The New Intimacy

Menstuff® has compiled information and books on the issue of Relationships. This section is an archive of a weekly column featured daily on our homepage by husband and wife psychology team, Judith Sherven and Jim Sniechowski. They are the bestselling authors of "The New Intimacy" and "Opening to Love 365 Days a Year." Their latest book is Be Loved for Who You Really Are: How the differences between men and women can be turned into the source of the very best romance you'll ever know. They provide corporate trainings on breaking through resistance to success and relationship workshops about The Magic of Differences--romance based on respect and value for each other's unique ways. As guest experts they've been on over 600 television and radio shows including Oprah, The O'Reilly Factor, 48 Hours, Canada AM, and The View. Visit their website at Special Honor

Is Anger Inappropriate?
Appreciated or not, it gave all it had to its life
Be Sure to Laugh & Play
Can Our Marriage Work, if I Just Work on Myself?
Chemistry of Emotion It's Contribution to Deliberately Creating Unconditional Love
Conflict Resolution
Feeling a Deep Need for Connection
Finding a Soul Mate
Gut-Wrenchingly Miserable
He's 43 going on 18
His Interfering Family
How Not to be a Defeated Wife
In the Land of the Free...and the Abused
Is the Distance Between Two Human Beings Impossible to Bridge?
It's Always Created by Both of You
The Gift of the Future
The Law of Attraction: The Astonishing Power of Our Thoughts and Feelings
Marrying a white American
Of Mice and Meaning and Care
The Power of Prayer
Real Intimacy, Not Just Hearts and Flowers
A "Relationship-of-One"
Taking Someone for Granted
Terrorism and How Women and Men Relate to Each Other
What About Sex?

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What About Sex?

When a man approaches a woman with wanting to be sexual friends, does he think poorly of himself or the woman?


Dear Anonymous,

We chose your question because it gives us the chance to talk about the inordinate power sex has in our culture.

In our culture, sex is very probably the most abused aspect of human existence.

On the one hand we see it everywhere, and usually in distorted forms. On the other we are told that sex is the devil's snare, and can only lead to perdition if we are not extremely careful.

Sex is used as an advertising/sales tool and, because we, as a culture, worship money as though it were a god, that abuse of sex for commercial purposes is tolerated because it yields the golden bottom line.

Yet when sex is used directly to make money, as in prostitution, we relegate it and those who practice sex-for-money exchanges to the outcast regions of who and what we like to think we are, and pity, persecute, or prosecute them.

In romance, sex is supposed to be the ultimate experience and we assume that just because we are driven by and to sex we will know what to do to make a sexual encounter that ultimate experience. Then we fall short of the hype we've believed about what to expect and sex takes the rap.

Currently, the clerical underbelly of the abuse of sex is slithering into the light via the abuse scandals that are rocking the Catholic Church.Celibacy, the denunciation of sex as a supposed source of transcendence, is being sanctified again by some and vilified by others, and sex is left in the shuffle, instead of being integrated into a respectful and humility-based acceptance of how the Creator created this experience of life.

And finally, you ask "When a man approaches a woman with wanting to be sexual friends, does he think poorly of himself or the woman?" Why would that even come to mind? Why would a desire for a sexual relationship reduce someone's self-esteem?

We agree that purely sexual encounters that extend over a period of time most often end up in pain. Because there is a profound exchange that occurs between lovers even if they've been together only once. And yes, that power is barely understood by most if understood at all. But that is not a fault of sex but of the fact that we resist an honest, openhearted, sincere and spirit-based discussion that would enlighten people and prepare them for what they are getting into when they agree to have sex with one another. Sex is not a plaything, but it also not a monster. It is a primaeval force that can lead to the creation of the most precious outcome, another human being. In that way, sex is a glimpse we get to have onto the awesome grandeur and potential of what it means to be the Creator.

Conflict Resolution

We've often been asked about conflict resolution, about what to do to conduct a fight between two people in a relationship in such a way that it will not be destructive, but, to the contrary, constructive and mutually beneficial.

What follows is an abridged excerpt from Chapter 9 of our first book, "The New Intimacy," which outlines the principles of fair fighting.

Fair fighting is lovework -- a fierce expression of love for yourself and your partner. Given that, there are very specific commitments you and your partner can make, before and during a fight, that will assure that you are doing lovework instead of doing damage. Remember, every fight is like a flare, an S.O.S. drawing your attention to what needs healing.

1. Your purpose is to find a mutually respectful resolution During a fight, frustrations are high. Voices are loud. Vision is clouded, even distorted. Both of you can feel unseen, unheard, and unappreciated. That's the time to remember you do love one another, that the point of the conflict is to make sure neither of you sabotages your love by putting up with less than your love deserves. The purpose of a fight is to reconcile your differences and dissolve the distance between you.

2. Remember, you're only human You're both feeling vulnerable. And, no matter how things appear, you both feel threatened, otherwise there would not be a fight Since you both are feeling very fragile, it is essential that, even when your hot buttons are pushed, you can count on the fact that you both truly care for each other and that your connection is still there.

3. Sometimes a fight is necessary Fair fighting is always about getting your grievances out in the open. It's a way of saying, "I'm completely committed to our relationship and I won't let this particular problem continue." You're fighting to stay fully alive, to continue to grow and develop with one another. When you both know this, you will know that a fair fight is a godsend -- an alarm calling you to put out the fire.

4. Both of you are being powerful In a fair fight, no one is victimized. Whether you're yelling or silent, weeping or walking around the room, insistent or seeking--you are exerting a powerful effect on your partner. The fact that the fight continues is proof of your influence. Even though you may not feel like it, you are having an impact. You have to stay conscious of that.

5. Every fight is co-created In a fair fight, you both have to take responsibility for your participation in what created the conflict and what you are doing to resolve it. Whether you raised the complaint, or you are feeling defensive, criticized, whatever, it takes both of you to make a fight. Even when you're angry, threatened, shut down, you still make choices. You are always part of the process.

6. Don't harbor discontent Commit to speaking your desire and need, dissatisfaction and hurt, as soon as you possibly can. What you keep secret acts like rust and fungus, coat hangers and the stuff in your garage. It keeps growing in the dark. It extends its contagion into more and more areas of your relationship until there is no more room for love.

7. Stay on point Hash out only one thing at a time. Nothing is more maddening, confusing and ultimately enraging than jumping from point to point, obscuring the problem, making it very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve any kind of resolution. Fighting is serious business. It strengthens and deepens your connection. Give it your best effort. It's lovework.

8. Don't drag up past complaints Since we all have some trouble keeping the emotional slate clean, it's very easy for the small stuff, and even the big stuff, that gets ignored to fester into buried land mines. And then, in the middle of a conflict, you feel desperate and all that old resentment comes flying out with something like, "Well, do you remember when you...?" Unless your spouse is strong enough to remind you that dragging up the past is out of line, suddenly the fight veers out of control and becomes lethal. After a few more do-you-remember-whens, neither of you even knows what you're fighting about. Then you're liable to throw anything into the mess.

9. Stay out of your individual history As a basic rule of thumb, you can assume that anger has to do with what's happening in current time. In contrast, rage is like old, dammed-up water. When it's triggered by something, when your buttons are pushed, the dam bursts and rage rushes forth seeking revenge.

These are not principles that you drag out in the middle of a conflict. They are to be discussed and committed to beforehand.

You may want to get a copy of The New Intimacy for more extensive help with fair fighting as well as the nine-step conflict resolution process we call Conscious Creativity which is Chapter 6.

Feeling a Deep Need for Connection

Over the last two weeks we made the following points:

1) that there is a sense of separateness and emotional distance that humanity has believed for millennia to be the only foundational experience;

2) that there is an experience of connectedness that is equally foundational;

3) that as a species we have had to evolve to a point where we could recognize and experience that connectedness in the daily, mundane moments of our lives;

4) that love is the name we give to our desire to be connected with something larger than ourselves.

Now, if being connected were utterly impossible in this universe, we would not feel any desire for it. It is because we feel such a deep need for connection, what we call love, that tells us that a connection already exists.

So, if love is not the yearning for connection but is already the connection itself, then as the poets and visionaries have already told us, we are the love, the connectedness we are seeking. That being the case, at least as much if not more than separateness and distance being the case, then most, if not all, of what we humans have believed about love destines us to heartache, resignation and despair, because it is one-sided.

Have you ever wondered why the theme of unrequited love has been and continues to be so popular? After all, unfulfilled, unreturned love is very painful. Why would such pain be so attractive?

Because longing for love has been more valued than having love. That's not a perverse longing. It is merely the natural and logical outcome of our giving priority to the belief that we are separated, that the distance, the dis-connection that we feel is the only reality.

That word "only" is where we get into trouble. Why? Because we do have the longing to connect. So there must be more than what has been believed for so long. And, if it is love that will connect us, then it only makes sense to set out in search of love. But when we do, we become blind. Why? Because we must deny the veryconnection that we are. Otherwise there would be no need to search for it. As a result, we unknowingly set up a circumstance through which we can only feel desperate, futile, cynical, and ultimately unloved.

However, if you recognize the connectedness between us, that it is an equally essential aspect of our experience, then the distance takes its rightful place as only one part of who and what we are, and another fact comes into view--that we are not distant, merely different. That the sense of separateness is merely one way of interpreting the differentness between us. That's all. Not separate. Not alienated. Not lost in our solitariness. But simply different, each of us a facet of the overall experience of existence.

Appreciated or not, it gave all it had to its life

The other day we took a walk out to a nearby field. Behind several tall pines, hidden away from open view, a single, small flower spread its blossoms toward the sun. It was a deep red, vivid -- very strong and straight on its thin stem.

"Proud," Jim said.

"Proud and powerful," Judith answered.

We both knelt next to it, captivated, surrendering to an unexpected meditation.

So unseen this little red miracle was, so out of the way, and that didn't matter at all. Appreciated or not, it gave all it had to its life.

"Can we give everything," Jim whispered, "even if what we do goes unacknowledged?"

"Especially if it goes unacknowledged!" Judith smiled.

"I'd like that," Jim said, taking Judith by the hand. "To live for the sheer experience of being alive."

We felt small next to this giant flower and, although we hadn't said a word, we knew we were suddenly filled with deep longing.

Intimacy is like that, you know. When we allow ourselves to open and connect, intimacy can be an unexpected teacher, taking us into unacknowledged places in our self.

Whenever any of us stops long enough to open, to feel the tenderness that is at the core of being alive, the magic of the mystery appears - right there, wherever we are.

That little red flower became a portal, a threshold into the world of the ordinary and the sacred, into something completely expected and yet utterly surprising. That's the pleasure and the reward of real intimacy. It takes you through what you already know out beyond your imagination.

We stayed with that flower for some minutes, each in our own silence. And then, as though on cue, we rose, and walked hand in hand back to the house.

There are opportunities all around you, right now, in your daily life, for intimacy to carry you into yourself and out toward those you love.

Let it. Just say yes, open your eyes and let it.

Terrorism and How Women and Men Relate to Each Other

Terrorism is having a profound effect on how men and women are relating to one another. Take a moment and consider this fact. Men and women are all we have. That's it. After us there is no one and nothing. How we treat each other and how we treat the differences between us is is the foundation of whatever future we will experience.

We are all undergoing a kind of pressure that most of us have never imagined as a result of being thrust into an unknown that even the toughest among us have never had to deal with. That's not an exaggeration. That's also not an excuse we can use to avoid responsibility for what we say and do.

But this new world we now live in has inspired many, many people to look within as never before. For example, there is a marked increase in divorce proceedings being stopped by the couples who have filed them. Not the judge, but the people involved are reconsidering.

Dating services are seeing a marked increase in activity as well as an increase in subscriptions. Those who are without someone are making a concerted effort to find a connection.

There has been an increase in marriages and those who are taking the vows have said that the attack and the world conditions have caused them to realize how precious a loving relationship is.

On the dark side, there has also been an increase in domestic violence and child abuse reports since September 11. The new pressures are inflaming a violence that was there to begin with.

So what do we do?

We must be alert. That means more than just watching out for someone who might be acting suspiciously. Because in fact, very few of us are ever going to be in the presence of someone who might have terrorist intentions.

We must become more conscious and that is now far more than just a new age platitude. Becoming more conscious actually is now a prescription for the future of our planet. And becoming more conscious is something everyone of us not only can do, we must.

  • Pay attention to the respect you feel for others. Respect contains a reverence that affirms life.
  • Be aware of any contempt you feel. Contempt kills, because you nullify the right of someone to be who they are, different from you.
  • Be sensitive to your own thoughts, because, at the very least, thoughts are energy and energy cannot be destroyed. So no matter how internal and private it may appear, a thought does send something, for good or for not, out into the world, and you are responsible for that transmission.
  • Make a commitment to become more discerning. Discernment can be understood as cutting through to the truth. Go beyond the surface toward what is implied and even hidden.. Don't settle for easy understanding. Easy understanding results is cliches and stereotypes which deny the magnificent uniqueness, the true specialness of everyone and everything you encounter.
  • And finally, do not allow your self to be put down, to be feel less than, either by someone else or by yourself. That's a guaranteed path to resentment, rage and ultimately violence.

Yes there are any number of pressures now, but remember, it is pressure that transforms carbon into diamond.

A "Relationship-of-One"

Many relationships suffer from being what we call a "relationship-of-one." In this case neither person has a solid sense of self. What they do is jostle back and forth in an overt or covert power struggle, each one trying to be the arbiter of reality for both of them. So in one moment one of them is dominant. Then the power balance shifts toward the other person who is dominant for a while. Neither has a center, only the unconscious sense that somehow a center has to be established so their relationship doesn't careen out of control.

Here's a simple example. We did a workshop in Florida a number of years ago. One woman complained about the way her dates were treating her. She felt taken for granted. Unseen. So Jim did a short exercise with her. He said:

"Imagine that a friend invites you to dinner and asks you what you would like to eat. What would you say?"

She had no problem telling us that she liked rotisserie chicken and gave us the name of her favorite place. In other words, she had a sense of herself and announced her preference without any trouble.

The Jim said, "Okay. Now imagine I'm a man you're interested in and we have a date. I call to ask you what you would like to have for dinner. What do you say?"

Without a moment's hesitation she said., "Oh I don't know. Whatever you prefer."

In that exchange she set up a relationship-of-one. She vanished and left it entirely up to her date. She later confessed that she resented men for being bossy and always felt like they had to be in charge. To get back at them, after she'd been dating someone for awhile she would manipulate for control by playing hard-to-get in order to have a sense of power. In other words, she covertly took back control yet unconsciously made it a relationship-of-one now based on her needs and wants rather than the man's..

Because not many of us have truly been encouraged to have a strong self, a self that we trust, enjoy, and are willing to express, many couples endure the very unsatisfying and deeply confusing relationship-of-one. They know something is wrong but are not sure what and end up blaming each other in a futile and desperate attempt to make things right.

In order for a relationship to succeed there have to be two people willing to show up and be who they are. That begins right from the first moment of the first date and carries through the life of two people being together.

For those of you who are dating, please be aware that the way you handle yourself is your way of telling your date how you want to be treated. That is very critical. If you put on a show, then you are a performance. If you are willing to put yourself out to see if you are liked and if you like who you are with, then you are telling your date who you are. That in itself sets up the precedent that you are someone who has a sense of self and you expect to be acknowledged and respected for it. By doing that you are saying right from the beginning that your want a relationship in which there are two people expressing and co-creating what you will have together.

The Power of Prayer

Much has been said about the power of prayer in these past two weeks. And many of you have, no doubt, found comfort and empowerment through your various forms of praying.

Since we will be living through the aftermath of September 11th for some time, we want to suggest that the definition of prayer be enlarged to include the positive energy you give to one another with your kindness, consideration, and understanding. The positive effects of your behavior when you create surprises and offer help to those you love. 

In fact, the way each of us lives our daily life is a form of prayer, a form of practical spirituality. Don't underestimate the influence of your good spirits, your generosity, your ability to reach out and comfort someone else. Brain science and quantum physics teach us that our energy effects much more than the physical space we occupy .We are, each one of us, a force for greater change simply through the daily, walking prayer of our lives!

During the flurry of email that crossed our monitors recently, this prayer stood out. As a way to share our human capacity for good, we send a passage of it on to you.

Passage by Jim Vuocolo

Amid a flood a conflicting emotions, tears, sadness, and grief, and in the numbness of the moment, we pause to pray for peace within our own nation and among the world's nations. Inspire our quest for national unity with an equal measure of respect for human diversity. May those who govern people everywhere pause remember that the primary function of government is to provide for the security and well-being of all people. May the peace we are praying for be marked by a commitment to justice and compassion for all the world's people.

Author of Life, we pray for all of our sisters and brothers whose nations are in the throes of violent change. Empower us to do what we can to translate compassion into action, and show us that, with your assistance and care, we can always do more than we believe possible to overcome our fears and help bring peace to our hearts and to our generation. Amen.

Is the Distance Between Two Human Beings Impossible to Bridge?

Much of what has been written about love has been based on an assumption that fundamental to our existence we are beings who are inexorably separated from one another; that the distance between two human beings is impossible to bridge. And, furthermore, that one of our deepest, if not our very deepest desire, also an inextricable part of the human condition, is to transcend that fracture and connect with another person, with another soul.

Twenty-five hundred years ago, Plato spoke of the need to find one's other half, the only person with whom one could feel complete.

Today we have the expression, "soulmate," which is another way of saying "one and only," and from the movie, "Jerry McGuire," the famous line Tom Cruise whispers to Renee Zellweger, "You complete me."

There is no doubt that we humans experience that sense of separation quite vividly. It often is the basis of our yearning for love as well as the heart of loneliness and despair.

But what would "soulmate" mean if we took, as our starting declaration, another point of view, one which is, in fact, equally true: that there is a connection, a profound intimacy between all that is, and we know that to be true at the very deepest level of our existence. As much as we are individuals, we are also embedded in a universe that makes us brothers and sisters to the sun and stars, to every creature that comes to be and passes away, to the very stuff, the mystery and majesty of this incredible experience of life.

After all, if we can make our sense of separation our guiding principle, why not connection?

First, the idea of completion would cease to be so powerful a yearning. Completion would be taken as a given. We would no longer feel emotionally impoverished, spiritually wanting. The hole in our souls would be healed. And all of the energy we put into searching for completion we could devote to expression--self-expression--as the self would no longer be an experience of isolation. That means that every one of us would experience self as simultaneously an expression of our unique individuality as well as not merely an aspect of the whole but the whole itself. Ours would be a holographic existence, in a way that heretofore has not even been imagined.

It hasn't been imagined because we've taken separation and distance to be the only truth of life.

With this new vision, we would then offer our completeness in partnership to another with whom we would co-create relationship and co-create yet another holographic expression.

Rather than lack and longing, radiance would be elemental.

Rather than looking for love, as they say, in all the wrong places-- which means out there somewhere, we would know that, in our connection, we are love, plain and simple. After all, isn't that what we expect love to provide? Connection?

Given our essential connectivity, the moment we make the decision to search for love, we have abandoned all hope of finding it. To search implies to not have. To invest in searching means to invest, at the same time, in not having, otherwise the search would be meaningless and it would collapse under its own futility.

As long as we cherish the notion that we are unalterably separate, love will remain a dream, something off in the distance that we crave but can never know, that we yearn for but can never have, and then be left to suffer the pain of yearning as the only reward.

There is distance to be sure, but that is not all, and, we believe, not even basic. There is more and it is right in front of us. But we have to change our minds.

Finding a Soul Mate

Last week we began an exploration of what love and relationship would be like if we changed an ancient assumption about life: that is, if we chose to see existence primarily as a lacework or a network, connected and interwoven, rather than as an aggregate of separated, unrelated beings who must navigate life as though essentially uncoupled and estranged. While we know what that sense of distance is like, we fantasize about finding someone, a soulmate, with whom we can transcend the gap and somehow feel whole. And we invest our hope for that connection in the notion of love, which we hope, often desperately, has the power to bring us together.

But even love cannot overcome our priorities. If we worship separation as real then separation we shall have, love in all of its glory notwithstanding.

You've heard the phrase, "look out for number one." Why would that point of view carry such emotional and even moral weight? Because, if this is a world of isolated objects banging around and into each other, with little or no appreciation of the underlying unity, what else is there but "number one?" I am the only one I have to be concerned with. Why? Because if, in my experience, I rarely if ever feel a meaningful connection with anyone else, a connection that takes me beyond who and what I am into the experiential world of another, then, psychologically, as well as for all practical purposes, no one else exists but me. That's called narcissism: a self-involvement that, at the extreme, precludes even the possibility of recognizing the existence of someone else. In that kind of world, a world of alienation, the only available sense of connection is expressed in the constant longing for something I cannot define and can never seem to find. And to that longing we often give the name of love, unrequited, but love nonetheless.

Is that what we want for our world? One in which the only satisfaction available to us is in the longing for something we can never have? Unfortunately, that is what we have had for our world since recorded history and beyond.

One more point. Many of us yearn for what we call "wholeness." Some search for it through religion, others through drugs, still others through work, sex, danger, and any number of other strategies. But what exactly are we looking for?

If we assume we are irremediably distant from one another, eternally alone in the cosmos, than wholeness can only have to do with what goes on in each solitary individual. I can only be whole within myself. And that takes us right back to the "number one" stance.

But yet, there is such an immense hunger for something more. We know you feel it, as does everyone. What causes that hunger? From where in our experience does that drive originate? Is it just a lunatic fantasy? If so, we ask again, how could such a fantasy even come to be?

Why? Because there is a natural, reasonable and rather obvious source right in front of our eyes. That is the deep connection we have to one another to the wholeness of all being--that resides at an even deeper and more primordial level of our psyches.

However, as a species, we have had to evolve to a point where we could not only recognize the possibility intellectually, but feel that connection in the very daily and mundane moments of our lives.

Love, which is about connectedness, has been pushing to the surface, slowly transforming our capacity to see--so that we can see that the love we so dearly desire is, indeed, available .

Taking Someone for Granted

Dear Judith & Jim,

When you move in with someone and make that person your home, it seems to me you have to start taking him or her for granted. Otherwise you spend each day alternately rejoicing and being scared to death of losing this wonderful new person in your life. Doesn't settling in with someone also mean losing some of the precious status? I'm still reading your book, so I will be looking for some answers there. I know you discuss keeping love alive, etc. So thanks in advance for that. I'll be making notes!


Dear Wondering,

You act as though taking someone from granted is not a choice, and a practiced one at that. You say -- " have to start taking him or her for granted." How did you come to believe that you will be compelled, that you will "have to" do anything you don't want to do? A belief like that is not part of our packaging at birth. It is witnessed, accepted, and then integrated as though it represents the nature of reality. Where did you see it? Why do you accept it? There are a lot of things you've seen and not accepted. Why this?

Well one reason may be found in what you say about moving in with someone. You say that you "make that person your home." If that is a true expression of what you do, you place both you and him at a terrible risk, one that cannot help but fail. He is only a man. A wonderful one, no doubt, but only a man. He cannot be your home and you cannot be his. You make a home togther, each contributing from who and what you are. If he is your home, as you say, what happens if your home burns down, or the basement floods, or the wiring is old and shorts out. You are in deep danger. But what if he is a man who can feel burned out, or his intestines jam up, or he shorts out, sometimes without seeming cause? Well, since you would have your own sense of self, you can provide an understanding, demanding, challenging, and compassionate companion who is there for him, as he can be there for you when you get funky, grumpy, or just plain flat. That is a relationship in which you don't take each other for granted, but you co-create your life togther.

Finally you say -- "alternately rejoicing and being scared to death of losing this wonderful new person in my life." Well, life and love, and sometimes especially love, are risky. That's part of the game. He may die.

You may die. Excuse the pun but, that's life. And if you look closely enough, your fear is not about losing him but about not feeling enough to keep him.

However, as you build trust together, get through the inevitable battles, open to recognizing and respecting the differences between you, both positive and negative, you will build a foundation that you know is secure. That takes time, and trust, and effort, and patience, and deep commitment. Then your love will evolve to support you. Then you will not be afraid that you will lose him, because such fears will no longer be part of who you are, who he is, and what you have together.

We wish you the best.

The Law of Attraction: The Astonishing Power of Our Thoughts and Feelings

Hello Readers, what are your thoughts and emotions costing you when it comes to creating loving relationships? We all desire to love and be loved and the reason why the majority of us fail in creating love and the good life is because we do not understand the Law of Attraction.

The Law of Attraction is absolute and has nothing to do with personalities. Nobody lives beyond this law because it is a universal law that applies to all. It is what lies behind success or failure, and it is a law which is with us every waking moment of our lives and is very much about the astonishing power of our thoughts and feelings. It works as follows:-

  • Everything is energy
  • Thoughts from our divine self transform into electrical energy
  • Electrical energy thoughtforms transform into chemical energy
  • Chemical energy thoughtforms transform into emotional states
  • Emotional states translate into feelings
  • Feelings make us think more specific thoughts
  • Specific thinking results in action
  • Actions create reactions which either support or negate our feelings and thoughts thereby creating feedback (ie: experience)
  • Experience results in us making a choice to accept or reject the feedback
  • Choice develops our personality and character traits
  • Our personality and character traits allow us to create further experiences that allow us to find opportunities to heal, love and to become more open-hearted....or not.

To learn how to manifest what we want in life with the astonishing power of our thoughts and feelings, I suggest you follow this basic formula:-

  • Acknowledge where you are
  • Accept where you are
  • Have an attitude of gratitude
  • Re-write your script

The key to creating love within our lives lies in the integration of wisdom from science and religion. When we consciously use the magic of our differences with the law of attraction we will experience many faces of love. Living life is a journey to mastering love.

Marianne Williamson says "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our LIGHT, not our DARKNESS, that most frightens us. We ask our selves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are born to make manifest the glory of God (love) that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

So here's my wish for you become the being of love you truly are


Chemistry of Emotion It's Contribution to Deliberately Creating Unconditional Love

Hello readers, I do hope you have had plenty to think upon ie what your thoughts and beliefs are costing you when it comes to creating an intimate loving relationship. This week we are considering your emotions and feelings and how they are costing you when it comes to creating a loving relationship.

(a) In order to appreciate where feelings arise from, one needs to understand our amazing brain. We think a thought and our brain cells fire up.

(b) Electrical information travels through a brain cell which is then converted into chemical information

(c) The chemical information swims across a synaptic gap and transfers the information to another brain cell

Each brain cell receives thousands of incoming messages every second and acts like a vast computer, redirecting information instantaneously through electrical-chemical biofeedback. In her book "Molecules of Emotion" Candace Pert, a neuroscientist, explains how emotional states originate in the body and in the mind simultaneously.

Emotion is the state your body feels on perceiving a chemical change within your cellular self and feeling is the meaning you attribute to the bodily sensation of chemical energy in motion (e-motion).

Lester Levenson, developer of the "Sedona Method" cured himself from cancer by identifying the feelings, thoughts and actions associated with the emotional states of Apathy, Grief, Fear, Lust, Anger, Pride, Courageousness, Acceptance, and Peace. David Hawkins, in his book "Power vs Force", found emotional states produced different electrical readings, eg: Apathy generates 50 megawatts, Peace generates 600 megawatts. Lynn Grabhorn in her book "Excuse Me Your Life is Waiting" states that we don't manifest by thoughts alone but how we feel things into being.

How does an emotional state create feelings within you?

Take the emotional state of acceptance. You FEEL allowing, beautiful, attuned, compassionate, harmonious, loving, receptive, secure etc.

By experiencing any one of these FEELINGS you find yourself THINKING thoughts like "Everything is beautiful" or "I love you just as you are" or "I have a contribution to make" or "All is well" etc.

This THINKING means your ACTIONS will be balanced and you will come across as compassionate, empathetic, non-judgmental, tender, understanding, warm etc. The process in creation from the state of acceptance is about forgiveness and understanding.

You will be aware from the above example that our thinking, emotional states and feelings are very much interconnected and it is difficult to say where each starts and finishes. This week I encourage you to become mindful of what emotional states you are experiencing and acknowledge them. If you have difficulty releasing tough emotional states then I can highly recommend the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or The Sedona Method and would encourage you to look these up. Next week I will give you the two plans on how we create our reality through the astonishing power of our thoughts and feelings.

So until next week, keep smiling and have a wonderful week.

By Kate Ginn ( For this week and next week we will feature Katherine Ginn in this section of our newsletter. Kate is an international facilitator, speaker on Mega-Learning and Colour. She lives in Wimbledon, England.

How Not to be a Defeated Wife

Dear Judith & Jim,

I am 23 years old with a husband and 2 children. My husband is from the East coast and I am from the West. We met in Idaho and recently moved to Massachusetts. We have been staying with my sister-in-law who is in the middle of a divorce. She is in the process of selling her house and the sale is scheduled to close at the end of August. We have been here for roughly 4 months and are having no luck finding a place to live. My dilemma is finding a balance between dealing with my own stresses of the trying situation and being a source of support to my husband. I'm a stay-at-home mom and needless to say after apartment hunting and taking care of the kids all day I am frustrated. I know that the last thing he needs when he gets home is to deal with a defeated wife. Do you have any advice on how to get past this?

Sincerely, Wits End

Dear Wits End,

You can't get past it because you can't get past what is real. You are exhausted and he needs support. It can be said that the last thing you need to hear is his complaining about you and the kids after what you've done during the day.

So you two must work togther during this tough time. It is hard for both of you and that's a fact. Please don't deny it. Talk with him about his difficulties and yours and tell him you need to be allies. You need to partner up to meet this challenge life has brought you. It won't be the last. Because, if you will not be recognized for what you do and how you feel, either by suppressing it our out of a desire to not upset him, or by his demand, vocally or just with looks, that he doesn't want to hear, you will begin to lose part of yourself. That will draw you away from the marriage and make you less and less a partner. It will become like a cancer that will spread. Don't let it.

Keep talking to and with each other. Keep the connection open to complain about how tough life is, to express our fear, sadness, even depression and do it together, then you can experience the hidden spiritual blessing in what you are going through together!

We wish you well.

Can Our Marriage Work, if I Just Work on Myself?

Dear Judith & Jim,

My husband and I were married almost 7 years ago. We have had our share of troubles, even before marriage. We also both come from dysfunctional backgrounds, mine more so than his, I would say. Several months ago, I filed for divorce. The reasons I did so dealt with physical violence (I have hit him too), lack of respect and understanding, his need to blame me for ALL his faults, different views on financial matters, and his never ending wrong choices in regard to different things. After filing for divorce, I was with another man sexually a couple of times. I told my husband this, only mentioning one of the times, but he doesn't believe me (or he doesn't want to bring himself to believe me). We've gone back and forth as to if we want to try to work on our marriage or not, and have tried a little counseling; that didn't last long for various reasons. He later started seeing someone also, on more occasions than I (not that that matters). Anyhow, after I found out he had been seeing someone, I could not handle it at all. I realized that I still care for him more than I thought. (At least that is what I am telling myself). I asked him to go to counseling again with me, and he said yes at first, and then he said he wants to stay with me, but doesn't want the counseling. I really think we both need counseling, personal and marriage counseling, but I agreed hesitantly to try and make it work without him getting any.

I am still getting personal counseling for myself. I always told myself I would not stay with any man, just for the sake of the children (my mom did that), but now I am questioning that. Should I stay with him even if he doesn't get counseling (he really needs it!), or can I really make our marriage work, if I just work on myself, changing the dysfunction that I learned as a child, and incorporating those changes into our marriage?

Dear Should I,

Yes it is possible for one partner to change a marriage through counseling even if the other does not participate. But both have to seriously want the marriage to work. And both have to assume and accept responsibility for contributing to the difficulties. One partner can take the lead and become the other's teacher but that can only last for a while. Partners can be teachers only when that is reciprocal. So, getting counseling and carrying the entire load while he refuses generally ends up in more resentment and a divorce in the long run.

But please continue the therapy for you because you are repeating a deeply established pattern--swearing not to repeat your mother's marriage and then doing it anyway. That pattern is ingrained in your psyche but it can be uprooted so you don't have to do it again.

Also, we're sure you are aware of the work you need to do to heal what happened in your childhood. That's having an effect here not only in what you do but whom you've chosen.

We wish you well.

Gut-Wrenchingly Miserable

Dear Judith & Jim,

I have been involved in a personal and business relationship with a man for 6+ years. We have had a pretty rocky road over this time, but truly love each other. About 4 years ago we were engaged, but due to a heated argument I ended up taking the ring and throwing it at him saying if this was the way it was going to be I didn't want any part of it. It was out of frustration and anger and we eventually made up but did not become engaged again. Also, we lived together during that time (household included my 16 year old daughter, his 16 year old son and my 11 year old son, which was quite a challenge) and that was not a good experience that lasted about a year. We own a store, and have done this successfully over 4 years. He runs the store and I work in an office during the day, plus work at the store in the evenings.

Needless to say we both are work-a-holics. My son is now 16 and works at the store after school - they have a good relationship and I am truly grateful for that. Our older kids are 21 now and live on their own. We both have some pretty traumatic experience from our past - deaths, bad relationships, divorces and more, so we have a ton of baggage. Our main problem is communication.. We have gotten better, but when marriage comes up it ALWAYS turns into a fight and hurt feelings. I would like to get married and be together in a normal family setting. He feels like we have already tried that and it didn't work so it's not an option at this time. Although, he said the other day that we could get married as long as nothing changed - meaning that we would not live together. The evening was a total disaster. This does not sound like a couple in love does it? Well, we are and it's just crazy. When we are happy, which is 90% of the time, we are REALLY happy, but the other 10% of the time we are gut-wrenchingly miserable. The 10% is when we break up and I feel like giving up, but I can't. Am I holding on to a dream of normalcy that just isn't going to happen? Can you help?

One Confused Gal

Dear One,

You say "We have gotten better, but when marriage comes up it ALWAYS turns into a fight and hurt feelings." The content, in your case the issue of marriage, is irrelevant to understanding what is going on. The issue resides in the feelings aroused as a result of discussing marriage. What wounds are exposed? What needs go unmet? What fears are exposed? What images rise to frighten both of you? What do you believe marriage to be? For the better?

For the worse? And what value is there in both of you clinging to whatever it is that is at the core of your upheaval?

At the bottom of serious conflicts are beliefs, attitudes, threats, and hurts that are never attended to.

Why? Because they are never addressed directly. So, first, you must determine whether or not you both sincerely want to resolve this issue. Without that, there's no point going forward. Next, stay away from the issue of your getting married and focus on the pain the topic brings up. When you do this there can be no judgment, no argument, neither of you telling the other that what they're feeling is wrong, incorrect or off point. What is is and must be respected as such. That is the only way for the two of you to truly hear one another. Then look inside to find an emotional understanding out of your own experience for the feeling the other is expressing. If the other expresses grief, for example, then look inside for your own experience of grief so you have a visceral appreciation of what the other is going through. That will create empathy and a thorough basis for understanding. That will also help you to understand the value the other has for their position. This process will create a basis for connection as both of you will feel seen, heard, valued and respected. As that happens, then meaningful, transformational communication will have a chance to occur. There are no techniques for communication that will work without this a foundation. At this point you will be able to determine if you want to continue. If so, use the same process until you both feel like the issue is as fully laid out as you can make it. Then you will be in a position to make a decision as to how to go forward.

Marrying a white American

Dear Judith & Jim,

I am a smart, beautiful, well educated 26 year old African woman living in Africa. I have subscribed to your ezine for sometime now and find it very informative and helpful. I look forward to receiving them each time.

Since I was a teenager, I made up my mind that whatever time it is I will settle down (get married), it would be with a white guy. Please don't ask why. I find African men less romantic, and don't know how to treat a lady right. I narrowed the scope down as I grew older to white Americans. Now living in Africa does not make it very easy to meet the person I want. I have dated a white American man seriously but he was not looking for commitment.

Now, is it wrong to have such an ambition considering where I live and the circumstances around me? I have tried going to places that I am most likely to meet Mr. right like parties organized by the state department here, or other activities they are most likely to visit but have had no luck.There isn't much racism here and people from all backgrounds mix easily. There are also so many intermarriages between races. Do I have to come all the way to America to meet the man of my dreams?

Tell me all the possible ways I can meet a white man who will be interested in being friends. I am looking for age bracket 35 - 40 years with no present attachments. Can you help me get one? Or better, can you advise me what I should do? Please do not tell me to look within my African brothers. I have dated them, and each time with no success. That is the reason I made up my mind that I will only date white guys. Please help!

Miss searching for a white guy.

Dear Miss,

We urge you ro examine your need to narrow your prospects to a degree that, indeed, you'll more than likely have to come to the states to find a man who'll fit your specifics. Rather than aiming for a man of good values, high intellect, and fun to be with, for example -- of whatever culture/race/creed etc -- you're only looking for a skin color and nationality.

Why is that? And you need to answer that question in depth before you will be available to be with ANY man. We suggest you stay open beyond your narrow parameters, date a lot to see what you need to learn about being more available to relating and attraction that is in your way of having the good marriage you want. You may be expecting way too much from a man -- any man -- and you've set yourself up for disappointment. Does that strike a bell? So -- either come to the US and see if that works or you can recognize that the limits are within you -- and then go from there.

His Interfering Family

Dear Judith & Jim,

I love my boyfriend but there seems to be numerous barriers which are stopping us from moving ahead. The main problem is my boyfriend's family. They have been and are still very resistant to us being together and very unsupportive. All they care about is how much money someone has and how someone looks and how big their car is, etc.

He grew up in an emotionally cold and critical home. When I first moved in with him his mother would phone us up to 7 times a day and is constantly interfering in our relationship by trying to get her son together with other women including my younger sister.

All this sounds like I am making it up and I am paranoid but I swear all of it is true. My boyfriend tells me everyday he loves me and we have a lots of fun moments. Just yesterday we had one of the best conversations we've had in a very long while we were traveling to do some shopping. But as soon as we arrived home it was back to those indifferent and abusive comments he makes. I know he needs to do some growing up. I also know that he has been rejected by women since he was born, i.e. his birth mother gave him up, his adopted mother never treated him like he should have been and his wife divorced him.

He enjoys living together but he always seems to be eyeing the other women and other women flirting with him. I am an educated and honest woman with a Degree and a Diploma who in the past had a good income and an important position but since I moved to be with him the money has been tight and I have been struggling to make a steady income. Now I have started my own consulting business, but his family has not even acknowledge it or given me any encouraging supportive comments, they just continue to put me down and make me feel worthless because I do not have a huge income. Could you explain any of this to me?


Feeling Lost

Dear Feeling Lost,

First of all, his family cannot make you feel worthless. Period. That you are vulnerable to feeling worthless has to come out of your past, which must have been critical, cold, and unsupportive like his. Otherwise you'd consider the source (materialistic, unloving people) and pay no attention.

Now, the fact that your boyfriend duplicates some of this abusive behavior at your expense and you put up with it, reinforces our sense that you aren't any stronger than he is in your self development, despite your education. And since you describe yourself as honest, we ask you to take a very clear and honest view of the reasons deep down that you put up with his close ties to his family. Because if you want this relationship to work, both of you must renounce the harsh, unloving treatment you learned to call normal when you were little, and begin new lives.

Suggest to your boyfriend that it's long overdue for him to move away from his family, that he must stop behaving like they do.

And that if he will not do both, you must make a clear decision about your future. Because if you stay with him as things are, your life will be no different five years from now.

It's time for you both to leave home, emotionally and physically, in order to make room for you to learn about and receive real love... 

We wish for you both the courage and clear-sightedness to make the right decision.

He's 43 going on 18

Dear Judith & Jim,

This is my first time asking advice on my relationship. I guess after 12 years I didn't feel I needed help. 

What I'm having a problem with is that my husband drove trucks over the road for a while. Now I kind of expected him to fool around but what kind of puzzled me is that he gave me permission to fool around on him.  

The other thing is that he is kind of getting kinkier as he gets older. Is this normal? I mean for him to go from normal standard love making to just out and out raunchy sex? Don't get me wrong! It's interesting to say the least but I'm still puzzled as to why.

He's 43 going on 18. Does that make any sense? Is he going through a mid-life crisis or something? I'm just afraid that he is being too open-minded and I'm going to be the one getting hurt in some way. Please advise. 

Dear Puzzled,

You ask if this is a mid-life crisis. In a way it is. The simplest way to understand a mid-life crisis is to realize at 43 your husband is old enough to see that many of his youthful dreams are not going to materialize. He's old enough to know who he is and to suffer some regrets for things that might have been.  

It is not abnormal for some men (and women too) to stretch themselves way beyond what they're accustomed to in order to stave off the feelings of constraint that can accompany mid-life recognitions. You've surely heard of the 45 year old guy who starts chasing 20 year old skirts, or the 45 year old woman who suddenly finds younger men to her liking. That rarely has anything to do with sex and more to do with resisting the aging process. 

So, regarding your husband, have you talked with him about his new sexual appetite? Have you told him your fears about being hurt? Have you asked him what he‘s after with his new sexual interests? It also seems like you are enjoying some of what's going on and if you weren't concerned with getting hurt, you might enjoy it even further. Have you talked with him about that?

Please let him know how you are feeling. Tell him you're afraid. Invite him into your concerns. He may open your mind while you are opening his about how you feel.  

Is there risk involved? Sure. But there's even more risk if you two aren't emotionally and spiritually intimate while your sex life is changing. 

Talk with him. Let him know. And find out what's in his heart.  


The notion of "dependence" gets a very bad rap in our culture. The truth is, we are all dependent upon one another. That's the only way we can survive. 

And yes, there are those who have so little sense of self that they need to feel clingingly close with others to feel in the least way secure. This is not dependence but desperation.

Real dependence is at the core a mature character, someone who is strong, self-confident and resilient and yet humble enough to know he or she does not, in fact cannot, go it alone.

This is especially important in intimate relationships. Over time two people come to need one another -- not just for the day-to-day tasks and chores, but for something far deeper. Their very being together becomes a subtle tapestry woven from their individual identities into the "we" they become. That "we" cannot thrive without each of them investing heartfully into what they each have chosen to create. 

As your relationship becomes significant to you, you need your partner. You depend upon your partner. And in so doing, who you are becomes a composite of each of you individually as well as the couple, the "we" you also are.

In the climactic moment of the film, "Jerry McGuire," Tom Cruise says to Rene Zellwieger, "You complete me." There is a real truth to that line. We do complete one another, even though we may not be able to articulate just how, and that's where dependence comes in. 

To admit dependence as part of who you are is to add to the completion of yourself, because dependence is part of the very fabric of this life. We cannot survive without it, let alone flourish.

So -- how are you dependent upon the one you love? How is he or she dependent upon you? How can you celebrate the ways you need each other? 

Is Anger Inappropriate?

Growing up as children we are often told that our anger is inappropriate, inaccurate, and unwanted. So we are left to repress that which is natural to us and even worse to decide there is something wrong with us for even having the feelings. Then as adults our anger comes out sideways, passive/aggressively, or as abuse both to ourselves and others, along with a debilitating guilt accompanied by a sense that there si something bad at the level of our soul.

One of the deepest and most healing loving endearments two people can give to one another is to respect their anger because it is conveying something that needs to be said and heard.

JIM: We have learned to respect and treat one another's anger seriously, because we trust that whenever anger arises or erupts something needs attention. 

JUDITH: That's the value of anger. It announces, loud and clear, that some hurt has occurred. This is critical t understanding the real meaning of anger. It is almost never about the content. For example, it is almost never about not having taken the garbage out, or not checking with one another about something important.

JIM: It is most often about feeling ignored, not respected, being taken for granted, not being listened to, feeling

unwanted, feeling less-than, feeling overlooked, unappreciated, not included, or some other experience of being hurt. That's the foundation of the anger and that's what must be dealt with.

JUDITH: So, taking each other's anger seriously, means you take each other seriously, and, after all, isn't that what you want ---- really. 

Real Intimacy, Not Just Hearts and Flowers

The season of high romance is here! Yet, Valentine's Day may be the most dangerous day of the year for love and romance.

Since people receive no formal training or preparation for how to date effectively or how to create passionate long-lasting marriages, all too often the full burden of our desire for love and romance falls on Valentine's Day -- with Cupid, The Florist and The Candy Maker trying to fill the bill. Then, when fantasies of perfect romance, perfect gifts, perfect love-making collide with reality -- love loses out to broken dreams and broken hearts.

Can you take the danger out of Valentine's Day? YES!!! Because it's the way you treat their differences that either makes or breaks love!

Typically the differences are blamed for relationship failure. But, in reality they are the only true way to experience deep intimacy and real romance.

Last year Sandy waited all year for her boyfriend's flowers to show up at her office. When she left for home empty-handed she felt totally betrayed. "How could he be so insensitive, so selfish," she cried to herself driving home. She vowed to break it off, to never speak with him again.

Yet, as she drove into her driveway she saw a vase of gorgeous flowers with a note attached waiting in front of her garage. "How stupid he is! Didn't he know I'd rather have them delivered to my office where I can show them off! He is such a moron!" Filled with righteous rage, she spent the evening fighting with the man she claimed to love simply because he was different from her fantasy of who he "should be."

This kind of tragedy can be prevented when we follow two of love's simple secrets:

  • Learn to receive the love that comes to you
  • Use simple curiosity about the differences, especially when they disappoint you!
  • Receiving and Curiosity -- the most powerful aphrodisiacs for Valentine's Day (and all through the year)!

When we open our hearts to receive what is actually given to us we stay in reality, not smitten with a fantasy the other person can never live up to. Yes, we may be disappointed, but that can be an opening to deeper intimacy, to learning more about who your partner is. And then you can teach one another more about how you would like to celebrate Valentine's Day and other special times in the future. You are active in the creation of your special romance, not a victim of your secret expectations.

This year make sure you are available for the love you want. Be generous in your giving, and, more importantly, stay open to be loved in ways you've never considered. Be open to real love and romance -- and it's only available through your differences.

It's Always Created by Both of You

Fundamental to understanding how relationships actually work, it's essential to appreciate that two people are always co-creating their relationship -- right from the moment they meet. They indicate what they like and what they don't, what they'll put up with or not, how generous they are, emotionally, spiritually, monetarily, or not. They speak up for themselves or they don't, and they receive the caring coming their way or they can't.

This two-way give-and-take goes on throughout the life of any relationship, either in the service of the love two people share or in undermining it.

For example, until we moved to our country home in upstate New York, we've always had someone who cleaned for us and did our laundry. Here, we do most of it ourselves.

Jim has been in the habit of pulling off his socks inside out and wearing them that way, if not reversed after they're washed. (He doesn't notice it!).

Judith hates to see him look like an absent-minded professor, and she now does the laundry. So she asked Jim to please put his socks in the laundry basket right side out.

Notice, if she hadn't asked, Jim would never have known this was an issue for her. AND she would have been annoyed every time she "had to" turn them right side out. So she showed her love for herself and for Jim in the request. Jim could have refused and ignored her, which would have violated his love for her and the relationship.

Or, he could respect that Judith has a thing about socks being right side out that he doesn't, and agree to her request --thereby showing his love every time he turns his socks right side out.

A simple example, right? Even a bit simplistic? But it's just these kinds of issues that simmer into marriage-breaking catastrophes.

Judith feels loved every time she folds Jim's right side out socks and Jim feels loving every time he turns them right side out before they hit the laundry basket.

You might still be saying -- "Sheesh, what's the big deal?!!"

But it is precisely when we ignore daily irritations that love loses its wonder and joy, and, in time, dies altogether

Genuine love is always a two-way dance, an ongoing collaboration in consideration for yourself and for the other person. If you are feeling victimized in your relationship, please notice how you allow it.

If you feel you get falsely accused of being the "cause" of all the problems, notice how you've allowed that idea to develop.

It's never too late to change how you express your personal power and care for one another. Just be sure you see that you both share the power, no matter how you use it or what it looks like on the surface. Please use it well and in the service of connection, understanding, and respectful caring of yourself and one another.

Of Mice and Meaning and Care

How many times have you been upset about something and your spouse or date didn't take you seriously? They might've even been trying to make you feel better, but instead, you felt overlooked or ignored and, instead of feeling better, you felt invisible!

Well, given the temperatures in the teens and below, we're in the season for indoor mice. The little guys need to burrow in somewhere warm and cozy with a good food supply, sort of like our kitchen. Judith can't stand the mice and the tell tale evidence of their visitations. Jim accepts them as part of country life and though he'd rather they not come in, when thy do he doesn't get as upset.

We'd heard from a radio host who lives in an old farmhouse in Minnesota that mice hate the smell of Bounce, the fabric softener people put in the dryer. The other day while Judith was cooking dinner, Jim put sheets of Bounce all around and especially in the kitchen drawers where the mice love it best. He knew and respected Judith's concerns.

If he'd been living alone, he might or might not have bothered to put Bounce in the drawers. But Judith is part of his consciousness and her concern with the mice made it his concern as well.

What gesture can you offer to your partner that honors his or her concerns -- especially when they are not what you might consider important. It just takes making the other person's needs as meaningful to them as yours are to you.

Then, doing something for them is not an effort but a pleasure -- for both of you!

In the Land of the Free...and the Abused

What does it mean to live in a land that prides itself in "free speech," only to have that freedom used by self-righteous parental authorities to abuse and humiliate in the name of "entertainment"? What does it mean that millions upon millions of our citizens throng to the modern Inquisitions of those asking for help from Dr. Laura and seeking justice from Judge Judy?

It means, quite simply, that we are a nation smoldering in abuse. We have to be. If we weren't so familiar and so comfortable with insults, put-downs, dismissal and worse, no one would tune in to get a kick out of these two queens of "Off with your head!" The horror and inhumanity of their behavior toward those who are fodder for their viper-tounged services would flee, turning on soothing music or a television show that respects their intelligence.

In recent years government, medical and psychological authorities have stepped up their concern about abuse against children and between domestic partners, often the parents of those hapless children. However, that focus can realistically only address what can be seen physically -- bruises, burn marks, starving neglect and alarming "accidents." But what about each time a parent says to a child, "You're nothing," "I wish you were dead," and even the far more subtle but disempowering, "Do it because I said so!" What will it take for us to make it a crime to violate and kill the soul of a developing youngster with brutal and invalidating words? What will it take to see that our polluted soil, dirty water systems and fouled air are an abuse to the little ones trying to grow their bodies in an uncared for environment?

Because only then will we notice that when Judy says to a defendant, "That's baloney" and Laura says to a caller, "They were weird, creepy and hostile. Why not put them down," the world is a far worse place then a moment before.

Freedom is never free. To use freedom responsibly requires vigilance -- not Politically Correct censorship. That external imposition by the victimizing self-righteous just drives prejudice and hatred even further into the unspoken fabric of our society. What is needed is a conscious vigilance regarding one's attitude about people being different.

Until recently, differences of race, culture, religion, age, intelligence, even gender created a field day for expression of fear and hatred, all in the name of "just teasing" or "joking around." But the "humor" never disguised the ignorant prejudice it expressed. Never.

The question is WHY DO DIFFERENCES THREATEN US? Why do we feel entitled to lash out with insults and abuse because the other person is in some way different than what we think is the only way, the right way?

If you want to truly honor the freedom that America represents, live your daily life in respect and value for the diversity of God's abundance, by honoring the differentness that each and everyone is -- simply by being born..

As an act of practical spirituality, turn away from the enshrined promoters of degrading moralizing and righteous indignation. After all, the world can only be truly free when you know that it is safe to be the uniquely different expression of God's grace that you are! And for your spouse, your child, your neighbor, and even your enemy to know that very same freedom!

Be Sure to Laugh & Play

Perhaps you're in a long-term relationship and the joy is gone. You don't want to be with anyone else but you wish it could be more fun, more exciting.

Do you miss when you were younger and felt more comfortable being silly and playful as a form of real romance? Did you get married and decide you had to act like "grown-ups" and a lot of the fun went with it? Or have you always thought you needed to be serious in matters of love?

Well, open your imagination, dust off your sense of humor! It's time to create more romance as you play together more and more and more!

Now, we don't mean you have to blow bubbles, play hide and seek or skip hop-scotch. We're talking about making more fun out of your ordinary, everyday life together.

You may be saying, "No way, it's kids to feed, bills to pay, laundry to do -- there's no time to play around." Or maybe it's, "Look, my life is dedicated to providing for my family, when I get home I'm too tired to try to be funny and act silly."

But you don't have to go out of your way to have a good time.

For instance, just yesterday we got into a lengthy disagreement about a grammar "problem" in writing our next book. We even made a $5 bet. Then we spoke with our editor today and he sided with the position that Judith had taken.

Judith: After the call I left my office to go speak with Jim about what had happened. But as I rounded the corner into the hall there was Jim in mock groveling prostrative mea culpa.

Jim: We both laughed and laughed at how wonderfully playful and silly I was! And Judith will get $5 worth of ice cream!

Bringing more humor into your relationsbip may take new awareness and practice for awhile if you're not in the habit of playing with one another.

Jim: That was the case for Judith in the beginning of our marriage. She was inclined to take everything seriously and hated being teased.

Judith: But with Jim's encouragement, I realized it was often easier and more fun to deal with stuff, even some of our conflicts, through humor.

So, remember, if it isn't life threatening -- a health or safety hazard -- or dangerous to the well-being of your relationship, it's not thaaaaaat serious. So, play around more, tease one another with love and affection, and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

The Gift of the Future

Many of us believe the most sought after experience in life is to be recognized for who we know ourselves to be. And it's certainly exhilarating when someone sees us and knows us and says "Yes!"

But what about who we want to become -- our dreams and aspirations, our ambitions and the images we hold of what we know is possible. After all, who we are is mostly composed of who we've been. But who we will be, that's a matter of imagination and commitment.

Parents can offer no deeper promise to their children than sincerely wanting to know what passions churn inside them, what gifts they've brought to share with the world.

When lovers cherish one another's hopes and desires they open the future as a psychic space into which they can grow their love

When you respectfully ask yourself, "Where am I going?" and listen humbly for an answer, you are calling on your soul to speak, to show you more of what is possible.

Philosophers refer to it as the distinction between being (what already is) and becoming (what yearns to be born).

Sure, it's true that sometimes we don't know what we want and sometimes our dreams do not become real. That's not the point. To allow for a vision of what we believe is possible opens hope and energizes our efforts.

This New Year's Eve or perhaps New Year's Day take the time to begin a new ritual. Open an ongoing discussion with your beloved about the future. Hopes. Fears. Dreams. Goals. Whatever feels right to keep the topic flowing and making way for new awareness about yourselves and about each other.

Then throughout the year make the conscious and loving choice to recognize what is yet to be in those near you. Acknowledge what they want to become. Affirm their dreams.You will be fostering a future that will make the world a better place to live.

© 2010 The New Intimacy

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Intimacy is spelled "in to me you see". - Stan Dale

I have always made a distinction between my friends and my confidants. I enjoy the conversation of the former; from the latter I hide nothing. - Edith Piaf

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