Dear Therapist: My Heart is on the Line

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Dear Therapist:

I told my special someone that I love her. Dang! She didn’t return the sentiment. I’m all in and she’s not. What do I do now?

Signed, Heart On the Line

How courageous to have acted on how you felt and let your partner know. Sometimes this is the only way to open up dialogue about where the two of you are in relation to one another.

I hear how “out there” you feel given your partner has not returned her love to you. It may be a good idea to take an honest assessment of the situation – were you surprised or not? Do you feel you are on the same page with one another or did you feel that you are more invested in the two of you than your partner?

These types of questions can help you discern how you are feeling both on the surface and underneath as well. If you are in love with someone, it is natural to express it with freedom and truth. That turning toward love is worthy. Now that you know it is not returned to you in the same way, you can decide how you want to proceed with your partner and/or on your own.

This is a crossroads moment in many ways. Are you willing to wait and see if your feelings will be returned? Is it not enough to be the only one feeling the love at this point? How does your partner feel about your love? Is it prompting her to draw closer or further away from you? Notice how you are feeling as you interact and observe what is happening between the two of you.

Yes, your heart is on the line and now, because of your courageous expression of love, your partner’s truth is also on the line. What you notice and observe about yourself, your partner, and the two of you together will be key to the next steps you take.

How to Show Love Now and Always

Presence is Key!

What’s the key to love?

Haven’t poets and authors and actors waxed and waned over the years as to how to show the person you love that you indeed love her?

There is always a laundry list of “ways to show love” and “things you can do to show love.” Ah, these lists are full of small and large gestures, words to use, and presents to give the other. So many good ideas, but I am also amazed at how often it is all about the doing and very little around being.

Being together and being present to the other seems to me to be the number one way to show your partner how much you love her. That’s right — no big money, no big outside gesture, no prescribed words – just you being with your partner. Completely.

This is so difficult to do that most of us are running to those lists for the big outer thing we can do to show it — anything to avoid actually being completely attuned to another.

And, yet, isn’t that what many of us yearn for on a day-to-day basis. Someone greeting us when we come home at night and listening deeply and intently to our words and responding in kind in ways that make us feel heard, understood, and cherished.

Or when we wake up in the morning. Someone asking us how we slept, did we dream, how are you feeling as the day begins?

Or midday, your partner calls you in the middle of it all and says, “How’s it going? and then waits to hear all about it. Then, lends a reassuring statement like, “Can’t wait to hear more tonight.”

Can you imagine having your partner’s presence throughout your day such as this? Talk about showing love and the other receiving and feeling it. Even better if both partners can strive for this type of presence with one another.

The number one way to show your love is being present to the other with all of your being.

Try it – it’s so significant and transformative.

Book Review: Lark Cooking Wild in the Northwest

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Well, it is the month of love and people always say that love can often be shown through the food we serve one another. That is why I have chosen to focus on a cookbook for this week’s book review — and not just any ol’ cookbook, but one that speaks to me in more ways than one.

Lark — first off, I love the word. It ranks right up there for me with the word serendipity. When I looked up the word, its exact meaning is, according to Merriam-Webster,”a source of or a quest for amusement and adventure.” Well, now I see why I’m drawn to the word. Amusement, Adventure — and then pair that with food and I am off to the races with my imagination.

So, the restaurant, Lark, in Seattle holds a perfect name for me. Many years ago, I was so intrigued, I dined at this restaurant and was completely enchanted by its small space and plates that seemed to take my tastebuds on an adventure that evening.

Eventually, Lark moved into a new space and it is it still a grand restaurant in Seattle that I highly recommend to you. However, if you cannot make it out to this restaurant, this cookbook, Lark Cooking Wild in the Northwest is a wonderful book that captures not only their recipes, but how to make the most of our provisions in the Pacific NW.

There are three seasons of eating in the Pacific NW, according to Lark, and they include: Mist, from November to March, Evergreen, from April to July, and Bounty, from August to October. As you can guess, the names go with the themes of the season each year. The restaurant cooks within the seasons and the recipes encourage cooks to do the same.

The book itself takes me on an adventure through many favorite recipes that I have tried at this restaurant over the years — like the sun choke chips! Simple, crispy — yum!

There are so many cookbooks out there on the bookshelves, perhaps on your kitchen shelves, and this addition will make itself worthy by the recipes that will inspire you to cook with the seasons of the Pacific Northwest. Even the cover has me dreaming of the mysteries of this area.

A gorgeous book for a wild, adventurous, amusing palette — and there is always the restaurant as a back up too!

Puppy Love

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Puppy Love

We can learn so much from our pets, particularly if you have dogs. I have nothing against cats – I even have one of my own – but there is something about how a dog, one’s loyal companion, interacts with you that can heal a broken heart, extend love, provide companionship when we are lonely, witness all of ourselves, protect fiercely, and love honestly.

Dogs are authentically themselves. You really don’t have to think too much about what they are thinking, will they or will they not be there for you, harsh judgment, a snippy reply and many other human foibles we all make each every day.

The beauty of being with our dogs can teach us how to be better for ourselves and for one another. I often think if I just took a page from my dog’s book, I would find my days easy to walk through and I would constantly be bringing good to others and our world.

This week, as we celebrate love, don’t forget your pets. Embrace them and be curious as to how much your pooch can teach you as you relate to the others in your life.

Dear Therapist: Love Is In the Air

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Love is in the Air!

Dear Therapist:

It’s one week until Valentine’s Day – to say that “love is in the air” is an understatement! Everyone is making plans, has plans, completely gaga over someone — ugh! I got no one! I’m not writing because I feel sorry for myself, although I do sometimes. More to the point, how do I get through this week when I feel completely left out.

Signed, One Lovely Heart

Yeah, I get it. Not only do I understand, I have been there myself. Haven’t we all had a year or two or three where everyone it seemed was completely in love and over the moon struck with the love bug — except you? It happens. Ugh is right!

However, these days, like all holidays, love is measured beyond only romantic love. Yes, Cupid was traditionally associated with romance between partners, but anymore love is celebrated among friends, family, and community. It is a time to bask in the glow of love — of all.

And does our world ever need this more thane ever? How to ease a heart that doesn’t have a special someone this week? Expand your thought of who a special someone is in your life?

Who is your best friend, who did something for you awhile ago that you completely appreciated, who is faithful and loyal to you, who makes you laugh, who can you call up and see the same shows you both adore — all of these people, and more, are special someones.

Celebrate them and your relationship with that person. Perhaps send a text, a note, an emoji, share a song, share a candy — whatever you have to celebrate these relationships in your life. I know it is not exactly the hot romantic dinner date that Valentine’s is supposed to promise with someone you over the moon for, but expanding out beyond this notion can really help engage you in the spirit of this loving holiday.

Celebrate LOVE with all whom you share it with this week.