Love is not a relationship.

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Love has nothing to do with somebody else, it is your state of being. Love is not a relationship.

A relationship is possible but love is not confined to it, it is beyond it, it is more than that ~ man becomes mature the moment he starts loving rather than needing.

He starts overflowing, he starts sharing, he starts giving.

And when two mature persons are in love, one of the greatest paradoxes of life happens, one of the most beautiful phenomena… they are together, and yet tremendously alone; they are almost one.

But their oneness does not destroy their individuality.

- OSHO

A Book on Luv by the wisest 18 year old I know … meet Sofia.

The Book on Luv

By Sofia Barnard

For my psychology class in my college we had an exam. The assignment was to pretend to be writing a book on love. We were given five chapters with a specific topic the teacher chose. We were to write a brief paragraph describing what advice would we have included in the chapter. I decided to have some fun.

Chapter 1. A Mate Aye?

At times it may seem impossible that you will find that one “true love.” You always hear about the love yet you feel all alone; you may as well run away and become a hermit on Mount Kilimanjaro.  Dear reader: your being a twerp. A self-centered and self pity-ing twerp. It may shock you, but ALL single adult on this planet is searching for that one “true love,”, some consciously others subconsciously. You shall just have to wait and be patient. (ha, bet that got on your nerves!) If you really are longing for a mate here are some things you may want to consider when getting to know him or her:

  • Notice if they are mature. Do they really want to settle down right now or do they agree because the idea is pleasant and they think you have a nice butt?
  • Notice if they have the same values as you. Do they see a plate of prosciutto and a glass of wine and gag? Would they prefer hot wings and beer? If you have the same reactions to situations, not just culinary ones, you may be able to live with them.
  • Most importantly do they seem to have potential for growth? Are they going to always be the same, say the same things? That may be reassuring but after a year of getting the same responses you shall get bored. It would be like having a stubborn, grouchy teen for an extra 30+ years, stuck in the same old rut!

And so these are my main guidelines, you may create more specific ones. My last advice is this: One day those boobs will sag and his hairline will recede.

Chapter 2. You’re Married?!

She’s not a happy bundle of joy, frying bacon for breakfast every morning?! … He doesn’t bring you a bouquet of flowers and 3 pounds of chocolate after work?! … She likes to blast the Spice Girls when she vacuums?! … He likes to blast death metal while he mows the lawn?! … They’re not perfect!?

Hello you just had a reality check! CONGRATULATIONS!

So marriage … well, there is a reason why some call it the ultimate sacrifice/challenge. Ideally you go into a marriage without any expectations … ideally the lions are friends with the caribou and butterflies and fairies bring you money when you lose a tooth. If it seems like your other half isn’t trying hard enough … stop and realize that they might actually be trying as hard as they can.

If one is working outside of the house all day remember they have to deal with idiots on the street as they commute, on the phone and at work. Whoever is working at home … they hate cleaning as much as you do. The person at home would also like to be released from the four walls they’re encased in and catch some air. Both of you are stressed because you want to accomplish things. The stress levels increase and BAM A FIGHT! If you two truly love each other you will fight. You want everything to be perfect. You raise the bar, push yourself and it’s too much, so overwhelming. If only the other person noticed how much effort you’re putting in. Remember the fight occurred because you love them and want it to work. My advice, buy a bag of chips, ice cream and watch a movie. Marriage is part of life and can be hard. CHILL OUT.

Chapter 3. I used to be engulfed in flames…

Have you two been sprayed by a fire hose? Has the flame dwindled down to the point that you couldn’t melt a marshmallow and make a s’more? … want s’more love?

For this topic my advice is quite cliché. Go and mix things up a bit. Maybe you need to spend more time together, maybe you need to spend less! Sometimes one loses themselves in a relationship, all the investments and efforts you make contribute to the relationship. Please remember that nothing in your life is permanent, but yourself. Go do something you like, alone, If your happy with yourself then talk to your significant other. Ask them whats wrong, maybe they need to go pamper themselves. Put all your best efforts to reignite the flame! Good luck! I hope that soon you shall sing “Burn! Baby Burn!” once again.

Chapter 4.  Offspring.

Would you like to be forever responsible for a being that will be rude, cute, sweet, reckless, sarcastic, snargety, dumb and cause your beautiful hair to become gray? (All gray hairs should be attributed to children.) It is a huge responsibility that is literally life consuming and makes you a selfless and humble soul. They may just be the key to heaven. Babies are cute, young kids are funny, preteens are sweetly awkward and teens are self rightous…your call. :)

Chapter 5. homosexual v. heterosexual love.

For the final Chapter, I was assigned to discuss homosexual v. heterosexual love.  I concluded that there is only one love. Love is hope.

Sofia is a college student, dancer, and a few weeks away from completing her yoga teacher certification … and if you need any worldly advice, she’s your girl. (Oh, and by the way, she got 100% on this exam).

How to NOT lose a guy (and more importantly yourself) in 10 Days

Ask yourself … have you ever said or heard one of your friends say one of the following things?

  • “I just lost myself with him”
  • “I lose myself in relationships”
  • “I just couldn’t be myself with him”
  • “I stop doing the things I love when I get into a relationship”
  • “I haven’t hung out with my girlfriends in forever”

or this  …

  • “Now that we have broken up, I just instantly feel like myself again”
  • “Oh, it’s so nice to look at myself in the mirror and see myself”
  • “I have been working out so much since we have broken up and am back to my normal weight”
  • “It’s so nice to see all of you” … you say to your friends at a happy hour after not seeing your them for six months because you have been in “boyfriendland”

If you answered yes, don’t worry, it happens to the best of us:

  • “I used to paint” – Allie (Rachel McAdams) from the Notebook
  • “I just want to see the girl I met in the parking lot, the girl who wouldn’t ask me what to do” – The guy from Blue Crush, when Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth) loses herself and has to dramatically jump in the ocean (fully dressed in a cocktail dress mind you) to come back to herself after almost giving up her surfing career, job, family and friends for a Pro Football Player she has known for 5 days
  • The woman in the song Grey Street (Dave Matthews Band)

O.k. I am going to figure this thing out, not only for me, but for all of us. Why is it that when we get into relationships we basically give up everything we love … including ourselves sometimes, when ironically, that’s the thing that attracts the good stuff in the first place … are we really so surprised when things don’t work out? (and btw, I have seen this happen to my guy friends too, so, if there are any guys reading this, you might learn something too).

Out of curiosity, I did some research and found out that there are 100’s of books on this very topic … “Don’t Lose Yourself in Love”, “Loving Him Without Losing You”, “Women Who Lose Themselves”, “What to do when you think you might be Losing Yourself” and my personal favorite title: “Where Did You Go? How Not to Lose Yourself When You Finally Meet Him” via the Oprah site. Yikes, this is worse than I thought.

Well, good news, I don’t think it’s as complicated as we think.

My friend once gave me the best advice … When you get into a new relationship and feel yourself falling into that pattern of making your significant other “the center of your universe”, which yes, feels incredible and is it’s hard not to do, just remember, if you decide to get lost in the blissful relationship bubble, your other (extremely important) responsibility is to keep doing the things that make/keep you happy (… run, surf, write, hike, paint, yoga, climb mountains, take pictures, be with your friends, swim, cook, work, whatever).

Think about it, you have taken your whole life to, #1 figure out what those things are and, #2 learn how to incorporate them into your life … why on Earth would you instantly hand over that job to someone you just met? … and then become disappointed (maybe even cry … really?) when they don’t do as good of a job of keeping you happy as you do. Silly right?

It’s pretty simple … as much as you want to spend every waking moment together, make sure to break away on occasion to keep being you, (and encourage them to do the same) … then when you are together, you not only get to share those experiences, but you get to enjoy each other … and bonus, when you stop counting on the other person to make you happy, they usually exceed your expectations.

Moral of this little story is no matter if you have been in a relationship for 10 days or 10 years (kids/no kids), or if you’re single, maintain the beautiful responsibility (or rather, view it as a gift) of keeping yourself YOU, because being you is the best gift you can give to everyone around you … especially yourself!

Check out How to NOT lose a guy (and more importantly yourself) in 10 Days on Elephant Journal published on November 6, 2011.

 

“What I know” … so far at least.

I was recently going through some old stuff and found a couple of pieces of paper that said “What I know” that included a list of my life lessons (some I learned through mistakes … and some things I got right the first time).

As I read through the list, I remembered writing it about 3-years ago to remind myself of things I have learned, that I didn’t want to forget.  I was pretty happy to realize that I have referenced specific things on this list many times throughout the past few years to help me through my own experiences, and when sharing with friends … even without remembering this list existed (… and I also realized there were a few things on this list came as nice reminders of things I forgot I knew).

As I read through the list, I remembered writing it about 3-years ago to remind myself of things I have learned, that I didn’t want to forget.  I was pretty happy to realize that I have referenced specific things on this list many times throughout the past few years to help me through my own experiences, when giving advice to friends as well as guiding clients… even without remembering this list existed (… and I also realized there were a few things on this list came as nice reminders of things I forgot I knew).

It’s actually a pretty cool exercise to write down all the things you know. Try it! … you probably know more than you think.

  1. Do the things that make you happy (don’t talk about doing them, DO THEM). This keeps you YOU, and being you is the best gift you can give to yourself and everyone around you.
  2. Being in love is the best feeling in the world.
  3. Always do your best, even when executing the smallest task … it’s good practice for the big stuff.
  4. A new song can bring you back to life.
  5. Life with good girlfriends just makes everything so much better.
  6. Seeing the best in people will instantly make life more beautiful.
  7. Before you fall in love with a guy, it’s kind of important that you make sure you like him first.
  8. Despite my lifelong fear, using a BBQ is actually not that scary.
  9. Comparing yourself to others and judging people never leads to anything good.
  10. There’s nothing more comfortable than dinner with your friends & family.
  11. When you are in a relationship, you must take responsibility for your own happiness. How not to lose a guy (and more importantly yourself) in 10 days
  12. DO NOT IGNORE RED FLAGS. They are there for a reason.
  13. When someone offers you an opportunity to work/live abroad, go!
  14. Experience is seriously underrated.
  15. You seriously need to be careful what you wish for … just remember to be very specific! (VERY!)
  16. Finding ways to create balance in all parts of your life will keep you more productive.
  17. Successful public speaking comes from knowing your topic. Your job should be something you are good at & love.
  18. When you go on vacation (no matter where you are going, or for how long) ALWAYS bring workout clothes, a bathing suit and running shoes.
  19. When you smile at people, they usually smile back.
  20. Do your best not to make assumptions; despite how smart you are, you actually do not know what other people are thinking.
  21. Listening to good music throughout the day just makes life more fun.
  22. It’s important to spend time alone & enjoy it.
  23. Sexy is just as important as feeling beautiful.
  24. Always listen to your intuition. (Listening to it will save you the eventual apology to it for ignoring it.) 
  25. Weddings in Mexico are legal in the U.S.
  26. It’s o.k. to have a bad day. Be in it. The sooner you accept it, the sooner you can move through it.
  27. Being sensitive can actually be a good thing.
  28. If you have a good idea, write it down, then do something with it.
  29. Before signing a contract, always have a lawyer look it over (it’s smart business).
  30. Always be kind and compassionate to those around you.
  31. Knowing your worth makes it so much easier to get what you actually deserve.
  32. If you are in a bad mood, go surfing.
  33. If you are feeling lost, travel.
  34. Having an organized closet will keep you organized in other parts of your life.
  35. Life is actually much simpler than we think.
  36. Don’t place so much meaning on everything in life. Some things are just what they are.
  37. Music is the best time capsule.
  38. If you look for beauty in the world … you will find it.
  39. Happiness comes from being yourself.
  40. If you listen, you really do have all of the answers.
  41. Yoga can change your life.
  42. It’s better to take baby steps, than no steps at all.
  43. Blogging + wine is a bad idea.
  44. The best moments don’t always lead where you think, and the worst moments can lead you to a place you never even knew existed.
  45. Don’t think too much.

2014 Additions:

46. In business, or anything for that matter, it’s easy to compete. It’s collaboration that takes care, love and patience to figure out how to collectively work together to ultimately create real change while elevating each other.

47. Your most important tool is business is your intuition. Hands down. If you nurture it, it will nurture you.