India

“India shaped my mind, anchored my identity, influenced my beliefs, and made me who I am. …

India matters to me and I would like to matter to India.” 
― Shashi Tharoor

As I continue in this relationship series and also pack for my trip to India, I am feeling a little reminiscent of my previous trip to India.

Today, I have a video blog. It is a little self-indulgent, but I’ll just present it as one way of being in relationship with oneself. Enjoy!

India 2010 097

The Wedding Raja and I attended!

India 2010 2 262

Dinner at the Taj – Ray Boy, Raja and Candess

My new friend!

My new friend!

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa

Travel has always created magical changes in my life and hopefully that of others. When I sat at the Tomb of Mother Teresa I cried and cried. It was cleansing and healing and she has now come to be one of my guides.  I look forward to the many souls I will meet in the next few weeks! Blessings to all who read this post!


OMG Dating!

 

 

“Well?” Ron said finally, looking up at Harry. “How was it?”
Harry considered it for a moment. “Wet,” he said truthfully.
Ron made a noise that might have indicated jubilation or disgust, it was hard to tell.
“Because she was crying,” Harry continued heavily.
“Oh,” said Ron, his smile faded slightly. “Are you that bad at kissing?”
“Dunno,” said Harry, who hadn’t considered this, and immediately felt rather worried. “Maybe I am.” 
― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

 

Disagree if you want, but this is NOT the way to date online!

I receive emails each week from men on Facebook. Now, that is okay with me since after four years of being single, I decided to date this year – remember, my word for 2014 is Relationships!

I’m not sure what would constitute an expert on relationships, but being a counselor for over 30 years gives me some credentials. Mostly though, I think what I am sharing is from past dating on dating sites and seeing what works and what doesn’t.  This is gender focused, and I am fine with feedback. Leave your comments!

Men – the Don’ts

1. Don’t contact a woman on FB (or other social media) and leave three long paragraphs of how beautiful they look and what you would want to do with and to her, like hold her, take her dancing, etc.

2. Not the best idea to write a diatribe of what you do and who you are in the first or second email.

3. Sharing paragraphs of what you believe and what she should believe early on will turn her off!!

Men – the Do’s

1. When you contact a woman on Facebook, you may want to say “hi” and start with a comment about something she posted. This is an invitation to begin a dialogue and she sees that you have read her page (not just looked at her photo) She knows you are interested in her.

2. Share some things about yourself.  Women are generally good at asking questions; so don’t overwhelm her with unsolicited sharing. Be aware of sharing too much too fast. Let the conversation unfold.

3. If you want to begin a conversation and a possible relationship, Facebook is not match.com. It can be too much for you both to disclose in the format of listing exactly what you want in a partner. You will rarely find all of it anyway, and not meeting all the criteria can stop the dialogue.

Women – Don’ts

1. This may seem odd to say, but believe me, I have seen this happen a lot! Don’t fall in love on the Internet! What people post whether it be photos or what they say may not be true. Have you ever watched the TV show Catfish!

2. Take some time to let the conversation unfold and see how the communication goes. You may not answer for a day or two (busy) and he may be fine with that or be reactive. Let his true personality come through.

3. Don’t give away too much information. Don’t give away money (I’ve seen it) or buy a plane ticket to see him or for him to see you. Be aware. Don’t be needy.

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 5.05.39 PM

Women – Do’s

1. After a few emails, if you feel like you may want to get to know the person, ask him to Skype with you. This is better than the phone. You can hear his voice and see what he is doing. One of my clients did this and the man who she Skyped with was playing a game on his phone the whole time. NEXT. . .  (A man who wrote paragraphs about my beauty last week contacted me. After checking out his FB page, I said “let’s Skype” and he disappeared!)

2. Trust your gut. Be aware and catch the first “hit” from your gut. Often in my counseling practice when a client is ending a relationship, I ask “when did you know this wasn’t right for you?” More often than not, they reply, the first day, week, etc.

3. We attract a partner who is at our same vibration. This can mean mental or emotional health. If you don’t feel like you have the self-esteem, confidence, or emotional health, work on yourself first. Whether you see a counselor, coach, healer, read a book, go to some kind of meetings, it doesn’t matter. Focus on, and heal yourself first. Then attract the man you deserve!

Well, I am hearing the word “harsh” in my head, but sometimes as a counselor, I think I have seen too much!  Let’s finish with wishing you happy dating, and love ever after!

What do you think?


On the first date – Really?

“They danced slow circles in the sand, Javier singing the words to the Spanish version of the song, the melancholy music putting a strange ache in his chest, an ache he saw reflected in her eyes. Was she feeling what he was feeling?” 
 Pamela ClareFirst Strike

In Spokane, it is warmer down by the river and it was a beautiful morning for a walk.  A group of us gathered to explore People’s Park and then meet at the Elk for lunch and conversation.

IMG_0771

Most of us are single and so we had a fun discussion about relationships. Organically, the conversation drifted toward former relationships, dating and intimacy.  It makes sense that how one behaves on a first date depends on values, religion, feeling safe, past behavior and I am sure a boatload of other reasons. Note to self – boatload – great Scrabble word.

Keeping with the theme of relationships, after we shared what we enjoyed about past relationships and what we wanted to create in the future, I created some questions to ponder.

  • If you meet someone and there is strong physical attraction, do you kiss on the first date?
  • How long do you need to know someone before you become sexually active?
  • How many dates before you become exclusive?
  • Once you are exclusive, is it okay for him/her to stay friends his/her ex?
  • What do you do to scratch the surface and see what he/she is really made of?
  • What do you do when he/she says they love you on the first date?
  • When you first meet, do you believe what he/she tell you or do you wait to meet his/her friends or family?
  • How do you tell him/her you are not interested, without hurting his/her feelings?

What are your beliefs about first dates and relationships?


Characteristics of Addictive Relationships

It was deep into his fiery heart
He took the dust of Joan of Arc,
And then she clearly understood
If he was fire, oh then she must be wood.
I saw her wince, I saw her cry,
I saw the glory in her eye.
Myself I long for love and light,
But must it come so cruel, and oh so bright? 

– Leonard Cohen

In a previous blog we looked at how to know when you are in a dysfunctional relationship.  Now, let’s look at addictive relationships. These relationships tend to begin quickly and move fast! The beginning is a roller coaster of fun and quickly begins to crash. The attachment is strong because the other person matches your family experience. It is familiar.  Generally, those who become relationally addicted or codependent come from alcoholic or drug addicted home.

Here are some Characteristics of an Addictive Relationship.

1. Your needs are not being met.

2. You put your partner’s needs above your own.

3. Something always needs to be processed or fixed.

4. You smile when you are angry.

5. You are afraid to rock the boat.

6. You vacillate between being madly in love and then hurt and angry.

7. Your partner may be emotionally or physically abusive.

8. You make excuses for your partner’s behavior.

9. You experience shame when your partner makes a mistake.

10. You are diminished in the relationship.

11. You know your relationship is not good, but you can’t fix it.

12. You feel trapped, but don’t believe anyone else would love you.

13. You find yourself crying all the time and trying harder and harder.

There is help and the process of healing can be extraordinary.

Recovered codependents, because of their keen abilities are often very successful in many areas of their lives.

The book Codependent No More by Melody Beatty is a good place to start. You can also find a 12 Step Meeting. If your partner is addicted then Al-Anon is a great step. If not, if you had alcoholic, drug-addicted, or dysfunctional parents, the 12 Step Program Adult Children of Alcoholics is helpful. You can also find help with a local counselor drug treatment agency.


Listen to What you Say!

“The word ‘listen’ contains the same letters as the word ‘silent’.” 
― Alfred Brendel

Although I love social media, when using it, we often make connections that are more about quantity than quality. Hopefully, the relationships you create can meet your emotional needs as well as your other needs.

When you are actually in the presence of someone you can deepen the communication. Deepening relationships is important to emotional health. What happens is, when you get to let people get to know you, you begin to know yourself. When you hear yourself share, you hear yourself share!

IMG_0862 When I taught my Intuitive Mastery Class yesterday, I heard myself say, “I don’t let many people work in my energy field. Not all healers are the same.” We were talking about Reiki and other forms of energy healing. As I thought about it later, I realized that I sounded judgmental and I decided to look at whether I was being judgmental, protective of my students, or both. What I could have said was, “when you study to become an energy healer or a Reiki practitioner, it is important you do the emotional work and learn to keep your energy field clean. Also, when receiving energy work, discern whether or not the energy healer is the best fit for you.” These statements would have been more positive.  Listening to myself when teaching assisted me in taking inventory of my attitude and speaking in a clear, loving manner.

Another incidence was in conversation with a dear friend of mine. She asked me if I realized I said, “do you know what I mean?” over and over. I began listening for this and had a difficult time hearing it. When we Skyped for an hour one day, she pointed it out to me. I said it so many times it was nauseating! I began to listen to myself and hopefully have learned not to keep asking, “Do you know what I mean!”

Listen to yourself and share with me what you hear on Facebook under this blog post, Day 11 in the Relationship Series!


Slowing Down and Being Present

“Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.”
― Ken KeseyOne Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

  

Focusing on relationships this year makes me aware of how many relationships we have in a given day. After a great massage (relationship) and feeling tired and hungry, I met with the seamstress (relationship) who is making the pants to go under my Shalwar Kameez. This is the dress I will wear to the wedding in India on February 3rd

India 2010 094

We talked fabric, which we both love, and although I felt like I was in a big hurry, because I was focusing on relationships this year, I chose to be more present. I slowed down, conversed and listened to all she had to say. In the past, I would have been short, quick, and focused on getting the task done and getting out the door. I really enjoyed being attentive and learning about her business and also realized how pleasant it was to hear her talk with the fabric store employees, who knew her well. I could see she had developed some connective relationships with them as they laughed and shared with each other.

This shift in perception, to slow down, listen, and be present can be life changing. If you to are too busy to connect and be present to yourself and others, join with me in this new adventure!


Love

 

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
― Laozi

 

When talking about relationships, love is in the forefront. Close your eyes and focus in your heart and feel who it is that fills your heart. Allow memories and images to come up that fill you with love.

This is a practice that can increase your happiness, lighten your mood and shift your attitude. Isn’t it amazing how much we can shift what we are feeling through a simple image of those we love?

Today would be a good day to reach out to a loved one. You can make a call, text or email them, visit them or send them a gift. Our relationships are sacred and creating a memory with them can last forever.

When you cannot be with a loved one for some reason, you can also focus in your heart, bring your consciousness up out of the top of your head, up into the heavens. Imagine the person standing there with you and send love to the person through your heart. This can heal a wounded relationship and bring peace to one who is missing you. You may be surprised when they call you suddenly!


Commitment

“I mean, if the relationship can’t survive the long term, why on earth would it be worth my time and energy for the short term?” 
― Nicholas SparksThe Last Song

As stated in the last blog, my word for 2014 is Relationships. This year, my commitment is to bring myself closer into relationship with those I love and care for. It also means becoming aware of the relationships that have been dysfunctional and stressful and if possible to ease out of these relationships, making more time to deepen my relationship with myself and with others.

Truly, I understand with relationships there are so many components. There is setting boundariescompromisecompassionclear communicationperspective and the list is nearly endless. In this 30 day Blog Challenge, I will share with you about my process (probably similar to yours,) in the area of relationships.

 Hope you have chosen a word for this year as well. It can be one to focus upon to joyfully bring into your life or to focus upon and create a growth spurt. Music was an expansive word for me in 2013. I welcome Relationships in 2014, to challenge me to grow.


Communication and Whole Brain Thinking

I am honored and delighted to share this interview with Susie Leonard Weller. She shared with me that children mirror their parent’s brain. I am really curious about this.

Susie teaches Life Skills classes through the Institute for Extended Learning, Adult Basic Education program in Spokane, Washington. She received training through Herrmann International in North Carolina. They studied brain research for over 30 years to improve results at Fortune 500 companies. Susie has applied this research to strengthen family relationships. She is now a Certified Thinking Consultant and her book is Why Don’t You Understand? Improve Family Communication with the 4 Thinking Styles

Susie, I am really curious. What is whole brain thinking?

Susie: Thinking styles are innate preferences for how the brain gathers and processes information in distinct ways. It’s part of who we are. Just like we have a preferred hand to write with, we also have a preferred thinking style. We use our dominant hand more often because it’s easier. In a similar way, our brain requires less effort to talk with someone who shares the same thinking style.

Some people are more left-brained and make logical decisions with their head. Others are more right-brained and make relational decisions with their heart or gut instinct. A whole-brained approach integrates both of the left and the right-brain hemispheres, as well as our intellect and heart.

  • No two people are alike. Our brains are wired differently, right from the start.
  • Most family squabbles are linked to biological differences in how we think.
  • The brain requires 100% more energy to think and communicate in its opposite style.

What styles are there?

Susie: There are four main thinking styles. Imagine the brain as a four-room house. The two upstairs rooms concentrate on problem solving or seeking new solutions. These are called the Logical and Creative thinking styles. The two downstairs rooms focus on handling everyday realities and maintaining relationships. These are called the Practical and Relational thinking styles. Although we might prefer spending more time in some rooms than others, those using a whole-brain approach can access necessary skills from any of these rooms whenever they are needed.

Here’s a brief summary of all four thinking styles:

LOGICAL

Focuses on facts
Clarifies the bottom line
Likes to figure out how things work

CREATIVE

Focuses on thinking outside the box
Is imaginative and playful
Like to be spontaneous

PRACTICAL

Focuses on follow through
Organizes things
Likes to plan ahead

RELATIONAL

Focuses on feelings
Is friendly and supportive
Likes meaningful conversations

How is it that children mirror their parent’s brain?

Susie: Babies are born with “mirror neurons.” They copy everything they see. An infant’s brain is like wet concrete. The earliest impressions make the deepest impact. Experience shapes their brain—both positively and negatively. Repeated patterns become hardwired as established neural pathways. Children “download” their parents’ beliefs and behaviors to survive. By the time children are three years old, about 85% of their brain is already wired with subconscious programming for how to relate to others.

What is the best way to deal with conflict?

Susie: Conflict is a given—even within healthy relationships. The best way to handle conflicts is learning how to respect and leverage our differences. Rather than polarizing people into extreme positions, try to hear the need underlying and fueling their behavior. Learn to speak in ways others understand instead of more “loudly” in your preferred style.

Each thinking style has strengths and challenges. Learn to see them as complementary rather than sources of irritation. For example, when Logicals only focus on the facts and minimize the role of emotions, Relationals feel discounted. And, Relationals need to develop a firm backbone as well as their heart. Likewise, Creatives and Practicals can antagonize each other by refusing to accept each other’s desire to explore options or to make timely decisions.

Opposite styles are like oil and vinegar. They don’t mix easily, but they add great zest to a salad. Rather than take conflicts personally, practice becoming multi-lingual and speak in all four thinking styles whenever needed.

The key to managing conflict is finding win/win solutions to meet each others’ needs. Families are 24/7 learning labs to develop life skills—particularly how to communicate with those who think differently than we do.

How can we best set limits?

Susie: In a half-brained world, discipline styles swing from one extreme to another. But, whole-brained parents know how to balance nurture with structure, as well as to play and problem solve. First, they acknowledge the feelings; then they set an appropriate limit. Adults set clear boundaries and follow through on consequences. Wise parents know when to take charge and when to follow the child’s lead to meet their needs for connection.

What could we do to be a wise parent or a wise communicator?

Susie: Under stress, our brain regresses to a more rigid style. To avoid melt downs, learn to practice the Four C’s of courageous conversations. They will soothe the emotional brain to shift gears more easily to use all four thinking styles as needed.

Logical: Clarify a common goal and code of conduct.

Relational: Care enough to seek understanding (not to prove you’re right) and protect the safety zone so that no one shuts down or becomes aggressive.

Creative: Cultivate choices of both/and rather than either/or positions.

Practical: Commit to practicing mutual respect on a regular basis and express at least five positive comments for every negative one. In my book, I also describe the NARN (Notice, Accept, Reflect & Nurture) Process for shifting the brain to a higher gear when triggered:

1. NOTICE what’s happening—physical, emotional and mental warning signals

2. ACCEPT and work with what is, rather than deny or dismiss it.

3. REFLECT on other possible options to resolve this situation or find ways to re-frame it.

4. NURTURE yourself by choosing a concrete action to calm yourself within this moment—breathe deeply, take a break, stretch, listen to music or hum a song.

In our half brain world, more whole-brain families are needed. Our children will face increasing complexities and challenges. As Albert Einstein said, “The problems we are causing can’t be resolved in the same state of consciousness in which we created them.” Our future depends on our ability to use our whole, creative brain to discover new ways to respect how we think, communicate, relate, play and even pray together.

Thank you Susie. This is a good beginning. How can readers get more information?

You can download FREE excerpts from my book by visiting my website: www.susieweller.com

In addition, for those who contact me, I’ll send a FREE 13-page report with 30 tips for how to calm yourself in stressful moments. They are organized by each thinking style to soothe you from head to toe.

Susie Leonard Weller, M.A. for personal coaching

Call USA (509) 255-6676

Email her at weller.susie@gmail.com or visit www.susieweller.com


Soul Mates

When doing readings I often get asked about soul mates. It seems  there is a  lot of confusion about the concept of  soul mates. Often a soul mate is thought of as a perfect mate; one who truly is the love of your life, the other half of you. I believe a soul mate is more like the person in your life who is your mirror. Through relationship with a soul mate you are revealed to yourself. The ways in which you hide are revealed and the shadow side of your personality is exposed. A soul mate is one who comes into your life, tears down the barriers to your full self-expression and intensifies situations so your true self is revealed. You find another layer peeled away and often this person then moves on. If you can stay present and learn from this experience, totally acknowledging and owning who you are, this person can end up being your best friend and one whom you love deeply. If you are not able to see yourself with the veils pulled down then there will be chaos and struggle and the relationship can end up as a painful memory. Relationships can be intensely healing, especially when we know that they bring up all that we have left to heal so we can become our Highest Self.