Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Colt, grandson extraordinaire

I am writing this on my IPhone because I have tried several times to write on my home computer and it isn't allowing me to enter a new post. I have very exciting news. Colt,  my first grandson, was born on November 8th 2013. He came ten weeks early and has been in neonatal ICU until today. Today he came home with his happy parents. I am so excited to be a grandma. I never thought I could
 love anyone as much as I love my daughter. I loved Colt before he was born. I started sending him deeksha blessings every day when he was newly conceived. Out of this energetic connection I felt close to him and connected. When he was born ten weeks early it was very scary. Two paths were before me. One pathways full of fear, worry and anxiety about what would happen with
Colt. The other pathway was about All is Well. That was the pathway where I kept asking for spiritual help to come back to when I found myself spiraling off into worst case scenarios. When I met Colt in person my love deepened even more. He was so tiny and so beautiful. I felt like I had known and loved him always. Seeing my daughter with him was so heartwarming. Colt's parents have done such a good job of parenting under very challenging circumstances.
It has been such a teaching to love this little
Being so much and to keep allowing myself to be afraid for his well-being and to return to
trusting that the universe is holding him in love and that he is OK. My trust in the universe has been strengthened by asking for help. If left things up to my ego I would fear the worst. So it has been a blessing to notice the path of worry and ask for help in trusting the all is well path.
I welcome this precious being into my life and honor the new era for his parents and for me. I  ask for support in being the best grandmother I can be- a good enough grandmother. I ask to trust that my love is strong and can be felt and counts even if I am far away. Thanks for sharing my joy. I am so grateful for all the joy my sweet grandson has brought to my life already. All is well, even in the midst of my fears and doubts. All is well holds us in love waiting with the patience of a grandmother for us to return to awareness of it. What can you ask for help about returning to the awareness of all is well in the midst of today?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Artist's soul

I'm not sure what I am writing about today. I have been practicing surrender this month so I am writing with the idea of surrendering control about what I am writing. Let's see what happens.  Thank you for being part of my experiments.
I have been walking in the leaves almost every day. The crunching sound is very satisfying and my little girl inside, Andie, loves it. This has been the most miraculous fall I can remember. The leaves have been so much more orange and red than usual. As I walk the trees take my breath away with their beauty. I have been asking for spiritual support much more often in the past few months. My grieving process has been very deep and challenging. There is something about having both of my parents be dead that makes life seem so much more impermanent and fragile. Hence, I have a heightened sense of wanting to honor each moment and be present for it. I have been asking for spiritual support in giving consistent attention to my little girl inside so she can feel safe and secure. I didn't get that growing up and I often felt scared and self-conscious. I tried very hard to please my mother. She was a very hot and cold person. She could be very loving and then for no reason she would be angry and slap me. I learned not to trust people and to be wary of relaxing around others. Now I want to continue learning to soothe my little girl inside so we both can relax.
Andie loves to do artwork. My grief therapist gave me a plain cardboard mask to decorate. The assignment was to decorate the outside to represent my adult self and the inside as my little girl inside. Last night I painted the mask. In the process of painting I realized two things: One is that Andie is a great source of inspiration and creativity. When I give her consistant attention I get to tap into her spontaneous passion for creating art. The other is that creating art is deeply satisfying for me and I want to do more of it! My dream is to reclaim my artist self. Andie really wants to help. So, back to the idea of surrendering control. If I relax and let go of planning out all of my time I can create more space for being. In that space I can ask for help in surrendering to my inner guidance about what I want to do with my time. In the moment I can be patient about waiting for what really feels right to bubble up. I can lie down on my back and breathe and wait. Being is a challenge. Sometimes even my spiritual practices feel compulsive to me because they can be so fueled by doing them to be OK. Lately I have been kinder and more flexible about being OK regardless of what I do. I think I am doing a good job at being more spacious with myself and showing up for myself with love regardless of whether I exercise, meditate,  pray and do yoga every day. Expressing myself artistically isn't going to become another practice I feel badly about myself for not doing. I want it to flow from kindness rather than conditionality.
It's funny how difficult doing even somethin I love to do can be if I feel like I need to do it to be OK.
That's the principle of negative magnetism of the universe operating. I made it up. It is that anything we thing we need to do or have to be OK alludes us. The universe knows we don't need to have or do anything to be OK.  When we love ourselves conditionally the universe steps in and lends a helping hand. I remember when I thought I had to be a certain weight to be OK. That certain weight was a lot less than I weighed. Only after I stopped hating my thighs and thinking somehow that would make them smaller and accepting and loving my body as it was, was I able to have the body I wanted.
So, I even have a room in my house I call my art room that has become my junk room. I have begun to declutter it gradually in a slow and steady way. If I think I can berate myself intop cleaning the room up I know it grinds me to a halt. All or nothing becomes the game. What works better is to do a little at a time to carve out the space for my artist's soul.
Part of expressing my artist's soul is to write this blog. Andie and I both appreciate all of you who read this blog and the support you have given me to express myself creatively. Thank you

Saturday, September 28, 2013

My mom's death part 2

I am writing in purple in honor of my mother. My mother loved purple. She had a bumper sticker on her car that said, I Love Purple.She made me a purple and white afghan that took her four years to crochet. I have wrapped myself in it for twenty years when I am working. Wrapped in it on the first cool fall day this week I remember her and feel wrapped in her love.
  My Mom has been dead for almost seven weeks. I have been seeing a grief counselor through hospice, who has been very helpful.I have learned so much about grief and how pervasive an experience it is. Grief has affected me emotionally, physically intellectually and spiritually. I cry often without exactly knowing why, I have been having trouble sleeping and remembering things, I feel a  sad, heavy weight on my shoulders and fear arises without warning. I am so aware that I am the next in line with both my parents being dead. I feel disconnected from the universe and then joy floods in and I feel connected to all there is, grateful and filled up. 
   Mom had two TIAs which are mini strokes on Monday August 4th which left her pale and listless and less able to move . She seemed to rally during that week eating and drinking well.  My mother started her dying process that Friday night. She stopped wanting to eat and then on Saturday spit out what she was given to drink. I worked with the  loving staff of the assisted living facility to let them allow her not to eat or drink. They cared about her and wanted her to keep living. I cared about her and wanted her to be allowed to die. They were willing to listen. On Saturday night I felt her declining. On Sunday, my partner came down from Boulder and my daughter he and I assembled my mom's kosher casket. Her wishes were to be buried next to my father in Colorado Springs in an orthodox Jewish cemetery. A kosher casket has no metal parts and hers was a plain pine box. It was a sweet ritual to build her casket together and increased my sense that she would be leaving soon.
I was supposed to leave for Boulder to see three clients and our couples counselor on Monday. I decided to cancel everything and stay in Denver with my mother. We called the hospice nurse and when she arrived she said my mom wasn't in her final decline and could live for a week. I felt silly for cancelling everything and began to second-guess myself. I realized I wouldn't have been comfortable leaving regardless. That afternoon my daughter and my nephew came to visit their grandma and said goodbye to her. They were very close to her and it was sweet and sad. That night the caregiver asked me if I wanted to sleep in my Mom's room. I instantly knew that felt right and was so grateful to her that she offered. They were kind enough to move her roommate to another vacant room so I could sleep in the bed next to my mom. During the night my Mom was breathing heavily with the rattling breath my father breathed the night he died. I felt an outpouring of love for her fill my heart. All of my impatience and frustration and feeling of being burdened by taking care of her melted away. I held her and told her I loved her over and over and thanked her and asked for her forgiveness and forgave her. At four in the morning I woke up and went to her bed. She died shortly after. Her eyes were wide open all night and she was reaching upward. It felt to me like she was connecting with my father. That was comforting to me and I hoped to her. It took me a long time to be sure that she was dead.  I sat with her body for two hours trying to be sure and thinking I needed someone else to validate her death. Finally I knew she was dead because her extremities were cold and her heart had clearly stopped beating and she wasn't breathing. I knew I could trust my own truth and didn't need external validation. That was very healing for me. I called my sister at 6 and she knew my mother had passed. She was on a plane to Denver in a few hours. 
   It was a beautiful experience of being alone with my mother  during her dying process. It was so clear to me by the dawn that she wasn't in her body anymore. I could feel so keenly the impermanence of life.  I could see her body as a vessel that she had inhabited and now had left. I knew her spirit was free. I knew she was no longer imprisoned in a body and mind that were so very limiting for her. I could feel her spacious presence with me and no longer in her body. It was a very joyous experience. I felt kind of dazed and other-worldly and had trouble relating to all of the peoples' condolences at first. Watching the mortuary people take her body away brought me back to the earth. She was buried, as is the Jewish custom, in 24 hours, in a simple graveside service on Tuesday in Colorado Springs.
Being with my Mom through her dying process has had a profound effect on my life. Death informs life. I will write more later. Thanks for listening. I hope my experience with death is informing your life, too.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

My mother's death-part one

This blog post is in honor of my mother. She died on August 11th 2013. She was in a declining dementia process for 8 years. As her dementia progressed I lost my mother a little at a time. She was in and out. Sometimes there were days when she seemed like her old self- loving and very opinionated. She was easy to talk to about anything. When I was growing up I would come to her to talk about boys or my ideas or my disatisfactions. By the time I was a teenager, I learned that she was supportive if I agreed with her. The rest was a challenge. She could be critical and invalidating if she disapproved. I shared less and less with her about what was important to me.
Still we were in regular contact. I had learned to look to her for validation and to doubt myself. When I left for college I rebelled against her and did the opposite of what I thought she would approve of. When my parents came to visit me at college in Vermont my mother said, "your brother is smoking cigarettes. " I turned to her and said, "you should see what I'm smoking!"
She helped me apply to Cornell to transfer in my Junior year and to go to Israel  that summer. When she agreed with something I wanted to do she would put all of her energy behind it. She had a lot of energy and could be very encouraging and helpful.  I learned to be small about navigating the physical plane because she was so good at it and wanted to be in charge. In the midst of my rebellion my Mom's approval was still important to me.  I thought it was my job to make her happy. If she was unhappy I usually thought it was my fault and tried to fix things. She also thought it was my job to make her happy and let me know how disappointing some of my choices were to her. I often felt guilty. I cancelled my wedding and decided to move to Colorado with my boyfriend and live with him instead because I didn't know if I wanted to marry him.  My boyfriend and I and my parents met with a counselor at Cornell to try and work it out. The counselor told me after the session that my mother cared more about what other people thought than she did about me and I better get used to it. My mother disowned me and at the same time continued to plan the wedding. My father, as usual, went along with her.
I moved to Colorado and actually came home at the end of that summer with my boyfriend to get married. I feel so much compassion for that 21 year old me that convinced myself that I wanted what she wanted and went along with her wishes. I remember pushing my fears and doubts under the rug as I walked down the aisle at the synagogue. My mother was supportive during my divorce.
My parents moved from Syracuse, NY. to Colorado Springs in 1978. They sold their home and quit their jobs and moved here. It was very courageous of them. They were both avid skiers. 
My mother was very active and exercised every day. She had many friends and did a lot of volunteer work as well as teaching full time until she was almost 70.  My father died when she was 70 and he was 75. I got to be with him when he died and I felt closer to him after he died than I had when he was alive. In his last years although he was in a physical decline he began to stand up to my mother and their relationship seemed to get better.
My Mom went into a three year long grief period that turned into what's called complicated grief. That means the person never comes out of it. She began to lose her mind rather than to face my fathers death and her feelings about it. I was still trying to make her happy and at the end of three years I told her I couldn't listen anymore. Gradually our roles began to shift. As her decline progressed she was less and less of the mother I had known all my life. Eventually she became sweeter and more loving and her angry edge seemed to dissolve. As the years progressed I began to surrender my lifelong pattern of craving her approval. I learned to honor my inner divinity more and more and to trust myself more and more.
My mother rarely spoke at the end. She had very expressive eyes and people loved her. I am so grateful for the time I had with her in Boulder and then in Denver for the last two years. I learned to care for her whole heartedly. This blog was supposed to be about the miracle of her dying process and I will do another installment. I honor my mother for what I learned from her. Working with her legacy has helped me to be the compassionate person I am today.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A prayer

   This prayer came to me when I was on a silent meditation hike. The title is He na ne. Hee-nay-nee means here I am in hebrew. The prayer ends with gracias, thank you in Spanish. It is important to me to clearly and directly ask for help with what I want help with. I feel held by spiritual support and when I call on that support I feel it much more strongly.

He Na Ne

Great spirit
help me to be 
grounded in my body
connected to spirit
and present with it all.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Today I am feeling grateful. I have 24hrs. to do whatever I want. That is my idea of bliss. When I finished seeing my last person before the July 4th holiday the first thing I did was  a drawing in pastels about my feeling tone now. What came up was gratitude. I am grateful to have this time to relax. I am grateful that I am learning to relax. I have been doing physical therapy for my pelvic floor muscles and I am learning a lot about letting go of the tension in my muscles. I am getting trigger point dry needling to help me to relax those muscles. It is uncomfortable and sometimes painful and I think it is helping. It is good for me to be focusing on my pelvis, reminding myself that it is safe for me to inhabit my body. I finished an interview of Philip Shepherd in The Sun magazine last week about the pelvic brain. He says that as a people we have moved away from the brain that is in our belly and focused too exclusively on the brain in our cranium. The pelvic brain is made up of a similar network  as the brain in our heads. It has innate intelligence and can be relied on for decision making. Shepherd points out that  decision making from our gut or intuition has been mistrusted since the age of agriculture. At that time we learned to see nature as something to be controlled and conquered rather than as a source of nourishment and groundedness. We cut ourselves off from our softer more receptive nature and focused on dominating the world with our craniums. Although we have made great technological advances and have created material abundance it came with a price. Reynolds suggests that in reconnecting with the brain in our bodies we unite mind and body and come from a place of wisdom and knowledge. He does workshops to support people in learning to be embodied. From this embodied place we see the oneness with all beings and with the earth. As I work to heal my pelvis, my new found awareness is supporting me in listening to my body's wisdom more deeply. I am grateful.

I just returned from a nature based silent meditation retreat. Gary and I have done this retreat for all four years it has been happening. It is a camping hiking meditation retreat in Rocky Mountain National Park. Thirty practitioners two leaders and a cook share the space of silence. The leaders created a very safe space for us to practice meditation in by setting clear boundaries and guidelines and with the power of their presence. Being in safety surrounded by natural beauty is a joy for me. I felt held in love by the universe. It rained several times each day and I could touch the part of me that felt genuinely grateful for the rain, even in the midst of being afraid of being cold and being irritated. We hiked each day and meditated along the trails and in a meadow at the base camp. I noticed I was suffering much less than last year because I was kinder to myself.  It was easier for me to speak to myself more lovingly even when what I was being loving about was not being loving. I created more space to be OK with my choices and to notice my judgments of myself and others. I spent  time hiking behind a woman with a large round butt and working with myself about my fear of being fat. By the end of the hike I felt love for her freely and appreciated the beauty of her round rear. I could see more clearly that all of what I judge comes from my own fear and it was easier to embrace myself being afraid.
 I love being silent. It is so much less difficult for me when I don't have to try and hear people socially. I could feel my body relaxing the tension of straining to hear and not knowing whether I will hear clearly or not. I felt grateful for the silence as an opportunity to slow down and be stiller. Sitting for all those hours in a not so comfortable chair created deep tension in my pelvis. I was sad to come back in pain when I had been pain free for a few weeks. At the same time, I was  glad to have the opportunity to sit with like-minded practitioners. There is a powerful energy that gets created sitting in a large group that is very different than meditating  alone. I am grateful to be able to marinate in that energy for a long weekend. I was also grateful for the healthy delicious food that was provided by the skillful cook. She prepared food that took my food allergies and the allergies of other participants into consideration so we could enjoy it freely. The tastiness also inspired me to expand my limits about what I eat and how I prepare it. It was a great pleasure to learn from a master. I am also grateful that the leaders offer these retreats with a charge for the food and rental of the campsite and that they are willing to be paid for the rest by donation or dana. Dana is a pali word for generosity. Each person decides with both of their brains what to contribute. The process of seeing what number arises has become more satisfying and I have learned to trust it. My number felt good to me this year. I am grateful that the leaders are willing to show up and put in enormous preparation and energy of presence and organization and offer the teachings according to the generosity of their students' hearts. Lastly I am grateful to you, dear reader, for being willing to read what I write. Thank you

Thursday, May 23, 2013


I just returned from a satisfying vacation with my childhood friend. We have known each other for fifty years and have a unique combination of history and authentic connection. The last time we spent  five days together by ourselves  was 18 years ago. Our trip came about because we both made it happen. She agreed to fly across the country and meet me in Sedona. She let me know the five days she had available to get away from her busy teaching schedule. I worked around her schedule and rearranged mine. She wanted us to each have our own room and I accommodated by stretching what I was willing to spend. I am so glad because having our own private space really contributed to having time for privacy and for connection. It was fun for me to find a place that fit all of our qualifications. We both have unusual eating habits and wanted to cook our own food and eat at home. It was awesome to me to eat what I wanted and to have her do the same. There was  opportunity to each have our own space every evening and early morning and time to talk about our work and our favorite subject since we were 11, boys. It was so satisfying to be such compatible traveling companions. We decided early on that we would speak our truth from the heart about what we each wanted and needed and that we would work through any conflict that arose. Because of our long history of acceptance of each other, it felt safe for me to be myself. Because of our practice with conflict resolution and the rewards it brings for further closeness, we were both motivated to assert ourselves and  to compromise.
  One of the glorious features of the place we stayed was that we could walk to most of the hiking trails. Both of us love to hike and find our connection with God in nature. The red rock formations  of Sedona stretch up toward the sky in humble breathtaking beauty.  There is a magical energy that feels palpable. It is  especially strong at the vortexes or energy centers. On the third  day we hiked all the way to Cathedral Rock and climbed it to experience the vortex energy. The hike was long and it was hot with not much shade. We got an early start and stopped to eat our lunch on the trail when we found a shady spot.  It was so much fun to eat my delicious food and spend time with my dear friend. Both of us can be kind of obsessive and worry a lot.  We could each share what we were obsessing about  in the moment and be listened to respectfully. I felt safe enough to share my unresolved issues and to receive being held in love. Out of sharing what was in the way of my joy it could peek through and emerge in gratefulness. Sharing about the past and the future created more space for the present. 
Climbing up the rock face was scary and exhilarating.   I was aware that our kindness toward each other made it easier for me to be kind to myself. I could embrace my fear more lovingly.  At the top we found the vortex and hung out being quiet and saying our respective prayers and singing our own chants.  I felt  a pervasive sense of peace and well-being and a strong connection to my inner divine and to the people I love.  I noticed that on the way down I wasn't as afraid even though climbing down a steep rock face is usually more scary than going up.  
By the end of the hike, which seemed like it would never end, we were both tired and cranky and that was OK too. It was fun to roll our eyes and complain and laugh at ourselves for the challenges of our aging  bodies.  
 All during the trip we stayed in good communication about what we were each going to do and checked things out with each other to see if it was OK. One of the joys of the trip was to have conversations about how our work intersects. She is a scientist with a keen interest in the workings of the brain and a deep commitment to teaching. I am passionate about the mind-body-spirit connection and supporting people's growth. Both of us love our work and we got into some great discussions about human consciousness and the anatomy of the brain.  I learned so much from her depth of knowledge and her receptivity to my ideas. She was reading my favorite book the presence process and sharing that with her was divine.
It was so clear how much we value each others' friendship and are grateful to have nurtured it for all of these years. She shared something with me that she was afraid to and got to let go of holding onto it and feel relieved. My challenge came when I backed up into a truck with our rental car and dented it. I was really upset and didn't have to try not to be. I asked to be quiet on the drive back from the hike and she let me know I could ask for support however I wanted it. I think I was easier on myself than I would normally have been because I didn't feel pressure to keep her from being upset about my being upset. We agreed to create a trip to be together by ourselves next year. Maybe we will even return to Sedona. The trip helped me to remember the rewards of prioritizing my friends. It's easy to take them for granted in the flow of family, partner and work.  Friends are a treasure to be honored with time money and energy. Life is so much richer that way.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Emotionally Focused Therapy

I just finished a training for couple therapists called Emotionally Focused Therapy or EFT. It was an illuminating experience both personally and professionally. I am so eager to work with more couples and share this revolutionary relationship work.
Couples each have a dance they do when they are disconnected. The dance happens because each person triggers the others' unmet needs from childhood. This dance usually involves one person being critical and the other withdrawing. When couples do this dance long enough they lose the sense of feeling safe with each other and stop confiding in each other. The first stage of EFT is to become away of the steps in each couples' unique dance. The couple learns to let go of blaming each other and to directly address together the moves in their dance.  Both people are hungry for connection with their own special person, the one to whom they used to feel shielded from the storm, yet they are stuck in familiar uncomfortable patterns. EFT is called emotionally focused therapy because the therapist creates a safe space for couples to share their deep feelings of wanting to connect with each other and how painful it is to be disconnected. It gives couples the opportunity to learn how to show up for each other and create a safe sanctuary. It allows each person to experience the magic of both people being openhearted at the same time. The therapist creates a safe space for the withdrawer to re-engage and the pursuer to soften. Out of this process, the couple can create new moves that are more affirming and validating to each other. Unmet needs from the past can be met in the present. Research has shown that the changes are lasting.
It was so awesome for me to participate in this training. Each day we did role plays where two people played a couple and one person played the therapist. The others in the small group observed. There was a more experienced EFT therapist to coach the trainee. When I played part of the couple I was amazed at how the person that was playing my husband seemed to be exactly like my partner. I learned from my pretend husband how my criticism or what he called poking felt to him. I learned how he longed to feel connected to me and accepted by me. I could feel his pain about wanting to be good enough for me and feeling like he never quite got there. I could see how when my anxiety rises because I don't feel connected to my partner I find something to complain about to get attention. I went home to Gary with a deeper understanding of how what I do when I am scared of being abandoned impacts him. I could cut us both some slack about the moves in our dance. This training has helped me to be more authentic about what I want and need instead of being so critical about what is missing. In turn that has enabled Gary to be less defensive and more engaged in connecting with me. It is starting to feel safer to be close to each other. This weekend there was more space for our love to shine through. I am so grateful  for the opportunity to be part of the EFT community and to continue to learn and grow. I share the vision of creating a safe space for couples to compassionately turn toward each other for comfort and connection, thus creating a safe harbor to integrate  unmet needs from the past, in the present. Woo hoo! If you know anyone who would benefit from this work please send them my way! Thanks, Andrea

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

One-up one-down same-as revisited

Hi everyone. March is my birthday month. I celebrate all month by doing nice things for myself. On the first I met with a dear friend and a counselor to clear up an imbalance in our relationship. It was a great way to start my birthday month. I had been making myself small around her (going one-down). She had been telling me what to do and judging me (going one-up) In the session we both spoke our truth and cleared everything in the way of both being in our power. (Same-as) Getting small means being quiet and afraid and shrinking myself or pretzeling myself to be what I think the other person wants me to be to be loved. (One-down) Puffing up means getting loud and aggressive and acting as if I know better than the other person what they need to change to be OK. (One-up) In this relationship I  mostly went one-down and she mostly went one-up.
I am grateful for my friend's willingness to use our conflict to get closer. I am grateful for my willingness to use our conflict to get closer. We walked today and we could both tell the difference in our safety with each other. I felt clearer about asking for what I wanted in a kind, firm way and she was accepting and supportive. We both felt freer to be more authentic. In the midst of our old dynamic we loved each other very much. Now there is more space for that love to be fully experienced and expressed.

Gary and I are in Couples counseling. We saw our skillful counselor this week . Although it was a difficult session we came out of it very hopeful. In that relationship I mostly go one-up and he mostly goes one-down. I act like I know what he needs to change to be OK and get critical and judgemental. He gets small and withdraws and doesn't speak his truth and  doesn't ask for what he wants. We are learning to come to same-as, too. The more Gary shares what he is feeling in a kind, authentic way the more met I feel and the less I criticize. Even though a lot of what he is sharing are fears and doubts about our relationship, I trust him more and respect him more because I know more about what he is really feeling. I feel less need to puff up and therapize him. Coming to same-as benefits both people. In an equal peer relationship both people have more room to express all of who they are, even if they think that might be unpopular with the other person. There is more room for there to be two different truths in the space and for both to be honored as valid. Neither person has to change the other's opinion because there is same-as for both truths. Neither has to be right or wrong. Same-as is honoring the other person for being different than I am with a shared humanity. Same-as is accepting anothers' differences as a path to growth. Same-as is permission to explore unacceptable parts of ourselves and to have curiosity brought to those parts. Same-as means being close is more important than being right.
I am grateful to be part of a working couples' relationship where both of us support the other's growth. After couples counseling we went to dinner and a lovely classical concert. All of it was a further celebration of my birthday month. I look forward to all the ways I can be creative about loving myself this month.
Check out one-up, one-down and same-as in your own relationships. Also consider celebrating your birthday for a month. It is a sweet present.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The five love languages revisited

 People show love and feel loved in many different ways.  Gary Chapman in his book The Five Love Languages named the five love languages as: Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Quality time, Acts of service and Receiving gifts. He has a great little quiz on his website to determine how each person's love languages are ranked in importance.
Love languages are a very helpful relationship tool. Once we know how we feel loved it is easier to clearly ask for what we want and know that what we want is OK. It is also easier to understand that our consciencious efforts to let another know we love them may not be received as we mean them to be.
A brief description of each love language follows.
Physical touch
 The person to whom this is their main language loves to be touched hugged cuddled massaged and stroked. They will probably be a very touchy person themselves. They like to hold hands, have an arm put around them and sit close together. Experiencing physical touch and closeness they feel special and loved.
Words of Affirmation
This person wants to be verbally appreciated and complemented. They want to hear about their attractiveness, have their accomplishments encouraged and acknowledged and be validated for their ideas and passions. If the person who has this as their first love language is verbally affirmed they feel loved.
Quality Time
The person who has quality time as their first love language wants to have undivided attention. Their bliss comes from having the undistracted presence of a loved one. The activity being done is not as important as sharing it with another in a focused way. Multi tasking while talking or being with this person can feel hurtful.
Acts of service
The person who has this as their first love language values things being done for them. They feel loved by receiving help with household tasks. They love it when a loved one does something for them without being asked. They feel especially special when the act of service is something the other person would rather not do and does it anyway.
The person who has this love language  values gifts large and small as an experience of being loved. They aren't necessarily materialistic. Thoughtful hand made gifts would be of great value. Forgetting a special occasion would be hurtful to this person and a personal gift would light this person up.
 Let's say my main love language is words of affirmation. I will probably tell my partner I love him and spend a lot of energy saying what I appreciate about him. . Because that is how I feel loved I will express my love in those ways. Let's say his top love language  is acts of service. He will do things for me to show his love. He will do research about things I plan to purchase and shovel the walk before I get home. Both of us are very clearly expressing our love for each other in ways that the other person doesn't experience as being loved. This is how knowing  you and your parntner's main love language can help couples express their love in the way their partner will experience as being loving. Most people could experience being loved with any of the five languages. The key is that we value them in different degrees. See if you can rank the love languages for yourself. This tool is  valuable for non-romantic relationships with people we care about too. If you always hug your sister to show your love and she values gifts it would probably be helpful to thoughtfully buy her something you think she would really like. You could let her know how much a hug means to you.  When we know the main love language of a loved one we can make an effort to express love in the way they will receive it. That act deepens our connection and is exteremly satisfying. It seems so efficient to me. I like that. One last thought- if i know how I feel loved I can be loving to myself in the way I feel loved, too. Be curious about that and see if the love languages can help you  be more effectively loving with yourself, too.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Happy New Year to all of you.
My wishes for all of us for 2013: 
May we feel a heart more full of love this year.
May we allow ourselves to receive love with greater abandon. 
May we feel safer to be who we are more freely and fully.
May we find greater peace of mind.
May we notice it is easier to show up for ourselves mindfully, without judgement. 
May it be a little more easeful to forgive ourselves for being unskillful.
May we notice we are cutting ourselves more slack.
May we be more comfortable saying no to others and yes to ourselves. May the awareness that we are all one come to us more often.
May we spend more time in our bodies and less in our heads.
May we be aware of the attention our bodies need and get that attention for ourselves, creating optimal health.
May we laugh often and well, especially at ourselves.
May we inhabit the present moment and be willing to bring ourselves back kindly from being preoccupied with the past or the future.
May we listen to what feels right inside of us and let our actions flow from that.
May we be willing to ask for help and then let ourselves receive that help.
May we be willing to spend more time with people who are emotionally available and less time with people who aren't.
May we accept what is with less kicking and screaming.
May we be clearer about what needs action and what needs surrender.
May we be willing to feel all of our feelings and decide what to share with others in a way that honors our self-respect.
May we be more willing to honor our energy with contemplation and less willing to dull our energy with compulsions.
May we be more willing to trust our desires for connection and reach out to other people even when we're afraid.
May we be willing to risk being aware of and letting go of old patterns created for survival and be curious about not knowing what's next.
May we embrace I don't know.
May we embrace knowing.
May we open more fully to having fun and being silly and playful.
May all our wishes move from our hearts to the hearts of all beings everywhere and feel the universe saying yes. Yes Yes
May what you want about what to add to this list for yourself be in your awareness and may you find the energy to follow your heart.
With Love to all of you,