The Journey
   Above the mountains
     the geese turn into
the light again
                                                                painting their
  black silhouettes
  on an open sky.
        Sometimes everything
                                                                   has to be
     enscribed across
                                                                      the heavens
                                                                 so you can find
                                                                   the one line
                                                                     already written
                                                                      inside you.
                                                                 Sometimes it takes
                                                                    a great sky
                                                                      to find that
                                                                  first, bright
                                                                    and indescribable
                                                                      wedge of freedom
                                                                        in your own heart.
                                                                  Sometimes with
                                                                    the bones of the black
                                                                      sticks when the fire
                                                                        has gone out
                                                                  someone has written
                                                                    something new
                                                                      in the ashes
                                                                       of your life.
                                                                 You are not leaving
                                                                    you are arriving.
                                                                   David Whyte
                                                        The House of Belonging


I love you not only for what you are,
but for what I am when I am with you. 
                                                                Mary Carolyn Davies
After years of listening to good guys and nice girls struggling for happiness in love, the results are in. When consistently used as the default mode, nice doesn’t get us what we want. It actually backfires. Nice is being co-opted, applied as a manipulation tool.   
To avoid the sticky tricky terrain of conflict, fainthearted people fake nice and easygoing. Uber-nice people can appear submissive, weak, even fragile. Ironically, it takes enormous strength to resist the natural instinct that signals ME. “Yes, I want this.” or “No, that doesn’t work for me.” or “Not now.” Consciously or unconsciously, it matters not. Uber-nice people do nothing short of make a deal with the devil: “I refuse to feel that queasy feeling when I think of confronting him/her. I won’t fight. I won’t win anyway.” Herein begins the betrayal.
Uber-nice people betray not only their own instincts, but in the process, they unwittingly damage their relationship’s integrity. The irony? Uber-nice people are often resentful. Uber-nice people often lie about their authentic emotions. And ultimately, this means Uber-nice people may be untrustworthy in love. 
                                                                                                              Look, some people are just more stong-willed than others. This doesn’t mean bullies should rule the world or nice people should shut up. We’re here to learn how to get along. This means two people contribute to the relationship’s destiny. 
From birth, we’re designed with our very own particular brand of preferences, wisdom, desires, and dislikes. And we’re endowed with all of the emotional equipment we need to promote our contribution, to yield, or to defend our position. 
The point of a love relationship is to combine and integrate our differences for the greater good of the relationship. For both the pleasurable and the practical aspects. So I appeal to you Uber-nice humans-in-love to come out of hiding, stop lying, and bring all that you are to your beloved, to your relationship, and to this world.


“When we met, it was magic. After we married, it was tragic.”
                                                                         -a disillusioned couple
Yes. You can have your happily ever after. The first step? Accept that being in love has zero to do with your happily ever after. Most people fight this reality, even as they look around and see they’re not alone. Too many couples in love end up disappointed and mystified. “We love each other. Why are we fighting, arguing, and feeling so disconnected?” Here’s why.
A love relationship is crazy confusing. Each of you has a vision and a version of how you see a partnership. Until both of your visions are examined, articulated, and brought to common ground or at least to agreements, you most likely will clash either openly or secretly. Snap out of your romantic haze. Open your eyes. Together, roll up your sleeves and commit to building a working partnership for your happlily ever after.
Here are the predictors for your happily ever after in love. Only when both of you are engaged wholeheartedly and consistently in these actions and attitudes, will you be able to appreciate each other and luxuriate in your love:
1. Receptivity:  “I’m listening with an open-mind. I really do care.   I’m willing to concede.”
2. Expressiveness: Compliments/ Loving Gestures/ Small Gifts Giving neck rubs, hugs, holding hands in private and public. Being fully present. *Consistency is the key. Sparse or sporadic does not count. Rushing through it does not count. * 3 gestures, 3 x a day.
3. Flexibility: “It’s my pleasure to adapt when it’s helpful and when reasonable.” *If it’s not your pleasure, keep it to yourself.  Be quiet, gracious, and seamless in your sacrifice.
4. Respect: “I honor your instinct, your logic, your emotion, your opinion.”  *We do not have to agree. We do need to compromise.
5. Partnership: “Together, we discuss decisions that affect both of us. We are creative, open-minded, patient while we find a middle ground, and we compromise in equal measures.”  
~French: Old French: parcon  <Vulgar Latin *partio- from Latin partition, a sharing; from partire: to divide.


The first human impulse, when our heart is breaking,                     is to focus on one question, “How can this be happening?”
Humans are a hardy stock. We don’t give up easily. Whether it’s, “No, you can’t have that dog,” or “No, you can’t keep the love of your life,” our knee jerk reaction is to resist and revolt. We have desires, we care, and most difficult of all…when it comes to love, we set down roots, we attach deeply. 
For 5 years I taught a co-ed class called Letting Go & Moving On.  I listened to and I identified with people’s painful break-up stories. But rather than helping my student’s hearts with their grief, I was being challenged by their brains.  
Without exception, everyone was obsessed, not with the heart, but with the head. “Why didn’t she give it more of a try? Why didn’t he speak up? Why won’t she see that we can work this out? Why did he leave me if he loved me?” There are a hundred questions the heartbroken ask about the “Whys?” 
Are you serious about wanting to move forward with your life? Then shut your mind off. By ruminating on the questions, the “what ifs,” the wracking of your brain – you’re attempting to make a deal with the devil. “I think and re-think all the options, the possibilities, the potential of what could be, the ways s/he or we could change…”
Your first step towards letting go? Be quiet. Be present with your pain. Distracting yourself with dream scenarios or questions ad nauseam is no longer an option. Acknowledging that it’s over is the only path to moving forward. Be gentle, be kind with yourself. Look straight into your eyes in the mirror, and slowly, clearly, and softly declare, “It’s over. I’m sorry to say. It’s over.” 
Now, give in and let yourself feel the weight of this truth. That’s it. Do not dilute your heartache with any revenge fantasies or curses. Remain in your body. Let your heart have its way with you. Cry, weep, wail for as long as it takes. Don’t be surprised if this goes on for days, weeks, even months. The heart uses every opportunity to grieve accumulated pent-up pain from the past.                                    
Then one day, without any warning, you will look into the mirror, and you will be surprised to see your soul has returned, peace has returned, and grace has restored itself into your soul.