It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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4 Mindfulness Tips for a Healthy Marriage

When we get married (or enter a committed romantic partnership), we hope for peace and love to rule the day, day after day and year after year. Because life presents difficulties, our peace can be shattered and our love may be in danger of dissolving. Just as mindfulness helps us to sit with the challenges of daily life and appreciate what is present, it can help us to appreciate our partners and sit with the hard moments that inevitably arise. Though we can’t avoid the problems, when we practice mindfulness in our relationship, we can handle difficult moments with compassion and love, rather than resentment and anger.


At first, practicing mindfulness in a marriage may feel uncomfortable or unnatural. Eventually, as you plug your practice into your daily routine, it may feel easy and wonderful! Just remember, there is nothing wrong with you if you have challenges in your relationship. When two people come together, there will always be places and moments in which they seem to clash. The objective is not to avoid problems altogether, but to create a practice that allows you to sit with these hard times and manage the difficulties together in compassionate connection, so that you can repair the rupture and move forward together with kindness and love.

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Love Never Dies (A True Story)

More than thirty years ago I had the extraordinary good fortune to meet Herb Tanzer and Elizabeth Goodman.

I was attending the Landmark Forum and Herb was our awesome, amazing and brilliant leader.

Throughout the weekend workshop he often gushed about how much he loved his beautiful wife, Elizabeth.

Herb & Elizabeth were really my first introduction into what a true soulmate relationship looks like.

Together they were adoring, devoted, playful, funny and clearly meant to be together.

After 38 years of loving each other, Herb passed a year ago from cancer.

Of course, Elizabeth was devastated to lose her best friend, life partner and soulmate.

Toward the end of his life, they had several deep conversations in which Herb shared with Elizabeth that she needed to “pay attention.” He wanted her to be open to finding someone to take care of her after he was gone.

Elizabeth always insisted she could take care of herself. Herb repeatedly told her to “pay attention.”

One of Herb’s closest friends was another Forum leader named Garry.

He was a recent widower. His wife of 55 years, Donna, had passed less than a year before Herb. The four of them had been friends for 35 years and had vacationed together.

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The Power of Genuine Hugs

There are hugs…and there are hugs. In other words, there are genuine loving and giving hugs, and there are needy hugs and inappropriately sexual hugs. There is a world of difference between these.

While I knew this as a child – as most children do – I didn’t have words for the difference. I just knew that I loved hugging and being hugged by some people and I hated being hugged by others. Loving hugs felt nurturing and safe to me, while needy and sexual hugs felt yucky.

My mother’s hugs never felt good to me. My mother was narcissistic, and her hugs were needy. When she hugged me – which fortunately wasn’t very often, I felt like the life was being sucked right out of me. My mother was never a person I would go to for love or comfort.

Until I was twelve, my father’s hugs were wonderful – filled with love and nurturing. I felt so safe in the arms of my father. All that changed when I was twelve and my father became sexually abusive, which, of course, meant that he was no longer safe for me. I was confused and scared and crushed to no longer be able to go to my father for hugs. I protected myself by staying away from him as much as I could.

I’m a very affectionate person, and by the time I started dating I was so starved for hugs that I often found myself in difficult situations. What I wanted was loving and caring hugs but, what I mostly got was needy and/or sexual hugs from the boys I dated. It took me many more years before I could articulate the energetic difference between loving, healing, nurturing hugs, and needy or inappropriately sexual hugs.

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My Heart Chakra on Legs

Twenty-three years ago, on June 22, I married my soulmate, Brian, in a beautiful, magical Hindu ceremony officiated by the hugging saint, Amma.

What I didn’t know on that auspicious day could fill a book!

Leading up to the wedding, I had never given any thought as to what kind of wife and partner I would be to him.

Having written and manifested my extensive “soulmate wish list,” I had high expectations of what was in it for me, but never really thought about what was in it for him.

Early on in our marriage I made a horrifying discovery about myself: I had no partnership skills!

Having run a business for many years, I knew how to be the “boss” but was clueless about how to be a great partner.

Fortunately, Brian spent a good part of his life playing team sports and working in collaborative business partnerships. He modeled how to “play well with others.”

Over the years I’ve learned from him and became better at surfing the relationship waves.

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The Ripple Effect of LOVE

Seeking more love in your life?

A fast, easy way to make it happen is to put your attention on all the love that is already around you (family, friends, pets, etc.) and then actively engage in making love happen and spread by creating a “ripple effect.”

Everything we do and think affects the people in our lives and the choices we make have far-reaching consequences. Like an incredibly interwoven and complicated tapestry, the Ripple Effect, creates connections that we are all a part of. Thoughts and actions are like stones dropped in a pond and they create ripples that travel outward.

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United We Stand; Divided We Are Merely A Distraction

I find it interesting that when this quote first came to me a few years ago I thought of it relative to organizations, communities, societies or families. As time went on, I realized this statement is most significant when it comes to my life experiences as a gay person.

United I stand, divided I am merely a distraction.

I was divided as a teenager when I realized that I was much more drawn to women rather than men. I had feelings for a young woman a little older than me yet the church said I was going to hell. My grandmother actually mourned when I was almost 14 that she would not see me in heaven. Here I was without even a driver’s permit and my grandmother is telling her former favorite granddaughter that she would not see me in heaven. A part of me died a little and felt divided.

The deeper truth of the matter was when I was 10 years old, my mother was accused of having an affair. We lived in a small southern town and to this day, I still do not know if it was true or an accusation. What is true is in the 60’s the South was just like they featured  in the famous film ‘Prince of Tides’. We put things under a rug and don’t look back. We don’t talk about anything that makes us uncomfortable. We medicated before we meditated. We have so many untold secrets and some of the secrets keep us up at night.  When this accusation happened involving my mom, I was sent up North to be with family and my mom was sent to a mental hospital and was gone for a long time. They used those barbaric shock treatments on her and she was never the same. She returned with very little of her memory in place and has experienced physical difficulties due to those methods. We never spoke of these events again. I certainly tried to but no one would engage. 

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The Easiest Way To Transform Relationships Into A Loving Piece Of Your Life Story

Our life experience can be easier then many of us imagine. Much of humanity has chosen to believe, even embrace, stories of pain and grief instead of love and joy. This is a betrayal of our true compassionate nature. I’m going to share the easiest way to transform relationships into a loving piece of your story.

Recently I was enjoying conversation with a Vedic astrologer from India. I asked him about possible challenges leaving his home country and family. San Jay shared he focuses only on how he feels now. He is able to speak with his family by phone and walks by their side energetically. He has removed the past challenge from the possibilities in his life and enjoys his everyday experience that includes an energetic closeness with his family.

In my own life I decided to reconnect with my brother that died of suicide years ago. I needed to let go of the grief and confusion I held in my heart and mind. I had been holding onto my brother’s life story, not reaching for his soul’s energy. I touched the uncomfortable and complicated thoughts and called his spirit to me. I did this in several meditations.

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How To Forgive

It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody. ~Maya Angelou


Forgiveness IS one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves, but how do we genuinely get there?

Many people believe that if they just decide to forgive someone, they have actually forgiven them, only to discover anger or resentment emerging over and over. So how to forgive?

Alyce wrote me the following question:

“Dr. Paul, How do I sincerely forgive my soon-to-be ex-husband of 32 years for infidelity committed prior to him even asking me for a divorce? I feel angry, hurt and jealous that he would give another woman the affection that he denied me. I know I must forgive him in order for me to heal and move on, but how to forgive?”

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Desiring Love: It’s in Your DNA

Have you ever wondered why we humans seek a soulmate?

What is it about us that craves this deep connection to another?

Where does our yearning come from?

Are we genetically designed to be mated?

One fascinating and possible answer comes from Aristophanes, the acclaimed playwright and philosopher of ancient Athens.

He offers a wild tale that he shared at Plato’s Symposium about how the deep desire for Oneness came about.

Long, long ago in primal times people had doubled bodies: four arms, four legs, two heads and they were big and round….

These roly-poly creatures wheeled around earth like clowns doing cartwheels & were very powerful.

There were three sexes: the all-male, the all-female, and those who were half male, half female.

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Kindness to You is Kindness to Me; Kindness to Me is Kindness to You

What do you need?

The Practice:
Kindness to you is kindness to me; kindness to me is kindness to you.

Why?

I usually describe a practice as something to do: get on your own side, see the being behind the eyes, take in the good, etc. This practice is different: it’s something to recognize. From this recognition, appropriate action will follow. Let me explain.

Some years ago, I was invited to give a keynote at a conference with the largest audience I’d ever faced. It was a big step up for me. Legendary psychologists were giving the other talks, and I feared I wouldn’t measure up. I was nervous. Real nervous.

I sat in the back waiting my turn, worrying about how people would see me. I thought about how to look impressive and get approval. My mind fixed on me, me, me. I was miserable.

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Does Your Life Feel Alive And Meaningful?

Do you find that nothing really excites you or holds much meaning for you? Does your life lack aliveness, passion and purpose?

Vera sought out counseling with me because her doctor advised her to discover the emotional causes of her chronic fatigue. Vera, a successful stockbroker, was in a loving 18-year marriage. On the surface, everything in her life was fine. She had enough money, friends and a good relationship with her husband. Yet Vera awoke each morning battling fatigue and depression. She didn’t want to get out of bed because nothing felt meaningful to her.

David sought my help because of chronic feelings of inner emptiness. David is very successful in his manufacturing business, has a good marriage and two adult children. Like Vera, everything seemed fine. Yet the feelings of inner emptiness drove David to overeat, overspend and indulge in porn on the Internet. Like Vera, nothing felt meaningful to him.

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A Simple Practice to Bring More Harmony Into Every Relationship

Our relationships with one another are often a source of distress. One major form of conflict we experience with others involves their failure to give us the consideration we feel they owe us. We often suffer from thoughts like these: "She is not being respectful enough." "He is not as kind as I want him to be." "They just don't care as deeply as I do." 

However, if we will be courageous enough to see the truth of the next insight, and then admit it into our heart and mind, we can change the real root of this underlying sense of our dissatisfaction with others along with the conflict it generates: Many times the very thing we want from the person we are with -- for example, respect, patience, kindness, love -- is the very thing that we ourselves either lack at the moment or otherwise somehow are withholding from them. The "catch" here is that we are mostly unconscious to our actual inner condition in these encounters with others, and here's a major reason why this happens: 

Hidden in each of us are certain clever "self-concealing devices" whose sole reason for being is to protect our self-image and keep us asleep to ourselves. One of the ways they work is to show us ourselves as blameless while pointing the arrow of insufficiency at someone else.

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12 Ways to Improve Your Relationships. . .Including Your Relationship With Yourself

Our most fruitful field for self-discovery and life-enhancement is also the one we least understand or know how to use. And yet, virtually every moment offers abundant chances to benefit from it. What is this highly valuable field of opportunity? Our relationships.

Consider these truths: It is within relationships that we grow as individuals in everything valuable, because it is through them that we become stronger and wiser, allowing us to realize a love that transcends our unseen self-limiting self-interests. Yet, even though we may acknowledge the existence of this path to self-perfection, the essential mystery of exactly how to use this endless resource remains obscured.

How do we use our relationships to change the balance sheet of our lives so that for every measure of impatience and intolerance there may be at least an equivalent sum of compassion and consideration? And how do we learn to use our relationships with others to realize a new kind of relationship with ourselves so that we can discover the beautiful fact that who we really are is all we need to be?

Our willingness to work our way through the following twelve special practices -- to strive to use these higher ideals in our relationships with others -- will reward us with the Real Life our hearts longs for. 

The main purpose of these special practices is to show us how to use each developing moment in our relationships with family, friends, and coworkers to consciously change our relationship with them, and more importantly, with ourselves. 

If we are honest we will admit that, with few exceptions, the usual focus of our attention and interactions with others is centered on our selves and the fulfillment of our desires. "How do I feel about you?" "What do I want from him?" or "When will she realize that I know best?" In other words, the mindset of this largely unconscious self, under most circumstances, is: "Me first."

By forever placing its own considerations before considering any other, this self-serving nature remains the master of its own universe, even if all that revolves through it is its own imagined importance.

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This is Your Lifetime to Get it Right: Forgiving Yourself and Others

The struggle to love and forgive is a heroic struggle. It will affect every other relationship in your life. And guess what? For me, all movement comes from forgiving and loving myself. Go figure. 

I wrote some of this piece years ago, while visiting my mother in upstate New York. I wanted to be the perfect daughter. But there’s something about dealing with our families that’s like taking acid. You go on a trip. Things come out of the blue. People sprout extra heads. Then you come back and you think-- what was that all about?

“Those who see themselves as whole make no demands,” teaches A Course in Miracles. Well, clearly, those who seem themselves as threatened wildebeests act accordingly. 

Being with my mother, I can’t believe how quickly I am triggered. I teach workshops in A Course in Miracles , a form of spirituality which emphasizes choosing love instead of “being right.” But as I hide away upstairs in the cutesy, cluttered guest bedroom of my mother’s townhouse, despising every artificial flower I see, I consider a different line of work. Maybe I could be the anti-Gandhi. Because my blood pressure is definitely higher than my consciousness.

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Let Go of Relationship Clutter

Clutter. It blocks the flow of energy and gets in the way of manifesting our deepest desires.

We know how to unclutter the physical items in our lives and now, thanks to my friend Peggy Fitzsimmons, she is sharing with us today her views on letting go of relationship clutter. Enjoy!

“Our souls are inherently free and our true nature is love. And we also have ego minds that orient us towards self-preservation, lack, and scarcity. When the ego is in the driver’s seat, we relate from fear and separation. If conflict, competing, or power struggles are the norm in your relationships, your ego likely has a tight grip on the wheel. When you fail to treat yourself or someone else as a human being, your ego is present in that moment of relationship. In contrast, when the soul is in the driver’s seat, we relate from safety and connection. If your relationships are characterized by harmony, collaboration, and compassion, your soul is at the wheel. When you treat yourself or someone else with kindness, acceptance, and neutrality, your soul is present for that relationship moment.

The ego drives us to accumulate relationship clutter. Here are some examples:

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Fix This Mistake to Change Your Relationships – and Your Life

It may feel to us as though life comes at us from the outside in, but in fact, it doesn’t. We meet life from the inside out. Once we understand this, we’ll see the mistake we’ve been making all along about the true meaning of strength – and how this has compromised our relationships. As we are now, we each have a list of things we want to overcome: our past; our failure to acquire what we believe we need; difficult people. We’ve identified these as challenges that come at us from outside. Naturally enough, our behavior is based on what our mind identifies as the cause of the problem. We keep fighting the exterior challenge as a means of healing ourselves, but we keep getting hurt. A wound that is covered over too soon fails to heal from the inside. In the same way, as we try to fix the psychological wound by changing things on the outside, we interfere with the natural healing process, which must be an internal one. Because we don’t understand the nature of the wound, we rend it again.

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Discover the Magic of “Relationship Jiu-jitsu”

An argument between two people (lovers, spouses, family members) is a kind of psychological battle often filled with personal attacks, accusations, and dredging up past mistakes.

When both parties are exhausted, or one grudgingly concedes, the fight ends – for the moment. But nothing has changed; resentment has just gone underground until it’s dug up again, and hostilities soon resume.

But it needn’t be this way. There’s a little known “magic” that can stop any fight in the moment, and helps prevent the next one from getting starting. It’s the result of what we can call “relationship jiu-jitsu.” 

Jiu-jitsu is an ancient Japanese martial art based in “the art of yielding.” The combatants use special “moves” to turn an opponent’s energy back on them.

But here, I’m using the term psychologically, where the opponent isn’t a person we’re fighting. The true “opponent” to be overcome is a negative, lower level of consciousness in each of us that blames the other for the punishing pattern we’re both caught up in. 

To apply “relationship jiu-jitsu,” at least one of us must see we’re about to mindlessly repeat some old pattern that has no winner. So, instead of acting from the negative energy we feel – having seen the futility of throwing it at the other person who will only throw it back at us – we do something completely new: rather than try to “prove” we’re right, we use the moment to discover something about ourselves that will not only help transform us, but maybe the other person as well! 

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Beyond Suffering: An Ah-Ha Moment!

Allyson and Jonathan are sitting in front of me at a 5-Day Intensive. Married for 2 years, they have lost the passion and fun they once had, and they cannot understand why.

As I sit with them and experience what I call their relationship system, I see that what Jonathan does when he feels lonely around Allyson is to abandon himself by getting hard and judgmental or by shutting down. I see that what Allyson does when she feels lonely around Jonathan is to abandon herself by disconnecting from herself, leaving her heart and going up into her head. I see that Allyson’s disconnection makes Jonathan feel lonely, and Jonathan’s judgment and withdrawal crush Allyson.

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Start Seeing What You “Give” to Others

Every moment is the right moment to start seeing ourselves as we are... regardless of whoever may be our “partner” of the moment.

Maybe it’s the person in that long line with us, complaining about how slowly things are moving. There’s no better time to practice seeing yourself than when some part of you can’t wait to “pounce” on the impatience of someone else. How about being stuck behind a driver on the freeway who won’t speed up or get out of the way?

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The Power of Love

Love is one of those words that gets used a lot but has so many different meanings. Love is a feeling, a sentiment, a behavior, an action, a way of being, and often the thing that has the capacity to heal almost every situation.

I don’t believe there is a shortage of love in the world, in fact I believe that just as there is more than enough air and water for all of us, there is an abundance of love. When we choose to consciously tap into the vast pool of love and share it with our world and the world around us, life is a better, safer, happier place for us all.

Here are wise words from a sermon by Rev. Michael Curry:
“The late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we discover that, we will be able to make of this old world a new world. Love is the only way.
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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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