Profound Interest

When I was getting my undergraduate degree in Psychology a few years back, I took an interpersonal relationships class taught by a powerful teacher. His name was Dr. Gardiner.  He spoke of an intimate relationship in which each person has a “profound interest” in the other. I had not heard that term before within a context of a relationship and over the years, this term has appeared over and over in my life as a guiding light for me. I see this term now as a tool for me in finding security within my most intimate relationship.

Recently, I have been wrestling with feelings of insecurity and jealousy. I have been an expert within my own mind for so long, I know that underneath all those feelings lie a blanket of fear that I seem to want to put on with frequency lately. This morning was no different.  After having an emotional laden dream about my love, I awoke with feelings of heavy dread and accompanied tightness within my gut as I recalled my detailed dream. I went through in my mind all the scenarios that cause me to feel that tightened grip on my soul. I thought of past stories and imagined future stories that would cause me to feel this way. It amazes me how the mind works…I am in awe of it and at the same time, frustrated with moments like these :(   I recalled in my past how open, free and secure I had once felt concerning my love and felt perplexed again of how I can feel this depth of insecurity after having felt such a beautiful cocoon wrapped around me of security and confidence. I recalled no scenario where I would feel jealous, insecure or lacking. I remember having the feeling of, “Oh well, if those things happen, they were meant to happen. Nothing I could do but be all of me and trust all will work out in the end because in the end, the authentic truth of the relationship is honored above all fear.”  It seemed I had such confidence knowing the value of who I am and what my love offered. Yet, here I am, years later, struggling with that concept.

Suddenly, I heard the words, “profound interest” and I knew that above all else, I had a profound interest in my love like no other! Sure, there were others who were interested in him, to get a little taste of his charm, to feel his unabashed attention occasionally, or to check in with him when they were in need of a little guidance and wisdom.  But are they profoundly interested? I think about him during the day, wonder how his day is going, believe in his journey, desire for his goals and dreams to come true and desire that I am a part of that every day. I cherish the nights we get to be together, laughing, eating and exchanging wisecracks or serious discussions on relationships and freedom. He comes home to me every night and some of those nights are filled with passion and ectasy beyond any other experience of my life. I desire to grow old with this man, to be by his side, holding his hand down the path of twilight. It’s his lips I want on mine as I take my last breath. I am in love with his soul, who he is beyond the made up definitions we use to define ourselves and our place in the world.

My security does not lie in the external world or even in any external relationship. It is not determined by the actions or feelings of others.  My profound interest is the gift of security I give myself. It is mine, I own it, I feel it and when I fully embrace it, I  fully express it. If he finds some joy in this gift that is expressed, my fullness expands. It’s possible that another will show up in his life and experience profound interest as well and he for them. If it shows up in a deeper way for him, how beautiful for him. As painful as It would be for me, I trust his journey, with or without me.

Profound interest in another is rare and a gift that deserves to be cherished and celebrated. I celebrate my profound interest and I am forever grateful for this experience to love another in such a deep, authentic way.  Thank you my love, for the gift of your profound interest as well :)  and thank you Dr. Gardiner, wherever you are. Your words still guide me today. I am forever grateful!

Watching “LOST” and finding a treasure :)

It’s funny, I just got done watching a past episode of LOST on my new tablet, which I find thoroughly enjoyable and recommend highly during one’s day off ☺ Who knew I could be so inspired to write after watching a little ole t.v. show? Anywho, the episode ended with the lead character being asked to push a button that may or may not lead to the destruction of the island that they are stranded on.

The idea, of avoiding destruction, was presented to them through an old film about how a countdown process was to be repeated and a saving button was to be manually pushed, on a computer, every 90 minutes or so. A man, discovered in this cave-like lab, had been pushing the button for the last three years! He had left, so it was up to the people who had found this underground lab to make it happen. The lead character, from the beginning, questioned the reasoning behind the process. What would happen if they didn’t? How did they know for sure it would cause destruction? Maybe this was all a huge experiment to see if the humans would continue pushing a button with little to go on but someone else’s wishes and directions? He questioned and doubted the source from the beginning.

In the end, given the last second, the lead character was talked into pushing the button. The other character told him it was a leap of faith. This triggered something inside of me.

How fine a line it is between fear and hope when it comes to the definition of FAITH. There immediately came to me two perspectives on this subject. One could view the button pushers as having faith in a process that guarantees survival and having the hope to take action in order to continue this hope and call it faith. The other perspective I saw was that the button pushers were full of fear. They were not willing to take the risk and experience the truthfulness of the process. They would much rather stay “safe” than experience the consequence of the truth. In this episode faith is something attached to hope and goes along with pushing the button, “just in case”, the button really did cause destruction. If they pushed the button, it showed that they had enough hope that they would be safe instead of “giving up” and taking a huge RISK on everyone’s mortality. It seemed to me that the faith promoting, “push the button” path was revered above the “doubting” path of the non-pusher.

I would beg to differ, however. I see now that because the button was pushed, the people are continually “tied” to the button and their world will stay small, confined to the area of the cave and the button, so as not to go too far from the button. I see that their choice to push the button can be seen as being fearful, not faithful and not hopeful. They are fearful of the “what if’s” in their world. Their desire to preserve “safety”, in whatever manner possible, is much stronger than their willingness to “let go” and accept what may come as the countdown goes to zero. They put their hope and faith in the outcome of the process. In other words, they are attached to the outcome, NOT in the truthfulness of the process.

The non-pushers doubt the process and doubt the source and are not revered in the world of the button pushers. They doubt the truthfulness of the messages given. They are not so willing to blindly believe the “story” that is placed before them. They are seen as hopeless, as one who gives up, gives in and not strong enough to “hold on” to the only “sure” way to keep everyone continually living. “Just push the button!” they plead. “If you just push the button, we will all be safe!” the button pushers exclaim. “Show some faith, show some hope, like we do!” they exhort.

In addition, it seems in my world that the fear-based button pushers are most often revered as spiritual, faithful, hopeful, strong and true. These people hang on to traditions, cling to the aging stories that they hope are true and define their lives by the amount of times they’ve pushed the button. At the end of the day, they are always aware of the button nearby, ready to push it when needed and call it “faith” once again.

I once lived in a world of button pushers. I was a button pusher until I felt that I was ready to “let go” of the outcome and take the risks, even if it meant my spiritual death. I was ready to embrace whatever happened as I refused to push the button. This took more strength and courage from within me then I had ever experienced in my “safe” world of buttons.

I ran and ran, not from fear, not from sin, not from justification….I ran because I COULD! My spirit soared as I ran further and further away from my self-induced concept of a “button”. I ran because I no longer needed to protect my imagined hopes. I ran to embrace the “what if’s” in my life. I ran to welcome the unknown and experience whatever consequences appear before me.

I still find myself, from time to time, starting to create a button or two in my life. As I do, I wake up…take a step back and smile once again as I turn to walk and then to run and then to fly…

I realize now that the man who ran away, who had been pushing that button for three years, was not running away in fear, he was running away into freedom. He wasn’t running away FROM anything but was running TOWARDS freedom. He was finally able to just “go” without feeling the heavy weight of pushing the button again. He was ready and willing to “let go” of the outcome, if the button is pushed by someone else or not pushed. It didn’t matter to him anymore. He was done depending on survival by a system that may or may not be true. He was willing to accept whatever outcome came. He was free.

Are you free?

The Mask

I found out yesterday that an acquaintance of mine has come to a place in her life where she has taken off her “garments”. She has done so not as an act of anger, rebellion or offensiveness but as a symbol of her progress to be authentic. When I heard the news, I immediately had chills and celebrated in my own mind. Yet, I know that when others hear the news, their hearts may feel the pangs of sadness, disappointment and grief.

It is so funny to me to have finally realized, late in life, that no matter the choices I make or actions I perform, there will always be someone who celebrates and one who mourns. I have found it liberating to finally stop trying to please any of those outside voices, even the voices I had created as speaking for God, and instead, turn to my own voice and ask, “What pleases you?”. My answers come through the balance of my mind, body and spirit. That is the voice I have come to trust.

It wasn’t an easy road to trust that voice. There are so many conflicting beliefs, philosophies and modes of thought that would lead me to question my voice. Questioning is good for me and as I find the courage to dig deeper into the questioning, I usually find that the premise of my confusion is layered in fear instead of love. As I choose love, acceptance is embraced and I am able to let go of any illusion to be “right”, “enough” or “in control”. Instead, I allow the acceptance of love and compassion for myself to guide me and I find that it spills onto those around me as well. What a fun discovery for me🙂

I applaud my friend’s decision to step into the authenticity of herself and to finally attempt to lay down the mask that has been her life-long companion. I used to think that I was the mask I wore but I have come to realize that that was the mask I thought I had to wear to be loved, accepted, included, bonded and safe with those around me in my world and even to God. It never occurred to me that I was ripping everybody off, especially me, from my authentic self as i wore my mask. It didn’t dawn on me that as I wore the mask, the view from within was obscuring the vision of myself as well as others.

It was only after slowly taking off bits and pieces of the mask and not crumbling, as I thought my world would, that I experienced sunshine on my face, real sunshine, for the first time. I could allow in, the fullness of a love that I had always hoped existed but that the mask had prevented me to feel. I knew now, that if someone was angry, disappointed, embracing, loving, accepting or rejecting, at least they were genuinely feeling those things toward my authentic self and not some paper mache rendition of me. I could accept that truth. It felt free to let it all in, the darkness as well as the light.

As I put my mask down for the last time, there was a time for mourning, for forgiveness and for sorrow. The mask had served me well, had been my companion for so long and had been my vision of myself and what I thought others needed to see. As I lovingly put down my mask, tears rolled down my cheeks. I would miss the mask but I knew I couldn’t go back for it could no longer contain the contours of my face. As I walked away from a path well worn and stepped into the unknown, I kept a grateful heart and with my chin upturned, I faced the sun and smiled.

My learned and unlearned lessons of a religious dogma

Why I don’t consider myself a member of the LDS church or ANY church for that matter🙂

I gave my power away at a young age to an organization that, with my believing heart, was God to me. “The Church”, as many people automatically mention in Utah, stands in authority as a governing body over people and requires full committed behavior and adherence to its rules, rituals and requirements. Growing up, there was no separation of God, Church and the connection of spirit within myself. It was all rolled up in one and the “Church” requires that type of immersion from its members. Many members would scoff at that idea of total immersion but those are the members who have chosen to live a life by picking and choosing the aspects of the church that “work” for them and disregard or limit the importance of the other aspects that do not “work” in their lives.

Some other members might nod their heads in agreement to the total immersion and think to themselves, “Of course the Church demands full commitment and if you don’t like it, leave it.” I would say that those members are the ones that either found little conflict in regards to the tenants laid out by the church or had such a rough, lost, or painful experience with their journey before  the Church, that by the time the teachings reached their ears, they were fully ripened with enthusiasm and nodding heads of agreement.  For both groups, a redundant  “Yes”, would be heard by those ready to rush up to the ample  regurgitated smorgasbord of teachings, year after year, conference after conference, tasting each morsel with delight until their bellies were full. Afterwards, some might still be left licking their lips in anticipation for any extra leftover tidbit that happened to fall to the ground, always with gleeful hopes and thankful hearts.  “Feast on My Words”, says the Lord.

Maybe that’s the reason we have such an obesity problem in the world. Instead of filling the spiritual hunger that we all desire for unconditional love and peace but only finding conditions, fear, blind obedience and guilt in the books claiming to be the “Word of God”, we turn to food instead. We consume to fill ourselves, in hopes of some kind of satisfaction that cannot be gained by our fruitless external search for worthiness and joy. When the table is cleared, all we are left with is an expanding waist line and an empty soul.

When will people wake up and finally see with spiritual eyes the beautiful divine perfection of themselves? That they,  themselves, hold the key to freedom, joy, unconditional love and the vision of a loving God that creates perfection. A perfection that grows without force and produces fruit with allowance and acceptance. The trees and the flowers don’t stand in the way of their perfect divinity, why do we? Why do we allow our beliefs, assumptions, principles, fears and guilt to stand in our view and obstruct our spiritual vision? When will we see that we can let go of all those theologies, beliefs and philosophies that claim I am “less than”, I am “never enough” and I need some “external salvation” in order to be saved. Saved from what? Saved from myself? Do the trees and flowers need to be saved? Do the grapes on the vine need to be saved from themselves? Are the fruits waiting to reach a destination? Are they hoping and yearning, in vain, for some state of completion where eternal bliss awaits? Or are they naturally, beautifully, fulfilling completely their purpose along the journey of beginnings, middles, and endings, with graceful allowance and knowing? Do they lack anything in each moment in time?Why must I be any different?

Why must I view myself condemned in order to claim that I feel God’s love, presence or power in my life? Why must I speak from the pulpit that I am somewhat of a “nothing” without God’s saving grace?  Sounds more like a  victim drowning in the ocean looking for some kind of floatation device to hold on to. I find my device, call it “God”, give thanks and hold on in the cold, dark waters with the fear of sharks at my every turn. Does that sound like a spiritual life to you? Does that even sound like a life? Yuck, no thanks😦

A few people have said to me, “I don’t know where I’d be or what would happen to me, if I didn’t have the Church”. I would say to them, “Give it a try!”. You just might surprise yourself and find out who you are without the perceived “safety net” underneath you. You might find that as you stand alone, along a path that is not paved for you, that you can trust the divinity that is within and through you and can’t ever leave you. For it is YOU. You are a strong spirit that KNOWS what is best for you. The spirit of the divine flows through you, IS you and is in and through all those around you. The only separation is within your own chosen beliefs that you’ve bought into. Being able to Trust the journey of your own soul, without fear or guilt is the truest form of freedom and choice. It is a divine gift that you can give yourself or deny yourself. The beautiful thing is that You, yes YOU, create the world you see. The choice is yours. I choose to create authenticity, unconditional love, spirituality and freedom. What do you choose?

The Power of Beliefs, A Choice & The LDS Church

My nephew came to me today regarding a very serious matter that brought up so much of my own conflict regarding my self-created belief system, the LDS Church and my path in life as a young adult. He confided in me the conflict of his girlfriend in regards to their relationship, that is getting more serious by the day, and her beliefs in the LDS Church. She has put her beliefs in the dream vision of a temple marriage and activity in a church that warmly embraces all those who believe in the same view. Yet she is conflicted because of her love and passion for a young man who does not share these same beliefs. I believe it is a crossroads for her at this time in her life.

I feel her conflict for I shared strongly in a belief system that I found no longer coincided with my behavior and passions. I had to come to some type of resolution and in psychology, I learned that I can either stop the behavior that is in conflict with my chosen belief or change my beliefs. My belief in the truthfulness of a church that in my eyes, reflected God’s will, I had to change my behaviors and I  attempted to do so, over and over and over again. I had to see myself as “weak”, “being tested”, and “unworthy”, so that I felt the motivation that is required  towards repentance and change within the system.

With this type of belief system set in place and chosen freely of myself, I painted the picture of acceptance that only included a temple marriage, activity in the church, a forever family and a path that relies on the church to be my “parent” and dictate my self-worth, self-esteem, worthiness, and the exclusion/inclusion of people and behaviors in my life. This is a very serious position to allow in my life and dictated the most important decisions of my life. I gave the power of my beliefs to a church that I regarded as God. It never occurred to me to accept my beliefs as different from those of my parent (LDS Church). For to do  would be blasphemous, “giving in” to the sins of pride, disobeying God, or relying on the Self or the unclean “world” for my truth. I couldn’t accept that.

Instead I chose to accept a belief system that continued to bring me conflict for many years to come. It wasn’t until I was 35 years old that so many conflicts arose. After many years of trying to “squeeze myself into a box” that I believed the church supported and help create with me,  I finally came to accept, as quickly as a thought, my full Self, as I am. I chose LOVE. I chose to love myself, without judgement, without right or wrong, without good or bad, without redemption or hopes of the reward of an obscure afterlife.

In that moment, my vision expanded into a feeling of joy, love and abundance. I laughed with a giddiness like never before. I realized that all along I had a choice to believe in whatever way I chose. That I was the Creator of my life experience. I could choose the small boxes that others around me believed in, even a God that others professed to know or I could throw my hands up in full acceptance of UN-knowing. I didn’t NEED to be right anymore. I didn’t NEED to know truth anymore. I stood alone with my acceptance of Myself and conflict dissolved before me.

This new path wasn’t the easy path that some in the Church would profess. There was no “easy step by step plan” to adhere to, no “follow these things and we will call you worthy, chosen and righteous” plan.  There was no path set before me except for the steps I took with each breath. It was all new to me and each day I found myself looking within as the world seemed to shout at me, “ARE YOU SURE?”.  Since that moment, I have had no conflict arise again within myself. I refuse to demean, judge harshly, hate myself, or view myself with condemning eyes. I refuse to live another dishonest day within myself or towards others about who I am and what I am about. If a God somewhere at sometime does view me with judgement, I am ready. I stand naked before that God and utter, “Here I AM! Do with me what you will, for I followed my loving eyes and chose acceptance without judgement.” I would do it again and shout it from the rooftops over and over again, despite the consequences.

There were some around me who felt the pain from my decisions, who experienced a depth of loss that is beyond words. For that, I will sorrow with them but I sorrow for their choice of beliefs that caused them to feel what they experienced. It was never my intention to hurt anyone, EVER! I had to follow my path and I have continued to feel a sense of peace and spiritual connection like never before. I feel myself as a part of a divine Universe that needs no definition. I delight in the beauty of a spring day or a thunderous night. I see God in the eyes of my neighbor and I celebrate in loving arms that choose to hold me. I gave up on fear and guilt, shame and condemnation. In doing so, my eyes were opened to all paths and a never-ending exploration of a life that, for me, has no end.

I wish I could make my nephew’s  beautiful girlfriend see that she is the creator of her beliefs and that she doesn’t have to believe in theologies that stop her from experiencing a beautiful, loving relationship with a beloved young man, who loves her unconditionally and with tenderness. Nevertheless, her journey is her own and all that she feels, chooses and believes will be a step taken that is perfect and from which she will be able to look back on with full responsibility and gratitude for a life well chosen for herself and her journey.

Gained a Mountain Bike & Perspective



I met an older woman yesterday in her home to buy a mountain bike of her daughter’s. It was a quick exchange but immediately saw that she was somewhat flustered because the power was out and she was trying to clean up her house and get ready. She somewhat reminded me of my mother. She mentioned that her daughter would be there soon and didn’t live with her anymore. She was in the process of cleaning carpets and getting rid of old toys and things from her basement. I could tell that having a clean house was very important to her.

Her grown daughter arrived and the mother hovered somewhat over us. I could tell that the daughter was quickly irritated by her mom’s behavior. The mother started to complain to her daughter about keeping the carpets cleaned and if we took the bike outside to test drive it, she couldn’t bring it back inside because the carpets would get messy. Exasperation exhaled out of the daughter’s mouth as we headed for the basement door. I mentioned that one day, she might miss that about her mom. She quickly responded that she’s been out of the house for quite some time now and doesn’t miss it at all. It struck me that some mother/daughter relationships were not the kind that I had with my mother. It made my heart hurt a little to hear them irritate each other and I knew that there must be layers of issues underneath all that frustration and irritation. On the outside, this family’s house looked nice and tidy with an initial church presence of the dominant religion but as I listened and observed the energy between these two women, I knew that there was so much more not being said.

It doesn’t have to be this way between them. I’m sure that they have lived this dynamic with each other for so long that they expect and believe that their relationship is typical and acceptable. I wonder how many other families go through life accepting resentment, frustration and feelings of annoyance with each other, not ever realizing that it could be, oh so different. I immediately saw that kindness and respect were not present between these women.  I wonder that if they took the time to take a breath, remove themselves from the game playing and instead infuse some patience with kindness, a shift may occur that they never experienced before. The moment of choice of something kinder or compassionate could be the “little something” that causes a shift, an interruption to their usual banter.

I wish all relationships could remember that at that moment of contention, tightness in the chest and tension felt in the air, that instead one would, in their heart, take a step back and choose kindness instead of defensiveness, and understanding instead of judgement before hurtful words come tumbling out of a heart of pain. This world would be a better place, not just for everyone, but for the Self as well.



Nurturing The Self-Concept of a Child

Do you realize that what you say and how you say it, makes an impact and influences those around you? Especially when it comes to relationship transitions, especially divorce. As a woman who has gone through divorce, I know the pain, sadness, defensiveness and feelings of “getting back” that seem to go through the very “beingness” of the self through this transition. The feelings of abandonment, rejection and hurt can consume the soul and bleed out in the words we say or yell.  The list of complaints and reasons for your pain can become never-ending. I know this story. I’ve lived this story.

Please know that it’s healthy to express and accept the feelings that arise from within. It’s important to acknowledge and honor all the layers of feeling that accompany a loss or change.  It’s  a wise one that attracts to themselves a loving support system that can hold you and listen without being pulled in to your “story”. Having an empathetic support system is a necessity for continued growth through the process of loss and change.

However, there is one place where your words of pain, despair, hurt and spite need to be withdrawn and injected with the offering of your highest self and that’s when a child is involved. Your child is a part of you and part of the “other” that you chose to create life with. It’s not their fault that you, as parents, are experiencing anything other than love. What you say and how you speak about the “other” is a reflection of them. A child views themselves, even unconsciously, as a part of both of you and to talk disparaging about the other, leads to the child feeling that they are part of that negative view, as well. A child is in the beginning stages of developing their self-image. If they hear that one of the people that created them is somehow “less than”, they will also take those puzzle pieces of “less than” and attach them to their self-construct as well.

I know it’s not easy to make a different choice. Just like anything else, it takes awareness and practice.  There are moments when you will be  faced with the immediate satisfaction of spilling forth all manner of toxic speech or being aware in the moment and choosing something different. You have the freedom to choose something painful to the ears of your child or  choosing to say something positive about the one that helped create them. By choosing positive, you are choosing the honorable space. The honorable space is that of the child not the “other”. This is the highest place of respect for your child and their concept of their highest self. 

I’m not claiming that there are not negative aspects of the “other”, I’m inviting you to let your support system hear those views and not your child. It is not your child’s job to support you. It is not their job to be your listening ear. It is not their job to feel the pressure of “saving” you from your pain. They need to witness the certainty of a strong parent to know that things will be okay. When they observe a parent that acknowledges the best of what the “other” contributed to their creation, their hearts will expand and the love for themselves can grow knowing that they are the “best” of both of you.

It’s a challenge to remember the reasons that you “fell” for that significant other. The elements that attracted you to that person is still there, even though they may be hard to see today. Become aware in those moments and choose to utter the positives. It will surprise you how good it feels knowing that you are supporting a positive self-image that will nourish your child instead of breaking their heart.

If your ex “other” really is a jerk and all the negative things you perceive are accurate, trust that through everyday experiences, your children will learn on their own the truth of the situation. Honor their journey and experiences and trust that they will find their truths as they grow. In this natural way, they will be able to separate their parent’s negative traits from their own and a healthy, positive self construct will be the result. 

My heart goes out to those of you in transition with relationships where you feel pain and hurt. There is an open door that leads to light and joy and speaking in an honorable way, especially in connection to your child, will bring you steps closer to that door.