Allowing your current man to become just another man in the rotation…

One thing I discovered recently was that I can free myself from a very dark place relatively quickly. Dropping the power struggle. Being almost 7 months pregnant and unmarried, I was unaware of how much shame I was carrying around by having a big belly and no ring. I am not married. The father of my beautiful amazing daughter on the way was excited to marry me for many months and we got pregnant and things changed.

One of the things that changed, perhaps the most important thing, is that I lost my own confidence. If a “diva” (in the good sense of the word), is a woman who knows her own worth, let’s just say, I lost sight of my diva-hood. I felt so much joy for my little girl and at the same time, bogged down in shame, thinking that everyone can see in a ver visible way (by my ringless hand combined with a growing belly) that I did this all wrong. Here I was helping girlfriends. I even saw a friend meet a guy, become engaged 4 months later, and marry him in less than a year (after she had not dated for ages and had been suffering attachment to an old flame for a good year or two), and another friend had not dated in 6 years, met a nice guy and they are doing well. And, I had been a part of those successes by sharing some of these tools in those friendships. And now here I was suddenly pregnant, unmarried, and not feeling so diva-like anymore myself. The man and I went ring shopping… he was gung ho to move in and to help… and even to prepare to marry…But didn’t feel financially ready to buy a ring. And was getting a new job. It all felt hectic and difficult. And… I lost my cool. I panicked. I did all sorts of things to push love away. I felt sick, hormonal, confused, and a lot happened, and as my belly got bigger, the lack of the ring haunted me… he suggested we ring shop… and now, at this point, I was feeling like all of it was happening backwards… like I was going to miss out on my one romantic engagement process… I only want to be engaged and married once… and I wasn’t sure about him or us. I could barely think beyond nausea and pineapple cravings and how icky everything smelled, including my guy who was trying to be there, trying to make things work…

So confusing…

… And it all went from bad to worse…

Fast forward many months …

I finally realized all this shame that I felt was bondage for me.

Not wanting to go to church with a belly and no ring. Not wanting to talk to any men with a belly. Not wanting to talk to women about these tools if I was unmarried and pregnant. All sorts of things that I love that feel good to me, I was letting shame to get in the way.

And this was putting pressure on my relationship with him… And on me…

I had adopted an idea that I had to marry HIM. And make it work with HIM. I felt clingy and needy and desperate and was now in a masculine role of pursuit, and this man was no longer sure about me or us, and was saying he doesn’t want marriage, and even if he was still doing most of the calling, and showing up, my vibe had shifted in the wrong direction.

And then… in a matter of weeks, as I revisited and practiced my tools again, I remembered something simple…

I CAN be married and it doesn’t have to be now and it doesn’t have to be him.

And things shifted…

I realized this man is offering certain things that do feel good to me… he would like to help with the baby.. He is providing some financial support… He likes to help with my apartment. I can let him do these things if they feel good to him and he wants to offer and if they feel good to me and if he doesn’t want to be married, I don’t have to close off my options to marry.

And, if what he is offering doesn’t meet ALL of my needs (some needs that he was meeting before he may not want to meet anymore – for example, I like hearing I’m loved, a date out on the town like once per week, a sense of security in any man’s desire for me, and now, with a little one on the way, family too, some things he is open to, help around the house, and with the baby, and he is good at how to be smart with money and I can receive from that, help with my joy when she comes, but for ALL of my needs to be met, ultimately these things will all combine in a marriage, without losing fun and adventure of a bit of romance and dating, and with an engagement process that feels exciting and fun for everyone).

Before pregnancy, this man was beginning to meet all of my romantic needs, standing out, pursuing, calling, planning dates, etc, reliable, sure of me, although we were not exclusive until I became pregnant (and even then I was not sure if I was ready to be exclusive as I wasn’t engaged yet, and it felt like sudden pressure on me… I didn’t want to be exclusive until I was engaged. I wanted to keep options open. I wanted a romantic process from engagement to the altar… and now I was nauseous 24 hours / day…) when we tried to add baby on the way to where we were, not engaged, without a romantic proposal experience, or a pre-marriage process feeling fun and exciting, it didn’t come together, I felt sick physically, I still didn’t really want to live together until marriage which had been a boundary that I was now breaking because I felt so needy and sick and pregnant and hormonal. We were planning on pre-marital classes. I wanted to but it all felt rushed and less romantic than I hoped for my engagement process I only want to do once! I only want to be married once!

And as I felt so ill all the time, it wasn’t anything like how I had hoped for it to be. At some point, he admitted that he felt unsure about being a dad. And eventually he became unsure about us too…. So many things not lining up. It all sort of fell apart.

And at a point, when I was feeling at my most insecure, clingy, needy, crazy, desperate, not all too unsurprisingly, he no longer felt sure about us either and the more that dragged on, the worse things felt.

And it turns out, that is all ok! I may need ALL sort of things and I can have it ALL. I can have all of needs met which now include a man entering into a family with me. I can allow the father of my child to offer whatever he wants to at this point. I can also be open to receiving from other men too, even with a big huge belly, and once she comes, with a baby, keeping my options open until ALL needs are met which now still includes romance, and also openness to family, both, and with all of those things on the table with a marriage commitment. And I still want my romantic engagement process done right. And I can have it… When it all lines up, not some of it, all of it.

Until then, why not enjoy and appreciate what is offered by this man and yet open up to receive from others too. And see what falls into place.

In other words, I had fallen into an “urge to capture” without realizing it… And now I realize, even as the father of my child, we are not married and he is really just another man in the rotation insofar as he even wants to be at all. He may leave the rotation or he may want to offer more or less or not, who knows?

But my focus is back on me, my needs, having them met from wherever they come easy, not hard, not forced, not from a particular man, even the man whose daughter is in my belly.

Since I had this shift, all sort of good things are happening fast.

This morning, at church, I caught a man staring at me as I was enjoying the scenery of the parish and he looked away a bit nervous to be caught. I felt good in the moment. And that was enough. I was walking down the street on the way to church, and two women and a man walked by and the man said “good morning” and I responded. And that felt good too. Another moment of receiving. A woman at church shared her joy at the hymn we had just sang just as I was thinking how much I love that hymn and how much I had enjoyed singing it. I felt a nice moment of connection and joy there also. And she asked about my baby girl on the way. And another couple men walking behind me, said hello too and it felt good to let it in. I saw three ladies taking pictures outside my parish and they were joking about videos on how to suck in one’s stomach and I laughed aloud with amusement, understanding amusement, of being a woman. And I felt connection there. And all of these moments, in less than 30 minutes of my morning!

In other words, it is amazing how rich and full of joy life can be. How many men there are out there. How easy it is to get my needs met once my focus is off of any particular man and is back on my own needs and back in the present moment. The present moment is endless, infinitely, rich and full of life and joy.

I do hope to be married and to enjoy the warmth of family love with my little girl and a partner, the joy and romance and adventure of dates here and there with my guy maybe my little girl is home with babysitter or a friend on those evenings, and also the commitment that comes when a man has freely chosen to crash his boat on the rocks of our little family because he feels like the luckiest guy alive to be a part of our world. And until that shows up in one man, I am open to having each and every one of those needs met day to day by whoever is showing up to meet them. And this is a very exciting shift and adventure into the unknown.

One of my “siren statements” that came to me in the end of Rori’s program as I was revisiting it was “I am the smile that lights up the world”. I realized I have a beautiful smile. How easy it is to share that and how it brings me joy to smile too. I feel some fear when I look in a man’s eyes. I had overcome that last year when I discovered modern siren at first and was circular dating for months before I got pregnant. And I didn’t realize that I had shifted back into myself over these past months since. Until this week, I started making eye contact again and smiling at men and how I suddenly felt like the world was bigger and I was less alone. The other night I was in a group and a man was sitting next to me and he struck up a conversation and I was feeling hot and he interrupted the group to get a fan working. Made a bit of a scene over it and it felt good to let that in. And I let him feel my belly eventually, my little girl kicking. Next thing I knew two other men were trying to get the fan working also for me. All I had to say was” It feels a bit stuffy in here” with a smile.

I imagine we all have smiles can light up the world. Eye contact is a quick way to feel connected… the world expands. If you have been closed off for a while, you may try it a few times and feel fear and it may feel awkward but sticking with eye contact and a smile with every man you meet, it will quickly become easy and you will start to receive a lot from it. It may take courage to give it a shot but the healing is amazing and worth it… One day I was walking down the street and it spontaneously came to mind that my smile is a gift to others. It came to mind because I just happened to smile at someone on the street and saw his entire mood turn around. I don’t smile to give but it is an easy gift.

So… Anyway, so much can change so quickly. The world can expand quickly.

There may be a time when you feel stuck in a rut with a particular man. If that happens, imagine if he were to become just one man in your rotation rather than a goal to capture and imagine if all of your needs could start being met right now, starting today without that man doing anything differently… the world is big and ready to give to you. And imagine if you no longer felt locked in to any man who is not meeting ALL of your needs… you are ABSOLUTELY not locked in if you are not engaged or married to him…

And a whole new world can open up right away that changes you from the inside out.

And even if you are married to a man, you can do all of these same things anyway, obviously you wouldn’t take a date, but everything else, why not?

Hope this helps someone else as much as it has helped me…

There is Faith in the Asking – Matt 14:25-33 – 3/7/2017

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Often when we read this passage, or at least my experience has been, there is a focus on Peter’s lack of faith leading to his sinking in the water. It often seems the moral of the story is that “if we have faith, we succeed, and if we don’t have enough faith, we fail”. I am not so sure that is the primary point of this passage. And we know that it is not the case that we are in control of all that happens in our world simply based on how much faith we have. The theology that results that idea can be tragic. For instance, if I don’t have enough faith, I cannot heal my own cancer? If a child dies, was it because I didn’t have enough faith? Clearly the Lord is not saying this.

I am struck by the faith that Peter displays… in the asking… “Lord, if it’s you… tell me to come to you on the water”. Imagine you are in a boat on a dark, cold, windy night. Even if you saw your friend walking on water, or you thought you did, would it occur to you to ask your friend to inspire and equip YOU to walk on water to meet him in the middle of a lake? Probably not… you would not imagine it possible. Maybe my friend can do all sorts of things, acrobatics, magic tricks, not me. But, Peter knows the Lord. He has seen enough to know that Peter can do things he could not before when he is in the presence of Christ who equips him. This is evidenced by the public ministry of the disciples… The disciples participate in sharing the Lord’s gifts with others, not simply as bystanders but as servants to the Lord’s ministry… participants in ministry. It is reasonable in Peter’s mind that the Lord may be walking on water even if there is no one else He could imagine to be capable of such a feat. It is a step beyond to ask him “Lord equip me to walk on water too….”

One way that Peter recognizes Christ is the fact that the Lord can not only do great things but also has equipping power. In his presence, when he is asked, when Peter humbles Himself to ask, Peter is equipped do things in cooperation with the Lord that he cannot do on his own or may not even think to ask. In asking for help to walk on water, Peter IS displaying faith in the identity of Christ as the only one who equips Peter to go beyond Himself. It is also the case that equipping power is way that we recognize the Lord. No human power equips us, inspires us from within, calls us, sends us, and empowers us. The Lord does not only do mighty works and put on a show. He also equips us as we enter into a willing, open, trusting, two-way relationship with him.

This is not the same as the Lord orchestrating our circumstances to please us so long as we pray hard enough. It is equipping of us to do what is within his our purview, our will cooperating with the Lord’s, to go beyond ourselves. We still live in a world with others and with circumstances. Much of those things are not in our purview. However, we can always ask to be equipped, to be inspired, to be invited, to participated in that which we can do. This requires openness, humility, trust, faith, and willingness.

When Peter begins to sink, he has stopped believing in himself and the Lord’s equipping power. He has stopped focusing on who the Lord is and has started turning inward toward his own fear and limitations. This is where we sink. We turn away from the Lord and inward toward ourselves and our limitations. It is the difference between focusing on Him who equips us and focusing on ourselves.

In what areas of your life can you turn outward to the Lord and ask for his help today. Help to equip you in all things within your purview? In what areas can you be focused on him today… less focused on yourself and your limitations, more focused on Him and Christ in you… so that you can meet the Lord out on the water of your own life and calling?

 

“Stay with me”

Healing my relationship with food after decades of disordered attachment and aversion.

Food is relational…..

Paradigm shift – “What if every meal is a date with God?” “What if I never had to feel lonely again at mealtime?” “What if food is a relationship, not an object?”

I have been experiencing a healing paradigm with food and eating. Every meal is a date with God… Eating is relational, not transnational.

The words that reach me in the midst of eating are “stay with me”.

“Stay with me” is a call to  presence: Mind, body, soul. Essentially a call back from a desolate dissociative place where I’ve been going since I was a kid. Imagine when a person is about to die…. paramedics are on their way and the loved one says “Don’t go to sleep, stay with me”. As morbid as this sounds, it is not. It is breakthrough… Read on. You’ll see.

I was not aware until doing some healing work that every eating experience was a trauma trigger… Imagine that… And since I was a child I formed a habit of dissociating at mealtime, any time I consume, prepare, or select food. Those 3 activities are trauma triggers.

Growing up, I rushed while eating to get away from the table as soon as possible. This came to me one day at a silent retreat.

The tension, the stress, fear, anxiety of living in that house. Meanwhile I was literally reformatting my brain, my hard drive, to escape into food over and over and over. To associate food with pain and pleasure, with escape and avoidance, with euphoria and suffering.

To heal from that many years of one way… a new paradigm is needed. And a new brain…

Also, loneliness and food had always commingled  for me. I was escaping into food, seeking comfort in it, seeking family in it, seeking friendship in it, seeking love in it, seeking companionship in it. And, at the same time, it was a wall between me and actual friendship, actual love, actual companionship. Where Jesus broke bread with disciples, I would break bread in the presence of others but my heart, soul, and body (and my brain – neurologically) would leave the table, checking out. People are in front of me and I am not with them.

In other words, eating was a double edged sword… Escaping into it as a habit to find solace, comfort, love, and friendship. And instead, I was always finding cold comfort, worse yet, finding cold comfort even when others are right in front of me perhaps offering the real thing. Years later, decades into adulthood. I was still that little girl at the table trying to escape into food and from the table, no matter who was in front of me. Food was a distraction… Love/hate, approach/avoid, no peace. It wasn’t part of being with people. It was my exit.

There is a solution, a way out of this. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Food as a new relationship, a date with God and eventually part of a date with others.

This means spiritual and emotional healing, also physical healing, neural pathway healing. If any one of those ideas puts you off, don’t worry. Take your pick. The experience works on all levels.

Now, these days, at mealtime (I have 3 meals … and 1 snack around 3pm, maybe another if needed, I am not rigid. I am honest and discerning about that), always inviting God into

1.  prep

2. food selection and

3. consumption.

That is 3 activities. And it’s not an idea. It’s a reality. T

his means… I am having a date with God. I never have to be lonely again at mealtime. It means I have gone from dreading meals as a cold comfort, a dissociative ritual and a love/hate relationship with something I have to do that I associate with counterfeit love…. to looking forward to meals instead… It is almost like a fun game. That game is healing my brain one meal at a time. And more than that. Soul healing too. Relational healing. An experience of not feeling lonely.

How does that work?

Meal time has become somewhat sacred. An intentional date. Not so much relying on God, although this is happening too in a way but it is more like communing with God. I literally think “wow, this is a date. The opposite of loneliness.” That thought does something in my brain… physically. It’s the opposite message that my brain got as early as I can remember. The old message was “I am in a burning building, about to die (table in my f’d up home) and I need to get out as soon as possible” This is the opposite. It is a corrective experience.

Another thing happens. That new presence of mind creates space for warmth and connection to happen. I eat slowly. I select slowly. I prepare slowly. While I am eating, this new world of being not lonely contrasts with decades prior and there is grieving that bubbles up and it happens and instead of the grieving feeling empty, it feels like a full experience of reality. This grieving needs to happen. It is healing. The measure of loss comes up for healing. The difference between mealing warmly on a date with a loving God and what it was like to meal as a child in an abusive home. There is a measure of loss. I am entering right into it rather than dissociating from it. This is transformative and life-changing, one day, one meal, one snack, one neural pathway at a time.

I am reminded of my ACA (Adult Children of Family Dysfunction) recovery. Over a period of 3 years, I was simultaneously working on a new healthier relationship with my mom in the present while that sort of exposure therapy of getting to know her as a friend was also triggering needed grieving. I didn’t have to expose her to that aspect. It would not be wise or helpful. I could simply feel that measure of loss from the past and maybe share it with others at times. She and I were becoming friends, non-codependent, no rescuing on either side, no fixing, no drama, sharing cat videos rather than stories, and at the same time, the little girl inside me was grieving never having had that mommy she craved day to day and the reality that she never will be able to have that. Never get those years back. That needed to be faced and felt fully. Both were happening at once. The new was forming in a better way and loss was being grieved all in the same events. Exposure therapy is the best analogue / paradigm to convey this. There is no working around grief. It has to come up. A life of denial, dissociation, and limitation in relationships is the only alternative to that.

Food is a great analogue. Very similar.

A relational paradigm has been healing me one meal at a time while the broken relationship of the past is being grieved. All the years I came home at 3pm as a kid… the one thing I had to look forward to was fruit roll ups in the cupboard. That was my 5 minutes of euphoria and excitement. The denial, indulging in the anticipation of relational needs being met in the eating experience. And then a hit followed by loneliness instead. An addictive relationship formed. Decades later, I still feel lonely at 3PM. I treat it with a walk or the best treatment is a walk with a friend. Relational needs are the ones I needed to be met and those are met in relationship. They never were met in that house. Now I have hope… Another fun game. Making my 3PM walk and snack not a lonely time. Not a time for dissociation, quick hits, and euphoria, followed by desolation. Something better. A true relational experience, an experience of connection. It also happens to be that I benefit from a metabolic snack around that time for a physical reason but that snack is different than a fruit roll up escape. A healthy intentional snack and a date with God, with the beautiful world, maybe a friend. a walk, photography, nature, a girlfriend. A corrective experience.

I always wanted food to be like other undesirables in life… Some people are addicted to cigarettes or alcohol. The answer is to quit…. I wanted it to be something I could just do away with because it felt like an enemy… And, food is not like that for obvious reasons. And then I just realized, this reality is a gift, a blessing. Eating is not a relationship I can run from. I used to run from the table at every meal… family time was awful. I used to run from the houses at holidays. My birthday was a great time for a fight, not a time to be celebrated. I would run crying from celebratory meals and I would run anxiously from any other meal. Running is not an option. I have to eat.

Why is this good?

Like I didn’t choose to run from my relationship with my mom with the help of friends who helped me to navigate a shift…. Instead I used it instead as a way of healing with her and healing myself through the exposure therapy… exposure to the new healthier relationship and exposure to the grieving of my past. Similarly, healing with food is something that has to be done using exposure therapy, not aversion. This, it turns out, is a blessing in disguise. So many meals and so many snacks. So many opportunities many times / day to enter into a date with God and a new relationship, a healthier one, and to grieve the measure of loss from the past where that relationship was broken.

Little bits of healing at every experience of selection, preparation, consumption. What a gift.

More to come soon…

Love Tips: Three Principles for Navigating “Love Tips”

1. I hope you can overcome trauma with tools on this site… 2. You can learn to speak in ways that work… 3. You can be present and true to your feelings from now on..

Three principles for navigating love tips on this site…

  1. Authenticity firstEverything you speak must be true and real in the moment. Speaking to a man, anyone. Practice speaking in your body to express reality of the moment.
  2. Connection, not competition… If you find yourself in a power struggle or drama or a game with a man (or anyone really)… you’re definitely off track…
  3. NO games, NO drama, NO strategies… Authentically relating is the only way to build love and connection with anyone … there is no way of gaming the system. If you feel like you are strategizing, you probably are in drama or a game and are pursuing outcomes in a masculine way… it means you’re off track. Drop your guard immediately… find something authentic to say or do. that grounds you Get away from love tips, take your focus off a man or anyone, and look more into the tools for connecting with you until you are out of the strategizining and gaming state and tips can be tools for actualizing your own authentic self rather than tactics for getting an outcome.

What makes us unchristian is the absence of Christ – 2/1/2017

“What makes us unchristian is the absence of Christ”

P .26 Magnificat – February 2017 Edition

As I was reading this, I felt drawn into it, to pause. Isn’t this true? It is not simply an epithet. It’s ontological. It’s literally the case that we are unchristian when we are physically absent Christ. I.E. No matter how good an act looks or well-intentioned, in the absence of His actual presence, the act is not a Christian act. On the flip side, in the presence of Christ, an act, however baffling it may appear, is a Christian act. This means… It is not about how we identify or think of ourselves that makes us “Christian”, nor is it our deeds, nor is it the prayer we said at conversion time… It is about Christ’s ontological presence in and through us. This is all that it means to be Christian. To be in his presence and operating from that communion with Him moment to moment. That means, it’s not a one and done. It is an ongoing relationship. And while our deeds are not Christian or unchristian, his witness is seen in those deeds when they are inspired of his presence and this can be the case regardless of how a person identifies him or herself. The moment MY identity as a Christian becomes paramount, it is immediately narcissism. It is about HIS presence always. Witness is always about HIS presence and HIS presence only which can be seen in and through us and our deeds and it can also be smothered by us and even by our good deeds. This may sound paradoxical but it is not. It is simply true. Christ is a living, breathing, Person…. inspiring Himself in and through us as we commune with Him… or not. There is grace and also our response which is either welcoming or rejecting of His presence. And this decision is not simply made once, nor is it even made daily, it is made moment to moment in our life, our loves, and our choices. Will we love Him or will we reject Him by loving ourselves more? This can happen in any human person at any given time as we are all made in His likeness and image. There is no special club but there is a choice. Do I want credit or do I want Christ?

More About Sex: How to Recover From Oxytocin Overdose

What if you had sex before you are ready… now you feel attached …  you are not committed… not married… and marriage is not on the table.

You start to feel insecure… You want to cling or withdraw or some combination….

Try this …

  1. Tell him how you feel. “I feel needy… insecure… this is hard for me…” A woman with self-respect shares feelings and doesn’t stuff them.
  2. Try reminding yourself of Oxytocin. Remembering how the hormone is affecting you can be grounding in of moments of insecurity.
  3.  If premarital sex doesn’t fit who you are, talk to someone. Clergy. God. Find your true north. Not what others think, not society or otherwise. You can’t get comfortable with anything that doesn’t align with your values, nor should you try. Whenever you leave yourself behind, you leave the man too. He can’t see or love you, if you’re not really there.
  4. Let yourself feel the pain if its there, and also let yourself feel close. Don’t push a man away… own your own feelings. A man respects a woman who is true to herself but also doesn’t want to be blamed and if he does love you, it will hurt him to be pushed away and will damage trust. Let him see you.

 

To Dont’s: Cheat Sheet (Quick Reference Guide) – Top 10 Tips

DON’T say to a man: 10 Things…

  1. Don’t say “But…” (The word “but” triggers competitive energy). Do Say “AND…”
  2. Don’t say… “I want…” This activates his competitive mind… puts you in friend zone… hampers his ability to freely give to you. Freely giving to the woman is a man’s lifeblood. It’s in his DNA. Don’t steal his thunder.
  3. Don’t say… “I think…” This activates his competitive mind. Puts you in the friend zone… Do say… “I feel…” This activates his pursuing, protecting drive. Instinctively.
  4. NEVER TELL HIM WHAT TO DO… (for an exaggerated example… See “pass the salt” in love tips)
  5. DON’T ARGUE. Don’t fight fair… Fight Feminine. DO share feelings in I statements. Don’t use the word “you”. Especially in the midst of tension. (Best to say “I don’t know… I don’t want to argue… if he’s picking a fight… DO say… I love you… this doesn’t feel good… or… if necessary… I love you and I don’t want to talk about that … or… if hearing his words feels bad inside…DO say … you’re free to say this but it feels bad… And then, duck out for the time being…) If you are feeling flooded, back out of a discussion. Arguing with a man and using a lot of words at any time for any reason is like saying “… I think…” on steroids. Firstly, it activates competitive energy in a man, changes his physiology. There ARE ways to be heard. Silence is powerful. Silence is a power language of a woman. A few vulnerable words about your feelings followed by silence is most effective. He will hear you in silence later… as he reflects. Hearing you later on his own is common for a man … if you keep talking, he drowns you out. It is physiological. Men flood faster than women. They have a lower threshold for emotional conflict. If you are feeling stuck in a loop… feeling repetitive…. if you are using a lot of words (for any reason) you are trying to control… he feels it… he rebels … instinctively…  Instead, find a way out of a conversation. Once you fall into an arguing pattern, it is a death knell for “eros” and intimacy. It changes a man’s brain… rewiring him to see you as an enemy… competition. A man cannot be attracted to a woman he is competing with. Masculine vs. masculine kills “Eros” . Secondly, he CANNOT HEAR YOU when he feels threatened… it is biology… physiology… neurology… He can hear anger … he can handle it (see more on anger in love tips) … He cannot hear you when he feels threatened by competition… too many words shut him down too… stay in  feminine mode. Even when angry. A woman may yell and express feelings but then off she goes. She doesn’t overstay her welcome and argue…
  6. Don’t initiate intimacy – he feels turned off. He may appreciate sex. He WON’T appreciate you.
  7. DON’T ASK a lot of questions (2 exceptions: 1. What do you think? (Do ask that often) 2. Are you mad at me? (it is disarming and it may open dialogue… When a man withdraws notably, it means he’s angry – likely he feels disrespected. He doesn’t have words to tell you so. Asking if he is mad may help. On this point… See… post entitled “For a man… Respect = Love”)
  8. Don’t ask what he is thinking (He feels smothered).
  9. Don’t ask how he feels (He feels mothered)
  10. Don’t Talk First. Don’t Lead. Don’t Initiate. Melt, Receive, and Respond. Let him ask questions. Let him ask you out. Let him propose. Let him wrestle with the words to pursue. Men appreciate what they pursue. It’s instinctive. It’s biological. It’s not a game.  For more on this, read about “letting him lead” in love tips.

Love To Dos: Cheat Sheet (Quick Reference Guide)

Try 1-2 items on 1 of the “to do” each day… resist doing at least 1 of the “To Don’ts” every day. Don’t try this all at once. Commit to 1 or 2 changes / day. Your relationship will turn around fast….

Practice sharing feelings in a prayerful and poetic way. (I feel lost at sea… I feel enamored of this beautiful sunset… I feel nostalgic and maybe even a bit sad imagining my mom and dad danced here so many years ago… ”

Practice “present timing” using objects, sights, senses, smells, and sounds…

Listen to the traffic deeply. How does it feel in your body to hear the buzzing of the cars?

Smell soaps and candles or the grass and even the air as you walk… How does the smell feel in your body?

Watch candles dance… How does it feel in your body watching a candle dance?

These sorts of things will heal you and open you to be a more receptive woman. They will also protect you. As you are more aware of your feelings, you become open and boundaried at the same time. This is the elixir that draws a man in and also heals you to choose wisely. It does both… And you need both.

Good things to say to a man  – cheat sheet

Hmmm…
Hmmm… ok
Hmmm… that’s interesting
Awwww… you’re so sweet
Ok
Ok 🙂
What do you think?
I feel…
This feels…
It feels…
I don’t want…
Maybe
I don’t know

When a man asks you to do something say either 1. Ok… or “sure, that feels good to me” or… 2. I don’t know… I feel unsure about that… or … staying home feels good to me … 3) I don’t feel good driving… or I feel so busy today. It feels hard to fit that in… or… “I’m not up for xyz” or… 4) BEST yet when possible… share the boundary in positive terms rather than negative – i.e. sharing what does feel good to you (EG: he asks you to drive to his area or meet halfway for a date – “I feel good meeting in my neighborhood.What do you think?” or “I feel a bit old-fashioned. I’m not up for meeting halfway on a date.” or “I feel so beat after a long week. I’m not feeling up to the drive” or “I’m not up for XYZ town. ABC town feels good to me. What do you think?”

Do…

Make eye contact and smile. Hold eye contact, get used to it. Desensitize yourself to intimacy and it will become easy and comfortable for you.

Listen a lot and listen deeply. Become a good deep listener. Learn how to enter the world of the speaker with your imagination. It’s a practice. And it’s actually fun. Grounding and healing. Life becomes richer and you will feel connected to the person in your company and less lonely overall as a result. A whole new world.

Express appreciation when a man gives to you. (Ways to appreciate without giving and stealing his thunder – a smile, a head tilt, a slow brief rub on his arm or shoulder… a kiss on the cheek and “awww, you’re so sweet…”, sharing what you love about the GIFT, not about him (wow, what a beautiful arrangement of flowers, I adore them…)

For texting… A few good replies…

It feels good to hear from you…
Awwww, you’re so sweet
hugs
I feel so good hearing that…

A single emoji :-)... a great reply text when a man is winding down or closing a conversation (leaves the ball in his court without dropping it – it’s good to bounce a ball back when he’s tossing it your way – not good to initiate… not good  to reopen an exchange that is winding down or has wound down… this feels like pressure and smothering to him… it is pursuing and it pushes him away… he may stay in touch if you do but he will  tire of it… he will feel annoyed and he won’t know why after a while… let him pursue you… phone… date …  text… email… if he is the man for you, he will keep moving things forward without you having to put energy into keeping it going or moving it ahead… being responsive without pursuing is different from dropping a ball hoping he’ll come after you over and over… that’s a game… it comes across as needy and insecure ironically… letting him pursue means staying warm, open, available… that is true confidence…  not moving it forward but also not avoiding him… it means being there emotionally open when he does … dropping out to test his pursuit not the same… that is drama and it is a game… you don’t want to do that… a man tires of it as much as he tires of feeling pursued… On a gut level, he can feel the difference between a classy woman who let’s him lead and an insecure woman who is trying to be hard to get… even if he can’t put words to the sense he has… the game, the drama, will eventually kill his love and his respect for you)

In general, don’t text too much or you may end up in a fantasy relationship.

One or two texts or email replies before you have met (if online dating) and when you are further into a relationship (i.e. you are the apple of a man’s eye, a man who is not interested in other women because he is so focused on you, is calling every day, inviting you out regularly, picking you up for dates, paying, thinking future, etc.), then you can respond a bit more but not a ton, still only one or two at a time. A reply  or two at most when he reaches out and then back to your day… A man can call, take you out, and marry you… instead of texting all the time.

Check out love tips for more on each of these suggestions. Also review online dating tips and texting tips …

 

Healing with Quotes: Lectio Divina Applied to Quotations

Bathing in the healing power of words…

In contemplative Christian spirituality, there is a practice called “lectio divina”… a prayer practice in which a person slowly reads a bible passage, dwelling on each of the words. Generally, a passage is read 3 times by a reader and a listener simply listens… allowing whatever comes up… to come up… This edifies the reader, basking… being bathed in the healing power of words being read. This can also be done on one’s own. To read even a single verse… slowly, 2-3 times… may take 10 minutes or so. A reader feels a shift… and good things happen.

Since not all of my ladies reading here are Christian and even for ladies who are Christian, I would like to offer an expanded experience in which you can apply a lectio divina mindset to any good thing you see, feel, hear, or read… as a practice of “entering in…” to an experience. Applying the idea of entering in slowly… basking… being bathed in a good thing that is happening right now. We often go to our analytic minds for answers and we get ensnared. For my Christian friends who may be skeptics, we are told to take “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ…” this means not simply analyzing thoughts or replacing thoughts with yet more or better thoughts… rather it means entering fully into the presence of Christ in each moment as we experience a thought or anything else we see, touch, or feel for that matter. The intent of that Scripture is to remind us to be present with Christ himself, not simply to analyze ideas “about” Him.

For my non-Christian friends, a lectio divina state of mind experience, can be a deep experience of goodness, healing, and can lead to maturing emotionally by becoming more real, more aware of our own feelings, more aware of what others are sharing, less checked out. Fully entering into a phrase can do this… But it can also happen by entering sensations, colors, sounds, sights, feelings, stories, paintings, scenes, sky, radio, conversation, eating food, the taste of it, or… words of another (entering the words of a man as if you are in a story with him as he tells it… not focusing on him… focusing on the words being shared… listening deeply to the words and stories of another person – this will draw a man to you and he won’t even know why… he will feel connected to you… this is not the same as obsessing about what a man says or focusing on him as he tells the story… it’s more like being another character alongside him in the scene he is describing… co-pilot if he is sharing a story of flying his plane… a passenger in the car if he is sharing a story about being on the road… check out my tool for deep listening in love tips for more on this dating and relationship tool). In the experience of basking in words, you experience your own life to the full by slowing it down. Also, things will come to you that are helpful, healing, edifying. Things you need to know. Things you didn’t notice before when you were consumed with your thoughts.

In Christian life, there is a concept of “discernment”.

Discernment, for a Christian, is something we cultivate through prayer…and practice. It is a gift, like everything good is a gift… But, it is also cultivated… just like everything that matures only matures through cultivation. Discernment, for a Christian, is essentially, the idea of getting good at “hearing God’s voice”…  But, in more general terms, non-Christian terms, we can call it getting good at “being present”. In neurological or physical terms (loosely, not highly technical  terms) we can call it that which leads to forming new neural pathways so that we become habituated at being attentive to life. Presence can actually become a habit that will equip you to connect with your feelings and other human beings. The world is lonely without connection. In a sense, many of us are lonely, walking around disconnected much of the time… in drama and stories, in a state of dissociation. This means we are disconnected from people even as we are interacting with them… like the state of Adam Sandler in the movie “click” whenever he used the fast-forward button on his life remote… we are  stuck in our analysis… or  caught in a combination of fear/anxiety and the draining mental effort we have on auto-pilot which is consistently trying to hide, stuff down, or escape the anxiety while putting on airs… It is exhausting and disconnecting us from others … we can’t connect in that state. To connect, we have to practice. I’m not hear to debate science or theology. I AM an empiricist, among other things. This works. It changes lives. It heals. It connects. It draws love in. I’ve seen it time and time again in my own life and the lives of all sorts of suffering women. I don’t care about science or theology debate here. I care about results. I care about women everywhere healing and experiencing joy, love, peace, true intimacy with a man and everyone else. This works. Try it yourself and see.

Read a quote or anything that brings you joy a few times slowly. If the thing you try first doesn’t move you, don’t get frustrated. Just drop it. Work with something else that does move you. And try it next time something jumps out at you or you hear something that feels good or feels wise or profound. It’s also okay, even good, to try it with things that “move” you. In other words, it is not pollyanna. We are not stuffing feelings and only feeling good one. Not all things you experience need to make you feel “happy” in order to heal you. In fact, variety is good. We have all sorts of feelings we have dissociated from. It is good to experience whatever is actually happening. You will be healed by being able to feel moved… in any way… sad, nostalgic, whatever the feelings are that you have as you read words, go with it. Let them move you.

No analyzing… If it feels like too much or it starts to get boring, drop it and move on to the next thing.

Practice being “movable”. This will inspire a man to feel safe with you too. If you are movable, not only can a man get close to the real you but he can drop his act too. He can be movable… every man craves this and he doesn’t even know it.He only has access to the fullness of this life through a woman who can feel.

In Catholic spirituality, there is the concept of the world being “sacramental”. That means that there is NO divorce between the physical, emotional, spiritual, and visual. A person, for example, is an integrated whole, not just a bunch of parts. Just like you, as a person, are not just your parts, but rather a person, you, similarly all that we see, touch, and feel is itself  integrated. Now go ahead and forget that. You don’t have to believe or agree with theology or philosophy to benefit here. I bring it up for my Catholic friends to draw an association that may be helpful… also for my non-Catholic friends to access your intuitive understanding of the idea of something being integrated… this may help you to enter into a thing fully, integrated rather than falling into that neural groove of hyper-analyzing and breaking things down, a mind habit. If the concept is unhelpful, forget it, and move on…

Let’s get back to basics. Try on a lectio divina state of mind with quotes, feelings, visuals, images, stories, etc… To Do…

Read a quote or anything that brings you joy a few times slowly. If the thing you try first doesn’t move you, don’t get frustrated. Just drop it. Work with something else that does move you. And try it next time something jumps out at you or you hear something that feels good or feels wise or profound. It’s also okay, even good, to try it with things that “move” you. In other words, it is not pollyanna. We are not stuffing feelings and only feeling good one. Not all things you experience need to make you feel “happy” in order to heal you. In fact, variety is good. We have all sorts of feelings we have dissociated from. It is good to experience whatever is actually happening. You will be healed by being able to feel moved… in any way… sad, nostalgic, whatever the feelings are that you have as you read words, go with it. Let them move you.

Not analyzing… If it feels like too much or it starts to get boring, drop it and move on to the next thing.

Let me know how this helps you. I know that it will.

Men and Sex: How to Draw Him Closer

Three (3) tips…

When the time for physicality comes…. hugs, kisses, warm embrace, touching, making love…

1. Receive and Respond… Listen, let him initiate and be open when he does. It is part of the masculine / feminine attraction for the man to lead and you to follow.

This is no less true in bed than it is on a text, a call, or a date.

2. Melt… “Melting”  is it… Check out “melting tools” under love tips.

3. Don’t have sex to get close. Don’t have sex to get commitment. A man does not release the same quantity of Oxytocin at orgasm that a woman does. Oxytocin is a bonding hormone. Men do not associate intimacy with commitment. They may say they do but they are not physically wired that way and if you observe actions, rather than words, you can see this is true.. Just as they do not associate cohabitation, exclusivity, or dating longevity with commitment… they do not associate sex with commitment… we do… physiologically.

A good man may care that sex means something to you…and it may make him feel connected if he has feelings for you… it won’t make him commit… Commitment happens from his heart and his head aligning, not any other body part. It happens when he feels both safe with you rationally, and in love, emotionally..

There is only one thing a man associates with commitment… actual commitments… the ones he makes, not the ones you make …

And the only real commitment in a man’s mind is marriage. That is why they get married once they are sure.

Men fall in love as they invest in you. Every bit of investment a man makes invests his heart more in you. That’s why you have to leave space for him to invest. Don’t take the reins and invest in him.. As a woman, you inspire by responding and appreciating, not by giving. If you invest in thinking about a man, doing things for him, pursuing, calling, baking him pies, you drive him away. You are stealing his thunder and standing in the way of him falling in love which he can only do when he is giving.. A man cannot fall in love with a woman who is over-investing. He can’t fall in love if he didn’t have to invest HIS thoughts, energy, and actions into pursuing you. It’s how he is wired. Once this is embraced or even accepted as a working hypothesis to test, you can begin to use tools for being in melt mode rather than invest mode. As life is easier, simpler, more rewarding, you can heal and experience love.

For more on that, read about “How men fall in love” in love tips.