Monday, March 24, 2008

Steering by Starlight

This week I have been joyously reading the new book by Martha Beck, Steering by Starlight. In this book Martha goes where no coach has gone before and it is fabulous.

There are many tools in the book for living the life you want. One of the first exercises in the book is a great one to adapt for use in relationships. You can use this when you are looking for a partner or when you are already involved with someone and find yourself wanting them to fulfill all your needs.

There are three parts to this exercise:

  • The first part is to ask yourself, "What do I want from a partner right now?" For example, some people may want to feel loved, or cared for. Just write down what you want from either your current partner or a future partner.
  • The second part is to picture yourself getting what you want. For example, if you want to feel loved, picture what that feels like. Now write down the feeling you get, when you have what you want.
  • The third part is to ask yourself, "How can I get this feeling now?" If you are in a relationship, it may be as simple as asking for more time together. If you are not, you need to be creative. Do you have a pet you can cuddle with? A friend who will come over? A Teddy Bear to love?

These tools can help you get your needs met, without waiting for some future that doesn't exist. One of the best parts of working on yourself and meeting your own needs, is that other people find it very attractive, and who know where that might lead!

Take care,


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Love's Crazy Quilt

In my last post, I wrote about time challenged relationships. It seems that since that post, my life has been time challenged! I want to publish a new post each week, and I am recommitting to doing that, as my life becomes more crazy.

This week I would like to talk about another kind of crazy, the crazy quilt of patterns that can occur in our relationships and our lives. The more I work with people who are healing their love lives and figuring out what is most authentic for them, the more I find that we tend to create a pattern in our relationships.

My pattern when I was out there in relationship hell was to find men who on the one hand were exciting, adventurous, and funny, and on the other hand were lost, sometimes abusive, often addicted, and not good long term relationship material. I would meet men who were kind, loving and hardworking, but I tended not to stay with them long.

These issues became the pattern of my relationships. When I took the time to write about each relationship and look at what happened, both good times and bad, I found a familiar pattern. It was even predictable after a while. There would be a couple of squares of excitement and fun, and then a dark square of abuse and addiction. When I would add in a nice guy, there might be a mellow and peaceful square.

  • If you have already made a list of your relationships and looked at what happened in each, my suggestion is looking for the patterns.

  • Do they always start the same way, or end the same way? Are there periods where the pattern has shifted?

  • Do the patterns remind you of other close relationships, such as those with one or both of your parents?

Once you recognize the patterns it is much easier to work on changing them, or doing something different, so that the patterns change. The patterns in my life shifted as I recognized something different. The squares of abuse and addiction started to come less often and eventually disappeared. The squares of peace and fun continued to multiply and grow. Now, my love quilt, has an occasional "We really need to have a good fight square!", and a lot of enjoying out lives together squares.

If you drew a pattern for your crazy quilt of love, what would it look like? What can you start doing today, to make the pattern work better for you? Whatever it is, start doing that!


Saturday, March 8, 2008

Resetting the Clocks!

Tonight is the night we have to set our clocks forward to begin Daylight Savings Time here in the Pacific Northwest. This got me thinking about our own internal clocks and how difficult it can be to change them.
I have always been more of a night person than a morning person. Well, that isn't exactly true. Once I am up and have had my daily dose of caffeine I enjoy mornings and have a lot of energy.
In the past I have always stayed up until 10 or 11pm on weeknights and preferred to roll out of bed around 6:30am. On weekends, I would stay up late and often sleep in and enjoy the extra time to relax. That may not sound like a night person to you, but compared to my husband, it qualifies! He prefers to be up before the crack of dawn, go to work early, come home early, and be in bed by 9pm every night.
This is a huge improvement over when we first met. Until I met him, I had never been in a relationship where we were what I would like to call "Time Challenged."
What is a time challenged relationship? For me it was one where I was finding it hard to end up in bed with my husband when we were both awake. This made it hard for us to find time for sex, and even just to cuddle in bed. When we first got married, I wasn't sure this was going to work for us. He would go to bed before I did, and get up before I did. My staying up later would bother him and, his getting up earlier would bother me!
Something had to change if we wanted to get enough sleep. My husband took a while to understand how important it was to work this out so we could both be happy. When it got to the point where I suggested separate bedrooms, he saw how serious I was. What we have done over time is move closer to each other in our schedules. He now goes to bed an hour later than he used to, and I go to bed an hour earlier, and we both end up in bed about the same time.
I have talked with other couples about what they do when they are Time Challenged. For those who can't find a way to get their schedules the same, because of different shifts, the challenges of children, and other unfortunate circumstances, the idea of having a room of their own can be a good idea. Sometimes this can even add some excitement to a relationship because they look forward to when they can get together.
Whatever your time challenges are, my suggestion is to be honest with each other and find creative ways to find intimacy and get the rest you need. What works for you? I would love to hear comments from anyone who has some experience with time issues.