Relationship School

The New Relationship Blueprint

 

The new relationship blueprint reframes relationship as a spiritual path. Another way of saying that is: relationship is school. In fact, relationship is the #1 school for personal growth and spiritual development in our modern world. Our relationships are teachers that help us become more whole, conscious human beings.

Sure, you can try to avoid ever getting your triggers hit by rejecting relationships altogether—like I did after my divorce. But unless you become a hermit, your soul is going to make sure those triggers get activated by someone. That’s the case with my friend Alice. She hasn’t been in a romantic relationship for a few years. Then, suddenly, some of the issues she used to have with men started to show up in her relationship with her best girlfriend. The soul wants to evolve, and it’s going to get its learning one way or another. I believe trying to avoid relationship is counter to what we’re meant to do here as spiritual beings having a human experience.

The truth is that intimate relationships give us the absolute best schoolroom for our growth. They bring out the best in us because we love so deeply, but they also bring out the worst in us because they cause us to bump up against our defenses and fears. As I’ve said, we draw to us partners who trigger us the most. They show us the disowned parts of ourselves.

So if you’ve ever wondered why the same issues tend to come up in relationship after relationship—or repeatedly in your current relationship—it’s because those issues are the core of your curriculum. You’ll always unconsciously orchestrate the exact relationship you need in order to learn what your soul wants you to learn in this life.  

If you need to learn that you’re lovable, you’ll feel rejected over and over. If you need to learn that your body is beautiful, you’ll draw partners who criticize those few extra pounds. If you need to learn how to own your own space in the world, you’ll repeatedly choose relationships where you have to fight for your voice to be heard. Your soul sees relationship as a perfect opportunity to finally break free of wounds and fears that have kept you in chains, probably for years. So if you find yourself attracting or attracted to relationships where you see the same issues over and over, it’s because you still have work to do to break free of those issues.

When we don’t approach relationship as a spiritual path and listen to the messages our soul sends us from our partner, our triggers derail us emotionally. We keep making the same choices, actions, and decisions, so the future shows up just like the past. Then, our relationships often fall apart in a painful way, and we end up facing those same patterns in our next partnership.

If you’re ready to embrace relationship—including the one between you and you!—as a resource for evolution and healing, you won’t want to miss New Relationship Blueprint Coaching! Registration closes tomorrow 2/15 at midnight ET and you can find all the details right here!

What is the New Relationship Blueprint?

Kick the old relationship model

 

“You complete me.”

Tom Cruise was on my TV screen saying that line to Renee Zellweger in the movie Jerry Maguire, causing women the world over to swoon.

But not me. “It’s more like you deplete me,” I mumbled to myself.

If you’ve read my book Jump…and Your Life Will Appear, you already know everything you need to know about my marriage. “Depleting” would be a very generous way to describe it, so it’s no wonder I reacted this way to such romantic schmaltz on TV.

It took me years to stop thinking I needed a permission slip to be myself and do what I wanted. Years to discover that my life is my own and that I don’t owe anything to anyone else. Years to get free from believing that the only way to get love is to buy it, by bending over backwards with people-pleasing. Years to live life from my own inspiration, motivation, and agency—rather than in response or reaction to anyone or anything else.

Here’s one of the big lessons I learned: Each of us is the common denominator in all of our relationships, and we’ll always draw others to us who will activate our deepest emotional issues. This is true in work, friendship, and family life, and it goes doubly if we’re talking about intimate relationship. There’s simply no way to prevent “our stuff” from following us around until we’re ready to deal with it.

While my ex-husband and my current boyfriend are very different, there are ways in which they’re frighteningly similar. And it’s the ways they’re similar that activate my “core wounds,” which are my deepest hurts from childhood. For example, Aaron has abandonment issues, while I have suffocation issues. When it gets hard, I want space, and he wants more closeness…which triggers my need for even more alone time, which triggers his need for even more interaction. See how our wounds fit together in perfect…um… “harmony”?

Crazy enough, that’s the nature of any healthy relationship. Which goes completely against everything we learn in the Disney-style fairytale version of relationship, where everything is supposed to be sunshine, butterflies, and sweet little songs all day long.

And it’s the basis of The New Relationship Blueprint.

The OLD relationship model was based on putting the other person first, then the relationship, and then yourself.

In the New Relationship Blueprint…

… You take care of your needs first, and your relationships are stronger for it.
… Open and honest communication are at the foundation of your relationships.
… You no longer project your past onto the present.
… You can be deeply in love without losing yourself.

And I have a news flash. Your issues don’t just go away because you decide to take a break from dating. Even if you avoid romantic relationships forever, they’ll show up in your friendships, family dynamics, or even at work.

So are you ready to kick the OLD relationship model out the window?

3 Ways to “Do Love” Differently

Relationships

I want to set the record straight on who my “relationship stuff” is for (and who it’s NOT for).

See, I’ve been getting email replies and posts from my peeps and they all start out with “Nancy, I really love your work but…”

…but I just had a bad break-up/divorce and I don’t think I ever want to be in a relationship again

…but I’m in a relationship but my partner isn’t willing to do this work

…but I don’t even think it’s even possible to be in a relationship that isn’t about putting my partner’s needs first

Let’s talk about these “buts” (that sounds funny, you know what I mean).

The relationship I most want you to put your attention on is the one you have with YOU!

I want to work with you and turn the energy around so you’re able to focus on you.

So, it doesn’t matter if you’re newly divorced (or thinking about it), in a relationship (or feeling allergic to relationships) or single.

The work you do with me on YOU will change ALL of your relationships: in business, with friends, with family, and yes, of course your romantic ones as well.

So, I invite you to TRUST that you CAN do love differently and without doing it again.

You CAN have a relationship that’s loving and healing after the one that fell apart or broke your heart.

Because relationship is where we learn to love ourselves.

Relationship isn’t meant to save you…it’s meant to grow you. The new way of looking at your relationship is about flipping what you previously accepted so that you can be in love and relationship but bring YOURSELF and make yourself a priority.

Ok, so let’s take a look at the 3 ways to “do love” differently.

  1. Stay anchored to who you are and what you want and know your non- negotiables—in other words be selfish! And before you object—I want you to imagine selfish, self-care and self-love are all sisters and that having healthy selfishness will support you in not losing yourself.
  2. Cozying up to conflict while still staying connected in relationship. By avoiding conflict, you actually create more conflict. Avoiding conflict is your inability to stand in your own truth. You abandon yourself and repress and suppress. And you CAN stay connected by having “connection” be the ultimate outcome of conflict…not being right or changing the other person’s mind.
  3. Have healthy boundaries and honest communication. This is where you get to state very clearly and directly what is important to you! Speaking up for what you want and what you won’t tolerate. Setting your boundaries is simply laying out the map of here’s what’s ok, here’s what’s not ok, here’s what I’ll tolerate, here’s what I won’t, here’s what I can accept, here’s what I won’t. It’s not about the other person—it’s about being able to state clearly what YOU need.

This is just a taste of what’s possible when you do things differently!

I know this isn’t all easy and I’m really only just scratching the surface here. This is something I go deep into in The New Relationship Blueprint Coaching Program that will be opening for enrollment soon!

In the meantime, you can catch the replay of last week’s Mini-Class + Live Coaching Session for a limited time — click here  and learn how to:

  • Fall deeply in love without losing yourself
  • Cozy up to conflict and still stay connected
  • Have healthy boundaries and honest communication

Remember, the relationship I most want you to put your attention on is the one you have with YOU!

Those Persistent Relationship Patterns

Common Denominator

Often, we feel like we experience the “same thing” from one relationship to the next, even though each time we’re sure we’ve chosen someone very different from our past partners. These are our recurring patterns, and your relationship timeline  will help you decipher yours. Bear in mind that sometimes, the outward experience from one relationship to another may be different, but what you feel is the same—rejected, jealous, put down, suffocated, overwhelmed, etc.

As I’ve said before, the common denominator in all of your relationships is you, which is why changing the pattern starts by going within, not necessarily choosing someone who’s different (although that might also be important).

My client Valerie says she has a tendency to attract men who don’t care as much about her as she cares about them. This is the “same thing” that happens for her in relationship after relationship.

Maria’s “same thing” is men who pursue her and make all sorts of promises to reel her in—but don’t see things through, leaving her feeling duped.

Jocelyn has had a similar pattern, and when her partners don’t fulfill her needs, she feels disappointed, unheard, and abandoned.

Other common patterns include self-sacrifice or needing to always be right because we fear that being wrong means there’s something wrong with us. Codependency—looking for someone outside of me to emotionally regulate me—is especially common among people-pleasers.

Can you relate?

Tell me below, I want to know: What patterns are you starting to see in your own relationships?

Practice Forgiveness

Forgive yourself todayMaking peace with the past is a practice, not an achievement. The same can be said for forgiveness. We forgive in bits and pieces; it isn’t a finite destination or a total resolution. It’s about recovering more quickly each time we have a triggering memory or experience.

So it’s important not to attempt to rush to forgiveness. We can’t gloss over it. That’s why we must air our grievances first. We have to walk through our anger before we can consider forgiveness. Remember that we can’t release what isn’t firmly in our grasp!

Many people try to talk themselves into forgiveness because they believe they “should” forgive. But forgiveness isn’t an intellectual exercise. It happens in the heart, which has to melt a bit to surrender to the experience of forgiving.

As my dear friend and mentor Debbie Ford shared in her book Spiritual Divorce, “Forgiveness is the essential component to freeing our hearts and liberating our souls. Forgiveness is the food that nourishes our bodies, our relationships, and our future. Forgiveness is the greatest act of courage because it breaks down the walls that we thought would protect us. Our resentments are like a steel cord wrapped around our past, forever binding us to those we see as our opponents. We must become willing to step through the constricting door of blame into the unbounded world of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the hallway between your past and your future. If you choose to hold on to your anger and resentments, you will continue living a life from your past. What you can always expect when you live a life from your past is more of the same. But if you dare to walk through the door of forgiveness, you will step into a new room and a new reality. You will create a life filled with love, compassion, and passion for living. You’ll be ready to create a future based on what you want instead of one created by what you don’t want.”

To truly forgive and let go of the past, we must first be willing to forgive ourselves. Self-forgiveness can feel strange to those of us who are used to judging ourselves, but when we withhold self-forgiveness, we withhold self-love and self-acceptance. We chastise ourselves for our humanness, as if we aren’t lovable unless we’re perfect. That leaves us at a deficit in our relationships and in life.

Self-forgiveness practice is a crucial step if we want fulfilling relationships and a fulfilling life. It usually requires even more of a regular practice than forgiving others because most of us are much harder on ourselves.

It’s easy to forget and fall into old habits of judging yourself. So when you catch yourself in self-judgment, try this: Take a deep breath, and say aloud or in your mind, “I give myself permission to forgive myself.” This may start out as an intellectual process, but as you allow yourself to forgive, your heart will begin to soften.

I also suggest becoming more aware of your inner critic. That negative voice is automatic for most of us, but as you notice it more and more, you can counteract it by taking that deep breath and giving yourself permission to forgive.

So, tell me: What will you give yourself permission to forgive yourself for today?

Anchoring into YOU

Stay anchored in you

Before you can ask for what you want, you have to figure out what that is! To do this, you must “stay home” within yourself.

The result?

  • You become aware of your own wants
  • You start allowing those wants to be just as important as anyone else’s

Another way to stay home is by taking a moment to deliberately focus on yourself at the start of each day. I call this “anchoring into yourself.” You can do it in bed before you get up and again whenever you feel the need throughout the day.

In the past, my first thought each morning was “What do I need to worry about today?” I’ve made a concerted effort to change that habit. Now, I wake up and ask myself, “What’s the most self-loving action I can take today? What’s the most self-honoring choice I can make today?” This way, I’m anchoring my first thoughts to me, and focusing them on my own needs and desires.

Many of us lose ourselves the minute we intuit that someone we love is having a need or desire of their own. We might start out anchored, but someone else’s waves can easily throw us off course.

I suggest you affirm each morning that you’ll stay anchored in you. Take your own emotional temperature before anyone else’s. Ask yourself what you’re feeling and what you want. You’ll soon become more aware of yourself and better able to make yourself a priority.

Once you have an idea of how you’ve automatically acquiesced to your partner’s needs in the past, and you’re more aware of your own wants and needs, the practice begins of catching yourself in the act of deferring to others. If you’re in a romantic relationship, you can note when you do this with your partner. If not, check yourself with friends, family members, and coworkers.

If you’ve been the acquiescing one in the relationship up until now, this new, more self-honoring way of being may need some time to take root. It might feel uncomfortably forceful at first, even naming that you have needs and preferences. Some rigidity may even be necessary in order to overcome the expectation that you’ll always relent. But once you’re more comfortable stating what you want and making sure your needs are met, a balance will naturally be struck. It may be clunky in the beginning because you’re developing a new skill. It was certainly clunky for me. But you’ll get there, and I’m here to support you!

Tell me, in the comments below, one specific action you can take each day to support you in staying anchored in YOU!

Unbound

Beginning and Beginning Again

unbound

we may never know
how we hold
all we can
or how the light catches us
when we are out of breath

it’s a sign of healing
to be feeling again

the real breakthrough
can only arise
from heartbreak

that which ails
cures
reminding us
that it’s always about beginning
and then beginning again

as the waves crash me
i trust the sand
to polish my edges smooth
dissolving denial
revealing real while
courage and confidence
ignite my core

contraction and expansion
let the light stream in
and the stillness
after so much thrashing about
allows the body to wring
the sorrow out

as freedom floods
shadows may persist
know your undertow
as you alchemize the dark
and remember
that you always have
the strength to choose
how to engage

the clouds unveil the view
when you are ready to climb
now it’s time to notice
the miraculous moments
in your life
as they are happening

this
is the making
of me
and we will walk
courageously
into daybreak
from the night
shining our light
together

The One Thing 



Learn to love ourselves

There’s a secret Trojan horse in all of the work I do: Regardless of the subject matter, it’s all about self-love. That’s what my previous three books were about, and that’s what my upcoming book, The New Relationship Blueprint is about. Every. Single. Page.

In my humble opinion, this whole life is about the lesson in self-love.

But it’s really easy to forget that, especially when it comes to relationship issues. Instead, we blame others or beat ourselves up when we perceive our relationships aren’t working. Note that I said “perceive our relationships aren’t working.” Sometimes, our attachment to Hollywood romance—the “you complete me” syndrome—causes us to have unrealistic expectations of our relationships. We define a good relationship as one where there is no conflict, no difficulty. When our emotional “stuff” arises it’s easier to believe we “just haven’t found the right mate” than to face the prospect that our own deeper personal growth work may be calling us.

The secret to a powerful, loving relationship isn’t about fixing or enduring problems. It isn’t about improving ourselves in order to “overcome.” Nope. It all boils down to this: Once we truly love ourselves, everything becomes easier.

In fact, you can stop right here if you truly get this point: Relationship is first and foremost where we learn how to love ourselves. Contrary to popular belief, learning how to love others is not the top priority. I could never have the relationship I have now if I hadn’t awakened to myself first. Again, relationship is where we learn how to love ourselves.

You’re going to forget that, but it’s OK. We all do. I’ll be right here to remind you, but mark my words: I’ve just given you everything you need to know in order to have the relationship you truly desire.

In early 2018, I’m bringing The New Relationship Blueprint Coaching Program to you! Join the Priority List now and you’ll be the first to know when enrollment opens!

 

Make Peace With Your Past

Lean Into Feelings Dec

Have you ever heard a friend insist, “I’m totally over it! Really—I’ve completely let that go and am ready to move on to bigger and better things in my life.” Meanwhile, you can feel their trigger right under the surface? Maybe their jaw is so tight that their teeth are almost clenched. Clearly, they want to be over it, but the anger and hurt are still churning below like a volcano waiting to erupt. We’ve all been there, right?

Often, we want to rush to let go of the past without having allowed our emotions their moment in the sun. We try to bypass the hard part, which is feeling the pain, in an effort to speed up the healing process. But it never works. We can’t release something that isn’t firmly in our grasp. Before we can make peace with someone or a difficult event, we have to lean into the feelings.

Yes, I know, that’s the last thing any of us wants to do. But it’s the only way to achieve peace. We have to invite ourselves to really feel the pain. The key is to allow the feelings to flow when they rise to the surface. If they don’t flow, they can’t release.

For example, a few years ago, my ex-husband was living in a condo, and per our divorce agreement, I was obligated to pay the mortgage. But then, that obligation expired. Since the loan was in my name, he just assumed I’d continue paying it because it’s exactly what I’d have done in the past. He was relating to me as if I were the same woman I’d been in our marriage—scared to death of ruining her credit and willing to bail him out no matter what.

Stopping the payments meant my credit score had to take a hit, but my self-love and self-respect were more important. I was no longer the woman who needed to buy his love or have perfect credit.

Still, I had to shift my thinking and emotions to resist the urge to fall back into my old patterns. I had to invite myself to lean in to the feelings I had about it. A part of me still held the belief that he couldn’t survive without me. So I had to let myself feel my fears about that—before I could let go of more of my sense of responsibility for him. (Notice I said “more” rather than “all.” I’m fully prepared for the possibility that these feelings could come back up to the surface at some point.)

I also had to feel the anger inside me. Why wasn’t he stepping up and paying the mortgage like an adult? Why wasn’t he willing to take responsibility for his own life? Why was he still counting on me to bail him out?

Once I allowed myself to feel all of those feelings, and I talked myself through the wisdom of my new resolve, I felt confident about my choice to stop paying the mortgage.

The process I went through had many steps: (1) I allowed myself to air my grievances toward my ex-husband—not to him personally, but in my journal; (2) I felt the hurt, pain, fear, and vulnerability about this issue with him; and (3) I acknowledged my own part in the situation and how throughout our marriage I habitually gave to him out of a place of fear and habit.

What comes up for you as you work through your own letting go process?

being held and belonging

Learning how to be loved

being held and belonging

it all changed
the mood
the pulse
the pace
the swelling
the room itself
was swollen
grounded in trust
as if my body was a napkin
being pulled through a ring from the pelvis
deep into the earth

or like a candle melting down from the inside
dripping and pooling at the base of my spine
if i was someone who would say
it’s my kundalini coiling and rising
then i would say that

now allowing my body
to feel the sensation of wanting
don’t have to try so hard
don’t have to try or think at all
to conjur anything to get myself anywhere
other than where i am

the point of contact
the point of entry
as friction gives way
purely physical response
riding the edge of the wave
unharnessed pleasure
blossoming and going over
the richness and
the yumminess of it
the heightened sense
of being held and belonging
upon return to this body and breath

let go of the ground that has held you
recognize that your only hope
is to be comfortable with uncertainty
so much strength and stamina
found in the ungrounding
sailing past safety

i can’t go back into the darkness
after finally emerging into the light

finally
i am learning
how to be loved