Updated on January 11, 2016
Have you ever been on a date and wished you could be more present and authentic?
The process of dating isn’t always the easiest. Women and men alike often find themselves questioning whether they are “doing it right”. It can be challenging to listen to our intuition, speak our truth and be open to what is up for the other person. It’s easy to get lost in doubt, guessing what the other is feeling and abandoning our own needs in the process. We cannot know what the other person thinks or feels but we can be more present within our own experience and use our intuition as our guide.
Many people get caught up in the “dating game” all the while trying to find out what the rules are and perhaps finding that sometimes the game just seems unfair. But what would it be like if we dropped the façade, who we think we should be to be liked and accepted and wore our own skin as our favourite outfit? Is it enough to just be you?
The answer is of course, yes. When we live from our authentic self we exude a different kind of energy, which makes us feel better about ourselves, and which silently inspires others to be themselves as well. There is a comfort, ease and a lack of pretention because being who we truly are and feeling ok with that is the most peaceful and magnetic place we can be.
So how can we use our authenticity to ease the pains of dating? When we become in tune with our body and our feelings we begin to learn the language of our intuition. We can feel, sense and have a greater understanding whether the people we meet, the choices we make, the things we do, are in alignment with who we are. When we work on cultivating trust with ourselves, communicating, listening and acting upon what our truth is telling us, answering the question of whether that person is right or wrong for us, becomes very clear. It isn’t about judgment, it’s about being so clear and comfortable with who you are that you just know if that person is resonating on the same level as you.
Sometimes though, it’s easy to lose our sense of Self and fall into trying to be someone who we are not. We try to act the “right” way to lessen the fear of rejection and soothe our need for validation and acceptance. What brings us back to our authenticity is drawing our attention back into our body, tuning in and being in the experience rather than guessing the outcome.
Once we have established this trust and clear communication with ourselves, speaking from a place of authenticity becomes natural. Our awareness is no longer outside of ourselves reaching to detect what the other person thinks about us, we are in the experience fully because whatever arises and comes out of us is coming from a place that does not believe in shame.
Even when we feel nervous, have the jitters in our bones and butterflies in our stomach, it’s ok because that is what is true for us now. It is part of being human. Our greatest longing is to feel connected, to be loved unconditionally and to love as if we’d never been hurt. But the only way to truly experience that longing is by opening up to being who we naturally are.
So dating consciously isn’t so much about knowing how to play the game correctly, it’s about knowing how to let your true self come through and accepting that who you are is more than good enough.
The topic of having a baby is a life changing one. In most couples one person tends to have the desire first. This can often create a state of apprehension between feeling the desire and expressing it to your partner. There may be concerns of whether your partner is ready to have a baby, are you both prepared as a couple to bring a child into the world, and how will you do it in the face of the challenges that may lie ahead. So how do you go about breaking the ice? It all comes down to communication – authentic communication.
I will guide you through the 5 steps to healthy communication and the supporting elements of expressing your needs and desires, receiving support and letting go of expectations.
5 steps to successful communication:
1. Recognising how you feel and honouring that as your truth.
When we really tune into what we are feeling we have a better understanding of who we are and what we want.
2. Taking full responsibility and ownership of your feelings.
When we own our feelings we can communicate without blame or judgment. When we take responsibility for our feelings and express our needs and desires from that place, we speak in a way that can be heard by our partner.
3. Understanding the other person’s point of view.
By looking at the situation from our partners eyes we gain a broader perspective which supports us in speaking about the subject not just from what “I want” but “what will work for us”.
This one might seem obvious but we have to be willing to listen to the other person if we too want to be heard. Communicating comes from the word communion which is about sharing and part of sharing is both giving and receiving.
5. Seeing the greater picture.
Ultimately for the health, well-being and success of having a family both partners have to be ready and supportive as it will be a joint venture. Seeing the greater picture, from the perspective of the entire family, (even before you have had the baby) is essential because you will be entering a world of “we” instead of “me”.
Why is communication so important?
If you can start this journey with pure honesty and openness between you both, you will be creating an amazing foundation for the future you are creating. It will not only help you as partners but as parents to your children. Raising a child these days when there is no longer a norm can be challenging and the better we know how to communicate the easier it will be to move and live through the challenges that may arise.
Expressing your needs and desires:
Once the platform for healthy communication has been created you can express and share your individual needs and desires. Sharing your needs with your partner is so important because when we don’t express our needs, we build resentment. Remember to come from your own experience, sharing your needs and what support for those needs would look like. Then ask your partner what their needs are and how they would feel supported. From there you can speak back and forth and discover where you can meet each other in the middle. I call it meeting at the table (metaphorically speaking), where both of you pull up a chair, share and develop a way in which both of your needs can be met.
Now moving onto your desires. It’s wonderful to share our dreams and desires with our partner. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut in relationship, and in life, and reconnecting to what makes us feel happy and fulfilled enlivens the relationship with our partner and ourselves. Share your vision and keep on reinventing it together, remembering that life is what you create and make of it.
We would all love to believe that our partner will always know exactly how we are feeling, what we need and how to give us the support we wish for. Unfortunately we can’t always know. It might seem unglamorous to have to ask for support, or it may even feel awkward if you are not used to asking for it, but there is a great sense of empowerment and intimacy when we can kindly ask for what we would like to receive from our partner. By asking we are both expressing what we need, and giving our partner the opportunity to feel that they can give us what they now know we would really appreciate. This is the spirit of giving and generosity and in turn we can fully receive knowing we’ve asked for it rather than demanded it.
Letting go of expectations:
This can be a challenging one but every time you have an expectation you are setting yourself up for potential disappointment. When we communicate what we think and feel without the expectation of a particular response, we give ourselves the opportunity to remain open and maybe even be pleasantly surprised to hear what the answer may be.
I invite you take the above, make it your own and build a beautiful relationship and family based on trust, communication and a shared vision.
In our daily lives, we face the challenge to either be who we think others want us to be, or simply to be ourselves. In writing, the answer might seem obvious and straightforward, but in actuality this is a much greater feat than we might expect. Why? Because to be our true selves, requires us to be hugely courageous.
It takes valor to let the veil drop and stand in our transparency. We have to face the fear that maybe someone won’t like who we really are without hiding behind the excuse of “well, that wasn’t really me anyhow.” Of course it’s natural to have the desire to not feel humiliated but the irony is we run a far lesser risk of that when we are truly ourselves. When we live from our authentic self we exude a different kind of energy, which makes us feel better about ourselves, and which silently inspires others to be themselves as well.
So what does authenticity mean and why is it so valuable? Firstly, being authentic simply means asking ourselves the question, what is true for me now and can I live and speak from that place? Secondly, why be authentic? Because being authentic is the most powerful and liberating thing that we can learn to do and become. It means dropping the pretenses, shifting the paradigm that we have to be someone who we are not, and being brave enough to confront our own fears of revealing who we truly are. It might be scary in the process and perhaps the fear will never fully subside, but arriving in an authentic place from one moment and experience to the next, enlivens us.
We spend so much energy trying to pretend to be what we think others want us to be and constantly worrying whether they approve of us and will accept us into the tribe. The irony is most everyone is thinking this simultaneously so the truth is, people aren’t worrying about you, they are worrying about themselves just as you are. So what a relief it would be if we could all let go. Of course this is easier said than done. It may not happen in a day but the more we begin to know who we are, how we feel, what we desire in our lives, the better we can design the life we have been wanting. Having the humility to look at our weaknesses and wounds is what gives us great strength and power. If we take responsibility for ourselves, we become self-empowered.
We do have a choice though. We can remain safe and hide behind the masks that keep us “protected.” Or we can find the courage to move through the fear and step into our fullest potential, our true selves. The question is, what is the cost? What is the cost not to be who you truly are?
Are you ready to become the person you want to be?
2012 has been a year of transition and many of us are undergoing shifts and changes. Change can create uncertainty and confusion. We know we don’t want to be where we are now but what next and how to get there?
All change eventually leads to the greater good but it is within the process, the shifting, morphing and the mystery of the unknown, where the challenges lie and where our ability to be comfortable with uncertainty, becomes one of our greatest tools.
We have finally arrived to the place where we are deeply questioning who we are, what we want to do with our lives and what our greater purpose is. We are no longer willing to settle for a job that pays well, for a relationship that is safe, for a life unfulfilled. People more and more are asking themselves, “What makes me happy?”
What if our work was our passion, our relationship our greatest love story and our life one of happiness and contentment? What if instead of feeling stressed, overwhelmed and removed from our lives we felt energised, centered and fully engaged? We are at the turning point where we can create the lives we say we only dream of. We are powerful beyond measure, we are so powerful in fact that we actually get in our own way simply by believing that we cannot create the lives we most desire and that we are powerless to make a change.
Now I am not trying to offer you a moment of inspiration and motivation that gives you a five minute energy rush only for it to drop back down to reality on the sixth minute. Change requires us to make an entire paradigm shift and for that we need courage, dedication and a little bit of faith in the magic of the unknown.
So what are some things we can think about in transition?
- Being ok with the uncertainty of where you are now. Before we can make a change we have to first accept and acknowledge where we are right now. Take a moment and close your eyes. Breathe into your body and feel the sensations, feelings and emotions moving throughout your body. Breathe into them whether it is excitement, fear, anxiety or even numbness, breathe into it and welcome it in, embrace it with open arms. This might sound counterintuitive but think about how lovely it is to receive a hug from a friend when you are feeling down. We can learn to give that to ourselves whenever we feel like we need a little extra support and attention.
- Letting go of the old story and allowing possibility to enter. We cannot be in the present and step forward into our future if we do not let go of the story of our past. The mind works in such a way that it relates everything new (about 80% to be exact) to past experience in order to make sense of it. By comparing, it becomes easy to judge and label things as good or bad and quite often we give up before we even began.How many times have we said to ourselves things like, “Well that relationship failed so why wouldn’t this one?” or “I didn’t have the skills for that job so why should I try for this one?” We don’t even give opportunity a chance because we are afraid of repeating the past. The irony is by holding onto that fear and giving in to that old belief we are in fact already choosing to repeat the past in that very moment. So ask yourself, “Am I willing to let go of the story so I can create a new one?”
- Discovering your power and committing to you. We all have grown up with many external influences; be it our parents, peers, society, media etc. Our search for approval, validation, inclusion and acceptance has lent itself to taking on these influences as truth, as who we think we should be. But it serves no one to be someone that we are not.How would it feel if we could all uniquely be who we are and be supported and loved for that? Media and fashion tells us we should all look the same – it’s easier to be a white sheep than a black one. Our parents encourage us to do things for our safety and for “what is best for us”. But no one says we should follow our bliss, our heart and our passion.
I invite you to go back to what excited you as a child. Ask yourself, “What enlivens me?” “What is important to me” “What would make me feel free?” “How could I be of service to the world?” Start asking yourself the questions and look inward for the answers rather than looking outward for them. You know, deep down you know your purpose because each and every one of us has one, the problem is we’re trying to fit into someone else’s purpose instead of our own.
- Having the courage to be the co-creator of your life. We have lived in a paradigm that supported “Do what your told, be good, work hard and life will be ok.” We have lost our power, our sense of creativity and the ability to manifest and embody the life we truly want for ourselves. Life isn’t just about being good and working hard. Life is an experience, it is a blank canvas and we are the painter. We aren’t meant to just get by and survive. We are meant to thrive, create and inspire others by sharing our experience of this crazy journey called life.Remember when you were young how imaginative you were? How you could create a game, a fantasy and then play it out? Reawaken your imagination and creativity and start painting the life you most desire. We don’t need to live in black and white and shades or grey. Put colour into your life.
So we may not know what the next step is, or what the answer to the puzzle is in this very moment, but that doesn’t mean we stop being and living. We have the opportunity to redefine our lives, to recreate the paradigms, to reestablish new beliefs that support our fullest potential. All we have to do is believe in ourselves, in life and embrace the possibility that the unknown can be beautiful and exciting if that’s what we want it to be. So ask yourself “What’s next?” not with a tone of fear and ambivalence but with wonder and curiosity. See life through the eyes of a child again and enjoy!
I have discovered that my true passion is to help people feel comfortable in their own skin. Over the years I have been coaching, and more than a decade of my own personal growth, I keep on coming back to self-acceptance. Within the journey, throughout the process, over the peaks and along the plateaus, nothing has helped me more than unconditional self-acceptance. Of course at times our relationship to ourselves is conditional and judgments fly spurring old beliefs and provoking triggers to flare. But it is more the practice and the intention that no matter what is happening, whatever thoughts or feelings arise, that it is all ok and more importantly, that it is ok to be me.
Underneath the “I’m not good enough” and “I’m not worthy” your essence is waiting to come through. What seems to stop us though is this false belief that we should be something, someone, better than who we are. But all we are ever asked to do is to just be who we are: our unique self. So perhaps it is the shame, the doubt, the not knowing who we are that distracts us from who we truly are. Or perhaps we simply make the whole thing a far more difficult endeavor than is necessary. That really, the task of self-discovery and self-acceptance is one of just allowing, letting go and listening to what is already here.
So you might be thinking this sounds easier in theory than in practice. This is in part true. Sometimes the hardest thing in life is to love and accept ourselves but it is the key to peace, happiness and fulfillment. As the saying goes we can only love others if we can first love ourselves. There is great truth to this and yet I see that it is also possible to put others first; to give love to another without allowing ourselves to accept and receive it as well.
We are easily the first to criticize ourselves, the last to love ourselves and somewhere in the middle we have become our own greatest obstacle. Working on ourselves, revealing our limiting beliefs, unraveling our patterns, soothing our triggers and softening our perspective is of great worth and value. It is a path unlike any other where curiosity, a little adventure and some stamina are all well called for. But to face our greatest obstacle and make it through to the other side, we have to get out of your own way.
I have found that in the times when I felt most unseen, undervalued and insignificant by others was when I was not truly recognizing my own potential and power. When I thought I wasn’t good enough or capable enough for the job. When I didn’t stand beside myself in support to have the courage and strength to believe in myself no matter what. It is easy to blame others, to blame life, to blame the story but it is far harder to pause in the midst of it all and tell ourselves, “I am ok just as I am right now. With all my flaws, fears and insecurities, I’m ok because I accept myself, I value myself and I know there are no terms of success or failure other than the ones I lay upon myself.”
So I invite you to practice, both in the high times and most importantly during the lows, telling yourself “It’s ok…it’s ok to be me”.
Let go of the limiting beliefs, who you think you should be, the shame of how you feel, and let your true self come through!
And a final few words by Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
Today I made the choice to be happy. For my health, wellbeing and to fully enjoy this experience of life. I don’t want to make it so hard on myself. I don’t want to be dependent on externals to make me happy or not. I will embrace the rain and the clouds of London. And interestingly enough, as I did just now, the sun has fully come out, the sky turning blue, and a great warmth is touching my bones.
Is it the act of allowing that shifts things? The art of acceptance I’m sure. But perhaps even more so is the enjoyment of whatever is, just now.
Boys are running through the tall grass playing their games and imagining their adventures. Surely they would do the same whether rain or shine. They are in the magic of life. The inspiration of creation. “Let’s imagine anything and play that!”
To marry my wisdom and depth with my inner child that wishes to play, at times has been a great challenge for me. But as I look closer I see the two are not so different. In fact the little girl within me is remarkably wise, deep and playful.
How can I trust her, serve her and see life through the magic of her eyes?
It is about letting go of the duality. Of right and wrong, good and bad, the should and the would and I’ll do it some day.
Rather than curse the wind I watch how it makes the grass dance. That makes me smile.
The boys walk past me again, mud on their shirts. They dove into their adventure unafraid of the dirt that sometimes leaves “us” feeling mucky. They threw precaution to the wind and jumped into the puddles that reflected back to them their greatest dreams.
May I remember again, to run through the grass to the edge of the world where the adventure begins and ends, begins and ends…to no end.
We are in heightened times. Even as I sit to write this my mind dashes to and fro, grasping for words to congeal it all together. It feels like the ground beneath is rumbling, teasing us to find our foot on every step. The wind is whistling and whirling urging us to discover our own inner eye of the storm. And as time seems to be on fast forward, we are compelled to find our own internal pace, setting the metronome to a steady beat.
It’s easy to get caught up in the storm. To get torn away and stuck in the vicious circle – the house in the tornado’s grip. Or collapse into the rubble that flitters on the ground beneath it all, panicked to find a place of rest. The storm is powerful, perhaps ominous, perhaps exciting. Either way it clutches you, bemuses you with it’s unpredictability.
But in its grasp, as we’re swept away in the flurry, we have two choices to stay afoot: To either plant our roots and ground deeper into the earth whilst allowing our branches to dance and be malleable in the winds, or to let go, surrender and learn to fly.
One is finding the stillness within. Rooting ourselves with the strength and power that connecting to the solidity and tenderness, like that of a mother feeding her infant child, brings. Knowing that these roots – which like plants, can exist in earth, water or air- are so steadfast that they lend permission for the branches to whirl and dance to the conducting of the wind.
The other is to fall gracefully into the chaos. To have faith that the wind will carry us – like the salty sea allows us to float – trusting that we will be held. And in this letting go that is held in surrender’s arms, we may grow wings. Wings to fly and dance-dance to the winds song.
Both choices bring us to the same place. One of peace where struggle ceases to exist and the unknown fancies our eye. A place where the Self abides. Whether we choose to ground or let go, the bridge to the Self is the gentle gaze inwards, the inhalation and pause-just long enough to listen-“which way do you beckon me my love, my friend, the one who always knows which way the wind blows.”
I haven’t sat around doing nothing, and by nothing I really mean nothing, for I cannot remember when. No watching of the tv or a film. No Reading. No searching Facebook’s home page for the latest gossip. No emailing, talking on the phone or texting. I am simply lying in the stillness of nothingness.
My mind gently wonders about. Sometimes I find myself caught in boredom and the discomfort of “doing” nothing. The urge to find entertainment beckons. I decide to feel the discomfort, move into it and be. Suddenly the boredom goes away and I find an unusual comfort in the stillness again. I say unusual, because perhaps it is unfamiliar or long forgotten. The days of doing nothing and being in the suspension of that space seems historical. A thought of “Oh yeah, life was once that way” which might as well be filed away with grandfathers “I remember when a pack of gum was a nickel in my day”.
Sometimes my mind gets caught with intrigue over past memories and future thoughts. They lazily dance between scenes and scenarios, a silent film in my minds projection.
“It’s kind of nice doing nothing” he says to me, in a moment where boredom’s reach has found the back of my neck. “Yeah it is quite nice” my inner chatter responds. There is an odd deliciousness to it like a new flavor you are contemplating.
The sounds of the room take shape composing the notes that make up their day. The figures on the mantle seem, in their stillness, to have the greatest story. My mind delves in and listens. My state goes from drawing back in observation to melting in, into this middle world of stillness in motion. I relax. I warm to the moment and allow my gaze to sweep over the photo on the wall for the dozenth time, each time finding a new story within it.
How rarely we do this, I think. The art of doing nothing, of just being, without reaching for something better or pushing away what we imagine we do not want. Slow down, slow down. My pen no longer knows which way to go. The pages don’t need to be filled. Somehow when they are empty they are so much more full. How ironic that is, I think. We fill our lives with busy moments to give more meaning to what is in fact meaningless. We are full, we are stuffed. Another button needs undoing to loosen the waist, the waist of “wasting” time filling time.
So how about we digest, take a moments rest and let be. I return to me, and my imaginations eye, wondering through as time more slowly passes by.
After having taken a long break from writing I was finding it hard to put my thoughts down. The palette seemed dry and though I felt I had a lot to share, I was stuck in not knowing how to communicate it. The process was very cerebral, which I’ve grown to learn, is not the place to write from. Of course we use our minds but the inspiration (which was what I was forgetting) needs to come from a passionate place, from the body, heart, a place that is unthinking yet all knowing.
Inspiration: It wasn’t that I was not motivated or wanted to write, but as I said it was something I was thinking about having to do. I was confined by my minds need to produce something. I wrote, but it had no flow. It was fine, passable but lacked passion and personality. I needed inspiration but inspiration isn’t something we can fabricate or induce but we can ask for it and it will show up even in the slightest of ways. So this morning I stepped outside with my cup of tea and stood in a sliver of sun that shone through the buildings. I closed my eyes and took it in. I melted into it and with that thoughts came of what I wanted to write about. It was just that; taking the time, taking it in, and for me that sliver of sun shining on my face was inspiration enough to open up to what needed to come through me.
See life isn’t entirely about going and getting it as we’re so routinely enforced to believe. Yes, that is one side of it but life is about balance so there has to be another side. What we forget is the receiving part. Life, nature, is cyclical. We give, we receive, we give again. But in a time of heightened technology and consumerism, we are so busy attaining, needing, wanting, grabbing, our minds rapidly bored when a lapse of unfilled time occurs. What this means is we are constantly external, grasping for something outside of us to satiate our needs and though we may not be entirely conscious of it, we’re tapped out.
So why am I writing about this, what does this have to do with the work that I do, and how does it help you? Well, my point is we have to shift the paradigm around. When it comes to relationships we may be desperately searching for it. We want it, we’re going everywhere trying to find it but there is nothing we can grab hold of. Why? Because we are outside of ourselves, we’re not listening. If we’re looking, looking, looking we never find it and this is because we’re not in our bodies, we’re not grounded and we’re not clear. You know when you are shopping for something in particular you rarely find it, and at the end of the day you’re exhausted because your eyes have been scanning intensely to no avail. Being outside of ourselves is tiring and it doesn’t often lend itself to getting what we need and want.
What is the shift? If we turn things around and come back to ourselves we can ask ourselves, what do I really want? What is my intention? And the most important part of this, don’t think about it, feel it. When we connect to the feeling of what we desire all of a sudden we drop into our body and there we find ground. From that place, if we can learn to trust it, we can open up to receiving what it is we want. Now to clarify, receiving doesn’t mean being passive. It is active but in a state of being rather than doing. That’s wherein lies the balance.
So when wanting to find a relationship, rather than going to all the pubs, the parties and ‘in’ places to be with an unblinking eye surveying the parameters of possibility, try turning it around. Bring it back in, connect to what you want and how that feels, and allow yourself to receive it rather than needing to find it. You don’t need to figure out how it’s going to happen or work out, you just need to focus on what it is you want and open up to the spontaneous inspiration that will arise when you let go and just be.