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You might call it the calamity of modern relationships. As a psychologist, I hear it all the time. The tune goes something like this: ‘We've been working on our relationship for years. We've read dozens of books, gone to therapy, and attended workshops but we're still not happy. We are still hounded by the same recurring negative patterns. Nothing changes for long.’
Why is it that so many committed relationships break down and so few couples get the results that relationship therapy is designed to deliver? How is it that after years of earnest seeking, so many couples ultimately settle for a relationship that is at best mediocre and at worst light years apart from the lofty ideals of living happily ever after? Could it be that you should simply accept your love relationship in all its intricate frailty for what it is?
I would like to suggest another possibility. I believe that healthy, happy, harmonious relationships are not only possible, but well within reach of the vast majority of couples who are willing to take a different path. To be truly happy in love, you have to heal the wounds from the past, gain insight into your beliefs, habits and patterns, and consciously act in ways that are aligned with your most magnificent self.
You cannot prevent yourself from having negative emotions, but if you declare yourself willing, there are ways to transcend them. You have to reach with muscles you did not even know you had to awaken to the true potential of what an extraordinary love relationship could be like.
The agonizing truth is that even if you are aware that your intimate relationship is falling apart, you may still not be willing to change. The challenges of making a relationship work sometimes seem to be so immense that you may choose to continue suffering over feeling the pain of doing something different - even if it will transport you from a world of hurt to simply being happy.
You may spend a lifetime hoping to be fulfilled in love, only to become more and more disconnected. Over time, shaped by your suffering, you energetically create more hurt by focusing on it. And the things you do to try and escape the pain only serve to create more pain.
As you try to navigate the stress of trying to get your needs fulfilled, you move further and further away from wisdom, peace and faith. Without hope for the future and the belief that you can reconnect and perhaps find what has been lost, you are left with only dreams of a life other than your own, wanting something else, someone else, somewhere else - anything but the reality of what you have. There is more than one level of awareness, and to make different choices, you have to open yourself to a much deeper level of insight and creativity. Whatever your path, whatever the form or feel of your relationship right now, whatever riddles you must solve to find each other again, somehow you have to call on your courage to take your sleeping heart in your hands and awaken it gently. Underneath all that you were taught and all you have experienced, there is a voice that calls to you beyond what you think you know, and in honoring that spark of spirit, you find deep healing. It is the voice of your inner wisdom, and it often makes itself heard in those moments when your life seems to be falling apart. Faint as it is, if you allow it to enter into the core of your pain, it will show you the way to open your heart to intimacy and ecstasy.
No matter what your specific problems are, there are usually some basic processes underlying it - processes that drain all the vitality out of your relationship. There may be a struggle for controlling power. Then comes the gradual unfolding of disconnection. It may be that you and your partner stop paying attention to each other. You may stop looking at each other, smiling at each other, saying how much you appreciate each other. You may get stuck in the hurts of the past and try to protect yourself by being withdrawn, cold and closed off. It may be that you reject each other's advances and attack when you are feeling threatened. Maybe you are snapping into reactive mode whenever you feel threatened. In the clasp of reactivity, you act out your emotions blindly, impulsively and violently. You say things you do not mean and you do things that you later regret. The more reactive you are as a partner, the more you are likely to act in self-defeating ways that damage your relationship.
A vicious downward spiral is established where the more one of you disconnects, the more the other retaliates. Eventually, there is only a vast, empty space left between the two of you: a desert devoid of love.
Having stepped into awareness with courage, you can choose to become the designer of a new reality. From moment to moment, you can decide how you want to conduct yourself in your relationship. You can choose what you focus on, how to express yourself, and how you sow the seeds of happiness and unhappiness.
If you are clutching your old ways with one hand while begging with the other for growth, nothing will change. If you are stuck in the habit of rehashing old events and being bitter, nothing will change. You can only hear the whispers of your inner wisdom to the degree that you are willing to go beyond what feels comfortable for you. Just as you must open your eyes to see, you must raise your barriers and soften your heart to heal. To change deeply, you must open deeply.
You may also want to read how to remain happy in love.
From Awaken to Love....
'I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.
~ Robert Fulghum ~
Amazon Best-selling Author
First Prize Winner:
"most impressive, most marketable title..."
~ Chosen by Hay House Team, including President and CEO Reid Tracy
Mia Rose with Deepak Chopra at the Hay House Writer's Workshop, Melbourne 2013.
"Dr. Mia has created a compelling work that explores loving relationships in a whole new light. She leads the reader to explore the most tender and intimate aspects of loving relationships using her mastery as a professional therapist with a twist - she shares from her heart! The power, warmth and beauty of her personal experience connect with the reader in ways most books on relationships never will!" ~ Mark E. Hundley, Licensed Professional Counselor and Author of Awaken to Good Mourning.
"Mia Rose is a modern day master in the art of LOVE and personal relationships. Her compelling story of her own transformation and the wisdom she shares in Awaken to Love is food for the soul and wisdom for anyone who has ever been in love." ~ Ariaa Jaeger, Spiritual Life Strategist, Philosopher, Author of Ariaaisms ~ Spiritual Food for the Soul, AriaaQuotes and The Book of Ariaa