I’m back from Lighting in a Bottle Festival, a weekend full of workshops, yoga, music, dancing, and lots of beauty!
My Tantric Lap Dance workshop and Love, Sex, & Intimacy panel went great! I get so energized watching people have deep connected experiences with their bodies and each other. It is my fuel to keep offering the work I do.
A popular message that showed up again and again in the workshops I attended was that love is the answer… and it takes work! Whether it's a romantic relationship, or any other kind of relationship, falling in love is easy, but staying in love for the long haul, takes practice, patience, and commitment to something larger than just your personal needs and desires.
It is my personal mission to help people become the love they are seeking, by teaching ways to turn the love on inside of you. Love is a verb and a noun, it takes action to experience it, so to make it a little easier for those of us committed to creating loving relationships that last, I’ve created a crib sheet of practices that will help you create and renew love for a lifetime. Even if you are not in a romantic relationship, many of these practices can be used in any relationship:
Keep Clearing & Creating
Once we love someone, there will inevitably be upsets, disappointments, and pain, that will show up and tempt us to shut down. Part of keeping love alive is learning how to navigate these moments in a way that honors what you both need. These moments can even create the opportunity for growth and deeper intimacy. When we hold onto hurt or resentment, we create distance that erodes at connection and intimacy over time. A great way to keep clearing upsets, and create new possibilities is to create time regularly to share your Fears & Desires. Underneath all hurt feelings is a core fear. Drilling down to that fear allows you to own what has upset you, instead of pointing the finger at your partner. For instance if I get upset that my partner did not call me when they said they would, the fear under it might be that I can’t trust them or their word. Once you are clear on the fears, then voicing your desire gives you a chance to share what would feel better. Like if you can’t call when you said you would, I desire that you apologize for breaking your word, or I desire that you text me with a new plan. When both partners get to voice their Fears & Desires regularly, you keep the space for love to arise more clear.
Share Your Appreciation
We all love to be appreciated and acknowledged! But it is easy to forget to offer that appreciation to the people we love. Particularly when we see them often and can get used to them doing lots of stuff for us. I’ve learned you really can’t acknowledge someone enough though. Even if you do acknowledge your partner often I recommend trying this practice. Take a moment to sit still, place a hand on your heart, let your breath soften your chest and take 15 min. to meditate on the history of your relationship. Ask your heart to show you when it has felt loved in that relationship. And let the images bubble up. After the meditation write down all the moments you remembered. You might be surprised at what your heart remembers. Doing this every so often will start to create a record of loving moments you can acknowledge your partner for.
Having clear agreements that get honored are a great way to keep the love flowing in a relationship. Agreements are just what they sound like, actions and intentions that both parties agree to honor. There are many ways to do this. As needs, desires, and upsets arise, these can be great opportunities to ask for what you need, and co-create a way for that to happen. Be open to hearing if you’re partner needs anything from you in order to fulfill their part of the agreement. You can also create a relationship contract or vows, that outline intentions and commitments you are making to the relationship that will support both of you. It’s important that re-visit agreements and vows throughout your relationship, to remember & revise them as you grow together. Anniversaries are a great time to do this! Reflect on what works well and what could work better, update your agreements based on what you desire to create and experience together next.
Learn About Love Languages
If you have heard of Dr. Gary Chapman’s book the 5 Love Languages, then perhaps you already know what you and your partner’s primary love language is. But if you haven’t, here are the cliff notes. Dr. Chapman’s thesis is that we all register love in different ways. He describes these ways as five different love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Touch, Gifts & Acts of Service. We will often express love to others with whatever our primary love languages are, but if that person has a different primary love language, what we are offering will not be best way to make them feel loved. So finding out what love languages fill your partner up the most can help you express your love for them in a way they can best receive it. You can ask them directly on a scale of 1-10 (one being ‘it’s ok’ - ten being ‘i can’t live without out’) how important each love language is to them. And once you know try offering them something in their love language once a week, and see how it changes the way you are received.
See With New Eyes
The longer we are with someone, the more likely it is that we will fall into a routine with each other. There’s nothing wrong with routines, in fact healthy ones can support us in forming habits that enhance our lives and the quality of our relationships. Like a weekly date night, kissing upon waking, catching up over morning coffee or tea. But what we want to be careful of is when routines create auto-pilot reactions to the way we see and interact with our partners. When we get to know a person, we can start to predict what they like and don’t like, what they will say... how they will respond to something. And while it can feel good to know someone so well, it can also prevent us from staying curious about them. Try having a conversation with your partner like you are just meeting them and don’t know them. Ask questions you may know the answers to but listen for new information, be open to learning or hearing something new. Another fun approach is to watch your partner when they don’t know you’re looking, what about them still draws you in? Maybe even take a moment to check them out like a total stranger. What would you say and do if you were meeting them for the first time again? These are a few ways to turn off the part of your brain that creates your partner from memories, and allow the opportunity to see them like new in the present moment.
I hope you will try some of these with the one or ones you love, and let me know how it goes. And if you have practices you use to keep love alive in your relationships, please do share by replying to this email or posting a comment!