Tag: love

Let People Know You Love Them

The old saying, “actions speak louder than words,” holds true when it comes to expressing the love we feel for others. This behavior may come easy to you, or you may struggle with showing your love, & if that’s the case, you’re not alone.

Previous traumas, relationship experiences, & past patterns of how love was modeled to you as a child, all play a role in how you express love to those you care for. The good news is, by actively showing love, you’ll receive it back in ways you never expected.

Rather than focusing on how much you are loved, shift your awareness to how much you express love. It’s not to say that you neglect yourself. Instead, it’s like looking at the glass half full or half empty. Try looking at the ways people express their love to you.

  • Kind words
  • Patience when you’re frustrated
  • Listening when you’re happy or sad

In other words, they are there for you. Use these examples to express your love back to them, then try cultivating an appreciation for the little things instead of expecting grandiose gifts as a token of someone’s love. Not that presents are inherently loving or unloving; they’re merely objects, that over time, fade or lose their appeal. Sincere appreciation provides fond memories & strength.

Express your love. Let loved ones know you’re thinking about them, not just on special occasions.

  • Text, write a letter or send a card
  • Call simply to tell them you miss them or love them
  • Let them know you hope their day is going well

It’s thoughtful things like these that reassure the people you care about that you love them. If you’re in a long-term relationship or marriage

  • Buy a random card
  • Cook a dinner complete with candlelight
  • Take the kids for an afternoon so your partner can have some needed alone time

Take time to think of the needs of those you love. This doesn’t mean you can fulfill their every whim or desire. Show your concern for them without it being unhealthy, manipulative, or co-dependent.

Ask them about their day, their desires, their pain, their passions, & then sit back & listen. A big part of expressing love is listening to your beloved. Think of how you feel when you’re not heard. You may feel neglected, ignored, or even unimportant. These aren’t positive feelings that nurture a loving relationship. When you listen with your heart, you begin to understand more fully. Ask what you can do to help. More than likely, knowing that you’re there to support through active listening is enough.

If you have a concern or hurt feeling, express yourself. Bottling up your emotions will only lead to resentment, which won’t help. If you’re fearful about something, be honest, let go of your pride, & don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. When you’re transparent with your emotions, you’re showing the person you love that you trust them with your whole heart & it’s a powerful example that your loved one can reciprocate, letting go of pretenses & being real. This is fertile ground for growing love.
Let your loved one know when you miss them, whether it’s physical yearn or something more ethereal. Maybe one of you has been traveling for work, or you live apart from each other. Perhaps you miss laughing with them, or riding bikes together or having sex, let them know what it is you miss & not in an accusatory way. Simply say, I miss …

Tell people you love & you’re grateful for them. Whether they’re a sibling, a parent, or a lover, let them know you appreciate them & why.

 


Thoughts of Giving & Receiving

The act of giving is a challenge for many people, & often around the holidays, it seems to be on the minds of everyone I speak with. 

“Am I giving enough?” 

“Am I giving the right thing?” 

“Who do I want to give to?”

“Who do I have to give to?”

“Can I afford to give enough?”

At the heart of these questions is usually fear & what each person is afraid of may be different. It’s as if by giving, in some way, we believe that we may be disappointing others or letting them down. 

One thought I have about this is there are many ways we give of ourselves to others & you can find a way that makes you feel good in your heart so that you can feel safe, loving, & positive about who you are & the choices that you make.

Receiving from others is also on people’s minds during the holiday season more than any other time of year. You may be looking forward to receiving gifts, yet the act of accepting the presents in your heart can be a bit difficult for you.

Feelings of vulnerability are often present when we receive. We may feel that our friends/family are not sensitive to our taste or that they did not take the time to plan for our gifts, which can create feelings of hurt, resentment, being unimportant. 

Many of us are uncomfortable with receiving, much more so than with giving because receiving taps into our own feelings of being loved. For some people, it can be much more challenging to allow love in & receiving does just that.

A lovely ritual you can do to assist yourself in allowing to both give & receive with ease is the following:

  1. Light a white candle.
  2. Sit in front of it for 5 minutes, watching it, letting your mind float.
  3. Wonder about the first three times you received something. Notice how you felt, what you saw/heard?
  4.  Now notice what you feel/think about those three times now.
  5. What are your challenges with giving & receiving?

 

 


Truly Celebrating Valentine’s Day

Pink Flowers

It’s the time of year where stores are covered in displays of hearts, sales on gifts for that special someone takes over advertising, and expectations for romance are at an all-time high. But are these expectations healthy? Getting involved in Valentine’s Day is overwhelming for some as they focus themselves on what they “should” be doing to express love for their partner, or what they “should” expect from their significant other, but there is a healthier approach. Focusing on the “shoulds” of life and love is always a recipe for negativity.

Valentine’s Day is fraught with expectations – many of which are implied by companies looking to make an extra few dollars on a dozen roses, a box of chocolates, or a sweet card. These things themselves aren’t inherently negative, but the pressure surrounding them certainly causes plenty of individuals to be discontented. If you’re in a relationship, there’s an expectation to make it a day that fully celebrates your significant other, more so than every other day that you love and cherish them. If you’re not in a relationship, there’s an expectation that you’re searching for love and will be thrilled if it magically comes together by Valentine’s (and crushed if you’re alone without a date).

However, these expectations are fully under our control. You have the power to shift your expectations to something more positive, and frankly, more in line with the holiday’s true intent – celebrating love. This Valentine’s Day, the choice is yours. Your day does not need to center on this notion of the romantic ideal. Wouldn’t it be better to spend that energy on truly celebrating those you love, however you prefer to do so?

Rather than focusing on what societal expectations are for Valentine’s Day this year, empower yourself to celebrate the many kinds of fulfilling loves in your life. Maybe that love is shared with a significant other, or between you and your family, or with your closest friends, or maybe it’s just the love you have for yourself and who you have grown into as a person. Love is not exclusive, and Valentine’s Day doesn’t belong only to the bouquet of roses you’re expecting from your partner.

This is a time to embrace the love you have in your life right now and joyfully revel in all the positivity it brings you. Whatever your love life looks like, take Valentine’s Day to celebrate these meaningful connections and relationships rather than dwelling on what material gifts or displays of love you expect out of your current or desired romantic relationship. This could mean reconnecting with an old friend, meeting a beloved family member for lunch to catch up, enjoying time to yourself with your favorite cup of coffee, or, yes, taking focused time to appreciate your romantic partner for all that they are to you.

Don’t get lost in the desires for romantic overtures and the pressure of expectations this season. Instead, this Valentine’s Day, allow positive energy and the powerful existence of all the many kinds of love in your life be celebrated without expectation – only deep appreciation and contentment.


Return to Love Again & Again

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The Beatles popularized the phrase, “All you need is love” and to some this may sound trite or over simplified, but it is based literally on ancient philosophical truths. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said, Darkness cannot drive out darknessonly light can do thatHate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Do you ever feel overwhelmed navigating through a world that sometimes feels hollow and made of steel emotionally? How do you cultivate love when confronted with bigotry and misogyny or any other misguided negative attitude? Returning to the essence of love within you will stave off the blues and keep your heart healthy physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

How do we define love? There are a plethora of loves; love of country, love of an activity, love for yourself or a friend, love of family, love between two partners. In other words, what type of love are we talking about here? Philosophical love, love that transcends the limitations of our inner and outer worlds. Love that acknowledges others and never acquiesces to hatred. My grandmother used to say, “Never say never.” And she was right, there are travesties that are so appalling, it is easy for the seed of hate to flourish. Yet, even then, if you are consumed with hatred, like a small grass fire gone awry, the consequences are devastating.

The Greeks, who defined six different kinds of love, called this universal love Agape. Eventually Agape was translated in Latin to caritas, which became the origin of the word charity. In the Theravada Buddhist tradition this is called mettā or “universal loving kindness” All spiritual traditions and practices address this type of love. How do you apply this kind of love to your everyday life without feeling fake or put on? Like most things, it takes conscious practice and willingness to journey inward. You don’t need to conform to any one particular spirituality, in fact, I urge you to explore: “It is proper for you to doubt .. do not go upon report .. do not go upon tradition..do not go upon hearsay.” (Buddha, Kalama Sutra).   In other words, it’s essential to survey and study that which resonates with you. There is a banquet of philosophies on love to choose from. Find quotes that speak to your heart, keep them close to you when you need a little bolster.

Practical ways to develop a loving heart is to learn about yourself and others. The more we know and love ourselves the easier it is to open a closed fist and to reach out. For example, if I am in a grumpy mood one day and someone does a kind deed, opens a door for me, this will soften my edge. This act of loving kindness then has a ripple effect spreading out into the world. One person, you, us, can make a difference. We all have the capacity to allow love to grow our empathy for others. We may be unable to reach everyone, but like that old Chinese proverb says, “you climb a mountain one step at a time.” It has been physiologically proven that putting on a smile, when you’re feeling unhappy, changes the chemistry of your blood; all of the stress hormones drop. One simple practice can change a negative into a positive and that positive fosters love.

You may never know the impact your love and generosity has on the world. I once heard a tale about a Holy man who lived in a very small village. He asked God why he couldn’t be moved to bigger more prominent place where his work could touch thousands more than this small community he was stuck in as the spiritual leader. But alas, the man carried on his good deeds for years and eventually died, never having been relocated from his village. When he met the Sustainer he asked why this was? Then, he was shown all of the people he inadvertently helped and how they went on to help others and so on. This story stuck with me. It reflects that part of us that wants to be recognized and rewarded. It reminds me that an act of love, kindness or generosity by definition expects no reward. The act is the reward.

Stories such as those remind us over and over that the power of love can impact our world. Love guides us during duress; it is a road map that can lead us to safe shores when we feel lost or confused. That we do have a choice and that our chosen weapon to dissolve hatred is loving kindness.

 


Lessons from Animals on Love and Life

P1020737Although animals can’t walk, talk, or think quite like us, that doesn’t mean they can’t teach us a thing or two! Here are some life lessons that we can learn from animals:

Listen to your inner wisdom. No matter how trained a pet is, all rules and focus on treats go out the window when instincts kick in. If there is a threat of danger, they do everything in their power to protect themselves. They don’t care how they look or what others may think of them. So if your instincts tell you that doing something isn’t safe to your physical, mental, or emotional well-being…don’t do it. That could be anything from not taking on more responsibilities to declining an invitation to a party. In the same way, if there is something your inner guide is telling you to do to promote your well-being—taking some time out to recharge, calling up a good friend, getting outside for a long walk—listen to that voice too.

Let those you love and care about know how you feel. If you’ve ever witnessed a dog’s happy reaction to seeing his or her owner after time away, you know what unrestrained joy looks like. No amount of training can stop that dog from expressing gratitude, love, and excitement. Sometimes we humans restrain ourselves from expressing warm, fuzzy thoughts to others. Let the joy out! Think of how good you feel when someone shows they care about you. So if you experience feelings of love, affection, or any happy feelings for people in your life…don’t keep them to yourself!

Be present. Animals live in the moment. They don’t hang onto stories or emotions such as anger, guilt, hurt, despair, and fear that we humans can replay for a lifetime. They also don’t give themselves ulcers worrying about the future. Most of the painful thoughts we have don’t have anything to do with the present moment. Let go of the stories, limiting thoughts, and unsupportive beliefs that cause you upset, and strive to live in the only moment we really have…the now.

Figure out what you want and then take action. Often, when we humans decide we want some wonderful dream or goal for ourselves, we get stopped before we even start by unsupportive self-talk. When a squirrel decides to collect food for the winter, he doesn’t let worry, doubt, or fear stymie him. He doesn’t think: I’m not prepared for this. What if I fail? What if people think my goal is ridiculous? The squirrel just goes out and gets the job done. He knows what he wants and takes all the action he can in that moment. If an obstacle gets in the way, he doesn’t give up…he changes tactics, and then continues to focus on the goal. Focus on your desired outcomes, not the “what ifs” that may never even happen.

Be YOU and only YOU. Animals don’t try to be someone they aren’t. They are unabashedly and unapologetically authentic. Isn’t that one of the reasons we love them? There’s only one you. Be proud of your uniqueness!


Creating Your Spiritual Self

Understanding and exploring our spiritual selves is paramount to personal growth; it’s a journey, however, that is often pushed aside. Sometimes, day-to-day activities distract us from the time and energy needed to dedicate ourselves to learn what lives within our hearts.

Mindfully affirming our higher self is key to developing our best life in the everyday world. In Spiritual Growth: Being Your Higher Self, spiritualist and author Sanaya Roman implores us to allow ourselves the opportunity to grow internally, without limitation, because of the beauty it bestows upon our existence.

Discovering who we are spiritually is gift to yourself; one that’s deeply personal and transformative. In her book, Sanaya cautions, “Do not wait for others to become more spiritual so that it will be easier for you.” Explaining that it’s more important to “make your behavior the example,”which, in turn, creates a more peaceful existence in the physical world. It makes you a beacon of light and love for those around you and also gives them strength. 

There is another beautiful component of this gift. Opening yourself to this awakening greatly expands your capacity to give and receive love, acceptance and compassion unconditionally. By focusing on what’s inside us instead of being distracted by outside stressors and influences, we’re tuned into the universe and its glory. 

By continually manifesting self-reflective thoughts on our growth, we can transform our reality and enrich our lives each and every day. Sanaya affirms that you can connect with the deepest fibers of your being, all the way down to your DNA, to reach your highest potential. 

Give it a try! Make time for yourself daily to search within your soul and reflect on what is not allowing you to reach your aspirations and goals. It’s time to do some soul searching; let the light inside of you shine out into the universe and radiate love. 


Let Yourself Experience the Light of Love

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Did you know that the capacity for unconditional love lives within each one of us? Imagine experiencing deep, continuous love all of the time. Love without fear, without consequence. It’s possible!

According to Ram Dass, spiritual teacher and author of the beloved 1971 Be Here Now, he exclaims in his newest book of the trilogy, Be Love Now, You are loved just for being who you are, just for existing. You don’t have to do anything to earn it. Your shortcomings, your lack of self-esteem, physical perfection, or social and economic success— none of that matters. No one can take this love away from you, and it will always be here.”

He notes an inspiring tale of learning to love through his Himalayan guru, Maharaj-ji when he was a young man:

This love is like sunshine, a natural force, a completion of what is, a bliss that permeates every particle of existence. In Sanskrit it’s called sat-cit-ananda, “truth-consciousness-bliss,” the bliss of consciousness of existence. That vibrational field of anandalove permeates everything; everything in that vibration is in love.

It’s a different state of being beyond the mind. We were transported by Maharaj-ji’s love from one vibrational level to another, from the ego to the soul level.

When Maharaj-ji brought me to my soul through that love, my mind just stopped working. Perhaps that’s why unconditional love is so hard to describe, and why the best descriptions come from mystic poets. Most of our descriptions are from the point of view of conditional love, from an interpersonal standpoint that just dissolves in that unconditioned place.”

Now, look into your own life. How can you begin to practice this deep sense of unconditional love? Let yourself be open to the vibrations of the universe; live above your ego and love completely from your soul. It may transform your life in ways you never imagined.

Dass exclaims: “This path of love doesn’t go anywhere. It just brings you more here, into the present moment, into the reality of who you already are. This path takes you out of your mind and into your heart.”

What starts to transform in your life after you open your heart unconditionally will astound you. Ram Dass calls this The Path of the Heart. It’s the point where your love begins to transcendsyour ego. It’s the space were we meet our true essence – our heart-mind. In this state of loving bliss, our ego starts to completely dissolve and we’ll experience love one a whole new level.

What’s more, is everyone wants love; it connects us to each other at our very core. When you think of love – who and what comes to mind? How do you personally experience love? Could you do more to open your “awareness to love”? Reflecting upon these questions will begin to wake up your heart-mind and allow you to start loving greater each and every day.


How a Vision Board Can Help You Build the Future You Want

Vision Boards bring the Law of Attraction into your consciousness daily. The use of a vision board allows you to consistently think about what you want and how to draw that closer and closer to you. Every time you look at or add to it you will feel all the positive thoughts, feelings and beliefs that you can and will create what you want for your life.

Creating a vision board is fun. Use any size corkboard or piece of hard paper. I like corkboard 2’ by 3’ as it allows me to use pushpins so that I can add and/or move things around. Some people prefer to use a magnetic board and others glue and cardboard, it is your choice. You will be creating a collage of your dream, or healing.

Cut out pictures and/or words from magazines, your personal photos, the Internet and create the dream or healing that you are moving towards you.

Finding a Soul Mate

Gather photos and images that are coupled. Find photos of people that look like the partner you would like to attract. Make sure they are doing things that coincide with your values as well. Use images of couples that are listening to each other, seem content, happy, like each other.

Home

Collect images and words of houses and neighborhoods, cities or towns or open space that represents for you where and how you want to live. Include trees, flowers, style of house, the furniture and appliances for inside the house, the more detailed, the better.

Career

What is your passion. Find photos that represent your passion for a career. If you are unsure of the exact career you desire find images and words that express your values about what defines a successful career. Some examples could be: charity, working with children, helping others, accumulating large sums of money, power and prestige.

Health

Find images and words that represent healing and health for you. So, first ask yourself what does healing and health look like for me? People playing tennis, ice-skating, yoga, sailing, all represent health to me. As do sunrises, forests, streams, baby animals, vast green pastures…what about you? Once you have defined what health looks like for you create it on your vision board.

Happy Relationship

If your relationship is not working the way you would like, instead of wishing your partner would change, become proactive and begin by creating a vision board. On this vision board you will want to place images of couples in love and who look as if they love each other. These couples will be having fun with each other. Use images of places where you and your partner have been, want to go, visited and lived. Use photos of you and your partner from your personal albums. Remember to use words, like love, commitment, forgiveness, joy…you get the picture.

To Lose Weight

Use images of people that are your ideal weight, not a fantasy body, but a body and weight that is realistic to your body type. Have images of foods that you know are healthy for you and of people like you enjoying these foods.

Creating Wealth

Images of whatever you consider to be wealth is what you want here. People have different ideas about what being wealthy is. For some it is literally money for others it may be land, for others having many children. So consider what it is for you and use the images and words that correspond with your beliefs to create wealth in your life.


Thoughts About Friendship

Friendship, what is it, what does it mean, what kind of expectations do we have about it?

What I have observed is that many people call acquaintances friends. For many years this confused me as my definition of friendship went deeper. A friend to me was someone that could be counted upon to hold my stories privately, to lend an ear if there were a crisis, to be available and emotionally supportive if such an occasion arose. As well as someone to enjoy a film or ocean view with.

Another form of acquaintanceship that I have noticed is the bond formed between co-workers, neighbors, board members. People will refer to each other, if they have been in close contact, as friends but what does it really mean?

So what is an acquaintance? Perhaps it is someone you love spending time with or go to dinner with occasionally. It could be someone you visit in another country or state that if they lived closer you would spend much more time with and give and get emotional support from. Closeness can and does exist despite geographical distance. Proximity allows for spontaneity and the opportunity to grow relationships.

Then there are the friends that we have stayed in touch with from our childhood. The bond of nostalgia exists here. Childhood friends can be really close because of a shared history. With some we share only the past; to be close in the present we need to have shared interests.

Understanding the complexities of the word friendship makes me wish I had many more words to express these relationships, the way the Eskimos have many words for snow. It took me years to grasp the differences and sometimes to let go of any expectations I might have had on what friendship means. I can be the best friend I know how to be and treat people in my circles the way I want them to treat me, without expecting them to respond as I do. How about you?


Emotional Infidelity – What is it? Is it in YOUR Life?

Many people think that infidelity is only sexual. The #1 form of infidelity is Emotional Infidelity. It usually stems out of feeling that something is missing in your relationship. You may feel disconnected from your partner. What is best is to talk to your partner about feeling disconnected. If you cannot talk to your partner than seek the help of a couples/marriage counselor.

How do you know if you are emotionally cheating?

  • Ask yourself: If my partner were sitting next to me would I be uncomfortable doing this? If your answer is yes, it is a clue for you.
  • You flirt with him/her.
  • Perhaps you dress in a way that might attract the person’s attention.
  • When something happens in your life you share it with her/him rather than your partner.
  • You feel excited when you see the person and look forward to seeing them more than you do your partner.
  • You have relationship fantasies about that person.
  • You find yourself sharing problems you are having at home with that person, rather than your partner.

I recall a man I worked with who was so proud that he had not had sex with his female work friend until after he and his wife had separated. He had been receiving emotional support from his work friend for over 1 year and this is what led to his wife leaving him. He had no idea that he had been emotionally unfaithful in his marriage. Nor did he get that he was cheating on his wife.

Emotional Infidelity is quite common and very difficult for couples to fully address on their own as often the partner that is cheating does not know he/she is cheating.