In life and love, you get what you give

I always say that the reason nuns and monks are so peaceful and blissed out is that they have no one up in their face on the daily stirring up their shit! (Imagine for a moment what your life might look like if you could just spend your days chanting and reading prayers – or if it were me, hiking through the woods, sitting at the beach, listening to music and doing yoga.) However, that’s not the life most of us signed up for. We signed up to be in relationships with others so that ultimately we could learn and grow emotionally and spiritually. But, dang – it’s hard sometimes! You could look at any relationship you’ve had (and I’m not talking just romantic partnerships) – this could be a friendship, marriage, between siblings, with your parents, on a sports team, etc., and I imagine at some point at least one of these people has triggered you. Maybe someone said something you didn’t agree with or they have a different way of doing things than you do, and it drives you crazy! It may even make you feel sad or insecure. No matter the feeling, I can guarantee you, if it’s happening, it’s meant to be teaching you. The best thing you can do in any relationship is to not make assumptions. The mind will try to convince you that you know the answers – that you know how someone else feels and what they are thinking. But you must ask – and listen – to what the other person says. When you get triggered by someone, you have a choice...

What does true love look like?

It’s that time of year…when everyone’s thinking about love! Valentine’s Day is today, and you certainly see evidence of that in stores everywhere. But flowers and candy have little to do with real love. Sure, they are nice to receive as a show of affection – and yet, it often leaves the receiver yearning for something more. I think this something more that we crave is true connection. That connection can be with a spouse, romantic partner, friend, or family, and you’ll know when it happens by how you feel. Last week, I was having a Skype conversation with a couple of coaching friends. We all have busy lives and live in different places, so we make a point of catching up once a month on a video call. It’s a special friendship and a unique bond. We’ve known that for awhile. But last week, it went to a whole new level that none of us saw coming! Being life coaches, we are very supportive of each other- AND we also call each other out on our bs (excuses and such). During our call, one of us (unknowingly) said something that triggered a shameful response in another. The conversation went on…until she had the courage to say “Hey, when you said that, this is how I felt.”, and it was discussed in an open, honest, caring manner. Neither comment was meant to make the other person feel bad, and that was (silently) understood between all of us. The third person said they watched in awe as a space was created for the two to share this dialogue. It was extremely...

When there’s good in goodbye

“I regret ever meeting you.” I looked at the text message on my phone and thought ‘Are you fucking kidding me?!’ I couldn’t believe a year and a half later I was even receiving this – never mind the fact that (in my humble opinion) I had been a great girlfriend. My next thought was ‘Trust me – the feeling is mutual!’ I was mad, bewildered, and amused all at once. After a little reflection, I knew I had to dig a bit deeper for a lesson or the good I had learned from the relationship. (Being stuck in regret doesn’t bring about a sense of bliss.) And it came to me…all the things I learned from previous relationships that will help create a better relationship the next time around. Now: I have faith in The Universe’s Divine wisdom and timing. I pay attention to the red flags. I speak up for myself about what does/doesn’t work for me. I set boundaries. I’m not afraid of being rejected for who I am (or who I’m not willing to be). I do not shrink my personality to make someone else feel comfortable. I also do not attempt to expand my personality to impress someone. And, most importantly, I love myself through it...

Live as if being you is the only choice you have

“I wish I’d have known you. I wish I’d have shown you all of the things I was on the inside.”          -Top of the World (Dixie Chicks) Have you ever been in a situation where you didn’t fully show up as yourself? This might have been at work, or in your romantic relationships, with your family and friends, or even around strangers. In some way, you felt like you needed to be someone you’re not. Maybe that meant hiding parts of your personality – things you thought people might not like or may not understand. Maybe it meant trying to fit in or gain someone’s approval – seeking to find that sign which says you are good enough and worthy of someone’s affection and appreciation. I can honestly say this used to be a fairly common behaviour for me in my personal relationships. I never intended to be inauthentic; it just always sort of happened. I became what I thought people needed me to be – whether that was my friends, coworkers or someone I was dating. (And of course it was always based on my perception – it may not even have been their reality.) I often felt like I was “too much this” or “not enough that”.  I would bite my tongue and not speak up about certain things because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings (somehow respecting my own never even crossed my mind). Or I would give more time and energy into a project than I wanted to. Or I would say yes when I meant no. All of these...

A history lesson: on being vulnerable in life and love

“My heart has a history of hurtin’ those who mean the most to me. Before you get to close to me, I think you oughta know. While other hearts are holdin’ on, while other loves are growin’ strong, my heart has a history of letting go.” –My Heart Has a History (Paul Brandt) This song played on my iPod yesterday, and I know it was not a coincidence. I had started dating someone about a month ago, and things were going great! He’s a very nice guy – kind, caring, compassionate, smart, funny, supportive, etc. – all the things I want in a partner.  And I wrecked it. About 2 weeks in, I felt the anxiety building. I felt like it was all too much, too soon, and I told him I needed space, which he gave me. During that time I figured out what the anxiety was (because anxiety in itself is not an emotion). I was afraid. Afraid of making a mistake. Afraid of getting hurt. Afraid of him seeing me (the real me) and not liking what he saw. Afraid I wasn’t good enough. I tried to be honest about my insecurity. It felt so vulnerable, and I shared my feelings anyway.  I knew that in order to deal with (and change) my patterns of behaviour in relationships, I had to face it. But old habits die hard, and even though I know better, I let my fears dictate me. I think I expected too much instead of just going with the flow. And in the end, I created the exact thing I feared and didn’t want...

How deliberate acts of kindness can change the world

“Today I’m gonna try and change the world. Gonna take it one day at a time. I’ve made my resolution. I’ve opened up my eyes.” -Today I’m Gonna Try and Change the World (Johnny Reid) If you’ve been following my facebook page, you know that I spent the month of November doing 40 deliberate acts of kindness in honour of my 40th birthday. I’d had an amazing year since my last birthday, and was feeling very grateful, so I began thinking about what I really wanted as a present (i.e. a way to celebrate my birthday that felt like a gift to me – without actually acquiring more “stuff” that I don’t need). All that kept entering my head was to give back. I had read an article about Robyn Bomar and how she’d done 38 acts of kindness on her 38th birthday. I knew I was not organized enough to do 40 in one day, so I decided to do 40 in one month. You might be asking, why bother giving back? What was my plan? And what did I hope to achieve?  The point was to try and make the world a better place. I know it sounds cliché, but I just had this desire to do something! Maybe I can’t change the world, but I can for sure start with me. I can change how I show up in the world and interact with others. My plan was to do the 40 acts of kindness and invite people to join me (in doing whatever acts of kindness felt right for them). My hope was that through our...

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