My New Crush: The Work of Dr. Joe Dispenza, Part 2 – Essential Concepts

Dr. Joe Dispenza

I have two books by Dr. Joe Dispenza under my belt now, You Are the Placebo, and his newest, Becoming Supernatural. His work inspires and energizes me. In fact, it’s changing me, impacting my own personal process of continuing development and my work with my clients.

Because as a life coach who supports folks in living their dreams, I take  this particular kind of resource, Dr. Dispenza’s well-validated approach and results, very seriously. So I wrote Part 1 of my own intro to his work a few weeks ago.

I’ve been letting Part 2 steep since, while ruminating further on his transformative concepts and methods. My goal has been to boil all that down to what’s most essential. After all, Dr. Joe says if you can articulate it, you can do it. So this is for me and you.

As you read on, keep in mind that that the two books above have a combined total of 800 pages. So give yourself permission to take a few minutes with me here.

First a recap: what does “you are the placebo” mean?

In my words, from Part 1:

The fact that the placebo effect happens to some humans means we can learn to use it.

The placebo effect occurs because we—our hearts and minds and beliefs—are that powerful. Though maybe not naturally. Maybe not without steady work and real changes to beliefs and habits. To patterns and resulting cycles in our lives.

In fact, I regard Dr. Dispenza’s work so highly because he has mastered the how of this effect. How to apply it in our own lives. I’d say the “how” of personal transformation is his super-power. And he wants all of us in on the transformative action.

So now (drum roll)… let’s get to it.

Meditation is key

I found Susan’s testimonial on YouTube last night. A straight-talking, 72 year-old woman is standing on stage, with Dr. Dispenza seated on a stool across from her. Her story starts with You Are the Placebo arriving in the mail for some reason. She hadn’t ordered it.

She says she quickly thumbed through it before planning to put it on her recycle pile. But then the word Parkinsons popped out. This got her attention. Because she has it.

So she read the whole book. And she started meditating, about three times a week at that point. She expected little, but noticed three things in quick succession:

  1.  While out in her yard one day, she smelled freshly mown grass. Her olfactory sense was returning.
  2.  Then she absentmindedly slipped on both shoes while standing. She hadn’t been able to do this for some time because one foot had become unresponsive.
  3.  And while showing a friend her bad hand’s involuntary curl, she realized it was functioning normally.

By the time she’s talking on stage with Dr. Dispenza in August 2018, she says she’s at 98% of her physical capability overall. And she never skips meditating. I laughed out loud watching her dance around and kick up her legs at the end of her testimonial.

Oh, and one more thing: Susan’s seminar experience had included a group healing the day before. A topic for another day. Maybe Part 3. :)

Note what you’re thinking right… now

As you take in Susan’s experience, is there a “split” in your view of what we’ll call the body/mind? Like the mind is one thing, and the body is something else entirely? With our minds as super-computers that drive our increasingly “used car” bodies around, while physician-mechanics try to maintain them?

And yet these days we know that stress affects our physical health. Right? We know that our mental health affects our bodies. That depression depresses the immune system.

On the flip side, we also know that premiere athletes and performers of all kinds use mental techniques to heighten physical performance. So stay with me here.

But meditating how, exactly?

And know this: these meditation techniques are specific. Dr. Dispenza continues to hone them as his team of researchers and neuroscientists map the affects of meditation on more and more human brains and bodies. The fact is, they’re tracking the successes of his seminar participants all over the world.

I’m struck in particular by one aspect of his technique that I’ll try to describe. Otherwise it may be a bit of a head-scratcher when you first sit for one of his guided meditations.

Inner ‘space’, toward inner calm

Because Dr. Dispenza uses the word space in two ways that pop up right away. In his first use of space, it seems to me that he invites us into a sensory experience. He directs us to be aware of internal space. Space inside our bodies.

Examples include the space between our ears. The space within the throat. Or within the heart center. These are specific points of focus that I think of as micro.

Notice how this differs from working to stop our thoughts, an approach that causes many of us to declare that we just can’t meditate because of our busy minds. Instead… eureka! He directs our busy minds, and very, very specifically.

And on out to ‘outer’ space

In any meditation, Dr. Dispenza then guides us to experience what I think of as a macro focus. The space around the body. The space within the room. And all the way out into the universe.

Evidently, thousands of brain scans show that this switch from internal to external awareness calms brainwave patterns, the central nervous system, and ultimately the body/mind. This shifting focus, from inner to outer and back, teases our minds out of their regular feedback loops of familiar thoughts, feelings, beliefs, expectations, and more. Which prepares us for, well, literally no-thing.

Heading ‘nowhere’

Whaaaaat?, you may be saying. But hang tight. This is so good.

Dr. Dispenza describes this state as getting to “nowhere, no time, nothing, and nobody.” Beyond the bio-chemicals that our body/minds constantly generate based on the past, our old thoughts, beliefs, and experiences.

Because all this familiarity is how we end up in static phases in which our past continues to create our future, and nothing new ever really happens. Or worse: depression and/or disease set in.

In contrast:

In Dr. Dispenza’s work, that transcendent state—beyond all that’s so familiar that we come to associate with ourselves—activates neural processes that bathe the body/mind in healing, re-generating bio-chemicals and electromagnetic currents. These natural elixirs and energetic frequencies promote healthy changes and positive, even transformative, developments.

And I know that’s a lot to take in. Read the bold sentence above again.

Dr. Joe often notes that in his own daily meditations, he doesn’t get up until he reaches a markedly different state than he was in when he sat down. In my view, he means:

  • mentally relaxed, with the brain and nervous system calm
  • emotionally uplifted, which we’ll get into next
  • physically energized from this calm, uplifted experience

This heightened state then sets the stage for the unexpected in terms of inner—and outer—results.

Now. Ready to get down to the core of all this deliciousness?

And on to elevated emotions

Oh, how I love this part! There’s some elevated emotion for you. :) In fact, I believe this concept is the key to transforming our lives with less rather than more effort.

This part of Dr. Joe’s approach seems to me closely aligned with Gregg Braden’s visionary work, which allows me to grasp it in a way that may take time for some folks to get. At least it took time for me.

In truth, I often felt, while trying to understand Gregg’s key ideas, that I would get this one for a second, just to feel it slip through my fingers the next. Through my thinking mind.

So take your time here. This is a very different way of creating change than we’re accustomed to in our rational modern lives.

Now, imagine yourself feeling fantastic. And I do mean emotionally right now, rather than physically. What’s the feeling? As another way to access the idea of elevated emotion, what’s the feeling as you imagine accomplishing what you want most?

A list of elevated emotions follows. Take a moment to enjoy them.

Abundance
Acceptance
Appreciation
Awe
Benevolence
Clarity
Compassion
Connection
Courage
Empowerment
Forgiveness
Gratitude
Inner Peace
Inspiration
Kindness
Joy
Invincibility
Liberation
Limitless energy
Love
Passion
Strength
Surrender
Trust
Unity

And down into this power principle

Long story short, achieving and maintaining an elevated emotional state during and beyond meditation changes our body/minds, and thus our lives.

From reading and listening to Gregg Braden’s fundamental ideas since 2014, and now studying this aspect of the work of Dr. Dispenza, I finally really got this key idea. So I’ll state it again in more detail as I’ve come to understand and practice it. And now I’ll fold in the impact that religion has had on many of us so far:

Mainstream religious traditions in the western world include a central error, at least in common practice. One that our increasing access to knowledge of indigenous cultures and ancient spiritual practices is helping us to correct. Because we in the west—and really think about this as you read—tend to consider the words we speak in prayer the actual prayer.

While, in fact, if you’re looking for real results, the feeling is the prayer. The feeling is the point. Elevated emotion infuses our body/minds with an elixir of regenerating bio-chemicals and electromagnetic energy that literally re-charges us, fueling the internal fire with which we pursue our goals.

Wow. Game-changer!!

Unconditional power

In fact, the most important act of power we can take on is to maintain elevated emotional states, living and working and pursuing our goals within them. Not allowing our emotional states to be conditional. Not operating from an “I’ll feel good someday when…” way of moving through life in which we believe all will be wonderful once—after—this or that occurs. That’s backwards.

Again, eureka! The. Feeling. Comes. First.

The feeling generates power. It generates results, through the actions we’re then inspired and energized to take. Delicious! Right?!

Pause here. Reflect on that. It’s an approach that takes real time and exploration to hold onto. Because we’ve all been taught and trained by individuals, organizations, and institutions around us to “do life” very, very differently.

Then welcome yourself to a whole new level of personal effectiveness.  Welcome to your new superpower to create and enjoy the wild, wonderful journey of your precious life!

The work of Dr. Dispenza, one more time, with feeling :)

It may be hard to believe, but there is so much more I could explore here of Dr. Dispenza’s truly revolutionary work. Instead, I’ll pass the baton to you. I heartily encourage you to dive into this delicious, potentially transformative mode of being, thinking, feeling, and taking action. After all, why not, right? As you live your dream. For real.

 

 

Life Coach Teresa Young's Bio

 

 

 

 

 

 

My New Crush: The Work of Dr. Joe Dispenza, Part 1 – Introduction

You Are the Placebo - Life Coach Teresa Young explores Dr. Joe Dispenza's work

Anybody who has studied with me privately or heard me teach knows I’m fascinated by the brain. By how it works, and how to train it. So it makes sense that I would eventually find the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza.

Dr. Dispenza’s name popped up in my YouTube feed a few months ago as my family was in the midst of some intense challenges. And I was instantly intrigued. For one thing, I’ve long been a fan of his colleague Gregg Braden‘s work at the crossroads of science and spirituality, and of his colleague Bruce Lipton’s important contributions to the new science of epigenetics.

Then I saw the title of Dr. Dispenza’s second book, You Are the Placebo. And boom! Lightning-strike. I had to get down into it and find out exactly what he’s up to.

Because I’ve always wondered why we humans have been so casual about the placebo effect. For example, check out this definition on merriam-webster.com:

placebo

1a.    A usually pharmacologically inert preparation prescribed more for the mental relief of the patient than for its actual effect on a disorder

1b.    An inert or innocuous substance used especially in controlled experiments testing the efficacy of another substance (such as a drug)

2.      Something tending to soothe

 

Really? A big piece of info is missing there. Because during drug trials in pharmaceutical research, a placebo always affects a statistically significant percentage of participants like an actual drug would. Again, and really think about this: the placebo has the effect on some folks that they expect the drug to have.

Whoa. Tell me that isn’t fascinating!

And what does it mean? And how can we humans harness whatever that’s about? Cut to the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza.

But first, let’s go back to merriam-webster.com:

placebo effect

Improvement in the condition of a patient that occurs in response to treatment but cannot be considered due to the specific treatment used

 

That’s more on point, right? Now what does Dr. Dispenza have to say on the subject?

The following is a fantastic intro to his use of the placebo effect from an interview with Brian Rose of London Real. It will take seven minutes of your time. Then meet me back here. For real. :)

 

The best part: why this matters to you and me

If you heard that interview, the thinkers among you already get it, at least conceptually. For folks who function more on instinct or feeling, consider this: the fact that the placebo effect happens to some humans means we can learn to use it.

The placebo effect occurs because we—our hearts and minds and beliefs—are that powerful. Though maybe not naturally. Maybe not without steady work and real changes to beliefs and habits. To patterns and resulting cycles in our lives.

In fact, I regard Dr. Dispenza’s work so highly because he has mastered the how of this effect. How to apply it in our own lives.

How, indeed:  his story

And yes, as is often the case with important innovators, Dr. Dispenza broke through to exciting new ground in terms of his own beliefs—and resulting possibilities—through a personal crisis. Because in 1986, as a young chiropractor living and working in L.A., he was hit by an SUV while biking in a triathlon in Palm Springs.

He wound up face down in traction with six crushed vertebrae. Several surgeons said he needed steel rods inserted down the length of his spine to ever, possibly, walk again. You can hear his story in his own words here.

But the bottom line is that he couldn’t bring himself to do it. Over the course of three months, since he had nothing to do but lie there anyway, he worked on his own shattered back. And long story short, he healed and resumed his life.

Ready for what may feel even more “woowoo” to you?

And here’s where the story may really test the boundaries of your beliefs: Dr. Dispenza worked on his back through meditation, visualization, and what I’ll call prayer. I’m not sure he would use that word.

Because one thing “Dr. Joe” says repeatedly is that science is the new spirituality. Quantum physics brought everything together over the past fifty years or more in ways that are just now trickling down to us regular folks.

So he steers clear of language that may alienate people for varying reasons. And his team of researchers and neuroscientists constantly document the startling results his advanced seminar participants are getting all over the world.

Now, before you say, whoa, too weird, I’m out, remember the placebo effect. In my own words:

 

Dr. Dispenza’s groundbreaking work with the placebo effect shows that, using belief in a possibility, focused attention, and elevated emotion, we can achieve an energetic dynamic that creates the results we want.

 

For three decades, Dr. Joe Dispenza has been learning how to apply what he learned in his own extreme life circumstance to the lives of others. These days he and his team are working and taking data all over the globe. Which means, in this age of instant information, all that goodness is available to us.

To be continued…

So I’ll end Part 1 with this link to a longer interview with Dr. Dispenza on his revolutionary work. If you’re intrigued, go for the gusto next and either read or listen to You Are the Placebo.

And I’ll be back soon with Part 2. It’ll be practical info on using Dr. Dispenza’s techniques to meet your own beautiful goals.

After all, why not, right? As you live your dream. For real.

 

 

Life Coach Teresa Young's Bio

 

On Grief and Growth: Strange New Inspirations and Insights

On Grief and Growth - Life Coaching with Teresa Young

My dears, I feel like reflecting on how grief and growth may—as I’m discovering—meet in our lives. So I’ll hit you right up front with what feels deeply personal to me.

Since my mother had some awful surgery just before Hurricane Michael pounded my parents’ house and town, then she declined and died three months later, I’ve been immersing myself in research on dying, death, and “life after.” If you know me, you know this is very different for me.

Though I do have a memory of myself sprawled on my pink bedspread, 13 years old, writing a piece on the logic of the immortal soul. No one had assigned it to me and no one was waiting to read it. But it was important to me, because eternal life was a clear and vibrant truth to me. But that was then.

Fall from paradise

That sweet certainty of mine was shattered a few years later. I was in an honors history class, and I had just become a young mother. Then we spent weeks on the Holocaust.

A hammer of shock and grief came down on me. When the apocalyptic dust settled a bit, I declared myself an atheist and an existentialist. Though in truth I also railed at God for allowing such atrocities.

I remember one bike ride home. I was livid, cursing and swerving all over the road, and newly free somehow.

Out went the Catholic creed I’d recited by heart since childhood, and the baby with the bathwater in terms of any belief in a higher power. I didn’t believe in anything beyond these mortal lives of ours. I just believed in myself, and in the folks around me.

Thinkers like Viktor Frankl moved me. My passion for the human journey was somehow born through my anger.

Jung and mystery in the mix

My continuing explorations, especially reading Jung and experiencing synchronicity, brought me back to a kind of center from that brink. But I was still an existentialist.

To me, the “shorthand” for describing this philosophy is that we create our own meaning and purpose in life. That’s what—as in all—there is.

As a coach, that point of view has been a space of freedom for me. A creative space. My fascination with the energy underlying all things has co-existed peacefully with my existentialist mindset. I’ve been congruent.

The realm of quantum physics has been the unifying field for me. Everything can come together there without potentially loaded religious or New Age language that may alienate people for all kinds of reasons.

And I’ve also, always, still, had a soft spot in my heart for mystery. For what we can’t explain. Was that a distant fife and drum heralding eventual, ever-evolutionary change in me?

Then my mother passed through death’s door

Since then I’ve been deep in a study of death and beyond. And I’m clear that my new interest isn’t temporary. My grief and my creative process are coming together right here.

After all, I am an explorer. I always have been.

These days I’m also in daily conversation with my 83 year-old dad. It’s a new ritual for the two of us. We’re talking it all out here in this strange country, him without his wife and me without my mother.

With beauty in this dark brew

More truth: I’m 100% clear that in this season of loss, there’s beauty, too. I experience large and small daily gifts of awareness and insight, and bits of delight like a flower or a bird or a glass or a fabric that my mother would love. It’s goosebump city around here.

And I’m feeling energized by permission I’ve given myself to delve into soul territory. The word feels like rich brew that I’m tasting anew in some stranger than ever act of freedom.

Yes, it’s beautiful and newly confusing territory. Here’s an example of what I mean:

I attended Walt Disney Concert Hall’s Jazz Series not long ago with my dear friend Maggie, a Brit who has lived in L.A. for decades. The series included a tribute to Oscar Peterson.

“To Oscar, with Love” was a night of exquisite sounds and a sweet vibe, featuring world-class jazz pianists and a legendary bassist. And I had a discombobulating experience in the midst of it.

New urges and uncertainties

During one gorgeous piano solo, I slipped into a dreamy, ecstatic state. And just then I felt a sudden wave of regret for something that had happened earlier.

Because in the pre-show traffic madness on Grande Street, with the clock ticking toward the concert’s downbeat, we were trying to turn right in front of the hall to get into the parking structure. Meanwhile, all the folks valeting cars or dropping people off were heading left out of there. And that included an enormous black tour bus. Classic gridlock.

I’m an L.A. driver with plenty of street battle under my belt. So I was holding my ground with the bus driver while trying to get into the lane on my right to turn right. But he was just as determined to squeeze into my lane ahead of me to go left.

My eye-to-eye, non-verbal cue was, dude, I’ve gotta go right! He gestured at me wildly. Lady, I’m going left!

Later, as the music relaxed my busy brain, I suddenly registered unhappiness with my approach to the bus guy, not relief that we got in there on time. The messy truth is that I’m ever more aware this season of my own habitual ways of being.

I’m processing one message in my current studies, that a big part of the work of our lives, let’s say at a “soul level”, is really just kindness. Simple care and concern for our fellow travelers, both human and other. In short, I’m feeling challenged on a whole new level.

Beauty and confusion as delicious combo

Confusing, indeed. Because I’m not about to start expecting doormat behavior or perfection of myself or others. So it’s delicious confusion for me.

Like the conversation Maggie and I had the next morning, inspired by the music, and even by our ride down afterward in the packed elevator, buzzing with all the equally thrilled folks around us. The chance to share and reflect on my new confusion with my old friend was yet another lovely experience.

The point for me now is to continue living in the unknown in this odd new phase. I’m feeling my way.

So another truth is that I’m experiencing my mom’s death not just as heartbreaking loss, but also as opening. Opening into what, I still don’t really know. Though it’s at least in part about growth on some level that’s only possible now.

Growth meets connection

And not just growth, but also capacity for deep connection. As one of my personal heroines, Marion Woodman, said, “It’s suffering that opens us to love.”

 

It’s suffering that opens us to love.
— Marion Woodman

And now

So the somewhat shocking truth is that, for the first time in my adult life, I can no longer describe my philosophical and spiritual point of view as existential. Though I don’t have words yet for what’s emerging.

And that’s fine. All things in the fullness of time. New, unknown life is born, then named.

And you

Is there anything you’re grieving? If so, how could some reflection through a lens that I’ll call soul territory possibly aid and soothe you? Take the time you deserve to ask and answer those questions, toward as yet unknown next phases that await you, and others through you.

 

 

Life Coach Teresa Young's Bio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The How of Happiness: First Step, Our Capacity for It

Life Coaching with Teresa Young - Defending Happiness

Ah, happiness. It’s one of life’s age-old holy grails, right?

The truth is, we often seek happiness like distant treasure we’re determined to find. Someday, somewhere, off in the hazy future, where the grass is greener and all our wishes and dreams have been fulfilled, then we’ll “be happy.”

But what do we really need to be happy?

When my oldest son went off to college, I realized that my dream for him was the capacity for happiness. Indeed, as I was letting go of my first little guy who had grown into a fine young man, nothing else I could want for him even came close. The truth is that I learned something about myself that day.

So today, what thoughts do you have as you consider these questions:


On a scale of 1 to 10, what’s your capacity for happiness, without conditions?

What will it take to move that needle?

What, exactly, makes you happy?

How can you live your life to fit that truth?

What’s first, the chicken, or the egg?

So what really comes first, my dears? Happiness, or the conditions we think we need to meet to have it? And a bit more truth-telling from me will take us deeper.

Before my beloved mother got so ill in the fall of 2018, and Hurricane Michael struck as she was recovering from surgery, and Panama City, Florida’s medical community was decimated by hurricane damage, and my mother went weeks with little care, and then died in January, I was really still putting conditions on my own happiness.

In truth, I was driven! Always striving, working, and thinking. Planning and assessing. Improving.

Getting hip to happiness

These days, on this side of that life crisis, the truth is that I’m all about happiness, yours and mine. I’m hip to what heartbreak taught me:  It’s all about love for me these days.

All about beauty. About kindness and connection. All about gratitude and wonder at the magnificent journey of life we’re all living.

In fact, these days my new projects are joys like using my intuition and being empathic. Getting ever more present to mystery and synchronicities. Less late-night writing. More stretching and walking. Way more meditating. Way more sleeping!

These days I see happiness, like the journey of life, as its own destination. After all, living—with all its twists and turns and ups and downs—is so precious. I just want to take it all in.

The journey these days

These days I say, with more passion than ever, the journey really is the destination. And more, our capacity for happiness doesn’t need conditions.

In short, I say snag happiness. Own it. Sing it! Be it. Then, by all means, with its glow shining around you from deep inside you, go out walking the path toward what you want most.

Yep, reach for it all from there, like that. Be you from there, like that. Day by day, step by step, on the wild, wonderful journey of life.

Yin to yang and back again

And lastly for now:

To be clear, in defending happiness, I don’t mean we then have no pain. No sorrow. Instead, these days I say being happy without conditions means accepting what is while we move through it.

Because we know living brings with it the whole range of experiences and emotions, from bright to dark and agony to ecstasy. From yin to yang and back again. In truth, my dears, that’s the gig.

These days I say happiness is ours for the taking, while the great pendulum of life swings as it will. So once again now, with feeling, consider what, exactly, makes you happy. Then build whatever that is into your life, from the sweet inner space of your capacity for happiness. You deserve that deliciousness.

 

 

Life Coach Teresa Young's Bio

Ready to Design Your Way to Your Artful Life? First Believe in Life. Then Trust Yourself.

Believe in Life - Life Coaching with Teresa Young

Indeed, are you ready to design your life?

 

To be an artist is to believe in life.
— Henry Moore

 

These words of wisdom from sculptor Henry Moore made my night. I’ve been thinking a lot about the relationship between creativity and health. About all the ways we creative types have to express ourselves in modern life. All the freedom we have to do so.

Though I’m not saying it’s easy. If so, would it, as Kurt Vonnegut said about practicing any art, make our souls grow?

In fact, part of the deliciousness of creative expression may be in meeting those challenges. Inner and outer. Short term and long term.

And doesn’t that sound a lot like just designing and living a vibrant life? In truth, the point is really to be fully ourselves. And to act on whatever truly makes our hearts sing. Yes! Deep breath.

That means putting the parts and pieces of our lifestyle together with all that in mind. Honoring our creative lives. Placing them front and center.

And, as Henry Moore said, the creative project of our lives is no doubt aided by believing in life. In the midst of the yin and yang of all things. Be that person. Take that stand.

Design your life from there. Beautiful, yes?

And what tends to get in the way? That’s oh, so human, right? Let me know. I’m here, in your creative corner.

 

 

Life Coach Teresa Young's Bio

On Love, Sweet Love: What’s Up With Commitment—and Endings—in Our Lives These Days

On Modern Love ~ Life Coaching with Teresa Young

I Knew a Good Man, Darling

I knew
a good man
who couldn’t
relish spring
and the sweetness
blooming
in his garden.

Relax, my
love, enjoy,
I teased,
laughed, whispered,
pleaded.
Shouted.

Then
I realized
a piece
was
missing,
a promise:

I am yours
and will
never leave you,
darling.

Or, sweeter:

I’ll only go
if you
want me
to,
and
if you
want to go,
I’ll say,
          ‘go,
               darling.’

Love is a helluva drug

I wouldn’t usually, as in ever, add any kind of narrative to a poem. But today I feel like it. I’m breaking my own rule. Like eating potato chips late at night. :)

Because the dance of love is like nothing else. Love really is a helluva drug. And who first said that, by the way? I’ve been trying to find out! Anyway, there’s nothing more mysterious than love.  Nothing more maddening. Nothing that’s ultimately more of a secret.

Yes, I’ve been feeling for years that every love relationship is a secret. No one outside any two-person tango can really know the nuances of how the partners move together. Of the relationship’s inner climate, including its inevitable dark patches and desert places. Whether or not it’s ultimately a place of mutual growth, of rest, of self-expression. Of comfort and delight. All that we hunger for and deserve.

But does a committed love relationship really have to be all that? Or is commitment itself, that willingness, more important than partners being all things to each other? Indeed, is being “everything” to one soul even possible? Or healthy?

You could even say romantic love and commitment are separate topics. Though in modern western culture, where we’re so free to choose commitment and to change our hearts and minds, I say successful, long-term, committed love is a rich, ever fascinating focus and goal. And note that I skipped the word marriage. Why leave any committed love relationships out?

That which ends also matters

Yes, let’s go there, to the fact that many, many committed relationships end. There’s a normality to it all these days, though the stats aren’t actually as awful as the 50% divorce rate we’ve been hearing about for the past few decades. That’s partly because GenXers are staying together longer so far than boomers did, and millennials are proceeding with caution.

But we’re exploring so much in relationship these days, including ourselves. Exploring our own growth. Along the way, committed relationships, for all their beautiful beginnings, do often end. And yes, I say those endings matter.

Daunting as this may sound in any given situation, it’s important that they’re done well, with respect for all parties. With kindness and gentleness, honoring both what was and what is. It’s possible. The truth really does set us free.

Of course, even aided by gentleness, endings burn like hell. The pain burns cleanest when we’re as kind to one another as possible in the process. It helps us heal. And we do.

Because life is long, and we want—we are determined—to love and be loved well. The truth is, our expectations are often astronomical! And just like every other form of freedom in our 21st century lives, we’re as free in the realm of love as we believe ourselves to be. Free to pursue what we want most.

The how of it all matters

In the midst of our perhaps dizzying power of choice these days, I’m profoundly interested in how we care for one another and ourselves along the way. What’s more, I believe it’s one of our most important—most sacred—opportunities.

So I say if you’re in the throes of something immense in the realm of love, take your time. Get and stay attuned to what’s truly healthy for you and others. And proceed gently, oh, so gently, with everyone, including yourself. Take the long view, with the goal of being satisfied with your approach when you look back on the present four or five years from now.

And very importantly, do call on the resources you need. Include some relationship coaching or therapy, even or especially for endings, along with your own individual coaching or therapy, and expert support for young ones.

Search for low-cost options if you need them. You and yours deserve any and all assistance at life-changing junctures, toward getting whatever is to be learned so as not to repeat the lessons, proceeding in healthy ways, and minimizing trauma all around.

Bottom line, regarding the sweet, maddening drug of love, challenge yourself to let your best self lead. Then take comfort in your good work here on the wild, wonderful journey of modern life.

 

 

Life Coach Teresa Young's Bio