PERMISSION: Relationships

Securing Your Desires Vs. Being Guided by Love

For years, whether I pursued my artistic or business passions, I thought I needed to work harder, while ironically thinking no matter what I did would never be enough. But as I let go of working harder and aimed to work smarter, some advice led me astray from my heart’s desires. And I eventually needed to find my way back to my inner guidance.

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Worth, Scarcity and 8 Days in A Jungle

Part I: On Money, Love & Being Enough

I came from a lineage of militant survival principles. Dad was born and raised in Germany, during World War II. Two years after my Dad was born, his Dad was decapitated by a bomb in Russia. So like many men steeped in a legacy of war, my Dad grew up fatherless. Growing up under a dictatorship that insists on fighting, oppressing, abusing and ultimately killing to find security is the same legacy of war that we see in our world today.

I grew up with many privileges. Aside from going on family ski trips and taking piano lessons, I grew up without having to worry about fighting for my survival. Dad loved to remind me of this often, as he’d tell me about his first job polishing shoes for the nuns when he was 6 years old. Or when he worked on a farm in exchange for his meals when he was 7 years old.

When I was 5 years old, I polished Dad’s Oxfords for 10 cents a pair. I was so proud to be earning my worth. If I missed a spot, Dad would say, “Do it right the first time, and you won’t have to do it again.” I imagined this is what he said to all of his employees at his cleaning business.

I wanted to be better than his employees to get Dad’s attention. Sometimes I’d spend an entire Saturday sitting on piles of newspapers in the back entry, polishing his shoes with old ratty t-shirts, wanting to get it right the first time, and impress him with the shiniest shoes he’d ever seen.

I diligently learned the value of 10 cents and perfecting tasks, not only to be paid, but to be loved.

Perfectionism was celebrated and rewarded.

Now, I’m learning to love that innocent part of me that mistook perfectionism for being worthy of love. Most importantly, I’m learning to love that broken wing, without forcing or pushing it to change or improve.

I’m also learning that healing the perfectionism in my family system goes far beyond being frustrated by not getting things quite ‘right’ the first time around.

Healing perfectionism is about healing inherited survival mechanisms.

My uncle was the most meticulous perfectionist I’ve ever known. He was also gay. I can’t image the fear he must have faced everyday when he went to Jungvolk school under Hitler’s regime.

Gay men during Hitler’s reign were targeted for persecution because they were viewed to be carriers of a “contagion” that weakened society and did not contribute to the desired growth of the “Aryan” population. An estimated 100,000 men were arrested for violating Nazi Germany’s law against homosexuality. Thousands were sentenced to prison, and thousands more were sent to concentration camps. Luckily my uncle masked himself enough with perfectionism that he wasn’t one of these thousands of men.

My partner is African American. He’s one of the smartest and most visionary people I know. He has three college degrees, has traveled to over fifty countries. Definitely Type A. And definitely a perfectionist. And definitely part of a lineage that had to fight for their survival during slavery and post-slavery in the Southern United States.

My partner’s tendency for perfectionism, made me also consider the generational survival mechanisms that he’s had to endure as product of his ancestor’s slavery. In his mind, he has to be perfect, or else, it could cost him his life.

You can imagine how perfectionism plays out in a relationship. When my partner requests something of me, I can default into thinking it’s because I haven’t done something ‘good enough’. And of course, the same can happen in reverse. If he hasn’t met my expectations in some way, he may feel he’s falling short.

When my partner is in uber-organizing mode, I may feel I’m not measuring up to his pace. Instead of saying I don’t want to rush, I’d push myself to catch-up. These pushes to ‘measure up’ easily led me to dishonor my own pace, rhythm, and integrity. This may seem like a small thing. But it’s a big thing when it can potentially snowball over time into resentment.

Understanding and healing the origin and the roots of my own perfectionism, has made me see how my relationship with my partner has a profound opportunity for healing for both of us.

By giving compassion to the part of myself that’s always striving to do more and achieve more, I’m also learning how to love him when he gets stressed and feels he’s falling short. Recognizing how we both came from lineages that were fighting for life and death has a profound impact on my ability to be more spacious and compassionate.

It also made me see that healing inherited perfectionism isn’t just for me, it’s for humanity.

It’s about healing the sickness of scarcity.

“We are one mind. One voice. One heart. One family.”  Our Kofan shaman recited this before he opened the door and let in some air into the sweat lodge. After our night long plant medicine ceremony, my partner and I along with sixteen others marinated in our sweat and prayers in a ‘inipi’ sweat lodge in the jungle for an hour. It’s in those moments I prayed to let go of this iron fist that’s manifested inside of me tying perfection to my worth.

Healing ourselves as individuals, means we heal each other.

If you can relate to the feeling of ‘not enough’, know that when you love the part of yourself that inherently feels you’re not measuring up, it’ll help you be  less demanding and expectant of other’s perfectionism too.

We’re all in this together.

Wishing you peace and harmony this holiday.

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The #metoo I Never Thought Mattered

I had a crush on one of my guy friends for three years in my early 20s.

I adored him. He was thoughtful, sensitive and made me laugh. We were both shy, but based on one episode of sneaking away for tequila induced kisses at a party, I thought there was a chance he liked me too.

One freezing cold night over Christmas break, I came back from University to my hometown Calgary, Canada. I was hanging out with the guy I had a crush on (let’s call him Wilbur) and four other friends. Wafts of boys socks, pizza, beer and dirty laundry lingered in the air, reinforcing  new-found independence.

In the 3am zone, after we’d played copious drinking games, I was delighted when Wilbur, told me I could sleep in his room with him while the others slept in the living room.

He shut the door. Wet sloppy drunk kisses followed. He slipped off my velvet top. The rough carpet rubbed against my bare skin.

I’d only had sex once in my life at that point. I wanted to tell him I was inexperienced. I wanted to tell him I was turned on but also nervous. I wanted to tell him I was happy to be alone with him. I wanted to tell him to go slower. But I couldn’t say any of it. I felt too naked on his carpet with him on top of me moving at a pace that was beyond my mental capacity. I was also terrified that if I admitted to any of the above, it would lead to rejection.


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When Passion Fades……3 Questions You Can Ask Yourself

I was at a party recently and a friend asked,

“How do you get the passion back in your relationship, when you start getting bored of each other?”

It’s a question I’ve been asking myself – a lot actually.

What do you do when the sizzle fizzles?

What if you say you want more passionate kissing and he says he needs more passion before he can get to the kissing?

What keeps your relationship where you want it to be?

What are the ingredients? And how do you want to maintain them?

When you hear these questions, you might think:

“I don’t want to ‘work’ at having to have passion! I want passion to be effortless. I work at so many other things in life, why would I want to ‘work’ at passion?”

I get it. Maybe you even start to tally up all the ways you’ve already put effort into passion…

Planning a weekend getaway… Signing up for a course exploring your erotic nature…Talking to your partner about what you want in bed….Getting inspired with new ideas from a coach…Scheduling time together without the distraction of social media, texts, news, phone call, netflix, amazon etc…?

Maybe you’ve suggested all of these things, and done some of them, but your passion still isn’t jamming?

What next?

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My Top 12 Favorite Relationship Quotes

Sometimes a quote can cut straight to our core and wake us up to profound realizations about ourselves. My favorites are the ones that let us relate to others with more ease, love and freedom. Today I’m sharing my favorite relationship quotes with you and hope they offer endless inspiration.  Enjoy!

In your borrowed body, a precious gift is hidden.
Search for it not only when in pain
Learn to love before death claims you.

We need to be able to enter the body or the erotic space of another,
without the terror that we will be swallowed and lose ourselves.
– Esther Perel

Deprived of enigma, intimacy becomes cruel when it excludes any possibility of discovery.  Where there is nothing left to hide, there is nothing left to seek.
-– Esther Perel, Mating in Captivity

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Why You Should Stop Chasing Beauty And Start Seeing It

“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight, but no vision” – Helen Keller

“I’ll take you around the world if you get back to that shape.”  He pointed to a picture of me taken exactly 20 years ago. I was skin and bones; it was just a couple of months after I’d recovered from typhoid fever. For weeks, I couldn’t keep down anything I ate. It was closest to death I’d ever been in my life.  

I know he intended this as a compliment for my youthful skinny self.  And he didn’t know that I’d had typhoid fever a few weeks before that photo had been taken. But offering me a reward to return to my skin and bones state, felt sickening.


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Why Being Good Stops you from Being Bad

Couple sweet laziness

It’s human to want safety in your relationship, but sometimes the compulsion to take care of your partner’s feelings in order to maintain a sense comfort with them might be killing your passion.

What many people don’t know is that there’s a pleasurable and empowering way to break free from this comfort zone.

If you become more daring with your erotic desires, you can actually break the pattern of over-giving emotionally. As a result, you can achieve both deeper satisfaction sexually, and greater trust in your relationship, because you’ll feel even more free to be yourself.

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How to Gain Confidence Through Your Libido

Beautiful brunette singing woman on brick wall background

Ever feel like you’re talking to an alien when you express your feelings to your lover?

Um, yeah, that was the case for me and my then-partner several years ago.

I would explain and explain my feelings. Nothing would land until I was pushed to the point of frustrated tears.

If you relate to this, before you blame your partner for being an alien, ask yourself:

Why do you feel the need to explain?


The 2 Best Words for Deeper Intimacy

blowing a kiss (close up)

There are many ways communication amps up our sexual passion… like talking dirty, telling your lover everything you want them to do to you, and everything you want to do to them in turn… grinding your hips… and unleashing moans, groans, mmms, and ahhhs.  Most of these ways of communicating come from listening to our bodies and following its impulses… BUT

…sometimes greater pleasure calls for more intimate sex talk. 

Ready for the two words that’ll bring your sex life deeper intimacy?


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5 Ways To Turn Resentment Into Intimacy 

Upset woman sitting on edge of bed at home in bedroom

How Anger Can Be Your Saving Grace Instead Of Your Next Disaster

We’ve all been there. Something our partner did or didn’t do has us frothing at the mouth or has our jaw locked with rage. Maybe it was not putting the toilet seat down that sent you off the handle. Maybe your partner giving special attention to another woman has you silently seething.

Whatever the reason, anger deserves respect. It can either destroy you with resentment, or it can serve to create the deeper intimacy and understanding. Anger needs to be expressed so that emotions can run freely again through your nervous system and through your sensuality. If you vent or repress anger, the segues in your body start to get confused about what feels right and wrong in your body. If you keep it inside, chances are your body will shut down.

[bctt tweet=”Sex is always about emotions. Good sex is about free emotions; bad sex is about blocked emotions. ~ Deepak Chopra”] (more…)

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