Are You Really Welcome Here?

armsfoldedREALLY wanting someone to understand something, especially when you think it’s for their own benefit, has nothing to do with them getting it. In the end, how much you want them to get it is what may impact them the most and usually puts our (work, family, friend, romantic) partners in defense, reaction and protection.

The willingness of your conversation partner is the most valuable currency there is in relating to each other. Cultivate it wisely and know when it hasn’t been offered to you.

Sometimes there is no in door. Knowing how to love and take care of ourselves when the door we want to be open is closed can be the most valuable currency for our own well-being and finally takes the pressure off the other person to take care of you by letting you in.

See Your Thoughts, Don’t Just Be Your Thoughts

engineerIf you want to reduce stress in your life, if you want to make your choices from a more powerful place, if you want to become more intentional, then developing this skill can be incredibly helpful.

We can live knee-jerk lives, where our response is completely based on the stimuli around us. Thoughts are borne from our reactions to stimuli and off we go, following those thoughts. Having a fear-based existence and stretches of our lives comes directly from this pattern. Many people we tend to judge are living inside this pattern, too.

When we can get to the point of just seeing our thoughts, knowing that we are not our thoughts, knowing that they are often creations of our discomfort, our histories and traumas, our conditions, we begin to develop a powerful ability to choose how we want to be. We start to see our thoughts roll by like trains and we get to decide which ones to board.

Better yet, we get to make our own trains and ride in the engineer’s seat.

Choo-choo!

Stuck In Our Own Creations

billboard-stuck_1116867iThis is an amazing part of life. We create something, a relationship, an organization, a partnership, a commitment and eventually it can start looking like a trap, a situation we don’t know how to get out of or something we see is taking over our lives.

This usually comes down to one thing, or two related things, bad planning and the gift of learning.

Bad planning usually comes down to naivete. It’s not on purpose. Learning is usually a good thing, but not so much when we’re unwilling to make the changes our learning asks of us or to see the learning available in the first place.

When the picture changes, when our marriage or our business requires more than we thought it would, more time, more resources, more attention, a more evolved version of ourselves, this is GOOD NEWS. The key is making sure we don’t respond by increasing our own suffering. There is always a win, we just may need more help than we think, there may be more foundation-building to do, we may need to grow or let go of our grip, our image of what it’s supposed to be.

If we can do this humbly and let go of our ego and get to work of learning and incorporating that learning, then we can really start to make life and our commitments work, and everyone has a chance to win.

This is something coaches and other people we empower to put a mirror up to us can help us make a huge difference around. They support us creating the humility to see what our traps are teaching us and the courage, conversations and accountability to grow into who we need to be to take necessary action and succeed.

My 5 Year Old Has it Right

After my son Marcus told me I hated him when I told him he needed to stop playing video games this morning, I asked him if I loved him, what would I be doing differently.

He said I would be racing him and playing soccer and games with him.

I get it.

Love lives in a world of full agreement, or a lack of dwelling on the disconnect of disagreement.

When we’re young, before the disappointment of human beings disagreeing with our idea of Eden, our hearts don’t even fathom the possibility of disagreement with our own consciousness. It comes as a shock and HURTS. It feels like love is gone when we encounter disagreement. I still remember feeling like that when I was his age.

The thing is that this is a grave and understandable error and the correction of this error, that disagreement threatens love, is our life’s opportunity. Not just to get it intellectually, but to transcend through it. To really get it. This is our cross to bear, to do the work to return to love, as Marianne Williamson puts it.

Marcus is at the beginning. The unfortunate period where the disagreement rocks us, where it informs our personalities and unconscious beliefs about life. I empathize with him deeply.

And he’s getting the return, too. When he asked me to pick him up in my arms at drop off and gave me 17 kisses and told me he knows I love him, he took courageous action. He inspired me.

The idea that disagreement threatens love (threatens us, really, as we are made of love) – from loved ones dying too soon to not getting the job to not feeling heard to being rejected romantically or even abused – is false, but it hurts.

Love is always here, waiting for you. Getting back to it is the work of our lives. Be courageous.

Last Night’s Relationship Circle – 7/22/14 Arlington, VA

hands

We had a fun and social evening at Piola. It was great to see some regulars and a bunch of new people. I keep forgetting, people want to meet people!

When we got to talking about reactions we have to each other’s behavior on dates (applicable to all situations), it got lively and very interesting. We looked at interpretations and frustrations that are very common and get in the way. But when we started looking at ways we can dissolve the effects of these reactions, by asking questions and finding out if we upset each other, by taking responsibility for the upset (which does not mean we were “wrong”), we create a safe and vulnerable environment for acceptance and for really allowing each other to get to know the real us behind the interpretation they (and we) may have created.

As human beings, we’re going to be challenging to figure out, to understand each other’s reactions and interpretations and if we can’t help but make a big deal out of them when they show up, be ready for some emotions and feelings that might make the person seem unsafe to us, or might make us feel like we messed up the experience or that we won’t get along. If we allow each other to just be human, perfectly imperfect, fashioned from a unique set of experiences and how we related to them, we see that just about everything we do makes sense.

Speaking of trying to make sense of things. A new member, Sam (our Buddha of the evening last night), suggested that we talk about expectations in relationships. First, I think it’s awesome that Sam took the initiative to suggest the meetup on the page and emailed me personally about it (YOU can do that, too)! Secondly, this is a great topic and I’m looking forward to the session. Right now, Sam and I are working out a date that works for him, but if you RSVP early, before we even have a date and time, it will indicate interest in the topic and of course I hope the date will eventually work for you, too.

RSVP HERE: http://www.meetup.com/The-Relationship-Circle/events/196592672/

Lastly, I just want to say thank you for becoming a part of a growing community of people interested in creating extraordinary relationships and learning about ourselves and growing in the process.

Love,
Gregg

Respect Relationships

holdinghandsMarriage and intimate relationships are extraordinarily challenging.
We are given few tools, if any.
We have few extraordinary examples of success.
We have almost no culture of feedback, evaluation and improvement like most institutions have.
We have love, we have attraction, we have expectations and we have hope and that’s about 5% of what you need to be successful.
Forgive yourself.
Forgive them.
Respect the nature of this endeavor.
You can give yourself and others the understanding that you have a lot to learn, that we’ve barely scratched the surface, whether we’ve been practicing for a year or 20.
You deserve a lot of credit for even trying.

Feelings (woah, woah, woah)

indexThe greatest tyrants of this world are not people.

They are feelings.

Feelings always win. Feelings are relentless.

If the feelings we relate to as negative don’t attach themselves to some action of destruction that you actually execute – of the competition, of your rival, of those we perceive that have hurt, disappointed or threatened us – they wage a war inside and win, because you are now the one trying to hold them back.

They steal your health, your vitality, your joy, your freedom, your life. Can you feel it right now as you read this?

This even happens with “positive” feelings. Joy and love not felt fully fight with us inside as well. We cut off those feelings all the time, fearful of feeling too good. Our fear of being hurt (again) comes up and often cuts them off. They want to happen, too. Can you feel the cut short love, joy and happiness inside of you?

You must be a worthy companion of your feelings and the feelings of others. They just want to be felt fully. They have a purpose, to flow freely and you can master them, you just need to be aware of their primary purpose and facilitate it. You absolutely do not need to attach any actions that hurt others to facilitate feelings. You just need to let them express themselves all the way to their end.

This is worth spending as much time and practice on as possible. Journal, put it into your workouts, vent to a trusted partner, scream into the pillow, break something you can afford to break, have a good cry, doodle the feelings, purposely put yourself in front of art that has you feel things. And understand that this is what other people need too and just let them have their feelings more often without correction. Try to keep from making agreements and taking words too seriously that are coming from emotion. Try to keep from fixing the person because you are uncomfortable with the feeling they are having. Try to keep from judging the person by the feeling. Their tyrants are running the show and will not be stopped! If they finish, the person will probably come back pretty soon