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May 2011 Archives

May 3, 2011

The Lies That Will Not Die

Everywhere I go I see people crippled by a low opinion of themselves--everywhere, as though it were a communicable disease. Is that true for you? When you screw up, for example, do you feel painfully guilty? Excessive guilt--sometimes called shame--comes from an assessment that you're not worthwhile, that you must suffer if you make mistakes.

If you have a low opinion of yourself, it is ONLY because early in life you were taught by parents, teachers, and others that your mistakes made you unworthy. What you didn't realize was that such people were BLIND and therefore wrong in their judgments. They were not teaching you about YOU, but were simply expressing their displeasure that you did not meet THEIR expectations, which were driven by their own emptiness and fear. People who are empty and afraid cannot see you, only their own needs. They are blind.

worthiness.jpg

We tend to keep associating with blind people, who define who we are according to our ability to satisfy their needs. But we can change all that. We can begin to tell the truth about ourselves and attract people who are interested in the truth, rather than themselves. We can find people who feel loved--who are not blind--and are capable of loving us. It is in their love that we can see a reflection of our true worth.

May 4, 2011

Why Should I Pay for Real Love?

A man recently wrote, "I read the Real Love book, but I knew I needed more, so I contacted a Real Love coach. He said that coaching would cost XXX dollars per month. I don't understand. I need help. I thought I found it in Real Love, but now I have to pay for it? Why should I have to pay for love that is unconditional?"

You don't have to pay for Real Love. We have made considerable efforts to provide Real Love in as many free ways as possible. You can ask your public library to order one or more of the books from the Real Love series, and you can check them out on your free library card. Then you can go to www.RealLove.com, and you can watch hundreds of videos and read hundreds of pages of materials--all for free. You can also participate in the free conference calls on the website, which happen every day of the week. You can read, listen, watch, and feel loved, all for no charge at all.

All people deserve to be loved unconditionally and without expense. Over many years, however, I have discovered that people's problems are almost uniformly rooted in lifetimes of pain and distorted perspectives. Many people therefore require two things that can't be found in a book or from free conference calls.

First, they need consistent and time-consuming coaching and follow-up. When patterns are sufficiently entrenched, brief moments of love and teaching may not be enough, and it's unreasonable to expect large commitments of time from acquaintances on free conference calls.

Second, many people need someone to understand complex problems and distill them into their simple, soluble components. They need coaches who have been professionally trained, coaches who have experience that is both wide and deep.

The people who have the time and the expertise required for difficult problems are usually professional coaches. They've all spent years attending training courses--which they paid for--as well as donating much of their time to taking phone calls, answering emails, supervising conference calls, and doing in-person counseling. LEARN_LOVE_LIVEsmall-e1275064432928.jpg Professional coaches are not paid to love--you can't pay for Real Love--but they do deserve to be paid for their time and expertise.

As I think about the graduated options available for people looking for help in Real Love, I think about the options available to me when I mail a package. I can send a package parcel post, which is quite inexpensive, but it may take a week or more to be delivered within the country, and I can't track the progress of the delivery. If I want the package to arrive in two or three days, I choose USPS Priority Mail, which usually costs more than double the rate of parcel post. Express Mail is even more expensive, but usually the package arrives the next day. If, however, I "absolutely, positively" want the package to arrive by the next morning--with reliable and almost hourly tracking--I send it by Federal Express First Overnight. For that rapid and secure delivery I pay about ten times what I pay for parcel post.

Growth in Real Love can be similar to delivery of a package. If I have time, and I'm sufficiently open to change, I may be able to accomplish my Real Love goals with no charge at all--as described earlier. If I want my pain to go away faster, and if I need help overcoming resistance, anger, addictions, and confusion, increasing levels of assistance may be necessary, and that simply costs more. If you wonder what your needs are, start off by reading a book or two. Then participate in a conference call and ask questions. If you don't get the level of response you were looking for, go to the website and ask for a free coaching call, to assess what kind of help you might need. You'll figure out the level of help you require.

May 7, 2011

The Roots Are Not Personal

A few days ago it rained hard and long, causing water to accumulate in puddles here and there on our property. In one area of the woods, the water was three to four feet deep, so I decided to dig a drainage ditch from this small pond to the nearby creek.
shoveling mud.jpg

Digging a trench by hand through the woods is difficult, because nearly every time you push a shovel into the ground, you engage one or more of the great many roots that run under the surface in every direction. Many of these roots are large enough that an ax is required to cut them. For hours I shoveled and chopped my way through the root-laced ground, mud flying and covering me from head to toe.

At one point--as I attempted to turn my body while lifting my boot out of the thick mud--I fell flat on my face. Humiliated, I actually yelled at the mud and roots for putting me on the ground. Imagine, yelling at mud and roots for simply being what they are. In that moment, I forgot that rain does not fall ON ME. It simply falls. Mud does not intend to trap my boots or make me slip and fall. Mud just happens when water falls on the right kind of ground. Roots don't reach out to ensnare me or my shovel. They just grow out from the tree, to make it stronger and bring nutrition to the trunk and leaves.

Similarly, life does not intend to make problems for us. Life just IS, and we choose how to respond to--or proactively interact with--any element of it. This is more obvious with mud and roots, but it's still true with people, who often appear to be doing things to us. But they're not. They're just being themselves, and on occasion we happen to get close enough to feel the effects of their choices, much as I discovered the effects of the mud and roots only as I chose to hack my way through them.

The people and things around us just ARE. It's not personal. We then have the power--the privilege, really--to choose who we shall be. Will we be irritated and miserable? Will we try to change the people and things around us, which never works in the long run? Or will we choose to be loving and happy? It really is our choice.


Learn more about how our power to choose is always in effect, even when it seems that we're being personally injured.

Part 2
Part 3

May 9, 2011

Putting Out the Fire

As I write this, I'm cruising at 36,000 feet, far out over the Atlantic Ocean--with the assistance of a Boeing 767. An hour ago, a man spilled out of a nearby restroom and fell unconscious in the aisle. This elicited quite an excited response from several flight attendants, who scurried around him.

I rose from my seat, parted the anxious crowd, and sat on the floor beside the man, whom we will call Neville. His pulse was racing, his face was pale, and his breathing was rapid and shallow. After a few seconds, his eyelids fluttered to life, and I asked him several questions about his health and recent activity. I determined that he was hypoglycemic and dehydrated, complicated by mild air sickness and intake of alcohol. He became excited at feeling ill, whereupon he suffered a panic attack, with hyperventilation. When he rose from his seat in the restroom, his blood pressure fell, and all the contributing factors combined to overwhelm him. Neville fainted. man fainted.jpg

I slowly fed him water, but he benefitted most from my touching and gentle talking. I shooed away the people who were excited, because they were only adding to his fear--the primary cause of his panic attack. Another man remained calm and sat with me on the floor, gently holding Neville's hand.

In short order, Neville returned to his seat, where I checked on him regularly for the better part of an hour. More than anything else, Neville was afflicted by fear, which ignited an emotional and physical storm. It was love--gentle, unremarkable, administered at 36,000 feet--that put out the fire. It's love that puts out the fire within all of us, allowing us to respond to our stresses in far more productive ways. It's love that replaces fear with peace and happiness.


When we are afraid, we become blind, and we spread the fire and the blindness to others. But we can change all that.
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

May 11, 2011

Real Love in China

A consortium of businesses, as well as the Chinese government, invited me to share the message in Wenzhou, a city of eight million people that is noted for its business dealings throughout the world. I was there for nearly two weeks.

After interacting with thousands of people in a wide variety of circumstances, I saw reconfirmation that we human beings are united by similar emptiness and fear, along with our responses to those conditions. On one occasion, for example, our plane had engine problems, so we had to return to Beijing, rather than continuing on to Wenzhou. While waiting on the ground for another flight, I observed that Chinese people react to waiting and stress much like Americans--probably more like New Yorkers. While standing in line, the man behind me was yelling at the flight agent while hitting me in the back with his fists.

The first event was a presentation at Wenzhou University, famous for its business college and boasting a student body of more than 30,000.4231303545159038.jpg I spoke to an enthusiastic audience of one thousand students and faculty, also signing hundreds of books for a line of people that snaked from the stage far to the back of the auditorium.

For several days we participated in informal gatherings with the influential people of the city, in order to promote the remaining two events. I met many educated and wealthy Chinese, and again my observation was that they are very much like people anywhere in the world. They are driven to be successful and wealth, but the acquisition off those qualities leaves them with a sense that something is missing.

At some of the events, a few people tried to bait me into making comments about political and social issues in China and the U.S.: Why does the U.S. meddle in the affairs of other countries, what do I think about abortion, how should we feel about people wrongly imprisoned in China, and so on. It was easy to frame the responses in terms of our universal need for Real Love.

At the second event a thousand business leaders and government officials attended from all around the city. When I pulled up in front of the hotel, we were greeted by twenty photographers, a video crew, and dozens of security people. Girls in traditional costume presented us with flowers and escorted us everywhere we went. It was like being a rock star for a day.

As I spoke, my image was projected behind me on a huge screen, so people could see facial expressions. An interpreter was on stage with me, but after half an hour or so, I sensed that the interpretation just wasn't going well, so I pointed to a lady in the audience that I knew to be bilingual, and summoned her to the stage. She did a great job. I learned later that the first interpreter had been amplifying and modifying what I was saying, with enough distortion that it was distracting from the message. I mostly talked about Real Love in the workplace, but I also described how the audience might increase love in their individual lives, their marriages, and their parenting.

Over a period of several days, I had more photos taken--usually next to one or more attendees--than I'd experienced in the previous twenty years. I also ate more unusual dishes than I've ever seen: fish heads, chicken feet, sea cucumbers (you do not want to see this one), many kinds of seaweed, fruits with unpronounceable names, and more. The food bore no resemblance to what we call a Chinese buffet in the United States.

The third event was even larger than the second. It was held in the Great Hall of the People, the official government auditorium for the city. It was a beautiful building, and we experienced the same kind of lavish preparations that we saw at the second event.

China's industry is exploding. Children are getting a better education in many of the cities than in any other place in the world. They're on fire to prepare for material success, and it's working. Everywhere I went, new buildings were going up, replacing nearly everything that was old. But all this success is not producing the happiness the people hoped for. They're looking for more. A well-known professor at Wenzhou University said, "Real Love is a difficult concept for most Chinese to grasp, but it's also exactly what we need."

We spoke to thousands of people, and the feedback has been quite positive. We're already scheduled to return to three cities in China in July, and the longer plan is to go back again in October and December. We'll speak mainly to businesses again, but it's likely that we'll add a parenting seminar or two. Overall, the first Real Love outing in China went rather well, and I look forward to continuing our efforts there.

May 13, 2011

Shades of Gray

I observed two people talking about making a choice in their relationships. One of them said, "There are many ways to see this. It's confusing. It's not like life is black or white. It's all shades of gray." shades of grey.jpg

Overall, it's not true that life is shades of gray. Many times a day we come to forks in the road--decisions to be made--and on each occasion we choose to be loving or not, to tell the truth or not, to think about the needs of others or to focus on our own needs, to genuinely listen or to push our own agenda, and so on. Mostly our decisions are not fuzzy. They're left or right, 0s or 1s--as in computer encoding.

Each of these choices takes us in the direction of happiness and life or misery and death. As we feel more loved and less afraid, we can see these choices with more clarity, and of course with more clarity we make choices that lead to more love and less fear.


Read about an example of making choices that seemed to be impossible, but were not.
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

May 16, 2011

Be the Kipuka

A man called me and described a virtual firestorm at home. His wife was upset, his son had wrecked the car, and so on. He wanted to know how to handle all these problems.

"You could chase problems 'til you were dead," I said. "So don't chase. Just be the kipuka."

"What?" he asked.

So I explained. Long ago I used to visit the Big Island of Hawaii almost yearly. It's a fascinating juxtaposition of dense rainfall and deadly desert, lush forest and lifeless lava. It all flows--excuse the pun--from the creation of Mauna Loa, the largest volcano on earth, which rises from 19,000 feet below the ocean to almost 14,000 feet above sea level, taller than Mount Everest.

On the southern and western sides of the island the lava flows are recent and have eliminated all evidence of life in many places. Here and there, however, you find relatively elevated places--like islands--that are covered in trees, bamboo, and other plant life, along with a profusion of birds and other animals. These "islands of life" survived the deadly passage of molten rock when the volcano erupted many years before. kipula.jpgThey are called Kipukas.

Every day we're all surrounded by fear, anger, and contention, which destroy life wherever they flow. We can't stop these attitudes and behaviors in others--we can't stop the lava--but we can choose to be loving and create an island of life, no matter what is going on around us. It's in these kipukas that we thrive and offer sanctuary to others.


May 18, 2011

Changing the Oil--Every 100,000 Miles

Charles came to me in a crisis. He was having one conflict after another with his parents, his girlfriend, and his coworkers.

Knowing that Charles was a mechanic by trade, I said, "Imagine that I brought my car in to your shop every 50,000 miles, complaining that it was broken and wouldn't drive anymore. What would you say to me?"

"Every 50,000 miles?" he said. "I'd say you were stupid. Your car is broken because you're not taking care of it regularly. You need to change the oil every 5,000 miles--along with doing a lot of other maintenance stuff--in order to keep the car running. If you don't do all that, it's very difficult for me to help you. Your car is guaranteed to break down."

check your oil.jpg

"Good advice. And it's the same with you. You call me when things are all broken down. But by that time there's not much I can do. You do not do the regular maintenance. You don't call just to get loved by other men on a regular basis. You don't attend the Real Love group in your town. You don't keep reading about love and practicing those principles in your relationships. Then you break down--predictably--and you want me to help. Now, make no mistake, I want to help you, but it's pretty difficult when you neglect what you need."

It's entirely understandable that Charles didn't do his regular maintenance. He had an entire lifetime of exchanging Imitation Love. He was familiar with that, good at it. He knew how to get a "fix" from repairing cars, getting paid, having sex, drinking, and more. The results were fairly predictable. When he made phone calls, on the other hand, it was unfamiliar territory. He didn't know what to say. Having a conversation with another man didn't give him quite the immediate rewards of sex, for example. So he tended to neglect the steady work of finding and sharing Real Love.

But if we persist in our patterns of trading Imitation Love, we cannot get enough Real Love to genuinely fill up. And then when we encounter circumstances that are stressful--when only Real Love will help us--we'll be entirely unprepared. As Sun Tzu said, the battle is won before it's fought--in the preparation. The battle is also lost before it's fought. If we don't regularly get what we need--if we don't prepare--it will be too late when the crisis arrives.

If we want genuine lasting happiness, we must change our oil. We must practice being truthful. We must learn to find and give love, and then when the crises arrive, we will be far more prepared. We'll be able to easily handle events that would have crushed us previously. On occasion, even our best preparation will not be enough, but we'll still be learn the lessons that will help us in the future. As found on the wall of the United States Military Academy at West Point, "The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war." Now is the time to sweat.


May 20, 2011

World Peace

One day I was involved in a discussion about what people wanted most, and a friend said, "I want world peace."

Only because I knew this person well, I said, "And how would that happen? A generous sprinkling of peace dust?"

Smiling, he asked, "What do you mean?"

"I've heard many people hope and pray for world peace, but there's no way that will happen on a global level."

"I still don't get it."

On a recent visit to an art gallery, I stood close to one of the paintings and was amazed at how all those thousands of individual brush strokes combined to create a composition of such beauty. The overall effect was a natural product of all the strokes applied to it, one at a time. It also occurred to me that once they've been applied, no amount of wishing or praying will make a painting other than the sum of the single strokes.

Just as a painting is a sum of all the strokes applied to the canvas, so the world is nothing more than sum of the strokes that we apply to it with the sum of our lives. The contention or peace in the world, then, is a sum of the contention or peace in our individual lives.

Continuing the conversation with my friend, I asked, "How's your relationship with your wife?"

"In what way?"

"Do you get impatient or irritated with her?"

"Well," he said with a long sigh--which invariably means yes--"I suppose so. We don't yell or scream, but most of the time you can feel the frustration between us."

"That's true of most relationships I know. And the condition of the world--the anger and contention, even the wars--is a natural product of all the contention in our individual relationships. Do you really want world peace?"

"Sure."

"Then it begins with you. It begins with how you treat your wife."

"What about her? She gets just as angry as I do."

"I don't doubt that, but you can't control her. You can begin the process of loving--which is the only power that leads to peace--only with you."

Not only is the condition of the world determined by the individual strokes of our lives, so our lives are a result of the individual choices we make. Every decision we make leaves us more alone or more loved, angrier or happier, weaker or stronger. In our infancy, other people may have applied these strokes to the canvas of our lives, but with time we increasingly take the brush into our own hands. And from all these choices, we create a unique canvas that includes our personality, style, needs, fears, and behaviors.

We can't know the ultimate effects of each decision, but we can know with certainty that as we choose the truth and love, we will add to our own peace and happiness, and in turn that will affect the peace of our relationships and the world immediately around us.

May 23, 2011

What Do You Think?

After I'd been working in the backyard for a couple of hours with my nine-year-old grandson, Brad, his seven-year-old sister, Megan, came out to help us. Because Brad had already learned how to do that particular task, he took it upon himself to instruct Megan and "supervise" her work. A little power is tempting, and soon Brad was correcting her small mistakes far more than would truly have been necessary.

I could see that Megan wasn't really enjoying the level of supervision, so unobtrusively I whispered to Brad, "What do you think? Does it look like Megan is enjoying herself?"

Brad thought for a moment and said, "Hmm, I could be a little less bossy, right?"

"It's a thought."

Brad stopped bossing his sister, and we all enjoyed our time together.

When children make mistakes, we assume that we have to correct them. We treat them as though they were too stupid to figure out what works and what doesn't. I'm embarrassed to remember how often I've told my children, "Stop that," or "Quit annoying your brother." What children really need is our love and instruction--they need us to ask, "What do you think?"--and with that support they will usually make more loving and productive choices. The same is true with our partners, employees, and others. Loving and teaching are far more effective than criticizing and controlling.

Learn more about controlling, in this case between a man and his girlfriend.
Part 2


May 25, 2011

Splitting Wood

For the past several days I've been cutting, gathering, loading, and splitting wood--activities I have always enjoyed. A great deal of work is required to transform a fallen tree into smaller pieces that can be used in the fireplace, and as I split these logs, it occurred to me how much this effort resembles the work we must do to improve the raw materials of our lives.

One log I worked with was about 170 years old at the time it was knocked over by a tornado. It was more than ten feet in circumference, 30 inches long, and weighed nearly 1600 pounds. In the old days I used to manhandle these enormous pieces down to the woodshed, where I positioned them--actually manually lifting the smaller pieces--for future use. But I am no longer a young man, so now I have to split the logs into pieces small enough that I can lift them onto the stacks where they will dry.

Freshly cut wood is called green, while wood that has dried for a year or more is called cured. Green wood is much more difficult to split than cured, but I had to split these logs while they were green, because otherwise I simply could not have lifted them onto the stacks for drying.

The wood fibers in a log--especially the oak with which I was working--are woven tightly together and are quite resistant to separation. Oak is prized for this strength and is therefore used for doors, tables, and more. When I hit the end of the log with an eight-pound maul as hard as I could swing it, the maul just bounced off the surface of the wood, with little discernible effect on the wood. If I continued to hit the log hard enough, I could eventually create a tiny surface crack.

One of the reasons that splitting a large log is exhausting is that half-measures usually yield no results whatever. If I'm tired and hit the log ten times with half my strength, the effect is not the same as hitting the log five times with a full effort. Half-measures don't yield half a result. They yield nothing at all. So splitting big pieces requires all the energy you have with each blow. Similarly, changing our souls to become more productive and happy requires a full effort. Half-measures usually produce no results whatever.

Even with maximal effort, however, a maul is usually insufficient to split a large piece of oak. At best, one creates a tiny surface crack, maybe a quarter inch in depth--insignificant considering the thirty inches of tightly bonded wood fibers below it. Into these tiny cracks I put a splitting wedge, which is a tapered piece of iron resembling a thin piece of pie. The purpose of the wedge is to translate the vertical force of the driving sledge hammer into a horizontal force that pushes the two pieces of the wood apart, thereby splitting the log.

In these large pieces, however, even a hard blow failed to drive the wedge further into the wood. Instead, the wedge bounced violently out of the crack, sometimes at considerable speed and in unpredictable directions--which can be quite dangerous for anyone watching the process. Continued hitting of the wood with the maul and with wedges and sledges can become utterly exhausting, but if you want results, you cannnot quit. If you stop, you're left with a log far too big to move, to lift, or to burn.

In life, we have to refine who we are. If we tire and quit, we become useless to ourselves and others. If we give it half an effort, we get no results. Moreover, in the same way that a big log doesn't pick on me and make splitting difficult, life's difficulties are not personally directed at me. They simply ARE, and if I don't put a full effort into becoming a better person, my growth and happiness will come to an end.

I discovered that making the initial penetration of the wedge into the green wood was sometimes quite impossible with one wedge. But if I placed two wedges close to each other--in a line following a tiny surface crack--each blow of the sledge on one wedge created just enough of a crack that penetration of the adjacent wedge became easier. If I hit the wedges alternately, I could open a crack far larger and far more easily than if I used just one wedge. In a similar way, it is often true that we can't solve a problem or address a flaw by ourselves. We need help from another person to help us open up the crack and split the log. And it's more fun to have a companion in this rewarding work.

Sometimes when I wasa splitting I encountered a place where a branch had grown from the trunk of the tree, resulting in a complex and very strong interweaving of the wood fibers. This is called a knot, and today I buried all seven of my wedges in a log with such a knot, unable to split the log. I chopped with the maul and an ax. I tried to separate the pieces with a large pry bar. Finally, the log split apart, but it had been quite an effort.

In life we also come across these knots, created by events or distorted perspectives that scar our souls and defy healing. But quitting is not an option, whether we're splitting wood or working on the flaws and problems that destroy our productivity and happiness.

After days of back-breaking labor, I finally succeeded in splitting all those logs and in filling the wood shed designed to hold them. Similarly, if we want our lives to be useful and happy, we must be willing to devote ourselves without reservation to addressing our flaws, attacking the problems, and using whatever tools are available to get the job done. If we quit, our lives become a miserable waste. If we persist, we create a level of power and happiness that we can scarcely imagine.

Learn more about the persistence required in finding the Real Love that will change our lives.

May 26, 2011

Real Love and 20/20 Vision

(Today's blog written by Devon DeLauro)

When I was ten years old, I got glasses for the first time, and, oddly, I didn't really like the sudden clarity of vision. In all the previous years I had become accustomed to blurry vision, and it gave me a built-in excuse to ignore many of the dangers of the world around me. So I tossed the glasses in a closet, where they remained for four years.

Eventually, I tired of navigating life in a blur. I couldn't see the blackboard at school, I experienced tension headaches from squinting, and the whole effort was exhausting. So, despite my uneasiness about this new life view, I began wearing the glasses again. Initially I wore them only for brief periods in the privacy of my home, so no one could see me. When I finally wore them to class one day, my heart was pounding and hands shaking. Despite my fears, however, nothing bad happened, so I wore the glasses routinely, and eventually I couldn't imagine being without them.

Before Real Love, I lived in an emotional haze just as real as the visual one I endured without my glasses. I was blind to how I was living, so I constantly made mistakes-running from difficult situations, isolating from other people, and compulsively pursuing Imitation Love. Blind to what I was seeing and doing, my behavior actually perpetuated my pain. I was so afraid and so desperately clinging to being right, that I didn't even entertain the possibility that I was blind to a better way of living.

Even after learning about Real Love, I clung to the old familiar patterns of doing things, and it took almost two years of e-mail coaching with a Wise Person for me to consider taking the first leap of faith-to attend a Real Love seminar in person. I was terrified-much as I was afraid of putting on the glasses.

What I found at the seminar changed my life forever. For the first time I saw that people could love me without my trying to please them. I also began to learn that my previous pain was entirely the result of believing lies taught to me by other blind people.

I was overwhelmed and disoriented as I put on Real Love glasses for the first time and saw that I'd lived my entire life blind and crippled. I didn't know where this Real Love would take me, but I chose to have faith in the wisdom and love of Wise People, who saw infinitely better than I did. It was a great choice, like finally wearing the glasses as a kid. I discovered a new clarity of vision, coupled with an unconditional love that filled me with peace and power, replacing the fear I'd known all my life. It's a dream filled with Real Love and happiness.

May 27, 2011

Why Isn't Real Love Everywhere?

Someone wrote to me, "If Real Love is so essential, then why doesn't it just occur naturally everywhere? And why has it taken this long for Real Love to be discovered? And why is it difficult to learn?"

Just because something is good--or even essential--doesn't mean that it's easily acquired. Certainly water is essential to life, but in many places in the world its supply is quite limited.

Similarly, we all need Real Love, but usually we have to cultivate it in our lives. Real Love results from conscious choices, while other attitudes and behaviors--like fear and Getting and Protecting Behaviors, for example--explode reflexively in the presence of pain, flourishing like weeds.

If you follow the laws of Real Love--if you tell the truth about yourself and consciously choose to avoid Getting and Protecting Behaviors--you will find the unconditional love you seek. In short, Real Love is natural and predictable, but it requires more care than Imitation Love and Getting and Protecting Behaviors. That's why love sometimes seems to be elusive or overwhelmed by pain and its consequences.

As to the last question, Why has it taken this long for Real Love to be discovered? Real Love has existed from the beginning of time, but for most of us it simply gets lost in the very loud and fatally distracting background noise of pain and fear. All that matters now is our commitment to find it and share it.

May 30, 2011

What's on Your Plate?

Dillon called and began to describe his fears, sprinkled generously with guilt.

"What's on your plate now?" I asked.

"What do you mean?"

"All your life you've been starving to death from a lack of love. Now you have several people who are filling your plate up right now with the love you've been look for all these years. You have a choice. You could feel guilty about all the mistakes you've made in the past--along with the mistakes made by others. OR you could worry about not getting enough love in the future. But while you're feeling guilty about the past or afraid for the future, it's quite impossible for you to feel the love that fills the plate sitting right in front of you."

"But I thought I was supposed to tell the truth about myself--about my fears and everything."

"Of course. You do need to feel loved while you're afraid, but then if you don't also see the truth of what you're being given, you'll stay afraid, which is not what you want, right?"

"No."

"So again, you have a choice: fear and guilt, or gratitude. Gratitude is not a falsely inflated positive attitude. It's recognizing the truth about the love you already have. That simple recognition multiplies the effect of what you have. Without gratitude, all the love just passes you by. That would be tragic."

"That feels different already, seeing the truth of what I have."

Later that day Dillon sent me this message:

"I don't believe I've ever understood gratitude until now. I was so eaten up with fear that it never even occurred to me that I was ignoring the rest of the truth--that I've been offered a lot of love.

"Now I'm seeing that you have accepted me completely, despite dozens of things I've told you about me that I thought made me disgusting and worthless. I have never had that kind of acceptance in all my life. And you loved me right from the beginning, without any effort on my part. You love me like I am a child. RIGHT NOW I have someone who loves me no matter how stupid I am or what mistakes I make. You love me when I'm blind and confused, and even when I throw away the love you give me. What I have is so rare, so precious, it's a miracle.

"And there are other Real Love people who care about me. Every time Marilyn sits and listens to me on the phone, she's loving me. Same with Carolyn. Every time you drop everything you're doing and talk to me, you're loving me. With all that, it's pretty hard to deny that I'm loved. It just never registered before that I'm getting what I've been looking for all my life, so I've been missing it. Kind of dumb. I just couldn't imagine that people could care about me like this, so I stayed in my pain.

"I have a gourmet dinner sitting in front of me. That's all I need to know. I don't need to feel pain about all the years I had nothing, and I don't have to worry about it going away. I can just eat. Pretty great."

It's not possible to feel grateful and unhappy at the same time. I recommend the former.

Learn more about the relationship between gratitude and Real Love.
Part 2

About May 2011

This page contains all entries posted to Greg's Real Love Blog in May 2011. They are listed from oldest to newest.

April 2011 is the previous archive.

June 2011 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.