Part One - Self and Others


By Karin Leonard

Your life is based on masterful and loving relationships – with yourself, with others in your personal and professional life, with the world around you, and with the sacred.  Valentine’s Day, the Holy day of Love, offers the perfect opportunity to reflect on the level of fulfillment in your relations.  An easy way to start:  draw a circle and divide it into five sections, labeling them:  myself, romance, community, environment, and sacred.  Now assign a score from 1 - 10 for each section, according to how fulfilled you are in that area of relationship.  Immediately you’ll see where you might want to invest a bit more for greater happiness.

Be your Own Best Friend

In a time when the only constant is change, the one relationship that will always persevere is the one with your wonderful self.  So, how is your practice of self-love?  Are you harder on yourself than anyone else ever could be? Think of one of your dearest friends or family members. One that is close to your heart and who accepts and loves you for who you are.  Now, are you at least that good to yourself? Do you speak that kindly of and to you?  If you don’t support yourself, it is unfair to expect others to do so. It’s never too late to be caring to the most important person in your life…

How is that Romance?

Romantic love… how wonderful it is when it works! And how painful when it doesn’t…  Why is it at times so difficult to be in love? It’s been said that as we move towards love, all that is not love comes up to be healed. Maybe the deep connection to another makes it safe for unresolved issues of the past to surface. When there is mutual willingness to support each other, loving relationships can be a sacred space for becoming who we are meant to be. Healthy relationship is a skillful dance between getting close to another – and keeping our separate identity.  Good boundaries make it easier to open up without losing yourself. As we own and respect feelings, make clear requests and honor agreements, the door to sound intimacy opens. And don’t forget to have fun – if your primary relationship brings more work than joy and drains your energy, it may be time to take a closer look.

The Power of Community

Nuclear families are no longer the solid foundation of our culture, and many of us are left to create support structures for ourselves. Whether it is at work or in our personal life, developing social bonds means collaboration with others, and sharing our skills, love and resources.  Hopefully, our relationships are based on mutual respect and benefit, as we stretch to understand and enjoy differences, rather than try to change everyone “out there”. It is so rewarding to think of what we can give to our community – rather than to focus on what we can get. Generosity and gratitude make us realize the abundance of who we are – and what a privilege it is to live in one of the most beautiful and advanced places in the world.


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