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One Thing You Should Be Able To Do In Any Relationship Worth Keeping

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Grievances hidden in your mind against your partner's habits and behaviors can impact your happiness and damage your relationship.

  • Reflect On:

    Is it possible to see that there is nothing truly 'wrong' with anything your partner does? What do you think your experience in your relationship would be like if you saw it that way?

One of the great challenges of long-term relationships is how we deal with things we simply don’t like about our partner. In the early courtship days those were the things that we could overlook amidst the bliss of a budding romance. But as time goes on and the early excitement slowly wears off, we are confronted with those recurring habits and behaviors of our partner that cause us anything from minor irritation to explosive anger.

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If you are clear that you are not completely happy with how you are experiencing your relationship, and you are open to any and all possibilities that have the potential to bring back greater intimacy, vitality and connectedness, it’s important to understand that all the power you need is within you. And I will explain that to you right here.

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Self-Responsibility

The first key tenet here is accepting the notion that you are 100% responsible for your experience in your relationship. That can be a very difficult concept for people to accept, since one of the reasons many are in a relationship is to be with someone who will ‘make them happy.’ Yet, paradoxically, if you are truly going to be happy in a relationship, especially one that you hope will last, you need to stop believing that the other person has a responsibility to do things that will make you happy. Not only does this give your power away, but it sets you up to be able to blame your partner if they are not doing the things you ‘need’ them to do to make you happy. And herein lie your grievances. And a lot of your unhappiness.

Grievances

A grievance is not just something we don’t like about what our partner says or does; it’s something we hold in our minds as ‘wrong’, often subconsciously. When our partner does something that we don’t like, we may just bite our lip and try to ignore it. However, it is important that we don’t just bury our feelings about it–we need to admit to those feelings and then we need to forgive them for having done that thing.

But here’s where it gets subtle. Even if you forgive your partner in one particular instance, if you still hold what they did as bad and wrong, you will continue to hold a grievance about that kind of behavior. If your forgiveness is predicated on the belief that your partner should never do it again, then you are setting yourself up for disappointment, blame, even rage. Beyond your decision to forgive any particular action or behavior on the part of your partner, you have to be willing to let go of your judgment that said behavior is wrong.

True Acceptance

If you want to free yourself from the misery of blame and judgment, and in the process free your relationship from suppressed anger from the past, then you will endeavor to get over your pride and truly accept your partner as they are, and accept the things they do. True acceptance means that your underlying belief is that their behavior is not wrong–it just ‘is’, like a rainy day or the color blue. And there is no need to get them to change that behavior.

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Now–stay with me here–this is not to say that you need to condone behavior that you feel is clearly harmful to you. What you consider ‘harmful’ is really up to you, but verbal and certainly physical abuse falls into this category. What is imperative in this case, if you do not condone certain behavior, is to be fully willing to leave the relationship if that behavior continues. So don’t condone what is not acceptable to you, and fully accept the rest.

Note that tolerance is not full acceptance. Tolerance plays out in behaviors that you often don’t bother to comment about, but inside you find them annoying, frustrating, and essentially wrong. If you ever find yourself saying ‘Why do you always–?’ then you are dealing with a grievance based on past behaviors that you haven’t truly accepted although you may have tolerated. The frustration behind your complaints about your partner’s habitual behavior will be a good clue about how deep your grievance is in that matter. And it’s important to recognize that it is your grievance, not your partner’s behavior, that is the true source of your frustration. This is the way of thinking of people who are self-responsible.

If you are truly willing to examine your grievances, with a clear intention of letting go of them, self-honesty and awareness are the key. If you happen to have a partner who is of the same mind, and you are ready to work together in bringing back freshness and intimacy to your relationship that has been stolen away by grievances, here is something you can do.

Working Together On Your Grievances

1) Make a list of ALL the things that bother you about your partner, all the things that you feel have caused you pain in the past, all the things that you put up with but you don’t like, are annoyed with, angry about, even things that seem minor to you. Take your time, even if it takes a few days, and make a serious, comprehensive list, scouring your mind for all signs of resentment, bitterness, and disappointment. And of course, have your partner do the same thing.

2) Set some significant time aside to sit privately with your partner, at least two hours, even if it doesn’t end up taking that long. Let your partner list all their grievances they have against you; allow them to explain in as much detail as they want, and allow them to experience any emotions associated with those grievances. Listen carefully and don’t interrupt. When the person is finished, tell them “I heard you.” Then switch roles.

3) Now you can have a discussion on it. But that discussion will only be fruitful if you and your partner both have the desire to let go of your grievances against each other. You must be prepared to forgive each other for each grievance you have against them, and furthermore, let go of the judgment that any particular habit or behavior is wrong. In other words, you have to demonstrate that you are willing to love what you don’t like about your partner.

In this type of conversation, you are likely to find yourself much more inclined to listen to your partner’s grievances against you rather than resisting them, and you may even feel the desire to commit to your partner that you plan to stop doing some of those things or at least be more aware of them. This can be a nice byproduct of the conversation, just remember not to go into the conversation with the intention of getting your partner to change the behaviors you have grievances about.

Working By Yourself On Your Grievances

Now, in many cases, you may not have a partner who is willing or ready to go through the exercise described above. No matter. In realizing that you are 100% responsible for your experience in your relationship, you realize that letting go of grievances is really an internal process, even when you work on it together. And you know that in letting go of your judgments about what’s ‘wrong’ with your partner, you will get out of the habit of complaining and blaming your partner, and liberate yourself from the anger and frustration attached to some of your partner’s habits.

You may work on it in a formal way, making a full list of your grievances, and then reading them over, one by one, making an effort first to forgive your partner’s past behaviors, understanding they are human like you, accepting that they were doing the best they could at the time. And then, remind yourself that there is nothing wrong about this behavior, it just ‘is’, and you will endeavor to meet it with compassion the next time it happens.

A less formal way to practice is to notice your grievances as they arise, and try to step back from the judgments behind them after you notice a buildup of anger or resentment towards your partner for habitual behaviors you may have already told them you don’t like. At first, this will often happen only after you have complained (i.e. ‘Why do you always leave the lights on?’), but reminding yourself that you no longer hold this behavior to be ‘wrong’ will help dissipate your negative feelings and move you back into harmony with your partner. Eventually, you will remember that you don’t believe these behaviors are wrong even before you utter a word of complaint, and will experience more flow and peace in your relationship in general.

Now it must be said, that even if you let go of all your grievances against your partner, you may find yourself feeling unhappy, unsatisfied, or unfulfilled in the relationship. In this case, it may become clear to you that it is time to end the relationship. Having let go of your grievances, you are able to make a clear choice, not based on a buildup of anger and frustration that has become intolerable, but based on a deeply grounded perception of your relationship that tells you whether or not you want this partner to continue to be a part of your journey.

The Takeaway

Having grievances about some of your partner’s habitual behaviors is ultimately a prison of your own mind, and can be detrimental to your personal happiness and damaging to your relationship. If you are able to take the big leap–and indeed your ego will resist this every step of the way–to fully let go of the perceived ‘wrongness’ of any and all of your partner’s habits and behaviors, you are paving the way to greater inner joy, as well as providing the relationship with its best opportunity not only to survive but to thrive.

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Alternative News

Our Biology Responds To Events Before They Even Happen

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Multiple experiments have shown strong evidence for precognition in several different ways. One of them comes in the form of activity within the heart and the brain responding to events before they even happen.

  • Reflect On:

    Do we have extra human capacities we are unaware of? Perhaps we can learn them, develop them, and use them for good. Perhaps when the human race is ready, we will start learning more.

Is precognition real? There are many examples suggesting that yes, it is. The remote viewing program conducted by the CIA in conjunction with Stanford University was a good example of that.  After its declassification in 1995, or at least partial declassification, the Department of Defense and those involved revealed an exceptionally high success rate:

To summarize, over the years, the back-and-forth criticism of protocols, refinement of methods, and successful replication of this type of remote viewing in independent laboratories has yielded considerable scientific evidence for the reality of the (remote viewing) phenomenon. Adding to the strength of these results was the discovery that a growing number of individuals could be found to demonstrate high-quality remote viewing, often to their own surprise… The development of this capability at SRI has evolved to the point where visiting CIA personnel with no previous exposure to such concepts have performed well under controlled laboratory conditions. (source)

The kicker? Part of remote viewing involves peering into future events as well as events that happened in the past.

It’s not only within the Department of Defense that we find this stuff, but a lot of science is emerging on this subject as well.

For example, a study (meta analysis) published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience titled “Predicting the unpredictable: critical analysis and practical implications of predictive anticipatory activity” examined a number of experiments regarding this phenomenon that were conducted by several different laboratories. These experiments indicate that the human body can actually detect randomly delivered stimuli that occur 1-10 seconds in advance. In other words, the human body seems to know of an event and reacts to the event before it has occurred. What occurs in the human body before these events are physiological changes that are measured regarding the cardiopulmonary, the skin, and the nervous system.

A few years ago, the chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Dr. Dean Radin, visited the scientists over at HearthMath Institute and shared the results of one of his studies. Radin is also one of multiple scientists who authored the paper above. These studies, as mentioned above, tracked the autonomic nervous system, physiological changes, etc.

Scientists at HeartMath Institute (HMI) added more protocols, which included measuring participants’ brain waves (EEG), their hearts’ electrical activity (ECG), and their heart rate variability (HRV).

As HMI explains:

Twenty-six adults experienced in using HeartMath techniques and who could sustain a heart-coherent state completed two rounds of study protocols approximately two weeks apart. Half of the participants completed the protocols after they intentionally achieved a heart-coherent state for 10 minutes. The other half completed the same procedures without first achieving heart coherence. Then they reversed the process for the second round of monitoring, with the first group not becoming heart-coherent before completing the protocols and the second group becoming heart-coherent before. The point was to test whether heart coherence affected the results of the experiment.

Participants were told the study’s purpose was to test stress reactions and were unaware of its actual purpose. (This practice meets institutional-review-board standards.) Each participant sat at a computer and was instructed to click a mouse when ready to begin.

The screen stayed blank for six seconds. The participant’s physiological data was recorded by a special software program, and then, one by one, a series of 45 pictures was displayed on the screen. Each picture, displayed for 3 seconds, evoked either a strong emotional reaction or a calm state. After each picture, the screen went blank for 10 seconds. Participants repeated this process for all 45 pictures, 30 of which were known to evoke a calm response and 15 a strong emotional response.

The Results

The results of the experiment were fascinating to say the least. The participants’ brains and hearts responded to information about the emotional quality of the pictures before the computer flashed them (random selection). This means that the heart and brain were both responding to future events. The results indicated that the responses happened, on average, 4.8 seconds before the computer selected the pictures.

How mind-altering is that?

Even more profound, perhaps, was data showing the heart received information before the brain. “It is first registered from the heart,” Rollin McCraty Ph.D. explained, “then up to the brain (emotional and pre-frontal cortex), where we can logically relate what we are intuiting, then finally down to the gut (or where something stirs).”

Another significant study (meta-analysis) that was published in Journal of Parapsychology by Charles Honorton and Diane C. Ferrari in 1989 examined a number of studies that were published between 1935 and 1987. The studies involved individuals’ attempts to predict “the identity of target stimuli selected randomly over intervals ranging from several hundred million seconds to one year following the individuals responses.” These authors investigated over 300 studies conducted by over 60 authors, using approximately 2 million individual trials by more than 50,000 people. (source)

It concluded that their analysis of precognition experiments “confirms the existence of a small but highly significant precognition effect. The effect appears to be repeatable; significant outcomes are reported by 40 investigators using a variety of methodological paradigms and subject populations. The precognition effect is not merely an unexplained departure from a theoretical chance baseline, but rather is an effect that covaries with factors known to influence more familiar aspects of human performance.” (source)

The Takeaway

“There seems to be a deep concern that the whole field will be tarnished by studying a phenomenon that is tainted by its association with superstition, spiritualism and magic. Protecting against this possibility sometimes seems more important than encouraging scientific exploration or protecting academic freedom. But this may be changing.”
 Cassandra Vieten, PhD and President/CEO at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (source)

We are living in a day and age where new information and evidence are constantly emerging, challenging what we once thought was real or what we think we know about ourselves as human beings.  It’s best to keep an open mind. Perhaps there are aspects of ourselves and our consciousness that have yet to be discovered. Perhaps if we learn and grow from these studies, they can help us better ourselves and others.

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Consciousness

Studies Show That Writing In A Journal Can Benefit Your Emotional & Physical Well-Being

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If you have read any of my previous articles, you may already know that I am a huge advocate of keeping a journal, or diary or notebook – whichever term you like best to describe the act of writing out your thoughts on paper, or if you prefer, typing them out on a screen.

Personally, journaling is something that has helped me get through some really tough times in my life and is also a great tool for just allowing some new perspective and a space to vent without judgment or advice. But for all of those skeptics out there who don’t understand how something like this could actually help, well, there’s science to prove it.

Scientific Evidence To Prove How Journaling Helps

Psychologists from the University of California were able to investigate the effect of journaling by inviting 20 volunteers to visit the lab for a brain scan before asking them to write for 20 minutes a day for four consecutive days. Half of the participants wrote about a fairly recent emotional experience, while the other half of the participants wrote about something neutral.

Those who chose to write about an emotional experience showed more activity in the part of the brain called the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. In turn, this relaxed neural activity that is linked to strong emotional feelings.

According to Lieberman, men seemed to benefit from writing about their feelings more so than women, and writing by hand seemed to have a bigger effect than typing on a keyboard. That’s an interesting note: could men benefit from journaling more because in general they tend to keep their feelings to themselves? A journal can certainly act as a safe space for emotionally deprived men to vent.

“Men tend to show greater benefits and that is a bit counterintuitive. But the reason might be that women more freely put their feelings into words, so this is less of a novel experience for them. For men it’s more of a novelty,” Lieberman said.

Aside from drastic improvements to your mood and emotional well-being, writing out your thoughts and feelings regularly can actually benefit your physical health as well. Journaling can increase your chance of fighting specific diseases like asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, AIDS and cancer. Amazingly, it can even help physical wounds heal faster.

A study conducted in 2013 found that 76% of adults who spent 20 minutes a day journaling for three days in a row before a scheduled medical biopsy were fully healed 11 days later. On the other hand, 58% of the control group had not yet recovered. The study concluded that just one hour of writing about a distressing event helped the participants to better understand the events and reduce stress levels.

Lead researcher on expressive writing at the University of Texas and author of Writing To Heal, James W. Pennebaker, has found that by translating our experiences into our own language by writing it out, we are able to make the experience more comprehendible.

Pennebaker says: “Emotional upheavals touch every part of our lives. You don’t just lose a job, you don’t just get divorced. These things affect all aspects of who we are — our financial situation, our relationships with others, our views of ourselves…writing helps us focus and organize the experience.”

The Most Efficient Way To Cope With A Big Life Change Is To Journal

Journaling will help you to get over a break-up or cope with other up and down relationships in your life. While it may seem to be overanalyzing, studies have shown that venting about a past relationship actually helps to speed up emotional recovery and can help build a stronger sense of self-identity following a break-up. I don’t know about you, but this is something that I wish I would have done after break-ups that leave you feeling lost and like you don’t know who you are anymore.

By venting I don’t mean to your friends. While this certainly can help, the act of writing, with a pen or pencil, will provide you with the most health benefits.

“Writing accesses the left hemisphere of the brain, which is analytical and rational,” Maud Purcell, a psychotherapist and journaling expert, told Fast Company. “While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to do what it does best, i.e. create, intuit, and feel. In this way, writing removes mental blocks and allows us to use more of our brainpower to better understand ourselves and the world around us.”

Journaling Can Provide Long-Term Benefits

Journaling helps you to cope with the experience at hand but it can also help to prepare you to face similar experiences in the future.

“Journal therapy is all about using personal material as a way of documenting an experience, and learning more about yourself in the process,” Kathleen Adams, a psychotherapist and author of Journal to the Self, told the Huffington Post. “It lets us say what’s on our minds and helps us get — and stay — healthy through listening to our inner desires and needs.”

The process of journaling allows you to get to know yourself through your feelings and experiences. It’s just plain and simply writing out your feelings. This is different than just thinking because it is more streamline; you aren’t going back and forth or writing the same thing down over and over again.

You can start right now, or the next time you’re feeling particularly stressed about something. It’s so simple you might as well give it a shot! What do you have to lose? It just might help you more than you might have imagined! Plus, wouldn’t it be fun to look back at the big events that happened in your life in 20 years or longer and see how you were able to deal with the situations? It could even provide you with some insight on how to handle situations you are faced with in the future.

We are constantly being faced with challenges. This is what life is all about, but our reactions to those challenges is what defines who we are. Are we strong and capable or are we weak and playing a victim? The choice is ours!

Much Love

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Consciousness

Loneliness: A Health Problem That Could Be Deadlier Than Obesity, Study Says

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Loneliness can reliably be linked to a significant increase in the risk of early mortality, according to a study at Brigham Young University. Head author, Julianne Holt-Lunstad, notes that “substantial evidence now indicates that individuals lacking social connections (both objective and subjective social isolation) are at risk for premature mortality.”

Holt-Lunstad believes the risks associated with loneliness are already greater than such established dangers as obesity:

Several decades ago scientists who observed widespread dietary and behavior changes raised warnings about obesity and related health problems. The present obesity epidemic had been predicted. Obesity now receives constant coverage in the media and in public health policy. The current status of research on the risks of loneliness and social isolation is similar to that of research on obesity 3 decades ago… Current evidence indicates that heightened risk for mortality from a lack of social relationships is greater than that from obesity.

Furthermore, she warns that “researchers have predicted that loneliness will reach epidemic proportions by 2030 unless action is taken.”

Why Are We So Isolated From Each Other?

From the long view, it can be said that Western civilization as a whole has fostered a gradual disintegration of our physical and social ties. With an emphasis on individual goals and an almost fanatical regard for personal achievement, the traditional institutions of family and community and their capacity to provide their members with a sense of belonging and shared purpose have become significantly fragmented.

The family unit has gone from large generations-linked mutual support systems to small and immediate units, sometimes involving single parents whose necessities make it very difficult to create a stable home environment for their children. Add to that the fact that more and more people are not even building families, and our society has more people living alone than at any other time in history. This includes the elderly, who are less likely to find a ‘fit’ living within their children’s families than ever before.

The decline of the ‘community’ is perhaps as significant as the disintegration of the family unit. In Western-style communities, people work as a collection of individual units interacting by specific functions rather than as an interrelated whole with a significant shared identity. Naturally, attempts are made today to join or build ‘communities’ all the time, but like the Meetup model, they are founded on the gathering of select people with similar interests and purposes, rather than a shared embrace of all people within a certain geographical area.

The Rise of Social Media

I believe the rise in prominence of social media has in part been fuelled by the sense of alienation we have long felt within our modern society. I don’t believe social media is the root cause of our loneliness, as some speculate, but rather a symptom of this much longer-standing social problem. Connecting via chats and web pages is just something that we have gotten into the habit of reaching for since it is so immediately accessible. But like any quick fix, it does not end up fulfilling our deeper needs, either individually or as a society.

If we see that our society has been slowly disintegrating over hundreds of years, then it becomes incumbent upon us as a society (if we can still even identify ourselves with our ‘society’) to take measures to remedy this situation. What those measures might be, though, given how things seem to be trending, is a matter of great conjecture.

On Being Alone  

One approach is to first acknowledge that Western society’s emphasis on the individual is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I believe that the development of personal integrity, creativity, and autonomy is a critical step in the evolution of human consciousness. Learning how to be alone with oneself is a part of that process. In his work entitled Pensées, French philosopher Blaise Pascal observed that “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

As evidenced by Eastern gurus and mystics, one can be perfectly content in isolation. This can be greatly facilitated by the practice of meditation and other such methods that give us a direct perception of our energetic connectedness not only with other people, but with all things. In this higher state, the damaging emotional impact of loneliness and social isolation are not experienced.

Our Next Step

Still, the life of the yogi remains for the few. The rest of us, it seems, have come to this planet to interact, share, and love. And we have not incarnated into this dense physical world to get better at virtual relationships. At this stage, we have perhaps gotten a bit too accustomed to social isolation for our own good.

Holt-Lunstad notes that “although living alone can offer conveniences and advantages for an individual, this meta-analysis indicates that physical health is not among them.” She also cites another study that “has demonstrated higher survival rates for those who are more socially connected.” And then there is the seminal 75-Year Harvard University study, where “it was universally clear that without loving and supportive relationships, men in the study were not happy.” The message is becoming clear: we need to come together.

We are perhaps at a larger turning point in our development than most of us realize. It seems that we have reached the extreme edge of the exploration of individualism, and we are readying to move into greater balance with a collective identity. This is not a return to traditional ways, but rather a synthesis of our growth as individuals with the shared experience we are now hungering for. This synthesis signifies the next stage of our evolution.

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