Sex Begets Sex

One might think, given how much I write about relationships, that I would write more about sex. I’ve touched on the subject sporadically – here and here and here – but I haven’t delved into the topic in depth for a variety of reasons, the primary being that it’s such a vast and complicated realm that it’s difficult to do it justice in a single article. Still, because the topic arises so frequently with my clients and on my forums, it’s worth diving in a bit more, even if we only scratch the surface.

I’ve written about what’s “normal” and hopefully have shed some light on the connection between anxiety and sex. A large part of my work consists of debunking the pernicious “shoulds” that weigh heavily into psyches and mutate into shame. When we’re up against an externally derived barometer of what a healthy relationship should look like, we … Click here to continue reading…

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The Uncorked Heart

At the center of ourselves, at the very center of our body and our soul, lives the heart. When we allow ourselves to stay in the flow of the feelings of life –  feeling sadness when it reaches out like a child in the dark, feeling jealousy when it pricks the side of the eyes, feeling anger when it scalds like lava, feeling joy when it hums and laughs – the heart remains open and fully alive. In this openhearted state we’re more attuned to gratitude, we feel excited by life, we’re open to creative inspiration, we inhabit our bodies, and we’re more open to giving and receiving love with our loved ones.

But so often we plunge up our hearts like a cork in a bottle. We do this because we learned early in life, from a culture that doesn’t have the faintest clue how to guide its members … Click here to continue reading…

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The Joy of Loving Freely

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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…

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The Antidote to Fear

I’ll always remember when my younger son broke through one of his major fears. The year before, after a fateful trip to Disneyland, he developed a severe case of separation anxiety. If my husband or I left him alone for even a minute to take out the trash or get the mail he would panic. Babysitters were out of the question. Our world became very small.

We honored the fear for a while hoping that, with time, it would dissipate. But month after month he continued to show the same level of panic surrounding separation, and we knew it wasn’t healthy for him or anyone else in our family to allow it to continue. We employed several tools and sought help, and soon he was ready to try to stay at our close friends’ house so my husband and I could have a much-needed date. We all rallied around him, … Click here to continue reading…

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In Love with the Feeling of Being In Love

A term appeared on my e-course forum several years ago: infatuation junkie. Forum members were using it to describe the phenomena of chasing after the feeling that arises during the infatuation stage of a relationship, what our culture calls being “head over heels in love” and is accompanied by belly butterflies and other heart-stopping sensations. It’s an eye-opening moment on one’s journey from relationship anxiety to acceptance and serenity when the person afflicted with the addiction to the feeling of being in love can identify it as such. Naming, which is another term for coming out of denial, is often the first step toward recovery.

It’s understandable that we would chase this feeling. What’s not to love about the feelings of aliveness, meaning and completion that arise as a result of “falling in love”?  Ultimately isn’t that what we’re all seeking – to feel fully alive, to live a … Click here to continue reading…

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