life, Love and Connection, Soul

Do You Want to Know What Love Really Is?

Love is Magic


“Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.” ~ Rumi.

Love is Magic

I mean, why do you think generations of philosophers, poets and writers alike have favored the heart-pulsing topic since way back when? It is because love is the most powerful emotion that we experience in our humanity.

Love changes us. No other emotion comes close to possessing the ability to filter through our boundaries and alter our perspective like love. No other feeling can crash into our hearts and explode into our awareness with such fever, passion, feeling and sentiment.

Love is creation and connection in all its magical glory.

Like ecstasy for the soul; syrup for the heart. It uplifts spirits, elevates us into higher states of awareness and colors our world with beauty, humility and exquisite rapture.

It is more than a feeling; it is a way of being in the world — love is an experience.

Love Is What You Say

If our time and attention are our most valuable things in the world, then it is our experiences that make for the special sauce — the unforgettable moments that give meaning to our lives.

Essentially, we are a collection of our experiences. Right? And the way we choose or not choose to be with love is all we are going to take from our life when it’s over.

Not the money or prestige; our reputation or the high-end connections we seek to benefit from. Not the hate or spite that just inspired you to send a threatening email to someone you barely know. Not even your religion.

Truth is, your life experiences will reflect the degree of love you bring to the world — how you see it is what you’ll get back.

On November 11th of 2017, I missed my flight home to Sydney from LAX due to an emergency that occurred on the connecting flight from Louisiana.

It was late and I was stressed. Honestly, I kind of had an inner-mini-meltdown, and for the record, the people handling the entire situation were behaving like unhelpful … umm … morons.

Frazzled, tired and verging on tears, I finally got to the hotel where the airline put me up for the night. I was waiting my turn to check-in when a man approached, extending a bouquet of white roses.

He wasn’t hitting on me, nor was he being sleazy. He was the father-of-the-bride of the wedding reception that happened to be winding down for the evening.

You know that deepest part of yourself that connects you to the stars and beyond? Your inner-voice that guides you towards kinder feelings and brighter outlooks, or shows you signs that something higher is looking out for you?

That’s the love inside of you.

Sometimes, it shows up in the unexpected acts of love from a complete stranger.

At first, I refused the flowers, telling him that they were too beautiful and I couldn’t possibly accept them.

He insisted.

Connecting to the love inside is like fusing with the sacramental essence which is the universe within you. Honoring your love-space and opening your heart is coalescing with all of the life-force energy and thereby, creating greater spheres of love into your experiences.

I looked at him and something clicked; as if his eyes silently spoke to my soul without me realizing it at the time. I felt the tension slightly ease.

Love is energy-enmeshment that goes way beyond our physicality. It is a complex mix of emotions and behaviors combined with strong feelings of affection, protectiveness, warmth, and respect for someone else.

Love is also acceptance.

When I reached to take the flowers from him, my fingers shook and it took all I had not to break with the gratitude erupting. I thanked him and checked in, grabbed my luggage and glanced around the lobby for him before heading to my room. He was gone.

Love isn’t control. It’s not ownership, a marriage contract or entrapment. It’s not the smirk you just gave or the snidey laugh at someone else’s expense. It isn’t manipulation, vindictiveness or how another person judges you.

Love is never a crime.

I don’t recall the detailed appearance of the man who gave me roses in an L.A hotel lobby late one night, and he will never know how that one small gesture will remain with me long after I die — it was one of the greatest acts of love I have ever known.

Those white roses represented the truest meaning of love in that their presence in my room symbolized charity, spirit, humanity, empathy, faith and belief. And they arrived directly from a union of love at the exact moment in time that I needed it.

Love is faith and finding the courage in yourself to trust in the higher-good. It’s a selfless gesture; compassionate words and a meeting of souls. It’s forgiveness, tolerance and empathy; the eyes in every beast reflecting back the stars, the moon and the air filling your being.

Love is allowing people to affect and transform you. And it’s rejecting all that opposes it.

November 11, 2017 is a date that will always remind me of love-in-action. Love really is magic.


Originally published by P.S. I Love you on Medium



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relationships

Are Women Control Freaks or Are Men Just Lazy?


 “Hmm … nice bed-making skills.”

“I made the bed. I could just not make it and leave it for you to do.”

“No, don’t do that. Feel free to keep making it.”

I like my bed sheets tucked snugly, particularly at the bottom of the bed. Then I get to mess them up again when I hop into bed at night. Rumpled sheets at the onset is one of my pet hates. We all have them.

He never does it right. Wait — I’m going to reframe that statement — he never does it like me. His bed-making tactics involve a hasty heist of blanket and sheets over the bed and maybe a little adjustment here and there. He never tucks. He’ll get in bed and make disgruntled noises as he pushes my tight tucks out with his feet.

What can I say? He’s a free spirit.

Even has those words tattooed on his arm.

He’ll make a joke about my iron-fisted tucks just as I give him lip for his free-form style, but he never complains about it and I have learned to not complain about his messy version of a bed-make.

The fact that he’s making the bed is enough.

“I’ll just do it.”

How many times do women utter those words to her man because he doesn’t do something the way she likes it done?

It begins early when a relationship is getting all domesticated-like. Women get in the home and want everything just so. It’s like some kind of inbuilt “Sadie Queen Nurturer Syndrome” (SQNS) or something, and it has been drummed into us since birth.

SQNS seems to encompass just about everything — the laundry; the way the dishwasher is stacked; dressing the kids; cooking and general cleaning; lining the garbage bin; remembering birthdays and important stuff like events and appointments … and for crying out loud — that is totally not how you brush the kid’s hair.

Women can be control freaks like that.

Our way or the highway, baby.

It gets worse when kids burst on the scene, especially during those first years and I’ll tell you why — it is mothering instinct overdrive. Otherwise known as maternal gatekeeping.

Gemma Hartley from Quartz.com:

“Maternal gatekeeping is the act of standing between men and their ability to become full and equal partners by micromanaging or bulldozing their efforts … Women, some men believe, just won’t give up control who have exacting standards they think the men in their lives can’t follow.”

For some women, it kicks in like an unstoppable superpower after the birth of a baby. It can make the difference between sink or swim for us. Life is suddenly very different. Smooth routine, systems and efficiency is what saves our sanity. That, and maybe a glass of wine every now and then.

More from Hartley:

“From childhood, women are bombarded with cultural messaging that tells us we are the only ones qualified for this work. We’re told in ways both overt and subtle that emotional labor is our birthright. We’re “naturally” more in tune with our emotional side. We’re “naturally” more organized. We’re “naturally” better at keeping a household running, planning holidays, arranging childcare, noticing the details.”

Hmm … there is a lot of “natural-a-lees” going on up there, but is it really true?

We do naturally get it in our heads that we are “nurturers” and less than a woman if we are not. Then we begin to reinforce our cultural “facts” and practice them by taking on the heavy mental and emotional load in the domestic sphere needed to keep a household running smoothly — we become the emotional labor hub of the family and take everything on ourselves by doing things like:

Initiating delicate or important conversations, managing schedules and routines, remembering to send birthday and holiday cards to relatives, and asking for help (sometimes repeatedly) emptying the dishwasher or getting a start on dinner — e.g. Emotional Labor.

He usually doesn’t do it the right way, or … um … our way. Then we speak that fated phrase:

“I’ll just do it.”

You know what happens next?

A man will actually stop trying to help. He will figure there’s no point if he can’t do it right. He will also use a woman’s “I’ll just do it” resistance as an excuse to not even try. Which in turn gives rise to nagging and eventually, the shady road toward resentment and good old discord.

I’ve seen it happen time and time again and witnessed the consequences: Unbalance. Estrangement. Indifference. Resentment.

Doesn’t have to be this way.

I learned early on in my life to quit being so precious about how things run in the household. It was a matter of shifting my perspective to let go of the need to control everything. I would ask myself the same questions that still run through my mind when I feel that itch bristle beneath the surface: Does it really matter how he does it? And: Do I want to be right or do I want to be happy?

Of course, I want to be happy. Duh.

I found that a large part of finding happiness was to relinquish control to the universal truth — our men are capable of taking on more emotional labor than we give them credit for and moreover, they want to do it.

For you.

If he loves you, he wants to be of service. That’s love.

So what if he doesn’t do it like you? At least he’s doing it.

When our children were small, my husband had his own way of doing things when he was on “baby watch”. He didn’t always stick to the routine I had worked so hard to achieve and he would choose unusual out-of-season outfits to dress the kids in before taking them out. More than once, I’d show up, take one look at sour-milk-reeking baby smothered in dried up bits of the last meal and cringe on the inside.

I would wonder why on earth the kid still had her eyes open, was sucking on something foreign and stunk like mac and cheese. Then, I’d immediately go for a diaper-check-feel.

Mother-mode instincts. Overdrive.

Though, never once did I chide him for doing things a different way to me. I was just grateful that he was there to help out and realized that it didn’t matter how he chose to do things so long as the baby was cared for and happy.

Baby always was and so was dad.

I also didn’t want to take away the inner-goodness that I knew he was feeling for demonstrating his capabilities as a father and a husband. It made him feel competent, equal and purposeful that he was able to embrace his fatherly and husbandly roles without being subjected to disapproval from me — mother hen.

Besides, by no means did I want him to stop helping out. No. Way. You got to weigh that up. It’s human nature to not offer assistance when your efforts are repeatedly cut-down by your spouse.

Men need to feel useful and helpful to their women because when a good man knows he is easing a load off from his woman, he feels validated and worthy as her mate and this plays a large part in how he shows her that he cares.

The fact that I have been on the flip side to this situation has probably made a significant impact in the way I see household balancing roles between men and women. My first husband was the control freak. It was he that wanted everything “just so” and me that could do no right.

I know how it feels to be ridiculed for the little things — hell, according to my ex-husband, I couldn’t even hang a bathroom towel correctly.

He was the maternal gatekeeper — the domestic bulldozer who saw fit to organize my organizing; and you know what else I know about it?

It is much less about wanting to control, use or delegate emotional labor as an excuse to nit-pick and nag as much as a symptom of an already imbalanced relationship.

I think we tend to use emotional labor as a scapegoat; a passive-aggressive means to claim some kind of control over our feelings, express dissatisfaction in the relationship and our lives when we ought to be striving to create more collaborative connections about what’s important in our shared existence.

This means practicing self-awareness, empathy and open communication about how both partners are going to show up and develop a set of shared living standards that works for them. Which will invoke compromise and the desire to tune into the emotional labor it takes to do what’s required in a way that keeps everyone’s best interest in mind.

You’ve got to ease up on things in life. No one will die because the dishwasher was stacked a little … moronically.

Is that even a word?

My husband never makes our bed how I prefer it to be made, but he never complains when he catches me creep in after him to tuck in the sheets the way I like them to be tucked — at least on my side of the bed.

He can keep his free-spirited untuck on his side and that works for the both of us because we have been able to meet in a place that makes sense to us.

Balance doesn’t always need to be about a 50/50 split; it just means that both people need to show up for 100% of the emotional labor to achieve smooth collaboration on the domestic front. Then, we can get on with the important stuff — like messing up that bed again.


Originally published by P.S. I Love You on Medium

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Uncategorized

Love Doesn’t Always Mean Monogamy

And it’s not as bad as you think.


Think back to your first relationship. Could you have been completely satisfied with remaining with that person forevermore? Could you have faced a lifetime of learning and growing from that first love? What about your second lover … third?

While some of us are destined to discover true connection within that first relationship, more often than not this isn’t the case. By true connection, I am referring to the kind of bonds that trigger inner growth on the essential levels — emotionally; spiritually; sexually; soulfully.

Complete fusion.

These are the qualities vital to propel and shift us into expansion as we move through life. Relational aspects that continue to flourish and deepen as the connection matures — rare bonds established on a soul level destined to rattle our senses, ignite change and show us deep love.

There are all kinds of love — Self-love; affectionate and playful love; familiar and enduring love. Unconditional love.

It is through experiencing love that we learn how to give and receive love. We learn important qualities like empathy, gratitude and compassion. Each connection brings inner growth and teaches us what it means to bond and share selflessly.

To love and be loved is our ultimate purpose during our lifetimes.

It is strange how western society in particular has managed to erect invisible boundaries and rules around the concept of love, and in the process, thwarting the true meaning behind love and connection.

Real love is freedom.

To believe we embark on a lifetime to experience just one significant mate is delusional. Pepper Schwartz, a professor of sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle said: “Monogamy is invented for order and investment — but not necessarily because it’s natural.”

If humans were truly monogamous creatures, we would behave like geese — stick with our first mates and take none thereafter; even after the death of a spouse. There would be no divorce or second marriages, and there would be no tallying up the U.S. average of 7.2 sexual partners found in a recent Superdrug survey.

While the idea of committing to and sharing our lives with someone we love is a natural state to experience, so too is the falling ins and outs of relationships. In other words, not all relationships are designed or destined to last a lifetime.

In fact, most are not. It is natural for us to form and honor important connections as those souls move through our experience. Yet, we are on a continuous learning path and therefore, are supposed to be reaching for more in order to expand and evolve to higher states of being.

We do this through relationships and connections.

Relationships are the springboard for life-lessons and growth. Some relationships reach their peak before the connection plateaus to a place that no longer challenges us to grow and evolve into a better human being.

It is all about personal and spiritual growth and less about societal expectations and the pre-conceived ideals surrounding marriage. We are taught that it is wrong to fall in love with someone else when married or involved in a long-term relationship. We are made to feel ashamed for experiencing deep feelings for someone other than our spouse.

This school of thought is limiting and self-serving.

It doesn’t take into account how we change with time and attract new situations into our lives. It doesn’t acknowledge that it is natural for us to encounter, bond and share connections with other people who cross our paths for the purpose of expanding love and further propelling us into higher awareness. And it does not equate to love without condition.

Life happens.

Sometimes, we are presented with a bombshell in the form of a special connection despite our current circumstances. I have listened to folks speak about how we get to choose who we love, when in reality the opposite is true.

When real love touches our lives and imprints upon our soul, we have as much control over our feelings as we do the weather. We cannot control who captures our hearts and when; we cannot account for the appearance of those deep soul connections.

That is one of life’s most beautiful mysteries.

In fact, it is common that we cannot be truly ready to experience the greatest love of our lives until we have journeyed through other relationships that serve to prepare us for the ultimate connection.

I am by no means condoning cheating in the self-gratifying, adulterous sense. Nor promoting disrespect or hedonistic behavior.

What I mean is that often we make commitments and promises that hold true in the moment. Yet, signing a marriage contract doesn’t always account for the inevitable transformation bound to happen with maturity. Existing commitments cannot foresee detours in a person’s feelings or predict the future.

From the moment we are born we are learning, evolving and experiencing the world for the sole purpose of personal growth and soul lessons. Whether we acknowledge the fact that we are much more than our fleshy tombs becomes highly personal and reflective of where we are in terms of spiritual advancement.

When we are able to step back long enough to recognize connection for its true purpose, we may grasp the notion that nothing about relationships should encompass feelings of control or possession over another being — marital contract or not.

It is then we can see that relating and bonding with another person is about opening the heart and learning how to love unconditionally. It is the ability to allow your mate the freedom to experience their portion of life without imposing your will, insecurities or underlying desires upon their journey.

That is the true meaning of unconditional love — to love unselfishly and without placing a set of restrictions along with your affections or companionship. Unfortunately, very few of us strive to practice this kind of love.

The institution of marriage is a somewhat outdated notion in the grand scheme of things. Particularly when considering the advancement of humanity, and especially when contemplating the natural state of relations between the first humans to inhabit the earth who had very little use for marriage.

It is presumed that early males and females had sex with many partners, with the initial formations of marriages emerging around climate change and food — a richer meat-based diet meant that babies were born earlier requiring more care from their mothers. Before that, mothers were able to gather fruit and nuts whilst caring for their infants.

These may not have been marriages in the way that we think of marriages today, but couples in this period would probably have stayed together for about three or four years before parting ways. Perhaps it is no coincidence that this is exactly the length of time at which divorce rates peak in modern day marriages.

It was during this era that marriages became a union between two people and recognized by the community. Agriculture tied people to the land, meaning that at the end of the four-year period couples were less inclined to separate, choosing to work as a unit to feed and care for the children they produced.

The creation of marriage as a legal contract between men and women came into being over time as communities settled on what was a normal way for them to organize a family and then condense that normalcy into law.

Laws were created that gave men assurance that the children they were raising were their own; women that their husband would not leave them destitute.

So, the real origin of marriage evolved from the biological desire of both men and women to see their children survive, and until recently had less to do with love.

We are fast to claim each other forevermore. We typically thrive on co-dependency and are quick to pass judgement, point fingers and damn the one for following their heart should love come calling unexpectedly.

We seek to own, take commitment and twist it into something unnatural until it becomes a liability, when our natural state of being is the opposite — real love is the opposite.

Love is as mysterious and as beautiful as the meaning of life. Love doesn’t know restrictions — gender, age, geographical or race differences. Love doesn’t always recognize the institution of marriage.

It is an illusion to believe we have control over another human being within a marriage or otherwise. It is a farce to believe we can prevent another from falling in love with someone else.

All we are able to do is to practice being the best possible version of ourselves within any given moment — including when a relationship begins to no longer serve our greater needs, and especially when facing a straying spouse.

How we handle those high-level situations are what defines us as human beings.

Our greater needs are always about love and experiencing love in its highest form. Letting go of stale relationships is a part of the human experience. Allowing a relationship to end gracefully rather than bitterly is a part of love — caring for yourself enough to take the higher-road and knowing that all things unfold for your own growth and well-being as well as that of others.

Love only knows freedom and expression — It is acceptance and the ability to see past the blinders, the ego and the societal expectations on what constitutes a proper relationship. Love is allowing someone to be who they want to be, even when it hurts.

Real love is truly freedom.


Also published by P.S. I Love You on Medium.


Happy New Decade and thanks for reading!

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