Reflections on Fear…

Fear is the inspiration for this blog. Good old human creature fear and how it effects the psyche, the body, and the human experience. My intention for this blog is simply to reflect. I want to honor the process of contemplating, intuiting, and understanding in service of allowing the unconscious to unravel in the moment…

When fear is pushed deeply into the shadow of the psyche, going unfelt and unseen, it manifests as physical ailments. Digestive issues. Constipation if the human body retracts and tries to protect itself. Or diarrhea, the other direction, if the temperament of the creature tends to run more anxious than withholding…

Attachment wounds reveal themselves inwardly as much as outwardly. When we are not securely attached (most of us) we tend toward avoidance or anxiousness, the former being anxious too but withholds/hides/avoids and so it doesn’t seem to present emphatically.

It’s not just how we are raised that determines our attachment style and wounding, it’s the temperament of the body which has everything to do with the multigenerational family system. Avoidance style (the island) or anxiousness style (the wave) may be a pattern running down the DNA line. Digestive issues may run in the family through the female or male bloodline with each creature carrying fear that gets pushed into the shadow.

Feelings have to be felt to be released. Healing is feeling. Must fear be felt to be released?

How hard might it be to feel fear if you are wired to push it into the shadow and present with digestive issues and probably a neurotic mind. Usually when fear is hiding in the shadow the mind is defensive, controlling, and fanatical or extreme in certain ways to compensate for the unseen fear.

Fear is big. The country is big with fear. The family system is big with fear. The creature if big with fear because living a human existence is scary. We are not given any guarantee of safety, control, or happy endings. People experience undeserved tragedy all the time.

I think about animals that experience tragedy and how they are not conscious of themselves with a cognitive mind so they don’t have the ability to think, “why did this happen to me,” or “I am not good enough” or “this person is bad and I am a victim of evil,” or any such conclusion that only a self aware cognitive mind could come up with through the thinking process.

Fear is not the summation the mind makes. Fear is present in the body and then leaves. In animals, it presents and leaves if the animal gets to live a healthy life but trauma from abuse or neglect will collect just as much in their bodies, proving that the consequences of trauma live in the body first and foremost. The human mind only makes it worse.

The body collects what is not processed and this is a region of the shadow. I am thinking of an abused or neglected doggie living on the street that presents as mean and vicious (the wave) or through slinking and hiding away (the island) if anyone approaches to bring love. The doggie’s body is filled with fear from the trauma of being abused or neglected.

The only way to heal the doggie is exposure therapy to love.. First the doggie must be tricked into being caught (maybe a piece of food in a cage). Next the doggie must slowly be introduced to loving care, allowing her body to slowly release the fear and accept love. This proves that love is the healer of fear.

Humans are the same. Fear collects in the body from trauma, abuse, or maybe there is no abuse/trauma but there is the multigenerational absence of affection, attunement and acknowledgment of being seen, heard, and loved without conditions (the feminine side of the psyche).  Only love can release the fear the body holds.

Not some parlor trick for the mind. Ok, I have a bit of irreverence for certain modalities of therapy I think trick the mind into “feeling better” by changing the chemicals but I don’t think this is healing. I think it is temporal band-aid. I feel true healing is always rooted in the experience of being loved, listened to, and acknowledged.

The feminine aspect of life knows this. Knows that love heals all. And what is love? Love is how we behave. It is not a concept. It is not an ideal. It is how we care for the self, others, and life. How we show up. How we tend to fear. Fear, like with the doggie, will leave the body with love. It just will.

Self love is a start and usually the base of love. Self love releases fear beginning with not listening to self-sabotaging neural pathways, the well worn path, the shitty narrative in the mind that says, “I am not good enough, who do I think I am” etc….or the other direction of, “they are ruining my existence, they are to blame for how I feel,” etc.

Ignoring the sabotaging narrative is key and the base of self love but then what? It is it truly different for everyone. For me, self love is practicing mindfulness so I don’t listen to the narrative of doom, keeping up with my exercise and creativity practices that make me feel balanced, inspired, and confident, and being nurturing and easy on myself.

I truly believe in being easy on the self. Sure, there is a time to face fear with a wand of courage and determination. But back to the doggie, if you push him he will fall apart. If you give him time, patience, understanding and slowly expose him to love and new life, he will heal.

I am somebody who needs to go very easy on myself in order to heal, maybe more so than the average person (is there an average person?) and so I attest to this path as being pertinent in healing because I have been healing with great results over time. I speak from my own lived experience and find that the gentle path brings proven results.

Fear needs to be handled with skill and fear is attachment. We fear because are attached to security, health, love, and success….as we should be. Nothing wrong with being human! Yet in this messed up world with broken bloodlines riddled with too much suffering, we need major skill to bring healing to fear.

Like the doggie, learning to let more love in is an exposure process. Love will dissolve fear but it’s so scary to let love in. Letting love in may feel scarier than the fear. What a paradox.

Unfortunately the doggie cannot respond to humor but I think for humans, humor is a major healing tool for exposing the self to the fear of letting love in.

My god can we laugh at life for a second? I say this with emphasis because my own typical tendency to take life too seriously. You could say it is a privilege to have a light heart…and…it is also temperament. There are those who seem to have a light heart even when enduring the worst of circumstances.

But don’t beat yourself up if you have a heavy heart. I have a fairly heavy heart and I love my heavy heart because it allows me to sit with people in their deepest pain and give love, it allows me to analyze the psyche and discover new territory, it allows me to sit for hours and write about big ideas. I would not want to be romping around like a Pixie but more power to the Pixie.

Honor your temperament is what I am getting at here. You can heal from fear with a heavy or light heart but even heavy hearts can heal from humor. Laughing is vital. Laughing at the self releases the grip of those pesky narratives that shadow the fears.

Life is unsafe. We can create as much safety as possible by living in sheltered homes and communities with organized cultural institutions that allow us to experience more of the light and less of the pain. We can learn to love more so that we don’t have to feel unsafe with each other too.

At the same time, life is unsafe, suffering exists and it always will. People will cause violence and tyranny over others. Nature can wipe out a community in one cataclysm. Illness strikes even the most healthy. The dark side of life is not evil and cannot be eradicated. We can reduce suffering and achieve balance but we cannot be rid of darkness. Dark and light are equal forces of nature.

Fear will rise again and again, Fear is as natural as love.

All this being said, learning how to deal with fear is more pragmatic than trying to get rid of fear forever in the mind by demanding reassurance of continual safety (the wave) or through avoiding fear by living in one safe routined rut forever (the island).

I am all about living a fulfilling life where we get to keep growing and evolving each day and this is rooted in healing.

There is no healing arrival point where all fear is banished. Yet results are real. Healing the psyche brings more peace, love, fulfillment, ease, and all the other desired adjectives that balance out fear that will rise again and again.

I radically accept fear. I radically accept life not being safe. I radically accept the dark and light aspects of being human. I radically accept the patient process, the gentle path, love, and humor as medicine. This is my deepest reflection…

The more there is acceptance around fear the more body can stop expressing fear through digestive problems or other ailments, the more heart can let in love, the more mind can let go of self sabotaging narratives and the more soul or true self can rise out of the shadow and express in this world.

 

 

 

Vulnerability and Attachment Wounds in Romantic Relationship

This blog is inspired by the topic of vulnerability. I wanted to write about it after writing about the sacred emptiness because vulnerability is what births inside the chrysalis of sacred emptiness.

A new form of vulnerability births in the emptiness…based upon attachment wound healing…that opens us up to a more joyful and fulfilling experience of being vulnerable.

Attachment wounding is the root of not being able to be vulnerable in relationship with others and self. Attachment healing turns the tables and allows vulnerability to become a secure and happier experience.

My reflections on attachment will be very brief and stream of consciousness…

If you want to know more in detail there are a ton of books, Youtube videos and podcasts on attachment theory.  I highly recommend listening to the “Psychology Today” podcast. The subscription is only $5 dollars a month for many deep dives into pertinent psychological topics. Kirk Honda is my favorite describer of attachment theory (and any topic in psychology) as he makes content accessible to everyone with a harmonious blend of knowledge and heart.

This is my reflection on vulnerability and attachment today….

Our brains are the place we develop our personality (ego) very early on in life (infant to about age seven) based upon how we are parented by our prime caretakers. The personality formation is strongest the younger we are and gets cemented after age seven.

Our attachment style is the aspect of the personality that relates with others and with self. It is the way in which we desire relationship, behave in relationship, and express vulnerability.

The romantic parter most closely mirrors the prime caretaker and hence, we face our attachment style/wounds the strongest in romantic partnering yet attachment styles show up in every single relationship including the one you have with yourself.

You do not need to have experienced trauma or abuse to have an attachment wound. If you have endured trauma and abuse your wounds are specific to that yet a child can develop a very deep attachment wound in a home with zero abuse and no big traumas.

The avoidant attachment style/wound (often broken down into anxious avoidant and dismissive avoidant) is created by the prime caretaker(s) not tending to the child’s emotions. There is no emotional attunement. The parent(s) do not talk about feelings or they may see emotions as weak, dismiss them, or avoid them. Boys may be more apt to be taught to repress their emotions due to cultural conditioning as well.

As with everything psychological, avoidance shows up as a spectrum. How much did your caretaker(s) avoid your feelings and avoid feelings in the home between family members? There tends to be a basic structure in the avoidant home with bedtime, meals, routines with school, etc and there may also be morals taught and other principals that foster the mind but the emotional realm of the child is not seen, acknowledged or nurtured.

Avoidant style people do not feel safe in close relationships because they feel cut-off from their own feelings. They experience anxiety around intimacy and tend to use dismissive remarks or behaviors to maintain a certain level of detachment, independence and aloofness in relationship. They either believe they do not need intimacy or they push intimacy away in a variety of ways that may be unconscious (flippant remarks, sexual impotency or lack of desire, minimizing issues and the feelings of the partner) or conscious (having a strong belief about the independence they feel gives them strength, for instance or saying they are not relationship oriented).

The avoidant style is often called the island.

Anxious attachment style people (often called preoccupied or ambivalent) is created when the prime caretaker(s) sometimes tune in to the child’s emotions and sometimes ignore them. The key is inconsistency in attunement and often anxiety connected to emotional attunement when it is present. There is some semblance of structure in this attachment style as if there were no structure in the home it would fall under the disorganized attachment style but the structure does tend to be as inconsistent as the emotional attunement. Maybe meals and bedtimes are not always around the same time or maybe the structure is generally chaotic though the child is fed, taken to school, and put to bed at some point. Perhaps the child switches homes a lot or is handed off in a chaotic fashion. The anxious attachment style is often referred to as the wave.

To be clear, emotional attunement is when the care taker responds to the child’s feelings, names the feelings for the child so they may learn to name feelings themselves, nurtures the child when upset and models how to tend to feelings in a loving way no matter what feeling is arising. Emotional attunement when secure in the caretaker, does not cause intense anxiety. The caretaker is not anxious when the child is hurting nor are they living in anxious fear of the child getting hurt in the unforeseeable future.

Anxious attachment creates a person who is not sure if they are loved. Do you love me now? How about now? If you find out (insert trait here) about me will you still love me? The anxious person needs constant validation and reassurance that they are loved. They don’t have any consistent sense of being tended to that is imbedded in their sense of self. They fear love leaving, being abandoned, and being betrayed. They may put themselves at constant fault for creating abandonment or they may build a false case where their partner will leave them due to (insert criticism here).

The wave is very overt with their insecurity and feelings. The island is very covert as beneath every island is a wave but the island is too anxious to deluge. Avoidant people want intimacy deep down underneath their fear just as much as the overt wave. It’s as if islands have an extra defense mechanism around their anxiety that the waves do not posses and this is molded by how we are parented. 

The wave is usually the pursuer of the island. Islands and waves tend to attract each other because the island needs the overt display and pursuit of the wave for them to feel loved and the wave is used to feeling insecure about not being loved and very familiar and comfortable with chasing the unavailable island. It’s a recipe for healing or disaster depending on how willing and skilled the partners are in dealing with these wounds. Without skill or willingness the island first pushes the wave away and then the wave overwhelms the island when they express needing more and this pushes the island away more until both express extreme versions of avoiding and deluging. 

Disorganized attachment is molded in the brain when the there is abuse in the home, major trauma, or the care taker(s) do not provide adequate structure or emotional attunement to the point where it is neglect. Disorganized people may vacillate between being an island and a wave, never feeling a consistent sense of self. The disorganized wound is chaotic and never follows a certain pattern other than the pattern of not being patterned.

Not having a strong sense of self is also the case for the island and the wave. Sense of self is developed in the brain by the child being emotionally attuned to and given proper structure by the caretaker(s). This is a literal process that happens in the brain (mirror neurons) that forms sense of self in relationship with others, self, and the world. With all attachment styles other than secure attachment, the sense of self is shattered in varying qualities and degrees of intensity based upon upbringing mixed with temperament (nature and nurture).

The temperament (soul, true self, the mysterious uniqueness we each posses) of the child plays a big if not a bigger role in the shaping of the sense of self.

A shattered sense of self is the attachment wound.

Secure attachment happens when there is no trauma or abuse and the caretaker(s) tune into the child’s feelings in a nurturing and loving way while also providing the child with a consistent structure. This assures the child develops a healthy sense of self if there is no trauma or abuse outside the home and if the child is not born with a struggling temperament due to multigenerational wounds or a past life wound (if you believe in this).

It is important to note that a child may also absorb anxiety from any family member conflict even if it has nothing to do with them. Families usually have the one “healer” or empath of the family who tends to absorb the anxiety from other family members and become mentally or physically sick as a result. These types are more apt to struggle and often cannot discern their feelings from the feelings of others due to their sensitivity levels yet they are also meant to be as sensitive as they are because they are the healers of this world.

Attachment wounds also present inwardly with self. For instance, you can have a disorganized attachment with yourself where sometimes you tune into your feelings and validate yourself, sometimes you avoid your feelings using some form of addiction or avoidance to ignore them, and sometimes you tend to your feeling but feel filled with anxiety and self doubt about whether you are good enough.

You can also express different styles consciously and unconsciously. For instance, you can be a wave consciously and an island unconsciously by consciously wanting and choosing intimate partnership yet always unconsciously attracting unavailable islands…or…when you attract an available partner you really like, you start pushing them away by finding fault with them at every turn. In this way the island and wave within the self and in partnership tries to find harmony.

The healing of attachment wounds is rooted in learning how to be vulnerable in the relational field and with self. This starts to show up when you no longer need to build a case against self or the partner, drink booze or take recreational drugs to feel comfortable, lay on the criticism, demand proof that you are loved, or push away the other with conscious or unconscious tactics of any kind.

Being vulnerable and intimate looks like letting each other in your feelings, communicating your feelings, being transparent about your feelings, and tending to one another’s feelings….whether during an argument, when times are rough, or during times of passion, joy, and tenderness. It means showing the real you and allowing yourself to trust your partner.

First you may need to do this for yourself but this is not always the requirement. Some people heal more through being vulnerable with a partner (or friend) first. We can build a sense of self love by going within and being alone and also through being in a relationship. It takes the right relationship if it is the latter. You cannot build a sense of self love with a partner who is unable to create intimacy and be vulnerable with you much of the time. Maybe not all the time, as we are flawed beings learning how to love….but a good chunk of the time at the very least.

Also, if you are an island, being vulnerable and close with another may not feel good for a long time. Perhaps years. You have to be willing to enter the not feeling good zone and go through the anxiety and fear. You have to be willing to enter intimacy with more courage to learn how to be vulnerable in the first place. This may feel awkward and challenge your avoidant personality that has protected you for so long. You have to learn how to trust another to care about you and you have to learn how to want to be cared about.

If you are a wave you may enjoy intimacy and even being vulnerable but you come on like a deluge every time you get triggered. This is important to understand for the island and the wave…

The moment you are triggered your animal brain takes the driver’s seat and your higher mind takes a hike. This means that you go into flight/fight/freeze mode and you cannot come out of it through logic, talking, or anything cognitive. When the wave is triggered they deluge the partner who is usually an island. When the island is triggered by the deluge they minimize the communication from the anxious wave which then triggers the wave more who thinks the island is a jerk which triggers the island more who thinks the wave is crazy and the storm intensifies into destruction.

When you get triggered in the relational field all you can do is breathe, touch, and/or take space from the other in order for the higher mind to get back in the driver’s seat. If you both are triggered, stop arguing and breathe, touch one another or allow one person to take some space. Nothing will change how to recover from a trigger because it is brain chemistry. Skill is vital when learning how to become vulnerable in a way that creates feeling more safety and joy.

Most of us are used to vulnerability feeling scary, disappointing, taxing, overwhelming and leading to our detriment. Islands build a mote around them acting like they don’t need a partner or intimacy, in order to survive. Waves desperately try to make the partner their one safe place in all of life’s pain and chaos. Both feel slayed by vulnerability. Both need to learn how to build trust through building a sense of self.

This is the key of all keys. Building a sense of self.

When you have a strong and solid sense of self you can allow yourself to trust getting hurt in the relational field because you can return to yourself as the safe place.

This is the healing of codependency, toxic unions, and everything relational. When you no longer fear being hurt, rejected, disappointed, broken up with, being single, or left alone because you have a safe, reliable, and loving sense of self to return to if the worst happens. Life never gives us a guarantee in the external world so we need the self to be the security and foundation. Islands, don’t contort this to mean you don’t need intimacy in one form or another. The sense of self is a home base and not an escape hatch to avoid the relational field.

It can be safe and feel fulfilling to be vulnerable in the relational field if you build your sense of self and love yourself with more emotional attunement and loving structure. You won’t give your power away to the partner or to addiction or avoidance. You can handle emotional pain and discomfort and in turn, experience a form of joy in relationship that arises only by being tuned in and true to self. Reparenting the self blossoms us into our true self.

True self creates vulnerable and intimate relationships that heal and fulfill our essential needs and desires in waves…and when the waves wane we can return to self for sustenance on a healthy island that can still welcome the other….

 

 

 

 

Reflections on the Sacred Emptiness

This blog is inspired by the sacred emptiness that most often is the mental and emotional space we enter when letting go of patterns, attachments, identifications, and addictions.

Ego wants the immediate gold star or the metaphorical cookie whenever we do something we feel awards us. A feel good moment. Satiation. A happy arrival into a never ending sunset. These are expectations of ego when we do the healing work of letting go of what is not serving our health, thinking if we have the courage to let go, right on the other side is an arrival into fulfillment.

But the fulfillment of letting go takes time because you are reversing the flow from getting love outside of self to feeling love within self. Building a secure attachment with self is a learning process…

The reward for letting go of patterns, attachments, identifications and addiction takes time to feel in an embodied way.

Suffering initiates ego into the dark night of the soul or the process of letting go of what is not healthy for self. We are used to suffering and have become familiar with low self esteem, shaky self worth, self doubt, unhealthy relationships, addictions, and all of the patterns of thinking and behaving that support a comfort zone of pain.

Suffering only initiates you into the dark night of the soul when you are ready to face the new an unfamiliar suffering of letting go. Suffering that comes from letting go is temporary and necessary, unlike the chronic and familiar suffering of a painful comfort zone.

The familiar comfort zone of pain is a neural pathway in the brain paved over the years by patterns of thinking and behaving that form from attaching to a person or thing outside of self because inside a wounded self feels lost, powerless, fearful, and insecure.

For instance, you may have a pattern of thinking that love is stronger and more valuable than logic which rationalizes the behavior of staying in a relationship that is logically very unhealthy for you. You are used to unhealthy attachment because you grew up with it in your family system. The neural pathway has been paved in your brain to accept the current unhealthy union because your inner child ego developed self worth wounds early on and knows nothing else. Your adult ego identifies with a compromised sense of self worth either consciously or unconsciously.

You do not realize staying in the unhealthy union is a continual and often addictive attempt to get mom and dad’s love and attention on an unconscious level. The inner child in the shadow is operating through the adult ego by projecting onto the person the role of being your care taker or savior in some way. You do not realize you either play a victim role or blame self and glorify the other, when neither are true. The truth is that you need to let go of the unhealthy person, heal your wounds, and create a secure attachment with self. You need to be your own savior and heal yourself.

Addiction forms when the person becomes your everything and you can no longer live without them. This is when the brain chemistry relies on the external person or object to literally keep self afloat. Be it a person, food, drug, alcohol, shopping, working, you name the thing; when wounds are not healed and the sense of self is insecure, the external world holds all the power and we get hooked on it in one way or another.

Readiness to heal and let go is key.

When you are not ready, you are not ready. Our patterns, attachments, identity, and addictions serve the ego by helping us stay afloat, feel valued, safe, secure, and loved…until we are ready to let go.

Pushing before readiness might lead to a mental breakdown, too much fear at once, crisis that cannot be overcome. Suffering is our initiation into the dark night of letting go but suffering in just the right amount is key. Too much suffering and you won’t heal.

The timing is the timing. Patience and love for every stage is needed.

When you are ready you let go it may feel empowering or you may have to force it mentally and enter the grief despite your fighting heart and instinct telling you to hold on. Usually it is the latter.

Letting go and entering into the dark night means the ego is not going to receive the gold star or the metaphorical cookie. Letting go means entering the emptiness.

You may first may go into withdrawals, kicking and screaming your way through. During this stage of the dark night you might try to talk yourself out of letting go and you might succeed and hop back into the safe zone of the familiar pain.

If you make it past the withdrawal, kicking, and screaming stage you enter the stage of the sacred emptiness.

In the sacred emptiness there is nothing to replace the security of that well-worn neural pathway. Even though it’s a pathway of pain and self worth wounds, you knew what to expect and you were used to the crumbs and the anxiety. You did not have to try and risk failing or risk the vulnerability of succeeding which can feel very exposing.

There is nothing to soothe the ego in the sacred emptiness other than….

the sacred emptiness itself….

In the sacred emptiness you may find comfort in the nothingness if you can allow yourself to not resist the nothingness by trying to get that dopamine hit from the outside world, person, pattern or thing that feels like love (but isn’t). You sense of security that comes from familiarity will be gone so you must also not resist feeling scared.

If you can allow yourself to feel scared and empty without resistance to those feelings you can discover a sense of comfort and inner quiet as you traverse through this stage which may take days, weeks, months and maybe even a year.

Stop trying to make anything happen in the external world to try to get the cookie or sense of security and instead find a reliable and self soothing routine to support the emptiness stage.

Maybe you need more solitude, more sleep, going to bed and waking up early, exercising more, eating healthier, taking life more slowly, getting out into nature, coloring or knitting or some form of soothing creative outlet…watching Netflix may help or reading books and allowing yourself healthy escape in the stories of others…or maybe sweating, running, dancing and having a more fiery and yang type of practice is your balance.

Find that balance within self  by rooting into a routine that becomes the foundational structure to build a new healthy sense of self, heal the wounds, awaken the soul, and fully shut down the old neural pathway.

If you can allow yourself to surrender into the emptiness and into a routine, slow yourself down, and move through the scary unknown….you will enter the next stage of the dark night.

Here, you may still be in the emptiness but also be tested and need to say no to the old pattern showing up again. If this is the case, do not take it personally. It takes a certain amount of experiences for a new neural pathway to become paved and it only becomes paved through experience. Each time you say no to the unhealthy pattern, you pave the new healthy pathway. It’s science You are not being punished.

Surrender is the key to moving through the emptiness stage whether you are being tested or laying low like a seed in the dark soil. Initiation is surrender.

The suffering of the emptiness stage may show up as needing to say no to the familiar pattern rising up again. If this is the case, say no as quickly as you can and if you mess up, it’s ok. Healing happens in a spiral not a line. Fall and get up again knowing every human being grows through making mistakes.

Suffering in the emptiness stage may also show up as feeling perpetually insecure, bored, doubtful, stagnant, confused, disoriented, and lonely. Know that these feelings are natural and do not take them personally. Allow these feelings to express as you would allow a child to express their feelings without judgement or making a big deal out of them. This will allow the feelings to leave the body.

Surrendering to a higher power is what the Anonymous (AA, NA, OA, etc) philosophy teaches and it is a real quality that provided real results. The transpersonal aspect of life is larger than self and requires no spiritual belief or experience. Call the transpersonal anything that feels right for you, the Collective Unconscious, Nature, Life, Consciousness, God, Goddess, Spirit, Source, Prime Creator, Oneness, The Infinite, Jesus, Isis, Odin, Lakshmi, Universe, Ancestors, Angels, Allies, Archetypes…it does not matter…when you call out to the transpersonal you invoke help from the great mystery and from love.

You do not have to do this work alone and truly, you are never alone. The sacred emptiness is here to serve your liberation and initiate the ego into becoming the true self securely attached and connected to your true source of power within.

 

 

 

Romantic Love Musings Inspired by Cheers

Contemplations on romantic love…with plenty of ellipses…

I have been watching the tv show “Cheers” for a stint. Haven’t seen this show since I was a teenager when it aired in real time. I want to give kudos to the writing and I see also how watching this show is like watching theater, especially in the scenes between Sam and Diane.

Sam and Diane play classic star-crossed lovers who are complete opposites. Sam is earthy, grounded, simple minded, pleasure seeking, and a conceited player with women. Diane lives in her head and is intellectual, romantic, deep, complicated, and moral.

Cupid shoots his arrow and they cannot help it. Sam and Diane are in love with one another. This is how falling in love goes, it is a mysterious experience that happens to us out of the realm of control.

Sam and Diane’s relationship, whether romantic or trying to just be friends, always winds up returning to romantic love but it’s always fraught with conflict…not so much due to being opposites but due to how they treat one another.

Who we fall in love with is out of our hands. You love who you love and you love them for as long as you love them.

Knowing real love from some form of attachment wound projection happens once you have formed a bond and made it past the initial stage of any form of relating. Once you get to know somebody the projections fall and you see one another for who you actually are…and this is when love really begins.

You see this happen with Sam and Diane quickly as television goes. They realize each other’s true nature and they drive each other nuts on a constant basis with their opposite ways of expressing love from these opposite natures. Yet they always come together sexually.

It may not always be the sexual bond that is the glue as with Sam and Diane. It might be the emotional, the spiritual, even the mental where romance expresses. Romantic love is a feeling radiating deep down beneath the constant shifting and changing of the emotions moving like weather through the body.

Love is a constant even if you are able to avoid or detach from it. You cannot escape love. Love can seize in one instant or can grow over time. Love chooses how it moves, not us.

When relationship conflict rises up between two people in love it is not due to a lack of love but usually due to the psyche’s state. Sam and Diane did not handle conflict well due to not treating each other well in their opposite natures but you also see why in their similarities…

Both Sam and Diane are competitive, stubborn, and hot headed and so they both tend toward arguing, holding their point and not seeing the other’s, and both want to be right.

This is a major cause of continual conflict for many. If you cannot come out of your perception to see the other’s as valid, you won’t turn conflict into intimacy or harmony.

If you cannot find some kindness and compassion for the other person’s way, you are doomed to fail. Diane always expects Sam to be romantic and moral and deep like herself. Diane lacks having kindness and compassion for Sam’s blind spots and for his nature too at times.

Sam always hopes for Diane to accept him as he is but he also desires to be a better person and in a way, needs her to push him to be a better version of himself. This is another aspect of relationship conflict. Sam relies on Diane to help him grow and as a result, pushes her away by being nonchalant when he feels too scared to level up.

It’s natural for lovers to need each other to grow, feel secure, feel validated…this interdependency only goes wrong if the other holds too much of what we need to hold for ourselves. Maybe Sam needed Diane to hold too much of his own integrity…

Diane may have integrity but she cannot see Sam with enough kindness and respect when he acts like a buffoon. She does not trust Sam. Sam feels belittled by her and maybe not good enough for Diane. He makes Diane hold all of his integrity and cannot see that perhaps he is not good enough for himself.

Diane makes Sam hold all of her security so she can avoid her own deep rooted insecurities. Her lack of trust is rooted in her lack of trust in herself.

This is what we do in romance. We make the other person the bad guy instead of looking within and facing our own struggles and insecurities. Becoming vulnerable to our inner stuff allows us to move through relationship conflict without destroying the entire container. It’s hard….

Sam and Diane both hold their own perspectives like flags raised high and mighty, refusing to be supple with each other’s needs or way of being because Sam needs self integrity and Diane needs self trust. It becomes quite complex when we refuse to look within to see how we mess up relationships…

If you cannot look within and do your self work then you cannot let go of the mighty expectations you have for your partner…and then you cannot sustain the partnership.

But…what’s the difference between an essential standard to uphold and an expectation to release?

An essential standard is a core value.

Does Diane need Sam to be deep and romantic in her core values or is it an expectation for Sam to be like herself so she feels validated because she cannot validate herself?

Does Sam need Diane to take love day by day without romantic gestures and grand commitments or is this an expectation he places on her because he is fearful of failing due to being out of integrity?

This is the big exploration if you want love to sustain in a partnership and there are many compromises to be made. Where can you meet in the middle? Where do you need to hold a standard? And what’s an expectation you can let go of?

The compromise is what you do when it’s an expectation you have some wiggle room to play with.

Core values are standards to be protected and upheld.

Sam and Diane both value marriage and monogamy (TV, especially back then tends to only show dominant cultural values…) There is no conflict in their standards about the kind of relationship they want. Sam only wants Diane to be more in the moment so he can have time to grow into his integrity and Diane only wants Sam to be more romantic and sweeping in his expression so she can feel trust and validation.

In real life maybe you want one version of a relationship and your partner wants another. This cannot be compromised. A poly with a mono cannot flow. Someone who wants kids wont flow with somebody who does not want kids. Core values and lifestyle are usually the non-negotiable aspects they may bring tragedy to star crossed lovers.

Love will express in harmony, tragedy and everything in between.

Expectations are usually more shallow and rooted in wanting your lover to be just like you so that you feel safe, secure and never have to face conflict, failure or not getting what you want. Wanting the other to enjoy doing the same things, like the same music, look a certain way, act a certain way, and express in a certain way…all fall into the category of expectations…

You want to enjoy some things together but you don’t need to enjoy everything. One person can love going to museums and another can hate it. One person can be extroverted and one introverted….so long as you enjoy time together in certain ways.

Sam and Diane have fun together even though he hates intellectual cultural activities and Diane hates sports. When Diane dates Fraiser she gets to be with the male version of herself and yet even having all her expectations met with Fraiser, Sam is the man she loves.

Doesn’t matter how similar or different lovers present. We love who we love.

Love wants to be a mystery and we never know what our karma will be around love…if we are meant to be with somebody very opposite or very similar…or be with somebody through very difficult circumstances….lose lover early on or have it last a lifetime and experience the grief of death…

Love is a mystery without a clue….this was the first line of the first poem I wrote when I was in the sixth grade and it sticks like a tattoo in my heart because it speaks deep truth to me. I don’t know my karma with romantic love before I live it.  I take love as it comes…

Sam and Diane never fully commit to one another in the show. It seems as if they will infinitely break apart and come back together. I am sure neither wishes for their love karma to be as such…

My inner child hope is that they eventually learn how to stay together. If Diane can lighten up on her expectations and if Sam can grow as a person and if they can both learn to let go of their pride and needing to be right when conflict arises….maybe?

I hope for love to work out between star crossed lovers because it is my temperament to be hopeful and idealistic in my heart (to a certain degree). We all have our ways. I am not right or wrong. Perhaps this resonates with you and perhaps not.

I am also a very pragmatic person and I honor self liberty at all times. I think conscious divorce, separation and breaking up is important and valuable. Very hard to do though because of our short comings…

If you fall out of love it is best to not stay out of morality and model for your children to sacrifice your core values (if being in love is a core value to begin with) to protect them from painful experiences. Painful experiences are not bad or wrong even if they are painful. Pain is meaningful lesson and growth tool. This is my opinion and there are many opinions to be valued…

If you are both still in love but cannot find harmony no matter how many times or how hard you try, maybe try to be with somebody else? Falling out of love makes it much easier to separate, as does not having a family to consider.

Sam and Diane have no kids and are archetypal representations of lovers in love coming from opposite sides of below and above…

I find is easy to see both sides and validate both Sam and Diane. I always see both sides with couples in real life too. I see how harmony can be found from a bird’s eye view. Yet to accomplish harmony we must learn how to take care of the brain.

Lovers trigger the most in one another due to mirroring when we were teeny ones with our care givers. It is what it is, we all work the same. Once triggered the animal brain takes the driver’s seat and fight/flight/freeze, projections, and intrusive thoughts dominate like massive storm in the psyche.

The logical higher thinking brain can no longer operate when these storms occur and this is when couples destroy the relationship, themselves, or each other with the actions taken and words spoken during the many storms that rise up in the relational field.

It’s only natural to grow through these storms but without skill you either repress it all and unhappily stay or sabotage and kill what could have grown (but that’s for another blog….)

Thank you Sam and Diane for inspiring this blog. May we all keep learning, growing, and loving the hell out of one another.

True Self Love (Part Two on the True Love Relationship)

I am writing part two after writing with a friend who was mentioning the importance of self love as the root of a true love relationship. Yes!

I did not get into the healing process in yesterday’s blog on the true love relationship. The healing of attachment wounds from childhood is what develops self love in the present. We learn self love through our relationships.

Having a secure attachment with self is the root of all roots in a true love relationship and in any relationship. A secure attachment with self is self love.

A secure attachment with self means that you treat yourself with unconditional love, that you take decent care of yourself (and you are kind to yourself when you do not) and that you value yourself unconditionally (this is written about a few blogs back).

A secure attachment with self means you are a loving and caring mommy and daddy to yourself.

Being a loving and caring mommy and daddy to self means being unconditionally loving, setting healthy boundaries, naming and expressing your emotional needs, valuing your unique true self essence, and doing the practices and routines that keep you balanced, healthy, and growing.

Self love is a verb just like true love is a verb. It is the action of getting proper nutrition and sleep, of being able to moderate the indulgences, of setting healthy boundaries with others, of pursuing what you value and honoring yourself each time you mess up, and of healing the wounds living in the psyche.

Self love is not always being happy with yourself. It is not an ethereal feeling of self bliss. It is not always liking who you see in the mirror or being proud of your actions. Self love is being kind and compassionate with yourself when you are not happy with who you are being, how you are looking, what you are doing or what you have done.

Self love is the root of a true love union because a true love union will bring up every issue, wound, block, insecurity and karma that needs healing inside of you. It’s as if true love in an elixir that uproots all that has been repressed into the shadow by ego’s rational. This uprooting can be quite unsettling to say the least.

When this very uncomfortable uprooting of the pain that has been hidden inside of you happens the first reaction is to blame the partner or self or project onto the partner somebody who hurt you in the past, usually a parent but often an ex or sibling.

Developing self love during this uprooting means being able to communicate what comes up, to pull back your projections, to admit your shame or vulnerability and to give each other a break when it gets hard and messy.

For most of us being triggered is so scary that the cognitive communicating mind gets hijacked by the animal brain’s anxiety and we go into a flight/fight/or freeze response. This means we will argue, freeze up and not be able to speak, or leave and withdraw. When this occurs talking is useless, as the cognitive brain can only take the driver’s seat back when the animal brain is soothed through co-regulation or breath or touch or medication or space (to be continued in another blog). 

Learning how to take yourself out of the flight/flee/freeze response is vital and deeply impactful in the true love relationship because it allows the lovers to communicate with each other instead of getting stuck in the shame and blame the anxiety creates when one or both people fight, flee or freeze.

How we react in relationships is heavily scientific and not anything to be ashamed of because as animals we all react in the same way. It’s just how we are wired.

The science behind healing becomes very simple when you understand your internal experience. If you own, acknowledge, and express the feelings coming up from the shadow, the feelings will leave the body. As feelings leave the body, you feel liberated and lighter, that feeling of what was hurting so much no longer hurting. This allows you to create new stories around intimacy.

You can learn over time how to honor yourself and not see painful experiences in relationship as defeat, blaming self or the other. Whether blame is directed at self or the partner, it is always a way for the ego to avoid feeling the shame and vulnerability lurking right underneath the blame story.

If you can allow shame and vulnerability to be felt and expressed with your partner, you can free yourself of the blame and defeat stories you create around intimacy.

This healing process is a challenge and the more you develop self love the easier it gets. As self love increases shame loses its power and becomes a “no big deal” experience that you trust is temporary and rising up from the shadow to be met with love and released.

Over and over this is the process. Acknowledge and express the feeling. Remove blame. See the story you have been telling yourself about self, partner, and intimacy without identifying with the story. You are not the story. Beneath the story is shame to be met with love and released through continual acknowledgment and expression in the moment.

The wave and the island union is a mutual trigger where the island triggers the wave into feeling insecure and unloved through withdrawal until the wave overwhelms the island with anxiety around their needs causing the island to feels so insecure they withdraw even more creating more anxiety in the wave who gets more overwhelming in the pursuit of their needs not being met by the island backing away feeling terrified and inadequate…on and on.

The anxiety becomes shared as it grows between two lovers. Anxiety gets passed back and forth like a ball. This is not a sign of wrong love. This is the most natural process in the world when it is understood that we all have attachment wounds that have wired our brains to freak out. Shame around this is the result of this scientific process not being a known and accepted process taught to everyone.

To break the cycle, both can honor their own insecurity and shame when it rises. Both can learn how to get the cognitive brain back online and to move out of anxiety. Both can reassure each other that love is present. Both can take their attachment stuff to therapy. Both can continue to develop self love.

Through this dedication, intimacy becomes easier over time as self love increases.

Karmic (past life) relationships can be healed too through this process of self love that develops through healing attachment wounds. Often we are still holding shame and blame from intimacy wounds in a previous lifetime.

Some go through many years not in romantic relationships and maybe without close friends or any close attachments. In these cases, self love may be developed internally with spirit, nature, the transpersonal on some level.

I am one of these souls who has spent more time in this life not in romantic union. Through being unmated I have developed self love through the Hermit archetype, going within to heal through developing a secure attachment with self and spirit. This is my karma.

Some people move from relationship to relationship to learn. Some people are in one long term relationship for most of their lives. We all have our unique karma to live out and it’s best to not compare your relationship life with others.

Self love is the root of all relationship love on every level and our true source of power we share as souls having this human experience…

The True Love/Twin Flame Relationship

Disclaimer: this is my vision of what true love is. Some call it the twin flame relationship. Some call it soulmates. I will be sharing my vision and writing about true love in a way that sounds like my way is true. It is true for me. Maybe it is also true for you. I honor the differences.

First I would like to say what true love is not. It is not a soulmate relationship. Soulmate relationships, whether romantic or otherwise, are souls who travel through lifetimes together. In romantic soulmate relationships there is usually karma to be worked out and often soulmate unions are racked with strife due to all the hurt feelings that are being carried into this life from another. A soulmate may also be a true love but not always. It all depends on the the willingness of the two lovers…

A true love relationship is not a fixed, destined, and written in the stars union. I personally do not believe such fixed unions exist. (I do sense some aspects of human life being “already written”. I used to feel every aspect of our human life was already written but this shifted for me after 2012 when I felt the old form of pre-written destinies collapse as we entered a new structure where the human will could shift and change destiny with each moment.)

True love is an art project, a verb, and a possibility that requires the will’s motivation and dedication, the heart’s devotion and attachment, the mind’s awareness and skill and the for body to keep learning how to be present.

True love can happen in monogamy or polyamory and with or without vows of marriage.

True love is a creative structure for experiencing romantic union as a life long love affair and often, a beyond one life love affair. For some, this life is not the first one and for some it is the first life two souls choose to create the true love relationship. If two souls share a past life where they already dedicated to one another there may be a sense of written destiny, yet this choice may also change in the current life.

Going around the sacred medicine wheel we start in the north, with body. Learning to be present and embodied is imperative for true love because all the issues arise in true love unions. All your stuff from the past; attachment wounds, projections, fears, worries, doubts, bad habits, trauma, insecurities and anxieties will reveal themselves.

If either partner is seduced into thinking the other is really the “bad guy”, the whole structure can come toppling down. How often the partner wears the mask of mom, dad, sister, brother, classmates, ex partners, or any other hurtful or neglectful relationship from the past, is more often than not. Being present allows both lovers to recognize when they are triggered and projecting the past onto the other.

We move into the east here, into the mind. True love builds the skills of sustaining a long term relationships of romantic love. Communication skills. Self awareness skills. Discernment skills. Timing skills. Not everyone will be as therapeutic about healing in relationship but some skill is needed to be able to let go of your own stuff when you are projecting onto a partner. Some skill is needed to communicate your needs so that you don’t build resentment, sacrifice too much of yourself, over-give or over-take.

Examining the self is always a process that beautifies true love. Yet the process of self examining and self growth is hard for many due to feeling shame around not being good enough and other feelings that rise out of the shadow to be examined. This is no easy task but this leads to…

How true love requires two lovers to learn how to trust one another over time so that shame and wounds can rise up and be met with patience and love by self and the partner. This brings us to the south, the will. The will is where true love makes that dedication to stick through the storms and rough times that rise up, sometimes on the regular. Trust is learned here in a very pragmatic way. The more two lovers stick it out and grow through pain, challenge, and hurt, the more trust is learned through actual experience versus blind faith.

In the south is where your true self feels motivated to enter this form of relationship. True love is not better or morally right. It’s only one form of having a romantic union. If you have the impetus for it in your will, you can create it.

This motivation moves us into the west, the feelings. Here we feel and express our longings, desire, romance, love, and attachment.

The romantic partner is the closest mirror to the parent child union. Our egos developed by how we were parented. Our brains were hard wired with an attachment style under age seven. Even if there was no trauma or abuse, avoidant and preoccupied (anxious) attachment styles of parents shapes us with an immense pre-verbal impact that shows up in how we attach with the lover. For the heart to devote to true love we must face our attachment wounds and styles and learn about the partner’s attachment wounds and styles.

Back in the east is where we may become self aware and communicate our attachment wounds and styles. In the west we feel our wounds and style. In the south we dedicate to the lover even when attachment styles and wounds cause hurt and they always do.

Islands or avoidant types almost always attract waves or anxious types, creating a pursuer and avoidant pattern that mirrors the past. Sometimes two waves mate and have that emotionally charged and passionate high drama union always riddled with strife. Sometimes two islands mate and get along great as both equally avoid to not feel threatened but the romantic love might not feel very strong.

Sometimes one or both lovers has a disorganized attachment style and wounds that stems from abuse and trauma. This causes a lot of pain and shame to rise up and test the container of true love.

No matter what the blend, attachment truly is the root and hence awareness, communication, and dedication are necessities to help partners endure the pain or hard times that rise up as secure attachment is being designed and fortified in the continual art project of true love.

Can you and do you want to dedicate to your mate even when they literally trigger the hell of you?

Can you and do you want to love your mate even when they ping all of your hurt inside and bring out shame, doubt and insecurity?

Can you and do you want to keep working on being present in the now so that you can see your lover for who they are see through the masks of loved ones from the past that you put over your lover’s eyes?

Can you and do you want to learn how to communicate better, let go of the past, become more self aware and heal the attachment wounds that cause constant insecurity and anxiety?

Do you desire to be with one mate (whether one only or a one among others) till death do you part? (It’s not about it succeeding, it’s about the journey you choose to take.)

These are the questions to ask yourself to see if you are truly wanting, willing, and ready to enter into a true love union.

As for timing, true love can happen at any time in your life. It might show up as your very first relationship, it might be a past relationship returning (in this life or a past life) or maybe you don’t find your lover until you are in your elder years. The timing remains mysterious.

As for knowing who the true love is….this is not a question of destiny, it is a question of mutual willingness, desire, and dedication between two who both say yes.

Often times an avoidant type can hold out for some elusive destined person who meets every single need and is easy and perfect (in their mind) as a way to avoid real intimacy with a real person which has its messy, awkward, and hurtful times.

Often times an anxious type will endlessly vacillate about whether a relationship is wrong or right, giving in to their deep insecurity of not being lovable enough and projecting their insecurity onto the partner.

Often times a disorganized type with engage in both of the above attachment wound behaviors and then feel so bad about themselves because they cannot find their sense of self and don’t trust their feelings at all.

We are all born into a wounded society of human beings and nobody is on the mountaintop.

The spectrum of having a secure healthy attachment style exists within all of us. Some are twenty or thirty percent secure, some are only five or ten percent secure, some are eighty or ninety percent secure. Nobody is better or worse for how secure they are.

Sometimes a highly secure type partners with a highly insecure type and becomes the safe container for the avoidant/anxious/disorganized person to learn trust and to heal. This may be more uncommon but it does exist and I know a few who have this form of true love union.

There are infinite ways we can manifest and express the art form of true love.

Point being, don’t think because there is pain, insecurity, avoidance, and anxiety that it is not true love.

The spectrum of how easy or hard a romantic union is has nothing to do with a prewritten destiny and has everything to do with the present moment of two lover’s mutual love, desire, dedication, and skill in each present moment.

The guarantee is an illusion and true love requires courage to face pain and hurt.

True love union encompasses all the aspects of being human. Lovers have fun together, have great chemistry, are best friends, hurt each other, disappoint each other and struggle through difficult times and circumstances.

True love is the constant verb of two people relating and also a container that holds the journey. The container strengthens with effort, trust, forgiveness, awareness, dedication, and also…humor!

The romantic part of true love is mysterious. How can two lovers stay in love for so long and through every wave of light and dark, pleasure and pain? I love that I don’t have an answer to this. I humble myself and only claim to understand how to create and sustain the mystery that is soulful and profound romantic love.