“I know this isn’t the one for me,” she said. “But, I don’t know how to find the one that is.”
Have you been there with a relationship, a job, or a living situation?
I have found these periods to be the “calm before the storm.” Months later, I find that the “stuck” thing has changed, and I’m in a whirlwind of movement. So, now I enjoy the period of waiting—it is my opportunity to rest and prepare for what is coming!
If something has been stuck for a very long time, then perhaps it is time to look at what we are withholding from the situation. How are we not fully showing up in our current situation? Or how are we not fully acknowledging the movement that is happening?
For example, when I was dissatisfied at my corporate job, I looked at how, if I were the company owner, I would improve the company and decided to take on improving inter-department cooperation as my personal project. Within months of improving inter-department cooperation, a new opportunity opened up that allowed me to leave my job.
Over and over this has happened for me….when I have fully showed up with my vision, my hopes, and my vulnerabilities, my situations or relationships have shifted. Now I am grateful for the lulls in life as the respite between the changes.
Appreciating another person turns us on! We like who we are when we are appreciating someone. Appreciating someone else brings out our best selves. Our life feels richer.
If we appreciate our partner, the effect is multiplied! Our partner considers us in their decision-making innumerable times throughout the day. If we acknowledged the loving intent constantly coming our way, we would feel bathed in love.
Unfortunately we get caught in the trap of “fixing”—ourselves and others. Fixing is an anti-aphrodisiac. Fixing is a mindset even more than a behavior. If a gardener were to think of himself as “fixing” the rose buds to get them to bloom, he might do nurturing things, but he would be terribly misappraising the rose buds.
A gardener knows rose buds become roses. He relaxes and supports the process without fretting. Likewise, we each are in a discovery of how to live in love, truth, and joy. We can respect each person’s process.
In fact, many of us best learn how to enjoy ourselves when death looms nearer, and we start appreciating effortlessly and with abandon. Why not start today?
Every day far more love and pleasurable opportunities come toward us than we take in. The #1 way that we resist them is by finding something inadequate about them.
The day I heard this, I think, “This principle couldn’t apply to me; the rare times that I complain are always for a good reason.”
Then, I start experimenting. Every time I start to criticize something, I look to see if there is some gift that I’m not fully taking in. At first, I don’t see much. Then, I dig a little deeper, and I find the treasure. It is true! I’m downplaying great things in my life! I catch myself and increase my capacity to receive.
Five years later, I have more love than I ever thought one person could receive. And, I still do my practice: using moments of criticizing as a flag to find more demonstrations of love to take in.
We all unconsciously limit how much love we receive. By simply using this practice, we uncover ways we turn down love and receive it instead.
What demonstration of love can you open to receive?
Receiving love and touch from someone requires letting them in beyond all our defenses. We want to be known and loved for all that we are and all that we’re not. We want to make contact at a deep level. Beneath even our hurts and fears lie our raw desires.
You know that feeling? You’re vulnerable and surrendered. You see into each other’s eyes. Tenderly exposed, neither of you is in control. Something else has taken over—something unpredictable, spontaneous, and vibrantly alive.
How do we move from self-protection to profound intimacy?
We cultivate approval of ourselves and our partner, knowing our fundamental innocence.
We own all of our feelings without blaming, noticing how our interpretations are our worst enemies.
We slow down and come into silence together, feeling each other’s being.
We acknowledge that we are loved, that at our core we are love.
We open ourselves, willing to experience every nuance of our encounter, moving in curiosity and discovery.
We follow the vibrant pulse of life and connection. Rather than fear or resentment, we choose joy and savoring.
Today it is your choice.
So often we want something and get upset that it hasn’t happened yet. Nevertheless, two moments after it finally happens, we want something else.
We like to have desires. They make us feel alive and give us direction.
We also use desires to cause ourselves pain. When we get impatient, we start blaming. We blame some “weakness” or “inadequacy” in ourselves for the lack of fulfillment of our desire in our timing. Or, we blame someone else, putting a wedge in our relationship.
Blaming happens when we have become attached to our desires being fulfilled a certain way in a certain timeframe.
Can you enjoy having a desire that hasn’t yet been fulfilled?
Desire directs life. Plants grow toward the sun. Animals make their homes near food sources. Our desires to be loved and to love have increased our understanding of emotional health, communication, and compassionate relating.
Desire without attachment feels like a shimmering thread of energy in our body or a voluptuous spaciousness, alive and open.
What can you savor about your not-yet fulfilled desires?
When we decide to prioritize aligning ourselves with our deep inner sense of joy and fulfillment, we are on a ride for our lives! So many times we sacrifice this vibrant inner well-being simply to be right or to make a point or to look good. We protect our self-image. We defend. We behave from habit. Then, we discover that we’ve lost sight of the goal. We’ve disconnected from our inner joy.
What makes us feel the best of all? Letting love flow through us. We cherish ourselves and our partner in all our uniqueness. Who cares who is to blame? Who cares how we look? Who cares if our risk didn’t pay off? None of this matters if we stay in that juicy place of love and joy and open-heartedness.
Be vulnerable. Open your heart. Share your dreams. Live on the edge of full vitality. Today share one appreciation and one desire without being attached to the outcome. Here is where the fun is. Here is where our bodies light up. Here is where pleasure comes in its full profundity.
When we don’t know what we want, we often search in our minds for the solution. Or, we look in our lives for what is missing and decide that we want that. The first is mental; the second comes from lack or emptiness.
Neither path is directly hard-wired to our center of desire! They get us stuck in circles of wanting and struggling and not having. They are more about fixing problems than about connecting to what brings us vibrant gratification.
How do we discover the thread to fulfillment?
We start with what already brings us joy in our lives. As we acknowledge these things, we connect to the thread of pleasure. We feel the possibility of abundance. For example, in careers, we build on the part of our job that we like and then move into better fitting positions. In dating, we savor short-term partners, building our repertoire of relating. And, in relationships, we foster appreciation and play, tapping into expanded pleasure.
The thread of discovering what you want and having it starts with savoring what you have. From a place of joy and abundance, we see ways to add on more. Joy builds on joy. Pleasure builds on pleasure.
Where is the thread of pleasure in your life?
Blessings. Problems. Gifts. Losses. Where we put our attention determines which one grows.
Ever notice that we always have problems, but sometimes they bother us and sometimes they don’t? Our problems don’t determine our happiness. What most determines our happiness is our capacity for joy.
When we run out of our capacity for joy, we turn our attention to our problems. Granted, problems have to be handled. But, our culture has less urgency that blessings have to be celebrated.
We are skilled at pondering and analyzing our problems. What about the skill of savoring, celebrating, and relishing our blessings? We share a problem, and it takes us 30 minutes or an hour. We share a victory, and it takes us 3 to 10 minutes!
What do you like about your life right now? About yourself? About your relationships? How does your body feel as you allow yourself time for appreciation? Do you know how to revel in delight?
From goal setting, to our relationships, to our overall well-being, everything benefits from starting with what is good. Would you like to become an expert at cherishing joys in your life?
Simply put, the winners are the ones who don’t quit. With each new obstacle, they keep going forward—failing, learning, trying again. Every person who made a difference in the world also had a failure to get through. Mozart. Einstein. Ghandhi. Mother Theresa.
On the other hand, we quit by making ourselves wrong or by making our partners wrong.
Obstacles come. Failures happen. We get hurt. Our partners get hurt. There is no need to blame. These things happen if we are going for something that matters. In fact, if we aren’t running into obstacles, failure, and hurt, we probably aren’t really on the court of life; we’re waiting in the stands.
The single rule for winning is don’t quit. Instead, keep playing. Stay engaged. Resist blaming. Be curious. Follow the thread of desire.
You are far more resilient than you know. When we persevere and stay engaged, we surprise even ourselves. And, through it all, we can be gentle with ourselves and our partners.
Don’t quit before the miracle.