Category Archives: relationships

Mojo Monday ~ Breaking Patterns

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Many who find themselves drawn to the Cosmic Cowgirl tribe of women would probably shake their heads knowingly if I was to say that becoming a Cosmic Cowgirl tends to shift things in one’s life.   I have heard stories from various Cowgirls about the changes that occurred after becoming a member and taking courses, some of them huge, such as moving to a different state or country, leaving a dead end relationship, quitting jobs or retiring in order to pursue an artist life. 

The common thread I have pulled from their many stories is the courage and the bravery each of these women finally found deep in their souls to find their voice, pursue their dreams, to claim who they are and what they really want in life.  Sometimes the journey is not smooth or easy.  Change may challenge not only those taking action, but also those close to them as well.  Sometimes family and friends look on bewildered.  Sometimes they are fearful of the change.  Sometimes those who love us the best are not the most supportive traveling partners. 

If all goes well everyone adjusts.  If all goes well, when the chaos settles down, all those ties that bind will be strong and intact.

Here are some thoughtful words of wisdom about this very subject from author Mark Nepo in The Book of Awakening.

Breaking Patterns
 
If I contradict myself, I contradict myself.  I contain multitudes. ~ Walt Whitman

“We create patterns that others depend on, and then the last thing we ever imagined happens; we grow and then to stay vital we must break the patterns we created.
There is no blame or fault in this.  It is commonplace in nature.  Watch the ocean and shore do their dance of buildup and crumble and you’ll see this happen daily.
We know we are close to this threshold when we hear someone say, ‘You’re not yourself,’ or ‘That was out of character for you.’  What is difficult at this juncture is to resist either complying with how others see us or withholding who we really are.

The challenge, which I don’t do well but stay committed to, is to say to those we love, ‘I am more than I have shown you and more than you are willing to see.  Let’s work our love and know each other more fully.”

  • This is an awareness meditation.  As you move through your interactions today, notice whether you arecomplying with how others see you or withholding who you are.
  •  After each interaction, simply breathe slowly once or twice and return to the fullness of who you are.

The reality is that things don’t always turn out as we think or hope they will.  Sometimes relationships do not survive change and growth.  Life continues on though.  Hopefully one finds peace in one’s heart for those things that may feel unresolved.  Forgiveness for one’s self is paramount and ideally forgiveness for others follows.  There is also a jewel of advice again from Mark Nepo in The Book of Awakeningregarding the role of compassion.

Feeling Beyond the Hurt

Withstanding the tension between opposites until we know it is ‘enough’ releases us from the swing between one extreme and the other. ~ Helen Luke

“Sometimes, when I think of my parents, who have hurt me, I am lulled by a wintering sky to feel for them, to try on their view, but in my empathy an old pattern kicks in and I start to lose the truth of my hurt, as if there’s only room of one set of feelings – theirs.
The struggle is a common one.  So often we feel for others and lose ourselves, or cut others off to preserve ourselves.  Like a radio that can only tune to one station at a time, it seems like only one side of things can be received, though all sides are broadcast.
But compassion is a deeper thing that waits beyond the tension of choosing sides.  Compassion, in practice, does not require us to give up the truth of what we feel or the truth of our reality.  Nor does it allow us to minimize the humanity of those who hurt us.  Rather, we are asked to know ourselves enough that we can stay open to the truth of others, even when their truth or their inability to live up to their truth has hurt us.
This does now remove the emotional facts of our lives, nor does it ask us to remain in a hurtful situation.  Rather, compassion asks that we open like mountains to the sky, like mountains that can withstand every kind of weather.”

  • Sit quietly and bring to mind someone you are at odds with.
  • Breathe deeply and allow the truth of your feelings, not just the truth of your position, to rise.
  • Breathe evenly and allow the other person’s feelings, not just their position to rise.
  • Let your breathing ease and tension in you that either undermines yourself or undermines this other.

What are your experiences with change and growth?

Has it had any impact on your relationships?

Have you ever complied or withheld your true self from others?


How have you held true to yourself?

Mojo Monday ~ Loving Yourself

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Dr. Margaret Paul holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is a relationship expert, public speaker, seminar leader, consultant, facilitator, and artist. She has appeared on many radio and TV shows, including the Oprah show. She has successfully worked with thousands of individuals, couples and business relationships and taught classes and seminars for over 42 years.


Dr. Paul’s books have been distributed around the world and have been translated into many languages.

Dr. Margaret Paul and Dr. Erika Chopich

 After practicing traditional psychotherapy for 17 years, Margaret was discouraged by the results – both for her clients and herself. She had spent years trying to heal from her own dysfunctional and abusive background, but found herself still suffering with anxiety and relationship problems. She started to seek a process that works fast, deep, creates permanent change, loving relationships, inner peace, and joy. In 1984, she met and became friends with Dr. Erika Chopich, and together they created the Inner Bonding® process. They have been evolving this incredibly powerful healing process for the last 26 years.


 Margaret shares that the number one problem in relationships is self-abandonment.  She explains how common it is for people to enter into a relationship with the belief that this other person is going to love them and will make them feel good, and make them happy.  They also often have high hopes that this other person will make them feel worthy and lovable.  The result of such expectations is that both people end of feeling very disappointed.  What often follows is that each person then wants to make their past, their partner, God and other things responsible for their unhappiness.  According to Dr. Paul and Dr. Chopich the key is to learn how not to abandon yourself and how to deeply love yourself.  They are very clear that if you do not love yourself you will not be able to love another in a healthy manner. 


When you heal the core shame of believing that you are not good enough, and create the vital connections which bring joy to life, you also heal self-abandonment. When you heal self-abandonment, you also heal problems with spouses, partners, friends, kids, family, co-workers, aloneness, emptiness, anxiety, depression and addictions.

Have you tried everything to feel good about yourself but you still experience feelings of unworthiness and inadequacy?

Do you turn to various addictions because you don’t know any other way of managing your painful feelings?

Self-abandonment, which comes from core shame, is the underlying cause of all these problems. Self-abandonment is the cause of disconnection from self, loved ones and Spirit. The practice of Inner Bonding develops the deep self-worth that creates inner peace, joy and loving relationships

Dr. Paul has written a series of books, has a series of DVD’s and the on-line program called Inner Bonding®.  Her books are as follows:


•Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You?
•Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You?…The Workbook
•Healing Your Aloneness
•The Healing Your Aloneness Workbook
•Inner Bonding
•Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By My Kids?
•Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God?

 Here is an article by Dr Margaret Paul called When You Love Yourself, You Let Others Off the Hook


Do you believe that loving yourself is selfish? Discover why this is not true!


Frequently, when I start to work with a new client, they believe that loving their self is selfish. Nothing could be further from the truth. A more accurate definition of selfish is expecting others to give themselves up and do for you what you can and need to be doing for yourself.

Letting Others Off The Hook

How are others let off the hook when you love yourself? Let us count the ways!

• Others don’t need to read your mind when you are meeting many of your own needs, and asking outright when there is something you need help with.
• Others don’t need to hold back, be careful, or walk on eggshells when you are taking care of your own feelings.
• Others can receive great joy in giving to you when they don’t feel obligated.
• Others can speak their truth when they know that you are open to learning and wanting to grow. They can be honest when they know that you will deal with your own feelings rather than blame them.
• Others are free to take loving care of themselves when they know you are doing the same, and that you support them in their highest good as part of being loving to yourself.
• Others can be spontaneous with you, knowing that if they ‘make a mistake’ you will take responsibility for your own feelings about it.
• Others feel free to be with you because they want to, not because they feel they have to.
• In a primary relationship, your partner will likely feel attracted to you when you are coming from your power rather than from your fear. If your partner feels obligated to have sex with you because you have made him or her responsible for your happiness and sense of worth, your partner is likely to feel resistant to sex with you.
• Laughter, fun and play flow spontaneously when neither person feels responsible for the other’s feelings, or feels obligated to spend time, give approval or have sex.
• Each person feels free to pursue their passion and purpose, knowing that their partner is taking care of themselves and not waiting for the other person to make them happy.

Loving partnerships are about learning, growing, and sharing love and companionship. They are not about taking responsibility for making the other person feel happy, safe, secure or validated. Paradoxically, when you fully take on the responsibility of making yourself feel happy, safe, secure and validated, a loving relationship supports and enhances these wonderful feelings. But when you expect your partner to do this for you, then your self-abandonment creates your misery, insecurity and lack of self-worth. As long as you are abandoning yourself and expecting your partner to do for you what only you can do for yourself, your partner’s love will never be enough to give you the happiness, safety, security and sense of worth that you seek.

Loving Yourself Means….

• Attending, moment-by-moment, to your own feelings, so that you know immediately when you are abandoning yourself with self-judgment, addictions, staying in your head, or making someone else responsible for you.
• Compassionately opening to learning about your own fears and beliefs that may be causing your self-abandonment, and open to learning about what it means to be present and loving to yourself in the face of life’s challenges.
• Exploring your limiting beliefs and resulting behavior that may be causing your painful feelings.
• Opening to your higher self for information about the truth regarding your beliefs, and the loving action toward yourself.
• Taking loving action in your own behalf, based on truth rather than on false, limiting beliefs.
• Evaluating how you feel as a result of taking loving care of yourself.


Mojo Monday ~ Relationships

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This Christmas evening I sit with two books in front of me.  Both have some elements I felt called upon to share.  Both have to do with relationships.

The first is a book I received as a gift from a friend in the mail only a few days ago.  It is called The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.  Mark Nepo is the author and the book is designed so that the entries are dated and start with January 1st and ends with December 31st.  When I first received the book I read the current date and then went back to my birthday to see what message I would find there too.  

Synchronicity stepped in on the night of December 23rd.  I was taking a bath in an attempt to ease the horrible cramps and back pain I was experiencing.  Pain and not feeling one’s best can sometimes trigger other emotions and thoughts that are not the most positive or helpful.  In that frame of mind I was having some trust issues be re-stimulated.  On my way to the bath I had grabbed my new book.  Once in the hot water I flipped to the entry on December 23rd. 
Here is what I read:
A Surety of Roots
You didn’t come into this house
So I might tear off a piece of your life.
Perhaps when you leave,
You’ll take something of mine:
Chestnuts, roses, or a surety of roots. 
    Pablo Neruda
“Perhaps the most stubborn thing that keeps us from knowing love is distrust.  Certainly, we have more than enough reason in our world to be cautious, alert, and guarded against being hurt or taken advantage of.  But the fact remains that in spite of all the new and terrible stories that we pass on at parties, there is no other doorway into kindness and all its gifts but through the gentle risk to open ourselves, however slightly, and try.  The question we must ask, that I ask myself every day, is which is more debilitating: to be cut off from love or to be scarred by the pain of being hurt?
What made Neruda, such a great poet is the largeness of his heart, and through his large kindness, he suggests that giving heals and that until we step into that space between each other and try, nothing can happen.  But once we do, giving and receiving become the same, and we all grow stronger for going there together.”
  • Center yourself, and bring to mind three small gifts you are will to give away.  They may be tangible or symbolic or gestures of kindness.
  • Wrap each gently in your breathing.
  • Bring these gifts with you into your day.
  • Before you come home, give them away.
I was a bit stunned that my thoughts about not trusting had been greeted by this very strong message that distrust keeps us from knowing love.  My heart and my head rolled this passage over and over again.  I knew there was great truth in this message and I thanked the Universe and Great Spirit for sending it to me. 
The second book that had also leapt out at me at the last minute is one called Naikan: Gratitude, Grace, and the Japanese Art of Self-Reflection by Gregg Krech.   This is how the book begins in the Preface:
“In 1991 a movie was released called Defending Your Life and starring Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep.  The story line centered around several characters who died and were transported to a temporary location where a decision was made about their future.  The purpose of this place—which was a rather comfortable, almost resort-like city—was to give people who passed through a chance to watch film highlights of their lives.  They had a chance to defend their conduct and the choices they made while alive, and subsequently a final decision was made about their future.  They might be sent back to earth to ‘try again’ or, if their lives were generally laudable, they would ‘move on’ to some higher form of existence.

What I found most interesting about the film was the idea of stepping back and observing your life.  In 1989 I had the opportunity to do just that for the first time, at a center located amidst the rice paddies in rural Japan.  It was a Naikan center.  The work Naikan means literally looking inside.  In the fourteen days I stayed at the center I spent about fifteen hours per day watching the films of my life run across the screen of my mind’s eye.  Prior to this experience I had been to dozen of retreats and spiritual conference.  I had spent at least one week each year on a solo trip in the wilderness to simply be quiet in nature.  I had meditated in forests and at Zen monasteries for days and weeks at a time.  Yet I had never really stepped back from my life to simply see how I had been living.

The process used at the Naikan center was very structures.  I reflected on the relationships with nearly all the key people that had played an influential role in my life.  In each case I looked at three aspects of that relationship:  What had I received from that person.  What had I given to that person.  The troubles or difficulties I had caused that person.  I sat on Japanese-style cushions and faced a blank wall in order to limit outside distractions.  Except for the time it took to eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom, I did little else for two weeks.  In some ways I resembled the characters in the movie I have referred to, except that I had the opportunity to do this –fortunately—while I was still alive.

During my time at the Naikan center I had doubts.  Why spend time reviewing my past, when there was so much to do now?  Why spend time considering the troubles I was causing others when I was already striving so hard to be a good person…Notwithstanding my persistent questions and doubts, I persevered each day with the review of my personal history, as far back as I could remember.  As the days passed, I began to understand what was attractive and uncomfortable about Naikan.  Naikan involved self-examination; that is, we examine our own life, not the actions of others.  How often is our attention wasted on judging, criticizing, and correcting others while we neglect that examination and lessons of our own life?  While we can never know the actual experience of another, we know our own experience intimately.  While we can do little or nothing to control how others treat us, we can do much to control how we treat others.  And while we are often powerless to impose our choices on others, we make choices about how we shall live, moment to moment, day to day.  Examining one’s own life is profoundly sensible, though not necessarily comfortable.”
In a section called Intimate Attention author Gregg Krech has this to share:
Relationship as a Vehicle for Training
Henry David Thoreau knew how to live alone.  Really alone.  A few of us may set up solitary housekeeping in a parcel of unexplored wilderness, but the vast majority will choose, and be chosen by, intimate partners.  Such choices may be temporary, or…well, actually, temporary is your only option.  These relationships are the graduate school of self-development.  They provide us with the sharpest tools, the heaviest weights, and the thickest texts.  They push us to our edge, stretch us beyond our limits.  They may wing us on a pendulum from ecstasy and joy to the farthest reaches of pain and grief.”
Please Remind Me
By Gregg Krech
Please remind me of why I am here
when I am somewhere else.
When anger stirs
over unwashed dishes,
unkept promises,
and unpaid bills,
Please soften my heart
and remind me
of why I am here.
When frustration is triggered
by the same argument
for the hundredth time,
please tame my words,
deepen my breath,
and remind me of why I am here.
When my attention is drawn
like a magnet
to myself—
my needs,
my wants,
my comfort,
my pain—
please blink my mind
and allow my eyes to see
into the heart of another,
that I may attend to their needs
and bear their pain
and be dissolved
into the reason I am here.
I know that reason
Yet, so often,
I find myself somewhere else
and forget.
So please remind me.
Lastly I want to return to The Book of Awakening and share the passage from September 20th called Unconditional Love.
“Unconditional love is not so much about how we received and endure each other, as it is about the deep vow to never, under any condition, stop bringing the flawed truth of who we are to each other.
Much is said about the unconditional love today, and I fear that it has been misconstrued as an extreme form of ‘turning the other cheek,’ which to anyone who has been abused is not good advice.  However, this exaggerated passivity is quite different from the unimpeded flow of love that carries who we are.
In truth, unconditional love does not require a passive acceptance of whatever happens in the name of love.  Rather, in the real spaces of our daily relationship, it means maintaining a commitment that no condition will keep us from bringing all of who we are to each other honestly.
For example, on any given day, I might be preoccupied with my own needs, and might overlook or bruise what you need and hurt you.  But then you tell me and show me your hurt, and I feel bad, and you accept that sometimes I go blind to those around me.  But we look deeply on each other, and you accept my flaws, but not my behavior, and I am grateful for the chance to work on myself.  Somehow, it all brings us closer.
Unconditional love is not the hole in us that received the dirt, but the sun within that never stops shining.
    • Center your self and consider a relationship in which you have recently endured some pain in the name of love.
    • As you inhale deeply, consider the conditions that keep your pain unexpressed.
    • As you exhale deeply, consider ‘being unconditional’ as a bringing forth from within, rather that the enduring of what comes from without.
    • Enter your day and consider ‘bringing forth who you are’ in the name of love.
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