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Announcing- 8 Week Dating Teleseminar For Singles

Join our 8 Week Conscious Dating® Self Discovery and Readiness Teleseminar and Discover:

  • Why “dating” doesn’t work
  • Being single is an opportunity, not a disease!
  • How to boost your self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Solid tools and strategies to “Be the Chooser”
  • What you can do when single to prepare for the life and relationship you want
  • How to use Conscious Dating principles and strategies to finally find the love of your life and the life that you love

The Conscious Dating Self Discovery and Readiness Program is an innovative approach to helping singles achieve this most important relationship goal. With all the self- help books for singles, dating “gurus,” and advice from well-meaning friends, dating and finding a partner should be easy. The truth is, and you probably agree, based on your own experience, most singles have a hard time finding lasting love. You need clear, proven strategies and steps to ensure your success. That’s what the Conscious Dating 8 week teleseminar will provide.

For more information go to www.MadlyInLoveForeverForSingles.com/readiness-seminar

 

Happy Valentine’s Day To All Singles

Knowing who we are and what we want in a relationship is the first step on the path to intimacy. And learning to love and accept ourselves is an essential part of that. Only when we’ve made a loving connection with ourselves can we extend our love and acceptance to the people we are in relationship with.

Throughout the ages, in all parts of the world, people of all religions and walks of life have gone within to find peace of mind and solace in the face of life’s troubles and challenges. In the wild ups and downs of life, meditation and prayer is our anchor.

What is your anchor? Do you use it? Do you need to find an anchor?

Sometimes You Just Have To Eat Cooked Food

I know this is a relationship blog! And with that said here goes.  One of our associates is a “raw foodist.” I do wonder how people can live on only raw food but that’s another story. One day he told us that he does “cheat” now and again. He gives in to cooked Indian food now and again. I can’t blame him!

Last night I could not, for the life of me, practice what I suggest to my coaching clients: see everything as an opportunity. What do I mean? I sat with Lewis and just spewed out a big list of things that “I am not happy about, or are not fair, or are hard to do.” I was on a roll!!

Suddenly I thought of Bill and his occassional cooked meal. That’s what I did last night-I had a cooked meal. My cooked meal was “a complaining smorgesboard”

Today I’m back on raw food. In other words back on track: seeing everything as an opportunity.  Life is good, it is what it is, I am grateful and moving forward. Matter of fact in about a half hour I’m off for a swim!

Bill tells me it feels good to eat cooked food now and again. In the same way it  feels so good to flow with the “off days” and then get back on the living and loving life train to the best of my ability.

Hope you get my drift!!

Love Right Here And Right Now

Lewis and I are on our way home from  Baltimore and the Washington DC areas after attending a joyous wedding of our good friends’ daughter.

The day before the wedding we visited three places that were on our “bucket list” -the Vietnam Memorial, the World War II Memorial and the Holocaust Museum.

Phew, there are no words, only sadness and the thought how horrible people can be to each other at times.  As I walked away from these three sites I felt a deep stirring and remembering in my soul. The only thing I can do is to love and be kind to each and every person I meet. 

 As we searched for our car on Pennsylvania Avenue,  I held Lewis’ hand and  thought, “ I get to practice being loving and kind right here and right now with Lewis.”

Something besides a text…..

I am sitting here in our living room and in walks my 25 year old daughter. “What should I blog about?” I ask her. She finishes drinking her water and here is what she says.

“Talk about the importance of appreciation. I know so many girls that would rather find a napkin with a love note or a flower rather than receive a text message.  I know one thing-I and many of my friends love when someone wants to spend quality time with us. It’s so valuable-way more valuable than money could ever be.”

This made me think that maybe the new generation is missing some of what we in the older generation grew up with. So leave a note, a flower, take time for a walk…something other than a text.  I’m so glad I asked my daughter what to blog about!

The Value Of Vows

I, a Catholic, will be celebrating my sixth Passover with my husband Lewis.  Lewis’ tradition for celebrating Passover is kind of like the Christmas season condensed into one week. The entire kitchen– pots, pans and dishes– changes; the refrigerator gets emptied out completely to make way for the special Passover foods; there’s tons of baking and cooking.  Lewis happily prepares for the Passover seder and the eight days of Passover at our home are joyful, loving and heartwarming.

When we were dating Lewis invited me to a Passover seder and told me all that he did to prepare for it. He shared his love for this holy tradition and said that he would do it this way forever and it was important that his partner agree to do this with him.

When it came time for the “I do” we both made a vow to honor each other’s religious traditions and join in as much as possible.

So I have a secret to share. Our schedules this year are busier than ever. There is a part of me that wanted to suggest that we simply join in with the synagogue festivities and not do the Passover seder at our home.

Why didn’t I make this suggestion? Because when I said yes to marrying Lewis, I made a vow. I knew what Passover would look like.   

So I made the shift in my mindset.  I asked myself, “What did I need so I could be as happy as usual about honoring my vow to Lewis?”  I needed help with the spring cleanup that is part of the holiday preparations.  I enlisted the help of my daughter and nephew for those chores.  Now I am excited above the Passover holiday and can be fully supportive for Lewis. While sitting at the Passover seder this year, joyously celebrating with family and friends, I will feel a deep sense of contentment, knowing that I honored my vow.

The Most Important Relationship Skill is NOT Communication!

Part two of two (Part One posted 1/11/11)

THE IMPORTANCE OF OWNERSHIP

It is not someone else’s fault that you are thinking or feeling something good, bad, or indifferent. It is coming completely from inside you.

The principle of ownership can be hard to grasp when our partner provides the trigger for how we feel and react, but the fact is that while our experience is involuntary, we do have complete choice over the meanings we create and the actions we take.

Behavior follows patterns. Nothing ever happens just once. If you don’t strive to take complete ownership of your thoughts, feelings, and judgments, you will follow a pattern of blaming others, playing victim, and your life and relationships will suffer.

HOW TO TAKE OWNERSHIP- A FOUR-STEP PARADIGM

I have found that the easiest way to take ownership of your experience in a relationship is to keep in mind the triad of Facts, Judgments, and Feelings-

Facts- usually a measureable event (“the sky is blue”)

Judgments- the meaning we make of the event (“the blue sky is pretty”)

Feelings- our emotions and sensations (warm, cold, happy, sad, etc)

Oftentimes, what we human beings do, especially when we’re upset or excited, is we make judgments about something and try to make that be the fact.

“You make me so angry.”

“You’re a jerk.”

“I love you.”

“War is hell.”

“Ice cream is good.”

These are all judgments you might feel so strongly about you believe them to be true. While they might be your personal truth at the time, they are not facts, no matter how strongly you believe them to be true.

It all starts with an event or stimulus. Something happens that gives us a certain experience.

Then, we react to our experience by making meaning of it and forming judgments.

Then, our judgments stimulate our emotions- mad, sad, glad, fear, shame.

And this all happens in the blink of an eye.

We can then react consciously or unconsciously. If we react unconsciously we will act out our feelings and judgments, whatever they are.

If we react consciously we will separate the facts from our feelings and judgments and then decide what meanings to make and actions to take. This begins by reviewing the facts in your head and making sure you’re not mixing in judgments.

STEP ONE: REVIEW THE FACTS

“OK, the sky is blue, we’re walking in the park together, the temperature is about 76 degrees, I just said “It’s a beautiful day” and my friend said “No, it sucks.”

STEP TWO: REVIEW YOUR JUDGMENTS

“Hmm, I believe it’s a gorgeous day, walking here is wonderful, and I judge that my friend isn’t getting it at all.”

STEP THREE: IDENTIFY YOUR FEELINGS

“I’m glad it’s such a beautiful day, sad that my friend is troubled and not enjoying it, frustrated and angry at their negativity.”

STEP FOUR: MAKE A CONSCIOUS CHOICE

Once you’ve separated the facts from your judgments and feelings you are in a much better position to decide what to think, feel, and how to react. Notice in the above example that the judgments and feelings are mixed, which is common. If you are conscious you can choose amongst the mix of judgments and feelings that you will embrace and act upon, and which you will discard or leave alone.

In the above example you might decide to focus upon your sadness that your friend is having a bad day and choose a compassionate response, and to discard your judgment that they aren’t “getting it.”

THE POWER OF TAKING OWNERSHIP

It is our nature to have lots of thoughts, judgments, and feelings; some that we want to identify with, and some that we don’t. It is common to confuse judgments with facts because we believe them so strongly. It is common to confuse feelings with judgments as well (e.g. “I feel like you’re so wrong about that!”). It is common to have conflicting reactions, such as “You’re a jerk” and “I love you” at the same time. While our experience is involuntary and overwhelmingly strong and real for us at times, as conscious beings we can pick and choose our truth and what we say and do about it.

Therefore, we are responsible for what we feel, think, say, and do. There are no victims in the conscious adult world. Taking ownership gives us power over our choices and destiny, and thus is the key to a successful and happy life and relationship.


© Relationship Coaching Institute | All rights reserved | Used with permission

Most Important Relationship Skill is NOT Communication!

The single most important relationship skill is not communication, it’s taking ownership.

Successful relationships require taking ownership of your “experience.”

WHAT IS YOUR “EXPERIENCE?”

Your “experience” is what happens inside your body and your mind in response to events. It is composed of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations.

Your experience is involuntary, it just “happens.” It’s neither good or bad or right or wrong. Your experience is always OK and valid.

YOUR THOUGHTS

We spend a lot of time in our head listening to our thoughts. Sometimes thoughts just pop into our consciousness automatically, and sometimes we direct our thoughts with intentionality to solve a problem, express ourselves, make a decision, etc.

And some of our thoughts are judgments. A “judgment” is making a meaning or interpretation in response to an event (right, wrong, good, bad, theory, explanation, reasoning, logic, etc).

FACTS VS. JUDGMENTS

You and a friend go for a walk. You say “It’s a beautiful day.”

Your friend responds “No, it sucks.”

Your reaction is to be surprised. You can’t imagine how anyone could experience such a warm, sunny day to “suck.” Your impulse might be to argue with them- “Are you kidding? Look at that clear blue sky. It’s a gorgeous day!”

This is a very small example of a huge dynamic that creates more relationship conflict than anything else you can imagine.

So let’s take a look at this. You observe the following facts:

The sky is blue

The temperature is 76 degrees

You are walking in a park

Facts are typically measureable events and can be observed through a video camera. If you poll 100 people about a fact, such as “Is the sky blue?” you will typically get almost unanimous agreement that it is blue (except from the color blind!). If you poll 100 people and ask “Is the sky pretty?”, you are asking for an opinion or judgment and will typically get less than 100% agreement.

Your experience of the day is positive. You interpret the blue sky as “beautiful,” the temperature as “perfect” and “comfortable,” and your body “feels good” to get exercise by walking. These are meanings you’ve created from your experience of the facts or events.

Your friend’s experience is negative. We don’t know why yet, but there are many reasons why they might judge the day to “suck.”

YOU HAVE A CHOICE

In the above example, you have a critically important choice to make in your response to your difference of opinion about the day-

Option 1: Focus on the difference (e.g. “Are you crazy? Look at that blue sky and tell me it’s not a beautiful day!”)

Option 2: Focus on curiousity, compassion (e.g. “What’s going on for you?”)

The unconscious knee-jerk response is often to focus on the difference in our experiences and judgments. This choice discounts and argues with any point of view that doesn’t mirror ours and leads to conflict.

It requires a conscious choice to accept differences and not impose our own experience and judgments on others. To come from a place of curiosity about and compassion for a human being who we care about who thinks and feels differently from ourselves.

*********End of Part One.  Part Two will be posted tomorrow.

© Relationship Coaching Institute | All rights reserved | Used with permission

Relationship Goal-Setting: It Isn’t Sexy, But It Works

It’s January and if you are like us, you are busy thinking about your New Year’s resolutions and 2011 goals.  When you think of goal setting, it’s not a sexy topic. At first blush, you might not think about goals and your relationship at the same time. However, unless you give attention to your relationship, it will stay the same. We just love that quote defining insanity:

 “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

So ask yourself: Has your relationship been “stuck?” Are you going insane? Maybe it’s time for you and your partner to start creating some relationship goals.

For example, if you are dating casually, you may have a goal to advance the relationship to exclusivity.  If you are in an exclusive relationship, you may have a goal to get engaged, get married or move in together.  If you are happily married, you may have a goal to build an extraordinary relationship. If you are unhappily married, you may have a goal of reviving your relationship.

Individual Goals  vs.  Joint Goals

We will make this very simple. There are two categories of relationship goals:

(1) Individual goals about the relationship, and

(2) Joint goals about the relationship. 

Here is an example of each.  “I want to become a better listener” is an individual goal.  “We will add more play and fun to our relationship by making an extra date night on Wednesdays” is a joint goal.  Here’s the difference: with the joint relationship goals, both partners must agree to them and participate in them.

Our Goals Setting Process

Our process every year is simple.

1. On our own, we revise our own individual goals for the new year.  These individual goals include personal goals and individual relationship goals. These do not need to be agreed upon, and sharing is optional.

2. Next, we individually write some ideas for joint relationship goals.

3. We share our joint relationship goals with each other and begin the process of crafting mutually agreeable joint goals.  When we both come up with a similar goal, it’s easy to meld our individual versions into a common goal.  When they don’t meld, we discuss them. Some become joint goals, and some get pitched.

For example, Lewis’ proposed goal of a scuba diving vacation got nixed when he discovered Diane is not a fan of the underwater world.  However, Diane’s proposal for working together on a flower garden was happily adopted by Lewis.  We never try to coerce each other into adopting a joint goal that we are not both excited about.

Things Not To Forget

We make our goals comprehensive, covering all aspects of our relationship: home, family, work, leisure and finances.  We ask two questions that help us create our joint goals: (1) What do we value in our relationship, and (2) What do we want to improve in our relationship?

We write down our goals. Why? The kinetic energy of hand writing goals seems to helps with the manifestation process.  Our goals, whether joint or individual, become clearer and easier to understand when written. Most importantly, we can refer back to our written goals to see how we are doing. This helps us stay committed.

Think Big, Plan Small

We think BIG about our goals so that they excite us.  For example, a set of financial goals might include: be debt-free, obtain a vacation home and retire at age 62.  However, once we agree on the big goal, we plan the small steps necessary to achieve those goals.  These small action steps are things we can achieve in the current year. We love feeling successful and we always celebrate our little wins.  We make sure our celebrations are ridiculously fun!

Benefits Of Goal Setting

First benefit: We connect to each other as we dream about our future together. 

Second benefit: We discover where our dreams are not in alignment and decide how to deal with that without judging or arguing

Third benefit: We create action steps that will ensure our success as a couple.

In our office, we took the advice of the wise and created a vision bulletin board.

“Hold an image of the life you want, and that image will become fact”.  Dr. Vincent Norman Peale

The Fun of Sharing Our Individual Goals With Each Other

 Although our individual goals don’t necessarily have anything to do with our relationship, we choose share these with each other.  This helps us understand what is important to each other.  Intimacy is instantly created. Furthermore, we find ways to help and support each other accomplish our goals.  For example, Lewis has a goal to walk 20 minutes each day and Diane has a goal to do two Toastmaster speeches a month. We support each other by scheduling daily walks together during which Diane practices her speeches.  

Using a Coach

When you have a coach, you do what you say you’re going to do.  Why? Because you know that your coach is going to ask you if you followed through. We like to call it “healthy pressure.’

Throughout history, kings, presidents, rulers, athletes and actors have used coaches. Today, coaches are used in many areas of life, including relationships.

There is no lack of information about coaching. Suffice it to say that we have used a fabulous coach and now offer relationship coaching to others.

S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Here it is–an oldie but goodie–like business goals, relationship goals should be S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.  The more your goals embody these five characteristics, the more likely you will achieve them.     

Speaking of  Goals

“There’s no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There’s no telling what you can do when you believe in them. And there’s no telling what will happen when you act upon them.”  Jim Rohn

Happy Relationships at Christmas and Chanukkah Time

Here we are having some fun at our friend’s holiday party where both Christmas and Hanukkah are celebrated. Our good friend Steve, who usually plays Santa at this party, was ill.  So Lewis stood in as Santa. Definitely a first for Lewis, a wonderful Jewish man. That’s Diane on his knee and our friend Carolyn playing Mrs. Claus.   We honor and enjoy each other’s traditions. It definitely helps keep us madly in love forever!