This quote stopped me in my reading tracks of ‘Passionate Marriage’, by Schnarch. The idea caused me to pause and digest what was being said: ‘you don’t think your way to a new way of living. You live your way to a new way of thinking’. The stories and beliefs we hold about our selves shape our lives. This idea I’ve held on to but on the flipside the way we have lived our lives will also shape the beliefs we have and thoughts we hold. So, if I want to change my life it’s probably best not to sit around thinking about it but to step out boldly into a new way of living – no matter how frightening. This brings to mind another cliche,  ‘a life lived in fear is only half lived’.

The example Schnarch used to illustrate many of his points were related to a couple in therapy. The woman wanted to be able to go to bed to have sex with her partner wearing nothing but a necklace and a smile. However, it seemed she wasn’t comfortable with her body or accepting enough of herself to do this. Perhaps she thought she was too fat, not attractive enough, lacked some confidence, etc. Regardless, and to the surprise of her partner, the night after the therapy session, she went to bed to wearing nothing but a necklace and smile (I assume with the lights on). Her acceptance of her sexual self hadn’t just appeared in only a few short hours – she had to step boldly into a new way of living. In her case a new way of being sexual with her partner. Her partner then had to respond in turn and of course many things began to happen for the couple (married over 20 years and in their 50’s) in relation to the connection and intimacy they shared.

So this is challenging. I’d love to hear ideas from people about what they can possibly step into and live (despite their history, shortcomings, thoughts and excuses) to bring about a new way of thinking, to grow, to change and to better connect with themselves and others?  And then witness an account of what happened to their relationship to self and others after they actually did it?

I’ll let you know when something else in the book stops me in my reading tracks.

I hope I’m not too preachy but I’m a firm believer that we don’t need to lower our expectations or standards just change them. Our society is obsessed with measuring everything and so it is difficult to step aside from measuring ourselves up against every manner of thing and ensuring we fit under the canopy of the bell-shaped curve of normality (a place where we think we’re safe for a while until the wheels fall off – and they do). I’ve gained glimpses of freedom by dancing out on the margins with other like-minded people. Just changing my standards not lowering them and giving myself a good slap when I start measuring myself up against others. I’ve realised if I measure up better or higher, I don’t really feel that good about it and if I measure up less I also don’t feel good about it – and when others are measuring me up or down – I don’t like it. So to hell with engaging with measuring and bring on acceptance of others and myself and enjoy the precious moments before they’re all gone. I really enjoy Bluemilk’s blog!