In response to one of the assignments in my Sacred Sexuality course to watch the film “Enchanted April”, a member of the forum shared the following. I was so moved by her response that I asked permission to share it here. She wrote:
This film touched something deep inside me. After I watched it, I wrote the following in response to Lottie’s comment that “it is a wonderful thing to get on with one’s loving.”
Suddenly I thought, Oh my gosh, I have not been getting on with my loving! No, I have been hoarding my loving for myself, waiting for someone else to show their love first before I offered mine. My fear of rejection, my hurt feelings, my self-doubt that keep me forever asking what is wrong with me that more people do not flock to my door and leave baskets of their loving on my stoop, it has all made me stingy with my love. I have been loving for the love you get back, and I have wanted to get it back exactly as I want it (like Lottie’s obsession with justice and the way she counts out the love she gives and gets back).
I haven’t been loving for the rush of joy that comes from assisting a fellow human in need. I haven’t been loving for the peace that settles over you when you know that you are making the world a little brighter, the way a candle adds light to the sky even when that light is dwarfed by the sun’s rays. I haven’t been loving for the invisible benefit, the far-off possibility of reciprocity that cannot be counted on but does often arrive, the participation in life’s grand, unfathomable web that has nothing to do with quid pro quo, and everything to do with the “this and only this” of any moment.
All we can offer is ourselves. All we can do is love for the sake of loving. All we have to share is our hearts. I have been sharing a heart that is rusted over and growing fetid moss across its breast. I locked my loving away, waiting—always waiting—for someone to unlock the gate to my own loving. Could it be that I have the power, buried deep within, or hovering at the surface of my skin, to unlock to gate to my own loving? I am beginning to think so.
I wanted to share this because it was such a powerful experience for me, watching Lottie come alive to her own capacity for love. I feel inspired by it, but also frightened. I want to live as Lottie lives, freely planting a kiss on someone’s cheek, or letting the spaghetti sauce stain the skin around my mouth without shame or embarrassment.
Life is shorter than we think, and even when we consciously know that love is why we’re here, we spend so much time keeping love at bay. Why? Because our past pain causes our heart to “rust over and grow fetid moss across its breast”, and then a habit sets in that, if we don’t proactively work against it, becomes the norm. We long to love. We need to let love in. Yet fear and ego work in tandem overtime to keep love behind the safe walls they have erected around the heart.
Lack of attraction is the fear of loving.
Focusing on your partner’s perceived flaws is the fear of loving.
Feeling irritated constantly is the fear of loving.
Buying into the cultural myth that “you’re not in love enough” is the fear of loving.
What does it mean to proactively work against the habit of protecting our hearts from getting hurt? It means learning the truth about love then taking action every day that will create new habits, steps that will lay new neural pathways and heart grooves that will allow you to spend more time in the breathing accordion that lets love in and out and less time trapped inside the stifling, airless rooms of fear, pain, and shame. These Love Laws and Loving Actions are what I’ve taught to hundreds of participants through my course Open Your Heart: A 30-day course to feel more love and attraction for your partner, and I very much look forward to teaching them to you.
Love is a practice.
Love is action.
Love is an act of will.
Love is a habit.
Love must be learned (or re-learned).
Are you ready to “unlock the gate to your own loving”? This eleventh round of Open Your Heart will begin on August 26, 2017, and I look forward to meeting you there.
I would honestly recommend this course. I started it when I first got engaged and it helped me during my engagement. I am so happy and ever so thankful to sheryl and this course
Thank you, Natty. It’s good to hear from you. x
Can focusing too much on the past in a relationship also be fear? My partner and I are good now, but there were times where we hurt each other and didn’t get along very well, lashed out, fought a lot, etc. The past usually comes up when he does something nice for me. I know that many relationships have hurt in them, but how do I move past it and enjoy my partner for who he is now? I also have terrible intrusive thoughts to the point where I feel physically ill and start crying, and grew up with the tendency to focus on the negatives and pull away when people even family members show me affection. I am worried about the past and I am scared that something is wrong.
When we take loving actions in the present, it helps us heal from the past. That’s exactly what this course is about.
Thank you so much for replying. However, I cannot afford the course due to financial reasons.
Just wanted to let you know that I experienced anxiety on the weekend and instead of going down the rabbit hole of thoughts,I dropped down into my body and felt the emotion. When I did this, it quickly dissapated. I was a bit excited about this new practice.
That’s great to hear, Gen! The more you practice, the more habitual it will become.
Hey Gen, do you have any tips on how you were able to do this? I find it so so so hard to drop into my own body and feel the feelings and lately I’ve been taking it out on my partner. I go through crazy ups and downs on a weekly basis and it’s to a point where I start the week anticipating that my partner will do or say something to set me off and I will spend the next few days in a funk, unable to tell him what is wrong when he asks and unable to really pull myself out of it. Eventually I start to feel better but I ask myself constantly “If you get this mad at him once a week how can he be right for you?” then conversely I ask myself “If you are constantly taking him through these ups and downs how can you expect him to stay with you?”. This is someone that I consider to be “my person”, I don’t want to hurt him but I also don’t want to hurt myself by sticking around if my heart isn’t in it. I’m trying to remind myself that love is a practice and and a skill that you develop, and that it can take years to find your stride with your partner but when I get really down all I can hear is “This is wrong, I don’t want to be here”. I know this is fear, but I don’t know how to just feel the fear instead of externalizing it all the time.
I have been coming up against something within me recently that says, “I’m not enough. I’m not lovable, extroverts, social, and easy to get along with like other women my age. I don’t belong; I don’t fit in here.”
I think I needed to read this post today. I’m very much struggling now with feeling abandoned, rejected, and unloved by friends that have moved away and are making new ones. I’m afraid of rejection and change. It’s coming up quite strongly since having surgery on my leg – I feel paralyzed (literally and figuratively) because I can’t do what I love to do and meet new friends while engaging in what I love. Being couch-ridden has really made me feel quite hopeless.
I think I need to touch back into the gratitude, giving and remember that I am the only person who can make me feel like enough.
Gratitude, yes, but also remembering that there are many ways to be in this world and many different personality types. Just because you’re not extroverted and social, doesn’t mean you’re not worthy of love.
Thanks so much to the forum member for allowing her words to be shared. Amazing how our woundedness can make us healers, even from in the midst of our process – like her words bring hope and perspective. They’re words worth printing off and posting somewhere visible as a reminder of what my true priority is in this love journey. Thank you!
I have struggled to open my heart completely since the tough break up with my ex who also was emotionally abusive. I have been seeing an amazing man for the last 5 years and I feel completely safe with him and I feel a warm loving feeling deep within. Problem is he has two kids already 10 and 13 years old. I have a 7 year old. We both have shared custody and none of us can move within sacrificing time with our own children. I long to get married and have more children with this man. It I don’t want to leave the home town of my son and therefore loose custody of him. I also think I couldn’t live with him and his two children who always fight a lot and (in my opinion) have very few rules.. I feel very annoyed that my partner doesn’t raise them properly but just kind of always let them go.. it really is a challenge to live with other people’s children … this gives me bad conscious but I can’t help it. I love him dearly but the situation we have makes it difficult to become a real family. We have 80 km apart and having children in different cities makes it impossible. I feel so torn between my son and my partner. My question is can it be that I’m afraid to comitt and that’s why I feel it’s impossible for us to have a family or can I trust that I have legitimate reasons to call this off and keep searching for a partner I can live with? Would somebody without relationship anxiety move away from there child to start a new family???
This is probably too big of a question for this blog, and I know you’ve been struggling with it for years, but I just need to say that it’s not a loving action to move away from your child to start a new family, and that’s not the solution.
This is beautifully written and very eye-opening for me. Thank you ❤️
You’re welcome ;).
Dear Sheryl you often make references to porn every now and then, in line with fast food attitudes.Is porn use always antithetical to a healthy sacred relationship?Another area I’d love to hear from you is the relationship between religion and sacred sexuality. I lost my religious approach to sexuality yet am open to the sacredness of it. Yet this interstitial space is difficult to navigate because it brings up feelings of freedom, love, joy and also – breaking a rule, backsliding, disobeying God.
Pornography is in direct opposition to sacred sexuality. Religion as most people learn about it is also in direct opposition to sacred sexuality. I talk about both of these topic in depth in this course:
I wonder what you think of distance relationships. To me it doesnt feel like the real thing when we dont share anything and only see eachother 4 days a forthnight. Various circumstances makes it hard to live together. 80 km apart. Children in different cities. Dont want to commut every day and dont want to move away from the children. I am still afraid that the tendency to see all the problems is signs of relationship anxiety? Should we be happy with what we have (which is an amazing connection and a loving relationship) or should we break up to find somebody that we can have a “real” relationship with instead?
If the distance is mostly working for both of you, then it’s a “real” relationship. Part of healing from relationship anxiety is learning about the many ways that relationships can work and thrive. There isn’t a formula or a single model of success. If it works for you, then it’s working.
I genuinely feel like I don’t love my boyfriend anymore. I just find everything he does irritating and can’t get the thought that he’s “dumb” out of my head… maybe because he does sort of act like it. He’s disorganised, lazy, and does not really bother with the things I’d find attractive in a man. I’m a bit gutted, because I’ve purchased Break Free but cannot get to grips with the work at all, therefore feel like I have wasted my money since the course is for people with actual relationship anxiety issues. Sheryl, what can I do? I don’t want it to feel like a waste, I’m committed to the course but can’t feel like the projection stuff applies to me… :/ I don’t even know how to trust myself anymore. He was called last minute into work when we were out for dinner today, this annoyed me. But I felt like I’m not allowed to feel this way because it’s a projection and I have to be loving and understanding. Help?!
probably best to add that my natural baseline of emotions is feeling numb. I don’t feel anything.
From what I recall, you’ve only had the course a couple of weeks. Keep working through the material once, then twice, then commit to doing 1-2 of the daily practices. Nothing will change from reading alone; you have to do the work. And when you reconnect with yourself and trust yourself, you’ll know how to act in the relationship. By the way, naming something as a projection doesn’t mean that we’re not irritated and that we have to be loving and understanding all the time. I encourage you to review the lesson on projection again as you have some cognitive distortions that need clearing up.
Thank you Sheryl, your words are very wise. I know it’s impossible to say and it’s up to us to decide if we want to keep going or not. We just seem to be stuck. We both want more out of a relationship but none of us can call it off and none of us want to sacrifice. It’s so hard…
Beautiful post thanks Sheryl!
Your words have kept me in good stead and continue to so 🙂
I’m really confused. I’ve been feeling loads better in myself lately and I’ve had the odd moments of knowing that I love my partner. I know deep down I love him and I don’t want to be with anyone else:. I’ve just recently started a new job, I’m a week into it & there’s this guy at work. Now I don’t find him attractive at all. He was showing me around when I first started and I’ve been put to work with him abit. He talks loads and always seems to linger and I would think to myself “please just go away” I thought maybe he finds me attractive or something I don’t know. Now since last night I’ve been having thoughts like “what if I like him” and rubbish like that. He was helping me put stuff away at work yesterday and I had a thought/urge to just put my arm around him like I do to my partner and it’s frustrating and upsetting because even if I was single he is definitely not somebody I would ever think about dating. Not my type at all. So why am I thinking this? The minute I’ve started to feel better in myself and then boom this all comes about. A part of me knows it’s just the anxiety playing up because these thoughts only came into my head yesterday and I’ve been working here a week. Makes me feel so upset because I know deep down my boyfriend is the one for me. I don’t want to be with anyone else. Any insight please?
Or is there a blog on this that I could be directed to please
It’s really the course that you need at this point, Yvonne. Have you taken the Break Free course?
I also highly recommend that you read “101 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married” as it will clear up many of the cognitive distortions you’re carrying about love.
Is there a blog on this topic or something to read on this whilst I’m considering the course just cause I need to weigh up money options. I’m not sexually attracted to this guy or anything, I don’t want to be with him or anything like that but I can just be pottering about my day and his name will just be in my head & it’s annoying and when I’m at work I’m checking my feelings which is even more annoying. ive had a similar thing happen before about a customer who came into my workplace a lot but I was able to see it for what it was. Finding this one harder as it’s a work colleague and I have to work with them. But I actually find him pretty annoying and he just lingers all the time and tries to make small talk and all I think in my head is “just go away” cause I don’t want to talk to him haha.
If you read through my blog in its entirety you will find answers to most of your questions. Keep in mind, however, that this blog isn’t meant to be used as an advice forum. For the full, moderated forum you’ll need to join the course.
Okay I will look into it. Does this sound like a part of relationship anxiety / intrusive thoughts though?
Thank you for all your blog posts and writings. I will be getting married in just over two months, and I have been working through the Conscious Bride and planner for the last year. It has been a godsend! I’ve felt a lot of things shift as a result of the insights and inner work suggested by your books. I’ve been feeling more solid in our relationship than ever. However, I woke up tonight crying and crying. I know it was needed, and allowed it to flow the best I could and journaled. I realized that I am afraid of stepping into the unknown and loss. My future mother-in-law is dying (we don’t expect her to be here next year) and my would-be-father-in-law died a year and a half ago. Plus, I have been feeling overwhelmed with all of the other shifts happening related to this transition. I feel like I want to be a kid and embraced by my mom and dad, and have sleep-overs, etc. I remember you saying that this is all normal as we prepare to separate from our family of origin to create a new family. I am noticing with this there is also this fear because my fiance and I don’t have intentions of having children. My parents were not perfect, but loved my sister and I very much, and I feel like I have a blueprint for creating a family with children, but the path my fiance and I are choosing is like stepping into the deep-end in the dark. He is also older than me, so I have fears of losing all my loved ones and being alone. I keep trying to remind myself that these fears are normal. When I am conscious and mindful, I feel good about the path we are choosing. I guess I am wondering if you have written any articles about women who have chosen to forgo having children, or perhaps insight on how to unravel any false beliefs that having children is the only way to be happy and connected and loved into old age. I have worked with these feelings before a couple years ago, and what helped was to acknowledge that I can feel love and happiness now with whomever I encounter, that I can do that when I am 50, 80, or 100. That being said, these feelings have been rearing their head so strongly lately, I’m wondering if you might have additional insights or resources that might be supportive. Thanks for your time, and all that you offer the world!
Also I think I may of noticed a pattern a little bit. Because when I was having the intrusive thoughts about loving my partner I’d get a slightly tight feeling in my chest, I was constantly googling, checking my feelings, trying to picture myself without him and see if I cared, constantly thinking about it. & the same is happening with the guy at work, I don’t find him sexually attractive or anything, I wouldn’t leave my partner for him or anything like that but from one single thought it’s escalated to me googling if I like someone else, I try to picture myself with him, checking feelings and it’s horrible because I feel like this is the worst thought yet, I don’t want anyone else and yet I can’t stop ruminating over this and it’s driving me mad. I don’t want to think about him at all. It’s annoying. I want my partner and my partner only. & when I tell myself that my heads like “you can’t help who you like” no no NO. I choose my partner & I always will.