Except for a few short term bursts of relationship, I’ve been mostly single for two years after twelve years of marriage ended in divorce, and jeez, things have changed in my dating process since last time I was single. My old list of “What I Want in a Partner” has mostly dissolved. Gone are the “wears boxers,” “likes green,” “great legs,” “enjoys hiking and skiing,” and “financially secure” items on my wish list. I’ve had to add some terms I hadn’t thought it necessary to add when I was younger, like “Not gay, married, living internationally with no chance of a visa, or expecting me to conceive another child.” Having attracted every variety of unavailable man, I’m realizing I need to get specific. “No prison inmates, polygamists, or monks, please!” And living in Marin County, I’m also realizing that I need to qualify that, while I don’t judge anyone who chooses such a lifestyle and I can certainly see the appeal of it, polyamory isn’t my cup ‘o’ tea. Been there. Tried that. It just doesn’t feel safe or stable to me, and it’s a lot of emotional work. Perhaps I’m just not enlightened enough, but my polyamory experiment left me concluding that my heart is just too tender and needs the gentle nest of what I’ll call “open monogamy” in order to open up all the way to the levels of intimacy I desire and am capable of giving.
Time, marriage, and maturity have definitely shifted my priorities. But the most radically paradigm-shifting change is this big fat realization.
I am only interested in a relationship with someone as committed to the spiritual path as I am.
There. I said it out loud, and you can hold me to it.
Those of you who have been following my blog and reading what I post on Facebook know what a profound influence Tosha Silver has had on my life and my work. The way in which we met was magical. Christiane Northrup and I had been teaching a class to the Whole Health Medicine Institute (we're enrolling WHMI now, in case you feel called to join us!) Christiane insisted that all of us go out right that second and buy Tosha's book Outrageous Openness. I bought it instantly and was halfway through reading it the next day, when I was on a plane to LA to film a documentary, when I got online on the airplane, looked up Tosha's website, realized she lived right across the San Francisco Bay from me, and decided to write her a gushing fan letter. It went something like, "OMG, you don't know who I am, but I'm in love with your book, and I live in San Francisco too, and we should . . . um . . . totally be BFF's!" I signed up for her newsletter list because I knew that whatever Tosha was drinking, I wanted a Big Gulp of it.
He broke your heart, violated your trust, betrayed your confidence, ignored your needs, and disrespected you. When you tell your friends, they shake their heads, clucking, shaming. You’re better off without him. He doesn’t deserve you. You can do better than him. You make up a story, one that casts him as the villain and you as the victim of his dastardly deeds. It’s a good story, the kind they make movies about. You feel righteous when you kick him to the curb. You did the right thing, they all say. There’s lots more fish in the sea.
But deep down, there’s hurt underneath the anger. And beneath the hurt lies Something Larger, something that understands why he did it, something you’d have to reckon with if you acknowledged it, something that disrupts your story. So you stick to your story, ignoring what lies beyond it. It’s easier that way. You have to protect yourself, after all.
But I ask you this. What would Love do?
My next book The Fear Cure: Cultivating Courage As Medicine For The Body, Mind & Soul comes out February 24! What inspired me to write The Fear Cure? After writing Mind Over Medicine, I had a post-publishing epiphany. I realized that it's all well and good to teach the 6 Steps to Healing Yourself, to invite people to do the deep transformational work that makes the body ripe for miracles and facilitates “spontaneous” remissions. But even if people are intuitive enough to tune into what their bodies need in order to heal, and even if they’re wise enough to write The Prescription for themselves, way too often, fear gets in the way. You may know what needs to change in your life, but if you’re not courageous enough to act upon your inner guidance, you’re likely to stay sick—and stuck.
That’s when I realized (with a gulp) that I needed to write a book about fear and courage.
(You can preorder it here.)
A lot of people think of fear as a painful, disruptive emotion, and they may be aware of how fear is holding them back in their personal or professional lives. But few people, including physicians, are aware that fear predisposes you to illness and interrupts the healing process. In The Fear Cure, I share scientific data proving that fear and disease are linked and that fear can out-picture as heart disease, cancer, autoimmune diseases, chronic pain syndromes, and even the common cold.
But fear doesn’t just make you sick. It limits your ability to fully step into your soul’s purpose in what poet Mary Oliver calls “this one wild and precious life.” Perhaps even more importantly, it keeps us stuck in a cultural world view that will destroy our planet—and us along with it—if we don't WAKE UP.
In The Fear Cure, I share what I call the "Four Fearful Assumptions," beliefs we have adopted that contribute to our fear-mongering culture and lead us to make choices based on a scarcity mentality, and these choices not sabotage your efforts to be happy, healthy, and thriving; these choices harm us all.
I alluded to the most important book I read in 2014 in last week’s blog about ending the Story of Separation, the cultural story that has us believing that we are discrete blobs of carbon matter that need to fight for our own self interest in order to survive and thrive, even if it means harming other people or destroying Mother Gaia herself. But I want to be more explicit in sharing with you The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible, a book I just finished reading after meeting author/speaker/counterculture revolutionary Charles Eisenstein, who shared a stage with me at the Uplift Festival in Byron Bay, Australia.
I probably read about a hundred books in 2014 (for real.) Some highlights were Elizabeth Lloyd Mayer’s Extraordinary Knowing, Gregg Levoy’s Vital Signs: The Nature and Nurture of Passion, Sarah Drew’s Gaia Codex, Stephen Mitchell’s Jesus: What He Really Said And Did, Adyashanti’s The End of Your World, Larry Dossey’s One Mind, Kelly Turner’s Radical Remission, Alberto Villoldo’s Dance Of The Four Winds, and Sogyal Rinpoche’s The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.
But of all the books I’ve read this year, The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible stands out as something extraordinary, one of those books you read only a few times in a lifetime, the kind that leaves you highlighting every page and feeling forlorn when you finish it because it connects you to something deep and true, something you forgot you needed like oxygen, something you grieve when you read the last word, even though the words live on in your heart like mustard seeds.
Part of what I love about this book is that, while a lot of spiritual books help us tap into Source and lend us an experience of connection to this wellspring of love on a personal level, few combine spiritual principles with sacred activism. This book is not just about doing your own personal and spiritual growth work; it’s about how BEING love in the world tends to activate you to DO something that creates real change. This kind of inspired action arises not from the energy of resistance, anger, judgment, victimization, or separation which can often fuel another form of activism. It allows you to DO simply by BEING love. Even the separation between BEING and DOING becomes irrelevant. Action naturally arises as a side effect of how much you recognize your interconnectedness with all beings.
If even 1% of the humans on this planet would read this book, perhaps we could change the world. Maybe it wouldn’t even take 1%. Maybe it only takes YOU.