My Valentine’s Invitation: Write a Sweet Love Letter to Yourself (Here’s Mine)

Valentine’s Day is always a contemplative day for me.

It was the day that my marriage came to an end and my new life began.

So, on this day, reflections on love, life and my relationship to it always brings about some quiet contemplation in me.

I asked myself whether I’m lamenting about not having a partner to share my life with and I keep coming up with ‘no’.

I would enjoy being with someone who is of like values but, I’m not lonely. Almost never do I feel lonely, although certainly there are times I wish to share the joys and terrain of my beautiful life with someone.

I looked at my hand with the ring that I got shortly after my marriage ended. It is a gorgeous, big labradorite stone that we had bought me for our ten year anniversary. But, with resizing issues, I received it right after my marriage ended.

It has always represented me being married to me.

Labradorite is a power stone used to banish fears, break through illusions, and develop intuition. It helps actualize goals and dreams through the trust of oneself and the Universe. As I wore it, I noticed that I had begun to take in the healing elements of the stone. I was becoming more intuitive, more trusting, more deliberate in creating dreams that excited me.

I looked down at my gorgeous ring and heard that beautiful rock tell me to write myself a love letter.  So, I wrote.

I noticed my hesitation about sharing my love letter with you…

Listen-compressedThe nature of a love letter is that it is unabashed in it’s adoration, it is syrupy sweet and void of any ‘objective’ look.  It is to make the receiver feel like anything that is remotely awesome about themselves would be willingly shouted from the rooftops. Valentine’s is not a day to hold back. It is a day we practice less holding and more exuberant  ‘unqualified’ expressions of love. And like any good spiritual practice, the goal is to make it a way of being.

On that, I share with you my unabashed, syrupy sweet, adoring love letter to myself.

My Darling Valentine,

Do you know how incredibly beautiful you are?

Your shining eyes so full of love, power and vulnerability make me soften into me. I can feel your invitation for me to be all of me.

I can hear your distinctive laugh – which you readily bubble over with even at the most inappropriate times. I love how you can see the humor of the gods in life’s happenings.

I love the way you drape your body and celebrate your curves in honor of the Divine Feminine. Others relax into the beauty of their bodies when they see your enjoyment of your own.

No space is the same upon your entry. You enhance the space. You need not do anything. Your being-ness is felt.

I love that you show your flaws. It makes you even more loveable.

I love your feisty, your gentleness, your smarts, your stubbornness, your dichotomy.

I am enchanted by your child-like mannerisms which makes me want to listen to your wisdom.

I am awed by the words that escape your lips without filter. In that, you deliver to me a poetic handbook on life.

I love your lust for learning. And equally, your content at ‘not knowing’.

I love that you choose truth over acceptance.

I love that you trust yourself and Divine to say ‘no’ to the obvious good thing and ‘yes’ to the not so obvious good thing just because it feels right. I love that about you.

Just when I think I know you, I realize there is so much more of you to unveil.

And that delights me.

Keep unfolding.

You are at the beginning of your bloom.

I love you wholly and eternally,


Now it’s your turn. What would an unabashed, syrupy sweet love letter to yourself say?

Farhana Dhalla 172x204
Farhana Dhalla is a #1 Best Selling Author, International Life Coach & Speaker, and Creator of the transformational Thank You for Leaving Me Journey. She is the visionary and leader of the enlightened divorce movement and  the ultimate ‘go to’ person for shifting perspective. As a ‘suddenly single mom’ to three small children, she intimately knows the overwhelming fear and pain – -and the liberation of stepping into the highest version of oneself.

The NUCLEAR Power Of HUGS | Dr. Zach Bush [Super Amazing, 1-Minute Video]

Source: Aubrey Marcus

Watch this amazing, one-minute video short as Dr. Zach Bush explains why hugs are so powerful: “What you’re literally doing is bringing yourself into the sunshine of another human being because that field emanates far beyond the physical body.”

Watch the Full Episode Here:  https://youtu.be/fi5vII2WO0c

Dr. Zach Bush is a medical doctor with a comprehensive understanding of the human organism, the natural environment, and the spiritual cosmos. One of the most sought-after experts on holistic health and regenerative agriculture, during his time spent in the ER he was responsible for bringing many patients back to life, giving him a unique vantage point on the nature of death. In the full episode, Aubrey and Zach discuss everything that has happened in 2020 as it relates to human thriving and the optimistic silver lining that the challenges of this year have provided. This is the best podcast on medicine and spirituality I have had the pleasure to be a part of. Check out Dr. Zach Bush on ZachBushMD.com


Zach Bush: The average human cell has 200 mitochondrion.
Aubrey Marcus: It’s like a bowl of popcorn.
Zach Bush: It’s a bowl of popcorn. It’s stuffed full of them.
Aubrey Marcus: Yeah.
Zach Bush: And a neuron has 2,000 mitochondria in the cytoplasm. And so you’ve got these huge populations that just pack the inside of these cells. So when you talk about a cubic centimeter of tissue, you’re darn near a cubic centimeter of mitochondria. And that cubic centimeter of mitochondria can produce 10,000 times more electromagnetic field energy than a cubic centimeter of the Sun. And so you’ve got this nuclear event going on inside your body that is actually more efficient than nuclear fission. And we actually are doing fusion events and then re-fission events at this molecular level to create this solar event. And so this is one of my favorite things about being alive is the opportunity to give each other hugs. Because what you’re literally doing is bringing yourself into the sunshine of another human being, because that field emanates far beyond the physical body.

Time to Let Go? Cutting the Cord to a Former Relationship

By Cyndi Dale 

When the calendar flips, it’s time.

If you’re unattached romantically, it’s time to open to a new love. Unfortunately, that’s hard to do if you’re obsessing over a former flame.

There are lots of tricks for getting over yesterday’s companion. Think of how much time you’ve wasted pursuing activities like hating on the past, drinking indiscriminately, journaling your horror stories, signing up for like 12 dating sites (swipe right!), and your equivalent of gulping cookies or pumping iron.

How are those moving-on pursuits working for you?

Don’t be embarrassed. Holding on is a very human phenomenon, and for a reason you might not suspect. The reason is called an energy cord. Before I explain what I’m talking about, I’m going to share a story.

For fifteen years, my client Janie (names made up) had been conducting an on-again, off-again affair with a married man. During that time, Raoul had divorced a couple of times—and remarried twice too. For all she tried, she couldn’t refrain from showing up for a rendezvous every couple of months or so.

Finally, after conducting an energy healing session with me, she experienced freedom. She felt lighter than air and went on to never see Raoul again. (That’s a big deal!) The key was releasing the energy cord attaching she and her once beloved.

Now I’ll tell you what a cord is.

In my field of work, what you can’t see is often controlling everything else. This is certainly the case with an energy cord, which is a psychic bond that ties two people together, and always in an unhealthy way. In fact, when a relationship is dysfunctional—or at least one member of a couple can’t move on—cords are nearly always involved.

If you could perceive an energy cord through your inner eye, you’d see a garden hose, which is often attached heart to heart. There is energy being exchanged through that hose, and it’s not good.

The classic example is the all-too-common alcoholic-codependent alliance. Through the cord, the alcoholic is usually stealing life energy from their mate. In turn, the codependent is assuming the other’s challenging emotions.

That leaves the alcoholic avoiding the very issues they must face to deal with their addiction, and the codependent too tired and depressed to say “no”—to just about anything.

Typically, the cord is a replicate of an unhealthy one established in childhood. That’s what makes it so hard to see a bad relationship coming. We naturally connect through a cord with another if we grew up doing the same with a parent.

As is obvious, Jamie was corded to Raoul. She figured out that Raoul was very similar to her father, who’d also had affairs. We used a version of the exercise in this article to help her liberate herself not only from Raoul, but also the shadow of the past: her father.

Do you feel bound up? Try the following sequence and get emancipated.

  1. Breathe. Situate yourself in a quiet place and settle comfortably. Take a few deep breaths and relax.
  2. Focus. Think about your former relationship. Accept the positives and negatives of what you’ve gone through.
  3. Sense. Allow your inner self to uncover the energy cord that’s connecting you to your erstwhile companion. Where does it attach in your body? How large or small, thick or thin is it?
  4. Assess the exchange. Trust your intuitive guidance to reveal the energies being exchanged with your past partner through the cord. What energies are leaving you? Which are entering you? How are you being harmed through this trade of energy?
  5. Follow. Drift into your history. In fact, imagine yourself following the cord as if it’s a road. Is there someone from your earlier life that forged a similar cord with you? Who? What was the nature of that relationship? How did you feel when younger regarding that earlier transfer of energy?
  6. Release. Once you’ve realized the extent of the current or any previous cords, simply allow your inner self to dissolve it. That’s right. Request that healing energy emanates from your own wise self to disintegrate that cord. That healing stream will assist you and any other individuals involved with recovering.
  7. Celebrate. Breathe deeply. Congratulate yourself for gifting yourself this healing.

Know that your heart will automatically open to a more loving relationship when you’re fully ready. In the meantime, enjoy your own energy!

About the Author

Cyndi Dale is an internationally renowned author, speaker, and energy healer. She is the author of 28 books on energy medicine, intuition, and spirituality.

Her newest book is Advanced Chakra Healing: Four Pathways to Energetic Wellness and Transformation.

The Freedom Checklist – What Every Human Being Needs to Know

“Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.” ~Sigmund Freud

Feeling the Weight of the World

Hello Earthling! How nice of you to have dropped by this titillating planet filled with such great diversity and beauty.

What was that you said?  Did you say that you:

Feel burdened by society and all that is wrong with the world?

You feel an overwhelming pressure to change the world?

Did I hear you right?  Did you say that you even feel guilty or responsible for the state of the world?

What an awful burden it is to bear when we decide to take on the weight of the world, or on a lesser degree, the weight of another person’s choices or life.

Are you guilty of this?  Yes…no…perhaps a little?

Are You Suffering From Mad Cow Disease?

GirlLet me get clear on this.  Sit down and make yourself comfortable because I need your undivided attention.

Holy cow!  I only recently realized that I’ve been a complete idiot — a buffoon of the highest degree.

In what textbook did I read that I need to change the world, take over if I saw someone else suffering along their path or put every effort into making people see the world the way I see it?

Nope, can’t think of the name of that book so I must have somehow imagined it.  But how many of you can say you feel the same way?

You may feel responsible for your partner, your grown up children, your friends and other members of your family.  You may even take on the responsibility of complete strangers.

Light Bulbs and Cricket Bats

Let’s get straight to the juicy bit of this article — either you’re going to have an ‘a-ha’ moment or you are going to have to beat yourself over the head a couple of times with a bat to whack the sense home.

You were born here on planet Earth and the global problems were here, social structure (no matter how much you may dislike it) was already in place.  Thanks to our ancestors, the worlds configuration was in place the moment you catapulted into reality — the good, the bad and the ugly.  You are not responsible for what came before you.  However, you ARE responsible for how you affect the world with your presence from this moment onwards.  Every choice you make is part and parcel to your responsibility.  Own it.

You were born on planet Earth and you needed to work out some of your own lessons and you’re doing great.  When you decide to shift your focus onto another person’s lessons and try to tamper with their version of reality — you have made a crucial mistake.  You don’t think the other person is not capable of handling their own lives, so you intervene.  You may think you need to because your version of reality and what you think is the right way as it is working so well for you.  True?

Nope.  It is YOUR truth but it may not necessarily be another’s.  When you try to control another individual or their path you are basically saying that they are weak and you are strong.   Oops…not very nice.  What’s more is you’re not even helping yourself out, you’re just taking on extra baggage.

Helping or Hindering?

SittingEveryone needs to work out their own journey through life.  It is your responsibility to love and respect them enough to give them space and to only help out when you are asked to.  Get it?

You are disempowering another human being when you try to seize control or mold them into how you want them to fit into your life.

You are not responsible for any other human being but yourself (barring minors under your care, of course).  Focus on yourself and be the best person you can be so that you can be that shining example to others.  That is the only way you will make a positive change in someone’s life.  You can’t go into their space and try to effect change.

The Prime Directive

You are responsible for your life.  Your main responsibility is to be happy — you could even call this your ‘prime directive’ or ultimate goal.  If you are not happy it is your responsibility to sniff out the causes as to why you are not living in joy.

So, now say you have found your bliss but it hurts you when you see other people suffer and you want to help.

Keep Your Nose on Your Face

The stark truth is that they need to take responsibility for their life and choices.  You can always help another human being but you should never force yourself or your way of life onto someone else.

To truly love someone is to accept them as they are and respect their life path.  Can you do that?

Can you step into owning your life and taking responsibility for your choices today?  If you do, the weight of the world will be lifted from your shoulders and you will experience a freedom like no other.

It’s okay to be here, it’s okay to be you and it’s okay to let other people be themselves.

You are only responsible for you.  And thanks to the wise words of Gandhi, try to be the change you want to see in the world.

CRDCherie Roe Dirksen is a self-empowerment author, multi-media artist and musician from South Africa.

To date, she has published 3 self-help and motivational books and brings out weekly inspirational blogs at her site www.cherieroedirksen.com. Get stuck into finding your passion, purpose and joy by downloading some of those books gratis when you click HERE.

Her ambition is to help you to connect with your innate gift of creativity and living the life you came here to experience by taking responsibility for your actions and becoming the co-creator of your reality. You can follow Cherie on Facebook (The Art of Empowerment — for article updates). She also has just recently launched her official art Facebook page (Cherie Roe Dirksen – for new art updates).



The Subtle Art of Offending People

By Gary Z McGee | Waking Times

“Of what use is a philosopher who doesn’t hurt anybody’s feelings?” ~Diogenes of Sinope

We live in a world filled with thin-skinned status quo junkies walking on eggshells. Everyone is afraid of offending and being offended. Everyone is afraid of getting real. Everyone is afraid—full stop.

Sentimentality abounds. Meek and soppy simpletons rule the day. Snowflakes with hair triggers are being triggered left and right. It’s a veritable minefield of mawkishness and cry-me-a-river Karens out there.

Oh. Fucking. Well. Let them weep. Let them cry. Let them fall all over themselves in a cartoon crisis of their own making. You can’t control their reaction. All you can control is your intention. And if your intention is honest, authentic, and real, who the fuck cares if it offends someone.

Life is offensive. Life is pain. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something. Anyone who tells you to keep your mouth shut because you might offend someone needs to keep their mouth shut.

Because people need to be offended. People need to be challenged. People need to be slapped with the truth, especially when they’d rather be kissed with lies.

Offending people is healthy. It forces them to think. It forces them to question themselves, to stretch their tiny comfort zone, to think outside of their culturally conditioned box. Especially close-minded, willfully ignorant, dogma junkies with their heads up each other’s asses. And especially-especially partisan puppets on both sides with bibles for brains and dollar symbols for hearts.

Get better at being offended by people:

“Truth is like surgery. It hurts but cures. A Lie is like a pain killer. It gives instant relief but has side effects forever.” ~Unknown

The first rule in the art of offending people: get better at being offended yourself.

You are the pivot. You are the perceptual threshold. All feelings of offense and actions of offense will come from you. The way you handle being offended is critical in how you manage to make an art out of offending others.

Foremost, realize that you are fallible. You are imperfect and prone to mistakes. You’re only human, after all. The truth may hurt but it also cures. It gets you over yourself. You are less likely to get triggered when you realize that you are a member of a species that is highly likely to be triggered.

Here’s a secret: Nobody knows what the fuck is going on. Nobody has it all figured out. We’re all confused. We’re all a member of a fallible, prone to mistakes, clumsy, fumbling species going through the motions of living a short life within an unfathomably ancient universe. Because of our confusion, we are all sentimental, placating, snowflakes melting all over the damn place.

Here’s the key: Transform your triggers into curiosity. Ask yourself: why do I feel so emotional about this petty little thing in the grand scheme of things? Is it merely a kneejerk reaction due to my cultural conditioning, political bias, or religious brainwashing? Am I experiencing cognitive dissonance or any number of psychological fallacies? Am I reacting out of fear, cowardice, ignorance? Have I lost perspective that it’s all bullshit, especially my own beliefs? Am I capable of being brutally honest with myself?

Dig deep. Be playful about it. Have a sense of humor. Being curious about something, rather than merely triggered by it, is always more rewarding. You will always gain more from a curious experience than a triggered one.

It’s a kind of emotional alchemy. Feel the trigger, honor it, let it fill you with petty anger and misguided rage, and then turn the tables on it by becoming curious about why it makes you feel so raw. Feel triggered, just have the discipline to act with curiosity. You may discover something about yourself that being triggered alone would never have revealed.

Get better at offending people:

“Realize that at times you must offend people and even hurt people who block your path, who have ugly values, who unjustly criticize you. Use such moments of clear injustice to bring out your Shadow and show it proudly.” ~Robert Greene

Offending people is an art form. It’s a subtle recipe of daring, humility, and humor. With too much daring, you’re just an asshole. With too much humility, you’re just a pushover. With too much humor, you’re just a clown. But mix it all together in a delicate balance and you have high art.

A key residual effect of this high art is a sense of fearlessness. You’ll find that you are no longer afraid of showing the world who you really are. You are no longer afraid of what people think about you. You are free to be your most unique, individual, and maybe even individuated, self.

Assert your uniqueness, even if that offends some people along the way. True power comes from emboldening what makes you different. Sometimes what makes you different might not be agreeable to others. Oh well. As long as you are being authentic. As long as you are being genuine, sincere, and real, let your freak flag fly. Let your Shadow shine. Let your art have shock value. Party-poopers are damned!

Just be self-critical and introspective. If in your attempt at trying to see the big picture more clearly you happen to offend all the small picture thinkers, so be it. Don’t hold back. Go full-frontal boss mode with your Metaknowledge. Shine the Klieg Light of Truth through their blindfolds. It’s on them to see the light, or not. In the end, at least you tried to show them how going Meta is far superior to remaining either Alpha or Beta.

“I’m offended!” is the battle cry of the coward. True courage is transforming the “offense” into humor. So, you feel offended? So what? Turn that shit into gold by discovering why you feel so offended, and then have a laugh at yourself. Have a laugh at the human condition. Have a laugh at the petty part of you that takes itself too seriously. Then use curiosity to organize the shitshow of it all into a Flow state that keeps you ahead of the curve.

Let the snowflakes melt all over the goddamn place. Let the cartoon in their brain play out its sentimental melodrama and prima donna kneejerk reaction to life’s curveballs. You can’t control them. Focus on what you can control: negotiating curveballs like a boss by creating art out of the curiosity that comes from being offended.

Create art that moves people, shakes things up, stretches comfort zones, and transforms boundaries into horizons. Create art that offends, disturbs the comfortable, and comforts the disturbed. Create art that flips scripts and overthrows systems of entrenched thought, that stirs up the human condition so thoroughly that new and healthier ways of being human emerge to challenge the world.

About the Author

Gary ‘Z’ McGeea former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide awake view of the modern world.

How To Better Connect To Your Partner

Connection is the one thing that you need in your marriage for it to work well. You need to be able to physically connect as much as you need to talk and connect on an emotional level, too. You want to make sure that the person you’re with is someone you’re sure of, that you are willing to grow with. You have to ensure that you are working together for a happy and healthy relationship, which means that you have to do all that you can to better connect. You want your relationship to work well, and you have to make sure that you communicate for that to work.

If you’re planning to get married, or if you are already married, you need to remember why you’re together. That can be difficult most of the time, and if you’re new together, you’re going to want to spend as much time together as possible to keep that connection burning. For men, that could mean ensuring that they can get things moving in the bedroom to maintain that physical connection. For women, it could mean leaning more on their partner and having a better connection emotionally, too. There has to be both give and take when it comes to a relationship, both in the physical and emotional arenas. That means that you have to build together, and we’ve got some of the best tips that you can use to better connect to your partner.

Image Source: Pexels

  1. Create your own rituals. You have to choose to do things that bind you together. Whether that’s agreeing to take ten minutes just to talk about your feelings every single day with a cup of something delicious, or just going for a walk to get some breakfast, it doesn’t matter what you do, you need a way to connect. Sex is a good way to connect but that can be both ritualistic or spontaneous – whatever you want to do together works.
  2. Check-in with each other daily. Every single day, you need to work together and that means checking in on each other to make sure that you both know you’re there and present. Connection is much easier to find and maintain when you make the effort to check in on your partner. You need to hold regular check-ins and conversations to make sure that you are aware of what each other is doing.
  3. Learn to appreciate each other. If your partner is excellent at sports, make a point of attending sports events that matter to them – whether to watch or to play. If they love a specific type of music, learn to appreciate dancing together to that music. There is so much that you can do together and learning to appreciate one another is really going to help you to connect.
  4. Ask how they are. Sometimes, a simple ‘how are you’ is enough to start a conversation that leads to so many other things! You can discuss life together as you know it and they will feel wanted and loved all because you asked them how they were doing. Make sure that you know the physical and emotional state of your partner so that you can be there for them in the event there is really a problem.
  5. Have sex. Honestly, one of the best things that you can do for your marriage is to connect physically. If you want to connect with one another, sex is possibly one of the best ways that you can do that, and sex isn’t limited to intercourse. There are many different ways to spend a lazy day in bed together and you have to embrace those if you want to be physically intimate with one another. Sex offers both a physical and an emotional connection with your partner.
  6. Build some boundaries. Even the couples who are the most in love are in need of boundaries. Marriages need a boundary that allows time without each other and time with other people to have that necessary balance. It becomes complicated from time to time, but if you ensure that you have some healthy boundaries, you can learn to appreciate one another properly. This will help you to strengthen your connections and give you a space to have the right desires and wishes, too.

Connecting to the partner you are with is vital if you want your relationship to last. You don’t have to be married to appreciate and respect the connection that you have together. You just need to make sure that you are both a priority in each other’s lives.

The Quantum Keys to Unlocking Lasting Happiness are Acceptance & Gratitude

What Is Quantum Mechanics? Quantum Physics Defined, Explained | Live ScienceAs you may or may not know, the study of Quantum Mechanics is the branch of physics that focuses on “the very small”. Not necessarily what we would consider being “matter”, but rather the cosmically tiny common subjects such as atoms and quarks that bond & unite energetically to create matter and bring it into physical 3D existence. I use the quantum reference here as it applies to life because there are two very simple and very small, yet VERY significant things you can do to actually guarantee your own happiness…

No, this isn’t some scheme or trick, it’s physics; it’s Universal Law. Everything is energy and reacts to matter it comes across energetically. Magnets are not the only things that repel or attract, but perhaps you could say that we all are just like magnets in that we also repel or attract energetically.

How so? Your feelings, your thoughts, and the action you take (or don’t take) in your life all hold a frequency; they all communicate a certain type of energy and this is why you always hear the great Zen Masters and Gurus speaking about how to always be mindful of your thoughts.

How we feel about things could be considered the “charge” behind the energy. If we feel passionate about writing a book, there is a high, yet strongly grounded energy there which fuels the action to write often and from the heart. It is when we fear moving towards our own desires and dreams that this energy can “turn” on us.

That’s not to say it actually has an agenda against you, but rather it is the Universe’s way of answering the energy you’ve put out by refusing to face your fear and step into your greatness. It will reply, “Oh, you want to continue to live small? Here you go.” And to the person who is unaware of the power of their own thoughts, feelings and intentions can often see this as life being against them in some way and put themselves into a victim mode which only draws in more things to make you feel like a victim.

So, how do we stay in high vibration so we can finally lead a happy life?


#1 – Accept what is without judgment or a need to change things to suit your perceptions/beliefs; be at peace with that which you cannot control or change. The moment you accept something in your heart, you re-form your Source connection to it, and immediately any low energy is released. Now, there can be movement again which is required for healing and growth. It is when we let our negative thoughts keep us in the feelings of fear, doubt, stress, etc. that there can be no movement and life can become stagnant. This is why while we should always take the time to sit with our feelings and find out what they are trying to tell you, we shouldn’t let them run the show or stay in their vibration for extended periods of time (worrying, etc.). We should also be cautious of letting our feelings and emotion put us into a reactive mode rather than allowing ourselves a moment of conscious response.

“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.” ― Lao Tzu


#2 – Get to a place where you can wake up each morning and find at least 1 thing in your life to be grateful for. Then each day for a week, add 1 more thing. At the end of the week, take a long, hard look at the list you’ve created and look at it again whenever you need a little reminder. Sometimes when we get caught up in those emotions and feelings, it can be hard to be grateful. But this in itself is a test of integrity, and if you can muster up the will each and every day to connect to your heart and for one breath feel nothing but gratitude for your life, those you love, those who’ve tested your patience, those who’ve broken your heart, those whom you’ve taught, etc., happiness will be your ultimate reward for you are giving yourself the freedom to be at peace with all that IS. Be grateful for one thing until you can be grateful for it ALL.

When you are actively practicing both acceptance and gratitude in your life, happiness is INEVITABLE! Why? Because you’ve cleaned off the filters of your “world-view lens” that were previously clouded by your core beliefs and perceptions of the world and those around you; as well as your place in the world and your purpose for even being here. With clear vision comes purposeful action…

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”

– Eckhart Tolle


Give it a try for even one week and see how much your life can change… xoxo

Tamara posts new original articles to CLN every Saturday.

This article was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Tamara Rant and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.

7 of the Most Memorable Anniversary Gifts

Anniversaries are a great opportunity to show your partner or spouse just how much they mean to you, not to mention giving you an excuse to get dressed up and celebrate. Whether it’s your first or seventeenth anniversary with your partner, nothing beats the look on their face when they open a meaningful, thoughtful gift they’ll remember forever.

As the years go by, it can get harder to think of unique ideas, but that’s where we come in. We’ve put together a list of 7 of the most memorable anniversary gifts you can give to your partner this year. You won’t find any cliches like chocolates and wine bottles here. Let’s get into them now.

1.    Engraved Jewelry

A classic but unforgettable gift has to be engraved jewelry. Upgrade a traditional gift of jewelry to a bespoke piece for your partner by getting it engraved. Whether it’s with their name, your anniversary or their favorite quote – you can make it truly unique. Plus, they’ll always remember you when they wear it.

2.    Custom Paint by Numbers

If your partner is creative at heart, let them express themselves with a paint by numbers kit. You can purchase a custom paint by numbers set from a photo of your choice for your loved one. Whether it’s a scene from a trip you took together or a photo of friends, family, or your pet, this is a gift that keeps giving. Not only is it super thoughtful and personalized, but it’s an activity you can do together, AND you get a great new decoration for your place afterwards!

3.    Commission an Art Piece for Them

If you both aren’t artsy, then leave it to the professionals. Bespoke art pieces aren’t just for the ultra-rich. There are a tonne of illustrators and artists out there online who run independent businesses selling their art. And you can get a piece made just for your loved one, whether it’s a portrait, their favorite place or style of art.

4.    Book a Trip

For those with slightly bigger budgets, then you can book a trip for your anniversary. Take your partner to a new place or your favorite place for an unforgettable experience.

5.    Experiences

Maybe there’s something your partner has always wanted to try – from bungee jumping to paintballing – that would be the perfect anniversary activity for you both. Experiences are super memorable, and you both get to enjoy them together!

6.    DIY Gifts

They say it’s the thought that counts, right? If you want your gift to really stick in your partner’s mind, then why not make them a gift for your anniversary! You could try making a scrapbook of your relationship, full of your favorite memories, or make them something like a vase or personalized playlist.

7.    Recreate a Date

Whether it’s the first-ever date you went on, or just one of your best ones, recreating a date is a great way to celebrate your love and reflect on memories. Plus, your partner will appreciate the thoughtfulness you put into your gift and remember it forever. You might even do it better the second time around!

Three Steps to Understanding Your Partner’s Emotions


I’ve worked with hundreds of couples in my 25 years as a licensed marriage and family therapist in the San Francisco Bay area. Much of guiding couples to get their relationships back on track is helping them learn to share and listen to and “get” the feelings causing their conflicts.

For example, when I notice John freely sharing his confusion and upset over being fired from his job, and his partner Laura truly getting the felt sense of John’s experience at that moment, I realize that John “feels felt”—and Laura knows her empathy and understanding are accurate.

Will John continue to be so honest with his feelings outside the safety of the therapy session? Will Laura’s empathy continue to be spot-on? A recent study provides us with a resounding and reassuring YES.

Researchers recruited 155 mixed-sex couples and asked them to identify a continuing disagreement in their relationship. Independent observers analyzed their recorded 11-minute conflict resolution sessions, with the aid of the participants themselves. Their goal was to investigate whether greater expressions of feelings on the part of the sharer correlated with greater empathic accuracy on the part of the perceiver.

According to the study’s results, any clear expression of one partner’s emotional experience of the moment does greatly increase the accuracy of the perception of the other partner at that moment. In other words, it really doesn’t pay to hide your feelings in couples therapy—but it does pay to give an expression of emotions the attention they deserve.

Not just in the moment in a therapist’s office. This study shows that the capacity to be empathically accurate, truly “getting” the other person’s experience, carries over to other moments or other situations, as well. (Good news for John and Laura!)

According to this study, it makes no difference whether you’re expressing a well-worked-out thought or a spontaneous emotion; if the feeling is clear and the partner is paying attention and really tuning in, then the accuracy of the empathy seems to hold steady for both thoughts and feelings.

These results might make intuitive sense to you. Clear expressions result in clear understandings. So, what gets in the way of accurate gauging of your partner’s thoughts and feelings?

It’s common for one partner to react with a startle response if they detect a veiled criticism from the other partner. The attentive recognition of that startle response and continued attention to any feelings and thoughts being expressed keep the communication open and the empathy accurate.

Unexpectedly, the researchers consistently observed that empathic accuracy was not significantly moderated by perceptions of criticism in those thoughts and feelings. (With the caveat that, in truth, the conflict context was not highly distressing for the couples in the study, and that participants may have been reluctant to report feeling threatened.)

What’s more likely to inhibit feelings from being expressed is that many adults have simply not learned how to feel their own feelings, let alone trust that another person will be interested in hearing them and caring about them. Nor have many people received enough skill-building in listening to the people closest to them without devaluing, defensiveness, or debate.

I’m encouraged by the study’s conclusion that confirms a fundamental assumption of couples therapy: When one partner expresses their thoughts and feelings more, the other partner can more accurately infer their thoughts and feelings at that moment, and in other moments in the relationship, as well.

So how do therapists help clients learn these skills now? To clearly, openly express what’s true for them at the moment, and to process those communications with open-mindedness, accurate empathy, and curiosity?

In my 25 years of teaching clients these skills, I have found these three steps to be essential.

1. Chunk it down

Therapists guide clients in s-l-o-w-i-n-g d-o-w-n. One bite-sized piece of information, one thought or feeling at a time.

John can say, “I feel so disoriented, not sure of what to do next.” And give Laura space to hear and reflect that back. “I do sense the disorientation, feeling a bit at sea. Can you say more?” The openness to hearing more encourages further sharing.

And, of course, there may be many feelings and thoughts swirling around each other that need to be unpacked, named, honored. When John continues, “I’m feeling angry, too,” Laura can ask to explore the nuances of that anger. “Of course you would be angry. That makes sense. I’d like to hear more about that to make sure I’m getting it right.”

When John feels felt in his experience, he can explore his feelings at a deeper level: “I feel singled out.” And Laura can stay with him as his feelings and thoughts shift and evolve. “That sounds really important. Tell me more about feeling singled out. I want to make sure I understand that.”

Chunking it down encourages more feelings and thoughts to be shared and makes sure the communication remains open and the empathy remains accurate.

2. Pause

Couples can also learn to pause and check the accuracy of empathy as they go along.

John says to Laura, “This is what I said. What did you hear me say?” Or Laura can say to John, “This is what I heard you say. Is that right? Did I get that right?”

In this way, there is time for John to express his experience exactly as it is in the moment, and for Laura to accurately empathize with the real meaning of it.

The therapist can slow down the process and ask these questions, too: “John, this is what I heard you say. Am I getting that right?”

When couples are in high conflict, this pausing is essential for the conversation to stay on the rails. Sometimes, therapists need to co-regulate the reactivity of the client’s nervous system that may have gone into fight-flight-freeze-collapse survival mode, which can override the higher brain’s knowing what our feelings at the moment are and what to do with them. Therapists can suggest gently touching hand on heart, feeling feet on the ground, slow breathing, or eye contact with each other or with the therapist. After a moment of being more grounded in the present moment, the clients can return to checking in with each other: “This is what I said”; “This is what I heard.”

But most important is for the partners to practice these skills again and again when they are home in the routine of their lives.

3. Reflect

The practices of chunking it down and pausing give both partners more time to consciously process feelings and thoughts, and to reflect rather than react. The speaker becomes more aware of the evolution of their own feelings and thoughts: “I hadn’t quite thought of it this way before.” And the listener can become more aware of their own responses to what they are learning about their partner: “Yes, when you talk about missing the camaraderie with your colleagues at work, I notice I feel sad, too.”

When John hears that Laura accurately hears him (no editorializing, no commentary), John is validated. His experience is real and it matters. It matters specifically because his mate makes it matter, which reinforces their bond. When Laura is reassured that she is understanding John accurately, “getting it,” she can remain open to the next communication from John, and the next, and the next. She can remain accurate in her empathy, even many days later.

These three steps—chunk it down, pause, and reflect—create the felt sense of safety within the couple that encourages honest, open communication, and gives them time to regulate their emotions, all of which creates more safety.

Different theoretical orientations claim that our feelings trigger our thoughts (narratives) or that thoughts drive our feelings. There’s merit in both views, and it’s reassuring that the findings of this study hold whether the sharing partner is sharing thoughts or feelings.

Making experience explicit is the foundation of any therapeutic process. This can entail bringing a client’s experience in any moment into explicit awareness so that they and their partner can be aware and accepting of themselves and each other. If they can just be with that experience, be curious about it, and even befriend it, that will open the door to empathy and compassion for the experience—and for each other. Helping clients practice that on their own strengthens the safety, trust, and healing in their connection. This new study gives us a robust green light to do precisely that.

About the Author

Linda Graham

Linda Graham, MFT, is the author of Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being. Subscribe to her newsletter and learn more about her work at http://www.lindagraham-mft.net.

Why do Some People Only Ask for Help After Pushing Everyone Away?

Ask for Help to Reduce Stress > WithoutStress.comIf you’re anything like me, you may have a hard time asking for help when it comes to personal stuff. If I can’t reach something off a shelf, sure I’m good with requesting some assistance, but when it gets a bit deeper than that, I tend to wanna handle everything on my own; retreat inward and soak it in a little “me-time” solitude. My mental cave is always warm and welcoming with popcorn made and a Netflix marathon ready to go. But sometimes, when the popcorn’s run out and your ass is asleep from too much couch-potato-ing, you reach a point where your ego allows you to understand that your ONLY way out to reach a solution is another’s perspective.

My inner world has always been a rich, vivid place. And anytime it seems when an outer connection is initiated and I “accept” so to speak, then I immediately get connected to a source of ever-flowing, loving information that seemingly helps people most of the time. Whether it be that stranger in line at the supermarket who tells me her life story or the friend who always comes to me for advice, I have always been acutely aware of a pull or draw I have that even as a young child made me feel like I was officially stamped “HELPER” or “HEALER” on my forehead upon birth. I never thought to ever really put a name to it other than my intuition, but what has always boggled my brain is that when I myself come to me with a dilemma or need support, I don’t seem to get the same VIP access to that awesome info waterfall. I tend to more often self-sabotage, procrastinate, etc. and this as I now understand is all part of the plan…

I’m grateful for tapping into my life theme at such a young age, but it has taken me my entire lifetime to even begin to understand how to use my empathic abilities in coherence with it. I’ve always felt completely dualistic and presumably, that’s fitting since we live in such a dualistic world. However, it seems a major part of my theme is to always be acutely aware of the extremes, so that I can hang out in the neutral zone, as that is where the best mediators reside, no?

Sounds simple enough, but living in a society that tells you happiness is something you strive for through obtaining material gains, not something you create from within yourself has driven the overall vibe of humanity to lean just a tad to the negative and I think we’ve all taken notice. But if we zoom out our perspectives a bit wider, we begin to see how that extreme is simply the same as its opposite, just to a different degree. In other words, everything is connected. How to Ask for Help | Psychology Today

And I think that is the ultimate lesson we are here to learn. We are born with eyes that literally we can never look into at our own souls, and so we must rely on others, our loved ones, friends, enemies, neighbors, strangers, children, parents, etc. to mirror and reflect back to us our greatest and not so great traits for us to celebrate and share and learn and grow from (we hope LOL).

All of these factors can lead a person to feel, well a little alone in this big world. One thing they don’t teach us in school is how to love ourselves and if I’ve learned anything assisting other people with their own lives it is that while you, of course, can love and be loved without fully embracing yourself, however when you do love yourself in wholeness, it opens up a world of neutral acceptance, of presence, peace and personal allowance for people to be who they are.

And I don’t know about you, but when I feel I can be who I am and am not being judged I am so much more likely to open up to people. And I think this is perhaps another big reason that we push people away, but what we would be wise to remember is that when we are helping others, we are actually helping ourselves too. For every spirit we lift, we ultimately lift our own.


Tamara posts new original articles to CLN every Saturday.

This article was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Tamara Rant and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.

10 Signs There’s Nagging in Your Relationship

Source: Unsplash

Nagging definitely isn’t the best form of interpersonal communication. Put simply, it’s when one person repeatedly pesters or harasses someone into doing something. (Annoying, right?) Nagging usually occurs when someone doesn’t believe in another person’s ability to do something properly. This can happen in any form of relationship, whether it’s a parent-child relationship or a romantic one.

When there’s constant nagging in a romantic relationship, it often results in the nagged partner digging their heels in and refusing to do things out of spite. Nagging patterns in a relationship create a power imbalance and can lead partners to lose respect and trust for one another.

Long story short? Nagging is super detrimental to your relationship.

Here are ten signs there’s nagging in your relationship and how to end it once and for all:

1. You always give instructions

One of the most telltale signs you’re nagging your partner is you’re constantly telling them what to do. If they ask for instruction, that’s one thing — but incessant “advice” is another. Remember, your partner is a competent individual and can figure things out on their own! Rather than doubting their ability, focus on approaching the problem as a team.

2. You try to control everything around you

If you have controlling tendencies, you may be nagging your partner without even realizing it. People who try to control everything around them often put a huge burden on their partner to act in a certain way or do things in a specific manner. Rather than trying to control everything around you, including your partner’s actions, try focusing on your own actions. (And take care of things yourself if you want them done in a certain way.)

3. You ask for something more than twice

There is a huge difference between reminding your partner about a favor you asked of them and nagging. Asking for a favor is a request (not an obligation) and it’s something that your partner can choose to do or not do. If you find yourself repeatedly asking your partner to do things for you, it’s definitely considered nagging.

If your partner isn’t responding to a request the first time you ask, consider why they aren’t doing it. Do they not want to? Do they not understand what you are asking for? Talking about your request and listening to your partner’s point of view will help ensure that you are communicating clearly.

4. Every statement begins with ‘you’

Using ‘you’ statements associates blame and can make your partner feel as if they are falling short or letting you down (i.e., “Why didn’t you do this?”). These types of statements can also cause your partner to feel defensive and refuse to help you out of spite. This can lead to a nagging pattern in your relationship, which leads both partners to feel let down.

Instead of using ‘you’ statements, communicate with your partner using ‘I’ statements (“I felt disappointed because…”) This type of reframing takes blame out of the equation and will help you communicate more effectively.

5. You focus all of your energy on their behavior

A surefire sign of nagging is you’re focusing all of your energy on your partner’s behavior rather than your own. Instead, you should be focusing on your actions and how you can change your behavior.

If you are disappointed because your partner isn’t doing something you asked them to do, and it is something that needs to be done, you can always do it yourself. You and your partner have different priorities, so rather than feeling let down when something you find important is neglected, make it happen on your own.

6. You’ve been told by your partner you nag

This is a pretty obvious sign, right? If your partner tells you that you’re nagging them, consider how you can communicate more effectively about what you want and need from the relationship, ultimately keeping you on the same page.

7. You feel more like a parent than a partner

Partners see each other as equals in a relationship and talk to each other about decisions rather than instructing each other what to do. In contrast, a parent-child involves the adult instructing the child without regard for their point of view. If you’re in the latter of the two relationships, you’re most certainly nagging. It’s important to change the power dynamic in your relationship so that you and your partner have equal say when it comes to making decisions.

8. You’re starting to feel resentment

If you are the partner that is being nagged in the relationship, you may start to feel resentment towards your significant other. It’s only natural to feel this way when your partner is constantly telling you what to do! This resentment can lead you to ignore your partner, be contrary towards them, or purposefully avoid what they are telling you to do. At this point, it’s necessary to have an open, honest discussion with your partner about how you feel and see if there’s anyway to work through it.

9. Your partner has started to act out

On the flip side of the coin, if you are in a nagging relationship pattern, you may notice your partner acting out in immature or child-like ways. This is due to resentment that they are starting to feel towards you and the relationship. In order to heal the relationship, you should have them communicate how they are feeling and what you can both do to restore your connection.

10. You have little to no intimacy

If you are in a nagging relationship cycle rather than an equal partnership, the intimacy will probably diminish. Simply put, no one wants to be intimate with someone who is constantly nagging or telling them what to do.

Intimacy — whether it’s emotional, physical, or sexual – is based on good communication and respect for one another. Nagging patterns put a damper on both, which is a total bummer for your intimacy level. Learning to let go, stop nagging, and restore effective communication and respect can help get you back on track.



Ending a nagging pattern in a relationship can be difficult, especially if it’s been an issue for a while. In addition to trying the above tips, it can be helpful to turn to experts. Relish is a relationship coaching app that can help you and your partner assess your relationship and establish future goals. The coaches at Relish can provide you and your partner with custom advice to help you work towards your relationship goals in achievable and incremental ways. Relish is an excellent resource for couples looking to improve communication and stop the nagging pattern in their relationship.

If you’re stuck in a cycle of nagging, remember to focus on open communication, honesty, and mutual respect. While nagging isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker for most, it can definitely hurt your relationship. By making an effort to avoid nagging behavior, you can get back on track towards a healthier, happier relationship.

The Beauty of Non-Attachment

Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase by Buddha, “You only lose what you cling to”, but what does this really mean? Unfortunately, non-attachment or detachment is greatly misunderstood in the mainstream and is often thought to mean that one completely shuts down emotionally and refuses to care about anything outside of themselves anymore, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Image result for non-attachment quotesWhen we think of a river flowing, non-attachment is kind of like that when it comes to our emotions. Rather than letting one particular emotion dam up the waters of our soul, we simply let it run its course without becoming enthralled or entangled in its web. With negative emotions, we tend to let them take the wheel and direct our thoughts, actions, and reactions. And while we can see how asinine this is when others do it, while we ourselves are in the throes of anger, we feel completely justified because we’ve allowed the emotion to take control, overpower us and run wild. We are no longer connected to our hearts and therefore are disconnected from the targets (other people) now receiving our wrath.

With positive emotions, we tend to cling and hold onto them out of fear they will go away. We want them to stay and last forever, rather than being at peace with the fact that nothing ever does. This takes away from our ability to truly appreciate things at the moment, because we’re always away from it in the future, planning on how to keep it from getting away from us.

The true beauty of non-attachment is that it allows us to feel emotions, but from a completely different perspective than ever before. Instead of avoiding all the “negative” ones or letting them overtake us, we are diligent in keeping control and choosing our next action; we do not let the emotion decide for us. We realize we are not victims to the emotion, we are not its minion and the emotion isn’t there to rule over us anyway…but it inevitably will if we let it.

Emotions are way-showers if we know how to look at them. They show you where your triggers are, where your un-healed pain remains, and where your passions and desires lie within your heart. Unattached, emotions can help guide you into a purpose-driven life, or if we cling too hard, they can keep you stuck in an abusive relationship or career you hate. We must first be willing to look at them for what they are, then we can start to change the way we interact with our own emotions.

I’ve heard people say, “I can’t change who I am.” or “I can’t change the way I feel.” Both of these statements are the result of a child being conditioned to believe they are powerless over their own lives. Children who’ve grown into adults are now either fearful, resentful, or hateful towards a world that they’ve forever had to bend and break for time and time again, but that will not even throw them a bone. And with this perspective…it never, ever will.

That always hits home with me because I was/am one of those people. I struggle to this day with self-love, confidence, and empowerment. But what I’ve come to learn is that our emotions and feelings are not our enemies and when we can learn to use them as the tools they are, we begin to slowly regain our power, and once you get even the slightest taste of your own true authentic personal power that’s been lying dormant in your heart for so long, you almost demand of yourself to come flying out of victim-hood.

To wrap things up, non-attachment isn’t dimming your fire or passion. It isn’t denying how you feel. It is merely taking the steps necessary to discipline yourself to not stay IN one emotion because we’re not meant to. Our natural state is neutral (no coincidence they are such similar words) and to remain balanced, and practicing non-attachment allows us to live a more balanced life. Image result for non-attachment quotes

Of course, we will still have times we cry, we’ll still get angry, we’ll of course still laugh and smile, we are human and that’s what this crazy ride is all about…FEELING. That means riding the wave…allowing the emotions to rise, and then fall and dissolve away. Let us remember that love is not an emotion, but a state of being. If you feel the need to feed emotional drama, negativity, etc. then I would definitely suggest taking a look at how you handle emotions in your life. There’s nothing to feel bad, ashamed, guilty, or mad about it, this is all a process of growth and expansion into a greater understanding of ourselves.


Tamara posts new original articles to CLN every Saturday.

This article was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Tamara Rant and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.

What Is Helping Couples Get Through the Pandemic?

Amid stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures, the COVID-19 pandemic has separated us from friends and far-flung family. But how has it affected relationships at home?

Research is only beginning to tell the story of how couples fared during the pandemic, and that’s a story still in progress now—16 months in, as case counts continue to rise worldwide.

For example, divorces rose in parts of China in March 2020. But that’s just one side of the story: In fact, marriage applications also increased in Wuhan last spring, and 53% of Chinese people surveyed in 2020 said their romantic relationships improved since the pandemic. Meanwhile, findings are mixed on whether married people are happier or worse off than singles during COVID.

Spending all day, every day, with your partner or being their only support system can be a recipe for getting on each other’s nerves—or it could make you even closer. We don’t yet know which scenario has been most common.

“Crises either bring people together or drive them apart,” write Yachao Li and Jennifer A. Samp in a 2021 paper. “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on relationships is still unclear.”

What’s more, the best ways for couples to cope and stay connected in these conditions are still unclear. How can we hope to support a partner over so many months, when we’re facing the same existential stress ourselves? How can we cultivate joy and intimacy when we seem to have both too much and too little time together?

Studies from earlier in the pandemic in the U.S., Europe, China, and beyond offer some clues about what’s been going on behind closed doors across the world—and what we can do to hold onto love and connection amid a crisis.

Couple life during COVID

When the pandemic hit, everyone’s life was upended—including the rhythms of our closest relationships. Couples had to deal with the sudden need for child care and their jobs going online, disappearing, or becoming way more dangerous, all while navigating different levels of risk. They needed to support each other through stress and fear.

During the first three weeks of lockdown in Spain, researchers surveyed over 400 adults about how their relationships had changed during that time. A team led by Cristina Günther-Bel pored over more than 13,000 words that participants wrote, searching for themes. They found that 62% of participants identified some kind of improvement in their relationship since lockdown.

Most commonly, people talked about reconnecting with their partners by spending more time together, slowing down, and appreciating each other. They mentioned being able to communicate more, express their needs and feelings, and work through conflicts that they used to sweep under the rug. With everyone in the COVID-19 boat, the pandemic also created a spirit of teamwork to work out schedules, balance everyone’s needs, and support each other through difficulty.

According to their analysis, couples struggled more in their relationships when they had kids to look after, although things improved for parents as the lockdown went on. And younger couples seemed to be getting along better than older couples. A different study of Germans ages 14–95 came to a similar conclusion: As younger people’s relationships improved between February and April 2020, the relationships of older people tended to get worse.

Of course, the pandemic wasn’t all good for romance. In addition to togetherness and appreciation, Spanish couples also wrote about feeling lonely and distant from each other, and being more tense and argumentative. Young couples in the U.S. said they experienced more fear, anger, and sadness during their interactions, compared to pre-pandemic. When conflict arose, it tended to spill over into couples’ physical connection and affection, so they were less likely to hug, kiss, and have sex.

Relationships were even more strained for people who had partners with an insecure attachment style, who have trouble forming secure, stable bonds. People with distant, avoidant partners felt less supported, less able to solve problems, and lacking in a sense of togetherness. People with clingy, anxiously attached partners also felt less support and togetherness at home, as well as more chaos and problems (like poor communication and a lack of affection). Depending on their attachment style, partners may be in need of more personal space in the confines of lockdown, or seeking support and reassurance but not getting it, says University of Auckland professor Nickola Overall.

In short, the pandemic was worse for relationships that were already struggling. That includes relationships strained by larger societal inequalities: For example, people in same-sex relationships became less satisfied with their relationships during the pandemic, particularly people of color and those who were uneasy about their sexual orientation.

“The [positive aspects of the pandemic] are disproportionately available to people that had resources and strengths going into the pandemic and are not facing major health-related and employment-related stressors arising from the pandemic,” says Overall.

Meanwhile, inequalities affecting women—who were were hit harder by pandemic unemployment and have taken on much of the increased child care and housework—seemed to affect their relationships, too. According to a study in New Zealand that Overall coauthored, women who felt the pandemic division of labor in their household was unfair had more problems in their relationships and were less satisfied with them, too.

How to be resilient, together

If the tension has increased between you and your partner, you might be tempted to ignore it. After all, things are hard enough right now, and the last thing you need is to start up another yelling match. According to one study in April 2020, avoiding confrontation is exactly what people did when they felt COVID was interfering more in their daily life. The bad news is that these people were also less satisfied together, as issues festered below the surface.

Dealing with conflict is crucial, argue Li and Samp. And a 2021 paper suggests an activity that might help: reappraisal. In this study, over 700 people living in the U.S. with their partners tried different writing activities, including one where they wrote about conflicts with their partner from the perspective of a neutral third party, trying to get outside their own head and see the situation with more perspective.

In the next two weeks, people who practiced this technique experienced fewer disagreements, less yelling, and fewer threats and insults in their relationship than those who simply wrote about their feelings about the conflict, or did other writing activities. All of this translated into being more satisfied as a couple.

There’s another easy technique you can try: Blame the pandemic.

One U.S. study surveyed people living with their partners in spring 2020 and again toward the end of the year. When women were stressed, those who blamed the pandemic (instead of themselves or their partners) were more satisfied with their relationships and engaged in fewer relationship-harming behaviors, like criticizing, insulting, and being impatient or withdrawn. This effect didn’t hold for men, though, maybe because women are experiencing the worst of pandemic stress, speculated the University of Texas at Austin’s Lisa A. Neff and her coauthors.

Besides finding ways to cope with the extra stress and conflict, couples can also make a deliberate effort to connect and communicate.

In 2020, researchers designed a two-hour “Awareness, Courage, and Love” activity. U.S. couples who did it felt closer afterward and at least a week later, compared to couples who just watched a movie together. The activity included eye contact, a guided meditation, journaling about the relationship and sharing what they wrote, offering words of appreciation, and a weekly conversation activity with questions like these:

  • What has been hard for you this week that you’d like me to understand?
  • When did you feel closest/most distant to me this past week?
  • Is there anything you’re avoiding saying or communicating to me?
  • What have you appreciated about me this past week?
  • How can you take better care of yourself?
  • How can I be a better partner to you?
  • Is there anything else you want to tell me?

It should go without saying, but another way to shore up your relationship is to go out of your way to support your partner. During COVID, researchers have found that people who feel more supported by their partners are more grateful and less stressed, feel more committed and confident about achieving their goals, and make more progress toward them.

How to be a good pandemic partner

What does a supportive partner look like, in this context?

For a 2020 study, relationship therapist Laura Vowels and her team interviewed 48 people and asked them, “How have you supported each other during the pandemic in achieving tasks and goals? How has the way in which you support each other changed as a result of the pandemic?”

According to their answers, supportive partners made themselves available and had a spirit of flexibility and teamwork. When the pandemic hit, they found ways to share office space and divide up chores, so everyone could do what they needed to do. They encouraged their partners to get outside support from others, like family and friends. They provided inspiration, reassurance, comfort, and validation (and they tried to not get in their partner’s way).

“Reframing support as ‘we are in it together and we are working together to solve these shared problems’ ensures that people don’t feel burdened by the other person’s needs but also that when you’re receiving support, you don’t feel like you aren’t capable,” says Overall.

Some other strategies that couples tried during the pandemic included:

  • Making time for each other: Planning date nights, and working on communication.
  • Setting boundaries: Carving out alone time, and making sure each person has privacy and space.
  • Practicing mindfulness: Being kind and patient in their interactions with each other, and checking in on the other person’s mental health.

Going forward into post-pandemic life, or at least coming out of lockdown, Vowels expects to see another round of transition and negotiation among couples. Partners will have to again balance different levels of risk and figure out how their priorities may have shifted during the pandemic.

“If couples can actually openly talk about it, that’s much better than just assuming that we’re returning to normal, because that may not be what the other person’s thinking,” says Vowels, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Lausanne and principal researcher for Blueheart.io.

Facing a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, our relationships are bound to shift and change. That’s normal and to be expected, researchers say. We may find ourselves feeling adoring and grateful one day, and unable to stand the sound of their voice the next. While some people are deciding to break up and others are getting engaged, for many couples the reality may be somewhere in between: some renewed closeness, some new stress and tension. Even if yours isn’t a story of cosy quarantine romance, you can still celebrate muddling through it together.

About the Author

Kira M. Newman

Kira M. Newman is the managing editor of Greater Good. Her work has been published in outlets including the Washington Post, Mindful magazine, Social Media Monthly, and Tech.co, and she is the co-editor of The Gratitude Project. Follow her on Twitter!

Ancient Sect Left Us THIS MISSING PIECE | Gregg Braden

Source: Inspired

Gregg Braden talks about the seven Essene mirrors of relationships, and specifically the 3rd mirror, which is the mirror of what we have lost, given away or had taken from us by those who have power over us. Below the transcript is another video in which Gregg discusses all seven of the Essene mirrors.

TRANSCRIPT (Gregg Braden speaking):
My personal history was the driver to understand these things. I can say now, I do come from a very dysfunctional, abusive alcoholic family. I’m a survivor of childhood trauma. And I had to learn very early on what that meant to me, because I made a choice, early on, not to be defined by my past.

And I have other a younger brother who made a different choice and is suffering in the world today because everything that happens to him he says is because of what happened to him when he was younger. And he’s absolutely correct. It can be and it doesn’t have to be.

My feeling is, and where I look at this maybe a little differently, I believe there’s a continuity in human consciousness and human history. And I believe those who have come before us left us information in their time. If we have the wisdom to recognize and the courage to embrace and the strength to live what they left for us that we can benefit from those who have come before us – whether it was a generation or whether it was 5,000 years ago.

So I’ve been the student of history all of my life. And I recognized early on that there were certain groups of people – there was a mysterious sect, for example, called the Essenes 500 years before the time of Jesus. They did not call themselves Essenes. The Egyptians actually called them Therapeutae, which means healers. Not only did they understand physical healing, the understood, emotional and psychological healing.

And the Essenes identified, a series of mirrors, seven mirrors that every human will experience in their lifetime if they live among other people: seven mirrors of relationship. The first ones are obvious, and they become more and more and more subtle. And you have to recognize the obvious ones before you get into the more subtle ones.

And what you’re referring to is third mirror – the third Essene mirror of relationship. It is the mirror of what we have lost, given away, or had taken from us by those who have power over us. So the way that particular mirror works is we’ve all had these experiences, if we’re honest with ourselves. We can be at a place in our lives where we’re perfectly content with a partner or a relationship, or no partner or no relationship.

And someone… you can walk down the aisle at the grocery store, or you can interact with someone in the office place. And all of a sudden there’s that little… something lights up inside and you find yourself drawn to this person, magnetically drawn. And your mind will say, well I shouldn’t be or this isn’t right, and that doesn’t change the chemistry that’s there. We all will know that experience.

The question is, why is it happening? If we don’t know why it’s happening, then we can be led through this mysterious experience to lose everything that we love and cherish – perfectly good relationships and families and kids and all of that – in search of what it is this magnet means to us because it’s such a powerful compulsion. The Essene mirror # 3 tells us what this is.

Each of us to survive, wherever we are in our lives today, we all have given away parts of ourselves. Sometimes we do it consciously. Coming from an alcoholic family, as a peacemaker, I would consciously relinquish my choices, my ideas, just to keep peace in the family.



The Key to Unlocking Change: Be What You Want to See

Image result for be the changeI felt compelled to write about ‘being the change’ this week after all of the negative news going on in the world lately. I won’t get into it, as I’m sure most of you are aware of what’s been going on but I just wanted to take the time to remind everyone that it all starts with each and every one of us. We all matter and we all mean something. Somewhere along the line, it became acceptable; almost required to teach us that we are insignificant and we began to lost our luster, our soul shine…and that is the greatest lie ever taught. We are all significant, we are divine, we are love. Don’t ever forget that because once you remember, the world will reflect a place that won’t need changing. 

In any situation, if there are opposing forces, which we all know is not uncommon in our 3-D world, then there are also likely to be some expectations of giving and take, of push and pull, and of certain roles you play. There are masks you get to choose from, but from the moment you are born, you must wear one. Your parents usually choose them for you until you are around the age of 18, and usually, the ones they’ve chosen tend to have an influence on the ones we later choose in life, and sadly most of us never learn to question why we’re wearing one at all or even attempt to remove it.

In this world of duality, in this modern society, there are certain ways to think, act and feel. And those of us born with different ways of perceiving, sensing, and feeling the world tend to not fit into the molds and therefore are more easily capable of seeing where the chaos is occurring in the collective and how it can be most effectively addressed.

I say this most astutely, because of time after time, experiment after experiment, measurement after measurement, it always comes back to heart resonance. If you do ANYTHING from the heart, it will have a positive, beneficial effect on the matter, being, or species at hand. I’m not talking about mere good intentions or what we might think is good for another person, but actually feeling into our hearts and connecting to that knowing space that allows us to resonate with the truth of existence.

Some would say this goes beyond the boundaries that you simply do not cross. Some would say that our society is best to not cross them. Or not…

There is a wave of us (yes I do include myself in this group although I try to avoid labels), that was never ingrained with such filters and like Van Gogh’s bleeding ear, I find it as weird and fascinating as much as I can appreciate the act itself as beautiful, alchemical art. And some might think that is just fucking unheard of. I guess you could say I strive to embody what I would imagine it means to truly be a ‘spiritual gangster’. LOL We have all seen Deepak Chopra sporting those chakra-tactical Ts, right?

So what the that mean exactly? It means to not only fall into the trap of every thought must be positive, every move must be toward the light, every day must be full of sunshine and smiles, but to also have the awareness that it’s all about the balance and that includes the Darkside, my fellow Jedis! We are gonna have to face those shadows and feel uncomfortable at times to truly “walk the path”. The New Age Movement has become a dangerous arena. It can be a great resource to learn ancient meditation, yoga, pranic breathing techniques and offer insights into spiritual development that can help lead you to the cave of your inner world, but anyone telling you that you need them to take you inside and show you the way is lying to you.

It is you who must be your own guide, your own light because it is you who is also the darkness you will overcome. And you will do this by facing all that is within you that is reflecting back from others. All that we immediately want to judge, blame, hate or be jealous of. It is all within us waiting for us to just take a damn look. And not a look of condemnation or judgment, but of simple acknowledgment and acceptance; like that poor kid always left by himself on the playground who never gets picked for kickball. Just let him know he matters, that his existence actually means something. This can make someone’s entire world. You really never know the difference you make, until you care enough to actually make it.


Tamara posts new original articles to CLN every Saturday.

This article was originally created and published by Conscious Life News and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Tamara Rant and ConsciousLifeNews.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this Copyright/Creative Commons statement.