Finding love again

Are You Living in Fear or Love?

It seems like a natural human instinct to hold back from loving others wholeheartedly. After all, that so often leads to great pain. I have a number of difficult memories of times when I have fought this battle within myself.

Counseling helped me to stop defending against those who truly love me, and give back wholeheartedly. I remember one particular workshop I attended where we were told to simply sit silently and receive love from another human being. Try that sometime if you think it’s easy! The trick is in convincing yourself that the love, support, affection, attention you will receive in love, will be worth the pain of its natural impermanence.

First you must be able to actually receive love, take it into your heart and believe this person truly cares about you. This has always been a challenge to me, believing that this wonderful person in my life finds me wonderful. This can be such an amazing feeling if you can learn to simply let it all in!

Valentines Day flowers
My Advice: Don’t Hold Back, Open Wholeheartedly to Love!

Here’s the deal, you only have one short lifetime. Do you want to spend it fending off the love of others? Fear is no way to live in my opinion, and I lived that way for decades of my life. Yes, you may have a little less pain, but think of all the joy you will miss!

Now I, of all people, know this is no easy process to switch from fear to love in your approach to life, but please trust me, it is so worth the effort. There are excellent counselors everywhere who would love to help you trust and believe in love again. You just have to decide to be open to a different way of seeing and experiencing your life.

That is my Valentine’s Day present to you, the knowledge that love will be worth it, if you are willing to open to its power.

“In the end
these things matter most:
How well did you love?
How fully did you live?
How deeply did you let go?”
Gautama Buddha

Where do you belong?

One issue that came up big-time for me in mid-midlife crisis was the realization that I didn’t belong anywhere.  Not in any one particular place or in any relationship.

I had gone about my life up until then, moving where the jobs were and changing relationships as I needed to, with little continuity. The closest I came to belonging was my marriage in my late thirties, and that ended badly seven years later.

I find our culture doesn’t particularly encourage connectedness or belonging, especially when we’re young. But I felt a strong need for a true sense of belonging by my mid-forties. This must be something that comes with age.

When you begin to look back over your life, what do you see? Do you have relationships that will sustain you in your future? Do you have a safe place to fall when bad things happen?

Do you truly belong anywhere in this world?

When I lost my job at age 49 I realized I didn’t even know if I wanted to continue to live in the same part of the country, although that would require pulling up roots once again. I kept asking myself, “Where do I belong?”

It was time for me to find new priorities.

I slowly realized I needed to find a new way of approaching love, or else I would end up alone forever. I would need to take some serious risks. That is when I went through the process described in my book: How To Believe In Love Again.

These changes in me led to my finally finding a relationship with a future, which has recently led to finding the physical place where I belong.

Finding your place in this world is essential.

Why not make this your highest priority this year?

The Amazing Power of Love & Passion

Our passions choose us. We do not choose our passions.

When I think back over the passions I have pursued in my sixty years on this planet, I know for certain that they chose me. As I lived my life, various topics excited my passions for unclear reasons. It perhaps had the most to do with who I am.

One life-long passion has been the pursuit of knowledge on so many topics. I think of my mind as a sponge that cannot wait to learn more in so many different areas. That’s one of the reasons why working as a reference librarian suited me so well. I tried specializing a number of times, but found I had far too many interests.

Thailand_1973 Photo for blogFirst and foremost I loved psychology, and still do. Then I became fascinated with Asia after living in Thailand at age 19. I pursued that passion through my undergrad degree and one graduate degree, but chose not to pursue the level of specialization required for a PhD. I could not see myself as a professor.

Being a librarian worked for me to some extent. I always said I would stay a librarian until something better came along. I completed a graduate degree in counseling psychology in 1995 and when I was forced out of my reference job in 2004, I moved on to professional writer and psychotherapist. One of my passions at that point was to work for myself for the rest of my life. Enough ridiculous bosses already!

After losing my job, I searched my soul for months and found that my next passion was to understand love. Love was the only thing that made my life worthwhile at that point in time. It was my goal to find one true love before I died.

By focusing all of my energy on starting my own dating service and interviewing hundreds of new members, I learned so much about the barriers to finding love later in life, the major one being a lost faith in love.

Why would anyone put themselves through that again? The risk/reward equation looked like a losing proposition to many I spoke to. I came to realize that the greatest barrier to finding love later in life was simply believing that love was possible and perhaps even inevitable with a renewed belief in its power.

By doing a fair amount of ‘soul surgery’ and then focusing all of my energy on believing in love again, love became inevitable for me. A few months later I met Mike through Match.com. We both knew very quickly that we had met our match, and yes, love is lovelier the second time around!

After a few years of marital bliss, I decided to write  How To Believe In Love Again: Opening to Forgiveness, Trust And Your Own Inner Wisdom to share what I had learned about believing in love after so many life disappointments.

Most importantly I learned not to give up if you passionately want to experience love in this lifetime:

“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”  — Christopher Reeve

What is the meaning of life?

faith and fearWith all of the fear around us this week, it may feel like fear rules. That is what those who know nothing else, wish us to feel.

But there is an alternative and I wish it for all of you. This song by Wynonna Judd summarizes these feelings for me. Please go listen…  This song captures for me one of the greatest lessons of my life. It took me decades to learn that love was the best reason to continue to exist.

Soon after that discovery, I focused all of my energy and mental power on finding love just once in this lifetime. Then a wonderful teacher appeared to teach me even more about loving another person well, heart and soul.

falling in love rocksAfter ten years I know Mike is not a perfect person, but he does know how to love and care for others, and I feel honored that he chose me to love so completely.

Our love story could be any 40-year-old’s dream, which explains why ‘Falling in Love at 49’ on my previous blog “Midlife Crisis Queen” has been enjoyed by tens of thousands of readers.

Love is certainly lovelier the second time around!

Although we have faced so many challenges as a couple, we now stand together, come what may, in a solar home of our choosing. We built this home ourselves and plan to stay here until the end.

In our case, love will conquer all.

Making Long-term Commitments

“Yeah, he seems pretty cool, but would I want to push him in a wheelchair?” — Amy Schumer

scan0012When it comes to love, the question should always come up: How long do you believe you could commit to this person? Although I have to admit, it didn’t come up for me previously.

Seeing your new love at age 24 and wondering what he will be like as an old man is just, well, weird.

These things do change by age 50 or 60… a lot. My family thinks I made a BIG MISTAKE marrying my present husband at age 50, because he had and still has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and an assortment of other physical problems.

My response is simple.  I relate with Mike better than any other human being I have ever met, and on so many different levels. Yes I have to take care of him sometimes. That is what a relationship is all about. Do not commit to this if you cannot live up to that deal. He was there for me when I fell off my bike and suffered a traumatic brain injury, fractured ribs, etc. I am certain he will be taking care of me more in the future.

We have experienced the lowest lows and the highest highs together, especially in the past few years of moving from a “safe” suburban neighborhood in Fort Collins, and building a home in rural southern Colorado. I would never have taken on something like this with anyone else, and I am certain that what we have experienced together would have destroyed most relationships.

Mike + Laura small versionAmy Schumer is funny because she says what the rest of us may be ashamed to be thinking, but there is still so much truth in asking yourself tough questions when it comes to committing to a long-term kind of love.