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Overview
What is the relationship you wish you had with yourself? All of our relationships are a mirror of our connection with ourselves and have the potential to increase our joy and aliveness. Often we fall into a cycle of blame with our partners, our children, our parents, or ourselves. Many of our thoughts begin with “whose fault is this?” We immediately lock into a stance of hunting down the culprit! The big question which can shift us out of blame and into wonder is “What is there for me to learn about myself and others?” By being in wonder new possibilities open up.

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When it comes to couples…
The following anecdote is a story about an experience I had with my husband in which we see how wonder can dramatically affect the outcome of a situation.
I was waiting and waiting and waiting to buy a new DVD burner because my husband asked me to take time to consider my choice. In my gut, I knew I wanted to get the burner right then and there when I first saw it. I called him and he said, “Jennifer, you should wait.” I waited 3 days beyond my initial visit to the store. By the time I showed up on Friday, all the burners I wanted were sold out. I immediately went into blaming my husband in my mind. “It’s all his fault,” I thought. “Now I won’t get what I want. What a selfish person he is!” Right in that moment, I caught myself making him wrong. And I shifted into learning what my body truth was. I realized I felt tightness in my jaw and neck. When I breathed into it, I realized I was angry that I denied my own impulse of what I wanted to do in favor of his suggestion. So as I stood in the store I shifted to thinking in wonder: “hmmmm, I wonder what could be better than that DVD burner which is now sold-out.” I turned to the clerk and asked her what she thought. She pointed to a model for half the price of the one to which I had grown so attached. As I left the store, I felt a wave of appreciation for both me and my husband, and the clerk who assisted me. Without her expertise, I wouldn’t have known about this model, which she boasted, “never gets returned – ever!” Without my husband, I wouldn’t have waited for the best deal. Without me being in wonder, there would be no solution that was better than anything I could have initially devised.

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When it comes to parenting…
Anyone in a family can be the positive catalyst for change. The best parenting can come from being curious about your child; being in wonder as you connect with them. My close friend in Los Angeles is an actress. She and her husband have a fabulous one year old. I am so impressed by how they parent their child. When I visited recently I noticed how we all focused on the baby, and instead of telling her how to behave and proscribing her behavior, we watched in wonder. It was magical. We watched as she manipulated the pages of a book. My friends and I chatted about our concerns that the baby would ruin the book, but she never did. Though she might bend and pull, she never destroyed the book. We were calm and centered as we watched in wonder instead of worry. Anyone can transform a family, even before they have the ability to form words.

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When it comes to self…
One of the most powerful ways you can change your mood is to identify what you think, feel, and fully express it. I recently worked with a client who was feeling flat about life. I encouraged him to tune into his body and notice what was occurring. He said, “You know I don’t feel anything.” I pointed out that not feeling anything was a feeling! He was feeling numb. When he revisited his “numbness,” he realized that what he felt was flatness about his childhood. Underneath that was grief. He breathed into his sadness and spoke the words that went with the truth of his body experience: “What I am about to say seems all-encompassing. I never got to have positive attention from my parents – at all. They only talked to me to tell me what they wanted me to improve about myself.” I asked him what it was that he still craved from that time of his life as well as now. “I want to know I matter,” he said. He decided that what he really wanted was to give himself more attention and notice himself doing things throughout the day and appreciate himself. Although he initially felt a disconnect, and then sadness in his body, when he named what he most wanted, he felt spaciousness. As he left the session he reported, “I feel excited to notice myself!” He shed his habitual gaze of ignoring his needs as his family had done, and shifted to looking at himself with a gaze of wonder. In his newfound relationship with himself, he is excited to discover more about what he really wants.

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When it comes to Singles…
As a single young woman, I lived in Boston for about 6 months. During the day I worked with the children at Perkins School for the Blind. At night and on weekends I took the bus into town, went to movies, bookstores and out to dinner. I was always on dates…. With myself! And every fun thing I got to do was exactly what I wanted.

What can you enjoy about this time of being single? Are there things you enjoy doing which are easier to do because you are on your own? What can you appreciate about being single? It can be a great opportunity to enjoy what you want without negotiation.

If you are not happy being single, how do you imagine it would be different once you are part of a couple? In what ways can you begin to give that to yourself now? When giving ourselves what we long for we attract more of the same from others.

As a single woman, for example, I would take myself out to the movies. I loved foreign films. For two hours, I was transported to exotic worlds, learning about people different from myself. One day, walking out of a film I loved, I bumped into a couple that were only acquaintances at the time. Realizing we enjoyed the same films, we made a point to see a film together once a month. I loved connecting with them and the closeness we developed. Two years later, I met my husband and the four of us now go to the movies as best friends. When my husband and I decided to get married, our movie buddies hosted our wedding at their home. I feel grateful that I followed my impulse to take myself out on a date, which led to such meaningful connections.

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When it comes to completing…
Is there a relationship dynamic you want to complete? Even if someone in your life does not want to change, you can change how you choose to interact with him or her. One of my clients bemoaned the holiday season. “I hate having to sit there and pretend that my Dad didn’t abuse all of us when we were kids. He acts like nothing ever happened and my sister and brother play along.” After several attempts to communicate with her father, sending her Dad a letter and seeing him for a lunch date, she decided that though she wanted a different dynamic with her Dad, he was unwilling to listen to her – let alone change. She called me after the holiday season ended. “I decided not to participate in any of their holiday celebrating this year. I saw friends and spent time by myself. It feels weird not to go back to the family to try to get accepted, but for now I feel so much better only spending time with people who genuinely care about me. Thanks for helping me get to this place of honoring myself. I wouldn’t have gotten here this fast without you.”

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Jennifer Blaine :: 709 South 17th St. :: Philadelphia PA 19146 :: 215-546-1612 :: jenniferblaine@earthlink.net