Like attracts like (whether you like it or not)

A casual scroll through social media will expose a truth that many don’t believe & many more simply choose to ignore.  That is the principle that Like Attracts Like.  This principle, also known as the Law of Attraction is age old–it tells us that what we focus on tends to grow.  It tells us that wherever our minds focus tends to magnify.  It’s like buying a new car–when you finally make that purchase, you suddenly see EVERY car that looks just like yours on the road.

Now, some will tell you that it’s energetic and that your thoughts vibrate on a certain level & that only that which reflects that same vibration will come your way.  For others who are not so New Age or esoteric, the principle can also be broken down into what you’ve trained your mind to see.  So, if your mind is wired to only see negative, nasty things, that’s what you’ll see.  You see, our brains are wired early in life & the patterns we get there are simply reinforced later in life by our experiences.

This principle applies to relationships as well-There are so many people in our world who say things like “there are no good men” or “all women are liars”.  Guess what?  That belief will continue to reinforce itself because that’s all you’re training your mind to see!   In the book, A General Theory of Love, the authors suggest that “even if the perfect lover descended from heaven on a sunbeam right before you, you’d still not be able to see him/her because your mind is not wired to see him/her”.  Until you get your mind right, you’ll continue having the same experiences!

Lastly, relationships are a mirror–they show you what your blocks & limiting beliefs might be–so if you are continually attracting men who aren’t faithful or women who use you, then the odds are pretty good that there is something within YOU that believes that is what you deserve.  And that’s one of the hardest things to face for many people.  Because no one wants to believe that the things that have been causing them pain are a reflection of themselves–but that’s exactly where the change needs to begin.  

Instead of lamenting on the faults & failures of your last partners, I suggest that you turn your binoculars around and look at yourself.  Ask yourself WHY you keep choosing the same type of person.  Ask yourself what about you is being reflected in your choice of partners.  Look at the biggest complaint you have about your last few partners & ask yourself what purpose that behavior served.  You might find that they were simply reflecting something in you that you haven’t wanted to acknowledge.  For a long time, I chose partners who were “emotionally unavailable” and while I didn’t like being “lonely”, it was safer for me than to risk emotionally.  I chose the men simply because I KNEW on some level that because they skated the surface of raw vulnerability, I would not have to conquer my own fear of depth.  Once I recognized the pattern & the need it met for me, I was able to address my fear of being truly seen & begin choosing more deep partnerships. 

 

You know, at the end of the day, you are the one who has chosen them so in order to change the pattern, you must first examine why you picked that person.  The great thing?  You can choose at any time to re-write your narrative & change the way it ends. 

 

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The Space Between

Have you ever been in line at a store, maybe even having moved up to pay & the person behind you steps closer….closer…and even closer until you feel the skin on the back of your neck crawling?  You just want to turn around and yell “BACK OFF” but you know that would be rude so most of us suck it up, and try to get through as quickly as possible. 

That feeling you had?  The sense of discomfort?  The desire to push back?  That’s your body’s way of telling you that something is happening to you–you have just had your boundaries violated.  You can call it boundaries, personal space, or your bubble but what it comes down to is that we each have an invisible line that separates us from others.  There are different boundary styles and they impact how you relate with others.

The first boundary type is known as “loose”–imagine one of those plastic fences that are used at outdoor concerts that with the slightest push, bend or disappear altogether.  A person with loose boundaries often finds themselves saying yes when they want to say no, doing things they are uncomfortable with and allowing others to do things to them that they don’t like or that hurt them.  This type of person, when in a relationship, is often indistinguishable from their partner–they lose themselves in their relationships and can’t tell where they end and their partner stops.

On the opposite end of the human behavior continuum is “rigid” boundaries.  Those are more like walls–impenetrable, hard, and difficult to move.  These people are often lonely, isolated, and have difficulty in maintaining relationships because they don’t allow anyone in and shut down those who try to share with them.  Eventually, people just stop trying. 

Between rigid and loose are permeable boundaries.  These are neither walls or nonexistent but more like a spaghetti strainer whose whole function is to keep some out and some in.  The person with permeable boundaries knows how to say no to what makes them uncomfortable, knows how to separate their experience from others and also knows how to compromise, how to let others in, how to see and be seen.  This person has their own distinct identity and is able to hold onto that when joining into relational partnership with another.  

Boundaries are one of those relationship things we don’t ever really talk about but are so critically important to have healthy, happy partnerships.   It’s about seeking balance and learning how to authentically connect without losing ourselves in our relationships.  And as with most relationship skills, it’s not always easy to learn but it’s always worth it. 

Confessions of a Yoga-holic

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Here it is, another day and I’m jonesing for my fix. I mean, I gotta have it regularly or I’m just a bear to be around. Trust me, no one wants that.

I am a yoga-holic. There, I said it. I am truly addicted to contorting my body into strange shapes & seeing if I can do badass balance moves. I am obsessed with mastering a perfect headstand (because inversion is EPIC) & almost cried when I got the pigeon pose down. I have consistently practiced yoga for only a short while now but it has been transformational for me. Indeed, it’s the only workout that I’ve committed to strictly out of my love for it rather than some external motive.

This is a huge deal for me. My whole life, I struggled with body image issues. When I look back, I see how ludicrous that was. I mean, at 19 I was 5’4″ and weighed all of 105 lbs. I was so skinny that my best friends mom told me I needed to eat and then MADE me sit at the food court until I finished my meal (True story–thanks Pat!). Indeed, my value of myself was intricately tied to my body. When I got pregnant with my son, I was tiny. Three years & two big babies later, my once-perfect body was now marred with stretch marks & I was significantly heavier that I had ever been. For the next couple of years, I did everything to get my body back…extreme dieting, tough workouts (hello, Insanity!), wash, rinse, repeat. Add in a really bad experience with hormonal birth control & I had the perfect conditions for excessive focus on my body. It took me a while to realize & accept that the battle I was waging was not with my bulge but with my lack of self-love and acceptance.

The crazy thing? The second I let go of my obsession to be some idealized version of myself, things started changing. I began working out not because I felt some pressure to do it, but because it feels good. I eat healthy because that’s what I want but I also don’t condemn myself if I indulge. This is where yoga came in. My yogis were never telling me to push harder but rather, to go within. To listen to my body. To attend to my breathing. To slow down my mind & simply enjoy the process. And I listened to them. I stopped fighting against myself or competing with some standard and just began to enjoy it. For once, I was in a place where there was no standard or expectation being set other than to pay attention to the alignment of the body and my breath. More often than not, the yogi would instruct something like “deeper stretches don’t mean better–just stay with yourself”. For someone who has always been a high achiever and competitive, this slowing down was actually harder than the weight training classes-Not that there isn’t value in Shaun T. yelling “LETSGOOOOOOOO” because there really is–it’s just not what I need right now. I’m an academic and my mind is always on overdrive. To slow it down & get out of my head and into my body has been priceless. It was challenging but it has been vital. I now go to yoga 3-5 times a week and always follow my practice with 15-30 minutes in a hot sauna, breathing & realizing before resuming the duties of my day.

The most wondrous part about all of this? Now that I’m not super militant and focused on my diet and fitness, it’s all fallen together nicely. My body has changed more in the last 6 months than it did in the last 2 years. One day, I decided impulsively to try on my “skinny” jeans and they fit. I don’t know exactly how much “weight” I’ve lost because I don’t get on a scale anymore very often– the number it reflects doesn’t reflect my value as a woman. I just know that the yoga mat calls to me…it invites me into deeper places within. It invites me into a quiet place in my mind where I find that all really is well with my soul. It invites me to explore my depths & to allow the divinity within to have an outward expression. As my body relaxes into the poses, my mind relaxes into the mantra of whatever my intention for that day might be. Today, my intention for my practice will be: “My heart is open and my love heals the world”.

Because it is. And it does. Namaste.

As Long As It Takes

weary warrior

weary warrior

I see you.
I see behind the defenses you’ve built
The roles you’ve assumed in this life.
I see the suffering you have carried.
The nights where you were lying in bed
terrified
by the monster in your dream
Your home
Your bed.

If I peer a little closer
I see the terror that still takes over
when you think of
letting your well-polished armor down
Wondering
If exposing your heart would
become the biggest blessing
or last mistake.

When you take small steps toward me
telling me a secret
shedding a tear
exposing a fear
I hold them like a jewel
And I will guard them with all I’ve got
You will learn
That you are safe
I am safe.
The world is still frightful
but we can weather it
together.

Until then,
I will continue gathering
the jewels of your experience
placing them carefully in safe of
my heart.
Polishing your armor when you need it
and wielding a sword on your behalf.
One day,
weary warrior
you will set aside your arms
& I will welcome you
into mine.

(c) Lisa Vallejos, 2014

Surrender

Surrender means to love without limits. It means to relax your guard so your lover can feel your core–authentic, unhidden, and undefended. Your muscles relax. Your breath becomes full. Your body and heart willingly open to your lover. If you are hurt, then you are hurt, but in any case you practice to remain open and full, like the ocean. ~ David Deida

This is what it’s about for me…this is what I want in relationship. The shallow-guarded-hidden-withdrawn-fearful of true intimacy doesn’t do it for me. I want to see and be seen. I want to show up, naked, unashamed, raw and the glory of who I am and I want my lover-friend-partner to do the same. I am not interested in shallow connections–lets meet in the deeper places where our souls connect & our hearts touch. Meet me in the depths of my story & invite me into yours. No more walls. No more barriers. No more hiding-dancing-retreating.

Life extends an invitation to live from the deeper places & is awaiting our collective RSVP. If there is one thing that is clear to me now more than anything it is that I want to dive deeper and I want fellow journeyers to go with. I want to ride the edge of my existence, push my own boundaries & drink every drop of bliss I can find.