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”

You can be a classy gem who no man can resist. No matter your age, weight, size, or height. You can be the one to have your pick… You can shift an atmosphere to shift any relationship with a man so that  men become easy for you to deal with … It is simple and happens quickly once you have the right tools.. ALL women have what it takes to inspire a man and you do too. Many of us have shut ourselves off from our inner classy gem… Our culture has told us we must… Not true… We can be big business women and still live the life of a classy gem who is cherished at home by a loving man. It’s not one or the other. Men are not as not as enigmatic as they seem when you are in the throes of man pain… trust me… a few small changes and your world will shift… Mine did… Many lovely ladies who I know have seen a shift too… In their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. Turning love lives around. You can do 3 simple things (… I’ll show you how) and… men will be pursuing …. you will be  the one selecting from among suitors. When we work with how WE are wired and how THEY are wired, it all falls into place. The three things…

1. You can overcome trauma with the tools on this site… 2. You can learn to speak to men in a way that works… 3. You can be present and true to YOUR feelings at ALL times…

Three principles for navigating love tips on this site…

  1. Authenticity firstEverything you speak from your lips must be 100% true in the moment, true to your real-time feelings… Drop acts… personas … pretenses… drop  sarcasm… No more trying to seem funny and laid back … that’s his job… it’s his job to squirm and impress… squirming isn’t for ladies… for a man, it is exciting to work for it… for us, it feels draining … no more cool girl who is “just one of the guys”… no more buddy mode… friend mode isn’t for ladies… it is invulnerable… it’s  a practice in guardedness…. no more pretending to love football if you’d rather be dancing … no more “playing” hard to get… he’ll feel it… he’ll sense you trying to “land” him… he won’t respect you… A classy lady doesn’t pretend… She knows who she is and lives authentically moment to moment… her true self… she knows HOW SHE FEELS and  isn’t afraid to share feelings … she lights up in everyone’s presence and a man feels lucky to be a witness … she speaks her true feelings (not about him… about HER  own emotional experience from moment to moment… even her own fiery anger  draws him in.. she feels what she feels and damn the consequences). As hard as it is to imagine… That woman is a woman who a man respects 100%, a woman he feels safe with, a rare gem he cannot resist! Authenticity first.
  2. Connection, not competition… (If you find yourself in a power struggle with a man… you’re off track… If you are struggling in a tense atmosphere, you’re disconnected from your feelings… dissociating… Arguments and Analyses aren’t very classy… That mode is rigid and distancing… In the middle of a struggle, in drama, simply stop and say… “I feel weird. I don’t know what to do. I feel disconnected. What do you think?”).  This cuts through drama and tension, reconnecting you to yourself, to the moment, and to him. Connection, not competition.
  3. NO games, NO drama, NO strategies… Authentically relating in a classy way is the ONLY way to inspire love and connection with a man … there is no way of gaming the system of long term love and attraction (If it feels like a game in your gut, if you are fixated on a single man, getting a man to do what you want by way of rules, you are trying to control a man and win him. The winning over is the man’s job, not yours. Attempting to control a man or win him WILL NOT WORK! (EVEN if you attempt it PLAYING by tried and true rules… hard to get as a game won’t work!). Why? Rules can’t SHIFT THE ATMOSPHERE. He can feel that the rule is a cover for insecurity. Rules are not classy… All forms of “trying” come across as needy, desperate… the atmosphere created pushes a man away eventually. FREEDOM is central to a man. A good man, a strong man, a man you want… that man wants a woman who is concerned with cherishing HER feelings, being true to herself more than she cares for strategies to make it work with him. Waiting to call back, avoiding his calls, analyzing his words or your own, all can be felt IN THE ATMOSPHERE… It feels clingy and needy and obsessive to him… He may not have words for it… can’t put his finger on it but he ends up annoyed and turned off. The atmosphere created by a classy lady can’t be faked whether rules are or are not followed to the letter. A woman must have a REAL shift to draw in a romantic, loving, connected, fulfilling relationship. If you end up in control mode… analyzing, strategizing, trying, exerting …you can shift… Try it now… pause, drop into your body, discern what you are feeling in this minute, feel it to the fullest (happy, sad, mad, glad),  speak it aloud with an I statement… simply… no analysis (“I feel mad”… ” confused”… whatever it is). This will interrupt and reset a toxic atmosphere… It will cut through drama… it will reconnect you to the present … to yourself… and to him …) NO Games for a classy lady.

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 … he may care for you or he may not… you are not committed… not married… and marriage is not on the table.

You start to feel insecure… You start to feel needy… You want to cling or withdraw or some combination…. You suddenly want more time with him but you want to play it cool…

Don’t be cool, weird, inauthentic, or crazy…  No drama… Try this …

  1. Tell him! “I feel needy… I feel insecure… oh, this feels hard for me…” You can almost make it playful… But it’s true too. A confident woman shares how she truly feels. No games, no apologies, no sheepishness. He can handle it. He can relax with you when you are open. He can give to you and take care of your needs which makes him feel good…like a man. You are letting him in by sharing this truth with him. No drama. It’s respectable. It’s reasonable. You’re not apologizing, grovelling, or playing games.
  2. Don’t stuff the feelings: But remind yourself – Oxytocin is literally in your bloodstream – clouding your rational judgment – it will wear off a bit in a few days or a week. It bonds a man and a woman… it is consummation of a marriage on every level, including physically … a bit trickier in the absence of a real commitment… hence the feelings of disconnect between feelings of attachment and a reality of no actual commitment. Regardless of your religious stance, this cognitive dissonance is undeniably reflected in the biological and physiological reality of attachment feelings … So remind yourself of the reality of oxytocin. It can ground you in those moments of insecurity. And if premarital sex violates your values as a Christian, talk to someone about that. Clergy.
  3. Let yourself feel it… Let yourself feel close. Don’t push him away… share your feelings and needs. “It feels good to see you more if we have sex”… “I need to hear from you more. I feel a bit insecure, needy, clingy”… Cuts through drama. A man wants to give. And any man, even a not so good one, respects a woman who speaks this way.

 

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 his competitive energy). Do Say “AND…”
  2. Don’t say… “I want…” This activates his competitive mind… puts you in the 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… NEVER… EVER… EVER… (for an exaggerated example… See “pass the salt” in love tips)
  5. DON’T ARGUE. Don’t fight fair… Fight Feminine. DO share feelings using I statements. Don’t use the word “you” ever again from here on out. Especially not 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. Don’t do it. Firstly, it activates competitive energy in a man, changes his physiology. There ARE ways for a lady to be heard. Silence is the most powerful. Silence is the power language of a lady. A few vulnerable words about your own feelings followed by silence is most effective. He will hear you in that silence later… as he reflects. Hearing you later in  silence is very typical for a man … not if you keep talking. Then he drowns you out. It is physiological. Men flood faster than woman. They have a lower threshold for emotional conflict. If you are feeling like you stuck are in a loop… feeling repetitive…. if you are using a lot of words (for any reason at all) you are trying to control him… he feels that… he rebels … instinctively… EVERY time… Instead, find a way out of the conversation IMMEDIATELY. 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 who he is competing with. Masculine vs. masculine kills the “Eros” . Secondly, he CANNOT HEAR YOU when he feels threatened… it is biology… physiology… neurology… He can hear anger … he can handle anger (see more on anger in love tips) … He cannot her you when he feels threatened by competition… too many words shut him down too. Always stay in  your feminine mode. Even when angry. A woman may yell and express her feelings but then off she goes. She doesn’t overstay her welcome or argue…
  6. Don’t initiate sex or physical intimacy – he feels turned off. He MAY appreciate the sex. He WON’T appreciate you.
  7. DON’T ASK QUESTIONS (2 exceptions: 1. What do you think? (DO ask that OFTEN) 2. Are you mad at me? (Feel free to ask that – it is disarming and it may open needed dialogue… When a man withdraws notably, it ALWAYS means he’s angry – likely he feels disrespected. He doesn’t have the words to tell you so. Asking if he is mad may help. On this point… See also… my 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. DO Receive and Respond. Always… 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. Don’t be mad. Be smart. 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… That’s it.

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

  1. You are a classy lady… Do Receive and Respond… Do not initiate.

Live in receive and respond mode, not initiation … Initiation is his job.

Yes, always…

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

Receive and respond, do not initiate…

2. Do… Melt… “Melting” is the one concept you need for all physical intimacy … Check out my “melting tools” under love tips.

3. Don’t have sex to get close. Don’t have sex to get commitment. It will not work. Men’s brains are wired differently. Physically. They can’t help it. Don’t be mad. Be smart. 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 physical intimacy with commitment. They may say they do but they are not physically wired to do so and if you watch their actions, rather than words, you can learn that this is the case.. Just as they do not associate cohabitation, exclusivity, or dating longevity with commitment… men do not associate sex with commitment… we do… by default… physiologically.

Don’t blame you. Don’t blame him. Just be smart.

A good man may care that sex means something to you…and sex may make him feel connected… it won’t make him committed… As polite as he may be about your feelings of attachment, sex won’t change how he feels about a commitment with you. Commitment happens from his heart. Not his head.. And not any other body part.

In fact, there is only one thing that a man associates with commitment:

… actual commitments… the ones he makes not the ones you make …

And the only actual commitment in a man’s mind is marriage.

Men fall in love as they invest in you. Every bit of investment a man proactively makes invests his heart more in you and a relationship. That’s why you must leave space for him to invest and respond with appreciation when he does. 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 him, calling him, 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 o you.. A man cannot fall in love with a woman who is investing thoughts, energy, and actions in him. He can’t fall in love if he didn’t have to invest his thoughts, energy, and actions into pursuing you. It’s how a man is wired. We share love, we feel attached. We do and we feel attached the more we do. But, he doesn’t feel attached by the things we do no matter how sweet they are. The more we stand in his way by doing for him, the less attached he feels. He may be polite… he may enjoy what we do and the fruits of our labor. But, he doesn’t feel attached to us. A man falls in love as he invests… his action, his doing and his pursuing, him giving to you… It’s how he is wired. Once this is embraced or even accepted as a working hypothesis to test out, you can begin to use tools for inspiring and living in respond mode rather than invest mode. As life becomes easier, simpler, more rewarding, you will heal and find love.

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

PTSD and your Love Life

You don’t have to be a war vet or have a violent childhood to have PTSD. Divorce will do it… So will a bad break up…

And the more bad break ups you have, the more likely you have some degree of PTSD. We all have some…

PTSD grooves neural pathways in ways so that you may respond to life from triggers, from the reptilian brain (Amygdyla), rather than being able to access true feelings (emotions you are having in the present – the ones that are authentic and are not as much historical). You will also be able to access more readily your prefrontal cortex (rational mind) in tough moments when you need to. If you dissociate any time you feel pressure with your man (evidence of that is you shutting down, acting cool, lashing out, withdrawing, putting on airs and personas, going into a childlike state, feeling desperate, begging pleading, etc), you may be acting in maladaptive ways that prevent any man from connecting with you even if he wants to… he can only connect with you when your adult self is present and your heart is open, without airs. Therefore, even if you learn the best way to talk to a man, which I will show you, you may still struggle to make new choices if you have significant PTSD. That said, good news… even this can start healing today relatively quickly… You can reformat your own neural pathways through tools and new choices.

I am NOT a doctor. I am not giving medical advice. If you have a condition you know of or you think you may, see a doctor.

That said, PTSD you may have from divorce or other abuse or abandonment history can also be addressed with tools for healing your brain in little ways. We need a 2 prong approach to overcome whatever you are doing to push love away… whatever you are doing to keep love at arm’s length… or further away.

On the one hand, you are learning tools for speaking and interacting with men that will change things quickly (… and the tools will yield neural pathway healing as you experience positive feedback in your romantic life that contradicts the old loop).

That said, on the other hand, you may also need tools for healing yourself in small ways in addition to interactions with men so that when you are out there with your man or any man, you can find it easier to handle him in the ways you have learned. In other words, I will help you to trigger yourself in small ways (a bit of exposure therapy) so that when you are with your guy, you can experience a feeling of being more relaxed and integrated, less inclined neurologically to dissociate … dissociation pushes him away because your true self, your adult self, is not present. A man wants to be with an adult woman.

You will feel triggered with your man sometimes… and that is fine… you will be more comfortable being in that experience and well-equipped to respond to those feelings with authenticity, femininity, honesty, and openness to draw him closer rather than push him away by shutting down and putting on airs.

It may even be as simple as telling him… wow, I feel triggered… I feel anxious… I feel bad… this feels bad… things feel weird… or whatever it may be. Or you’ll shift the mood with the tools listed in the section on tools for healing yourself.

You always have options… For more information about PTSD, check out our book recommendations.