Assumptions

“Assumptions are the termites of relationships.”

– Henry Winkler

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Where Are We Grounded?

“Whenever I can come back to my true self, all is well.  And the degree that I disassociate and I am not even home – being home in my body…. I feel the fallout of that.  I feel that the choices are not necessarily aligned with what God is attempting to share with me through my intuition.  I don’t even have the time or the inclination to go within to find out.”

– Alanis Morissette

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Too Busy?

“Lord, Slow me down, keep me present. Help me connect more deeply to you and my family today. Amen.”

– Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott, RealRelationships.com

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Self-Esteem

“Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand brake on.”

– Maxwell Max

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Are You Too Easily Pleased?

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Weight Of Glory

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Trust in Relationships

“being able to be completely transparent and emotionally vulnerable to the other person without fear of being judged or belittled.  To ‘let your emotional hair down’ so to speak, to take off all the filters that you wear out in the world and be able to be free to be completely yourself.”

– Erika Black

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How To Have An All-Star Relationship

relationshipsAre you stuck in the same old doldrums in your relationship?  Are you angry, sad and misunderstood?  Does the grass seem to be greener on the other side of the fence???  If you can relate to any of these statements, you are probably not having an all-star relationship.

So, how do you create an All-Star Relationship?

Well, if you are single – your starting point is: make a good choice.  Really.  Think about it.  Plan for it.  You never know when your Princess or Prince Charming is in full view unless you’ve identified the qualities that you are really looking for.  Here is a tip: give it some thought and prayer and then write down all the qualities on a piece of paper that you desire in a mate.  Nothing is too silly or specific.  You like long hair?  Short hair?  Tall?  Short?  Great – mark it down!  Now, maybe those physical aspects aren’t deal breakers, but you will want to write down all of your desires.  Definitely put down the ‘kind’, ‘caring’, ‘punctual’, ‘laid back’ – and any qualities that you do not want in your world.  Feelings and hormones are fickle – you need to pay attention to the resume: what does this person really bring to the table? =)

So, if you are a newbe or are a long-time-married person, you need to cultivate GREAT communication.  You know that whenever you first fall ‘in Love’ you talk about everything!  Conversation is exciting and never-ending.  That is ‘intimacy’.  This is of the HIGHEST importance in any sustainable relationship.

Ok, so what do I mean when I say ‘intimacy’?  We think about sexual intimacy.  The Bible says it is being “naked and unashamed”.  So, I wonder – what does it mean to be emotionally naked and unashamed?

In my book?  It means TRUST.  What is trust?  By definition: “A firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.”  I would add that it is being able to be completely transparent and emotionally vulnerable to the other person without fear of being judged or belittled.  To ‘let your emotional hair down’ so to speak, to take off all the filters that you wear out in the world and be able to be free to be completely yourself.  If you have any reason to have fear of being totally honest and vulnerable, you will not be able to have true intimacy and this is a RELATIONSHIP KILLER!  You may as well take a machine gun to your hopes and dreams of your life together.  No amount of attraction or shared passions will be enough glue to hold you together over time.  Trust me on this!  You MUST be emotionally safe.  This is what Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott have to say about it on their website realrelationships.com:

“Emotionally Safety – providing the kind of safety zone where you don’t have to edit your words but you can say what’s on your mind, be understanding and be understood.  When we have communication meltdowns it’s usually because we don’t feel emotionally safe – so we begin to withdrawal or whatever we do to protect ourselves in a conversation.”

You need to understand what makes you feel most safe and what makes you feel most afraid or threatened in a conversation?  Are you extremely urgent about problem solving and issues that have to do with your schedule and time and your partner’s lengthy explanation is making you feel unsafe about being on top of things?  Do you fear losing your partner’s approval in a conversation and get weepy, withdrawn and protective?  What makes your partner feel unsafe may not make sense to you, but it is very real to them.  Unless you understand and care about your partners fears, they will not feel that you are a safe place for them and vice versa.

Tips for great communication:

  1. Listen – really listen.  Don’t just think about how you will respond, but truly listen so that you can do step 2 which is:
  2. Clarify the Content – repeat back to your partner what you heard them say so that you can make sure that you understood them correctly.
  3. Reflect their Feelings – again, say what you believe their feelings are back to them to clarify that you understood them and care about how they are feeling.

You may want to say something like “I would like to read your mind right now” – that is a kind way to reach out to them for communication and clarity – letting them know that you care enough to want to completely understand them.

If you cultivate a safe, understanding, intimate place for you and your partner to live and share, invest time and attention in each other and keep loving communication when difficulties arise, you will find that you are in an All-Star Relationship!

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IN or DE-Pendence Day?

4th-of-July-Images-2Happy 4th of July!

Independence Day.  In 1776 America’s Forefathers signed our freedom into existence and I salute them and thank God for this country of freedom!!  Yes, many things can be better, but it’s still the best country in the world as far as I’m concerned.

Teen’s can’t wait to be independent.  Seniors strive to keep their independence.  Freedom is vitally important.  But, when it comes to social and spiritual independence?  I will beg to differ.

First of all, we need each other, so social independence is personal suicide.  A friend of mine told me two weeks ago that she was in a big pit and I asked her why she didn’t call me – I told her that it actually helps me when she calls.  She told me that she didn’t want to burden me – hello?  If we all don’t want to burden each other, we will crumble and fall on our own – all thinking we have nothing important to give.  If we share our burdens with each other, we give each other the chance to encourage and help – therefore encouraging and inspiring each person, instead of isolating and withering alone.

Secondly, we need God.  We all know we need God, but, in the words of my friend Jim Hunter (and I totally agree), “if I were to be honest, I wish I didn’t.”  I want to be self-sufficient and think I should have it all together by now – I want to prove to you how good I am.

As parents, we want to teach our children how to live, to grow up, to move out and become independent.  But God wants us to grow up and move in – the more we know, the more we know we need to DE-pend on God, that we cannot and do not want to do it on our own – that we are dependent on Him.

It’s humbling, yes.  Counter-intuitive, yes.  Counter-social, yes.  But it is the way.  I PROMISE you!

On this Independence Day, consider that you cannot be socially or spiritually independent.  You have freedoms, yes.  Hopefully you have physical independence.   But allow yourself on this Independence Day to realize that you can align yourself with good people and with a good God and be dependent.  For the definition of INDEPENDENCE is “freedom from the control, influence, support and aid of others”.  I don’t know about you, but I want the infuence, support and aid of others – especially God!

Love to all around the world tonight!  Erika

Posted in My Thoughts

The Matrix

Have you seen the Matrix movies?The Matrix

Imagine, everyone’s living in an unreal world that exists only in their minds, totally unaware that it is false and they are being controlled and used – complacent to what appears to be real – until they get unplugged…..

Imagine waking up to realize that your whole life is a lie, meaningless.  Have you been unplugged?  Can you relate?  Have you had glimpses of the ‘Big Picture’?

Maybe it was when someone you were close to almost died or was sick or did die and, all of a sudden, you knew what was really important in life – not just the petty day to day irritations or occurrences, but the people in your life.  Your priorities were all of a sudden crystal clear and your heart filled with purpose.  Maybe it was at a low point in your life, when God stretched out his hand and intervened – you had a spiritual experience and, for a moment, you felt the purpose of God and a bigger plan.

Maybe it was at the birth of your child, when every parent walks through a door and their world changes forever…

Or maybe you read something or heard something that rang so true within you that it shook you from the mundane sleep of the day to day…..

Once awakened, you may have sensed that it might be easier to return to the Matrix and keep going through the motions of a pretty good life.  But maybe you’re like Neo and you don’t want to live one more day in an illusion – you want to have the courage to feel and live the purpose you are destined for.

(dialogue excerpt from The Matrix)

MORPHEUS: I imagine that right now you’re feeling a bit like Alice, tumbling down the rabbit hole?

NEO: You could say that.

MORPHEUS: I can see it in your eyes.  You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he’s expecting to wake up.  Ironically, this is not far from the truth.  Do you believe in fate, Neo?

NEO: No.

MORPHEUS: Why?

NEO: Because I don’t like the idea that I’m not in control of my life.

MORPHEUS: I know exactly what you mean.  Let me tell you why you’re here.  You’re here because you know something.  What you know you can’t explain.  You feel it.  You’ve felt it your entire life.  There’s something wrong with the world.  You don’t know what it is.  But it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad.  It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?

NEO: The Matrix?

MORPHEUS: Do you want to know what it is?

NEO: (nods)

MORPHEUS: The Matrix is everywhere.  It is all around us.  Even now in this very room.  You can see it when you look out your window, or when you turn on your television.  You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes.  It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

NEO: What truth?

MORPHEUS: That you are a slave, Neo.  Like everyone else you were born into a prison that you cannot taste or smell or touch.  A prison for your mind.  Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is.  You must see it for yourself.

I have had many of those experiences in my lifetime.  I struggle everyday to stay ‘unplugged’.  I am a big picture person – I can see and believe – but I’m human… I get seduced and taken in into the way of thinking that this is all there is – what we see is all there is.  I know differently, but I put all that aside because the things in front of me catch my attention.  Before I know it, I’m plugged in again, totally unaware…

Is this spiritual ADD?  Why can’t we, after glimpses of a grander purpose for ourselves and creation as a whole, keep that vision in view?  It is my belief that it is because the one who made us slaves and has pulled the illusion over our eyes to blind us  from the truth is cunning and deceptive – call it the devil, evil or what you will.  Certainly I believe that this kind of deception is evil – meant to keep you and I from our greatest good.

MORPHEUS: This is your last chance.  After this, there is no turning back.  You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and you believe… whatever you want to believe.  You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

I’m taking the RED pill – and I’m not looking back!  Whenever I realize I’m lulled back into the Matrix, I will unplug and focus my mind on the Big Picture and my purpose.

“Neo takes the red pill; Lucy steps through the wardrobe; Aladdin rubs the lamp; Elisha prays that the eyes of his servant would be opened; Peter, James and John follow Jesus up to the Mount of Transfiguration.  And all of them discover that there is far more going on here than meets the eye.  The film The Matrix is a parable, a metaphor, far closer to reality and to your life than you probably have been led to believe.  And the question Morpheus asks of Neo is a question God asks of us: Do you want to see?” – John Eldredge, Guidebook to Waking the Dead

Do you want to see?  Are you ready to wake up from your soulful and spiritual malaise now???  Why don’t you take the red pill with me!

Courage and purpose to all today!  Love, Erika

 

 

Posted in My Thoughts

Life

“ILifen the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

– Abraham Lincoln

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