Tuesday, 28 September 2010

...Considers The Rules Of Love.

I want to meet someone wonderful, a male someone wonderful in my case, and I want to fall in love and get married. In that order. I’m very clear on the order. I don’t want to get married first and hope the love will follow, and I don’t want to meet someone and liaise with them casually without having a shared intention to get married (even if that doesn’t necessarily happen). But the truth of the matter is that the order in which it happens is not the real problem.

It’s all the rules that we attach to our perception of the perfect partner and the perfect relationship that get in the way of having the relationship that’s perfect for you.

You know what I’m talking about here, don’t you? Yes you do...admit it. You have a mental “tick-box questionnaire” in your head that you complete without your date’s knowledge. Guess what? They’re doing it too! The reassuring part is that we all do it.

I wonder how many of my readers feel the same way? Come on be honest! And how many of you feel there are so many rules out there, that in the end the whole relationship malarkey looks exhausting so you give up before even trying? We convince ourselves that the single life is far more appealing and we tell ourselves we’re happy being single, that the mere thought of being in a relationship is suffocating. Our new mantra is “...I don’t want to lose my freedom/friends/space for a wo/man no matter how gorgeous/rich/tall/handsome s/he is. Na-ah. No way. Not. For. Me...” Sound familiar? I thought so.

Here are some of the rules that I’ve come across (not all mine I hasten to add):

1. The Age Rule. Im not in my 20’s any more, Im not even in my 30’s any more...does that mean I can’t look at potential partners from those age groups? Men don’t seem too worried about this rule when it comes to looking at younger partners, but no matter what Demi says, it still provokes a reaction when an older woman steps out with a younger man. It never bothered me, I must say. In my opinion, it’s stage not age that matters. Delete this rule.

2. The Race Rule. He’s got to be athletic & be able to run a 1 minute mile. Barefoot. No, but seriously, many communities are more open-minded than ever before about interracial marriages and they are very common-place now. In my own family we have a wide variety of countries represented, including Bangladesh, Morrocco, England, Norway, Iran and Pakistan. Delete this rule.

3. The Geography Rule. I don’t know about you but I really don’t like long distance relationships (Affectionately known as the LDR!) How can I get to know someone if they live in another country or at the other end of this one? Even with the technological advances that have brought us mobile phones, email, skype and webcams, when it comes to relationships, I see these as fake methods of communication. It’s sort of cheating in my opinion. That is to say, if you’re relying on text messages and emails as a main method of interaction, then you’re cheating your partner out of real meaningful communication which can only happen when you’re in the same room. It’s said that 93% of communication is non verbal. That means if you’re emailing or texting or only talking on the phone, you’re both missing out on tone of voice, body language, eye-contact to name but a few non-verbals. I strongly believe you will never know if you’re truly compatible with someone if your postcodes are in different languages. The LDR is not for me. Uphold this rule.

4. The Approval Rule. My parents didn’t like my first husband initially, then they loved him so much that they were more upset at our divorce than me! (Don’t worry that all changed when they found out why I left him, but I digress...). We all want our family & friends to like our partner as much as we do, and we do place peer & family approval high on our lists. However I’m a firm believer that when your family see how much in love you both are, they will love her/him just as much as you. So I don’t worry too much about this one. Delete this rule.

That means there’s only one of the above rules I really need to obey. Phew! Of course my intended has to have shared values and principles, be kind, loving, loyal, respect my boundaries & respect my children and want to spend the rest of his life with me. Oh and he’s got to share the housework, the cooking, the duvet...oh no...more rules!

What rules do you have that are stopping you from enjoying the relationship that’s perfect for you? Notice how I said the relationship that’s perfect for you, not the perfect relationship. Because the truth is that there are no perfect relationships.The best we can hope for is a gorgeous heady mixture of two people’s fixtures, fixations & foibles, all working together in imperfect harmony.

Wouldn’t it be simpler to throw out the rule book and just prepare for the perfection that is to love and be loved? Now there’s a rule worth sticking to!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

... Asks Are You Really Over Your Ex?

The relationship was so so SO great, you were convinced she was the one. This is quite simply the best thing that has ever happened to you and it’s never going to end. Oh my gosh I love her! I never want to be without him! How could I ever live without her? We’re gonna get married and have babies and be deliriously happy! Yay!

Then you break up. And the breakup was...well, ...not that bad actually. You're sooooo over it!

Here’s 10 signs, that apply to men and women alike, that you’re well and truly over your ex:
  1. You no longer look for his name on your mobile when it rings/beeps with a text.
  2. You’ve stopped stalking her/her friends/her family on Facebook/twitter/myspace.
  3. You don’t feel the need to drive past her place at 11pm...1am...3am...
  4. All her stuff is now in the bin/at the charity store.
  5. You no longer rummage through your “memories box” for reminders of the good times.
  6. You don't have that memory box any more.
  7. Hearing his name doesn’t make your heart miss a beat any more.
  8. You’ve stopped checking your inbox for new emails from her...even though it’s been precisely 8 minutes since you last checked.
  9. You don’t go for walks alone any more in all the old familiar places, hoping she’ll be there too.
  10. The thought of them being with someone else doesn't hurt your feelings.

Did you recognise any of the signs? Great! Because now you know you’re well and truly over “the ex”, and you’re ready to look forward to the next loving experience. Start by expecting the best relationship for you to come to you naturally and easily. Be loving, kind and sincere and expect the best...it’s what you deserve and it’s heading in your direction, so be prepared to recognise it when it shows up! 

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

...Shares Her Musings On Forgiveness.

This is a very personal piece which I wrote for my own benefit to clear some of the clutter in my head, and I’d like to share this because it may help you if you’re experiencing something similar.

I recently spent some time (a very brief period truth be told, spanning all of 45 minutes) in the company of a small group of people who I thought I had long ago forgiven for a hurt that I felt had been perpetrated upon me. The details don’t matter (they rarely do after any given period of time do they?) but the emotional attachment to the event remained. My reaction upon seeing them again after many years proved that. Also, the forgiveness I thought I had exercised had not worked.

I got to wondering, how useful is the process of forgiveness and why is it so important? And when do we know we’ve truly forgiven someone?

Forgive and forget goes the saying...well I had forgotten nothing. I wouldn’t show it on the outside - well, we don’t do we because we don’t want the other person to know they’ve hurt us. (Hang on a minute...are they really bothered? Ouch...that hurts even more). I’m still harbouring pain and they act as if they don’t even remember much less care. How could I feel so upset after so long? I spent just 45 minutes with them and was angry about something that happened years ago.

I did all the “right things” at the time it happened - I rationalised the disagreement in my head, applied intellect and logic to the ugly scenes that had unfolded and, duly satisfied with my version of events, I moved forward with my life. Or so I thought.

But in that moment years later when unexpectedly confronted by this group of people all the old feelings of anger and hurt rose to the surface instantaneously.

I’ve been involved on a journey of personal growth and development long enough to know that I had to get some perspective on the situation otherwise the negative emotions I was swimming in threatened to swamp me. So I took a step back and considered the facts, with no emotional attachment. The relief was immediate. This was just a group of people meeting up. Simple. No drama required. Maybe the relief I felt did not deal with the bubbling anger and pain, but it worked, and I enjoyed the rest of the evening. I then decided to take it one step further, and I decided I had to let it go permanently.

To do that I felt it was necessary (somewhat reluctantly I must admit) to consider it from their point of view. After all, feelings had been hurt on both sides and harsh words had been exchanged. We can never truly know what another person is thinking, but I believe there are many common threads that connect us all. One of those is the human desire for happiness. By happiness I mean the certainty we feel at the core of our being that we were put on this beautiful planet to appreciate the bounty that surrounds us and in doing so strengthen our connection to the Creator of all this splendour. That is one of the key sources of all happiness.

Surely they too wanted to let the dispute go and embrace the happiness that is our collective birthright?

Why was I getting so involved in the emotional attachment to a set of circumstances that took place so many years ago when there is so much beauty in the world and so much happiness and fulfilment at our fingertips in the here and now? It seemed a tremendous waste of energy. The burden of carrying old, worn out grievances can become so great that we lose sight of the big picture. We can fall into a pattern of forcing ourselves to remember each and every grievance that we perceive has been meted out upon us, so we can plan our vitriolic response meticulously should that person ever cross our path again. Or we go to great lengths to avoid them in the misguided belief that avoidance will solve the problem.

How exhausting! It really is far easier to just let it go and trust that whatever happened was a useful lesson to carry forward in our lives. That’s not to say that I’m suggesting we should condone a bad act, but simply to accept that it happened, acknowledge that it’s over now, and feel glad you’re forearmed in case it happens again. In doing so, you let yourself off the hook of perpetual misery. Imagine how light you’ll feel if you go about your day looking for opportunities to enhance your life and the lives of those around you, rather than spending vast amounts of energy recounting the details of past betrayals, whether the retelling occurs verbally or mentally.

The relief I felt from just one episode of letting go of the hurt as well as releasing the sense of indignation I’ve carried around in the equivalent of what can only be described as an emotional trunk (luggage not elephant) was phenomenal! I had made a healthy positive decision that didn’t compromise my principles and didn’t compound the situation further. I did it with grace and dignity, I was polite and respectful of their rights as fellow humans.They had nothing to do with my choice to let it go for good, and I did not feel the need to discuss it with them or have a post mortem of the argument (even though I’ve had it prepared in my head for years!) My demeanour said it all. I was back in control of my emotions, and I felt relieved, relaxed and happy.

That was when I knew forgiveness had taken place in my heart and at my core.

So perhaps that’s the essence of forgiveness. Letting ourselves off the hook lovingly and giving ourselves permission, with kindness and grace, to move forward and enjoy our lives freely.  It’s not about “them” or what they did, it’s about us and how we choose to respond. Essentially we start by forgiving ourselves for holding on to the hurt, and what follows from that is an easy and very natural progression to forgiving the people who in our perception have hurt us.

Friday, 10 September 2010

...Is Going On A Roadtrip!

Have you ever been told that life is a journey? Whether you’ve heard it before or not, and the chances are you have, I reckon we all reach that conclusion at one stage of our lives or another...well, most of us do at any rate! We’ve heard often enough that its not about the destination, its about the journey. Stop & smell the roses, it’s not a dress rehearsal etc etc etc. Ok...message received and understood. Life’s a journey.

But sometimes I look around and I wonder whose journey I’m on exactly.

At work we are required for the most part to observe and buy into our employers’ ethos, and even though there may be small degrees of parity on some levels, many of us have to leave our own ethics at the door as we enter our work places, and just bite our tongues to avoid getting so wound up & risk losing our jobs. Financial and economic dependency dictates these conditions. Many spouses can also feel similarly repressed if their partner is the main breadwinner, and communication between them both is a challenge. It is well documented that arguments about money are one of the key factors in soaring divorce rates. Interactions with friends, partners, preachers, teachers and family members and a whole gamut of others we meet along the way, also affect us during our journey.

Some of our interactions can leave us feeling obligated, depleted and empty while others revive us and nourish our souls.

Over time, regular exposure to a particular viewpoint will lead to that viewpoint being adopted as our own. It is said that we are a combination of the 5 people we spend most of our time with.

So that leaves me wondering, is it really my journey or a mish-mash of everyone else’s?

Is uniqueness and individuality merely a concept? We cannot (and indeed must not in my opinion) avoid other people in our lives. Human contact and interaction is essential. However it exposes us to a plethora of ideas, principles, moralities and standards, ranging from high to low and most things in-between. They are all going to influence our passage through this life to one extent or another. The intensity of the influence being even more marked when we are small children, totally vulnerable to the whims and fancies of the adults in our lives, no matter how headstrong the little one may be.

The result is the creation of a comfort zone. The safe, cosy place where we all sit, knowing that no matter what comes along, we are protected by the familiar and the known. But essentially nothing stays the same permanently and change is one of the features of this fragile life. Inevitably, there will come a time in everyone’s life when we have to leave our comfort zones and step out into the unfamiliar. This may be at the end of a relationship, the loss of a partner, upon leaving a job or when our children grow up.
These and other key events in life represent important turning points for us. Many people are fearful and regard change as a threat. I prefer to see change as an opportunity.

Part of the fear of change comes from having to step into our own energy and generate our own experiences instead of vicariously living through those who share our comfort zones. Following is often easier than leading.

We are however spiritual beings having human experiences, and the people who share our journey with us are here by our calling. None of us are followers and none of us are leaders. The experiences we have with our fellow human souls are purposefully and carefully designed to help our souls on our way and get us further along the road. The journey we have embarked upon isn’t about getting a better job or getting a bigger car/house/handbag. This journey we call life is the original & ultimate road-trip! It’s the road-trip that takes us back to a state of love and purity. This is the journet that takes us back home to our maker. I call him God, although you may have another name for the entity that created you and all living things.

The experiences and interactions we have on a daily basis, from the most insignificant to the really big smack-you-between-the-eyes events, all conspire to create what seems to be a mish-mash of a journey. However if we shift our perspective slightly and step away from the drama to observe, then we can start to watch the process unfolding. And it is truly magical. As observers we can draw upon the timeless wisdom of our souls, resulting in an enhanced power of discernment so that the fellow souls we call upon to walk through life with us will enhance our experience of life. The mish-mash is far more subtle and sophisticated than we realise.

So the next time someone irks you or makes you smile, don’t dwell too long on it and avoid getting caught up in the details of the event. Simply appreciate that you asked them to be present in your life at that precise time. They are here to bring you the answer to your soul’s calling. Say thank you graciously and with gratitude for the experience and then consider for a moment where that encounter fits in with your soul’s continuing progress on your personal road-trip. You have two choices: you can honour your soul’s purpose and move forward to the next enlightening meeting or you can remain stuck, feeling like you’re helpless and beholden.

What do you want to do?

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

...Is Thinking...

So today I’m writing about observing our thoughts and the awesome power of that extremely simple process.

First I’d like you to indulge me a little please & stop to take note of what you’re thinking right now.

Is it a positive and kind thought? Is it a suspicious, critical and harsh thought or is it a trusting thought?

Be honest with yourself about your thoughts - after all, you may as well be honest because they’re in your head and nobody else is privvy to what goes on in there....or are they? Do we unwittingly let others in on our most private thoughts without even uttering a word?

I’d say wholeheartedly “YES!”.

The idiom “to speak with a forked tongue” springs to mind here. This refers to when a person says one thing but is intentionally duplicitous because they in fact have a totally different agenda to the one being verbalised. They are basically lying. However, isn’t it true that we always know when a person is lying to us?

That’s why its imperative to be honest and express ourselves openly and from the heart, because the truth of your intentions is ultimately always revealed, even when you use a smoke-screen of seemingly opposing words and actions.

U-oh...you’re worried now aren’t you? But there’s no need to be worried at all. There is a solution which is so simple it’s going to make you laugh out loud...just be honest. Tell the truth. Or let me rephrase that...tell your truth. It may not be received well, it may not even be fully comprehended or accepted but that’s up to the recipient. Their reaction actually doesn’t matter.

Your truth might be “I love lemonade instead of coca cola” or it might be “I don’t love you any more”.

Whatever it is, be brave enough to say it. It’s your authentic truth that resides in the core of your being, and nobody can argue with that. What's more, the best part of telling your truth is that you have taken responsibility for yourself and honoured your Soul’s voice, and that to me is the ultimate peace of mind. No more worries about leakage! You’ve said it, it’s out there, job done!

So the next time you want to say something that is not aligned to your correlating thought, stop for a moment and consider how to rephrase yourself so that you are diplomatically and kindly expressing your truth. Speak your authentic truth with loving intentions and watch what happens. It’s a very powerful place to stand.

Friday, 3 September 2010

...Says Starving Is Unhealthy!

Allow me to begin by repeating the title of this article for those of you who cannot quite believe what you’re reading. Starving is unhealthy. If you’re looking for fast ways to lose weight, you can start by letting go of any intentions you may be harbouring of starving yourself to thinness. And why do I ask you to do this? Because it won’t work. Simple!

Sure, it will work in the short term and you may even lose a few pounds to start with. But the human body is a very clever piece of fine tuned machinery. It has a highly tuned “self-preservation” system which works a bit like the stand-by emergency generator that kicks into action when there’s a power failure. The fat that you’re trying to get rid of will become your fallback source of energy. So instead of losing weight fast, when you start starving yourself, your body reacts by actually holding on to all your excess fat reserves, and it does this in case the starvation is a long term project.

I’m not a doctor, and I’m going to assume you’re not either. But is it really necessary to be a doctor to know that one of the fast ways to lose weight is not by starving yourself? And you know it too. Think of all those people in the public eye you know who lost weight really fast and then a few months (or even weeks in some cases!) put it all back on again...Oprah Winfrey, Kirstie Alley...these are just two of many yo-yo dieters who have not managed to maintain a healthy body weight because they are just trying to lose it too fast. And the body just does not like that.

If you are interested in fast ways to lose weight that are healthy and safe then have a look at this weight loss program designed especially with you in mind. Please consult your healthcare advisor before starting any weight loss program.