The Unknown is a place where Grace is awaiting

When we want to start something new – be it a new relationship, a new career, a new business or anything else – we inevitably experience some level of anxiety and doubts. Would my plan be successful? Will I be good enough? Is it the right move for me? How can I be sure?

The problem is that our ‘thinking mind’ can never be sure about the positive effects of the change. We often end up going in circles in a futile attempt to find some guarantees, which of course we cannot find because we are not in the future yet. We feel in our heart and know in our gut what is not working in our life and usually have a pretty good idea about what we need to change, but the fear of the unknown often makes us stop short of action.

The ego is a relentless conflict instigator. It is never at peace. It is always busy comparing, attacking, questioning, looking for evidence, negotiating, or trying to scare us. You can recognise ego’s voice easily. It always speaks first and it is always loud. You may well notice that when we are listening to the ego’s voice, it is never accompanied by warm, peaceful or empowering feelings. If you have not yet learnt to recognise “who is talking” in your head, there is a very easy way to know. If you are experiencing any sort of negative, contracting, uneasy or uncomfortable feelings – even ever so slight – you can be certain that the stream of thoughts you are tuning in to is broadcasted by the ego. If we choose to believe this voice, our life expression is limited and we become prisoners in our own prison. The voice of the ego is strong, but it is trying so hard only because it is not real. It wants you to believe it, so it makes you feel fear. It knows that if you feel fear it can control you, and this way its survival is guaranteed. This is all that our ego cares about – its survival. It doesn’t care about us or about our happiness.

Tune out… The ego can only exist as long as you believe that it’s real. You can still hear it, but you don’t have to believe it. It doesn’t matter what kind of life circumstances or hardship in the past made our ego so strong, erratic, cruel, hysterical or wimpy, we can still choose to tune out and not take it seriously. If we managed to learn to tune out of the daily noise around us, we can learn to disengage our attention from the ego’s voice – despite it being in our head.

Turn to the heart and tune in. Breathe in and breathe out. Listen to the quiet voice of your soul, of your intuition, the “gut feeling”. The more we practice, the easier it gets. This voice is not saying many words. There is no need. The truth is simple. You just know it. Your soul does not negotiate because the truth is not negotiable. In the soul’s eyes you are whole. It does not put you down and it does not scare you. It’s just there. And, it is waiting for you to believe it. When we start believing our soul more that we believe our ego, we can finally learn to let go, step up into the unknown, trust we will be held, and make our new life reality.

Messages

I had a short conversation with my father a few days ago. He was telling me how he was trying to engage his granddaughter (my 9-year old niece) to solve maths riddles during a holiday on the beach. In a very light-hearted manner he was kind of complaining to me how it is usually not easy for him to interest my niece in doing intellectual exercises because all that she usually wants to do is to turn everything into play… I have to admit that I get tense every time I happen to hear him talking about the subject of child development. I was a little girl myself, and I had first hand experience of the harmful effect that my father’s teachings had on my life as a woman. My father carried on repeating what he told to my niece in his attempt to teach her “the truth about life”. It went something like this:

“When you grow up, you have three choices. One is, if you are very beautiful, you can marry a prince, and then you don’t need to study or know anything now, because the prince will take care of you. Second, you leave learning anything now, become a famous Hollywood actress and then you will be rich and able to do whatever you want since you won’t depend on anybody. But the third option, and the most likely one, is that you will have to work for money, which means that you have to learn a lot now, so you could know a lot of things, think fast and be better than others, so that people would want you…”

I even detected some pride in my father’s voice when he was telling me this little story. He was absolutely oblivious to the damaging effect his words had on my life. Lies travel fast, we say. Lies also travel long… It’s been forty years between the time when the “truth” about “my place and challenge in the world” entered my ears and now, when the same “masculine model of achievement and competition” was passed on to my little niece a generation down the line… All I could do in that conversation is to ask my father to stop talking and inform him in a rather abrupt manner that I disagree with his “life philosophy” because it’s just outright damaging and wrong. I felt my emotions and reactivity for a long time after this conversation took place. I was left feeling sad and bitter about being unable to give any clear explanation of my views and feelings to my 73-year old father, a self-made man, a distinguished maths professor, who grew up without a father in Russia after the second world war, and surely did the best he could as a father for his two daughters… Only a few years ago, the little girl inside me managed to forgive my father. My woman’s heart was finally healed and opened for love.

If you are one of those multitudes of women who received all sorts of damaging, diminishing or patriarchal messages about your life purpose and about who you truly are when you were a girl, throw these messages from your head forever and replace them with these:

I am Love. I am the resource, and my own cause. I have the power to create. I have the power to destroy. I choose. I am the Value, and I am enough. My feminine side manifests as being, changing, playing, and creating. I trust my intuition. I trust my body. I am free, and I don’t need to justify myself. There is no place I need to rush to. There is no one I need to be, as I already am, and ‘arrived’ when I was born, and this is Good.

Are you ‘stuck’ in your past? No? Check again…

Do you keep your ex-lovers in your life as rainy day male energy providers? You might not at all be considering ever getting back together with them but, nevertheless, they are able to provide occasional “no-strings-attached” emotional and/or physical comfort whenever you need it.

You might not be willing to admit it, but by keeping your ex-lovers at easy reach you are actually keeping yourself away from meeting a partner that could be just right for you. Because you know that you have a safety net of male energy and attention available “on demand”, you are less likely to trust, to commit, to be vulnerable, and to be fully open for any new relationship.

You can have a joyful, fulfilling, intimate, balanced and lasting love relationship with a man only if he is able to connect with you on four different levels: on a physical level, on a heart level, on an intellectual level and on the level of material resources. In other words, it means that:

  • Your sexual energy is available to him;
  • Your heart is open and vulnerable to allow him to know your emotions;
  • Your personal values and interests are compatible;
  • You are able to show him that he is needed and making a difference to your life by investing his resources (e.g. time, attention, money) into it.

If, at times when you feel like protecting your heart, you block the man who cares for you in one of those four dimensions by having some of your essential needs met by your male friends/ex-lovers at your convenience, your newly developing connection will suffer due to ‘energetic holes’ in it.

Being fully present for your relationship means that you are allowing the flow at all the four levels between you two while accepting the risk that your heart might be broken. If you can’t be fully present for your new relationship by keeping in touch with the ghosts from your past, you may not give it a chance to fully develop into what it could have been. Also you should not be surprised if you happen to experience distractions and invasions into your new relationship by other women who may wish to engage with your partner at the levels that are vacant.

I suggest you do an experiment. Try to delete all your ex-lovers’ numbers and e-mails from your phone. Is it hard for you? Why? How do these connections feed your different needs? If you are looking for lasting love and want to attract the right man into your life, you would want all energetic and emotional doors into your past romantic involvements to be firmly shut. Certainly, removing your past lover’s phone number might feel like a loss to you, but once you did this, the Universe would have heard your voice saying firmly and clearly that you don’t want to settle for less and that you are ready for a relationship that ‘has it all’.

About having control

Can you tolerate the frustration of not being in control over something? How far would you go striving for control? Is control something that you consciously pursue or something you deny wanting?  Today I wanted to ponder what ‘being in control’ means in our life… or at least what it means for me.

Looking back, I can see that all my past suffering was caused, one way or another, by my attempts to control the outcomes of particular life situations, especially in relationships. Acute suffering was felt every time when things were not going “my way”. My strong attachment to the idea of how things or people should be was making my life uneasy.

Some years ago I went to Amsterdam for a weekend with an Advaita teacher, Wayne Liquorman, and I remember him telling a story that stuck with me for years. It went something like that:

Imagine you are travelling on a boat along a river. You are holding a wheel and, at some point, you want to turn right. You turn the wheel right, and the boat turns right. Another time you choose to go left, turn the wheel left and the boat goes left. You believe you are in control of where you are going. And, suddenly, when it is time to choose a new direction again, you decide to go right, turn the wheel right and then, ooops… the boat goes left! Another turn comes, you want to go right, turn the wheel right and the boat goes left! “What’s going on?” – you are thinking, “the boat is broken! I need to fix it.” You still believe you are in control.

The teacher said something along the lines: “There is you on a boat, and there is a river. But the wheel is not attached to the boat… Sometimes the direction of where you want to go agrees with the direction the river is taking you. But sometimes it just doesn’t”. This truth about reality may sound very simple but, at the time, I didn’t understand what it was all about. Do I need to do anything at all with my life? Or should I be completely passive? If I do have to do something, then what is it? How do I know when to do and when not to do? Those were my questions. I didn’t know what life wants from me. I thought that everything depends on and rotates around me, so I just need to figure out what I want and press on with that.

Years after that Amsterdam trip, I figured out the answers. Or, to be more accurate, the answers dropped down from the level of a pondering mind right down into my body and heart. These days, whenever I become aware of wanting to control something, I remember the story about the boat and the river…

It has always been about the river. If we know the river, we can make a conscious effort and align our life and our desires with the river. If we pay attention to the river we will see that it has its laws, its purpose, and even its sense of humour. First and the most obvious observation we can make is that the river always flows, it always changes, and it never stops. Second, it flows somewhere. Where it flows we cannot see, because each of us is just “a body on a boat”. Third, the river is much bigger than all of us. It means, there is no point to resist it; we are not going to win.

What I want to say is that for me, it feels liberating let go of the fantasy of having control. The idea might be painful for some, but on a positive side, we can just relax and stop stubbornly stomping our feet and demanding the river to flow “our way”. The river doesn’t care; it just does its thing. We can either continue our fight for illusionary control, or we can try and quiet our relentless mind and let our heart learn the laws of the river. We can make its laws the laws we live by. We may even start wanting the same things as the river wants. Then life gets so much easier.

With our “eyes wide shut”

We always get very excited when we first meet someone who we really like and are attracted to. There is an energetic exhilaration in the body and we have these great expectations, even when the chances of being together with this new person, for whatever reason, are not very high. Somehow we manage to completely forget that after a brief period of infatuation and feeling of being “in love” with a less than suitable candidate we will inevitably face the pain of loss and separation followed by a substantial period of emotional recovery. This period of time when we need to energetically tear ourselves apart from our lover usually takes a lot of our attention and ‘heart space’ and makes us rather ineffective, “absent” or withdrawn from other important areas of our life: work, friendships, family.

So, why is it that, time after time, we enter a new relationship with our “eyes wide shut”? I was definitely one of those people who followed this kind of self-destructive pattern in the past. My reasons for doing this were chasing a feeling of “immediate self-validation” and running away from my past wound of feeling “rejected”. As a result of such compulsive behaviour, after each break-up I was feeling “more devalued” and “more rejected”. The emotional restoration work was getting harder and harder, until one day the wound of rejection presented itself fully and in all its grandeur to my awareness, taking me many years back in my history. If I try to describe this experience of the wound surfacing it would go something like this: there was an incredible pain with no end, which filled the whole body, while the body was physically unharmed. Tears were coming out with no warning as I went about daily tasks: washing dishes, sitting in the office at work, shopping… There was nowhere to run any more, and there was also no point. All I could do was just “be with it”. While “being with it”, I was looking back retrospectively at my life and relationships and I could see so clearly that running away from experiencing this pain was the deepest reason for all my self-compromising and self-destructive choices over the years. The pain lasted three days until one afternoon I suddenly felt something amazing happening in the body – I still have a vivid memory of it. The pain lifted and there was a shimmering, refreshing sensation of “reparation” in the whole chest area, accompanied by an incredible feeling of peace and crystal clarity, like the fog around me suddenly dissolved and, for the first time in my life, I found myself in the “here and now”. The world around me became different. It was Perfect and everything in it was made of Love. I remember walking down the street where I lived and just seeing things as if with new eyes. The mind was ‘in awe’ and I knew I was experiencing a true reality. My experience of life and the way I ‘navigate’ it have changed dramatically since then…

Is there a pain you are running away from? What motivates you to enter the “muddy waters” of a less than suitable relationship with your “eyes wide shut”, generating even more pain for yourself in the future? Giving full attention and staying present to your emotional pain, as it arises, is the biggest favour you can do to yourself and the greatest act of self-love.

Dear aware masculine men

Dear aware masculine men,
I want to ask you to be kind to women. Love them, protect them, cherish them. Not only those women that you like or who you are close to. Take care and protect all women in your field of awareness. Let’s stop the war of genders. Women need your strength and protection – even those who say they don’t, even those who seem to have lost the key to their own kingdom, even those who are holding a grudge against you because they were hurt in the past. Women are strong and able in all sorts of ways, they are survivors, they can move mountains when they want to, they can kill to protect their child… But it’s you – you were once that child…
Don’t buy into a woman’s strong and independent front. Don’t trust when she says she just wants to have sex with you. Don’t trust her when she agrees to be your lover but can’t see a future with you. These are the signs that she is carrying pain in her heart – pain she is not yet aware of. She tries to blunt the pain by being with you but what she is offering is not going to make you happy, and she is hurting herself even more by being with you. Don’t accept her offerings if she can’t offer you all of herself. Don’t take what’s easy to take. Refuse to participate in her self-harming behaviour, as you will only go down the history as part of her pain, not as part of her life… Be her friend, if you can. Listen to her. Offer her a shoulder, a dance… But don’t allow her to mislead you or play with your desire and feelings. Rise above your immediate comforts and wants. If you can’t do it – just leave.
Women are mothers – to you, to your children, to the whole world – even those who think they are not. They are the source you seem to want to come back to, again and again. Give them your care, your strength and support – unconditionally, without expecting anything in return. Admire their grace, their forms, their alluring beauty, but don’t grasp, don’t lust, don’t put them down in revenge for their elusiveness… Take care of women, all of them – young and old, beautiful and not, aware and not. You can do it. Stop the war. Take care and protect your world and your future by protecting a woman near you. Women make home for you, they are sweet and playful and their world is full of little pretty things you like so much and of lovely smells. Your soul rests with them and you are longing for their warmth and company. Set women free from yourself and, in return, they will sooth your aching heart in appreciation and gratitude.

How not to lose love

When two people fall in love they usually feel blissful for a while and as if everything is perfect and nothing will ever stand between them. At the beginning of the relationship, the love energy is strong and it helps them to see things through, even when life is challenging. This is because when we fall in love, our habitual patterns are interrupted and we have a much higher capacity for sacrifice, forgiveness, gratitude and appreciation. These higher states of being and functioning can be seen as a ‘free gift’ from the Universe to give us a glimpse into a higher reality of life and into what we are capable of.

However, nothing is free in the Universe. The Universe wants ‘stuff’ from us! What does it want? It wants us to generate more light in exchange for the light that it had shown us when we first fell in love. It wants us to transform our darkness into light, our fears into love…. But for many of us, it’s a hard work and we refuse to do it. As time goes buy, we tend to revert to the old habits and find a million excuses for not changing our behavioural and emotional patterns and are ready to blame another for the loss of love and passion in our relationship.

This is an old story. Let’s write a new one… Let’s not lose sight of love in our life.

Attention is love. Giving attention to another human being is work. Love is work. To keep your heart open and be vulnerable every day is not easy. But once we get better at it, our world will be a better place to live in.

Keep your focus on the good in another. Don’t accumulate negativity in your mind and heart. Keep your negative talk and emotional reactivity “in check”: jealousy, anger, hatred, sarcasm, fear, judgement, self-deprecation, pity, bitching. It happens easily and we are often late to notice this harmful process. Check the balance of ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ regularly. Keep it on the bright side! And, by the way, this is not the same as “sweeping things under the carpet”…

Foster a state of forgiveness, appreciation and gratitude. If you see that good things have been done to you or are happening around you – don’t take it for granted, mention it, say “thank you”. Do not withhold kindness!

Your behaviour has to be aligned with your intentions. Don’t play games, don’t send mixed messages, and don’t “push-pull” in order to receive something. Don’t withhold intimacy. Don’t fake pleasure.

If you suffer, don’t react with psychological games. Don’t ‘hide’ by distancing yourself and withdrawing your affection. If your partner is hurting you, say it – say “how” and “why”. Your beloved is not a mind reader. Say: “I am hurt” instead of: “You are bad”. People who love you want you to be happy and will do their best to change things.

Learn to forgive, even when it seems impossible. We hurt those we love sometimes. In most cases, it happens unintentionally. We all have bad emotional and behavioural habits. These are not easy to change or get rid of quickly. Forgive.

And in any situation, ‘integrity’ is the word to remember.

Romantic relationships: complementarity principle vs. the law of attraction

Many people want to be a relationship. But not many know what for. The general feeling is that it is better somehow. There is a popular belief that two people can “complete” each other in certain ways, which proves on many occasions to be confusing. We may hear people using the words “polarity” or “opposites attract” or “law of attraction” with regards to relationships.

However, the interpretation of such terms differs from one person to another. It is true that in a couple, if one partner is shy and accommodating, another might be assertive and uncompromising. One could be a safety-seeking type, another a risk-taker. Arguably, such unions can function more effectively in the world since they influence each other’s qualities by softening their extreme manifestations and, as a whole, may appear more “balanced”.

Another variation of polarity in a couple is the one that relates to the opposite protective mechanisms that each individual adapts while growing up. For example, one person maintains their illusionary security by withdrawing, another by engulfing; one is a caretaker whereas another is the one who needs rescuing; similarly, victim and perpetrator; narcissist and one with low self-esteem; rescuer and “damsel in distress”; Mr Perfect and his crazy wife; Good Boy and his angel-like passive-aggressive partner. The list goes on…

Such psychologically complementary pairing may be stable for shorter or longer periods of time. But, if we presume that two people in a couple constantly evolve by seeking growth and healing, it is not difficult to imagine a point in their life when psychological complementarity will stop working because one individual happens to resolve their childhood wounds or becomes more aware of his or her rigid schemas and stops following a particular behavioural pattern. There is nothing intrinsically wrong or bad in this, but it does mean that there is a high probability that the relationship disintegrates.

Therefore, I would like to make a point here that if we want to pursue a long-lasting romantic partnership, we should not base our relationship choices on ‘complementarity of deficiencies’. Neither should we seek healing or therapy through our relationship, or at least, we should not see such processes as central in it. We should seek these independently and irrespectively of anything that is going on in our relationships. This is not to say that a relationship based on true love is not going to have its healing or redemptive power for us – it will. But this should be seen as its amazing “side effect” rather than as its central part or its purpose.

While our polarised personal qualities may result in the overall feeling of psychological comfort and compatibility, what makes a relationship really work is having fundamental things in common. These common things come from our conscious desires and preferences in life, from a similarity in our personal, spiritual and moral values. From neurobiological perspective, these are products of our pre-frontal cortex, rather than of the amygdala’s protective responses to ‘safety-danger’ situations around which our character is formed. Without such similarity in fundamental values in both individuals, their relationship is not going to be sustainable in the long term. The law of attraction can be stated as: “like attracts like”. You want respect – be respectful. You want to be cared for – start caring for others. If you want love – be love. If you want to be with an attractive, strong, mature, caring individual – match your demand with an equally high offer. If you don’t – accept the possibility that your relationships may never go beyond being a string of never-ending spiritual homeworks, character building projects, wound healing sprees, attempts at fixing and changing another, heroic rescuing acts, etc.

The only area of our relationship where we should seek polarity (or, in other words, the power of magnetism, or ‘opposites attract’) is the gender essence polarity. Why? Because we want the passion and energy that comes with it. When we feel passionate we feel inspired and ‘securely attached’ with our partner. If passion is not in our relationship we won’t be ‘securely attached’ because, sooner or later, passion will spark elsewhere with someone else. What makes a relationship passionate is things being different (polarity). Naturally, if a woman wants to be with a masculine man, she has to activate the feminine essence in her. Similarly, if a man wants to be with a feminine woman he has to be more aligned with the masculine principle. This magnetism will work irrespectively of physical gender because each of us carries both principles. Masculine and feminine essence in us will play out differently in different situations and we can consciously choose which energy we want to ride. However, it is necessary to develop self-awareness and a good understanding of gender spirituality to play this exciting game in a creative and ‘life-forward’ way.

Deceptions of ‘spiritual conquest’

It is a common phenomenon that people with spiritual beliefs try to use any difficult life circumstances for self-improvement and spiritual betterment. Whatever happens in their life – career challenges, disappointment, failures, relationship difficulties, anger, financial problems, loneliness, hurt feelings, etc. – all of these they are eager to use in order to cultivate such worthwhile states of being as non-attachment, forgiveness, appreciation, and unconditional loving.

The theme of “accepting life as it is” is also very popular. Often, if you consider yourself to be spiritual, rebelling against your circumstances and not accepting a particular life situation “as it is” would look “kind of lame” in the eyes of the spiritual community.

Another valued spiritual trait is taking responsibility for everything that happens in one’s life and not blaming anybody else for the way one feels. Rightly, this seems to be the only way one can exercise control over one’s life and make choices that may bring alternative results.

However, I have come to believe that these three spiritual themes – the chase after the “enlightened” states of being, accepting things as they are, and the culture of not blaming – as great as they truly are, when not balanced with common sense and with an acknowledgement of our true human needs, can attract feelings of confusion, pain and disempowerment. It definitely caused a lot of confusion in my own life, and I can often see the same happening to other people – especially to women.

We often tolerate more than they should, stay longer in a relationship than is good for us, and forgive things and actions which should not be taken lightly. My own explanation for such occurrences is that often people who come to spirituality are those who have been hurt before and who are looking for ways to heal their heart and to recover their sense of wholeness. I was one of these people. Since my own wounding has always been around rejection, not being good enough and not being important, the best protection from the pain of these wounds was to adopt different controlling attitudes, such as not committing, leaving relationships first, emotional withdrawal (in other words, being ‘civil’), and choosing romantic partners who still had some ‘growing up’ to do and with whom I could take on a mother’s role. My “acceptance” was, in fact, the fear of being alone with my own “non importance”. My “unconditional love” and “not judging” were to numb my inferiority complex and the fear of rejection. My over-understanding of someone else’s intolerable behaviour was a sure way to be “saintly” in my own and my partner’s eyes. In my romantic attachments, I used to always end up in a position of the stronger, more mature, more balanced, more non-attached one. And all of these were just my ego’s way of protecting me from feeling my own needs, my own brokenness, my own vulnerability, my complete lack of control and my deep fear of not getting what I really wanted. I was often compromising my sense of integrity to avoid pain but, paradoxically, by doing this, I was inviting more and more pain into my life.

I have always been on a spiritual path, even when I did not know it. I have a great respect for people who are courageous enough to delve into their own darkness so they could come out the other side in a more gracious and liberated form. However, I also see how people who embrace spirituality are often trying to overcome their own humanity and everything that comes with it.

There are a few basic messages that we human beings have to receive from those with whom we share our life so we can be happy. These messages are:

I see you

 I regret your pain and suffering

You are loved and you belong with us

I appreciate your contributions and achievements

 You are safe with me and from me

These are our true human needs which we have the right and are allowed to seek a fulfilment of in our relationships. In fact, these are the same as a child’s needs. We also – even if maybe to a lesser degree than children – need to feel affirmed and celebrated in our existence by those who claim to love us. Without it, our spiritual pursuits may become ‘phony’ and lacking in genuine depth. It can, in some subtle ways, become merely decorative and manifest as what John Welwood has called “spiritual bypassing”.

My needs were not fulfilled in my past relationships because I was disconnected from my heart – I was “above” the needs. But all the same, spiritual practices and the desire for self-betterment eventually got me out of the vicious circle I described earlier. It didn’t happen overnight and I wish that there had been someone to tell me the following:

Being human is OK.

Know and respect your values and respect your true needs.

Allow and accept the reality of your own pain and fears.

But never let go of your integrity.

Do the right thing, even if it means you have to let go of what you want (and what we want is usually to be in control, one way or another).

Because keeping your integrity intact will feel better than getting what you want.

Once you had an experience of choosing your integrity over what you want,

you will never come to live any other way…

In my case, there was nobody there to say these words to me. So, I am saying them here for you.

The art of asking

I will open with a statement. Praying to God and asking for something we need, helps. (Here, when I say “God” I mean “some intelligent force that is higher than us and which is inside or/and outside of us”). But to get a prayer ‘right’ is not that easy. The main reason why it’s difficult is because, in order to create a prayer that can be heard, we have to let go of our desire to control things.

I remember a number of years ago, I was praying to God for help. I felt desperate and could not find the way to work things out by myself. I experienced enormous emotional pain from a particular situation in my love relationship: people in that situation didn’t behave in a way, which, I thought, would bring a resolution, a relief, and in a way that would make me feel important. So, I prayed to God for the situation to change, for the people involved to change – for their own good, for their own sense of integrity! But it didn’t help… And then, at some point, I lost any hope. I stopped believing that something can ever change. I just stayed with the pain and I asked God: “Please take my pain away…” And later the same day the pain was gone! I felt free, ‘clean’ and expansive inside. A week later, the situation that was troubling me transformed into the way I wanted it to be…

So, my lesson here was that: if you want answers or help from the higher forces, be completely honest with yourself. Get to the real, as I call it, the ‘first degree’ problem you are having, and submit it to God. Ask for yourself, not for others. God has no objection for you asking things for yourself. God wants you to be happy. Don’t ask “Please, remove this person or a situation from my sight, so I could feel better”. Instead, say: “I am suffering. Please, help me to change my reaction to the situation I am in / to people I am involved with”. See what happens!

Our relentless wish for control is often the cause for our deepest suffering. When your romantic relationship turns to be a pain sometimes, let it go, step out of it for a while. Don’t try to control things. Don’t try to manipulate people into how you want them to be or behave. Don’t ask God to change the circumstances, so you could be happy. Your feelings and reactions are the only things you have the right to control.

For most of my life, I had difficulty accepting the following words:

“If you love someone, set them free. If they come back, they are yours: if they don’t they never were” (Richard Bach).

I always had very contradictive feelings inside about this “letting go” thing. I felt ‘in my blood’ that there was a truth in those words. But I also believed that if you love someone, you ‘fight’ for them and you let them know they matter. So, I didn’t know how to marry these two truths. Later on, an understanding came: you don’t have to let go of your love for someone, instead you let go of what your ego wants. And when you do let go of your ego, the person you love will feel very free of you, even when standing very near.