that is similar to the detrimental views held in the 1920s about child rearing. According to these ideas, we should be able to distance ourselves from our partner and look after ourselves. If you are emotionally attached it is looked upon as “too enmeshed” and “co-dependant”.

couple-holding-hands

As much as I agree that we are responsible for our own feelings, we are also in each other’s care in a partnership. Partners can have a huge stress relieving effect on each other. The assumption that we should control our emotional needs and soothe ourselves in the face of stress is at odds with our biology. “Numerous studies show that once we become attached to someone, the two of us form one physiological unit. Our partner regulates our blood pressure, our heart rate, our breathing, and the levels of hormones in our blood.” (Amir Levine)

If our partner does not know how to reassure us when we are stressed, we are programmed to continue our attempts to achieve closeness and reassurance. That might look like “neediness” or “clinginess”. In reality, we are only as “needy” as our unmet needs!

Needy

There is in fact a phenomenon that is called “dependency paradox” in attachment literature. “The more effectively dependent people are on one another, the more independent and daring they become” (Amir Levine). The ability to step into the world on our own stems from the knowledge that there is someone we can count on for emotional and physical support. If we feel secure, the world is at our feet. We can step into the unknown, take risks, be creative, and pursue our goals and dreams. As adults, we provide the attachment role for our partner. We are able to provide a secure base for each other if we understand our attachment styles and work on being securely attached to each other.

When we flip between feeling insecure, anxious or even obsessive and feeling elated and passionate in our relationship, we might mistake this for love. However, what is most likely going on is an activated attachment system of somebody who has a non-secure attachment style. Jealousy, fear, and mistrust are not signs of love, but signs that we are in a relationship with an insecure attachment.

When we are in a relationship with somebody who has a secure attachment style, our experience is completely different. Securely attached people are

  • Great at de-escalating a conflict
  • Not threatened by criticism
  • Effective communicators
  • Not game players
  • Comfortable with closeness
  • Quick to forgive
  • Inclined to view emotional intimacy and sex as one
  • Respectful and loving with their partner
  • Confident in their ability to improve the relationship
  • Responsive to their partner’s needs and well-being

In such a secure relationship the true purpose of our intimate relationships becomes clear. The partners provide a sacred space for each other to be able to be who we truly are with all our needs and desires.

relationships_purpose

To get back to our couple from the beginning, Ben has a mostly avoidant attachment style. He sends mixed messages about his feelings, doesn’t like girls who are “too needy” or “too dramatic”, he pulls away when things are getting close, and he wants to keep the relationship light and non-committal. He feels most comfortable being aloof and independent. He only misses Naomi when they are apart, or once he realizes he might lose her to somebody else. Naomi, on the other hand, has a relationship history which has turned her from being secure in her affection for her significant other into somebody who longs for closeness but doesn’t dare to hope for a secure attachment. Their vibration matches. Ben mirrors her expectations and fears.

To get out of this painful pattern, Naomi needs to understand his attachment style and be authentic in regard to her own needs, feelings and dreams. We can all learn more securely attached relationship interactions. That shift begins with an honest relationship with ourselves.

Rumi_Love Barriers 1

 

If you would like to improve the relationship with yourself, your significant other and other loved ones, join

Dhebi DeWitz and Angelika Baum

for the three day Relationship Energetics Training

from Sept. 29 – Oct. 1, 2017

EARLY BIRD ($150 down by Sept. 8) $595 

Pay deposit via PayPal now 

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How About Love?

Five hundred twenty-five thousand

Six hundred minutes

How do you measure – measure a year?

In daylights – in sunsets

In midnights – in cups of coffee

In inches – in miles

In laughter – in strife

In – five hundred twenty-five thousand

Six hundred minutes

How do you measure

A year in the life

How about love?

(“Seasons Of Love” song from the musical “Rent”)

Love is a topic which occupies all of us. As a society, we are obsessed by it: books, movies, TV series, musicals, Valentine’s Day, talking with your girlfriend, seeing your therapist. Everything revolves around relationships and love. We long for it and we wonder how to “get love”. At the same time, there is hardly any other topic we have learned more myths about.

Science has revealed that love is vital to our existence. Love is a basic survival code for us as humans. Our brain is wired to read and respond to others. Feeling safe and loved by others makes us stronger. We all need the emotional and spiritual nourishment of human relationships. Human comfort is our natural remedy for fear, stress, and doubt. Rejection, abandonment and disconnection are cues for danger that plunge us into anxiety and cause us not just emotional but also physical pain.

“When your mind perceives the experience of love, it causes the brain to secrete neurochemicals, such as dopamine, oxytocin and growth hormone into the blood (…) you are generally healthier and more alive when you are in love (…) fear provokes the release of stress hormones and inflammatory agents such as cytokines into the blood (…)” (Bruce Lipton, The Honeymoon Effect)

Love is not something we “get” or “fall into” when we are lucky or happen to just be cute and lovable. Love is an energy to embrace; it is a consciousness. It doesn’t just happen to us. We are co-creating it based on our core beliefs about ourselves and the world. If we have learned that we are lovable and worthy of experiencing love and joy, it is easier to vibrate at the level of love. Love is an experience but it is an action first and foremost.

dhebi-love-2a

Dhebi DeWitz

dhebi-love-2

Dhebi DeWitz

If you are going through life, waiting to feel love when you meet others, you have misunderstood the true essence of love. Love is a discipline; it requires us to personify love and to practice being loving with yourself and others.

In fact, an essential aspect is learning to unconditionally love ourselves. Many of us have been taught to give to others, to love others and to under no circumstances be so vain as to love ourselves. In Bruce Lipton’s workshops, 90% of people fail the muscle test “I love myself”. I can certainly confirm that from my own sessions. “I love and accept myself the way I am” is a belief most of us do not hold in our subconscious mind.

Instead, we hold back on truly loving ourselves until a certain condition is met. “I’ll love myself and my body when I have lost weight”, “I’ll love myself when I have reached my goals”, “I’ll love myself when somebody else truly loves me”. That conditioning completely misunderstands the true nature of love.

We exist as love. Children come into this world open, loving and unguarded, until they learn to protect themselves and guard their heart. Reconnecting with our true essence simply means reopening our heart to love. It means the end of loneliness and separation. Instead it fosters unity with others, with other people, with nature, with the source of life with all there is.

dhebi-love-4

Dhebi De Witz

dhebi-love-5

Dhebi De Witz

Self-Love is as misunderstood a term as love. Self-love isn’t just a verb. Self-Love is beyond taking care of yourself and doing things for yourself. Self-Love is knowing who you are and knowing you are made of love. Love is your original energy, your true essence.

How do you open your heart, you might wonder? How do you start loving yourself and others more? You create love by creating an atmosphere of love in your life. Seeing the beauty in yourself is as necessary as seeing the beauty in others. Your thoughts determine who and what you attract into your world. Allow yourself to see more of the joy and beauty of life that is surrounding you daily. Allow yourself to be at peace with what is, instead of criticizing and focusing on the lack in yourself and others.

You create this love by speaking kindly to the people you meet. You consciously look for the good and the positive in everyone. You tell people why you appreciate them. You listen from your heart to the words that others speak. You give yourself permission to be truly present with them. You build bridges to connect with others. By being loving—by being considerate in your thoughts, your words, and your actions—you are attracting more love into your life.

We are conditioned to believe that happiness and love comes only after we have found our ideal lover. This attitude limits our personal growth. Instead, decide to be truly happy right now, today. And because your sincere joy makes you more attractive, others find you lovable and want to be around you. Soon you begin to feel the joy, the lightness, and the laughter, that comes with love. You realize that love is more than a lover adoring us. Love is an open heart for everybody, including yourself. That kind of love is healing.

There are two basic human emotions. One is fear, the other is love. One cancels out the other. Fear impacts our ability to love. Love, on the other hand, heals all fear and chaos. Love is the solution to disease and pain, whether physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. Love is not just inside all of us. Love is the actual essence we fundamentally are. Therefore we are our own and other people’s healers. “Love is a healer because it undoes the basic problem of separation and also the basic fear of not being loveable. It restores our awareness of our Unconditional Self and our true nature. Love is, I believe, the solution to every problem.” (Robert Holden, Loveability)

Join Dhebi DeWitz and myself for another

FREE webinar on

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

at 5:00 p.m. PST or 8:00 p.m. EST.

TOPIC “Love”

E-mail either one of us to receive the link to join us live. You can also send us questions on the topic “Love” prior to Feb. 8.

Angelika

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

Watch Dhebi DeWitz beautiful video Love is your true nature

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What happened? Collective Shadows

This morning, I woke up to a lot of grief and disbelief shared on my Facebook feed about the results of the election. The shock and sadness echoed my own feelings of grief. There were also the voices of my spiritual friends reminding us not to give the hatred more power by going into fear, but to remember the spiritual truth of who we are and to embody love and light.

One of the questions asked over and over again was “why?” and “how could this happen?” We mustn’t forget that what we manifest originates from our subconscious mind, from our beliefs, our suppressed fears and our disowned energies, also called our shadows. The collective unconscious of a whole nation, perhaps even of the whole world, has ultimately co-created the outcome of these elections.

iceberg

The collective unconscious in Jungian psychology is “the part of the unconscious mind that is derived from ancestral memory and experience and is common to all humankind.” So the question would have to be, what shadows have been pushed underground, what fears and impulses have been disowned for one politician to represent all those energies?

Quantum physics teaches us that electrons which are created together are entangled. They are always connected and influencing each other. Since the big bang, we have all been connected on the level of our smallest particles. Or, in other words, we are connected through the collective unconscious mind and as each part of this mind, we carry responsibility. If what has been created is not what we would like to see, let’s move forward to create something different.

We cannot fight hatred with hatred, the only thing which allows us to move out of the low vibrational energy of hate, anger and fear is Love. Love is a clear movement towards unity. Love and light illuminate the darkness. Love heals all chaos. Chaos is a normal part of every change. Before we can emerge to create something new, there naturally is a time of unsettlement and chaos. No matter whether we welcome the change or fear it, the only thing we can count on is change. With change often comes loss. Loss is inevitable just like change itself.

When we experience a loss, for example the loss of security, or when we anticipate a loss, like the loss of human rights, grief is a natural response. This grief needs to be acknowledged, felt and processed. Only when we have taken the time to do that can we truly remember that we have choices to create something better, something new.

It is up to each and every one of us, no matter whether we had a direct vote in this election or not, to create a world free of hatred, judgment and oppression. Together we can change the collective unconscious by starting to love ourselves with all our fears and impulses and to begin to make conscious choices for freedom and equal rights for everybody, for unity and for love.

one-candle-lights-another

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Snapshot Moments

Do you know that feeling when you can’t help but think your heart is going to burst? Driving home from dinner on Friday night with my family and two of my best friends, I had one of those moments which I call a “snapshot moment”. The kids started singing and in no time, all six of us were singing “Lean On Me”. My heart was overflowing with boundless joy and deep love. It was a simple yet powerful moment in time. And there is a part in me who takes somewhat of a kinaesthetic snapshot at that moment to eternalize this memory.

Sometimes a heartfelt experience is a small moment like being together and connecting through a smile, words or music, through love and trust; sometimes a snapshot moment can be an important moment, a significant episode.

snapshot moment 2

One of my favourite snapshot moments is holding my first daughter just after she was born. I can instantly recall the feeling in my heart which I had as I was looking into her eyes. It was the end of a five year long fertility struggle. She was a surprise baby who, according to the doctors, was not supposed to have existed. She was the greatest gift I had ever received up to that point.

A heart-opening snapshot moment is usually full of love, laughter, inner peace, deep gratitude, aliveness, flowing in the moment, feeling complete or having a sense of unity and bliss.

snapshot moments 3

Love is the impulse towards unity. In a snapshot moment there is no separation between you and others. Your heart is so full that there is no room for fear-based emotions like greed, jealousy, envy, resentment, anger, inferiority or not feeling good enough. We instinctively know the truth of who we are. There is no doubt that we are perfectly lovable and absolutely enough exactly the way we are.

In Holoenergetics® and Shadow Energetics® we use these loving memories to bring up heart-felt feelings in the centre of our chest to shift energy and to heal ourselves, others and our relationships through love. We do this, among other things, by embracing our dark or light shadows or by clearing and balancing the energy in relationships to each other.

Why do we utilize the power of love? Because love is the universal harmonic, the desire for unity. “While love can take many forms, its essence is relatedness. We can become aware of this relatedness or non-separation, which always exists. We can experience and feel it as the impulse toward unity, and we can express and manifest it through our actions.” (Leonard Laskow, Love as a Healing Force)

Because love dissolves all separation and smooths all chaos it is a powerful healing energy and the one catalyst for transformation. Our inability to love ourselves or to receive love from others is the source of most of our physical or emotional issues. As children we often receive mixed messages about love. During the process of growing up we are taught that we are separate and not safe. We develop a “me/us against them” consciousness. In her beautiful audio CD Your Heart’s Prayer, Oriah Mountain Dreamer shifts our experience by suggesting we say “some of us” instead of “they”. She then even takes it a step further and exchanges “some of us” with “part of me”. Hate and fear dissolve into understanding and love when we shift our consciousness towards unity.

Heart in Sky 1

Our struggles with love and with deep-seated feelings of separation are the result of our childhood experiences of conditional love or what felt like conditional love. Or we had experiences of abandonment, humiliation, rejection or betrayal. Those experiences lead to feelings of unworthiness, shame, and guilt that we are “not enough”. Shame, guilt and unworthiness breed physical and emotional illness.

When illness manifests in our body, we can choose to remain focused on symptoms and treating those, or we can go to the source of the disorder and transform it. This means going into ourselves, into our heart, to that part of our being that maintains the sense of unity instead of feelings of separation, isolation, fear or pain. It means choosing love, joy and peace within your mind and body. Nothing is more important than the feeling of self-love and happiness inside.

Being happy is the cornerstone of all that you are! Nothing is more important than that you feel good! And you have absolute and utter control about that because you can choose the thought that makes you worry or the thought that makes you happy; the things that thrill you, or the things that worry you. You have the choice in every moment.

—Abraham

What is your favourite snapshot memory? How often do you connect with one of those memories? How often do you laugh? How often do you hug your inner child and check in with her/his needs? How often do you connect with the love your true essence has for you, all part of you?

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To experience Holoenenergetics®, Shadow Work, Hypnosis or Belief Changes through PSYCH-K®, or to take part in a workshop

contact Angelika

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

 

Gift from the Sea

A few days ago, I picked up a book which I hadn’t looked at in 25 years: Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s “Gift from the Sea”. She was an American author, a famous aviator and wife to fellow aviator Charles Lindbergh. Sixty years after she published this book, it still holds beautiful truths and insights to contemplate. In her book, she takes a different seashell for each chapter as a metaphor, reflecting on the lives of Americans, particularly American women, in the mid-twentieth century. She shares her insights on youth and age; love and marriage; peace, solitude and contentment.

Anne Morrow Lindberg 2

The chapter that especially drew my attention this time around is the one called “Double-Sunrise”. Morrow Lindbergh describes a seashell which consists of two halves that are exactly matched. “Each side, like the wing of a butterfly, is marked with the same pattern”. This seashell appears to be the perfect symbol for the beginning of a relationship. “For the first part of every relationship is pure, whether it be with friend or lover, husband or child.” The two people are like a self-enclosed world. “Two people listening to each other, two shells meeting each other, making one world between them. There are no others in the perfect unity of that instant, no other people or things or interests.”

Gifts from the Sea - Double Sunrise

The nature of life is change; transformation is a natural part of the process of life. Like everything in life, a relationship also changes; it becomes more complicated through contact with the outside world. Somehow we often mistakenly feel that not being able to maintain the original pattern of the relationship is a failure or tragedy. We hear from others that the honeymoon period won’t last and we find disappointment in that realization. Yet, spring won’t last forever either. It will be followed by the summer, and then the fall and finally the winter.

This applies to love relationships as well as other relationships. Women “refind in a limited form with each new child, something resembling, at least in its absorption, the early pure relationship. In the sheltered simplicity of the first days after a baby is born, one sees again the magical closed circle, the miraculous sense of two people existing only for each other.” As the child grows up this brief interlude is over and the relationship between parent and child changes continuously.

Gift-From-The-Sea - Cara & I

With our primary love relationship, we also need to go with the flow of the seasons and do our relationship work. Otherwise “with each partner hungry for different reasons and each misunderstanding the other’s needs, it is easy to fall apart or into late love affairs. The temptation is to blame the situation on the other person and to accept the easy solution that a new and more understanding partner will solve everything. But neither woman nor man are likely to be fed by another relationship which seems easier because it is in an earlier stage.” Instead we need to remember that the original essence of the relationship, so perfectly symbolized by the double sunrise seashell, is merely buried under layers of living our daily lives.

Morrow Lindbergh writes, “One way of rediscovering the double-sunrise is to duplicate some of its circumstances.” She suggests finding time alone with your partner to go on vacation or be alone at home. We can always circle back to an earlier phase by reconnecting with what we loved about each other at the beginning, even if it might just be an interlude of being like that double sunrise seashell again for a while.

She believes this temporary return to the pure relationship applies for our children as well. Children grow in security and strength when we spend more time with each child alone, to truly connect one-and-one, allowing them to feel how much they are loved, and acknowledging them the way they are.

When a relationship is struggling or even ends, we often in our mind re-write the story of the relationship. The later events in the relationship overshadow the entire duration of the relationship. We are unable to remember the good times anymore but believe everything was a mistake and some of us might even feel we wasted our time with the other person. Yet, everything in life goes through the seasons and one season is not better than the next. The key is to enjoy each season for as long as it lasts and for what it has to offer.

Anne Morrow Lindberg old

“One learns to accept the fact that no permanent return is possible to an old form of relationship; and, more deeply still, that there is no holding of a relationship to a single form. This is not tragedy but part of the ever-recurrent miracle of life and growth. All living relationships are in process of change, of expansion, and must perpetually be building themselves new forms.”

In my first marriage, I didn’t make time to re-discover the double sunrise seashell. Once we became parents everything revolved around our respective roles as mother and father, as caregivers and providers for our children. I have learned to make time for my partner and to make sure I also spend time with each child alone, just as much as we all spend time together. My daughters and I make time at least once a month to spend an entire day together, go on a little trip to a place we like, or to enjoy what we all feel passionate about, which in our case happens to be theatre.

One of them is soon moving out and that triggers some sadness in everybody. At the same time, we can all feel that the bond is very strong between the sisters and also with other family members. A change requires us to adapt and find new ways of living the relationships. The loving foundation continues to exist, the form is just renewed.

I invite you to make time to maintain your relationships and keep the double sunrise seashell alive. Allow yourself to love freely, without expectations. Dance through life and within your relationships. Give yourself permission to embrace change and to grow with it.

Gift-From-The-Sea

Angelika Baum

Belief Change Coaching, Relationship Coaching
905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

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Unity Consciousness

If you leave a print of your five fingers on a glass or a mirror, you see five separate dots. On the level of the glass, your fingers appear to be completely unattached to each other. However, on the higher level of our three-dimensional perception, we can see that all five fingers are connected to the same hand

Hand on Glass 1

That we are all separate and alone and that we have to fend for ourselves is a huge illusion. Just in the same way those five dots were made by one hand, we are all connected and part of the same living system. We breathe, live and thrive as one. If we hurt part of the system, we are hurting ourselves.

“Feelings of separation that result from the feared inability to love or to be loved frequently bring illness into our lives. Illness is often a cry for help, a call for love and a deeper sense of connectedness in one’s life.” (Leonard Laskow)

The mentality of “me/us versus them” is the root of fear, anger, violence and disease. The feeling of separation, of being alone, unsupported and unloved breeds Illness. It has been scientifically proven that frustration, anger and fear weaken our immune system. If you are angry at somebody, you are energetically hooked to that person, giving your power away and allowing your emotional, mental and physical wellness to be compromised. You might as well be drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

“When the illusion of separation dissolves at a spiritual level, love allows us a state of oneness that harmonizes even the seemingly dissonant patterns of illness and injury.” (Leonard Laskow)

If we do our own physical, mental and emotional work, including forgiving and letting the past go, we can heal anything. An important part of that healing is to develop our loveability, our ability to love ourselves and others. When we exchange the “I” in I-llness with a “We”, the result is We-llness; wellness for all. Love is the impulse towards unity. Through Love and connectedness, we can heal and become whole again. We can experience our oneness, our universal relatedness.

That Healing Love is not a romantic love; it is far beyond that experience. It is an unconditional, all-accepting love for everybody. It is a love free of judgments, without expectations or conditions. It is a love which does not need to be earned or learned, it just needs to be stepped into, expressed and received. When we tap into true heart-centredness, into loving ourselves and others, we establish a link between us and everybody else. Fear completely dissipates.

BWWE

I am extremely grateful to have wonderful friends and amazing fellow practitioners whose goal it is to raise the awareness for our oneness and to foster the unity consciousness. Matt Scherb of Possibility Omega s one of them. He has initiated a huge project to make the Golden Horseshoe one of the healthiest communities on earth.

Two other amazing friends are Lisbeth and Ed Fregonese who organize a fabulous Expo for heart-centred practitioners and vendors in the Burlington/Hamilton area every spring and fall.

BWWE March 2014 Morning Event

Our next Expo is on May 31 and features Hay House author Dr. Steven Farmer as our key note speaker. Dr. Farmer also offers workshops in the week following the Expo. For more information on the additional workshops go to Stephen Farmer’s website www.earthmagic.net or contact his Ontario sponsor Beth McBlain 416-580-7434, beth.mcblain@gmail.com

Stephen Farmer 2

If you are free on May 31, come out to the Holiday Inn in Burlington to join the morning speakers (limited seating, you need to register) and to meet approximately 110 practitioners and vendors who are sampling their services or products for free until 6:00 p.m. that day. Nobody else offers such an opportunity for this price. The tickets are only $25 in advance ($30 plus HST at the door) and you can buy them from me or any other practitioner who takes part in this event.

BWWE March 2014 Table

I have some paper tickets available. Contact me by phone or e-mail to purchase a ticket or click here to follow the steps on my website to purchase tickets online.

Angelika Baum

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

 If you are enjoying my posts, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the follow button in the right hand corner of your screen.

Imagine This

“Imagine this. One day, our children will learn about love at school. They will take classes in love and self-esteem, explore the meaning of “I love you,” learn to listen to their hearts, and be encouraged to follow their joy. It will be normal for parents to help their children learn how to love and be loved.” (Robert Holden, Loveability)

For a couple of weeks, I have contemplated which subject to choose for my 100th blog. I wanted it to be a topic which is close to my heart and which is meaningful to lots of people. My choice fell on “Love”.

Is there anything more ever-present than love? By that I certainly don’t just mean romantic love, which is only one expression of love. I mean the heart energy in which we are ideally centred and which we are able to send out to others. I mean the vibration which we need in order to feel safe, grow and flourish.

Evolutionary psychology tells us that love is an essential growth element for cells. Love influences our DNA, helps to build our brain and develop our nervous system.

“… the urge to love and be loved is our primary desire. Love is as important to us as air, water, and food… The more you love and also let yourself be loved, the more alive you feel… Love feeds all our basic desires, including our desire to be connected, to be known, to be safe, to be happy, to be successful, and to be free.” (Robert Holden, Loveability, p. 20/21)

Babies are born embodying the basic truth that we are all lovable. When they grow up and take on the conditioning of our society, we teach them limiting stories about love and about themselves. Stories of how elusive love is, or how difficult to find or keep, or how unworthy of unconditional love they are. As we grow up we literally forget that we are perfect and completely lovable the way we are! We unlearn that we are lovable without conditions, without comparisons, without judgments, without attachments, without needing to “do” anything to be loved. We desperately strive to be “good enough” and hope somebody will love us if we just try hard enough to be “right” and look long enough to find “the One” who can accept us the way we are.

I so often have clients, female and male alike, who are on a quest to find love, to find the perfect romantic partner. However, when we are looking for love, the looking is exactly what is blocking us from finding it. We have to become what we are looking for. “… like attracts like, and if you know that you are love, you’ll feel comfortable about attracting love into your life.” (Robert Holden, Loveability, p. 3)

What does that mean? It means to be a more loving person, to start loving everyone more, to literally step into the energy of love and be love. When you embody love you can’t help but attract more love into your life.

Robert Holden has created a new word by speaking of “Loveability,” a word which might one day be found in a dictionary. He is talking about the ability to love and be loved.

Love is an inner journey. “The goal of this journey is not to find love; it is to know love.” (Robert Holden, Loveability, p. 5) When we feel truly lovable, we are able to love others unconditionally and be loved in the same way. Our capacity to love others influences how much we can love but also how much we let ourselves be loved by others. It determines if we trust love and let love in with an open heart.

I invite you to explore the meaning of those three little words “I love you”. When you say this to your partner, your children, your parents, your siblings or friends, notice what you mean in each moment.

When doing this little exercise I came up with many different meanings. Sometimes I say “I love you” and I mean “I am so grateful to have you in my life” or “I trust you” or “I accept you without judgements” or “I am attracted to you” or “I support you and am here for you” or “I see you with all your strengths and weaknesses” or “I am so proud of you” or “My heart flows over” or “I feel safe with you” or… the list is almost endless. We express so much in our love relationships. We express how much we love ourselves and how unconditionally we are able to love others.

Here is an opportunity to explore your own loveability by understanding mirrors and embracing your shadow sides:

Shadow Energetics Workshop with Darryl Gurney, Sept. 25-28.