Ask the Coach: My partner needs to earn the same salary

Ask the Coach: My partner needs to earn the same salary

Ask the Coach Dating Requirements
OR – The Truth Behind Your Requirements

Dear Coach Linda:

I posted a question to a singles forum the other day and they all seem to disagree with me on something- I said I do not want to date a man who makes less than me and expects me to pay for ALL the dates. They seem to think love is more important and they would date someone who had no or very little money for love. Am I off on this one? I do have personal experience that gives me bias. Thanks! ~ Carrie

money love scales


Hey Carrie,

Here’s my two-cents, as someone who helps singles create lives they love.

Your requirement that your partner earn as much as you do is a valid one as long as it doesn’t restrict you in ways that eliminate possibilities. The argument you’ve been hearing, that it should all be about love, is a romantic sentiment which could potentially only last a few years and then cause trouble.

Here’s what I mean.

Your desire for equal salary more than likely points to some deep needs that you have for a relationship to work. While you’d be the one to know for sure, my guess is that you need your partner to be responsible, hard-working, motivated and maybe even independent. You may also want to avoid anyone who has dependency problems … you might want to avoid being in a “care taker” role. I’m only guessing here. To be sure, ask yourself: “What’s important about this requirement? What does this mean to me?” Think about your top 5 most-strongly-held values and how this requirement relates to them.

Once you’ve identified what it means on that level, then ask yourself: “Are there ways for a partner to exhibit these traits without earning as much as I do? Are there other ways for my relationship requirements to be met?

The reason these questions become important is that you could potentially meet someone who reflects all that you value the most, someone who you are attracted to and have fun with, who isn’t looking for a care-taker, yet for some reason has not been able to earn as much as you do. Would you be ok with dismissing this person based on your salary requirements? By doing this deeper reflection on what salary truly means to you, you’ll be in a better position to clearly and consciously evaluate the partnership.

As an aside, these questions are applicable anytime someone identifies something on the outer level or externally as a relationship requirement — for example, saying that a potential partner has to be athletic or sporty … or must have certain physical attributes. Requirements are really all about what you must experience in a relationship.

All of this is raises another important point: Money issues is the number one contributor of relationship failure. Most people, before making a commitment, do *not* talk to one another about their beliefs, attitudes and behaviors surrounding money. To gain clarity and agreement on this topic is the difference between a conscious relationship (and one that has a better chance of long term success) and an unconscious one (which will ultimately result in failure).

Naturally this is the kind of topic that needs to be discussed when you’ve gotten to know him and feel there is great potential in the relationship … that a relationship with him would meet all of your other requirements. Yet, if you’ve clearly defined what this all means, you’ll know pretty early on if this has potential or not.

I hope this helps!!

Let me know if you have any questions or have some feedback to share.  If you want to explore your relationship requirements further, please contact me to set up a 1:1 coaching session. Articulating and understanding relationship requirements can mean the difference between joy and frustration.

Sending love!

~ Linda

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Five dating mistakes & how to avoid them

Five dating mistakes & how to avoid them

Dating

If you’re like most people, chances are that after going through a traumatic breakup such as a divorce, you want to get to the good stuff – i.e., having a romantic partner – right away. Kinda like there’s a huge hole in your heart and the only thing that can fill it is the loving attention from someone special – or at least that’s a common train of thought. And chances are you don’t really want to hear things like “you need to love yourself before you can love another”. Etc. etc.

If you’re like most people, you probably might believe something like “I don’t need all that personal development stuff – I’m lonely and I just want to meet the love of my life.”

The thing is, if you find yourself scoffing at the “Become Successfully Single & Relationship Ready” phase of being single, it may come back to haunt you. If you intentionally (or unintentionally) choose to remain in the dark about who you are and how you show up in relationships, there’s a good possibility that if or when you FINALLY meet that special someone, you may fall into the 14 dating traps (see more HERE). Or you may be susceptible to making five whopping dating mistakes that will cause you to remain stuck and frustrated.

Here’s what I’m talking about … try to determine if you find yourself frequently making these mistakes.

Dating Whopper #1: You move too fast!

So let’s just say that you found someone that you are interested in romantically. Finding strong chemistry with someone is so exciting! I totally get that. That feeling is such a high and it often sends us sprinting into the Romantic Love stage of our Relationship Journey. We feel we’ve struck gold, and often start behaving as if this were the person with whom we will spend the rest of our lives.

We start making decisions that have us on the fast track to “forever.” But when the Romantic Love stage ends, the high wears off, we see what is actually real about the relationship, and often we’re shocked. Sometimes we’ve moved so fast and gone so far that it’s hugely painful to realize we’ve made a mistake and this isn’t quite the ideal relationship we thought it was.

What happens next is that you or your partner begin to become resentful and if you aren’t careful, you may start acting snarky or even worse, cruelly.

Dating Whopper #2: You edit or change yourself to “fit” with your new love interest.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the euphoria of new infatuation. When you’re in the grips of these overwhelming feelings, it’s tempting to convince yourself that you’ll do anything to “win over” the object of your affection. But the truth is that you can’t win someone over under false pretenses.

When you’re not being authentic, you’re simply immersing yourself in a role or a character and your true self is being eclipsed. The danger here reaches far beyond the fact that your potential partner is attracted to a person that doesn’t exist. It even reaches beyond the inevitability that your true colors will eventually bleed through. The real danger is that you are losing yourself in an attempt to snag a partner.

Dating Whopper #3: You get overly emotionally invested when you’re not ready.

Dating when you are not ready or available stops you from getting to know yourself and your dreams. If you aren’t clear of your own vision and purpose, you’ll be swept up into someone else’s and will eventually grow resentful or angry. You’ll wind up attracting people who don’t serve your greatest good or who are not right for you. The outlook for relationships whose partners don’t share the same vision, values and life goals is pretty dim and you’ll wind up back out in the dating pool once more, making the same mistakes. Is this really what you want to do with your life?

Dating Whopper #4: You haven’t recuperated or moved on from your previous relationships.

I remember a client of mine expressing excitement about an upcoming date she was looking forward to. She had met a wonderful guy who seemed to be just what she was looking for, and based on what she knew, he met much of her relationship criteria. Her excitement quickly turned to dismay when he spent the entire evening talking about his former wife. It was obvious to her he had a need, for some reason, to fill her in on every detail – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Needless to say, there was no second date.

If you find yourself frequently wanting (needing) to talk about a prior relationship there’s a good chance it’s not over yet – that you have not moved on and aren’t ready to begin anew with someone else. Chances are, you have unresolved feelings or have not put the relationship behind you. One key thing you can do is to ask yourself whether you compare your former relationships with your current one. Are you expecting someone new to live up to a standard set by a former spouse or mate? If so, this will sabotage any attempts to engage in a healthy relationship with someone else.

It’s important that prior relationships, as well as other matters, are well behind you. Be sure you’re “going to” something new rather than “getting away from” the old. To further explore this, ask me for a Relationship Readiness assessment by emailing me HERE. This will give you a clear understanding of areas, if any, in need of resolution.

red flagsDating Whopper #5: You Choose to Ignore Red Flags 

There are times when I wish Red flags were like the STOP signal at a traffic light – the light visibly turns and you come to a stop. There’s no guess work. In the realm of the heart, however, red flags act like the amber light so that make you question yourself – should I or shouldn’t I? The thing is with red flags is that if you’re not crystal clear about what works for you and doesn’t work for you in a relationship, there’s a chance for you to blow past them and then get into trouble.

There are three truths about red flags: You won’t suddenly become immune to them. If they show up at the beginning, when people are at their best, they won’t stop later on. And relationships simply don’t work when one person feels bad. (And a corollary: You only have to know HOW you feel, not why.)

Have you ever left a relationship over something intolerable, and then realized you could have seen it coming from the start? We all have. One woman I know cringed at a date’s demeaning joke but told herself it wasn’t THAT bad or important. After months of public embarrassment and insults, all attraction and some of her self respect were gone. Another was criticized for her dress on a first date. It later became serious verbal abuse. Both were red flags.

Should you bolt the minute you don’t like something a date does? No, but do open your eyes. Give the benefit of the doubt. If other things are right, try respectfully requesting a change. If you see a sincere effort, great! You can be patient.

If you see defensiveness, dismissiveness, or self-justification, watch out. Your next move – no matter what else you may like about the person – needs to be a graceful but firm good-bye. Then you will be free to find the one who makes you feel terrific!

 
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10 things to do right now to find your perfect partner

10 things to do right now to find your perfect partner

Dating Dreams

1. Start by losing the losers
If you want to find your soul mate, you must be available and not involved with people who aren’t right for you. It’s helpful to get crystal clear on what works for you in a relationship and what does not.

2. OK, available now? Next… are you “ready?”
Do you have anything “unfinished” that might sabotage your next relationship? Get it handled now! This includes ridding yourself of beliefs and behaviors that prevent you from attracting the extraordinary.

3. Next, make a list your top five requirements
Your requirements are the “must haves” in your relationship, otherwise you would not enter into the relationship or you would leave if you were in it. Make a list of your non-negotiable deal-breakers and vow not to get involved with anyone who doesn’t meet all five. Share your list with your closest friends and make them swear to tell you the truth and to lock you up if you get off-track.

4. Good job. Now, let’s get crystal clear about this “dating” thing
If you want to avoid the deadly dating traps, focus on these Four Steps for Empowered Dating. My clients focus on these four steps in-depth in my “Attract the Love of Your Life” coaching program.

• Scouting: This is the process of finding compatible people to meet, whether through internet dating sites, through friends, through getting out there, etc.

• Sorting: This is about quickly determining if someone you meet has potential. You’ll need to have your top five requirements handy.

• Screening: This step is concerned with collecting enough information about the other person to determine if your requirements would be met.

• Testing: This step involves dating a few times so that you can compare the reality with the information you gathered.

5. Get support
Don’t do this alone. Dating can be scary and isolating, and your friends and family can be your safety net to help you stay on track. If you want to save yourself time and frustration (as well as unlock your joy and peace of mind), consider enrolling in my Become Successfully Single & Relationship Ready coaching programs.

6. Work it!
Most people meet their soul mate through someone they already know, so let people know you’re looking for someone and network like crazy. Be smart about it though – the scattershot approach will only exhaust you.

7. Be positive and happy
Success breeds success, just as misery loves company. It’s your choice.

8. Be the Chooser!
Go after what you want proactively and don’t simply react to what or who chooses you.

9. Be assertive!
If you settle for less, you’ll get less. Ask for what you want and say “no” to what you don’t want.

10. Live a great life NOW while you’re single
“If you build it, they will come” (from the movie “Field of Dreams”). By creating a life you love, you will naturally attract people who fit.

 

If you really, truly, once and for all, want to be happy in your life, enjoy being single, date blissfully and create extraordinary relationships, enroll in my Become Successfully Single & Relationship Ready coaching program. In the words of one of my clients, Anita: “This is the best gift that I gave myself”. Email me here to get started.

 

Many thanks to David Steele for this inspiration!

The art of the cheap date

The art of the cheap date

Abundance Creativity Dating

How not to break your bank

In the previous post, Larry asked for my thoughts on dating while unemployed (HERE). While I find it’s important to focus on finding employment and not be distracted by “why can’t I find my perfect match” obsessions, I do know you can get out there and date for fun.  (Check out how to transform sucky or overwrought dating into fun dating – HERE.)

Whether we like it or not, money troubles can rock our foundations. Being unemployed or in financial trouble causes a great deal of stress, which affects our moods, our health, our outlook on life. I get this…I’ve gone through my own experiences with not having enough money coming in and trying to create a long-term relationship with someone.

If you’re not feeling great about yourself, if you feel desperate to have a relationship, if you feel that being in a relationship will rescue you from your current woes, you will more than likely get involved in a relationship that is unsustainable (from a healthy point of view). Most relationships – unless the couple proactively seeks support from a therapist or relationship coach – do not survive ongoing financial woes and the side-effects that come with it.

In a future post, we’ll take a look at socio-economic stressors on relationships, considering that, in the U.S., the middle class is under tremendous pressure and more and more people are falling under the poverty line. But for now, let’s focus on getting you a new job and let’s explore ways you can still enjoy going out.

Look on the bright side

I know you’re probably overwhelmed with feeling miserable about yourself and your situation. But there is an upside of dating while money is tight: you’ll be able to sort through the people who may be looking for a free ride or who demand to be treated lavishly or who want to be taken care of. If you’re ultimately looking for a healthy relationship, when your financial boat is up-righted, I don’t think these kinds of people are the ones for you.

Before planning a cheap date

First, think about the things you enjoy doing with someone else (i.e. a walk on the beach or in the park) and talk about these things with your potential date. He or she may enjoy the same type of activities. Many times the things that are most enjoyable to people do not include a big price tag.

And remember to think out of the box. Most people do not engage their creativity at all when planning the first few dates and think it’s all about going out to dinner. If you’re creative in this way, you’ll definitely make a better impression AND you’ll do a much better job at screening.

Also, be clear as to your current situation and how your primary focus is on your career right now. Tell the whole truth, without apology, early and often. You don’t necessarily have to blurt out your employment situation within the first point of contact, but it’s important to set up realistic expectations early on and not give people false hope. And who knows, maybe this person can actually help in some way.  Plus, do you really want to hang out with someone who doesn’t respect your need to be financially responsible?

Remember that regardless of your financial situation, the first few dates are better spent in face to face low-cost or no-cost activities anyway. You need the face time to screen for fit. Be authentic and generous with your attention. Focus all of it on your potential partner and they’ll feel the richness of your presence. This is a far greater gift than the presence of financial richness.

Finally, do consider seeking the assistance of a certified professional coach. A coach, if examined solely from a cost-benefit analysis, will help you get you where you want to be more quickly – from feeling better about yourself to mapping out a game plan to find a new job as well as find people with whom you want to spend time. As I always say, when you love your life, you’re in a much better position to find the love of your life – and working with a coach like me can help.

Meanwhile, check out these low or no-cost date options:

couple playing poolPlan a Low-key Cocktail Excursion

Skip the pricey wine bar and grab a drink at your local low-key bar. Make sure you pick a place with a pool table or dartboard set up. Some bars I’ve been to also have chess games and checkers. You can learn a lot about people when you play some sort of game with them.

Get an Adrenaline Rush

Go to a rollerskating or iceskating rink or indoor rock climbing gym. It’s a great way to have fun with each other. If being physically active or in good health is a top value for you, this is a good way of weeding out those who do not feel the same way

Couple riding bikesTake a Bike Ride

Dust off your bikes and head to the park to take a spin on the bike trails. Bike riding is fun, relaxing and great exercise. After the ride is over, park your bikes and enjoy the great outdoors. Then at the end, celebrate with a cup of hot cocoa or combine it with a picnic so you can have another great activity to look forward to.

Plan a Themed Picnic

Everyone loves a picnic, but a themed picnic is even better. How about a detective-themed picnic? All you have to do is pack up your picnic food, grab a blanket and some Post-it notes with clues written on them. Have your date find the clues in your picnic area. The answers to the clues can be anything you packed, anything either of you is wearing, or something in the environment.

Take a Trip to the Gardens

Most large cities have botanical gardens with low admission fees. In fact, many have special times of the month when entrance is free. Take advantage of the free admissions days and visit the gardens. Take a light lunch with you and sit on a bench in the gardens and enjoy one another’s company. After lunch, take a stroll through the gardens and enjoy a wonderful conversation while admiring the beautiful plants and flowers.

Go Apple Picking

Spend the day picking apples or other seasonal fruit at a local farm. Once you’ve picked all the fruit you can carry back to the car, you can always plan for the next date to get creative in the kitchen and think up some recipes with the fruit you picked. You can then judge each other’s creations, Top Chef style.

Take a Tour of Local Wineries, Breweries – or Chocolate Makers

The easiest way of enjoying cocktails on the cheap? Take a tour of a winery or brewery. Most local wineries charge an incredibly small fee for 10 tastings (which amounts to 2 standard sized glasses of wine). Plus, if it’s a small winery, chances are you’ll be able to talk with the owners themselves, who are always glad to share their passion for what they do.

Keep Up on Entertainment Specials

Dying to see a play but can’t afford the tickets? Call around to see if you can buy tickets to the dress rehearsal instead. You’ll pay a fraction of the cost for a “behind the scenes” experience. Keep your eyes on Living Social or GroupOn for special offers and deals to local restaurants.

open mic nightExplore Local Book Signings/Poetry Readings/Live Music/Comedy Club Amateur Nights

Wherever you live, chances are there are local bands dying for an audience. Check out local music venues in your area and go to a show. Of course, bear in mind that loud, live music is not overly conducive to getting to know someone. Perhaps an author or poet you enjoy or are curious about is doing a live reading. I also know there are usually some comedy improv groups who host amateur nights at local venues, too. Or maybe you’re brave and want to explore open mic nights.

Attend a Free Cultural Event

Many cities have free or low-cost museums. Museums are great places to talk and learn about each other as well as to enjoy art, history or whatever the theme of the museum. Items in museums can serve as great conversation pieces, which helps you avoid those awkward moments of silence.

Visit Your Local Coffee Shop

You can’t go wrong with a coffee shop — even if you don’t drink coffee. Coffee shops usually have live music, poetry readings, and other events on different nights. If there is no event going on, consider bringing a board game along to play while sipping on your favorite hot or cold drink.

Take Art Classes Together

Right now there is a current fad of painting classes for those who have no artistic talent whatsoever. So if you’re not a budding Picasso, you have nothing to worry about. Plus, stretching yourself in this way can be a great opportunity to show people just how gracefully or humorously you roll.

Attend a Local Minor League Baseball Game

Tickets can be as cheap as $10 and are a fun way of enjoying baseball.

 

Honestly, as I look over these ideas, I’m thinking – why the heck not enjoy them with your friends, too. These ideas are a lot of fun … and dating is not the only way to enjoy them. Plus when you hang out with your friends, you’re strengthening your support network … and I’d bet that you could really benefit from that right now.

Have fun!

 

Featured Image (c) Liz Morrow

Why dating does not suck

Why dating does not suck

Dating

But your approach probably does

The other day I gave a presentation to a group of about 20 singles over the age of 55. This was a new group and had never heard of the Empowered Singles movement.

One of the gentlemen in attendance, who was deeply struggling with his profound feelings of love and yearnings for his “soul mate” – a woman who not only did not return his feelings but told him to stay away – shared with the group his own movement, which he calls Dating Sucks.

Insert Buzzer Sound Effect Here

Insert Buzzer Sound Effect Here

Ugh. This is exactly the kind of negativity that most singles carry around with them – the kind of negativity I’m trying to get you all away from. The kind of negativity that will actually submarine your attempts to find a healthy, happy relationships.

So let’s be clear – Dating Does Not Suck.

What sucks is his attitude toward it.

What about you? Have you ever said “dating is hard”? Or “all men want is to date younger women” or said “all women want is to date a rich man”? Are you sitting there in your living room, watching TV night after night, hoping to meet the right one, while replaying all the horrible experiences you’ve had on dates in the past?

If so, then perhaps your attitude sucks too.

Listen, I get it – dating and relationships can really really really SEEM confusing to those who have not taken the time to educate themselves about their past patterns, and subconscious sabotaging beliefs.

Most singles consistently make the same mistakes over and over again without taking the time to figure out what they are doing.

The thing is, many singles don’t have any true idea how dating really “works.” They don’t have a clear idea on how to approach dating that makes the process fun. And no one seems to know how to date without adding a ton of stress and pressure. Yet when I talk to most singles, they seem so assured that they know what they’re doing. (Meanwhile 90% of my community admits to being dissatisfied with their dating experiences.)

No more excuses, people.

Here’s a quick guide to help you snap out of it:

1. REDEFINE HOW YOU VIEW DATING

The biggest trap that most singles get caught in, in the early stages, is heaping a ton of romantic overlays onto the get togethers. Most people use that very first get together as the make or break moment – that puts way too much pressure on all involved. I always caution people about throwing the baby out with the bath water. Unless it’s a hugely obvious mismatch, take your time getting to know this person. By all means, use your relationship requirements to screen the obvious out but once you found someone who passed that first litmus test, try not to cut that person off immediately. Reformulate your decision making criteria – instead of evaluating the person straight off as “relationship worthy”, instead determine if you think this person is someone with whom you’d enjoy having a conversation.

Then ascribe a new meaning to the word DATING. Let’s agree that dating is simply the best way to learn more about other people (and yourself as well). And be forthright about your new view on dating.

2. FOCUS ON THE NOW

One of the most important ways to make dating fun is to focus on the now. Stop dwelling in the past – if an old relationship didn’t work out, accept it and move on. I know it’s much easier said than done to embrace this harsh reality, but the truth is that if you don’t accept and admit to yourself that a previous relationship ended because the person just wasn’t the right one for you at the time, you’ll never be able to move forward.

Also, avoid overanalyzing everything. I know too many singles who need to scrutinize the tiniest detail and behavior of others. When you are focused on the now, are in the present moment, and are living a life you love, you’ll be far less likely to worry about what the person did or did not do.

3. SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE

I’d say that going slow is almost as important as focusing on the now. If you walk into a date knowing that you’re priority is to get to know this person as a friend, then there won’t be any added pressure of worrying about what may happen after the date. This approach will set both of your minds at ease and you’ll have more fun enjoying each other’s company!

4. DO SOMETHING SPONTANEOUS

If you’ve found someone with whom you enjoy talking, try doing something off the cuff with that person – it takes a lot of pressure off both of you by being spontaneous. Being spontaneous requires you to Be the Chooser, to take responsibility as well as take a risk. Yet the rewards can be enormous.

A guy I was dating over the past summer actually surprised me after dinner and took me to mini golf and it was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. I also spontaneously asked him to go out bowling and it was a great time. (I realized how awesome I am at bowling when I beat him, just saying. Thank goodness he had the ability to roll with things.)

5. LET GO OF EXPECTATIONS

We’re told to let go of grudges, right? Well, let go of expectations too.

Expectations are strong beliefs that something will happen, that someone will or should achieve something. They are like unspoken pacts with other people or the universe. While having expectations can be a great boost to confidence and a predictor of success (“I expect this job interview to go well), it can also set up for disappointment.

In dating and relationships, it’s so easy for people to constantly wonder, “Is this The One?” and so we go through the motions of dating with these high expectations that every person we meet, let alone date, has to be The One. Then, when this person turns out to NOT be Prince Charming or Ms. Right, you go home defeated, dismayed, depressed.

If you create your expectation as an unspoken pact that this person has to be a romantic match, then you’re likely to feel cheated, angry and/or hurt. It leads to blaming. “Things didn’t work out the way I thought they should, so someone is to blame.”

What’s important here is not to find out why things didn’t go the way they “should” have and who is responsible for that. The real question is who decided that things should go a certain way and that any other way was unacceptable. This is the source of the disappointment that expectations are famous for. What we do with that disappointment determines how much pleasure we can have in the ensuing moments.

In a previous post on spiritual singles, I wrote a bit about mindfulness, a spiritual practice through which we develop awareness, cognizance and understanding of things, our “selves”, feelings, thoughts, other people and Reality. The practice of mindfulness is all about discovering one’s expectations of self and then letting go of them.

Through the ongoing practice of becoming present with experience “as it is,” there is a gradual increase in experiencing things as they are, without trying to change them (and a subsequent joyfulness in the experiences). In the simplicity of accepting something—including oneself—as it is, there is a release of the need to be something “better.”

Another way to deal with unmet expectations is to reframe the experience. Suppose I expected to see a movie tonight but when I got to the theater, I discovered that the movie was no longer being shown. Besides feeling disappointed or angry, I could immediately look around for another pleasure. I could take this as a gift and look to see what else is playing or what other interesting, cool things might be around.

6. BECOME AN ADVOCATE FOR FUN

fun while datingThis is really the cherry on top of this whole cake. The most important thing to do and remember is to HAVE FUN!

For years, I had put a moratorium on dating because I had made my past dating experiences so incredibly grueling — I can’t say I ever really had fun while I was dating. Which is why I decided that I needed to regroup and “do the proper preparation” (as I always advocate to my clients).

Recently though I’ve been thinking it’s time to get back out there since I know that my partner is not going to magically appear on his own.

This time, however, I knew that I needed a different approach. This time I decided that I was going to go into dating with the intention of having FUN.

So as a result, I made it clear on my profile that I want to have fun and described what fun looks like to me. (Fun is a custom experience after all.) I realize now that without fun, there really isn’t anything. In my opinion, fun is a great place for two people (who don’t know each other at all) to begin — because let’s be honest — if we’re not having fun, we’re not likely to want to see someone again.

In the past, I had a negative image of having fun while dating. I thought that if I told men I wanted to have fun that they wouldn’t take me seriously or see me as the mature and dynamic woman I am. I assumed they would see or hear the word “fun” and think I was shallow, or just looking for sex.

But what I have found is just the opposite. I am being very honest and authentic when I speak about having fun. What ends up happening is that while having fun with someone, I build a potential foundation for things moving forward.

What also has changed is that I am more willing to go out on a date or two (or three or four) with someone who I wouldn’t have normally dated.

This experiment reinforced for me what I already knew: that if I am too rigid and focus too much attention on what I am “looking” for (and what everything must look like and feel like in that process), I am missing out on allowing myself to experience something special.

couple arcadeSo ~ Be charming, be friendly, enjoy the time you’re spending with this person. If you don’t make it a priority to have fun with the person you’re with, you’re going to get overwhelmed with boring. Who wants that kind of life? I’m sure you don’t. So next time you go out on a date, remember to smile and show off your confidence and fun side and set the intention to have a great time, no matter what!

The Secret Sauce to Attracting a Conscious Partnership

The Secret Sauce to Attracting a Conscious Partnership

Dating Dating Skills Relationships

I know way too many  (and I mean WAYYYY TOO MANY) singles who desire to attract a great relationship and only focus on strategies – actions undertaken to achieve an aim or goal. Meanwhile they completely ignore certain truths that need to be addressed for the strategy to work. In fact, the other day I had a conversation with a woman who not only tried EHarmony, Match.com, OKCupid and 2 other dating sites, but also paid a matchmaker $4000 to find her a partner. All of which ultimately failed, despite her vehement assertions that “I know exactly what I want in a partner”. (Red Flag Alert!!) So what went wrong? As I’ve said, your inner game is the key that unlocks your gateway to happiness. And why do I stress the inner game so much? Consider this:

You are a magnet.

I’m sure right now you’re picturing yourself as a giant U-shaped piece of metal but actuallywhat I’m talking about is that we are all radiating energy. (OK so here we move to a quantum physics perspective, so hang on.)

Energy makes up everything in existence throughout the universe; it vibrates at certain frequencies depending upon what it is manifest as. Everything is energy and energy is an attractive force, binding together to form matter as we know it.

Everything we sense through our natural five senses of sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste is also made up of energy. We also know that things we cannot sense such as radio waves, certain sound waves and even light waves that are outside the visible spectrum are all made up of energy.

Probably the toughest part to comprehend is the fact that even our thoughts are made up of energy and thus vibrate at certain frequencies, depending upon what we are thinking about and what emotion is driving or being driven by those thoughts. Thoughts are far more powerful than we have ever imagined because they not only have the ability to vibrate at their own frequency, they can alter in frequency depending on what we are thinking about. What’s even more compelling is that our thoughts can attract energy to them that is vibrating on the same frequency. This is the underlying explanation of the Law of Attraction. And guess what, as a single wanting to find a conscious partnership, you are in the quantum physics/Law of Attraction game.

If you want some proof of this, try this exercise. Wake up in the morning and dwell upon something that you don’t like about your life. Maybe you don’t really like your commute. So throughout the morning, focus on how much you despise your commute, how rude the other drivers are, how expensive gas is and so on. Linger in this anger the entire morning. Now, when you arrive at your office, take note of how your coworkers react to you. More than likely, they’re going to stay away. The energies of your thoughts have created this subliminal physical barrier that pushes people away.

So as we have energies and our thoughts have energies, which have vibrations, we are always repelling or attracting people and experiences that jive with those vibrations. Being aware of what we’re putting out there is vital when you’re looking to attract someone or something into your life, like an extraordinary relationship. If you want to attract a conscious, soul mate partnership, you won’t be able to do so if your inner game, or your inner energy, is wonky and mired in muck.

However, it’s not enough to know this on an intellectual level. You need to do the kind of deep reflective work – and consciously engage in transformational exercises like the ones my clients experience through my coaching programs – to attract what you really want in your life.

Here are some things you can do to prepare your inner game and thus influence your energy so you can attract a conscious relationship.

Cut Energetic Cords of the Past: Many spiritual traditions posit that people – including romantic partners – come into our lives to teach us our life lessons. Some of our teachers stay with us and some move on. When we remain blind to the greater reasons of each experience, and the impermanence of all things (another Buddhist lesson), to remain attached, we sabotage our ability to learn and grow. For instance, if a romantic relationship is particularly rocky or difficult, when the time comes to move on, we may sometimes hold onto anger, resentment, blaming and so on. When you frequently (and angrily) reflect on how they hurt you or wronged you – or if you still actively and contentiously engage with them (i.e., still fight it out) even though you are no longer together – it creates an energetic cord that keeps you connected with them in a way that does not foster growth. If you’re still holding grudges or if you’re keeping unresolved issues with past partners alive, you block your ability to complete the relationship at a deeper level. In addition, all of this bound up emotional pain acts like an energy vampire that takes over your emotional and mental states and feeds from your negative thoughts and dramatic reactions. Because “like attracts like”, you will continually attract people of similar energetic patterns. Cut these ties and allow yourself to heal and move on so you can attract a partner with a higher “frequency” or “vibe” or wavelength.

Resolve Past Painful Experiences: Similar to the above, any unresolved painful or traumatic events like betrayal, abandonment, rejection, or abuse (whether physical, emotional, or psychological) that you’re still holding on to will become encoded. It sets us up for a karmic merry-go-round. Because the universe wants us to return to being whole, you’ll continue to subconsciously attract the people, places, things, and events that resonate in an effort to help you move beyond them. Therefore its important to learn your lessons.

Nurture Self-Esteem and Self-Compassion: When people feel confident, worthy and deserving of attracting an empowered relationship, they will inevitably manifest this into their reality. Clearing the source of our inner critical voice will eradicate any self-diminishment and doubt. And as a quick aside, I recently held a special teleclass on the subject of improving self-esteem. The recording will be made available on my new web site in a few weeks.

Address Sabotaging Beliefs: We always have a viewpoint or underlying belief about our lives and the situations we face. How often do you say to yourself: “Things never go my way.” Or – “I’ll never find my perfect match.” Our viewpoints–often blinkered perspectives–are shaped by everything we experience, from our family, culture, environment, health etc. Our assumptions, beliefs and attitudes form the foundations of our lives and influence our energetic core. The challenge with limiting beliefs is that they block manifestation. We hold them as facts, yet they are not. It’s vital to recognize that our current viewpoint is just one way of looking at a situation. To liberate us from our self-imposed limitations, we have to become aware of what our beliefs are and how they were shaped. Read more about limiting beliefs HERE.

Pay Attention to the Physical Self: From a spiritual perspective, your physical body is your temple – the sacred vessel for your spirit and soul. Your body is also your mirror, reflecting for the most part how you regard yourself. When you neglect your health, you send a message to the universe that you don’t feel you’re worthy of respect. Now this doesn’t mean that if your health falters, it’s a sign that you’re sabotaging yourself and that you’ll never attract a conscious partner. Heck, when I was diagnosed with cancer, I was in the best shape of my life, and had been eating well for years. What it did mean was that I needed to take even better care of myself and to explore my physical health on an emotional level so that I could retain my reverence and respect for myself in the face of such a crisis (it’s easy to slip into low self-esteem and depression when you are facing a major illness). If you can’t nurture yourself, it will be highly unlikely that you can nurture a relationship in a way that is ‘enlightened’. While it’s true that a conscious partner is not looking for a trophy, your physical self must be in alignment with your mental, emotional and spiritual self to unequivocally bolster your “vibe” to the universe that will attract a conscious relationship. Having a loving relationship with your physical being means making sure your hormones are in balance, you’re in a healthy weight range and fitness level, you’re eating well and getting enough sleep. It also means not being a slave to the projections from society surrounding beauty and weight.

Now go radiate, would ya?

Master Relationship Skills – once you’re ready to attract a conscious partner, its important to understand what keeps a relationship fresh and new and exciting. It’s all about learning and mastering relationship skills, and using practices that will keep the relationship growing and evolving in greater love, passion, commitment, trust and joy. I have two programs (Become Relationship Ready and Attract the Love of Your Life) that prepare you for such a conscious partnership while my soon-to-be launched Empowered Relationships for Couples program focuses on moving any couple into a grounded and centered way of being, where each partner knows how to communicate effectively and compassionately, owns their issues and works empathetically toward conflict resolution. So schedule your initial consultation with me now so we can talk more about what you can do on a spiritual and energetic level to attract and co-create your soul mate partnership.

A spiritual partnership is merely a lump of coal that…

A spiritual partnership is merely a lump of coal that…

Dating Relationships Uncategorized

I know all this spiritual talk must sound esoteric mumbo jumbo but frankly I think everyone desires to be in a relationship with a conscious (i.e., aware) partner whether or not they overtly follow a spiritual path. By spiritual, I mean being concerned with the “higher” things in life, such as their own emotional, psychological and soul evolution.

Most passionate, committed and loving relationships are, indeed, conscious ones, showing a high degree of compassion, honesty, intentionality, communication, empathy and so on.

Despite this ubiquitous desire to attract a conscious relationship, and despite all the inner work that spiritual, or evolutionary, singles do, few actually get to attract such a ready-made partner into their reality right off the bat. I don’t want to sound like a big bummer because I don’t mean the situation is hopeless. I just mean that most people are diamonds in the rough and there’s a lot that can be done to co-create and sustain a high-vibrational or high functioning relationship. So let’s talk more about this.

Start with the Right Mindset
First of all, as I mention in pretty much every blog post, we need to continually unearth what’s going on with our experiences (rightmindfulness) because we’ve all become so adept at deceiving ourselves that even those who have the most ardent spiritual practices can fall into Dating Traps ( check some of them out here ). Or we fall into another trap that I like to call the Perfect Already Trap, where the spiritual or inner-looking single demands that his or her partner must have already attained Buddhahood, a state of perfect enlightenment. Therefore, it becomes even more important for us spiritual folks to become supremely aware of subconscious beliefs, and black or white thinking, that we unwittingly may still be carrying around.

Use the right tools
Contrary to popular belief, we don’t “find” our soul mate; we co-create our soul mate partnership through an equal exchange of energy, knowledge, compassion, empathy, and right communication. I’ve got a blog post coming up on the truth about soul mates but in the meantime, remember that some spiritual peeps may be farther along in the journey but some may actually be just starting their journey in earnest. And remember, just because someone calls him or herself spiritual that’s no guarantee they’re enlightened. I remember meeting a yoga teacher through Match.com who was not only an hour late for our meet up but behaved in a bombastic manner throughout the evening, telling me what to do, criticizing my body and not listening to what I had to say. Or an acquaintance who went to every spiritual workshop and weekend intensive but remained incredibly snarky, gossipy and unforgiving. So maybe a better evaluation tool is to observe people’s willingness to learn and connect with you in the process of dating.

conscious relationshipsSoul mate relationships may be co-created … but here’s how to increase your odds
In that spirit, today I want to make it easier for you to identify what a conscious person looks like by pinpointing typical enlightened behavior within a relationship, so that in your search for a spiritual partner, you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Overall, a conscious partner:

  • Is not looking for a trophy wife or sugar daddy; instead, they’re looking for natural, genuine and authentic partners
  • Provides a safe space for you to express yourself
  • Allows healthy emotional expression (including anger) and doesn’t expect you to be a Stepford Partner. In fact, a conscious person may even help you sort through what’s making you angry, to help you find the hidden gems called Your Needs
  • Knows how to authentically and deeply listen to you (and not listen in order to formulate a reply or rebuttal)
  • Makes you a priority without being codependent
  • Is fully committed to you and the relationship
  • Makes you feel unique and significant
  • Is open-minded, relaxed and comfortable with sexuality
  • Lets go of self-righteousness, and the need to control everything
  • Is comfortable saying “I’m wrong” and “I’m sorry”
  • Is equally ok with fully embodying both “masculine” traits and behaviors (proactivity, aggression, initiation, action, manifestation and movement) as well “feminine” traits and behaviors (nurturance, receptivity, love, compassion, connection, empathy), knowing in some way that these traits are not exclusive to gender
  • Doesn’t avoid conflicts and knows how to navigate tension to resolve disagreements with compassion
  • Has as top priorities good health, evolution and personal growth

Does that describe you? If so, then congrats – you are a spiritual partner!

While it’s true that finding a conscious partner may take some work (this is the quest for the Holy Grail, after all), I know that it’s possible. I’ve had the privilege to work with many conscious men who are looking for a committed relationship with a conscious woman and vice versa. They do exist.

Why are you not attracting a conscious partner?
What, then, keeps people such as yourself from attracting and being in a relationship with a conscious partner? After 15 years of working with people from all over the world, I’ve noticed certain patterns that prevent people from attracting a conscious partnership. These patterns or dynamics keep them stuck on a karmic, merry-go-round where they keep attracting the same type of person (dishonest, non-committed, unavailable, immature, etc.) or not attract any one at all.

Once the kind of deep inner work is undertaken to identify and transform these patterns, which is what my Empowered Relationships programs provide, the possibility of attracting a conscious partner and manifesting an extraordinary relationship becomes inevitable.

Up Next:
How to ensure you will attract a conscious partner.

Three simple, spiritual truths in dating & relationships

Three simple, spiritual truths in dating & relationships

Dating

I have the honor of hanging out with a lot of philosophers, mages and holistic healers who are on an active journey to raise the bar for themselves and for others. Because part of their journey is learning to decode the mystery and get to a better understanding so they can experience peacefulness and joy from the inside out, it’s no surprise that our conversations are always interesting and meaningful. So I was delighted that Christie asked me about attracting a spiritual partner not too long ago (here) because it’s a specific topic that I’ve never fully addressed with my clients, peers, and friends.

Christie’s email reminded me of all the good things about people on a spiritual path, such as being mindful, conscious and curious. Most people embark on a spiritual journey tostimulate greater insight and clarity, to return to a sense of wholeness and peacefulness. It’s a noble impetus.

Her email also reminded me of the common snares and traps that spiritual people sometimes fall into. Yes, that right – snares since I know how adept we all are at our own subterfuge. I know many of us resist seeing the ways in which we deceive ourselves, especially in the realm of the heart, so it’s important to explore these common “spiritual dating” traps so that our relationships can “vibrate at a higher frequency” (to use an energetic analogy).

en·light·ened (adj)
1. free of ignorance, prejudice, or superstition
2. having a sound and open-minded understanding of all the facts, or based on such an understanding
3. having achieved the realization of a spiritual or religious understanding, especially when it results in the transcendence of human suffering and desire

source: Encarta® World English Dictionary

Spiritual people * spiritual dating traps

We become skillful actors, and while playing deaf and dumb to the real meaning of the teachings, we find some comfort in pretending to follow the path.  ~Chogyam Trunpga Rinpoche

OK so that quote may seem a little scathing – I know many spiritual people are not intentionally trying to pretend to be somebody or something else. But there are some that believe that the mere act of reading tons of spiritual books, and taking every class under the sun, qualifies them as being “evolutionary” or “enlightened”. As a member of clergy who has participated in ordinations of others, I’ve witnessed people go for their clergy credentials and still remain locked in judgment and limiting, self-sabotaging thinking and destructive actions.

In addition, we live in a culture that rewards instant gratification and thus there are some who expect their transformation to be instantaneous as well. They get frustrated and disappointed when they don’t achieve inner peace after reading that book or taking a day-long workshop.

The challenge for many spiritual people is that they have voracious appetites for reading and learning, then think they know everything. Yet they are continually surprised and sideswiped when they are still not getting what they think they deserve. Or they think that they are above getting REAL help.

True spirituality, just like co-creating a fulfilling relationship that reflects our emerging awakening, takes patience, hard work and commitment. On my spiritual path, we call it aspiritual practice, because it is only through the repeated process of doing something to make it an established habit, not via the accrual of intellectual knowledge, that we can attain a higher level of existence. The same can be said about co-creating relationships – a truly extraordinary relationship requires the seeker to master key relationship skills, which can only be done by practicing and applying those skills. Thus a spiritual path is a process to help you remove or move beyond the conditioned responses that obscure your true nature. On the relationship journey, the path is a process to help you remove conditioned responses that obscure the truth of love. In this sense the spiritual and relationship path is ultimately about unlearning rather than learning – which is a paradox. We learn so we can unlearn and uncover.

Spiritual lessons that bolster extraordinary relationships
For me, the biggest lessons I’ve learned, which have made me more peaceful about my heart journey, came from my shamanic Wiccan background. On this path, we experience everything as part of the divine – divinity is imminent, therefore everything is sacred. When we recognize the divine within all things, we are less willing to desecrate anything and anyone. We treat all things with respect and kindness.

As I’ve traveled along my journey, I’ve also benefited from Buddhist teachings surrounding the Noble Eightfold Path. The Noble Eightfold Path is the fourth of the Four Noble Truths (see below) and is described as a practical method leading to the cessation of the experience of suffering and the achievement of self-awakening. The Noble Eightfold Path is used to develop insight into the true nature of reality and to eradicate greed, hatred, and delusion (i.e., false or mistaken beliefs or ideas about something).

Four Noble Truths

I do not label myself a Buddhist at all, and can only speak of it in simplistic terms (which in my eyes is perhaps all the better – the less intellectualization, the more powerful). However, the Eightfold Path really helped me see that everything that manifests in our lives, including our relationship status, is a mirror of our inner game. The Dali Lama once said: “When you realize that everything springs only from yourself, you will learn both peace and joy.” If loving relationships are an important part of our Garden of Eden, we absolutely cannot co-create one if our head is a thicket of weeds and prickles and our heart is scorched earth.

An important point in the Noble Eightfold Path, in my eyes, is “right* mindfulness”, having complete or thorough Awareness. Through this particular path, we develop cognizance and understanding of things, our “selves”, feelings, thoughts, other people and Reality. Through right mindfulness, we can release ourselves from the trap of taking everything personally, holding grudges and blaming others. (* Not “right” as in correct but “right” as in alignment.)

The Eightfold Path also teaches us about a key relationship skill: perfected or whole speech, also called right speech, which is clear, truthful, uplifting and non-harmful communication. I’ll talk more about communication skills, as well as the power of the words we use, in upcoming blog posts but in general, this path clearly influences how skillfully we express, communicate, think, and thereby create the events in our life. (Like a sword with two edges, our word can either create the most beautiful dream, or destroy everything around us.)

eightfold path

The biggest lesson I’ve learned, particularly through direct observation of way too many frustrated, distressed and angry singles, deals with the origin of our suffering – which in this case is the experience of emotional or psychological pain. Suffering arises fromattachment to desires, cravings, yearnings, identities, thoughts, behaviors, outcomes and so on. This is huge because I see so many singles – even spiritual ones like Christie – clinging to the myth that relationships are the cause of happiness, as in: “I’ll be happy when I have a romantic partner.” Too many singles think happiness is contingent upon external circumstances and situations, rather than upon their own inner attitude toward things, or toward life in general. I also see too many singles get attached to countless other beliefs such as “all the good ones are taken” etc. etc. (see my blog post on limiting beliefs – here). Attachment to these beliefs reflects the mind’s struggle in response to challenge; letting go, particularly regarding outcomes, is key to being peaceful. And yet we get so caught up in our yearnings, such as the idea that we must be in a partnership to be happy, that we can’t see the trap we’re setting.

Listen, I know it’s HARD to stay in a spiritual zone when recovering from a breakup or when we’re out there dating and looking for our ideal partner, or even when we’re intimately involved with someone. Fear of vulnerability, as well as self-doubt and low self-esteem issues, can shake our foundations and all of our learnings can often fly out the window. And yet this is the precise time to rely on our spiritual practices, to not only move us toward enlightenment, but to attract and co-create empowered relationships.

The key is to practice – learn to recognize attachment, the cause of your suffering.

Up Next: what a spiritually “evolved” or empowered relationship looks like and how to attract a spiritual partner.

Shy No More: Tips for Empowered Dating

Shy No More: Tips for Empowered Dating

Courage Dating Dating Skills Self-Acceptance Uncategorized

Last night I hosted a special teleclass on Empowered Dating for Introverts and judging by the fevered pitch of dismay I received from those who missed it, this is a hot topic. I thought I would share here the kernels of what I discussed, including a step-by-step process to help you (as an introvert and/or as someone who is shy) date to your strengths.

Before we get into strategies and tactics, let’s differentiate between Shyness and Introversion because the two are not the same. According to Psychology Today, Shyness is the awkwardness or apprehension some people feel when approaching or being approached by other people. Shy people often desperately want to connect with others, but don’t know how or can’t tolerate the anxiety that comes with human interaction. Introverts, on the other hand, have the interpersonal skills and healthy self-esteem needed for interacting with others yet feel most energized by time alone. Shy people want very much to be with others but lack the social skills and self-esteem to take a chance. Introverts seek time alone because they want time alone. At a party, you might see an introvert and a shy person standing against the wall, but the introvert prefers to be there, while the Continue reading

Empowered Dating for Introverts

Empowered Dating for Introverts

Courage Dating Dating Skills Fulfillment Relationships Self Discovery

Do you feel awkward, even apprehensive, when approaching or being approached by other people? Do you desperately want to connect with others, but don’t know how or can’t tolerate the anxiety that comes with interaction? Dating can seem extraordinarily hard for those who are either shy or introverted – taking risks to put oneself out there can seem like a daunting task. Plus our society tends to disfavor either trait; often we express this bias by encouraging shy and/or introverted people to see themselves as ill.

The truth is, more people than not are both. In fact, shyness and introversion – or more accurately, the careful, sensitive temperament from which both often spring – are not just normal, they are valuable. The challenge is when we long to make a connection and are Continue reading