is it valentine’s day yet? what? i missed it? drat! yup, that was one of the things that fell between the cracks during my trip to europe. what also fell between the cracks was telling you about an ebook that chelle kindly invited me to participate in. as a gift to her readers on valentine’s day, she put together love everyday e-book. a nifty idea, the book looks at marriage and romantic relationships through the lends of the little things we do each and every day: waking up and hitting the snooze button, drinking that morning cup of coffee, sitting through traffic, going to work, doing housework, grocery shopping, logging onto the internet. some writers use these lenses as metaphors (“how do you fuel your relationship?”), others talk directly about the topic; for example i write about how the internet and marriage interact with each other. you can download the book here.
two entries particularly caught my eye. one was “what are you waiting for?” by pat flynn. i like the urgency of the tone:
what are you waiting for?
a sign? something to happen that tells you it’s the right time?
signs aren’t always things that happen. more often than not, signs come from the things that don’t happen.
what are you waiting for?
are you waiting for permission? someone to tell you that it’s okay?
permission from someone else is never as important as the permission that you have to give yourself first.
complacency is probably one of the biggest stumbling blocks in a marriage. i like how pat challenges this attitude.
i was also impressed by lori lowe’s contribution, pour on love: how to love your spouse generously. an excerpt:
gaining a little more happiness is like gaining a little more money; you always want more. but giving and receiving love generates fulfillment. there are myriad ways to show love, but we know love when we see it, hear it, read it, and feel it. love is in the details, the thoughtfulness, the caring.
when you act in a loving—even sacrificial—manner, you experience the paradox of giving. this is the secret your grandparents knew about: it is in giving that we receive. the joy and love you give returns to you. yes, it is risky to invest yourself fully …
how can you pour on love?
voraciously study your spouse. put as much energy into that research as in your career and hobbies. try to understand and participate in their interests as they change over time—recreational, musical, romantic, sexual and culinary interests. ask about your partner’s hopes, preferences, desires, dislikes, and fears. encourage their dreams. communicate your needs and desires as well. be the one who knows them best, and help them to know your heart. …
do it without keeping score. do it without stopping. do it with love.
here are the other contributors to the book:
- dr. michelle gannon – marriage prep 101
- paul & lori byerly – the generous husband the generous wife
- denee king – she just got married
- corey allan – the simple marriage
- toni & alisa dilorenzo – one extraordinary marriage
- stu gray – the marry blogger
- dustin riechmann – engaged marriage
- lori lowe – life gems
- sheri kruger – zen family habits serene journey
- mandi ehman – organizing your way
- maureen shaw – feeling flirty
- trudy sargent – love talk
- isabella mori – change therapy
- cindy j. taylor – affair care
- alisa bowman – project happily ever after
- j. money – budgets are sexy
- dan miller – 48 days
- damien riley – damien at the speed of life
- samantha mellen – mama notes
- pat flynn – smart passive income blog
- kathleen quiring – project m
- jeff nickles – my super-charged life
- brad chaffee – enemy of debt
- nate desmond – practical manliness
- carrie burgan – make mine happe
we’re scrambling madly last minute to come up with something fun to do for earth hour. are you, too? if that’s the case, here are a few links
green daily – my favourite
- huddle in the basement with a shotgun and a case of canned ravioli and pretend it’s the apocalypse.
flickr – i like this one
- my wine group will be hosting a games night. wine, food and games in candlelight
from ask about ireland:
- have an arts & crafts hour using glow-in-the-dark paints and markers
and finally, one of smokey jackson‘s ideas:
- sit, quietly, in the dark. take the dark in. experience it, absorb it.
and what are you doing?
got a few minutes? humour me.
what are one or two things you’ve been thinking about and delaying taking action on for – maybe you don’t even remember how long?
what would be the first step in dealing with it? something really simple you can do right now, something that won’t take more than 10 minutes tops to accomplish?
go to it.
tick tock tick tock tick tock ……..
ok. good for you! how do you feel now? nice feeling of just a little bit of success?
great! pat yourself on the back! celebrate!
this little exercise took no longer than 15 minutes. but think about all the times the thoughts about it have been rattling around in your head. hours, i bet. so this is quite some accomplishment.
celebrate! no, no, don’t go on twitter. don’t surf the web. get up and go for a little walk, or make yourself a nice cup of coffee, or whatever puts a little smile on your face. just step away from the computer.
see you next blog post.
inspired by TED talk gaming can make a better world, i joined urgent evoke, a game that is “a crash course in saving the world.” the idea is to learn about, act on and imagine solutions for the things that cry out for answers in our world today – from energy needs to poverty to hunger, from peace to social justice to health and education. let’s see whether i manage to stay the 10 weeks of the game …
now as i do this, a number of interesting things crop up. in my solution-focused ways, let me phrase them as questions:
- what happens when we are challenged to look for a solution, rather than getting more and more information about the problems?
- is it easier to be motivated to do something good – for ourselves, for those close to us, for the world in general – when we do it in community?
- what does motivate you to look for a solution for something that is a big problem but not one that directly threatens you this very moment?
- is it easier to get off your you-know-whats if you have someone else set a goal for you?
- when there is something that we want to improve on, it often goes like this: 1) problem! yikes! 2) i’ll pretend it’s not there. 3) okay, i’ll do something about it. tomorrow. 4) argh! i need a solution! now! 5) here’s the next best solution, let’s take it, quick! 6) phew. 7) uhhhh …. 8] the problem isn’t really resolved! yikes! 9) i’ll pretend it’s not there. (and the loop starts afresh). ok. so now what would happen if we used urgent evoke’s model: learn, act, imagine?
today i didn’t work on a blog post but on the way overdue wikipedia entry for my father, the painter juergen von huendeberg. for now it’s a draft – what do you think? here it is, and here is one of his pieces of art – a collage.
i had a conversation with a client the other day about his brother who is presenting him with quite a bit of bafflement. “he (let’s call him noah) is such a nice guy; wise, funny, understanding, compassionate, self aware. and then – there is this part of himself that he seems to be completely unaware of. whenever his brother-in-law gary shows up, he turns into this macho, obnoxious, beer-guzzling football fanatic. even gary is embarrassed. and he just can’t see it.”
my client can’t ignore or avoid the behaviour, either, because he spends a lot of time at noah’s place. “i don’t get it! noah is such a great guy otherwise. but as soon as gary shows up, i can’t stand him, i don’t want to be around him. what’s worse, he loves to make plans when gary is around and drags us all into it. we’re at our wits’ end. we can’t talk to him about it because he insists that nothing is wrong and points out how we trust him otherwise and rely on his sensitivity. which is true. i don’t know what to do.”
i don’t know what the outcome will be; there are many possible scenarios. maybe noah will wake up one day and realize what’s going on. maybe people will start retreating from him. maybe his family will tell him often enough how uncomfortable they are with his behaviour that he will change it or take it elsewhere.
what interests me here is the incredible power of denial that can put a chink into even the most self-aware, conscious person. and i wonder – do i have a blind spot like that, too? how would i be able to tell? as we can see here, such blind spots can exert considerable negative power over people – and i mean that in the plural; noah is by far not the only person who is affected. swiss psychoanalyst adolf guggenbuehl-craig says that one of the best ways of minimizing such situations is to constantly make oneself vulnerable to those dear and near. scary! but what’s the alternative?
i’ll make sure to show this post to my friends and family. if there is a blind spot that they would like me to see but haven’t found a way to do it, maybe this will open a door.