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Wednesday, May 30 2012

Self Request


I don't ask myself

to be fully present

in every life's moment –

just in this one.


I don't ask

that I love

all the time –

just this time.


The horizon

is huge

when now

is enough.










Posted by: AT 11:14 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, May 24 2012

Self Protection


       As I experience my own love life and witness the love lives of individuals and couples who come to see me, I'm often struck by how counter-productive are our strategies for self-protection, how often these strategies lead to disconnection from ourselves and from those we love.


       We hide our vulnerability, as if we're dealing with an adversary who would take advantage of our weakness.  We attack, defend, withdraw – hoping for emotional safety at the same time we desire closeness – often winding up with something that's neither safe nor close.


       We hide, for example, by focusing on the other – diagnosing, analyzing, projecting, interrogating:  "What's wrong?"  "Why aren't you…?"  "You seem…"  "Why are you so…?"  


       An alternative is to attend more deeply to ourselves, to listen to our bodies' signals, to gently inquire within:  "What am I feeling?"  "What am I feeling under that?"  "What kind of story am I telling myself?"  "What's my vulnerability here?" "What am I looking for?"  "What do I want?"  "What's important to me here?"  This is not self-analysis; it's self-awareness.  It's not mental; it's mindful.


       This level of listening allows us to reveal ourselves.  The inner connection invites relational connection.  I don't start a battle, I start a conversation.  I start by discarding weapons, dropping armor, disrobing. 


      To be safe with an adversary, wear a suit of armor.  To be safe with a lover, get naked.  



Posted by: AT 10:09 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, May 17 2012


Twin Truths


       During a recent week with Richard Moss in Ojai, CA, we learned a practice that I find especially helpful when a personal relationship or my relationship with life has some complexity to it – helpful, especially, since most of my important relationships are complex in some way. 


       Take, for example, my relationship to money and power.  I fear having a lot of money and, at the same time, I buy lottery tickets.  Underneath my longstanding mistrust of power and reluctance to exercise it, I discover in shadow realms a desire for power and control. 


       Darkness allows us to know light.  Only if we're able to say "no" can we really say "yes".


       Imbedded in one truth is its opposite.  In his most recent book, Inside-Out Healing, Richard says:  "Concepts always exist as pairs of opposites: up and down, good and bad, left and right …"  (p. 79).  If one story within us is true, chances are the opposite is true as well.  Richard offers, in his book, an excellent exercise to help us feel our way into these opposing stories, along with some imagery to help us release them. 


       One night in Ojai, I experimented with an abbreviated version of this exercise, using eight permutations of a "me-you" story about a relationship in my life.  Lying in bed, face up, I let each of the eight truths sink into my bones, one pair at a time.



I like Bob.  (pseudonym)

I don't like Bob.


                        Bob likes me.

                        Bob doesn't like me.


                        I like me.

                        I don't like me.


                        Bob likes Bob.

                        Bob doesn't like Bob.



       I stayed with the first pair, alternating back and forth, until I felt embodied in both truths, with no resistance to either.  I fully accepted that both stories were present in me, then moved on to the next pair – and continued in this way with each pair until I'd finished the last one.


       Moments later, I noticed a remarkable stillness inside, a quiet peacefulness.  With no conscious effort on my part to make them go away, all eight stories had simply dissolved. 


       Embracing them all released them all. 



Note:  Check Inside-Out Healing for a more complete description of this practice.







Posted by: AT 09:05 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, May 03 2012


Automatic Niceness


       I'm a nice person.   As I'm mindful of this quality in myself, I see a genuinely kind James, living in love.  I also see a younger James, sunny on the outside, who chose niceness as a way of protecting himself from the unpredictability of early relational life.


       A wise and adaptive choice at the time, niceness became automatic.  Originally intended to protect relationship, it now interferes with authentic, loving connection. 


       Consciousness work offers an opportunity to interrupt the automatic – to slow down and be more fully present with ourselves and each other, to relate from a stance of integration and embodiment.


       Automatic niceness conceals more than it reveals.  Turns out, it's not so nice.

Posted by: AT 10:45 am   |  Permalink   |  Email

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