Category Archives: Conflicts

Togetherness or Space?

For many people in relationship, fights about how much quality time to spend together or apart is commonplace. Usually one partner is arguing for more time together, while the other is arguing for more time to him or herself.

Watch our video here, and/or read the full article below the video.

There are two sides to this intimacy-freedom spectrum: there is a preference for intimacy or freedom, and there is a resistance to the other side. In other words, if I prefer intimacy and connection, I generally resist space and freedom – for myself AND my partner.

This is complicated even further by the fact that our needs and desires are constantly in flux. Even if one partner has a preference for more connection or space than the other, personal space and connection needs can vary from day to day. For example, I may want more connection today, but more space tomorrow and the next day.

This dilemma has a positive side. I just feel SO GOOD when we are together (or apart), that I want more of it. I want that feeling to stay and never leave. I want to hang on to that particular experience!

But sometimes this dilemma is fueled by fear. I don’t want you to go away because I am afraid if you leave you will never come back.

The more couples fight about this, the more they solidify their own position and preference and the more they resist their partner’s need. This pattern, in the end, only keeps the arguments and dissatisfaction going.

Given that there is an intimacy-freedom spectrum, it is inevitable for couples to find themselves having differing needs for connection and space. Rarely do couples hit the balance point where they both want the same exact amount of time together and apart.

So, what to do when you find yourself at odds with your partner’s preference?

For starters, explore. Where are you on the spectrum?

Do you find yourself preferring connection and dreading separation? Do you resist or pout or make a scene when your partner needs space or pulls away emotionally? Do you forget to take care of yourself because you are so focused on being with your partner?

Or do you prefer being alone and dread too much time together? Do you make plans away from the relationship without consulting your partner? Do you stay up late to avoid going to bed at the same time? Do you resist intimacy or sexual overtures?

So, explore your general preference.

Both space and togetherness are essential for love’s continued expansion. It is essential for any expansion and growth.

Think about it.

Your heart muscle opens and closes.
Your lungs expand and contract.
Your muscles tense and relax.
The seasons come and go.
The moon waxes and wanes as the earth shifts.
The waves and tides come in and go out.

There is a natural ebb and flow to the ever-changing energies of life that keep things moving, evolving, growing …

The same is true in relationship.

Relationship needs to breathe. It needs to move. It needs the space to grow and change. It needs an out-breath and an in-breath. It needs togetherness and separateness. It needs freedom AND connection. That is why this issue is so present for most couples in relationship – because both aspects are so essential to mature, healthy love.

Think of it this way …

When you get attached to connection, and you resist taking space or allowing your partner to take space, is a bit like trying to not breathe out. It is impossible, for one, and if you do happen to be successful, you will die. The same is true of relationship. Your relationship will die without breath, without movement. It will die if you ONLY have togetherness or you ONLY have space.

Or here is another useful image.

When you get attached to space and freedom, and you resist coming together in complete union with your partner, it is a bit like trying to keep a wave from coming onto your shores. Sure, you can build a wall to keep the water at bay with a lot of effort, but that wave is going to keep banging up against your wall over and over again for as long as you’re with this partner.

Imagine how it would be if you allowed for and celebrated both aspects. You come together and experience delightful bliss in deep intimacy and sex AND you go out and experience the richness of your time alone with yourself or others. You enjoy the exhale, and you allow the inhale. Both aspects give, both are nourishing and both contribute to your expansion as individuals AND as a couple.

How that looks in relationship is not resisting or arguing for one or the other of these states.

If you are the “connecting one” in the relationship, instead of pulling for your partner to come back when he emotionally withdraws, remind yourself that the wave is going out to sea. The wave is going back out to its source and will return invigorated with new vibrancy to add into the relationship. He is going out to sea FOR the health of the relationship. Remind yourself that he will be back – stronger, clearer, and more available for connection when he returns.

And if you are the “space one” in the relationship, instead of snubbing your partner’s overtures for connection, freely step in with your appreciation for your partner’s open heart. Reward her love and desire for you by meeting her with your openness and availability.

When you do this, a wonderful alchemy emerges. Your togetherness builds and reinforces your freedom. Your closeness infuses your solitude with confidence, love and presence. And vice versa. Your time alone is this nourishing opportunity to refuel your connection with yourself and spirit, so that you are more available and open for love and intimacy when it comes to you.

So don’t try to hang onto that wave or breath – no matter how good it feels. It will kill you and the relationship. Let the wave have its way. Trust that whatever you prefer will come back around, and enjoy the ride along the way.

 

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Is Average The New Failure?

As a coach, over and over again I witness successful people with great lives and loving relationships lament their failure because they don’t measure up to some outside image of what they think they need to be happy.

Many couples divorce and many singles stay single in search of that perfect ideal relationship.

In the Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz talks about how having many options produce unhappiness. With more, better, different, faster choices in front of us, we continually compare what we have with what we could have, and this comparison has us feel unhappy with our lives and relationships as they are. We keep ourselves wanting what we don’t have.

Jon Jandai, on a Ted Talk I listened to recently, spoke about growing up in Thailand where he worked two months out of the year – one month planting, and the other harvesting, rice. The remaining ten months of the year he and his family had free time to be with themselves, take naps, visit with friends, garden, create art, read, and attend festivals. His community was poor, but they didn’t know it until television made its way into his town.

People went from being happy with their lives to feeling discontent, like they should have more and better. Jon’s parents sent him to Bangkok to get an education, so he could have access to this better life.

While he was working hard for eight hours a day at school, he wondered why? And for what? He already had a good life. He didn’t have to work more than two months out of the year and garden for fifteen minutes a day to have enough food to eat for him and his family of six. And he had enough rice and food left over every week to sell for extra income. It took him two months to build a house, that he could then live in for free for the rest of his life. He didn’t need clothes, because visitors coming through often left clothes behind that he could wear.

What was really better about what he saw on television? Where people work hard at jobs they don’t like for 40+ hours a week, take thirty years to pay off a mortgage on a house they own, make purchases on things they don’t really need, constantly buy new clothes to stay in fashion, and have but two weeks off a year for vacation.

We are continually bombarded in our lives with images of people who have more than we do. Millionaires who have luxury cars, vacation homes, boats, planes, nannies, personal chefs and have achieved a high level of success. The rest of us look on in envy, believing that we are poor in comparison, and that our happiness lies in some faraway distant future when we should attain some arbitrary level of material success and fame.

In this constant comparison, our otherwise good lives – perhaps average lives, which today are good lives – look like a failure.

Likewise, movies and television showing hot sexy thin tan young people falling in love and living happily ever after have our relationships look substandard by comparison. “Sleepless in Seattle” spoke to many who would love to replace their partners who snore and fart and belch and pick their noses with that handsome mystery rich prince who will sweep them off their feet and take care of them forever.

Alan Watts said that the act of wanting a more positive experience is in and of itself a negative experience, and the act of accepting a negative experience is paradoxically, a positive experience. We say it this way. “Wanting and having cannot exist in the same space at the same time.”

I recently worked with a couple that had been dating for two years. They loved each other deeply and had scheduled a session with me to help them with their breakup. The Relationship Completion process I gave them to assist with their separation process backfired, and only had them fall more in love with each other.

As we worked together, it was more and more apparent to me that they were stuck in some outside form that they believed they needed to be happy. Because their partner didn’t look like how he or she should, they thought they should move on to find their Prince/Princess Charming.

But when they slowed things down, they could see that they have what really matters most: undying love for each other, the ability to share and talk about anything, hot sex, the ability to take responsibility and work through challenges together, and the desire to really be there for each other.

They were able to see where they could join each other more completely to both appreciate their pretty miraculous life and relationship, while having fun creating new possibilities for the future. Witnessing their breakthrough, I imagine, was like Jon seeing that he already had the life he was presumably working hard to attain.

So what is the message to all of us?

Quit comparing. Quit thinking that what we have isn’t it. Quit looking for where our partner isn’t perfect. Or as Barry Schwartz says, have fewer expectations. Appreciate what we have now. Be in the moment. Choose to feel good. See “average” and “what is” as success, as having already arrived.

Christian and I endeavor to do just that. As we sit on our deck in the sunshine – we have a choice. Do we look at the large pile of bark that needs to be scattered about, the large yard of lumber that needs to be cut and stacked, a roof that needs to be repaired, a driveway that needs paving, and the carpet with stains, or do we appreciate getting to live in this amazing house with yard and pool and garden and flowers and birds and a cat?

Do we focus on not having made love last night cuz we were too tired, or do we have fun remembering the great sex we had last weekend and the grand time we will have tonight? Do we focus on how little money we have in savings, or do we focus on feeling grateful for the money we do have? Do we lament our business not being huge and famous, or do we appreciate getting to do meaningful work for the hundreds we DO get to serve?

We always have a choice. One leads to happiness and one doesn’t.

 

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Seeing Through the Eyes of Love

Eva, a woman who attended our Give Yourself to Love weekend, said after the first day, “I made love with God last night. The only difference with the man in my bed, was me!”

Another woman on the verge of divorce said, “After the first four hours this weekend, I got everything I wanted. We are back in love with each other. It’s like night and day. He hasn’t been affectionate with me for 8 years. He couldn’t keep his hands off of me this weekend. Something really opened up in him and healed him this weekend.”

What changed after just one day?
Couple on pean
We could point to many things, but this for certain: their perception of their spouse changed from hum-drum to “oh my!”.

When we fall in love, our lover becomes like a god or goddess in our love-struck eyes. As one person described it, “I remember the first day I ever looked into your eyes and felt my whole world flip.”

In that glorious honeymoon stage, we highlight the best of our partner in our mind’s eye. We uplift them with our words of appreciation and whispers of adoration. We go out of our way to generously give to them – touch, love notes, meals, flowers, gifts. We hang on to their every word, our hearts bursting at the seams with love!

When we meet our newborn child, we are likewise overcome with profound deep love. And it only grows over time. The bubbling delight of a child experiencing the magic of a butterfly for the first time delights us. We applaud their efforts at crawling or walking or later learning to ride a bike. We treasure their art creations with crayons and colored paper. We want to hold them and kiss them and squeeze their little cheeks. We express our love for our children in a thousand different ways.

Same thing when we see someone help a blind woman cross the street or a person with disabilities win a hard-earned race or a bubbly new puppy or kitten play with a ball – we are overcome with love and good feeling.

In each of these instances, we are seeing through the lens of love. We are seeing the best in someone – their innocence, positivity, and possibility.

Contrast that to when we are annoyed, angry or upset. At these times, we are seeing the worst in someone. We highlight what we don’t like, what we don’t want, or what we wish wasn’t there. We justify our bad feelings with recalls of past behaviors where they fell short. We circle around in negative thinking and lash out with hurtful or harsh words until our upsets take on a life of their own.

When we look through the lens of judgment, we cut ourselves off from love.

To feel love again, we need to shift our perception.

As Marcel Proust says, “Discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.”

To create for ourselves a new experience, we need to turn our attention away from what we don’t want and put it on what we appreciate. We need to return to highlighting virtues rather than weaknesses. And we need to consciously amplify our experience by deliberately choosing to think about and express what we love.

This practice of shifting what you look for and how you see has been shown to be powerfully effective.

For example, we encouraged a couple to take on an experiment with their teenage son. He was about 17 years of age, wore a beanie hat with long hair that covered his eyes, smoked pot, got bad grades, and barely conversed with his parents. His parents were judgmental about his choices, and angry about his lack of connection and conversation. They had already tried everything they could think of to alter their relationship with him, but to no avail.

For one week, they decided to see their son at his best, to see him through the lens of love in their mind’s eye. Every morning for five minutes, they both imagined their son being powerful, loving, vibrant, smart, communicative and happy. It wasn’t easy at first, but they finally found a positive track and stuck with it. Before the week was over, they were both stunned when their son joined them downstairs for dinner with his hat off for some real conversation!

This couple changed their view of their son, and he in turn, changed in response.

Another woman we worked with who had been estranged from her sister for over twelve years took on this same experiment. Within a week, her sister called out of the blue, and they were able to successfully heal an age-old wound.

Mark and Lana moved back in with each other, more in love than ever, after being separated for almost a year, just from seeing each other with “fresh eyes”.

And last week, a couple in tears whispered in my ear their gratitude to us for saving their marriage, simply by recommending that they quit complaining, and instead appreciate each other every night before bed.

When we see the world through the eyes of love, our whole perspective changes. We see opportunities instead of challenges; we see the possibilities and potential in people and situations, instead of their limitations.

When we see the best in someone, we unchain them from the prison we’ve crafted with our judgmental word and thoughts. We free them to realize their full potential.

Not only do you change when I see you at your best, but I change too. I become a higher version of myself when I see you at your best. When I see your courage, I see my own. When I see your power, I connect with my own capabilities and competencies. When I focus on your generosity, I see my own giving heart. When I appreciate your efforts to do your best no matter what, I find compassion for my own shortcomings. When I see the depth of your love and care, I connect with my own loving nature.

Love is the only lens through which all things are possible.

It is in this magical place where we are empowered and supported to call forth the best of ourselves and each other. Love brings healing and forgiveness. It transforms hurt, fear, and conflict into harmony and love. Seeing through the eyes of love catapults us into a space of possibility where miracles and dreams have their best shot at being realized.

Are you up for an experiment?

Bring to mind someone with whom it would benefit you to see through the eyes of love. Begin by saying to yourself, “I am willing to see this person through the eyes of love.” Then, see them at their best. Focus on something you love about this person and amplify it with your attention. Meditate on their Full Potential. Let this vision be your prayer.

And then follow up your practice with action. Appreciate them this holiday. Give thanks for some quality, skill or virtue they possess. Write a letter, a poem, a song, or a text, or make a phone call to express your appreciation and grateful heart.
There is truly no greater gift that you can give to anyone (or yourself) than the gift of seeing through the eyes of love.

And honestly, there is no gift more greatly remembered.

❤ ❤

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Common Mistakes Couples Make in Fights

When we fight or are stressed in relationship, we engage in a variety of protective postures and activities. We scream, pout, run away, shut down, cry, plead, deny, analyze, etc. Each of these moves are designed to reduce the discomfort we feel. However, there are many things we do or say when hurt, angry or afraid that actually make matters worse in the heat of an argument. Here are just a few of the most common mistakes people make when upset or triggered that escalate fights.

Mature couple talking to each other in sofaGeneralizing or Bringing Up the Past: When upset about something, we tend to remember all of the other times we felt similarly. This tendency causes us to generalize our thoughts and feelings out beyond what we are experiencing now. We tend to think in terms of “always” and “never” when we are angry or hurt. “I never get what I want in this relationship.” “You always criticize me!” “You are never happy with what I do.” Generalizations like these only make whatever you are experiencing bigger. They also can overwhelm both you and your partner with a feeling of powerlessness and hopelessness. And they can inspire defensiveness in your partner, as they will want to argue with your generalized assertions.

Bringing up the past is another common mistake couples make. When you bring up the last time you felt hurt like you do now, and the time before that, and the time before that, old wounds get re-stimulated. While people use the past to add evidence to their claim that things are not getting any better, and to justify their hurt and anger, they also cloud the issue by bringing in too many incidents and unresolved feelings to the table. Generalizing and bringing up the past is confusing and prevents couples from focusing on and resolving the presenting complaint. With ten issues on the table, for example, it is challenging to know where to start for tackling a problem or addressing a concern.
A good practice when upset is to avoid generalizations and avoid bringing up the past. In particular, avoid using the words “never” and “always” altogether. Instead, keep your focus on this moment, on what you are experiencing right now. Instead of saying, “You always criticize me”, say “I am feeling criticized right now.” Instead of saying “you are always late”, say “I am angry you were late today.”

Breaking up in the middle of a fight: This generalizing tendency, along with a strong desire for immediate relief from pain, results in some couples breaking up, or threatening to break up, every time they fight. Breaking up in fights, while intending to stop pain in the moment, actually only escalates fear and anger. Breaking up adds uncertainty of the relationship and future to the mix of whatever breakdown is at hand and makes the problem even bigger and more overwhelming.

As with generalizations, breaking up makes it difficult to focus on and resolve the issue at hand. You can’t express your anger about your partner being late nor can you creatively explore solutions, for example, if she/he is packing their bags to move out.
A good practice is to avoid talking about splitting up in the middle of upset. Take time outs instead, and re-group once you have calmed down and can think clearly again. If you still want to consider the possibility of separation or divorce once the heat of the moment has passed, that is the time to discuss it.

“You” statements: It is always easier for us to point the finger in blame when we are upset, and to see what the other person said or did to contribute to the breakdown or upset. And we are usually are all too willing and eager to point those out in the heat of upset. “You never help around the house!” “You never listen!” You statements like these will invariably put your partner on the defensive and can easily escalate your fight. You statements also have the unfortunate side effect of inspiring the other person to hurl you statements right back.

As tempting as it is, steer away from talking about the other person. Instead, talk about yourself – what you are feeling and thinking. It can be useful to know, that the closer you are to telling the truth about your own experience in this moment, the less arguable it is. For example, instead of saying, “You never listen!”, say “I am not feeling heard right now.” Your partner cannot argue with your experience of not feeling heard. This shift in focus will significantly shift your experience in the midst of upset, and is unlikely to add fuel to the fire.

Talking about the problem:
We have a tendency when we are upset to go on and on about our complaint. We really believe if the other person knew how dissatisfied we are, they would change and “fix” our complaint. However, unbeknownst to all of us, the more we focus on the problem, the bigger and worse it becomes. More often than not, talking about the problem IS the problem. Instead, share your complaints as requests. For example, instead of saying, “You are so critical”, say, “Would you be willing to say something you appreciate about me?” Move towards solving your complaint or breakdown and offer suggestions for how things might be better.

These are just some of the common mistakes couples make in arguments. Be gentle with yourself as you learn to embody these new practices. Remember, practice makes perfect, so play with practicing what works!
And finally, here’s a very common question we get …

A Common Question from Couples
What do I do when my partner and I are disconnected?

The tendency when we feel disconnected is to assume it is the other person who is the source of the distance. We blame, we wait or we resign ourselves to accepting distance as the “way it is”.

When disconnected, ask yourself what you are not saying? Where are you holding back? What are you not asking for? How are you contributing to the lack of intimacy? Love is what is present when there is nothing in the way. Look for what you might be holding in the way of your love for your partner. Many doors will open when you look at yourself as the Source of your experience.

Intimacy = Into Me You See. If you want to be closer to someone, reveal more about yourself to the person you want to be intimate with. Be as honest, real and vulnerable as you are able. Make “I” statements. Talk about you – avoid talking about them. Authenticity builds trust and increases intimacy.

Be what you want. You want closeness. Be close. Reach out. Touch. You want intimacy. Reveal yourself. Make eye contact.

Ask what your partner needs to feel safe to be intimate with you. Listen with your heart. Expect them to meet you. Assume that they too want to be intimate. Or they wouldn’t have chosen to be with you….

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I Love You – You Drive Me Crazy Part 1

I love you, you drive me crazy!

You know that glorious in-love feeling at the start of relationship?
When you feel driven crazy, but in a good way? You can’t wait to see your partner again, to smell them and touch them and love them in twenty different ways!

As time goes on, however, after you have been with someone for a year or two or thirty, your partner starts to drive you crazy in a different way. He or she doesn’t put their clothes away, forgets to keep their promise to run an errand, misses an important anniversary or says something that hurts you to your core.
No matter how similar and well matched we are to begin with, there are ALWAYS areas where we are not.

Christian and I are no exception. Here are a few examples …

• He is disciplined and linearly focused and I am much more free flowing and emotional.

• He likes his chef’s knives to be arranged in order of size on the knife magnet and cared for a certain way. I couldn’t care less about them.

• I like to have pillows evenly and perfectly placed on the beds and couch for looks, and he’d like to throw them out, because, as he says, “they have no purpose!”

• He likes to hit the snooze button three times before getting up and I like to wake up on my own.

• He likes having an extra hour to prepare for going anywhere in the morning and I like to sleep as long as possible.

• Christian keeps the car A/C at a constant 69F. I like it set somewhere between 75 and 89F.

• I like going shopping, and browsing for the next new thing. Christian goes shopping like a search-and-rescue team, in and out as fast as possible.

Do you think we ever have conflicts about any of this stuff? You think we go crazy sometimes by these differences?

Of course we do!

And …. (this a very big AND) … We have learned to enjoy and have fun with these differences as much as possible. We have worked diligently to create win/win solutions to our differing preferences. For example, I take care of the knives for him, and he puts the pillows on the bed for me. Sometimes, he puts the heart pillow on the bed upside down on purpose, and sometimes I threaten to put his knives in the dishwasher, just so we can have a laugh about our quirks together.

You don’t HAVE to be driven crazy by each other. In fact, it is often those things that drive you crazy that you’ll miss most when your loved one is gone.

So here’s a simple strategy to try out:

Think about something that drives you crazy about your partner (or a friend, or your ex). Maybe your partner squeezes the toothpaste or puts the toilet paper roll on backwards.

Next time you see the toilet paper roll or the toothpaste tube, think to yourself, “Someone I love is near!”

And then … this is the fun part … do it for them!

That’s right. So, if I know Christian loves his knives all ordered on the magnet, I’ll do it for him (perhaps leaving one of them out of order, just so he knows I was there :).

Try it out. See what happens.

Now, granted, sometimes the “thing” they do that drives you nuts seems to big or scary to have fun with it like this.

We’ll give you a new way to think about the things that REALLY drive you crazy, and a simple tool to use.

Until next, reach out and love somebody…

Sonika & Christian

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Clean or Messy?

I’m a clean freak … (Sonika speaking).

There is nothing I like more than looking around and seeing everything neatly in its place. I feel free. Like there is nothing in my environment telling me to what to do. I can relax and follow my inspiration.

I am one of those people who will clean up your glass and put it away before you are finished drinking from it. Just the other day, Christian and I were hanging out in the kitchen. Christian turned around and said, “Where’s my tea cup?” You guessed it. I’d already put it in the dishwasher.

Needless to say, my clean streak can drive other people crazy.

Some people are not so clean and tidy. They leave things out and undone. They may have piles of paper and projects out and about, clothes on chairs or floors, counters full of stuff.

These people tend to drive neat freaks crazy.

Clean or messy – what side of the scale are you on?

This topic is one of several debates that can lead to countless fights and upsets in relationship. It can even be a deal breaker for some, and lead to separation and divorce.

So what to do when you and your partner (or parents or kids or roommate or friend) are at different ends of the clean-messy spectrum? How do you come up with a way to be together that works?

That is a big question, with many possible solutions.

In this video, we give you one idea that just might help…

Enjoy!
Sonika & Christian

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We believe relationships are meant to be fun and easy, enlivening and empowering, passionate and fulfilling. With our unique and practical approach to relationship, you learn how to resolve conflicts quickly and easily, to understand and forgive one another, and to step into love whenever you want. Click here to get free video tips on love, sex, intimacy, communication, and more.

If you liked this, you might also like:
Restoring Intimacy
Love and Giving in Relationship
Keeping Love Alive

 

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Scared to Commit?

Committing to something or someone is a scary move.

You might fail!

It might not turn out. Your partner might leave you. Your business partner might take your money and run. That class might bomb. You might go broke. You could lose everything.

True. Anytime you commit, there is always the chance that whatever it is you are committing to may not meet your expectations. You may indeed fail!

But when you don’t commit, you are doomed to certain failure!

Think about it. You can’t succeed at what you don’t try at. As Mark Zuckerberg once said, “The biggest risk is not taking any risk.” We think we are preventing failure by not committing, but in fact we are only ensuring our failure!

Often our strategy for minimizing the risk of committing is to make sure everything will turn out BEFORE we commit. Get all of our ducks lined up in a row. Answer all of our questions. Reach a certain point financially. Study and get more prepared – FIRST. We hope that we will reach some imaginary place where all fear and doubt is replaced by certainty.

But for many of us, we never reach that place of confident certainty. Unfortunately, too many of us reach our deathbed with our dreams still in us because we never risked stepping out of our comfort zone to commit.

I have come to discover that committing first is the secret to living a passionate and rich life. As Marta Mrotek said, “Once you commit and decide that there is no turning back, you’ll find the strength.” I have experienced the depth and power of her words. First I commit, and then, BECAUSE of my commitment, I figure out what to do.

I will never forget the power of this way of living. Back in 1990, I courageously quit my job of some 10 years. I was terrified. This job not only paid well, but it filled my private coaching practice on the side. My co-workers were my best friends and the people I had come to know and love over the past decade were my community and like family. I had designed a good bunch of the content that I would now be leaving behind and I was cherished as one of the most beloved leaders of the organization.

But I had felt out of integrity in this business for quite some time. So, to be true to myself, I knew I had to leave. With my head yelling at me about what an idiot I was being, I dared quit during a staff meeting that morning. It felt so right and powerful.

That afternoon, to make matters even more terrifying, I bought a 4-bedroom house in the Bay Area with a huge mortgage. I had no idea how I was going to pay for it now that I had quit my job! I was terrified, but exhilarated too! My mind was having a field day about my stupidity, and all the horrible things that could happen were playing out quite vividly in my mind.

But after a few days, something else began to happen…

I was challenged to rise. I had to figure out a way to pay that mortgage. I had to figure out another way to bring in money. I had to design a way to make it all work.

Something miraculous happened in that space of excitement and terror. I found the strength. Openings appeared. Possibilities emerged.

It was in that space of commitment that the first rendition of LoveWorks was born 24 years ago.

I can’t even imagine where I would be today had I not taken that risk.

I still move this way. So does Christian. We commit to writing an article before we know what we are going to say. We publicize an event to over 4,000 people before we design the content for it. We commit to teaching a business seminar before we know what we are going to do at it. We buy something without knowing how we are going to pay for it.

We lock ourselves in by committing.

From there, in every single instance, we are called to rise. We find aspects of ourselves we didn’t know before, walk through openings we would not have otherwise noticed, profoundly alter lives that would not have otherwise been transformed.

BEST of ALL, we experience an aliveness, creativity and passion in our day-to-day life that, honestly, beats out boredom, comfort and complacency any day.

And sure, while we have a few flops here and there, 95% of the time, we have a best-seller!!

As William Murray once said “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness…but the moment one commits, then Providence moves…” … And magic happens!

Our motto for 2014? JUMP!

So we will leave you with a question: What great thing would you attempt if you knew you would not fail?

Once you have your answer, JUMP!!

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Where Are You The Same?

This gallery contains 3 photos.

When you argue or have repeated, heated “discussions”, you are most often very present to all the places where you and your partner are different! After all, if you weren’t different, if you didn’t have differing stances, you wouldn’t be having any problems, right?

So if only you weren’t so different, your relationship would be easier. Or so it sure seems! How often have you or a friend of yours ended a relationship with the reasoning, “We’re just too different!”?

Well, you’re right! You are different. And that is not likely to change any time soon. Perhaps when you’re dead, but we’re not even sure about that one (eye witness reports are scarce:)

Your differences are not necessarily a problem at all, but it does take a bit of conscious practice to not get consumed with them. Especially when there’s conflict and the emotional temperature is rising.

But the fact is, the more you talk about, point out, notice, and declare your differences, the more distant and separate you feel from one another.

So, a simple way to change things around is this: Look for where you are the same! You’ll find lots and lots of examples.

Watch the video for more examples and background!

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Stop Talking About Your Problems

We’ve all been there … you have the same pointless conversations and dumb arguments over and over again. Every time, you (silently) ask yourself, “Why are we even having this conversation again?”

You hope that by talking about it it’ll finally be resolved and go away. But it hasn’t – obviously – or you wouldn’t be having this conversation again!

Once you’ve reached the point where you’re just repeating the same-ol’-same-ol’, you might as well stop talking about your problems! If you haven’t solved the issue by talking about it for years and years, you’re not going to solve it until you find and learn a better way to do it.

So for now, stop talking about it! Watch the video for more …

NOTE: We’re in no way suggesting you don’t deal with your legitimate problems and frustrations!

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Conflicts Ruin Your Relationship!

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just once and for all settle your disagreements, resolve your conflicts, and then be done with it, forever! Aaaah, what peace!

This is the state most of us aim for in our relationships. We talk and talk and talk; fight, argue, yell, withdraw, and nag in the vain hope (or “secret fantasy” as we call it) that one day we’ll get it settled and we can rest.Couple Having Arguement At Home

[Speaking of conflicts, check out our free evening, Connecting Through Conflict]

If you’ve been in any significant relationship lasting more than a few months, or at least past the Honeymoon Phase, you know very well that that conflict-free day never arrives.

We had a couple in our office the other day. Beautiful couple, well-spoken, pleasant demeanor, intelligent and well-intentioned. And they’d been arguing ever since the honeymoon ended years ago, about pretty much the same stuff over and over again.

We want to tell you what we told them, for starters. It may sound overly simple, but until you really let this sink in, you’re set up to have the same conflicts continue in a never-ending, life-sucking loop.

  1. The ONLY reason you keep having the same arguments and frustrating conversations over and over again is that you don’t have a reliable and effective way to deal with your conflicts. If you did, you wouldn’t need to have the same argument twice, ever!
  2. If you’ve been having the same fights and arguments over and over again, you can know with certainty that the way you’re going about it is inefficient at best, pointless and counterproductive at worst.
  3. Until you find and learn a reliable, effective way to deal with your conflicts, you may as well stop talking about them, because chances are every time you do, you just end up more frustrated!
  4. Stop wishing for conflicts to go away. They won’t! As a matter of fact, you don’t even want them to go away, not really. Contrary to what most of us automatically believe, having conflicts is not a sign that something is wrong with you, your partner, or your relationship. Your conflicts are actually born of your commitments and desires, and can and should be used for the purpose of deepening intimacy and strengthening your trust.

 
Granted, it does take some skill to navigate conflicts with grace and efficiency. But I’ll tell you, if we could give only one gift to any couple (or anyone in relationship, period), amongst all the crucial and must-have skills and traits that exist, we’d give them the skill and ability to deal with their conflicts in a good way.

Even if you have everything else going for you, if you don’t have the conflict-piece down, your chances of lasting love and easy happiness are extremely slim. The road to happy-ever-after is strewn with the carcasses of potentially wonderful relationships that expired because the little conflicts mounted and took the hopeful lovers out! And it’s just unnecessary to be taken down by the everyday conflicts, which are inevitable and which will be part of your relationship for as long as you’re together.

Lastly, we want to give you a new way to begin to think about your conflicts. This shift alone has made a massive difference for so many people (us included).

Your conflicts don’t happen TO you. They happen FOR you.

Conflicts show up for you, and for your relationship. What they’re designed to do is let you know that something new wants to happen in your life and in your relationship.

So moving forward, when your next conflict shows up, instead or arguing about it, or doing whatever you’ve been doing up till this point, ask yourself and each other, “If this conflict really were showing up FOR me/us, what would it want to tell me/us?” What is the “new” that wants to happen here?

Don’t resist your conflicts. Use them for a good purpose!

A few next steps to consider ….

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