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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.

Love: Real Deal or Another Spiel?

“Ok, we all know that we are finally waking up and in this great relationship revolution, but, how do we tell what’s the real deal or just another spiel when shopping for a long term commitment? Our hearts, and perhaps something a little lower is shouting, This is it, this is the real deal. Yippee! I have finally found my true love and soul mate. The problem is that while we are mid-air in flights of fantasy we may be missing some very human qualities that could mean the demise of our dream at some point down the road. So what is it that one should look for in a long-term mate? Perhaps the best approach is to become aware of what we don’t want.

I’ll do anything for you!

Run; don’t walk to the nearest exit. There are lots of people out there who really feel this endearing willingness constitutes love. The truth is it constitutes codependency. Anyone who is willing to give himself or herself up completely for you, will, in the not too distant future, be expecting the return of that favor. When it is not forthcoming…you can expect to hear things like, I have given you everything and what have I gotten in return? A person who is capable of loving you in a whole-souled way, loves himself or herself as well. In fact they are not able to commit to you or put you first in their lives as a partner, unless they are committed to themselves and first in their own lives…not in a selfish, but rather, a self-loving way. This kind of attraction is not about being an adult who can give love equally. It’s about a lack of maturity or an inner child who needs to be nurtured and taken care of. Ask yourself, Do I want to be a parent or a partner?

Everyone one else I’ve been with has abandoned me!

Dah! There is probably a reason. People who abandon themselves and don’t have good boundaries that are self-respecting often get abandoned because it’s simply too much of a burden to be with this kind of person. No one wants to be responsible for another’s happiness, safety or fulfillment. If you share these things great, but it’s not your job to be responsible for the quality of another person’s life.

Let me tell you about how bad my past partners were!

Put on your tennies and run again! You are next on the list for bashing and the whole world will know your every flaw. People who have integrity don’t talk about other people including past lovers. They talk about issues, principles, growth, spirituality and love. If your past partner was worth sharing your body and love with, they deserve the respect due any human being once the relationship ends. You can tell about how mature your prospective partner is by how they treat their families and their past partners. Yes, there are times when we must set good boundaries and we might decide a person is not the kind of individual we want in our lives. But we don’t run all over town airing our dirty laundry about the ugliness. We simply move on and learn from our mistakes.

I want to spend every minute with you.

This is not love. This is insecurity and control. Love takes a break, spends time with friends and comes home to share. Love wants you to grow, do the things that make you happy and does not expect 24-hour attention. Control, insecurity and the need to possess underlie this kind of behavior. When someone wants to know where you are every minute and what you are doing and with whom, you are in trouble. This is an unstable person who will make your life miserable with doubt and jealousy. No matter how much you reassure him or her, it will never be enough because it’s not your problem. It’s theirs. It’s a lack of self-confidence and self-esteem. Ask yourself, How does my partner make me feel? If you feel afraid to be open, truthful, make decisions that are right for you or if you find yourself withholding information because your partner will become angry or hurt, this is not the right relationship for you. Move on.

True love is based on freedom and truth. It is never about control, coercion, ownership, possession or material gain. It’s about giving. When you want to know the truth of someone’s heart watch what they do not what they say. You can always tell what someone is really like or what they really believe by watching what happens beyond the words. Take your time. Enjoy the ride and stop rushing into anything. There is always time to discover the true nature of the person to whom you are about to give your heart. Not only can shopping for a new love be fun, but it is also a great exercise in self-love.

© 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.