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What is The Sage’s Template?

The law of attraction says that if we think it, see it and say it, it is ours. It says we attract that which we put out. That is a law of life. We have known it for all of time. So why is it that so many people don’t think it works? In this blog we are going to address what influences the things you attract and why you may not be receiving what you think you’re trying to attract. We will also look at mastery of manifestation by using a tool I have designed, The Sage’s Template™, to help you start to unravel the blocks to attracting what you desire.

We come from energy. Our core essence (the soul) is that of energy. Energy attracts energy or repels energy. Attraction and repulsion are energy. If you fear something you can push what you mean to be manifesting away or create that fear. If you love and believe in something you can attract it to you and create it. That is the essence of the law of attraction.

The Sage’s Template is a tool that allows you to start to see where you may have a fear. It allows you to start with your emotions and work those up to your thoughts.

Our emotions are energy. They are the language of the soul. Our soul is constantly feeding us fear-based emotions that limit the soul or love-based emotions where the soul feels expansive. Out of all of the emotions that are happening on a constant basis, only some of those create thoughts; of all the levels of thoughts in your head, only some of those thoughts have words attached to them; out of all the words that are attached to thoughts in your head, only a few of those are spoken.  

So, as you can see, the energy of our being goes far beyond our cognition. Most of our cognition consists of those thoughts that have words attached. Maybe not spoken but they have words attached. Consequently, we become unconscious of what we are truly attracting and creating in our lives.

Unfortunately, many teachers of the law of attraction keep us at a very cognitive level. They may have us do visualizations and vision boards but they mostly keep us thinking about what is going on. Positive thoughts are preached. You hear “keep thinking about the dream you want to create” and “keep changing your language so that it is positive.” Most of what we create comes from our intentions, and those lie deep beneath our cognitions.

Yet, you want to know what you are creating and you think you do know what you’re creating. Therefore, many people think the law of attraction doesn’t work because they’re not creating what they thought they were creating. Writing this makes me smile because it sounds so repetitive, and it is. The reason we don’t create what we think we are creating is because something is interfering in our thoughts. That something could be feelings of doubt, fear, old beliefs, etc. All are anchored in some sort of fear. It interrupts the dream you think you are creating.

In some cases you can even manifest a nightmare! Therein lies the problem with cognitive manifesting! You didn’t think that was what you were trying to do. We may think we know what we’re doing, but what is really hidden underneath those thoughts? What are your intentions? What are the old beliefs that continue to infiltrate and sabotage your dreams?

The Sage’s Template is a tool that allows you to start to see where you may have a fear. It allows you to start with your emotions and work those up to your thoughts. It guides you toward seeing where you learned certain thoughts, beliefs and doubts. All that interrupts your dream from manifesting comes from what you learned somewhere at some time.  Once you use The Sage’s Template to identify what parts of your dream are strongly anchored in your love and truth and what parts are still carrying fear and doubt,  you want to start to identify the old belief that comes out of the fear and doubt.

I would recommend my short e-book Stop Judging Your Self: Transform Old Beliefs in 6 Steps. It helps you understand what the old beliefs are and from where they came. Once you can start to identify them you have weakened their hold on your dream. Now you’re ready to really start to manifest your dream and not your nightmare.

In conclusion, the law of attraction is something that exists in the truth of life. You are always creating your life around you. Where you have challenges you have perpetuated old fears and beliefs. Where you experience joy and pleasure you have created from a rhythm of love, truth, and joy. In using The Sage’s Template you begin to understand where the challenges may be infiltrating your manifestation and where your truth is strengthening your manifestation. Then, you have six steps at your disposal, to begin identifying and dismantling the old beliefs that sabotage the manifestation of the dream. I wish for all of you that your dreams come true.

How to Use the Energy of the Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice happens on Tuesday, December 21, 2021! It sets the stage for the rest of the holiday season!  Astronomically, the Winter Solstice marks the beginning of winter in the northern hemisphere.  The sun is at its most southern point in the sky.  Therefore, for the northern hemisphere, it is the shortest day of the year and the longest night of the year.  It is the darkest day.  That is opposite for the southern hemisphere.  In this blog I will address the spiritual meaning of the Winter Solstice and the way it sparks the holiday season in the northern hemisphere.

Centuries ago people honored the winter solstice. Celebrations and rituals existed to acknowledge the shortest day and the longest night of the year. Today, while many don’t celebrate Winter Solstice on that day, inadvertently we all celebrate the winter solstice throughout the holiday season.

The energy of the winter solstice is in your favor for setting your intentions for the coming season; to focus on your inner growth and the peace within yourself.

The celebration of Winter Solstice was to honor the light coming back into the world. Christmas honors Jesus Christ as the light of the world. They found the winter solstice a good time to celebrate his birth as a new beginning of light because Christ came into the world to become the light of and for life. Furthermore, Christmas trees decorated with ornaments, and holly, mistletoe, Christmas carols and gift giving all come from the celebration of the winter solstice.

The winter solstice was a time to celebrate the natural world. It was a celebration of light to come from the darkest night. People would decorate a yule tree with candles and ornaments and would make wreaths of evergreens and pinecones. The ornaments on the yule trees symbolized the moon, the sun, the stars and the loved ones who had passed. They would share gifts and put yule logs in the fireplace. Sound familiar?

More powerful is the energy of the winter solstice and how you can use it for life mastery and manifestation. The wintertime is a time of quiet, patience, going within. And the winter solstice is a time of quiet energy. It is the darkest and longest night of the year. That represents our shadow side. So in that quiet energy, you can go within yourself and begin healing challenges that may block you from any manifestation of your dream or freedom in this life. For all of time winter solstice has been that opportunity to look within yourself and focus on what you may want or need. Once you see your dream, then this is the greatest day to set your goals and intentions for the coming year and focus on the manifestations of your dreams of life and change within you.

Again, this sounds somewhat familiar! For New Year’s Eve you may set resolutions;  and those resolutions are very similar to setting the goals and focusing on the manifestations during winter solstice. Further, winter solstice is a new solar cycle and New Year’s’ Eve is a new calendar year. The energy of the winter solstice is in your favor for setting your intentions for the coming season; to focus on your inner growth and the peace within yourself. It is the time to honor the faith within yourself that light will come and your dreams will manifest. So as the light grows and as the days get longer your dream is being lit and is coming to life.

As you can see, a good chunk of the holiday season rests upon the age-old holiday of winter solstice. Maybe you would like to sit quietly on the winter solstice and focus on your dreams, your true resolutions, and put those dreams into a yule log fire to represent the transformation of your intentions to this physical reality. Then use your New Year’s Eve and the new moon of the new year to further activate your dreams that you put in place on this winter solstice. It is a magical time of year.  May you each use the energy of the Winter Solstice to propel your life and dreams. May all of you see your dreams come true.


Are Your New Year’s Resolutions Actually Expectations?

Every New Year’s Eve people set resolutions. Those resolutions, more often than not, have expectations attached to them. Even setting resolutions on New Year’s Eve is an expectation that society puts upon the holiday. Are resolutions similar to the law of attraction? Or can they be? In this blog we will look at your New Year’s resolutions, the law of attraction, and how this time of year pulls those to the forefront of our lives.

Each New Year’s Eve, it is traditional for people to clarify resolutions for the new year. Oftentimes, they share them with one another. Those resolutions can be a form of manifesting a dream, or a part of a dream. It is using the law of attraction. Those resolutions can also be goals. Goals can also be a form of manifesting. They can be either a step in the process of or a tool in manifesting a dream.  (That will be discussed in a future blog.)

When setting your resolutions, see the outcome or goal of your resolution. State your resolution as if it is.

Far too often, New Year’s resolutions are anchored in the expectations of others. How do we know if our resolutions are anchored in expectations? Listen to your thoughts and to statements you make to others or yourself. Are you using the word should or need to or have to? Those terms will alert you to the fact that this is an expectation.

Why is this important?  An expectation says it’s something that others see that you need to do. It tells you that there is something incongruent with what you are setting as a resolution and what you want for yourself. For example, a man may set a resolution to lose weight and says, “My goal is to lose weight.  I really need to lose 15 pounds.” That tells him that while he feels uncomfortable with his weight, possibly because of external judgment or something he’s been told by somebody else,  he is also hesitant to start the weight-loss process.

He may not know what that hesitation is, but if he hears the expectation, he can start to explore his Self. Expectations show you something is not a match to how you feel inside.

If you are interested in self mastery or life mastery, those thoughts allow you the opportunity to explore your Self and any fears or fear-based emotions, and old beliefs. As you heal those inner most lingering experiences, you will find that your thoughts change and you will just simply do what you wish to do and, therefore, experience what you wish to experience. If you want to lose weight, you simply will.

So, expectations are one way to be alerted that there are old beliefs, doubts, or fears lingering in the background of your desires. Those are the culprits that sabotage your dreams. The law of attraction says that if you can feel it, sense it, know it, see it, and intend it to be, then so it is. If everything from your intention, to your thoughts, to your vision, to your knowing is in alignment, then you will manifest the dream. Interruptions on the in-between of those processes will either sort or slow down the manifestation of the dream.

When setting your resolutions, see the outcome or goal of your resolution. State your resolution as if it is. State it as if it is in the present and exists. If you put it into the future, it will stay in the future. State your resolution or desire clearly. If you leave it vague you will get vague in return. Finally, show gratitude in your statement and resolution. So, your resolutions need to be concise, clear, in the present, filled with gratitude, and in alignment with your own beliefs. At that point you can feel the confidence that you will manifest the desired outcome.

Listen for any expectations and feel any doubt that may exist as you state your resolutions. The more you can acknowledge that which hinders or interferes with the dream and the success of the dream, the quicker you can be successful.

This is the time of year for manifestation. Beginning with the winter solstice all the way through New Year’s Eve and the new moon of the new year, the energy is in alignment with manifestation. The winter solstice (see previous blog) is that time of year where we most manifest our dreams for the upcoming year.

The new moon in the new year is our first opportunity to manifest using the energy of the moon. So the winter solstice will use the energy of the sun and the first new moon of the new year will use the energy of the moon and the calendar of the earth. Even though the calendar is man-made it carries its own vibration and energy. So when you start to align the manifestation at winter solstice, your New Year’s resolutions, and your manifestation on the first new moon of the new year you have put great energy into your dreams.

In conclusion, you can see that New Year’s resolutions and the law of attraction are very much the same. The expectations that surround New Year’s resolutions tend, in many ways, to thwart their successes. So allow yourself to see your New Year’s resolution as a significant energetic statement that opens you to the manifestation of that goal. See it happening! 

Take any expectations or other fears or doubts that may linger in the background of your resolutions and acknowledge them, write them down, and release them as best you can. Just being conscious of them will help open the doors to manifesting your dream rather than thwarting it.  May each of you open up this new year with your dreams becoming a reality.

The Simple Truth About Loneliness


The holidays are about love, unity, and acceptance. People tend to gather with family, friends, and loved ones. And yet holidays can bring up one of the deepest wounds or challenges that we are here to heal: loneliness. All of us can feel lonely. Some suffer with it more than others. Loneliness is that feeling that comes from a fear that there is no one out there who loves you for who you are. So, what is loneliness? Why do we experience this painful emotion?  How does it fit into life mastery? How might The Sage’s Template help you move through and beyond the loneliness?

Loneliness is a temporary experience that illuminates the illusion of being separate. Imagine you are a spark in a flame. You know you are a spark but all you know is the flame until, one day, you jutty off the flame and find you are in complete darkness.  There is a nothingness from the absence of light and other sparks. You don’t realize that you’re going to fall back to the sun and be one with the flame. So, you experience fear of the aloneness that is in complete absence of belonging.  That is much like loneliness. You can feel so separate and alone as if there is no sense of belonging. And yet one day you are one with the whole again.  It is important to know that when you, or someone you know, feels lonely, it is not a permanent state of existence.  It can be quite reassuring to understand that it is a temporary experience.

Fear is always an illusion.  Love is always truth.  Where there is love there is an absence of fear and where there is fear there is an absence of love.

The greatest illusion in this life is that of being separate.  As the parable above shows, the spark was never really separate from the flame.  Sparks jut off the flame and come back to the flame constantly!  That is just part of the experience of being of the one flame.  In likeness, you enter this physical life from a place of energy, love.  In that energetic place you are one energy of love. On this earth, however, you experience fear, and it begins with the fear of separation.  You leave an energy realm to enter a physical water realm to enter the air realm.  Slowly you move away from your awareness of the one. You see the illusion of this life as the reality. Just like loneliness creates an illusion that you are completely separate from love and you believe it is a reality.  But it is not.

Fear is always an illusion.  Love is always truth.  Where there is love there is an absence of fear and where there is fear there is an absence of love. The most painful fear in this life is loneliness. because it is the experience of the absence of love in its purest sense. All other fear-based emotions contain fear, except fear itself.  Yet, with fear itself, there is not that absence because there is a threat perceived. You can perceive fear without feeling lonely, but you cannot feel lonely without feeling fear. Do your best to be aware that this is a time-limited experience that you can master.  You can make it through this, like you can master any of the fear-based emotions. 

So why is it that when you feel lonely you want to further isolate?  Loneliness is the illusion that “others” do not love you.  The truth of this life exists within you.  That is where you learn there is no separation between you and others. The greatest love begins with the love for your Self because it illuminates the truth that you are love.  When you love your Self, you cannot feel loneliness.  So, when experiencing loneliness, you are falling away from others because the truth (beyond the fear) is that the love and the oneness are to be found within your true Self.  The problem is that many people will see the need to isolate as a giving in or a giving up on life.  That is not the truth of why you feel like “being left alone” when you’re lonely.  You feel that way because at a higher level you know that the love you need to move beyond the loneliness is the love for Self.

The Sage’s Template is a tool that helps you understand the experience you are having and how it fits into the context of life and its mastery.  Consequently, it is a tool to help you heal.  In this case, it can help you, or someone you love, heal the loneliness. When we talk about Life Mastery we talk about a life of freedom. Mastery is a path of enlightenment. Enlightenment is about living in a state of love, acceptance, and freedom. Once you are aware of loneliness being the purest of fear, you can begin to understand that because this is such a deep wound,  it is of a high level of mastery.  When you are ready to heal your deepest wounds, you are ready to step into the magic of this life.  Life gives you these challenges to open gateways into freedom and love. It does not offer this level of challenge to destroy you, even though it may feel that way!

In conclusion, loneliness is a deep feeling of not being lovable. It is an absence, a nothingness, a void. It is a state of complete separation from that which you are: love. Loneliness is the deepest fear that represents the greatest illusion: that of being separate. If you didn’t truly believe you were separate, then you could not truly feel lonely. This life offers you the opportunity to master the feeling of loneliness as a gateway to mastering the fear and illusion of being separate.  That will bring you the greatest of love, acceptance, and freedom!!! 

How to Master Holiday Stress & Expectations

There have been myriad movies and books about going home for the holidays. Many are humorous, some are dark comedies and some are drama. Why is it that going home for the holidays is such an entertaining topic? Because a large majority of people can relate to the drama, craziness, and discord that surrounds a family gathering during the holidays.  In this article, I will talk about how expectations, assumptions, judgments, and taking things personally are a stage set for the mastery of challenges within you.  I will also offer some thoughts about mastering the holidays so that you can have a magical holiday season! 

One of the most common stressors during the holidays is the anticipation of the dynamics of gathering with family. The stress at the time of the holidays is mostly due to the expectations: expectations of family; expectations of society. Expectations are external to your truth. You learn expectations. Some of you will think, “I set my own expectations.” But you don’t. You are parroting the expectations that have been put upon you by others. This becomes a critical understanding at the holidays because the expectations are more intense and prolific than at any other time of the year. 

There is this expectation in society that says we should gather as a family during the holidays because that is what the holidays are about. There is a lot of hype about gathering with family. You can ask yourself what expectations you wish to experience during the holidays.  Think of all the thoughts with the words should, supposed to, need to, or have to in them.  That will alert you to the expectations that exist for you around the holidays.  For example, I have to get a present for Aunt Suzy or I need to think of a way to avoid the political talks. Those thoughts will help you see where you feel the need to meet family dynamics or expectations rather than your own.  If your truth were congruent with those thoughts, the above-listed words/phrases would, by nature, not be in your thoughts.  

The most obvious and prevalent expectation during the holidays is for you to show up to, or host, the family gathering.  Does it feel like you have to go so that you don’t disappoint them?  Or maybe you feel you need to be there for other reasons.  When you are struggling with the expectations and your feelings inside, you are not focused on you but instead are focused on the expectations of others.  You have left your Self out of the holiday planning. Now, you can see that you are going into the holidays without your Self present.

If you are entering the holiday experience without being aware of your Self and what you wish to experience, then it makes it much easier for things to affect you personally.  This is true for everyone.  It is true because when you are looking outward at others and what they expect, you leave yourself open to engaging in the other person’s storyline.  When you are participating in their story rather than yours, you are left unprotected from the assumptions and judgments made by the other person that might fly out of the other person’s mouth!

A family’s assumptions can spark defensiveness rather quickly because their assumptions anchor you to the past.  It does not allow for the truth of who you are or the changes you have made in your life.  Furthermore, your family members are the last people to truly know who you are.  They tend to see you as you were “then” and even then, you were not the person they thought you to be!!!

The assumptions of family can leave you feeling alienated or without a sense of belonging. Clearly, this is not the experience you wish to have for the holidays. Most of you want to be known for who and what you are! It can be frustrating for you to have to defend against, rather than teach, family members. It often ignites feelings of being unknown, unseen or unwanted. I read an article regarding people who feel alienated during the holidays and the response was to try to get them to find a way to be with family!!  UGH!  That is just going to complicate the experience!

The anxiety and dread of going into a family gathering with their judgments and patterns or maybe even trauma of the past can be daunting to many of you. And yet you go. You may go because of the expectations of society as well as family. You may feel bad or wrong (guilt or shame) if you do what YOU wish to do and not go. You may go because you’re still trying and hoping for acknowledgment and love for who you are.

If you go to the gathering with the hope or anticipation of love and acceptance and yet, again, feel ostracized, you may struggle to find some camaraderie somewhere. Sometimes there are family members with whom you can align and then there can be those with whom you can’t. This can put some of you in the middle of conflicts or gossip and leave you feeling torn or forced to stand up for someone else. These patterns are the old family patterns.  They are kept alive by assumptions and the need to rehash the past (whether outwardly or internally).

Too often families think they know one another but it’s all based on assumptions from history. In that assumption many patterns are kept alive, and many people are left unable to feel accepted as they have changed. If that resonates with you, you may feel like you must keep aspects of your life secret from the family.   That’s very limiting because it means you must tuck away important pieces of who you are and what your life is all about.  Imagine being transgender or maybe you’re in an interracial relationship and your family doesn’t know and you fear they will strongly disapprove. Do you go into the family keeping that secret?  Those are huge parts of you and who you are! While your family is assuming you’re still the person of the past, they will bring up issues and patterns of the past to hold you in that position. This can easily put you on the defense and frustrate you. Often you can be too busy defending yourself to truly teach them who you are and how you feel today and how you felt then.  This can again lead to feeling alienated or not belonging.

If family dynamics are uncomfortable, judgmental, and abusive, why do you go to the family gathering? Did you learn a long time ago that you need to do what they tell you to do and not what you wish to do? Did you learn a long time ago that if you do what you wish to do that it can have destructive/annihilating consequences?  Judgments in family can be very destructive.  When they become harsh and insulting then it is emotionally abusive.  Judgment comes from a person who is dealing with their own fears of judgment.  If you can at least walk away when this happens you will find yourself in a better place.

The fact that so many articles, books and movies have been set around the family dynamics of the holidays shows you how many people still have a very solid external focus in their life. If you are still trying to meet your family’s expectations or prove their assumptions and judgments wrong by being good enough, then you are not paying attention to the truth of you. In that truth is the knowing you are who you know your Self to be and you are absolutely good enough. And yet you know from family dynamics at the holidays that it can be a very disconcerting time when you’re hoping to feel acceptance, unity and approval.

When we talk about life mastery, we talk about living from the inside of yourself by knowing the experience you wish to have and then manifesting that experience. The holidays are a really important time to ask yourself how you want to feel and what you wish to experience for each of the holidays. For a minute, forget everybody in your life. What would you like to experience? If you’ve lost all your family and you feel somewhat orphaned and you would really love to feel a part of a family for the holidays, then ask yourself: of your friends, to whom you feel closest. Talk to that friend or friends and let them know that you would love to not be alone during the holidays. Ask them what they are doing. Or create a holiday event at your house and invite those friends who don’t go home for the holidays or don’t want to go home for the holidays. Step into your experience by creating it. 

In mastery it is about healing your Self so that all your relationships heal. Change the way you respond to the patterns of others, and you will change the way they interact with you. Your family plays a critical part in this life.  You will see a difference in the way your family responds to you when you heal your challenges enough to know the experience you wish to have and stay in that space, even around family. As my clients heal, the most common thing I hear is that when they go home, they feel like themselves (in contrast to feeling the shift inside as they acquiesce to family dynamics). Too often people can feel themselves shift back into the old patterns of family when surrounded by them.

When you look at going home for the holidays through the eyes of mastery, you want to address several personal questions:

  1. What is home to you?
  2. What would you like to experience for each of the holidays?
  3. Where do I lose my ability to be present to my Self?
  4. Do I have hope for a different, more positive, experience?
  5. Do I still see the positives of what can be rather than accepting what has been?

More often than not your answers to these questions will allow you to see how your family sees all of this differently than do you. This year, honor your Self and let your Self dream up the perfect holiday experience for you.  Take the time to be aware of the challenges that haunt you from your history and begin healing.

What would it be like if each person in your family were able to be present during gatherings? What if you could all teach about yourselves and ask about others?  If you could all be present and open there would be no historic challenges present at the gatherings. Ironically, there may not be any push for family to unite. You would unite only because you choose to and not because the holiday season, or one another, expects you to. 

In conclusion, if you want to believe that going back with family is going to be warm and cozy and wonderfully accepting and loving, you are going to find yourself struggling with the old patterns and dynamics. That is why many people cringe or stress about gathering with family for the holidays. This year, reflect upon the holidays and ask yourself, honestly, what worked for you and what didn’t.  Whatever didn’t, those are the challenges that you can be aware can be healed, if you choose. Then ask yourself what YOU would like to experience for this holiday and create it!  Let this be a grand new beginning for you in YOUR life.  Promise your Self a beautiful holiday season with or without the expectations of family.

Beyond Boundaries: Bound in love

Love is the energy that connects all of us to one another.  We are bound to one another through love.  Or as Yoda says, “My ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us, binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.”  So love binds us together making us one and yet we do not have boundaries (see my blog on boundaries). It is fear that makes us feel separate and distant from our truth. Our truth is love.

You fall in love and that love binds you to the other.  You feel the connection.  You want it to last “forever.”  Love is infinite.  So, why does love in your life not last forever? As Yoda mentions, you are not just of this physical crude matter.  You are so very much more! 

You feel that wonderful connection of love inside you!  Your core lights up and your heart sings.  You know love from your inside experience.  Yet, we try to keep love alive by doing external things and by communicating about external expectations.  

Love binds us through a beautiful and endless energy.  It is our fear that limits it and lets it appear to end. To be bound by love is to go beyond all boundaries and limitations of life.  lt is to go within where the “journey” is endless.  Bound to the love of self.  Trusting in the truth of you.  

To be bound in love with another is to invite the other into your inner being.  Bound together on the “journey” within you.  Bound together in the “journey” with the other person.  Boundaryless as you embark upon life’s infinite experiences within each of you.

Love.  It binds us.  It takes us beyond all boundaries.

Are Boundaries Really Healthy?

When people say, “I need to learn to set boundaries,” I find it confusing. How do you set boundaries? Do you tell the other person what to do and what not to do? Does that work? My experience is no, it does not. This life is yours and is about the experience you wish to have and the experience you are having. Boundaries are the natural outcome of knowing and speaking your truth. They are not things you do or say to affect the other person’s behaviors! Let’s look at how you are taught by society and what the truth about boundaries can be.

There really is no such thing as “setting boundaries”. People believe in boundaries because they are looking for ways to find happiness in their relationships, to not feel taken advantage of, to not be misunderstood, to be treated as they wish, etc. The answer, however, is within YOU. Once, you know YOU and know what you wish to experience then it is about putting that experience into motion. The natural outcome of that is you will find happiness and you will find others treating you beautifully because you will not accept anything less. There is a continuous, spontaneous expression of Self that eliminates the angst of having to struggle with “how to set boundaries” when another person does something you do not like. You will be within your Self observing the other rather than trying to participate within the expectations of the other at your expense.

Setting boundaries is a term that we have learned to use to suggest a way to keep people from violating our space. But what does that really mean? It can be quite confusing when you are told what to say in particular situations and in particular relationships and are told that you “need” to set boundaries in all areas of your life (emotionally, physically, sexually, time, intellectual, material).  Whew! That is a lot to keep track of! If your space is defined by the experience you wish to have, then as soon as someone goes against that experience you stop it. For example, if you respect yourself and somebody attempts to be disrespectful, you will immediately say “I will not tolerate disrespect,” and you will move away from that conversation and person. No one has to tell you that is what you need to say and do.  (Interestingly, when you have a deep solid respect for yourself, it is very rare that a person will be disrespectful.) 

Setting boundaries is a term that we have learned to use to suggest a way to keep people from violating our space. But what does that really mean?

Consequently, if you are listening to what you “should” do, it can become overwhelming to “try” to know how to set boundaries with whom, in what situations, and when. That is because you are listening to others tell you how to be with people in Your life. They are setting expectations of You and are focused on what others are telling you and not what you are desiring. When you learn how to create the experience that you wish to have, then you are committed to You not someone else. But when you talk about setting boundaries, you are focusing on the numerous outside factors which leaves a lot of room for angst and frustration. Because frustration is helplessness mixed with anger, the boundaries you attempted to set, often fall by the wayside and are not truly “set” but are suggested.  This can further your frustration.

Frustration can come because you are still looking outward and trying to meet expectations. You may then find yourself NOT looking inward at what you wish to experience and you may find yourself doing something you didn’t intend to do.  Others may tell you to set boundaries and to say “No,” to the very expectations that you feel you have to meet in order to feel good about yourself!  How easy is that going to be for you? What if, instead, you understand that you are struggling with a fear of not feeling good enough and that leads to you “trying” to meet expectations. 

Hopefully you can see the irony in being told that boundaries are healthy while being told to focus outside your Self in order to do and say what they are teaching.  What is healthy? It is you having an experience in this life that is fulfilling to your happiness and growth. It is about YOU!  The more you try to meet the expectations of others the further away you get from your truth and the experiences that will bring you true happiness.

It is important to know your style and to honor that within your Self. Then you will make choices that suit your happiness. For example, some people save every penny they make and others spend every penny they make.  That is individual choice, free will. So, each person may lend money differently. But if you lend that money based upon your own comfort then you do not need to set expectations on the other who is going to receive it. If, however, you have the expectations that the other person will exude your style because you lent the money, then you will more than likely be disappointed or feel badly in some way. When you know YOU and what makes you happy, you will stay within that expression of self. Another example, some of you like your personal space and time. GREAT! That is an experience that is important to you and your happiness. Therefore, you will take that time and if another tries to interrupt then, of course, you will teach them about YOU and what is important to you. 

In conclusion, all of your life is about YOU!  It begins and ends within you. Therefore, the more you know you, the more you will be able to know the experiences you wish to have.  The more you believe in and live the experiences you wish to have, the more you will gently and solidly hold to those experiences. The outcome of that will be that “boundaries” are gently observed.   In knowing your Self and the experiences you wish to have, you will find great balance in your life because you will easily stay in that space of happiness and comfortability, centered in your own love.

How To Keep Love Alive

How do we keep love alive?  For love to continue it cannot be stopped or limited.  Love is about opening.  Opening your Self, each other, and doors in life.  Limitations are about fear.  Limitations stop love from opening and growing.  In a relationship each person is responsible for keeping love alive.  Each person will have their strengths and weaknesses, styles and patterns.  So, when all of this is put together, we have several key parts to keeping love alive in a partnership.  Today I will address the unfolding awareness, communication, and behaviors that you and your partner can implement to keep your love growing!

Awareness in a relationship is a foundational key!  A true partnership requires each person to be aware of their own Self, each other, and the experience they wish to have.  Once the awareness is active it will constantly unfold in life.  In other words, awareness leads to more awareness.  You can see how this is a key part to the opening of the relationship and its love.  The more aware you are with your Self, the more you know your strengths and challenges.  The more you are aware of your partner the more you realize there is a lot to know.  Your awareness will open you to not thinking you know. The assumption that you know your partner or your partner knows you, limits the relationship.  The opportunity to learn stops immediately upon that assumption.  Awareness!  It will help you see that life is a constant adventure of exploration, not an endpoint of knowing the answer.

As your awareness becomes a rhythm in your own life, you will wish to communicate your new learnings.  Each person wants to be known.  As you gain awareness of your Self you will want others to know you.  That is true of your partner as well.  Each of you is in a constant state of change.  So, how do you communicate so that you are embracing the constant change?  I teach a style of communicating called Teach and Explore Communication. At its core is Compassionate Curiosity.  If each person in a partnership can learn to stay in a constant state of Compassionate Curiosity, then they will always be asking questions to explore their partner.   If you are in a constant state of exploration of your partner and you are willing to be explored by your partner, then you will always be on an adventure of learning about one another and life, together and as individuals. Compassion is a key ingredient to love.  When it is coupled with curiosity, it opens doors endlessly.  When a couple learns to constantly open doors, their relationship will keep moving and growing!

In a healthy, growing relationship, your communication deepens beyond verbal and into sexual.  Sexual expression is the most intimate and opening form of communication between partners.  If you are communicating in a way that opens doors, sexual expression will continue to grow and be exciting.  It can stay a form of intimate communication rather than a behavior. The sacred exchange that can occur during lovemaking can unite the two of you beyond your physical bodies. Because of this, it is critical to keep your bedroom as a sacred place (not that you are only going to have sex in that room!).   Too often, sex is a behavior in the relationship and consequently, it becomes boring or uneventful.  Incidentally, boring is the absence of self.  If there is an absence of self in the sexual expression in a partnership, then slowly sex will become uninteresting, and the partners can drift apart.  If sexual expression remains a part of a deeper communication between the partners, then it will continue to open and be a point of exploration for the partners. 

As your awareness becomes habit and your communication is anchored in Compassionate Curiosity, you will both want to experience more of life with and through one another.  There are many ways in which partners can enjoy physically experiencing their relationship.  Each day, set aside a time where you can sit quietly and talk.  Make it a time that both of you can look forward to.  Create a weekly date night. For example, experience a new restaurant every Friday night! Take, at least, an annual trip together ALONE.  This does not have to be expensive, just intimate. Introduce spontaneous intimate events throughout life.  For example, sharing a hot bath, serving the other for a day, planning a picnic or an event that is special to your partner.  I often make the couples with whom I work, speak with only their eyes.  It is an amazing experience for them.  Can you do this with your partner?  Another idea is to create a love game with little cards that you hide around that, when found, have an instruction of what you wish your partner to do.  This can be intimate sexually and/or emotionally.  Have a movie night periodically, at home or at a theatre. If you are readers, share your reading time.  Open your day with a quote of affirmation or gratitude and share your interpretation of the statement/teaching.  Awaken each morning and look at your partner and say, “Thank you for being beside me.” As you crawl into bed at the end of a day, share three things you are so very grateful for in your partner and do your best not to repeat them.  Regardless of what you choose to share, the idea is to create an experience where, as partners, you are focused on one another, figuratively or literally. There are many ideas that can be shared here but without the awareness or communication, they are just tasks that will slowly slip away into the shadows as you get lost in the day-to-day monotony of expectations.

Keep your love alive by opening doors!  If you limit your partner you are limiting the partnership.  Teach your partner about you and ask your partner about her or him.  Do your best to work at being Compassionately Curious! Then learn to play!!  Play together like you just met! Always. May each of you find great, endless love in this life and beyond!

The Warning Signs of Manipulation

People often use manipulation to get what they want out of the other person.  This becomes much more prevalent in your closest relationships.  People manipulate in good ways and not-so-good ways.  Let’s look at why people manipulate (even when it is without malintent), the ways in which people manipulate, and what that means about the health of that partnership.

People manipulate out of defensiveness.  The level of manipulation is directly proportional to the level of defensiveness in the person.  This is why you can see mild levels of manipulation in healthy structures.  These styles of manipulation do not intend harm and, often, are unintentional. The more unhealthy the person or structure of the person, the more unhealthy the manipulations and the greater the probability of intention to control or overpower the other.  People may manipulate out of shyness, fear of rejection, and fear of aggression.  They are feeling defensive in some way, whether they are conscious of it or not. Toward the extreme end of manipulating are those who are challenged by or lost in the abuse pattern.  Out of a deep shame and fears of being abandoned, not good enough, and not belonging, the antagonist in an abusive relationship, manipulates to control or overpower the protagonist.

There are various ways in which people manipulate and most often it is without malintent.  Often people do not know how to express what they need and why.  You were taught to communicate by telling others about them and what they need to do to make you happy.  This is simply how you were taught, and it leaves many of you without the tools to have a voice on behalf of your own Self.  And so, the manipulation begins.  There are many ways in which a person may manipulate within a partnership without meaning any harm or control of the other.  Then there are those who do intend to control or overpower the partner out of deep fear of loss or not being good enough, and those styles of manipulation are much more invasive and debilitating to the receiver.

Let’s look at those styles of manipulating that are devoid of malintent. A person may quietly manipulate by asking questions of interest that lead into asking you to do something of their preference.  A person may gently work the conversation around to topics that they want to discuss.  A person may wait for you to say something that they can extract from the conversation to get the opportunity to make a point or talk about what they wish to discuss.  They may do something with the mentality, “It is easier to beg forgiveness rather than ask permission.” You may attempt to express a disappointment or need but the other person may get defensive and inadvertently turn the focus onto their own self and needs.  Your expression therefore gets ignored. A person may say, “it would show me you love me if you would…” or some other form of a guilt-based preamble.

Then the manipulations can be a bit more intense and may lead to defensiveness and arguments.  For instance, a person who uses direct questioning to get their partner to agree with something about which they do not necessarily agree. They may do this by asking one direct question that leads to another direct question that forces you to answer each truthfully, but the questions lead to a misrepresentation of your experience.  Or the other person may ask you a yes-or-no question demanding you answer it but you don’t feel it is a yes-or-no question and cannot answer comfortably.  Another form is when the other person makes statements about you that are incorrect but they do not let you speak your truth. The other person may tell you they KNOW why you are doing or saying something and may even tell you that you are not telling the truth when you disagree.  In all of these you may feel more and more misunderstood.

It is when manipulation is used to control or usurp power that it becomes suggestive of an unhealthy or abusive relationship.  Often those styles of manipulation can include a passive-aggressive style, gaslighting, or purposely using your emotions or past against you to make you feel small. Overwhelmingly citing statistics, jargon, and facts that are proving their point (sometimes in an angry manner), regardless of your position or feelings can be common in abuse. Also, manipulation may consist of repeatedly, or consistently, bringing up topics that oppose your beliefs just to antagonize you.  Often I have seen the antagonist ask the protagonist if they had a good time and then turn that into an angry untrusting jealousy.  

Often, the person can accuse you of something that is not true but they present their perception of a situation while increasing their anger, keeping you in a small defensive position where you feel helpless and powerless.  Regular use of blame is a manipulation that fuels your guilt and a vague responsibility for things you did not think you did or intended.  A person may consistently judge your thoughts, behaviors and desires to get you to do what they wish to do or he/she may use your past experience or feelings against you in an argument or in a situation to get you to be obedient to their wishes.  This can be taken one step further and the person can gently ease you into a kind and open conversation and then while you are open, strike with accusations and hurtful comments that use your open expressions against you.

As the level of manipulation intensifies, the relationship increases into an unhealthy, abusive relationship.  It is up to the protagonist to be aware of the antagonist as well as his/her own Self.  If, as the protagonist, you are starting to feel stifled, unheard, or hurt and the other person cannot take responsibility for a part of that equation, then you need to ask your Self what is stopping you from leaving that situation before it gets too destructive.  If it is mild manipulation, then it is a grand opportunity to explore the person manipulating.  Ask them what they are feeling that makes them address the situation in the way that they did.  In those situations, do your best not to label them or their behavior; that will just create defensiveness and take you away from your intent to learn.

As can be seen, there are levels of manipulation.  Everyone manipulates at one time or another.  The regular use of manipulation in relationships, however, is debilitating and can be destructive.  It is the responsibility of both parties to work beyond the manipulations.  If, however, you find yourself in a highly manipulative situation, then you may need to reach out to someone who can help you successfully leave that situation before it becomes worse.  For each of you, may you be aware of your own style of manipulating and have the strength to address the manipulation from others. 

How to Know When It’s Gaslighting

The term “gaslighting” has become very popular today. It is used to describe a manipulative situation where the antagonist comfortably denies the experience of the protagonist.  Today it is commonly used with a negative connotation.  In its negative usage it is a type of abuse that leaves the protagonist in a state of doubt, confusion or fear they are losing their mind.  This was a term developed as a result of a play (Gas Light 1938) that later became a movie (Gaslight 1944).

Gaslighting is now commonly described in relationships that have some level of abuse.  In that case it is used with intent to control another person’s strength through creating a doubt in their experience thereby creating doubt in their self.  The doubt can further a feeling of dependence on the antagonist.  This is part of the goal.  In an abusive relationship the antagonist is dependent on the protagonist and does not want to lose them.

The protagonist who uses gaslighting as a means of manipulating the relationship may have some deep fears of not being good enough or of not being who people think they are.  Those fears (and more) become frightening in the relationship and become the source of projection onto the other.

Gaslighting may also be used with a greater criminal intent. It can be used to create a great level of doubt in the protagonist.  So much so, that the protagonist begins to feel they are losing their mind and doubt a lot of what they experience. For example: when the protagonist is reflecting on an event, the antagonist may constantly say, “What are you talking about? That didn’t happen!” It is also a form of gaslighting when, inside an abusive relationship, the antagonist plays a mean or scary trick or prank on the protagonist. The protagonist may be mildly traumatized by the experience and now is afraid to participate in that daily activity.  A dramatic example is the movie “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane” where the sister (antagonist) taking care of her handicapped sister (protagonist) puts a dead bird inside the covered dinner dish she delivers to her.  The protagonist is now afraid to take the cover off any of her next meals for fear she will see another dead animal. On a milder scale this can occur with more of a criminal intent to harm the protagonist.

There is a difference between gaslighting in an abusive relationship versus gaslighting with criminal intent. The latter does not show remorse and has intent to harm the mental comfort or health of the protagonist. In an abusive relationship the pattern of abuse is in control and the antagonist is operating out of their own fear. That does not mean, however, that the two are mutually exclusive. There can be situations where the abuser is of criminal intent. 

For the protagonist, it is important to be aware of hearing phrases like “That didn’t happen” or “You are making that up, that’s not what happened.” Be aware of questions that cause you to doubt your words. For example, “What are you talking about?” Be conscious of anytime the antagonist initiates doubt within you. That doubt will start to creep into your daily thoughts and can eventually debilitate your ability to make decisions for your Self that doubt can then leave you dependent on the antagonist and willing to follow their lead.  This is significant inside an abusive relationship.

For gaslighting to be affective, both parties must be externally focused. For the protagonist, if you are aware of your experience inside and you know your Self and what you are experiencing and what you wish to experience, the antagonist who wants to gaslight will fall short. This is easier said than done.  Because to know your inner experience you must get to know YOU. Gaslighting occurs when the antagonist can feed off of the insecurity, or not knowing, of the protagonist.  When you have a clear knowing and appreciation of who you are, gaslighting will not be affective. In fact, you will see it coming and call it what it is. 

In conclusion, it is up to each of you to find the courage to go within and know YOU and what YOU wish to experience in this life and in your relationships. It is the purest way to live free from any gaslighting or abuse. On the in between, you can become aware of the abuse pattern and work with someone to master that pattern or challenge. It is in the mastery of the pattern that you will be free of being controlled by it.

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Kristen Bomas, PA
398 Camino Gardens Blvd., Suite 104
Boca Raton, Fl 33432


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