Sunday, November 22, 2015


~Jenna Rose Lowthert

She’ll be a different kind of girl. She has experienced loss and knows what it feels like to be left, even if it was unintentionally. Every day her heart will be hurting, even if she doesn’t show it. Comfort her.
She will act tough, she will pretend she doesn’t have emotions. She does. They’re tucked away deep down inside her broken heart. Let her know she is meant to be loved and you want to love her.
Each and every time you mention your mother she will cringed, not at the thought of her, but at the thought of her own mother not being around anymore. She will feel a sense of embarrassment when someone asks her about her parents. It is one of the hardest things in the world to have to explain to somebody why and how you are a motherless daughter.
Holidays will always be hard for her, after all the most important person in her world is no longer there. Do something to honor and celebrate her mother.
She will wish with all her might that you got to meet her mother before she died, but she knows that is not a possibility. She constantly wonders if her mother would like you, would she approve of you? Get to know her mother through her. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid of bringing up what you think may harm her heart even more. It won’t. She loves to talk about her mother. She wants you to know every little detail, but she probably would never tell you that on her own. Talk to her, ask her what her mother was like, what her mother loved to do, what her favorite food was, what song she liked, what she learned from her, etc. These questions will open her up to you, even if it’s only a tiny bit. Remind her every day that she is beautiful and she was raised by a queen.
She will cry a lot, but you won’t know it when she does. Let her know it’s okay and let her know that you want to be the shoulder she cries on. Let her know you want to be the one to make her smile through all the tears.
She’ll want to take a lot of pictures, memories are gold to her. She knows what it’s like to have amazing memories ripped from under her feet, and she is more than thankful for the pictures she has taken to keep those memories alive.
She will hide, she will not accept your love right away and it will take her a while to realize she is more than deserving of it.  She will hate the fact that she feels this way, remember she can’t help it.
She will be very independent, there will be a lot of things she won’t need you for, be there for her anyway, but always give her space. She values her solitude but don’t ever be offended by it. Take the time to understand why she likes to be alone.
She is not broken, although it may seem she is, so please don’t try to fix her. She is just finding her way in this world without her mother’s guidance.  She will guard her heart more than she ever has before, and you’ll have to try very hard to climb her walls, but when you eventually get to the other side, it will all be worth it, because she will love you with everything she has left in her.

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Power of Vulnerability: 10 Life Lessons

~ Via Lubna

Up until the last few years, I had rejected the idea of allowing myself to be vulnerable, if even on a subconscious and cellular level.

From a young age, I had managed to push down any vulnerability or sensitivity I had in me for my own psychic survival. Looking back I realize that I suffered from some deep emotional wounds, wounds that I wouldn’t or couldn’t acknowledge. Was it because I was strong? Was it because I was stubborn? Perhaps I was both. The truth was, I no longer knew.  Somewhere along the road to survival, the difference between the two had begun to blur.

I refused to be hurt. I refused it with such a vengeance; I probably hurt myself more in the process. I spent what felt like an eternity building emotional brick walls in hopes that they would protect my heart. Yes, I had it all figured out. Through the cunning and creative placement of walls, I would never have to feel pain again. Absence of pain equaled happiness.

You can imagine this was the start of a long, frustrating, and disappointing journey which ultimately landed me into one of the most painful life situations ever. There’s nothing like a near death experience, or three, to slow you down. On my path to healing, I came across this river of emotions flowing through me. Further along on the path, I found a wall I had built—a dam to the river. It was now an ocean, and I didn’t know how to swim, literally and figuratively. I went out in search of tools to help me take this wall down without causing further damage to my body or psyche.
It wasn’t long before I realized just how sensitive I really was. This sensitivity, or vulnerability, that I had denied myself all these years was now coming back to haunt me in the form of physical illness and anxiety disorder. As I allowed this side of me to emerge, it turns out that there was no way to avoid the pain associated with it.  I felt so much! It overwhelmed me at times; the emotions and feelings were like a rush. Feeling like I had finally taken my first deep breath, I exhaled and thought “Damn! This stinks!”  “This” referring to everything I found myself to be doing at the time.

All of a sudden I was unhappy with my line of work. Many of my relationships and friendships were beginning to feel less satisfying. This feeling of discontent followed me around all day. In short, I was depressed. I also had no idea how I was supposed to go about changing everything in my life, but I knew that there had to be changes.  I also knew, though, that my life at that time was a house of cards, every card depended on the other. Taking away any one card would bring the whole house down.
And so it was. My house of cards and all my walls came crashing down and I had to start over. Just as I would catch myself starting to build up my house of cards again, I’d stop.

I’d remind myself of some of the lessons I have learned on this journey:

  1.  Honor yourself first and above all. You are no good to anyone if you are no good to yourself.
  2. You are the reason why you are not happy with your life. Period. Your life is based on a series of your own choices, no one else’s. You are not a victim; you are an empowered creator.
  3. The definition of insanity is “doing the same thing, over and over and expecting a different outcome.” If you want your life to be different, make different choices.
  4.  If you want to attract “better things” into your life, work on becoming a better person. You attract what you are.
  5.  There is a delicate balance to the Universe. It always provides everything you need. Note that “need” and “want” are two very different things.
  6.  Be kind, but don’t be a pushover. If it doesn’t feel true for you, chances are, it’s not. Then refer to lesson #1.
  7. Your body is your vessel and a gift; it doesn’t deserve your abuse. There is a fine line between indulging a desire, and depending on it.
  8. Forgive, forgive, forgive, but don’t forget. Start with yourself first.
  9. Choose friends who share your enthusiasm for life and appreciate your strengths and weaknesses.Which brings me to one of my most important lessons…
  10. Our strength lies in our vulnerability and our willingness to keep our hearts open in spite of all the painful blows that life throws at us. By allowing your heart to remain open you will not only learn faster and heal faster, but all those delicate and beautiful parts of yourself will begin to flourish.
Sensitivity is not a weakness. It could perhaps be your greatest unrealized strength. In my case, allowing myself to be vulnerable and honoring my sensitivity allowed me to start coming out of hibernation.
“You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book… or you take a trip, or you talk with Richard, and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death.”

Live life fully, in all its joy, in all its pain and in all its glory.

Editor: Kate Bartolotta.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Sexual Attraction: The Big Bang. ~ Dawn Cartwright

Sexual Attraction: The Big Bang.

Via  on Aug 28, 2012

It isn’t a bang, it’s a hum.

I went to a dinner party this summer, given by a gourmand friend with a knack for putting together shindigs that take off like a house on fire. The place was full of crazy-fun people, epic food, great music and an overall feeling of friendly inclusion.
It was a great night.
Then he walked through the door.
As is customary in this particular enclave, he greeted me with a much–longer–than–a–collision, slightly–shorter–than–a–slow–dance, bear hug.

And I felt it.

The hum.
black and white lovemakingLet’s get this straight; the hum isn’t your garden-variety sexual attraction where your loins seize up in a mating cramp upon encountering a favorable genetic match. No, the hum isn’t about propagating the species, at least not that way. The hum is also not about looks, which, let’s be honest, is refreshing to say the least. The hum is something you feel before it even comes around the corner.
It’s the feeling that, if you had antennae, the hum would be all and everything those antennae would ever be about. You feel the hum in your whole body, not just below the belt. It’s a feeling that feels more like you’re picking up signals from other galaxies (don’t ask me how I know what that feels like) than almost anything else.
When you feel the hum, you wonder why you ever do anything or spend time with anyone where it isn’t present. You feel the hum and you remember your reason for living. You feel the hum and you’re singing from the mountaintops even in the Bonneville Salt Flats.
According to physicist John Cramer of the University of Washington in Seattle, our whole universe began with a hum. Based on his analysis of radiation left over from the Big Bang, Cramer discovered that the Big Bang didn’t sound like a bang at all—it sounded like a large jet plane flying one hundred feet over your house in the middle of the night.

The Big Bang was actually a deep hum.

And it’s still humming.
Right on down to the quarks and leptons in our very own bodies.
The hum is what connects us all. Gives us that feeling of belonging together. It’s the theme shared by fractals, financial markets and starling murmurations; everything complete unto itself, yet indivisible from the whole, repeating ad infinitum.

It’s that feeling of coming home.

I’ve lost count of how many nights and weekends, how many air miles I’ve spent, filling time and distracting my body, in search of that one feeling that echoes from the genesis of time.
How could I have ever believed that keeping busy and being productive or the excitement of sex and romance could ever compare to the spaciousness, the non-static settledness, the relief, of feeling the feeling I was feeling right now, wrapped up in this man I’d just met?
Suddenly, an already remarkable evening went into full–on sympathetic resonance.
You know that feeling, right?
When the two of you bring out the best in each other, easily, as if by magic?  (Only it isn’t magic, it’s advanced physics linked to the deep hum of the big bang that is still resounding throughout the universe we call home.)
Of course you do.
Well, it was like that.
The hum is like that.

So, I asked myself. What’s the difference between Garden-Variety Sexual Attraction and The Big Bang, a.k.a., The Deep Hum? I came up with a list, which is in no way meant to be comprehensive. Here goes.

Garden-Variety Sexual Attraction vs. the Big Bang:

1. With garden-variety sexual attraction, once the passion’s gone, so is the relationship. With the big bang, sexual passion comes and goes but the hum hums on.
2. Garden-variety sexual attraction leaves you disoriented; you forget where you left your keys, your car, your underwear. Big bang sexual attraction puts you in the zone; you become a magnet for everything good in your life.
3. When you have garden-variety sexual attraction sex, it’s like having dinner at a Chinese restaurant; thirty minutes later you want sex again. When what you feel is the big bang, sex, or no sex, you walk around feeling perpetually satisfied.
4. Garden-variety sexual attraction is the urge to merge. With big bang sexual attraction, merging isn’t an issue, you pick up right where you left off fifteen billion years ago.
5. Garden-variety sexual attraction only happens with potential lovers. The big bang can happen with anyone and anything; friends, lovers, your dog, the guy serving your coffee, music, dusk up in Ojai. And it can happen even when you’re all alone.
6. When you feel garden-variety sexual attraction all you want to do is relieve yourself of the feeling. When you feel the big bang, you stop looking for a climax, in fact the climax becomes decidedly anticlimactic. You make love all night. And all day. And all night. And…you get the picture.
7. With garden-variety sexual attraction there’s a feeling something must happen or you will explode. With the big bang, there’s a recognition that you have now arrived at the place where it is all already happening. You have joined the cosmic love train.
And, just in case you’re in any way worried that big bang sexual attraction is well, unsexy, here’s another description of The Big Bang, this time from Mark Whittle, Professor of Astronomy at the University of Virginia: “[The Big Bang was]. . . a descending scream, building  into a deep rasping roar, and ending in a deafening hiss. As if this were not impressive enough, the entire acoustic show is itself the prelude to a wonderful transformation: the highest pitch sounds ultimately spawn the first generation of stars, while the deep bass notes slowly dissolve to become the tapestry of galaxies which now fills all of space.”
Sound familiar?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

If Your Relationship Is Failing, Here's Why ~ Dr, Margaret Paul

If there was one thing you could do to heal your relationships, would you do it?

I’m the kind of person who loves to understand the deeper reasons behind behavior, and I’ve spent most of my life learning about what creates loving or unloving relationships. In the 43 years I’ve been counseling couples, I’ve discovered that there really is one major cause of relationship problems—one issue that if you address and heal, changes everything.

The one cause: self-abandonment.

When you abandon yourself emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially, relationally and/or organizationally, you automatically make your partner responsible for you. Once you make another person responsible for your feelings of self-worth and well being, then you attempt to manipulate that person into loving you, approving of you and giving you what you want. The controlling behavior that results from self-abandonment creates huge relationship problems.
Let’s look at the various forms of self-abandonment and how they result in relationship conflict and power struggles, or in distance and disconnection.

Emotional self-abandonment.

When we were growing up, many of us experienced much loneliness, heartache, heartbreak and helplessness. These are very big feelings, and unless we had loving parents or caregivers who helped us through these feelings—rather than being the cause of them—we had to find strategies to avoid them.
We learned four major ways of avoiding these core painful feelings of life, and these four ways now create our feelings of anxiety, depression, guilt, shame and anger, as well as relationship problems.
1. We judge ourselves rather than accept ourselves.
Did you learn to judge yourself as a way to try to get yourself to do things “right” so that others would like you? Self-judgment creates much anxiety, depression, guilt, shame and emptiness, and can lead to many addictions in order to avoid these feelings. Self-judgment also leads to needing others’ approval to feel worthy, and your resulting controlling behaviors to gain others’ approval can lead to many relationship problems.
2. We ignore our feelings by staying up in our head rather than being present in our body.
When you have not learned how to manage your feelings, you want to avoid them. Do you find yourself focused in your head rather than in your body, more or less unaware of your feelings?
We emotionally connect with each other from our hearts and souls, not from our heads. When you stay in your head as a way to avoid responsibility for your feelings, you cannot emotionally connect with your partner.
3. We turn to various addictions to numb the anxiety, depression, emptiness, guilt, shame and anger that develops when we judge ourselves and ignore our feelings.
Addictive behavior, such too much alcohol, drugs, food, TV, gambling, overspending, work, sex and so on, can create much conflict and distance in relationships.
4. We make our partner or others responsible for our feelings.
When we emotionally abandon ourselves, we then believe it is someone else’s job to make us feel loved and worthy. Do you try to control your partner with anger, blame, criticism, compliance, resistance or withdrawal to get him or her to give you what you are not giving to yourself? How does your partner respond to this controlling behavior?
Many relationships fall into a dysfunctional system, such as one person getting angry and the other withdrawing or resisting, or both getting angry or both withdrawing. In some systems, one is angry and the other is compliant, which seems to work until the compliant partner becomes resentful. In all of these systems, each person is emotionally abandoning themselves, which is the root cause of the dysfunctional relationship.

Financial self-abandonment.

If you refuse to take care of yourself financially, instead expecting your partner to take financial responsibility for you, this can create problems. This is not a problem if your partner agrees to take financial responsibility for you and you fully accept how he or she handles this responsibility. But if you choose to be financially irresponsible, such as overspending, or you try to control how your partner earns or manages the money, much conflict can occur over your financial self-abandonment.

Organizational self-abandonment.

If you refuse to take responsibility for your own time and space, and instead are consistently late and/or a clutterer, and your partner is an on-time and/or a neat person, this can create huge power struggles and resentment in your relationship.

Physical self-abandonment.

If you refuse to take care of yourself physically by eating badly and not exercising, possibly causing yourself severe health problems, your partner may feel resentful by having to take care of you. Your physical self-abandonment not only has negative consequences for you regarding your health and well being, it also has unwanted consequences for your partner, which can lead to conflict and power struggles.

Relational self-abandonment.

If you refuse to speak up for yourself in your relationship, and instead become complacent or resistant, you are eroding the love in the relationship. When you abandon yourself to another through compliance or resistance, you create a lack of trust that leads to conflict, disconnection and resentment.

Spiritual self-abandonment.

When you make your partner your source of love rather than learning to turn to a spiritual source for your dependable source of love, you place a very unfair burden on your partner. When your intent in the relationship is to get love rather than to share love, then you will unfairly lean on your partner for attention, approval, time or sex. When you do not take responsibility for learning how to connect with a spiritual source of your own for sustenance, your neediness can create relationship problems.
Spiritual self-abandonment is related to emotional self-abandonment, in that you cannot commit to 100% responsibility for yourself without a strong connection with a spiritual source of love and wisdom.

Learn to love yourself rather than abandon yourself.

Learning to love yourself is the key to a loving relationship. When you learn to connect with a personal source of spiritual guidance and access the love and wisdom that is always within you, you learn to fill yourself up with love. While self-abandonment creates an inner emptiness that relies on others to fill you, self-love creates an inner fullness. Self-love fills your heart and soul with overflowing love so that, rather than always trying to get love, you can now share your love with your partner.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Tall Poppy Syndrome

Tall Poppy Syndrome
by Michael Webb

In Australia there is a phrase "the tall poppy syndrome." It
describes the condition when a person is uncomfortable if one
flower raises its head too far above the rest. They think it looks
unnatural, so what do they do - they cut it down to the level of
the other flowers.

Do you have the same habit with your loved ones? Some people have
the hardest time letting others take some praise. If our coworker
gets a promotion we tease them about what devious things they did
to get it. If our brothers and sisters brought home better report
cards we discounted the difficulty of the classes they took. We
find it hard to accept that some people are going to naturally rise
above others. That person might even be a spouse who makes more
money, has a better physique, more friends, or is better educated.

We also have this nasty habit of cutting down all the poppies
around us if we are feeling particularly low about ourselves. I
remember when my sister made a rude comment about my thinning hair
so I launched back an equally unkind comment about her thickening
waist. We could have acted more maturely and watered each other
with kind comments and encouraging remarks, but ignorantly we were
tearing up the flower garden so no one could enjoy its beauty.

Do you like to insult (talk trash, 'dis, cut, slice) others? Does
it make you feel like your poppy has grown higher? My personal
peeve is when spouses spout insults about each other in front of
their friends. They think their clever but insulting remarks will
make their flower look prettier but in reality your mate's flower
is wrapped around yours. If you cut theirs down, yours will be
butchered too. Whoever came up with the "sticks and stones" phrase
wasn't very bright. Insults are verbal sticks and stones and they
can tear up a field of beautiful poppies in no time.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Way to Interrupt Addiction

~ Becky Vollmer

My dad drank Budweiser for breakfast and Chivas for lunch.

Then he usually crashed by early evening, leaving me guessing what he would’ve had for dinner. I’m fairly certain it wouldn’t have been food.I was daddy’s little girl and often wondered as a kid why he didn’t love us enough to stop drinking, especially when it seemed clear that was the root of so many of our family’s troubles.
When I asked that question (silently, of course), I didn’t necessarily think there was something wrong withme. I was a good kid, until the rebellious teenage years, anyway: doting, obedient, perfectionist. I wondered what was wrong with him. What inside his head made his addiction more important than family, than home, than life itself?
The older I got, and the more entrenched I became in my own drinking, the more I understood: Life is hard and drinking is easy. It smoothes the rough corners and edges. It insulates. It facilitates escape to softer place.
Until it doesn’t. And you don’t need to hit rock bottom to trust that fact. It’s an inevitable progression if not interrupted. (Don’t believe me? Watch this.)
My dad knew. I remember a time about 10 years ago, several years before he died, taking him to lunch and telling him about some recent anxiety, depression and panic attacks I’d had.
“Get it fixed,” he said, and went on to share his own battles with depression, which I’d never understood before. “Get it fixed now.”
All these years, I thought he meant fix the depression for the sake of fixing depression. I didn’t understand until recently—with the insight of a remarkable therapist—that he was really telling to take the depression seriously enough so that it wouldn’t fuel the fire of addiction.
He wanted me to interrupt the progression so that I didn’t become like him.
It was a warning. He was trying to save me.
Those of us who struggle with addiction have to be willing to listen to the warnings—not just the voices that speak to us from the outside, but the faint voice inside that finds the courage to speak up every now and then. We have to heed the signs.
Of course, those signs take many forms. They’re not all towering billboards…or can’t-miss neon…or come with flashing cherries.
Sometimes they’re subtle. They whisper. They’re relatively benign.
Like the time I sat in a new doctor’s office, filling out page after page of intake forms. I remember feeling too embarrassed to answer truthfully the questions: “Do you drink alcohol? If so, how many drinks per week?” (FYI, the gov’t considers more than three drinks on any single day or more than seven drinks in a week to be “heavy” drinking for women. For guys, it’s more than four drinks a day, or 14 per week.)
That embarrassment was a sign. Or the time, at the end of a particularly stressful day, that my four-year-old asked me if I wanted a glass of wine “to feel better.” Or when my six-year-old drew a picture of the family eating dinner and outlined everyone’s drink: “Daddy: water. Sister: milk. Mommy: wine.”
That was a sign.
Or the time that I nearly hit another car head on because I was driving under the influence. I shudder to think of how my selfishness nearly cost someone else something precious.
Another warning.
I tried for years to drink less. I made New Year’s resolutions. Wine on weekends only, I’d swear. Drinking allowed only with dinner. For January 2013, I challenged myself to no wine for 30 days; I made it three.
That inability to curb my desire in the moment—along with the knowing that children of alcoholics are about four times more likely to develop alcohol problems—was another sign.
And it made me realize I needed a more drastic, permanent step.
I needed to stop modeling a pattern of behavior I didn’t want my kids to repeat, because I know what some youngsters do when they see their parents drink all the time. It’s monkey see, monkey do: They think a cocktail in hand ‘round the clock is completely normal because they have no reason to believe it’s not.
(Only as a parent can I appreciate my poor mother’s horror the day I showed up at her house one weekday afternoon, 16 years old and wearing my Catholic schoolgirl uniform, with a cold longneck in hand.)
But that behavior—whether it’s a drink or a drug or a lay or any other distraction we use to escape reality—does more than just take the edge off. As Brené Brown writes in “Daring Greatly,” “We can’t selectively numb emotions. Numb the dark and you numb the light.”
And life’s too amazing to journey through it numb.
So I stopped.
In one breath, I decided.
I released the clutch on my crutch.
Because I love them enough. Most importantly, I love myself.
Now, in the past year of sobriety, I’ve been working on repatterning more than the consumption habits. I’m resetting what “normal” looks like—for me, but mostly for my beautiful daughters. I want their normal to include the courage to work through the complicated situations head on, not to sidestep them with distractions. I want them to learn to feel and process the full, exhilarating range of human emotions—joy and grief, excitement and boredom, having your wishes fulfilled and longing for more.
It’s through the experience of that contrast that we appreciate the highs.
I want them to know that we can stumble and trip, fall and bleed, and still get up to walk, run and even fly again. I want them to know that those moments of struggle can actually bring us to a state of grace, if we are clear-headed and filled with intent.I have the intent… and I’m working toward the grace.
As the Zen saying goes: “No mud, no lotus.”
And as my late, great daddy told me: “Get it fixed.”
And as I say: “Love yourself enough.”

Saturday, March 14, 2015

To The Woman With The Bruises

Melissa Churches

To the Woman with the Bruises,

I know you. I don't know your name, where you live, your age or your phone number.

But I know you.

I know that look in your eyes. That frightened, defeated, depressed, broken look.

I know you, because I once saw that look in my own eyes.

I know what it's like to live with someone who terrifies you. I know what it's like to go to sleep sick and wake up scared.

I know you.

And I want you to hear me, as one survivor to another: It's not your fault.

I know the psychological warfare you've been besieged with. I know how your self-esteem is non-existent, replaced by a constant stream of negatives. I know that you've come to believe that you're so useless, damaged, stupid and lazy that you deserve every word hurled at you in anger, every blow that's ever landed upon you, be it emotionally or physically. I know you believe that if you could just be BETTER, this would all go away, that you'd meet with approval, that finally, he'd be happy. And love you.

After all, he can be sweet, can't he? You have memories that you treasure in your heart, that you keep close and turn back to, time and again. There's hope there. Proof that he can be loving, and kind, and gentle. The rage that takes him over, that's what's to blame. At heart, he's so loving, isn't he?
Here's the truth: No. No, he's not.

His rage is just a part of him as any good you've ever seen. And the reality is that no amount of enduring his rage will ever get him to stop. Nothing you say or do is responsible for his behavior, and therefore, nothing you say or do will ever make him stop lashing out at you.

Because it's all on him. You bear no responsibility for his abuse of you. None.

It doesn't matter how angry you make him, what you've done. If you burn dinner, return home late after work, decided to go out for a girls' night, put a dent in the car. Doesn't. Matter. As an adult, HE has the responsibility to control his emotions, because he's the only one that actually can. There is NOTHING you can ever do that would justify him putting his hands on you in anger. There just isn't.

It doesn't matter WHY he's abusive. It just doesn't. Be it mental illness, addiction or just being an evil, abusive jerk. The end result is the same. Someone that abuses their partner is not someone you need to be with. You can't heal him, save him or fix him. You need to attend to your own safety.

And as for all that crap he's drilled into your head? Think about something: If you're so lazy, stupid, ugly, fat or whatever load of psychologically damaging crap he's hammered into your head, ask yourself... why would he want to have someone like that around? Considering how high his standards are, it makes no sense at all, does it? It's because you're none of those things. What you are is a wonderful person who has the right to be treated by a partner as a blessing in their lives.

He breaks you down, psychologically and physically, because he knows he's not worthy of you, so controlling you, keeping you caged by fear and self-loathing, is the only hope he's got. That's why he ups the stakes the way he does. Finding fault with something he'd praised before -- be it a meal you cooked or a dress you wore -- shows that he needs to assure himself that no matter what he does, he's in control.

There is never, ever a way to satisfy him.

I'm praying you get out. Leave him. There are women's shelters that you can run to. Or, like the Superbowl commercial that aired this year, remember that you can call 911. Please, get help. Get to safety. Get yourself some therapy to undo the damage he's done. Be the woman you were made to be.
And I promise you, that woman? She's nobody's punching bag.

And if you do these things, you'll look in the mirror one day, and the woman gazing back at you will have joy in her eyes. Peace. Excitement. A love of living again. And strength. There will be a strength there that you recognize.

I know you. I was you... I am you. I got out. I stayed out. You can, too.

Be it a violent partner or abusive parents, there is hope. There is a way out.

You can do this. Reach out. Ask for help. Domestic violence hotlines in your area can give you a wealth of information, and are there to help, to listen.
You can do this.

In the U.S., there is both a hotline and a website with chat available. 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE), 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

If you're in Canada, domestic abuse hotlines are broken down by province. Go herefor more information and a breakdown of hotlines by province.

I wrote this post because no woman, child, or man should ever live in fear. No person, regardless of age, gender, socioeconomic status or any other label you'd like to use should EVER be a victim of domestic violence. I'm participating in the #1000Speak movement to get the message out, to offer understanding and compassion to those who are targets of domestic violence.

I chose to write about a woman because statistically, women outnumber men as victims of domestic violence. I gravely suspect that the statistics about men who are abused by intimate partners are even MORE underreported than even the experts are guessing. I hope and pray that as more people speak out, more cry and yell about domestic violence being a crime in our world, that there will come a day when nobody lives in fear from someone who supposedly loves them.

This is my cry out. This is my yell. This is my banner waving furiously. No. More. End domestic violence.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

7 Ways to Kiss a Woman how She Wants to be Kissed

Lori Anne Lothian

First off, I’m not a kissing instructor.

I am, however, a woman who has been kissed by more than a handful of men in my life—not to mention a woman or two.
And in all that lip intimacy, I’ve learned there are woeful lip locking tactics that I can only guess come from magazine articles or watching rough porn or just plain bad habits.
I’ve learned this the hard way—my first make out session with a guy, I was 15, in the recreation room of his parents’ house. We were classmates, and he clearly was as inexperienced as I, because at one point I gagged unromantically on moustache hairs after enduring an hour of lip-mashing.
When I escaped back to my house that night and looked in the mirror I was mortified—my mouth was blood-smeared from the times his teeth (or was it braces?) managed to bite instead of nip. Needless to say, I steered clear of a second date. In fact, I stayed clear of kissing anyone for another year.
What got me thinking all these years later about writing a kissing advice article? An episode of lip-intimacy with my husband who just happens to be—in my view—a great kisser. This marital smooching session reminded me of how much fun kissing can be.
And it also reminded me that great kissing is never really about technique—it’s about presence, connection, daring, affection and and yes, love.
In a nutshell, then, here is what great consensual kissing is really about. Please share this list widely. I want all you kissers to feel elated with the kind of action that brings a smile to your lips when you remember that kiss, even years later.

1. Great kissers show up.

Yes, you heard me. It means you are in room, here, now, with me. Not in your head, and not just in your gonads either. Your full presence takes ordinary lip lust to a new intimate dimension. When your are present with a woman sensually, time slows down, it even seems to stop. (It seems the women I’ve kissed seem to know this instinctively.) And when you are present, you notice things, like how she is responding (or not). Bottomline: there is no better place to be than here and now in both heart and body.

2. Great kissers tease.

Sometimes it’s fun to bypass the kissing warm up. But most times it’s exquisite to have your lips brush against the back of my neck (chills) or trail along my collarbone before working their way up to the main event. This is called playful seduction. It works. And it’s fun for both of us.

3. Great kissers use their hands.

Kissing is only one instrument in the symphony of sensual connection. Your hands can be a beautiful accompaniment—I don’t mean groping. Rather, hold my face in your hands while you kiss me, or stroke or even gently pull my hair. Find ways to make the kiss a part of the music, not the whole song.

4. Great kissers make eye contact.

You know this already. It’s not about that new-age-movement eye-gazing contest where the longer you stare without looking away, the more spiritually evolved you are. It’s about every now and then pulling back from the kiss to look at me. I might be just as shy as you, but when your eyes meet mine, the thrill of vulnerability is worth the risk. And it ignites passion. Try it.

5. Great kissers don’t have a destination.

This means I don’t feel like the kissing part is something you are doing to get points on the way to the next base. In fact, one of my most memorable first dates ended up in a two hour kissing marathon on his sofa—that was the most turned on I have ever been fully clothed! This is a bit about being in the moment, again, but it’s also about intention. If feels different to a woman if you are languorously kissing her for the sheer mutual pleasure of it versus kissing her on a mad dash to get to the penetrative sex finish line.

6. Great kissers take risks.

I am not talking about the creepy lunge-kiss, the kind of move where you completely freak out an unsuspecting woman with your lips. I am talking about those spontaneous kisses you surprise us—your girlfriend, wife, or more-than-first-date woman—with. Those stolen kisses just before we walk arm-in-arm into a party where we both feel a bit nervous. Or that kiss when the kids are not looking. Or hey, the kiss in the green room before I head off to my appearance on some TV show. You know, those kisses where I feel we are a naughty team and you have so-got-my-back.

7. Great kissers receive.

This means you are not always running the show. Guys tend to take the lead when it comes to kissing, sometimes inadvertently over-ruling their partner’s natural inclination to kiss back. Slow down and don’t kiss—see what happens when you allow us to love you back. Give her some room to play with your lips too. You will be delighted at the interplay of kissing and being kissed.
And now for one of my favourite all time kissing songs, Kiss Me Forever, by Julian Dore. The video is funny but the song is sexy. And it sticks in your head for days.

Now, go forth, and kiss!