Susie & Otto '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 Updated 9/30/01.

October 1-7 - Blame: Letting Go of the need to be "Right"
September 24-30 - How your Emotions can be like a Jack-in-the-Box...
September 17-23 - Being Clear In Your Communication...
September 10-16 - Are your relationships skinny or fat?
September 3-9 - How to keep passion alive in your relationships...
August 27-September 2 - Blending with the People in Our Lives
August 20-26 - The real issue when you want someone else to change...
August 13-19 - Understanding Heals Relationships
August 6-12 - "The one question you have to ask yourself if your relationships aren't what you want them to be--"
July 30-August 5 - 10 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve Your Relationships.
July 23-29 - Be Here Now...
July 16-22 - Looking Back ...
July 9-15 - The Relationship Miracle That Can Happen More Than Once...
July 2-8 - Making the Connection. . .
June 25-July 1 - Dealing with emotions as they come up
June 18-24 - All You Need is Love. . .
June 11-17 - The miracle of choosing kindness
June 4-10 - Making the Connection
May 28-June 3 - The Power of Opening your heart. . .
May 21-27 - 10 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve Your Relationships
May 14-20 - Forgive and Forget--We don't think so!
May 7-13 - Are your relationships getting better or worse?
April 30-May 6 - The small things can sometimes make all the difference...
April 23-29
April 16-22 - Looking Back ...
Other Relationship
Issues, Books

October 1-7
Blame: Letting Go of the need to be "Right"


Have you ever blamed anyone for anything for any reason? Of course! All of us have at one time or another.

Here's the problem with blaming anyone else for anything in your life--When you blame another, you sever the connection of the heart and soul between the two of you.

There are a lot of reasons why blame can happen but it always comes back to one person's need to be right. Yes, there are times when one person is "right" but we've found that if these grudges are carried for any length of time, they can destroy the relationship and can even destroy the person who's "right."

For several years after Otto's divorce from his ex-wife, Otto hung on to the need to be "right." Even though he was the one who left her, in his mind, it was important to him that she take half the responsibility for the marriage not working out. After the divorce, he was outraged because she blamed him totally for the broken relationship. He blamed her for her not taking her share of the responsibility for the relationship not working out. Because both people had such an entrenched attachment to "being right", this presented major communication problems in issues that had to be addressed concerning their son after the divorce.

It wasn't until Otto gave up his attachment to "being right" that communication began to improve. Otto was able to let go of a lot of anger when he let go of the blame. Communication still isn't perfect but they are now able to work through issues without finger-pointing and name-calling.

In our view, when you blame, you have two choices--one is to continue to act out of fear and entrench yourself as the victim, telling all of your friends (over and over) how you were hurt and how angry you are; Or you can begin the healing process by giving up the attachment to the need to be "right" and then spend your time and energy on whatever is necessary to heal the relationship. In some cases, it may not be possible to "heal" the relationship but you will heal yourself when you let go of blame and grudges.

We know this is difficult, especially if there are emotionally charged issues involved. But here's our suggestion--If you find that you've been blaming another or even yourself for a problem in a relationship, stop the negativity. If you want to heal the relationship, spend your time focusing on the solution and how you would like the relationship to be and how you can heal it instead of the problem and how you have been wronged.  

Relationship Quote of the Week

"Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past of a pioneer of the future." Deepak Chopra

©2001 by Susie & Otto Collins

September 24-30
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

©2001 by Susie & Otto Collins

September 17-23
Being Clear In Your Communication...


Recently, Susie and her 6 year old grandson were traveling in her car listening to a tape of the comic adventuresof Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish. Amelia Bedelia is a housekeeper who takes her instructions quite literally. Reading the list of chores that her employer has left her, Amelia begins with "Dust the furniture." How odd, Amelia thinks to herself. "At my house we undust the furniture." Nonetheless, she dutifully locates the "Dusting Powder" in the bathroom, and proceeds to sprinkle it all over the living-room furniture and floor. Next she is asked to "Draw the drapes when the sun comes in." So of course, Amelia sits down with a sketchpad and gives it her best shot.

Her employers were quite upset at the end of the day except for the wonderful lemon meringue pie she baked for them. In the end, they learned to "speak the same language" so that the work would be done according to the wishes of her employers.

We think this is a great example of how we often communicate in our relationships. We speak and hear from our frame of reference, assuming that the other person is "following along" and is on the same page as you are. When the reality is, much of the time, they aren't following along at all.

When we first got together, we had an experience that illustrates this point beautifully. Susie asked Otto to shuck the fresh corn for dinner and then asked Otto to throw the corn husks in the yard. Just like Amelia Bedelia,he took what she said literally and threw them in the yard.

When Susie saw that he hadn't thrown them in the compost pile at the end of the yard but had thrown them in the middle of the back yard, she laughed. She laughed because she realized instantly that she wasn't clear in her communication and that he had done exactly what she had said to do!

We realized later that this incident was one of the ways that we built safety and trust in our relationship. In Otto's previous relationships, his partner may have accused him of "not listening." When in reality it was just one person not being clear in their communication and the other not asking questions.

Because we used laughter instead of accusations we learned a valuable lesson about being clear in our communication with each other. As a result, we were able to feel more connected because we approached the situation with love instead of judgement.

There's a line from one of our favorite songs that's worth mentioning here. The line is from Bruce Springsteen's song "If I should fall behind" and the line says..."Let's make our steps clear so the other may see."

This line "let's make our steps clear, so the other may see" is a wonderful suggestion we can all apply to improve not only our relationships, but our communication as well.

So, if you're a person who often complains that someone in your life doesn't "listen" to you-- take some time and think about whether you are communicating clearly or not. Remember, what you think is clear may not be to the other person.

If you're a person who often hears "you don't listen to me!" be sure and take an active role in the communication process by asking for clarification if you're not clear about something.

Be gentle with one another and laugh whenever possible-- after all your friend,co-worker or loved one is not the enemy.

Relationship Quote of the Week

"We can learn to stop struggling by realizing we're naturally buoyant. If we relax and persevere, we cannot drown . " Paul Williams

 ©2001 by Susie & Otto Collins

September 10-16
Are your relationships skinny or fat?


For Susie's birthday, Otto gave her a card which said, "Their love was big and fat because they fed it a lot between meals." This was such a great metaphor for relationships that are passionate, alive and growing that we decided to write about it this week.

We feel that to have a great relationship of any kind, you have to feed it a lot. Most people usually do a great job of feeding their relationships in the beginning stages but then slack off as the relationship matures.

Most people feed their relationships until one or the other adopts the attitude that they will be together forever and that they can now stop putting effort into their relationship.

Most people have no problem "feeding" their relationship with a mate before having sex or before an anniversary or maybe during a vacation to the beach. But they neglect to "feed" their relationship "between meals" which we feel is even more important for creating a powerful connection between two people.

We're constantly asked by people how to keep boredom or monotony out of their relationships and we feel that the best answer we can give is to "feed" it constantly and never stop growing spiritually and personally.

In Harvey Mackay's book on networking, "Dig your well before you're thirsty," he makes the point that having a network of contacts in life isn't enough. You have to constantly feed and nurture these relationships or they'll be just names in a Rolodex and nothing more. This is true in the business world as well as your personal relationships.

So we'd like to offer you a few ways to "feed" your relationships "between meals." We'd suggest that you think of even more ways that foster a connected relationship of the heart. 

1. Believe that you are not guaranteed another moment with your mate, your child, your friends. Treat them with kindness and love every step of the way. As Jewel sings in her song "Hands"--"Only kindness matters in the end."

2. Keep in contact with one another. Susie was out of town visiting relatives for a few days this week and to stay in touch, she called Otto each day and they talked about the important events of the day. As a result, even though they were apart, they stayed closely connected to each other.

3. Give the people in your life your undivided attention when they are communicating with you or let them know when you can give them this attention. Many times we shortchange the people we love--especially with our time and attention because of so many demands. Make them a priority.

If your relationships are important to you, you have to treat them that way. As Stephen Covey suggested in his book, "First Things First"--the things that matter most should never be at the mercy of the things that matter least.

Relationship Quote of the Week

"Both people have to be committed to making their relationship the most important thing in their lives. As the saying goes, "what you focus on usually gets done." Otto Collins

©2001 by Susie & Otto Collins

September 3-9
How to keep passion alive in your relationships...


One of the top questions people ask us is "how to keep the passion and excitement alive in their relationships."

Our answer to this question may seem glib but we mean it from our hearts--you just "decide" to.

The Latin root of the word "decide" actually means "to cut off." This means to cut off all other possibilities. This means that you've decided that passion is important in your relationship and you're not going to settle for anything less.

So, what happens when you want anything else in your life? You weigh your choices and make a "decision." What if the home or apartment you're living in doesn't meet your needs any more? You can "decide" to find a place that better suits your needs.

We think it's the same way with relationships. If both you and your partner want the passion and life to return, the only way it will happen is for you to make a decision for it to happen.

So many of us start relationships unconsciously and don't decide what we want from them. If you want passion in your life, the only way to have it is to decide to in a conscious deliberate way.

So what does it mean to make a decision to have passion in your relationship? For us, it involves many daily decisions that maintain our connection of the heart. It involves taking the time to talk and to listen, perhaps letting less important things take a back seat. It might involve a decision to turn off the TV or the computer and take a walk together. You and your partner must decide what will rekindle your connection. And then do it.

We've all seen the articles in popular women's magazines-- giving you 10 ways to make your relationship sizzle. Those 10 ways usually include a trip to Victoria's Secret and something involving Saran Wrap. While we're not trying to make light of the suggestions in these magazines, we believe that true passion and intimacy in a relationship only come when there's a connection of the heart. And the decision to maintain the connection is continuous one and a conscious one that requires effort.

If passion is missing in your relationships, then one of two things is the case-- either you haven't made passion a priority or the connection of the heart isn't there.

If you haven't made passion a priority, then you can "decide" to make it one. If the connection of the heart isn't there--then you have other challenges that should be addressed.  

Relationship Quote of the Week

"Love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction." Ann Morrow Lindburg

©2001 by Susie & Otto Collins

August 27-September 2
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

©2001 by Susie & Otto Collins

August 20-26
The real issue when you want someone else to change...


People write to us everyday--upset that their partner or mate isn't who they want them to be.... Suggesting that "if only he or she would only do this or that, or be like this or that" then everything would be just fine. They even say, "I've tried everything to get them to change--and nothing's worked."

We agree that change is difficult and the bottom line is that you cannot change someone else. You can only change yourself. 

A movie that has impacted us greatly is called "Pay it Forward." If you haven't seen it, we recommend that you rent it.  

The major premise of the film is that 11 year old Trevor wanted to change three people's lives for the better and they would in turn change three other people's lives. What he found out was that he couldn't change people the way he wanted them to change. But, he did impact their lives in ways he didn't realize.

Trevor tried to help Jerry, the vagrant drug addict, but Jerry just couldn't seem to kick the habit. Trevor thought he failed but his impact on Jerry was even greater than he thought. Because of Trevor's initial act of kindness, Jerry was able to ask for help from a person in the most unlikely of circumstances and take a step forward in healing himself. 

Because of Trevor's example of unconditional love and kindness, his mother was able to extend forgiveness and unconditional love to Trevor's grandmother who was an alcoholic living on the streets. No, the grandmother didn't kick her habit but she was able to take a tiny step forward.

What we are saying is, that no matter how we want someone else to be--they may change, but not necessarily the way we want them to. This is big reason we preach the value of "unconditional love." 

Now, we believe that you have to decide what want out of life and if the people in your life are ones you want to be there.

So, what do we suggest to the person who wants another to change ?

We believe that people can change. But, in order for a person to make significant changes in their life, they have to want to change for their own reasons and not for you.

Let go of the need to change them and examine your motivations for wanting to change them. If you are wanting another in your life to change, then your needs for the relationship are not being met. And that's the real issue-- it's that your needs are not being met. 

So, we suggest that you concentrate on what you want out of life and don't focus on the faults of the other people in your life. Those perceived "faults" will only be magnified if you do.

If you find that what you want out of life and what the other person wants out of life are so different then it may be that you can find happiness with someone else. It also may be that if the other person truly understands what your needs are that they can give you what you want.

Relationships do require constant effort but they don't have to be a struggle.

Relationship Quote of the Week

 "All relationships are a transformative experience. We transform and let go of old Identities, like the snake shedding an old skin." Angeles Arrien

 ©2001 by Susie & Otto Collins

August 13-19
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

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Relationship Quote of the Week

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

 ©2001 by Susie & Otto Collins

August 6-12
"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.

©2001 by Susie & Otto Collins

July 30-August 5
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

©2001 by Susie & Otto Collins

July 23-29
Be Here Now..
.


Remember when you were in grade school and how the teacher would call the roll. In order to let her know that you were there that day, you would have to respond by saying "present" when she called out your name.

If you want your relationships to work, you have to be "present."

Recently Otto was taking some sales training and the first step in this training process was what the trainer called-- "Be here now."

In sales, the idea of "Be here now" is about being fully prepared to greet customers, know the correct pricing of all the items, leave all your problems at the door, and be prepared to focus totally on your customer or client.

The sales trainer gave an excellent illustration of what it means to "Be here now" in our relationships. He said that recently he was having one of those days where a million different things were going on. There were problems to solve and a dozen different pieces of paper strewn all over his desk when his wife called to tell him about a problem she was having with one of their young children.

He found himself just saying things like "uh-huh" and "sure" and "wow" and wasn't really listening to the problem she was describing to him. Midway through her explanation of this situation, she suddenly stopped and said to him--"I'm really getting angry with you because you're not listening to me at all." This got his attention. He had not really been present with her. He was not really listening to her and was focused on other things.

As you can see by this story, there are really two important aspects to the idea or concept he called "Be here now." One requires that you, the listener, clear your mind of chatter, worry or planning what you're going to say next and focus totally on that person and what they are saying.

You've heard us say this before, but we believe that giving someone your full attention is one of the greatest gifts you can give someone. Whether it's the clerk at the local convenience store, your mother, your mate, or your child--give them your full attention. If you don't have time at that moment, tell them that you will give them your full attention when you finish what you are doing and then keep your word. 

The other aspect is that if you are the one speaking and you notice the other person "nodding off" and not following what you are saying, it might be a good idea to do what this sales trainer's wife did and "call" them on their lack of attention. 

We've learned that many communication problems result from this very issue of not being present for another person. By not being present for that person, you are not honoring and respecting them. And by not speaking up when another person is not totally with you, you risk building up resentments and mistrust.

Along this same line, W. Clement Stone, a man who made many millions of dollars during his lifetime as the founder of Combined Insurance Company and founder of Success Magazine, attributed a portion of his success to his philosophy of W.I.N .that stood for "What's Important Now."

What's Important Now was a mantra that Stone would repeat many times throughout his day. He used it to keep himself focused on "what's important now." 

If your relationships are important to you, this is a question you need to ask yourself throughout your day--"What's Important now?"

We've discovered that the concept of "Be here now" is really important if you want relationships that are vibrant, alive and growing.

Relationship Quote of the Week

"The present is always more interesting than the future or the past." Paul Williams

 ©2001 by Susie & Otto Collins

July 16-22
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.

©2001 by Susie & Otto Collins

July 9-15
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.

©2001 by Susie & Otto Collins

July 2-8
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.

June 25-July 1
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.

June 18-24
"All You Need is Love. . ."


$1487.57 -- That's the amount of money that resulted from selling the contents of Susie's mother's house at a recent garage sale after the family took what they wanted.

Susie and her sister moved their mother into an assisted living facility and are in the process of selling the family home of over 50 years.

During this process of clearing out the house, we were all struck by the transitory nature of possessions. The $1487.57 that was collected at the garage sale is inconsequential compared to the real value of the love that was expressed during those 50 years in that home.

As Kenny Loggins said in the introduction of "The Unimaginable Life"-- "We all long for love. Whether we know it or not, everything else we do is just killing time." Most of us spend our lives rushing around--going places, doing things and accumulating possessions. We don't stop and think that what is most important is the giving and receiving of love.

Many people who we come in contact with are going through dramatic life changes--They are leaving jobs that no longer fit them; they are leaving partners who are no longer a match or partners are leaving them; they are becoming parents to their parents; they are moving to a different community.

These changes are usually very disruptive as we let go of old roles, people and things. We have found that by focusing on the love rather than the loss, change or fear of what might lie ahead, we attract more love and the path becomes easier to travel.

When Otto left his first wife, he left with less than $300, his stereo, cd's and his clothes. He was truly starting over. The whole purpose of his leaving was to find the love that he wanted and needed. He took a leap of faith to find love--not only for a partner but also for himself. By focusing on love and not fear, he did attract the love and partnership that he had been looking for.

Don Miguel Ruiz in "Beyond Fear" says "If you have eyes of love, you will see love wherever you go." And we would add "attract more love to you."

If you are experiencing change or loss in your life--if doors are closing, we suggest that you see with "eyes of love." Take some time and love yourself. Appreciate those who are in your life, giving you love and support throughout your changing circumstances.

Wherever you go, go in love. Appreciate the people who serve you food at a restaurant or the cashier at the grocery store.

These offerings of love will ease your transition through whatever changes and challenges that you are facing.

No matter what's going on in your life, we honor you and send you love.

Relationship Quote of the Week

"Love is like water. If it doesn't flow, it stagnates." Deepak Chopra

June 11-17
The miracle of choosing kindness


At times, we all find ourselves in challenging relationships, whether it's family, work situation or with people in a club or organization we belong to. Sometimes no matter how much we try, there are relationships that just don't seem to work.

This week we found out about a miracle. A miracle that proves that relationships can work and can be healed-- even when healing seems impossible.

Otto was married to his first wife for 15 years and during that time, she never did accept Otto's parents. In spite of his ex-wife's obvious indifference, his parents continued to honor the mother of their Grandson. They continued to give her presents and extend their love even after Otto's divorce.

This week we found out that a few weeks ago, Otto's ex-wife paid a visit to his parents and apologized for all the years of indifference. She extended love to them as she never had before and his parents accepted it with grace.

What an example of what can happen when you keep a positive attitude about a situation instead of downgrading the other person when things between you aren't as harmonious as you would like.

As Wayne Dyer suggests on several of his tape programs--"When given the choice to be right or to be kind, just choose to be kind."

Otto's parents weren't concerned about "being right." They didn't harbor a grudge against her for her actions. They just chose to continue being kind.

The same type of situation can happen at work too. Maybe someone else got the credit for doing something that you did. Maybe you got passed over for a promotion that you felt you deserved. Maybe you and a coworker just don't "click." Instead of blaming someone else and taking it personally, try choosing kindness instead.

When you find yourself upset about someone being rude to you, treating you unfairly or even cutting you off in traffic, don't take it personally. There may be something going on with that other person that has nothing to do with you that may account for their behavior.

Instead of focusing your energy on being right or getting even, why not try choosing kindness instead.

So, this week we suggest that when you are tempted to react to someone with anger, blame or judgement, that you try choosing kindness instead. When you do, you may be amazed by the "miracles" that can happen in your life.

Relationship Quote of the Week

"We are not here to fix,change or belittle another person. We are here to support,forgive and heal one another" Marianne Williamson

 ©2001 by Susie & Otto Collins

June 4-10
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.

Relationship Quote of the Week

"Find out what a person fears most and that is where he will develop next." Carl Jung

©2001 by Susie & Otto Collins

May 28-June 3
The Power of Opening your heart. . .


To the 41 year old man who wrote to us this week who's love left him--To the 20 year old woman who was afraid to tell her friend that she wanted more than a friendship with him--To those of you who have been married 4 or 5 times and just can't seem to get it right--And you, wherever you are in your relationships--Here's something for you to think about--

Think about your baby or someone else's baby. When he or she was learning to walk, did you think to yourself that the child only had a certain number of attempts at walking and that was it--no more chances?

Of course not--the child was allowed to stumble and fall as many times as was necessary until he or she learned to walk. The baby didn't give up, even when it was hard, but kept right on trying until he/she learned to walk.

That's the best advice we have to give--If you want to create the relationship that you've always wanted, you have to be willing to risk opening your heart to another. You have to take on the philosophy of "until" and keep trying rather than shutting off all hope of ever findin the love you want.

As painful as it is to be in relationships that haven't been exactly the way you want them to be, you have to keep learning and growing "until" you can do it differently. 

Opening your heart to another person requires us to risk. But to have an outstanding relationship, there's just no other way. If you don't take the risk of opening your heart, you will never have a deep connection and it will stay on a superficial level.  

Kenny Loggins writes in his song "Too Early for the Sun," "Surrender to the sun, Surrender to the Moon, Surrender to the rain, Surrender to the stars, Surrender to your heart, Surrender to the wind Take a chance, open up, and learn to love again." 

"Surrender" in this case means "So what if you messed it up again--you get another chance."

To us, opening your heart means honoring the other by listening and by accepting without judgement where the other is in his or her growth process. Opening your heart means honoring the other's history and being there to encourage during times of change. Opening your heart can mean any number of things to all of us. 

The heart is a doorway--you can open it and allow another person to come in or you can keep the door closed and protected. Keeping it closed and protected to shield you from the pain also shuts out the joy.

No matter what the relationship--even the person sitting next to you at the ball park--If you open your heart to the other person and not pre-judge or put up walls, then infinite possibilities of connection and love are available.

As Kenny Loggins says in "The Unimaginable Life"-- "We all long for love. Whether we know it or not, everything else is just killing time."

Relationship Quote of the Week

"The holy relationship is a context where we feel safe enough to be ourselves, knowing our darkness will not be judged but forgiven. In this way we are healed and freed to move on into the light of our true being." Marianne Williamson

©2001 by Susie & Otto Collins

May 21-27
10 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve Your Relationships


Here are 10 Simple strategies for improving 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 abou wrecks and drug busts on the news. For some great titles of audio tape programs to get you started click here http://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

©2001 by Susie & Otto Collins

May 14-20
Forgive and Forget--We don't think so!


In every relationship you're involved in, It's inevitable that something will happen in the relationship that will cause you to be upset with the other person or the other person will be upset with you. Now, we've all heard the expression "forgive and forget" but we believe that "forgive and forget" doesn't serve you. We believe that in most cases, you really don't forget and here's why.

Have you ever had the feeling that the harder you try to "forget" something, the more you end up focusing on it.

If someone says to you, "Don't think of the color blue" "Don't think of the color blue" "Don't think of the color blue," no matter how hard you try, you probably can't stop visualizing or thinking about the color blue.

The same thing happens when you try to "forget" a negative situation that has an emotional charge to it. No matter how hard you try, you just can't seem to do it. 

We believe that instead of forgiving and forgetting, you have to forgive and let go.  

Many people write to us wanting to know how they can forgive when they have been wronged--a spouse cheated on them; they've been abused in one way or another; or maybe their feelings have been hurt and they don't feel loved or valued. 

What we have found is that the process of healing a relationship requires more than forgiveness. You must also let go.

But let go of what? 

In almost all cases when you are having a difficult time forgiving someone, you are holding on to an attachment of some kind or another. The attachments most commonly manifest themselves in the need to be justified, the need to be honored, the need to be right, the need to be vindicated, the desire for revenge, and the inability to move past fear. 

So when you are holding onto an attachment, what you are actually doing is holding onto a position which is serving you in some way but it is not moving you forward in healing the relationship. 

Eckhart Tolle in "The Power of Now" talks about how to let go of negativity and we think that the same holds true for letting go of attachments--Tolle's response was "By dropping it. How do you drop a piece of hot coal that you are holding in your hand? How do you drop some heavy and useless baggage that you are carrying? By recognizing that you don't want to suffer the pain or carry the burden anymore and then letting go of it." 

Just decide to do it.

Recently Susie and her sister moved their mother from her home of 50 years to an assisted living Alzheimer's facility. Their mother had and continues to have anger, hurt, and resentment toward her daughters and her new situation.

From the time of taking her car away from her, Susie and her sister have been practicing letting go of her anger, while allowing her to feel her feelings. They continually practice forgiving the words of anger that are directed toward them and just send her love.  

Susie has been practicing a "Thirty-Nine Day Prayer of Forgiveness" given to her by Shaman Connie Parkinson to help with this situation with her mother. She's used it before to help heal a broken relationship.

Here it is--along with an explanation--and we urge you to try it. It really works!

 "Every day, for 39 days, all alone and in private, you say the following: (Name), I thank you for all you have done to me and those I love. I ask your forgiveness for all I have done to you. Let us begin a new relationship.

(Your own name), I love you. You are an exceptionally wonderful and beautiful person and I approve of you. 

This prayer is extremely simple, It's extremely hard, it's extremely effective. By thanking the one who has injured you, you are putting yourself a little bit in that person's place, and you are recognizing that everyone is driven by impulses we are not to know, and that everything that happens to you is for your growth and your good." 

By asking forgiveness for yourself, you are recognizing that you had a part in the relationship. By telling yourself that you love and approve of you, you are renewing strength in the one human being in your life who can truly help you--yourself. 

The 3 is for the triune spiritual effect of will, action, and manifestation. The 9 brings an ending to your grief and anger and resentment against the person. The prayer itself opens you to a new understanding of both yourself and the one who injured you. The only thing you are trying to change is yourself and your emotions. As for the relationship, wait and see. You could be surprised how you'll feel toward this person at the end of 39 days." 

You can learn How to Manifest Abundance (or anything else you desire)

Here's some great news. You--Yes, YOU CAN Manifest anything you want for your life. "IF" you are willing to follow certain principles of life. You can create the life you want.  We believe it's possible.

To learn 7 keys to manifesting abundance in any area of your life just click here www.collinspartners.com/relationships/manifest.htm

Relationship Quote of the Week

"Forgiveness is "selective remembering"--a conscious decision to focus on love and let the rest go." Marianne Williamson

©2001 by Susie & Otto Collins

May 7-13
Are your relationships getting better or worse?


Whether you've been in a relationship with someone for one day or one hundred years, the relationship is either getting better or worse.

As the old saying goes, "The only thing constant is change." Our relationships are no different. They are constantly changing and evolving and nothing stays the same.

A common misconception is that a relationship is like a self-propelled lawn mower. You just start the relationship and it propels itself forward with little attention. With a self-propelled lawn mower, if you don't guide it, pretty soon you could be mowing down your neighbor's flower garden. So it is with your relationships. Even if your life is going smoothly and all of your relationships are working, you still need to consciously guide them if you want them to be vital and alive.

Think of your car--if you just parked it in the yard and never drove it or did anything to maintain it, it would deteriorate much quicker than if you drove it. Pretty soon it would be part of the landscape.

Your relationships need that kind of attention. We suggest that you determine what kind of relationships you want for your life and decide the steps you must take to have those relationships.

Susie has had the same best female friend for over 20 years and this has been a conscious choice. They have been running and exercise partners and make it a point to talk and get together several times during the week. The point is that this is the type of relationship both of them want and they consciously work to preserve it.

We've all been in relationships that have dissolved and fallen away over time. Some of these relationships have dissolved because one or both of you were growing in different directions or at a different pace. Most of the time, however, one or both of you haven't put the kind of energy and amount of time necessary to keep it vibrant and growing.

What are your priorities in your life?

  • Are you spending time in activities and with people that are in alignment with what you value?
  • Are your relationships the way you want them to be? If not, why not?
  • Are you focusing on what you want them to be rather than what they aren't?

So, the question is, are the relationships in your life that are important to you getting better or worse?

If they're not getting better, just the awareness that you now have is an important part in changing the dynamics.

©2001 by Susie & Otto Collins

Relationship Quote of the Week

 

"Try leaving a friendly trail of little sparks of gratitude on your daily trips. You'll be surprised how they will set small flames of friendship that will be rose beacons on your next visit." Dale Carniege

April 30-May 6
The small things can sometimes make all the difference...


We recently had dinner with some friends at one of those "buffet" type restaurants. One of the women accidentally bumped into her husband at the salad bar and began courteously apologizing before she realized it was her husband.

Everyone at the table joked that they'd never heard her be so courteous to him. What she said next, completely astounded us. She turned to him and said " If I'd known it was only you,I wouldn't have been so apologetic."

What we've observed is that many people treat strangers with more courtesy and consideration than they do their co-workers, friends,loved ones and partners.

This may seem like an isolated event-- but it's really a metaphor for how many people treat those who are important in their lives.

In Susie's previous relationship, she often found herself walking through the house, straightening things up while her ex-husband was trying to talk to her. She didn't give him her full attention and chose to do numerous other tasks instead of focusing on him.

One of the things that we agreed upon early in our relationship was to give each other our full attention when we talk to each other. We are also very conscious of showing each other on a regular basis how important we are to each other.

So, what this has done is to help create trust between us. It's a simple and wonderful way to honor another person who is important to us.

Think about you kids, your co-workers or your partners... do you say "hello", "goodbye", "excuse me" and "I'm sorry" and give them your full attention when they are talking to you?

When we do our "relationship coaching" sessions with people, one of the things that usually comes up is that one or both people don't feel appreciated, valued and honored by the other.

Now, we're not saying that every relationship that's in trouble can be healed by only a kind word. But, we are saying that by consciously deciding to treat those people in your life with courtesy and love, you you are strengthening your relationships and helping them to become more vibrant and alive.

Our suggestion is to decide consciously to be an "uplifter" of others--even your loved ones. In life, what you send out usually comes back to you. When you send out pure positive, loving energy--that's what you'll get back.

©2001 by Susie & Otto Collins

Relationship Quote of the Week

Love allowed to flow in a trickle brings happiness in dribs and drabs. Love allowed to flow in volumes brings a happiness and joy until now unimagined. Otto Collins

April 23-29


"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.

©2001 by Susie & Otto Collins

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

April 16-22
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.

©2001 by Susie & Otto Collins

Relationship Quote of the Week

"In order to be fully alive, we have to constantly shed attachment to ideas from the past and about the future." Brad Blanton

 



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