February 2015

Passionate Living Newsletter - February 2015

Welcome to the February edition of my “Passionate Living Newsletter.”

A Newsletter for those who dare to want the fullest life possible:

“But where was I to start? The world is so vast; I shall start with the country I know best, my own. But my country is so very large.  I had better start with my town.  But my town, too, is large. I had best start with my street. No: my home. No: my family. Never mind, I shall start with myself.” - Elis Wiesel, Souls on Fire, 1973

Table of Contents

  • What is Your Life Story?
  • For Women Only
  • Do You Desire a Life of Purpose?

What is Your Life Story?

We all have an inner and an outer story, whether you are aware of it or not., It’s a powerful influence on the way we live our lives: whether it is mostly full and passionate or leaves us feeling that something important id missing. The story is generally formed around a cluster of core beliefs, passed down to us when we are very young by members of "our tribe", i.e. family.  We like sponges, absorb everything as if it were the truth.  We are not old enough to question when this happens, as we are too young to reason or express.  The beliefs of others influence us significantly, whether we are aware of them or not.  If we were lucky, what was passed down was not too damaging, but, for most of us, some of these beliefs have cost us dearly. One’s tendency to identify with the inner story, which is usually unconscious, influences us greatly as to how we live in the present.

Sometimes the story may go as follows:" No matter what I do, it’s never enough".  So one pushes oneself more and more, while at the same time believing, it won’t matter, it won’t be enough.  This story or life script is a familiar one to me as a psychotherapist. It is usually instilled in the little child’s unconscious by exacting, critical parents,or church or teachers.  Other familiar story lines go as follows;" everyone I love leaves me it’s my fault, if I had been a good girl, they would not have quarreled, being violent, or divorced etc..."  If the patterns that the core beliefs cause are deep and persistently interfering in your life, it’s important that you consider psychotherapy to get to the root causes.  In such situations, I use several techniques in addition to talk therapy to hasten the healing.  I use hypnotherapy, guided imagery, breath work, as well as accessing the inner child for healing purposes.  All of these methods access the unconscious, where the client’s story is rooted.

Freeing up from your story:  

When you live your life, as if your story is true, you unwittingly create situations that replicate the original belief system.   Following is an example of early influenc in a client's life, I'll call Milly.. It showed up in Milly’s life over the years, Raised by a controlling inflexible father, whom she could not please, she found herself  struggling with many male figures to whom she gave authority.  She over- extended to please them, and generally was left feeling it’s not enough which at a deeper level translates as “I’m not enough.”  This feeling of “not enoughness” created problems for Milly in romantic and other close relationships as well as on her job.

We believe our story, and as a result we don’t seem to realize that the illusion we are under is like living in a deep pervasive fog.  It’s a real struggle to see with clarity where the arrows of our life are pointing.  We go the way we are pointed, often the way is one of illusion, given us by others.  If your story isn’t working for you, it’s time to examine what it really is, not what you would like it to be.  We have to accept that we can’t change the past, but what we choose to do right now will change our lives as we go forward, for better or for worse.

What is your story around money, religion, God, weight issues, relationships, ageing, health etc.?

Begin by stopping  and then reflect:

What you bring your attention to has power to transform you.

Will you start today?

No day will be better than today !.

For Women Only

How to get More of what You Really want in Intimate Relationships:

As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I have had a front row seat, to observe the many ways women sabotage themselves when it comes to having more of what they want/need in intimate relationships.

Surprising though it may seem, many women spend more time planning the details of their next vacation, or Christmas dinner than reflecting on what they really want in an intimate relationship...Forget about the picture that we are given by Madison Avenue, or romance novels, that gushes unreality all over us, in an attempt to sell us illusions as if it were the real thing. I am here to tell you about having more power in choosing the nuts and bolts of a solid relationship. A partner who will love and value you and your opinions, someone who will get up with you in the wee hours of the morning when the baby is crying, or will celebrate and not be threatened when you are promoted in your career.

I hear “all the good men are taken,”or “I keep attracting the same kind of guys over and over, those who fear commitment, ones who bolt when the relationship gets warm, or others who promise a lot but leave me in emotional pain”.

Soo! What is important to you in choosing a man? What character traits do you value? If you are unsure or vague, take the uncertainty out of the vapors, and write the qualities down.

A powerful way to get clear about waht we really want,is by identifying and writing down, what is not wanted. Taking ideas out of the vapors and writing them down, gives desires, wishes and yearnings, concrete form. The same ideas after we have written them down become important and personal sources of knowledge, wisdom, and discernment that can be counted on when somebody of interest arrives on the scene.  Knowing who you are, and what is important to you, puts you in the driver’s seat to choose, and therefore less at the mercy of hormones and sexual attraction. Not being clear about your needs and wants, gives the other too much power over you and the future of your relationships. If you just want to play the field that is one thing, however if a committed long term relationship or marriage is what you want, pull up a chair, grab a pen and notebook and let’s get to work.

Create two columns. In column 1, list the qualities that you do not want. In column 2, list the important values that you have to have in your relationship to be happy; list less important character traits that you would enjoy having in a partner, list everything you can remember liking , or observing in somebody you admire, love and respect, do not hold back, you can cull  your list later. Some examples are given below.

Column1

Column 2

Controlling

Flexible when situation needs it

Doesn’t listen to me

Listens and values my ideas

Does not respect my opinion

Asks for and respects my opinion

Does not have a sense of humor

Has a good sense of humor

Infidelity

Trustworthiness

Disrespect for women

Respect for women

Cruelty to animals

Kindness

It is likely that we will make some mistakes in our choosing: note I said choosing, not being chosen. I have met many women some very successful in their careers, who are holding on to an antiquated belief of being chosen. This is a throwback belief to the times when women were really helpless and had no power. I am not advocating that you behave out of character and become bold and aggressive. No; not at all: be true to who you are, but check your belief system to find out what is holding you back. Much of my work is devoted to helping women let go of old limiting beliefs that no longer serve them. . (journeyintoapassionatelife.com)

Remember, water seeks its own level. That said; we draw to ourselves that which we are at a core level. Our level of consciousness attracts to us some one of the same level, cannot be otherwise. So it behooves us to examine who we are, and consider changing the issues that give us problems, so that we can attract someone who also has less issues. You have seen a version of this unhealed dysfunction played out in real life e.g. when the bully marries the victim, the overachiever marries the irresponsible one, and the alcoholic marries the martyr. While on the surface they may appear very different, underneath they are both people with serious issues and low self-esteem.

If there is a repetitive pattern going; it is time to take stock. If you attract a type of dysfunction again and again, such as alcoholics, violent, irresponsible or disrespectful men, this is an indication of an unconscious pattern at work. This pattern is more powerful than your conscious strivings. If there is a pattern at the wheel here, run; do not walk and seek professional help, preferably with somebody well versed in family systems and relationship therapy. (See relationship articles on laurabyoung.com)

I know about pain that patterns cause both personally and professionally. My father, whom I remember as a short dark, hairy, and a fun loving guy, died when I was quite young. My dating patterns and my nemesis were fun loving, short, dark hairy men, who would leave me. Oh no; they didn’t die; but leave they did, to go to another woman, to the golf course or to war, leaving me feeling abandoned and bereft. I needed therapy to break the spell in order to choose wisely. Lodged in my unconscious was the unresolved grief for my father, so powerful that it overcame my conscious decisions regarding the men in my life and the fact I was attracted men who were not good for me. If you experience a similar pattern, pay attention to the feelings that are repetitive. The feelings are important, try and remember when you first felt that way. If there is a repetitive pattern, the feelings are usually connected to early pain that has not been resolved.

Something that women do well, but to their own detriment in new relationships is to project into the future. Judy was asked out on a date for a Halloween party. For Steve it was just a date that may or may not lead to another. Judy on the other hand was wondering out loud what she might get him for Christmas. In addition she went on a diet in case they might go to the beach in the spring as she wants to look good in her bathing suit. So what is wrong with this picture? You may consider Judy a bit extreme in her projections; however what kind of projecting have you done, while for the guy involved it was just a date. If Judy wants to look good for herself, that is fine, but in this case she is preoccupied with pleasing Steve, and may not know him at all.

Who is this guy? Early in the relationship before it is complicated by sexual relations, it is my experience that guys will tell you who they are, if you ask the right questions. Women tell me that they do not ask because they do not want to be considered intrusive. I know a woman who did not ask a man the cause of his two previous divorces, only to find out, after their marriage the biggest problem in both divorces, was that he did not want children. She wanted children, and could not be happy with his unwillingness and so a third divorce. She said if I had only known. Listen carefully to his answers. Does he denigrate his ex-wife or partner? Do you believe that you will love him so much that it will be different with you? Not really!! What is his behavior when he is angry? Does he blame others for the problems that he has in his life?

It will not be different with you; do not fall in love with his potential. What you see is all that you can count on. He will not change, unless he is actively seeking change, maybe a little for you, but not a core change.

When two people fall in love there is a merging that occurs for about six months, sometimes longer. We enter into our best selves and are at a higher level of consciousness than usual, in our happy state. In this state, our old conditionings, limiting beliefs are able to be temporarily set aside, until the reality that this is a person, human with flaws showing up. The merging of falling in love is so rarefied we cannot hold on to it although we think everything would be perfect if we could, however this is not, really life. In life we have to drink the red wines as well as the rarefied white wines. When we fall off the pedestal, we are accused of not being the person with whom they fell in love. Most of us are not faking the higher being that we seem to be, but we can only be that wonderful person temporarily, that is unless we do an enormous amount of healing to get free of our conditioning. If we heal our dysfunctions, the other may not change and we will not fit once again.

Alas, we are the same, with feet of clay, flaws and all. We were privileged to have flown so close to the sun, even for a little while. Now we have to gather up our disparate pieces, and it is at this point we have the possibility of having a real love and a real relationship. The most important relationship is the one that we have with ourselves, when that is right, we can have more of what we want in life. It seems like a cosmic joke, if you notice in life, when we decide that we do not need something so badly,we are more likely to be able to have it.. Blessings on your journey, Laura

(More on relationships at laurabyoung.com)

Do You Desire a Life of Purpose?

"Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it”Gautama Buddha

Desire without attachment is not possible.  Desire is the propeller that moves us forward towards a fulfillment.  .  Sometimes in an effort to stay safe we squelch our desires to the point we no longer know what they are.  Desirelessness is not a state to stay in.

“The activity of desire is the forward-moving or expanding motion of Life Itself, and can never be dispensed with.  Without desire for attachment, attachment would not be possible.”   (The Magic Presence by Godfrey Ray King).  Dr. David Hawkins a spiritual teacher work who developed a means of calibrating a scale of measuring truth, is able to measure and analyze the full spectrum of various levels of consciousness.  He states that the energy level of desire “motivates vast area of human activity, including the economy. In order to get one first has to have the energy to “want.”

If you ever sigh and wonder “is this all there is? You have not found your purpose in life.

If you feel emptiness in your heart in spite of all that you have achieved, again you have not found your purpose.

"Those who have failed to work toward the truth have missed the purpose of living.”Gautama Buddha

What then is the truth for you?

In our culture there is an illusion that we will know purpose through outer striving, and we find people;

  • Frantically busy;
  • Acutely stressed;
  • Stuck in stagnation;
  • Overwhelmed by the expectations of others;
  • Boxed in by boredom;
  • Fearful of real freedom;
  • Resistant to change;
  • Struggling to have financial success, expecting that it will bring a sense of fulfillment  

Alas you will not find it here.

Although outer desires are to some degree connected to our purpose, it is not until we recognize that our true desires takes us on an inner journey. A major part of the trip is to become aware of the power of the inner and learn how to align the inner with the outer.

Our inner purpose will be revealed to the extent that we let go of illusions that life should be a certain way and that we are in control. Being weighed down with faulty beliefs we deny the fact that we are not free. I have met people who have done all the right things according to society, and their families of origin and are absolutely miserable. The illusions and faulty beliefs make our lives that we are living a lie. In this condition we are sleepwalking through life, unaware that inside of us is the key to the truth.

Our predicament reminds me of the man who is looking for his keys under a street light. When asked if he is sure he lost them there, he says no, but this is where the light is. We, like him are looking in all the wrong places...

“If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.”Thomas Merton

How to align the inner and the outer does not fit into a rule bound linear formula. A feeling of wanting, readiness, and a feeling of worthiness is an important key

There is a wonderful story about the disciple who went to his guru and asked:

“Guru, I seek enlightenment. How do I get to it?  The guru explained that enlightenment will come when we desire it, that our reality is created by giving our attention to those things we want the most.

“But I desire it. Why has it not come to me?”

“Because you do not truly desire it” replied the guru.

The wise guru knew that a mere craving or simple want was not enough to turn desires into reality. He knew that he would have to show his disciple the degree of desire necessary to achieve such a manifestation.

Wanting to teach his disciple how to achieve enlightenment, he knew he must show him the level of intent needed to manifest his desire. To do this, the sage took the young man down to the bank of the Ganges River and had him kneel with his head over the water. Then the guru put his hand on the young man’s neck and pushed his head below the surface.

After a minute and a half, the young disciple was frantic. He pulled and heaved and flailed his arms, but the guru did not let him up. He could not get his head out of the water no matter how hard he tried. After two minutes, just when it seemed as though his lungs would burst, the guru released his grip and the disciple lifted his head, eagerly gulping the air that awaited him.

The guru smiled.

“Tell me,” he said. “What was your greatest desire just now?”

“To breathe,” the young disciple said, exasperated.

“Ah,” said the guru, “when you desire enlightenment to that degree, it shall be yours.”

What is the intensity of your desire?

Do you want it as bad as the young disciple wanted to breathe, or is it simply a passing fancy; a “wouldn’t that be nice” kind of wishing?

Does your intent fill every inch of your being or does it simply cross your mind now and then?

May you honor and respect your desires and may your life be purposeful.

Blessings, Laura

See more on laurabyoung.com