Mail-Order Bride.

I am engaged to a beautiful Russian girl whom I met via a Russian marriage website. We spent three amazing weeks together in Russia and will be married in my country in December. Is it a good idea to tell her that if she ever cheats on me, even only once, that she’s going back to Russia? – G. Terry

Dear G. Terry, Well, it seems as if you have doubts as to her sincerity. It is in fact, hard to imagine what would motivate anyone to advertise themselves as being willing to marry someone on the other side of the globe (to be willing to leave their home, family, friends, culture – all physical and emotional security behind) – for someone whom they don’t really know. In fact, it is almost inexplicable.

Let’s think about this. The entire endeavor is a huge gamble on her part.  What could be worth so much to risk everything? Certainly not love. If she is as beautiful and amazing as you say she is – she can easily find love at home (which would have the added benefit of not having to give up the rest of her life). Correct? What could the motivation be? A passport? Money? Or (much worse), perhaps someone is coercing her into “selling” herself? All of those possibilities are more plausible than her being on the hunt for true/everlasting/undying love.

Her motivation to marry you is not love. This could be the reason you fear infidelity. Maybe you felt a lack of true emotion when you had intimate moments (during those brief few weeks you were actually able see her in person)? I think the fact that you are having doubts shows that you haven’t completely lost your mind. Anyone, I reiterate anyone, can act amazing for three weeks. This is most especially true if they have a dilemma and they see you as the best solution available to them.

All that being said, if you truly believe you love this woman, what is the rush? Marriage is supposed to be forever. Right? If you have waited your entire life for the right woman, why do you have to get married in one month’s time? What difference would one year of dating really make in the span of an entire life? Spend time to get to know this woman better. Have her come to your country for several weeks. See how she fits in with your friends and relatives. Do not marry her until you trust her enough not to doubt her intentions. A marriage without trust is no marriage at all.

If you already know in your heart that her intentions are not pure, do not go through with your marriage plans. Either way, I wish you both the best of luck.

Refocus your Focus!

All of us have priorities, things we must focus on. Deadlines we must meet. But as we spend our days hyper focused on achieving whatever it is that is at the top of our to-do list…. Much of life (life happening all around us) seems to blur into the background – even when you think it is not. Even when you think your juggling really well; your eye, on all the balls… in reality, you ultimately drop one or two.

And what do we lose focus of most often? Things that are not a priority? Yes. But we also tend to lose focus on things that are a priority (usually things that are going so well… we simply feel we can relax a bit). Unfortunately, these are often our most important relationships.

Recently, my youngest started developing a nervous tick. Almost unperceivable at first, yet it went from 0 to 90 (becoming a chronic tick) in less than 2 weeks. It developed at such an alarming rate, that my child’s teacher, assistant teacher and myself all sought each other out (in a bit of a panic) to discuss what course of action should be taken.

My youngest has a learning disability, so he has had a lot of attention from me & help from tutors, therapists… to prepare him for school. After years of work & due to the fact everything was going so well, the tutors, teachers… and I all changed our main focus to more urgent priorities & BAM! Something happened to trigger his stress tick, but none of us had been focused on him enough to know exactly what. I took my eye of the ball so briefly, and one of my most important relationships immediately began to suffer.

During the same time period (not a coincidence), I had just gone back to work and was pushing myself to prove myself after being out of the workforce for a number of years. I spent far too many hours staring into my illuminated computer screens… and started developing mild headaches… Since I was trying to reach a deadline, I ignored my bodies warning and kept working until I got the job done. I pushed myself so hard that I ended up having a horrific migraine last Friday that lasted 72 hours through the Memorial Day weekend.

I reached my goal. However, I was so focused on my work, that I dropped two balls (my caregiver relationship with my son and my relationship with myself/my health). I ignored the warning signs (the mild tick and the mild headaches). I simply thought I had more time before I had to address the problems. Due to my delay, mild problems became chronic.

How often do we ignore (relationship and/or health) warning signs in our lives? We are all so busy, and our to-do lists at times seem endless… relationships (& health) often suffer because of it. How do we stay focused on all that is important to us? We don’t. However, we can address ensuing problems in our relationships as soon as they pop up – not waiting until they become chronic situations.

I know how to take care of myself when I get out of whack. So I do (although I shouldn’t) sometimes drive myself harder than I should. However, seeing my son out of whack for the first time – helped me refocus my focus on the most important things in my life. It was no mere coincidence that my son developed a nervous tick at the exact same time I went back to work. Everyone in a relationship (household…) affects everyone else. My son did not hear me speak or see me behave in any stressful ways… he simply felt the stress I was internalizing.

I dropped everything over Memorial Day weekend to right my wrongs. Thank goodness I was able to find a natural remedy for my migraines – and am back to work no problem. As for my son, we had a number of long talks. I am no longer multitasking in his presence. If he is “present” – so am I. His teachers are glad to report that his chronic tick is now no more than an occasional nervous twitch.

If I want my home to be healthy and harmonious, I have to be a model of health and harmony – not just outwardly but inwardly (physically, mentally & spiritually) as well. If your harmony/health is not deep – your energy/vibration will affect others/your relationships in negative ways (despite your outward well intended words and actions and/or your ability to “appear” healthy on the outside).

Pay attention to all that is important to you… when you notice something going astray – act as soon as possible. Don’t be afraid to face a problem or change the status quo. The less damage that is done, the easier things will be to rectify. When you do fall off the wagon (so-to-speak), don’t be upset with yourself. Simply do your best to regain your (physical, mental and/or spiritual) harmony again – ASAP. If it is done quickly enough (without too much harm to those around you), your relationships should get back on track (after you say any needed amends of course:).

If life has simply been too hectic to manage, and, issues in an important relationship do become chronic… Again, do not waste time feeling guilty and/or beating yourself up over the situation… Refocus your focus and face it head on!

In love, everyone needs to be “masculine” & “feminine”…

I had always been extremely extroverted, an overachiever, a triple A+ personality type, extraordinarily (materially) successful (even in my early twenties), blah, blah, blah… I was very “yang”. However, my marriage to my childhood sweetheart was an absolute mess! My husband was uncomfortable with my increasing success… No matter how much I tried to save our marriage, sadly our marriage was lost…

As time went on, my personality seemed to only attract alpha (yang) males. However, once in a committed relationship, they did everything in their (mighty) power to snuff out my light, always wanting the limelight for themselves & expecting me to take a backseat to their lives. After a while I thought I must have been doing something wrong.

I thought that I simply needed to work harder at practicing unconditional love. I had been researching psychology, philosophies, physiology, eastern philosophy, religion…. And, as we often do when we are trying something new, I made a mistake – a BIG mistake. I mistook the idea of the “feminine principle” (yin) as all I (a woman) should try to emulate in the hopes of creating harmony in myself and in my relations with others (especially my partner).

The semantically complex compound word “yinyang” simply put means “opposites”. Exact translations of “yin” & “yang” separately are: “shady side of the hill” & “sunny side of the hill”. Yin (the “shadow” side) represents the passive female principle in nature (defined by Chinese philosophy as: soft, wet, flowing, dark, mysterious… submissive); yang, the assertive male principle in nature (defined by Chinese philosophy as: rigid, dry, solid, visible, evident… dominant).

I had found the Chinese Taoist yin principle: “be like water” very helpful in handling rigid business colleagues. The principle believes that water is stronger than stone (simply look at the grand canyon). When dealing with a “rock”, one must learn how to go around the rock, to wear it down, to reach one’s final destination/goal… It actually works very well. Not wanting another failed marriage… I thought maybe there is more to the power of the innate “feminine” principle & that it was certainly worth a try.

YinYang

Since I had an extremely dominant male, I thought all I have to do to make our home harmonic is practice the yin principles. For the sake of peace, for the sake of my children, I’ll simply be the yin to his yang… I thought, “No one is perfect, so I should continue to try to love unconditionally – this time using the yin principles…” Surprisingly, ta dah! I actually found the Chinese Taoist yin principles to be very helpful guidelines in learning to love unconditionally. I was actually able to master unconditional love… I must say it gave me an inner peace and an ability to be happy like I’ve never known. My inner (mental & spiritual) life was now bliss. However, in time, it took a great toll on my physical & material well-being (my yang so-to-speak).

What was I doing wrong? “Such a great theory!” I thought, “Why isn’t it working?” I had a beloved Zen master (who sadly moved back to Japan), who told me for years, “Why are you trying to be a saint? You are not a saint. Stop trying to be one!” Zen masters always speak in riddles… so I never quite understood exactly what he was trying (repeatedly) to make me see. I would think, “I like being a good/loving person. What’s wrong with that?” Plus, I loved Zen meditation (a yin/feminine principle) – it was great for maintaining my mental well-being.

Later, I studied with a Sufi master (who is sadly back in Turkey), he would say (also repeatedly), “You have to be a warrior! You must learn to fight! Even Jesus was a warrior!!!” I never understood why a Sufi master would be referencing Jesus, but o.k. Whatever works I thought! But it didn’t work on me; I wanted to be as “loving” as I could be. Plus, I had never been happier, I loved being connected to my spiritual (yin/feminine) side – nothing bothered my inner peace.

Then at a New Year’s party. The hostess had hired a psychic as entertainment for the entire event. Everyone was letting her read their palms, cards or something… Anyway, late in the evening I finally acquiesced. I sat down and the woman looked at me and said, “You are a very loving person.” I can still feel myself swelling with pride, surrounded by a number of guests watching the “show”. Then, in front of all those people the psychic said, “No. No. Wait. You could be a very loving person, but you don’t love yourself. Until you love yourself, you’ll never be a truly loving person.” I was mortified! What a slap in the face. My swelled ego burst. I got the message this time – loud and clear!

How stupid I had been! The harmonic yinyang principle was never about separating yin & yang (the opposites). It was never about being a compliment to someone else… It was about being the compliment to my self – being everything (passive & aggressive, soft & hard, flowing & solid, shadowy & clearly visible, mysterious & evident, submissive & dominant…) all in one. Every person has to be a lover and a fighter. The key is to train oneself to know when (and how much of) each principle is required. The mastery is being able to do that well enough to use all of the principles in only a constructive way (that is what the dots in the symbol represent — when one aspect becomes so powerful that it is about to take away from/become destructive to the other — it is time to change focus/strategy) .

At first I was too assertive (yang without enough yin). Physically and materially at my peak, but my inner self was a mess. Then I became too passive (yin with not enough yang). My psychological and spiritual life blossomed –  while my finances and body were devoured by my spouse. Now, I am able to know exactly when to be assertive and when to be passive, which is needed when & how to utilize just the right amount of both. Am I happy? You bet I am! Am I at peace? You know it. Do I know how to get my needs met without bulldozing others? Un-huh. Do I love myself? Yes, I do. Am I a loving person? I think so (but I might want to get the number of that psychic)!

An Interesting Side Note:
The earliest recorded English usage of Chinese Taoist/Daoist “yin and yang”, is cited in the Oxford English Dictionary as: 1671 – yet we are just now starting to understand their true meaning. Talk about being lost in translation!

Relativity in Love.

“When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.” ― Albert Einstein

Einstein always had a way of describing the most complex ideas concerning life (and love)… in ways even a child could understand.

In essence: Do you want to spend your time with someone who fills your heart with so much joy, that you don’t even notice the passage of time? Or, do you want to be with someone who makes every moment seem like an endless nightmare? Your (love)life is relative to the choices you make. You are free to chose.

Be Desirable!

There is nothing more attractive than someone with a passion for something, who looks at things positively & is always seeking to better themselves. Work on dedicating yourself to being such a person & see how desirable you become!

Biggest Disease Today… Feeling Unloved.

The biggest disease (in) this day and age, is that of people feeling unloved. – Princess Di

Share the love in your life with others. Pay attention to them. Make sure you not only tell them, but also show those around you how special & loved they truly are. The worst feeling in the world is feeling as though you don’t matter or aren’t valued. Love is the most healing and harmonizing energy in the world. Use it.

Dedicated to lovely M.T.I. ~ Know you have always been worth loving… I am sorry your Mom was too unwell to be able to give you what you deserved… you are truly a remarkable young lady.

Givers Need to Set Limits Because Takers Never Do.

GiverAndTake2

Givers need to set limits because takers never do, is a tenet of a number of Eastern philosophies.

Personally, I was born in the west and raised to always “turn the other cheek”, forgive (& forget), practice unconditional love…

As a young adult, to my surprise, I often found myself in relationships where it appeared that the other person had not received the same memos. Never-the-less, due to these beliefs being ingrained in my subconscious – I merrily committed myself to the unconditional love/’til to death do we part scenario… just to find myself literally dying from trying…

In short, I still believe in forgiveness (as do Eastern philosophies). Forgiveness is not so much for the sake of the person you are forgiving, but for your own peace of mind. However, I now also believe in limits.

Don’t get me wrong. It is important to put effort into your relationships. The old adage: the best things in life don’t come easy is quite true. Relationships can grow in depth and intimacy when they survive trials and tribulations – together.

I guess that is the key. If both people are trying, a relationship is worth fighting for. However, if you find you have been the only person trying for an extended period of time… you must set a limit. “‘Til death do we part” should be interpreted as the death/loss of any part of us that makes us healthy and whole (loss of physical health, loss of joy/emotional well-being, loss of spiritual well-being). Don’t let a ‘Taker’ take parts of you. If the lack of true partnership in a relationship is killing you – forgive, grow & go.