Tag Archives: soul mates

Communicating with Men.

DSCF4131Why would you read these posts? Why would you do these things? Isn’t this anti-feminism?

When I get these questions from clients, my first response is always: Are you happy with your life/relationship(s) as is? If so, you have nothing to worry about. If not, what have you got to lose in learning how to respect and communicate with the men in your life?

In this post, I discussed the timing of inviting your man back into love. In the post before that one, I wrote about some differences in men and women’s brains and why it’s important to offer your gift of love, why it’s important to invite your man back into his heart and belly—back into love.

In my last post, we looked at some specific techniques to get your man out of his head—out of his driven, focused, “work” mode—and into his heart and belly, where he can share in love, where he can get a break from the driven, obsessive energy of masculinity and where he can notice and appreciate your feminine energy.

If you followed some of the instructions in that last posts, now you have his attention.

Now that you’ve got his attention and focus, how do you communicate with him most effectively? We’ll cover some of those ideas in this post.

Remember, his brain works differently than ours—not “less than” and not slower and not more shallowly—just differently. Learn the differences and begin to respect those differences.

Just because his brain works differently than ours, doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with him or his brain or the way he thinks. You can choose to be angry or upset or hurt by this, or you can realize he is a man with a man’s brain and you can work with it, being respectful of how different he is

Please leave your prejudices behind and stop rolling your eyes at him (or behind his back). Be respectful and kind. See him and men and how their brains work as a lovely new land to be explored. Be willing to learn and enjoy—bring your sense of adventure.

“Be mature. Be kind. Be honorable. You will never regret taking the high road no matter what happens.” ~ Steve Horsmon

Get in the Same Zip Code

The reason he doesn’t respond to you sometimes? Because you haven’t gotten his attention, so that he can switch “boxes” in his brain. He is not ignoring you. The way his brain works makes that impossible.

Don’t just yell out the back door, “Dinner’s ready!” or “Your brother’s on the phone!” and expect him to respond. He is focused out there, doing his guy thing.

Go out to where he is and do this first. Then tell him the information. He might be irritated at the interruption, but be respectful enough to know that the way his brains works makes being in physical proximity to him necessary, and he needs that from you.

Being in the same zip code is especially important if you are conveying significant information—meaning you are talking about something that’s important to you and that you want him to remember.

Don’t walk off, or start doing something else while you’re talking to him. If it’s important, convey that by staying right there and keeping eye contact. Put your phone away, close the laptop, wait until you’re not cooking or sorting bills. Tell him, “This is really important to me.”

Make an Appointment Ahead of Time

Men need to be able to switch into the appropriate box in their brains. Be kind and give him a chance to do that. Let him know ahead of time what you want to talk about and set an appointment. Put it on his calendar.

Ask him, “It would make me so happy to talk about this with you. Is this a good time?” If he says no, don’t take it personally, simply ask, “Okay, when would be a better time? How about Wednesday after dinner?” If that works, get it on both of your literal calendars, so that he has a reminder.

Men are goal-oriented and are driven to accomplish those goals. When you get on his calendar, not only does he have a reminder, you and that discussion are now a goal to be accomplished.

Remember, don’t be offended by the way his brain works, learn about it, respect it—use this knowledge to promote peace and ease between the two of you.

He will be so much more open to giving his attention to you if you respect his needs. Tell him what you want to talk to him about—don’t keep him guessing and nervous. There’s nothing respectful about that.

Remind Him Nicely

You will have to tell him things more than once—remind him. That’s just the way his brain works. He is always so focused on right now, that he is unable to think ahead in that moment. He needs to be reminded—kindly.

Alison Armstrong suggests something like this. As you are both waking up and getting out of bed, say something like, “Wow, only four days until my birthday! I am so excited this year!”

And then maybe the day of, “Happy birthday to me, the birthday girl!” as you smile and hug him. He gets to celebrate right then and there with you, and you have reminded him kindly.

Tell him What you Need

Women need and like to talk and rant out loud. We just do. That’s how we process and figure out how we’re feeling about something. That’s how we understand and make sense of our world.

“I believe that when women stop emasculating men, men will give us everything we ever wanted…”   ~ Alison Armstrong

Don’t expect him to be your girlfriend. Don’t expect him to be able—or willing—to talk to you like a woman would/does. He shouldn’t be expected to learn and then execute that.

To insist he do that is actually a subtle form of emasculation. When you refuse to let him talk to you like a man talks, you are demanding he be a woman, and you are saying there is something wrong with him being and talking like a man.

If this idea doesn’t sit right with you, pushes buttons or otherwise pisses you off, think of the opposite.

Think of just how pissed off you’d be if a man refused to talk to you until you “cool off and become more rational”—in other words, until you can communicate more like him, more like a man.

Men can get overwhelmed by all those words if he thinks you need him to fix it. And most men are fixers—it’s a guy thing. If you need to just rant and talk out loud and just need him to listen, say so.

Try something like, “Baby, I really need to just vent/rant right now about this. Could you just give me the gift of letting me talk it out? I don’t need you to fix anything. I simply need your ear.” And when he does this for you, let him know how happy that makes you!

Learn to Listen

But learn to listen not like a woman needs to be listened to, but like a man does. You know how we talk together, ladies. We finish each other’s sentences, exclaim out loud to empathize and talk over each other in our excitement and intensity, sometimes gesturing wildly and emphatically.

Ask a question of a man and then put an invisible piece of duct tape over your mouth and just sit and wait and listen. You will get the most wonderful, deep, incredible answers. It is beautiful.

While he talks, let him know he still has your attention, but without interrupting—just nod or make small sounds. Remember, men focus on one thing at a time (I am so envious of this!), so don’t derail him by being too verbal in your responses while he’s talking.

Then after he stops talking, use Alison’s 10-second rule: after he stops talking, wait. Wait another 10 seconds before saying anything or asking the next question. Give him time to add on to his original answer if he chooses to.

In stressful/critical situations, men often like to take the information/question you’ve given them and then want to process and come back to you with their answer or their condensed version of what is needed.

They often will want to give you just the end result of their analysis rather than talk it all out and come to an out-loud, verbal decision right in that moment.

I know it can be difficult to wait for him to do this—especially in the middle of an argument or uncomfortable confrontation, but he really does need to do this.

Be patient and kind and respect that they want to bring you their best answer, their best selves, and that is why they are requesting your patience. Trust him (and maybe call a girlfriend in the interim and get her to talk you down off the ledge while you wait).

Just the Facts, Ma’am—Keep it Short and To-the-Point

When you need something other than just to rant, choose your words wisely. Focus on efficiency. Men can get overwhelmed by all the words and emotions coming out of us, and when men get overwhelmed, they tend to want to retreat to their “nothing box.”

That’s not how they communicate effectively. Their brains work quickly and comprehensively, taking in information in big, often visual, chunks. They don’t need or want all the fluff. Help them help you by sorting through all that ahead of time.

A good rule of proverbial thumb: talk sticky stuff out with your girlfriend(s) first, then take the boiled-down reduction to your man to discuss.

Tell Him the ROI (Return on Investment)

Get his attention and tell him what the ROI is for him if he listens to you.

Try something like, “When I feel listened-to and heard, I am able to relax and concentrate on you and on having a good time with you. I will be the normal, happy woman you know and love. I will have more confidence. I will be easier to live with. I won’t feel crazy and isolated. You will be my hero for listening to me rant/talk/emote and being my support. I feel like I can go out and conquer the world when I know you hear and respect me by really listening to me. I love that feeling of knowing you have my back and that we are a team this way. I’ll want to connect with you more deeply. I’ll want to have sex more often.”

Why Men Don’t Tell you the Truth

“Men are not devious like women—unless backed into a corner, men will always tell the truth and say what they mean.” ~ Alison Armstrong

If you find out your man has lied to you, the question you might think about asking yourself is not “Why is my man a liar?” but rather, “Why does he feel backed into a corner? Is it because my reaction to this in the past has been not very pleasant, so he is avoiding that again, perhaps? Do I emasculate him on a regular basis in this type of situation, so that he needs to avoid that?”

And remember, many men pretend to be vulnerable, and don’t tell us the entire truth, so that we women don’t kick the emotional shit out of them, according to research by Brene Brown.

I’m not saying a woman is responsible when a man lies to her, I’m just saying that in an otherwise, seemingly normal, relationship where lying is unusual, these might be questions to think about. And it might be time to learn how, as a woman, to respectfully sit with and honor his true, deep (scary!) vulnerability.

And gentlemen, why are you lying to her? Is it because you don’t want her emotions, her femininity? Is that too scary?

“One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when a man stands full, present, and unreactive in the midst of his woman’s emotional storms. When he stays present with her, and loves her through the layers of wildness and closure, then she feels his trustability, and she can relax.”     ~ David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man

Do You have a Great Ask?

Alison Armstrong, who has studied men for over 25 years, encourages women to use the Great Ask with men. Figure out what you need instead of just complaining first. Then ask him for that. Example: “I really love birthday parties. Could you plan a birthday party for me this year?”

Then ask him, “Now what do you need from me to make this happen?” Then put the invisible duct tape over your mouth and wait and let him tell you what he needs from you.

He may need to be reminded nicely, or he may need you to tell him more about what kind of party you want. He may need you to witness him putting it in/on his calendar, so he has a reminder.

Then do that for him, so as to help him get you what you need/want. That is the Great Ask.

“When we share our emotions with our man, it inspires him to protect and help us. Share the specific emotions and then ask for what you want/need, ‘When we don’t get enough time together, I feel sad and I miss you. I would love to have more quality time with you. And what do you need from me to help make this happen?’” ~ Alison Armstrong

Is this manipulation?

Some folks will see this information as manipulation. And indeed, if that is your motive, then it is manipulation. And some will recognize it as the informed route to the relationship that they have always wanted to have but either didn’t know how, or didn’t have the courage, to do.

Tony Robbins talks about how you don’t just want your partner to be a fan, because satisfied fans/clients leave. He says we should create raving fans of our partners, because raving fans just keep coming back for more. It’s the difference between worshiping and loving someone.

We’ll talk more about whether this is manipulation or not in the next post.

A version also published at elephant journal.

Photo courtesy of Death to the Stock Photo.

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Why Women are Attracted to Bad Boys and How to Fix That.

kissing coupleAs women, we cannot fault men who are too “passive” if we are living from our own masculine energy.

“Bad boy” is defined by the Urban Dictionary as:

“A young man who has many characteristics of a naughty boy: he’s independent and willful; he does what he wants when he wants; he doesn’t follow trends, they follow him; he often looks scruffy, but hip; he’s not looking for trouble, but there’s a sense of danger about him. For these reasons and more, he’s irresistible to women. He’s a heartbreaker with five o’clock shadow. Humphrey Bogart was the original badboy.”

James Michael Sama gets into society’s categories and writes:

“Bad boys are ‘supposed to be’ kind of jerks who never really treat you right, and nice guys are ‘supposed to be’ guys who are silly putty in the hands of the woman in their life, obeying her every beck and call.”

Traditionally, “bad boys” seem to be those men who don’t treat women well, and despite that, and some people think, because of that, they tend to attract more women than gentlemen (or “nice guys”) do.

I say there’s more going on here than meets the proverbial eye.

David Deida talks about it when he explains (paraphrasing an audio of his) how firstly, women desire masculine men—men who are predominately on the masculine end of that masculine-to-feminine spectrum.

He gives the example of a woman who is married and where the masculine-feminine polarity has gone wonky in her marriage so that she is most often carrying the masculine energy, and who gets excited and is attracted when she sees the rough, black leather-clad biker gang (the classic, probably over-used, “bad boy” stereotype) ride into town.

He continues about how she may be surprised at this attraction and instantly tries to dismiss that she is attracted to “bad boys” while being “happily” married, but then also can’t quite make herself forget about those bad boys either.

She’s attracted because she craves polarity.

It is only through this polarity that attraction—the spark—happens between people. If she is carrying masculine (or more neutral) energy most of the time, it would take a very strongly masculine man to make her feel feminine again, to create the polarity she craves. It might take a “bad boy.”

Any of my female clients who complain about only attracting passive/feminine men, has to sit through my own story, as I tell her how important it is to look at her own energy first.

As women, we cannot fault men who are too “passive” if we are living from our own masculine energy. Because of course we are only going to attract passive men in that case—or attract men who more easily go to the feminine end of that spectrum when in the presence of masculine energy.

The polarity is always going to instantly happen whether we are conscious of it or not.

There are reasons the Masculine and Feminine are constantly balancing, gifting and polarizing each other. Each needs the other. Like the poles on a magnet, like repels like and opposite poles attract.

So no matter who holds what energy, the polarity is going to happen. When a woman lives from the masculine end of the spectrum, she is going to attract people (male and female) that are on the feminine end of the spectrum.

And there is no right or wrong place to be on that spectrum, but when a woman is talking about only attracting feminine/passive (read:  who don’t initiate things, who don’t take charge) men when she also proclaims to only want masculine men, I always tell her to look at her own energy first.

Because I believe the reason women are attracted to so-called “bad boys” is because they are attracted to the very masculine (albeit, perhaps also, destructive) energy that bad boys exude.

There is also a belief that “nice guys finish last,” meaning, that women will always be attracted to the bad boys first and foremost. But I think the problem is not about manners; it’s about the polarity.

So to put to rest the idea that women like to be mistreated by so-called “bad boys,” I want to point out that women just want to be with a masculine, take-charge sort of man.

And I also want to point out that that is not going to happen if the woman is already on that masculine, take-charge end of the spectrum.

So the fact that women are attracted to bad boys doesn’t mean they want to be treated badly or are interested in being abused. It means they are in search of masculinity.

And they may be in search of and attracted to strong masculinity because they have, for many reasons, become masculine in order to deal with life. My own masculine energy was something I wore as protection—as the result of an abusive childhood. It was totally an unconscious situation—as it usually is for most folks.

The remedy?

I think the remedy is to find your own comfortable place on that masculine-feminine spectrum—and to also realize you will attract the polar opposite of that. If you are comfortable with both of those ideas, you’ve got nothing to think about.

If, on the other proverbial hand, you are not satisfied with one or both of those ideas, it is time to take a look, not at the other person, but at yourself.

Because you are responsible for and can only change yourself.

So ladies, if you want to attract strong, masculine men and you’re disappointed that is not what’s happening, you might want to have a look at your own energy. Where are you on that spectrum?

Rachel Jayne Groover, the author of Powerful and Feminine (a book I highly recommend—as well as her workshops), provides a quiz to see where you fall on that spectrum. She has found that most women with this issue in their life tend to be more neutral rather than actually masculine.

Polarity might not be the only factor in play, but it’s a good place to start, in my (experienced – yikes!) opinion.

Please understand, too, that this energy affects every part of your life and all of your relationships—not just the romantic ones.

Does this mean you may have to take a look at why you are mostly masculine most of the time? Yes.

Might it be difficult? It might.

And you can do it. You are worth the digging, the time and the work it might take.

You will, most probably, not like some of the things you find out about yourself. The good news, though? Once you’re aware of it, you can change it. Don’t let shame get its claws in you and hold you back.

One of the scariest, most embarrassing and shameful things I found out about my own former, protective, masculine self was how I used to need to emasculate men to keep from feeling so vulnerable and unsafe with them.

Once you become more aware and learn how to find and hold your own spot on that spectrum, you will begin to notice everyone’s energy and begin to recognize where they fall on the spectrum and how it has the potential to affect you.

It becomes possible, then, to make conscious decisions about where you want to be, energy wise, so that you are not instantly pulled out of your comfort zone by someone else’s energy.

You will be able to place yourself anywhere you choose on the spectrum— consciously, responsibly and respectfully—for everyone involved.

This will also keep you from gravitating toward those (very few) men out there who really are bad and who might actually not treat you like the queen/goddess you truly are.

And gentlemen, are you so totally confused and fed up right now with this whole issue? Can’t say I blame you.

Take heart, though, as James Michael Sama writes:

“Women don’t want someone who sways too far in either direction. Women want a man who is adventurous but also stable. They want a man who is going to challenge her but also support her. Who is going to empower her but also protect her. Who is going to seduce her but also respect her. A man who is going to provide for her but also not take away her independence to do so herself. A man who is going to make her feel sexy, but also make her feel safe.

“A lot of men are probably reading this thinking about how complicated it sounds – but I don’t really think it is. I think it’s relatively straightforward: Don’t be a pushover, and don’t be a jerk. Find a middle ground. Keep your pride as a man and also do what it takes to make the woman in your life happy. You are not her servant, and you are not her boss. You are her equal, her teammate, her partner in a relationship; and she needs to be able to see you that way.

“You don’t have to be a bad boy or a nice guy, you can be both. Challenge her, seduce her, empower her. But also love, honor, and value her. That is what she wants.”

A version also published at elephant journal.

A Past Life Regression – Finding a Soul Mate.

 tombstone2

I entered the lifetime behind a donkey sliding down a narrow, steep winding pathway on the side of a hill. It was hot, dusty and dry and daytime.

Dry, white, chalky rocks and pebbles of all sizes were clicking and rolling downhill all around and under us as I attempted to push the donkey down the hill.

My dear sweet friend Sikh (pronounced “Seek”) was pulling the donkey. He had hold of the rope that was tied around the donkey’s neck.

The donkey was sitting in the path, refusing to move. I was bent over, my body shaking with laughter, my hands under the donkey’s butt, my face necessarily pressed into his shaggy fur to get a better grip underneath him, lifting, heaving, pushing and cussing—but mostly laughing.

I was laughing so hard that I wasn’t having much effect on the donkey.

Sikh was looking at me over his right shoulder with his usual, disgusted look reserved for my antics, and that was what I was laughing at. His dark eyebrows were drawn up and together in his characteristic scowl of disapproval. He was angry with me for laughing, but I couldn’t help it. It was just too funny.

It became even funnier when I suddenly remembered the donkey’s name. It was a word that literally meant “stubborn,” but was also used figuratively as a particularly nasty expletive.

Sikh’s sweaty, dirty face was so dear to me as I looked at it over the donkey’s back for what seemed like the first time in a very long time. A part of me wanted to sit down right there on the rocky path and cry with relief and gratitude at getting to see him again. I felt a sad longing for him, like we had been apart for forever.

A part of me, though, was laughing at our donkey predicament on the narrow path—and the look on his face.

Hypnotherapy can be like that. One part of the brain is processing the inner events that seem to be in the present but that are actually the past lifetime.

Another part of the brain is kind of watching from a distance, processing information from the vantage point of the modern, true present lifetime, where we are sitting in a hypnotherapist’s office doing a past life regression.

Sikh always had that amusing effect on me. He was the serious, cautious one most of the time. I was the crazy, funny one—always the person to think up some daredevil, dangerous stunt that was likely to get us killed—or at least in trouble.

I loved Sikh like a brother—or even more so. How to describe the love I felt for him? I trusted him completely. I felt so much affection for him in his seriousness. I felt somehow responsible for him—for his happiness.

We were friends—young boys, dark skin, dark eyes and dark hair. My name seemed to be something like Anand. This was all happening in some vaguely hot, dry, “foreign” place.

We were taking some sort of drink (wine?) back to his house where there was a gathering of some sort. We were late because of this stupid, stubborn donkey, and we both knew Sikh’s father would not be happy at our lateness.

The Hypnotherapy Session

I had readily agreed to be a volunteer for a friend who was training to be a hypnotherapist. She was a novice at that point, and we started the session with the intention of doing some committee work.

So she began by doing a standard progressive relaxation induction. At some point, however, my brain jumped suddenly into this lifetime with me laughing and pushing a donkey down a hill behind Sikh.

I tried to ignore the donkey and Sikh and follow her instructions, and somewhere along this mind path I had picked up my Inner Advisor (IA) too, so when my friend asked me if I was standing at the committee room door and was ready to go in, I turned to my IA and asked, “Should we tell her or should we go into the committee room?”

My IA smiled, feeling like an accomplice in some crazy conspiracy, and told me to tell her where I really was.

“Uhm…that’s not where we are…”

I felt some anxiety come off her as she calmly asked, “Okay…where are you?” I could tell she was just trying to kind of roll with it even though I could also still feel her anxiety.

I began laughing then and told her where I was and what was happening.

She began to ask more questions to ascertain the reason for the sudden jump into this lifetime. A part of me was curious about that too. Mostly though, another part of me was just so happy to be with Sikh again that I simply wanted to stay with him and experience the joy of getting to see him again.

We finally, with much sweat, cussing and laughing (on my part), got the donkey and its cargo to his house. There were happy people everywhere—inside and outside the house.

His father was nowhere to be seen, but his mother acknowledged our arrival and thanked us, sending us off to have fun there too. No one seemed to care that we were late.

Indeed, a part of my brain realized, there had been no actual time limitation. This same part of my brain went on to analyze this lifetime the way my young boy self, actually in that lifetime, never had.

Sikh was a worrier—sometimes even creating dark drama where there was none. He was analytical and logical—pessimistic most of the time, contrasting starkly to my love of fun, frolic, mayhem and laughter.

I loved him anyway—maybe even more so because of all of this; he was my best friend.

When Sikh’s mother sent us off with a smile and head tousles, I began to feel a profound sadness, because this gathering was reminding me of another gathering at this same house—a gathering in that lifetime’s future.

My friend was continuing to ask pinpointing questions, and as she did, I began to know why I had come to this lifetime. I suddenly wanted to not be there anymore.

“I got him killed,” I began to cry. “It was my fault he died.”

“No, no, no, no, no; it can’t be true—no.” I was sobbing, heart-broken, guilty, inconsolable.

It seems in that lifetime that I was always the one breaking the rules in the name of creating fun. I was the one who had come up with our usual MO, something we had been doing all of our young lives.

We had this understanding, Sikh and I, that whenever we were sent on an errand, we knew we would dash about the errand as breakneck as possible, because that would give us more time, away from our families and homes, for goofing off—for finding interesting things to amuse us. If we got the errand done quickly enough, no one would know we also had time for a detour or two.

This is how I got Sikh killed.

My mind fast-forwarded to the evening when Sikh’s father sent us on an errand that would take us past a small lake we liked to swim in. When we heard the directive, we looked at each other and knew the drill.

Laughing, we took off running, already turning a deaf ear to the, “be careful” and “go straight there and come straight back”—the usual send-offs from our mothers.

To our credit, we nearly always accomplished our errands before detouring. It was no different this time. We accomplished the delivery of Sikh’s father’s message, then we raced to the lake on our way back to Sikh’s house.

We stripped down to skin and jumped in—couldn’t have wet clothes convicting us upon our return home.

And after one of his dives, Sikh did not surface.

It was beginning to get dark; the sun had already set some time ago and the light was fading. I dove time after time—frantically, crying—snot and tears mixing with the lake water.

I screamed his name; I cursed him for not appearing; I begged him to show himself; I bargained with god; I prayed; I ranted at him, the gods, myself, almost drowning myself I was so exhausted.

I finally gave up diving and ran to his house, bursting in upon the group, naked, wild and crying.

We were searching in the black water, candles and lanterns of some sort on the banks and held high by family members and friends—many more had joined us.

Finally, one of Sikh’s older brothers brought his naked body up and out of the dark lake.

The women set to wailing at this sight and their mother fell to her knees when presented with this affront, this horror. His limp, blue body was so small and deflated in his brother’s arms.

The contrast between the two bodies, one small, blue and still, the other so large and vibrant and colorful, was obscene and shocking.

I felt a weird, sick anger at his older brother for being so alive while Sikh was so still.

I also felt the guilt settle squarely on my young shoulders in that lifetime with me standing on the bank of that black lake. I felt it sink in and grow roots. I had caused this. It was my fault.

Sikh would never have done anything like this without my suggestion, or more to the facts, my persuasion, because I had nearly always had to talk him out of his doubts, out of his worry at detouring from the normal, sane plan.

So I had jumped into this lifetime to observe and disassemble this guilt.

As that lifetime progressed within my friend’s pointed questions, I began to learn that no one blamed me for Sikh’s death. I was able to feel his parent’s emotions, and I felt only sadness there—both for his death and for their loss—but also for my loss. They knew how close we had been.

As I processed, as she asked me questions, I began to feel guilt’s grip on my throat loosen and then finally fall away. I felt my breath settle lower in my belly; I asked for Sikh’s forgiveness, sending it out into the Universe. I felt only love and warm regard in answer.

I felt me forgive myself. I sent my love for Sikh up and out, hoping it would find him somewhere, in some lifetime, some timeline.

As my friend was finally counting me back up and into the present there in the office, my Inner Advisor turned to me and said with a smile, “He is returning to you this lifetime. Get ready.”

And my heart went into a wild, wiggly dance of joy, gratitude and anticipation at this unexpected and welcomed news.

I Tried Not to Love You—an Overdue Love Letter.

love warriorI really did try not to fall in love with you.

And at some point, when I realized I was already there, I stalwartly attempted to unlove you.

By that time, I had cycled through so many loops of attraction, attempted indifference, love, friendship, anger, acceptance, frustration, pretending indifference, attraction, etc. that it had begun to feel like my normal way of life.

At some level, I was growing numb to it in my attempts to adapt and save my heart.

Through all of those loops, those months, the cycles, I tried to trust my instincts about your feelings for me, tried to intuit through or behind those barriers you were so good at building, but I was never sure where you stood.

It seemed to bounce around too much to pin down. I always knew the barriers you created were necessary for you.

I never took them personally.

But after that incident of which we have spoken and for which I apologized, I took myself out of your circle. I didn’t want to see you, didn’t want to be around you. It was, finally, too painful. I felt stupid that after all my struggles to do so, I couldn’t seem to control my own heart.

I wanted to stay as respectful and distant as I could. I was trying to do the right thing—mostly for me, but also for you. I wanted to prove to the Universe and to myself that I was walking my talk. I wanted to take care of myself.

So I retreated into myself, into my own small, compact and safe world. I stopped going to church; I stopped dancing; I stopped going out with friends, stopped meeting girlfriends for tea.

I spent those months meditating, praying, inspecting myself for fissures—repairing what presented itself. Trying to be kind to myself, I attempted to not admonish myself for sadness and thinking “what if…” thoughts.

I was only partially successful on that count.

Mostly, I let myself feel the pain head-on without trying to hide it any longer. The pain itself was not fun, but it felt good to finally allow it, to sit shiva for my own heart, to honor its journey and the sadness—to cry into the cracks and to hopefully discover something like courage underneath—or maybe just endurance.

I also attempted to distract myself at times during those months and attracting an online dating scammer during that time certainly did the distraction trick. It turned out I learned so much about myself during and after that wild crazy ride, that I couldn’t feel bad about it.

It was a gift.

So I gradually began to see light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. My ferocious optimism gradually reasserted itself and life was looking better and better all the time. I began to feel strong and happy again.

Then came the day when I felt so done and over you that I didn’t care if I saw you again or not. I felt indifference settle comfortably in and grow roots.

I liked the familiarity of that indifference, because I had successfully navigated that feeling right into a safe, I’m-over-him, harbor more than once before in my lifetime.

Life was good again—and back to normal—only better.

I ventured out into some of my bigger circles, coming out of my compact world and back into a larger version that contained more people, sometimes even including you.

The first time I saw you I was strong and detached and ready. It was easy to remain detached. I felt the attraction still there and registered some disappointment that it had showed its old, worn face again.

But it seemed easy to talk around and over. It was simple to ignore that big white elephant in my heart’s small, tidy living room.

I felt triumphant at my own self-safekeeping victory.

But after the second encounter I knew I wasn’t faring so well. I knew I was in trouble. I felt a mad mayday alarm start in my head and spread out in all directions, racing to get to, and save, the heart as quickly as possible.

I could feel myself emotionally withdrawing to save myself, scrambling to recover lost ground, but at the same time, and with much self-disappointment at my “failure,” I noticed I was counting the days until the next time I could see you.

But something felt different this time—something that kept wiggling out from under my mind’s thumb; it wouldn’t hold still long enough for complete definition.

Then finally it seeped in. I didn’t feel those high, thick walls in you.

How was I supposed to know that you would somehow be waiting for me? That when I emerged from my retreat and from my healing that you would be standing right in front of me, shading my eyes from the sudden bright glare, there to meet me?

I didn’t expect that.

I was prepared for more distance from you—even avoidance. I was counting on you to emotionally withdraw from me, the way you had always done before. I was always able to feel those walls you built. I was counting on you to help me out by building them again.

You didn’t. You haven’t. heart rock zipper

It felt exactly like it did in Berlin when the wall came down. After only the first few days it was still obvious where the wall had once stood, dissecting.

But not long after that—after some cleanup—it was easy to start in West Berlin where I lived, be walking through where once the wall had dead-ended a street, to suddenly realize I was standing in East Berlin, without ever having noticed the transition. It just felt the way it was supposed to, streets flowing to their next, natural destination as originally planned, without obstruction.

So now I’m in a much-anticipated, foreign and yet achingly familiar land with my officially and freshly stamped passport clutched a bit nervously to my heart, standing looking at your welcoming “YOU ARE HERE” map, which fortunately and thankfully—and much to my relief—seems to be in the rough outline of your heart.

Soul Mates

Originally published at elephant journal as Don’t Miss Your Soul Mate Flags

It can be exhilarating to meet a soul mate—that feeling of having known them forever as I look into their eyes is familiar and strange all at the same time.

It can be pleasant, funny, loving and soft. Or it can be like two freight trains colliding head-on. It can also be hauntingly sad.

I have met and loved several soul mates—in many different forms and relationships. Years ago, a soul mate came into my life and only stayed for a few weeks; it was very intense and somewhat confusing. I came home to a Dear Jane letter. I have neither seen nor heard from him again.

One was only in my life for a week or so, before vanishing back into the universe again, exiting my stage to step onto another one somewhere else. This relationship was so intense and immediate, that we burned the karma quickly and completely, no longer romantically/sexually attracted to each other by the end of those short days, but still loved each other.

Upon meeting, we tried to play by society’s rules. We really did. But we couldn’t.

Within a day of meeting we were naked in my house, breathing each other’s breath again, just like before in other places and times. His mouth was familiar, his kisses exquisite; they felt like coming home. I have not had such beautiful, satisfying kisses since. Just the memory of them can make my breath change tempo. couple-stone

As soon as we immediately, easily and mutually rotated into one specific and unusual sexual position, we looked at each other in exposed recognition, “Having you right here, right like this, is all I have been able to think about since I met you yesterday.”

I could only agree. It was exactly how I had seen us together too.

This was a man for whom I had no attraction whatsoever until I looked into his eyes. When I looked at his body, I felt no attraction. When our eyes met each time, however, I fell in love all over again. I quite literally, for the first time in my life, felt weak in the knees every time he looked at me.

All I wanted to do was be as close to him as possible as much as possible. It always felt like he would be taken from me. I felt almost desperate to love him as much and as intensely as possible in what felt like the very short time we had together.

Perhaps needless to say, we spent most of our time together naked—talking, crying, laughing, making love, f*cking; it was intense, beautiful, raw and cathartic.

We split amicably a few days later, having processed through whatever it was we needed to process together. We gave each other those karmic gifts and were done. We did, indeed, it turned out, only have a few days. But this time we were not torn from each other. This time we truly were complete at the end of our time together.

I have come across many soul mates in many different lifetimes over the years. As a hypnotherapist, I find them all the time—mine and for clients too—in past lives and in this current life. So much so, that I had to change my definition of “soul mate” at some point.

wooden couple I now define “soul mate” as a soul with whom I have had so many meaningful encounters in so many other lifetimes and dimensions, that I feel I know them almost instantly upon meeting them again. They feel so familiar, like family, like instant friends. We can play just about any role for each other too: friend, lover, child, grandchild. I think most folks think of soul mates only as lovers, but I have found that is not necessarily the case.

From so many years of working with past lives, it is my understanding that we, as pure souls/energy, get together before each lifetime and kind of plan out how we are going to meet each other. We set up “flags” for ourselves, so that we recognize the significance of the meeting.

A “flag” is anything that happens in our current life that grabs our attention enough to make us stop and take a second look, or make us become aware that we need to pay special attention to someone/thing. Flags often look or feel like déjà vu, or like something weird and surreal. It gets our attention. It causes us to “wake up,” to come up out of the habitual, treadmill, hazy state we usually coast along in.

“I knew I had known you before, because when I saw you, time seemed to slow down and everything was moving in slow motion,” was what one lover said to me, explaining the flag he experienced on seeing me for the first time.

I have met and loved soul mates that feel like friendly companions—like the only reason we agreed to meet again was just because we love and miss each other and want to be together again. We don’t necessarily have any big lessons for each other. We just want to give each other the gift of resting into a nice, easy, calm relationship.

The ones that are heart breaking, though, are the ones where timing is an issue. We meet them as planned, we experience the flag and know it is important, but we have made past decisions that prevent us from being lovers.

It is not that I love my current lover less after I meet a soul mate, but I can very clearly feel the missed opportunity with the soul mate and must accept it—maybe even mourn its passing. I have never broken up with a current lover to be with a new soul mate, but I have been very attracted to and tempted by that idea.

It can be so sad when it happens—to meet them, recognize them and maybe even admit and discuss it with them, but to be unable or unwilling to actually do anything about it.

Brian Weiss, the famous hypnotherapist who has written several books on the subject, writes about this in Only Love is Real, a book about hypnosis and soul mates finding each other again.

When I think of them, those unrequited soul mates, I can still feel the sudden sting of recognition, how my heart seems to fly up out of my chest into the sky when I look into their eyes, followed quickly by the descending realization that we will not be lovers this lifetime, the heartache, and finally the soft longing and sadness that still linger for paths not taken.

Of course you are thinking, “But you can still be friends with them, right?” Yes, that is possible, but I find it can be difficult, because as the friendship grows, so does the longing. Have you ever had a friend that you fell in love with, only to know (or find) that they cannot or do not or will not reciprocate? It is not fun for anyone involved.

My wish for you, Dear Reader? May your flags be obvious and your timing and decisions always impeccable. Godspeed.

 

 

Grace is a Certified Hypnotherapist and Registered Psychotherapist in Ft. Collins, CO, USA. She sees clients and facilitates Divine gracethanx2013.3Feminine Hypnotherapy workshops for women. She’s a flaming, Earth-loving, tree-hugging, save-the-Planet, believes-in-faeries, bike-riding, card-carrying, spiritual but not religious, hippie cowgirl liberal poet—yep, they do exist. You can find her blog here and her creations here. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

everyday karma at Everyday Joe’s Coffee House

Also published at elephant journal as The Karma Cafe

I continue to listen to him, but mostly I am just letting his voice soothe me.

We talk, and I watch him from across the table—but mostly I feel the energy coming off him, out of him. I know him as a very authentic person—have known him for some time now. He is calm and not about the drama, but the more he talks, the more I can feel the slow, small everydayjoes1twist of the hurricane he carries inside his chest. And I am so glad not to be a part of that, selfishly glad not to be in his shoes. I can hear those waves crashing from all the way over here on my side of the table. When he speaks, I love the heavy, watery weight of his voice, his laugh even more so: deep and gravely and calm. I ride the waves of his voice, and willingly let that undertow pull me down and under. From somewhere deep inside of myself, I sit and listen.

He talks of the books he’s read to help explain his situation. He thinks he must somehow ‘ride it out,’ ‘see what lies beyond this,’ ‘pass this test.’ He keeps pulling all those platitude cards out of his deck and placing them on the table; he talks a nice talk.

Maybe it helps him—him thinking he is actually accomplishing something. I can feel him wanting to stay in integrity, wanting to do not only what is correct but also what is right. But it spins slowly, and as I move away from the eye of his hurricane, it begins to get sloppy. This place of heaviness is home to him now. I can sense the thick brownness of it, how it feels congested, unhappy and weighty and sad. Still, he is calm. I can also feel the uncertainty there that has become his certainty. This is his way of living now, but I know it has not always been so. He has let it become his obligation, his world. karma1

I don’t feel sorry for him; he has choices, and he decided somewhere along the way to take this on. Mostly, it feels heavy. It feels like a burden he picked up or that maybe built up slowly over time. And now he doesn’t quite know how to put it down, doesn’t know if he wants to. It might seem unnatural to be without it now. I feel, behind his words, a question; he’s wondering if there is a resolution, a completion to be peacefully navigated.

It feels a bit surreal and out of sync—like that dream that wakes you before the end. And you wonder if that was the dream or if, like an unfinished movie, it is continuing to play somewhere and you just woke up too soon—before the end.

beancycle4Karma is like that. I burn mine until it’s gone, but there seldom seems to be a real conclusion. I’m always waiting for the cosmic credits to roll, to clue me that it’s over. I don’t recognize the end because I’m usually too busy wondering what happened. Where did I go wrong this time? My mind stumbles around, shell-shocked, glassy-eyed, mumbling to itself, trying to find solid ground again. But nothing ever really can go ‘wrong’. It goes according to the karmic plan. That’s how karma works.

My karma is like low-budget, artistic, independent foreign films that end abruptly and weirdly, leaving a strange, unsettled taste in my mind’s mouth.

So I continue to listen to him, but mostly I am just letting his voice cradle and soothe me. At 1stphone2one point he asks for my advice, and I reluctantly bring my mind back to the table, pause too long for social propriety (because I don’t know quite what to say), and finally try this, calmly:  “I cannot give you an unbiased opinion …” At which pause, and with perfect comedic timing, he interrupts and says, “I don’t want your unbiased opinion. I want you to be on my side!”

We laugh a few bars, and in some back room of my mind, I use those precious seconds to scrape together the cokarma7urage to start again, “I can’t give you an unbiased opinion on what to do with your insecure, controlling girlfriend, who is making you very unhappy, because … I am too attracted to you.”

And everything stops.

And we stare at each other.

Across the table.

Over the coffee cups.

His eyes become watery—and with that, mine want to also, so I let them. “Me too,” he says.

Careful, this is what happens, Mr. MW, when you know/love a writer. 🙂

coke bottle bottom

those warm melty caramel
yellowbrown eyes
so deep
comforting
so rich
thick
they are like the candy
so sweet but also savory
a substantial toothhold
becoming delightful warm syrup
on the tongue
transporting

those eyes
take me to the smell
of terrace stones warmed by
departed sun
summer nights
with wine
and laughter
bare feet
the smell of late
night coffee brewing
the thick warm silk of the cream
in the cup

unlike cokebottlebottom eyes
clear
aquabluegreenclear
looking all the way down
to the bottom
can see the ocean bed
below and through
seeing the nakedness
while also looking right through it
unable to gauge the depth
too clear

so not unreadable
so exposed and shocking
so unsettling
especially in sunlight
I always pull back
at first intersection
of gaze
startled but trying to quickly recover
and not show it

really not cold
or reptilian
as they suggest
do not let it prejudice you
those seethrough eyes
they simply
seem to reveal too much
and conceal at the same time
can’t judge the depth

is it safe to jump in?