My friend Martha said something to me the other day that stopped me cold. “I have an idea for you,” she said. Having no idea what her idea could possibly be, I said, “Go for it. Tell me.”
Now, Martha knows me well. She knows my strengths, my weaknesses, my fears. She’s stood beside me when it was dark and she has constantly and consistently pushed me into my own light. When a person like that says they have an idea for you, pay attention.
Martha went on to tell me that a mutual friend who had recently been in a meeting with me remarked, “I didn’t know how smart Maria is. I didn’t realize who she was until that meeting. Why is she holding back her power?”
Martha continued, “Why don’t you take a week and walk into every encounter – personally and professionally – and say exactly what’s on your mind? Why don’t you take a week to feel your own personal power? Don’t be afraid that you might offend people. Don’t be afraid you might scare people. Don’t be afraid of your own intensity. Step into it and see how you feel.”
Are you too quick with doubt, limitations, cost analyses, reasons why not?
Why do we have cheerleaders?
Don't rain on others dreams.
Let's say you've had an interesting idea or moment of inspiration, or thought of a new project, or felt some enthusiasm bubbling up inside you. Your notions are not fully formed and you're not really committed to them yet, but they have promise and you like them and are trying them on for size. Then what?
You’ve probably heard the saying “what you put your attention on grows” and this is especially true when it comes to love. If you desire MORE love in your life, you can it today!
In recent years, science has discovered that our brains are filled with something now known as mirror neurons. These are a type of brain cell that responds equally when we perform an action and when we witness someone else perform the same action.
For instance, let’s say you are watching a couple holding hands, snuggling or kissing – whether it’s in person, or on a TV or movie screen, your mirror neurons fire off the same synapses as they would if you yourself were doing the snuggling or kissing!
I was recently asked a very delicate question in one of my seminars: “How do I deal with my partner who cheated on me? What do I do?”
There is not always a simple answer.
If your partner cheats on you, it is deeply painful.
When you feel that your heart and trust is betrayed it can be a very difficult thing to recover from.
So does that automatically mean the end of your relationship?
Relationship is a profound path of personal growth and spiritual evolution.
In case you were wondering, love really is the answer!
It doesn’t matter what the question is.
The answer is always love.
Love is a high frequency attribute of the True Self.
Science tells us that love makes us happier, healthier, reduces stress, relieves anxiety and can even help us live longer.
Who wouldn’t want more of that?
The sad reality is that there are millions of wonderful, beautiful people in the world today who don’t feel loved… who don’t experience love at all.
Have you or someone you know ever felt unloved or unlovable?
A life with low levels of love is a life of suffering.
Here’s the good news…
When we are fully connected to our True Self, love is who we are!
According to my late sister Debbie’s favorite holy man, Rabbi Ezagui of Chabad La Jolla, marriage is the highest calling of mankind. He says:
“True love is loving the person for what they love, who they are, for what they stand for. If you go into a marriage loving what you love, not what they love, that is not love. Real love is not finding someone to hold your hand and find common ground with; the institution of marriage is to push you out of your comfort zone, to lift you up above what you need, so that you can provide what you’re needed for,” says Rabbi Ezagui.
A year ago, I wrote a blog piece that got an amazing response. It’s called, “How To Love A Woman [A Letter To Men]”.
So many people shared how much they were inspired.
Women shared that they were seen and understood. Men shared they were inspired to love women more deeply.
I decided to turn this into a very special video that is sure to inspire you.
This video is quite different and unique. It will touch your heart.
Painful experiences are more than passing discomforts.
What Are They Feeling?
The Practice: Try to understand others.
Imagine a world in which people interacted with each other like ants or fish. Imagine a day at work like this, or in your family, aware of the surface behavior of the people around you but oblivious to their inner life while they remain unmoved by your own.
That's a world without empathy.
Empathic breakdowns shake the foundation of a relationship; just recall a time you felt misunderstood – or even worse, a time when the other person couldn’t care less about understanding you. In particular, anyone who is vulnerable (e.g., children, the elderly) has a profound need for empathy, and when it’s a thin soup or missing altogether, that’s very disturbing. In my experience as a therapist, poor empathy is the core problem in most troubled couples or families; without it, nothing good is likely to happen. With it, even the toughest issues can be resolved.
When a person wants to reach the next level in their life, when they want to understand the truths -- the principles that actually produce in them a new kind of freedom -- they have to know where to look for it.
From micro to macro, you can discover that the whole universe is based on cycles and that these cycles run through our lives, determining our relationships with each other. And yet, there is something -- which we will call Love -- that contains these cycles… and it is right inside of us.
Once we recognize Love's existence and understand where it dwells, we can begin to intuit that we are all connected in an incredible living web through which we are meant to experience ourselves and learn from one another.
Relationship is how Love expresses itself in this universe. Relationship serves to express both the conditions under which we learn as well as those conditions that deliver us to the lessons we have to learn.
The truths that free us actually set up the conditions from which we need to be rescued for the purpose of showing us that the Truth goes before us and has always been there. So that rather than this maze of experiences we don’t understand that we try to solve or overcome, the process changes. Instead of being an externally oriented human being, we begin to become internally oriented. We understand that the order of relationship that exists for the purpose of our life itself waits for us to go to it -- waits for us to understand that the relationship we have to have first and foremost isn’t the one that our mind and feelings tell us we have to have, but that pre-exists inside of us.
You can’t change anyone else.
It’s not your job.
The only person that you have control of changing is yourself.
Change yourself first and everything in your life will begin to shift.
Spending your energy trying to change others is a waste of time and only leads to frustration.
Relationships are a mirror.
This past weekend I led The Shadow Process Workshop in Miami. In this workshop, as in so many of our other programs and workshops, there were people who were in pain because they:
Could not decide on the direction of their marriage
Were still struggling with hurt they’ve carried since childhood as a result of a critical, cruel, or absent parent
Were still carrying around the betrayal of a love that didn’t last
These people, our amazing workshop participants, were a mirror of the hurt that most of us are carrying around in our hearts as a result of some unhealed or unresolved relationships.
Although many people come into our lives with the best of intentions, whether through birth or happenstance, many relationships feel like they go from sacred to sour.
The fact is that every relationship is a sacred relationship -- especially our closest relationships. Think of what an honor it is to have someone open their heart to you or to be invited into someone’s home or even in this day and age to be included in a private group text. Any time we are being invited to be in relationship with someone it truly is a privilege and a profound responsibility.
The other day we were at the home of Maria Menunous where I was taping her Sirius radio show (it will air next month and then be available on her podcast).
We were standing in her garden while two beautiful yellow and black butterflies flew in tandem, circling us for several minutes in a beautiful dance.
I really felt as if those butterflies were friends from the other side saying hello, reminding me they were nearby…. I believe they send us signs and find ways to remind us that they truly are always with us….
The greatest, most abundant resource on planet Earth is also its least understood and utilized. Its unlimited supply is found virtually everywhere, anytime, and under all circumstances, even though few recognize its real value. What is this most precious collective resource? It is 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.
What do we have to do 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? How do we learn to use our relationships with others to realize a new kind of relationship with ourselves where we are able to discover 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.
You know you're squabbling when you find yourself getting irritated.
It's one thing to stick up for yourself and others. But it's a different matter to get caught up in wrangles, contentiousness, squabbles . . . in a word: quarrels.
Similarly, it's one thing to disagree with someone, even to the point of arguing—but it's a different matter to get so caught up in your position that you lose sight of the bigger picture, including your relationship with the other person. Then you're quarreling.
You know you're quarreling when you find yourself getting irritated, especially with that sticky feeling that you're just not gonna quit until you've won.
Quarrels happen both out in the open, between people, and inside the mind, like when you make a case in your head about another person or keep revisiting an argument to make your point more forcefully. We quarrel most with family and friends—imagine that! But also with people on TV, or politicians and groups we don't like. We can even quarrel with conditions in life (such as an illness or tight money) or with physical objects, like a sticky drawer slammed shut in anger.
However, they happen, quarrels are stressful, activating the ancient fight-or-flight machinery in your brain and body: a bit of this won't harm you, but a regular diet of quarreling is not good for your long-term physical and mental health.
Plus, it eats away like acid on a relationship. For example, I was in a serious relationship in my mid-twenties that was headed for marriage, but our regular quarrels finally so scorched the earth in our hearts that no love could grow there for each other.
This week, try not to quarrel with anyone or anything.
I want to share with you the following special story of a dad’s love, in showing that he really is there for his son and family.
Just this week, I gave out two of my books that had ‘sand dollar’ connections. I was out enjoying the day in the beautiful town of Newburyport, MA and came upon an artist who was displaying her creative work using real sand dollars. She had jewelry, night lights, and colorful plaques. With each item there was a story of the sand dollar and how they relate to the five doves that visited the three kings on that special night in Bethlehem. I told her that they also had a special meaning to someone else I know. I told her the following story below and said it was in a book. She said: “Now that's a book I’d read!”
That day in Newburyport was also a day I decided to do what I've often done in the past, which was to leave my latest book : Bridging Two Realms – Learn to Communicate With Our Loved Ones On The Other-Side in a random place for someone to find. I trust that the right person will find it and it could be just when they need it. I didn't even have to leave it somewhere, as I felt the urge to give it away right then and there! I reached into my bag and gave this woman a book. She offered to pay me, but of course I refused the money. The book was meant for her!
Your body is beautiful just because you have a body.
No other reason needed.
It is a living work of art. A masterpiece and magical expression of the Divine.
But how often do we really appreciate and love our bodies?
We have been conditioned and brainwashed by the media to believe that “You are not enough as you are”.
This is a lie.
This creates so much shame, judgment, non-acceptance of our naturalness. We end up hating our bodies, disconnecting from it’s innate intelligence, and comparing ourselves to others.
We base our self-worth on being the perfect shape, weight, or size.
There is one essential ingredient missing in most of our relationships -- one that is definitely required if we wish to continue in our own development and help others to do the same. What is this powerful catalyst that only we can provide for each other? Room in which to grow.
We can help others reach higher by simply agreeing, consciously, to give them space to go through their changes even when these changes may challenge our sense of self and its well-being. As just one simple example of how to help in this way, we must each learn to keep ourselves quiet when the actions of someone close to us start to disturb us. Why is this new kind of self-silence so important for the growth of both parties involved?
To begin with, the disturbance that we feel in these moments is caused by a tremor in us. This is to say that our shaky sense of self is an effect of some picture we have held of this person as it hits the ground and shatters. Apart from our children, whom we must guide through their developing years, we need to learn to leave people alone with their decisions and corresponding actions. There is already a truth, a wisdom that supports this conscious course of action.
“Are you one of those people who would rather be right than loved? Here’s the chance to choose differently.” –Jan Desai
I’m a statistic: twice divorced and almost ten years into my third marriage. If you’re a numbers person, the statistics are stacked against me.
In the U.S., fifty percent of first marriages end in divorce with 67 percent of second and 73 percent of third marriages ending in divorce.
It appears that happily ever after really doesn’t exist.
But this time around I’m committed to something different. I’ve learned a thing or two about navigating the bumpy roads of relationships and I wish to share my greatest discovery in ensuring that the statistics don’t get the best of me… or you!
It’s called conscious partnering.
I have this memory from 1990 of feeling like my little baby and I were all alone in the universe. The love that I felt for him was heartbreaking. I could sit and watch him sleep for hours, waiting for his little cherub lip to quiver in his slumber. Everything else in my life felt too bright, too loud, too something… too raw. My body was a disaster, and my mind wasn’t too far behind. The only bright spot was the baby.
I had flashbacks of giving birth for months. It was terrifying and excruciating. They call it a precipitous delivery, when your cervix dilates from 4 to 10 centimeters in less than 10 minutes. His head was stuck behind my tailbone and they were pushing so hard on my back that it felt like it broke. The anesthesiologist wouldn’t give me an epidural because they didn’t have an IV running. She responded to my screams for drugs: “You’re not getting any drugs, honey; your baby is coming out now.” It felt like someone was cutting my body open with an axe and pulling out my organs — and that was a vaginal delivery!