How to Get Real

April 9, 2015

Get Real

Being a man isn’t about putting up a brave front. Nor is it about being able to cry. It’s about being real – letting yourself be whatever your gut tells you to be in any given moment. There are no rules for being a man other than being authentic.

But what does that mean? Be yourself, get real, be authentic. We hear this all the time these days and yet how many of us really know how to be it. It’s actually a lot simpler than we think.

There are two sides to each of us – the ego and Loving Presence.

The ego belongs to the very human side of us and does not look after our best interests. It puts on airs, pretends to be whatever we think others want us to be and, if we listen to it, will keep us in a perpetual state of suffering. It promises peace, love and happiness in all the things that don’t contain it. In fact, it promises what it can’t deliver. It speaks first, loudest and is always wrong.

And yet if we wait and listen carefully, beyond the screaming of the ego, we will hear the sweet whisper of Loving Presence, our true self, the foundation of who we are. It is the voice of Love that quietly reminds you where to look for all that you desire. It leads you to the abundance of love, peace, kindness, understanding, wisdom, grace and ultimately an amazing feeling of contentment. And it is from this place that you speak and act truly authentically.

The concept is simple, yes, but it isn’t always easy to live from that place. It takes practice, awareness, honesty and a willingness to sit in the stillness where Loving Presence can be heard, a place I call The Gap. And you can find that Gap in any situation with just a breath. It can be done with practice and the desire to let go of the suffering that is offered by the ego and embrace the peace of your true self.

If I stood before you with a beautiful jewel or a hot burning coal, which would you choose to hold in your hand? Loving Presence offers you the beauty of the jewel. Ego offers the pain of a burning coal. And yet time after time we choose the hot coal and then wonder why we are in pain.

It takes great courage to stand in the stillness and choose love. It requires a strength that we are all capable of finding within us to choose to be authentic, a human manifestation of your true Divine self.

Find out more about learning how to do this in your life by attending my upcoming Free Seminar – How Awareness Can Change Your Life

With love and kindness
Signature

 

Couple giving two young children piggyback rides smiling

A parent’s biggest desire is for their children to be happy, healthy and well-adjusted. They spend their lives working hard to make it a reality. They only want what’s best for their children and all their decisions about them are based on this fact.

Children are very intuitive and perceptive and they can sense the truth in any situation. They can see past the smiling and assurances that things are fine and know when there is something amiss or not quite right. They feel your tension when you are stressed and will pick up on it, perhaps even taking the stress on themselves. And they won’t know how to deal with it unless you show them.

Being a healthy, happy, well-adjusted parent is the best way to raise healthy, happy, well-adjusted children. Parents are a child’s first and most important role model and the best method of teaching them how to be in life is by example.

Here are five ways to raise happy, healthy children:

  1. Give your children a voice. Let them express how they feel without judgment so they can learn to address their issues in a healthy way and know that what they have to say is of value.
  2. Be aware of how you interact with your partner (or ex-partner). Have compassion, clarity and be open to hear what they have to say so that conflict can be resolved in a healthy way. Your children will learn how to function in a relationship when the time comes.
  3. Allow them to make choices when it comes to which activities they want to be involved in or how they want to handle different situations in their lives. When a child is allowed to make their own choice and take the consequences good or bad, it develops their sense of responsibility and they make healthier choices. When you make choices for them it can cause resentment.
  4. Inspire your children before the fact rather than punish them afterwards. Show them the way by taking care of your own stresses and issues in a healthy way. Support them in what they do and let them do it themselves. This can build their self-worth far more effectively than any words you could say.
  5. Create a safe place for your children to be all that they are without judgment or criticism. Let them know that they don’t have to be afraid to share anything with you because they will not be judged. Have compassion, understanding and kindness.

If a parent takes care of themselves in mind, body and spirit, their children will see this and realize it is worthwhile to do so for themselves. Lead by example.

Happy Parenting!

Loving couple

 

We are all a human manifestation of loving presence. I am and so is my husband. It’s the basis upon which the universe brought us together and why we are a perfect match for each other.

We are a constant reminder of that loving presence every day of our lives together. But we can also be a reminder of the pain. We’ve learned how to be together lovingly in both these instances.

When we are both in that loving space there is peace, harmony, contentment, passion, intimacy and love. We like to spend as much time as possible together in this space for obvious reasons.

But we’re human and as such there are times when our pain rises to the surface. Often times when it occurs for one of us, the other is able to remain connected to loving presence, holding that safe space so the one in pain can be fully with it to acknowledge, feel and move through it. And it’s comforting to not be afraid to be in that feeling place, surrounded by love, the reminder of who we are beneath the struggle. Although it’s never fun to feel the hurt, the sting is softened by a partner who can love you through it. And in spite of the struggle, there remains a certain amount of peace, harmony and love.

And then there are the times when we have both forgotten the love and are full on facing our fear, anger, guilt or shame. There may be some unloving words or actions, an extra dose of hurt hurled one way or the other. It’s a blip, a misstep; we are out of alignment not only with each other but with our own source of love within.

When my husband and I first got together we experienced a lot of these missteps as we adjusted to each other and went through the lessons of how to be in relationship in a conscious way. As time has gone on we have become much better at moving through these moments of misalignment, avoiding blame, judgment and criticism. We know that speaking from our pain causes more pain. We know that there is no way resolution can come from it and the moment our awareness kicks in, we step back, take some time alone and sit in the stillness that will show us how to resolve the issue within ourselves.

Once we’ve done that we can reconnect again in the space of peace, harmony, contentment, passion, intimacy and love.

We’ve learned not to fight. We’ve realized that when we are out of alignment with each other, we are out of alignment with ourselves and we start to correct that within our own consciousness first.

We’ve learned that forgiveness is a great healer and that means most importantly, forgiving ourselves.

And we have learned that the way to find peace and true love with each other is to know it within ourselves and bring that into the relationship.

There will always be times when we are out of step with each other, but we are comforted by the knowledge that we will always find our way back to that beautiful rhythm of loving presence.

With love and kindness

Bettina

Father with familyFatherhood is probably one of the most difficult jobs you’ll ever take on in your life. It’s daunting and a little bit scary to think that the little baby you’ve helped to create is dependent on you and your partner for everything for the next few years. Okay, so maybe it’s a lot scary!

And face it. There’s no degree you can go to school for that will guarantee that you’ll excel at the job at hand. In fact, all you’ve really got are examples of fatherhood from your own father and others you know who have taken on the task before you.

So how are you going to manage to provide for the child what they will need in order to become healthy, happy, responsible adults? There are no set rules are there?

But here are some suggestions that might help you along the way:

  1. Break the patterns of the past. Take a look at your childhood experiences with your own dad. Are there aspects of it that you feel didn’t work for you? Are there things you’d like to change? Was there too much control, judgment and criticism and not enough love, compassion and quality time?
    Pay attention to your own tendencies to be the same way and question how effective those tactics are. Then find a way to change how you parent.
  2. Self-Awareness.  Our first teachers are our parents. We learn most of what we know about life from them in the first three to four years. Be aware of how you behave, how you deal with stress, your relationship conflicts. What do you do with anger? How do you honour yourself and what are your beliefs? Children are sponges and are observing and absorbing your behavior from the day they’re born. Make sure you are setting the best example you can and if you can’t set the kind of example you need to then get help before it’s too late.
  3. Age appropriate freedom of choice. It is important to teach children how to make choices for themselves. It’s how they learn to make healthy ones. They need to understand consequences as a part of the decision-making process.
    Now at a very young age, it’s obvious they are not equipped to make all their own decisions but starting off with age appropriate decisions is a way to ease them into this learning. Offer options along with the consequences that result from each choice and most importantly, follow through with the consequences once the choice is decided upon.
    For instance: “If you’d like a brownie before dinner that will be counted as your dessert and you won’t get one after your meal.” If they choose the brownie now, ensure that you follow through even if they cause a fuss. They will learn to make a healthier choice next time.
    This is a really difficult point. In general, parents want to keep their children safe and protected but sometimes things get carried away and they grow up too dependent on parents to get them through tough situations.
  4. Be present. This is a term that is used quite a bit lately, maybe even overused. But it is an important one because it is the foundation of a good relationship with anyone, including your children. Put away the electronics and spend some quality time with playing or talking with your kids. Let them know you value what they have to share by really listening and acknowledging them.
    Sit down to dinner as a family and talk about the day’s events and happenings. If you feel too stressed from your work day when you get home, excuse yourself for a short time so that you can decompress, let go of the stress and they day’s hardships. When you rejoin your family, feeling more relaxed and ready to engage with them you can enjoy the time spent together. You’ll feel better for it and they will learn to take care of their stress in a healthy way by your example.
  5. Let compassion and love be your guiding force. Always approach your children with a loving heart even if they have made mistakes. Think of how you would want to be treated in similar circumstances and pass that on to your child. No mistake is ever bad enough to withhold love from a child. Remember that with loving guidance they will learn to make healthy choices for themselves and grow to be healthy, happy human beings.

So have fun with your role as father, don’t stress about doing the right thing. Allow your inner wisdom to lead you and you’ll be the kind of father you’ve always hoped to be with lasting, loving relationships with your children for a lifetime.

With love and kindness

Bettina

Breaking down of a marriage - Poor communication

For a lot of people it’s very difficult to say “I’m sorry”, in fact almost as tough to say as “I love you”. Either statement is a result of putting yourself out there, raw, naked and vulnerable. And for most of us that means weak.

Saying “I’m sorry” also means for some people, “I was wrong”. And that equation leaves us running in the other direction rather than succumb to this idea. Why? Because admitting to being wrong means that the other person was right. And if they are right then we have lost the “battle”. Ugh! What a prison that can be.

A Course in Miracles asks the question, “Would you rather be right or would you rather be happy?” Now, while most people I ask that question to say they want to be both, it just can’t be done. There is no way to be right and happy at the same time. Ok, for a minute or so you think you’re happy but then a whole lot of other things, guilt being one of them crop up and we end up in an unending loop of bad feelings, striving to be right over and over and in the end not feeling good about ourselves – which is what we were looking for in the first place when we wanted to be right.

So what is the point of saying, “I’m sorry? It is an acknowledgement of someone else’s pain. We aren’t responsible for creating someone else’s pain but we can show our compassion by apologizing if we’ve done something to remind them of it. It means, “I’m sorry that what I said or did brought up that pain for you.”

It’s an admission that the way in which we said or did something or the energy with which we did it and the way it was received was not our intention. Saying “I’m sorry” let’s the other person know that we had loving intentions that somewhere went awry.

It’s never about being right or wrong really. It’s about feeling good about ourselves. We can take the misguided route that says being right makes us feel better about ourselves or we can follow our heart which tells us that an apology will go a long way to softening the moment and the other person so that a conversation can follow that will make it possible for each person to feel safe enough to share their vulnerability and find resolution.

Love may mean you never have to say you’re sorry but it sure does create a much more loving environment for everyone involved.

It’s not about guilt, it’s about compassion. Guilt comes from ego and compassion comes from Source. Where do you want to live from?

With love and kindness

Bettina

Manwithheart

When someone puts the words heart-centered and men in the same sentence there may be a little bit or a lot of fear that comes up for men. After all, that heart, mushy, lovey stuff is really a woman’s territory and any man who enters may be looked upon as a sissy.

I’m here to tell you that isn’t the case. That it’s possible to live from your heart and still be a sports-loving, beer drinking, weight-lifting man’s man. Who knew?

Here are a few myths about men living a heart-centered life that I’d like to dispel:

  1. “I have to give up my successful career and go teach yoga or something”.

    A common misconception about letting go of driving ambition and stress is that you must give up a successful career and settle for something a little more meditative. Not so. You can still have a high-powered job and actually approach it from a much more meaningful, purposeful place. Let go of the feeling of being driven and embrace the passion of what you’re doing, accept what is in front of you and allow yourself to feel empowered from within. Let it be less about the pay cheque and more about your passion for what you do. Letting go of the need to succeed and just enjoying the ride can help you to let go of stress and enjoy your work.
    If you don’t feel inspired or you don’t feel appreciated, then maybe it’s time to reassess, not the job that you have but how you show up for it every day.

  2. “People will see me as a sissy or more like a woman”.

    Living from the heart does not make you more feminine, soft or a wuss. In fact there are some very strong, masculine men who live in a state of loving presence and are admired and revered as great men because of their ability to connect with their heart. They inspire many men while not being afraid to express their vulnerability or to be completely honest and open about how they feel. Make no mistake, you will still be a strong and powerful man. But what you do give up is the force, control and push behind your words and actions. Characteristics that build resentment and disempowerment in others. Your power comes from within accompanied by a knowing that inspires and motivates other to feel empowered and that makes you a real man who is looked to for guidance and with respect.

  3. “I have to give up everything I have and live with very little.”

    It’s not about what you have that but more about your attachment to what you have to give you a feeling of fulfillment, power, success or peace. You can feel all those things whether you have nothing or have it all. Heart-centered living means you put it all into perspective and don’t put too much weight on what you have and more on how you feel. And that makes life a whole lot easier. Using people, places or things to fill a void in your life causes neediness and desperation and neither of these traits are particularly attractive or manly, nor do they evoke strength of character or respect for yourself or from others. Keep the stuff and let go of the idea that it’s making you happy.

  4. “I have to give up all the manly things I do like sports, nights out with the guys, drinking and smoking.”

    Okay, so smoking isn’t really very good for you so you may consider giving that one up, but there is no reason why you can’t live from your heart and still enjoy the more masculine experiences that life has to offer. Have fun, enjoy yourself, lift that heavy object for your mate, play a little football whether on the field or from your couch. Get together with your buddies and enjoy life. But do it with respect, compassion and a healthy portion of moderation. It’s when these activities are taken to extremes and hurt you or someone you love that you may need to take a good hard look and question what you may be running from or avoiding. What lack are you trying to fill? Pay attention to the payoff you are seeking in these extremes. Are you avoiding looking at uncomfortable feelings that scare you? Check in with yourself honestly and shift from self-destruction to self-realization. Bring yourself to the present moment, be responsible and have a good time.

  5. “I have to give up my masculinity.”

    Real men live from the heart, practice compassion, tolerance, acceptance, kindness, tap into their inner wise man, their ability to inspire, motivate, empower and their self-respect. And that is more masculine than anything else.

Go ahead. Tap into your heart. Make the connection between head and heart and really see and feel your full potential. There’s nothing more masculine than standing in your power.

 

The return of the Gentleman

January 24, 2014

Heart-centered living

When I tell people that I teach heart-centered living to the modern urban man it most often piques their interest and they ask for a more detailed explanation. I always give an effective, well-thought out description that helps them to understand what it is I am offering to men.

But most recently a word that has come to mind and been very persistent in garnering my attention is Gentleman. The word itself is not new or even trendy and yet it fits so perfectly into the description of the work I do that I cannot ignore it.

It’s a compound word that when broken down has such great meaning – Gentle Man.

Most men would be flattered to be called a gentleman. It is great praise, a compliment and says a lot about the man’s character. It exudes power and inspiration and it is definitely the definition of a man who lives from his heart.

Here are 10 characteristics of a gentleman:

  1. A gentleman isn’t afraid to give another person the space to express themselves while listening mindfully and with genuine interest.
  2. A gentleman can allow tears to flow without fear of losing his masculinity or the respect of others.
  3. A gentleman will open doors, pay for dinner and stand up when a woman enters a room, not because she is less than him or the gentler sex but because he respects her even when she insists that she can open the door herself.
  4. A gentleman wants to feel wanted and needed even if his partner is quite capable of looking after themselves.
  5. A gentleman will not be concerned about being better or the best in comparison to others but more concerned about being better than he was yesterday and knowing he always does his personal best.
  6. A gentleman is not forceful or controlling but is empowered and empowers others through acceptance and openness.
  7. A gentleman can express his deepest feelings or vulnerability to his partner or his best friend without fear of being mocked.
  8. A gentleman can be strong and rugged or soft and caring with equal ease.
  9. A gentleman can stand before others with strong self-esteem, knowing who he is as a man and be totally comfortable with it.
  10. A gentleman is admired, respected and looked to for wisdom just because he is confident to be his authentic self.

Endearing, strong, caring, outspoken, compassionate, protective, sensitive, funny, loving, purposeful, gentle, rugged, poetic, matter-of-fact, engaging, commanding. These are all characteristic of the gentleman – gentle man. And all of these are executed with peace, generosity of spirit and equality of power.

So now when people ask me to explain further what I do, I’ll be adding, “I help men to rediscover the gentleman in themselves.”

Think about how you can rediscover the gentle man in you.

Force or power

The feeling of being powerful is something that most men are looking for in their lives. It lends itself to making them feel admired, respected, successful and self-sufficient.

Knowing your own power is a very positive aspect of being a self-made made and one of substance and depth.

I’ve always believed that one of our greatest shortcomings as humans is that we don’t recognize our greatness and it is this recognition that allows us to feel empowered.

So now that you know that power is the thing that you are looking for, it’s important not to get it confused with force. Power is what comes from the true self, the ability to know love, respect, compassion, strength kindness, leadership and courage from with yourself. Force, on the other hand, is very much ego driven. It is fueled by neediness, greed, anger, control and fear. When there is a push behind your words or actions, this is force. When you speak with ease and there is a flow to everything you do, it is an indication that power is behind it.

In their descriptions, Power and Force sound very different but in the day to day unawareness that is life, it is possible to be engaging in forceful behavior while not even realizing it. And the worst things is that even though you think it does, it does not empower you.

Here are a five steps to ensuring that you live from your most powerful self:

  1. The Golden Rule – treat others as you would like to be treated (even if you’re not being treated that way). If you are feeling angry and cannot do so in the moment, walk away and come back after you’ve cleared your head. You will be amazed at how empowered you feel when you are kind.
  2. Listen to yourself – This is not something most people do but it is important to hear what you are saying and how you say it. When you begin to pay attention to your conversation you become aware of how it sounds to others. Once you’ve mastered this you can hear what you’re about to say so that you can shift your perspective to a more loving one.
  3. Pay attention to your motives. Why are you behaving in a particular way? How are you feeling or what is the feeling you are looking for in this situation? Will the experience actually give you a quick fix (satisfaction) or will the results be lasting (peace)?
  4. Forgiveness – remember that everyone has their own story. Whatever they have said or done is driven by how they are feeling and has nothing to do with you no matter how much you think it does. If you believe it does, it’s time to forgive the other person for saying it and yourself for believing it was true.
  5. Practice compassion – be compassionate and understanding with everyone, including yourself. Take the time to find out what is behind someone’s actions so that you can understand where they are coming from without jumping to conclusions or judging. It also works when you do this with yourself as well.

Remember that Power comes from the loving presence that is your true self and Force comes from a neediness to fill a void.

Be in your Power and you will see your life change.

This short video is a great illustration of what how boys are being raised with the wrong idea of what it means to be a man. And it is one of the reasons I do the work I do. Please have a look and pass it on.

 Boys into Men

How to be Mr. Right

November 8, 2013

It may be cliché but there are women out there who say they are looking for “Mr. Right” and if they aren’t saying it out loud, they’re probably secretly wishing to meet him. WPerfect partnerho is “Mr. Right” anyway? I once told someone I was looking for Mr. Right and they answered me with, you’ll find him and then learn that his first name is “Always”. But I didn’t believe that and I met my “Mr. Right”.

So what, according to women makes a man the perfect partner?

When in a relationship most women want to feel loved, valued, respected, honored and safe. They also want to have a voice, feel balance and equality with their significant other, to be attractive and sexy to them and yes they want a little romance to complete the package.

While all these feelings don’t necessarily come from someone else and are meant to be found within, it doesn’t hurt to have a supportive, safe and loving environment. Even better to have a man who sees the true essence of his woman all the time and can be the whisper that reminds her of her beauty when she loses sight of it.

Now that you know what women are looking for in their perfect mate, here’s how you go about being that for them:

  1. Go into the relationship with a strong sense of self. Know exactly who you are from the inside out. Understand what you like and don’t like, recognize your needs and desires and learn how to fill them yourself. Get acquainted with yourself and build a strong relationship with that person you discover yourself to be. This foundation will serve you well in any relationship. (and in your career too actually)
  2. Make sure you’ve checked your old baggage at the door and that you don’t bring the past into your present partnership. Before you jump into a new relationship make sure that you deal with any issues from previous relationships (including the one with your mother!). Doing this will ensure that you don’t keep attracting the same unhealthy partners or blame the new woman for the sins of her predecessor.
  3. Create a safe environment for your partner so that they feel a bond of trust with you and can feel comfortable enough to be themselves. This means leaving judgment and criticism out of the equation. And if you do find yourself judging or critical, recognize it as a sign that you have some personal work to do.
  4. Allow yourself to step out of your comfort zone and share your vulnerability without fear. It tells her that you trust her and like or love her enough to share a part of you that few get to see. It strengthensGood husband and father the thread that creates true intimacy.
  5. Make sex a sacred act by being present, tender, loving and attentive. Think of it less as a means to an end and more as a way to build the trust and feeling of safety between you. Sex has it’s purely physical side but in a committed relationship it is another way of communicating so express your love by your actions even during time when it’s hot and heavy.
  6. Listen with love and compassion. When your woman talks to you about a problem she is having she doesn’t necessarily want you to fix it. She wants a compassionate supporter who can hold a loving space as she works through it. If you find yourself wanting to fix the problem for her, take a look at what outcome you are looking for in doing so. For example, you may like the feeling of being her hero, or Mr. Fixit. You may want to solidify her love for you or you may just want to feel comfortable if listening to her share her pain makes you uncomfortable.
  7. Respect her individuality. Understanding that her opinions, ideas and values are not wrong if they don’t match with your own can allow you to be less controlling and more accepting of who she is. If you feel inclined to prove your own ideas right and hers wrong, it’s time to question your own beliefs and learn to accept others just as they are. This is a big part of creating a safe space in the relationship and promotes authenticity in both partners.
  8. Be with her because you want her, not because you need her. Neediness is not very attractive nor very masculine. Enough said.

If you want to be someone’s “Mr. Right” be the kind of partner that you want to attract, work on being a man of integrity, kindness and acceptance and the rest will fall into place.