by Ariel Minter
I believe that many of us choose to be in a relationship purely from the fear of loneliness. If you cannot stand to be single or alone without someone there to be the big (or little) spoon, I would highly recommend getting out of whatever relationship it is you are in because of that loneliness, and I would also recommend practicing being alone with yourself. It is bleak and quite awful. But it is one of the only remedies I have found that actually will create a real form of inner peace.
One of my favorite quotes is from the the novel White Oleander by Janet Fitch. She writes:
“ Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. An intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great exception. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you’ll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want."
You see, I was that person. I was terrified of being alone. And so, for years, I chose to remain in the same relationship that was completely unfulfilling. It was haunting. I was depressed. And to be honest, I was even more alone than I would have been if I would have actually been alone.
I think we all crave the presence of someone who loves us. Or, at least goes through the motions of whatever love means to you (which can be extremely unhealthy). It is a natural biological need for people to want to be around other people. However, sometimes the lonely feeling isn’t because you need other people, it is because you can’t stand yourself. I may be getting a little dark on this post, but bare with me because there is light at the end of the tunnel.
So, after several failed attempts of leaving the relationship I spoke of earlier, I finally did it. I found it to be the most disturbing thing to think I was in a position of not being able to get out of something that was so empty. But I finally did. Immediately after, I started drinking heavier than I’d like to admit, and found myself putting on weight. I wasn’t sleeping well. And I was always busy.
Finally, I began to see how sloppy I had become and how sad I was. I started the forgiveness process my parents, Jami and Marla, teach their clients, and after 6 weeks of writing, I realized how much I had loathed myself.
For the first time in life I understood why I had always been co-dependent, insecure, and lonely. I immediately started sleeping better, having more energy, and just feeling healthy all over.
It was the hardest realization I have ever had, and only am I now in a place of peace.
by Jami Keller
Power is the freedom to choose. Freedom is a gift of living in the present and having the power to choose how you feel. This is not easy, but it is worth working towards.
As it turns out, most people have much more power and freedom than they believe. Accessing this power allows us to help people move their relationships from “Done to Fun”.
At Passion Provokers we have a another word for power. We define power as humility. This may seem odd, but it has been well proven. The opposite of power is fear. Think of fear as a force that hijacks your freedom to choose. Often we have more fear than we are aware. It has become comfortable and common to all our processes and runs on autopilot. It requires good maintenance and redefinition. To move from fear to power requires forgiveness. Most good heart and mind maintenance comes down to forgiveness.
If you would have asked me 14 years ago if I had forgiveness in my heart, I would have been very convincing about the fact that I did. I did not, I was holding on to so much hurt that it lead me to a need for approval that was insatiable! My need for others approval nearly killed me. It destroyed relationships and literally made me powerless. A slave, instead of free. I was giving forgiveness lip service and was completely in denial about my need for it in my life (for the same reason that 98% of college professors rank themselves in the top 1% of their field we inflate how good we are at forgiveness.)
I was being stubborn. My façade of being a community leader, having status (acceptance) among those who I thought were my friends was more important than being honest with myself and my wife about what was going on with me. So my problem became more serious. BSU’s coach Pete says either you are getting better or worse, there is no middle ground. For me (by not telling the truth) I was telling more lies. Worst of all, to myself. My misunderstanding of forgiveness nearly killed me. It made me a slave instead of free. My pride kept me from doing the work of having real relationships.
Here is a test for your level of forgiveness. When you can think of your greatest pain and feel peace for yourself and pity and care for those that hurt you, you have full forgiveness.
How are power and freedom working for you?
When we have solid and ongoing forgiveness it leads to peace, power and joy and that together is love. Love is peace because of choice, power that is humility, and a joy that is full and flowing into all our relationships. We are fortunate to live where freedom is available to all that can forgive. Come join us, and find new power every day!
by Marla Keller
In the past few years I have heard woman of all ages talk about how “free” and “independent” they have become sexually. They attribute this to a shift in society; a society where women have the ability and opportunity to express themselves sexually whenever, however, and with whomever they desire. (Funny…I thought this “sexual revolution” was what the 1970’s were all about.) But this blogpost is not about that. It’s about my own personal sexual shame recovery journey that has led me to peace, power, joy, acceptance, and love inside of my sexuality. It really is a miracle.
Jami and I just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in June, and for the first 10 years of our marriage I faked it. Apparently, very well. And I certainly was NOT going to discuss this with anybody else because of the serious shame wrapped around it. It was only after major trauma in our marriage because of infidelity that I finally came clean, and began to s l o w l y let Jami know what I had been experiencing. Over time, and with a lot of journaling, therapy, coaching, and going to Family Week at the end of Jami’s 17 days in rehab (he was willing to do whatever it took to figure out what *crazy* was going on in his head that caused a desperate need for approval–an issue I struggle with off and on as well), I finally began to have the hard, shameful conversations about sex . . . and the shame.
I had been trying to run away from my sexual shame, and was embracing it at the same time because it was my norm. I was sexually abused at 5. So. Much. Shame. When I took time to lovingly observe our daughters when they were so beautiful and innocent at 5, I realized how damaging my shame had been, and was, in my life. And my heart broke into bits thinking of my daughters ever having to experience that feeling. But they did, later when they were teenagers, and now as young adults. Those feelings of “not enough” or “too much” or the words spoken about being a “slut” or a “prude” or “where’s your purity ring?”
And what I’ve realized is that we all have experienced “sexual shame” in one form or another. Not every woman has been molested as a child by a perpetrator, but all woman have been made subject to this shame. It’s our legacy from that first bite of the apple, and realizing our nakedness, our shame.
BUT it’s fixable! Just talking about it makes the darkness less dark, and hopefully will begin to turn us ladies into who we are made to be — beautiful, worthy, valued, loved, adored, courageous, empowered, joyful and at peace with our sexuality, with our relationship, with ourselves.
I know this to be true, because WE (Jami and I) are at such a crazy, intimate, beautiful, connected space in our love life. Sex is amazing. Sex is beautiful. Sex is simple, but so deeply pleasurable. This experience with sex is something that I NEVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE FOR ME! I thought that I was so broken that I could never have an orgasm. But that was the lie told to me at such a very young age. And a lie that is told to women that vaginal orgasm is “mature” and “preferred” and if you don’t have one you are, well, less than (this goes all the way back to Freud and his opinion about a woman’s experience–yikes!).
But this is false, degrading, and downright ridiculous! We are all different, and experience sexuality differently, and that’s okay. And my experiences with Jami have been blowing my mind. This “broken” woman has found healing, and grace, and love, and compassion, and beauty; thank you, Jami.
So, here I am, splayed open for the internet world to see, and I DON’T GIVE A DAMN because I have worked freakin’ hard to be free and independent in my sexuality, and I am becoming whole! And Jami and I are so blessed to be here now. I say this and mean it with all my heart: I would do it all again to be here now. Truth. And we get to share this with women all the time (and men, and couples, and leaders), when they are ready to hear it, to move into it, and begin to heal through it. I am blessed.
What steps might you need to take today to have authentic and beautiful Sexual Independence?
Marla and Jami
Cofounders of JamiAndMarla.LOVE (fka Passion Provokers and Keller Coaching) Jami and Marla are proud to bring a new level of success to coupleships worldwide with their unique coaching, mentoring, and consulting process. Their blogs are not only informative for coupleships they are personal. For over 25 years they have been helping people create emotionally and physically intimate coupleships.
Ariel is a freelance blogger, web designer, and SEO consultant. She is 23 years young, married to her soulmate, and a proud “mother” to boxer Bruce and Yorkie Dexter. She focuses on writing content that is raw and relatable. (Info relevant at the time of writing, circa 2013-2015)