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Elephant Journal: The 3 Types of Love & why the 2nd is Most Important of All

heartbreak

“People are put into our paths according to who we can learn the most from at any given time. Like a giant universal computer, higher forces know exactly what combination of energies, in exactly what context, would do the most to further us” ~ Marianne Williamson ~

I recently finished a powerful book I’d begun reading at the end of a four-year relationship.

Among other things, Marianne Williamson’s bestseller, A Return To Love, shares potent insights into the three types of romantic love:

1. Love born of ego;
2. Love that helps you grow; and
3. Divine love.

She explained that while the third is the one that helps you reach your highest potential, the second, the transformational kind of love, can feel like the most powerful of all three.

You’ll find the below pearls of wisdom helpful if:

a. You’re newly single and wanting to expedite the healing process;
b. You’ve been unattached for a while and are feeling flat about the coming year; or
c. You’re in a relationship you’re not sure about and are struggling to get clarity.

Read the full article here

Podcast with David McCrae: Success in Work + Love

Happy weekend, my lovelies! If you’re feeling a bit upside down, spaced out or shaken up about work or love, I have the perfect antidote for you – my interview with the wonderful David McCrae on his ‘Author Your Life podcast’  @authoryourlife 🖌

The episode focuses specifically on navigating the stresses of work and love, why we get confused and overwhelmed at times by both and how we can find happiness in these two core areas of our lives. There are more parallels between them than you’d think! 🧐 And once you learn some simple tools for managing that negative inner voice and mastering manifestation, you’re half way there.

You’ll find it a powerful toolkit for success if:

  •  You struggle with work life balance;
  • You’re not sure what you really want to do;
  • You worry about finding love or feel flat or confused about that whole subject (I get it…);
  • You want to identify what you want in a mate and how to manifest him / her;
  • You want to learn how to communicate better in relationships;
  • You need a magic tool for overcoming adversity in life in general (it’s much easier when you know how..) …and a whole lot more.So put your feet up this weekend or relax on a commute into work next week and enjoy some top tips for uplevelling your life here.

    Ps Stay tuned for my How to Manifest Love workshop coming to London Saturday 26 May. It’s gonna be a game changer! 👌

 

Why The Love That Ends Can Be The Most Important Of All

“People are put into our paths according to who we can learn the most from at any given time. Like a giant universal computer, higher forces know exactly what combination of energies, in exactly what context, would do the most to further us”

Marianne Williamson

I recently finished a powerful book which I started reading in the wake of the end of a 4 year relationship. Amongst other things, Marianne Williamson’s bestseller, “A Return To Love”, shares potent insights into the 3 types of romantic love:

  1. Love born of ego;
  2. Love that helps you grow; and
  3. Divine love  and how, while the third is the one that helps you reach your highest potential, the second, the transformational kind of love, can feel like the most powerful of all three.

You’ll find the below pearls of wisdom helpful if:

  • You’re newly single and wanting to expedite the healing process;
  • You’ve been unattached for a while and are feeling flat about the coming year; or
  • You’re in a relationship you’re not sure about and are struggling to get clarity.

Despite some 12 years in relationships, it’s only now that I have clarity on love, its different forms, its wider purpose and its power to shape huge learning and growth. For even heartbreak, the antithesis of love, guides you lovingly towards better knowledge of yourself and greater awareness of your boundaries and needs, paving the way for the highest form of love – the one that lifts you and supports you above all others – divine love.

Yet despite that, the second kind of love – the transformational kind — has been my most significant experience of love yet — for that was the love that facilitated my waking up and helped me reconnect to myself, who I am and what I want.

The love that took me to the foothills of Chamonix, Mont-Blanc, to a freer lifestyle without rules and expectations, a place of sublime natural beauty which inspired my soul, gave me space to breathe and to explore worlds entirely different to fast-paced city living. It’s amazing what you discover with the simple luxury of time – time to feel, time to connect, time to explore your passions – fully and guiltlessly. Time with free spirits from paths less trodden who have mastered the art of living in the moment – and in doing so, one of the greatest secrets of happiness:

 “Think less, feel more”

Dr Wayne Dyer

How apt that Mother Nature was the backdrop for a love which held me in its arms as I cried, revealed my unhealed places and loved me anyway. The love that soothed wounds carried from the first kind of love – the egotistical love – born of passion and lust but little care. This second kind of love was entirely different to the first kind. This love spoke directly, lovingly, straight from the heart. A love which taught me that you can say anything, almost anything, if you say it with love. You can even say things without love – and it remains.

A love that showed me how to be vulnerable again — what intimacy really is. A love that helped me grow into a fuller version of myself – that moulded me whole – and in doing so, laid the foundations for the highest form of love – the one that supports you to fulfil your highest purpose on Earth – the third kind of love – divine love. Poignant that we must sometimes lose the former to make way for the latter – like the shedding of a cocoon so we can fly high where we ultimately belong.

Stepping into a relationship with a Mowgli lookalike I met, rather symbolically, on a ski-trip just after I’d left law, was the easiest decision I’ve ever made and the greatest risk I ever took to the outside world. How funny that something that can seem like a wrong turn to others, the path less trodden, can feel so right to you — exactly where you need to be.

I remember asking myself, as I sometimes do when making big decisions, what I’d do if I had a year left to live. I felt a strong knowing that I’d choose to spend it with Christophe. I had a strong sense he’d be good for me, would bring me balance and would help me heal after two damaging relationships which left me battered and bruised.

The love that may’ve looked defiant, reactive and downright bizarre to others, was a love that felt heaven-sent to me. A union that would leave more conventional bystanders confused, bemused and a little concerned — until they felt my joy – and saw a spirit set free.

This kind of transformative love is captured beautifully by Elizabeth Gilbert, the bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love:

“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life”.

And while the slightly scruffy, long-haired French boy who rented me my skis was anything but my mirror at face value, he was the soulmate who brought me to my own attention and helped me find my feet again — as emotionally intuitive as he was ruggedly wild.

I remember the overwhelming peace I felt in his presence – his serenity in nature – his appreciation of the simple things – his ease.

The way he lived his life in accordance with his values gave rise to an authenticity which was striking – invigorating like a cold wind, it woke me up – refreshing and refined in its simplicity, it was of singular note. He knew exactly who he was and what he wanted – he was his own man – totally unconcerned by societal expectations.

He was free, at one with nature — like a wild bird that carries you home.

Apt that I met him then just as I was moving out of the thought-led, high pressure legal sphere into the more heart-centred world of coaching which hinges on helping people live more authentic lives aligned with who they really are.

The law of attraction right there.

The Alpha female that could have been found herself a little girl once more, craving the simplicity and freedom of the wilderness, never-ending forests like fairy tales and a Heathcliff to balm her bruised soul. And she got just what she was seeking, without even realising it –

a wild-hearted boy who would guide her back to herself.

The Mowgli my parents were worried about me moving to the mountains with —

the boy people flippantly said ‘would be fun for a while’ —

the boy I felt an immediate sense of peace with —

the boy so at ease with his own emotions that he barely flinched as I sobbed on him on the third date (think streams of snot pouring down my face). I remember feeling shocked that someone who barely knew me could love me unconditionally like that. Being loved when you feel broken is a powerful thing.

And while I patched myself up through hard work and determination, he facilitated huge change and growth.

I’m convinced he was picked out and dropped into my path quite specifically, at that very moment, to help me heal and to teach me how to be vulnerable again, to show me that deep love is unconditional, imperfect, challenging and beautiful. That strong love remains through arguments, with highs that open hearts and lows that strengthen your faith in love that lasts a lifetime. And, most importantly, that true love is a partnership which embraces vulnerabilities and loves you anyway:

“Je t’aime quand-même”

So these are a few learnings I’d like to share with you. I hope they help you on your journey through dating, love and the highs and lows in between:

  1. Trust your gut – it rarely lies. Every person comes into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Christophe came into my life to help me reconnect with myself and learn how to be vulnerable again. No matter others’ concerns at the start, I had a deep knowing he was what I needed. I feel real gratitude that our paths crossed despite their divergence in the end and blessed that I trusted my instinct and followed him to the mountains.
  2. Think less, feel more. Be mindful of your emotional needs and connect with yourself by journaling at important life moments. I rarely journaled back then, but such was the overwhelming sense of peace I felt when I met him, that I did a little writing. What came through was an ethereal feeling that he would be a powerful source of healing and growth and that whatever happened, it would be a positive experience. I also noted down worries which might separate us and those also bore true. This was useful to reflect on when we parted and reminded me of the power of instinct from the earliest moments.
  3. The journey is more important than the destination. A relationship ending does not demean what it was or how it has shaped you. Despite my greatest love story ending, I feel gratitude for it having come into my life because it took me to places I may otherwise never have gone and guided me down paths I might have never otherwise discovered. The Alps, fluent French, a coaching qualification, setting up my blog and taking my business to the next level. Ultimately, though, those four years taught me so much about myself and love, partnership, authenticity and respect. The peace you feel when you’re with the right person at the right time, the importance of internal balance and self-love and balance within romantic partnerships. Your perfect partner may not be just like you or look anything like you to the outside world, but they may have everything you don’t have and vice versa — the yin to your yang. So be led by your inner voice — not the judgment of others — and remember what Marianne Williamson says: “Relationships are assignments. They are part of a vast plan for our enlightenment by which each soul is led to greater awareness and expanded love. They bring together people who have the maximal opportunity for mutual growth. People are put into our paths according to who we can learn the most from at any given time. Like a giant universal computer, higher forces know exactly what combination of energies, in exactly what context, would do the most to further us. No meetings are accidental. Those who are to meet, will meet, because together they have the potential for a holy relationship”
  4. Communication is key. There’s no side-stepping communication and vulnerability if you want a healthy relationship. If you’re not ok with something deep down, it will come out in the end, usually far more dramatically if you repress it. Far better to say how you feel in a loving way, almost as soon as you feel it and open the channels of honest communication early on (‘I really love you but when you do this I feel… please could you…’) If someone flees when they see the truth of who you are, it’s better to know sooner rather than later.
  5. Have faith. That great love may have been your best yet. And you know what? You may never have another quite like it – quite as free spirited, quite as unlikely or quite as dissonant, refreshing or beautiful. You might miss that person beyond belief at times, especially times like Christmas, but stay true to what you trust deep down. They helped you grow into the fullest version of yourself, paving the way for the love that will raise you even higher, that will see you for everything that you are and everything that you hope to be.

Because that’s what divine love is — the highest form of love which transcends all others and raises you up to be your fiery, beautiful, flawed, fullest self —

“The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,

That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;

The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,

The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice”

Sir Cecil Spring Rice

 

 

The 10 Books That Changed My Life

It’s hard to overstate the impact that books have had on my life, developing my understanding of people and society as much, if not more than, human interaction. Whether the power of integrity in The Crucible, the strength of love in Jane Eyre or the paradox of man in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, books hold a mirror up to nature and reflect every nuance of what it is to be human. They can be life-changing and deeply grounding all at once and wonderful tools for reflection, expansion and growth.

Combined with travel, writing and a few relationships that were love stories in themselves, my top ten book recommendations below have been major catalysts for emotional, spiritual and intellectual growth. They’ve deepened my strengths as a friend, girlfriend and coach, with every one developing my understanding of myself and the world around me significantly. I hope the below recommendations will help inspire your life as they have mine.

1. The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael Singer

This New York Times bestseller really expedited the healing process after a life-changing relationship ended. Co-published with the Institute of Noetic Sciences, ‘The Untethered Soul’ begins by walking you through your relationship with your thoughts and emotions and helping you uncover the source and fluctuations of your inner energy. This book will be a truly eye-opening if you’ve ever struggled with anger or frustration that life isn’t how you want it to be, the sense that you’ll only be happy once you have certain things or certain people around you and that any other way means unhappiness, compromise or misery. It also helps clarify why some people feel resistance towards certain types of people or places and what’s really going on when you feel judged by others for not being what they want you to be. Michael Singer’s pearls of wisdom help you manage your negative inner voice and understand how this is key to spiritual growth. He also helps you understand how to overcome blocks within yourself that may threaten relationships whether romantic, platonic, professional or otherwise. Offering simple yet profound answers to achieving happiness and self-realization, Singer opens the door to a life lived in the freedom of your innermost being – the plain where the enlightened exist.

2. The Power of Now by Ekhart Tolle

This international bestseller taught me about the power of mindfulness and what it really is – quietening worries about the past, fears about the future and living more consciously in the present. It opens with the author’s sudden transformation from suicidal crisis to spiritual enlightenment and lasting inner peace. Tolle goes on to explain, with powerful insight, where stress comes from, why you are not your mind and how you can control your thoughts and emotions. He gives actionable steps about how to turn your mind off and live more fully in the present, where you respond from a place of deep consciousness, in alignment with your true self. In doing so, you can better fulfil your inner purpose and change the world at cause. This book is intense and a love or hate read but if you give it a chance, it will leave you feeling like you’ve uncovered the secrets of the universe.

3. A Return To Love by Marianne Williamson

I read this book in the wake of a painful but necessary break-up. It clarified the different kinds of romantic love, how they’re part of your wider journey and why self-love is the most important of them all. The number one bestseller, ‘A Return to Love’ explores how miracles start to happen when you resolve to trust the universe and learn to love yourself. Marianne Williamson was in her mid-20s, a self-destructive product of the ‘me generation,’ when she made a discovery that changed her life. In 1965 Helen Schucman, a professor of medical psychology at Columbia University, had started transcribing a ‘voice’. The result was the massive ‘A Course in Miracles’, a self-study psycho-spiritual philosophy based on love and forgiveness that gave birth to discussion groups around the world. Williamson’s full embrace of the ‘Course’ led her to give talks and lectures on it, which eventually resulted in the publication of ‘A Return to Love’. A masterful summation of the ‘Course’, Williamson’s book guides the reader to deep spiritual awakening — which may explain why it spent over six months at the top of the New York Times bestseller list.

4. The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living by the Dalai Lama XIV

This book deepened my knowledge of the most important aspect of human nature in any relationship: empathy. I read it at a time when I felt lonely and unsupported in a romantic relationship and the teachings were a catalyst for me leaving that partnership for a while. In collaboration with Howard Cutler, a western psychiatrist, the Dalai Lama incorporates stories and meditations on how to overcome challenging emotions, what makes some people more loving than others and what good relationships are built on. Whether you’re experiencing family, health or relationship problems or just interested in happiness at large, the 2,500 years of Buddhist teachings within will help you understand how to find peace in your daily life.

5. A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled by Ruby Wax

This read inspired me to develop mindfulness workshops in companies, charities and prisons. Outrageously witty, smart and accessible, Ruby Wax’s book on mindfulness explains the well-known term with humour, simplicity and compelling appeal. With mindfulness advice for young professionals, parents, children and teenagers across a range of subjects from stress and relationships to careers and mental health, Wax’s book is a bite-sized guide for leading a healthier, happier life. And if you thought Wax was just some silly comic, think again. She has an OBE for her services to mental health, her book is inspired by her studies of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy at Oxford University and she believes that mindfulness is the only thing that has eased her crippling depression. If you’ve struggled to understand what mindfulness is about and enjoy a light-hearted read with lashings of comedy, this one’s for you.

6. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything by Elizabeth Gilbert

I read this worldwide bestseller while I was in New York after emerging from a toxic relationship which left me feeling completely unlike myself. It starts at 3am, with Elizabeth Gilbert sobbing on the bathroom floor. She’s in her thirties, she has a husband, a house, they’re trying for a baby – and she doesn’t want any of it. A bitter divorce and a turbulent love affair later, she emerges battered and bewildered and realises it’s time to pursue her own journey in search of three things she’s been missing: pleasure, devotion and balance. So she travels to Rome, where she learns Italian from handsome, brown-eyed identical twins and gains twenty-five pounds. She then travels to an ashram in India, where she finds that enlightenment entails getting up in the middle of the night to scrub the temple floor, and ends up in Bali where a toothless medicine man of indeterminate age offers her a new path to peace: simply sit still and smile. Slowly happiness begins to creep up on her and changes the course of her life entirely. Having unconsciously followed Liz’s path over the last four years, I would highly recommend this book if you’re at a cross-roads in life, whether in a relationship you’re unsure of, newly single or wondering what makes you tick. It’s a love or hate read but I had more laugh out loud moments and feelings of comfort and catharsis than I can recall.

7. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

I read this book while knee deep in the highs of Chamonix’s Alps, deep in the throws of the most joyful love and the most liberating period of freedom and creativity I’ve ever experienced. I’d left law not long before and was training to be a life coach while writing my blog against the backdrop of Mont Blanc. I was moving closer and closer to who I was meant to be and closing the gap between a life lived by ‘shoulds’ versus ‘wants’, so it seems apt that I read ‘Big Magic’ at this time as it centres on connecting with yourself and expressing that creatively. More specifically, it focuses on finding the courage to access this creativity (something Oprah Winfrey says we all have and are meant to exercise), shattering the struggles and suffering that surround the process and showing you just how easy it can be. By sharing stories from her own life, as well as those from her friends and the people that have inspired her, Elizabeth Gilbert challenges you to embrace your curiosity, commit to what you most love and overcome what you most fear. Whether you long to write a book, create art, cope with challenges at work, embark on a long-held dream or simply make everyday life more vivid and rewarding, ‘Big Magic’ will take you on a journey of hope filled with wonder, humanity and joy.

8. The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma

Just thinking about this book gives me tingles. This was the seed of my awakening to what really matters in life – the beginnings of reconnecting to my true self – bridging the gap between the conventional past life I’d known as a lawyer and the new, more inner-directed life I was starting to forge. Teaching about the difference between ‘shoulds’ and ‘wants’, prestige and inner power, feelings over thinkings, the pearls of wisdom in this number one bestseller have contributed to reshaping my views on careers, love and life at large. This book is, quite simply, one of the most powerful stories you will ever read. Described by Brian Tracy, as a ‘fun, fascinating, fanciful adventure into the realms of personal development’, this is an inspiring story full of insightful messages on how to achieve greater balance, control and happiness in your daily life. Written by one of the world’s leading experts on leadership and personal development and author of 12 international bestsellers, Robin Sharma knows a thing or two about success in the widest sense. Read it if you want a short course in life’s most powerful learnings and top tips for finding lasting happiness. If it doesn’t change your life, it will certainly change your perspective.

9. The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food & Love by Kristen Kimball

I read this book at the beginning of a journey that would change my life. I’d just moved to Madrid after leaving law, I was embarking on a love affair with a Mowgli lookalike French man nobody would have ever put me with and I was beginning to connect with my true self – closing the gap between who I thought I should be and who I really am.  Based on Kimball’s unconventional journey from the glitzy world of Harvard and New York journalism to the rugged wilderness of the countryside with a farmer she falls in love with, ‘The Dirty Life’ is a powerful tale about love, fulfilment and the power of instinct. I could almost have been her for the outwardly shocking decisions she made which were essential to her happiness. Exposing stark ironies about conventional perceptions of ‘success’ and ‘happiness’, Kimball takes us on a journey full of surprises, a world away from the corporate sphere she might have settled into in favour of a world full of simple pleasures. ‘The Dirty Life’ is a heart-warming must-read if you’re feeling disillusioned with the daily grind or conflicted by society’s expectations of you versus your inner longings. Whether you’re at a romantic or professional cross-roads or are wondering about exploring less well-trodden paths, read this book. It will certainly change your perception of ‘wealth’ and it might just change your life.

10. The Five Languages of Love by Gary Chapman

I met a woman in Chamonix who said this book saved her marriage. I can see why. Its pocket sized dimensions are completely disproportionate to its power, for though you can read it in two hours straight, ‘The Five Languages of Love’  is a life-changer in the relationship game. A New York Times bestseller, with over 5 million copies sold and translated into 38 languages, this book is a sales phenomenon, which outsells sales the prior year, every year. Not disimilar to Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus,  New York Times bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman, guides you to identify, understand, and speak your partner’s primary love language – quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service or physical touch. By learning the five love languages, you discover how we each have unique love languages and learn practical steps in how to make the other feel more loved. Chapters are categorized by love language for easy reference and each one ends with specific, simple steps to express a specific language to your partner and guide your relationship in the right direction. A bit like Myers Briggs, once you understand how people are different and how you can adapt to their needs, your relationships flow with greater ease, joy and abundance. Whether single, in a relationship or married, this powerful toolkit is like a little love bible. You won’t regret reading it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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