Wednesday, May 23 2012
Originally published July 2009.
In the book, Relationships & the Law of Attraction
, by Abraham-Hicks publications, it said, “ We attract relationships that cause us pain because we need to affirm our core beliefs about ourselves and we attract the relationships we need to help us grow.” But what does it mean when we experience pain in a seemingly healthy, loving relationship? It is within that relationship where we are safe and unconditionally loved that we often experience the most pain as we try to re-enact an old pattern, heal a deeper wound, and begin to mature emotionally. That relationship becomes the greenhouse that allows our soul to bloom.
It’s safe to be alone and work on ourselves. We can totally focus on our own personal development and self-growth. We might feel intermittent loneliness but any deep underlying insecurities may not arise. Any defenses and old patterns of behavior go into remission because we aren’t triggered by another person.
If we do grow, chances are that we will become very attractive. There’s nothing more attractive than a woman who exudes self-confidence, well-being, and a beauty that can only come from within. If we’ve progressed very far, we’ll attract a safer, more loving relationship than the last one.
Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. ~Marcel Proust
Photo courtesy of Olga from Flickr.com
Thursday, October 22 2009
Are you a victim of obsessive thinking after the break-up of a relationship? Recovery is on its way because the first step is the desire to be free!
Obsessive thinking is repeatedly falling into a pattern of thought that creates feelings of anxiety, depression and despair. It would be great if the obsessive thoughts were positive and life affirming but usually they're not, particularly after the break-up of a relationship. What causes it? What can you do about it?
Science suggests a couple of reasons for obsessive thinking: 1) seratonin
levels as a possible cause for obsessive compulsive disorder; and 2) the Hebbian theory
- neurons that fire together wire together. Neuronets of thought form in the brain and thoughts will take the path of list resistance - the rut of obsessive thinking.
I think also that we can become dependent on stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine that are released with negative thoughts. It's like being addicted to our bodies' own internal drug store.
The best way to describe obsessive thinking is like an addiction. You have a thought, the thought takes a thought, and before you know it you're emotionally intoxicated. Some times the slightest reminder of the relationship can trigger the phenomenon of craving for the other person much like an alcoholic's craving for alcohol. As much as you want to feel better, the craving wins and you start obsessively thinking again. You feel powerless to stop them.
The first three method below are adapted from 12 Step recovery programs.
- Admit your powerlessness over the other person, the relationship, obsessive thinking and that your obsession is hurting your life.
- Ask to be restore to sanity. It doesn't matter if you believe in God, g.o.d - good orderly direction, Source Energy, or the Higgs Boson. It's the connection that comes with asking that's important.
- Turn over your will for your life, the other person, and the relationship to that same Higher Power.*
- Find a support person or group who has the solution.
- Cognitive therapy exercises to get your mind in the present moment. i.e., "There's a blue car in front of me. A road sign that says 35 mph. A green tree . . . ."
- EFT - Emotional Freedom Technique, an energy psychology method that releases negative emotion that's stored in the body's energy system.
I like to laugh now and say, "If it's not worth obsessing about, it's not worth thinking about!" That's years after practicing all of the solutions outlined above and finally finding some relief from my own obsessive thinking.
The break-up of a seven year relationship caused me to be in the deepest pain that I had ever felt. Every day was filled with wasted hours of reliving past events with my partner, fearing future events, having conversations with him in my mind - I was miserable! After practicing the first five methods* outlined above a break came.
It was summer time. I had just parked my car and was walking down the sidewalk. I was wearing a black and white sheath dress from The Limited. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and my mind was clear, free from obsession. At that moment I thought, "Is this all I get? He gets to have a new girlfriend, a . . . . " That thought took a thought and my thinking was once again obsessed with him. The emotional pain returned immediately. That brief moment of freedom was serenity but it was so foreign to me that once again I defaulted to pain. Who would think that peace of mind could feel so boring?
Through the years I've created a number of relationships or situations about which to obsess; however, I now have the tools to return cope and restore my peace of mind.
You Can’t Stop Thinking
You can’t not think. See, Don't Think About the Problem
. What you can do is turn your thoughts to something that feels better. That simple action begins breaking the neuronet of obsessive thinking about the relationship and can build new networks of thought. Where can you turn you attention that feels better? A funny movie? Happy music? Gardening? Taking a walk in the sunshine? Dinner with friends? Exercise? Taking a class? What other methods do you use to break the cycle of obsessive thinking?
What other methods do you use to break the cycle of obsessive thinking?
* EFT was added to my repertoire of tools two or three years ago.
Photo by lorda on flickr.com
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Thursday, October 01 2009
How many times have you raced down the road of a new relationship to end up a wreck?
Keep It Under 80 and Watch Out for the Other Guy
The best relationship advice I ever received was meant to be a joke, not advice especially about relationships. Every time we said goodbye, a friend of mine would say, "Keep it under 80 and watch out for the other guy."
Isn't that great advice for a new relationship? Keep it under 80. Don't move in with someone after a month. Go slow. Watch out for curves in the journey. Stay in your lane.
Watch out for the other guy. This relates to the post about the orange barrels
in relationships that warn of rough road ahead. When love hits like a steam roller, common sense flies out the window. Even in marriage or other long-term relationships, the road can be rocky during times of constructive growth.
Take a deep breath. Slow down. Know yourself and take the time to know the other guy.
Photo courtesy of Double Grande, Flickr.com
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Wednesday, September 30 2009
Driving along the freeway the other day I saw a row of orange barrels marking a change in the traffic pattern. A large sign announced, "Construction Area". Drivers are trained to pay attention to the orange barrels. We know that something's going to change. We're entering a stretch of road that could be dangerous if we don't pay attention. We could hit a construction worker if we don't slow down.
There are orange barrels in relationships too. Markers, events, attitudes that warn us that we're about to enter a construction zone in the relationship. A zone where we may need to slow down, look alert for our own safety, or the safety of others. If we're not paying attention, we won't see the warning signs and end up in a relationship wreck.
What kind of orange barrels are we talking about?
In one instance, I was introduced to a man by a mutual friend. He was handsome and he was employed. The latter of which had become a requirement for dating me. My friend knew this man from seeing him at a local bar. When we started dating, I began meeting his friends. They would tell me stories of his being drunk and falling asleep in their bathtub. They told stories of his being drunk and wrecking his motorcycle. They told me dozens of drinking stories that were orange barrels, warning signs.
Yet I didn't see the barrels! He was handsome. He was charming. He didn't drink every day and I never really saw him drunk when we were dating. How could those drinking stories be orange barrels warning me of rough road ahead?
What about other relationships? Friendships? Workplace relationships? Are there orange barrels there? I believe there are.
Some of the orange barrels I have experienced included a new friend who would create emotional drama within group situations to get her own way. The entire group was afraid of upsetting her so they went along with what ever she wanted. I got caught up in that drama! Looking back, I could see all the warning signs were there to forecast the event. I just thought our friendship was stronger than her need for drama.
Whenever orange barrels appear in relationships, we have choices. We can slow down, stay in our lane, and watch for rough road ahead. We can choose to take the first exit. We can look for an alternative route.
In what instances have you ignored the warnings signs in a relationship and not followed the signs? How have you coped?
Let us know what you think by leaving a comment.
Monday, September 28 2009
As I was driving up the freeway this morning, I saw two signs on either side of the road that said, "STAY IN LANE."
I thought, "Those should be posted everywhere!"
My Life Recovery journey has included learning to stay in my own lane. By living that simple traffic rule, I have been able to sustain my own peace and happiness even when I've been surrounded by other people's chaos and drama.
How do you stay in your lane? By minding your own business - mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
What happens when we don't stay in our lane in relationships? There is an emotional collision. We cut someone off and they get a resentment.
Mentally we can stay in our own lane by not worrying or obsessively thinking about someone else and her problems. We mind our own mental business, staying in the present moment and focusing our mental energy on tasks we can accomplish. We learn that we don't have to share every thought we think. We learn that we aren't mind readers either. How many times have you heard yourself say, "I know what you're thinking"?
Emotionally staying in your lane is all about detachment. Life recovery means being adult enough to know at our core that we get to choose how we're going to think about something and thereby choose how we're going to feel about it. It's learning that we can never feel enough pain in our hearts to change someone else or to heal their pain. It is only by remaining steady in our own emotional being that we can teach someone to be steady in theirs.
Spiritually we stay in our lane by minding our own spiritual business. What would that look like? It means not preaching about spiritual principles and simply leading by the clarity of our example. If we are all one and we are all on a spiritual journey, who are we to judge another?
Saturday, August 29 2009
When you're in a dysfunctional relationship with someone who is manipulative or an alcoholic/addict, you may find yourself repeatedly in a conflict that you were determined to avoid! Then once again you feel anger, anxiety, or depression. "What happened?" you ask yourself. "How can I be here again?"
Alcoholics/addicts and manipulative personalities know how to fish. Any good fisherman takes a tackle box full of extra hooks, lures, lines, and sinkers. Upon arriving at the lake, the fisherman attaches a hook and the lure he thinks the fish will like best. After a while, if the fish aren't biting on the first lure, the fisherman changes the bait. He changes the bait until he finds something the fish will bite or he gives up. So it can be with conflict-ridden relationships.
Years ago I was dating a man who bought a house. The house was mostly empty except for a few bare essentials in furniture. He commented that he needed to get more furniture and some things for his house. I offered to go furniture shopping with him but he rejected the offer. I argued for a while, trying to get my way, but he adamantly rejected the idea. My feelings were hurt but I accepted what he wanted.
A couple of weeks later we repeated the pattern. He started talking about decorating his house and invited me to discuss it. I offered to help him. He rejected the offer. We argued until I gave up. Again my feelings were hurt.
The next time he invited me to the house decorating discussion, I kept silent. He continued the dialog by himself and I just listened. For a moment he was confused but kept talking about buying furniture.
After a while, he changed the subject to something I couldn't resist - picking out art. He asked for my opinion. Excitedly, I jumped from where I was sitting to the love seat, where I could sit close to him. I offered to help him. He firmly said, "no." I was stunned, hurt, and speechless.
He changed the bait! He was so clever that he changed it to something I couldn't resist. I swallowed the lure like an eager fish. All he had to do was reel me in.
What is the solution? Don't expect a fisherman to quit fishing. That's what he does. Just become a smarter, less hungry fish.
Photo courtesy of Bob Jagendorf on Flicker.com
Wednesday, August 05 2009
Things are going really well in my marriage. Thanks to my husband's new girlfriend, a John Deere tractor complete with belly mower, front loader, and bush hog.
When she first came to our farm, his excitement was obvious. He learned how to turn her on, rev her up, and make her purr. Even now a couple of weeks later, chores magically appear that need the help of a tractor.
Am I jealous? Not in the least little bit! He's so happy with his tractor that all that positive energy spills out to me! I'm basking in the light of second hand love.
How many times have you wanted someone else to make you happy? Danced through fire to make someone else happy? Or felt jealous because his happiness came from playing golf?
People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost. ~H. Jackson Browne
Tuesday, July 07 2009
According to the Law of Attraction, the vibrational energy of our core beliefs attracts all relationships and experiences to us. That vibrational energy is transmitted to the world around us not only through the actions we take but also through our thoughts and feelings. We literally create our lives through unseen means. One might ask, if we get to create our lives in the way we want, why would we attract relationships that cause us pain?
We attract relationships that cause us pain because we need to affirm our core beliefs about ourselves and we attract the relationships we need to help us grow. Therefore, a victim must attract a persecutor. A caretaker must have someone who needs care. A perfectionist must attract someone who is critical and judgmental. An insecure person must attract someone who can’t love her, and a person with low self-esteem must attract someone who tells her she’s not good enough.
Repeating patterns in relationships that cause painful emotions are signals to prompt us to look for changes that need to be made within. Just when we thought we were done with an uncomfortable relationship pattern, it can repeat itself with another person to teach us another lesson and to allow us to heal at a deeper level.
Many times these relationship patterns repeat themselves because we have not completed the learning experience. We leave the relationship before the lesson is learned. Whatever we do not heal in one relationship, we carry on to the next one. We leave with re-opened wounds, old scars, and all our defenses intact. Those wounds, scars, and defenses are the emotional matrix within which all our relationships develop. We carry this emotional matrix with us at an unconscious, core level wherever we go.
Awareness is the first key to change. How can we become aware of our emotional matrix? Can we change our core thoughts and feelings to create better relationships?
* * *
No one comes into our lives by accident. Carolyn Myss, Sacred Contracts
Photo courtesy of Tanakawho from Flickr.com.
Friday, June 19 2009
One of my former clients is now engaged and planning her wedding for October. Recently she told me that some of the best advice I gave her about wedding planning was "keep it simple." She took that advice and apparently it's working. Her energy is peaceful, relaxed and happy.
There have been a number of weddings and receptions at our private retreat in Ohio. Some have been for family and others have been for friends. There have been small weddings and large weddings, not to mention other weddings that we have been involved with in the past. In all my experience with weddings, one important thing stands out:
The more time there is to plan, the larger and more stressful the wedding becomes.
Long engagements with no wedding date are not the same thing as long engagements that allow for 12 months to plan for the wedding. For wedding planning purposes, the less time there is to plan the smoother things will go. And less time usually means less money.
In 12 months' time, a wedding expands exponentially from a location, simple reception, flowers, music, dress, tux (or not) and a few guests into a monster that includes a four piece quartet, hand-made origami cranes for each of the 200 guests, flowers both in the chapel, for the bride, for the bride's mother, the groom's mother, grandmothers, and Aunt Harriet's second cousin, Sally! In 6 months' time the guest list is shortened, invitations are simpler, favors are skipped, flowers are cut back and the whole planning process becomes much simpler.
The simplest plan of all is to use an all inclusive wedding service that does all the work for you or elope to Las Vegas. Only invite the people who are important to you; the people who will share your life, not just your wedding day.
"Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." Cyril Northcote Parkinson