Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Less is More

When we push for too hard we can leave growth behind. Long term focus is the key to sustained success. our attachment to short-term gratification can be problematic, particularly when we are pursuing more significant goals. 

If you’re  driven, taking things at a slower pace can be a challenge. Many of us are taught that anything can be accomplished quickly if we focus and work hard enough. That is true for some things. For many of the most important goals in life, it is not. 

Fitness is a great example. We can be so determined that we push ourselves  beyond where we are ready to go. Our motivation fades, we exhaust ourselves, and often give up.  Part of the physical growth process is recovery. Without time to rest we can’t make gains. Pushing a little bit is the way to go. 

Be realistic about how far you can progress. If you have minimal experience it is best to proceed cautiously towards your goals. Physical fitness goals need to be long-term.

Spiritual development is similar. Whatever practice you are starting, focus on slow, steady growth. Many people start with a flash. They set up an elaborate altar. Start praying multiple times a day. Work as often as possible. This only leads to frustration.  Lack of instant results does not mean you aren’t growing.

Spiritual practice requires skill. Deepening your ability needs dedication, and patience. If you make sincere effort over a period of time, you will grow. 

People also experience frustration when praying for something. They think the Universe is Costco. Simply connect, make a request, and trade spiritual effort for whatever you want. It doesn’t work that way.  Your effort will bring you what you need. What you want is another story. We’ll talk more about that next week.

Do you agree that spiritual growth this a matter of patience and perseverance? I’d love to hear why, or why not.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Honouring Versus Acting On Our Emotions

Learning when to act on our emotions is an important way to develop character.  It demands maturity. It is important for us to be in touch with our feelings. But, we get ourselves into trouble when we indulge them. 

There are many times when expressing ourselves openly, and honestly, is necessary. But, when our “in the moment” feelings could lead to conflict it’s time to pull back. It is best not to act on a negative emotion until we’ve had a chance to calm down. That way we can make a rational decision regarding what to do.

It is equally important to express balanced, positive, emotions. Putting positive vibes out into the world makes it better for everyone.

Sometimes we need to think about where a positive emotion is coming from. Even a surge of happiness can be problematic. This is particularly true when we meet a new, attractive, person. Even though our feelings might be positive, they are not ready to be expressed.

The excitement of meeting someone puts us into endorphin overdrive. These feel good hormones are there to help us forge bonds with other people. But, we can’t take them too seriously. The powerful rush of feelings should be allowed to subside. Given some time they will balance out. Then we can figure out how we actually feel. 

Friendships also go through the honeymoon period.When the initial emotions subside, powerful negative emotions can replace them. The negativity brings the balance we need. If we stay calm, and take our time, we’ll get to the end of the process. Then, we’ll create a stable, long-lasting relationship. 

Honour your feelings.  Take action when you are rational enough to respond appropriately. Look to the long term. Then all your relationships will be built on positive foundations. 

Do you agree that it is important to keep our feelings in check sometimes? I’d love to hear why, or why not.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Our Partner's Stuff

When is it time to call our partner’s out on their stuff? It is  important to be sensitive to our partner’s feelings. When their old stories are operating it can be difficult. Eventually you have to expect people to be responsible for their history. 

One of the most difficult challenges in a relationship is dealing with flirtation. For the person flirting it is never a big deal. For their partner it can be hurtful. Does that mean we should never flirt?

Recently my flirting was taken  as a direct threat to my relationship. It forced me to take a hard look at myself, and at my husband’s sensitivity.

I had no intention of taking it any further . But, based on his past experience, my partner felt it was a problem.

I’ve realized that I need to be less exuberant when connecting with new people. I could have handled the situation more delicately. Now that I know the impact, I can take responsibility for my actions. 

My husband had a very painful breakup in his past. He gets upset whenever I flirt. He has difficulty leaving the old story behind to see that our situation is different.

I feel great compassion for him. I also know that it is  important for me not to take on his issues. Moving into a more healthy relationship requires us both  to deal with our own baggage. We can’t resolve other people’s challenges for them. We can support them and perhaps help them. But, the journey to healing their life is theirs alone.

I gave him some space to sort through things. We will see our relationship coach when we’re both ready. An outside perspective will help us get back on track as individuals, and as a couple. 

Our relationship will continue to thrive, and grow. The more we use this situation as an opportunity to heal ourselves, the more powerful our bond will become. 

When is it time to shield your partner, and when is it time to help them face their issues, and grow? I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Connect with Brian

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Friendship and Attraction

How do you handle a strong attraction to someone you’d like to start a friendship with?

 I recently met someone through very close friends of mine. I had a particularly intense connection with him. There was powerful, physical, chemistry.

Our conversation got intensely personal almost immediately. I don’t normally feel at ease with new people so quickly. I realized as we spent some time together that I really like him. I was excited about the possibility of a new friend.

In the past I would have chosen not to connect with him. I used to think that our attraction could only lead to issues. I believed that being attracted to a friend would threaten my marriage.

This experience challenged my thoughts about it. Good character demands that we honour our agreements. My husband and I are exclusive to one another sexually, and romantically. We chose that at the beginning of our relationship. We want things to stay that way.

It is also important to be open to the many opportunities that present themselves in our lives. It is critical to judge every opportunity for the long-term benefit it provides. When an opportunity carries challenge it most often brings significant growth.

I have decided to let the friendship grow naturally, while I keep my eyes open. Pretending that the attraction doesn’t exist could create even bigger issues. Only time will tell if we will develop a close connection. 

My new friend, and I, will have to explore one another with appropriate  boundaries. There may be times when that is easier said than done. The only way to move forward is to be completely honest with him about my attraction. I also need to clearly explain the boundaries of my primary relationship. That way we can relate in a  respectful way.
I hope by acting in an open, loving, way we can build a solid friendship. One that will benefit everyone in my circle, including my husband.

Do you believe that it’s important not to allow physical attraction to prevent you from pursuing a platonic friendship? I’d love to hear why, or why not.