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
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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.
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
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
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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.
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
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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