A Manual for Love

I wish I had been given one. I wish we all had been handed a Love Manual in a class in high school, and taken levels two and three in college. For there are basic laws and practices we could have learned that would have made the path of intimate relationship so much easier had we only been given the proper roadmap.

I don’t believe that there’s one manual that would apply to every aspect of every relationship. That would be like saying there’s one parenting book that applies to all parent-child configurations and would resolve every child-raising difficulty. It sounds alluring, but when that promise is made I turn the other way, as relationships of all kinds are far too complicated to be simplified into a one-size-fits-all formula.

But what I have learned over many years of being in intimate relationships and guiding others through them is that there … Click here to continue reading...

The Wall of Unshed Tears

The wall around your heart is not made of bricks or concrete or glass; it’s made of unshed, hardened tears, water that began soft and fluid then gathered together like guards when they were not allowed release.

Our hearts are born soft. We’re born to love: to give and receive without reservation or inhibition. We’re born to allow a trusted few into the deepest regions of psyche, to the places where imaginations roam freely in the forests and wild spaces. We invite them in, and if they don’t receive us as we need to be received, if they hurt us or come too close or leave when we need them most, the heart shuts down just a little.

If it happens again, if the children make fun of us and the grownups fail to protect us and we learn anything other than the truth – that we’re magnificent, worthy, intelligent, … Click here to continue reading...

Love Rests On No Foundation

“Love rests on no foundation,

It is an endless ocean,

with no beginning and no end.

Imagine, a suspended ocean,

riding on a cushion of ancient secrets.

All souls have drowned in it,

and now dwell there.

One drop of that ocean is hope,

and the rest is fear.”

– Rumi

One drop of that ocean is hope, and the rest is fear. My practice is full of people who are struggling with relationship anxiety: women and men with loving, attentive, honest partners who are stuck in an anxious loop and trying desperately to dissolve the block of fear so that they don’t sabotage the best thing that ever walked into their life. But if the relationship is so good, why, as Rumi wrote in this poem, is it so scary?

I used to think that love was only scary for people who had come from abusive childhoods. I … Click here to continue reading...

“I’m Scared to Love You Because I’m Scared You’re Going to Die”

My mother was in town last weekend to celebrate an early Thanksgiving. We had a lovely time and it filled my heart to see the way she delights in my boys and affirms our out-of-the-box parenting choices. Being of like mind and similar temperament, she and Everest have always had a special connection, but something seemed to cross over to a new level this trip. As he shared his passion for technology and she reveled in the workings of his mind, I could see Everest opening his heart to her fully. He taught her how to make a Bucky Ball cube, showed her his Perplexus 3D marble maze, and listened together to Jack and Annie traveling to Italy to apprentice under Leonardo da Vinci for a day in a Magic Treehouse audiobook. Grandma scratched his back as they lounged on the couch together and he relaxed completely into their bond. … Click here to continue reading...

The Top 10 Reasons to Leave Your Partner (According to Fear)

Fear’s entire mission in life is to keep you safe from the risk of loving. It sees love as a dangerous cesspool where the invisible sea creatures lurk beneath the dark surface, waiting to snatch you into their murky waters. Fear believes that if you risk your heart through committed loving you will endure unbearable loss: you will either lose yourself in some way or you will lose your partner. Either way, fear tells you to run because it’s trying to protect you from an unpredictable risk.

Fear uses a handful of lines in its attempt to convince you to run. This is helpful information becuase once you identify the finite number of lines, you can begin to challenge them, diffuse them, and eventually, with enough committed work, flick them away like annoying mosquitos. Here are the top 10 most common lines fear carries in its arsenal:

1. You don’t … Click here to continue reading...