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First Confession

Fly Mom!

Forgive me followers for I have sinned:
it’s been 122 days since my last blog.

And whew, what a 122 days
Six months, really. This is definitely in the “Top 5” consciousness periods in my life – and I’m including my birth and reserving a spot for my death in there!

My Mom died.

Thank you, I can feel your warm energy.

It was not an unanticipated passing, but not a given at this time either. She had a stroke three years ago; and between adjusting to physical limitations, and struggling to re-engage the social stimuli – which was equally her life-blood, she faded a little more day by day… by day….. by.

Mom's Wedding Portrait 1958After the initial stroke, Mom’s personality and thus my relationship with her changed. She and I had a very intimate meeting of the minds and shared a life-philosophy that was not comfortably entertained in our household: it was a lovely place to deepen our relationship. The cool conversations we would share for hours (typically me lying on her bed, she in her favorite chair after having watched our daily regimen
of The Young and the Restless [another confession!] in our cozy bedroom cave), well… they simply changed. It became more and more challenging to explore and share the vulnerabilities of our take on the world as her attention, body and mind recessed. It was then that I began grieving the loss of “My Mom”.

“how lucky i am to have known someone
who was so hard to say goodbye to”
                                                          – adapted from Winnie-the-Pooh

Coincidentally- or not- as a permanent student of life, at the time of Mom’s stroke I was in a phase of actively exploring change“: neurologically, behaviourally, emotionally and philosophically. [Managing change is  the most prevalent challenge with my clientele- and that of most coaches’ and therapists’.] Me & Mallory
I was intrigued with and paid particular attention to experiences and behaviours around loss, death, and grief. It’s never sat right with me how the majority of North Americans (and my British heritage) perceive and thus manage death: as a death sentence. The default mood upon hearing of a death is morose, dark, sad, uncomfortable, and clinical.  It mongers fear: we almost instinctively jump to the negative view of our own mortality. But death is SO a fundamental part of life: it is an equal milestone to birth in our journey here on earth, is it not? We highlight death dates in obits (virtually the main public bio of one’s existence); and d. is one of the few bits of info on headstones: we don’t list our grad dates, first-job dates, marriage dates, or birthdates of our kids in either of those important declarations. I’ve never seen any contract guaranteeing: my exit date; the amount of time my parents/mates/kids get with me; or how or why I go out. You?

Life is jiggly.  Life on earth is simply a full contact, no-rules journey. Then it’s over. We have HOPE ONLY, of impactful experiences. Even if it’s as simple as a mother and baby only ever knowing each other’s heartbeat from inside the womb – THAT is as complete a journey as any – and we have no reason to expect more or judge it less.  With full knowledge of How are you living?the crapshoot nature of life, why is death so feared and so devastating to some; and so minimized as an accomplishment? The evolution of our physical bodies alone is miraculous, and worthy of conscious acknowledgement for “housing” our beloveds – and in Mom’s case, for a time, me.  Shouldn’t deaths send our thoughts instinctively to a place of fascination, dreams, inspiration and motivation, as we anticipate the wonderful space ahead of US, just waiting to be filled? Big, BIG discussion… but at the time of Mom’s stroke, in my personal journey, I was massaging my own working theory around life and death and was LOVING the insight into the beliefs and practices of others around this issue. I did in fact solidify a belief about death that was comfortable for me – but it was all still in theory, not yet in practice.

Well, in my Mom’s world, “practice made perfect” and she did not miss this opportunity – although a rather extreme one, Mom! – to offer me the benefit of experience. And I’ve got to say: both my curiosity of life and the belief system that I have tentatively adopted are paying off in spades: I am having the most enlightening, beautiful, fulfilling, calm, loving “mourning” period ever.

Huh??My Mom

Page 2: Confessing to enjoying death? What, how, why, who helped – who didn’t… and the greatest confession of all

Letters of Expectation

Did you take the test to see if you are HSP: a highly sensitive person, as per the last post?  As mentioned there, people seeking my mentoring services last year had a very common thread, generally, an obliviousness to their own sensitivities: a birth-given gift and crucial tool, not simply a conditioned “asset” or “deficit”. Biological sensitivities – mostly acknowledged wrongly as being “emotional” or “too sensitive”, play a huge role in our personalities; identifying and mastering our specific biological traits – be it in times of challenge or times of growth, make life a whole lot easier.Pay Attention!!!!!

I suppose there’s a quickie test for everything nowadays and we’d drive ourselves insane trying to figure life out rather than live it; but I have to say, twenty years ago, stumbling across Mel Levine’s work on “learning patterns” (A Mind at a Time) and Elaine Aron’s HSP quiz, raised neon flashing-flags for me so crimson that I thought my eyes were bleeding! Clearly: triggers that there was something there for me to pay attention to; enough to wake me up to look at myself not through expectation or behaviour, but through what my simple biology brings to the table. It changed the whole dynamic of my life.

Awareness is my point. The more aware we are of our personal characteristics the better we can navigate.  What if the likes of judgment-inducing procrastination or lack of direction is really due to your biology? You think you’re unmotivated and lazy… when in reality, your biology fumbles with the tools that you learned should work … seem to work for everyone else. For instance, a right-brain, visual learner doesn’t benefit from sitting down and making a detailed goal list: a flow-chart or visionboard maybe… but did you ever learn to “visionboard” your goals, huh, huh – did ya?? Colour-blindness affects 8% of men and .5% of women* translating to 7% of boys and .4% of girls thinking they were idiots growing up,** not understanding that there weren’t four red crayons in the box but cerise, fuschia, brick and mulberry, as classmates were only too quick to point out. An HSP might overwhelm with noise thus retreat to healthy quiet: earning an “introvert” label or anti-social stigma. Simplistic examples with life-altering implications; each scenario above could absolutely direct or challenge a life, relationship or career choice. Leaping off of ground-breakers like Levine and Aron, neuroscience research and evidence is rapidly connecting temperament, brain function, and biology/biochemistry so closely together now that ideologies like HSP and the VALUE in identifying any and all of our personal nuances becomes the true gift.

Speaking of the value of our gifts, a thought…

Other Wise, Deep Thoughts

If HSP means that you have stronger or more intense emotions,  it goes without saying that you must have high EQ: emotional intelligence.

heart B4 head

Oh, so wrong!!! EQ is out-ranking IQ in the new thinking around life and career growth; and while there certainly can be a correlation of HSP and EQ – like say an HSP using a key trait of empathy to gain trust in anything from nannying to copy-writing, it’s not a given that HSPs can recognize and use their gift productively and/or intelligently.  Non-HSPs absolutely can be emotionally intelligent, and have no less opportunity to be so than their HSP counterparts: we can all capitalize on any natural EQ skills, and of course, EQ can be learned. HSPs have a natural edge for EQ with more access to their right-brain functions, but this can also prove to be a detriment via its potential for over-stimulation: being auto-empathic can be e-x-h-a-u-s-t-i-n-g!!  Learning one’s own HSP traits (or lack thereof)  and how to manage it makes all the difference.

OMG all these letters: intellectual alphagetti! To that end, read on for my little ditty of recognizing HSP, funneling it into productive EQ, managing overwelm ATST, so my life wouldn’t be FUBAR.  Smart?Fearless?Idiot?? And… an article giving you a clue as to how hard you might have to work to improve your emotional intelligence: highly sensitive or not, it’s yours for the taking. BYKT.
Next: EQ… or EGO?

Could You Be a Scarcity Model?

 scarcity2

“The real reason that you find it necessary to compare yourself to others, is that you’ve fallen under the spell that says: good things are always scarce.”

I came across this statement when I was exploring the psychology of why we feel the need to compare ourselves and our situations in order to assess self-value. It’s referred to, in a behavioural sense, as “the scarcity model”, and at its centre is the perception that unless you “have” – and stockpiled, somehow you won’t survive.

Hmmm… It’s an interesting concept, born presumably from our oldest reptilian brain remnant, the amygdala, originally facilitating our escape from dinosaurs or tigers.  The functioning of the amygdala has most recently been accused of being somewhat “dysfunctional” in it’s fight-or-flight talents, not having adjusted yet to what this means in civilization today, and triggering limitless hormones and neurotransmitters at every stressor – real or imagined. It might make sense then, this connection to being less than, and therefore, requiring more.

Never run out.

Ahhh, all is well!

I can definitely think of examples where I have felt the need to “stock up” – never knowing when the bottom might fall out: be it t.p. when my money is low, or seeking some validation when my spirit is low. I suppose I’ve compared things a little: I’m sure my friend so-and-so would never be so irresponsible as to run out of t.p. (i.e. funds to buy it); my friend what’s-his-face must be totally secure owning his own business, nice house, dining out whenever, wherever – but thankfully, those thoughts are few and far between! I’m so much happier and at peace since I’ve established a definition of success that works for me: and I am successful!  I no longer have a need to compare my life to others, and don’t give these comparisons a second more credibility than acknowledging that they are imagined and meritless thoughts: I have a nice little chuckle at their persistency to sneak back into my consciousness, and then boot their butts back into oblivion where they belong! I know now that everyone has their own challenges relative to their own definitions of success; some completely aware of this and doing their own butt-kicking of those momentary doubts; but all too many, completely oblivious to what brings them fulfillment, and stuck in deep-seeded comparison games to validate that they are really happy!

One of my fave speakers and behavioural psychologists, Brene Brown, has written about “scarcity” in two of her books, The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly, a relevant quote from the latter being:

“Worrying about scarcity is our culture’s version of post-traumatic stress. It happens when we’ve been through too much, and rather than coming together to heal (which requires vulnerability) we’re angry and scared and at each other’s throats.”

In an interview about The Gifts of Imperfection, Brown elaborates:

These are anxious and fearful times, and everywhere we hear the lexicon of scarcity. We are not rich, thin or beautiful enough; we are not safe, perfect or powerful enough, and ordinary lives are completely dismissed. But success and high achievement will not gratify us when our self-worth is tied to the mindset of scarcity. We think the opposite of scarcity is abundance — more time, more money — when really the opposite of scarcity is “enough.” Just enough.

Another duo, behavioural economist Sendhil Mullainathan and the cognitive psychologist Eldar Shafir have written a whole book on the feeling of scarcity, brilliantly comparing it to the realities of scarcity in purely political or economic terms – a very interesting read!

Scarcity mindset.

So what are we really talking about – what is the “scarcity model”?  To tippy-toe into the concept, here are excerpts from a few recent articles I’ve come across, and then a link to a more detailed article on the Mullainathan/Shafir book.

splat

It’s Time To Give Up The Scarcity Model

The scarcity model says that if the person that you’re comparing yourself to is (arguably) more attractive than you, then that person has grabbed up too much of that thing called attractive and now there’s less for you. Same thing goes for

Next: Comparison Battle – More on the Scarcity Model (page 2)

How Do YOU Measure Up?

compare orange

Well, first question is: How do you measure measuring up?

Second question: Why?

There are indeed very valid reasons for “measuring” ourselves in life. A look at human or societal  “norms” is quite useful in setting personal ambitions; however, the dominant measuring standard should be our own selves – and according to our own goals.

We have evolved, sadly, into a society of comparison for ego’s sake and entirely fabricated definitions of “status”; and it is undoubtedly my biggest life pet peeve. We’re born unique and happy – and then very quickly, we are pitted against each other. The how is fairly simple to dissect, and with motivation and time (lots of time!), I have faith in a course-correct; but the WHY? Seriously: WHY???

“To love is to stop comparing.” Bernard Grasset

How to shift this useless and loveless comparison nonsense? One step at a time, starting with you. Here’s some food for thought:

The Losing Game

By Sonya Derian

Comparison: joy thief.

Take a moment to think of a time when you compared yourself to another person, where you were the one on the LOSING side; maybe you were comparing yourself physically, comparing intellects, speaking ability – whatever.

Think of that moment, and take a minute to notice how it feels in your body. It doesn’t feel very good right?

Now, take a moment to think of a time where you compared yourself to someone else, and you came out on TOP; how does that feel in your body?

Maybe it feels a little better… or maybe not at all. That’s because viewing life as a competition, where you have to constantly be better at whatever — how you look, how you parent, how you write — doesn’t feel very good.

In essence, comparing yourself to others is ALWAYS a losing game.

We all do it – or have done it, at some point in our lives: we compare ourselves to others and gauge where we are based on what we observe them to be doing.

If this was simply an observation, that would be one thing, but in comparing ourselves to others, we often end up judging ourselves: and there’s no worse judge!

If you have ever noticed, it doesn’t matter how many people are on your side, cheering you on: if you can’t get on your own side, you never get past “go”.

The thing about comparison is that there is never a win. How often do we compare ourselves with someone less fortunate than us and consider ourselves blessed? More often, we compare ourselves with someone who we perceive as being, having or doing more: and this just leaves us coming up short.

compare gates

But our minds do want to quantify; our minds want to rank and file and organize information. Our mind wants to know where we fit into the scheme of things: we need to give it something to do. So, instead of training it to stop comparing altogether, why not simply re-direct the comparison to a past and a present self—and keep the comparison within?

We are always becoming more. Who you are today is a result of the decisions you made yesterday. We are always in a state of creation. We decide – and then we decide again; and the direction is always toward expansion. It is our human nature to expand.

compare to no one

So, when you catch yourself comparing yourself to another: stop for a moment and re-direct the thought. Instead of submitting to the temptation to compare yourself to someone else, ask yourself a few questions, instead:

Next: Q’s to Ask Yourself (page 2)

Trusting Life: Just Could Be Your Big Break!

We hear repeatedly from people that they would not change their past for anything – even in the case of tragedies. The reason most given: the lessons learned brought their life to a beautiful place that they never could have even imagined. Do we really need to go through some of these experiences – over and over, to learn some of our lessons?? (I can think of a few I wouldn’t have minded skipping!) I believe the answer is in fact: NO- if we had been living more consciously to begin with… and had identified the first warning signs. But alas, paraphrasing Oprah: first you hear the whisper, then the nudge, then you get a brick upside yo’ head – then the whole damn brick wall falls down all around yo’self!!! Our intuition and our subconscious sees and feels things that aren’t right for us before our conscious mind does, and either creates or tunes into the warnings. If we are living mindlessly, we miss the signs again and again; with practice at being still, listening to our souls, checking in with our bodies, we become more adept at sensing these signs, and believing them the first time!

I came across this fun story of Mark Schulman, a philanthropist and renowned drummer for folks like Foreigner, Billy Idol, Pink, and a situation that he found himself in that could have sent a brick wall tumbling on his career. His story of grace is a reminder of the power of intuition and our choices, and how attitude really can break us – or bring the big break to us.

Mark Schulman

Aaay Oh…Attitude of Opportunity

by Mark Schulman

Be independent of the
good opinion of others!

-Dr. Wayne Dyer

I was rehearsing at the infamous and now defunct, Leed’s Rehearsal Studios in 1992, hired by a local artist with money to do a showcase. While rehearsing, I befriended the manager of Leeds who suggested I audition for Foreigner. I had been a big fan of the band years earlier. At the time I was also touring on and off with an R& B artist named Bobby Caldwell who was known for writing, producing and playing every instrument on his big hit, What You Won’t Do For Love. I loved playing with Bobby. I am a hard hitting drummer and Bobby actually asked me to play harder at one point; I have loved him ever since.

I auditioned for Foreigner in this big airplane hanger. At the time, it was just Mick Jones (the guitar player and founder of the band) and Johnny, the new lead singer/bass player. I was happy with my current situation, so I felt no sense of the desperation or urgency musicians sometimes feel when they are between gigs. This gave me an advantage because I decided to have fun instead of feeling pressure to get the job. This lack of attachment to an outcome was empowering. Because of this Attitude, I just had fun. We jammed on all new song ideas. Mick was not interested in hearing me play any old Foreigner tunes, he just wanted to see what we could create now, and how much fun we could have. I had no idea at the time that the session was being recorded.

Yes you!I also had the Attitude that I was auditioning them. This may sound strange, but by then, as I was in a fortunate place at the time, I decided to be only interested in situations that suited me.

I decided to be more selective about what I allowed into my life.

I believe they sensed this. I also believe that it made me more appealing to the band.

When we listened back to the recordings, we were rockin’. We hung out a bit more, I thanked them for the experience and I left. Within a few days, I got a call from Foreigner’s management telling me that they had narrowed it down to me and another drummer. They wanted to bring us both into the studio for a full day of recording to see how our talents translated on tape. The following week, I went into a studio in Silverlake, California and recorded for about 12 hours. I had fun, they had fun and apparently they were quite happy with my Attitude, Behavior and the recorded tracks. A few days later, I got a call from management to let me know that I was the new drummer for Foreigner.

Strangely, a month passed with no word from Foreigner’s management. Glad I had kept all of my current irons in the fire. I kept working with Bobby Caldwell and playing gigs and sessions in L.A. Finally Kevin Jones, Mick’s brother (and road manager) called with the news that the original singer, the infamous, Lou Gramm was returning to the band. The silence was because they were negotiating the details of his return.

At this point, I was genuinely excited! Lou was the voice of Feels Like the First Time, Hot Blooded, Urgent and I Want to Know What Love Is…This situation now became quite an opportunity for me. The band renegotiated their deal with Atlantic records and hired new management. They had grand plans to record and release a new record and put together a world tour. Additionally, they wanted to make me and the other sidemen, Bruce, Jeff and Thom, actual band members! Up to this point in my career with signed acts; I had always been a hired gun, an employee. This was actualizing one of my childhood dreams of being in a famous band. Then things got strange.

ForeignerAgain, I didn’t hear from the Foreigner camp for many weeks. I was the new drummer of Foreigner, but I heard on the street that Foreigner was recording some new tracks. When I heard this, I immediately called Kevin Jones to find out what was happening. Kevin sheepishly confessed that they hired a producer named Keith Forsey to co-write and produce some new tracks. Keith was the original drummer for Donna Summer in the Disco era and became the protégé for famed producer, Giorgio Moroder. His first major production project was a new solo artist named Billy Idol. Keith facilitated Billy’s success and co-wrote and produced some of Billy’s biggest hits. He also played the drums on Dancin with Myself.

Keith had not heard of me and as a drummer himself, he was quite discriminating about the drum tracks. He chose to bring in his preferred recording drummer, Tal Bergman (a fantastic drummer/producer who has since become another friend of mine) to record with Foreigner. As you can imagine, I was floored to hear this. I felt like my girlfriend had just cheated on me and everyone know but me!

This turned out to be a defining moment for me,
a moment of reaction versus opportunity.

In as much as I felt like screaming, kicking and punching someone, I chose to ask Kevin for Keith’s number. He was a bit caught off guard, but he gave it to me anyway.

I got off the phone and called Keith before my mind could come up with reasons not to! I figured that by now, he must at least know my name. I was on a mission. I believed that this gig was mine and I was going to do whatever I could to own it. There were many things out of my control, but there were definitely things within the realm of what I could do…

Next: Aghh! What Happened to Mark?? (page 2)

Kiss Relationship Myths Goodbye

We’ve decided we want a primary partnership in our life, we are ready, we have some solid direction about choosing a partner.  Even with this fabulous new understanding of ourselves, old societal conditioning and limiting beliefs can still mess us up as we’re forging our healthier new relationships (or equally, as we evaluate leaving a current relationship: coming in next post!) Best to have these ideas fresh in our mind, so that when archaic thinking rears, we can immediately recognize it as such – and dismiss it.

Before we go on, let’s get the whole issue of whether or not you believe in soulmates out of the way: bluntly, I DON’T CARE! The word “soulmate” is truly very innocuous, but somehow it has Soulmates. Real?become a true or false debate, and in my opinion, you’d only debate the issue if you don’t know yourself very well; otherwise, you’d have a clear understanding of how relationships factor in your life and vocabulary wouldn’t mean a damn thing!!  The word soulmate is just kind of a handy term to indicate those bearing deeper resonance in your being, as opposed to terms like “significant other” – which let’s face it, doesn’t make someone sound very significant at all! There’s no inference here that you can’t have more than one soulmate, or that they won’t change roles in your life as you grow.  For the purposes of this article:

A soulmate (or soul mate) is a person with whom one has a feeling of deep or natural affinity more rare and unique than that of other relationships.
– Collins English Dictionary

Simple and generic as you can get. Now, onto an opinion by Dr. Phil regarding “relationships myths” to steer clear of, as per an O Magazine posting:

Ten Relationship Myths

If you are still romantically connected to someone who is not a soul mate, it’s important to discern when one particular relationship has run its course. Most of us know, but sometimes it is hard to let go. It is difficult to let go of a relationship that offers soul pathcompanionship, sex, fun, or financial security. But when you want a true soul mate, holding on to a relationship that only imitates love keeps us from the very thing we say we desire. Even the difficult aspects of romantic evolution can be considered “time served” in preparation for true love. Many of us get our best training in relationship boot camp. We may beat ourselves up for bad marriages, relationships, and dates–any time that seems wasted on Ms. or Mr. Wrong–but in truth, they are an important, instructive part of the journey. The grand awakening to what soul mate love is comes by discovering firsthand what it is not.

The quality of a relationship depends on how well it meets the needs of those involved. -Dr. Phil

Think your relationship is a failure because you and your partner aren’t following certain “rules” or meeting certain standards? Dr. Phil blows the whistle on 10 of the most common but dangerous relationship myths.

MYTH #1: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP DEPENDS ON A GREAT MEETING OF THE MINDS

  • You will never see things through your partner’s eyes because you are two entirely different people. You are genetically, physiologically, psychologically and historically different.
  • You will not solve your relationship problems by becoming more alike in your thinking. Men and women are wired differently. Attempting to blur your fundamentally different viewpoints is unnatural and even dangerous.
  • Recognize that a relationship is far more enjoyable when you’re with someone who enriches your life, not simply reflects it. Appreciate your differences.

MYTH #2: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP REQUIRES A GREAT ROMANCE

  • Yes, your life with your partner should include plenty of romance. But don’t kid yourself and expect an unrealistic Hollywood fairytale. The truth is that in the real world, being in love is not like falling in love.romance fairytale2
  • Falling in love is only the first stage of love. It’s impossible to remain in that stage. A mature relationship will shift from dizzying infatuation to a deeper, more secure love.
  • Don’t make the common mistake of thinking that when the initial wild passion fades you aren’t in love anymore. The answer is not to start a new relationship so you can recapture that emotional high with someone else. The answer is to learn how to move on to the next stages of love for a different but richer experience.

MYTH #3: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP REQUIRES GREAT PROBLEM-SOLVING

  • Don’t fall into the trap of believing that you and your partner can’t be happy if you can’t resolve your serious disagreements. Ninety percent of problems in a relationship are not solvable.
  • There are things that you and your partner disagree about and will continue to disagree about. Why can’t you once and for all resolve these issues? Because in order to do so, one of you would have to sacrifice your values and beliefs.
  • You can simply agree to disagree and reach “emotional closure” even though you haven’t reached closure on the issue.

You'll love it

MYTH #4: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP REQUIRES COMMON INTERESTS THAT BOND YOU TOGETHER FOREVER

There is nothing wrong with your relationship if you don’t share common interests and activities.

If you and your partner are forcing yourselves to engage in common activities but the results are stress, tension and conflict, don’t do it!

MYTH #5: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP IS A PEACEFUL ONE

  • Don’t be afraid to argue because you think it’s a sign of weakness or relationship breakdown. Even the healthiest couples argue.
  • If approached properly, arguing can actually help the relationship by (a) releasing tension and (b) instilling the sense of peace and trust that comes from knowing you can release feelings without being abandoned or humiliated.
  • Instead of worrying about how many times you argue, worry about how you argue. Here are some guidelines:
    • Don’t abandon the issue and attack the worth of your partner during an argument.
    • Don’t seek conflict because it’s stimulating.
    • Don’t pursue a take-no-prisoners approach in your arguments.
    • Don’t avoid achieving emotional closure at the end of an argument.

MYTH #6: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP LETS YOU VENT ALL YOUR FEELINGS

  • Getting things off your chest might feel good, but when you blurt something outRelationships ebb and flow in the heat of the moment, you risk damaging your relationship permanently. Many relationships are destroyed when one partner can’t forgive something that was said during uncensored venting.
  • Before you say something you might regret, bite your tongue and give yourself a moment to consider how you really feel. The things we say while we’re letting loose often don’t represent how we really feel and shouldn’t be communicated — especially if they are potentially destructive.

MYTH #7: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SEX

  • The belief that sex is not important is a dangerous and intimacy-eroding myth. Sex provides an important time-out from the pressures of our daily lives and allows us to experience a quality level of closeness, vulnerability and sharing with our partners.
  • Sex might not be everything but it registers higher (90 percent) on the “importance scale” if it’s a source of frustration in your relationship. If your sex life is unfulfilled, it becomes a gigantic issue. On the other hand, couples that have satisfying sex lives rate sex at only 10 percent on the “importance scale.”
  • Don’t restrict your thinking by considering sex to be something that only consists of the actual physical act. Touching, caressing, holding hands and any means by which you provide physical comfort to your partner can all be viewed as part of a fulfilling sex life.

MYTH #8: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP CANNOT SURVIVE A FLAWED PARTNER

  • Nobody’s perfect. As long as your partner’s quirks are non-abusive and non-destructive, you can learn to live with them.
  • Instead of focusing on your partner’s shortcomings, remember the qualities that attracted you in the first place. Perhaps some of these idiosyncrasies were part of the attraction? Just because a behavior isn’t mainstream, doesn’t mean that it’s toxic to the relationship.
  • Be careful to distinguish the difference between a partner with quirks and one with a serious problem. Serious problems that are destructive and abusive include substance abuse and mental/physical abuse. Unlike idiosyncrasies, these are not behaviors you should learn to live with.

MYTH #9: THERE IS A RIGHT WAY AND A WRONG WAY TO MAKE THE RELATIONSHIP GREATMy rules

  • Nothing could be further from the truth. There is no definitive “right way” to be a good spouse, good parent, or to handle any relationship challenge that life throws you.
  • Do what works for you rather than following some standards you might have read in a book or heard from a well-meaning friend. If what you and your partner are doing is generating the results you want, stick with it. If both of you are comfortable with the principles that work, you can write your own rules.
  • Remember not to be rigid about the way in which you accept your partner’s expressions of love. There is no “right way” for someone to love you. The fact that your partner expresses feelings differently doesn’t make those feelings less genuine or of less value.

MYTH #10: YOUR RELATIONSHIP CAN BECOME GREAT ONLY WHEN YOU STRAIGHTEN YOUR PARTNER OUT

  • Don’t fall into the trap of believing that if you could change your partner, your relationship would be better. You are, at the very least, jointly accountable for the relationship.
  • Let go of the childlike notion that falling in love means finding someone who will be responsible for your happiness. You need to take responsibility for your own happiness.
  • If your relationship is distressed, the most important person for you to change might be yourself. Once you identify the payoffs you are subconsciously seeking with destructive behavior, you can choose to remove them from your life.

Appreciate the relationships that have taught you what you don’t want. Honor those loves. Express gratitude for the lessons you have learned, even the toughest ones. Send a spiritual message to your old flame saying,

“I thank you, I bless you, I release you”

… and sayonara baby!

Daily Love… or Comfort?

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Following is a recent post from The Daily Love blog, which is one of the few blogs that I have signed up for and then actually kept following!! The Guest authors on this site are fabulous and founder Mastin Kipp is a pretty insightful, inspiring and hip guy!  I highly encourage you to check this blog out (particularly if you are just beginning your self-awareness journey): http://thedailylove.com/ .

This snippet is a taste of Mastin’s wisdom, preceded by a fitting quote – which are offered daily to set the tone for the TDL blog.  More importantly, this is insight into how Mastin lives: life is too short, and simply too precious- – and FUN to live inauthentically.  In his own words:

“F-ING DITCH PLAN B!!!  Go ALL IN on Plan A!
Plan B is an f-ing distraction from your dreams!!!”

Also, find 25 minutes to watch the video below the article – you won’t be disappointed.  It’s proof that there is a sincere movement to shift consciousness to live more authentic lives, how Mastin’s efforts are a part of that, and how a strong, LOVING relationship is not only healthy – but just really cool!
(Disclaimer: video is uncut – unedited version of the above quote is included!)

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Is this Relationship About Love…
or Comfort?

Comfy or worn out?“You must constantly ask yourself these questions:

Who am I around?

What are they doing to me?

What have they got me reading?

What have they got me saying? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking? And most important, what do they have me becoming?

Then ask yourself the big question: Is that okay? Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.”
Jim Rohn

Many of my clients come to me because they are in a relationship crisis. Most of my clients are women, and some of them, when they are in a relationship crisis, feel as if they have done something wrong. Their partner is telling them that they don’t recognize the person they are in a relationship with. At first, before we go a little deeper, some of my clients feel as if they are the bad guy.

Imagine who you could be.

But – upon further investigation, we see that the cause of the relationship crisis is that my client is choosing to grow and their partner is choosing to stay the same. I say it so often, but I say it because I feel like I want this to be one of the main mantra’s TDL provides you – relationships are containers for growth; just because relationships end doesn’t mean they were a failure if you learn the lesson that the relationship was meant to teach you. I repeat, RELATIONSHIPS ARE CONTAINERS FOR GROWTH!

So what happens is that we meet our partner at a certain level of growth and we are with them, we change, we evolve, we grow and at some point, we have a choice – we can grow together or we can grow apart. Most couples do not consciously make this choice. Most couples “slide” into this place and all of a sudden a relationship crisis blooms. And then wedead end roses ask ourselves the famous lyrics from The Clash, “Should I stay or should I go?”

This is a tough question to answer. And there isn’t a cookie cutter answer, either. But what I can say is, ask yourself these questions if you are considering leaving a relationship – “Is this relationship serving my empowerment?” and “Am I serving the empowerment of my partner?”

The answer to these two questions, if you are REALLY honest, will get you far. Oh and here is one more: “Am I in this relationship for LOVE or for comfort?” A lot of people stay in relationships that don’t serve their empowerment because it’s comfortable. But, as we have learned (and preach) at TDL, choosing the comfortable path isn’t always what’s best for us and it’s rarely what our SOUL is calling us to do. Our SOUL is calling us out toward adventure to learn, to risk, to dare and to find a relationship where we bond over our power rather than just our wounds.

How's that workin' for ya?Of course we must Love each other, and that includes each other’s dark side. BUT – can you see how bonding over your wounds, over your fears creates a certain type of relationship? You have wounds in common. This is called woundology.

When you focus on and bond over your wounds you are playing small IF you support each other in staying wounded. Can you see the conflict that comes when people bond over their wounds, support each other in staying wounded and then all of a sudden one person wants to grow? All of a sudden the relationship dynamic isn’t the same. One person is growing, no longer the victim, taking responsibility for their life – and the other person is still stuck in the pain of their wounds.

This is what creates many relationship crises. So, if you are in this place either in a personal or professional way – ask yourself:

“Was this relationship created because we bonded over and supported each others wounds? Did we support each other to stay wounded?”

“Is this relationship now serving my empowerment?”

“Am I serving my partner’s empowerment?”

If you were TOTALLY honest with yourself, what would you say? And knowing this, what would you DO?

A few affirmations for you:

What's it gonna be?I attract relationships and business partnerships that serve my empowerment.

I am worthy of being happy, simply because I exist.

I celebrate taking steps towards my empowerment and let go of what no longer fits.

Love,
Mastin

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Mastin and partner Jenna give us some insight into who exactly brings The Daily Love into our lives, and what their personal relationship has both contributed and gained from this project of self-awareness and conscious living. Enjoy!
UPDATE: awww, they pulled the public access to the video – it was so good!

audio

Mastin Kipp is the founder of TheDailyLove.com – a website, daily email and twitter account that serves soulful inspiration to a new generation.  Started as a feed of quotes sent to Mastin’s friends, The Daily Love shot to fame after a tweet from Kim Kardashian. And a love monster was born.

Hosting Mastin on her weekly show Super Soul Sunday, Oprah dubbed him an “up and coming thought leader of the next generation of spiritual thinkers.”  Both an honor, and a mouthful.Mastin’s mission is to connect people back to what makes them happy. Happy people make better choices, and better choices make for a better planet.

His book, Float: An Achiever’s Guide to Happiness, is due out from Hay House in February 2014.

Oh – You Want To Be Happy TOO??

Ever Gotten What You Wanted…
But It Didn’t Make You Happy?

Humans just SO messed up somewhere along the way.  Society…parenting…education system – no point in sourcing blame, just follow Maya Angelou’s “when you know better, do better” philosophy, I reckon.  I’m referring to our belief that we have to compare materialismourselves to anyone or anything. There’s a predominant conditioning in these parts that our lives (thus happiness) are measured in stages of development and accomplishments – and man, doesn’t that make the years fly?!!  Baby should be walking by X, talking by X… and all of a sudden you have this little person – when did that happen?  You master the alphabet by Y and algebra by Z – then suddenly you should be grown up… and you need to have a career, a partner, money in the bank and a retirement plan… and when you beat yourself up for another 20 years for not having all of that by 30 – because that’s OLD and you SHOULD, your negative thoughts and their impact on your body set you up perfectly for illness; and if you don’t die then, you try so hard to mash all of your bucket list into the next 10 years and enjoy yourself – dammit, that you’re too exhausted to revel in the golden years that you worked your a** off for – then you die. Sure, there are some happy moments in there – but are they really?  With so many adults struggling at 40-50-60 to still figure out “who” they are – something is fundamentally wrong.  “YOU” is innate; happiness is innate: we’re born that way because we’re suppose to live that way.  We humans mess it up with our mindless thinking and pointless, soul-raping comparisons.

Howz about we re-write the plan a little.  Parents are all full of the “you are perfect just the way you are, honey – you can be whatever you want to be” mantra – – but here it comes… in your head without skipping a beat… the conditioned ending to that thought: “but only if you demonstrate that you reach XYZ by XYZ timeframe just like Olivia in your class”. Silent, but  loud.  You’d never say that to the kids, I know, but face it, there is no “modelling” if YOU don’t know who YOU are, folks: you have to live it to sell it to the kids. Let’s work on a subtle shift of awareness – pay attention; SUPPORT your kid to really BE who they are. Let’s permit and assist them – and each other, to take this inborn identity and play with it, explore it, and do with it whatever is so chosen.  Milestones are great – but pick out a few flat ones to skip in the river: it just might amaze you.  A good start is to abandon the need for comparison to any other person, norm, median measurement in our life philosophies; and while making this transition within our measurement-crazy society, let’s reinforce any type of “assessment” to be perceived as a personal goal to attain higher knowledge or skill – – and to make it commonplace that we personally buy into any goal in the first place as something desired to enhance our own life or spirit.

Dr. Judith Wright has a relatable view on the subject, including a perspective within the workplace:

And I want it delivered

I had gotten what I wanted by my late 20s. I had set–and met–my goals; I had gotten all A’s, achieved career success, lost weight, had a handsome boyfriend, volunteered, and was doing good work in the world developing model programs for people with disabilities.

I had what I wanted–but I was unfulfilled. Dissatisfied. I expected that I’d be thrilled, but I was far from it. Even though my friends said I had it all and how lucky I was, I didn’t feel lucky. Then I felt guilty that this wasn’t enough and I thought I needed to do better, do more, be better.

So, I worked harder and partied more and achieved more goals and lost more weight and bought more cool stuff and did more cool stuff and I still wasn’t satisfied. I still felt that nagging emptiness.

It turns out I was miswanting–what positive psychologists say is wanting something that you mistakenly think will make you happy, with an emphasis on MISTAKEN.

We all do it. We are what scientists call poor “affective forecasters”—which means we pretty much suck at predicting what will make us happy.

I was getting what I wanted, but that wasn’t making me happy, satisfied, or fulfilled. And I found out I wasn’t alone in this. So many people were coming to our company for coaching Having everything you desire is not normalor personal and professional development trainings who seemed to have it all—great accomplishments, busy lives filled with great activities—but just like me they felt empty and unfulfilled, like something was missing. We thought the secret to happiness is to set and meet new goals, get another promotion, buy a new place, do yoga and meditate, do a seminar and our vision boards, tone our bodies and volunteer, scout for cool places to go to and cool people to go with…

Yet, none of these things will make us happy unless we unlock the real secret of happiness– which is not about getting what we want, but about fulfilling our yearnings.

The act of wanting gives a dopamine high, that anticipation of reward, that quick buzz, the rush of excitement, that burst of energy… but it doesn’t make us happy or provide long-term fuel of fulfillment. It doesn’t keep us warm at night, make us love our lives, help us respect and be proud of who we are when we look in the mirror, or make us satisfied about our contribution to the world or the legacy we’ll leave at the end of our lives.

Yearning is the true desire under all of our activity, all our goals, all those stabs at self improvement—the yearnings we all have to love and be loved, to be seen and heard, to touch and be touched, to matter, to connect, to belong, to excel, to make a difference. We want to get that promotion, but chances are we yearn to be seen, affirmed, or respected. We want to check our Facebook page, but at a deeper level we yearn to connect.

Believe - you already have it all

And when we are in touch with that deeper yearning, and know what we truly desire, everything shifts. Then we aren’t doing things so that when we get it, achieve it, or buy it we’ll be happy. We start to do things that meet our yearnings directly, and then we find that we actually accomplish more and we are more nourished and fulfilled in the process. When we are with a client or on a sales call, we focus on our yearning to connect, and we serve that client more deeply and tend to make more sales as a result. Whether we are making dinner or making love or making widgets, we are aware of our yearning to nourish and be nourished, to love and be loved, or to excel. The process is fulfilling and we’re not just waiting for the result or…uh…the climax, to be satisfied.

I discovered that I really yearned to love and be loved, to matter, to belong, to make a difference. And, that I was trying to “earn” love by my achievements and trying to prove I mattered through my accomplishments. I saw that what would really satisfy me wasn’t just doing more, or being better, or partying more; it was deeper. It was being present to what I yearned for inside my heart, being more conscious, feeling more fully.

Guess he missed the point.

By focusing on the goal,
I was missing the point.

By following my yearning, I’m more satisfied and fulfilled and meeting more “goals” than I could have imagined. I’m discovering things I wouldn’t have even been able to state as a goal before. It’s like I’m emerging and transforming as I stretch and engage in life to meet my yearnings. Rather than waiting for some future outcome, I’m more spontaneous and in the moment. It’s a messier way to live, I’m not so “perfect,” and I make a lot of mistakes by experimenting on the journey, but it’s a juicier, more exciting, more fulfilling way to live.

My yearnings while writing this? To share, to connect, to make a difference, and hopefully, to ignite some yearnings in you. Forget what we want, let’s go for what we yearn for instead.

Yearn, baby, yearn.

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adapted from The Daily Love Blog, June 20, 2013

Judith WrightJUDITH is hailed as a peerless educator, world-class coach, lifestyles expert, inspirational speaker, best-selling author, and corporate consultant. She is called one of America’s Ultimate Experts”, featured on 20/20, Oprah, the Today show, and in Marie Claire, Fitness, and Health as well as The Chicago Tribune, The New York Daily News, and The Detroit Free Press. Judith is the author of The One Decision and The Soft Addiction Solution. Judith’s latest venture is as president of The Wright Graduate Institute for the Realization of Human Potential.

Depression Cafe

Embrace change.Life, please…
with a side order of dysthymia…

This week’s post outlined a typical path for learning about what happens when you have a diagnosis of depression.  As way of subsidy, here is a menu of TYPES of depression diagnoses; ranging from sneakily disruptive to life-threatening, diagnosing and dealing is your quickest and best route to living your best life.
Following is an edited snippet that proved to be quite thorough and user-friendly (based on the DSM IV, the “bible” of mental health diagnostics) from one of the hundreds of good sites available to explore this issue.

This post and links are for general information only; your mental health practitioner has the latest “official” diagnostic info relative to your interests. 

3 Common Types of Depression
and 3 Less Common

Here is a quick list of the 6 different types of depression:

  1. Major depressive disorder
  2. Manic depression (bipolar disorder)
  3. Dysthymic depression
  4. Endogenous depression
  5. Situational depression
  6. Psychotic depression

The three less common different types of depression (4-6) only differ slightly from the general category of major depressive disorder:

Endogenous depression is referred to on many sites, thus it’s inclusion here, but has actually become a defunct category, formerly interpreted as stemming from purely inherent biological causes (in DNA). Current research in neuropsychology can now link biochemistry with the influence of “thought”, connecting it more closely with situational depression. Biochemical changes are inherent in all depression diagnoses: some need management long-term including drug therapy; some short-term where talk therapy may suffice and perhaps adding limited drug therapy.
Situational depression, often called adjustment disorder, is a short-term condition that occurs when a person is unable to cope with, or adjust to, a particular source of stress, such as a major life change, loss, or event.
Psychotic depression is an extreme form of depression in which the low mood states are often accompanied by delusions or even complete hallucinations. Delusions can include the sufferer feeling guilty for something which they are not really responsible for.
Continue Reading→ 3 Most Common Depressions (page 2)

Depression: An Immaculate Conception

Thoughts create reality.

My last post featuring an article by Dr. Lissa Rankin featuring functional medicine, raised awareness on the mind-body connection, and how once we start to see a connection in our own lives, it becomes like…DUH!!!!… of course there’s a connection! Your relationship with both your body and your GP will be forever changed.

In my personal journey, and that of many clients whom I mentor through clinical depression, it’s pretty clear when the fog lifts that the majority of the experience was in fact within our ability to control outside of the GP’s office. Depression manifests significantly by churning the same thoughts and old limiting beliefs over and over and over. Seriously: a very small number of defeating thoughts percolate incognito hundreds of times throughout the day (and sleep!) with no interruption or reality-check; so of course the party line is, that this is simply the predictable course that depression will take.  Not even close: take comfort.  New mind-body medicine is proving to have outstanding success rate in innumerable health challenges and is being prescribed more and more as the healthcare industry gets up to speed on the research and protocols. Less medication, more meditation.  Like I say on my home page, if I had had experienced mentors to guide me when I was struggling with change and depression, I very likely would have been on a healthy path much, MUCH sooner.  Would life have been better? Doesn’t matter.  My growth from that chapter brought awareness of what I needed to learn: our bodies are made to take care of themselves- so take care of them; our minds drive a great part of our bodies’ decisions- so take care of them; and great support in the form of both self-care and community (preferably as a wellness plan not just a sickness response!) can handle a lot of our life woes (or perceptions thereof!).

That’s not to say that there doesn’t need to be the utmost respect and partnership between evolving perspectives and traditional medicine. Fortunately, BC, where I am based, is beginning to offer more user-friendly information on integrative and functional healing, and the mental health area in particular is really making an effort.  The Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division is one
such progressive resource, and the following is a very personal story of one BC resident who’s journey took just such a walk through varying perspectives of managing his health and life.Sigh.

Continued: Read Harley’s very forthcoming story (page 2)

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