Feb 07 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day – Year ‘Round

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Gifts, cards, appreciations, caring gestures and behaviors, and surprises are the stuff of Valentine’s Day, especially for those who are married or in committed relationships. But a year-round deep and loving connection of course requires more than an annual check-in.


John Gottman, PhD, the well known marriage and couples researcher and author, regularly makes note in his lectures and writing of what he has discovered through interviews with thousands of couples: namely, that there are very specific predictors of successful marriages.


One of these predictors is the ratio of positive to negative interactions in everyday communication between partners. He has concluded that there needs to be at least a 5:1 positive to negative ratio for a marriage to remain solid.


In other words, what a successful marriage needs in order to stay vibrant is year-round attention to appreciations, words of encouragement and understanding, pleasant surprises, spontaneous expressions of non-sexual physical affection, and frequent expressions such as touches, smiles, unexpected favors, thank you’s and even simple nods and uh-huh’s.

Conversely, even small doses of criticism, blaming, defensiveness, discourteous interruptions and subtle non-verbal expressions like frowns or scowls can quickly serve to contaminate and unravel the pleasure, safety, and passion of even the healthiest relationship.


So we suggest as a special Valentine gift for your partner (and yourself!) a gift that keeps on giving all year long: the practice of 1) maintaining an habitual lookout for the positives in your partner – physical characteristics, personality traits, abilities, behaviors, anything and everything – and then, without fail, the critical step of 2) telling your partner what you notice, no matter how much of a stretch this may seem at times! Remember, LOVE is an action word. The feeling it creates is connection – the pure gold (or chocolate!) of life.


If “maintaining an habitual lookout” sounds a little daunting right from the get-go, we suggest that you start off with something more modest – say one specific time frame or period, when you are together, when you will remind yourself to be taking notice. During this time pick out one, or  two, or three items to share: “Thanks for clearing the table.” “I really like that you read to the kids tonight.” “That was a great idea to start thinking about the summer vacation right now.” “I was just noticing your amazing eyes.” “I’m always grateful that you keep the gas tank full in our car.” As you can see, what you notice can run from the mundane and present-moment to the romantic and the future.


If you get good at this and then make it more and more a habit, which is of course the goal, you can probably do it any number of times daily without it ever being contrived or artificial!


We know of nothing that can do more to enrich an already good relationship, give new vitality to one that is getting stale, or open the door of possibility to a relationship that may be teetering on crisis.


And remember: these daily gifts are just that – gifts. They do not entail any requirement that they be reciprocated. If you have that expectation, please let it go. As noted above, they are after all gifts to yourself as well – in your own sense of increased connection and awareness as well as safety and pleasure you will be creating and maintaining in your relationship.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Dec 30 2010

Hailstorms and Turtles

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(As with several other recent articles, this is adapted from one of our favorite inspirational books, The Couples Companion, by Imago founders Harville Hendrix PhD and Helen Hunt PhD. We heartily recommend it.)


Have you ever noticed the made-to-order match-ups that couples make? (if you are married or in a committed relationship, perhaps you’ve already noticed it in yours!) One partner logical and unemotional, the other exuberant or inclined to hysteria; or, your easily excitable friend who fell in love with someone who never raises his voice above a whisper.


This pairing of opposites happens so frequently it would seem to be a natural match, another of nature’s clever symmetries. Opposites do attract. We select partners from an unconscious place, and who we match up with is deeply connected with our early life development and unmet childhood needs. (That’s a whole story in itself – for another article). Suffice it to say here that depending on the complex set of influences on our development, each of us has a tendency to either minimize or exaggerate the way we express our energy.


Those of us who minimize can be called “minimizers” and those who exaggerate can be called “maximizers.” Diminishing or exaggerating our affect, that is to say the way in which we behave or react, seems to be an evolutionary expression of the surv ival instinct to fight or flee in response to danger.


Maximizers ar e  the active ones, like a hailstorm, often expressive and explosive, and even torrential, making no secret of their feelings, fighting to get what they need.


Minimizers are contained, passive, fleeing inward in full hiding like a turtle to avoid being hailed upon, protecting themselves from perceived emotional or physical injury.


So what follows is a short self-survey to help you see if you tend to be the turtle or the hailstorm. It consists of two lists , one a set of characteristics of the minimizer, the other a set of characteristics of the maximize.

Responding as honestly as possible, note the phrases in each list that you feel describe you.


Minimizer:

  • Implodes feelings inward
  • Diminishes affect
  • Denies dependency
  • Generally denies needs
  • Shares little of their inner world
  • Tends to exclude others from their inner or psychic space
  • Withholds feelings, thoughts, and behaviors
  • Has rigid self-boundaries
  • Takes direction mainly from themselves
  • Mainly thinks about themselves
  • Acts and thinks compulsively
  • Tries to dominate others
  • Tends to be passive-aggressive

Maximizer:

  • Explodes feelings outward
  • Exaggerates affect
  • Tends to depend on others
  • Generally exaggerates needs
  • Is compulsively open, subjective
  • Tends to be overly inclusive of others in psychic space
  • Tends toward clinging and excessive generosity
  • Has diffuse self-boundaries
  • Generally asks for direction from others, distrusts own directions
  • Focuses on others
  • Acts impulsively
  • Usually submissive, manipulative
  • Alternates between aggressiveness and passivity

Compare your number of noted traits on the two lists. Whichever list has the greater number of circled traits describes your dominant response pattern.


Any surprises?


Whether you are surprised or not, please note that one pattern of response is not to be judged as “better” or “worse” than the other. What is important as a starting point is simply being aware of how you and your partner typically interact: this information is always a good starting point for a conscious dialogue about your relationship and how each of you can come to understand each other and become a more effective team.

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Oct 27 2010

Dimples and Pimples

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Have you ever found yourself looking back at that first infatuation and romance you felt with your partner and asking: “Was I drunk?” “Was I sleeping?”  “How could I ever have thought that this selfish creep was generous?”  “That this cold fish was sexy?”


Well, it’s no accident that you fell in love, and also no accident that you may be now wondering what you were thinking.


First, romantic love is in fact a kind of temporary insanity. Your unconscious is hard at work, actually on a profound mission on your behalf. It has a secret agenda to make you whole. It is determined for you to find that someone to help you complete that mission.This person is not supposed to be some imagined fantasy, some impossibly perfect being. Such a being simply does not exist. Period.


Yet, because your rational mind isn’t able to perceive this, your unconscious does a sabotage job, making you see only what you want to see and censoring any incoming data that conflicts with what your rational mind would call “better judgment.”


So the negative aspects of your partner which your unconscious has caused you to judge desirable are kept invisible to you until you have bonded to him or her. Then it’s too late! By the time your veil of illusion has fallen, until you give up your denial and rationalizations of your partner’s faults, all you can continue to see is the “dimples.”


However, the end of romantic love, when the “truth” about our partner is all too apparent, and the questions we framed above fill your mind, is a time typically followed by an equally irrational period in which all you can see is the “pimples”, as we slog through the struggles of readjusted perception and understanding.


Both visions – the “dimples” and the “pimples” – are compelling in their own way. And sadly, if you and your partner leave this contradiction unaddressed, there is a strong likelihood that your relationship will be one where both visions go on and on indefinitely in painful unreconciled tandem.


The good news, of course, is that there is a path to reconciliation of these two visions and to healing through conscious communication we call “intentional dialogue” which has served both of us well for over 15 years. It’s a path we can testify can make both of you feel safer and more connected – yes, happy together! – and at the same time give each of you achieve a healthy independence.


So neither vision is complete or accurate. When, through your efforts and understanding, you emerge from the valley of conflict with the help of tools that yield love and acceptance of your partner’s dimples and pimples, you have the whole picture.

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Sep 28 2010

Dredging the Channels of Communication

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“The present time is bound (…) to attempt an organization of future society by which the dynamite of revolution may be manipulated as persistently and consciously as contractors use real dynamite in building tunnels or roads.”

Out of Revolution (1938) – Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy.

In 1953-54 I was a student of Rosenstock-Huessy, a noted German and American scholar and Christian who taught social philosophy at Dartmouth for many years after fleeing Nazi Germany in the 1930’s. I took his course entitled “The Circulation of Thought” which was, as it turned out, my first understanding and awareness of the nature of human communication – of the process itself.

This experience keeps coming back to me now as I witness what is happening not just in our individual relationships with one another, but especially on the political scene in our country today.

Rosenstock-Huessy lectured without notes but with great Germanic passion, roaming the aisles of the lecture hall and engaging students close up with his intense eyes. Referring not just to Nazi use of propaganda and Soviet-style agitprop, and also Joseph McCarthy’s headline grabbing of the time, but also to a wide range of historic circumstances where the means of communication had been manipulated to suit the motives of a person or faction, he literally pleaded to us to become conscious and ever-vigilant as to what was afoot in the public discourse and to “dredge our channels of thought”, as he put it. (I can still see him waving a copy of “Life” magazine in front of the class to give an example of something which was not what it said it was!)

To him the work of dredging meant not simply the use of reason and the empirical method of inquiry, but also gaining and sustaining what might now be called “emotional literacy”, an understanding and ongoing curiosity about the source of our own fears and susceptibility to being manipulated by appeal to these fears. This, he saw, was our only bulwark of freedom, an ongoing process of keeping the channels of thought clear.

In those complacent times of the 1950’s, we as students were not shocked into recognition, nor set on fire with righteous indignation, but for me at least the message was deeply planted. It has never been lost.

Today when mass communication is so pervasive and “the dynamite of revolution” thus so readily amenable to “manipulation”, his words on the eve of World War II seem as wise and relevant as ever.

Be well and stay curious. Your life may depend on it.

Bruce

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Jul 10 2010

My Personal Healing Team Includes a Spiritual Guide

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On August 1, the Imago Center for Relationships will be moving into our new office next door at 16 Leigh St., Clinton, New Jersey.

Brigitte Boyea, of Lightbridge Inc., one of our current co-tenants at 12b Leigh St., will be sharing with us this beautiful brand new1500 square foot  space.

Brigitte’s work and broad experience with personal healing brings a deep spiritual perspective to my present understanding of my life experiences, and we are privileged to have her as not simply a co-tenant, but also a source of powerful complementary energy for our location.

I mention this because the thought behind much of my other writing here and elsewhere, simply would not have happened without spiritual guidance from Brigitte.

For example, on numerous occasions when I was writing my recently published memoir Up the Hill to Baker River School, I often found myself stuck in a childhood place. By this I mean that I found myself slipping unconsciously into that place where my limiting core beliefs from growing up were stored – my mistaken assumptions and “stories” which blocked the reality of who I am and what my true potential is. Put simply, I had writer’s block.

In such times Brigitte skillfully and lovingly helped me to re-connect with my higher spiritual self to move beyond these limitations.

Through this process, I was guided to an important insight: Often, when attempting to stretch beyond my core beliefs, especially the one that tells me that “I’m not enough”, there is a collision of two energies in me. One is the energy which wants me to remain and wallow, so to speak, in the belief; while the other is urging me to act outside the belief. To ignore the opportunity presented by this conflict is to run the risk not simply of reinforcing the belief, but also of having potentially what is unresolved show up in my physical body as pain or illness.

Here, the guidance and reassuring wisdom of Brigitte was as needed as much as the services of other practitioners to ease me toward a true and fully healthy perspective of who I am and what I have to give. Her deep and intuitive understanding of the complementary nature of all healing modalities and her enlightened ability to guide my understanding and interpretation of “illness” has continually kept my way clear and facilitated the full expression of my creative impulses.

Each of us, and every family, may need a trusted spiritual teacher like Brigitte just as much as we need the services of those that may first come to mind when we think “health care provider”.

Betsy


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Jul 10 2010

Is This a Letter You Would Like to Write to Your Partner?

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To My Partner,

When I ask you to listen to me and you start giving advice I did not request, you have not done what I asked.

When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way, you are telling me to deny my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me and you think that you have to do something to solve my problems, you have failed me, strange as that may seem.

Listen.  All I ask is that you listen.  Not talk or do, just hear me. The giving of advice can never take the place of the giving of yourself.

When you do something for me that I need to do for myself, you contribute to my fear and weakness.

But when you accept the simple fact that I do feel what I feel, no matter how irrational that may seem, then I can stop trying to convince you and get on with trying to understand what’s behind my feelings.

And when I can do that, the answers unfold naturally.

And do you know what? Your listening will have made it possible.

So please, unless I ask otherwise, just listen and let me work it out for myself.  There are important times in my life when I just need to be “heard” and not fixed.

Thank you for considering this gift to me.

As partners, we have the capability to give the amazing and powerful gift of listening to each other. In learning to do so, especially through the Imago “art” of  intentional dialogue, we can become increasingly powerful healers for each other, and in so doing build a more complete relationship.

We did not begin ourselves. Others did.  Our childhood experiences activated and formed certain neural pathways in our brains, creating what we experience as memories, some that serve us, some that do not. When our parents cuddled, held and comforted us, they were building positive neural pathways. But when our parents abused, hurt, or simply ignored us as children, these experiences created negative neural pathways.

When as adults we may feel unheard, dismissed, invisible, by our partner, these old well-established neural pathways may get triggered and we frequently find ourselves in a power struggle characterized by blame, defense, and criticism.

As painful as it can be to revisit certain episodes from our past that created these negative neural pathways, the process of remembering these times and making sense of them and their meaning and then shaping and reconstructing them can lead to highly illuminating self discovery and change.

Quite simply, the space created by listening makes this process possible.

Writing my recently published memoir Up the Hill to Baker River School (Dogear Publishing 2010, $14.95) impelled in me the process of remembering and re-evaluating many details of my past relationships, especially those with my parents, siblings, and teachers so that I could better understand my stuck places as an adult and create a meaningful fresh narrative for my life.  I was amazed to uncover the many neutrally embedded messages I had taken in as a child and come to believe them to be true, messages like not being good enough, smart enough, attractive enough, or fun enough, just to mention a few.

But I also believe I could never have achieved this discovery without the remarkable loving and attentive skill of an aware listener, not only my spiritual teacher Brigitte, but also my partner, Bruce. His skill time and again enabled me to disentangle my negative neural pathways (!) and their stored childhood messages and create new ones.

My clarity and self-understanding were among the many personal gifts I received while writing my book, but to have had, in the first place, a partner to witness and to listen to and to understand was maybe the best gift of all.  What could be more healing than that?

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Jun 22 2010

Getting to Know Your Inner Voice Gremlins

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Inner voice gremlins are the creatures that unconsciously distort our thoughts. Their presence generates all kinds of negative self-judgments, criticisms, blaming, assumptions, denials, avoidance, and just about every kind of non-productive thought ever given a name, and probably some that don’t even have a name.

To get the idea, just track your thoughts for the next 10 seconds and you’re likely to notice at least one. Maybe even a negative thought about what you’re reading right now! Pretty amazing, no?

Gremlins masquerade as reality. They would also like to sabotage relationships.

The good news is that when it comes to thoughts, we always do have the power to choose our response and perspective. Gremlins are unconscious mental fabrications. Once gremlins are named, we need not be victimized by them.

In fact, these gremlins are our potential friends. Their insistent jabber actually creates an opportunity for us to do something about them.

Let’s name and describe some of them. As you read the list, think of ways in which can you take responsibility for their presence and your reaction to the way they might present themselves, especially in your most committed relationship. How might each apply to you?

1.    EMOTIONAL REASONING – You assume that your negative feelings necessarily reflect the way things really are. “Since I feel this way, it must be true”

2.    “SHOULD” STATEMENTS – You use “I should” or “I shouldn’t” or “I must or ought to”, as ways to motivate yourself.  If you don’t succeed, guilt is the consequence.  When you apply these statements to others by substituting “you” or “they” for “I”, you feel angry, frustrated, resentful.

3.    ALL-OR-NOTHING THINKING -You see things in black and white categories.  If your performance falls short of perfection, you see yourself as a total failure or vice versa.

4.    MENTAL FILTERING– Like the drop of ink that discolors the entire glass of water, you manage to pick a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively so that your vision of all reality becomes darkened.

5.    JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS -You tend to make negative interpretations even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion.

6.     DISQUALIFYING THE POSITIVE – You reject positive experiences by insisting they don’t count, for some reason or other.  In this way you can maintain a negative belief in contradiction to your actual everyday experience.


7.    PERSONALIZATION – You see yourself as the cause of some negative external event which in fact you were not primarily responsible for.

8.    MAGNIFICATION OR MINIMIZATION – You exaggerate the importance of things (such as your goof up or someone else’s achievement) or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny (your own achievements, or the other’s goof up).

Make no mistake. Gremlins may seem to have a powerful grip. They even want to protect themselves or deflect or discredit your efforts as impossible or unnecessary or even irrelevant. As you acknowledge and put a flashlight on them, they can get very clever. They will try to test your authority and power, and outsmart you.

But you really do have the last say. They are yours to take charge of. If they won’t shut up, you may need to be creative, even playful, in the way you deal with them. For example, you may need to imagine sticking a sock in their mouths, changing channels, slamming a door in their face, or laughing at them or taunting them back. You’ve got your imagination on your side.

The benefits of engaging these gremlins and beating them at their own game may emerge only gradually, but each gain you make, each voice you tame and manage, can bring you a whole new sense of freedom and power.
And the payoff is not simply for you. Any step you take on your own behalf is also a step on behalf of your relationship to everyone else in your life, including especially your committed life partner and others closest to you.


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Feb 23 2010

On Relationships: Sex Addiction – the Tiger Woods Story

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Today’s New York Times contained an interesting article about the apparent path Tiger Woods is pursuing in response to his  sexual infidelities.

In the long statement that he read to a nationwide audience last week, Tiger Woods never used the words “sex addiction.” Yet by publicly apologizing for his infidelity, saying he was returning to his religious faith and admitting that he has “work to do,” he appeared to be carrying out several steps of a common 12-step treatment for just that.

Experts in the field note that Woods hit several key points in the program used by the Gentle Path clinic in Hattiesburg, Miss., at whose front door he has been photographed.

The Times article notes in particular Steps 8 and 9 of the program, where patients are admonished to list everyone they have harmed and make amends. In his statement, Woods dwelled on his mistakes and apologized to his family, his wife’s family, his business partners and sponsors, and parents who “used to point to me as a role model for their kids.”

In his seeming embrace of the 12-step approach — first formulated by Alcoholics Anonymous but since adopted by Narcotics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous and groups for gambling, food and shopping addictions — Woods waded into a longstanding debate over sexual disorders and how to treat them.

The very idea that someone can be addicted to sex is controversial and inevitably leads to chuckles and jokes. Those claiming addiction may be accused of seeking a medical excuse for simple promiscuity.

But while sex addiction is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, psychiatrists have long recognized that there are “clear cases in which people ruin their lives because of sex,” said Dr. Michael First, a Columbia University psychiatry professor who edited the manual. “Hypersexual disorder” is now under consideration for the next edition.

“The question,” Dr. First said, “is how you draw the boundary between a healthy sexual appetite and addiction.”

He further noted that diagnosis depends on how much pursuing sex interferes with other goals, on whether the patient has tried to stop and failed, and on what mood the activity brings on.

Though not specifically mentioned, it seemed clear to me that whatever his “diagnosis” or chosen path to healing, the  essential challenge, for his wife as well, will be re-establishing and in fact re-creating a relationship of trust and deep connection. That, as he acknowledged, will take time and involve a new vision as well as walking the talk of his stated intention, and without it there will be no true committed relationship.

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Feb 05 2010

Forgiveness: Healing for You and Your Relationships

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Have you ever found it difficult to forgive?

Are there some behaviors or specific actions that your partner or parents or friends have done in the past for which you are just not willing to forgive?

Do you wonder why you hold on so tightly?

Have you tried forgiving, but never succeeded?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, you have lots of company. Yet if you are serious about finding a way past resentment, anger, guilt, or whatever feelings you are harboring, there are steps you can take which many have successfully taken to achieve true forgiveness, and in the process give yourself and others a true and lasting gift.

First, let me say there are many reasons people resist forgiving. Here are a few of the main ones:

·         a false belief about what it means to forgive.
·         a thought that what was done to you was unjust and to forgive would imply sanctioning injustice.
·         a feeling of self-righteousness and the thought that you would rather be right than be at peace.
·         a feeling that when someone hurts you, you want to hurt back. You want them to suffer the way you are suffering.

(In my case, for many years I thought that forgiveness meant saying “that’s okay” to the behavior of the other. Through the process I describe, I was able to realize that forgiveness does not require that you seek out or take action toward that person who hurt you and tell them anything. I came to see that it is not about them anymore. It is about you and the angry thoughts and feelings you hold inside your body. It’s about letting go of the anger that slowly eats away at your mind, body and spirit. Such anger can actually kill you – albeit slowly!)

Here’s an example. I had a client not too long ago who was working on her outbursts of anger expressed by yelling at her partner. In describing to me what was happening during these outbursts, she noted the many times her mother had yelled at her when she was growing up and that she had seen her mother’s yelling as having a lot of power. As a child, it scared her so much that it did have power over her. It controlled her in many ways. Yet, she grew up thinking that yelling equaled power, so that in later life she imitated her mother’s yelling whenever she felt angry. “It felt powerful” she said.

As we explored this thought process, though, she was shocked to realize that her yelling hadn’t gotten her what she wanted and had only offered the illusion of power.  In fact, her angry thoughts and feelings were keeping her trapped in the victim role she had actually occupied as a child. Most important, being in this trapped victim role blocked the flow of her love, that positive force within all of us that nurtures and heals us.  She was stuck in her anger, and was figuratively if not literally “killing herself”.

In Aramaic, one of the oldest  known languages, the language of the Persian Empire, the word for “forgive” means “cancel”. This is the sense in which to perceive forgiveness. Forgiveness is a cancellation – cancelling any demand put on others in order to feel our love for them.

Cancelling is not the same as pardoning. It does not wipe out the wrong of another.  You cannot cancel another’s action.  Cancelling is not forgetting or clearing the memory of the wrong.  Cancelling is the dropping or removing of the requirement we hold that the other perform in a certain way in order to love them.

Ironically, not being able to feel our love for another actually hurts us more than it hurts the person we have withdrawn from. Thus, any demand, expectation, or condition we have put on another in order for our love to flow to them must be cancelled in order to feel harmony within oneself.

That someone be required to do certain things for our love to flow is called conditional love, and is reflected by blame and criticism of the other, as manifested in such expressions as “he should have” or “she ought to have.”

The process of true forgiveness may be seen as movement from this perspective of blame and criticism – the limited perspective of the emotional self (feelings) – toward the perspective of the mental self (thoughts, expectations) and then to your higher self.

When we refer to the higher self, we are talking about our spiritual self, which is the highest part of our selves, higher than our mental (ego) or emotional minds.  It’s that part of us that perceives the positive in everything. It is a universal quality which sees humanity as a whole, for the good of all.

This shift in perspective is not easy. But if you have been feeling angry at someone for a long time, and have reached a point where you are asking yourself “Is this anger getting me what I want?” and “How long do I plan on hold onto it?”, then here are some guidelines to get you started:

First, make a list of persons you are holding anger or resentment against, whether they be family or ex-family members, friends, neighbors, or business associates.

Then try one of these two methods for releasing your anger.

·         Method 1. Pick one person on the list and write a letter to him/her. (Note: you’re not going to send it, so you can write everything you need to say in full detail and with full force!)

o    Step  1  –  Start out by expressing your feelings towards that person.  Tell your story.  Let your feelings out and keep going until there are no more feelings. (in the moment).   After the feelings have subsided, move to a mental level.

o    Step 2  –   State what you would have preferred or needed from that person you are forgiving but didn’t get.  In your letter, tell him or her what you wanted and expected and needed, and after naming each unfulfilled expectation say, “I am now willing to let go of that expectation and I release my hope that you could have acted in another way.” (Remember that cancelling is not the same as pardoning.)  You might also state how much you had hoped or expected he or she could have behaved differently and when their behavior didn’t meet your needs and expectations, how you withdrew your love from them.

o    Step 3 – If you are ready and feeling less angry in this moment, move to your higher self.  Stop writing for a minute and put your pencil and paper down. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and notice how you are feeling in your body. If you are not feeling more relaxed and are still feeling anger or resentment, you have probably not completed the emotional or mental steps and will need to go back and do some more writing.  But if you do feel relaxed, you can move to your higher self, open your eyes and continue writing.  From your higher place, say to him or her, “I now release you to your higher self and to taking responsibility for your actions and deeds. I release you to your highest good”. Say also, “I also take full responsibility for my actions and thoughts and I release myself to my higher good.  I send my unconditional love out to you from my higher self just as you are and have been. I am now free from all anger!!”  Sit for a moment and breathe and relax.

·         Method 2. If writing isn’t for you, sit quietly for awhile with your eyes closed. Focus on your breathing. As you move into a relaxed place, picture yourself in a favorite place where you feel safe and happy. This could be a place you went to as a child or a place you go to now. Imagine a chair in front of you. Invite the person you are angry with to sit in the chair. See that person as peaceful, calm and safe and ready to hear everything you have to say. Going through the 3 steps (above) see yourself willing to tell them everything you have to say, everything from your anger towards their behavior to what you had hoped for and expected to what you needed in order to love them. Don’t stop until you have said everything you wanted to say in those 3 steps.  Remember you are moving from your emotional self (feelings) to your mental self  (thoughts, expectations) to your higher self. (which is where forgiveness happens and love begins to flow)

When you have finished either the writing or the talking exercise, see if you notice any changes in your perspective, feelings, or thought pattern.

If you’d like to share your results with me and others, feel free to access our blog and provide comments.

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Jan 30 2010

What She Said, What He Heard

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What She Said, What He Heard

What She Said, What He Heard

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