Posts Tagged ‘relationship’

Do You Wonder If You’re In A Mt. Everest Relationship?

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Photo Credit: Joseph Sohm. Published with permission. Thanks, Joe.  You’re the best.

Written by Terri Crosby for In Care of Relationships

Are you in a relationship that seems exponentially difficult?  Is it just too hard?  You want to dump your fancy altitude gear and take a leisurely hike in the flatlands?  Or lie down in a field of bright yellow daisies and watch the clouds go by? 

I understand.

Maybe your relationship is not working and you don’t see how it ever will, ’cause there’s way too much tough stuff going on.  You’re weary and worn down, and sometimes — if you could wave a magic wand — you’d wipe the slate clean as a whistle and start over.  You’d take time off and be with yourself.  Heck, you might even take up meditation and regular exercise.

Again, I understand.

Whatever Mt. Everest relationship you’re talking about — your rebellious child, your difficult work relationship, your interesting mother in law, your impossible partner, or your ridiculous boss  — you think to yourself that this climbing-all-the-time has got to stop.  It’s simply wearing you out.

You might feel relieved to know that this “shall I stay or go” question is one of the most frequently asked questions.  Clients say things like shall I stop trying or shall I hang in there?  Is it me or is it them?  Is this a deal-breaker, or can we make this work?  Is this situation hopeless, or am I just missing something?

WHAT’S YOUR MT. EVEREST?

Before we talk about hanging in there vs. hanging up your gear, allow me to offer a few more Mt. Everest variations.  Some of these examples may have you thinking of a friend or two as well. 

  • With your parents, your efforts have never been quite good enough.  According to them, you could do better, try harder, scale the heights, make them proud.  You still feel criticized, judged and clearly — you don’t measure up.  They drop hints to make sure you know that.  Boy, do they drop hints!  Can this ever change?  Should I stop talking to them for a while?  Maybe forever?
  • You and your potential partner are pretty far apart on the subject of children.  He already raised his kids, and as a single dad helped with enough recitals, school events, and slumber parties for two lifetimes.  He’s ready for a new chapter called “Footloose and Fancy-Free.”  You agree, he deserves it — but you’ve got a ten-year-old.  Can you make it work?  Will your love for each other get you through this?  Maybe, maybe not.  How much compromise is OK?
  • Your partner is driven, and lately, you’re just not.  Your partner is building an empire, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that!  But you’re doing your best to relax more, and be healthy and happy for a change, which, by the way, is a major achievement for you!  You’ve finally figured out how to be less Type A and more easy going.  You’re done with fast and furious.  You’re over it.  You crave slow Sunday afternoon conversations while sitting by the pool.  Or a talk over lunch on the deck — minus the bullet points, hovering deadlines, or phone interruptions from far-off lands after hours.  You want to go slower and you want your moments to feel more l-u-x-u-r-i-o-u-s.  It’s time to stop and smell the roses.  In fact, you realize, it has always been time to stop and smell the roses — you just forgot for a while.  Isn’t that what life is really about?  So how do you spend pleasant time together with two radically different lifestyles?
    Photo Credit -- Katie Boyle and Angela Livezey

    Photo Credit — Katie Boyle and Angela Livezey

  • Your — business associate/boss? intimate partner? celebrity employer? — is kind, caring, and quite professional on the outside, but has a dark side you can’t really talk about publicly.  First, no one would believe you.  And, second, you’re in a position to put that person in an unfavorable spotlight, and maybe even cause the crumbling of their empire if you chose to unveil details to the world.  (This situation happens way more often than you might think!)  What should you do — look the other way?  Focus on the positive, ignore the negative?  Or wear shades, look cool, develop your ability to keep secrets and keep right on pretending everything is just plain peachy?
  • You got married and adapted to your husband’s lifestyle.  You’ve catered to his needs and forgotten your own.  You’re drowning in an ocean of sacrifice.  You’ve lost yourself.  Your heart is aching for who you know yourself to be.  You’re longing to make use of your true skills — what were they now???  Surely you can find them again.  Oh where oh where has the real you gone?  Do you have the strength to call YOU back?
  • In your intimate relationship, your partner throws a monkey wrench into even the simplest situations: an innocent conversation, cooking a meal together or an outing with friends.  There is an astonishing variety and never-ending stream of misunderstandings, upsets and drama.  It’s downright jaw-dropping.  Your friends think you’re crazy to stay in that relationship, but rather than dealing with the confusion and chaos around you, they simply begin to avoid you.  It’s subtle at first.  And then suddenly, you look around and your friends are GONE.  Way gone.  Even when things appear to be better with your partner, you can be sure there’s always somethin’ comin’ around the mountain.  There is always backlash or repercussions.  Makes you wanna say, Holy Cow, shall I moooooo-ve on?
  • Your boss is asking you to run his company and produce miraculous results (which you do every single day, thank you very much) without the staff support and cooperation you need — whoa there!  You’re doing the work of at least three additional people.  Is it him?  Is it me?  Why is this happening?  How did this start?  Is this totally out of control?  Should I walk away?  Do I stand up for myself enough?  Is it possible to make progress on this giant ball of un-workablility, or should I go elsewhere and start over?  Could I climb this Mt. Everest if I wanted to?  Should I climb?  Is it worth it?

CAN WE MAKE THIS WORK?

Copyright Joe Sohm

Photo credit: Joe Sohm

 

 In a complicated situation, ask simple questions. 

 

Do I see that this as mine?  Do I see that I built this step by step? (yes or no)

What can I see?  What’s obvious?  What stands before me? (word, phrase, or sentence)

What feeling is present in this situation for me? (one or two words)

What feeling is present for others? (one or two words)

What is the foundation of this relationship?  What’s it built on? (word or phrase)

Is this supporting me? (yes or no)

What is my preferred relationship foundation? (word or phrase)

What do I love?  How do I want to live? (one sentence)

Do I believe I can have that? (yes or no)

How shall I begin? (how can you be true to yourself in this next small moment, and the next and so on)

 *************

“Responsibility begins with the willingness to take the stand that one is cause in the matter of one’s life.  It is a declaration not an assertion, that is, it is a context from which one chooses to live.  Responsibility is not burden, fault, praise, blame, credit, shame or guilt.  In responsibility, there is no evaluation of good or bad, right or wrong.  There is simply what’s so, and the stand you choose to take on what’s so.  Being responsible starts with the willingness to deal with a situation from the view of life that you are the generator of what you do, what you have and what you are.  That is not the truth.  It is a place to stand.  No one can make you responsible, nor can you impose responsibility on another.  It is a grace you give yourself – an empowering context that leaves you with a say in the matter of life.”

– Werner Erhard

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How To Turn An Argument Into Being More In Love

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 Written by Terri Crosby for In Care of Relationships

The conversation started out innocent enough. My husband Eric ventured that he wanted to ask me a question, but said he didn’t want his question to sound like a criticism. 

HE:  (to me) So how would I do that — ask a question that could go sideways? 

ME:  I don’t know, just go ahead and ask me.  Just blurt it out and we’ll see how it goes.  It can’t be that bad.

(At least I could hope.)

We were eating a late lunch in our living room in Spring.  Bushels of beautiful light was pouring in everywhere — it’s a spacious room with big windows and skylights.  He was sitting on the couch, with me across from him on the other side of the coffee table in an easy chair.   In his left hand, he held a piece of pizza made by yours truly —  pepperoni (his favorite), chicken breast, asparagus, kale, tomato, garlic, and Cheddar and Amish Pepper Jack cheese.  He gestured and spoke with his right hand.

HE:  OK, so here’s my question.  Do you put green vegetables on the pizza because you enjoy them or for some other reason?

The question stopped my brain.  It sounded like a backward question to me, a non-direct question, a “what do you really mean by that” kind of question.  So it confused me for a second.  But I decided to take the question at face value.  In my experience, that’s a really, really good place to start.  Answer his question, no matter what I think about the question itself.

So his question hung in the silence.  Why do I put green vegetables on the pizza?

Huh.  I thought about it.  I smiled.  I had my answer.

ME:  I put them on the pizza because it’s pretty.

HE:  (bursts out laughing)  OK, well, there you go!  I just wanted to know!

ME:  (apparently I felt compelled to elaborate)  You know, making food is an artistic thing.  Food needs to be appealing to the eye.  So I spread tomato sauce like a backdrop color on the pizza canvas.  And then on goes the asparagus spears here and here and here — nice color, don’t you think?  (I demonstrate with air art.)  And then round I go with red Roma tomato slices.  And bright green kale goes here and here for contrast.     And I figure the bonus is that if there are many colors in the food we’re eating, we’re probably getting our vitamins and minerals as well.  But it’s really important that food be pretty.

He smiled in a twinkly kind of way.  (Love that about him.)

Clearly, he also thought it was humorous that I thought food should be pretty.  But to his total credit, he let that idea all the way to the middle of his soul.  He continued the conversation by mentioning that he picks off the vegetables first so he can really enjoy the pizza, which totally made me laugh out loud.  In 16 years of being together, he had never said that to me!

I had sometimes noticed that he picks off the veggies, and occasionally wondered why, but never asked about it, and I thought it was admirable and bold of him just now to say why he does.  His comment piqued my interest.  This conversation was clearly very important to him — he brought it up — and it made me curious to know more.  He was taking a risk to talk about it, and I was taking a risk to listen and take in the feedback.  The work goes both ways, always.

HE: You know, really, I just like tomato sauce, meat and cheese on my pizza.  Everything else is just extra.  And not an important kind of extra.  Take mushrooms for instance.  To me, they don’t add or detract from the pizza.  If they don’t add to my experience, why would I want them there?  I’m neutral about mushrooms on pizza.

ME:  (I had just taken a bite of my lunch, which was entirely different than his because he won’t eat fish, and isn’t fond of peas or mushrooms and a whole lot of other things.  Sputtering through my food I blurt) Oh, that is SUCH BS that you’re neutral about mushrooms!!!  That’s just not true!  If you were truly neutral, you wouldn’t be bringing up the subject.  It would be like, who cares, and you wouldn’t even talk about it!

I was in a positive frame of mind, but I was not going to let that kind of BS go by without a spirited and sparkly “that’s a bunch of crap” comment from me.  And about this time, I had to take off my jacket ’cause I could feel my temperature a risin’.  My brain was ready, I had food fuel in my tummy, my BS meter was ON, and I was ready to take on this man I adore.  C’mon, give it to me!  I was in the mood for some spunky fun.

(But first, a personal confession) I think Eric is a (very) picky eater (compared to me).  (In my opinion) he doesn’t appreciate a variety of food (like I do, and my way is better of course), and (compared to me) he has a very limited palate (how boring.)   There are all sorts of things he won’t eat (which is different than me, and did I say my way is better) and that’s truly no way to live (according to me, ’cause of course my way is better).  Yep, I have an attitude.  Clearly!

Then something unexpected happened.

I became magically super aware of how opinionated I was about “his BS,”  but what was different was that I was vividly aware that it was fun — really fun — to be opinionated while being super aware.  In that moment, my opinionated side struck me funny.  I started giggling.

(You know, we’re all pretty funny if we stand outside ourselves and take a look!)

And at the same time Eric found it frigging hilarious that we were having a conversation about neutrality while neither of us were being neutral.  This kind of humor is right up his alley.

So, right along with me, he started to lose it.  Both of us began to unravel.  Who even knew we needed it!   It was like the water rose too fast, and our laughing dams broke at the same time.  Pipes burst, ropes broke, pins snapped.

There is a way that Eric laughs that makes me laugh harder.  The more he lets go, the more entertained I am by watching him.  It usually happens when he gets surprised — something funny comes out of left field — and he’s helplessly, hopelessly humored.  His voice jumps up a couple of registers, and he laughs in falsetto.

So there we were, giggling about disagreeing.  (But hold on, we’ve barely begun!)

HE: Really, I don’t care one way or another, but if veggies on my pizza don’t add to my experience of enjoyment, then why would I have them there?

ME:  (the pizza maker)  Well, I totally get that, and I often make your half of the pizza different than mine — just don’t call yourself neutral!

Which sent him into further peels of laughter, you know, because of my lack of neutrality about his lack of neutrality.

There is no earthly reason it should have been quite that fall-down funny, but we were on a roll.  And no-o-o-o-o,  heavens no, I wasn’t done pontificating yet.

ME: You know, you are also SO FULL OF BS about how you’re neutral about pecans, too, no different than the darn mushrooms.  Even though you SAY you’re neutral about pecans, if I put pecans in your gosh darn chocolate chip cookies, you come into the kitchen all sad and disappointed and all like ‘how could you do this to me’ waaa, waaa, waaa, so don’t even use that word neutral about pecans in chocolate chip cookies.  You’re so FULL of it!!!  You’re not neutral!  You’re a thousand million trillion miles from neutral!

(Imagine my voice traveling the octaves here, and me gesturing extra dramatically to make my points ..)

HE:  Oh, and I’m not being neutral!  (He’s pretty much unable to breathe at this point.  We’re really, really totally out of control.)

Two people who love each other, who are willing to be entertained by their strong opinions (rather than upset by them) can pull a whole lot of fun out of practically nothing and nowhere, and end up more in love when it’s all over.

HOW ABOUT A LITTLE SCIENTIFIC PROOF ABOUT THE VALUE OF LAUGHTER?

Sophie Scott, neuroscientist and stand-up comic, says that couples who can laugh together about stressful situations stay together longer.

In India, Dr. Madan Kataria founded “Laughter Clubs” (600 in India, 800 worldwide).  These clubs meet to laugh together for 15 to 20 minutes every morning.  They begin with “fake” laughter, which turns into real laughter.  The body can’t tell the difference between “real” laughter and “fake.”  He believes in the importance of laughter to unwind the negative effects of stress and boosts the immune system.

(But I digress.)

Of course, I continue my lecture.

ME:  Your words say one thing, but your vibration says another.  It’s a complete disconnect.  If a consulting client of mine did this, I would totally call them on it!

He was laughing even harder now.

ME:  (now in complete hysterics): You know, I wish we had this on video, so I could teach my relationship clients how to argue — teach them the finer points of arguing!

Which sent us both reeling…

I plunked my plate down on the table next to me so as not to spill the whole thing on the floor, and leaned back in my chair, giving my now helplessly flailing arms more freedom to express.  Eric practically dropped his plate on the coffee table, and then fell backwards on the couch, holding his stomach and laughing.

This went on for a while…  quite a while…

Then when we could breathe better,  we talked, exploring the whole question of eating preferences and neutrality and who knows what all.  We talked about a lot of things.

After talking for a while, he said, “Wow, if I had known arguing would be so much fun, I would have brought up this food subject long ago!”

Which, of course,  started the laughing all over again! 

Who knew “almost arguing” could be quite so entertaining!   I highly recommend it as an aerobic workout — and way more fun than a treadmill!

 

 

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What My Cinnamon Coffeecake and Your Love Life Have In Common

Cinnamon Coffeecake with Oranges, Peaches, and Japanese Wineberries -- on a backdrop of Firebird Nasturtiums!

Cinnamon Coffeecake with Oranges, Peaches, and Japanese Wineberries — on a backdrop of Firebird Nasturtiums!

 

Written by Terri Crosby for In Care of Relationships

My Cinnamon Coffeecake is really good.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s epic, or a million dollar coffeecake, or the coffeecake of the century, but when I hand it to people, and they taste it…  well, I have to admit, sometimes they say it.

Which counts, yes?

Cinnamon SticksWhen tasters sigh and swoon and sit down, and a little later there is not one crumb left on the plate — well that’s enough evidence for me that it hit the spot.

It’s nice when this happens with love, too!

What do you suppose it is about Coffeecake?  It’s just Coffeecake, after all.

Maybe the aroma reminds people of their childhood, or their Grandmother’s baking.

Maybe it’s the Vietnamese cinnamon (the strongest, richest, sweetest around) or China Tung Hing cinnamon (extra sweet, spicy and strong), or Kornintje cinnamon from Indonesia (sweet and mellow), or Ceylon cinnamon (complex and fragrant with citrus overtones). 

Spices matter and Penzey’s  knows what they’re doing.  Their cinnamon leaves grocery store varieties in the dust.  If you try Penzeys, you’ll never go back.

So, maybe it’s the cinnamon that makes them swoon and sigh!  Maybe it’s the instant vacation to another land when Ceylon cinnamon hits your taste buds.

Mace — outer lacy covering of nutmeg

Or maybe it’s the Blade Mace. 

Did you know…

Mace is the lacy, yellow covering of nutmeg, removed by hand (yes, by hand!) and dried.  Nutmeg grows on an evergreen tree native to the Maluku Islands of Indonesia, and now in other places as well — for instance, Penang Island in Malaysia, in the Caribbean (particularly Grenada), in the southern state of Karela in India, and on the island of Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania.

Who knew?

Mace is usually ground, but the kind I put in my coffeecake topping is called blade mace, peeled straight from the nutmeg.  It’s chewy and the flavor pops.  It’s pretty heavenly.

So the taste of Cinnamon Coffeecake is an international affair for sure.  When you dive into that first bite, your taste buds visit other far away lands.  

In anything, ingredients matter, quality matters, freshness matters whether we’re talking coffeecake or relationships.

So what does my cinnamon coffeecake have in common with your good love life?

Plenty.

Here’s what I mean.

PASS ME SOME O’ THAT

My Cinnamon Coffeecake recipe was passed down.  The way we are in relationships with others is often passed down as well.  We watch, learn, listen, and we may choose to do things the way our parents or grandparents did.   Sometimes that’s a good thing, and sometimes, well, not as good as Cinnamon Coffeecake!

But every recipe  — whether we’re talking Food or Relationships or anything else — is, of course, adjustable in our capable and creative hands.  Over the years, I have modified my family’s versions of just about everything, and you probably have, too.  It’s natural to tweak, adjust, re-think, and revamp.

Relationships have to work for you.  Your relationships don’t require the approval of anyone else — the King, the Queen, or your family.  Your relationships just have to work for you. 

And so does a simple recipe for something you produce in your very own kitchen.  So I took my mom’s recipe for Sunday morning Cinnamon Coffeecake, and changed it over the years to suit me. 

HUMOR AND SUBSTANCE

My Coffeecake is light, but has body.  It’s not a white-bread version, it has deeper flavor.  It’s nice when a relationship has that, too — it’s light-hearted, but has plenty of substance.  You laugh, have meaningful conversations and use your combined abilities to work out the details of relating.  You’re creative about problem-solving.  You try new things, see what works and do more of that.  You create a relationship recipe that works for you.

With love or crumble cake, there is also the matter of substitutions.   Maybe you ran out of patience or cinnamon?  Then what?  

If you’re plumb out of patience, try taking a break.  Walk away, even for 30 seconds.  Get your bearings, think of something that eases your mind (this is not the end of the world, this is no big deal even though it feels like it, this too shall pass…)

And in place of cinnamon, try the pumpkin pie spice you haven’t used since last Thanksgiving — it’s deep and rich and lovely.

CHANGE IS THE CONSTANT

Lord knows Recipes and Relationships are ever-evolving.  Goodness.  The changes I’ve been through with Eric, and the changes I’ve made to the Coffeecake — so many parallels, you know?  I’ve learned what I like.  I’ve deliberately added and subtracted to make love and cake work for me.

And — big deal — it’s important to remember that preferences and needs change with time.  I don’t have the same life with Eric that I did 15 years ago, and my Coffeecake has followed suit.

Food  and tradition are such great partners.  In my family growing up, we had coffeecake on Sunday morning with scrambled eggs.  On Christmas morning, we added Texas grapefruit, which was a big-deal, out-of-season treat when it was 20 below.

In relationships, we can follow tradition — or create our own as we go.  We can find a way to relate that creates a light, delicious  tender crumb.  For instance, if I’m clearly causing Eric a little frustration I often say “Eric, do you love me?” which is my way of acknowledging that I know I just threw him a curve ball and I know he’s frustrated.  It’s my way of saying, “I see it.” 

On cue, he hesitates, looks at me (with whatever facial expression he feels at the moment) and says “Mostly!” and we laugh.  That’s a pattern.  It works for us, and it has become a tradition. 

Or I walk into the room where he’s watching TV, and without hesitation, he pauses the program.  It’s a small tradition with big impact and it works.  I love love love that he does that.  In turn, he loves that I am conscious about interrupting.  I’m not assuming that I can initiate a big long conversation about the state of the world or talk about vacation plans for next summer while he’s watching the Dodger game.  I ask a question, get some needed info, and I’m on my way.  Aretha calls it a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

See?  My Cinnamon Coffeecake and Your Good Love Life are practically the same!  Delicious and Ever-Evolving!


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Inspiring Advice About Failure and Imagination from J.K. Rowling

Morning Mist Adj

Written for In Care of Relationships by Terri Crosby

It’s a little after 6:30  am and I’m looking out at a magical mystical view that could be a scene from Harry Potter or the Mists of Avalon.  It happens often here.  I especially like the watercolor pink that’s barely there.  Such morning beauty!

Recently, I got a surprise gift in the mail from my daughter, MacKenzie.  She sent me a teensy-tiny book called “Very Good Lives” by J.K. Rowling.  You can read it in a few minutes — with it’s small size, big type, double spacing, full page illustrations, and lavish spacing. 

It’s J.K. Rowling’s 2008 Harvard commencement address.  It’s worth reading.

J.K. Rowling is, of course, the author of the Harry Potter series of seven books, which have sold over 450 million copies, were translated into 78 languages, and became eight blockbuster films.  She is also the founder and president of the children’s charity “Lumos” which works to end the institutionalization of children globally.

In “Very Good Lives” she says, “Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria, if you let it.  So I think it fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale.  An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain without being homeless.  The fears that my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass and by every usual standard I was the biggest failure I knew.”

She goes on to say that she would never claim that failure is fun, and that that part of her life was a dark one, but standing in the middle of failure, you have no idea there could possibly, be what others would call, a fairy tale outcome.

J.K. Rowling refers to failure as a “stripping away of the inessential.”  When she was at the bottom of the barrel, she stopped pretending to be anything other than what she was and began to direct all her energy into the only thing she cared about, which was writing Harry Potter.  Had she succeeded in anything else, she may never have had the determination to succeed in the one area in which she truly belonged.

Basically, she had three things:  a daughter whom she adored, an old typewriter and a big idea. 

So, according to J.K. “rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

“Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations.  Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way.  I discovered that I had a strong will and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies.”

Imagination

She describes how she came to appreciate the value of imagination in a broader sense — that humans can “envision that which is not” which allows us to understand and relate to an experience of another person, in which we have never actually shared.  One of her day jobs while writing Harry Potter was working in the African Research department of Amnesty International headquarters in London.  The short story is that she was exposed to information which changed her life.

We can imagine, relate to others, expand our knowing — or we can simply refuse to know.  We can not imagine.  We can sit still in our world and live as if our world is the only world.  

One is not better than the other.  It’s a personal choice.

She says, “I might be tempted to envy people who can live that way [without imagination], except that I do not think they have any fewer nightmares than I do.  Choosing to live in narrow spaces leads to a form of mental agoraphobia, and that brings its own terrors.  I think the willfully unimaginative see more monsters.  They are often more afraid.”

And further: “We do not need magic to transform our world; we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already; we have the power to imagine better.”

And when we imagine better, and focus on the positive aspects of things, magic often appears…

*************

For more info: my three minute video blog Failure, Empowerment and Taking Responsibility

 

 

 

 

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Why The Challenge of A Partner Is Truly Good For Us

yoga 3

Written for In Care of Relationships by Terri Crosby

I go to Yoga Class twice a week, because it works.  If I do yoga at home, I get distracted. 

My distraction excuse is that it’s hardly ever quiet at my house.  Eric works from home and talks on the phone.  UPS comes to the door, the dog barks, I hear a text come in, or — hey, it rains.  When it rains, I might have to close the doors to the deck because the water is splashing in, or pull a couple of already wet potted plants out from under the downpour.  Or maybe getting up to handle the plants reminds me that the laundry is going or I think to myself, “I should put the quinoa on to cook or the chicken in the oven so we can eat dinner.” 

Whatever!  Anything will do, and it’s not one thing, it’s many little things.

So leaving the house for my Yoga Class really works.  I concentrate.  My phone is off.  I get on my mat. 

And most importantly, there’s my teacher Lynn Edgar at the Brightwater Yoga Studio, showing me what to do and encouraging me to do it.

And guess what?  I do my very best to follow her.

She asks me to do things I would never do at home.  She encourages me to hold a pose much longer than I would on my own.  And it’s not only OK with me — I’m really happy that she asks, and I’m happy to do it.  It feels right and it helps me.

So Lynn is my challenging partner in my health and well-being.

She’s good for me.yellowspike1

If you were to contact me to do a consulting  session, I would be your challenging partner regarding your questions about life and relationships.  And you’d probably be happy with yourself when you were done! 

I’d ask you to hold a pose (investigate your point of view) a little longer, or in a different way than you might have on your own. 

And you know how a good yoga teacher gives instructions, and then walks around the room and gently adjusts her students? 

It makes all the difference! 

I do that, too.  I help you tweak your position (point of view) so that it feels better as you hold it. 

Ahhhh!  Now that’s better!

YOUR CHALLENGING PARTNER

And your partner — that wonderful, awful, challenging, irritating, loving person you live with, work with, or birthed — they do this, too.

In a recent session, one of my clients was hurt about something her former partner said to her after they broke up. 

She asked him how he was doing and he replied that since he moved out, things were less stressful for him.

On the outside, she tried to keep her calm as she heard his words.

On the inside, however, she went through the emotional roof!  She took his comment very personally. 

So, just like in yoga class, White Orchid3Centerwhen the instructor introduces a pose, and inside I’m saying, “OMG” or “Oh, I don’t think so,” my client’s partner handed her a post-relationship challenge.

And at first, she said, “NO WAY!”

The way she heard him, she felt criticized.  So I helped her tweak her position, and then she went “Ahh.  That’s better.”

Here’s the thing.  When we sign up for a partnership — with a child, parent, lover — we sign up for everything that goes with it, do we not? 

So, if anything needs tweaking, it is probably not our partner, but our own reaction to our partner. 

And guaranteed, our partners will hand us challenges on a silver platter sooner or later.  My client felt criticized — that was the position she was holding.  It hurt, so we adjusted her position, not her partner’s.

The bottom line:  If something hurts in yoga or relationships, my position needs tweaking, not the other person’s. 

In either case, if I hurt, I’m out of alignment. 

HOW DOES ALIGNMENT TRANSLATE TO A RELATIONSHIP?

In a relationship, things hurt if I’m out of alignment with who I am.   Things hurt if the way I’m looking at something is not ultimately true.  Maybe the window I’m looking through is just too small.  Maybe I can’t see how to appreciate this situation, so I complain or rail against it.

In these unaligned moments you might say I’ve lost myself.  This is why most people leave a relationship or get divorced.  It’s often not that the situation is so impossible.  It’s that we have not found a way to continue to be fully ourselves in the face of a certain set of circumstances.

So my pain, my suffering, my irritation — this is my signal that I’m out of alignment with how my Inner Being thinks about the situation.  And my Inner Being is the most loving, all-knowing part of me. 

My Inner Being is a big, open thinker, and never even considers trying to change another person.  My Inner Being simply aligns with what is true and waits for me to join. 

Because you signed up for this relationship you’re in, you automatically checked the little “Terms and Conditions” box.  In the fine print, it says, “I promise to learn from this experience…”

So my partners in relationship — sister, brother, mother, child, co-worker, lover — Ahhh!  The best alignment teachers EVER!

 

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Rise Up by Andra Day

What a great set of words for these oncoming days.

Rise Up

 
You’re broken down and tired
Of living life on a merry go round
And you can’t find the fighter
But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out
And move mountains
We gonna walk it out
And move mountains
And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
And I’ll rise up
High like the waves
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For you
When the silence isn’t quiet
And it feels like it’s getting hard to breathe
And I know you feel like dying
But I promise we’ll take the world to its feet
And move mountains
Bring it to its feet
And move mountains
And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For you
All we need, all we need is hope
And for that we have each other
And for that we have each other
And we will rise
We will rise
We’ll rise, oh, oh
We’ll rise
I’ll rise up
Rise like the day
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I will rise a thousand times again
And we’ll rise up
High like the waves
We’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
We’ll rise up
And we’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For you
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Cassandra Monique Batie / Jennifer Decilveo
Rise Up lyrics © BMG Rights Management

Terri’s book of photography combined with poetry is here! 100 Words: Small Servings of Whimsy and Wisdom to Calm the Mind and Nourish the Heart.

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Rippling Abs, Anyone?

Rippling Abs, Anyone?

During this strange time in history, I noticed y’all were tackling all sorts of interesting projects. I decided I needed one, too—something positive to remember the pandemic of 2020 by.
 
I decided to pay attention to something I had abandoned…
 
Nope, I’m not cleaning my garage. I am not organizing one single thing. I’m not planting a garden or cleaning up my yard.
 
Instead, I decided to take care of myself better. This, folks, has made all the difference for me.
 
With relatively little time and effort on my part, I feel so much better than I did a month ago.
 
On March 30, I got on the exercise bike and the yoga mat for the first time in a long time, and did 30 minutes each. I liked it so much that I decided to do it every day. But I fell short of that, and changed my commitment to every other day, which felt more manageable, reasonable, and doable.
 
I also get off the bike after every song, take a couple of sips of water, shake out my legs and arms for a few seconds, and get back on. This makes the bike project a reasonable proposition, too.
 
Daily walks of any length—by myself, or with my little guy, Jackson—are a fresh air bonus.
 
My recumbent exercise bike has pulleys to work my upper body while I pedal, which gets my heart rate up fast, and also helps my whole-body strength. It feels good to get up from writing, or doing a consulting session with a client, to do something physically challenging while listening to good music.
 
After only a month, I feel a sheet of muscles on the front of me I haven’t felt for a very, very long time. Goodness gracious. Who knew they were there. I’ll be posting rippling ab photos soon, I’m sure.
 
I have no idea what the scales have to say about my bike/yoga project—I don’t care. Paying attention to scales tends to send me sideways, and therefore, I’m ignoring them completely.
 
But—I LOVE the way I feel! Hang in there, everyone.
 

Terri’s book of photography combined with poetry is here! 100 Words: Small Servings of Whimsy and Wisdom to Calm the Mind and Nourish the Heart.

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Check Out This Troublemaker in Relationships

Check Out This Troublemaker in Relationships

Sometimes we ask intimate partners to do for us what is actually ours to do.

We ask our partner to give us the reassurance, love or appreciation we feel is missing in ourselves, with the hope that they will give us what we’re asking for—and then we’ll feel better. They’ll take care of our problem.

But when they do give us what we’re asking for, it can never be enough, because we have insufficient context for what they’ve given. We haven’t build the inner foundation to receive it, hear it, welcome it, believe it. They try to help, but their love for us falls into our void, our black hole, our love bucket with no bottom.

As always, there’s hope. Check out the video below.

Terri Crosby. http://www.incareofrelationships.com/.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

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Terri Crosby

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