You are your most precious commodity.

There are two types of people in this world. Resistant and receptive. This applies all across the board, from corporations to couples. The resistant person is a dominant personality: narcissistic, arrogant, immovable. The receptive person is a flexible personality: agreeable, open-minded, committed to cooperation for the greater good.

After decades of working with the predictable contrast of these two personalities, I’ve learned this. Receptive people have dropped the ball. Yes, I’m critiquing the sweet ones amongst you. Why? You have a dirty little secret. You don’t like to get in trouble. You don’t want to feel that queasy feeling in your stomach that comes with confrontation. You’ve mastered the art of dodging emotional bullets.

Why am I treating this as an all or nothing issue? Because dealing with a dominating personality feels like an all or nothing proposal. It’s a dead end before it’s even begun. There’s no hint of compromise, flexibility, or consideration – only push back, over-blown ego, and stonewalling.  It’s incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to confront your Nemesis. Yes, I mean Nemesis.

Simply put, your gut instinct is correct. Confronting a strong-willed personality who’s personal agenda is foremost on his or her list is a daunting endeavor. Is this enough reason to withdraw your vote, your preference, or your inherent wisdom? Let me read your mind.

“It’s not worth fighting about. It’s not that important. I can give in this time. I won’t win the argument anyway, so why try?  She/he will never change; it’s just the way things are. “

Stop and think about this. By remaining passive, you’re living a lie. You’re hurting yourself and your relationship. Not only are you robbing your beloved the opportunity to open his or her heart to the gift of generosity, you’re hurting yourself by being  a “Yes, dear,” a martyr, an eager gossiper, a wuss, and/or a cynic in love. Unless or until you choose to officially take the vows of selfless devotion, you are a free citizen, entitled to the rights of your preferences. Do you dare think of yourself as entitled? Do you dare expose your true self to the person you love?  If “Yes,” here is your coaching assignment.

The Mantra of Me:                                                                                                               Every morning, upon waking, (if you are alone) lie quietly in bed, eyes closed. With calm and caring conviction, for one full minute  – slowly, clearly repeat aloud:                                                                                                                                   “Me….                      Me….                       Me….                       Me…”                                                                                                                                                                      Put 3 seconds between each “Me.” Finish with two deep inhales &          exhales.  Remain quiet and still for 2 minutes as the mantra sets in.                                                                                                                                                                       *If you aren’t alone, set a private moment & place, early in the day.


For weeks I’ve been noticing small markings of blue spray paint on my neighborhood sidewalks. Wherever the concrete was cracked, there was a precisely placed curve of blue spray paint.  A few weeks later, blue nylon tape wound around wooden sticks appeared at each marked concrete square.

Anticipating a cement pouring project, I looked for signs of progress. Voila! One day the cracked sidewalk squares were now bare dirt with 3 inch high wood supports on the perimeter of all four sides. I was disappointed I missed the day they poured the new cement. Here’s what I learned about love from a sidewalk.

Most people in love put off addressing the smaller issues. In time, tiny cracks appear between them which grow unattended. Life moves fast. The bigger issues of work, health, money, friends, fun, and family take precedence. And the core love relationship deteriorates very very slowly, very imperceptibly. Then out of (seemingly) no where, one person announces, “I’m leaving you.”

It’s a shock at first, but in hindsight, each person can rewind the movie and identify what was going wrong.  The second shock is that one of the two people in love is done – that means DONE. No energy or desire to revisit or repair what’s broken. Too late. Heart stone cold.

Don’t let this happen to you. Step up and learn from the cracked sidewalks. Agree to keep your eyes and hearts open to any patterns of distress, disappointment, dejection, or rejection. Stay alert, notice your emotions of being taken for granted, being critiqued, of a lack of affection, sex, or romance. Take good care of your relationship the way you do your body, your job, your clients, your friends, your cat, your dog. Pay attention to how love & life works.


In this high place
it is as simple as this,
leave everything you know behind.
Step toward the cold surface,
say the prayer of rough love
and open both arms.
Those who come with empty hands
will stare into the lake astonished,
there, in the cold light
reflecting pure snow
the true shape of your own face.
                                                      David Whyte
                                                  from the book: Where Many Rivers Meet

Bambi and The Bully

                “Bullies are cowards at heart and may be credited                         with a pretty safe instinct in scenting their prey.”     Anna Julia Cooper

Why are love relationships so challenging? Because more often than not, opposites do attract.  Dominant seeks submissive and vis versa.    I know too many people in love who have  slowly and imperceptibly lost connection with their true self.

Is this what love is ultimately meant for? Where is it mandated that we dilute or surrender our uniqueness – our personalized form of creativity, humor, affection, intelligence, instinct, and quirkiness in         exchange for a Certified Romantic Relationship?  If extinguishing our 100% original core self is the goal, then I’m calling it out as a sin.

Ironically, the Bully is not the only perpetraitor here. (my spelling) Uninitiated Bambi’s tend to sacrifice their preferences, delights, urges, wisdom, daydreams, and instincts, in exchange for peace. An uninitiated Bambi’s “peace” is code for the following Bambi Rules:

CONFRONTATION NOT ALLOWED: Bambi’s will  not initiate nor participate in spontaneous arguing, disagreement, fighting, or anger. No raised voice, no aggressive facial expression, no walking out of the room in a huff, no drama, no overt moodiness.

What are some of Bambi’s methods of censoring, nay, neutering, their authentic core self?  They pledge to deny the majority of their organic instincts, urges, opinions, distinct offerings, creativity, crazy ideas,         affectionate impulses, intelligence, sense of adventure, wisdom, joi de vivre. You get the picture.

What is Bambi’s short term payoff? Avoiding, with the goal of eliminating, that queasy-stomach, scared, conscious or unconscious, threat of confrontation, judgement, or abandonment. It’s that basic, it’s that simple, it’s that powerful.

Modernization notwithstanding, we humans are still fragile, even the bullys. This makes the case that bullies may be scared to death of their own fragility. Frankly, I don’t give a damn what a bully’s reason is for his or her bad behavior.

I care that you, the Bambi’s of this world, free yourself from hiding.         I ask you to take a brave step into your willingness to allow fearful emotions. Queasiness is not a curse, it’s a signal. It’s a signal that something scary is at hand. Before you leave this earth,  face your fears and open the doors wide to your 100% organic one-of-a-kind self. Ultimately, you will discover that YOU are amazing, wise, quirky, brilliant, creative. Fulfill your destiny. There are unknown people who will be inspired, enlivened, healed, and educated by YOU.