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What Love Is…

What Love is…

Deborah Anapol, Ph.D. says, “Love is force of nature. No matter how much we want to, we cannot demand, command or disappear love” It’s true, you can’t make someone love you and you can’t really stop them either. I do believe however you can create love. Love is the most powerful force in the Universe and therefore it is also the most fearful.

Ownership, which many confuse as being love, prevents freedom, however love encourages it.  If love could speak it would say… I am so grateful for you, please just be fully who you are and let me hold a sacred space in which you can unfold.”  Standing in that space feels like a gift to both people. So clearly love is not ownership, manipulation, compromising one’s self, violence, contempt or fear.  Nor is love just lust.

People also mistake love as something that should only be given to a partner, husband or wife.  Actually, love is something that should be given freely to everyone, including ones self. When it is given freely, it leaves little room for depression, loneliness or desperation.  These cannot co-exist with love.

I ask participants at my seminars to raise their hands if they have ever been in love. Only those people who have partners raise their hands. Then, I ask, who here has had a best friend, a child, a mom, a brother, a sister a mentor or a special teacher? Who here has eaten chocolate or peppermint ice cream with hot fudge sauce? Who has had fresh baked bread or hot buttered popcorn? Who here has run in the rain, been blown open or inspired by a truth or been moved to tears by genuine caring?  I believe if you have ever experienced any of these, you have been in love. Love is not limited to anyone or anything. That means, of course that we can fall in love everyday. In fact, you fall in love every time you are able to see the Divine, Spirit, God  or whatever you want to call it, in anything or anyone.

When see your friend’s spirit, or you see spirit in your child’s smile, or your mom’s love…you have just met love. You see love is a choice.  You can make love happen just by seeing the beauty in everything.  Author, Erich Fromm says we make it happen in four steps by caring and demonstrating active concern for each others growth and life, 2nd by taking responsibility for or actions and reactions to each other and our expressed and unexpressed needs.  3rd is respecting each other’s unique individuality and supporting and cherishing that, and 4thfinally by what he calls knowledge, in other words caring enough to really take the time and invest the energy in getting to know each other at a deeper level. Most of us say, “How are you,” not really caring or “Let’s have coffee,” then we go home and within twenty-minutes we have disconnected completely.  Some of that is because we are overwhelmed in our own lives, but acting in this way, disconnects us from the very thing that would fill us up…deep connections. True love is connected, attached and committed, no matter what the form. Obviously, not all the forms of love will come from just one person, so it’s important to connect with many people and create lots of opportunities to both give and receive love.  If you are afraid to receive love, find a good therapist.  He or she will remind you that if you have been hurt in the past or have lost love and are now refusing to be open to it again…that’s a bit like saying “ I once had either the best or the worst sushi in the world, so I am never eating food again.” Whether you eat sushi or not, you get the point.   I am sure whatever your experience, you no doubt learned a great deal, so now go and put that experience to good use and find someone to love.

Here’s the deal. Find the people in your life who see your soul not just how sexy you are. Find the people who care about your character not just who you know, where you have been or what you own. Find the people who stay when you disagree and hear you even when what you are saying is different than what they know to be true. Find the people who can say, ” You’re right, I am sorry.“  Find the people who want to grow with you, grow old with you and who will lie under the stars and listen in the silence to your heartbeat. Find the ones who will hold your hand and stay even when they are as scared as you are. Then love them and yourself like crazy.  Happy heart day from all of us.

 

© Dr Dina Evan 2013

Phoenix Arizona

(602) 997-1200

www.DrDinaEvan.com

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

 

 

 

Unexpected Gifts

Unexpected Gifts

Life happens between miracles, in the midst of miracles and after miracles… even in difficult times. I took a long time to realize that there is a consequence to every choice in life. Every choice in life is either for aliveness or death. No punishment. No reward, just the consequences of each choice. In my youth, I felt as if life did me. Now I do life.

The first time I had an opportunity to use my awareness of the energy of choice was while raising four kids alone and being out of work. There was an ad in the paper for an administrator for a major motion picture association. The job consisted of running a wonderful program. I was perfect for it. I had training experience, recruiting experience and I had movie experience from being the motion picture coordinator in Phoenix, so I applied, along with over hundreds of other candidates. I made it to the first cut of 20 and interviewed with eight Board Members.

After I left the interview, I ran to the restroom down the hall and sat in the women’s stall. I closed my eyes and focused on the job and getting the offer. I sat in the energy until I was able to envision the Board offering me the job. Then I got up and out loud, I stated that the job was mine.

I didn’t hear from anyone on the Board for several weeks, but I refused to let doubt in. I believed I had the job. Then I got the call. I was invited interview with the entire Board of 22 people. I was elated and terrified and elated and terrified.

I went back for a grueling interview with the entire Board including one gentleman whom I thought was asleep for the majority of my time. Gently, he eventually raised his head and asked, “What makes you think you can do this job better than any other guy?” he asked. I had the softest feeling that he was actually on my side and the question was not intended to be sexist. S, I answered him. “I have great administration skills, great recruiting skills and I have excellent people skills, I doubt that you will find that perfect combination in other candidates.” He smiled and put his head back down apparently satisfied with my answer. The Board seemed satisfied with my responses and thanked me for coming.

Immediately, I went back to my favorite stall and again affirmed that I was being offered the job and stayed with the energy until I felt it was done. Three weeks later, having had every opportunity to riddle the process away with doubt because I had not heard from anyone, and having resisted that old pattern, I got the call. The job was mine! I was turning life around. Everything I have ever created in my life was created first in my mind. Everything you experience began in yours. Years later, I used that same process when that job unexpected stopped to create a career as a counselor and speaker. To borrow a line, if you work it, it works.

Not a single thing has ever been created

that was not first thought of in mind.

Choose wisely.

            Headlines loom with gloom and doom. Every other story on the television is about suffering and abuse of power. We do live in trying times. The challenge, however, is deciding how we are going to respond to them. We can decide to stay focused on what we want rather than what we fear. That shift in perception always neutralizes the negativity.

We can continue to create what we want in our mind first with meditation, vision boards, visualizations. When you imagine yourself getting through the tough times, you create the energy of hope.

Reduce the chaos and drama in your life and stay out of the fray. Hanging out with naysayers and negative people literally has a visceral effect on us and it brings the energy of motivation and commitment down. It can make you immobile.

Don’t limit yourself. Keep and open mind. A complete career change may be the exact thing you need to start a completely new life. Get creative, and blow the lid off your control issues and need for the status quo.

Most of all, remember who you are! The person who walks out the door after a company closure or lay-off is the same person who walked in with a suitcase full of skills and abilities. You are leaving with those same skills. You are NOT YOUR JOB! You are a talented, worthwhile person who has much to offer to the next employer or endeavor. So put on some raucous music, shake off any energy of failure and start creating your future and the unexpected gifts from adversity.

© Dr Dina Evan 2012

Phoenix Arizona

(602) 997-1200

www.DrDinaEvan.com

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

Words

Words

My mother was an alcoholic. Until the day she died, no, even long after, the words spinning in my head were wonderings about what a can of Coors offered her that I could not. There are certain experiences and certain words in life that humble you. They bring you suddenly alive, albeit with regret, shock, pain or a melancholy musing often about why you haven’t been in your own life. There are also words that bring you alive with joy and happiness.

My clients over the years have softened my child-like judgment about my mother, and brought me the gift of greater understanding, compassion and forgiveness. My mother never really had a chance. My mother had no words of encouragement or comfort. She had no words of guidance or compassion. My mother was my greatest teacher. She taught me what it looks like when you do not love yourself. I love her for that.

Words connect us or separate us. They heal us or hurt us. They empower us or victimize us. Deepak Chopra says we have 60,000 thoughts a day, most of which come tumbling out of our mouths and almost all of which are the same old things we have thought and said repeatedly for the majority of our lives. We pay so little attention to our words. Yet, they are profound.

My father used words, ”You stupid ignoramus son-of-a-bitch.” My mother used no words. What floated in the space between us was cold and isolated sadness. My admissions professor in college used words I’d never heard,

“I cannot believe what you have done in your life without support.” My kids use words that took my breath away, “Thanks for holding this family together mom.” All of them have made me queasy…either because they hurt so badly or because they were unfamiliar and challenged my willingness to trust.

Words are crafted around conference tables, in the hopes quelling objections: the theater of war, friendly fire, constructive criticism etc. Make no mistake! These are enormously powerful words. You’ve been persuaded, manipulated, cajoled, coerced and controlled because the words were crafted in such a way that the risks no longer mattered. And, written words are even more powerful when they are accepted, uncritically, as being true. There is so much to say about words in every context and form, whether written, spoken or published in books or the Internet, words allow us to connect, communicate and enlighten each other. They are filled with potential – the potential to heal or the potential to harm. Love, laugher, gratitude, joy, courage, heroism are all inspired by words. A life well lived is nearly impossible without words. We take very seriously the opportunity to share words with you that hopefully teach, enlighten and encourage. I invite spirit to sit on my shoulder as I type, hoping to reach out from the page and touch you in some way.

As we age, we look at words with a bit more suspect. We begin to question whether we can really lose 20 pounds in a month, or whether he or she really can be in love in a week, or whether the government really does have our best interest at heart. With aging comes the answers to the words that formed questions such as  “Have I done what I came here to do, or, what can I learn from this challenge.

In moments of silence, you begin to question the purpose of your life for there is no true depth or value in life without meaningful connection to those you love. Connection is difficult without words that are genuine and heartfelt and followed by behavior that is reverent and respectful.

I remember things my father said to me that brought me to my knees when I was twelve. I remember things that my teacher said to me in fourth grade that brought me up, standing tall again. Words have so great a force in them that we should all remember to make sure they are well chosen. “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” ― Rudyard Kipling Words can make people love you a little less or a little more.

Who knew a consistent inquiry with words about how one could help, along with a soft touch and gentle hug could mean so much? Give that today.

© Dr Dina Evan 2013

Phoenix Arizona

(602) 997-1200

www.DrDinaEvan.com

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

The Change Table

Come to the Change Table

 

In the time it takes to read this column, approximately four billion five hundred million cells have died and been replaced in your body. Metathesiophobia is a phobia for fear of change. We are afflicted by it. We may have difficulty pronouncing the word, but we have more difficulty, even when the irrefutable facts change, coming to the table being open and comfortable with change. For instance, a wife whose husband has beating her for years, may tell me “But I promised for better or worse.” My heart might be breaking for her but knowing I have to change my response of “pack your bags,” allows me to quietly ask, “How long in your world must one be abused before change is an option.”

My life has blessed me with the wonderful awareness that I need to marry change, invite it in, serve it tea. At seventy-one things drop, lines form, necks wobble and restrooms become more important. The values of my children and grandchildren may not be the same as my values. I watch them flounder and remember that I too often resisted change. I too brought my self to my knees a few times with my own misguided decisions and unwillingness to change before I was able to make change a friend.

What might it be like if change was not a dirty word? Might we treasure it as the art form of transformation? Might we embrace the deeper meaning in “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the strength to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference”? Could we perhaps see change as a pathway of self-discovery or would we continue to color only within the lines? Without change women and minorities still could not vote, there would be no computer for me to create these words on and we would still not be talking about addictions. We wouldn’t be examining our life styles and food intake and levels of toxins in our bodies. No, we’d still be slapping a buffalo on the fire pit and uttering guttural sounds.

It’s time to come to the table on this issue and let change create you and the kind of life you desire. The winds of change ore blowing our hair back and we are still trying to stand still. If we are to thrive, we must see change in the context of purpose, both individually and as a human family. We are not listening to the voices of our spirit or our hearts. Change will repair the separation we experience with our own souls/spirits and with each other. We can to allow the new parts of ourselves to be born. A change from radical individualism and “me-ism” to the consciousness that there is just one human family will heal the pain in the planet. We need a shift in awareness from this or that and either or, to a simply “and & both. In every moment, there is an end to an era and a beginning to a new one, just as precious and rich but for newfound and more current purposes.

What would happen if you never turned the page to your favorite book or listened to the next heart-warming song? Whether change is happy or sad it is movement to the next beautiful thing life offers. It’s a sacred experiment. We are stuck in lack, thinking that letting go of this or that and what we hold on to in the moment means a loss, when in fact it makes room for a new gift.

Have you noticed that even when you resist change it still comes knocking at your door? Our spirits call it in so that we can evolve our own souls, so it comes back repeatedly. Sit at the table with it without fear. I lived in eleven different schools by the time I was in 12th grade. That has given me experiences in life about people that are invaluable. I can recognize authentic loving energy before it walks through the door. I also, recognize instantly when a person is not authentic or loving and I can shut the door which allows me to create the quality of life I want and deserve. Great lessons and tools.

Embracing change gives you solid proof that you are capable of having your own back and being your own best friend with circumstances that may not be in your round house of experience. Embracing change creates continued growth, and increases your quality of life and empowers the strength of your courage and spirit. The next time change knocks, invite it in and wait to see the gift it brings.

 

© Dr Dina Evan 2013

Phoenix Arizona

(602) 997-1200

www.DrDinaEvan.com

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

Just One Person

Just One Person

 

Earnest Holmes once said, “Find me one person who can get his own littleness out of the way and he shall reveal to me the immeasurable magnitude of the Universe in which I live.” This is the challenge of our lives today, to step aside out of our own littleness and step into the greatness of who truly are. However, this can seem a bigger challenge than it is due to the fact that much of the time we are dealing with a physical issue as much as an emotional one. How?

There are millions of neurons in our brains. Each time we repeat and action or a thought, the energy of that thought or action is sent from one neuron to the next both chemically and electromagnetically. Each repetitively thought or action literally creates a track in our brain that changes the typography. This is why scientists today, can examine the brain of deceased people and tell whether they have had addictions, abuse, stress or chemical exposures. They can tell if a person’s chemistry was out of balance and even whether they felt excessive long-lasting sadness and depression.  Our brains tell a story of fight, flight, freeze or succumb, they tell the story of our lives.

Depending upon the amount of energy in a belief or action, these tracks can be so deep that it can feel nearly impossible to change old habits and patterns, not unlike like an old truck going down a dirt road with deep grooves in it from all the trips back and forth. However, we must jump the track, so how do we do it?

First we need a great deal of compassion for ourselves and the awareness that even if you have a flash of enlightenment and a new understanding of an old issue that is self-defeating or unloving, you may still experience a resistance to changing it. Until you have practiced the new belief or action and it has at least fifty-one percent of the energy the old action or belief has, it won’t feel easy. We have to be committed to building up the energy until it grabs hold. Just as when you are dieting, the first few days feel awful, but then after several days when you get on the scale and are able to see the weight you have lost, you gain more momentum to continue.

Secondly, you will want to practice being in the moment to become aware of your self-defeating beliefs about change. For instance, you might feel, if I speak up, people will think I am stupid. It’s important to examine those fears and determine whether they are true, if they come from your past and if they are valid today. If they are from the past, there is no need to drag them into your life today. Instead make a conscious effort to recognize the fear, give it a voice, thank it for trying to keep you from being embarrassed or looking stupid and let it know that it no longer needs to protect you. As one of my favorite teachers, Ram Dass says, “Invite your fear in for tea.” The minute you begin to explore it, you instantly become bigger than it is. It loses it’s control on you.

Once you have diminished the fear, you will feel more able to go forward. If you are still in doubt just put a toe into the water and test doing something different in a small way until you can build on the energy. Don’t find fault with yourself or shame yourself for having these feelings. Everyone has them about something, whether they admit is or not.

Finally, make a decision to live from your path and purpose, not your pathology and pain. What you came here to do is be your best self. When you do that, and I know there are times when you have, don’t you feel empowered and stronger? When we are caught in the smallness of our lives and act little, we feel ashamed, diminished and powerless. We begin to believe that is all we are and that is a lie. What we came here to do is share our special gifts and energy and that may be what scares us the most. Trust me, you’ll have many people to play with. They may not be the people you play with now who are into remaining little, but the Universe will bring people to you that support your greatness. I promise.

Dr Dina Evan

© Dr Dina Evan 2013

Phoenix Arizona

(602) 997-1200

www.DrDinaEvan.com

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

This or That

 

This or That

 

Life is seldom this or that. It’s really all of it. In twenty-five years of counseling, I have never met an all bad person, nor have I ever met an all good one.  One person’s story or perspective is never all right and the other person’s is never all wrong.  The bad guys we vilify in the news are never really all bad and the good guys are really never all good.  We should lose the words good and bad because they require a judgment from someone about someone or something. As Shakespeare says, “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” Everything just is.

There is a great deal of difference between judgment and discernment. We might discern that someone or some activity is not in our best interest, however, if we are simply discerning, we make that decision, without judging the person or the activity. We might even wish that person or thing could be different, but we don’t make a judgment about the situation or the person’s value. Peace of mind comes from accepting things as they are. The foundation of all our unhappiness is a lack of acceptance.

Our boyfriend breaks up with us and the agony begins because we want it to be different. Actually, the longer we hold on, the more we are saying, I am willing to be with someone who doesn’t want and love me. We lose our house and we agonize over it feeling like a failure, never thinking the next one might be better. Someone dies and we hold on refusing to let life in because we cannot accept the loss, which is a natural part of life and being human. I am not implying we shouldn’t have feelings about these challenges in life. We will have big feelings because we are human and capable of feeling everything. However, at some point in order to live life fully we have to get to a place of acceptance. Life is not out to get us, life simply happens. Things come and go and so do we. What might change if you considered it all good?

The people who have empowered lives, filled with meaning, are the ones who get up everyday feeling that they love their lives and every challenge that life gives them. After all, aren’t those challenges the way we push our souls forward and hone our character? How else could we become who we came here to be? Thomas Edison said of things that didn’t go right, “I have not failed. I’ve just found ways that won’t work.” Edison had no concept of failure; only opportunities to discover what didn’t work.

 

The deeper lesson is to accept all things with a sense of reverence. A master stands, arms outstretched, in the middle of this and that and is attached to or attracted to neither. He or she simply says, ”Ah so, here is this, or here is that.” A master understands that life is filled with all of it. We have trouble and we have compassion and consolation. We have abundance and we have emptiness and loss. We have cold and heat, times up and times down and to remain in the flow and aliveness of life we must be willing accept all of it.

Ellen Bass, one of the authors of the Courage to Heal says, “…to love life, to love it even when you have no stomach for it and everything you’ve held dear crumbles like burnt paper in your hands, your throat filled with the silt of it. When grief sits with you,

Its tropical heat thickening the air, heavy as water more fit for gills than lungs;

when grief weights you like your own flesh only more of it, an obesity of grief,

you think, how can a body withstand this? Then you hold life like a face between

your palms, a plain face, no charming smile, no violet eyes, and you say, yes, I will take you, I will love you, again.”

Don’t miss it. Be your own best friend. Let yourself feel all of it, Cling to nothing. Embrace everything including every fear and feeling. Society will teach you to fear your feelings because they can kill you. In more than twenty-five years, I have never lost a client or seminar guest, family member, child or friend to a feeling. It does not happen. You will never leave the planet due to having a feeling, but you may leave wishing you had felt more of them with acceptance.

 

Dr Dina Evan

© Dr Dina Evan 2013

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

Turning Points

Whether we are aware of it or not, we all have opportunities to create turning points in our lives. Too often, we wait for life to tap us on the shoulder and say, “ Hi there, here’s your opportunity to make life different for yourself.” It doesn’t work that way. Each moment, of every day, we make decisions for ourselves that have either consequences or benefits. Life, God, or Spirit has no investment on what you choose for yourself. That energy, whatever you may perceive it to be, simply assumes that you need the lesson you have chosen and it allows it. It is up to each of us to make the choices that change the quality of our lives.

You and I are in charge of creating our own turning points. No matter how long we search for those certain people who will make us feel lovable or worthy of existing, they are no where to be found. We wouldn’t believe them anyway, if the truth were known. No matter how many times we pray for life to give us a break, it doesn’t. No matter how intensely we might want to hit the jackpot, win the lottery or find a Wells Fargo moneybag on the side of the road, it almost never happens. Why? Because the truth is, we are the ones in charge of creating our own realty with every choice we make. If all of our energy goes into wanting and waiting for these things, then wanting and waiting is what continues to manifest.

When we begin making decisions that are self-loving, life gets easier, better. I once had a client who spent her entire life and all of her energy looking for the one person who would stay in her life and make her feel worthy and lovable. If only one person did that, she thought, then it would be proof that her mother’s messages about her lack of worth would be proven wrong. Not once did it ever occur to her that the person she was seeking was her own self. At any given moment she could change her mind about her mothers messages and begin to treat herself as a worthy person, deserving of love, who would not for a moment tolerate people in her life who would abandoned her. The power is inside of us – not out there. Some of the ways that you create turning points for yourself are:

  • Choose to give your focus and energy to only that which you desire, not that which you fear
  • Be aware of how much energy you expend on circumstances you cannot change
  • Speak with Integrity. Select your words carefully and empower only that which is truthful, positive and loving
  • Don’t take anything personally. Understand that each person in your life acts from his or her own life experience and personal reference point. None of it is about you
  • Avoid chaos, deception and people who drain your energy with self-created drama
  • Find the safety inside yourself necessary to embrace change and the fluidity of life.
  • Seek to understand the ways in which we are united, rather than, the ways in which we are different
  • Develop a respect and reverence for all forms of life, even those who are still evolving at their own pace and in their own way, including you.
  • Take risks in order to find your own strength of Spirit.
  • Respect the right of each person, yourself as well, to learn his or her own lesson at his or her own pace.
  • Embrace the possibility that you can trust whatever you perceive God to be.
  • Forfeit being right and choose being love.
  • Release the need to control, and make a space for Divine energy to work through you and on your behalf.
  • Take a breath and let your heart be at peace, often
  • Turn around and face that one heinous thing you feel is an inherent part of you that makes you bad. When you find it does not exist, stop punishing yourself.
  • Dare to believe that the mistakes you have made came from a lack of tools, rather than a lack of humanity
  • Decide to stop wasting time and life on guilt, shame or the messages from your parents and do something to contribute to humanity
  • And most of all, if you are blessed with conscious awareness, dare to be different. ? Act on what you know

At any given moment, in any given circumstance, there is an opportunity to step into the greatest of who we are – there is a turning point. Turning points are available to us with every breath and in every interaction. We only need to find the courage to step into them. As the Sufi’s say, You have already arrived with the very first step. Take it.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

Let’s Get Connected

Want Happiness? OK, let’s bottom-line it. The most important thing you need in order to create happiness in your life is the ability to connect. It’s pretty simple. In fact, nearly every major issue looming over us today is created from our inability to connect with the earth, with other countries, and in our relationships with each other. So what is so fearful about connecting and why aren’t we doing it?

Rainer Maria Rilke says, “For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult task of all…the work for which all other work is but a preparation. It calls us out and calls us to vast things.” Since love, which is the ground and foundation of all connection, is the most powerful energy in the universe, it is also the scariest.

Our society supports an attitude of being increasingly more removed and separated from each other. Why sit down together when we can text message, web cam or email?  We have lost respect and a sense of value for our families of origin and feel very little desire to connect with them to do soul work. Why connect with people who don’t live with us and have become irrelevant in our lives?  We fill our children’s lives with so many activities they seldom have time to connect to themselves, much less with us. Isn’t achievement more important than authenticity, inspiration and creativity?

We are often so enmeshed in our careers and survival needs that couples seem out there on their own trying to stay connected against all odds. In addition, the very landscape of relationships has drastically changed. Relationships that were once vertical, and hierarchical with one person having greater power, control and decision making authority than the other, have now toppled over and become horizontal relationships that demand, equality, partnership, cooperation and compassion. It’s wonderful and, at the same time, a bit disconcerting to those attached to the old way of being and doing things. Rather than becoming discouraged, however, we should be patting each other on the back for being pioneers in a new era of relationships that are bound to work better because they are more honorable and equal.

This issue of connecting is not just about what we do across the dining table or in the bedroom. There is a collective imperative here to learn to bridge the gap between masculine and feminine, between the young and older, between generations, between societies and countries and between this planet and us. The separation we are now experiencing is literally killing our relationships and us. Our relationships to each other, and to ourselves are really the vehicles through which we heal the pain on this planet.  Connection is the instrument of our evolution and the evolution of the planet. Without it we cannot survive. Where we currently are is tantamount to being in a relationship and saying to your partner, “I love you but I don’t want to hear your real feelings, or know how my actions are affecting you and you may not have any input into our decision making because I don’t care about what you think.” This lack of connection has created a narcissistic nightmare.

Connection is born out of intimacy. Having an intimate connection with yourself gives you a chance to stand at that gap just before you say or do something and examine your own feelings and motives. If you do that with a desire to create deeper understanding, healing and compassion,  your action or response may be different and you will create an outcome that is more positive. When I am willing to ask myself what am I feeling and whether what I am feeling is coming from a place of fear and woundedness or power and path – there is an opportunity in that exquisite space to make new choices that create deeper connection.

Chogyam Trungpa says, “When you experience your own wisdom and the power of seeing things as they are, you have access to tremendous vision and power in the world. You find that you are inherently connected to your own being, and that is magic.” Hat magic extend further out. You also find in that same instant that you are inherently connected to the rest of the world, your partner, your planet, your friends and family and every living thing. In that connection all things are possible. In that connection is infinite healing and love. If you have no reference point for how that looks or how to get there, don’t beat yourself up, just make it a priority to find a teacher or a teaching that can give you the tools. There are a lot of us out here…and we are waiting for you. Our lives depend upon it

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

Connection

There is no greater gift on the planet than our ability to create connection with each other. It is the most sacred dance in life even though we often forget to treat it as sacred. When I speak of it, people’s eyes cross and they look at me as of I am speaking a foreign language. We are confused about connections. Who should we connect deeply with? What kind of connection is taboo? What does connecting mean? Webster says (1) it is the act of joining, establishing a relationship or (2) to hit solidly and successfully. Perhaps all those definitions are also applicable here. In order for me to get connected, I have to create a level of conscious awareness with myself or another, hence a joining has occurred. Once I am connected to myself, I am able to know what I am feeling, thinking and perceiving. I can also know in this state of connection, through empathy and presence, what another is thinking and feeling so a relationship is established. I need a precise and focused point of awareness to get connected in the first place and so perhaps that is the hit solidly and successfully of which Webster speaks.

When I connect with myself, it is a statement that I am willing to discover both the greatness and the smallness in myself. I am willing to allow neither one to establish my worth. Instead, I am willing to heal my attachment to either and be free. It is an outward demonstration of inner character and courage. Connecting with myself is an act of love and honor for me that say’s I am worth it. I deserve as big a place in my day-timer, check book and life as I give to everyone else.

Connecting with me also affirms that I have the ability and trust to heal anything dislikable I might find inside myself, without self-judgment or self-loathing. Connecting with myself is a valiant act that says I am finally no longer afraid that what I will find inside myself is someone who is either not loveable or nothing at all.

When I connect with those in the outer circle of my life, in the grocery store line or where I teach, it is a statement that I can see the value and worth of people as individuals on their own path which is not so different than mine. I honor the divinity in others and am safe enough in my own process and life to be safe in their world as well.

When I connect with those who dance in the inner circle of my life, it is a statement that says I love you and therefore you deserve the best of who I am. You deserve the truth of who I am and the fullest presence of who I am. For if I value you as the gold and Spirit in my life, my character and integrity prevent me from standing before you offering anything less…for that would cheat on my own soul.

I connect with the earth, and each living thing as a statement of my wisdom and understanding that the earth is one living energy and each part of it, human or not, is a part of me. Therefore, connection is the key to everything. In the center of it I find myself. In the center of it, I find you. In the center of it, I find God, the Universe, and the Divine – whatever you perceive that to be. Therefore our great gift is to reach beyond our fear and get connected to all of life, and everyone in it, so that we can find ourselves.

Many of us are afraid of being connected to anything. What if I connect with myself and find that I am nothing or worse yet, a really bad person? I have never met a really bad person. I have met wounded people, lonely people and scared people, but never a bad person among them. I am not even sure what that might mean. Everyone one of us is still working on our selves trying to get it right. No one deliberately causes pain for themselves or others unless they are ill. If they are ill, they are not bad. So, when you get connected to yourself and discover something you don’t particularly like, simply heal it.

What will it mean if I connect with you? You could leave me. You might depend on me too much or dump your problems on me. You might expect something I don’t want to give. That is the dance. Learning to set and respect boundaries and still remain in the center of intimacy with all of life.

The task at hand for all of us is to learn to be connected and yet safe with ourselves. It’s a process and an on-going one that will last the rest of our lives.

So what are you feeling right now? Do you feel your body? Do you have a sense of your emotions? Can your feel the love in the person sitting across from you? Can you feel love for the person sitting across from you? Can you feel the love in the universe? If not, take a breath and get connected. Bulwer once said, “True eloquence is that which holds us too mute for applause.” True connection is that which holds us in grace too exquisite and precious for words.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

I Can’t Hear You?

My son told me a story not too long ago about an incident he had seen on television that made an indelible impression on him. Apparently, a plane had crashed and a crowd of reporters were in the terminal talking to the family members of the passengers and trying to get more details. Amid the mass confusion and chaos a disheveled, ominous looking man approached the airline executives in attendance and in a booming voice began shouting profanities at the top of his lungs. People in the crowd immediately began to shout back and chastised him. One man, standing to the side, saw the incident and walked over to the distraught man and put his hand on his shoulder and gently asked, “What is the problem friend?” The troubled man was stunned by this response and immediately fell sobbing into this man’s arms explaining his child had been on the crashed airliner. My son related this story and we talked of the many times we all had been too quick to respond in anger, without understanding.

Most of us have a difficult time staying open hearted and present to intense feelings coming from those we love and the biggest reason for this has to do with boundaries. We all have a tendency to take what our family member or beloved is saying personally. We can’t remain objective because we are afraid what they are saying in some way reflects negatively upon us or will have some negative impact on us. So, instead of being able to stay present, listen and reach a place of understanding, we move immediately into trying to tell the other why their feelings are incorrect. We make him or her feel guilty for their feelings, or attempt to shame them through intimidation or interrogation. Very little gets accomplished in this pattern of communication and most of the time we leave the process feeling unheard and invalidated.

Boundaries play an important role in successful communication. When I understand that everything you are saying is about you and not about me, I can listen more intently. When we listen to each other without boundaries we often filter everything we are hearing through our own little red wagon of life experiences and pain. What we hear triggers feelings of fear, concerns about abandonment, blame, inadequacy and not being enough which makes listening from an objective place more difficult.. Having good boundaries makes it possible for me to hear what you are saying and take it in as your truth, whether I agree or not. For instance, Mary says to Ted, ”I feel so lonely I could just die.”
Ted responds, feeling he is responsible for Mary’s loneliness, by saying, “I don’t know how you could be lonely, I’ve been home every night for weeks!” Mary in turn withdraws feeling unheard and misunderstood.

On the other hand, if Ted had strong boundaries, he might say, “ Tell me what it’s like when you feel so lonely you could just die.”

Mary might then continue by saying, “When I was a child we moved so often I could never make permanent friends. Now my best friend is moving and it’s starting all over again. It makes me feel like I’ll never have a friend I can count on.”

This is a simple example but it illustrates what happens in communication processes much of the time simply because we don’t have good boundaries. The process of establishing good internal boundaries can begin with the simple exercise that follows. Once you feel comfortable with these boundaries, begin communicating with them in place and watch how much easier it is to listen.

Exercise Establishing Boundaries

Sit comfortably on an bed or on the carpet and delineate your boundaries by drawing a circle around you that your partner can visibly see in the carpet. Ask the following:

1. Is your boundary drawn so lightly it is hard to determine where it is –

What does that mean for you? Can others tell where your boundaries are?
Do boundaries feel uncomfortable – unfamiliar –
Talk about how not having well defined boundaries effects you and those around you.
Is your boundary right next to your body leaving you no space to feel yourself-
Do others have to get right n your face to be heard?
Did you learn as a child to draw into your self for protection?
Is your boundary huge because you think the only way to stay safe is by keeping people away?

2. Check in with your body and mind to see if you are sitting a comfortable distance apart –
not too close – not too far?

Talk about what is comfortable for each of you and adjust your positions based upon what you need, not what the other wants.

3. One at a time have one partner erase their boundary.

Talk about how it feels when you have a boundary and someone you are with does not.
Give the person with a boundary a chance to talk about their feelings and give the person without a boundary time to talk.
Then let your partner erase their boundaries and do the same.

4. One at a time have one partner move back a foot at a time and feel the responses that arise in each of you when you feel distance or removed.

Talk about how you stay connected when you are not close together and what your comfort level of distance is before you begin to feel abandoned or engulfed.

5. Talk about how your boundaries were respected or not respected as a child and how that has effected you as an adult.

6. Talk about how you feel boundaries are respected or not respected in your relationship.

Give suggestions on how you can each create more respect for your own boundaries and those of your partner.

7. Talk about the difference between healthy boundaries and walls.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.