The Power of Love

Love In Action: Conclusion to What is Love

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Love In Action: Conclusion to What is Love

So how can you help? Does that query daunt you? Does it fill you with dread at the dramatic actions required in a world falling apart to impact, in even the most minor way, the love-starved world in which we live. Take heart. Here’s a story (another true one) I love to tell my clients, based on a study: Chicks were placed in a pool, and were timed on how long they could swim before they began to sink from exhaustion. After the scientists averaged the time, the chicks were then given a fright (my compassion, now, to the chicks, who were nearly drowned and then given a terrifying shock!)....

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Giving Your Love, Life: The Role of Service in Making Love Real

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Giving Your Love, Life: The Role of Service in Making Love Real

How can I help? Ram Dass and Paul Gorman wrote a book entitled that, in 1987, with the subtitle, “Stories and Reflections on Service.” Service may not be an appealing word, but as this book, countless volunteers and innumerable true friends assert, service at its core is love in action. For the previous month, and more, I’ve been exploring, with the help of friends and clients, what love is. I’ve explored the importance of attachment, the place of self-sacrifice, and the potentially fatal effects of trauma in interrupting our ability to connect intimately. Love is a basic drive too...

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Trauma: Love’s Barricade

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Trauma: Love’s Barricade

Imagine, if you will, standing on the very top of the highest peak of a great mountain. All around you, the most magnificent view. Yet, you find yourself only able to look down, in all directions, the precarious slope, falling away in all directions to certain death. Wouldn’t you become rigid with terror, afraid to move, even to breath? And so very alone. This is the real cost of trauma. When, we are overwhelmed by stress, when we are not able to resolve it, to comfort ourselves or receive the soothing embrace of another…in short, when we experience trauma, either from a single event or a...

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Attachment: A Bridge Just Far Enough

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Attachment: A Bridge Just Far Enough

So here’s a story, and it’s a true one, the very best kind. It’s about monkeys, baby monkeys no less, adorable and playful…and very intelligent. This makes them a good study for human babies. In the fifties, a study was done using these monkeys. First, the scientists rigged a chicken-wire “mother” with feeding apparatus. The monkeys went wild! Fed to their hearts’ content. Then they removed her, and in her place, another “mother,” this time warm, fuzzy, making soothing noises and with many nooks and crannies to crawl up into and sleep. The babies loved her, too. Then they...

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Attachment (Pt 1): Essential to Love

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Attachment (Pt 1): Essential to Love

Attachment. If you’re Buddhist, you know this is a baaad thing. The source of all suffering, in fact. If you’re a traditional psychotherapist, or a rabid reader of self-help books, you might identify this as the driver for codependence. Also, very baaad. And if you subscribe to the American ideal of individualism, you avoid it like the plague. And yet, we cannot survive without attachment. It is as real as any other biological necessity, as thirst, hunger, or the longing for a healing good night’s sleep. However, despite a huge body of evidence for this, psychiatric questionnaires...

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Valentine’s Day: Love and Sacrifice

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Valentine’s Day: Love and Sacrifice

It’s Valentine’s Day, and either you’re going on a date, staying in with your beloved (?), bemoaning the lack thereof, or oblivious. Because Valentine’s Day is for lovers, right? Wrong! Well, at least not always. Until the 14th century and Goeffrey Chaucer, it celebrated a multitude of saints and the value of sacrifice. In the US, it became an official holiday to celebrate not romance, but friendship. I suppose the difference is academic. Whether we’re with friends or lovers, if we want those relationships to last, we’re going to need to sacrifice. When we fall in love, we fall...

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