You Can't Have Real Intimacy Without This

Being human means being vulnerable. But oftentimes we try to control love and intimacy, not realizing that true intimacy can only arise as we develop the awareness to notice and the courage to embrace our vulnerabilities. Our task is not to transcend our humanity or take flight into a spiritual self-image, but rather to engage with vulnerability in a skillful, gentle way.

Welcoming Emotions Into the Present Moment

We're often encouraged to be in the present moment. This article explores the hidden pitfalls of trying to be in the moment-- and discusses what is actually means to live in the present.

The 2 Words You Should Stop Using Right Now

The satisfying flow of giving and receiving can deepen as we express genuine gratitude to each other and respond to expressions of gratitude from an open-hearted place. But oftentimes our language shuts down the potential contact created by expressions of gratitude. This article shows how saying "no problem" often blocks receiving, and explores other ways of responding.

Wrangling with Betrayal

There are various ways we may feel betrayed. As our sense of reality is undermined, our ability to trust our instincts, and thus ourselves, is lost. Healing from betrayal means learning to trust our experience and choices again--and allowing ourselves to experience various stages of grieving that accompany loss.

The Power of Befriending Our Feelings

This article offers a path to develop a skillful relationship with the full range of our feelings as they arise in the moment. This is a middle path between avoiding our feelings and fueling them. The article describes a way of being mindful of feelings without merging with them and getting lost in them.

Do We Create Our Own Reality?

The belief that our thoughts create our reality is as seductive as it is misleading. We might like to believe that we have total control over what happens to us. But there's a big difference between being responsive to what happens to us versus being responsible for it. This article clarifies what we do have control over and what we do not.

The Spiritual Crisis Underlying American Politics

America is a very religious nation. But sadly, we’re not a very spiritual one. A spiritual crisis underlies our dysfunctional politics. The ethic of pursuing our own individual needs and happiness keeps us narrowly focused in a way where we don't develop empathy toward others. Our ultimate happiness and survival depends on awakening to our interconnectness.

Being Real Without Being Mean

The injunction to "be real" can often be an excuse to be insensitive and mean. We create safer, more fulfilling relationships as we notice how our manner of self-expression affects others. Being authentic with others needs to be based upon being authentic with ourselves--uncovering what we are most deeply feeling and longing for, which is often something more vulnerable.

Three Thorny Obstacles to Being Authentic

In our struggle to be somebody or avoid rejection, we lose connection the beauty of who we really are. Shame and fear prompt us to remain hidden. Affirming ourselves as we are creates an empowering foundation for intimacy. This article explores common obstacles to being authentic, which opens a doorway to connecting more richly with ourselves and others.

Awakening to Ourselves as We Are

The essence of mindfulness is to be with our experience just as it is. The first step toward awakening to who we really are is to notice and accept ourselves as we are. Rather than skipping over unpleasant or uncomfortable aspects of our humanity, we are invited to be mindful of our moment to moment experiences.

4 Steps Toward a Deeper Gratitude

An exploration of what needs to happen inside us so that we’re more capable of experiencing and expressing genuine gratitude. As we notice and relish simple gratitude, we can open to the preciousness of ordinary life and connect us more intimately with each other.

Some Things We Might Learn from Robin William's Death

The sudden death of a loved person can awaken us to what's important in life. Each of us may learn important things as we reflect upon the tragic loss of Robin Williams. Here are some life-affirming directions that occur to me as i reflect upon this tragic loss.

Cultivating Gratitude

When someone offers us a compliment or expresses appreciation, how far do we let it in? When we express thanks, do we stay in our heads or allow ourselves to relish a more deeply felt sense of gratitude--allowing them to see how we've been affected? Sadly, we often let precious moments of connection pass by without availing ourselves of a rich moment of intimacy.

Connecting With Our Authentic Self

A vital foundation for with others is created as we learn what it means to be intimate with ourselves. Noticing, allowing, and embracing a full range of our feelings connects us with ourselves. A safe climate for connections is created by then revealing our felt experience to others rather than criticizing, blaming, or shaming them.

The Power of Positive Feedback

We often overlook the power of positive feedback. As we become more mindful of our power to affect someone's day in a positive way, we might gently notice opportunities to offer a positive comment or word of appreciation to people around us.

Should We Express Every Feeling We Notice?

Is it wise to express every feeling we notice? Authentic communication is the life blood of intimate relationships. This article offers some guidelines for sharing our genuine feelings in a way that builds connection.

The Perils and Advantages of Being Conflict-Avoidant

We may have been told that it's a sign of weakness to avoid conflicts, but it is always ill-advised? Knowing the potential pitfalls of being-conflict-avoidant might help us become more discerning about when it's not a bad idea to sidestep potential conflict.

What It Really Means to Be Real

Oftentimes, when we think we're having a communication problem, we're more fundamentally having a self-awareness problem. That is, we are often not noticing and revealing our more deeply authentic experience to each other. Becoming mindful of our deepest feelings and longings is a key to authenticity.

Having Needs Doesn't Mean We're Needy

Growing up in a society that worships independence can leave us feeling isolation and disconnected. Feeling shame to honor our legitimate need for connection deepens our isolation and unhappiness.

Dealing with Betrayal

Betrayal is one of life's more painful experiences. How can we bring gentleness toward ourselves so that we might see betrayal an a rite of passage to a deeper understanding of ourselves and rebuilding trust.

How to Be Real Without Being Obnoxious

Some people who pride themselves on being authentic may be missing something important. Being authentic means contacting what we're most deeply experiencing. Authenticity without kindness may be brutality.

The Power of Authenticity

We long for acceptance, love, and connection. But oftentimes we don't know how to create it. In fact, we often push away the tender love we long for. Love and intimacy can only thrive in a climate of mutual authenticity.

Deconstructing the Fear of Rejection

The fear of rejection often holds us back in life. As we find the strength to gently embrace our feelings of loss without being self-critical, we can move toward healing and feel more empowered to love and be loved.

Working with Desire

Our spiritual beliefs might lead to the belief that our desires and longings only create attachments that create suffering. This article suggests that we cultivate a rich spiritual life by embracing our longings and engaging with them in a skillful way.

Unclogging Our Love Receptors

How deeply do you allow yourself to receive the good things in life? Noticing how shame prevents us from opening to life, we can take a step toward letting in love and connection.

In Your Eyes

Through eye contact, we connect not only with others, but with the mystery and beauty of being alive. Allowing our eyes to soften and receive people can open us to a deeper sense of fulfillment.

Three Views of Relationships as a Spiritual Path

The path toward fulfilling relationships and authentic spirituality parallels each other. This article explores features of a sacred path that leads to connecting with what lies beyond our limited sense of self.

When “Thank You” Blocks Receiving

Is our "thank you driven by a sense of obligation or does it come from a soulful place of genuine gratitude? Does our "thanks" invite people toward us or push people away? How can we convey appreciation in a way that is genuine, soulful, and connecting?

4 More Reasons Why Receiving is Harder Than Giving

The prospect of receiving a compliment, an affection hug, or a gift exposes our vulnerability. This blog discusses beliefs and fears that keep people distant, which deprives us of one of life's more precious gifts—the gift of connection.

5 Reasons Why Receiving Is Harder Than Giving

If you believe that it is more noble to give than to receive, read this article to realize why receiving is actually a way of giving—and nurtures both people. It's time to understand why receiving is not so easy.