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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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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Creating Heart-Level Connections & Community

“What are some of the ways you honor yourself?” 

This isn’t me asking you that question. This came out of the mouth of a young woman, smiling broadly after taking an order for breakfast at a cafe in San Diego that has become my most favorite restaurant in the world (and I am a foodie so this is a BIG statement!

I’m here now hosting the first weekend of my DreamQuest Mastermind—a seven-month small group intensive I offer once a year. When my team picked me up from the airport Anna and Jenn had already been there and had been raving about it so we all decided to go straight there, our car was laden to the brim with bags and boxes, me suitably jetlagged ready to experience something new. 

I had just been immersed in the airport lounge experience of multiple TV screens reminding everyone how, why and who they shouldn’t feel good or safe about and continuing the propaganda of division and distrust, the droning conditioning we’re constantly being subjected to. Headlines confirming fear, lack, and hatred sprinkled with just enough hope to keep us hungry. Maybe today something good? Nope, but almost. Keep watching!

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The real beauty of allowing kids to blossom as they are

When I saw this picture on Instagram, my heart just sang with joy. The caption read, “This is the morning Amma popped down the stairs and said: ‘Look! I’m Abby on the top and mommy on the bottom!’” Amma is the youngest child of Glennon Doyle, author of New York Times bestseller Love Warrior and married to two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA Women's World Cup champion Abby Wambach. She was given the freedom to be herself by allowing her to wear whatever she wants. While that might seem too simplistic or even trivial for many, this is a type of empowerment that helps a child grow up to be confident, self-assured and secure.

My soul was celebrating upon seeing this little girl who is allowed to be herself, respected for what she wants and honored for all that she is. Speaking from my own childhood experience, not many children are blessed with this kind of upbringing. Having been raised in a strict Asian culture, the message that was drilled into my head was, “You’re the child, I’m the parent. You don’t have any say on anything. You just obey and do as you’re told.” This includes something as “simple” as dressing up.

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How can we find balance on the path of love?

This is the path of love. The path of the heart. Like all paths, it is fraught with pitfalls and traps, and most of our emotions are either in the service of our minds or our frightening things that overwhelm us and make us afraid so we protect ourselves from them.

So we come through life a little bit like hungry ghosts. We are beings that have huge needs for love, but seemingly it’s like we have some kind of amoeba that doesn’t allow us to digest our food. So, though we get love, it goes through us and then we need love all over again. This conception is so deep within all of us that we’ve built an entire reality around it, and we think that’s the way it is; that everybody needs love and that if you don’t get it you are deprived, and that the more of it the better, and you need it every day from everything. In that sense it’s like an achievement; you see people that are achievers. The minute they achieve something it becomes irrelevant, and their awareness turns to the next achievement because they are addicted to the practice, not to the goal.

The predicament with loving is the power of the addiction of the practice of loving somebody; of getting so caught in the relationship that you can’t ever arrive at the essence of dwelling in love.

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Sometimes it’s Hard to be a Loving Adult

When do you find it especially hard to show up for yourself as a loving adult?

All of us are, at times, challenged in being a loving adult.

Most of the time I can be a loving adult just by deciding to be. But there are times when I find it extremely difficult, and that’s when I need someone to step in and help me. For me, it’s when I’m exhausted due to not having slept well for a number of nights, or when I’m sick – which fortunately is rare for me. At these times, I just can’t get my frequency high enough to connect with my guidance, and without my guidance, I’m lost. I feel like I’m trying to navigate life with a blindfold on.

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5 Ways to Vibrant Love

This week I am very excited to introduce you to my friend Shayne Traviss, who is an author, student of life, producer and founder of VividLife.me (And Oprah follows him on Twitter!) I’ve asked him to guest blog and share some of his wisdom about love with you. This for both singles and couples. Enjoy!

Are you on an endless search for ‘the love of your life’? Signed up to dating sites, apps… but every night you end up alone, walking the stairs with a cup of tea, snuggling in bed watching other people’s love stories on Netflix, wondering, ‘When will my prince(ess) arrive?’ You’ve been waiting for this fairy tale to come to true your entire life thanks to the conditioning of story books and Disney movies. When the whole time the love of your life, the prince(cess) has been right under your nose. You’ve just been looking outside for what’s already within.

Within each of us is both the inherent truth that we are what we’ve been looking for, and the wisdom to attract what we desire. We have to only stop the outward search long enough to listen to our inner guidance.

The secret to finding love, is to be love, like attracts like, love attracts love. So if you’re not vibrating love; still healing from a relationship, low self worth, holding onto anger, unforgiveness,… you need to start right there. With what the great Sufi poet Rumi so eloquently described in this quote:

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

You won’t find love (true love), until you’re vibrating love and to KEEP LOVE, you also must vibrate love.

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Purpose of Political Turmoil: Your Time to Lead with Love

When it comes to the often polarizing political and cultural turmoil taking place around the world on a daily basis, there’s one thing on which we can all agree: the constant upheaval and stress can cause our heads to spin, our blood pressure to rise, and leave us fearing for the future. This constant stir and stress, however, can also be our greatest gift.

Turmoil, of any kind, is medicine for the tribe and our own spiritual and personal evolution.

Friction as Fuel for Growth
Right now, we are up against a maturing of our own spiritual awareness. Every person, as well as every country, has to go through this maturing process that comes from friction in the external world. Our time is now.
When high frequency energy meets low frequency energy, friction occurs. In our lives, that translates to spirit energy meeting up with physical matter. Inside the human experience, friction looks like not getting along, not being able to speak the truth or any kind of conflict or turmoil. It is through friction here in the third dimension, whether it be political or domestic, that we learn who we are and can awaken to our deepest truth.

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Be Friendly

Friend or Foe?

The Practice:
Be friendly.

Why?

Friendliness is a down-to-earth approach to others that is welcoming and positive.

Think about a time when someone was friendly to you – maybe drawing you into a gathering, saying hello on the sidewalk, or smiling from across the room. How did that make you feel? Probably more included, comfortable, and at ease; safer; more open and warm-hearted.

When you are friendly to others, you offer them these same benefits. Plus you get rewarded yourself. Being friendly feels confident and happy, with a positive take on other people, moving toward the world instead of backing away from it. And it encourages others to be less guarded or reactive with you, since you’re answering the ancient question from millions of years of evolution – friend or foe? – with an open hand and heart.

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See the Person Behind the Eyes

Who is behind the mask?

The Practice:
See the person behind the eyes.

Why?

Most of us wear a kind of mask, a persona that hides our deepest thoughts and feelings, and presents a polished, controlled face to the world.

To be sure, a persona is a good thing to have. For example, meetings at work, holidays with the in-laws, or a first date are usually not the best time to spill your guts. Just because you’re selective about what you reveal to the world does not mean you’re insincere; phoniness is only when we lie about what’s really going on inside.

Much of the time, we interact mask-to-mask with other people. There’s a place for that. But remember times when someone saw through your mask to the real you, the person back behind your eyes. If you’re like me, those times were both unnerving and wonderful.

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What Makes You Feel Most Connected With Others?

What makes you feel connected with or disconnected from the important people in your life?


Connection with the people who are important to us is a vital need for everyone. Our brains are hard-wired to share love and connection with others. Many of us know that infants and children need a loving connection with their parents to thrive, and that many emotional problems result when this connection is not available.

Through practicing Inner Bonding, we learn how important it is to connect with ourselves and with our spiritual guidance. We learn that it is difficult to connect with another on an emotional level when we are not connected with our own feelings, and it is difficult to be open and vulnerable when we are not connected with the strength and love of our guidance.

Each of us experience connection differently, and for a relationship to thrive, we need to understand what connection means to each of us.

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How To Transform Your Relationship With Your Parents

Your parents may not be perfect human beings, as they too are souls on this journey of life and are here to learn lessons like you.

But what if you have the perfect parents for your soul’s growth and evolution in this lifetime?

Relationships with parents can be some of the most challenging and difficult to navigate.

Ask yourself: What are the lessons that your soul is seeking to learn with them?

They give birth to you, raise you, and impact so much of who you become.

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Do You Have Harmonious Relationships?

This week our focus is on harmonious relationships (according to my reading for the week!) and so having a look around and seeing who is populating your world is a first step in seeing how you’re singing in or out of tune along with the people in your world.

Relationships need tending, pruning, and watering like precious plants we want to see flower and bloom. But if you are sharing your water until you’re empty so you feel safe, certain, and in control and to please others you’re not doing what’s best for you (or them) at all. 

One of the things I needed to shift in my life over the years was this idea that I had to put others’ needs in front of my own, to always be available and to give until I was exhausted when it was demanded of me. I actually got a lot out of that “out of tune” way of singing along with life, as I felt needed (and entitled to whining) but it wasn’t healthy and it certainly wasn’t authentic as I grew to have a lot of resentment. Once I discovered it was my job to set healthy boundaries and to admit when I couldn’t be there, or didn’t know something, and could voice my own needs as well as be accountable for my own self-care, everything changed. I mean everything! Self-worth, self-respect, come to you immediately when you begin to put a relationship with yourself first. 

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Do I Have To Be Healed To Attract My Beloved?

One of my clients asked me the following question: “Can I attract my beloved if I’m still in the process of healing my inner pain?”

The simple answer is “Yes,” but the actual answer is more complex.

 

Healing is a Process

Healing is an ongoing process of learning to be less judgmental and more compassionate with yourself. Healing pain isn’t just about the past – It’s primarily about how you are currently treating yourself. For example:

  • You judge yourself as not good enough and you feel pain. While you might have learned to do this as a child from others who judged or rejected you, the fact that you are still doing it as an adult means that you are rejecting yourself and re-creating your pain. Your pain will not heal as long as you are rejecting yourself.
  • You avoid your feelings by numbing them with various addictions, or you avoid them by staying focused in your mind and ignoring what is happening inside where your feelings are. This creates a feeling of inner rejection and abandonment, as well as emptiness and neediness. Again, you are re-creating the old pain of not being loved as you were growing up.
  • You tend to make others responsible for your safety and self-worth. They have to approve of you in order for you to feel that you are okay. Your feeling self – your inner child – feels abandoned by you when you give him or her away to others for approval.

As long as you continue to reject and abandon yourself, you will meet partners at your common level of self-abandonment – partners who are also rejecting and abandoning themselves.

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What’s Your Love Language?

After I got married I found out there is something so much more important than being “right.” It’s being “loved.” I discovered that when I was committed to being “right,” it always meant making someone else “wrong.” As you know, feeling wrong does not go well with feeling loved.

So many of us like to assume a rigid stance and “dig in our heels” to fight for our point of view and prove how “right” we are — often about some pretty stupid stuff. The cost of needing to be right is hurting, harassing or humiliating the ones we claim to love the most.

I have finally learned to manage my mind and my mouth. Most of the time it’s not necessary to “correct” anyone on what I think is right or wrong unless it’s really pertinent to someone’s wellbeing. Now, when I am smart enough to “catch” myself and I am about to blurt out something in order to be “right,” I slap some imaginary masking tape over my mouth and choose love instead.

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Choose To Love

What does your heart say?

The Practice:
Choose to Love

Why?

Many years ago, I was in a significant relationship in which the other person started doing things that surprised and hurt me. I’ll preserve the privacy here so I won’t be concrete, but it was pretty intense. After going through the first wave of reactions – What?! How could you? Are you kidding me?! – I settled down a bit. I had a choice.

This relationship was important to me, and I could see that a lot of what was going through the mind over there was really about the other person and not about me. I began to realize that the freest, strongest, and most self-respecting thing that I could do was both to tell the person that we were on very thin ice . . . and to choose to love meanwhile.

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Why You Might Afraid to Be Open With Your Partner or Others

Discover what you are sacrificing if you withhold your truth due to your fear of others’ reactions.

“He will be so angry if I tell him that.”
“I’m afraid of losing her if I’m honest with her.”

How often have you said to yourself, “I can’t say that because he or she will get angry, shut down, get hurt, or leave”?

How do you feel when you are not open with your partner or others about your feelings, needs, wants, and actions? I have noticed that when I don’t speak my truth, I feel angry or depressed inside. My inner child really hates it if I allow fear to stop me from being fully authentic. My anger or depression is my inner child’s way of letting me know that I am abandoning her.

When your partner or others react to your truth with anger, withdrawal, hurt, or threats of leaving, they believe that their controlling behavior is working for them. Because you are either willing to lose yourself rather than lose them, or you are willing to lie or withhold the truth, they can continue to react with their controlling behavior without directly experiencing the consequences of their behavior on the relationship.

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