Will you LOVE all of you – wounds, warts, and all?

Long, long ago, I thought if I just took the right workshop, read the right self-help books, or found a magic wand, I would find happiness and peace of mind.

And, doing all of those things helped a bit.

It certainly gave me some relief as well as insight and understanding as to how and why I had my issues.

But, after thousands of dollars, countless hours of various practices, I finally figured something out: Getting rid of the problem isn’t the best goal, and in a lot of cases, with core wounds, not even possible. Having worked closely with many of the biggest names in personal growth, here’s what I observed:

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Minimize Painful Experiences

Are you feeling unneeded pain?

The Practice:
Minimize painful experiences.

Why?

Painful experiences range from subtle discomfort to extreme anguish – and there is a place for them. Sorrow can open the heart, anger can highlight injustices, fear can alert you to real threats, and remorse can help you take the high road next time.

But is there really any shortage of suffering in this world? Look at the faces of others – including mine – or your own in the mirror, and see the marks of weariness, irritation, stress, disappointment, longing, and worry. There’s plenty of challenge in life already – including unavoidable illness, loss of loved ones, old age, and death – without needing a bias in your brain to give you an extra dose of pain each day.

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Copyright

© © Copyright 2019. Dr. Rick Hanson

You Don't Have to Live With Guilt

Do you know that it is completely possible to heal your guilt? I did it and so can you!

I grew up in a family that constantly used guilt as a form of control. Sometimes the guilt was somewhat subtle, such as “Fine, do what you want,” said with a blaming tone. Other times it was blatant, such as my grandmother (who lived with us) saying to me, whenever I didn’t do what she wanted, “How can you do this to me? You are so selfish.”

As an adolescent, if I came home five minutes after my curfew, I would hear my mother hissing at me from their bedroom as I tried to tiptoe into my room, her voice dripping with anger, “You’re late again. You know I worry about you.” My mother had many ways of making me responsible for her feelings – from her intense anger to her victim tears. I was always to blame.

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How To Get Others To Love You

How do you get people to like you?

How do you get people to love you?

How do you get people to validate you? 

The more time and energy you spend trying to get other people to love you, focusing your energy on being a certain way in order to get love, only causes you suffering. 

Realize, you don't have the power to make other people love you. 

The more time you spend to make people love you, the more disempowered you'll become and you will suffer. 

Watch Kute Blackson as he shares the keys to get other people to love you:
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Forgive

Are you holding onto feeling wronged?

The Practice:
Forgive.

Why?

Forgiveness is a tricky topic.

First, it has two distinct meanings:

  • To give up resentment or anger
  • To pardon an offense; to stop seeking punishment or recompense

Here, I am going to focus on the first meaning, which is broad enough to include situations where you have not let someone off the hook morally or legally, but you still want to come to peace about whatever happened. Finding forgiveness can walk hand in hand with pursuing justice.

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Owning Your Sensuality Mindset

My brilliant friend, Susan Bratton, is the trusted hot sex advisor to millions and an expert on all aspects on how to improve your sex life, which for many women, begins with improving your “sensuality mindset.” Please enjoy her wisdom on this topic.

Just recently I spoke at an all women’s sexuality event. Before I took the stage, I went around speaking to each individual woman. As we chatted, I asked them privately what they were thinking about when they decided to attend? What were they hoping I’d talk about? What issue was on their mind?

As I listened to the stories, the struggles and the desires of these beautiful women my mind filtered the meta-conversations into four main categories of interest. These women wanted to hear first about what kinds of treatments, procedures and technologies were available and effective at keeping their lady parts in good working order. They wanted to know how to keep their libido high as they aged. They wanted my tips on solo pleasure. And they wanted to hear about female pleasure potential — what was possible for them and what were they missing out on that they didn’t even know might be available?

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Turning The Tables on Turkey Day Trauma & Trepidation

Can you believe it’s almost Thanksgiving? 

What happened to Fall?

Although the song says "Oh, there's no place like home for the holidays," the fact is that most of us experience a sense of dread as we envision our upcoming holiday gatherings and being around our family.

Feelings of resistance, anxiety, and resignation start to bubble up as we anticipate the drama and dis-ease that will undoubtedly accompany the candied yams and pumpkin pie. As we contemplate the upcoming holiday, our minds naturally drift back to Thanksgivings past and any hope of warm and fuzzy feelings turn cold as we think about our family dynamic and the scenarios that consistently cause trauma and trepidation at our Thanksgiving table. Situations like: 

  • How do I once again try to explain to my family why I have to bring my own food since I eat vegan or gluten-free? 
  • What can I do to appease my parents and in-laws, who are all divorced but expect us to show up and make their Thanksgiving meal the most significant one? 
  • How should I handle it this year when, at the last minute, my sister-in-law once again decides to invite four more people to dinner? 
  • What do I do when Uncle Bob inevitably brings up politics?
  • How do I not get pissed off at my family when they stay glued to the television as I do all of the work in the kitchen?

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It’s a Beautiful Day to Help Each Other Heal

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain

I've Been Thinking...

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that if you remain open and awake to what’s happening around you, then life will offer you an endless parade of lessons.

Lessons can come in the form of experiences. They can come in the form of encounters and individuals. And, they can come in the form of something we see up close, or witness at a distance. (They certainly come when you watch something historic happen, like the impeachment hearings.)

Not all lessons are pleasant, but they all can serve you in some way. That’s why it’s up to you to make sense of them, find meaning in them, and ultimately grow from them.

Life is our greatest teacher, but every once in a while, a really great person comes along that imparts lessons on our collective humanity. Mr. Rogers was one such teacher.

I find it amazing that he is still “alive,” even so many years after his death. I also find it important to reflect on the fact that so many of us are longing for his guidance, wisdom, and gentle tone to help us navigate the here and now.

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Can I Be Responsible For Myself And Still Be Free?

Do you have some false beliefs that taking responsibility for yourself limits your freedom?

A client asked me the following question:

“During my Inner Bonding process today, I uncovered a feeling of reluctance to commit to being there for my inner child. I felt like I didn’t want the responsibility, like it would limit me and tie me down. Part of me was saying “I want to be free.” Where do I go with this now?

This question indicates a huge false belief about taking responsibility for herself.

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7 Surprising Benefits of Pleasure for Health, Happiness, and Work-Life Balance

Are you overworked and under-pleasured? Do you spend a lot of time giving to your career, business, or family?

Helping others is important for a fulfilling life. However, are you making time for your own joy, pleasure, and sexuality?

In our busy world, our to-do lists are often a mile long, filled with obligations, responsibilities, text messages, phone calls, plus caring for our families, home, job, and others. 

Growing up, I saw my parents working hard and rarely resting. As an adult, I found myself doing the same thing. I placed my own pleasure and free time at the bottom of my to-do list. 

However, over the years, this strategy failed me. As I passionately poured my heart into my work, I did not take time to refill my cup, and I became exhausted, stressed, sad, and sick. Since my own pleasure and self-care were last on my to-do list, I never got around to them.

Not surprisingly, since I wasn’t slowing myself down, the universe forced me to slow down through a serious health crash 4 years ago. During these last 4 years, I discovered a new strategy, which I now call “Prioritize Pleasure.” As I made time for my own health, pleasure, and even sexuality, I regained my health and became a much happier, stronger person, which meant that ultimately, I had even more energy to give to my work and the people I care about.

If you are making the all-too-common mistake of “too much work and not enough play and pleasure,” the tips below will inspire you to bring back your sanity through sensuality.

What Exactly is Pleasure?



According to the dictionary, pleasure is “a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment.” Pleasure helps you enjoy life and stay happy and healthy!

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Marry Your Conscience

Have you heard about the studies that say we are a reflection of the five people that we spend the most time with? That’s right! We become most like the people we most like!

When you look around your life, who or what do you see?

Are there people who inspire you? Are willing to be straight with you? Hold your greatest dreams and visions?

Or are there people who are more apt to choose harmony over truth, even when it comes to situations that are not in our highest?

Years ago, I attended a ceremony in which Jay Leno, the comedian, was being honored. Accepting the award and thanking all of the people who supported him in his career, he of course singled-out his wife. In speaking about her and the success of their long-term marriage, Leno said:

"Marry your conscience. Marry the one who makes you want to be a better person."



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What we become when obstacles are removed for us

What’s standing in your way right now? A relationship that’s no longer working but you don’t dare to end? Parents who won’t support your dream to become a musician because they want you to be lawyer? Your fear of being judged so you don’t show who you really are and live behind a mask your whole life? Whatever is getting in the way between you and whatever it is you’re trying to be or do, you’re probably wishing that you could will it away or that someone would take it away for you.

Life is not always smooth sailing, as we all know. Throughout our lives, we encounter obstacles—both external and internal—that prevent us from getting what we want or where we need to be. They invoke all sorts of emotional reaction from us. Sometimes, we feel annoyed. Sometimes, we get angry. And sometimes, we become afraid. But never do we feel glad about them. We often see them as unwanted roadblocks that delay our journey and bring us inconvenience and unnecessary suffering. But do we ever ask ourselves why they are even there? If we don’t deal with obstacles, what would we become?

Chicken or jerk?

One of my friends is raising an only child. She and her husband are very protective and they do everything to make life easy for their son to the extent that when the boy was 10 years old, he didn’t even know how to eat a meal with a fork and a knife. One time, we were having lunch and she got a phone call from him. Her son was 14 at that time. He was at the train station and asked if her mother could pick him up and take him home. So, we had to quickly end our lovely meal.

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Bursting the Super Woman / Super Mom Bubble

Wake up. Work out. Make breakfast (for everyone). Drive the kids to school. Drive yourself to work. Take the kids to all their activities. Bring them home. Make sure they’re doing their homework. Make dinner (for everyone). Be a mom. Be a friend. Be a daughter. Be a lover. Go to bed. Repeat.

Okay, so maybe not everything on this list applies to you personally, but I’m sure there are some others that are unique to you that you could swap in – and then some. As women, we are often expected to do ALL. THE. THINGS. And let’s be honest: our families, coworkers, and others learn to expect this from us because we are so darn good at making it look like we really can do it all! The reality, though, is that with so many balls in the air, something is going to drop. 

When something does inevitably drop, what’s your reaction going to be? And perhaps even more importantly, how are you going to react on a daily basis to the juggling act you’ve got going on?

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Wabi Sabi Love

Some say the hardest part of life is dealing with the other humans.

Unlike most cats and dogs, people behavior is often not predictable. (or sometimes too predictable and that can also be maddening!)

Figuring out how to manage my feelings and judgements about people, and myself, has been a long-time mission and when I discovered Wabi Sabi, that made a big difference (most of the time).

The ancient Japanese practice of Wabi Sabi is about finding the beauty and perfection in imperfection… in all things old, worn, imperfect, and impermanent, from broken pottery to driftwood and beyond.

In my world, I expanded it to be Wabi Sabi Love, to find the beauty and perfection in behavior and things that make us crazy.

It’s essentially about finding the gold in the dark.

Shifting your perception.

Changing your story.

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Addiction to Story-telling

Being able to tell great stories, and being addicted to story-telling, are two very different things.

I was at a social gathering speaking with Robyn, a woman I had just met. At first, it sounded like she was a very interesting person and a good storyteller, but after a few minutes I noticed that we were not speaking WITH each other – she was speaking AT me.

I also noticed that I was unable to connect with her, and I started to feel very bored. Being used to noticing and acknowledging my feelings, I thanked my inner child for the information she was giving me – my boredom – which was telling me that Robyn was likely addicted to story telling.

Robyn was using story telling as a form of control to capture my attention and drain my energy. She was counting on the fact that she thought I would be too polite to walk away in the middle of her story. She was wrong about my being too polite!

I do try to be polite, but

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Belonging to Each Other

Mother Teresa writes that if we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. These three talks explore the causes for severed belonging, and pathways to deepening the felt sense of belonging to our own body, heart and spirit, and to all beings. Together the talks offer a natural and powerful progression of loving kindness or metta reflections, that when practiced regularly can open us to the peace, joy and freedom of trusting our mutual belonging.

Vitally, the human race is dying. It is like a great uprooted tree, with its roots in the air. We must plant ourselves again in the universe.” ― D.H. Lawrence
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The essence of loving kindness is this openhearted quality of friendliness. It’s sacred. It’s precious. As Mother Teresa described it, when we sense that belonging that comes with friendship, we really touch peace.

We close in that spirit to sense in your own heart the intention to befriend the life that’s within you. And take a moment to hold the life within you with the quality of care. Feel in your own words your prayer to befriend this life – to love yourself into healing.

Widening our attention to sense those in our lives – those close in, those that we don’t know, all beings – to sense that intention to discover our belonging to all of life everywhere. And in that discovery to know the joy and peace and freedom of being awake and alive. ~ Tara

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Love Shared Thru Art

A few months ago, when I traveled from Alaska to Arizona I loaded into my car what I wanted for my new living and creative space. It wasn’t much; some clothes, a few pieces of art and some family pictures.  I also grabbed a couple of old race photos. I chose what inspired me or reminded me of our life with younger children. I knew the house, we would eventually decorate in Arizona, had a much different vibration than the house in Alaska.  The majority of what filled our walls in Anchorage would remain in Alaska.  

A very large tapestry had been hanging near the back entrance to my husband’s office space.  It was placed where only those that entered thru a private door, might have a moment to notice it’s uniqueness.  This piece is about six feet tall and three feet wide. It was hand woven with brilliant hues of purples, golds, browns, greens, blues and reds. A sheep, winged animal and goat is the collective theme. These creatures were created by wide strands of yarn beautifully woven together. It reminds me of a far away place, from long ago.  It felt almost too big for the wall. Over time I noticed something magical hiding in this art. When the time was right, it would come to life.  

As we began to plan our move, we discussed what might work in Arizona.  This particular piece had been grabbing my attention. I often paused by the door, admiring the colors and shapes.  Sometimes I could feel the pull of ancient wisdom, love and even healing touching my heart. I could even feel smoky fires from a very long time ago. With my husband’s blessing the woven art was taken down and slowly, over land and sea made the journey to a new home.  

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Two Decisions That Skyrocketed My Life

Do you have the courage to make these two life-changing decisions?


I’ve discovered that there are two subconscious decisions many of us make – often early in life – that greatly limit our joy and sense of freedom. When I became aware of having made these decisions, and changed my mind about them, my joy, emotional freedom, and ability to manifest my dreams skyrocketed.

I was brought up to be a caretaker – to put everyone’s feelings and needs before mine. Can you identify with this? Are you trying to be a good and loving person by sacrificing yourself, hoping that if you give enough to others they will love you?

Except, that hardly ever happens. Instead, you give and give and they take and take, until you feel drained, angry, or sick. I felt all three – especially sick. After eating only organic food for many years, I was perplexed regarding why I was so sick. In fact, I was so sick that I knew if I didn’t change something, I would die.

One day I heard my inner voice say to me, “When are you going to start to listen to me? When are you going to even know I’m here? How sick do I have to make you for you to start to taking loving care of me?”

Wow!

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The MOST Important Love RULE

Many of us were taught the “Golden Rule” as kids:

“Do unto others as you would like to be done unto.”

This works well most of the time EXCEPT when it comes to love.

With your soulmate you want to practice the Platinum Rule:

“Do unto them as they would like to be done unto.”

“This requires that you understand their “love language.”

If they prefer “words of affirmation” or “touch” over “gifts” or they prefer “acts of service” over “quality time” give them that.

With the Golden rule we tend to give our partners what we want, thinking that the things that make us feel loved are the same for them.

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Try a Softer Tone

How do you talk to people?

The Practice:
Try a softer tone.

Why?

Linguists like Deborah Tannen have pointed out that most communications have three elements:

  • Explicit content – “There is no milk in the refrigerator.”
  • Emotional subtext – Could be irritation, blame, accusation
  • Implicit statement about the nature of the relationship – Could be one person gets to criticize and boss around someone else

Many studies have found that the second and third elements – which I define in general as tone – usually have the greatest impact on how an interaction turns out. Since a relationship is built from interactions, the accumulating weight of the tone you use has big effects.

In particular, because of the “negativity bias” of the brain – which is like Velcro for uncomfortable experiences but Teflon for pleasant ones – a repeatedly critical, snarky, disappointed, worried, or reproachful tone can really rock a relationship; for example, John and Julie Gottman’s work has shown that it typically takes several positive interactions to make up for a single negative one.

How?

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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