May your intention be clear and your patience ever-present.
May you criticize less and forgive more.
May you be strong & address the tough stuff.
May you make more requests and fewer demands.
May you have compassion for the challenges of your beloved.
May you communicate your needs more and expect less mindreading.
May you look for more of what your beloved is doing right than wrong.
May you choose to listen, even when it’s tough (& you think you’re right).
May your appreciation for each other flow from your lips many times a day.
When your partner tells you something you’re doing bothers or hurts them,
may you look for what makes sense and work at changing yourself.
May you become even more skillful at resolving your disagreements.
May you make more time to generate loving feelings together.
May you shut your computer and open your heart.
May you laugh and play together more.
May you touch more.
May you Do less
and Be more
During our work this week with a couple trying to improve their sexual relating, I found myself thinking about some of what goes into creating a more fulfilling sexual experience. After a little while, I had the thought that these elements are not just what’s needed for a better sexual experience, but are necessary for a better relationship and even a better life!
• Relax your body
• Slow wayyyyyyy down
• Get more present to your moment-to-moment experience
• Enjoy every pleasant sensation and try not to resist any unpleasant ones
• If something’s not working, stop and talk about it
• Stay in the moment and do your best to let go of future expectations or outcomes
• Become more aware of your own needs and fears
• Communicate your wishes clearly and lovingly
• Maintain a loving connection with your partner; look, laugh, share
• Let the experience unfold-delicious moment by delicious moment
You may be very good at seeing the faults of your partner. I’m sure you wish that he or she would be different, and don’t understand why they cannot or will not change.
In fact, you have spent so much time contemplating this, that you have made yourself miserable. Not coincidentally, and possibly unknowingly, you have also contributed to your partner feeling miserable about themselves, not to mention you and your relationship.
Of course you wish to change some annoying or painful behavior about your partner that you imagine contributes to your unhappiness. This is normal. And most likely you are unsuccessful in getting them to change. Even if you are justified in your belief that your partner SHOULD change, they would probably find changing difficult. They might possibly, even secretly, wish they could change as well. They might even feel ashamed about it, even if they tell you differently.
You must ask yourself how your negative contemplation of their “faulty behavior” is affecting you. The more you think about it, the more outraged you feel, and the more disconnected from your loved one. Your chronic outrage is like a poison to your mind and emotions. You are left with an attitude that hurts them as well as yourself. As you can see, the chances of them changing that “faulty behavior” decreases with this approach. You also become more and more miserable, and the warmth and connection between you diminishes dramatically. Read More→
I was wondering if you could give me any advice on dealing with jealousy in a relationship? I love my partner and for a lot of the same reasons that I love him I tend to get insanely jealous over stupid things. I’m working with myself on a lot of things in particular that seem to come completely naturally to him, but I have a hard time not getting bitter about it. I know my bitterness is misplaced, so I try to repress it and then it ends up coming out some other time, causing some completely ridiculous argument. I know that I could sit down and list all my good traits or have him point out what he admires about me, but I wish I could just get my mind to stop comparing us all together.
Thanks for writing so honestly on a topic we can all relate to. Here are some thoughts about your situation. Feel free to ask more if needed.
Most of us partner with someone who has different skills and qualities than we do. What they can naturally and easily do well, we may have to work really hard to accomplish, if we even want to put our energy into those endeavors. Even then we may not ever reach their skill level. Usually, we too, have areas of natural expertise that our partners may find difficult for themselves. Hopefully we don’t downplay those too much!
Sometimes, in a couple, one person is more of a “glass half empty” type (like me) and looks more at what’s missing. The other is often more a “glass half full” person, and seems to pay more attention to their wholeness. When our focus is more on “where we’re not” it’s easier to feel bad in comparison to another. “Glass half fullers” (like Kate) don’t tend to go there, at least not in the light of day. Read More→
We wanted to give you a head’s up, in case you missed it in the magazine, on a real good article from Yoga Journal entitled Grow Your Love. Lots of wisdom from a solid handful of couples (yours truly included) who share the similarities and useful awarenesses between the practice of Yoga and the journey of Relationship.
Here is a little snippet to whet your appetite:
“It’s no secret that relationships require work, but, as in yoga, you can find a happy balance between effort and ease when you apply your awareness. “A lot of people feel like, ‘If you loved me, we wouldn’t have to work at this,’” Feldman says, but he thinks that’s an unrealistic attitude. The trick,when it feels like too much effort, is to find more ease. To help couples with this, Feldman and his wife help their clients discover “love rituals”—small gestures practiced up to three times a day for two to three minutes at a time—so they can reconnect with the partner as a source of pleasure rather than pain.”
Hope you enjoy!
I came across this in my in-box today, and it touched me so deeply that I wanted to share it with all of my friends. Gotta love Jim Rohn! What I believe is that it is also true of relationships, in fact you could just substitute the word “relationship” for either “job” or “income” and it would fit perfectly. I’m interested in your thoughts about this…..what’s your experience?
One day my mentor Mr. Shoaff said, “Jim, if you want to be wealthy and happy, learn this lesson well: Learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job.” Since that time I’ve been working on my own personal development. And I must admit that this has been the most challenging assignment of all. This business of personal development lasts a lifetime.
You see, what you become is far more important than what you get. The important question to ask on the job is not, “What am I getting?” Instead, you should ask, “What am I becoming?” Getting and becoming are like Siamese twins: What you become directly influences what you get. Think of it this way: Most of what you have today you have attracted by becoming the person you are today.
I’ve also found that income rarely exceeds personal development. Sometimes income takes a lucky jump, but unless you learn to handle the responsibilities that come with it, it will usually shrink back to the amount you can handle. If someone hands you a million dollars, you’d better hurry up and become a millionaire. A very rich man once said, “If you took all the money in the world and divided it equally among everybody, it would soon be back in the same pockets it was before.”
It is hard to keep that which has not been obtained through personal development.
So here’s the great axiom of life: To have more than you’ve got, become more than you are. This is where you should focus most of your attention. Otherwise, you just might have to contend with the axiom of not changing, which is: Unless you change how you are, you’ll always have what you’ve got.
Kate and I highly value a skill we call “Self Soothing” because we know that our partners, family members and friends are virtually guaranteed to trigger age-old reactions in us. Of this we can be certain. In order to create a safe space for our closest relations to let us know what happened, we must be willing to listen carefully to “their world” or their perspective on what happened. This is one of what we call the “willful practices” on the path of relationship. When we can’t hold onto ourselves, we are bound to interrupt our partner and usually kick-off another round of defensive behavior that often devolves into the blame game, you know how it goes, “I’m right, you’re wrong, here’s why”.
I was feeling poetic and penned this little self reminder this morning. Hope it’s helpful.
You’re upset…I can breathe and relax…
And let you be upset…And breathe some more….
And try to feel your pain, even if it’s me you’re upset with…
I can relax….And hear about what’s upsetting you…
I don’t need to defend myself…I don’t need to justify my behavior…
I can breathe and just be with you…In your upset….
I may have defensive thoughts from time to time…But you still are not wrong… Read More→
From time to time we receive (and even answer!) questions that seem especially relevant to many of us in committed relationships. Here’s a goodie!
Q. “Is it common for a man to desire more space and freedom than a woman does? I am constantly trying to find the balance of acting from my heart (meaning, if I genuinely want to talk to him then I’ll call him!) and giving him space and not smothering him by waiting for him to reach out to me. It’s hard. My partner has this great need for space, to feel free. I on the other hand, want to feel needed, loved, and shown it a lot! What happens is that I show him what I want -which comes off clingy, and he feels like running away (creating more space). When I feel this ‘space’, I feel like running towards him… and thus the cycle.”
A. It’s good to hear from you. Your feelings make quite a bit of sense. All intimate relationships are made up of two people doing the closeness-distance dance. Gender plays a big role because of the ways we are socialized, but it’s not always the man who wants “space” – what we call the natural need for autonomy (as opposed to the natural need for togetherness). Our adult fears of not getting enough of either autonomy or togetherness are a product of several factors: our temperaments, our upbringing, the environment in which we grew up, and some people might even say, karma. In an intimate partnership, each person’s needs tend to trigger the others’ fears, so there is a lot of potential for each person being triggered on a regular basis. This is to be expected!
Our aversion to too much closeness or distance is a fear based on the past. While we will definitely keep acting it out, we always have the choice to work on understanding each person’s different world, and beginning to make space for what we have pushed away in the past.
As always, my main criteria for a successful relationship is the desire of both partners to grow themselves. The biggest opportunity for that growth is in relation to how our partner may frighten us. It is no accident that we are attracted to a person with different (often opposite!) needs and fears, but choosing to dig deeply and change ourselves is what is often missing. Most couples stay stuck in the blame game: “if you loved me, you would behave and love me my way”. This only leads to more of the same which is your case is: the more you pursue, the more he distances, and the more he distances the more you pursue. A vicious cycle, as you know. Read More→
Just back home after an October colors trip to the Northeast to present a workshop at Kripalu entitled Sex, Pleasure and Intimacy. We had just a wonderful time exploring the “ins and outs” of the topic with honesty, sensitivity and humor. What an absolute treat to have such open discussions about this forbidden topic. So helpful and reassuring, our common humanity on display without shame. Beautiful, beautiful people.
I was left with a desire to live my life in an even more “Tantric” way. Tantra is a form of Yoga that emphasizes the transcendent possibilities of an increase in sensual awareness. Somehow, along the years, Tantra got placed in a box labeled Esoteric Sex and wound up with somewhat of a tarnished reputation. I believe that Tantra practice in our daily lives can be a great help in awakening our consciousness.
Here’s my simplistic take on the matter. Tantra is all about drawing the most satisfaction possible out of every moment. For most of us these days, that requires a great slowing down in order to become available to experience the fullness of the moment. A terrific support in slowing down is breath awareness. Sensitizing ourselves to the naturally calming flow of breath usually helps us relax, slow down and increase our ability to focus on anything. Read More→