Trust Your Gut

It happens in an instant: your partner comes to you for a kiss or sends a flirty text and your body tightens and recoils. Your habitual, culturally-conditioned mind interprets your physical response as “truth”: “This is my body’s way of telling me that something is wrong in our relationship. I’ve been told my entire life to trust my body, that my body doesn’t lie, so if this was the right relationship surely I wouldn’t have this negative physical response. Everyone tells me to ‘trust my gut’ and here it is. My gut is clearly telling me that this must be wrong. And now my panic button has been hit and I feel like I can’t breathe.”

If we understood how fear works, we would be able to offer another interpretation, which might sound something like this: “My body is registering fear right now. From what I know about fear, the … Click here to continue reading...

I Love You Go Away

Among the many misconceptions that people have about love – that it’s only a feeling, that the feeling of being “in love” should exist from day one, that attraction is static and based on external attributes  – the faulty belief that often gets swept under the rug more than any other is that love is ambivalent. What does this mean? It means that:

Love includes doubt Love includes indifference Love includes boredom Love includes numbness Love includes irritation Love includes the need for space Love includes doubt Love includes – dare I use such a strong word – hate

We live in a culture that thrives off of definitive answers, which essentially means that we squeeze life into dualism: you can either feel happy or sad (but never both at the same time). You can either feel attracted or not attracted, but certainly not both within the span of an … Click here to continue reading...

Falling in Love with Other People

Let’s blow the cover off of another taboo topic in our culture, one that causes my clients to barely be able to whisper their experience loud enough to share it with me: “falling in love” with people other than your partner, including bosses, celebrities, religious figures, and even your therapist.

I’ll start by reiterating something I often express on this blog, which is that I deeply wish that we, as a culture, were more educated about the normal thoughts and feelings that the vast majority of people experience. It saddens me that there are still so many aspects of our inner terrain that remain hidden. I’m not sure where these kinds of conversation need to be happening – perhaps in school or university – but I know that the vast majority of the shame that people feel about their normal thoughts and feelings would be eradicated if they simply knew … Click here to continue reading...

Holy Fear

We hear and read a lot of fear these days in psychological and spiritual circles. Mostly, fear is painted in a negative way as the energy that we have to wrestle with and overcome in order to live a life of joy. Most of the statements and quotes we read about fear pin it in the position of the enemy, the obstacle, the dark road. These quotes are accurate, but they’re only talking about one kind of fear. There’s another face of fear that needs and deserves our attention.

Recently, while reading Rabbi Naomi Levy’s book, “Einstein and the Rabbi”, the phrase “holy fear” leapt out at me from the page. She writes:

“There are two divine attributes that emanate toward us: they are love and fear. Love and fear are always keeping each other in check like yin and yang. Love is an outpouring that flows from the soul, Click here to continue reading...

The Fear of Losing Control

When we spiral down into the deeper layers of anxiety – whether relationship anxiety or any other form that anxiety takes – we find some universal root causes that live at the center. These exist on both the emotional and psychological/spiritual planes, and they all need our attention if we’re going to heal. It requires tremendous courage and fortitude to peer directly into the root causes without the filters of projections or defenses protecting us, as when we peel away the hardened shell that has protected our hearts our entire lives, we come face-to-face with our own soft and defenseless vulnerability.

On the emotional level we find a fear of “enoughness”: Am I lovable enough, good enough, worthy enough to be loved? Of course, as I’ve discussed extensively in other posts and in my courses, this fear often first manifests as a projection onto your partner’s perceived imperfections, but when … Click here to continue reading...