Tag Archives for " Love "

4 Eliciting Intimacy

When I set the intention to journey into more intimacy in all of my relationships, I wasn’t certain what that would mean for me and others in my life.

A part of me thought that I would be met with wide-open arms, and in some instances that was the case. A few of my relationships deepened immensely and there is a beautiful richness to them that allows for soul-baring honesty, profound support, and limitless love. These connections are nourishing me in ways that I never even knew possible. In addition to the increase of emotional intimacy in these friendships, the openness in my heart has fostered an even deeper connection with Spirit, which has spilled over into all of my interactions with others.

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The work of deepening intimacy and vulnerability also afforded me the opportunity to experience a new type of romantic love, one that has shown me what it is to be held fully and completely in all areas of my life. This relationship precludes shame-blame energy, which in return, promotes honesty and truly open communication. It fosters a heart-to-heart connection that has opened me to experiencing myself in new ways.

This process was not easy. I had to be really brave and I had to constantly ask myself: How can I go deeper? How can I reveal myself in a way that feels authentic, true, and safe?

A part of what I realized was that as I have grown to feel safer and more secure in my own life, as I have embodied myself more fully, I have been able to create a strong foundation of self-trust and confidence that in turn has created an ability to trust the process of increased vulnerability. I feel safer opening to others because for the first time in many, many years, I feel safe in my body.

That doesn’t mean that it didn’t hurt when my advances for more intimacy weren’t met. It also doesn’t mean that I didn’t experience sadness when it was revealed that the dynamics of some relationships weren’t equal.

It did convey that I had to look deep within my own heart to examine what it was calling forth of me to acknowledge and honor. I entered into another layer of healing and I looked at my pain as honestly as I could to see if and where I was holding myself or others away.

But even when others didn’t meet me head on, there was an overall increase in the depth of all of my connections and the flow of energy around me, from the teller at the bank to the drivers on the road around me to my family and friendships.

Sometimes this process was messy. And sometimes it was full of grace. At times I was triggered and at others I was embraced.

But it was always truthful. It was always heartfelt. It was always me, standing before another with my heart on my sleeve.

 

Soul-Honored Community

I am so blessed.

I spent yesterday surrounded by people I love and who love me back ~ beautiful friends who have allowed me to expand my community and who have held me and allowed me to embrace them back.

I am part of a community of friends who ~ when we come together ~ speak and listen with our hearts.

There is little filtering and lots of expression of love. Anything goes from unicorns and fairies to science to irreverent jokes and cussing-just-because to Spirit. We share candidly and without fear of judgment.

We don’t need to use anything to lubricate or mask the experience. We allow ourselves to show up, with our hearts and silly, temporary tattoos on our sleeves.

We hold each other, both physically and metaphysically.

The connective force that weaves through it all is love.

A soul-honored community is a beautiful opportunity to experience who we are on a deeper level. When we choose our community with intention and with a deep desire to honor ourselves through our relation to others, we make choices that allow for growth and expansion.

We cease to place ourselves in connections that don’t uphold our highest good and we learn what it is to simultaneously stand in our power while also accepting authentic and loving support from others.

We begin to experience ourselves without shame or reproach and to see ourselves through eyes of compassion and love.

We laugh more and hug more. We cry more and express our entire range of emotions in a way that feels real and good. We feel seen and heard because we are received with understanding and empathetic support.

More than once last night, I looked around me with reverence. As I’ve opened my heart to experience more intimacy and love with others, I’ve been met at every step.

That is true love. And when I found it within me, I discovered it reflected back to and all around me.

With my beautiful soul sister and colleague, Elicia Miller

With my beautiful soul sister and colleague, Elicia Miller

A Forever Person

I’ve been blessed with many relationships that have all served important purposes in my life and this last one was no exception. I’ve walked away from all of them, even (and maybe especially) from the dysfunctional ones, stronger than I was when I entered them. And as I’ve grown, matured, deepened my spiritual practice and lived a sober life, I’ve been able to gain even more clarity around myself and myself in relation to others. Through this work, I’ve also been able to move further and further from codependency.

I was chatting with a friend yesterday and sharing about my most recent break-up. “But you looked so happy in those pictures!” she said. She wasn’t the only one to say that, either. The truth is: I was happy in those pictures that were taken a week or two before we broke up. I was deeply and genuinely happy. I was also becoming more acutely aware, as was my partner I believe, that we weren’t moving along on the same path. We had fun together and he helped to bring my inner child out to play. I was smiling and joyous in those pictures because I and my little girl were having a good time. We were doing things my inner child hasn’t ever done before, not even when she was a small (because of her acute shyness and perfectionism), such as taking pictures with total strangers dressed up in crazy costumes, dancing and singing in the car, and laughing at many of life’s twists and turns.

Alternately, though, there were things between us that couldn’t be reconciled, as is the case in many relationships. We just couldn’t find our footing together, so to speak. I love him and he loves me and yet…

Ultimately, we were able to consciously release the relationship and it was a beautiful and loving break-up. We were communicating as the two people who love one another and who want the best for one another and for ourselves. There was no anger, no blaming, no trying to make one another feel at fault or wrong. We didn’t allow the relationship to overstay its welcome and we didn’t move into fear and defensiveness. It felt clean and it still does. Unlike in past break-ups, I don’t feel either of us trying to hold onto the other. There is no energetic pulling, clawing, manipulating or forcing of anything. It just feels – clean. And that has allowed me to grieve in a way that feels pure. The tears come and they flow and then I move forward. I’m not being held back by stuff – I don’t feel stuck and overwhelmed by my emotions. This is HUGE for me!

I so so so want to meet a man that I can develop a deep and lasting bond with. I want to experience intimacy at one year, five years, 20 years and beyond. I want to be able to continue to navigate deeper and deeper waters with someone. I think I had a lot to learn, though, before I could get to an emotional set point that could handle that. It’s taken me a lot of healing and so much introspection that at times it’s dizzying. I also don’t want to compromise my potential for growth or that of my significant other by staying in a relationship that doesn’t ultimately allow us each to fully flourish.

And it feels good to recognize that even though I love my now ex-boyfriend and that there wasn’t anything “wrong” in our relationship, we both honor one another enough to recognize that we aren’t the best other half for each other and that to stay together any longer would only hold us back from moving forward both independently and hopefully with someone else better suited for each of us. I feel blessed and my life was enriched by this relationship. I also feel even more clear about what I hope to create moving forward and inspired to continue to do the work I need to do to find my forever person.

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Endless Love

I used to subscribe to the belief that there was a finite amount of everything and that I had to compete with others to get what I wanted. Oftentimes, for me, after years fraught with competitive misery and injury, that meant just dropping out of the race. If I didn’t think that I had a chance at winning, I just wouldn’t play. And so I started to take a back seat in my own life after years of trying to force my way to the front.

These two elements – strive to win or drop out of sight – were my modus operandi and they showed up in all areas of my life. I strove to get straight A’s because I had to be in school but after receiving a Master’s Degree (in a field that I enjoyed but didn’t really want to work in), I ducked out of sight so that I wouldn’t have to compete for a job or step out of my comfort zone into a situation in which I might potentially fail.

It showed up during my years of waiting tables – I had to have the most tables in order to make the most money, and while I never stole tables from my co-workers, I would stay late and push myself harder in order to come out ahead.

It appeared in my relationships in that I was always afraid that there was “x” amount of love and that if I made a mistake or said the wrong thing, I would chip away at what was there until I would eventually lose all of the love that there was.

It affected my beliefs around money because I worried that there was only a certain amount available to me and if I spent what I had then there wouldn’t be any left.

There was never enough because I never believed that I was enough. I didn’t believe in me and so I didn’t trust that I could be cared for, nurtured and loved by others and especially by Spirit (I spent most of my life fearing that everyone else would be taken care of but not me). I never felt deserving or worthy of love.

I remember when the shift began and for the first time I understood that this is a Universe (multi-verse) of infinite potential. I was doing tons of work at the time – my life was dedicated to my healing process as if it were life or death. And it was, not because I was suicidal, but because I couldn’t fathom another 40 or 50 years of numbness and emotional pain.

And so I found myself in my first somewhat normal relationship ever in that it didn’t involve the use of alcohol or drugs. What I didn’t realize was that he too believed that there was a finite amount of love available in the world and he worried constantly that he wasn’t getting enough. He was jealous of lovers past, worried that if I still felt anything for them, it meant I felt less for him. He was jealous of my son, believing that if I had to give 70% of the 100% of love available to my son, it wouldn’t leave enough for him.

I remember that exact conversation in which I fully got it, in which I understood so deeply that love is as expansive and open and infinite in potential as we allow it to be. I never felt like I had to manage my love output. I had an open source of love with my son, with him, with my family and friends. I could give everyone as much love as I wanted to! And if I could give everyone as much love as I wanted to, well, shit. Then I could receive as much love from everyone as I could.

From this shift in understanding, I was able to understand that the field is infinite in ALL potential. It was a slow-ish process at first. I got that there was enough for everyone intellectually but it was still hard to process within the realm of a world that continues to argue and fight wars over resources.

Because I had believed that there were a finite amount of opportunities and clients, I kept working in restaurants – the seemingly safe choice. There’s no shame in that work, but in my heart, I knew that I was still there only because I wasn’t connecting to my soul work. I had to get to that place of truly understanding that everything is ever-expanding and that the field of potential continues to grow in direct proportion to the amount of people that plug into it. Every client that Sue gets translates to more people stepping into the field. And now that I have done the work of knowing and trusting that I am more than enough and divinely supported, my people will find me (if I’m not hiding) just as Sue’s people will find her.

I also had to know deep down that I deserved to be happy and to have the job of my dreams and that I would be supported in it. This came from a sense of trust that most of the time I don’t know how things are going to happen or how they are going to work out. I keep my nose out of my own narrow-minded expectations these days and trust that I will be shown which steps to take. When I am successful with this, miracles happen. Magic unfolds. Life becomes easier and more fun.

The results: My business has grown, my opportunities have increased, I’ve connected with so many more people and I’ve experienced so much more simply because I took the lid off of my life. Today – and every day – I feel blessed. Even when things get hard, I feel blessed. And the truly magical piece of all this? The more I believe it and align with it, the more things open up for me, and as a result, for all those I support and love (and ever outwards in the field of infinite potential).

Fanning the Flames of Love

Have you guys seen this incredibly tender, vulnerable video from Tiger Singleton? He spends over five minutes connecting soul-to-soul with the viewer (you, me) through continued, loving eye contact. I’ve done this in person before and it’s a very intense, beautiful, uncomfortable, and profound activity. I started watching the video and I was surprised to find that even though it was digital, I was experiencing the same thing. I truly felt so beautifully connected to this man that I had never seen before. Also at times I noticed myself wanting to find a distraction because it felt so alive and real. I had to actually kind of force myself to sit through the discomfort and accept the love that he was sharing with me. If you haven’t done this exercise, I encourage you to try it, either by clicking on the video or sharing the exercise with someone in your life.

This actually prompted a pretty major epiphany for me. True, lots has been leading up to it, as is usually the case with epiphanies, but it was huge nonetheless. Over the course of the few hours after my experience with the video, I noticed even more ways in which I hold back from giving and receiving love.

I am really good at sharing love when I set an intention around it. So, I can easily access love and vulnerability while sitting down to write an honest blog post, being in a session with a client, or while facilitating one of the groups or circles that I lead. I can identify a time and place to be open and I can do it, happily and lovingly.

But how can I show up more authentically in my moment-to-moment, day-to-day life? Is it possible for me to be more open on a consistent basis? Truly, to fully connect with others, I have to be willing to show up every day, and not just in private with my clients or friends, but in public and in public forums (even and maybe especially even) places like Facebook and Instagram.

I have been exploring this idea of cracking my heart wide open for a while now, and the idea of loving more fully is both exhilarating and terrifying.

Tiger Singleton did something really true. My guess is that it was both thrilling and scary-as-hell. And yet…he touched me in a way that I’ve rarely felt before. A total stranger opened his heart and was vulnerable so that he could connect with me (and as of right now 144, 831 others).

He’s moving some of us for sure, because this type of vulnerability is more than a breath of fresh air. It’s something that many of us are craving, seeking, and yearning to find. And I want to be able to provide that for others as well. If I can give some of that back to you, then my day feels more complete and my life a little more full.

How do we navigate the digital age in this respect? So much of it causes us to isolate and pull back. It gives us a way to experience the world without really living fully within it. We’ve changed and we connect less in a human-to-human way. When I see you in person, I’m likely to give you a huge hug, hold your hand, look straight into your eyes and listen to you. And when I don’t get to do that enough, I miss it. And you. So how can I create a spark similar to the one that Tiger has ignited when I’m not physically with you? I’m not sure, but I’ll be exploring it more fully as I move forward. (Now that I’ve made a public declaration, I’m committed.) I’d love for you to take this journey with me. Let me know how I can support you by commenting below or by joining me on social media. And if we’re already connected, then I would love for you to hold this intention with me and take the next steps alongside me.

A spark can grow into a flame if given the proper conditions. All it needs is oxygen and in this case, a lot of love.

This is where I hang out in the digital world:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

xoxo, Janet

Resting In the Balance of Love

This week’s reflection was slow to come to the surface. It’s been percolating just below it since Tuesday, when I was given some insight during a meditation into the ways in which I  hold back from love. And then, as often is the case, the messages began to pop up all around, little placards on my board of life showing me how to continue to open just a little more to love’s complete embrace.

It has always been much easier for me to give love than to receive it, and I’ve been noticing lately where I’ve been holding back. It may be through a hug or a touch or through a subtle pulling away (even if just for a moment) when someone wants to get close. Regardless of how it presents itself, it’s me tensing to the love that another wishes to share with me.

I started to follow this thread for myself (I’m a big advocate of playing detective with ourselves) to see what could unfold for me. I saw a few patterns pop up and realized that I don’t want to be limited by those outdated reactions that may have had an important role to play in the past but that no longer serve me.

As I was deep in the process of mulling through all this,  Meggan Watterson (for more of her goodness, click here) posted this lovely quote:

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And I started to think…Why does a “broken heart” have to be a bad thing? Isn’t a broken heart one that has actually been cracked wide open? What if I could nurture my heart that is showing me where I’ve felt pain in the past back into feeling the love that preceded the pain? What if I could fully understand that just because I’ve had painful experiences doesn’t mean that I should miss out on the opportunity to know love in a new and more expansive way?

I have a tendency to give until I’m depleted, something that I’ve been working on for years now. I’ve made a lot of progress through awareness and good energy hygiene. But could I allow myself to be fully nourished by the love of others as well? What if I could open myself up like a flower to the sun and just allow myself to soak it in? This love that I’m taking in could help to recharge me and revitalize me. It could lift me up, which is one of the things that love most likes to do and one of the reasons that I adore sharing my love with others! This is not taking at the expense of another; when the emotion is pure and two-sided (or more-sided) there is no imbalance. Instead, it serves to elevate and elate.

In my musings, I realized that this is precisely where the thin line between detachment and pulling back becomes apparent: When I pull back, even a tiny bit, I deny myself and the other person desirous of sharing love with me of a full and complete experience of the beautiful intensity of unbounded and unchecked love. If I can give myself fully to the experience and yet remain detached from any expectations of what that person’s actions may or may not be in the future or what that love should look like, then I can find a space of enjoying the affection without fearing its removal. The truth of the matter is that if someone else chooses to withdraw love, however that is expressed – whether with integrity or not – it is no reflection of who I am. I am still me, standing here and strong, just like I have been for 45 years now.

I believe with all of my being that we came here to experience love embodied, both divine and physical in nature and everything in between. I want to connect through the heart space at every turn imaginable and ask, truly, “What would love do?”

I love that the ancient Greeks identified many words for love. The love I feel for the woman at the bank (agape) will not be the same as the love that I feel for my partner (eros) or that which I feel for my son (storge). With a deeper understanding of what love is and a desire to fall more into it and then stay there, I can explore the many facets of it and feel enriched by them rather than threatened. With this in mind, perhaps the most important form of love then is philautia, the love of self, for when that is intact then truly all of the rest falls into place.

So perhaps then I can come back to: Where am I withholding love from myself? Not receiving love from another is to withhold it from myself. Love wouldn’t hold back love because it is scared of love. Love embraces love and trusts that we can take care of ourselves and that we can trust and know ourselves in the process. Love would have us remember that through love, all is love, and that just by mere virtue of being here, as individual embodiments of the Divine, we are all worthy of love in all of its expressions.

Really doing love, making it a true action verb, means to fully engage on both sides of the giving and receiving scale. I’ll leave you then with one of my most favorite quotes ever from Jen Pastiloff: “When I get to the end of my life, and I ask one final, ‘What have I done?’, let the answer be: I have done love.”