Thursday, December 10, 2009


This past summer I stayed on Puerto Rico for a couple weeks writing poetry. Every day, I would go to the beach for inspiration and write. I’d walk through the steamy streets of San Juan holding a manila folder in one hand, and an i-pod in the other. This trip was a wonderful experience, but it also meant that for a couple of weeks I would be separated from my sweetie. It was a great time to reflect and try to write something really heart centered, but also a time of missing my hunny.

One day while I was on the beach, I found myself experiencing a writer’s block; so with i-pod in hand I walked into the water. I heard the song Magnificent by U2. I was standing in aqua colored clear blue water, feeling the warm white tipped waves crash upon me, as I stared out into the clearest sunny sky, and felt the Caribbean breeze caress me. Though I had loved this song, the surrounding environment caused a deeper experience with the lyrics and the music.

I recall experiencing feeling free and peaceful; I thought to myself, “wow, this is what we all live for only love.” In this moment, I felt as if anything was possible. That is what love does for us, it make us feel and believe that anything is possible. Even if we have been hurt by relationships before, something in our basic human nature desires closeness with another human being.

For myself, I have had my fair share of relationships that lacked equilibrium and turned out to be painful, but some how-somewhere I still believed that there was someone for me. Though I became extremely close to being jaded, and may have experienced a few moments of that thinking, something still drove me when I thought of obtaining that type of connection.

So back to the song…why did it resonate so deeply for me? First of all, through the years I have had to learn skills, and I am still learning skills in healthy communication and connection with my partner. When my partner and I started dating, we both carried some deep wounds into the relationship (based on past experience), but we both had hope and desired to find emotional intimacy with each other. This leads me to the line of the song, “only love can leave such a mark,
but only love, only love can heal such a scar” (U2 Magnificent).

Getting close to my partner and trusting that we had something special was difficult, but I found that “falling into” what we had allowed for not only deeper emotional intimacy and connection, but also deep healing. However, I must say that you and your partner need to be on the “same page” and be willing to earn stepping into the gentle space of intimacy. It takes work from both parties. It will take challenging your fears, being open and vulnerable, accepting that love will at times cause you pain, and be willing to be authentically you. It really is work to get there and stay there, but if you can get there it is truly “Magnificent.”

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Power of Goodbye

The end of a relationship can be incredibly painful. In general, breakups are viewed as something negative. If a breakup occurs in a marriage it can cause a multitude of issues. Financial problems, or changing socio-economic status after a divorce are common. If children are involved, it can be incredibly painful trying to find a new routines and working out visitation. Lets not forget the personal and psychological pain associated frequently with break ups. The stress can do havoc on the body and the mind.

I am sure just about everyone reading this blog can relate to the discomfort of a break up at one time or another. It can hurt like hell and its immediate effects are stinging, but can it be a good thing? Is it ever a good thing? Absolutely! Frequently, many positives do arise after the process of grieving a past relationship is over.

Failures in relationships can teach us great lessons about learning to have a successful relationship with the next person. When we reflect on the past relationships and take responsibility for our role, it can provoke great personal evolution. It gives us the opportunity to change negative patterns, attract partners that we may be more compatible with, and certainly gives us a better idea of what we want and what we don’t want. Healthy communication skills are just that SKILLS; we learn them. Quite frequently it is the painful lessons in life that are our greatest teachers.

In addition to developing better skills to manage conflict in relationships, breakups can empower an individual to be independent. Leaving a relationship that doesn’t have an equal distribution of power, can help the person with “less power” realize they can be on their own. Becoming single can cause an individual to also explore new interests that have not been explored before. It is not uncommon to find a “new passion” during this time of personal growth. The end result can lead to a happier life.

Frequently, out of frustration after many failed relationships a person will be motivated to seek out new tools to inject into romantic relationships, because they are tired of the “same ole” situation happen. I once heard a dear friend of mine tell me that after a couple of failed marriages she had a revelation one night; she was out with a new beau and thought to herself “this is the same guy I always date-I’m sick of it.” She broke off the relationship with him, made some adjustments in herself, and is now is a successful relationship with someone she is crazy about.

Leaving a relationship or going through a breakup will not guarantee the next relationship to be better; however, if the person deeply reflects and develops a consciousness of how they relate in relationships, it is possible to attract a more positive situation. As painful as the initial impact of a breakup can be, it can lead to something powerful.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Please Don't Leave Me

For the past week I have been listening to the song Please Don’t Leave Me by Pink. In my listening “obsession,” a friend commented, “ If you haven’t seen the video…DON’T…it will ruin the song.” Well, in my naturally rebellious nature…I had to look at the video. I had a powerful response, but very different from my friends. I was fascinated by the visual story that the video communicated.

* Disclaimer * Some content may be disturbing to viewer.

I couldn’t help but think that this is what happens to our emotions when we start to engage in consistent negative communication and interaction with our romantic partners. Over time the wounding increases and eventually kills the relationship if new, healthy patterns are not created. The emotional wounds that partners create in constant verbal conflict do not visually appear, but I felt that this video gave an awesome representation of the destructive cycle of unhealthy communication patterns in romantic relationships. Though couples may not be using golf clubs to cause injury, every insult or verbal attack can break the heart and the spirit a little more.

RESPECT is probably one of the most important ingredients in a relationship. Even while engaging in conflict, if the goal and intention is to keep collaborating as a couple and not compete together, it can avoid such emotional injury. Conflict in a relationship is normal… and can create a positive growth for the couples. It is through constructive engagement in conflict that people begin to line up their values and goals.

Relationships will always have a never-ending evolutionary process. We as humans change over time. We may keep the same value system, though our priorities may reorganize several times in our life. So, when we think that two people who are constantly changing are trying to navigate together, conflict is unavoidable. However, how we approach the conflict can make all the difference in the world if the relationship is healthy or sustains through stressful times.

So next time you have disagreement of issue with your mate, think about how you are going to approach the issue. Is your goal to compete, or to mutually collaborate in finding the best solution for both people involved in the situation. Remember, communication is the foundation of all relationships. How one chooses to engage in communication will determine the direction that relationship takes. When BOTH partners inject such consciousness, who would want to leave?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Is you is, or is you ain't my baby?

This morning I had an interesting conversation with one of my best-friends. She has recently started to “hang out” with a new man. She is enjoying the beginning stages of a relationship, feeling the anticipation of him call or texting, and generally glowing as she reflects on all of his positive qualities. As I was listening to her speak, I recalled all the times that I had started seeing someone knew and how exciting it was. It was as if the “new” person was flawless.

As I was listening to her continue about her excitement, I couldn’t help but start to ask her questions about the experiences she was having with this man and how it connected to experiences in her past. I really wanted to know what she was carrying into this situation that was different than her prior dating experiences. I was curious to know if her past relationships had created any transformation in her, that would now allow her to attract a different personality, and hopefully create a long-lasting successful relationship.

She told me that she was not trying to define this relationship (as of yet) and that she was trying to stay in the present moment. She stated having that mind-set removed a lot of anxiety and made it easier just to enjoy his company. She even shared a conversation that she had with him. Recalling that he had asked her, “what are we…are we dating.” Her response was, “we are at the just getting to know each other stage.”

I thought to myself, “wow-she must really look attractive to him, and not a desperate woman looking for a man”. Then I thought to myself, “how long will she be able to go without wanting to define the relationship.” I guess this goes back to the question, “what stage of the relationship are we in?” Certainly the “getting to know you” stage is exciting and a time of investigation, to see if you want to enter into a deeper relationship with that person. So we discussed further the issues of values and long-term compatibility.

Is it possible to be compatible in certain phases of the relationship and less compatible in other stages? Take the player…he is a great “phase one” master, but has no emotional or commitment muscle for the long-term. Or perhaps the “family guy” isn’t always the best at dating and may be a little nerdy in the beginning, but becomes wonderful if you give him the chance. It seems as though each stage of a relationship is unique and requires its own set of rules. Generally if a relationship continues it gets redefined through these many phases.

As my friend states she’s in the “hanging out” stage, the first stage in getting to know each other. Then there is the “dating” stage, which may or may not be exclusive. If you miss the non-exclusive stage and move right into exclusive dating, then you will eventually enter the serious commitment of engagement stage. This is also another definition of who you are to each other and who you both are to your social community. Then the ultimate stage of commitment would then be a public acknowledgement, whether it is a ceremony of union or marriage. Once again, this redefines the relationship with each other and to other people. So, I wonder how long my friend and her “hanging out” partner will go before he asks again…”is you is, or is you ain’t my baby?”

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Separation and the GARDEN of Eden

Today I am out of town, and I am missing my “better half.” So I started to ponder what is it that makes us ache and long for our romantic partner, when we go out of town? I have always loved to travel, but never give too much thought to my interpersonal relationships that are plutonic (the exception would be my child). I may perhaps think about the people I care about, but what makes our romantic partner different? Sometimes I think that my single “unattached” days were easier. I didn’t have to deal with the aches of being away from the one I love.

What is it in us that makes us long for that person to be with us? Is it the fear of loss? Is it the fear we may never see each other again, or clutch a warm embrace from our beloved? The most primitive story that I can think about relating to separation is the story of the garden of eden. If we pull out the morals and read between the lines of this story, it was during the separation that the “fall” occurred.

What exactly was the fall? Only God really knows, but whatever happened it was a turning point in how they related to each other. Turning points can be positive or negative. We frequently hear of the spouse who had a job that required travel, and while gone they led a secret life. They had their families at home, but their “extra curricular” activities on the road. This is incredibly painful for the faithful partner, when they learn of these ordeals. Frequently marriages break up after this. However, some couples choose to work through it. Never the less, the relationship will never be the same. It has to evolve or regress, but it cannot stay in the same place.

So what about the positive turning point? As related to my personal story, it was after I took a trip out of town that my partner realized what his feelings were for me (we were friends prior to this). When I came back from the trip, he decided to pursue me romantically. I’m glad he did; it’s been great.

When we enter into a romantic relationship and maintain a romantic relationship, we are always balancing our need for independence and commitment. I know for myself that this has been a struggle of mine. It has nothing to do with my partner, it has everything to do with me and my free spirit. Though not all would admit it, everyone struggles with balancing these needs from time to time.

So separation…where am I going? Being separated on this trip has reinforced to me how special my relationship is, and how sad I would be if he was not in my life. The separation has refreshed and deepened my appreciation, for the one I spend the most time with. It has also reinforced that I do have independence too. The best of both worlds…having a partner that respects my individuality and a partner that loves me and is committed to me. This is another “mini” turning point.

So in conclusion, separation from our romantic partner can serve as a measure for where your relationship is. It is also a great way to reflect on what you have, and decide whether you want to continue to invest or move on. For me? I think I will invest!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Wiles of the Ego

Recently, I got to witness a couple that had been crazy about each other go through a difficult trial. They were both scared, and reacted by saying things that hurt each other. It caused both people much pain and heartache. They both wanted the same be feel secure...but they did not express that. So it leads me to reflect about the power of the ego.

The ego is the moment of "I need to protect myself at all cost." The ego is the foundation of separation and its motive is fear. It is the destroyer of relationships. The ego doesn't remind us of the cost of our action at the moment of weakness, but it effects scream loud and clear. Trials in a relationship require disciplining the ego...resisting the nature to be be in control. This is a false illusion. Rising above the first impulse of the ego can open the door to greater love and intimacy, but it requires stepping out of one's self and walking in love. It requires loving the other person unconditionally when you don't feel like it.

Now to my friends who went through this...your test to repair trust and love will require even more resistance against the ego. However, the rewards will be greater and you will transform a pattern that created a lot of chaos. Good luck to you and all of us that struggle with human emotion at times.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Truth or Play?

What's in a nickname? What is in a playful conversation with your partner? Do names or phrases spoken with the spirit of affection or endearment reveal anything else? Recently, my partner said he would name a book about me called "Angels and Demons." He was quite funny in his presentation, and we both laughed. But was he telling me more than just making a joke? Obviously, he sees a contrasting nature in me depending on the lens he is viewing from, and the mood that I happen to be in at that time.

What else does it mean? Is he telling me that he loves me despite moments of having a "not so pleasant side?" Or he is saying that he stays because the good outweighs the bad? Which brings me to my next question...why do relationships go bad when we understand that humans are complex beings capable of displaying a pleasant and not so pleasant nature?

I recently was reading a book on communication in relationships (Close Encounter by Guerrero, Andersen, and Afifi). It spoke about how our level of attractiveness to another person will either increase or decrease, by whether our expectations are met or not. So if we stay when we are disappointed, is this referring to the brownie points system? Perhaps I should take my partners "term of endearment" seriously, and make sure I keep those brownie points stocked!