Susie & Otto
Archive 01

 

Menstuff® has compiled information and books on the issue of Relationships. This section is an archive Susie and Otto Collins's weekly column featured daily on our homepage. They are spiritual and life partners who are committed to helping others create outstanding relationships of all kinds. They regularly write, speak and conduct workshops and seminars on love, relationships and personal and spiritual growth to audiences all across the USA.

They are the creators of the "Relationship Toolkit" which has helped people in over a dozen countries improve their relationships. It includes a video called Spiritual Partnerships plus two booklets Love and Relationship Success Secrets and 101 Relationship Quotes Worth a Million Dollars! You can also read more articles like these and subscribe to their weekly newsletter on love and relationships by visiting their web site at www.collinspartners.com Their new E-book Should You Stay or Should You Go? has just been released and is now available www.stayorgo.com

Blending with the People in Our Lives
The Challenge of moving from "I" to "We"
Christmas. Being Present in Your Relationships
A common relationship myth destroyed...
Dealing with emotions as they come up
Getting What You Want. . .
How your Emotions can be like a Jack-in-the-Box...
Looking Back ...
Making the Connection. . .
"The one question you have to ask yourself if your relationships aren't what you want them to be--"
One Reason We Get Disappointed in Relationships...
The Relationship Miracle That Can Happen More Than Once...
10 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve Your Relationships
Understanding Heals Relationships

Other Relationship Issues, Books

Christmas. Being Present in Your Relationships


The Christmas season is hectic with Christmas shopping, food preparation, parties, relatives and is a time usually filled with plenty of expectations. Why not change your approach to the chaos usually associated with this

holiday season?

Instead of just "giving presents", why not make it your intention to "be fully present" with the people you'll spend time with this holiday season. To be "fully present" means focusing your attention on the moment.

Stop all that chatter in your head. Stop thinking about what you're going to say next while the other person is talking. Instead, focus on listening to your friends and relatives. Find out something new that you did not know about them. Send them love as you are talking and listening. This is the best "present" you can give to anyone. When you are being "fully present" with another human being you are honoring them and as a result will make them feel important and loved. Forget the socks and cologne. Give the gift that keeps on giving--love!

A common relationship myth destroyed...


This weekend we went to a large holiday party and part of the entertainment was a magic show. The magician was very good at playing to the crowd and getting them involved in his show.

When it came to the "slice your assistant's head off" act, he chose Susie from the audience to be his assistant.

In trying to entertain the audience, he made a few wrong assumptions about Susie and our relationship.

He first assumed that we weren't married because we'd been holding hands and sitting closer than most "normal married couples" during his act. Then he tried to get Susie to admit that things in her marriage weren't really that good and when that didn't work--he then tried to get her to admit that things weren't as good in our relationship as when we first got together.

Fortunately, Susie came away from the night with her head in tact, but we came away with a deeper understanding of a common myth about relationships in our culture.

This myth is that all marriages naturally deteriorate over time and this deterioration is just a natural evolution in all marriages or long term relationships.

We just don't agree with that myth. We believe that if both people are conscious in their relationship and want to grow together, they do things on a daily basis that promote a deep connection. When couples do this, their relationship can only improve with age.

What we do to keep our relationship alive, connected and strong is that we both have consciously decided that that is what we want.

We talk constantly about the things that are important to us and we head off problems before they become unmanageable and out of control.

We try to express appreciation for each other every day. We express gratitude for our relationship to each other and in our prayers each day.

We are conscious that we may never have another moment together in this lifetime and because of this, we make every moment precious.

These are not just things that we do, but are the common ingredients of every successful long term relationship we have read about or heard about.

So, we challenge you that if you are currently in an intimate relationship, to begin incorporating one or more of these ideas into your daily lives. If you are not currently in an intimate relationship and want to be, decide how you want that future relationship to be.

Relationships are just like anything else in this universe of ours. They are either getting stronger or they're getting weaker. Whether your relationships are getting stronger or getting weaker, depends on your intentions and what both of you are willing to put into the relationship.

Relationship Quote of the Week

"But when two people are at one in their inmost hearts, they shatter even the strength of iron or bronze; and when two people understand each other in their inmost hearts, their words are sweet and strong, like the fragrance or orchids." - I Ching

One Reason We Get Disappointed in Relationships...


Have you ever had a relationship that didn't work out the way you had hoped, wanted or thought it would? We're not just talking about intimate relationships. We're talking about family, friends, co-workers or any relationship. Most of us have had relationships that have disappointed us in some way or another.

The question would be...why do we have disappointing relationships in our lives?

Stephen Levine co-author of "Embracing the Beloved" answers this question beautifully when he said "the problem with relationships is--it's a collision of two different desire systems." When you have two different desire systems, things may not always work out the way you would like.

We've said this a lot in our previous newsletters-- one of the big problems between two people is each of them assuming that the other wants what they want from the relationship.

What often happens is one or both people get angry, frustrated, disappointed or upset with one another because their desires or needs are not being met. To make matters (or the relationship) worse, not a word is said about any of this to the appropriate person.

We think that the big reason that all of this happens is that we assume that other people want the same things in relationship with us that we do with them. This is not always the case. Susie has had the same best female friend for over 20 years. They talk every day, they exercise together and have shared secrets.

Susie used to be puzzled and hurt when her friend would treat her differently when they were together in a social situation than when they were alone. Susie finally understood that this was just her friend's nature--to try to connect with many people and not just one in a social situation. They later talked and laughed about these differences of expectation in their relationship. As a result of this experience, Susie learned that you can't assume that everyone wants the same thing in relationship as you do. Susie was hurt when she felt like her best friend treated her differently in social situations until she realized that her friend meant her no harm and this was just her nature.

In order to avoid being hurt, disappointed, angry or upset with the people in our lives because we aren't being treated the way we want-- we have to talk, we have to communicate, we have to listen and not make assumptions about their intent. We have to let go of the judgement and allow others to be who they are and just love them where they are.

Now, if it's not healthy for you personally or emotionally to be in relationship with someone, it may be that you need to let that relationship go so others can come into your life.

We don't need to make anyone else wrong just because they have different desires and needs from us. This week, you may want to talk with someone in your life who has disappointed or hurt you about your expectations and their expectations for the relationship. If you do it in a non-judgmental way with an open heart you'll be surprised what you may learn.

Getting What You Want. . .


You've heard the quotation by Henry David Thoreau that "the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." If this is true as Thoreau suggests, it's because most people don't identify and ask for what they want in their lives.

Maybe you're not living a "quiet life of desperation" but if your relationships aren't the way you'd like them to be, we think that asking for what you want is a great place to start. Want more help around the house? Ask for it.

Want more romance in your life? Ask for it. Want more time together? Ask for it.

We've discovered that if you don't take the time to first identify what you want and then ask for what you want, you could get anything that other people want to give you in life. You are living from someone else's agenda and not your own. If you're not clear on what you want, you are an observer and not a participator in your life.

We've all bought into certain belief systems, whether from our original family values or beliefs that we've picked up along the way. Sometimes these beliefs and values serve us greatly and sometimes they don't. If we aren't conscious and aware, we can be "ruled" by these beliefs and follow someone else's agenda and not our own.

Many women have been taught to serve others first and to put their desires last, if at all and many men have been taught to be providers, above all, and to put their desires last. Some of us even feel that we don't "deserve" to get what we want out of life. We believe that we all deserve to get what we want from our lives.

The point is that you are the most important person in your life and if you don't ask for what you want, you won't get it. Now, this sounds selfish but if you are not getting what you want out of life, you are usually not happy, whether you admit it or not.

The truth of it is that the people in your life can sense your anger, resentment and unhappiness. Susie's extended family used to regularly have family get-togethers which lasted 2 1/2 days and involved 10 or more people in one location. It was her perception that she was doing the bulk of the meal preparation and cleanup. After a few weekends of feeling angry, she decided to tell the rest of the family how she felt and ask them to take a more active role in sharing the household responsibilities.

They were more than willing to help. If Susie had not said how she felt, she would have continued to be angry and resentful and miss the opportunities to connect in a loving way with the people she cared about most.

The point is that no matter what you want in life, you've got to ask to get it. In your relationships--whether you want to be told how much you matter to someone, you want to go out to dinner with someone more often, or you want more quality time with someone--it's up to you to speak up and say what you want.

The Bible says, "Ask, and it will be given you; But you first must ask! Give yourself permission to ask for what you want in life because if you don't ask, you won't get it. If this idea feels intimidating to you, start small--but start asking today for the things you want!

October 29-November 4


"The one question you have to ask yourself if your relationships aren't what you want them to be--" By Susie and Otto Collins

We were captivated by a story recently told on "Oprah" by a woman who was a career librarian who had never earned more than $18,000 a year in her life. She was single and this was her only income. Amazingly enough, she was able to save, in the course of her lifetime, over $435,000!

Oprah's guest that day was a financial advisor who gave a 10-point plan for how anyone with a modest income could achieve the same results. His points included taking your lunch to work every day, eliminated cable tv, and paying yourself first no matter what.

The woman who saved the $435,000 described how she used aluminum foil repeatedly, how she made her own clothes, and took her lunch to work everyday.

The point of the show was to illustrate that anyone, if they followed this plan, could amass a small fortune within their lifetime by being willing to do things that most of us aren't willing to do.

The same exact principle applies in relationships. It's entirely possible for you to have outstanding relationships in your life if you're willing to do certain things that most people aren't willing to do.

So what that one question you have to ask yourself if your relationships aren't what you want them to be?

It is--"What is it you're not willing to do to have great relationships in your life?"

We suggest that if you sincerely want to improve your relationships that you spend some time answering our question because your answers will indicate where you need to start. So take some time to consider these ideas and come up with your own as well.

  • Are you willing to communicate without shutting down?
  • Are you willing to give up blame, judgement and the need to be right?
  • Are you willing to tackle the issues and challenges when they come up and not let them fester?
  • Are you willing to take responsibility for yourself and your actions?
  • Are you willing to make this relationship a priority in your life? How much time do you spend with that person?

These are just a few ideas to get you started thinking about what you want in your relationships and what's preventing you from having it. Deciding what you want from your relationships is the first step.

This exercise might help you discover where there's some resistance that's preventing you from having the type of relationship that you want.

Relationship Quote of the Week

"Once we gather up the courage to stop running away and face our fears as they arise, they are not only manageable, but also invaluable to our spiritual growth." Sue Patton Thoele

How your Emotions can be like a Jack-in-the-Box...


It's been our observation that most of us will do almost anything to avoid feeling negative emotions.

Resisting or hiding from unwanted feelings never pushe them away. They just get stuffed down and as Steven Covey says, "come up later in uglier ways."

This isn't the purpose of emotions--to be stuffed down, pushed away and never to be dealt with. The purpose of emotions is to serve as a barometer for whether your life is flowing and in balance or not.

Karla McLaren in her tape series "Emotional Genius" said that emotions signal imbalance. They help you move to understanding and then to resolution of a situation or problem. She went on to say that they can also be clear signals from your inner wisdom that you have lost your way.

What we are saying is-- don't be afraid of your (or anyone's) emotions. The exception of course being if you feel you are in physical danger.

If you want close, connected relationships, you have to be willing to deal consciously with both your and your partner's emotions. You can't sweep your thoughts, emotions and desires under a rug and not deal with them and then hope that everything will turn out just fine. It just isn't possible.

Remember the Jack-in-the box you had when you were a kid? You'd wind the crank over and over while the silly song played and you didn't know when Jack would burst out of the box right in your face.

When you stuff your emotions down or push them away, they act just like your old Jack-in-the-box. You know they're going to blow up in your face, but you just don't know when.

We've discovered the best way to keep emotions from blowing up in your face is to first be aware of what you are feeling and then deal with them as they come up--with grace.

When anger, for example,arises in either one of us, we have an agreement that we will get to the bottom of it as soon as possible. An important key is that we both listen and speak about the issue with open hearts.

We made that agreement when we came together and it has helped us heal our relationship when tough issues and challenges come up.

If you want outstanding relationships,we recommend that you make this same agreement with the people in your life.  

Relationship Quote of the Week

"Once we gather up the courage to stop running away and face our fears as they arise, they are not only manageable, but also invaluable to our

spiritual growth." Sue Patton Thoele

Blending with the People in Our Lives


Recently, we had a conversation with another couple who, like us, are trying to blend two families into one. As we talked about our conversation later, we realized that this is exactly what is going on in every relationship. We contend that every relationship is a "blended" family--work situations, social groups, church groups and even your weekend softball team and bridge club.

Every relationship between two people consists of two ways of looking at the world and two sets of rules for their lives--much like the blending of two different sets of children who have been raised with different standards of discipline and different ideas of their place in a family unit.

We believe that we are in relationships to learn from each other and to heal the parts of ourselves that need to be healed.

People are usually resistant to differences in another because we're more comfortable in associating with people just like us--even if we don't admit it. But the problem is--there's no growth unless we open to understanding and possibly adopting some of those different ways that we see in someone else.

The father we were talking to told us that through this sometimes rocky attempt at "blending" two families, he had grown more lenient by accepting his wife's example and she has become more consistent in her parenting by his example.

This was a wonderfully loving story that demonstrates how two people with different parenting skills could actually learn from each other.

This is what we all should do with all the people in our lives--love and accept them and whenever possible, try to learn from them.

What could the people in your life teach you if you weren't too stubborn or resistant to change?  

We've heard it said that the best description of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. If you want your relationships and your life to improve, you need to be more open to what others can teach you (even if that other person irritates you).

What we are beginning to learn in our own "blended" family is unconditional love, one moment at a time and to not take things personally, as Don Miguel Ruiz author of "The Four Agreements" suggests.

So we suggest that you look at the differences of the people in your "blended" families as a way to embrace new possibilities for your life instead of looking through the lens of judgement. 

Stay open--Don't jump to immediately disagree but listen and find out what

Relationship Quote of the Week

"Don't ever think you know what's right for the other person. He might start thinking he knows what's right for you." Paul Williams

Understanding Heals Relationships


One of the biggest roadblocks to making relationships work is that we all think that everyone else looks at the world the same way we do.

We have discovered that one way to bettering your relationships is through understanding the other person--by looking at the situation from their frame of reference as well as your own.

Stephen Covey's 5th habit in the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" advises us to "seek first to understand, then to be understood." We've found out that it is impossible to judge another unfairly or harshly when you truly understand where they're coming from.

Otto tended to judge his parents for their lack of parenting skills until he truly understood the implication of both his father and his mother losing a parent very early in their lives. Neither of his parents had the privilege to learn parenting skills from their parents. After understanding this about parents, Otto realized that they were just doing the best they could when they parented him. He had known that his parents lost their parents at an early age but it wasn't until recently that he really understood how deep the pain and grief was within them and just what this loss meant.

If you truly understood what was going on with the person who just cut you off in traffic or was unkind to you at work, you would not be upset with them but would be compassionate.  

Brian Weiss in his book "Messages from the Masters" says, "Just as love brings profound healing to our relationships, understanding brings a lessening of fear. Understanding opens the window through which love's breeze gently blows away our doubts and anxieties, refreshing our souls and nurturing our relationships."

Stephen Levine talks about having mercy for each other. To us, this doesn't mean feeling sorry for someone but rather to feel compassion and understanding for the road they have had to travel.

Being conscious and respecting the other person's differences creates understanding and that creates healing.

So the next time you find yourself judging another person, stop and try to understand their frame of reference. It doesn't mean that you have to agree with their lifestyle or adopt their ideas, but true healing will happen if you open yourself to understanding them.

We have found that to understand another person requires you to let down your defenses and as Don Miguel Ruiz says to not take anything personally. We also have found that listening with a loving heart is important because you can't be loving and judging at the same time. Many people want to judge and crucify first and then love later but that's their fear speaking.

Think about your interactions with people who frustrate, irritate and anger you. Have you taken the time to understand what's going on with them? There may also be something that you need to look at within yourself. There may be some pain within you that you haven't wanted to address.

So take some time to understand and show compassion. You will see real healing in your relationships if you do. 

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We're working on a new book and we'd like your help ... Please tell us what is your most challenging relationship issue? We can't answer everyone personally but this info will really help us in our research. Please Email your response to us at mailto:webmaster@collinspartners.com

Thanks, Susie and Otto

********

Relationship Quote of the Week

"Try very hard not to see your partner as the enemy." Neale Donald Walsch

"The one question you have to ask yourself if your relationships aren't what you want them to be--"


We were captivated by a story recently told on "Oprah" by a woman who was a career librarian who had never earned more than $18,000 a year in her life. She was single and this was her only income. Amazingly enough, she was able to save, in the course of her lifetime, over $435,000!

Oprah's guest that day was a financial advisor who gave a 10-point plan for how anyone with a modest income could achieve the same results. His points included taking your lunch to work every day, liminated cable tv, and paying yourself first no matter what.

The woman who saved the $435,000 described how she used aluminum foil repeatedly, how she made her own clothes, and took her lunch to work everyday.

The point of the show was to illustrate that anyone, if they followed this plan, could amass a small fortune within their lifetime by being willing to do things that most of us aren't willing to do.

The same exact principle applies in relationships. It's entirely possible for you to have outstanding relationships in your life if you're willing to do certain things that most people aren't willing to do.  

So what that one question you have to ask yourself if your relationships aren't what you want them to be?

It is--"What is it you're not willing to do to have great relationships in your life?"

We suggest that if you sincerely want to improve your relationships that you spend some time answering our question because your answers will indicate where you need to start.

So take some time to consider these ideas and come up with your own as well.

  • Are you willing to communicate without shutting down?
  • Are you willing to give up blame, judgement and the need to be right?
  • Are you willing to tackle the issues and challenges when they come up and not let them fester?
  • Are you willing to take responsibility for yourself and your actions?
  • Are you willing to make this relationship a priority in your life? How much time do you spend with that person?

These are just a few ideas to get you started thinking about what you want in your relationships and what's preventing you from having it. Deciding what you want from your relationships is the first step.

This exercise might help you discover where there's some resistance that's preventing you from having the type of relationship that you want.

10 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve Your Relationships..


1) Start Your Day off with a prayer of gratitude. This is how we start each and every day. Before our feet ever hit the ground in the morning --we say a prayer of gratitude for all the good things about our lives.  

By doing this what we find is that it sets the tone for the day in a very positive way. We express gratitude for each other, the people in our lives and the abundance that surrounds us all.

2) Make your relationships a priority.  If your relationships aren't what you want them to be--one of the reasons may be that you haven't made them a priority.

Whether it be with your intimate partner, your mate, the people you work with, the people in the social organizations you belong to or the people you meet on the street---make ALL your relationships important--More important than getting things done. 

3) Turn off the TV or Stop spending so much time on the Internet Start reading self development or inspirational books -- maybe a chapter a night with someone you care about and then discuss the important discoveries you make about yourself and each other. We suggest Gary Zukav's Seat of The Soul, Don Miguel Ruiz's The Four Agreements and Gay Hendricks book Conscious Living as good books to start with. 

4) Be present in All your relationships In every relationship you're in and in every personal encounter give whomever you're with your full attention. Giving another person your full attention is as good of a gift as you can give anyone.

5) Love the other people in your life the way they want to be loved and not how you think they want to be loved. Believe it or not there is a difference in almost all cases because we all come from a different set of circumstances and experiences.  So take the time to ask the people in your life--"how do you want to be treated or loved?" Then treat them that way.

6) Speak your truth in all your relationships. Sometimes we think we are being kind to another when we hold back from telling another person how we are feeling. We've found that if you want your relationships to be real and authentic instead of being mired in fear, you need to speak your truth.

7) Honor the people in your life even when they're not present. If you have an issue with someone that needs to be addressed--be sure to address it with that person and not make it a part of water cooler conversation at work.

8) Listen to self-development or inspiring tapes in the car instead of the radio. The average person will spend over 750 hours a year in a car traveling somewhere. You can be using that time for personal and spiritual growth instead of listening to the latest information about wrecks and drug busts on the news. For some great titles of audio tape programs to get you started click here www.collinspartners.com/relationships/recommendedbooksandmusic.htm 

9) Don't take anything personally. This is great advice and is one of the four agreements from Don Miguel Ruiz's book--The Four Agreements.

If someone else is having a bad day it may have nothing to do with you. If someone you come in contact with is inconsiderate or rude just practice sending them love instead of taking offense. You have no idea what things may be happening in the life of that other person. 

10) Tell the people in your life how much they mean to you. Otto's father has had a saying for many years that he wants his flowers while he's living. What this means is, he wants to know how much the other people in his life care now instead of after he is gone. Honor the people you love today. Don't wait.

Relationship Quote of the Week

"In every relationship, whether it be a friend, family member or a colleague, or a deep-loved one, what is required is a child-like innocence...loyalty and committment...and the gift of spaciousness--the allowing of space for contemplation, introspection and the need for being alone." Angeles Arrien

Looking Back ...


A few days ago Otto was having a conversation with someone that he couldn't get out of his mind. In this conversation Otto was telling this person about some challenges he was having in his life. This person told him that a wise person once counseled him that when things in your life aren't making sense and you are confused and frustrated to understand that when you get to the end of your life and look back, every-thing will make perfect sense.

We thought this was excellent advice for looking at one's relationships as well. Sometimes we don't understand why we are involved with someone in a particular relationship or why someone has such a hold on us. We don't understand why someone comes into our lives for a brief time and then leaves. Then there are other relationships that we might have our entire lives--some good, some not so good.  

The point is that at the end of our lives, if we take a conscious look at our relationships, every one of them will have served us in our growth in some form or the other.

Some time ago Otto met a woman who had a dramatic effect on his life. He didn't realize it at the time but later completely understood the purpose of that relationship. After the relationship with this person was over, they both completely understood that her role in his life was to be a bridge.

This relationship gave Otto the vision of what was truly possible in relationship that he wasn't able to experience with his first wife. Even though this relationship was very brief, had he not met this person, he would not have been ready to create the incredible relationship he now has with Susie.

So instead of looking at that relationship as a failure and one that didn't work, he looks at it as a blessing from God and is thankful everyday for what she gave him. 

What we've learned is that if a relationship isn't working out, it may not be a bad thing or a failure that our society likes to label it. It just may be that you have learned what it is that you were supposed to learn by being in a relationship with that other person.  

We're not suggesting that you take your relationships lightly and throw them away at the first sign of conflict--Quite the contrary.

What we are saying is that the purpose of relationships is to help us to grow--personally and spiritually. Even the relationships are most troubling to us can be gifts in learning more about ourselves. Those people who really get under our skin can be our best teachers.  

So instead of looking at relationships that didn't work out the way we had hoped as failures, look at them as growth experiences and move forward consciously by learning from them. 

Ask yourself--what did I learn about myself by being in a relationship with this other person? How did it help me to move forward and heal, learn and grow?

Know that every person who comes into our lives-- whether 5 minutes, 5 years or 50 years--can be a powerful teacher for you if you will only open yourself to the possibility.

The Relationship Miracle That Can Happen More Than Once...


While searching the web recently for the perfect movie to go to, we stumbled across a trailer for a movie called "Someone Like You."

We didn't see the movie,but we did figure out from the film clip that it was about a woman who just couldn't seem to create relationships with men that worked.

There was a great line from the film clip that summed up one of the biggest fears people have about relationships which were once filled with passion, life and connection but are no longer working.

The line was--"Maybe that's why we hold on--because we don't believe such a miracle could happen more than once." 

The "miracle " is the passion, love and connection that we are told will only come around once (if we are lucky).

Were here to suggest that yes, it can happen more than once because it has happened more than once to both of us.

We get e-mail messages every day from people who are hanging on to relationships that apparently have no life to them at all. Some of these are people who are in relationships that were once alive but no longer are. And there are other people who write to us who are lingering in relationships that have never worked. 

At the very foundation of both of these examples is fear. 

Fear can manifest itself in a multitude of disguises-- Fear of what others will say, fear of being a failure(again), guilt, fear of not being able to please others,fear that the relationship that you find yourself in is as good as it gets and more.

But, the bottom line is if you don't have the relationship that you want--you don't feel worthy to step up and claim the relationship of your dreams.

Think back to when you were a kid and one summer you or your very best friend moved away. Your heart was crushed and you thought you'd never find another "best friend" again.

But, you probably did.

Now, we're not suggesting that you lightly throw your intimate relationships away when things get a little tough or that they are easily replaced. On the contrary, we believe that these times are great periods of growth if both people are willing and open to communicating with each other.

What we're saying is that if you have satisfied yourself that you have done everything you can possibly do to make this relationship work and it still isn't working--it may be time to move on.

If you have decided it is time to move on it is our knowing that YES the miracle of love can happen twice or more.

Last year we were at Omega Institute in New York attending a weekend workshop with Gary Zukav and His spiritual partner Linda Francis.

Their workshop was wonderful--but what was equally as wonderful was watching, when our workshop was not in session, Sam Keen, The author of the book,"Learning to Fly" teach novices how to "fly" on the trapeze.

In each case, every person had to be willing to let go of one trapeze bar in order to "fly" and catch the other.

We often think of this wonderful example when we are faced with letting go of a job or something in our lives that no longer serves us.

We've found that you just have to willing to walk through your fears and let go of that bar that you've been holding onto so that you can move on to the next part of your life.

There's just no other way.

Making the Connection. . .


As human beings, one of our deepest desires is a connection with other people. This connection means something different to each one of us.

It doesn't matter whether you're talking about an intimate relationship or one between friends or co-workers--we all want to connect with other people.

We define a connected relationship as one where there is strong trust between two people. There is unconditional love and acceptance, even when there is disagreement.

A connection with another is created by focusing on that relationship, giving it the time, importance and energy of something that you value.

It's also created by honoring the other person, wherever they are on their path.

In order to create a truly connected relationship, you have to get your ego needs out of the way. This can take the form of pursuing power over another or insisting on being "right," no matter what.

In order to have a connected relationship, we think there has to be a balance of power and vulnerability between the two people. This is why we believe that the best way to have this balance is to practice spiritual partnerships, where you come together with another as equals, for each person's personal and spiritual growth. You then can allow yourself to show vulnerability, revealing those inner-most parts of yourself that you usually hide.

In our relationship, if we have not spent as much time together as we normally do or if we have not spent time talking about our inner-most thoughts but focus instead on daily events, our connection isn't as strong with each other.

As soon as we realize that this distance has come between us. we take the time to reconnect.

The way we do this is to stop our "busyness," look at one another, hold one another, and talk about what is really in our hearts. One of the most important ways that we reconnect is to sit very close to one another and look into the other's soul through their eyes. We take our time and connect from the solar plexus and the heart.

Not only does "busyness" cause a disconnection in relationships, but also fear and apathy create separation.

If there's a person in your life that you would like to have a deeper connection with but don't at the present time, it may be because of fear.

Take some time this week and look at where the fear is coming from underneath the surface.

Where is the mistrust? Where is the belief that your needs won't be met? Is it possible that what is holding you back is "old stuff" from a previous relationship?

As we've said before, if it wasn't for fear, we'd all have outstanding relationships in every corner of our lives.

We recognize that it takes both people desiring to have a deeper connection in order it to really happen. But we also feel that one person can make a difference.

So, take one small step to deepen a relationship by simply listening with an open, non-judgemental heart to the other person. Share something that you haven't shared with him or her before.

Set aside the fear and take a chance. If you want deep, connected relationships, you have to be willing to work through the fears.

Dealing with emotions as they come up


Recently, we rented the video version of "The Legend of Bagger Vance," the Robert Redford movie about moving past your fears to find your true purpose in life.

Most people think the movie is about golf but we think it's about much more than a game. It's about a man's relationship with himself, the woman he loved and moving beyond painful experiences from his past.

Using a golf tournament during the Depression as a backdrop, the film's main character, Rannulph Junuh, was forced to deal with his buried emotions. These emotions were so painful that they had caused him to retreat into his shell, becoming estranged from himself, the woman he loved and the game he loved. He had lost his purpose for living.

Bagger Vance was the man who showed up in the dark of the night to gently lead Junuh through his fears and shadows. In the role of the Junuh's caddy during the tournament, Bagger urged him to find his true "authentic swing"--in other words, his true purpose for living.

When Junuh was faced with traumatic flashbacks from the past, he moved into a frozen pattern of helplessness. Only when he found the strength to deal with his emotions of this painful situation and move on, was he able to open himself up emotionally and find love, romance and happiness in his life.

This is a great example of what some of us do when we haven't properly dealt with painful emotions and issues. We shut down our emotions and freeze--just like the deer in the headlights.

We've learned that not only do we freeze, like Junuh did, but we can also do other things to distract us from feeling painful emotions.

Karla McLaren in her tape series "Emotional Genius" says that we do many things to keep from feeling emotions that are painful. These can include over eating, over exercising, over drinking, over spending or simply reaching for that piece of chocolate when things are going wrong or crazy.

So what do you do to numb the feelings when they're too painful to deal with in the moment?

This week we invite you to try something different. When things get crazy and you find yourself reaching for that chocolate chip cookie, that drink, that cigarette, or that remote control, take a moment to try to discover what unexpressed emotion needs to be dealt with.

Try to identify your feeling, acknowledge it, give yourself permission to feel that emotion and allow that feeling to move on.

By acknowledging that feeling instead of stuffing it down with some substance, you will be surprised how this will help you and your relationships. By acknowledging your emotions when they come up, and by talking about them with your spouse, partner or friend, they lose their emotional charge. We've discovered that when emotions aren't dealt with when they arise, they usually come up later in uglier ways.

So we urge you to not bury your emotions but deal with them as they come up. When you do, we believe that you will totally eliminate resentments which can come between you and those in your life.

©2001 by Susie & Otto Collins

Other Relationship Issues, Books

 

The intense happiness of our union is derived in a high degree from the perfect freedom with which we each follow and declare our own impressions. - George Eliot



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