The Need and Desire for Love

My past is filled with falling in love over and over; at least I thought it was love. A few times it actually was! There is a condition called “Love Addiction” that’s a behavior in which people become addicted to the feeling of being in love. It’s common although most Love Addicts do not realize they are addicted to love.

My particular brand of Love Addiction is that of a “Love Avoidant” which used to cause me to have issues staying in one relationship. At the start of a new romantic connection you’d never know it because Love Avoidants like I used to be come on strong at the start. My desire for love was extraordinarily strong, but after some time into a relationship a part of me is overtaken and becomes afraid of being left or being alone.

My compulsion was to be a philanderer who rarely stayed committed to just one person for very long. I left before the one I loved could leave or else “hooked up” just in case.  In childhood I learned how deeply the ones I love could hurt me and my avoidant tendency rooted there caused me to have difficulty depending on one person.

With professional help and a lot of diligence, my pattern of Love Addiction/Avoidant has been largely overcome. By understanding what is going on and replacing walls with boundaries, I have learned how to experience the joys of being truly intimate. At least I believe I have, although so far I have not fully proven it long-term.

Love addiction is not just my issue and is wide-spread and growing. In an article* on http://www.mailonline.com Martha De Lacey last week wrote:

You may believe in love at first sight. Or you might be someone for whom love takes time and patience. But the average time for telling your partner you love them is after 14 dates, according to a new survey.

Participants in the new study revealed the average number of dates per week with a new partner was two, meaning that couples tend to first say ‘I love you’ seven weeks into a new relationship. First kisses tend to take place two dates or one week into the dating process, and the first time a couple has sex is, on average, after four dates or two weeks. (Yes, you read correctly… four dates! A highly probable sign of Love Addiction since real intimacy takes far longer.)

The research also showed that most partners are introduced to friends for the first time after six dates or three weeks, and that people are most likely to introduce their new boy or girlfriend to their parents after 12 dates or six weeks. And if things go well, dating couples move in with each other, on average, after 30 weeks or 60 dates.

The study was carried out by dating website seekingarrangement.com who polled their 100,000 British members to find the average time for a whole series of ‘firsts’ in a new relationship.

The need and desire for love is stronger than ever in a world where we’re exposed to its opposite continually through every day. The news is filled with it. We walk in fear on the streets and treat strangers with great distrust initially. We have multiple locks on our doors and many have security systems. We carry pepper spray and some even conceal weapons to protect them self. It’s a crazy world.

No wonder I want love so badly. Taken together a rough childhood and an overwhelming need to be loved combined to create a strong compulsion. Thankfully, my Love Addiction/Avoidance is something I understand and control today. It’s an old friend/enemy that I know well through growth and counseling. While I still feel the feelings, they are not as strong anymore. I know better and have become appropriately cautious about falling and being in love. I’m only interested in the real thing; love that comes slowly over time to prove itself to be lasting and real. I am so very grateful for the knowledge and learned ability that can make that possible.

You better have insurance on your heart
if you plan on being in LOVE.
Unknown

* Full article here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2188819/Dating-milestones-revealed-new-survey.html#ixzz24BxiAB2Y

A Little Stupid, But Fun

Home from a week-long trip, I was unpacking last night while my mind was out of gear and wandering as I worked.  Putting things in my closet the thought popped up about how useful wire coat hangers can be and I began to mentally catalog a few. Other than their intended use there must be a hundred other functions a hanger can serve. My initial list totaled nine items, which I augmented with more found on-line.

Make a sturdy s-hook
Replace a cotter pin
Bend it into a loop, string pantyhose over it and make a paint strainer
Fish items from tight spaces
Unclog the vacuum hose, drain or toilet
Make a frame to build papier-mâché onto
Roasting hot dogs/marshmallows (sand the finish or paint off first)
Tape a match to the end of a piece to light the pilot light in a furnace
String up a car muffler
Tree limb hangers for bird feeders
Make a giant bubble wand
Make-shift toilet paper roll holder
Stand for soldering iron
Hang a plant
Make a paint can holder for when up on a ladder
When keys get locked in an older car, open the door with a coat hanger
Repair chain link fence
Keep door to the guinea pig or bird-cage shut
Seed row markers in the garden
A suitably bent length in an electric drill makes a good paint stirrer
A replacement car aerial (not my style though!)
A hook to hold a dart board onto the garage door
Hanging up tools and extension cords
To dry clothes on

It’s a little stupid, but fun, to express gratitude for something so ordinary and utilitarian as coat hangers. If I am truly open and thankful for all that contributes positively to a good life, such humble things deserve my gratefulness.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex…
It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage
to move in the opposite direction.
E.F. Schumacher

Amid Pleasures and Palaces

The past six days have had me traveling; first on business and the latter half of the week visiting a dear friend. Time has passed very quickly while hanging out with my buddy. He introduced me to several new people including one I feel a particular kinship with and hope in time we might become friends. Time will tell. 

Knowing I will be home in twelve hours is a good feeling. When I have been a way for a week or so, walking into my home is refreshing experience. It’s then I more keenly notice the house I live and what is in it. The feeling of that moment is gratitude for the common things that often get overlooked on a day to day basis.

There are shaggy asters blooming in the bed that lines the fence,
And the simplest of the blossoms seems of mighty consequence.
Oh, there isn’t any mansion underneath God’s starry dome
That can rest a weary pilgrim like the little place called home.
So where’er a man may wander, and whatever be his care,
You’ll find his soul still stretching to the home he left somewhere.
From “The Path To Home” by Edgar Guest

Whether it’s my bed, the coffee pot that I am accustomed to or unwrinkled clothes, I will be glad to get home.

Amid pleasures and palaces
though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble,
there’s no place like home.
John Howard Payne

A Real, True Friend

Being middle-aged can be a wonderful thing. By the time this fall season of life rolls around one has had enough life experience to potentially assemble some level of wisdom. It’s not automatic. Just staying alive to 40 or 50 something does not guarantee becoming more wise. If one pays attention though, some of the greatest gifts of life make themselves abundantly present and known.

It has been written that joy is the mirror reflection of grief, and conversely grief is the reversed likeness of joy. The more one knows of one, the more fully the other can be felt and comprehended. Nothing broadens and enlivens the joy of life more than a true and dear friend. Nothing makes a burden easier to carry than their loving are.

“A Priceless Gift” by Helen Steiner Rice

Friendship is a priceless gift
That can’t be bought or sold,
But its value is far greater
Than a mountain made of gold.

For gold is cold and lifeless,
It cannot see nor hear,
And in your times of trouble,
It is powerless to cheer.

It has no ears to listen,
No heart to understand.
It cannot bring you comfort
Or reach out a helping hand.

So when you ask God for a gift,
Be thankful that he sends,
Not diamonds, pearls, or riches,
But the love of a real, true friend.

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares. Henri J. M. Nouwen

Often while traveling on business, I take an extra day or two to visit with a friend when I am in their part of the country. For the last two days I have been blessed to hang out with my friend Sam in Cincinnati. It’s fascinating how a co-worker of years ago has become such a beloved friend over time. On a spiritual and emotional level no one “gets me” as well as he does. Beyond my ability to express fully my feelings, I am grateful for Sam’s presence in my life. “I love you Dude!”

If you live to be a hundred,
I want to live to be a hundred minus one day
so I never have to live without you.
‘Winnie-the-Pooh” (A.A. Milne)

Down to the Core of My Being

Once in a great while I meet someone, see a movie, witness a performance or read a book or poem that moves me down to the core of my being. In such rare moments I am cognizant of being washed over with intense awareness and feeling, while not fully perceiving what it is I am sensing. And that’s OK. In such moments my joy is in just experiencing the gift without questioning or wondering. It is enough just knowing what I am experiencing is real. 

Being grateful for what is happening further amplifies the moment and what follows it. These are the times when I am living open to the moment and completely aware within it. Today that feeling is best described in the six words of wisdom from a wise man from the past whose wisdom I revere.

What you seek is seeking you.
Rumi

What I Think Is What I Become

Over time it has been my discovery that the more I do something the more innate it becomes. Writing each day has made stringing words together easier and faster. Working out daily has brought me to better physical condition. Focusing and openly expressing what I am grateful for has made me able to broaden my perception of what I should be thankful for.    

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.

It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.

GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.
Author Unknown

What I think is what I become. Gratefulness being on my mind more has decreased the space I have for regrets about my past or worry about what the future may hold. Gratitude brings me to the present moment whether my thanks is for what is happening, has happened or might happen. Growing thankfulness has moved my view up the mountain, so to speak.  The more gratitude I cultivate the higher and broader my view of life becomes.

In ordinary life we hardly realize
that we receive a great deal more than we give,
and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.
Deitrich Bonhoeffer

Stettling A Person’s Nerves

Up early to go over a presentation for work and while sitting here wishing sleep could have lasted longer I was stuck by a moment of gratitude for my job.  So easily how one makes a living can be taken for granted, especially when it’s enjoyable (well most days, for the most part).  I work for a good, family owned company and with a local staff I enjoy.  We’re an eccentric and electic group of talented people who accomplish what many could not. Lots of folks are not so lucky.  Either they don’t like what they do, the company the work for, the people they work with or worse yet, don’t have a job. 

I am blessed and expressing thankfulness is important, especially just a few hours before I stand before the board of directors to present the results  for the year so far.  Being grateful goes a long way in settling a person’s nerves!

There are no menial jobs, only menial attitudes. 
William J. Bennett

Small Gratitude

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, “what self-image do I project to the world and more importantly to the universe?” or ” what are my actions and words actually saying”. Today I’m speaking to you specifically about gratitude and how you express it. Do you project appreciation for the gifts you receive no mater how small or seemingly insignificant, thereby opening yourself up to receive more. Or are you projecting a low self-worth that says I don’t deserve this small thing so please don’t burden me with my total abundance.

Now I don’t believe any of us would consciously stop the flow of abundance into our lives, yet the way we express gratitude may be doing just that. How you ask? Well, have you ever received a gift from someone and said any of the following statements “thanks, but that wasn’t necessary”, “thanks, but you really over did it” or “thanks, but you really shouldn’t have spent so much on me”.

The first thing these statements do is to diminish the effort the giver put into the gift. Secondly, these statements also tell the universe that you’re not worthy of receiving such a gift so please don’t send any more. These statement are merely a reflection of our belief of low self-worth which when projected to the universe stops our flow of abundance. The flow can very easily be turned back on by accepting gifts and gestures of love, appreciation and simple kindness without any conditions whatsoever.

By moving in this direction you will instantly improve your relationships because the people in your life will feel appreciated and the universe will see that you are open to receive all it has to offer to you. So starting now realize that you are worthy of all the things the universe provides to you and simply say “thank you” with no add-ons to the giver or more importantly to yourself. This one action will open you up to receive your total abundance very quickly. Coach Mike http://www.warriorforum.com/mind-warriors-success-power-self-improvement/

We have no right to ask when a sorrow comes, ‘Why did this happen to me?’
unless we ask the same question for every joy that comes our way.
Unknown

Rich and Marvelous

Dare to Be

When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully.
When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.
When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it.
When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.
When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.
When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some.
When you’re feeling tired, dare to keep going.
When times are tough, dare to be tougher.
When love hurts you, dare to love again.
When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal.
When another is lost, dare to help them find the way.
When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand.
When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile.
When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too.
When the day has ended, dare to feel as you’ve done your best.
Dare to be the best you can –
At all times, Dare to be!”
From “Life, the Truth and Being Free” by Steve Maraboli

Today my gratefulness includes morning coffee and the daily newspaper; brunch and conversation with a dear friend and the full belly and sated soul it left me with; a restful night’s sleep and air conditioning that works well;  clothes that I enjoy wearing and a dependable car to drive; good health and the mindfulness to take care of it, enough money to take care of myself and an open heart to realize how rich and marvelous my life is.  

Gratitude means to recognize the good in your life.
Be thankful for whatever you have.
Some people may not even have one of those things
you consider precious to you (love, family, friends etc).
Each day give thanks for the gift of life. You are blessed.
Pablo