In honor of Valentine’s Day – an entire day devoted to LOVE – I am gifting you and your awesomeness with a virtual relationship coaching session RIGHT NOW.
Whether you are partnered, or dating someone, or neither, I’m pretty sure you have some relationships in your life.
As both a spiritual life coach and psychotherapist, I find that the thing people talk to me more about than anything else is their relationships. Spouses, exes, kids, parents, boyfriends & girlfriends; siblings, friends, relatives, coworkers, colleagues; in-laws, neighbors, their boss, their business partner, their kid’s coach, the barista at Starbucks, the other moms… just to name a few. We are involved in so many relational constellations, and the subject matter of problems in them is seriously straight-up endless.
So what better time than on a day that symbolizes love to really look at what we are doing in our relationships with others, ourselves, and God? (Ok now, if you’re rocking all of the above, not experiencing challenges or difficulty in any of these areas, feeling completely joyful and aligned and are totally and epically killing this love-everyone-yourself-and-God thing, you can stop reading here and please go buy yourself a dozen roses and a giant Godiva chocolate heart right now because Dude, you are Valentining like it’s your job!).
Otherwise, let’s do this thing.
In the Introduction to A Course in Miracles it says,
“This course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence, which is your natural inheritance.”
So, love’s presence is a constant light – like a timeless, changeless sun, its brilliance illuminating forever. Like the sun, our ability to see it can be obscured, but it is always shining regardless of whether or not we can see it or feel its warmth.
In my spiritual coaching and psychotherapy practices, I spend a lot of time working with people around the beliefs and thoughts they associate with love. There are ideas about what love is, what it means, what people should do or not do if they love you; why people do and do not deserve love, what they should have to do to earn it, or keep it, what they are willing or unwilling to do to have it; how it should be demonstrated, or withdrawn, or given, or withheld; falling in love, out of love, or sometimes it’s that impossibly, ridiculously oxymoronic, “love died”. Which can’t really happen, btw – although some of the things that pass for love in this ego world, like need or attachment – certainly can. RIP fake love.
A Course in Miracles tells us that,
“The search for love is but the honest searching out of everything that interferes with love.”
So, I’m inviting you into a virtual relationship coaching session with me right now, and let’s see if we can bust whatever is interfering with love.
Relationships With Others
The world of humans where we believe ourselves to be does appear to be made up of a lot of seemingly separate beings with whom we are in varying kinds of relationship – but it’s not.
It actually is just us – one mind.
However, the ego part of our mind that wants to be separate is narrating a story to us, and all of the people that we appear to be involved with are assigned roles to play in it.
It’s kind of like listening to an audio book where the author is reading the book aloud and performing all of the different voices. The voices are all still the author, but they are being portrayed as other characters. The difference is, that author knows he made the story up, created all of the characters, and is aware that all of the voices are actually him. We don’t.
Why? Because we don’t want to know – we have a need to project the unconscious guilt we feel over the belief that we separated from God in the first place onto other people, and in order for that to work we need to feel like it’s real, not a story.
But we never actually separated from God, and therefore, as the Course teaches us,
“In reality, you are unaffected by all expressions of lack of love. These can be from yourself and others, from yourself to others, or from others to you.”
But we don’t get that. We still think the story is real, that author and the characters are outside of us, and that we can be affected by them.
How might you treat other people in your life if you didn’t really believe the story? If you believed instead that you could not be affected by what appears to be a lack of love in others– but is in fact really a calling out for love? What if you believed that the other person was actually really you? What if you knew that they, as you, were completely innocent, all the time, a Son of God – wholly loved, lovable, and loving? How might seeing them in this light cause you to behave differently toward them?
- Believe that they could be wrong, or think that it is your place to correct them, or that you can even know what they should be doing?
- Be critical or judgmental of them? Find fault with them?
- Be suspicious of their motives?
- Make demands of them?
- Hold them in guilt, or shame them?
- Try to make them do what you want them to? And if they did not, would you be angry with them?
A Course in Miracles says,
“When you love someone, you have perceived him as he is, and this makes it possible for you to know him. Only then are you able to stop asking questions about him.”
If you believed that those with whom you are in relationship are aspects of you, as perfect creations of Spirit, instead of wanting them to do anything differently, you might rather:
- See them as innocent instead of guilty.
- Allow them to be as they are, knowing that Spirit is guiding them as He is you.
- Trust them.
- Remember that you do not know how anything is supposed to unfold
- Know that love makes no demands
- Choose to be happy rather than “right”.
- Forgive them for what they have not done, remembering that there is nothing to forgive.
- Send every one of them an uber Valentine of loving light from your heart to theirs, by saying this prayer from ACIM:
“Jesus, help me see my brother as he really is, and thus release both him and me.”
Remember that the Course tells us that “Love holds no grievances”, so if we find ourselves holding grievances, that is not love. Ever. Period. The End.
The Course also says,
“Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love.”
A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love, brought about by forgiving our brothers and ourselves for what never occurred in reality. It was just a story, and as we forgive, we remove the obstacles to the awareness of love’s presence. In doing so we shine away the darkness that has obscured our ability to see the light that was always there.
Oh and incidentally, the absolute best thing ever that we can do when we find ourselves telling the story (again) is to find a way to shift it from drama to comedy.
A Course in Miracles says,
“There is no difference between love and joy.”
Laughing at the complete absurdities we get all up in our offensensitivity about is what we should have done in the very beginning, when, as Jesus says,
“Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea at which the Son of God REMEMBERED NOT TO LAUGH.”
Can we all agree to not keep remaking that same mistake of forgetting to laugh for the next bazillion years? Ok? Thank you.
Relationship With the Self
Now let’s imagine your relationship with yourself as if it is with someone you consider your true love, your beloved, your soulmate – the one you love being around and want to spend your life loving and being happy with. (You know, the one the Course calls a “special love”;).
- How do you talk to yourself as this person? Are you sweet, loving, adoring, respectful? Do you express love to yourself, cheer yourself on, remind yourself of your innocence and perfection as a Son of God?
- Do you speak in a judgmental, self-critical way? Do you accuse yourself of being stupid, or irresponsible, or a failure? Or undeserving, unworthy, or not enough?
- In what ways do you beat yourself up, or punish, or are otherwise abusive to yourself?
- How do you practice self-care? Do you allow yourself rest and relaxation, without guilt?
- What do you do to play, to have fun, and make yourself laugh?
- Do you give yourself compliments, or thank yourself for doing things that help you to feel good?
- How do you comfort, soothe, nurture, and nourish yourself?
- Do you guilt or shame yourself?
- How present are you with yourself? What do you engage in that brings you joy, makes you lose track of time, keeps you in the moment? How do you fill your heart?
- Do you practice forgiveness toward yourself? (This is the best Valentine you can give yourself.)
There are times when I hear my internal monologue berating me for some imagined whatEVER – talking trash to me, telling me I’m irresponsible, or I f*cked something up, or I’m late, or failing at life. And I think, would I allow myself to be spoken to like that by someone with whom I was supposedly in a love relationship? Oh hell no! So why am I tolerating it from my own self?
It’s time to break up with your Inner Mean Girl or Bully. As the Course reminds us,
“Love created me like Itself.”
Love is perfect, therefore, being love, created by love, you are already perfect.
Relationship With God
Similarly, let’s consider how you treat your relationship with God. This relationship has a direct effect on the one you have with yourself and with others – they are all interconnected.
If you are not caring for and paying attention to your love relationship with Spirit, that will be reflected in all of your other interactions with everyone and with yourself. There have been times in my life where if I treated a boyfriend like I treated God I’m pretty sure the guy would have been like,
“Ummm, yeah, so, this isn’t really working, it doesn’t seem like you really want a relationship, you don’t talk to me unless you have a problem you want me to fix, you don’t appear to want to spend any time with me, I don’t feel important to you, you spend a lot of your time thinking about work, money, your body, and how you compare to other people instead of being present with me, I don’t feel like a priority in your life, you’re distracted, and preoccupied, and I don’t like the way you treat my kids.”
Lol. Fortunately, God did not break up with me, but instead is an all-encompassing 24/7 loving presence whom I am incapable of disappointing; who always was and is and will forever be crazy about me and believes me to be completely awesome no matter what.
So that rocks, and why would I not want to wake up and spend time every morning with someone who sees me like that? (You can also still enjoy your boyfriend or girlfriend or be happily married or whatever – despite what has been written about God, there is not a jealous bone in the body He doesn’t have.)
- How do you care for your relationship with Spirit? Do you make time to spend with Him on a daily basis?
- What practices help you to feel in communion with Him? Meditation, prayer, walking in nature, listening to music, doing art?
- Do you call on God only when you are in pain or trouble?
- How do you prioritize this relationship? Do you take your decisions to God first?
- How do you talk to God? How do you express your love?
- How do you speak your gratitude to Him?
- How do you listen for guidance?
In case the ego mind is now jacking you up with guilt about what you’re not doing, forgive that sh*t and let it go.
God does not need your glory, or your gratitude, or your attention. But what he does have need of is for us, His beloved creations, to remember who we are, to get all up in our awesome and own our brilliance as part of Him, and in doing so, return to the home we never left.
These questions are meant to help you to consider how you might be sabotaging all of your other relationships by not giving your time, energy, and attention to the ONLY one you really have.
As A Course in Miracles tells us,
“When you want only love, you will see nothing else.”
This means that not only will you not see anything besides love in your bro or yourself – as in, anything to judge or condemn – but you will only see God.
As Jesus also states,
“I have nothing that does not come from God. The difference between us now is that I have nothing else.”
That is because in Truth, there IS nothing else. Just you and God. But, inherent in that relationship is the one with all of the rest of us, because we are all part of God. And so now we are back to the beginning of the circle – the relationship with others IS the relationship with ourselves IS the relationship with God.
“The Truth in you is as radiant as a star, as pure as light, as innocent as love itself.” – ACIM
You are crushing this. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Thank you so much for taking the time to join with me for this virtual relationship coaching session today. I had so much fun with you, and I hope something in this post was helpful to you in the removal of the obstacles to your awareness of love’s presence in your life.
Question: Was something in this post helpful for you? If so, please shoot me a comment with your Cupid’s arrow below. You can leave a comment by clicking here.
I love you more than diamonds, chocolate-dipped strawberries and a whole field of red roses.
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Rev Kelly Russell,
Spiritual Life Coach & Holistic Psychotherapist