The Ultimate Power

Finding freedom in prison.

"Everything can be taken from a man [or woman] but one thing: the last of human freedoms- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances."     ~ Viktor Frankl

I met Jeri at a writer’s workshop where we were both students. She had an effervescent temperament, and I found myself strongly drawn to her from the moment we met. She had the look of someone who has paid some serious dues, yet as I listened to her story I found myself amazed that she looked as youthful and vibrant as she did. It would be a profound understatement to say that Jeri had had a hard life.


Are You My Soul Mate?

Some ways to find out.

Many people believe that there is a “special person out there waiting for me”, and my job is to find him or her so that we can spend the rest of our lives in bliss. This is a particularly popular and seductive idea because it suggests that once I’ve located the person of my dreams, the work is over. It also suggests that there is only one person with whom I am destined to have this special relationship. On a planet of 7 billion souls, finding that right one is a daunting prospect. Consider instead the possibility that there may be many potential mates with whom it is possible for me to experience a soulful connection, and that the real work is not just about the finding, but also about what happens after we have found each other.


Are All the Good Men/Women Already Taken?

Do these 6 things and find out.

Charlie and I have heard vast numbers of people making this claim over the years. My point of view is it only takes one. You may have to kiss a few frogs in the process but that’s a small price to pay for what could be a great outcome. It is true however, finding a qualified partner can be a daunting challenge. I'll be the first to admit that there are some trials and tribulations to go through in sorting through the possibilities. It's not a walk in the park to find somebody who will pair up with you, make a contract to support your development, won't bail when things get hot, who can stand the heat, and work with you to create the partnership of your dreams.


The Price of Success

A Cautionary Tail

As you probably know, J. Paul Getty was one of the wealthiest and most successful American industrialists in history. Fiercely ambitious from an early age, Getty made his first million at age 23 in 1916. He later went on to found the Getty oil company. In 1957 Fortune magazine named him the richest living American and in 1966, the Guinness Book of Records named him as the world’s richest private citizen.


The Three Magic Words in Relationships

If the three magic words in real estate are location, location, location, then the three magic words in relationships are communication, communication, communication. But just as some locations are more desirable than others, some types of communication are more fruitful than others. More talking doesn’t necessarily translate into better outcomes. Sometimes, as the song goes, the words just get in the way.

Although we tend to think of good communicators as being good speakers, speaking is only one half of the communication equation. The other, perhaps even more important half is listening. A good listener is a good communicator because what he or she is helping to produce in that listening is greater understanding and an enhanced connection. While the content of much of our daily communication is about the sharing or transfer of information, in the world of relationships, understanding and connection are the jackpot. In Deborah Tannen's best-selling book, "You Just Don't Understand," she refers to these two modes as "report talk and rapport talk."


I Attracted the Right Person, Now What?

Lately there’s been a lot of attention paid to the Law of Attraction. For those of you who have been living in a cave for the past few years, simply put, this phrase refers to the idea that by intensely focusing your attention on what you want and keeping “negative” thoughts having to do with fear, anger, doubt, guilt, etc. out of your consciousness, you will draw into your life whatever it is that you truly desire. Call me skeptical but I find this philosophy somewhat simplistic particularly when it comes to relationships. While it certainly is beneficial to avoid getting ensnared in the trap of obsessive negative thinking, thinking positive thoughts is generally not enough to bring about any desired outcome, particularly in the domain of relationships.

The idea that you can attract the relationship of your dreams is naturally quite attractive to those of us who are in search of a life partner. The number of websites and dating services that are in the business of bringing unmatched individuals together seems to be growing at an exponential rate, and given the number of singles out there who are looking to pair up with the right person, that’s not surprising.


7 Steps to Healing Broken Trust

Betrayal: It’s Not Just About Infidelity

Few people would argue with the idea that honesty is the best policy. Policies however are not always adhered to, even those that we believe in and support. Regardless of how much we may desire to live a life of integrity in which we “walk the talk” and live in accordance with our inner principles, it’s likely that there will be times that we miss the mark. Nobody’s perfect. Every relationship is going to have occasional slippage.

Great relationships however, require a high level of integrity in order to thrive. When a violation of trust, large or small, occurs it’s important to examine the conditions that contributed to the situation and to engage in a healing process that will restore trust and goodwill to the relationship.

A betrayal is a broken agreement, implicit or explicit, that is considered vital to the integrity of a relationship. The capacity of a relationship to recover from a betrayal has a lot to do with the responses, particularly on the part of the betrayer to the situation. The more open and non-defensive they are, the more likely it is that there will be resolution. When both partners are committed to this as an outcome, the likelihood increases exponentially.


Don’t Use These Three Words

 Sometimes it Doesn’t Pay to be Right

“You’re being defensive!” If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of these words, you know that the last thing that you feel like doing upon hearing them is to drop your guard and open your heart. Ironically, that’s probably exactly what the person delivering these words is trying to get you to do.

If you weren’t being defensive before you heard this accusation (and it is usually spoken accusatorially), you almost surely will be after hearing it. Defensiveness is a natural response to the perception of a physical or emotional threat. We can’t help but feel the impulse to protect ourselves under such circumstances.


For Better or Worse Until…

“And they lived happily ever after.”

Who would have ever thought that six harmless words could lead to so much disappointment? Just think of the number of times that you were told stores that involved two lovers who after rising above many hardships and ordeals, finally merging their hearts as one and riding off into the sunset together to live in the splendor of love’s eternal bliss.

Yeah, right.

Time and experience makes us all wiser, or hopefully at least less naïve, and it doesn’t take  too long to realize that the stuff that constitutes fairy tales is not necessarily that which makes up our daily lives. The “real world” comes crashing down on all of us sooner or later and when it does it often leaves us disillusioned. The process of dissolving illusions is never much fun but it seems to be an inherent aspect of the process of growing up. Some illusions dissolve more easily than others but whether it is the shock of finding daddy dressing up as Santa Claus or the death of our pet kitten who was supposed to live forever, the process of letting go of erroneous beliefs always contains some degree of suffering.