What I'm Writing About
© Copyright 2011-2016
All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Bobbi Jean Ewing.
reflections and insight into my healing, transformation, and journey of the heart <3
Six years ago – June 27, 2009 – I got married. Though the relationship was long – nearly 10 years – the marriage was short, unraveling fast and then exploding 8 weeks or so later. For nearly six years, I have been a single woman.
My relationship ended in a giant “ka-boom.” I was devastated, hurt to my very core. The loss of my person was excruciating. I was in A LOT of emotional pain, pain that lasted day after day, month after month. The pain was tangible and felt like a brick was sitting on top of my heart. I remember having a thought that the pain could actually be measured – put a dip stick in my heart and draw it back out to see dark red blood all the way to the “full” line.
It took a full year to cycle through the pain, for the intensity of it to subside, for the grief to fade away. That year came with other losses too. My dad died nearly 7 months after the “ka-boom” and my best friend of 15 years, and also my maid of honor, “broke up” with me over email just weeks before the one year anniversary of the “ka-boom.”
At some point within that first year after my relationship ended I realized I was given a second chance to find lasting love, to have a truly happy and healthy relationship. I still believe in this second chance.
Yet, as time has passed, the bar has been raised. The more I meet conscious, heart connected men, the more I see and know what I want is so very different from my past. I lacked a positive and healthy male model in my father. My relationship of nearly 10 years was with a man who also was not emotionally, mentally, or physically healthy and like both my mother and my father, he did not meet my emotional needs in a sustaining and healthful way. Today I am grateful to have many new healthy and conscious male (and female) models in my life.
Nearly six years later, I know what I am looking for and what I need in a partner. I am looking for someone truly amazing – a new and lasting life partner, a partner who is healthy, skillful, and awake/awakening.
MANifesto: MAN MOST WANTED
Heart connected. ❤
Shares a commitment to healing, personal discovery, growth, inner exploration, expansion, transformation, awakening in relationship, and the soul quest.
Skillful – conscious and awake/awakening in communication and self-expression. Self-responsible. Responsive. Expresses feelings and needs and makes requests. Expresses appreciation and gratitude.
Empathetic – mirrors and reflects back my emotional experience and self-expression.
Empowering – mirrors back my gifts.
Spiritual *and* spiritually open. Woo Woo.
Has a healthy relationship to self, along with healthy friendships and relationships. Values community.
Present. Spacious. Sensitive (both emotionally and energetically). Supportive. Patient. Thoughtful. Gentle.
Upbeat. Vibrant. Charismatic. Passionate.
Inquisitive. Open. Curious.
Smart. (maybe even Brilliant! 🙂 )
Fun. Funny. Adventurous. Playful. Silly *and* emotionally mature.
Outdoorsy. Loves and respects nature.
Values education and learning.
Smells the roses. Looks up at the stars.
Healthful lifestyle – loves to eat good food; devoted to physical activity and movement, such as yoga; not dependent on drugs or alcohol; ideally is not allergic to nuts and is gluten and dairy tolerant.
Financially responsible. Professionally stable. Motivated. Reliable. Clean/Tidy.
Handy – owns tools and knows how to use them; good at fixing things. Computer Savvy. Mechanically inclined.
A man of integrity.
Shares a desire to create life, to bring a little person into this world, and share the joy of raising this little being together.
Together we resonate and share a connection, a kinship, a consciousness. (and we laugh together, A LOT!)
Loves me, cherishes me, values me. Appreciates that I am unique, bright, intelligent, insightful, independent, curious, adventurous, playful, strong, spirited, sensitive, loyal, devoted, and simultaneously traditional *and* unconventional. Sees me. Gets me. Is jaZZed about me.
A special shout out to my friend in consciousness, TimO, for being the inspiration for this MANifestO. We share space in our NVC (non-violent communication) community group and he expressed a strong desire to grow the number of men in our group to balance out gender dynamics. I started to craft a clever invitation, “Men Most Wanted,” to manifest men for our group. Men Most Wanted turned into “MAN Most Wanted,” my MANifesto. Thank you, Tim. I value you as a huMAN and as my friend. May we both MANifest!
I know this to be true because I am hungry for love. I am going through a stretch of really feeling this hunger deep in my body. Much the way our bodies communicate to us when we are hungry for food, for nourishment, saying “feed me!” – our stomachs might growl or start to hurt, we might feel weak or fatigued, we might experience other extreme feedback if our bodies are depleted of essential vitamins or minerals – our bodies communicate our need for the nourishment of love. I feel the tangible ache in my heart, I have that insatiable feeling of not getting enough to eat, of needing more food. I am feeling very hungry for deeper connection, for intimacy. I am feeling hungry for love.
We humans are much like the flowers, plants, and trees that grow on this planet, all of which need sun, water, and nutrient soil not only to survive, but to thrive. For us our sun, water, and nutrients are LOVE. And one of the most primary or fundamental ways we experience love is through touch and HUGS.
Yoga teacher Marcus Julian Felicetti writes in “10 Reasons Why We Need at Least 8 Hugs a Day,”
He also writes that hugs “boost self-esteem” and balance the nervous system. Hugs are like an elixir for health and well being. Hugs prompt the body to release that “feel good” hormone, oxytocin.
I invite everyone who reads this to a HUG challenge: give at least eight hugs a day, because when we give, we also receive.
A little over a month ago I began taking a course in non-violent communication, also known as compassionate communication. When I share this news with folks who have not heard of or are unfamiliar with non-violent communication (NVC), I see confusion on their faces and/or hear confusion or curiosity in their voices as they try to understand what “violent” communication might look like or sound like.
“Violent” communication in this context does not refer to explosive or abusive language. Statements such as “you are making me angry” or “stop pressuring me” or “I feel disrespected” are examples of “violent” communication. In each of these statements the speaker is not articulating a feeling, but instead makes a judgement of another person veiled as a “feeling.” And by saying “you are making me angry” or “stop pressuring me” the speaker is deferring blame, creating a buffer, and/or not owing what he or she is truly feeling on the inside. I regard much of the language of “violent” communication to be passive aggressive.
What I’m discovering in this journey and practice of unlearning old communication patterns and learning and integrating a new, healthy, compassionate style of communication is how pervasive “violent” communication is in our society. I am sure many folks can recognize their patterns of using the language of “you are ____” instead of speaking from the position of “I feel ____” or “I need ____.” Furthermore, if we bring awareness to our collective patterns, we will hear how commonly people use the words “I feel” paired with a judgment or their perception of reality without even expressing a true feeling.
This journey is revealing to me how disconnected many of us are with our actual feelings and/or how challenged we are to actually speak to our deeper feelings. Using statements “I feel” paired with a judgment not only masks our feelings but further perpetuates our disconnection with our inner most selves. We become so accustomed to saying things like “I feel dismissed” or “I feel misunderstood” that we lose our ability to speak with fluency to our actual feelings; we are challenged to speak to or even name our actual feelings.
Feelings. What are feelings, exactly? Many of us associate a feeling with an emotion that stirs or resides in our inner landscape. But how do we know what a feeling actually is? How do we know what happiness is? gratitude? joy? exhilaration? What do we feel inside that tells us “this is happiness” or “this is gratitude” or “this is exhilaration”? How do we come to pair a body sensation with the word for that feeling? What signals or messages does our body give to us to help us identify or connect to that feeling? What stirs in our emotional landscape that informs us?
In NVC we cultivate self connection with our inner landscape, we cultivate a deeper listening. We listen to our thoughts and we listen to our bodies – both, not just one or the other – to help us identify and inform us of our deepest feelings. We use this listening to get underneath, to get behind historical statements such as “you are overwhelming me” or “I feel let down” or “I do not feel appreciated” to identify what we’re truly feeling and needing or to hear what others might be feeling or needing. Over time and with practice, we cultivate the skills to speak directly to our feelings and needs without falling into old, passive aggressive, judgmental patterns which very often alienate us from others. When we are more able to speak to our inner experience, we are able to own our feelings and needs.
I want to share and draw insight from a distinction that one of the members of my class shared that really resonated with me. He spoke to the ownership of feelings. He shared that to him the statement “I feel sadness” lacks depth of emotion. He articulated that “sadness” expressed in this way is like an object outside of ourselves and not something that is inside of us. He offered that when one makes the subtle shift and expresses, “I feel sad” or “I am sad,” there is a greater depth of feeling because the speaker is naming an emotional experience he or she is having instead of expressing something that could be perceived as outside of themselves. By expressing a feeling in this way the speaker not only owns the feeling, but truly inhabits the feeling.
When we “inhabit a feeling” we are fully present with that feeling, we stay with it, we allow it to fill our entire being, to permeate our inner landscape. Why might we allow ourselves to experience the fullness of a feeling? I can think of two very important reasons. One – happy and joyous feelings grow out of life’s gifts which, in my humble opinion, should be treasured and cherished; we choose to bask in happy feelings, to savor joyous feelings as these feelings are part of the gift. Two – mournful and sorrowful feelings grow out of difficult moments or tragic events that can be, if we choose, life’s greatest teachers; when recognize an opportunity for learning, we choose to stay, we choose to feel fully. When we stay with ourselves, when we “inhabit a feeling,” we develop greater authenticity. When we stay with others and receive their feelings, we cultivate harmony and connection.
“Learn to stay.” ~ Pema Chödrön
I bow to Karl, my teacher and model in NVC. I greatly admire and respect Karl’s exemplary skills and gifts.