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"All humans seek the illusive touch of another's Soul, which opens us to the sense of belonging to something bigger than the self. Dr. Kortsch has given us the true "tao" of relationship in this brilliant exploration of emotional tapestry. We will be grateful for this illumination of spiritual partnership for generations to come." Chris Griscom, Spiritual Leader, Author

"Eloquent and comprehensive, showing how your primary love relationship may be a sacred vessel that transports you and your partner to a place of mutual healing and expansion." Robert Schwartz, Author: Your Soul's Gift: The Healing Power of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born

"The Tao of Spiritual Partnership is a unique blend of wit and wisdom; Dr. Kortsch encourages us to take responsibility for our relationships, while recognizing and seizing the opportunities for our own personal spiritual growth." William Buhlman, Author of Adventures Beyond the Body

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Are You In Love With More Than One Person?


Recently I was asked to publicly comment about an individual's plight. This woman, happily married and with a thriving family, had renewed contact through one of those circumstances of life that do happen, with a former boy friend. At the time of their break up, years ago, one of the propelling forces that pushed her to do so, was her fear that he would at some time leave her anyway. He, now married, lived at quite some distance, and she had fallen in love with him again, even though she continued to love her husband.

The former boy friend and the woman had decided to meet, but the woman was plagued by doubts, a guilty conscience, and worry.

Hence the question: can one love two persons simultaneously.

Here is a portion of my comment:

The fact that a relatively recently married man is so willing to rock the boat with his new wife, due to the burgeoning relationship with a woman who formed part of his life at an earlier time, does, at first glance, cast a grey cloud on him.

However ... at no point do we have proof of the fact that he actually wants an affair with the former girl friend. It is possible he just wants to be friends, to maintain upright the re-found relationship with her. If that is the case, then perhaps his feelings are quite different than those of the woman. The fact that she is going to see him begs the question of which of the two instigated the trip, and what the idea behind it is, in both individuals' heads. I would also like to know what he has told his wife.

However, I also believe that all of that takes us off the broad arena of the main question ... is it possible to love more than one person at the same time? I can only answer from within my own professional, academic, ethical, and personal parameters.

When there is "unfinished business" between two people, such as is the case with these two, then it is - I believe - a simple matter to convince oneself, when something happens to bring the relationship back into one's life, that one is indeed in love.

But what is this love? Isn't it more readily equated with "need"? She needs something from this man ... even if it's just closure, or perhaps the sexual experience per se, or the feeling that he loved her very much all these years, or something else. But there is a need.

How is that different from her marital relationship and the love she feels for her husband? I don't know, because of course I know nothing about that relationship, other than that I am told it is good, that she loves him, and that she has a happy family. I would assume that there are also elements of need there, in her marital relationship (in the sense that I refer to need in my article I Need You...I Need You Not), because until we truly learn how to love, we tend to need our partners.

Bottom line, we fall in love with people who will bring us further in life, as they tend to help us discover nascent, as yet undeveloped facets of our being, as well as all too frequently bringing us to a peak of frustration, which, as we attempt to resolve it, tends to help us grow, if we can only look at it from the point of view of how we got to that place with them, rather than simply blaming them, and then forgetting about it (or getting a divorce).

Therefore, if we fall in love with people who will bring us further, clearly the kind of people we have fallen in love with over the course of a lifetime let us know much about ourselves. And we begin to realize that the places where we grew within ourselves, were places we had not yet developed, places that were, you might say, voids, lagunae, unexplored aspects of ourselves. So...clearly the kind of person we fall in love with tells us much about ourselves, and the older we get, the more we can see this (if we bother to think about it).

So ... in the predicament describe herein, I would ask myself this:
  • am I willing to risk my current relationship?

  • am I willing to break up my family?

  • am I willing to break up the other marriage?

  • why am I willing to risk a relationship with this man now, where I was afraid of him leaving me when we were first together?
And if the answer to the first three of the above leans towards a "no", then I might ask myself a whole other set of questions that I personally consider infinitely more interesting:
  • what exactly is this predicament trying to show me about myself?

  • what about him attracts me so much that I am almost willing to put everything else on the line? - could it not be that precisely in discovering the answer to that - to what it is about him that attracts me so much - I could find the answer to what is missing in me?
And please remember, what is missing in me is NOT something someone else can supply me with. Rather, it is something I need to supply myself with, by working on developing that part. Hence, this man might well be a signpost in the right direction ... not to leave the current relationship, or to go and have an affair with him, but to examine myself from the point of view I've tried to discuss here.

The answers are NEVER outside ... they must be found within ... they CAN be found within, if we are only willing to look.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Claiming Responsibility For the Self


As children, our parents often admonished us: be responsible! Take responsibility for what you do. And we took it to mean that if we had chores or homework to do, then we needed to be responsible about completing those tasks, and not dawdle, or worse, procrastinate so much that in the end they never got done, and we wound up with real emergencies on our hands.

I used to say to one of my sons (I found the saying in some article): your lack of planning does not constitute my emergency when he would come to me in the 11th hour with a paper that had not been written, or a project that had not been properly planned.

But this is not what claiming responsibility for the self is really all about.

One thing is to be responsible out there in the world, as described above, and another thing is to claim responsibility for the self. Both types of responsibility form part of responsible behavior, but the latter is much less understood, and even less implemented in an individual's life.

To claim responsibility for the self literally means to decide to be responsible for all that goes on within the self. Not, let me hasten to add, for all that happens to the self. You can not control that. If you live in a police state and are arbitrarily arrested, or if you live in an area often devastated by hurricanes, or if you live in a third-world country with raging hunger and poverty, or if you are of the wrong ethnic or religious origin (according to the pwoers-that-be) and are subject to harassment or worse, it is clear that you are unable to claim responsibility for that manner of events.

But you can - without the slightest doubt - claim responsibility for the way in which you react to all of that, and therefore, you can claim responsibility for the way you feel about it all, for the state of your being in the midst of such havoc and chaos, and therefore, in a nutshell, you have control of your life. As long as you are in control of what goes on inside of you, what happens on the outside carries much less weight.

We can take this into the arena of much more normal external events and experiences and understand how we can begin to take control of much of that which ails and plagues us by claiming responsibility for the self.
  • you boss just passed you over for a promotion

  • the bank declined your request for a loan

  • the man you love just walked out on you

  • the girl you asked out for a first date said she already has a boyfriend

  • it rained the entire week you spent in Hawaii

  • ten publishers rejected your manuscript

  • your college application was put on waitlist
In each of these examples something external to the self causes frustration, heartbreak, pain, annoyance, anger, or any number of other emotions. And so we explain our negative emotions to ourselves by blaming them on the event or the person. Obviously we feel that way because of what happened.

If that is explanation enough for you, then you are willing to give over control of your state of well being to an event or another person. It is tantamount to saying that you are not in control of your state of well being. How can I be when these things happen to me? You can be in control of your state of well being by deciding to be. It's as simple as that.

Make the decision that when things happen that would normally upset you, you will, in future, look at all the possibilities, all the alternatives of reaction at your disposal. Of all of these alternatives, one of them is always going to be:
  • I can choose not to get upset

  • I can choose to remain calm

  • I can choose to keep my cool

  • I can choose to remain in a good mood

  • I can choose to refuse to let this person or event bother me

  • I can choose to look at this as a learning situation and take something positive from it in order to advance to the next place in my life

  • I can choose to grow from this

  • I can choose not to worry (because worrying never solved anything at all)

  • I can choose to smile

  • I can choose to walk away from this situation

  • I can choose to let this person be the way they are, realizing that their way of thinking, or their behavior says nothing at all about me

  • I can choose to believe in my own value as a wonderful human being

  • I can choose to laugh

  • I can choose to shake hands
The examples of the choices you can offer yourself are endless, but if you make certain that your choices are always roads that take you to a good state of being, that enhance your well-being, and that serve you in some way, you are truly taking control, and claiming responsibility for the self.

***************

Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books. My latest book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is available globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Can You Forgive?


When your father walked out on you, your siblings, and your mother, your life changed drastically. Now, decades later, it still lives on in your mind, as you remember how difficult things were, and how - about 15 months after he left - you caught a glimpse of him one day on the street in the company of another woman, much younger and less stressed-looking than your mother, who had a baby in her arms. Your father had just hugged her and kissed the baby, and you felt such agony. You also felt rage. And you remember it to this day. How could you forget how he affected all your lives?

When you found your high school love - the first girl you ever went to bed with - making out with your best buddy - you were both on the basketball team - something shrivelled up inside of you and died. With that one act she took away your self-esteem. It took you years to work your way out of that. And your best buddy. After a shoving match with him after having found the two of them there, you never spoke to him again. And you never found a friend again with whom you shared the way you used to with him - before you realized what a traitor he was. Even when you ran into that first girl friend again recently, now that you're both in your forties, and you saw how she had gained weight and lost her youthful sparkle and attraction, you felt no sense of satisfaction, only pain in the memory of what happened that devastating day.

Have you noticed the common thread that runs through each of these vignettes? You remember what happened with a great deal of emotion, almost as though you were reliving the painful incident.

What's new about that, you may ask. Of course I relive the painful moment. How else could I react? Do you expect me to forget it?

Not exactly. Although there is an element of forgetting it involved in what I am about to write.

What I'd like you to think about is this: by remembering, by bringing it back into your mind over and over again - even though you only do it once a week or once a month - you maintain the freshness of the pain. Reliving a painful situation in your mind is tantamount to reliving it in reality ... have you not noticed how the tears can flow again and again, or the red-hot anger can flare over and over ... even though decades have passed?

Of course, you say, of course the tears flow or the anger flares. After all, what happened was very painful...

Let's switch to another topic for a moment: you've read about The Law of Attraction, the power of intention, heard about the movie or book The Secret, etc. Maybe you've even read some of the multitude of books about the subject. If so, you know the insistence of all these authors on one central philosophy: what you think about becomes your reality ... thoughts become things ... as a man thinketh, so shall he be ... and of course, all of these authors are encouraging you to imagine in your head, to visualize, or create scenarios in your head to the point where you can literally feel yourself inside of them, and feel the emotion or excitement that would be part of your life if your "scenario" were already a reality. They are basically stating that by so doing, that "scenario" you are so vividly imagining will eventually become a part of your life. That is the power of the law of attraction.

Now let's back track to our original subject. You reliving and remembering painful or traumatic experiences from the past to the point of physical manifestations such as tears of bursts of anger. Is that not the same as what I've just discussed in the previous paragraph, but in a negative version? You keep thinking about - visualizing - imagining - that event from the past to the point of making it a reality in your present life in the sense of how it affects you. In other words, it affects you as much as it might if it were actually happening now. So you have made it into a part of your current reality.

Is that what you want? Is that how you want to live your life?

Nothing stops you from hanging on to your anger or your pain, but only the decision to make new choices stops you from continuing on this desperate treadmill of pain. Making a new choice would be to say to yourself that for your sake, for your peace of mind, you will forgive whoever it was that treated you so badly, so that you can live a good life now. So that you no longer have to continue to relive the pain.

That is all it takes: a choice of dealing with the past differently. You decide, you choose, and your life changes. It is literally as simple as that. So when you get the old thoughts that lead you to the pain you literally say to them no, not today, thanks, I've got better stuff to do than to let you bother me again. Instead of you I'm going to think about what I want to accomplish, or I'm going to shift my energy.

Do it for yourself, and not only you will benefit, but all those whose lives you touch.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Looking In All the Right Places


  •  Where do you look when something goes wrong?

  • What do you focus on when you can't seem to get ahead?

  • Which thoughts run through your head when you've just bungled something?

  • Which feelings course through you when your world turns upside-down?
The answers to all of those questions tell you a great deal about the current quality (or lack of quality) of your life.

Looking in all the right places literally means always looking for something to appreciate, love, or enjoy, something to be grateful for, looking for something that can help you grow more, looking for something that can teach you to progress more productively, to be more you, and to consistently feel better about yourself - no matter where you are currently at.

That means that when the fan is full with what hit it, you are focusing on something to appreciate in this situation, something that will create learning in you, in other words, you are looking to find something in any and all situations life brings you to that makes you capable of some manner of appreciation.

Imagine just for a moment that you get to choose the things that happen to you. Obviously you would only choose good stuff. But let's imagine for a moment that you have a child in first grade. The good stuff would be recess time, and play time. The not so good stuff might be learning how to read and write. Or math. You get the picture. For the child to progress - although the child might not willingly choose it - he needs to go through some stages of progressive learning in order to become the competent, effective, and proactive adult that you are hoping he will indeed become.

Back to you. If you got to choose everything that happens to you, you might only choose the good stuff. But let's say there's a part of you that is wiser (as you are the - I hope - wiser adult parent to your hypothetical child in first grade). This part of you that is wiser knows that in order for you to grow on levels that have nothing to do with reading, writing, and 'rithmetic, you will need to choose a number of situations in your life that will cause you to progress in those directions.

So if you got to choose, that wiser and older part of you would be choosing experiences that might not - at first glance - look like a lot of fun and games. Maybe you have to live in an orphanage as a young child (like Wayne Dyer), maybe you get sexually abused (like Louise Hay), maybe you are diagnosed with cancer (like Kylie Minogue), maybe you become a cuadriplegic after falling off your horse (like Christopher Reeve, the actor who played Superman), maybe you are repudiated by the husband you love because you are unable to bear a male child (like Soraya of Iran, first wife of the late Shah), maybe you develop Lou Gehrig's disease (like the world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking), maybe your mother is assassinated (like Benazir Bhutto's son) maybe you get jailed for 28 years for expressing your political opinions (like Nelson Mandela), maybe you get sent to Auschwitz , the Nazi extermination and work camp, during the Holocaust, and your entire family gets gassed while you are in there (like psychiatrist and author Viktor Frankl), maybe your husband is decapitated in a high-speed boating accident (like Princess Caroline of Monaco's second husband) maybe you have to battle drug addiction (like actor Robert Downey Jr.), or alcoholism (like British actor Richard Burton, twice married to Liz Taylor), or maybe your young son falls 53 floors from a Manhattan skyscraper (like Eric Clapton's son Conor), or maybe you lose your sister to suicide (like Mariel Hemingway lost her sister Margaux). The list could go on and on. I've deliberately chosen famous names so you relate more readily. You probably know of most of these people, can picture them, and watched some of them via the international media as they were going through their particular experience.

So if you could choose what happens to you, and hypothetically, if you choose one of the above examples (never in my right mind, I can hear you say ... but just bear with me for a moment here), wouldn't you have chosen that specific experience in order to gain something from it?

Again, I can hear you saying: How could I gain something from such an awful situation? Do you remember the American couple, Maggie and Reg Green, some years ago whose young son Nicholas was shot in Italy while the family was on vacation there? His parents subsequently decided to donate Nicholas’ organs and tissues to seven Italians to enable others to live and to have a future that Nicholas was denied. Their gain was to see that their young son's life was not truncated in vain. Their gain was to see the joy in the lives of seven families who were able to benefit from their tragedy. Their gain was to look beyond the merely obvious, close-down, and personal to a broader situation where we are truly all one.

So what did they do to get there? One very important element was to focus on the right things, to look in all the right places. And part of that is: what can I do with this? How can I learn from this? How can I use this to make me a bigger, better person? How can this help me grow?

Do you doubt that most of the people I mentioned earlier did that? Remember Christopher Reeve's crusade for stem cell research? Or look at Stephen Hawkings zest for life and scientific discovery. Or Mandela's goal to end Apartheid. Yes, it's true, not all were able to use their experience in the way I'm describing. No one says it's easy. All I'm suggesting is that if you give this a try, and begin to look in all the right places, you will make your life better no matter what the external circumstances are.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Your Thoughts Change Your Body


Thoughts do change our bodies.

We used to receive this information only through metaphysical sources that referred to concepts contained in "as a man thinks", or "what you see you shall become" (Gospel of Philip), whether they pointed us to the Gnostic Gospels (admirably discussed by religious historian Elaine Pagels), or James Allen and his now (thanks to movies such as What The Bleep Do We Know? or The Secret) ultra-famous book As A Man Thinketh (easily - and legally - available as a free download ... contact me).

Thoughts do change our bodies.

Now we receive this information from cellular and molecular biologists, from Ph.D.'s in keynote addresses at psychology symposia in hallowed Ivy League halls, from DNA experimentation by the American military, from international neuroscientists, from a Japanese scientist who studies water crystals, and from a plethora of others.

Thoughts do change our bodies.

Candace Pert, molecular biologist, wrote The Molecules of Emotion, in which she pioneered the body-mind concept. (Her work of over several decades is based on how the bodymind functions as a single psychosomatic network of information molecules which control our health and physiology.) Do you remember how laughable many thought this was only in the 80's? How far we have come in accepting PNI (psycho-neuro-immunology), the study of the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body, which has led us to understand, among others, the connection between stress - thoughts - and the potential future appearance of cancer in the body.

Thoughts do change our bodies.

Bruce Lipton, cellular biologist, wrote The Biology of Belief and has also produced the audio CD The Wisdom of Your Cells: How Your Beliefs Control Your Biology. In its review of Lipton, Amazon writes: His experiments, and those of other leading-edge scientists, have examined in great detail the processes by which cells receive information. The implications of this research radically change our understanding of life. It shows that genes and DNA do not control our biology; that instead DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell, including the energetic messages emanating from our positive and negative thoughts.

Thoughts do change our bodies.

In Japan, scientist Masaru Emoto wrote The Hidden Message in Water. Describing this book and the author's work, Amazon.com notes: Using high-speed photography, Dr. Masaru Emoto discovered that crystals formed in frozen water reveal changes when specific, concentrated thoughts are directed toward them. He found that water from clear springs and water that has been exposed to loving words shows brilliant, complex, and colorful snowflake patterns. In contrast, polluted water, or water exposed to negative thoughts, forms incomplete, asymmetrical patterns with dull colors. The implications of this research create a new awareness of how we can positively impact the earth and our personal health.

Also see this great article about Masaru Emoto by Life Enthusiast, or watch this video showing crystals affected by thoughts and words, or watch this video of an interview with Dr. Emoto.

Thoughts do change our bodies.

Muscle Testing (applied kinesiology), long a tool used in alternative treatments, essentially allows one person to test another person's response to anything, whether this is a thought (true or false), or the beneficial or detrimental effect something (for example food or medicine or treatment) may have on the other person. Much has been written about the subject by authors too numerous to mention since its appearance in the 60's as used by American chiropractor Dr. George Goodheart. However, if you want to read something truly interesting about the subject, have a look at David R. Hawkins' books, in particular, Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior

Thoughts do change our bodies.

So we know that thoughts change our bodies - we may have known for a long time, and now we have proof (which for many is a determinant), so what is keeping you from doing something about it? Your thoughts - which you can get a handle on with a certain amount of dexterity and ease by gauging your feelings (see also The Energy Barometer: Make Your Mind Body Connection Work For You), and consistently moving yourself to higher levels of energetic frequency, can impact on the quality of your physical, emotional, and spiritual health to a degree of such magnitude that you simply can't ignore this information.

Thoughts do change our bodies.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Greatest Quality in Life


You take decisions often every day, don't you? Some are easy, some less so, but you know all about taking decisions, and then sticking to them. You might decide to move to another city due to a fantastic job offer, you might decide to stop smoking, you might decide to incorporate some physical activity into your life, you might decide to spend more quality time with your kids, or you might decide to stop straightening your hair, and let it out in all its curly glory.

Imagine taking a decision one day to be happy.

The ability to enjoy life, the ability to be happy, is, from my point of view, the greatest quality in life. With this one quality your life becomes - ipso facto - better, more enjoyable, increasing in satisfaction and daily contentment. What can go wrong, if you have decided - in advance - to always be happy, no matter what?

Imagine waking up in the morning and saying to yourself, no matter what happens today, no matter who does their best to frustrate or anger me, I will not stray from my path of feeling good about my life. No one will have the power to make me leave that path. No event will cause me to leave that path. This means that you correct your feelings, your reactions, at their very inception...in other words, if you notice that something is occurring that is threatening to make you go in another direction, you literally decide to choose another alternative at that moment, because you know - you are aware of the fact - that you have this choice.

You have the choice because in the end it always depends on your own decisions much more than on absolutely anything else. I repeat this over and over again, because in psychology, just as in marketing, it typically requires that a concept is heard or read nine times before it totally sinks in, and this concept of how you feel at any time, and how you react to events, is truly your choice.

Go about your morning, your day, your life with a new decision to give yourself the greatest quality in life ... deciding to live a content life ... no matter what ... simply because you so decide.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Consider Your Reaction To Things


Your reactions say a lot about you and your chances for living a content and satisfied life. Your reactions have little or nothing to do with what actually happens and all or almost everything to do with your choices.

In order to come to a place inside of you where you are capable of choosing a reaction rather than being reactive, or reacting blindly, it is of prime importance to be aware of yourself. Without awareness, it is almost impossible to be in a position to choose.

Imagine for a moment leaving your home 10 minutes later than you should have, and so reacting by becoming more and more stressed. Your commute is on a crowded freeway, you are obviously in a hurry to get to work, and some asinine idiot in front of you almost provokes an accident. Add now to your already stressed frame of mind, your anger at this person's carelessness...your logical reaction to a typical driving situation.

So, stressed and angry, you now head for the Starbuck's just around the corner from your place of employment to get the large lowfat latte so that at least with that you have a moment of respite, but a new employee is being trained, and so your wait time is double what it normally is, and your impatience bubbles up as you pay and make a less than polite comment about the lack of efficiency of the management of the place to be training new personnel at such a time of day.

Stressed, angry, and impatient, you now arrive in your office, and your secretary tells you that your immediate superior has been asking for you for ten minutes...and of course, you are ten minutes late due to all of the above. As it is the second time you've been late this week, and as unfortunately your supervisor became a witness to it the last time as well, you now add worry to your list of reactions that are causing your day to go rapidly downhill.

And it's only 8:40 in the morning.

How could this scenario - this very common scenario - look different with some awareness? (Remember, awareness allows choice).

As you leave the house ten late minutes and feel the stress rising, you could have a brief mental conversation with yourself. You could tell yourself that becoming stressed might put you into greater danger on the crowded freeway, that becoming stressed would simply raise your adrenaline levels and make you feel even worse, and that you do, in fact, have a choice about it. That you can choose an alternative to stress, and that is to accept the fact that you have left 10 minutes too late and that all you can do is go with the ride (apart from determining not to do this again tomorrow), listen to some soothing music, or a motivational CD by one of your favorite speakers (as I advocate in many of my articles), and get yourself to work as safely and in an as expedited manner as possible.

As the careless driver almost causes an accident, you again can choose your reaction. Is it necessary to get angry? Will things be better if you get angry? No, but wouldn't you get angry if someone were so careless on such a busy road? Isn't it natural to get angry? Well, it may be natural simply because that is the reaction of most people who are unaware, but it is not your best choice. And this article is about showing you how your choices make up your morning, your day, your week, your year, your life, and so if you can choose alternatives that contribute to your well-being rather than feeling awful, then wouldn't you say that those choices are wise and eminently effective? So in this case of getting angry, choose rather to be grateful that nothing did indeed happen, and that you can continue on your way to the office. Or choose to simply ignore the incident, saying to yourself that it is not worth losing your state of well-being over someone so careless. You see how this works?

Your impatience with the new employee (or the training personnel) who is valiently trying to get you your latte could be shelved in a similar way: what do I gain by becoming impatient? I feel worse and worse. Will it get me to my office more quickly? Obviously not. So what is the point? I might just as well be peaceful within myself and wait. (Careful - I am not advocating allowing others to trespass your boundaries. If something unacceptable happens, you will need to speak up. But speaking up still does not imply going to a place inside of you where you no longer feel good...it simply means respecting yourself enough to speak up about the situation...for more on this see articles about boundaries on my website.

Finally, your worry about your supervisor's potential reaction to your tardy arrival at the office is also not productive. It will put you into a more negative frame of mind prior to your meeting with this person, and therefore your reactions in conversation with him or her may be less effective than if you continued to be in a positive frame of mind. So again, have a conversation with yourself. Is the worry of any use? No. (It might be useful to wake up a bit earlier every morning in order not to have this escalation of circumstances). Therefore the best attitude will be to face the potential music, have a plan in mind to indicate how you will ensure this will not happen in future, and you may be surprised to note that when you do meet with your supervisor in this more positive frame of mind that you have deliberately chosen from a menu of choices, that the conversation is not about your late arrival at all, but about a new advertising campaign you will be working on...

Your reactions to things, events, words, actions of others, etc., determine the quality of your life. iFrom a position of self-awareness choose those alternatives that contribute to your well-being, and that will therefore raise your energetic frequency, and improve the overall quality of your life.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Regaining Lost Motivation


You've been working on a project or goal. You've done all kinds of things to get to that final point, but it just never quite works, so now you've lost your motivation and you're on the verge of giving up.

Losing motivation can be numbing, because it's as though you've lost your way and you no longer know what your next step is. Not knowing what your next step is, stops you in your tracks and it seems you can no longer see the forest for the trees.

So you have several choices:
  • You can either stay in the place your lack of motivation has brought you to

  • or you can figure out how to get your motivation back
If you decide to take that latter alternative, you might first take a look at some notable failures in history, who nevertheless kept going on and on:
  • Thomas Edison who discovered 1000 ways not to make a lightbulb until he finally succeeded

  • Abraham Lincoln, President of the USA, failed over and over and over again to achieve his goals, consistently picked himself up and continued going, believing in himself, his goals, and the reasons why they were important. He said: I never had a policy, I just tried to do my best every day.
  • Gary Cooper, the actor whose career culminated in the classic High Noon, but before he made it big, he was fired and rehired by the studios seven times.
  • Neil Diamond, the singer (Sweet Caroline), dropped out in his senior year to take a songwriting job with a music-publishing company. "It was a chance to step into my career," he explains. The job lasted only four months. Eventually, he was fired by five other music publishers. After eight years of knocking around and bringing songs to publishers and still being basically nowhere, he met two very successful producers and writers who liked the way he sang. And only then did he begin his real climb to fame and success.
  • Dune by Frank Herbert: this epic science-fiction tale was rejected by 13 publishers with comments like "too slow," "confusing and irritating," "too long," and "issues too clear-cut and old fashioned." But the persistence of Herbert and his agent, Lurton Blassingame, finally paid off. Dune won the two highest awards in the science-fiction writing and has sold millions of copies, and the movie rights to the novel.
  • Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he finally succeeded.
So ask yourself: even though I have lost my motivation, is it possible for me - just for today - to do my very best?

Here is a wonderful analogy I read pertaining to flying. Imagine a plane taking off from London. Its destination is New York, and along the way it veers slightly off course, or from its pre-determined flight path, and it does this over and over and over again. Clearly the instruments constantly make minor adjustments and re-adjustments during the flight in order to actually be able to reach New York.

This is such a pertinent analogy for us, as we move along the path towards our goals. We have to realize that when we lose our motivation, it is partially because we have not yet seen our dreams realized. Therefore, and in order to become re-motivated, we need to do the same as the plane - we need to re-adjust (as did Edison each time he invented another of the 1000 lightbulbs that did not work, as did Lincoln each time he was not successful in standing for public office).

And then, we need to keep on re-adjusting as often as necessary.
  • this technique didn't work? Try a different one.

  • that advertising program didn't work? Try a different one.
In order to do this, you may need to re-visit your original goals:
  • what did you write down when you first conceptualized them?

  • maybe you didn't write them down ... do so now!

  • maybe you weren't specific enough ... so do it now!

  • write down your main goals as specifically as possible. Let's say you have a 5-year goal.

  • so now sub-divide it or chunk it down into yearly goals, i.e., where you should be at the 4-year mark, the 3 year, the 2 year, and the 1 year mark

  • from the one year mark, chunk it down, by going back by month

  • the 12-month mark

  • the 11-month mark, etc.

  • and when you get to the 1-month mark, chunk it down by going back by weeks

  • the 4-week mark

  • the 3-week mark

  • and when you are at the 1-week mark, write specifically what you can be doing each and every day this week.

  • think of it a bit like the 12 steps in AA - while you are working on getting your motivation back, take it one day at a time, and do what you've written as your tasks and goals for this day. Paul McKenna calls action the great equalizer.

  • help yourself get back on track by continually reading books or listening to CD's by authors who motivate you, such as Brian Tracy, Wayne Dyer, Jack Canfield, Denis Waitley, Zig Ziglar, Vic Conant, Stephen Covey, Tony Robbins, John deMartini, Napoleon Hill, and many more.
RECESS

When you were in grade school, and you attended a class of spelling and another one of math, what happens?
  • you're tired

  • your fingers are stiff from holding the pencil

  • you're looking longingly out the window at the sky - the blue, blue sky - because you want to be out there playing, rather than working
Wheb you're not motivated, you may need a break. Perhaps a walk, or a visit to the gym, maybe a catnap, o a cup of tea, but more importantly than that, you may need to take stock of your emotions.

You've lost your motivation in the past because what you've been doing - trying to reach your goal - has not yet given you the results you sought.

But the other part of your loss of motivation has to do with the thoughts and feelings you've been having about the subject. They have probably been negative, contrary, with a concentration on failure as their mainstay. Here is where you need to swivel, or pivot, as Abraham calls it.

As a child you may have stood on the heel of one foot and swiveled or pivoted in such a way that you were looking in a totally new direction, you had turned 180 degrees by the act of pivoting. You can do this in your mind when your motivation has gone down the tube. Pivot to something - in your thoughts - that makes you feel good ... whatever that may be. Imagine something that gives you a sense of joy, pleasure, etc., you will notice the tingling inside of you, and use that good feeling to get back on track. In other words, if you first make yourself feel good, you will find it much easier to get back on track and motivate yourself, than if you try doing this from a low place. More about this in future posts.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Why Does My Partner Treat Me Like This?


The eternal cry of the broken heart; the eternal cry of the emotionally abused person; the eternal cry of the person who feels the pain, the frustration, the jealousy, the violent emotions that are the result of living with someone who treats them in ways that are less than loving.

The type of pain that ensues from such a relationship leaves no doubt in anyone's mind (especially anyone who has experienced it) that it is agonizing in its sheer numbing - or hysteria-producing - effects. No one would deliberately wish this upon anyone else, and if we have a friend or family member who is currently going through such a situation, we can almost feel their pain, and we would generally do anything to get them out of that horrific place in their minds and hearts into which they have been placed due to their unfeeling or cruel partner.

Because that is the reason for their pain, right? They currently have or they had in the past a relationship with someone who simply did not treat them correctly, someone who was abusive (whether the abuse is emotional, psychological, physical, or sexual makes no difference) or emotionally unavailable or addicted to some substance, etc. And because of this partner, they are now going through the gates of hell on earth.

Because that is the reason for their pain, right?

Wrong.

At least it's wrong insofar as the culprit is the other, and he/she had perpetrated these dastardly deeds and caused such pain and suffering in the other partner due to his/her cruelty, coldness, dysfunctionality, twistedness, etc. We could surely come up with a long string of additional adjectives to describe the kind of behaviour this type of personality evinces.

So what is wrong with this picture?

No one is pretending that the guilty party is behaving properly. No one is saying that the way they are treating the innocent party is right. What we are saying is this: as long as the "innocent" party is saying (to the world or to the self) that he/she is in this situation of suffering and pain due to the actions of the other, i.e. the "guilty" party, no one, including the "innocent" party will get anywhere that might be called an improved state of being.

This is so because as long as the hurt person does not take responsibility for their hurt (as the dysfunctional party ought to take responsibility for their own cruel or cold behavior), the hurt person will not improve their life. Oh, they might get a divorce, they might get a court settlement, they might get custody of the kids or the house, or anything at all that on the surface seems to even out the erstwhile imbalance in this relationship of inequalities, but that alone is not enough.

I cannot emphasize enough how important this point is. Walking away from behaviour - on the part of another person - that is not acceptable, is a very important first step. But walking away and continuing to look at the situation from a blame perspective is simply not enough. Not only is it not enough, it is conducive to perpetuating the pattern in the next relationship and the one after that, and so on. Some people come to my practice and tell me this is a question of their bad luck in choosing partners unwisely.

Well, in a way we could agree that it is...but much more importantly, it is a question of their not taking responsibility for their own role in the affair. Careful, this is not about blaming themselves. This is about realizing that - as Jung might have put it - the incredible intelligence of the psyche has led them - over and over again - to be attracted to individuals and hence enter into relationship with them, who will cause them such pain and frustration in specific areas of their lives, that if they choose to do so, these situations can be used to grow as individuals and to overcome the challenge of this particular lifetime.
To overcome the challenge ... you might say we all have a mission in life (and here I am not referring to the life purpose or mission with regards to the mark one can leave, but to the mission with regards to the self, with growing the self, and giving birth to the self, so to overcome the challenge we need to begin to understand the foibles, the unhealthy parts, the dysfunctionalities of this lifetime that we have chosen to work on.

If you look at it from that point of view, the fact that someone in your life is pushing you to the limit, causing you pain and frustration, might be regarded as something akin to a jewel. Your partner could be viewed as a jewel. Only - I hasten to add - because he/she has been the instrument that has brought you to this point of frustration or pain; only because by coming to this point, you want to go no further in that direction of negativity, but want to resolve this issue in your life once and for all. And so you begin to look at yourself and your role in accepting such pain. Not to blame yourself, but to learn how you can grow beyond such feelings and hence never need to experience them again. Once you've been through the measles you don't get them again, right?

But - and I know I'm repeating myself here - I need to reiterate over and over again: this is only achieved if you look at the self, if you commune with the self, if you pull responsibility for all your thoughts, feelings, emotions, actions, and reactions into yourself. This offers freedom, this offers growth, and you are the only one who can do it for you.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Giving Birth To Yourself



Erich Fromm, psychoanalyst and author of The Art of Loving among many other books, wrote: A person's main task in life is to give birth to oneself.

Giving birth to yourself can happen at any age. You could be in your 70's, you could be a teenager, you might be in your mid-thirties: it makes no difference, you can make this exhilarating change in your life at any time.

Why is it exhilarating? It has to do with you finding the real you...the one that was meant to be...the one that senses a true meaning and purpose in his or her life...and the one that will bring you to greater levels of joy, fulfillment, and happiness than any other aspect of you, barring none.

When we begin to look at our lives (and again, let me insist that this is not a question of age), from the point of view of growth and purpose; when we realize that we are here for more than the accumulation of honor, prestige, money, and things, much as those are all perfectly valid elements of a good life, then we begin to know that there is another way of looking at how we can continue to develop, that has much more to do with the eternal validity of our souls than with anything else.

We begin to become interested in our own inner life - not in a selfish fashion, not born of our ego - because this inner life is precisely what can most clearly point the way towards our own birth. The fact that our intution is hugely involved in this process, should surprise no one. You may have heard of the fact that scientists now refer to our second and third brains (see also my May 2006 Newsletter about this subject), with regards to the billions of neural cells they now know we have in our gut (intestine) and heart, respectively. These neural cells offer intelligent information of another kind to our being, so that in conjunction with the logical information we receive via the neural cells in our brain, we also receive intuitive and emotional information from the neural cells in our gut and heart respectively. Together, the three types of information - if we will but use them in conjunction - allow us to make choices that are much more informed than those that originate merely from our rational brain.

Our intuitive intelligence has much to offer us. It can speak to us in the language of our innermost self ... of that part of us that is not only the part that is visible to the naked eye, the part that others can see, but also of that innermost part of us that has always existed, and that will always be. To understand its language is to understand how we can give birth to ourselves. Hence, learning to listen to our intution is of utmost importance, and one of the best ways to do so, is to begin to allow our hunches to lead us. (Also see the brief post about Gert Gigerenzer's new book about the subject: Intuition Has Great Value After All!).

Listening to our intuition can be fomented by spending some time alone, by meditating, by taking solitary walks, but above all, also by allowing the little voice inside of you, when it comes up and nudges you about something, to be heard. In other words, don't just ignore it, don't just tell yourself that whatever it was that you just thought had no value, and that therefore you will not pay any attention. Do something about it. Or notice if right after, something happens, as in: I just thought of Aunt Mabel and two minutes later she rings me. While this type of example is minimally important, it does allow you to begin the process of better understanding the role of intuition in your life.

Extrapolating that to today's topic of giving birth to yourself, it is precisely from this sector of your being that you will get the greatest amount of vital information about where to go and what to do in order to expedite your birth.

How do we find meaning in our lives? One of the easiest ways is to listen with your inner ear to your bodily reactions to anything. Notice especially a sense of excitement in your solar plexus, an increased rhythm of breathing, heightened facial color and body temperature, as you hear a conversation, listen to something on the radio, watch a documentary on TV, because your body is giving you information about the importance of the particular subject in question to you and your true purpose in life (see also my June 2006 Newsletter: Finding a Meaning For Your Life). This inner listening is totally connected to your intution, and it is another way of strengthening the inner dialogue in order to give birth to yourself.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Do You Like The Person You Are Alone With?


Funny question, isn't it? Do you like the person you are alone with? If you are alone, there is no one with you ... other than yourself. So what about it? Do you like the person you are alone with? Do you like yourself? Enjoy spending time with yourself? Look forward to being alone with yourself? Consider yourself good company? Are you comfortable with yourself? Would you choose yourself as a friend, if you were not you?

Or do you, as so many of my clients admit to me, shy away from spending time with yourself? Find yourself looking for any activity at all in order to avoid being alone with yourself? Literally run away from any possibility of being alone with yourself? Some of my clients find themselves experiencing extreme anxiety if they have to be on their own. They will go shopping, they will eat, watch television, go to parties they don't particularly enjoy, go out on dates with people they don't find very interesting, drink, smoke, take drugs, have sex (including indiscriminate, even promiscuous sex), in short, do anything they can to avoid the ultimate confrontation with the self.

Why does this happen? We could blame it in part on a society that places a much higher value on outer, material, social, and professional accomplishment than on the inner quest, where in reality both should be in balance. We could blame it in part on a society that does not further - or help us - to take these looks at ourself.

We could also blame it on a society – and a process of socialization within our family, religious, and educational structures, that does not generally give us appropriate tools to begin the process of self-love. Not egotistical self-love, but healthy, good self-love. The kind that airline personnel refer to, when they are giving the little talk at the beginning of the flight and say that if there should be a drop in pressure, oxygen masks will appear, and if you are traveling with small children, please put yours on first, before attending to your child. You understand that one with no problem, so perhaps you can take another look at the healthy kind of self-love we all need in order to be of use to ourselves and others.

If we do not love the self, we will probably not look forward to spending time with the self. But if we want to love the self, we must also come to know it. In order to know it, we have to look at it. And looking at it means that at first we may find much we don’t like. That’s ok. We can deal with all of it bit by bit. But let’s begin by looking inside.

Amazingly, even psychiatrists, psychotherapists, psychologists, mental health counselors, marriage therapists, family therapists, etc., are generally not required to undergo analysis, or encouraged to delve deeply within ... and as my three sons (well-versed in my opinions on the matter) would say ... Hellooooo?. Hello indeed. How is it possible that those of us who deal with the human psyche are not required to deal with our own? That, however, must be the topic of another future post.

Because we do not find this encouragement to embark on the inner quest, those of us who nevertheless go ahead with it, find ourselves at odds with the bulk of society, if we are courageous enough to speak about it. We are either not understood, we may be mocked, and we may ultimately find ourselves ignored, or our friends may shake their heads and say or think: well, that's just his/her thing.

But what can the person who has not spent time with him or herself do to make this process easier? How can they walk along the path that will lead them into themselves, rather than consistently looking for something external? We could recommend meditation, solitary walks, and so on, but I find that such practices are often too much for the novice, as they are then thrown into themselves to an overwhelming degree, much as someone used to a regular Western diet and who wishes to eat in a more healthy fashion, may find that going raw (eating only raw foods) is too much. (In a side note, I might add, I have gone totally raw from a regular Western diet over the past week - as a finite experiment, after much reflection and reading about the subject over a number of years ... since the 70's, and find the initial effects of this raw diet - fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouts - on my body and mind and state of being, as well as on my energy level and quality of sleep, highly illuminating ... more of this in another post).

Here are some transition suggestions:
  • use audio CD's or tapes to spend some time on your own, but in a sense accompanied by someone (the motivational or inspirational speaker) who fills your mind with thoughts you might not normally get into on your own (see also my September 2007 Newsletter: Nurture Yourself to Happiness and Success as well as prior posts on energy)
  • start the daily practice of journaling: write down your thoughts during a period of five minutes to begin with and see where it takes you
  • and if you are already journaling, do a gratitude journal as well. Just jot down five things every day you are grateful for...and remember...things can be something ranging for a material thing, to something about your looks, to a sea gull you have just spied, to the sound of wind through the trees, to your own particular gifts and talents, etc. Being grateful brings us closer to ourselves. We become more humble in view of the greatness that surrounds us. And so we come closer to ourselves as well. 
  • start recording your dreams (see previous dream posts or listen to my audio clips on dreams) and attempt to interpret them, as this will lead you into the psyche
  • if you enjoy reading, start picking up some books that don't exist merely to entertain, but also to serve as an aid with which you can get to know yourself better.
  • once you've done some of this, you may find yourself desirous of trying that solitary walk (I power walk one hour every day on the beach here in southern Spain, which affords me a superb opportunity each and every day to commune with myself, or be internally creative, or practice open-eyed meditation, or be grateful for this blissful part of my day, etc.), or a brief period of daily meditation.
Getting to know the self, becoming enamored of the self, finding the beloved within, is one of the most liberating things you can decide to do for yourself. All it takes is the first step.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Obstacles On Our Path


Our obstacles are our problems. They are what stand in our way to an easy life. Our obstacles make our life difficult, and we just know, that the day we manage to get rid of them all, everything will be so much better...or will it?

Obstacles really have a bad rap. Life's burdens. Our crosses. (Someone once announced that I was his cross...don´t ask).

The very connotation of obstacle is something grim, gloomy, foreboding, awful, and the dictionary tells us that it is a barrier and a hindrance, an impediment, an interference, a difficulty and an inconvenience.

And yet, obstacles, by their very nature, precisely because they must be overcome if we are to surmount them, offer an innate opportunity. If we allow ourselves to view obstacles from another standpoint, we might just come to the conclusion that obstacles are our friends.

Huh?

Yes. Our friends. That old business about every cloud having a silver lining...there is actually some merit in it. If you can look at your obstacles as opportunities for growth, there is not a shred of doubt in my mind that you will find something of value in your moment of difficulty, and furthermore, you may even find that in some measure, the obstacle proves easier to overcome than others in the past, simply because of this new viewpoint.

When my mother died when I was 19, while I was traveling abroad without the faintest idea that she was even ill, I was hurled headfirst into a bottomless black pit of gut-wrenching despair. I thought at first that I would never come back out of it. I imagined her having known that she was dying of a very fast-moving cancer, letting me go on my trip, taking the decision not to tell me so that I did not have to watch her die, and I felt myself tear into pieces. I could not imagine that I would ever be able to leave that black subterranean place that accosted me with its ferocious pain as I woke up every morning, and held me in its gelid embrace as I fell asleep at night.

After only a few days, out of some deep place inside of me, I knew that this had to serve a greater purpose. She could not have died in the manner in which she did, without it coming to mean something valuable in my life. I had to make something of it. And I did. I began to realize the importance of the now moment. I began to appreciate the utmost wonder of every moment we have that we can share with those we love. I recognized how important it was to tell those we love that we love them. It's not enough to know that they know...it's also necessary to put it into words every so often.

Those early lessons didn't make me perfect. I fell by the wayside many times, and certainly will again, but they placed me firmly on a road from which I have not side-tracked for decades. And they taught me that all our obstacles, or our challenges, if we make the choice to view them through this new prism, can indeed become our friends, teach us important lessons about life, and thus bring us to a place where we actually live life more authentically and in a much better way.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What You Have Is NOW



Here's what we sound like when we're talking about the future:
  • I can't wait until we go on vacation

  • I'll be so relieved when I lose these last 10 pounds

  • Everything will be perfect when we move into the new house

  • Things will be so much better when I find a new job

  • My relationship will be fantastic as soon as my partner changes
And here's what we sound like when we're talking about the past:
  • I wish I could just have my last vacation again

  • I looked so fantastic and slim when I was 18

  • The house we had when we lived in ___ was so perfect

  • My first job was just incredible

  • When I first met my partner our relationship was so wonderful
So when do we live in the present? All we have is now. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow hasn't come yet, but we insist on filling most of our present moments with wishful thoughts of the future (when things will be better), or nostalgic thoughts of the past (when things were better).
Yet what we could really be concentrating on is making our present moments better. By not doing this, we could equate ourselves to the overweight person who moans about the weight, wishes it would be gone, remembers when it was less, but never does anything in the present moment to improve the situation. If our present moment is not as wonderful as it might be, one thing to do, therefore, is to change some of the things that are not so good in this present moment.
But be careful: that kind of thinking may also take you into future mode, where all you do is spend time on how wonderful things will be when you accomplish this or that.
Therefore, in order to improve the present moment, things must be done in the present. For example, being grateful for anything at all in your present moment, as simple and small as it may be (the butterfly that you see, the blue sky, your skills in a specific area - whatever it is, etc.). This action, being grateful, has the capacity to make your present moment better.
Think of your positive points. Dwell, for a moment, on all you have already accomplished, no matter what it may be, in order to see - now in this present moment - all that you have inside of you, and all that you can use (that is already there, and that has served you well in the past) to make this now moment even better, in order that future now moments will be similarily improved.
Remember...you literally throw your life away, if you do not make some of these changes...life is to be lived now, today, and not tomorrow or yesterday.
Treasure each moment.
  • are you taking a walk or working out at the gym? Treasure that

  • are you having your early morning coffee or tea? Treasure that

  • are you driving to work in heavy traffic? Treasure that by listening to something truly enjoyable on your CD or cassette drive or radio (inspirational speakers are my favorite, but you may prefer music, or learning a language that you would normally not have time for, etc.)

  • are you taking your children to a soccer game? Treasure that

  • are your preparing dinner? Treasure that
The trick (if we can call it that) is truly to begin to recognize that each and every moment of our lives offers the opportunity for us to treasure it - if we so decide. That means we must be fully aware of ourselves as well. Choices are hard to make without awareness. And inner freedom is hard to achieve without making choices that are based on a life lived in the now.