Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Love and Lust: What not have both?

You can have love without lust. Sex can be ho hum. Or almost dutiful. Or a hit and miss thing that has to be fueled by going to the movie, or a glass of wine.

Even then, it is usually almost dreamlike, a feeling a returning to an amazing, and forgotten world.

"Why don't we do this more often" the passionate couple think.
And then forget about it for another week.

And there are far worse, couples who are reluctant to have sex. The partner has gotten fat, or mean, or  has slipped into tragic habits (drinking, watching TV, overeating). Which aren't really tragic, but they certainly do make a person boring, don't they?

This is why the word Enlightenment is part of the bigger way of approaching all this. Someone watching TV or drinking is more or less "killing time" with their life.

Which happens when you or I or anyone falls into the automatic life of sleep and habit that the world gears and trains us for.

What does that have to do with love without lust?
An awake person realizes that the body wants to touch. A person with love, realizes their body wants to get deliciously close to their partner.
An awake person remembers the sweetness of sex and returns often, for delight, renewal and connection.

Simple version: love is better, much better with sex as an almost daily nourishment.

And going the other way: sex every day without love could keep people kind of young and perky, and from what I've seen, usually leads to a restless prowl into the messy worlds of polygamy. Not that this is a morally "bad" way to live.

And, this is messy.

I've never seen the theoretically wonderful world of sharing and non-jealousy actually happen.

And, if you want to be awake in the world, and stay healthy, and be of benefit to the "Saving the World" necessity, you don't really have time for all the anguished back and forth emotional "processing" (attacking and complaining and half-assed psychology, usually) that all Open Love situations seem to require.

And, what if, just what if, you had sex daily and didn't really love the person?

Seems to me, you'd grow to love the person.

And maybe not. If you were afraid to talk to them, or even more important, afraid to listen to them, love could stagnate.

So, you'd be getting your dessert and no dinner.

Sounds like starvation would come soon.

What do you think?

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

What is an Awakened Relationship//// first 10 pages

Love, Lust, & Enlightenment

Awakened Love


a Delightful, Juicy, and Present Life


“Saving the World”

Chris Elms, M.A.
 Copyright—— 2018

Do you want an Awakened Relationship?
People find another person, and things are great, or pretty good. Then things come into some sort of drifting status quo. Sex stays pretty good, and friendship disappears. Or friendship gets comfortable and sex disappears.  Very few couples live in the thrill of enlightenment as a simple way of being in which you are happy almost all the time, and are present almost all the time, and have a commitment to the Big Picture, to “Saving the Earth.”
And the earth needs saving, just look at all the poverty and war and racism and ecological destruction and vast income inequity and sexism: tis a mess. And loneliness. And meaninglessness. And deep harrowing struggles for so many. Yes, the Earth needs saving, but without the anguish that usually goes along with this. 
My goal is 10,000 Awakened Couples, who are happily engaged in Love, and Lust and Enlightenment. And “Saving the Earth.”

To make it simple, here’s the base line of Awakened Relationship.
Love: Ease and fun and communication every day.
Love: Ready ways to forgiveness and humor when buttons get pushed, or the shit hits the fan.
Lust: Sex, both reciprocal and non-reciprocal every day. Mindful sex.
Enlightenment: Happy and in the present almost full time.
Enlightenment: Committed to the Big Picture and happily, mindfully “Saving the Earth.”

This books is for anyone, in a couple or wanting to be, who wants all five aspects to Awakened Love. You might be in a boring or okay relationship. You might be in a troubled one. You might be alone.
If you want this wonderful Awakened Relationship world, this book is for you.
There are nine weeks worth of focusing on pathways of liberation. There will be “games” for you to play almost immediately. 
You can play one right now.

The Wake Up Game:
Look out a window if one is near.
Take a breath down to your belly.
Sense your pelvis’ connection to the chair. If you are standing, sense your feet and the ground or the floor. If sitting sense one or both feet against the floor or ground. 
Breathe again, a little deeper. Smile a little bigger.
Feel yourself alive.
Right now.

The first three weeks will concentrate on three liberations pathways —Gratitude, Being Present, Writing Goals from the Real you—that helped a miracle take place in my life, and that of Carol. Who is Carol? Read on.
On June 20, 2015, I walked half a block down my street in Austin, Texas, to meet a woman I knew and admired and liked, but with whom I thought I had no “romantic” expectations. I had met her a mere three months before, in March. She had moved to Austin in February. Now in June it was a gentle summer’s day, and we were going to meet for a lunch and “study” session. I was writing a book on radical listening. She was smart and kind and I wanted her input. Her name was Carol Williams then.
It’s Carol Elms now.

We thought we were meeting for an hour and a half. For lunch and a bit of her help on a book I was writing, the precursor to this one.
Twelve hours later, at one am, as I pried myself out the door, to walk the half block back to my home, we both were almost certain we’d met the future lifetime partner that had a day before seemed “almost impossible” to find. I’d written an “impossible goal” to find a fabulous woman within walking distance. I hadn’t realized till that night that Carol was to be the answer to that request.
Goals are important, crucial, yes. Carol had been praying for a life time partner. But goals written or prayed from a heart of grumpiness and fear are more like whining. Goals from the fertile fields of gratitude are more like singing as you plant a fertile field.
This book is for those who want a fabulous relationship at the center of a fabulous, awakened, sexy life. A life that is making a huge difference in the world.
Is this you?
If yes, read on…

We all thrive in gratitude…
On that night, and since then,  the practice of gratitude was a deeply embedded part of both our lives. Then, as now, I was writing in a “gratitude journal” at least twice, often three or four or five times, a day. Carol, on that miracle day, had a steady background prayer life, of which gratitude and thanks was a significant part. Now she has a gratitude journal, too. By the middle of week one, (or sooner) so will you. If you want a fabulous life. (Oh, darn: basic law: if you want to change, you have to change).
And, of course, Carol and I keep being grateful that our gratitude helped paved the way for our miracle. And every day we are grateful for the fun and sexual delight and waking into the present moment that is our new life. 
What are you grateful for? Think of three things. Does something shift?

The Power of Gratitude
Gratitude focuses our hearts and minds on what we like and love in life, what is going well in our life, what we are thankful for and want more of. Instead of wasting time and mental energy on worry or complaining, gratitude allows us to look at life from a peaceful and open heart. With an eager heart alert to what has gone well in the past, we are primed to be looking forward to more “good stuff” unfolding each day.
Gratitude has us focused on what we want more of in life, not what we want less.
Modern research has shown what ancient wisdom has long suspected: the brain (and person) can be in either fear or gratitude.
Carol and I were tuned in to what we appreciated about our lives. This made it far easier to tune into what we could appreciate in the other person. We played a communication game that I will give you soon as part of chapter two, the Being Present chapter. In this game, you take turns talking a specific amount to a timer (3, 4, 5 minutes). In this time, no interrupting is permitted. We took five minutes each. We had the goal of being present in both talking and listening.
This game will change your life.
For us, in gratitude and in the presence of talking and listening without interruption, this “game” allowed one hour to expand into two, into three, into four for us.
And as we listened, since our lives were coming from gratitude, and being present, we could discover who we were with. It wasn’t about explaining ourselves. It was about mutually discovering each other.
Way too many “dates” are like job interviews, where the people push their “qualities” back and forth. Instead, if they were present and curious, they could be delighting in finding out about a new human being on this planet earth.
We keep discovering and discovering and discovering. Then it was time for “have you ever watched the Brene Brown TED talk on vulnerability?” “No.” And watching it.
“Say something vulnerable.”
“You are starting to look a lot like the level of person I never thought I could find.”
More of that.
Walking to dinner.
Holding hands.
Back to watch the TED talk again.
I asked her favorite verses from the Bible, since it had become clear in our talking that in quite different ways (deep Christianity for her, a mythical Buddhism meets Christianity for me) we were both intensely committed to a spiritual path.
One of hers was “Be Still and Know I am God.”
To me this meant: Bingo. That’s what meditation is about. I’ve found someone with whom I can meditate. (We now have sex usually twice a day. We now meditate usually twice a day. Going deep in two ways. Yum).
One of mine was Philippians 4:4:  “Be happy (rejoice) in everything. Be anxious in nothing. Lift up your thanks and then your petitions.” (Give your gratitudes, and then your requests/ goals… Always be in a state of equanimity).
There was more talk.
I told her, to her shock, I was going to a wonderful Austin church the next day, with music that sometimes bordered on Broadway musical and sermons that were about real Christian themes, not the narrow minded stuff of many modern churches. 
We kissed a bit.
We held ourselves back. 
I pried myself away and got out the door at one, am.
We were both pretty sure we’d found the “impossible” mate/ lifetime partner that we’d suspected might not be out there.
And yet, here we were, half a block apart.
I showed up the next morning, at eight with my way cool Restored New Testament (Willis Barnstone, check it out) in hand.
We’ve been together since.

That was June 21, 2015, our day of “Yes.”
And then the deeper “Yes” came on March 5, 2016, the day of our marriage.

We had and have  nine wedding vows, all of which we recite together each morning. The ninth is: We are joyfully creating a long and happy and healthy and enlightened Love, Friendship and Marriage that is getting better and better and better every day.

Every day.
That usually happens. 
We touch a lot. Kiss a lot.
We are getting better and better at converting growls into laughs.
We are getting better and better and transforming complaints into ease and self realization and “we goals.”
And making love.
Delicious lovemaking.
The best of our lives.
Once a day.
Twice a day.
Three times a day.
She is now 68 to my 72. Neither of us have ever had a third as much sex as we are having now. For her before it was several times a month, at best. For me, twice a week.
And now: zowie. As if we were in our twenties. If this, along with mindfulness and health and happiness and awakening to ways of joyfully “saving the world,” is what you want… read on.
And….This isn’t a sex manual.
Sex is the dessert to an amazing life. If you are alone and deserted now, many of the games in this book will help you find really great friends, friends with whom awakening and real communication can take place.
One of those great friends might turn out to be the lover and spouse that you are looking for.
Along the way, you can be present and happy with yourself and with others. If so, you will be living a real life and pulling toward you real people. Without being present and happy (and having purpose) it’s all the random crap shoot of most life.
This book is for those who want far, far above the Random Crap Shoot.
For those who want Love, Lust and Enlightenment.
And now, for the beginning of your week one playwork, let us start our gratitude games:

Love and Gratitude Game #1:
Say aloud five things you are grateful for. Feel your heart as you say these five.

Really, do it now. This is not a book to “just read” and imagine “doing it” later. This is not a book of “good ideas” for you to give your “screwed up” friends. This is a transformation manual for those who want even more amazing life.
So, do it.
Say aloud five things you are grateful for, and be as present to your body and your voice and your heart as you can be while you do so.

Love and Gratitude Game #2: Write five Gratitudes.
Get a journal, label it your “Gratitude Journal” and write down five things you are grateful for.
Write slowly.
Feel your breathing and your hand and arm moving.
Feel your handwriting as part of YOU pouring out your appreciation for life.

If you don’t have a journal, YET, grab any piece of paper and write five gratitudes.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Awakened Couples/ Saving the World/ Waking up + Having Purpose

The world is a mess.

Climate change. Racism. Insane politics. Starvation in Africa. Ecological collapse around the corner.

And: who is to help this?

And if it's us, how are we to help this and stay happy and enjoying deeply pleasurable relationship along the way?

Gratitude is certainly one part.

Being present, for sure, without that, we are lost to life and steady prey to all old and crappy programming

Loving what is, and not believing our "words in our head" is another.

Writing goals instead of worry and complaint, is another.

That's why I'm writing the book.

Let me know what you'd want to improve in love, in lust, in enlightenment, in "saving the world"

It's not that hard, and it's huge: the general trance is one with no meaning, and no presence.

We need a life of meaning.

We are wasting our life if we are not present.

Let's have some fun shifting to both, and more. (See a couple of days ago for a list of nine)


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

What if the other person pushed your buttons and you woke up?

Dancing at the wedding.

Sometimes we act as if the other person pushing our buttons is the worst thing in the world.

How dare they?

We want to be loved and appreciated full time?

We are so wonderful, shouldn't they treat us wonderfully?


Sometimes they are in a bad mood, or we are a jerk and they react back in jerky ways. Or they have bad habits and know they can push our buttons?

Or, they have bad parents who taught them how to push buttons?


Doesn't matter.

People are jerks.

And,,,,, news flash.... so are we.

So, what's the secret?

There are many, and the first is to realize that our buttons are OUR BUTTONS.

Then, have a sense of humor about their crime. Almost always, if they are being selfish, we have plenty of instances. If they are failing to appreciate, this is something we are slipping up on, too.

And then, there is the wonderful two chair version of questions three and four in the  the Work of Byron Katie.

Sit in one chair, with a pencil and paper. Write down the "should" belief you have about your mean/ awful/ inconsiderate partner. Then write a list of how you feel and act when you believe that.

Now, switch to another chair. Look at the should belief and don't believe it.
If only for a few seconds.
What happens to you?

Or, look at the belief and then stop looking. And stop thinking. Simple and profoundly be present.
Without the thoughts, who and how are you?

There is more.
The trick though is this: do we want to blame and feel "right" and feel bad.

Or, do we want to laugh at ourselves and realize that it is our belief in the story, not the story, that is "pushing our buttons."

No new news, we push our own buttons.

Except that it's always new news when we forget and then realize it.

Welcome to the world of imperfection.

Welcome to the world of waking up..


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Nine Weeks to Better Love, Sex, and "Almost" Enlightenment

Here are the steps/ weeks/ stages.

Each one of itself is quite fine.

We can all enjoy upgrading ourselves in any of these areas, don't you think?

  •  Gratitude

  • Being Present

  • Goals from your Real Self

  • No Body = Nobody, Real Learning via Movement

  • Don’t Believe your “Thinking” (words in your head)

  • Humor, Happiness, & Health

  • Connect with the “Energy”

  • Have Sex/ “Awakened Conversation”  Every Day

  • Be happily involved in “Saving the World”

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

You can be right, or you can be happy, 2


This is something we can do.
Often when we've had good food, good fun, or good sex (or good work) this is easier.
And still, even in the "hard" times, the grumpy times, we can just say, "Screw it," to the voices and habits that want us to feel bad.


Almost all unhappiness has a thinking behind it that is poisoned with either "should" or "shouldn't."

At it's simplest level, much of this has to do with the rough idea: "If so and so (usually the mate, or even more, the ex-mate) would just change/ shape up/ be different, then everything would be okay."

And the trick here is to explore what this does for you.


This is a short game today.

It's question three of the work of Byron Katie.
How do you react when you hold this thinking.
Go ahead. Take a certain chair. Have it be the Belief chair.
Sit in it and believe the thought.

Notice: What are your feelings, and body sensations. Mull over: how do you live your life as a result of this?

Now, the difference.

Sit in another chair.
Ask yourself question #4 of the Byron Katie work: Who are what am I without that thought?
Feel and notice what life is like without that thought.

Keep learning:
Go back and forth between chair 3 and chair 4. Feel and notice the difference.

Just keep learning the difference between believing it and not believing it.

Your life will make the change when you are ready.
You don't have to decide.
It will be decided from within.

Who is creating the unhappiness: the other person and the way they need to shape up, or you, by believing this story?



Friday, January 05, 2018

You can be Right or you can be Happy....The Turn Around to the rescue

Liberation Pathway #4:
“I’m an ass. You’re an ass. Let’s get on with it.”
Don’t believe your own thinking.
“I’m imperfect and you’re imperfect and that’s perfect.”
You can be Right or you can be Happy

We are starting to wake up to this sad and funny truth, right: One of the best ways to be miserable is to get into the messy and stuck place where we and SURE that if the other person would just “shape up” then everything would be fine.
And, of course, “shape up” means act and think just the way we want them to. It often includes that they capitulate and admit they are wrong, and bow down in contrition to our being right.
We can suffer.
Or we can do something different.
Here’s a very fun game to do something different.

I’m an ass/ You’re an ass Game #1:
The next time you get in an argument with a friend or your mate or anybody, ask:
“Can we do the generic argument?”
If they say, Yes, ask them to copy everything you say.
As they do, the conversation will go like this:
Person A: “I’m right and you’re wrong.”
Person B: “I’m right and you’re wrong.”
Person A: “No, no, you’ve got it backward. I am right and you are wrong.”
Person B: “No, no, you’ve got it backward. I am right and you are wrong.”
Person A: “You’ll be so much happier once you admit that you are wrong, and I’m the one that is right.”
Person B: “You’ll be so much happier once you admit that you are wrong, and I’m the one that is right.”

This can be a lot of fun.
Hopefully for both people a light bulb will go off: this is what is really going on underneath the arguing.

 Core to happiness, and core to waking up: realize that what we think is “right” is our opinion. Not the truth.
And realize that sticking to that opinion (being right) is making us miserable.
Our unhappiness is almost always rooted in crappy thinking.
Usually poor me/ selfish/ afraid/ angry/ I’m right and you’re wrong/ you need to change thinking.
Which kind of crappy thinking doesn’t matter.
What matters, is that it is not true.
Something else is true, and weirdly enough what is often true, is the upside down/ opposite/ turn around of what we thought was true before.

Let me share a story about a girlfriend of seven years awhile back who had the effrontery to move on.
With crappy thinking I was able to suffer greatly.
Then I tried the “turn around,” and my suffering transformed to love and liberation. And happiness.

Why am I writing this book?
One reason: to spare you some of the suffering that comes with love when it goes awry.
And it goes awry a lot, does it not?
Here’s a case study, with Sally Ann and I, circa 1999….
We were supposedly in love, and yet the main thing we did was argue and fight.
We’ll call her Sally Ann, and I’d met her seven years earlier, when I was building a fence in her landlord’s backyard. She was younger than me and in grad school at Berkeley, getting her masters in landscape architecture, and she was an earthy sort, and lonely, and smart, and we both loved design and gardens, and in short time, each other.
We had a blast and lived together in two places in Berkeley until she finished her master’s degree. About the same time my son had finished high school and his “gap year” of traveling, and was off to college.
Time to leave the city. We were both ready for the country paradise. Whoopie!
Time to frolic and grow miraculous food and gardens in the country. Time for love and flowers and nature all to blossom.

Sally Ann and I visualized a paradise cottage in the country, creek to one side, forests at another edge, open fields nearby. We found one that met all these wishes on the outskirts of Sonoma the town, in Sonoma the country, in California the state.
Heaven for awhile. ( We didn’t visualize a stable landlady. We didn’t visualize harmonious love. Alas…)
We made our own paradise garden. We ate outside almost every meal we were together, right at the edge of an oak forest, with a seasonal creek nearby, and a four acre open field on the other side of the cottage. 
We raised tomatoes and herbs to sell at the farmer’s market.
We made love. 

We fought.
And we fought.
And we fought.

Trouble in paradise.

There is a fun and annoyingly accurate assessment for relationships : if F, standing for fighting, is greater than F, standing for sex, you are in trouble.
We got more and more in trouble.

Have you ever been there? The fighting F greater than the sexy F?
We were fighting a couple of times a day. We were F…ing a couple of times a week.
We supposedly loved each other and fight fight fight. It got to that ridiculous stage were we were arguing about who had started yesterday’s argument and so on and so on, until we can’t even remember what the original disagreement was all about.

Have you ever been there? Argue, argue. Are you there now, sometimes. It’s hell, right?
Love gone wrong can be one of the greatest hells on earth. Love, seen through to its depths (which is almost always discovering OUR contribution to the mess, and OUR need for real transformation), can be the most immediate and concrete path to real spiritual growth.
That’s a major reason for this book: to show you some paths to trade in the mess of love for the use and delight of love as a path of spiritual transformation.

… back to Sally Ann and Chris in hell. F way more than F, in the paradise country town of Sonoma in the glorious county of Sonoma.

And then she solved the problem.
Ended the fighting.
No more F and no more F.

She ran off with Joe.

She ran off with Joe, charming Joe, Joe who was a lot like me, except that he could act out his adoration for Sally Ann instead of fight with her. Joe who was a lot like me except he could be in love with her instead of in conflict. 
They had a wonderful F to F ratio, thank you.

And how did I respond? Did I find refuge in the present (which I had been studying and “practicing” and dedicating myself to for at least twenty years prior to this)?
Did I soar on the wings of liberation and non-attachment?

I did the usual.
Feeling the victim, betrayed, sad, depressed, worried, angry at Joe and Sally Ann.
And angry at myself.
Why angry at myself? The obvious evidence: my side of the arguing had been not so wonderful.
And so….

Poor me.
Hating the “bad” other person.
Hating the “bad/ failure” me.
Hating life.
All that.

You’ve felt it, sometime?
You are feeling it still now? If so, I’m sorry. 
Suffering sucks.
And a lot of divorces and breakups are swamped in these shitty feelings, and a lot of people still carry them around.
Not pretty.
Not happy.

Which sucks. If a relationship done right can be one of the most wonderful, blissful and quickest paths toward spiritual advancement, the opposite is something most of us have suffered: a relationship gone wrong can be the depths of hell on Earth.
Suffering sucks.
Relationship suffering deeply, painfully sucks.

And there are ways out of it. I’ll offer one way, starting right now, with the breakthrough I discovered way back in 1999.
The discovery was to do the “turn around.”

The Turn Around, the turn Around, the Turn Around.

This “turn around” is a subset of something called “the work of Byron Katie.” 
Who is Byron Katie? Very short version: She’s a woman who came to enlightenment via the path of alcoholism, obesity, chain smoking, yelling at her family and deep depression. She wasn’t trying for enlightenment. She was hating her life and hating her suffering and wanted it to end.
And it did. Her suffering ended. Not her life, A brand new amazingly real and useful life began.
She “woke up” one day, in 1986, in a halfway house in the dusty backwater desert town of Barstow, California. She was laying on the floor because she felt unworthy of a bed. A cockroach walked across her leg. All her suffering vanished when she “woke up” to the world just as it was, the world without ANY of her judgments about the world. No judgments meant no suffering.

She was free.
Life was almost entirely laughter and delight.
With very brief returns of the “old world,” in which an old thought of complaint and judgment and non-forgiveness would cause her delight to tumble, which hurt. From the heights of bliss, back to “normal” human suffering: this was all the more painful for how huge a contrast this now was.
And she realized that her occasional bout of pain, was the normal lot of most human beings. When she looked out at normal humanity, she saw everyone outside of her continuing to suffering from their own thoughts beliefs and judgments.
So, she invented a method to “undo” the thoughts / beliefs/ judgments that are at the root of almost all suffering.
This wasn’t about positive thinking.
This wasn’t about affirmation.
This was a great “un-doing,” which you’ll become familiar with as the book progresses.
For now, we only need here to look at a valuable and almost immediately useful subset of her “work.”
Which you are welcome to dive into more fully at

For now though, let me continue to share the Sally Ann and Joe and Chris story, and how part of “the work” led me to one of the great freedoms and clarities of my life.

So, there I was, alone and bitter and out of the famous present and miserable. And over there, a few miles away was Sally Ann off having a great F to F ratio with Joe.
Time to do the work. The work of Byron Katie.

This is the “turn around” part of the Byron Katie work.

It’s bizarrely simple:
You take your judgment, formulate it as a “should” or “shouldn’t” commandment, and you write it down:

“So and so should listen to me more.” (It’s always about me/ me/ me, isn’t it?)
And you reverse the sentence: “I should listen to so and so more.”

“So and so should appreciate me more.”
Turns around…. “I should appreciate so and so more.”

Beliefs that we have been torturing ourselves with for years are highly fertile fields for the turn around:
“My father shouldn’t have criticized me so much.”
And even if he started it, even if he was “worse,” the turn around has tons of wisdom, “I shouldn’t have criticized my father so much for criticizing me.” More on this later, as a way out of years and years of feeling bad about my wonderful and imperfect dad.

Now, though, I’m going to share how I rescued myself from my suffering with Sally Ann, and then offer you this as a way to transform your own life with this “turn around.”

With Sally Ann the breakthrough came by turning around this belief, “Sally Ann should love me more.” Oh, did I suffer when I believed that. But… ta da… the work of Byron Katie and the turn around to the rescue…
This turn around seemed true enough at an intellectual level:  “I should love Sally Ann more.”

I kind of nodded my head, yes, yes,
And then, for some reason I let this sink down, and a heart-rooted lightening bolt went off. 
I really SHOULD love Sally Ann more!!!

I had loved Sally Ann. A lot.
Part of me still did.
And when I went to that part, the whole world opened.

Loving her meant being happy she was with Joe.
She wanted to be with Joe.
Joe made her happy.
Loving her more meant waking up to this reality: I loved that she was happy. With Joe. With Geronimo. It didn’t matter: loving her meant wanting her to be happy and being happy that she was happy.

Loving her meant being happy that she was living the life she wanted to live.
Loving her meant being heart fully happy for her that she was free of our fighting.
Loving her meant: loving her.

This set me free.
This opened my heart.
This allowed me to beam with happiness when I thought about her and Joe. I could be happy for her even when I saw her and Joe happily wandering the small town together.

This was freedom.
This was love.
This was, in a strange way, enlightenment.

And….. could you sweet audience, use something like this to transform your life?
And will I show you a way to do this?

Love and “Don’t Believe Your Thinking” Game, #2
All you do is take a Should or a Shouldn’t about someone who is bothering you.
Your mate.
Your ex-mate.
The friend you are furious at.
Write a short “should” or “shouldn’t” sentence.
John should appreciate me more.
My Dad shouldn’t have criticized me so much.

Sit, or stand in a particular place and believe this fully and see what this does to you.
Even let your body contort and whither a bit from the pain.

Shift to another chair or stand in another place.
“Turn around” the statement:
I should appreciate John more.
I shouldn’t have criticized my Dad so much.

Find at least three ways that the turn around is true.
Yeah, yeah, you aren’t going to like it. 
At first.
Until the humor sets in.
Then you’re going to love it, like I did realizing that I was the one who should love Sally Ann more.

Why three ways?
Because when I explained this to a fellow student in my certification coach for Co-Active Coaching, she said it reminded her of her time in the Israeli military (all youth between 18 and 21 spend two or three years in the military). Everyone was trained that when they had the finger of accusation pointed out, three fingers were pointed back.
So, find three ways that the turn around is true.
Then life gets amusing and humbling.
And free.

And what happened to me after Sally Ann.
Sooner or later the thinking that “I’ll never find anyone as great” proved untrue and Celeste came along.
And with Celeste a very fun story of the turn around as a tool for one word accusations came true. (Accusations like: He is so mean. She is so petty. He is grumpy. She is in denial.)

Here’s the story about “selfish.” The one finger I was pointing out and realized that three were pointing back at me. 

Selfish Chris wakes up
Celeste was a vitally healthy and earth loving yoga teacher I never would have met if I hadn’t said “Yes” to someone who asked me to join her going to yoga.
Prelude: Meeting Celeste by saying, “Yes.”
I was working a couple hours a day being the lead creator and garden maker of what is now the Sonoma Garden Park. Five acres of food and flower and pathways and a straw bale barn and a lot of beauty. In the early days of the garden, before it reached a certain critical mass of beauty, very few people came to help me except young folks doing “community service” for some crime of youth, almost always alcohol or pot related.
And one day, a gal whom I’d begged to come help when she worked in the local health food store, was there. Because she’d gone off to college and studied community gardens and remembered my whining and had come to help for the morning.
We did a lot of weeding and I actually helped her with an issue with her sister using this “work of Byron Katie.”
Then it was time for her to leave, the hot time of the day, around noon. She asked if I wanted to join her going to yoga.
I had never ever considered yoga. This was 2000 before yoga was the rage everywhere, and I thought it was only for women who wanted to be pretzels. But, this woman had helped, and had listened to a chance to change doing the Byron Katie work, and I’d had some good luck before saying Yes, so I said yes.
I went to the class, and this woman and I were the only students.
The teacher was Celeste.
Who appeared not to be my type. But who was a great yoga teacher and I realized that I was a bit more stiff than I had thought I was.
So I kept going to Celeste’s classes.
And we started to talk.
And ride bikes together (I had a truck, but preferred the bike in the small town of Sonoma, where nothing was more than about a mile apart).
Then she came out to the garden, and I was wondering if she was girl friend potential, which could be discovered by how well she liked to garden. I put a pick in her hand and she went happy with delight to put it to use.
Okay, that test passed and we spent more time in the garden.
We read some short stories together.
We got fond of each other.
Then we got more than fond.
Then we decided to live together and I moved in with her.

Trouble with Celeste’s Daughter “selfish” Lara
This did not go over well with her daughter.
The night I moved in with Celeste, hers feisty teenage daughter, Lara, got very angry with her mother for choosing to start living with me. She moved out in a snit and went to live with her father.
She was short and nasty with her mother on the phone. A teenage girl. A pain in the ass. Which is to say, normal.
And I didn’t take it as normal. I was Mr. Righteous. I knew what was wrong with her. She was “selfish.”

I huffed and puffed and complained and felt righteous and angry and bad about this and then….
And then the good old turn around kicked me in the butt and brought to me a sense of humor. And friendship, it turned out.

Who is the Real “Selfish” One?
I realized that my major beef with her “selfish” behavior, was that it shook up Celeste and made her less delightful to be with. So it was my selfishness that wanted Lara to be different and less difficult. So her mother would be more fun for ME!
It wasn’t about Lara, it was about me. The “selfish” daughter “should” calm down, so I, in MY selfishness, could have a better time with Celeste.
When I realized this, it wasn’t a light bulb of love going off, the way it had with Sally Ann, but a light bulb of honesty and the blessed relief of humor. 
The freedom of real realization. Realization about myself, not Lara realization: She’s selfish. I’m selfish. We’re the same.

One day Lara was visiting her Mom and I, and I told her this, how I’d realized my big beef about her being selfish was really about my being selfish.
She seemed to love this honesty from an adult.
And when I left to go somewhere, she said to me, in great good humor, “Good-bye, selfish Chris.”
Let’s play the one finger out, three fingers back game with this one word accusations …..

Don’t Believe Your Thinking Love Game #3:

Think of someone you have a slight “beef” with
Think of three things wrong with them
Write these down in a short, judgmental form:
So and so is mean.
So and so is selfish.
So and so in grumpy

And… guess where it goes next, fellow ass?
I am mean.
I am selfish
I am grumpy.
With whatever words you had to label and judge so and so.

And, gasp again, find three examples of each.

You are probably going to want to avoid this. One more thing to “get around to.”
Me, too. I don’t want to do this now, as I’ve been doing all the games throughout the book.
And hey, I’m going to get a pen and journal and do it now.

I didn’t want to do it.
I did it.
And, it was pretty instructive.
How was it for you?

Once more: if you are too important, too busy, to do the games, because you imagine you don’t need them, and these is good information for the unfortunate souls who aren’t you, wise up.
We are all imperfect.

One of the great gifts of our own imperfect minds is that we can learn, somewhat bizarrely, EXACTLY what we need to work on in ourselves by discovering/ noticing/ getting honest about whatever is bothering us in other people.