Intrusive Thoughts

As much as I talk about intrusive thoughts on this site and in my courses, I’ve never formally defined them. And, truthfully, in all of my training over the years I’ve never come across a precise definition of intrusive thoughts. Furthermore, despite the fact that I’ve never met someone on the anxious-sensitive-creative spectrum who hasn’t suffered from intrusive thoughts at some point in their life (usually starting in childhood or adolescence), most therapists have never heard of intrusive thoughts, so when they encounter them in their therapy office they either try to dismiss them by telling their poor clients to stop thinking those thoughts (as if that’s possible) or they take them at face value: “Oh, you’re wondering if you’re with the wrong partner? That probably means you’re with the wrong partner [because everyone knows that doubt means don’t].” Or: “Oh, you think you might be gay? Well, then … Click here to continue reading...

When You're Irritated With Your Partner

A client told me a few weeks ago that she’s been feeling irritated with her husband. Then, in the hushed tones I’ve come to identify immediately as shame, she asked, “Is that normal?” At which point I told her that my post entitled “When You Feel Irritated with Your Partner” receives the most hits of any blog on my site.

“Really?” she said, audibly relieved. “So it’s really normal?”

“Yes, really. Completely normal.”

The next day, synchronistically, my e-course moderator directed me to a deeply insightful post that one of the members wrote called “The Progress I’ve Made in Six Months”, which focused largely on getting underneath the irritation. With grateful permission, I’m sharing it here:

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In the past six months I feel like I have made quite a bit of progress. I am starting to understand my fear cycle and I’d like to share it with… Click here to continue reading...

The Joy of Loving Freely

I write a lot about the power of fear and the work of relationships. I write about this to help people learn about the tricky ways that fear manifests in intimate relationships, which helps them to identify fear more readily, thereby diminishing its power. We chart how fear shows up in our minds and bodies, call it out on the mat, and thus begin the work of releasing its stronghold over our ability to show up fully for our intimate loved one.

But what I don’t write a lot about is what you can expect to feel when fear starts to loosen its grip. Is it realistic to feel the butterflies and ecstatic longing that we’ve culturally come to identify as the hallmarks of being in love? No, but it’s realistic to expect something so much better.

What are the qualities of real love?

Real love is two open human … Click here to continue reading...

Gratitude 108 Offering

We hear a lot about the power of gratitude lately. There seems to have been a hundredth monkey leap in consciousness, a global awareness that gratitude is a powerful and relatively easy way to sweep out the propensity toward negativity and connect to what’s good and right in our world.

For me, a gratitude practice is a way to connect to God (Spirit, nature, highest self; for me the word God works well). There are many ways to connect with God, of course: sitting in nature, meditating, listening to or writing poetry, a full-bodied dance in your living room, a candlelit bath, making love. I cannot say exactly what happens when we connect to the divine, as a lived experience transcends words, but you know it when you taste it.

And we know it when we’re disconnected from God-consciousness. As a culture we misplace the natural yearning to unite with … Click here to continue reading...

Like Water For Chocolate

One of my favorite books in my 20s was a little novella called “Like Water for Chocolate” by Laura Esquivel. It’s the story of a pair of star-crossed lovers who spend their entire lives longing for each other, encountering one roadblock after another until they finally consummate their relationship in their later years with such intensity that they explode into flames. The book is magical and mystical, and I knew enough at the time to know that stories like these are meant to be read symbolically, but despite this knowledge it hooked me at the level of the romantic heart and I clung to it as a realistic goal for relationships.

What I understand now is that, while it’s not possible to live one’s life according to a Hollywood movie, it is entirely possible to move toward increasing intervals of openhearted union with your partner. Your partner may not … Click here to continue reading...