Tag archive for » love «

Remembering What Matters

Tuesday, 15. April 2014 18:12

Swallowtail Butterfly share flowersIt’s a year after the Boston Marathon bombings, and as I listen to the stories of those who have lost limbs and loved ones, I find myself deeply moved and weepy.  How lucky am I to have these two legs, these two arms and my loved ones present and accounted for?  And it occurs to me how I often forget to appreciate these simple blessings daily.

What courage it takes to accept and rebuild your life, once something in it has been changed forever – something over which you had absolutely no control.   And yet, I know that many trauma survivors not only survive; they thrive.  They find new meaning and purpose, they love harder, appreciate more and live fully.  On this day of remembering, I am inspired and commit myself to living and loving with the wholeness of my being. I am grateful for the courage of those who have gone before me to show me how, and to help me to never forget that it is the only thing that truly matters.

Category:Self Actualization, Spirituality, Uncategorized | Comments (1) | Autor:

Because Each of Us Matters

Tuesday, 19. November 2013 15:02

Swallowtail Butterfly share flowersHave you ever thought about who makes up your “we”? Is it your family, your partner, your political party, or your work associates?  Or maybe it’s the human race, or all the creatures of the earth?  Perhaps your answer changes depending on the issue at stake.

The way you navigate between the needs of I, you and we in your life can be tricky. How do you meet your needs and the needs of others when they compete? For example, if your “I “ almost always comes second to your service to others in your life, how does that feel for you?  Alternatively, how does it feel if you almost always seek to meet your own needs before considering the needs of others?

Say these definitions to yourself:

Loving only you is self-less;

Loving only me is selfish and

Loving me and you is self–full.

And these:

Each of us is responsible for meeting our own needs; and

Your needs and my needs matter equally, not more or less.

How was that for you?

I find it empowering to know that our needs matter equally and that I can trust you to take care of yourself. It means I can care about others (you and we) in my life without abandoning me. It enhances my respect for both of us.

I can always choose to consider our needs together in my solution set.  That’s not an obligation, it’s a choice, and that encourages me to discover creative solutions that solve problems in ways that benefit more of us.

In this context, one of my favorite questions is this:

“What choices bring more love and abundance to me, to you and to us?”

Finding your way to meet the needs of I, with you and we, may fill a lifetime.  Hopefully, each of us seeks a balance that not only nurtures us, but also allows us to contribute to our community and to our world in meaningful ways.   Because each of us matters – and how we live this consciousness makes all the difference.

 

 

 

Category:Relationships, Self Actualization, Uncategorized, Wellness | Comment (0) | Autor:

If You Loved Me You Would….

Wednesday, 13. November 2013 22:36

Have you ever said those words?  Or heard those words?  How did it feel?
I’ve heard them, and thought them, and neither one felt good.  Underneath the words, there was a demand.

 

Like many of us, I’ve been betrayed, disappointed, verbally and emotionally abused, misunderstood, unseen and disrespected by people who vowed they loved me even while speaking and acting in ways that might be interpreted as terribly unkind.  And I still believe  those people loved me.

In their bodies, in their hearts, in their minds, they felt that inexplicable warmth that opened their heart with a longing for connection that only love can answer.  They loved me viscerally – and perhaps, I loved them too.

But that is not important, because feeling an emotion does not require the participation of the other person.  In fact, their love had little to do with me.  I may have been the stimulus, but the feelings lived in them.  WHAT? Well, think about it.  If I could cause someone to love me, Clive Owen and I would have been an item long ago.

The point I am trying to make is that for the most part, the love we feel is generated inside of ourselves, by ourselves.  We feel it in our own hearts and minds, whether or not the other person loves us back, or is even still alive.

The most beautiful time is when that feeling happens at the same time with someone else and the two of you can say, “We are in love with each other.” Or, perhaps in the case of a parent, or a friend, we simply say we love each other.

What sweetness!

And then it gets tricky.  What happens when one of us wants or needs something different from the other person in the relationship?  How do you resolve it?

When you utter the words, “If you loved me you would _____________________,” (either silently to yourself, or aloud to the other) – love is transformed from a feeling inside of yourself to a contract with a physical manifestation.  And how that contract gets navigated can empower the relationship or destroy it.

The contract is usually not about love itself, but about other needs we may have that helps us to feel loved.  For example, one partner may need a great deal of companionship while the other needs solitude; perhaps one is very sexually driven, and the other prefers cuddling.  Perhaps one is very communicative while the other is not.  Do these people love each other less because they each have different needs?  This is where we get very confused in relationships and often where things fall apart. When we forget to talk these issues out, we often begin to have negative thoughts about what and why our loved one is doing what they do.  Our relationships become burdened by heavy baggage filled with miscommunication and misunderstanding.

I believe that when two people who care for one another can openly, honestly and kindly work through their needs together, there is more potential for a love relationship that works. We often make a lot of assumptions about what our loved one should do for us and vice versa and we have may have unexpressed expectations about how the other should behave.  Is that loving, or is that judgment?

It’s a relationship.  There is interdependence.  It is essential for us to discuss our expectations and to agree on our agreements. For me, the love happens not because we agree, but in how we work together to negotiate ”the terms of the deal.”  Are we open enough, accepting enough, awake enough to express ourselves without blaming or shaming or demanding – while also listening tenderly to the needs of the other?  If so, perhaps we can find creative ways to meet most of our needs satisfactorily (or decide not to!) while holding our selves and our loved ones with care.

Most importantly, I’ve learned to own and to express my own needs.  At the same time, I accept my loved ones as individuals with their own set of needs that are equal to mine. Not more important or less.  And none of us are obligated to, (or even capable of) meeting all the needs of the other!

Yes, I believe in love.  I know that I may feel love, and yet be unable to negotiate a contract that works well enough to support a thriving relationship.  On the other hand, I also believe it is possible to have both.  I’ve learned a new way to speak to, and a new way to listen to those for whom I feel love.  Through the practice of compassionate nonviolent communication, I find I am more skillful at interacting with my loved ones, and for that, I am grateful, and filled with hope.

My wish for you is that you also find a way to successfully embrace the love in your life in a satisfying and sustainable way.  Here’s a list of some books that have helped me on my path, should you find them useful:

The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz

Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg

Codependent No More by Melody Beattie

Loving What Is, by Byron Katie

I leave you with the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, “Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.”

 

 

 

 

Category:Love & Sex | Comment (0) | Autor:

On Love

Thursday, 2. August 2012 16:15

I recently learned about the poetry of Hafiz.   Here is one of my favorites from his book The Gift:

“Even
After
All this time
The Sun never says to the Earth,

“You owe me.”

Look
What happens
With a love like that,
It lights the whole sky.”

حافظ, The Gift

May you too experience the blessing of a love that lights up the world.

Category:Creativity & Fun Stuff | Comment (0) | Autor:

What I Know

Friday, 4. May 2012 17:43

What I know is that there comes a time in your life where you have to do what is right for you, even if it is difficult and you will disappoint others.

What I know is that disappointing yourself is not a good practice; if you do it often enough, it can turn into a poisonous resentment and anger – toward yourself and toward others.

What I know is that you can love someone and decide that the relationship in its current form is not healthy or good for you and that you can still love that person – even after the relationship gets redefined.

What I know is that it’s not your job to make other people happy.  Your job is to be you.

What I know is that if you love someone, but you don’t know how to love them in a way that they understand or want to be loved, then your love may only serve you, not them – and that can be frustrating for everyone.

What I know is that having equanimity when things get tough doesn’t mean you won’t ride a roller coaster of fear, anxiety, anger, hope and sadness.  It just means that you can deal with the present moment more calmly, because you have faith that this too shall pass.

What I know is that we each experience grief in our own way and that there is no easy path through it. One must experience it, acknowledge it, and honor it and – eventually, let it subside, when it has done its work, and you, yours.

What I know is that the sun will rise over the horizon tomorrow and that I am blessed everyday that I have the privilege of witnessing it.

Category:Relationships, Self Actualization, Uncategorized | Comment (0) | Autor:

Love – It’s Not All Hearts and Flowers

Thursday, 9. February 2012 19:26

Guess what? The “seven year itch” isn’t just a myth!   Renowned authors and TV personalities, Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen say there is a biological component to love!  In summary, when we fall in love, our emotions trigger hormones like dopamine and oxytocin. For the first four years of a love relationship, we get a dosage of hormones that helps keep us close and bonding.  However, somewhere between five to seven years, these chemical levels drop off.  After that, couples really need to work to keep the love and sex fresh.  Check out the Roizen-Oz video The Biology of Attraction to learn more practical tips to keep the love light glowing.

Another terrific resource, Dr. John Gottman, researcher, author and Ph.D. psychologist known for his work on marital stability and relationship analysis, wrote a book called The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work  that suggest  how to keep the marriage going during the tough times. Although I admit I haven’t read the book, I summarized a terrific list from his website:

  • Seek help early. The average couple waits six years before seeking help for marital problems (and keep in mind, half of all marriages that end do so in the first seven years). This means the average couple lives with unhappiness for far too long.
  • Edit yourself. Couples who avoid saying every critical thought when discussing touchy topics are consistently the happiest.
  • Soften your “start-up.” Bring up problems gently and without blame. Arguments first “start-up” because a spouse sometimes escalates the conflict from the get-go by making a critical or contemptuous remark in a confrontational tone.
  • Accept influence. Because research shows women are already well-practiced at accepting influence from men, and a true partnership only occurs when a husband can do so as well.  A marriage succeeds to the extent that the husband can accept influence from his wife. A husband’s ability to be influenced by his wife (rather than vice-versa) is crucial.
  • Have high standards. The most successful couples are those who, even as newlyweds, refused to accept hurtful behavior from one another. Happy couples have high standards for each other. The lower the level of tolerance for bad behavior in the beginning of a relationship, the happier the couple is down the road.
  • Learn to repair and exit the argument. Successful couples know how to exit an argument. Successful repair and exit include: changing the topic to something completely unrelated; using humor; stroking your partner with a caring remark (“I understand that this is hard for you”); making it clear you’re on common ground (“This is our problem”); backing down; and, in general, offering signs of appreciation for your partner and his or her feelings along the way (“I really appreciate and want to thank you for.…”). If an argument gets too heated, take a 20-minute break, and agree to approach the topic again when you are both calm.
  • Focus on the bright side. In a happy marriage, while discussing problems, couples make at least five times as many positive statements to and about each other and their relationship as negative ones.  A good marriage must have a rich climate of positivity.

Last but not least, Michael J. Formica, MS, MA, psychotherapist, social scientist, and educator in Westport CT  posted a blog entry called Ten Elements of Effective Relationships. His post is worth a look, and for me, his conclusion says it all:

 ”Spend time together, speak your truths, respect each other, take care of each other, laugh with — and at — one another…”

Love to hear what has worked for you!

P.S.  In honor of full disclosure,  I wrote this post about a year ago, but  it seemed worth repeating! 

Category:Love & Sex, Relationships | Comments (2) | Autor:

My Top Ten Favorite Quotes from 2011

Saturday, 31. December 2011 19:30

Happy New Year! I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite quotes from 2011. These are quotes that inspired me on days that I needed a fresh perspective  (and that I posted on my Saar Coaching Face Book page as a result.) I hope you enjoy them.

“To love a person is to learn the song that is in their heart, and to sing it to them when they have forgotten.” Unknown

“Do not fear mistakes – there are none.”  Miles Davis

“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”  Friedrich Nietzsche

“When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”  Alexander Graham Bell

“Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.”  James Thurber

“One meets his destiny often in the road he takes to avoid it.” French proverb

“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”  Oscar Wilde

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.”  Epictetus

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”  Victor Borge

“We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry.”  E. B. White

Please share some of your favorite quotes as well.  I would love to know.

Happy, healthy prosperous New Year to all!

Category:Creativity & Fun Stuff | Comments (4) | Autor:

Stuyvesant High School, Safety and Celebration

Friday, 16. September 2011 12:18

I recently attended a high school reunion and had a wonderful time. I know lots of folks don’t feel that way about their high school get-togethers, so I feel particularly lucky. Perhaps it’s partly because I attended a “special” high school in Manhattan, where little attention was paid to one’s ethnic and socioeconomic background. Many of us traveled a far distance from neighboring boroughs to get to Manhattan every day, so students were motivated to learn.

For some of us, Stuyvesant High School provided a welcome escape from dysfunctional family life, tough neighborhoods, difficult junior high experiences, and the many other places where we just didn’t seem to fit. There were few fights at school, and to the best of my knowledge, no bullying. In short, at “Stuy”, we had a place to go that felt safe.

That’s not to say that we were all friends, and that there wasn’t typical teenage angst and suffering, but it was a community, one that embraced a live and let-live attitude. Now, almost 35 years later, it’s clear that while most of us have had our share of tragedy, success, love and loss, we are genuinely happy to see each other.

When you think about it, our high school peers are the people who knew us in the raw, when life was still fresh and innocent. The newness of love, lust, joy and hurt were magnified about 1000 times back then and every discovery was tremendously exciting as a result. It was a time of possibility, deep human learning and boundless energy. Our high school peers are the people who knew us when we were kernels that had not yet popped.

And although we share many “secrets”, it doesn’t seem to matter anymore. These are the people who know if you were a geek, a stoner or a jock. Fortunately, we seem to have moved beyond the labels that once bound and limited us. At the same time, these folks have a foundational understanding of who we are as individuals, long before we became moms, dads, poets or people in charge of many things.

This shared history allowed me to experience a few magnificent moments at the reunion. It was delicious to be in the presence of people who could still see the shiny, exuberance of youth in each other’s eyes and smiles, while losing track of graying hair, extra pounds and the fine lines of experience etched across our faces.

This experience made me keenly aware that being part of a community that shares values, and values acceptance, is a great gift. Being with people who can see past the exterior and can acknowledge and appreciate the kernel of your raw individuality and share a joyful moment is a soul celebration. Perhaps not all high school reunions afford the same gifts, but my hope for you and I, is that we have many more opportunities to experience and to create these connections throughout our lives, for ourselves, and for others, at work, at play and in our world community.

Category:Creativity & Fun Stuff, Spirituality | Comments (5) | Autor:

Five Simple Tips to Reduce Stress

Saturday, 20. August 2011 2:55

The adrenalin rush that results from stress is a great gift if you need to escape physical danger, like a hungry lion.  It’s not so great if you are dealing with a long-term problem like being a solo caretaker, working through a bad relationship or facing a difficult job situation. Long-term biological stress response can take a negative toll on your body.  According to eHealthMd.com, here are some of the biological responses you experience from stress:

  • Your heart speeds up
  • Blood flow to your brain and muscles increases up to 400 percent
  • Your digestion stops (so it doesn’t use up energy that’s needed elsewhere)
  • Your muscle tension increases
  • You breathe faster, to bring more oxygen to your muscles

So, what can you do to help reduce stress?  Here are five simple tips to help ease your mind and body:

  • Move it. Any kind of physical activity helps reduce stress.  Walk, stretch, garden.  Move your body in whatever way appeals to you. If you can find 15 minutes anywhere in your day, give it a try.  Many studies show that even 15 minutes of daily exercise can extend your lifespan and can improve health overall.
  • Breathe. Remember your breath.  Breath has a heart connection that enables relaxation.  Try focusing on deep breathing when you feel stressed out, even if it is only for 30 seconds at a time. Try this “heart coherence” breathing exercise from stress expert Wendy Duncan  as reported in an Entrepreneur article by Lisa Girard:

Place your hand over your heart, and then imagine your breath flowing through your heart. Take four counts to breathe in, and another four counts to breathe out. As you do so, imagine feelings of love, joy or compassion radiating out of you like beams of light.  Repeat several times.

  • Connect with others: Reach out and spend time with people you enjoy. Join a group, adopt a pet, do volunteer work, talk on the phone, meet for coffee. Have a laugh and enjoy some companionship – it’s good for the soul.
  • Confront stressful situations head-on. Figure out exactly what is troubling you, then brainstorm solutions with a smart and trusted friend, a behavioral therapist, a coach, or find a great book to help you work through it.  My experience is that even taking a TINY step toward resolving an underlying cause of stress will help you to feel more in control.  Whatever action you take, whether it’s learning time management, or updating your resume, taking any action, however small, can help you feel better.
  • Give yourself permission to enjoy a little self-care. Do something that relaxes you even if it’s only for 15 or 20 minutes a day. Take a recharge break: Listen to music you enjoy, read a magazine, practice your golf swing, strum a guitar, call a good friend, savor a cup of tea, take a walk, or dance around your house. You don’t have to be good at what you do; it just has to feel good.

Whatever you do, take time to de-stress, you not only deserve it, you need it!

Category:Wellness | Comment (0) | Autor:

Abundance – An Inside Job, Guest Post by Renata Loree

Thursday, 4. August 2011 18:44

There has been so much written on the subject of getting what you want. There are manuals, step by step procedures and new age ideas that recommend what to do to achieve our goals.

But I have to say that the only good advice I have ever gotten is to be grateful for what I already have. Through this simple recognition, I realized that everything I ever need is within reach. Just being in a state of gratefulness removes the illusion of not having enough.

The tricky part is to not be caught up in the “more trap”, like, if I only had that one more thing I would be happy, or, if I only had a boyfriend and a car or a house.  The feeling of lack often starts with the perception of not having enough of something to fulfill the need to be happy. When I meditate or sit still quietly every day, I can stop the onslaught of negative thoughts that constantly tells me that I am powerless. If I can remove this negative veil and see it for the lie that it is, I can see how abundant and powerful I really am.

The magic happens from there. Like attracts like. That is the first law in the universe. If you seek love, be the love you seek. If you seek peace, be that peace. This life beckons us to examine what it is that we truly want. Is it really the big house on the hill that will give you the life that you desire? Name your dream and then examine it. Sit still and ask yourself what it is that you really need, and you might surprise yourself. It may not be the expensive car, the beautiful clothes or a fabulous vacation.

These things can actually pull you further away from who you really are, because they often mask the truth of what you truly desire. You might find that what you really wanted already resides within you. The most magical thing happens then when you realize this simple truth, that you already have everything you need, all you have to do is drop everything that is in the way.  When that happens, all the things that you truly want start appearing in your life, as you watch in disbelief, because you did not have to do a thing.

I have this simple story to tell to demonstrate what I am talking about.

A few years back, I was sitting in a coffee shop on a beautiful day taking a break. I struck up a conversation with the gentleman next to me. It just so happened, that he is the father of a fellow yoga teacher I know. He started to entertain me with stories from his son’s childhood and I also found that he was a real-estate agent. In return, I told this older gentleman what my dream house would look like. I described a spacious house with large windows, overlooking an expanse of water, probably situated on a hill. He smiled at me and said that he knew of a house like this and that he wanted me to see it. He gave me the address and his card. I went to look at the house, even though at that time I was in no position to shop for real estate. I was hugely disappointed. I drove by shaking my head in disbelief. How could anyone think that this was my dream house? But this only reinforced the vision that I had. It was as clear as the brightest day. And then I let it go, realizing it was still just a dream.

A couple of years later, my life went into turmoil.  I lost pretty much everything I had or cared about. I was thrown into a completely different lifestyle. Although there was little that remained, I decided to turn to the only thing that mattered: me. Every day I would sit quietly and examine what it was that really was me. I felt the space, the love and the peace that resided there. Nothing else was needed and I was supremely grateful for it. It made me appreciate the beauty of the little I had left and how abundant I could feel regardless of my circumstances.

Soon after, I became involved in a loving relationship and my boyfriend invited me to move in with him.  And guess what? I now live in a house that looks just like the dream house I described to my coffeehouse friend. I do not own it, my boyfriend does, but that is the magic. Abundance is not owned, it is perceived. It comes and goes with the flux of life. And there is no amount of cunning thought that I could have possibly come up with to design how to make this happen.

Sometimes we need a stroke of bad luck to shake us up so we can see things from a different perspective. A simple disaster put me in a place where abundance had to come from inside me – and I am grateful for it every day.

 

Renata Loree, RYT  is the owner of Yogaspot, a vinyasa yoga studio in Wellesley, Massachusetts. She has been teaching yoga for over 10 years and encourages her students to explore the creative and meditative aspect of yoga to enhance their journey to personal freedom.  Visit her website at Yogaspot.net

Category:Self Actualization, Spirituality | Comment (0) | Autor: