Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Long Distance Love

Are Long Distance Relationships (LDRs) good for you? I know they are not for everybody but they always work for me. In fact, two of my longest relationships started off as LDRs and both relationships were quite fulfilling. So I thought I would write an article about the joys of dating someone from a distance. But then again, I thought that the best advice always comes from the people who have been successful at creating love and maintaining relationships from a far. Lucky for me, Create Love is full of experts who have experience with defying distance.   Though their comments are different, there are some general themes that will help you decide if a LDR is right for you.

According to the Create Love experts, there are 3 important factors to consider before forging an out-of-town bond.

Here is what a few wise women had to say:

Stacey Rice --- My 1st tip would be for couples to be open and honest about their expectations of the relationship and each other. Talk about what each of your needs are going in to the relationship and where you want the relationship to go and how fast you want to get there. Not only talk but LISTEN and be EXACT .Do not try to fool yourself in to believing you can make it work if you know in your heart that you or the other person are NOT GOOD with long distance. It's probably not going to work.

COMMUNICATION - I cannot stress that enough! Don't start out doing something in the beginning that you cannot or are not willing to keep doing. It's easy once the honeymoon stage is over to let yourself get caught up in your everyday life because your partner is not there with you. You let them get put on the back burner so to speak; trust and believe they will not stay warm back there for long. You must make the time in your day to spend some quality time with your partner. Be it over the phone, video chat, or whatever method of communication works for the both of you; not just what works for you. You are in this relationship together and compromise is a must! If one person says they need phone time, figure out a way to make it happen; even if it's just 5 or 10 minutes out of your day. Go someplace quiet where there will be no interruptions and make the call. If that means you have to go sit in your car in the garage then go do it! It may not seem like much to you but it might mean the world to them. If texting is their thing but not yours, do it anyway, it will not kill you to send a quick text to her throughout the day. The key is to communicate with each other in a way that shows the other person that they matter, and you are willing to go that extra step. Women do not want to be mind readers; don't think just because you are thinking about them, they automatically know this so there is no need for you to tell her. Even if she knows you are, there is no harm in verbalizing it.

DISTANCE- Let's face it travel is costly no matter how you do it. Flying is quicker but can be expensive. Driving is probably cheaper but unless you have a lot of time to spare it's probably not practical especially if someone is traveling 12 hours or more. If you or she is the type of person that needs to physically be with that person a lot, and the distance between the 2 of you is so great that you cannot possibly afford to keep making those trips the relationship is probably not going to work out. Like I mentioned before you have to be honest about everything in the beginning, and that includes how much face-to-face time you require to keep you happy. Attraction is not enough!

Donna Shands: One thing that we do is have dates. We actually dress up and meet via skype-no interruptions just us. We also both have very busy lives so we send little texts throughout the day that vary from random to extra spicy. Above all else we talk about every feeling honestly. There is a high level of trust. The hardest part is we are both touchy/feely so not being able to physically connect is difficult. Skype helps a lot, plus our emotional connection is so strong it feels physical.

We nurture the emotional connection by LISTENING. I know what she wants and needs out of a relationship and I give her that. For example, she needs closeness and "home". I make sure that I focus on her when we talk or skype and do things that feel as if we are in the same space. We sleep together, eat, read, do homework, etc. I always make sure she knows I appreciate the effort she puts into staying connected. She knows I love attention so she surprises me with texts about her feelings in that moment or she will tap out of a meeting to give me a quick call-indicating that I am a priority. Those tiny things keep us smiling and connected.

Eternity Philops: We're blessed that although we're far apart we get to see each other fairly often, every couple of weeks. In between we schedule nights specifically for talking and catching up with each other (which can be hard with a 3 hour time difference and full workloads on both ends). We also text throughout the day every day, and make the most of Skype, which we use not just for conversing but also to be in each other’s presence even if we're both doing other things. Eternity was one of our Happy Highlight Singles and is now in a happy LDR.

Darlene Kelly: I am very interested in a woman I've been talking to for a few months. We have a very "FINALLY-found-the-one-I've-been-dreaming-of-my-entire-life" connection & we are going to meet for Thanksgiving; a perfect way to begin a relationship. I think I've already tried to push her away intending on removing her as a possibility due to the distance but that didn't work. We are actually in mutual agreement that this distance & time is good for us. It's a time for us to take care of loose ends, a time to prepare for our upcoming relationship status. I'm really looking forward to the rocking chairs & grandchildren with her. She gives me flocks of butterflies :))

Rosemary Porter: Do something you both like to do. My ex played the guitar when I met her. I lived in TX at the time and she was in GA. I was in awe when she would play to me while on Oovoo.  I told her I wanted to learn how to play. Another tip I’ll suggest is surprise her with little gifts or texts. That will keep the spice in a LDR.  My ex surprised me with a guitar the next time I went to go visit her. I named her Blue Ivy and I still have her to this day.  When I went back home we had lessons on Oovoo  when we talked at night. Our love of music was one interest we shared. That shared interest helped us to create a stronger foundation as the years went by. We were able to communicate through music and verbally when an issue arose.
Pam Culbreth: How do I stay connected, despite the distance? I wake up with a prayer and go to bed with a prayer. We try and begin & end our mornings talking to each other as well throughout our day when we can. We like to take turns planning date nights, having simple quality time. It helps that my career allows me (us) to travel frequently at little or no cost so we can see each other as often as our schedules permits. We also try to plan 2 or 3 trips to places we’ve never been each year.

I like to think that I “nurture” our relationship by making sure I tell and show her that I love her often, despite the distance. We acknowledge and appreciate each other privately & publicly, so that in between our visits she still knows and feels my love for her and my commitment to our relationship.

There can be many “pitfalls” in any relationship, because nobody’s perfect. I say to my partner all the time for me it’s about “D & R”…dignity and respect first. Treat me the way the way you want to be treated, and just remember that if it applies to me then it applies to you also. Never take your partner for granted, by assuming you know how she feels in a situation. Non-communication can be a major pitfall, especially when you’ve been hurt, and your partner may not have realized it. Trust issues has been hard for us at times in our 6 year relationship and we’ve had to learn to accept and acknowledge our mistakes, forgive each other, don’t repeat them and cover them up with more lies. Lastly, we try and surround ourselves with other couples that will hold us both responsible, encourage our relationship, pray with and for us, and tell us when we’re wrong. Recognize negative energy, because not everyone wants to see your relationship grow.

Bunnie Satchell:  Well, not only am I in a completely satisfying LDR, but I'm in a completely satisfying International Relationship (IR). Yes, my queen is Canadian, a Torontonian. She's amazing, wonderful and beautiful both inside & out. She chose me, and I accepted without out hesitation. And now we choose each other. Our paths crossed while on vacation. The most remarkable energy, compatibility and comfortableness that I've ever come across. The level of comfort on all aspects, mental, spiritual, conversation, openness, life experiences, similar interests, even matching physical qualities were like nothing that I've ever experienced before. No lines were crossed while on vaca. We were not available, and it simply was NOT our time. We acknowledged & respected that, and maintained our discipline. I stayed prayed up. I became still. I called on the Universe and asked that our paths may soon pass again. And so it was... When my Queen Audrey called me, and chose me - I said Yes, and gave all thanks and praises to the Most High !! How do we maintain our IR-LDR?  We talk on the phone almost daily. We text, email, call all throughout the day. We agreed and have been visiting one another monthly - for 4 days at the minimum. We have preplanned vacas, holidays, birthdays, and just-because-days. We communicate honestly and openly. We Listen. We share. We allow one another to be vulnerable without passing judgment, without being negative. We meditate and share the lessons learned. We co-wrote and entered a "Relationship Commitment" contract and got her closest friend and one of my dear and closet friends to witness the contract. Of course eventually one day Audrey & I will live together in the same city/country. That is our ultimate goal, but when the time is right. So for now we don't pressure one another for that decision. We are discipline to the Universe, the Most High will be our guide when it's time for that decision about cohabitation. You may ponder or ask, "How long have you two been together?” And Audrey & I will respond in complete synchronicity - "We've been together forever, in this life and the next". #Ase. Bunnie was one of our Happy Highlight Singles and is now in a happy LDR.  

Audrey Sanchez:  I said I would never be in a long distance relationship - anything more than 45 minutes away from me by car was too far!!  It just seemed like too much trouble ... until I met someone who made it all worth it.  And it turns out being in an LDR is not that much trouble at all even though we live in different countries!  We communicate in many different ways almost daily - with today's technology it's so easy.  And thankfully we're in a position where hopping on a plane monthly is also not too much of a strain on either of us.  I think the point is you make adjustments to get the things you really want. In this relationship, I have everything I could ever ask for - someone who loves and adores me, who makes time for me whether we are physically together or not; who goes the extra mile to show me how much she cares, and who lets me do the same for her.  Plus I get to have my time and space as much as I need on my own terms.  It's more perfect than I could have imagined.   And even though I look forward to the day when we live in the same city - and under the same roof -  for now, this long distance relationship is all that AND a bag of chips!

Cherry Knowles (Ms. NY):
Things to Watch Out For Especially at the Beginning

  • Listen to how your partner talks to her children when she doesn’t think you are paying attention.
  • Ask your partner about her relationship with her mother and father. If she has issues with her parents and have not received therapy, she more than likely will have problems in a serious relationship.
  • Ask your partner what she did that day. If she cleaned up the same room she cleaned up yesterday (other than the bathroom or kitchen), she may be OCD.
  • If she is constantly complaining about her bills, she is waiting for you to send her some money.
  • If you agreed to fly her to see you for the first time and split the bill, make sure your partner pays her half in advance (not pay you back later) because if it doesn’t work out, you will never get your money back.
  • If she complains that she doesn’t have that many minutes on her phone and will have to limit the conversation with you, she wants you to pay her cell phone bill.
  • If you send her flowers but she never send you flowers or anything else, beware!
  • If you call her at night but she is always sleep or went to bed early and cannot talk, ask yourself if she’s alone or going out and don’t want to tell you.
  • If you go to visit her and she makes excuses on why she can’t introduce you to her family and close friends in the area, you may be a secret, she may be seeing someone else when you are not around, or she may not be out the closet.
  • Do a quick background check on Spokeo or a similar website. You need to check to see if she is who she says she is, lives where she says she lives, and is in the marital status that she claims.
  • Pull up her address on Google maps to see exactly where she lives.

Things to Do to Keep the Fires Burning
  • Send loving texts for no special reason.
  • Write an email love letter or poem and send on a restless night.
  • Send a plant or flowers when she is not feeling well, had a hard day, or lost a close relative or friend to let her know she is in your prayers.
  • Send flowers to her job if she gets a promotion, completed a difficult project, got a new client that was very challenging, etc. This makes you a part of her life and keeps her sharing with you.
  • Plan a road trip together that will take several days or a week. At each destination, have a planned itinerary with activities you would both enjoy.
  • When visiting, surprise her with planned spa treatments.
  • Order information from the Chamber of Commerce and traveling organizations in her area to become familiar with the area, malls, events, activities, restaurants, resorts, and cultural places to visit. This way you can surprise her with plans of your own when visiting or know where to order her a meal and have it delivered to her when you are not there. Also, it’s a good idea to know the local florists in her area so that you may send her gifts (less money when using a local florist than an 800 service).
  • Try to plan a special event for Valentine’s Day, whether you spend it together or not. Planning should start months in advance. Same for her birthday, and New Year’s Eve.
  • Plan at least 1-2 vacations alone together every year.
  • Plan to attend each other’s family weddings, reunions, and other family special events.
  • Talk about what each of you watch on TV. Decide on something to watch together (on or off the phone) and discuss it later on the phone.
  • Write a list of things you can talk about.
  • Use Skype, Oovoo, Yahoo Messenger, etc., to see each other and talk at least once per week while seeing each other. If others are always around, get a laptop or IPad to use in the privacy of your bedroom at night.
  • Both plan to see a movie at the theater the same weekend then talk about it.Send her pictures of your new hairstyle, when out with friends, or of a great meal you cooked or ate at a restaurant.
  • Keep up with the weather reports in her area to warn her if you see a storm coming. And, if her area is in a big storm, stay in contact with her to make sure she is OK.
  • Order and send to her a gift certificate to get a mani/pedi at her favorite spa.
  • Send her greeting cards expressing how you feel. Lightly spray the card with your favorite fragrance.
  • Purchase a new pair of panties, take a shower or bath using your favorite fragrance then wear the panties for 30 minutes then mail to her.
  • Plan a weekend beach or resort trip or cruise together.
  • End each phone conversation at night with 1 thing you like about the other.

Remember the top themes:

Intimacy – Make sure you stay connected and let technology help you overcome the physical separation.  Share your feelings because your voice and words have to resonate physically, emotionally and spiritually. Effective and consistent communication is the key.

Interaction – Use different forms of media to connect and express your love. Find and consistently plan ways/times to be “together” to share your lives. You both must commit to engaging differently, and you must agree to interact in a way that supports the relationship and strengthens the bond. Expect bouts of loneliness but use those times for self-development.

Ingenuity – Be creative and make sure you allocate resources to cultivate and nurture the relationships. LDRs take money and planning so think outside the box so that your finances don’t limit your love.

Great tips and wisdom from the ladies of Create Love. If you find the love of your life, don’t let distance stop you from making a love connection. Anything worth having is worth working for J.

SharRon Jamison

NO MORE GAMES! Successful Dating Workshop


One workshop 2 dynamic components to help you step up your dating game. Being single should be fun!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

NO MORE GAMES! Successful Dating Workshop


One workshop 2 dynamic components to help you step up your dating game. Being single should be fun!

Who Are You Dating, REALLY? - By Imani Evans
Uncover the relationship patterns and themes that you are repeating, despite your efforts to do it differently. Identify the relationship personalities that keep showing up in your life to offer you a lesson for growth. Explore your issues with intimacy and fear of rejection.

Create Your Dating Rulebook - By SharRon Jamison
Explore the values that will help you build a solid guide to knowing and getting what you want in a relationship. Create a template for sharing your expectations with potential mates. Learn how to stop settling in the name of "compromise", because single should not equal desperate.
  • Aren't you tired of playing from a worn out playbook and just want some grown-up dating guidelines?
  • Do you find yourself dating the same type of women who don't really know what they want?
  • Do you wish you had a solid way to weed out the women who are wasting your time and sucking up all of your energy for nothing?
  • Tired of being single but not willing to settle?


Monday, August 18, 2014

Happy Couple Highlight: Annise and Benny

Annise Mabry 
Benae“Benny” Ingram
Making Love Distance Love Last from Atlanta to Boston

How did you meet:  Annise:  Benae "Benny" and I met through my best friend Michelle Alexander Dowell-Vest. Benny was one of the moderators for the A Gurlz Guide Facebook group and she always had such a calming presence about her when she would enter the room. Then, I started reading her blogs and I was intrigued but when she wrote "Studs with Kids"--she stole my heart. The only problem was I could never determine if she was dating or single so for over a year I simply sat back and watched. That was until I had the opportunity to have her on my podcast to talk about her blog. 

Benny: You're beautiful. You're beautiful. You're beautiful. It’s true. I saw your face in a crowded place and I don't know what to do. The words to that song fit how I felt when I meet Annise-- her spirit just spoke to me. I had no idea if she was single in fact I was pretty sure she was dating her best friend Sharon. Even though I was attracted to her I am not the one to break up a happy home, so I tried to ignore her. However I found myself going to her page just to see what funny bitstrip created or adventure she had gotten into.  She simply spoke my love language – laughter. She made me laugh out loud.

Being so far away, how do you nurture your relationship: Annise: I've always been a "wordsmith" but somehow usually dated people who were "word challenged"--meaning that they preferred to communicate their feelings and emotions in a different language that I often couldn't hear or didn't understand.  I love cards so early in our relationship, I would go to Hallmark and spend hours looking for "just the right card" for the week. Then, I would bring it home and write a short paragraph on the inside, spray it with my perfume, seal it, then apply my lipstick and fill the envelope with kisses.  I also surprised her with having flowers delivered to her at work. This was a total dating shift for her because I am the femme and she is the stud. But it was a wonderful treat. And on the day that she got the news that her MS had progressed to the point where she could no longer work, I arranged for a local Indian restaurant in her city to deliver dinner to her. I told her "Sometimes you have to replace the worst moment of your life with the best memory of the day."  Can I just say that nurturing a long distance relationship in a lot of ways is a little easier than a face to face relationship because I think it made me become more deliberate in my actions. We also launched an online adult toy store-- Lezmysterybox together four months after we started dating. Ironically, I had implemented a 90 Day "No Sex" rule when we met so here we are trying to stock an online sex toy store with merchandise but yet we aren't having sex LOL...I guess if I had to sum up how I nurture our relationship, I would have to say by being deliberate in my thoughts, actions, and words. 

Benny: A lot of times when loving from a distance we become insecure and/or caught up in self. You think - tonight I am lonely so I will call her and that is all good until its 2am and she doesn't answer the phone.  That's when the trouble starts that plants the seeds of doubt in one’s head.  So when it happens again the person is really feeling some kind of way. Another problem is when loving from a distance is when we are communicating by phone or internet we tend to hide our true feelings. That is easy to do because you can't see each other’s face when those words are spoken so Annise and I had to learn to see each other without seeing. Right now just hearing her voice I can tell you if something is wrong, I can even tell what it is that's wrong. That is because I learned to listen to her... I was forced to listen to her; she imposed a 90 day rule that meant no sex, or any talking about sex. What that did was allowed us to truly get to know one another without the pressure of sex and all that came with sex. After sex, people change; it's that simple. The curtains come down and the real you is revealed. So it's no surprise things don't work out because you had no idea who she was before you slept with her. For us we had to learn who the "man" behind the curtain was before we jumped into bed. So now if I call and she doesn't answer I am not worried because I know her. So how do I nurture Annise? I give her the space she needs, I allow her to vent and not take it personal, I understand her ups and downs, and I know when to step in and when to leave it alone. I follow up on the things I say I will do and I project trustworthiness into our relationship. I am strong enough to lead when she needs me to, and strong enough to follow her when she takes the lead. Lastly I say what I feel openly and honestly with love.
How do we stay connected: Annise:  We talk on the phone...a lot; and, we Skype, and we Facebook, and we email and we text. When you think about it, how we stay connected is the same as how any couple stays connected. We have a private Facebook room for just the two of us so that we don't fill each other's timelines with all of the "mushy" stuff that most of our friends really don't want to see; and, Benny always sends me either a song for the week or in the beginning it was a song for the day. We also play a song game called Wicked Ways Wednesday on our Facebook wall and this is where we battle each other in songs. I never realized how much other people were paying attention to what we did until someone sent me a message one Tuesday evening and it said "Looking forward to tomorrow!" I responded back "What's tomorrow?" The reply “Wicked Ways". You and Benny crack me up with some of the songs ya'll come up with and the things ya'll say."

Benny: Laughter is my love language and music is hers, so we are Bi-lingo (lol). She knows when I post a song to listen to the words I am telling her something and I know that she expresses her pain, fears and hurts though comedy.  She will take what should be a sad event in her life and turn it into laughter. Oh, and we compete with each other - good old fashion competition, yes even in the bedroom lol.
In your opinion, what are the pitfalls to a LDR? Annise:  I'm going to be honest--there aren't a lot of pitfalls for me. I have am the owner of Back2Us Radio Network.  I homeschool both of my children, I care for both of my aging parents (and my dad has Alzheimer’s). Honestly, this is why I wanted a long distance relationship because I needed a love that could fit into my life not me having to fit my life into my love. There are some nights when I get a quiet moment that I miss having Benny beside me or waking up snuggled in her arms; but, at this stage of my life, that type of relationship simply doesn't fit my life. What I love about Benny is she is very supportive. Benny: Of course I miss waking up to her, and falling asleep next to her. This may seem strange but when I am sleeping I still feel her next to me. 

With the distance, how do you maintain intimacy: Annise:  We talked about the different levels of intimacy early in our relationship—sexual intimacy, emotional intimacy, and spiritual intimacy.  I have always had relationships that had good sexual intimacy but and for the longest time I thought this was enough.  I often blended emotional intimacy with sexual intimacy but it wasn’t until I began dating Benny that I realized there was a distinct difference—like the difference between sweetened Almond Milk and unsweetened Almond Milk.  Both taste like Almond Milk but there is a distinct difference in the two but you never notice this until you have had the opportunity to “taste” both.

Spiritual intimacy is by far our most interesting intimacy.  Benny is a minister and I am so far on the opposite end of the spectrum that I told her “God’s got jokes”.  We are respectful of each other’s beliefs and supportive of each other’s spiritual needs. 

I must confess-- one of the best things about being in a long distance relationship is it feels like we are on forever honeymoon.  Now some would say that this isn’t a realistic way to live but let me explain.  When we are always searching for new, romantic places to visit or to spend the night at when we are together.  For example, our one year anniversary is coming up on Aug 24 and my 40th birthday is Aug 28.  Benny knows that I love historic hotels and quaint bed-n-breakfast inns so she has booked a romance package for us at one of the oldest hotels in Oklahoma.
Benny: Intimacy is like the five senses we all have. It is nice to have all five (sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch) but when one sense is lost the other four heighten. The same with intimacy.  When sexual intimacy isn't as big a part of your relationship, then emotional and spiritual will fill the void. One must allow that to happen.  Most times we get caught up in the physical and miss the emotional support and spiritual side. We never allow the latter to grow so we stay stuck on physical; but, it takes a balance of all three.  I know when she is thinking about me and she knows when I think of her. I can get up look at my phone and it will ring or she will text me and say you are not feeling well today.
Your LDR has an added variable. How do you manage that aspect of your relationship? Annise:  Benny and I both have chronic, progressive illnesses.  I have CIDP, a rare auto-immune disease that attacks the muscles of the peripheral nervous system.  It is often nicknamed “the red-headed step child of MS.”  Benny has MS.  We live with the reality that one day these diseases are going to consume our bodies, that we will both need either assisted living or a personal care assistant, and that these illnesses leave us fatigued.  This fatigue can sometimes impact our sexual intimacy; so, that is why it is so important that we have strong emotional and spiritual intimacy bonds with each other.

Benny: Watching her run those 5ks inspired me. When you are diagnosed with any illness you try to live inside the boundaries of that disease. Annise has shown me that MS does not define who I am. I have MS, MS does not have me. So now I live outside that MS box. I plan to run with her. 

What do you most love about her? Annise: What I love the most about Benny is her ability to calm the chaos and to make sense of my endless chatter.   I am disorganized yet focused; and, when I become single focused I have a tendency to get all wound up in the feeling of that project.  Then like a rubber band pulled too tight, I snap.  Until Benny, no one really knew how to handle “the snap”.  Benny: Her wit.
What one word most captures your love for her and why? Annise:  Believe.  As an educator, I have spent my whole life telling everyone else that they had the power to achieve their dreams; but, it wasn’t until Benny came into my life that I had a partner to say  “I believe in you”  and put actions to words to prove it.   I also want to add Trust—because I didn’t realize it until writing this that a lot of my insecurities were a result of trust issues.  I mean really trusting that my partner is going to be there the way she said she would when she said she would.  Benny: Surrender. For the first time I am able to let my walls down.  I feel secure; my flaws are safe in her hands. I can be me once again.
What advice can you give to couples embarking on a LDR? Annise: Long distance relationships take 3c's--courage, commitment, and communication. You have to have the courage to hold on to your relationship in a society that operates with a microwave mentality. You have to have the courage to know that there are going to be a lot of nights and even social events where you will be a single person w/o a partner—and you somehow have to find your peace with that.  You have to make a commitment to stay the course.  Some days it will be a lot easier to be committed from a distance than others; and, on those days when it’s not easy—you have to be comfortable enough in your relationship to say “This is not easy.  This is what happened today. This is how I feel.”   Finally you have to communicate and I mean really communicate—beyond the “I miss you” and  beyond the “I want you here”.  You have to communicate when you have plans to see each other but the money isn’t coming together to make the travel possible; and, you both need to make sure that you can each fund your own travel so that the burden of the travel doesn’t fall on one person.
And I also want to add—do a 90 day stay—meaning for the first 90 days that you stay away from anything sexual—having sex, talking about sex, songs about sex—this will allow you to approach the entire situation with eyes wide open.
Benny: Keep it simple, let go of the traditional idea of what love looks like. If you have a bike, ride that bike.  Don’t put 22in rims on your bike because that doesn’t work( lol). So stop putting other people’s ideas on YOUR relationship; just get on it and ride.

Benny and Annise can be found here:


Lezmysterybox has been online for 19 years and has over 100,000 items.  But we wanted more so we  also have agreements  with Aslan Leather, Orgasmatronics Inc (aka the bionic strap on) and Pleasureworks.  

We thank you for sharing your love with us at Create Love! Your story will encourage, inspire and uplift other couples. We wish you continued success and happiness.

Create Love Founders

Imani Evans and SharRon Jamison 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Finding The One Part I: I Am One

She’s not going to come into your life until you have done the self-work you need to do to be ready. A potential One may come, but if you’re not ready to receive her at your highest, best self, the connection won’t likely be what you want or need it to be.

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”
--Helen Keller 
The above quote may seem strange to connect to finding “The One” in the dating quest. But when I re-read it (it’s one of my favorite quotes), I thought about how important it is to do one’s part in being available, willing and ready to enter a relationship. So I interpret this to mean: I am responsible for who and what I bring into a relationship. I can’t change anyone but me. I will actively work on me—especially when I am bothered by something in HER. Some things I won’t be able to heal in myself until I get into a relationship.

First, I’m clear that the optimal relationship is one that brings me compatibility and companionship. I have been dating and loving myself. So I am looking for the right woman to complement me—not complete me. I am committed to self- awareness and seeking self-actualization. So, I am not needing validation or approval of who I am. I also want to offer the same affirmation and support to her. I believe that we will be good to each other, good with each other and good for each other.

Secondly, if I can easily spot her faults and flaws, it may be that those things are reflecting, highlighting or triggering flaws, character defects or issues in me. And because I can’t change her, I need to change my response to her and make sure that I’m not labeling her as difficult just because she’s different than me. I certainly need to be honest about anything that I am doing to contribute to the difficult behaviors. It’s kind of like playing a game with someone and realizing that they are breaking the rules or perhaps just not playing like you like to play. You can always take your ball (or dolls) and stop playing. In other words, if she does something that automatically draws a certain reaction from me, and I continue to react in the same way each time, now I’m playing a significant part in the difficult behavior.
Finally, there some personal habits, some reactionary patterns and some interpersonal dynamics that can only be addressed in the context of a relationship. It could be something simple like how you sleep in your bed—in the middle versus curled up on one side. Or something ongoing like what you do as a part of your weekend routine. And it could be something bigger like your values around friendships and family; or your spending habits. The way you deal with those things individually could be different than the negotiation and compromise that is required in a relationship. I also believe that the best way to learn to trust again, is to try trusting. And intimacy with another person can’t be achieved in isolation or just being with yourself. Plus, creating new love and new experiences can be a great way to provide contrast to painful pasts and unpleasant memories.

So as I explore myself and others in the dating process, I look for opportunities to grow. Even if a connection with someone doesn’t lead to what I call “intentional dating’ to see if we are each other’s one, I can always use the encounter to learn more and better prepare for the real thing.

Gwen Thomas is the author of The S.H.E. Experience, a woman’s perspective on self-actualization. She is also the President and CEO of The C.A.S.T. Company, which provides training, consulting and professional coaching to individuals and organizations. As speaker and consultant, she presents various professional development and personal growth topics. She has provided training and motivational speaking throughout the United States, in the Caribbean; a total of 7 countries on three continents.

She has experience and expertise in leadership and organizational development, communication skills and women’s professional and personal growth. She has spent the majority of her professional life motivating and teaching others in workplace settings and in spiritual environments.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Create Love: Money Tips

Ruth's tip: Enroll in your employer 401(k), if they offer it, as soon as you can to take advantage of the benefits. If you have a traditional 401(k), your contributions are taken from pretax dollars. Employers automatically deduct from your paycheck, helping you maintain the discipline to keep contributing. Many employers will match a certain percentage of your contributions, so at a minimum, try to contribute enough to earn the full match. That match is part of your compensation, so don't leave that money on the table.

Ruth Jacks is a Sr. VP at a national bank and is the Co-Founder of jTruth, a financial consulting firm. Thanks Ruth for sharing with CREATE LOVE!


Felicia's Tip: Determine how long it takes for your money to double? 
As you are planning for retirement, taking a look at your age and determine how old you will be when your money doubles will help you determine 3 things:

1.      Are you saving enough each month
2.      Is the interest rate you are getting enough to meet your goals
3.      Approx how old you will be when your money doubles

The Rule of 72 is a simple calculation to help you determine how long it will take for your money to double.
  • Divide the interest rate you are earning by 72. The result will be the number of years it will take for your money to double.
  • Assume your interest rate = 6%. Divide 72/6 = 12 years
  • Assuming you have $25,000 invested at 6%; you will have $50,000 in 12 years.

A 6% interest rate is often found with Mutual Funds, Variable Annuities, and individual stocks.  6% is NOT typical with checking, savings, CDs or money market accounts.  See chart below.

This financial tip was brought to you by Felicia Lewis, Co-founder of jTruth, Inc.
Thanks for sharing with CREATE LOVE!