The Scars of First Heartbreak

There’s nothing like the first. The first family. The first friend. The first kiss. The first job. The first baby. The first heartbreak.

The first time or experience or relationship lays the groove of a blueprint for how we navigate later, similar experiences. Our first experience of a family that occurs in our family of origin creates a groove in psyche called “family”, much like the groove in a vinyl album. When the needle of a later experience sets down on the groove of “family”, you will automatically think about your family of origin, and the overarching feeling of what it was like to be in your family will color your expectations of current or future family. Likewise, our first experience of marriage is often our parents’ marriage; what we learned, saw, and absorbed there affects our expectations, hopes, and fears around our own marriage possibly more than any other … Click here to continue reading...

Great Doubt Great Awakening

I’ll never forget the day I was trying to find a parking spot at our local market and I saw this bumper sticker:

Great Doubt Great Awakening

Little Doubt Little Awakening

No Doubt Fast Asleep

– Zen Maxim

Now, Boulder is full of philosophical bumper stickers of all persuasions, but if you know my work, I’m sure you can imagine why this one brought a huge smile to my face. You mean Zen Buddhism is supporting what I talk about every day in my work? How wonderful!

Buddhist Psychotherapist Tara Brach says it this way:

“Like investigation, healthy doubt arises from the urge to know what is true–it challenges assumptions or the status quo in service of healing and freedom. In contrast, unhealthy doubt arises from fear or aversion, and it questions one’s own basic potential or worth, or the value of another.”

― Tara Brach, True Refuge: Finding Peace Click here to continue reading...

What Does It Mean To Be In Love

Inspired by a member of my May 2013 Open Your Heart Program

A significant portion of my work is dedicated to dismantling and deconstructing the pervasive and dysfunctional messages our culture propagates about love, myths most people have absorbed by osmosis since the first time they were exposed to the wonderful world of Disney and Hollywood. The basic messages about love are:

* The point of life is to meet “The One.” * When you meet this fabled “One”, you’ll know it immediately and never suffer a moment of doubt. * If you do experience doubt, he or she is not “The One”. You must have gotten something wrong as we all know that doubt means don’t. * Love is a feeling characterized by butterflies and skipped heartbeats. If you don’t have those feelings or if they fade away, something is terribly wrong and it’s time to leave. If the… Click here to continue reading...

Breaking Up With Friends

Carl Jung coined the term “synchronicity” to describe the connecting principle that causes events or experiences to intersect simultaneously. We’re familiar with the word “coincidence” to describe a similar principle, but synchronicity carries a paranormal or, perhaps, a spiritual connotation: a recognition that we’re all connected through an invisible web in more ways than we realize.

So when the vast majority of my clients discuss the painful experience of outgrowing or ending friendships in the same two-week span, the word synchronicity springs to mind. It’s more than coincidence; it’s the sense that we’re all struggling with the same issues and that none of us are alone.

It’s an inevitable and heartbreaking fact that some friendships seem to have a finite lifespan. There are friends that you know will see you through every transition and life change, support you through every loss and joy, witness your breakdowns and celebrate your breakthroughs. … Click here to continue reading...

Falling Out of Love

It’s a natural and inevitable stage of every relationship, whether with a friend, a partner, a child, or a pet: the zest and sparkle that characterize the early stages fade away; the ease and lightness narrow into more distance or tension; the openheartedness that elevates the two of you to a state close to divinity settles into the everydayness of real life. Sometimes it happens when fear pricks the heart. Other times it happens because conflict enters the relationship. Mostly it happens because of time and the hard reality that we’re not meant to live in the first stage of a relationship forever.

There’s no problem with falling out of love except for one thing: when it comes to partners and even children, we expect the bliss or ease of the first stage to last forever. As with so many areas of relationship, it’s the expectation more than the reality … Click here to continue reading...