Finding love again

Robert Mirabal and the power of intention

“You never know what the spirit of intention can do.”  –Robert Mirabal

fort franciscoWe spent a marvelous morning on Saturday at the Native American Celebration at Fort Francisco in La Veta. 

First of all the Fort is a beautiful example of 1800s adobe construction.  Their exhibits are also a wonderful collection of memorabilia from the past century, like a a walk through the homes of the early 1900s.  Old furniture, clothes, and my favorite, photos of people from our past.

Then we enjoyed a dance performance by three girls from the Jicarilla Apache Nation.  The highlight was a performance by Robert Mirabal of Taos Pueblo.  Yes, his music is a wonder, but I also found great wisdom in his words.

Robert MirabalRobert shared with this mostly European-American crowd the history of this area and what it meant to Native Americans.  He explained why his ancestors came up here from the south and kept the trails alive and fresh for others. He spoke of intention in our daily life.

When Robert plays his flutes and sings, it sounds like he is channeling the life and  stories of his ancestors, bringing up vivid imagery of our Native American past.

And in a way, isn’t that what we all do each day, channel our ancestors?  So much of who we are is determined by choices made by our parents and grandparents.

I am honored to be now living on this land where the buffalo roamed, the place where my grandfather hoped to retire.  I feel closer to the land than I have in decades, and I intent to protect this land and its heritage.

Negative thoughts are bad for your brain

I just discovered a new show on TNT called ‘Perception.‘  Have your seen it yet?  Very interesting!

Last night the main character, a neuroscientist played by Eric McCormack from Will & Grace, discussed an essential fact to know about how our brains work.  Scientists have shown that when it comes to our brains, what we focus on does GROW!

Every time you access a certain memory in your brain, your neurons create more connections to that thought making it ever more accessible the next time.

Here’s how that’s important to your mental health when you break up with somebody.  Nobody wants to focus on sad thoughts from your past, but it happens.  Like in that great song Someone That I Used To Know:

Gotye band“You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness…   like resignation to the end, always the end.”

How does this work?  You seek some sort of resolution to the feelings of abandonment and pain, but by focusing so strongly on rejection, you build up more and more connections to negative thoughts.  Not good for your mental health!

The best solution?  Seek out a good therapist who can help you focus completely on those thoughts until you find a way past your past trauma.  Sometimes the solution is Gestalt or some other method which pushes you through the whole experience to the other side with a nice jolt of insight and catharsis.

Whatever you do, don’t ruminate on past, negative thoughts forever.  It’s a nasty trap which can ruin your life, causing you to never believe in love again.  Don’t let one bad relationship ruin you life!

To learn more about getting past your past, don’t miss my new book: How To Believe In Love Again: Opening to Forgiveness, Trust and Your Own Inner Wisdom.

Love and acceptance within the relationship

I have to say, I am very impressed with the emotional intelligence of this young writer in her 20s.  This list: “20 Things You Need to Accept About Your 20s” is quite useful for those of all ages.

And when it comes to love, truer words were never spoken!

“The first time you fall in love probably won’t be the last.  There are different kinds of love and people that will come into your life for different reasons.”

How useful to know this for certain at age 20, instead of trying to “make” everything last.

But my favorite love truth is this:

“When you do find your person, they aren’t going to be perfect. Your relationship or marriage will be hard sometimes.  It isn’t about thinking someone is perfect; it’s about knowing that they are perfect for you. You need to marry your best friend, not your “dream” man or woman. 

Whenever my husband and I disagree, which has been often since we decided to remodel, sell our home, move and build a new home elsewhere, the stress of all this change has taken its toll on our relationship.  At times like these it is so important to remember that no one is always correct or ‘perfect’ but they may be ‘perfect for you.’

How do I know Mike is perfect for me?  Because he is someone who totally values what we share together.  Therefore he makes it clear that he cares deeply about both of our needs and feelings.  This makes it possible for us to get to the other side of an argument feeling good about our decision AND our relationship.

And if you don’t understand the value of that, you have a lot to learn about love!

The secret to long-term love

Many of us don’t believe in love because of our experiences with what seems to be a great love at the beginning, which inevitably turned into a difficult and contentious relationship.

heart speaksIs there a way to tell if someone is likely to be a compatible long-term partner?

One answer was found by interviewing hundreds of long-married couples about what works and what doesn’t for a long and satisfying relationship.  They said the most straightforward answer to long-term love is basic similarities.

I know, conventional wisdom says opposites attract, but when over 500 people who have been married 40, 50 and more years were asked: What is most important for a long and happy marriage?  Their advice was nearly unanimous:

Opposites may attract, but they don’t usually make for great and lasting marriages. 

There are all kinds of reasons for falling in love.  Most common are physical attraction, a great sense of humor, affluence, and that ever illusive ‘chemistry.’

Not often do you hear: We share the same core values!”

However, if you are searching for a long, happy marriage, our elders advise you to find someone whose values align very well with your own.  Their version of a “magic bullet” when it comes to deciding: “Should I stay or should I go?”  Core values.

scan0012I must agree, after waiting until age 49 to meet my match. 

There were so many things that attracted me to Mike when we met over nine years ago now, but the many similarities in our core values turned out to be the clincher on this deal.

Trusting and respecting your partners’ judgment is key, and that happens when you know you will have the same take on most value-related decisions!

Are you financially faithful?

checkbookNew research shows many partners lie about what they paid for an expensive new item, hide debt from their partners, and even maintain hidden bank accounts.  This is no way to run a relationship!

Don’t be caught unaware like I was in my first marriage.  Take an active role in your shared finances and always look at shared tax returns.

When you first meet a new potential partner check them out carefully.  Here’s what I did when I first met my second husband:

Consider a background check.  If potential employers do it, why shouldn’t you?

Then, if the relationship becomes serious:

If he says he owns his house, go to the public county property records online and see if his name is on the property.

Share all financial records with each other including retirement savings, credit card reports and banking information.

Financial honesty is the basis for all other forms of honesty.  If you don’t want to share a checkbook with him, he’s not for you!

 

How I learned to believe in love again!

Laura & Rasta Xmas-2012-CROPPEDWhen I lost my career as a librarian in early 2004, I was 49 and divorced with no kids.  Lucky me, I was given five months warning that my life was about to change dramatically.  The career I had counted on for decades for my bread and butter was about to disappear before my very eyes.

I became totally focused on “What’s next?”  The rational, practical, librarian side of my brain, told me to go get another job doing exactly what I had always done.  But since there were no openings in librarianship, and I had been dying to try something completely different for years, I decided to go way out on a limb and try a new experiment.  I slowly gathered together enough courage to follow my heart this time.  I switched to plan B.

Plan B was what I really wanted to do.  It was my heart’s desire to open my own version of a non-internet-based matchmaking service.  I figured: “Why not?”  I certainly needed a date and a job!  I had a graduate degree in counseling psychology, why not use that background and experience to change my life while helping others find love?

I also felt personally frustrated with the current dating scene.  I didn’t see how I was ever going to find love again, especially if my only option was through the internet.  I figured there must be millions who felt exactly the way I did, all looking for a safer, more personal alternative.

Little did I know that my new business venture was unconsciously nudging me towards an illuminating personal journey, the search for a new belief in love.  At that time I was unaware that my deeper purpose was to find a way to get unstuck from my decades old, negative beliefs about love.  It seems my inner wisdom was determined to guide me towards a rejuvenated approach to love and life.

Luckily, the love goddesses were smiling!  My friends and I had a hilarious time thinking up some “not ready for primetime” names for my new service, names like Desperate Daters, Horney Toad Dating Service, Cynical Singles, Relationship Retards, or the Do U Believe Singles Club.  After much laughter and kidding, I settled on “Intriguing Possibilities,” and opened for business in the spring of 2004.

In contrast to online dating, my own approach was completely personal.  I met with each new client, both men and women, individually for an hour or two to fully grasp their history with love, and then find out what they were looking for next.  Of course I performed background checks, set up an exclusive database, and then started providing get-togethers for members to meet and mix.

By owning my own dating service, I quickly learned the first major problem with these kinds of pursuits.  They focus all of their energy on finding you the right date, rather than helping you find a more positive perspective on love in general.

But with so many of us traumatized by past betrayals, or stuck mentally in a space of, what feels like, permanent cynicism or defensiveness in the face of love, finding another date is not the answer.  I quickly learned how many of us now see love as an unrealistic illusion.  I also discovered the folly of going through the motions of searching for romantic love, when you feel so wounded inside from past disappointments.

Through interviews with hundreds of midlife singles, I found that most of us have a back-story which strongly impacts how we see ourselves, and what we deserve when it comes to love.  You know, those bad experiences from decades ago, when you felt so ashamed and rejected, and you knew that love was not for you.

Perhaps it was some extremely painful experience with unrequited love which convinced you to never give your heart again.  Deep down in your unconscious, lurking quietly, you may have persistent and unfriendly voices which repeat over and over again to never, ever trust another again with your heart.  Sometimes it feels like a permanent certainty that you do not deserve to meet someone who has the potential to love you unconditionally.  Or perhaps you feel like you have done everything you can to improve yourself, but everyone else seems damaged beyond repair.

It is essential that each of us re-visit our abandonment or betrayal stories, and especially the lessons we think we have learned from them.  How has your perception of that story changed over the years?  How about the deep and abiding shame you may feel from previous breakups?  Has your self-concept changed since then?  Do you need a reality check?  Does that old rejection hold far more power than it should in your present world?

Mike and Laura Lee October 2005 smallI wrote this book to help you get beyond past shame around your own experiences with love, see how much you’ve grown, and finally go find the kind of love you have always dreamed of.

Forgive yourself for any past mistakes, trust your inner wisdom this time, and change your heart and mind when it comes to love.

This is what 50-year-old love looks like!  I did.  You can too!