“The great good news is that love is free and it has not gone anywhere. In all of these aeons that you have been hiding from love, love is still here, it is still open, it is still waiting for your commitment, still waiting for you to say, ‘Yes, I give my life to the truth of love. I vow to let love live this life as it will, for better or worse, for richer or poorer.’
The love that you search for everywhere is already present within you.
It may be evoked by any number of people or events. A mountain can evoke this love. A sunset can evoke this love.
But finally, you must realize you are this love. The source of all love is within you.
My teacher told me to stop where you are, just stop. That is really, basically what I offer you. I guarantee that if you are willing to investigate for yourself, you’ll find, in the heart of the matter, peace.
There may be pain right before the moment of investigation, and there may be disbelief or denial of what’s found. But if there’s a willingness to stop following any thought, you will find even deeper peace and fulfillment.
Finally, you will recognize you are discovering the truth of who you are. You are not really finding peace and fulfillment, those are just the byproducts. You are finding yourself.
What is always here is here now. What is always here is the only thing that is permanent. If you want anything else, you want something that will disappear someday.
So it is very wise to want what is always here. Then you want yourself.”
This week, whatever our personal journey, may our hearts be open, or may they crack open. May our eyes hear and our ears see. May we have a greater sense of what is true and everlasting. May we know love.
In a recent consulting session, a female client in a small company was having issues with one of the men at work. She butts heads regularly with this team member, they try to work it out (with lukewarm success) and then it happens all over again.
At the beginning of our session, she was full of words. She talked fast and had a lot to say about the situation. First, I listened and encouraged her to unload. I took speed-of-lightning notes and when the basic story was clear, she began to slow down.
“The next step is to simplify. Are you ready for that?” I asked.
She said yes.
Photo credit — Joseph Sohm
This first step in most In Care of Relationship sessions, after hearing the basic story, is to SIMPLIFY.
Find the thread that weaves through the whole shebang.
Imagine the various “unrelated” issues as a fraction and reduce it.
Discover the theme of the multi-faceted-whirly-gig-Rube- Goldberg life and give it a rest.
Simplification is my job, by the way, not the client’s job.
Being factual and simple calms the wild seas of emotion, and a wound-up client begins to think more clearly again.
Getting simple makes things easier on so many levels!
I asked her to imagine two columns. One labeled “What He Does” and the second labeled “My Responses.”
The content of the columns was pretty easy for her to state.
His Actions: demand, dominate, dismiss, be overbearing, criticize, shame, belittle, exert pressure, accept only logical or factual, and deflect.
Her Responses: defend, resist, get angry, refuse, feel sad, force myself to comply, try harder, judge, get anxious, give up, ignore.
The visual: A chipmunk and a lion.
My client was not in her power at all. She (the chipmunk) is no threat to the lion, and might even be considered by him to be a bother. The lion could give the chipmunk one swat and it would be over. He knows it and she knows it.
In real life, the translation is that the male team member thinks my client is young and has a lot to learn — so the solution, according to him, is that she should listen to him and do everything he says.
And then, of course, she’ll turn out great — just like him.
The problem with that idea is, of course, that SHE’S not HIM. She didn’t come here to Planet Earth to be him, can’t be him, doesn’t want to be him, and shouldn’t be him. She came to Earth be HER.
Furthermore, the whole idea of being a team member is that you contribute what you’re good at.
You don’t melt into one style, one thought process, one anything. Your best contribution is YOU.
So the tricky part is that nothing she says or does around him is effective, but the bigger story is that the interactions don’t work for either of them.
Whose responsibility Is that?
Since I’m working with her, the answer is that it’s her responsibility. Totally and completely her responsibility. If I was working with him, everything would be in his lap — his total responsibility.
At In Care of Relationships, that’s how we roll.
(But the responsibility conversation is a bigger conversation for another time!)
SHE:So what do I do? Shall I initiate a meeting or write him an email?
ME:Don’t do anything yet. Let’s get your feet on the ground before you take action.
SHE:Well, shall I try to think positively about this, focus on the positive aspects…? But truthfully, the thought of trying to think good things about him makes me retch.
(Which made us both laugh because it was so true for her!)
And what about all those people who talk and work things out? I can’t seem to do that with this guy. Talking to him is like talking to a wall. I can’t think straight. We can’t work anything out — EVER. Which makes me feel insane. Totally insane!
And boy, do I have some things to SAY TO HIM.
I WANT TO YELL AT HIM.
(Which, yet again, sent us into peels of laughter… such good relief …)
ME: Here’s the thing. You’ve lost your power around this man. Get it back.
ME: You can’t fix anything from where you are now because you gave away your power. Maybe you even handed it over on a silver platter. If you want to change things, first get your power back so you have a foundation. It’s yours. Just take it back.
SHE: Wow, hold on. What?!? My power?!?
(… long pause… it’s always a good thing when brain cells are re-arranging themselves…)
OK, say more.
ME: Thinking about the positive works often for you, and you do that really well — usually.
But not in this case. In this situation, you’re pretty down and out — you’re feeling powerless. Like a chipmunk against a lion.
How do you knowyou’re sitting in a puddle of powerless?
Everything is hard. You feel ineffective.
SHE:I understand that. I’ve got a long ways to go with this one, huh?
ME: A change can happen pretty quickly, actually. It depends on how much you practice.
So do you see what your work is? Use every interaction to remember your worth, your value, and your true and steady self. Nobody took anything from you. You gave it away, temporarily. Just reclaim YOU.
Photo credit — Joseph Sohm
SHE:So I have no frigging idea how to do that.
ME:To start, practice in places where being yourself is pretty easy, like when you’re alone. It can be as small as making yourself a breakfast you enjoy. There, I did it! Notice it. Just take note — and celebrate — when you know how to be yourself, do things your way, or have what you want. Give yourself a high five.
This may sound silly, but it’s not. You’re building momentum here.
Now add another person to the mix, someone who is easy for you to be around. Notice that it feels good to say, express, and BE. And then do that with another person and another. And notice that your confidence grows, as well as the positive momentum.
(We went through some possible examples for her.)
Gradually move your attention to situations where it’s a little harder to be exactly who you are — where you might have a little hesitation or hold back.
(Again, we covered more examples here.)
You’re ready to address the work situation.
At a business meeting with this gentleman, practice being real, instead of holding back. Speak up. Say what you mean. Express your true response. Don’t cover it all up pretty and throw a blanket of happy daisies on it. If you’re outraged, be outraged. Stand up and shout a little if you need to. Nobody will die. Say what you want to say without apology.
Inside, I bet your spirit isn’t feeling careful and polite!!!
SHE:No, I’m not — at all. I’m feeling kind of explosive!
ME: Well, it’s natural that you would be feeling that way.
OK, are you ready for a few more things?
First, keep in mind that he’s not preventing you from anything. He’s actually helping you be yourself. I know that idea is slightly annoying. It’s annoying that he is the reason you will improve your ability to express yourself more fully in all situations. Isn’t that ironic? Your “enemy” is actually helping you! Wild, huh? (Not surprisingly, she groaned a bit….)
Don’t be all scattered and squirrel-y, running this way and that — explaining or defending. This dissipates your energy, your focus and your impact. Instead, before a business meeting, take a moment to get centered. What are you feeling and thinking? What topics will you bring up? Write them down. It may help you be more concise when you communicate to the team.
Speak up and speak out. Make factual statements — short and to the point. And then wait. (Hint: This will require restraint.) Hear his response and make another short and to the point statement. Be direct. Use as few words as possible. “No” is a sentence. “Yes” is a sentence.
Today, I’m sharing a story about how I accidentally accomplished something on my bucket list. I ran through an exit gate while looking the other way. The hood of my car is scratched up, and one windshield wiper is a mess, but let’s have a good laugh about how we never expect what “getting what we want” includes!
It seems to be a growing fad these days to call someone a narcissist, or declare they are toxic.
Political name-calling is similar—we assign politicians and voters to categories, and brush them off as if they are unintelligent, inferior, or even worthless.
By labeling others, we miss their humanity. We gloss over their struggle, their best effort at dealing with life. We dismiss them.
We do to them what we believe they are doing to others.
Look past a label, and in the soft light of day, there stands a person like you or like me, coping as best they can. At the end of the day, no friend, parent, or lover making conscious choices intends to be mean, or to ignore, or to embellish. There is always more to the story.
If we label others, then for sure we label ourselves. We trap ourselves into believing we are less than. Or not enough. Or we don’t give ourselves the time and forgiveness to work through our “stuff.” Maybe, if we stopped accusing others of narcissism, we could forgive ourselves for those moments when we were narrow-minded, inconsiderate, or afraid.
When it comes to labels, nobody wins.
So, my dear people, I suggest we peer a little deeper into ourselves to investigate a need to separate ourselves from others by tacking them with a label filled with disdain or scorn.
It is my wish that you view this video and take it to heart.