February 29, 2012

{An Extra Day to Love}

It is a leap year” -- one of those every four where we get an extra” day! So what are you going to do with this extra fine, brilliant, ripe opportunity to become the person that you always wanted to be? It's an extra day to love and love some more....

And given this is also the last day of February, the month with many love reminders,” it's a perfect time to be reminded of a more soul-full love. This is a reprint of Gary Zukav's recent newsletter:

by Gary Zukav
Valentine’s Day – the day of roses, heart-shaped boxes, and cupids with arrows – is past, which is symbolic because the age of equating love with roses, heart-shaped boxes, and cupids is passing. In this age that is passing, we often mistook need for love. How could this be? Doesn’t love require signs of affection, shows of constancy, and gifts to seal the bargain? It never has. When someone fears losing your affection, he or she will strive to keep it. Perhaps you have strived to keep someone’s affection, too. Fear of loss is not love. When your intention is to avoid losing “love,” your gifts are manipulations. When it is to appreciate someone with no strings attached, they are expressions of love.

We are leaving the age in which appearances were all that mattered because they were all that we could see and entering a new age in which essence is becoming visible. The essence of a person is not the clothing she wears or the things he does. People who love do not stop loving when others change their clothing or act differently. Your essence is not even your history, culture, race, or what you think and do. It is your soul.

A few decades ago “soul” was a theological or poetic word. That is changing. You experience your soul each time you sense yourself as more than a mind and body, your life as meaningful, or you feel that you have gifts to give and you long to give them. You experience your soul when meaning, purpose, gratitude, patience, and appreciation fill you, no matter how briefly. Cultivating those experiences aligns your personality with your soul. That is creating authentic power.

Soul-to-soul connection (not appearance-to-appearance connection) is love. Think of love as the sun. It shines on everyone. The sun is not afraid of losing your love, and it doesn’t even require you to smile back at it. The more we love like the sun shines, the more we become able to look back on Valentine’s Day and see it very differently.

So go claim every day as an extra day to love.... ~

February 21, 2012

{Why We Love}

[The following is an excerpt from chapter seven of my upcoming book, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride.]

It seems Diana never lovingly embraced and healed her lost little girl inside; and men who are married to women who are wounded little girls can have a tough job ahead of them. They can never win if they try to be father and mother as well as mate to her because she usually rewards him with complaints and more lashing out. There is no pleasing anyone who has not found the pleasure in being themselves. 

We all respond differently when we do not feel loved,” David Deida advises women in It’s a Guy Thing: An Owner’s Manual for Women. “These responses are usually rooted in our childhood and early life experience.” Deida asks women: “Do [you] act like [you] don’t need love? Do [you] retaliate and withdraw [your] love from him? Do [you] act like [you] are not hurt, but then punish him in some subtle way? Do [you] collapse or do [you] become rigid?”

When you’re not feeling loved, all of these responses to men are ineffectual, Deida explains. Whether you’ve stayed in your feminine energy but closed down, “hiding in your shell and curling into your darkness” (like a child); or whether you’ve switched over to your sharper, more directive masculine energy where “you may learn to act tough” (like an opponent); neither response works. Deida reminds women that you especially “tend to shift from feminine openness to masculine toughness when you are hurt by your partner…and feel rejected by your man”; and when this occurs “the distance between you and your man grows.” But, Deida advises, if you do neither, withdraw nor lash out, and if you can indeed “remain open in love even when your heart is wounded,” miracles occur in that openness.

“It seems most ‘love relationships’ become love/hate relationships before long,” Eckhart Tolle observes in Practicing the Power of Now. “If in your relationships you experience both ‘love’ and the opposite of love—attack, emotional violence, and so on—then it is likely that you are confusing ego attachment and addictive clinging with love. You cannot love your partner one moment and attack him or her the next. True love has no opposite.”

We see this played out in Diana’s relationship with Charles. As so many of us do, we believe that our partner is the cause when old, addictive, painful feelings reappear. This is why, as Tolle explains, when the warmth of the initial romance fades, “there is so much unhappiness, so much pain in intimate relationships. They do not cause pain and unhappiness. They bring out the pain and unhappiness that is already in you.” (Ouch! That stings.)

Astrologer Steffan Vanel, in his study of the cosmic connections of the royal couple’s relationship, speaks to Diana’s deep sense of loss and how that colored so many of her actions. Her fear of losing those she loved perpetuated her loss of those she loved! “When the individual has learned to love without attachment, and to love genuinely from the heart, then it is more likely that the pattern of loss will cease,” Vanel explained in Charles and Diana: The Inside Story. Perhaps Diana was getting there toward the end of her life. Her biographers reveal accounts of her romantic relationships and how, with some of the men she became involved with, she was learning that she could indeed be loved. But Sally Bidell Smith explains that “involvement with Diana meant submitting to her overpowering possessiveness.” Vanel adds that when we have so many emotional and psychological buffers, blocking or distorting our reality, we are prevented from being able, like Diana, “to accept and fully embrace [our] truly positive and beautiful qualities….”

In her book, Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love, Helen Fisher, a prominent anthropologist in the United States, asked herself this question: “Was the brain circuitry for passionate romantic love somehow directly connected to the brain networks for what psychologists call hate/rage?” Then answers: “How ironic: as the adored one slips away, the very chemicals that contribute to feelings of romance grow even more potent, intensifying ardent passion, fear, anxiety, and impelling us to protest and try with all our strength to secure our reward: the departing one.”

Or as Vanel, using his astrological guides, explained about Diana’s “moon personality” in his biography: “‘…here is a nature that is constant only so long as the object of the affections is out of reach. When once the desired object is attained, then the heart wanders readily to other pastures.’”

The more manipulative and needy Diana became, the more distant Charles became. The more distant Charles became, the more Diana tried to hold on, even though she was not receiving the love her heart desired. (This is a clue that our ego is in charge and real love is not in the picture!) Diana had not developed an inner confidence to be able to deeply trust herself or others, to see beyond their own fears because hers were so glaring. When we come from fear and distrust, then that is what we tend to get. Fearing loss, we hold on so we won’t have to face ourselves, or being alone, or our fear of abandonment, or losing our dream; and the list of apprehensions and fears we might have to face goes on.

It may be easier to see why couples break apart than why they stay in love. Love, or what we think is love, seems to have so many mysteries wrapped around its hold on us. “We are told that people stay in love because of chemistry, or because they remain intrigued with each other, because of many kindnesses, because of luck. But part of it,” author Ellen Goodman wrote, “has got to be forgiveness and gratefulness.” And Diana seemed to be missing both when it came to her romantic relationships; using Eckhart Tolle’s words: her “ego attachment and addictive clinging” trumped her desire for “true love.”

In his ground-breaking book from 1989, The Seat of the Soul, Gary Zukov discussed how we were moving toward a new paradigm in relationships. He explained the commitment of a “spiritual partnership” for couples where…

…you learn to trust not only each other, but also your ability to grow together. You learn that you put your partnership most at risk by avoiding that which you are most afraid will destroy it. It is not easy to express what is inside you, especially that which makes you feel vulnerable or painful or angry or upset. These are the emotions that empower words that can do either damage or can do so much healing. You learn that sharing your concerns with consideration and the intention to heal and trust in the process is the only appropriate avenue. As you approach your needs with courage instead of fear you ignite a sense of trust.

Ahhh. And there’s the rub for the princess. Her fear strangled her being able to trust herself, and therefore her love for a partner. However, she may not have found the lasting pleasure of a romantic and spiritual partnership with a man, but she found deep pleasure in another kind of love.... ~

February 13, 2012

{Alas, The Love Letter Is No More}

[Reprinted from the Telegraph online, 11 February 2012; article by Anne Sebba on Dr. Andrea Clarke of the British Library and the new book she edited: Love Letters: 2000 Years of Romance]

Alas, the love letter is no more - killed by email, Twitter and text
The love that lives for ever is being lost as suitors lay down their pens.

Throughout history, couples have expressed their undying love in handwritten letters. Few people take the trouble to write by hand today, but if anything is preserved at the back of a desk drawer, it is likely to be the handwritten love letter that once upon a time sent someone’s heart shuddering. Letters that reveal raw emotions such as joyous or unrequited love are gold dust for biographers like me. They can be more important as evidence than diaries, which may have been written with an eye to posterity; a letter bares the soul to just one other person.

“What makes them compelling is the emotional bond between sender and recipient,” says Dr Andrea Clarke, curator of Early Modern Historical Manuscripts at the British Library, who looks at other people’s letters every day. She has put together a collection, Love Letters: 2000 Years of Romance. The idea for the book came when she worked on the archive of the relatively unknown Yorkshire poet and playwright Gordon Bottomley.

“When I joined the library 12 years ago, the first archive I worked on was his,” Dr Clarke explains. “He was a sick man, incapacitated by crippling ill-health for most of his life, who poured out his heart in hundreds of love letters to the artist Emily Burton. They touched me deeply.” In one letter, written in 1899, Bottomley finally declares his love for Emily: “I love you: I do not know how to say anything else!” He begs her to burn the letter if she cannot reciprocate his feelings. Luckily for us she could, and the declaration is preserved.

Other highlights include what is believed to be the oldest valentine in the English language, written by Margery Brews to John Paston III in February, 1477, in which she addresses him as “my right well beloved Valentine”.
There are also love notes from Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII to each other, found in a book of hours. Anne’s couplet is written beneath an image of the Annunciation in which the Archangel Gabriel is telling the Virgin Mary that she would bear a son. “By association, Anne was telling Henry that she would provide him with the son and heir he so desperately longed for,” explains Clarke.

There is one of Charlotte Brontë’s love letters, written in French to a married professor. His wife retrieved the missive from a bin and stitched it back together after her husband had torn it up. The book features a letter from Oscar Wilde to Lord Alfred Douglas, and Horatio Nelson’s last one to Lady Emma Hamilton. And there is also a poem written by Ted Hughes to Sylvia Plath, his wife who committed suicide in 1963. The couple met in 1956 while both were studying in Cambridge, where:

“One by one we made the public benches 
Sacred to us. What did we talk about?”

Many of the missives Clarke has chosen were written on the eve of battle, an especially poignant time for declaring love, or just before a reunion. As the poet Rupert Brooke put it when writing to the actress Cathleen Nesbitt, “my heart goes knocking when I think of (seeing you again)” and “I will kiss you till I kill you”.

Brooke had been immediately captivated by Cathleen after watching her on stage at the Savoy Theatre. He worshipped her great beauty and bombarded her with marriage proposals. On March 18, 1915, on his way to fight in the disastrous Dardanelles campaign, he wrote with devastating prescience: “Oh my dear, Life is a very good thing. Thank God I met you. Be happy and be good. You have been good to me. Goodbye, dearest child, Rupert.” He died from blood poisoning, aged 28, on April 23.

A typed memo or email can never convey the same texture as a handwritten letter. “They contain layers of information and reveal much more about a person through the handwriting style, the shape it makes on the paper, as well as the signature itself, often with an array of doodles or drawings,” says Clarke. It is not only that the impact of the words seems magnified when written by hand but letters have sometimes acquired smells (of coffee, perhaps, or tea) or been spattered by tears or mud, which adds enormously to their power.

Clarke has noticed that more love letters appear to have been written by men. Historically, men would have been better educated and considered themselves the decision makers. It would not always have appeared seemly for a woman, whose role was to be the passive recipient of a man’s love, to make amorous declarations. On the other hand, as Dr Clarke concludes: “Perhaps it is simply that women are better at preserving things.” ~

[Reprinted from the Telegraph, 11 February 2012; article by Anne Sebba on Dr. Andrea Clarke of the British Library and the new book she edited: Love Letters: 2000 Years of Romance]

February 10, 2012

{"Caught In Flight": Upcoming Film on Princess Diana}

[Reprinted from the Telegraph, 09 February 2012; article by Anita Singh, Showbusiness Editor.]

Naomi Watts is to play Diana, Princess of Wales in a biopic charting the final two years of her life and her love affair with a heart surgeon. Caught In Flight will focus on Diana’s relationship with Hasnat Khan, the man she described as “Mr Wonderful”. 

It will be directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, whose 2004 film, Downfall, charted the last days of Adolf Hitler.

Watts replaces Jessica Chastain, who was attached to the project last year but pulled out. 
"It is such an honour to be able to play this iconic role - Princess Diana was loved across the world and I look forward to rising to the challenge of playing her on screen,” said Watts, 43, who was born in Britain and raised in Australia.

The film begins shooting later this year. Hirschbiegel said he was “delighted to have such a truly exceptional actress who embodies the warmth, humanity and empathy of such a global icon as Princess Diana”.

He described the plotline as “a love story between a princess locked in a tower and an ordinary man”.

At the time of her death in August 1997, the princess was involved in a high-profile relationship with Dodi Fayed, who also died in the Paris car crash.

However, friends of the princess said that the true love of her life was Dr Khan, a surgeon who worked at London’s Royal Brompton Hospital.

It is said that she dreamed of marrying Dr Khan and met his family during a 1996 visit to Pakistan. However, the surgeon thought the idea was impossible and they broke up in the summer of 1997.

Dr Khan has spoken publicly about the princess only once, in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph.

"Generally I do not talk about people - family or friends. This is how I am,” he said.

"I'm loyal to her not because she was a celebrity but because I'm loyal to all my friends.” ~

[Reprinted from the Telegraph, 09 February 2012; article by Anita Singh, Showbusiness Editor.]