Tag Archives: break-up

Thursday Morning Melody: A Little Sea Sick

One of the best things about YouTube is the access it provides to independent artists that we may never have discovered through mainstream access. We discovered Ruby Day a few months ago when Vlogbrothers Hank and John Green held a contest for guest hosts during John’s paternity leave earlier this month. Ruby was one of the spotlighted videos and it blew us away.

Her British accent is super charming, but when you think that she’s only 18 and writing such sophisticated songs, it is incredible. This is her sea shanty break-up song. It’s the one John and Hank spotlighted but it’s also our favorite of hers. Our hearts break every time it gets to the “Admittedly I got myself in to this/But now all I really want is to get out/To be the person that I was before/Who looked around herself and saw/A world a little wider/ than the one to which she was bound” verse. You can see the rest of Ruby’s videos here, and we hope that you fall as in love with her and her voice as we have.

What do you think of “A Little Sea Sick”? Tell us in the comments below! 

Life is Like That: How Letting Go Lets You See the Next Opportunity

celebrate-00031352271433You wanted that job – you thought you were the best candidate. You interviewed like a pro. You had letters of recommendation. You know the industry. Then you heard that they chose someone else. Life’s like that.

You saved and saved to go on the cruise of a lifetime – to the very places you have always wanted to go. While on the trip, a hurricane develops in area the ship was planning to go and you are forced to go to the places you have already been – not the exciting places you dreamed of seeing. Life’s like that.

That job that you thought you wanted and didn’t get made you available for a better job that you didn’t previously know about. Going back to searching for jobs, you saw a job that is an even better fit for you – your talents, interests and passions. You interviewed and now have the job of your dreams. Life’s like that.

You break up with someone who has been in your life for years. Though the relationship hasn’t been amazing, it also has been bad. You know you have settled but you felt it was always better to have an average someone than an amazing nobody. But now available, you meet that amazing person who finds you equally amazing. Life’s like that.

Life is as it is. But, we come to it with our expectations – that somehow life should deliver to us exactly what we want and if not, we are disappointed. We take it personally. We think there is some cosmic plan to get us or feel that we must have done something wrong that is now being held against us. We think life is a battle – that there are wins and losses, successes and failures. When really what is happening is that life simply just is.

Life is our classroom. When life goes our way, we celebrate. Celebration is good for the spirit and soul. We develop greater gratitude, energy and passion. And when life doesn’t go our way, we use the event to learn to be better and more capable next time. We can develop greater resilience, endurance and patience. We can develop greater empathy, determination and focus.

If we spend our time getting upset with the things in life that don’t work out, we use all our great energy staying stuck in disappointments instead of allowing life to be, and watching for new opportunities. Life’s events are not personal. It’s a classroom. We are always gathering information to respond in a great, successful and grateful way regardless of what happens. There is always the next moment for something amazing if we watch for it. If we close our minds and our hearts, we’ll miss that next opportunity.

As a greatness coach, I help people discover their unique abilities – their intrinsic greatness – and learn how to show up great, confident, and authentic to what life shares with them. The greatest challenge I see for myself and my clients is that our expectations always seem to color the events in our lives. We ride the highs and the lows. And depending on which place we are at the moment – the high or the low – determines if we love or hate life.

But the only way to live life is to love it. To see its value requires us to shift our perspective from the expectations that life should be as we need them to be, to one where life is as life is – and how it shows up is how we will show up back to it. Tough times will make us stronger. Great times will help us celebrate. Both are our choice. And constant in this choice is that no matter what happens, we realize that life’s like that. It’s not personal – it just is. And when we get to that realization, we don’t need to be overwhelmed by any moment. We then have the awareness to use our best energy to find value and be part of the next amazing life moment.

Turning the Dismissal into Discovery

shutterstock_96798010You’ve been fine-tuning the moment for weeks: How you’ll stride into his office, announce you are quitting, deliver your pithy but subtly scathing statement, and stride out victoriously to the sound of Queen singing “We Are The Champions” in your head. At the same time, Maria Shifrin made the video quitting her TV news job, according to NBC Reports, public on YouTube and in an email to Gawker.

Or maybe you are on the other side. Your lover tells you he wants to talk. And when you talk, it’s short and pointed. And the dagger goes straight through your heart.

When one person rejects another, it’s always a statement on the relationship. To be told you’re not wanted — whether you’re a lover, a boss or an employee — brings pain. It can feel, at least for a fleeting moment, like a disaster, a calamity and an injustice all rolled up in a few clichés.

Today, workers think nothing of quitting by email or a public video. Lovers think it’s entirely appropriate to dump someone by text. However it happens, it feels it’s the Last Judgment on your character and your worth. You’re left powerless, which means that all you’re left with is an obsession about why it happened.

And obsess you will.

Dismissal, like failure, is something you have to learn to deal with. Control your reaction to it and turn a dis into a discovery and you’ll be several steps ahead of your dismissal’s power. It’s an important journey to make, because the pain of being dismissed can be particularly hard to shake. Being told we aren’t wanted can badly warp our very understanding of ourselves and the world we inhabit. Think about it: We are inherently social beings. The struggle to gain the attention of others is hardwired by evolution… because without attention, we would quite literally not survive. That is why one of the first skills we develop as infants is to control others.

With that kind of history, it’s no wonder we can’t rationally process dismissal, seeing it for what it is in context rather than as a rejection of our very selves, a confirmation of our worst fears. We get dismissed. So we believe we are, unworthy, and not good enough. It must be our fault. We believe that we have failed.

The first step is to think about it from the dismissor’s point of view. This has to be better than the temptation toward sending raging emails, making late-night plaintive phone calls and cyber-stalking gone mad.

Step one in the journey of discovery is to take a clear-eyed look at the power dynamic in play during a dismissal. On the surface, the dismissor — the person quitting the job, ending the friendship, walking out on their lover — has the emotional upper hand in its entirety. They feel justified, rational, that this was the right thing to do. They are strong and you are weak. They are smart and you didn’t see it coming, did you?

Dig a little deeper and you’ll likely realize that while the dismissor may feel like they’re holding the reins when the final split is enacted, chances are they felt exactly the opposite for much of the relationship. Add that to the fact that they have probably been obsessively focusing on their grievances to work up the nerve to make the final split and you now have the recipe that got you punted. No wonder Joe Jonas reportedly broke up with Taylor Swift in a 27 seconds phone call. By contrast, on the surface, the dismissee is being acted upon, suffering the consequences of someone else’s choice.

But chances are you had at least as much power and control in the pre-game — the many, many interactions that made up the relationship and led to the final dismissal. Most dismissals are only the final straw of a process that has been going on for a long time, in which two people are careening toward an ending. Both of them probably see it coming at some level and both are a little at fault. Just as the dismissor forgets the good times when working up to the final blow, the dismissee tends to forget the bad when absorbing it. The relationship suddenly appears rosier than it had been in weeks or even years.

Remember the ultimate TV dis? The Sex and the City episode where Berger breaks up with Carrie Bradshaw via Post-It note? The shock and horror of that little yellow note temporarily erased months of her knowing in the back of her mind — and sometimes the front — that this wasn’t the man for her. He was a Berger, not a Filet Mignon.

The feeling of “How Can He Do This To Me?” clouds all other truths. Because being dismissed, dumped, fired, got rid of is an insult. It’s the equivalent of a name-calling in the street. You are bad, he is good. You are an idiot, he is smart. You did wrong, he was saintly. He is dreaming. And so are you.

The temptation is to keep those blinders on, to nurse your wound for as long as you can, because feeling sorry for yourself is often easiershutterstock_rejection-378x334 than doing the hard work of examining the relationship for what it was — and shouldering some of the blame for what it became. Do it anyway. Even if it takes a bottle of very fine Chablis, make yourself understand and feel that someone who dumped you wasn’t a perfect someone at all. This was someone who was at times weak, fearful and woefully lacking in self-worth or self-knowledge.

It’s worth thinking about these things before it happens to you again. Then again, it doesn’t always work one way, does it?

Very rare is the person who is only the dismissee and never the dismissor. Think carefully about your own motivations when you reject others. Then put yourself in their Choos when it happens. Sometimes, those who get dismissed a lot only do because they never work up the courage to do it themselves — when they know it should be done. At the same time, be careful not to slip into self-loathing — turning the tables on yourself and beating yourself up for somehow “deserving,” this. Again, return to the center, to reality.

Sometimes, though, people are just miserable or terminally unhappy: the woman who dumps a man straight after his mother dies because she can’t stand to see him weak, or the man who casts a woman aside because he’s scared she’s discovered who he really is, hence making him vulnerable. In these situations, don’t wallow. Accept that you are fortunate to be free of them.

Still, the rules for a good dismissal are pretty simple. Do it in person. Technology gives you too many chances to be a coward. Set a time limit so you don’t spend hours rehashing past slights and hurting each other more. Know your reasons but don’t feel like you have to list them. Remember that what you say in the moment will resonate for the other person for a long, long time. Just as it did for you, when it happened to you.

And finally, for both the dismissor and the dismissee, leave time to both mourn and to feel grateful. In the midst of all the feverish emotion, the recriminations and the guilt and blame and anger there was a living, breathing relationship there. It may not have been the best one. You may well discover you are happier in your way as you continue your journey of discovery about yourself.

But at the very least you must recognize that by their leaving, they have cleared a path for you to move forward. While you’re on the path, grab some champagne — it’s time to look back and celebrate how dismissal steered your great understanding.

Two Essential Questions Before Saying “I do”

Wedding ringsBy: Sasha Stone

Recently I caused a minor Facebook frenzy with the following comment:

“It is my observation that marriage for my generation is irrelevant and represents the death of love. I have a few examples in my life that prove otherwise, which is beautiful and wonderful. What about you? What’s your experience?”

I will admit, I did this partially to provoke people. I knew it would strike a chord and married people would get defensive. I was curious to see what that defense would be, because honestly, I would rather my observation be inaccurate. No surprise, most responses had a lot to do with romantic notions of forever, family, and devotion. Those that said their marriage was thriving sited communication, honesty, and respect. This, though, was my favorite response of all:

“Marriage is not just a piece of paper. It is not a piece of paper to prove love. My husband proved that to me well before we got married — which is why we got married in the first place! However, it does open up a lot of options legally – think about health care decisions, financial combinations, term life decisions etc…”

Why my favorite? Because this is real. This has a purpose.

Since my divorce in 2009 I’ve kept a close eye on my views on marriage, observing any changes and fluctuations that might occur and why. In the midst of my divorce, I felt fairly certain I would never get married again. Not because I was bitter and jaded, and not because I didn’t want to have a family, but because marriage had lost its meaning to me.

I got married very young (age 25), and though in love, we hadn’t really spent any time discussing our motives for taking such a huge next step in our relationship. There was the practical consideration of me being able to stay in the U.S., and the idea of wanting to be together forever. Beyond that, we didn’t really look at the deeper currents of why, and consequently nor whether this move was truly in the greatest good for either of our lives.

Whether consciously or not, I think many people get married to hold on to that relationship and that person forever, no matter what, even if there are massive gaps in values, vision, and priorities. As though somehow, having that official certificate guarantees your idealized vision of love and that the person will be yours forever. Clearly, divorce rates indicate otherwise, but people still seem to think, for them it will be different.

What happens all too often though, for my generation at least, is the paper gets signed and the relationship takes a nosedive. I know that is not the case for everyone, but it is strikingly common. I could probably write a 1000 page essay on this topic, there’s so much to it. But I am going to stick my neck out and say the main reason this occurs is because despite our social evolution, we still cling and grasp onto the romance saturated view of marriage that is fed to us through fairytales, both classic and contemporary. Our starving mind (our hearts are usually wiser) latches on to that idea and laps it up voraciously. Then we get married, and our socially evolved self revolts, does not want to accept the illusion of this arrangement, and suddenly, desperately, wants out.

Last year, I had the honor of officiating a wedding for a beloved student and friend (yes, that’s right, minister Sash). I had to be very thoughtful about it because I didn’t want to be a fraud standing up there, guiding two people into an institution for which I hadn’t yet made peace. So I asked the couple tying the knot to answer two questions for me (an assignment they had to do separately, without consulting each other).

#1) Why are you getting married?

Seems straight forward enough, but many people answer this question with something basically along the lines of, “I love this person, I want to be with them forever, and I want to build a family and life with them.” That is awesome! I say go for it, but guess what, you don’t need to be married to do any of those things (at least not in the Western world). Love and commitment are beautiful and wonderful, but you can be married and completely not committed. You can also be fully devoted and not married.

Dig deeper. What are some REAL reasons for making this massive commitment? I find the answers that are deeply spiritual, deeply traditional, and/or deeply practical to be the most compelling. If you and your spouse-to-be have those reasons in common, then there is a much more substantial backing to walking down the aisle than simply the forever story. You have no idea what life is going to hurl your way, but if you have super strong convictions about why marriage is essential to the progress and evolution of your relationship and life together, then you have a firm foundation to stand on.

#2) Why are you marrying this person?

Ok, here is where you get to be romantic and gushy. Still though, I encourage you to dig deep. What makes this person so highly unique and dear to you that you are willing to make a lifelong commitment to them? Get it all down. Be extremely personal, reflective, and specific. Then, when you hit those rough spots in your relationship, come back to this document and remind yourself what a precious being you have the privilege of sharing your life with.

Of course, there are many more questions to ask oneself, but this is not intended to be a guide on finding the right partner (when I figure that out I’ll get back to you ;). My intention is simply to draw your attention to two basic questions whose answers are often taken for granted rather than sincerely discussed.

Yes, I do believe in Love. I believe in commitment, I believe in family, and I believe that humans are meant to live their lives in togetherness, not isolation. I want love, I want babies, and I want to experience the crazy journey of being with someone for a very long time. Would I get married again? Only if the reasons for it truly make sense, and that if I decide to take that step with someone, that we have been openly thoughtful about it and see eye-to-eye and heart-to-heart on the why.

Take action now:

  1. Share your reaction to this article in the comments below.
  2. Send this to someone preparing to embark on the marriage journey. It might offer them a little guidance before taking the plunge.

Originally published on Sasha’s blog 

photo by: State Farm

Elephant in the Room: I Can Only Be With My Boyfriend If He Proposes

Gay-MarriageDear Cora,

I have been with my boyfriend for nearly 5 years.  I am 23 and he’s is 30. I am from a religious family so my mum and dad won’t allow me to live with him without being married. He lives quite a few miles away from me and works a lot so I only see him once a week and being away from him is breaking my heart. After  five years I want him with me every day and not just to see him 1 day a week for a few hours. I feel as though all I have done for 5 years is miss him. Do you think he will ever propose? He has been married before and maybe that is putting him off.  I don’t know where I stand, please help. 

Sincerely, 

Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

Oh, babe. We have a lot going on here and I think we need to break it down step by step to see what we can come up with.

The first thing that pops out at me is that you’re 23, stop talking about marriageYou especially shouldn’t be talking about it when you approach it as a method to see your boyfriend more often. That’s not what it’s about. Marriage is a serious commitment – it is promising to spend the rest of your life with someone. That means when things aren’t fun, when they aren’t paying attention to you, for better and for worse. Real marriage is about accepting that making a life together is hard work, and that you’re willing to commit to sticking it out together. It’s not a quick fix for missing someone. It’s a life-long, very serious, situation. If your boyfriend has already been married and it ended then he probably knows this better than anyone and his hesitation may be because he knows you two aren’t ready for that level of commitment.

Speaking of your boyfriend, let’s talk about him for a moment. Actually, no. Let’s talk about you, and your feelings for him. I agree that a few hours a week isn’t enough to maintain a serious relationship – especially after five years. How well do you two really know each other? How do you build something solid and lasting on mere glimpses of time? That is a conversation you need to have with him instead of asking when is he going to propose or if he wants to get married. You need to ask what do we need to do to make this really work? Your words and emotions are serious but the level of the relationship seems casual and I think it would behoove you to make sure that you are both on the same page before you continue on writing the rest of the novel.

Now here’s the tough part, but I think if you are able to take advantage of this last piece of advice you’ll find that the rest of it gets easier. It seems the deepest root of your troubles comes from the rules of your parents. While I think you may be too young to be thinking about marriage (at least in your current situation) you are old enough to be making your own decisions. I have no doubts that your parents want the best for you as only they know how – however, they can’t live your life for you. You are old enough to be making your own decisions about how you want to live your life. The hard part of that is finding a way to make your parents accept that, or having the strength to move on by yourself even if they don’t. What I think you need Anonymous is to start thinking about moving out on your own instead of with your boyfriend. You need to learn to stand on your own two feet – that’s what your 20s are for! To figure out who you really are as a person by making your own decisions and your own mistakes. With your own place you not only get the chance to figure out for yourself what you believe but it should allow you more time to see your boyfriend. You two can get to know each other on a serious level, figure out how you work as a couple that has to function with the rest of the world and whether it really does work.

Don’t sell yourself short of this opportunity to grow into your own skin by moving from your parents to your boyfriend. You need time to grow, lovely. Unburden yourself from those shackles. It’s a tough world out there and you have to dig deep to find the strength to choose and hold on to your own happiness. I’m afraid if you keep sitting around waiting for your parents or your boyfriend to hand it to you that you’re going to miss out on the wonderful things you deserve.

Best wishes,

Cora

Creating A Healthy Mindset After a Divorce

relationship difficulties

Divorce is a difficult time in anyone’s life. There is a feeling of rejection, of anger, of frustration and distrust. While these emotions are normal they also can create significant problems for us moving forward in our lives and relationships. In my book “The Law of Sobriety” I talk about how love addictions can occur when someone feels that they are empty inside and that their emotional needs are not being met. This is certainly the case when a relationship breaks down, particularly if you are not willing to let it go because of your own emotional needs.

This is often triggered in a divorce, especially if we see ourselves as defined by the marriage. It can be a major issue when the relationship is not healthy in the first place but is a result of our addiction to love, rather than a healthy love that is mutually developed. We have created a relationship in our mind that is not one of mutual respect; rather it is one of constantly giving and constantly fearing that the other person will leave. When the divorce happens our worst fears are realized and we may find that we spiral out of control, desperately struggling to cling to the relationship or immediately jumping into a new, and ultimately unhealthy, rebound relationship.

While a divorce is going to be challenging we don’t have to fall into the same trap of choosing a bad partner and simply getting into a relationship because we aren’t comfortable without someone, anyone, in our life. We can create a positive mindset around divorce using the principles of the Law of Attraction.

The following three steps can be used to help you take the time you need to be comfortable and love yourself, building your own sense of confidence and empowerment:

1. Be alone

If you have a love addiction being alone is a terrifying experience. You have to develop a comfort with yourself and see yourself as lovable, loving and perfect in your own way. Once you have the ability to be alone, you no longer jump into bad relationships out of fear of not having someone to complete your life.

2. Learn from past relationships

Thinking back on past relationships and looking for patterns in the partners we choose and the ways we approach a relationship is all part of learning. If you don’t do this introspection and reflection you are destined to keep repeating the pattern and finding yourself in unfulfilling relationships.

3. Develop the characteristics you desire in a partner

We have to first recognize and articulate what we see as positive in ourselves before we can create the thought energy to bring like people into our world. If we see ourselves as lacking, we cannot focus on what we want, only what we don’t have. This creates negative energy around these traits, exactly the opposite of what we want to accomplish.

Once we are able to get ourselves into a positive place we can then begin to look for a partner that will not be negative, neglectful, abusive or absent, and truly find the love we deserve. It all starts by learning to love ourselves and create that positive energy, through our thoughts, about what a great partner truly looks like.

***

Sherry Gaba LCSW, a psychotherapist and life, love and recovery coach, is featured on Celebrity Rehab on VH1. Sherry is the author of  The Law of Sobriety, which uses the Law of Attraction to help people recover from addiction; she is also a contributor to Conscious Entrepreneurs, and to several e-books: Empowerment Manual: Finding Purpose with Intention, Filling the Empty Heart: 5 Keys to Transforming Love Addiction. The e-books Relapse Prevention and Eliminate Limiting Beliefs can be downloaded free of charge at www.sherrygaba.com. Contact Sherry for webinars, teleseminars, coaching packages and speaking engagements.

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3 Ways to Feel Loved When Your Relationship is Ending

relationship difficultiesMost of us have been trained to believe that when a relationship ends, we lose the love of the person who we once felt so loved by. This belief is an instant misery-creating lie that is simply not true. The truth is, love is impossible to lose. Yes, you feel pain because of this breakup, but not because you’ve lost your former person’s love. You hurt because endings of any kind are sad. You hurt because you have lost the dream of what could have been. You hurt because the loss stirs up your own fears and past pains. You hurt because there is an empty space in your life that wasn’t there before, a space that you’ve been told is the loss of love, but it’s not.

The space you feel is an opening for more love to come into your life – starting with the love you have for yourself, and then expanding to include all the love that the world is just salivating to give you. Love is everywhere, when you are open to receiving it, and when you know where to look. Opening to love can be hard during a breakup, but I know no better medicine than love for mending a bruised or broken heart.

If you are interested in taking yourself off the pain train and moving into a space where you can honor your sadness and at the same time feel more love, happiness and possibility, then read on and put these three Love-Generators to work for you:

1. Tell yourself the truth. You are not losing love. You are ending a relationship.

Do yourself a BIG favor and be honest about why your relationship ended, and don’t make it about love. Love is an easy excuse when you don’t want to be real about why your breakup is necessary to stay true to the most important partner in your life … you.

Love is indestructible. It may get masked or deeply buried under feelings of anger and disappointment, but even in the most gnarly circumstances, love never disappears, it just goes into hiding.

Relationships are dynamic, they are always changing form, and sometimes in order to be happy, two people have to go their separate ways – which has nothing to do with love. Relationships end not because the love dies, but because the intimacy, trust, respect or connection fades, because the contract with each other completes, or because you each want and need different things from life. Not all relationships are meant to ‘be forever,’ if they were, you’d never meet anyone new.

Make a list of all the reasons why the ending of this relationship is GOOD for you, necessary for you to live the life you were destined to live. Then, take an act of self-love and state the reasons out loud. Self-honesty is self-love.

Know this. You are loved. Always. And that love, starts and end with you. It’s ridiculous to give the power of feeling loved away to another, when you have the power to feel loved at will inside of yourself.

2. Mourn the loss of the dream, not of the person. And remember your dream didn’t die.

We often cause ourselves more pain than needed during a breakup because we misplace our mourning energy and end up grieving more than we need. We’ve already established that the love lives on, so you can take “loss of love” off your mourning list. You can also take off ‘grieving the loss of my ex-person’ – because they are not dead, they just aren’t sleeping next to you anymore. What is dying and important to grieve is the loss of the DREAM you had for this relationship. Your hopes, intentions and co-created dreams came to a crashing halt when the choice was made to end the partnership, and the loss of those dreams is where much of the pain lies. But when you aren’t clear that’s it’s the lost dream you are mourning, you get all caught up in trying to change and control things you can’t.

So be sad. Get angry. Move into acceptance and surrender that this particular dream is gone. But don’t stay stuck there. Keep your mind out of dramatic thoughts like “My relationship is over!” or “I’ll be alone forever!” or “What if he finds someone else and loves her more?” Thoughts like these create unnecessary pain – kind of like poking your tongue into fresh dental work. Ouch! It hurts. Don’t do it.

Move your focus from what you can’t control – bringing the old dream back – and dive into what you can, reconnecting with the dream you have for your life! The ending of one dream means the beginning of another, and you still have the power to dream forward the life your heart and soul want.

When you dream yourself forward, you create more love in your life because you are telling yourself that you are worth dreaming for. And you are. Yes, the dream of your former relationship may have ended, but your dreams for yourself didn’t, so why would you give up on yourself? If you aren’t dreaming yourself forward, who will? Love yourself enough to move towards your dreams.

3. Find proof that love exists everywhere. Fill your life with love.

While you might not be receiving the oodles of physical love you once did from your former mate, he/she is not the only love source on the planet. The worst thing you can do during a breakup is starve yourself from love… that is the surest way to get your Inner Mean Girl all riled up with rants like, “You’ll never be loved again.” Which of course, is a straight up lie.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to find proof of love and fill your life with it. You live on a planet that is abundantly full of love – it’s everywhere – and it’s your job to see it, ask for it, and let it in. The more love you surround yourself with, the more love you will feel, and the easier this transition will be for you.

Here is your shopping list of love generators. Put the list up somewhere you can see it, and make sure each week you are getting your fill.

  • Connection. Connection creates love. Be with people who love you. Not to talk about ‘the relationship’ or fix you but just to be with. Walk. Snuggle. Play. Let them love on you.
  • Smiles. Show those pearly whites to anyone you can – baristas, strangers, the person sitting next to you on the bus – and when they smile back, let the love in. When they don’t – and some won’t – smile anyway and send them love. A great way to feel love is to give it.
  • Music. No sappy love songs, only inspiring, uplifting music for you. Turn it on, dance it out. This is an instant way to turn your obsessive mind off and open your heart to love. India Arie is my fave.
  • Animals and Children. Like instant shots of love, hug a puppy, look into the eyes of a baby, pet a kitty, and just feel their innocence and love permeate your cells.
  • Self-Love. Do nice things for yourself. Take yourself on dates. Do the things you love. Take a risk. Remind yourself of why you love you. Make an I-Love-ME list – 108 reasons why you love you. Keep it in your purse, and on hard days, read it to yourself. Instant love.

Orignally posted in April, 2011.

 

Wordplay Wednesday: Leaving

TBD
It must have been my body’s way
Of protecting myself
I became so numb
And only now
That I’m starting to feel
Can I look back and
Understand what I’ve done
I was desperate for
Any kind of distraction
I just wanted a better place
To take my mind
I told myself I
Was just being social
Going out with my friends
And having such a great time
But there was a nervousness
Underlying my behavior
I didn’t feel comfortable
In my skin
I talked all the time
To fill up the space
So no one could ask me
How I was doing
I didn’t want to have
That kind of conversation
I wanted to look forward
Not back
My primary focus
Was on being strong
I really didn’t realize that
I couldn’t keep going
On like that forever
Eventually I’d
Have to slow down
And let all the feelings
I pushed away
Resurface
And work through them
The way I am now
Some days I struggle
Other days I feel fine
But I’m learning a lot
And I’ve realized
That it was easier for me
To love myself
When he was there
Loving me
And I need to learn
To feel good on my own
And take full
Responsibility
For the choices that I make
For the way that I behave
I can’t look to someone else
To keep me
From making mistakes
And I know it’s going to
Take some time
But I feel so much better
Just knowing I’m trying
To be the person
That I want to be
And now I can clearly see
That everything happens
For a reason
And that he did me a favor
By leaving

Note: I wrote this one in December of 2005, about 6 months after a break-up. Rejection is protection! 🙂

Do You Have the Courage to Love?

The latest episode of SUPER BRAIN on The Chopra Well YouTube channel features a conversation between Deepak Chopra and neuroscientist Rudy Tanzi on love and the brain. If you’re alive and breathing, chances are you have experienced love in your life. Maybe you are in love as we speak. One of the most prevalent and least understood of human emotions, love has intrigued poets, philosophers, scientists, artists, and historians alike for centuries. At this point in our development we know more than ever about the chemistry of attachment and the psychology of affection. But are we any closer to understanding why we love certain people over others, how this experience affects us, and what it all means in the grand scheme? Let’s take a look. (Note: We’ll be limiting this article to an exploration of romantic love.)

There is something perversely unpredictable about love. If you have ever experienced love at first sight, unrequited love, heartbreak, rejection, or passion then you’ll know what we’re talking about. (And we suspect that will include almost everyone.) When a person walks into the room and stops you dead in your tracks, or looks in your eyes and shakes something up in the depths of your soul, the feeling may be intensely and inexplicably “right.” But what is “right” or “true” or “honest” about your love? Why this person over anyone else equally smart, beautiful, kind, or fill-in-the-blank? From an evolutionary perspective, romantic love stems from a mating impulse. We identify the most viable mates who will ensure our successful procreation.  But honestly, would anyone in love give you that answer?

As we learn more about the brain and its plasticity, it becomes clear that love cannot solely be a means to an evolutionary end. It changes us too much to be a one lane highway to a single destination. A healthy relationship can promote longevity, overall physical and mental health, and faster recovery from injury and illness. But experiences of heartbreak and rejection can trigger actual physical pain responses in the body, as well. Non-human animals identify mates and, according to the latest research, experience love and its associated emotions (empathy, possessiveness, grief of loss, etc). So as an evolutionary development, love is inefficient and even dangerous. Why would something so critical to our survival make us vulnerable to such crippling pain?

Anthropologist Helen Fisher says love is an addiction. We crave love; we go through withdrawal from love; we relapse into love; we pursue love at all costs. We may be predisposed to develop this addiction, like our pleasure hormones so readily available at the slightest touch and our ability to smell subtle pheromones. But as Deepak and Rudy point out, the brain doesn’t fall in love; we do. Something in us decides to make that first contact, to open our hearts to vulnerability and see our beloved as more than an object of evolutionary necessity. We commit the same follies time and again, but also learn and adjust constantly as we go. No two loves are alike. You might feel as though love just happens to you, mysteriously. But you are the conscious agent that activates what would otherwise only be a seed of possibility. And we choose love, despite its risks, because…well, consider the alternative.

So, those earlier queries aside, it seems the real question is: What will you do with your incredible and innate capacity to love? It’s nothing short of heroic to allow yourself to love. But then again, no one said this life would be easy.

Let us know your thoughts on love in the comments section below!

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Image courtesy of ilikedefenestration.tumblr.com

Break-up Depression: A Spiritual Solution

Have you ever experienced a bad break-up? We’ve all been there. The tears, arguments, silence, and regret. Even if the break-up isn’t particularly “bad,” it can still feel awful to part ways with someone who has been close to your heart.

And how many of us have watched friends endure painful break-ups? For them it might feel like the world is falling apart. You just want to grab them, open their eyes, and say, “Look! The sun is still shining! Life goes on!” But only the passing of time brings this truth to light.

Justin poses this predicament to Deepak Chopra in this week’s episode of Spiritual Solutions (a series on The Chopra Well YouTube channel). Compounding his post-break-up depression is the fact that Justin also just graduated from school. He is navigating new territory and feels alone in his struggle. Justin asks, how do you find happiness in a negative situation when it feels like there is no one at your side? Deepak responds with compassion and a dose of realism.

Although our emotions are largely an internal experience, they paint themselves on our demeanor, as well. Deepak wagers that, by his body language, Justin isn’t as depressed as he says. He may feel alone, but that is probably not the case. Cosmically speaking, there is a bigger picture to take into consideration: 70% of the Universe is dark energy; 25% is dark matter; and the whole visible universe is .01%. Everyone alive now will be gone in 100 years, so we’re looking at odds that don’t speak highly in our favor.

On the other hand, this information can convey a sense of hope. We are a part of a vast, complex Universe. Something that seems dramatically important now, like a break-up, may pale in comparison to our future experiences and sensations. This too shall pass. In the meantime, Justin can take this opportunity to “incubate,” Deepak advises. If you or one of your friends are suffering from the loss of a meaningful relationship, join Justin in asking yourself the following questions:

What do I want in my life?
What is the purpose of my existence?
How can I improve my relationships?
What was the reason for that break-up?
How did I participate in the break-up?
How can I create a new situation in my next relationship, where I won’t repeat that cycle?

It’s because of this opportunity for incubation, a time for decompression and renewal, that Justin may look back on this time fondly. There is something romantic about being depressed after a break-up. It’s the inspiration for great literature, music, and art. Think of it as an initiation into the world of love.

If you’re still feeling down, here are some more resources to help you heal:

Depression: Shedding Light On The Darkness” by Deepak Chopra

Discover the Secret to Happiness

Emotional Wellbeing Programs at The Chopra Center

How Does Forgiveness Heal? Ask Deepak!

Suffering Loneliness or Loss? Try a Heart Meditation

Meditate to help ground yourself and find peace

Subscribe to The Chopra Well for more weekly SPIRITUAL SOLUTIONS to help you live your life to the fullest.

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