WHAT MAKES A RELATIONSHIP WORK
When you think of relationships that work, really, really work, whose do you think of? Not just the ones that manage to stay together, but the ones that are ever growing and expanding, romantic and intimate. It’s likely that not many come to mind.
What is it about that relationship that makes it endure through thick and thin? Because, thick and thin are going to happen. What it is it about a relationship that makes it last?
Those relationships that make it through the tests of time, that make it through the ups and down of life, from arguments, loss of jobs, money problems, teenagers, midlife crisis, health issues, and mothers-in-laws, to boot, are built on an integral strength that is based on real connection.
Real connection and chemistry look a lot alike, but they are not the same.And, yes, most often they will both be there. But there is a distinction between these qualities of love. Real connection is beyond chemistry. It is more likerecognition. When you meet, it feels like you already know each other. Like you always have. You could be opposites in every way, culturally, religiously, philosophically, and still, that recognition is there.
Real connection can include chemistry but is not dependent on chemistry.Chemistry does not, of itself, equal connection — or longevity. Without a heart connection it will be short-lived or forced. Sometimes we try to jam chemistry into the slot of real connection, and this can become a heavy woe. Trust that you will know the difference, because there is a difference, and you can feel it.
It’s not something that will escape you, or that you might miss, or that is illusive. It’s right there in the forefront – and very different than chemistry by itself. Real connection has a force to it, a rightness that is undeniable. It has a mandate about it. It’s like a cosmic instruction: “You two are one.” There is no doubt, there is no unsureness, and you will both know it.
From a spiritual perspective, real connection, is an authentic, undeniable, mutual connection built on real appreciation and respect for each other. Real connection is when we instinctively turn to each other, rather than to someone else. It is not a compromise or a settling. And, it’s not that “I can’t live without you,” it’s rather, “I don’t want to live without you.” It’s a relationship where who you are when you are not even trying is exactly what your partner loves about you. And vice-versa!
Of course, this doesn’t mean everything in every moment is perfect. It just means that at its heart, there is a real regard, even admiration for each other that is core to the relationship. It doesn’t need to be manufactured or forced. It’s just there. It’s like a love safety net.
Relationships will test everything we are, individually, and as a couple. But they also can heal old wounds, and break our hearts open to deeper and more profound levels of love.
Ultimately, time really will tell. For real love will grow you, and show you what real togetherness is.
It’s the little things, you know. The kindnesses, the forgivenesses. It is the mutual understanding and genuine affection for each other. It is being proud of each other, attracted to each, and at the end of the day, confiding in each other. It is about being able to truly be yourself, and that’s WHY your partner loves you.
Our relationship can teach us how to love, right through our confusion or our doubt. We can love each other right through our feelings of unlovability or broken hearts. Out of love for each other our relationship can teach us how to be the most sensitive listener, the consummate lover, the most compassionate forgiver. And all these things are tested — conversation by conversation, interaction by interaction.All built on the mindful, loving understanding, that by working through our disconnection, we are creating a deeper and more lasting connection. This connection then becomes strong — really strong, bonded by trust, bonded by forgiveness. Your love becomes forged by experience like steel.
It is all those little moments of holding hands under the table at the restaurant, having secret communications where not a word is uttered… but the other one knows. This is real love, and this kind of love is worth waiting for if you don’t have it, and building towards if you do.
Diana Lang is a spiritual teacher and author of
OPENING TO MEDITATION – www.DianaLang.com
HOW TO MOVE ON AFTER YOU HEART IS BROKEN
and fall in love again…
The first thing we are confronted with after a breakup is the plain old shock of it. We are literally gobsmacked. We find ourselves standing with our mouths open and arms hanging limply by our sides wondering what in the world just happened? Heartbreak can occur after six months in a relationship or many years! Breaking up hurts — and it hurts — bad. And there is just no way of getting around that fact.
After a breakup we can feel like we have failed. We feel unworthy and unlovable. We can worry that we’ll never be with anyone. Our worst fear is that there is no one out there for us. But I would counter that you just haven’t found each other yet.
There is a game that we played as kids called “Warmer, Warmer,” where one person hides an object while the other one has to find it. As the seeker gets closer to the object you say, “Warmer, warmer! As they get farther from it, you say, “Cooler, cooler.” If they start moving farther from it you say, “Cold as ice! Cold as the arctic! Frozen as the freezer!” But, if they are standing right next to it, you yell, “You are hot! You are on fire! You’re burning up!” until finally the seeker touches the hidden object.
Breaking up can be like that. When we meet someone and we fall in love, it’s definitely a warmer, warmer moment. It might not be the exact right person yet, but we are getting closer. These relationships along the way help us grow and learn. So, even though it does hurt, this different way of looking at it may help you let go and move on more easily, not looking at the breakup as a mistake, but rather a step along the path.
As the old adage says, when one door closes another one opens. This is important to remember, because in those first days and weeks while you are reeling and refinding your balance again, you can hang on to that phrase like a lifeline. It may not give much solace at first, but it is a spiritual truth, and remembering this will steady you. Natural law says: nature abhors a vacuum. Meaning, once you are truly able to release the old relationship, new love can find you again.
Finally, every relationship defines better and better what you want and don’t want in a partner. Every time you engage with someone — even just one date — you learn a little more about yourself and what matters to you. All of this will help you recognize your true partner that moment when you meet.
Diana Lang is a spiritual teacher and author of OPENING TO MEDITATION www.DianaLang.com
Follow Diana Lang on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Diana Lang
reprinted from the Huffington Post
“Should I date more than one person at a time?” we wonder. “Wouldn’t it open up the field if I dated several people?” Even though there is some merit in this question, at least in the beginning of dating, soon you would discover that the answer is unequivocally, NO.
There is a wise old adage that says: The eagle that chases two rabbits catches none.
The statisticians of the world, of course, would say that this is an odds issue, and the more, the merrier! More chances equal more possibilities of success, right?
Wrong. That’s what the carnies of the world would tell you too, as you attempt for the umpteenth time to throw the ping-pong ball into the fishbowl. It is a scam of the ego.
Still, logic would seem to dictate: the more fishing lines I throw out there, the more fish I could catch.
But, what kind of fish would you catch?
The answer is: The same kind.
This is how energy works!
Like attracts like.
What if you want to find “the One?”
You are not going to catch a mermaid or merman with many lures. You have to evoke them out of this great, grand sea of the world. Yes, there may be many fish in the sea, but you are only looking for one! And, not just any one, but The One.
Just as in looking for a job, sending out a hundred resumes won’t land you a position if you believe there are no jobs out there. A thousand resumes won’t change the outcome of what you already believe. But if you believe there are many jobs out there, and you are a rare talent, you may be surprised to discover that the next time you go to your local café, that you find yourself sitting next to the CEO of the big, new health food store in town, the one that coincidentally happens to be looking for a marketing person . . . and there you are!
When we consciously visualize, and know our partner is coming – he will.
If you truly believe he is not, then you will also be right – he’s not coming.
Multiple-dating is like shooting buckshot. This desperate and random aim scatters, producing many apparent options. But all that this haphazard action does is just take up your time and delay the outcome.
Certainly, by putting ourselves out there, we will probably attract someone, but wouldn’t you rather attract that special someone? Wouldn’t you like to attract your soul partner who is also looking for you?
It seems tempting to believe that more volume will give more opportunity. And it is true, more volume does attract . . . but here is the important thing to remember: it attracts more of the same thing.
Here are the 3 steps to practice for finding your true soul partner.
1. EVOKE – From the core of your innermost self, call your partner to you – soul to soul.
2. VISUALIZE – In your mind’s eye, see him coming. Know he is on his way.
3. RECOGNIZE – Know that you will meet each other easily and effortlessly, and that you will immediately recognize each other. And when he does show up, don’t second-guess it. Recognize him!
This is about love, right? Not about finding company. We can all find someone to spend time with, but not necessarily someone whom we really want to share our lives with. Yes, we might be able to find someone that can blend into our lives – but real love – real love – transcends all of this. It is spiritual recognition.
Spiritual intention is very focused. It is conscious. It is an evocation. It is a literal calling on spirit to match us up, soul to soul.
By calling in your soul partner, he will show up into your life like a magic trick. You will find yourself saying, “I’m not sure how it happened; he just showed up at the door . . .
. . . and, it was love at first sight.”
Diana Lang is a spiritual teacher and author of OPENING TO MEDITATION www.DianaLang.com Follow Diana Lang on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Diana Lang
~reprinted from the Huffington Post – Diana Lang
“Well, I think part of my gift, if I have one, is that I love listening.”
— Eric Clapton
We all know how good it feels to be really, really listened to. It is healing when we feel heard. But as you have likely discovered, good listeners are hard to find.
Rather than wishing that you knew more people — or anyone, for that matter — that listens well, I would recommend that you simply learn to be a good listener yourself.
Listening is an art. It is something we can cultivate over time. Some people have this more naturally than others, but anyone can learn the art of listening.
The trick to listening is to hear without judgment.
• It is not about just being quiet until the other person is done speaking.
• It is not about formulating your counter-thought while they are talking.
• It is not about sifting through all of your opinions until something they say matches up with
something you already think.
• It’s not about fixing the problem you perceive they are saying.
• It is not about arguing, or being louder, to make your point.
• It is not about being right.
It’s about being present — from your heart — and listening with your heart, to what that person is really trying to say. It’s about developing an open mind. It is a conscious practice of not jumping to preconceived conclusions or fixed opinions. It is simply listening with an open heart.
Just like a musician can have a good ear for music, or a gardener has a green thumb, or a mom has a mother’s intuition, it is the love of the subject that lets us listen past the words; it is love that keeps us interested, attentive, and caring.
Whether we are talking about the musician or the gardener, the mother or the listener, the common denominator here is love. The musician, out of love of the harmony will develop a more discerning ear. The gardener feels the heartbeat of the earth through her hands. A mother senses every nuance of her newborn’s breath, and a good listener really cares about the person that is speaking.
This cannot be faked.
Everyone feels everything. Like dogs in a park, we all know who’s boss — and who’s not. By a sniff! And, as you’ve seen, it’s not about which is the biggest (or the smallest). It can be the Chihuahua who rules the pack! We all feel energy.
When we are listening from our heart, or what I would call conscious listening, the other person feels heard — because they are being heard. We are not judging as we are listening, we are simply bearing witness to someone’s heart. This is a gift that we can give. And the one who is being heard can feel it — and knows it.
Listening is an act of love. When we love someone, we listen more deeply. We are hearing the tone of their voice, the rhythm of the cadence of their speech, the rise and fall of their inflection. We are hearing the real meaning of what they are saying, beyond the words they are using! This active listening is a deeper kind of intimacy.
Listening is inherently deeply respectful.
It says, I want to know you. You matter to me. I care what you are saying.
It says, I love you, so I hear you.
When we fall in love we are all excellent listeners. We really care. We really do want to know every little thing about them. We are paying 100 percent attention. We are not distracted; we are not thinking about something else; we are not thinking about ourselves. We are thinking about them and only them, and vice versa!
When we really listen, listening without judgment or agenda, we will experience an entirely different sort of conversation. It becomes a divine discourse. It is a true exchange of love. It is real connection. Our conversation becomes a collaboration and a grand exchange of intertwining concepts and ideas that we are sharing. We can lift each other up to higher and higher levels of mutual understanding.
Rather than trading opinions at each other, we become two people sharing ourselves with each other. Our conversation becomes a discussion versus a debate. It becomes a joyous interchange rather than a mental jousting match. When two people consciously converse, new ideas can develop. Both people will be expanded and come to new understandings and points of view.
This is conscious conversation.
What if we could begin to listen like this to everyone — our hairstylist, the plumber, our mother, our kids, our partner — with this much presence? Imagine a world where we really hear each other, rather than judge each other. What kind of world could we make?
Diana Lang is a spiritual teacher and author of
OPENING TO MEDITATION — www.DianaLang.com
Follow Diana Lang on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Diana Lang
(as sung by Whitney Houston)
–reprinted from The Huffington Post
How do you know if he is into you?
And how into you is he?
Should you ask him straight up? Should you guess? Get a tarot card reading?
I would answer: If you don’t know where you stand in your relationship, then that is probably not a good sign.
When a man is into you – if you are “the one” – you will know.
This means that if you are not sure what your status is with him, then likely it is not too solid. And if you’ve been wondering after weeks and weeks, and maybe, months and months . . . even more so!
Basically what I am saying is, if you are wondering where you stand with your man, then your very unsureness is part of your answer.
A man will turn the world upside down to be with you if you are the one for him. He will cross the country, miss the big game, and throw his coat over a puddle for you to walk over.
You will see it in his eyes, you will hear it in his tone of voice, you will feel it in the touch of his hand, but most importantly, you will experience it by his actions. His feelings for you will be whispered into the background of every moment. If that’s not happening, retain that as data. As hard as that may be to contemplate, you need to consider it.
For a relationship to be strong, it needs to be authentic: not manufactured by a fantasy, or a wish, or an artificial timeline, but based on a truly genuine and real connection between the two of you.
Remember these 3 things as you navigate a new relationship.
If you remember these three points you won’t wonder what the state of your relationship is – it will become apparent. You will see it, feel it, and know it. When your man loves you, he will profess it, he will tell his friends and family, he will shout it out to high heaven! Everyone will know that you are the one – including, and especially YOU.
Diana Lang is a spiritual teacher and author of OPENING TO MEDITATION –www.DianaLang.com
Follow Diana Lang on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Diana Lang
(reposted from The Huffington Post)
To find true love, we must be true to love. ~Diana Lang
Opening your heart can be scary. Especially if you have been hurt in love . . . and who has not been hurt in love.
If I love you, will you love me back? This is our question. This is our fear. But this is also our deepest wish!
The fear of heartbreak is primal. The more we lean over the edge of the cliff of love, the more precipitous it can feel. There we are, with our heart waaay out there, on the very edge of our sleeves, hanging on by the tips of our toes to the edge of the crumbling cliff side, straining over the chasm in the hopes of true love. Love can be truly terrifying!
And so we protect ourselves, making sure we won’t get hurt again. Our hearts can harden. We can make ourselves invulnerable. Our hearts feel like an open wound that never really healed right. Over time, this wound can cover over and become a veritable scar, and impenetrable to new love. The gnarled scar tissue of old love wounds can become pretty grizzly over the years, to the point that when real love is offered we might not let ourselves be open enough to receive it. “I’m not going to get hurt again!” we declare.
If we do get brave enough to let ourselves open our hearts again, we can enter into a relationship literally halfheartedly, with our hearts hidden and protected under lock and key. The problem is, when we don’t bring our whole hearts to it, that love is likely doomed to fail.
Worse, the deeper we go in our relationship, the more there is to lose, and it becomes more and more difficult to take the risk of letting our hearts be vulnerable. We become uneasy and nervous, jumpy and touchy, loosing our perspective, taking everything personally, and quick to bolt.
But remember, a good relationship is built on give and take. And as much as we might be taking a risk in love – so is our partner.
From a spiritual perspective, it is always right to love. But there is a hard but beautiful truth inherent to this: Love is vulnerable. And you can’t take that part out of it. For the state of vulnerability requires actually feeling vulnerable.
The more vulnerable we are with each other, the deeper our love can grow. But conversely, the greater the depth of our pain if it doesn’t work.
To trust each other means to give over to each other, even in the face of our fear, that we could be left, walked out on, or be used.
Think of relationship like breathing. You breathe in, you breathe out. In this model, you receive love; you give love. It has to go both ways.
It’s like inhaling and exhaling. We need to trust the natural process of life. Just giving love can deplete us. The same as only taking love will back us up. Just like the breath, we must let it in and let it out. It must be both. Spiritual principle and nature say so.
There is so much risk in taking the chance to love again. We might think it’s easier to just not risk it at all. We worry, what if we’re wrong?
But I would counter, what if we’re right?
You can’t find a real love if you are not willing to really love.
So, take the risk to let love in. Let it in. Let it out. Let it flow. You might get some bumps and bruises along the way, and a little callous over here and a scar over there, but love is inherently brave. Take a risk. Practice vulnerability. Open your heart and see how love finds you!
Diana Lang is a spiritual teacher and author of OPENING TO MEDITATION – www.DianaLang.com
Follow Diana Lang on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Diana Lang
A new blog post for PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT CAFÉ
by Diana Lang
When I marry a couple, I say a lot of things designed specifically for the unique couple that I am marrying, but the one thing I always say in every celebration is this:
“A happy marriage is a long falling in love. It is a continuing courtship. It is a process of falling in love again and again.”
They may not know it, but in these few simple statements, I am giving the secret to a long and happy relationship.
Whether we are newly dating, or in the first stages of a burgeoning relationship, or in a long and committed one, these sentences are the alchemical formula for a real and lasting love.
The newly dating couple has the advantage, of course. Because they are new. Everyone is trying their best, and being their best, and wanting the best for each other.
And that’s the key. We forget about ourselves. For true love is selfless. We are truly for each other. We do not see each others faults so sharply; we do not have a long list of grievances because we are looking at each other with new eyes. And as we do, we fall more deeply in love.
But how do you re-fall in love when maybe the luster has dulled? What happens to our relationship when we start to take each other for granted? Or forget why we fell in love in the first place?
So, here are the 3 important rules to a happy relationship.
With these three rules you can build a lasting and deeply loving relationship. For love really is always the answer.
— Diana Lang is a spiritual teacher, counselor, and author of OPENING TO MEDITATION www.DianaLang.com