Midlife love

Have you ever experienced the power of unconditional love?

“If I know what love is, it is because of you.”  -Herman Hesse

According to Wikipedia, unconditional love is: “affection without any limitations, it can also be love without conditions, sometimes associated with terms such as altruism or complete love.”

Most will agree that unconditional love is a boundless, unchanging feeling.

Lotus LoveHave you ever experienced that kind of feeling?

Do you even believe in it? Is it a bad thing? I was surprised to find, when a friend brought the topic up for discussion this week, that some find it unbelievable or even distasteful. To me it is the ultimate high!

I first started learning about it when I was in counseling in my thirties (thirty years ago). My excellent therapist taught me by showing me that kind of compassion and concern directly. She taught by example and with feelings, not just words. I had never felt so cared for. I had no idea up until then that human relationships could be so uplifting.

These days they call this “reparenting” therapy. Once I could identify the feeling of unconditional love, I felt drawn to it everywhere I went, leading me to a few powerful friendships,       filled with love and genuine concern.

Throughout my deep friendships and romances, I have valued unconditional love, but when I first met Mike at age 49, I knew I had just made one magical connection. The energy was palpable and not just sexual.

To meet someone who you know has the potential to give unconditional love is such a unique gift. The only question then is whether he will feel that way towards you. I told him right off how amazed I was at our powerful energy together and our synchronicities.

Eleven years later I feel his love has been my greatest gift in life. We love each other now without doubt or any conditions. We feel somehow permanently connected even beyond death.

So yes, I do believe in unconditional love… How about you?


The Leap of Faith Needed For Pure Love

talk about your joys“Love is plunging into darkness toward a place that may exist.”  — Marge Piercy

Out of the blue it struck me the other day, exactly how rare it is to feel loved by what I would call a qualified lover.

How often have you felt a lack of judgment, just total acceptance and compassion from another human being, with no expectations of anything in return? How many people have never had this experience, ever?

If you have ever experienced this, were you able to accept such pure love in the moment? Were you able to look past all of your faults and feelings of unworthiness and acknowledge,

“I am now loved.”

The joy I feel when I slow down enough to fully feel all of the love in my life is breathtaking. And I know for certain that there was no room for this love before I hit bottom in 2004.

leap_of_faithWhat changed?   Me.

I stopped denying how much I wanted to feel pure love. I took a gigantic leap of faith and admitted honestly to myself that my only real priority at age 49, was to feel pure love once in this lifetime.

I finally went all in, and said to myself I would not accept anything less, realizing that would require me to offer my best in return.

I was ready to grow up and take full responsibility for my own needs, and by doing so I felt certain that I would know when I met a qualified lover for myself.

And I did. The first man I met after all of this soul surgery came calling, and we both knew quite quickly that we had met our match. Trust was the name of the game back then, so we built it slowly and carefully.

the time is nowWe both equally valued the amazing match we had made. We knew from 50 years of experience what we had was rare and so beautiful. We spoke often and honestly, expressed our many insecurities, and built respect and trust constantly.

And now, eleven years later, I can only say to you, “Go for it!”

How “playing it safe” can be dangerous!

adulthood is like looking both waysActually, this reminds me more of my experience at midlife. I had lived my entire life so carefully, remaining single until 39, and then in a bad marriage and the wrong career, just to “play it safe.” Then when my major crisis hit at age 49, I felt so perplexed.

I remember saying to myself: “I spent my entire life playing it safe, just so I wouldn’t end up like this!”

Too bad I had to wait so long to learn exactly how dangerous “playing it safe” can be!

if-you-obey-all-the-rules-you-miss-all-the-fun Katherine HepburnNow, at age 60, I agree much more with Katherine Hepburn: So many rules, so little time to break them! I break those little rules in my head all of the time now. In fact I try to break at least one a day!

Do you have silly rules that keep you from getting the life you really want?

tell negative committee to shut upDo you have your own ‘itsy bitsy shitty committee’ in your head, that keeps telling you: “You shouldn’t do that!” Does it tell you regularly that you can’t possibly find the kind of love you seek? Tell it to SHUT UP right now, and then go out and find the best kind of love you can!

That’s what I did at age 49. I stopped focusing on the negative experiences in my past, and moved on to the kind of love I had always been looking for, and it worked!

past better not bitterNow, eleven years later, I am living a marvelous life in a solar home in southern Colorado with a prince of a partner, one who would not think of criticizing me. He believes in me!

the time is nowLove is real and the only thing that counts in the end.

Decide that you will somehow find your best kind of love, and then go out and find it TODAY!

If you feel you need some help in this difficult transition from negative to positive, please check out my book! And for some more excellent reading on this topic, check out this article by one of my favorite writers!

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