intimacy

Hey, Jealousy

jealousy

In my last blog, we talked about the hidden gifts of envy, and I promised to share with you my thoughts on jealousy next time. Next time is here!

Jealousy is one of my least favorite feelings. It can bring out the worst in me.  I also know it comes bearing gifts, when I remember to look for them.

Let’s clarify the difference between envy and jealousy. While both can be equally yucky, envy tells us what we want by pointing at what someone else has or is.

Jealousy is a bit different. Jealousy comes from a sense of feeling threatened, and there are usually three parties involved with jealousy. Here are some examples…

  • Husband hires new assistant. You Facebook-stalked her and she is cute. You suddenly feel uneasy and worry about them spending so much time together at work.
  • Best friend gets new guy, you hardly ever see her anymore, and when you do, he’s usually there, or she’s talking incessantly about him. You feel forgotten and unimportant in her life.
  • Again, you find out that your dad and your sister got together for lunch. You’d sure like to have been invited. It’s always been like that, you’re certain he loves her more.
  • Boyfriend has new job and he is head over heels in love with it. He eats, sleeps and breathes his work, you’ve never seen him so fired up. Except when he first fell in love with you. Would be nice if he was as passionate about you as he is about his job.

Get the idea? As you see in the last example, the three parties don’t even have to be all human. In fact, I’ve heard of (and maybe/maybe not, even personally felt) jealousy over a business, a pet, a car, sports, anything that feels like “there’s less/not enough fill-in the-blank for me.”

What is your fill-in-the-blank? What are you afraid of getting less of?

Could be time, attention, affection, validation, love…  no matter what the details, here’s what jealousy really boils down to. Under the details, stories and reasons, there’s fear.

Jealousy is fear.

Fear of what? Losing who or what you love? Being forgotten? Change? Being unsafe? Being alone? Being unloved? All of the above? You decide. Investigate your jealousy.

And if you dig a little deeper, underneath the fear, you’ll find a core belief that is so common, so prevalent, yet most of us are barely aware of its existence.

The core belief is this: I am not enough.

Here’s a step-by-step process, to put into immediate practice, the next time you feel triggered with feelings of jealousy.

  1. Notice and name.“What is this yucky feeling? Why did I suddenly get bitchy and want to lash out? Oh… I’m feeling jealous.” Locate the feeling in your body. Notice the sensations… “Ah there it is. It feels like a rock in my chest. My face feels hot and my ears are prickly.”
  2. Open. “I know that jealousy is informative. Okay, I’ll open myself up to experiencing something different with this feeling. What gift do you have for me, jealousy?”
  3. Listen. Your jealousy wants to tell you something. Jealousy is fear. What are you afraid of? Identify your fear(s). Then, go deeper. Under the fear, what is a core belief that this fear is rooted in?
  4. Brainstorm. “What can I do today/this week/this month that will help ME feel safer, more grounded, that will plant me in my own enoughness?”
  5. Reach out. If you need to reach out to that person, be specific, own your shit and be direct. “When I hear you talk so much about your new friend, I’m finding myself feeling jealous. I know that’s mine, it’s rooted in a fear that maybe I’m not enough for you. I’m working on that fear, will you help me by reminding me of why you choose to be with me? Sometimes, it’s just really helpful to hear it.” Being direct with our desires and needs requires vulnerability, and it’s not the “easiest” thing to do, but on the other side is deeper intimacy.
  6. Do. Jealousy is rooted in a feeling of being unsafe. You are a safe place for every feeling. What can you do to feel safe? How can you be reassuring friend to yourself? Affirmations like “I am safe. I am enough.” “I will be okay, no matter what.” are helpful and simple and cost nothing to practice daily. Meditate. Talk to a friend. Stand barefoot in the grass to ground with the earth, make a list of all the brave things you’ve accomplished, because you’re capable, smart, you’re enough. Baby yourself. Wrap yourself in a warm blanket and put on sweet music. Nurture yourself.

You are enough. You are always enough. You have no idea how enough you are.

We so often rely on the outside world, external circumstances and other people for our sense of safety, when in actuality, we alone are the safest place.

Yes, we need each other. Yet, when we understand that we, ourselves, are enough, jealousy doesn’t have much power. We know that we are the most reliable, trustworthy, solid and steady sources of safety available, and that nothing can threaten that. Fears lose their charge, because we can trust ourselves to see us through anything.

We will be okay no matter what. Jealousy can lead us home, when we turn to it with tenderness and curiosity.

It can lead us to our enoughness. And returned to our enoughness, we come home, again and again.

So, next time you feel jealousy rearing its head, think this: Jealousy is an invitation to love myself better.

I Hate Vulnerability

 

vulnerability

It was a crossroads moment. I was feeling hurt. A few friends were planning a special get-together, and I couldn’t make it on the night in discussion, told them so, and hoped another date would thus be chosen. It wasn’t.

There they were… those sucky feelings from way-back-when. Even though I’ve “done the work”, they still live deep within, and sometimes, when triggered, they still show up. I know on a cerebral level that they are ancient, childhood wounds, I know they don’t apply to this situation. I know my friends love me. Yet, the hurt feelings were there.

At this crossroads, I thought of just sweeping my hurt under the carpet. God knows I’d had many years of practice doing this, it’s a most effective tactic. (NOT.) But I’m “good” at it. Or at least I used to be. I could put on my Tough Girl cape and plow through my hurt feelings and no one would be the wiser. And it would certainly be easier than my other option… Telling my friends my feelings were hurt. (UGH.)

This is how I know I am changing: I chose UGH, over “easy.” Instead of doing it the old way, I chose to reveal, to be vulnerable, to express what was alive and current for me, as messy and embarrassing as it felt to do so.  I did this because my friends challenge me to be brave. They support what is real and true, even if it is not easy or sweet, even if it is messy or ugly. And since I’ve been hanging with these particular folks, I’ve been learning to do this, too. They make me braver.

With the loving nudging of a friend, I swallowed my Tough-Girl pride (my name is Lisa and I’m a recovering Tough Girl.) I stopped pretending everything was okay, and I shared my hurt feelings with them. UGH. This happened more than a week ago and I still cringe. Because here’s the truth. I HATE VULNERABILITY. Not yours, of course, I think yours is super cool and beautiful and all that.

I hate MY vulnerability.

It’s sticky. And messy. And embarrassing. And I feel so… naked.

In vulnerable moments, my armpits sweat, my hands get clammy, my chest gets tight. I want to cry. (In fact, I did, in this instance. Double UGH.) I feel like a baby. I feel embarrassed. I want to hide. Once the reveal is made, I want to rewind.

Yet, more and more, I’m choosing it.

You know why? Because vulnerability is brave. Because I am becoming braver and braver, and ironically, that means becoming softer and softer, toward myself. It means letting the people that care about me know when I am hurting. Because hiding my feelings, sweeping them under a rug is no longer the “easier” choice. It’s becoming more difficult to pull that off. And because on the other side of a vulnerable moment, with the right people, there is deeper intimacy. And intimacy cannot happen without vulnerability. And because I want intimacy.

And, of course, these friends received my vulnerability with tenderness and openness. They didn’t stop loving me, in fact, maybe they even love me a little more, because of my vulnerability. They heard me, they explained scheduling challenges they were working with, they even expressed gratitude, for being let in to what was true for me. They were grateful for my vulnerability. And so was I.

So yeah, I hate vulnerability. And I love it, too.

What about you? Where can you be more vulnerable? Where in your life can you speak the truth, even though it’s messy and uncomfortable? Where and how can you be braver today than you were yesterday?

Maybe someday, I’ll write a blog called “I Love Vulnerability.” Not yet. But today, I can say this.  I’m willing to be vulnerable.

Getting the Support You Need

As an occasional offering, I invite you to write with your questions or topic suggestions. I will answer all either privately or in this space. It’s my intention that my words will bring hope and new clarity. Here’s one…

a-alone-1530422Dear Lisa,

I could use some perspective on how to reach out for support when that isn’t my usual M.O., without freaking out the people I am reaching out to.

Generally speaking, I am mostly level-headed and together and don’t typically ask for moral support from my friends or family.

They will either freak out that I am “not completely fine and normal” or won’t have any perspective that would actually help me.

How do I overcome my resistance to asking for help because I’m fearful of upsetting the people that I would reach out to or I’m already predicting their reactions as not helpful.

For instance, I wouldn’t want to call my mom and be like “I’m not dealing very well” cause that would burden her for weeks that somehow the possibly most together person in her life isn’t “okay”. I can’t call my BFF cause his reaction would be “that sucks.” Knowing that my husband is managing enough with his current struggles and burdens, I cannot turn to him.

Signed,
Need It, But How Do I Get It?

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Dear Need It,

I relate very well to your resistance and struggle reaching out for help, all too well! It ain’t easy!

Especially if over the years, you’ve owned the title of “The Strong One,” because the Strong One handles it all herself. The Strong One needs no support, and is the one doing the supporting. The Strong One has her shit together, carries on with valor and courage and is Teflon tough and ugh… being the Strong One is exhausting.

I used to joke, and actually still do, that one day, I will start hosting clandestine meetings for the “Secret Society of Strong Ones.”

We will meet monthly to cry.

It’s actually not a bad idea.

Some of the best advice I ever got was from my therapist, Bob, many years ago.  It happened like this. I was in trouble, but I couldn’t fathom turning to anyone for support, not even my husband at the time, Johnny…

Bob: How would it feel to you if Johnny came to you and said “Look, I’m not doing so well. I’m struggling and really need your support right now.”

Me: It would touch me deeply. I would feel honored. And I would do everything I could to support hin in the way he needed. It would feel like a gift, to be able to show up for him during a difficult time.

Bob: Right. So when you hold back asking for help, you deny others the gift of being able to show up for you, you cheat them of the opportunity of being there for you.

BAM. Changed my perspective, instantly, completely.

I’m not going to say it suddenly became easy to reach out for help when I needed it. It’s still incredibly difficult.

But I trust my needs for support as part of this beautiful cosmic dance of intimacy we get to share with others.

We give. We receive. We need. We offer. We hurt. We help. We heal. We heal each other.

And this dance relies on vulnerability for its rhythm.

I’m going to suggest three things to you.

1.Resign your position as Director of Protecting Others from What is Really Going On. It’s an unfulfilling, lonely gig, and you deserve to be supported in the same way you support others. I repeat: You deserve to be supported in the same way you support others.

2. Get clear on what type of support you are needing. Let your intimates know, very specifically, what you are needing. That right now, you need a compassionate ear or a shoulder to cry on or a place to vent or a safe space to be real with what is current without their advice or fixing. Or maybe with their advice or fixing. You decide.

Sounds scary because it is and it requires vulnerability, but like a muscle, when you practice, it gets stronger.

3. Broaden your circle of support. I love the saying “Stop going to the hardware store for milk.” It sounds like you already have determined that the type of support they will offer may not be helpful. There is support all around. Make a list of other people you know truly care about you– even if you’ve never “gone there” with them– this could be a perfect opportunity to deepen those relationships.

If that doesn’t work, check out 7 Cups of Tea. They offer free, confidential and professional counseling online.

We are wired to need one another.

Sure, you could “get by” without reaching out. But by risking your own reputation of being the Strong One, by deciding that you will no longer shoulder these burdens alone, by opening your heart to telling the truth about what is current and real for you now, you become more YOU, more authentic. You will experience deeper intimacy in your relationships, and you will gift others with the opportunity to show up for you in a new way.

You can find the support you need.

It’s there. It rarely comes knocking.

We ourselves must do the knocking.

So start knocking, sweet sister.

I wish you courage and send you love,
Lisa

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The suggestions and opinions offered on this site are not meant to dissuade any reader from seeking the advice and care of his or her own appropriate and licensed health care provider. The reader is strongly encouraged to seek out and establish a meaningful relationship with such a provider who will have the opportunity and responsibility to examine him or her and offer individualized health care suggestions and services.

Giver, I dare you to recieve.

giving-and-receivingI’m getting better with this, but it still happens now and then, that cringing, awkward feeling when I’m supposed to receive… a gift, a compliment, support, praise.

Instead of basking on the loving receiving end of the give and receive cycle, I feel uncomfortable.

Eager to diffuse attention.

Worried what “others” might think.

Diligent to pay it back, or pay it forward, as soon as possible, lest things be “uneven.”

Just experienced this today, in fact.

And this is extremely common among women.

I posed the question on Facebook this afternoon… “Why is it hard for us (especially women) to receive?”

Got a few dozen awesome responses. Here are a few of them…

  • Worthiness!
  • I’ve been taught that I’m not a man and so I don’t deserve it. Not in so many words of course, but in the way I was raised to cover, hide, be quiet,…
  • We are typically taught to be givers not receivers
  • I was taught that if you don’t work hard for it, you don’t deserve it. I also think that women are taught to be self-sacrificing and giving.
  • Trained from a young age that my life was only for service
  • As women/mothers we nurture and care for so, I guess it just seems so foreign to have it done in return…

I’m noticing a theme here. Taught… trained… learned…

This difficulty receiving is ingrained in us, threads woven into our fabric. It’s time to pull those threads. It’s time to unlearn. Life is relying on us to learn how to receive just as well as we give.  Giving and receiving is a cycle, a beautiful dance, a balance.

When we resist receiving, we actually damage the cycle. We disturb the dance. We destroy the balance.

“It’s better to give than to receive.” We are taught. But giving needs receiving, to be complete. So isn’t it just as important?

When we resist receiving, we deny the giver the gift of giving.

We rob them of the warm and loving feeling that giving creates.

We are ripping people off by not receiving! Think about it!

For the last four years, I have been extending financial gifts and scholarships to dozens of clients and students of the Burlesque Experience. I derive great pleasure in doing so.

Recently, a number of graduates of the course have been expressing to me their desire to also give toward such gifts and scholarships.

I’ll admit, my initial reaction was discomfort. It’s so much easier to give than to receive.

But after some thought and prayer, I realized that not  just receiving, but graciously receiving the generosity of others, I am still giving! (Woo-hoo!)

I am giving the giver the pleasure and profoundly fulfilling experience of giving, to a gracious recipient of their generosity!

Experiencing generosity from the giving or receiving end cultivates more blessings for everyone.

Not only that, but in this particular case, it will help me continue the tradition of giving to other, toward their tuition, that might not otherwise be able to experience the Experience! We can give more! What a beautiful win-win.

It’s a prevalent problem. Our discomfort with receiving.

We sure love to give, we give give give, it feels so good, so natural.

I’m not suggesting we stop giving. It’s awesome and cultivates abundance.

But what if it also felt natural to receive?

Exercise your receiving muscle.

Share stories of receiving.

Let others close to you know that you are experimenting with becoming a better receiver.

And then…

Open your heart, open your arms… open up and receive.

Let’s Get Naked.

1936322_173245293472_3785284_n“What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful.”
– Brene Brown

Last night, I began a new session of the Burlesque Experience, with thirteen brand new students. In the opening circle we start every semester with, we go around and the women share why they are there, why they have invested their time, energy and money, what brought them to the Experience.

It’s always exciting and a little anxious, there is nervous laughter and friendly banter and an opening up starts to happen… and there is always crying.

The first person who starts to cry will usually try to choke back the tears, usually apologizing, sometimes fanning her face in that gesture we do to send those unbidden, unexpected tears back into our heads.

And then I urge her… Give yourself permission to cry. When you do, you open the door for all of us.

Immediately, magically, when she gives herself permission to cry, there is deeper transparency and authenticity in the circle. Every time.

I want nothing more from my work than to create a safe place for people to get naked. I just had the soul-tingling experience of realizing that this is paramount to my life’s work. Getting naked together.

We are all scared. We all have wounds. Let’s stop pretending. Let’s stop hiding.

Let the tears fall. We all need a safe place to get naked.

I am not a sadist. I do not enjoy seeing people cry. But I have to admit, when someone cries in my presence, there is an opening that occurs in my heart, and a flood of love and appreciation flows from me, into the world.

As many of you reading this are aware, a giant part of the work I do is helping women get naked.

The Burlesque Experience is a six-week journey that culminates into a beautiful, magical show, and yes, each woman gets up on that stage in front of a couple hundred cheering people, and strips for them. As you can imagine, it’s downright petrifying and beautiful and amazing.

As they cheer and hoot and holler, she undresses, she teases, she beguiles, she amuses, she entertains.

But there is something going on that’s much deeper, it’s kind of a secret, actually…

Getting naked is healing work. Whether you’re taking off your clothes and showing an audience your glorious, amazing body, or you are shedding a mask, letting tears fall, showing your soul, revealing the soft tender parts of you that have been hidden.

Stripping for an audience the first time is a life-changing event that puts you in control of your life, your energy, your body in a terrifying and exhilarating way. It makes you vulnerable. It makes you beautiful.

I have the honor of supporting women through this process, but the more I think of it now, the more I realize, there’s nothing I love more than getting naked with people and seeing them get naked, both physically and metaphysically.

Let’s get naked.

I’m not talking about taking off our clothes. (Although you know I fully support that, as described above.)

I’m talking about taking off our masks.

I’m talking about taking off our costumes, you know… the ones we wear all the day, to get through life, to do our jobs.

To survive in this dangerously challenging world… The masks and disguises we created to stay safe, to avoid vulnerability.

So why do I secretly bask in the energy that is created when someone cries in my presence?

Because they are getting naked. And that’s sexy.

Because they are being brave. And that’s magical.

Because they are revealing their hearts, their souls. And although I love the thrill of burlesque and a good old fashioned striptease, I’m much more interested in a different kind of strip.

The stripping away of masks, of fronts, of costumes and disguises.

Let’s get naked, eh? You can leave your clothes on, but show me your soul.

Because vulnerability is beautiful and you’re sexiest when you’re real.

 

 

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photo by Dee Hill Photography

 

A Valentine’s Day Attitude Adjustment

valentines-day-sucks-0“I hate Valentine’s Day. It’s just a made-up holiday!” My friend complained to me, exasperated once again by the pressures, expenses and obligations wrapped up in February 14th.

“All holidays are made-up holidays, aren’t they?” I replied. We chuckled… and realized it’s true.

If you’re not into Valentine’s Day, if you find yourself crabby or resistant toward it, and that’s working for you, by all means, stick with your strategy.

However, if it’s a made-up holiday, you can make it mean anything you want it to mean.

Here’s the real kicker: It’s all made-up. Everything. You’re making it all up now.

Whatever belief you hold about Valentine’s Day, about love, romance, about men, about relationships: You made it up.

And Life, being the magnetic and responsive co-creator that she is, has been eagerly collecting evidence, old and new, to support your beliefs, so that your beliefs are validated by your experiences.

It’s crazy and magical and powerful and true.  And it’s a tremendous responsibility, being a creator of beliefs and experiences.

So this Valentine’s Day, are you open to an attitude adjustment?

What non-awesome beliefs are you supporting? What less-than-empowering beliefs are you choosing? Here are some I hear often:

–          There are no “good men” left.

–          I am only attracted to the bad boys and jerks. Nice guys bore me.

–          Why do I always fall in love with unavailable men?

–          What is wrong with me that I can’t find love?

–          Once I lose the weight, I’ll be able to start dating again.

–          When I find him, my life will be complete.

And how are those beliefs working for you? Are you ready for something different?

Choose your beliefs carefully. They become your reality.

How to reverse an embedded non-awesome belief? Here’s one of my favorite tricks. Have an arsenal of rebuttals ready and then bomb the belief with your rebuttals every time you find yourself engaging in the belief.

For example, let’s take the belief “All men are jerks.”

Arsenal of Rebuttals:

  • No they’re not.
  • I can name ten awesome men I know right now…
  • I am lucky enough to watch my bestie in love with a great guy.
  • I’ve had some crappy experiences, but I have to trust there are some awesome men out there.
  • I know there’s someone out there who will be a great match for me.

Initially, you needn’t even believe your rebuttals. Just bomb the belief. Over and over again. Eventually new synapses start to take place in your brain. Your subconscious starts seeking new evidence, to support these repetitive  rebuttals. Slowly but surely, they become beliefs and a world of new possibilities is opened.

What if Valentine’s Day was about celebrating the love of your life? YOU.

There is no one else as committed to living with you as you are. No one else who can love you as well as you can. No one else as deserving of your own love and affection as you are.

So what if you started a tradition this year, that Valentine’s Day is a time for self-pampering?  For spoiling yourself. For extra treats and decadences. Hold yourself in high regard and court yourself like a lover.

What if Valentine’s Day was an opportunity to celebrate your divinely bestowed sensuality? Celebrate your senses and all the pleasures you are entitled to, simply because you are alive. Taste, smell, touch, hear. There is just so much, everywhere, for you to savor.

If you’re finding Valentine’s Day to be a dreaded, high-pressure, or alienating event, what if you made Valentine’s Day simply about LOVE and celebrated accordingly? Express your love to all those you come in contact with. It’s a made up holiday, after all! Make it up to your liking. Redefine it, make it matter, celebrate your divine core, which is love!

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Spread the love… Share below the loving, sweet things you’ll be doing for yourself this Valentine’s Day, to celebrate your very essence: LOVE.

Always The Other Woman?

image-1-for-coleen-02-02-2011-gallery-920730287-107979As a new offering, I invite you to write with your questions or topic suggestions. I will answer all either privately or in this space. It’s my intention that my words will bring hope and new clarity. Here’s one…

Dear Lisa,

I was wondering if you could give some insight on being the other woman. It seems my whole life, I have been. Most of the people I have fallen madly and instantly in love with have been in relationships with other people.

During the affair I am always “the most amazing person they have ever met” yet they never leave who they are currently with to try to be with me.

I am currently married and recently had an affair with a married man in which the same thing happened. Now my marriage is struggling and the “other man’s” marriage seems just fine.

I recently saw a guy I had a similar situation with. Come to find out, he is not even with the woman that he wouldn’t leave and says that not being with me was “the biggest mistake of his life”

What are the makings of the other woman? Why can’t I get my shit together? And also if I am “the most amazing person” why don’t they ever leave?

Signed,
The Other Woman, Again

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Dear OW Again,

I can feel your pain and frustration, and also would like to acknowledge your courage to honestly and bravely dive in to seek the truth about yourself and the root of these stories, to perhaps write a new story. I hope I can help.

What you know for sure is that you have created a pattern, and that this pattern is not working for you. It leaves you in pain.

It’s difficult to avoid generalizations here, as each person and situation is unique, but understand the nature of infidelity is one fostered in secrets and lies, and the thrill that cultivating secrets and lies creates. Secrets create the illusion of safety and power. If I have a secret from you, it feels like I have the upper hand. If I am lying to you, I can create distance and protect myself from the vulnerability that true intimacy requires. I get to stay “safe.”

Being the Other Woman can create a sense of power and worth. There’s something intoxicating about being someone’s fantasy, about being “chosen” over his wife, that he would risk so much, put so much on the line, to be with you. The rush and the high that an intense love affair creates is a drug. You may be addicted to that drug. Yet in the end, you find yourself with a painful “love hangover” and the shitty, short end of the stick.

It feels wonderful to be told you are the most amazing person. You may very well be the most amazing person. Keep in mind, you are playing a role.

In this role, you offer them a gift. You create an escape door from the mundane, a fantasy come to life, the dream girl who fulfills the desires that the wife at home may not. Kids, bills, comfort, duties, routines and obligations have a tendency to diminish desire,  when a relationship is left unattended and taken for granted. The siren call of the fantasy girl provides an exciting and intoxicating distraction, rekindling that inner fire that we all want and love, as innately passionate people. It’s completely typical to feel “woken up” by a steamy love affair.

Even the frustration and longing when apart is intoxicating and fueling, in it’s own way. Someone once said “Desire is dependent on frustration for its survival.” And I believe this to be somewhat, sometimes true. Bottom line is, affairs make us feel wild, intense and alive. But being that fantasy girl isn’t paying off in the long run.

There’s another gift you give to your married lovers, one that can’t be any fun on your end. Clarity.

sad_womanIf, or when, they are caught, they need to make some tough choices, and to really come to terms with what matters most to them, what’s most important. They are led to identify, maybe even with their wives, root causes and insidious beginnings of what brought them to the cheating point… and they can commit to healing those breaks, changing, and becoming better husbands, or at least trying to. Sure, there are those rare cases where the Other Woman “wins” and he does actually leave, but these are the exception.

Sex fantasies brought to life, and the emotional intensity of a hot and steamy love affair may dim in comparison to the urgency of keeping their family together, or returning to their wedding vows.

It sucks being a clarifier, when you are the one left with nothing.

So now, the bigger question is, what are you getting out of it?

We don’t continue to do things unless there is a pay-off. Even harmful things. What is yours?

Is it escape? A way to numb a deeper pain that you are avoiding? A way to intoxicate yourself and leave the confines of a duller or unsatisfying reality?

Is it validating? Are you looking, perhaps subconsciously, for a connection to yourself, a path of love, through the eyes of men? Ie.,  “Help me love me.”

Is it a form of self-punishment? By falling instantly for unavailable men, when deep inside you know how the story will end, you get to continue feeling bad about yourself, especially when it’s over?

Is it safer? By falling for unavailable men, you get to enjoy the illusion of intimacy, without having to really risk everything, knowing deep down in the end that it’s a temporal, ephemeral high that eventually will wear off.

Is it a way to experience the thrill of power? He is “choosing” you, over her. That gives you a sense of being important and valuable.

Is it familiar? Perhaps what was modeled for you or just comfortable and “what you know” so it’s easier to repeat than to create a new story?

Is it a way to prove to yourself a deep underlying belief that you are not deserving of someone fully available, that these “half-loves” are all you really are worth?

There are a myriad of possibilities here, and yours no doubt are deeply rooted, multi-layered and very personal.

I challenge you to go deep, to peel away layer after layer, to get to the core of this pattern.

Once you identify the pay-offs and what is consciously or unconsciously driving you to repeat history, you can start to do the healing work to address it. A good coach or therapist can help with that.

Know that you deserve joy, peace, wholeness and deep love and respect for yourself. Cultivating these things may break the cycle, when you are ready, once and for all.

When you are ready to write a new story, instead of “Always The Other Woman” it might become “How I Healed Myself and Found Deeper Peace by Breaking a Cycle.”

I love you, sweet sister,
Lisa

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The suggestions and opinions offered on this site are not meant to dissuade any reader from seeking the advice and care of his or her own appropriate and licensed health care provider. The reader is strongly encouraged to seek out and establish a meaningful relationship with such a provider who will have the opportunity and responsibility to examine him or her and offer individualized health care suggestions and services.

My Latest Dare? Shacking Up

I’ll tell you a few truths about 998070_10201125925863132_29246493_nme: I am the type of person who is perfectly content to just keep things as they are, for as long as I possibly can.

I do not have that thing I hear about, called “wanderlust” that many people have, that yearning to travel the world, because I don’t feel like packing and I get antsy in airplane flights that last more than two hours and I do plenty of wandering and adventuring right between my two ears.  I am not one of those people that changes the furniture around for fresh energy. I like the energy, and the couch, to just stay right where they are.

As much as I know that change happens, that change is growth, that change is how we move forward, I seem to find great contentment in not changing a damn thing.

And God knows, I love freedom. It’s one of my core desired feelings, my strongest value, my key driving forces, my deepest longing, always has been and likely always will be.

I love having my own place. For the last three and a half years, I have cherished the autonomy and privacy of sharing an apartment with my daughter, now 18. Having spent most of my life sharing space with a father and various husbands (kidding, just two), I have love-love-loved my lady lair, my cozy apartment, my home sweet home.

I love having a messy back bathroom (My fiancé calls it the Trainspotting bathroom.) I love coming and going as I please. I love staying up all night eating chips and salsa in bed and watching Netflix, if I want to. I love hogging the bed.

Then why have I decided to start living with my fiancé Matt come September 1st?

Because I’m ready for the next big step.  (By ready, I mean excited, terrified and apprehensive. That’s usually how I know I’m ready.)

Because our relationship is ready for its next stage.

Because our lives will become so much easier, and I’m ready for easier.

Because we are best friends.

Because he needed me in a time of career transition, and I ask myself how would I want him to show up for me, if the tables were turned.

Because we can do a lot more together with our funds than we can apart.

Because life is change, change is growth and I like to grow.

Because it feels right.

Am I excited? Yes. Am I worried? Yes.

I’m worried that we might get on each other’s nerves more. I’m worried that I will feel crowded. I’m worried that we’ll argue more. I’m worried that we might not like living together.

But I know that I am strong, brave, bold and I have proven to myself over the last three years that I can take care of myself, if things should “not work out”. This is an experiment, and I have high hopes in its success. That’s all we really can have. What is “certainty” really, except high hopes being cocky?

I know that by making this change, I get to change my story that “I am a person who won’t make changes unless yada yada”… and maybe become someone who welcomes change, someone who dares to dive in when life present the opportunity to experience something totally different.

I am smart enough to recognize an invitation from Life to attend it’s next chapter when I see one!

I also know there will be adjustments to make, compromises to reach, that sharing our space will delight us on some days and challenge us on others. I know no matter what, I will be okay. He will be okay. And hopefully, we will love sharing a home almost as much as we love one another.

This is my life’s biggest dare, in a long time. And I’m saying YES.

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Have you heard about my new program, The Truth or Dare Club? I invite you to explore, and obey the stirrings your heart is expressing. It’s time. You ready for this? Join the Club. The only thing you’ve got to lose is what’s been holding you back.

The Truth About Truth

It wasn’t so long ago that I felt, in most cases, it was safer to lie than to tell the truth.

Lies kept me safe. Secrets were my suit of armor. It was how I knew to live. Secrets and lies were my survival strategy, learned early and practiced to perfection.

This so-called survival strategy had also created a life of pain and separation. True intimacy was impossible, with myself or others.

My life was full of people, but I was alone, and in pain so deep and so familiar, it felt normal.

Several years ago, my therapist asked me: “What would it feel like to have a life without secrets?” I was stunned by his question, had never entertained the idea. It was almost absurd. Secrets were my second skin. My buffer between me and real intimacy. My “safe place.”

“Living a life without secrets would feel like walking around without skin.” I answered. The vulnerability, the rawness of living, speaking and choosing truth were so beyond my comprehension. Could I be that brave? That strong? Where to even begin?

Living your truth is not easy, nor is it for wimps or the faint-hearted. Living your truth requires you to do things that may shock or even hurt others. Living your truth calls you, appoints you, assigns you to both large, radical acts of bravery and small, seemingly insignificant choices… ranging in depth and extremity from completely redesigning your life to sending your food back when it’s not cooked to your liking. A truthful, authentic life does not happen all at once. It is more likely to be painstakingly constructed, choice by choice.

The biggest thing I had to do, in order to live my truth was the most painful thing I have ever done, and that was to leave a long, loving marriage and break up a family. Who does that? I kept hearing, in my head, moving through the excrutiating process.

Who does that? A woman finally determined to live her truth. A woman who is neither good or bad, or is maybe both, but is mostly a woman determined to experience her own wholeness.

What is truth calling you to do? Waiting for courage may have you waiting a lifetime. Wait not on courage. Sometimes it is only a breeze we need to step in the direction of courage, of our life of truth. Sometimes it takes a storm, sometimes an all-out tsunami. Courage is the reward we get, for taking these stands on our own behalf, along with power, with self-trust, self-esteem. Goddess energy.

I’ve taken many risks since that therapy session to speak, choose and live my truth. I am more committed to a life of truth than I ever thought possible. It’s not always easy. It’s sometimes painful and scary. But truth never fails. Truth always rewards. Always builds. Always heals.

Is your truth calling you to choose, speak or act on its behalf? The time is now. Step into your truth and you open up a new world within you, the universe responds, life becomes brighter, clearer, more real, more beautiful. When you claim your reality and live your truth, everything changes, for the better. And that is the truth about truth.