What is LOVE ? ? ?

what is love

Seeking truths, finding answers and coming to new understandings is all about asking the right questions, and being the curious woman I am, I LOVE questions … So, I get very excited when people ask me those important and meaningful questions that make me STOP and REFLECT

“What is LOVE to you” ? …

 … was the question my Mam asked me during a recent conversation we were having about my love life

Being a woman who has loved many I sometimes struggle to understand who, why, when and how I love the men in my life … My automatic response was, “it varies and has multiple levels”, which only caused even more confusion (insert giggle)

So, I pondered and gave the question some more thought, because even though I have an inner knowing about my feelings and experiences around love, it wasnt so easy to explain

what is love1

LOVE … means many different things to many different people, and it’s a feeling that’s often difficult to describe and explain … so this is my attempt of explaining what love means to me

For me, the love I have for my children is the DEEPEST and TRUEST love I’ve ever experienced … it’s a love and connection that remains strong, regardless of time and space … Theres something kind of wonderful about making, carrying and raising a child … But, however prepared we may think we are, nothing quite compares us for this journey … Like many of us, I tend to learn most from the experiences as they unfold … Motherhood definitely continues to be my biggest teacher and lesson of unconditional love


 For me, the love I feel for my family remains CONSTANT and CONSISTENT, regardless of challenges and conflicts … Although our life experiences often result in uncomfortable changes, there’s always been a sense of acceptance and respect for our differences and who we are as individuals … The love of family provides me with a strong sense of connection, comfort and security and continues to be my biggest teacher and lesson on attachment


For me, the love I feel for my friends also remains CONSTANT, but challenges and conflicts often CHANGES our connection … Some friendships fade, while others strengthen and deepen … Over the years my circle of friendship continues to change as we do, but when a strong connection is formed, it’s usually a forever kind of bond … Friendship continues to be my biggest teacher and lesson in diversity


My experience of romantic love has been and continues to be FOREVER CHANGING, based on my own growth and therefore dependant upon my own wants, needs and expectations … I’ve been doing ALOT of reflecting upon my previous heart connections as I focus on understanding myself and healing heart hurts … My romantic and intimate connections continues to be my biggest teacher and lesson in self-love

Why do we fall in love ?


Understanding why our hearts connect with someone is the key that unlocks deeper understandings into ourselves, and why we therefore choose a certain relationship

… which leads me to SELF LOVE

self love

I used to believe that I didn’t fall in love easily, which isn’t true … I actually fall in love often and love LOTS of things about life … because for me, love isn’t just about the feelings between a man and a woman … love is whatever is in my heart …

listen to your heart

… and I hold ALOT of love for MANY different things in my heart

I hold the love for my nearest and dearest … and fall in love with them more with each passing year … because the more experiences we share together, the more depth and substance it gives our connection

I hold the love for my passions and interests … because they are what give my life meaning and provides me with a sense of purpose

I hold love for people … for all those who are brave enough to be themselves, in a world trying to make them something else … for all those who pay it forward … for all those suffering and for all those aspiring

I hold love for the magic and wonderful wildness of nature and animals … every time I’m confronted with something beautiful … and each time I’m reminded that I’m guided and supported by the universe … I fall in love with life that little bit more

  BUT … I’ve always been my biggest critic and therefore havent really loved myself in the way I truly deserve … my understanding of self-love has and continues to change ALL of my experiences … which at times can be confronting, challenging and uncomfortable … because to love ourselves more, we must be willing to LET GO of everything that holds us back from doing so (people, things, beliefs etc.)

Love Quotes 3

 LOVE is true when its unconditional

LOVE feels secure when its constant and consistent

Challenges and conflicts changes our LOVE connections

LOVE is forever changing depending upon wants, needs and expectations


The process of CHANGE …

process of change

I’ve been trying to finish a blog entry based on a question I was asked recently …

“What is love to you” ? …

… but my self reflection stirred up some very uncomfortable thoughts and opened up my heart to some very intense emotions, when I suddenly found myself confronted with several challenging situations all at once (a hurting child, financial stress, work conflict and heart challenges) … and like any bad habit, several of the buggers rose their ugly heads at once, in attempts to “help me cope” (hmmmm)

How do you cope during unexpected challenges and conflicts ?

Are you aware of your automatic coping mechanisms during times of stress ?

Do you reflect over your habits and behaviours ?


 I have a habit of thinking TOO much (insert wink) … and so I’ve given ALOT of thought to those questions

When I feel anxious or worried I chew on my fingers and bite my nails

When I feel stressed or overwhelmed I reach for booze, cigarettes and sex

When I feel depressed or emotional I comfort eat

When I feel alone or have low self-esteem I seek out male attention

Ofcourse, I also engage in more positive coping behaviours, but this blog is about the uncomfortable truth about how I’ve leaned on bad habits to cope with challenging life experiences … the habits I’ve been consciously working on changing over the past 10 years … and the very same habits that ALWAYS surface during challenges or conflicts

SO … Whats changed ? ? ?


My biggest accomplishment is that I’ve finally successfully kicked the smoking habit (HURRAY for me) … but I still “think” about it during times of stress and have reached for it during emotional break down mode, but it no longer provides me with the same sense of comfort or relief … It now makes me feel physically ill, which triggers off an entirely different reaction, making it much easier to STOP the behaviour before it becomes a habit

nail biting

I still chew on my fingers, especially when I watch scary movies, which suggests there’s a strong relationship to fear … but when it comes to stress, I now recognise that when I start to nibble I need to self-care … and when I mindfully manage my stress better, I automatically don’t engage in the behaviour … the condition of my fingers has become a GREAT visual indicator of how well I’m coping


I very rarely drink to escape or avoid my reality anymore, because I’m actively working on creating the life I want to live … However, I still indulge in a few glasses of wine to help me relax … but I’m mindful of when and why I over indulge … so if I ever find myself reaching for the booze during times of stress, I usually end up talking myself out of it because of my self-awareness … but there are times when I tell myself … “Screw you” … and over indulge during my moments of misery anyways … because I am a human BEING who ever she is, based on whatever she is thinking

comfort eating

WHY damn it WHY ? … comfort eating is STILL my most challenging habit to beat … because temptation is EVERYWHERE … and so how well I do depends greatly upon my state of mind … some days I get it right and other days I don’t

attention seeker

It wasnt all that long ago that my heart was broken … and making a conscious decision to keep my hurting heart open to experiences, instead of pining over a love lost, I went back onto the online dating site

Ofcourse, this was also about fulfilling my intimacy needs as well as my need to still feel desired, wanted and worthy of love … but I’ve tired of the endless interest from those seeking sex … and I find myself fleeing from those seeking love

Its become apparent that its neither sex nor love I’m looking for

My ego obviously no longer drives me because I no longer seek attention … my heart wants and needs CONNECTION


Perhaps … that’s because my focus is loving myself more ?

People Pleasing

people pleaser4

” the art of pleasing, is the art of deception ” (Luc de Clapiers)

Seems like an odd statement to make …

How can pleasing others be considered deceiving ?

Making people happy is a good thing … right ?

I think its fair to say that we all prefer to please rather than to disappoint, but before we go any further, ask yourself …


WHAT MOTIVATES YOU to please others ?

Is people pleasing a true act of selflessness ?

Or can it also be a selfish act ?

And when does pleasing others become a problem ?


I can already feel the people pleasers squirming in seats, clenching jaws and frowning brows (insert giggle)

I giggle because I know it all too well …

I AM a recovering people pleaser !!!

and as my beliefs & behaviour changes … I confront a variety of new and different challenges


How did my people pleasing behaviour begin ?

I was raised to believe that putting others before myself was a selfless act of kindness… so whenever I considered myself first, I thought I was being too selfish and felt bad about myself

I was raised to believe that as a woman and mother my needs should come secondary to the needs of others … so whenever I considered my own needs first, I thought I was being too selfish and felt bad about myself

I was raised to believe that helping and supporting others is what made me a good person … so whenever I didn’t offer the kind of help and support someone wanted, then I thought I wasn’t being helpful and felt bad about myself

Feeling BAD about myself prevents me from truly LOVING myself …

So, something HAD to change !!!


My previous beliefs made it extremely difficult to say NO to people and speak my truth in the past, and whenever I did say NO and speak my truth, I experienced feelings of guilt and shame

So, HOW do we stop feeling guilty ?

I often refer to our minds as being like a computer, and just as our computers require software upgrades, so do our minds …

Some of our beliefs become OUT DATED !!!

But, HOW do we know when its time to upgrade ?


If our thoughts create our reality, then its our beliefs that shape our thoughts, which influence our emotions, that impact on our energy flow, which creates our experience …

Therefore, our experience of tension and conflict is our first indicator

So, acknowledging the emotion, to determine the thought, will identify the belief that prevents our energy flow …


WHAT IS cognitive dissonance ?

Its when a CORE BELIEF is challenged … when new evidence suggests that the belief we hold is no longer our truth, it creates feelings of extreme discomfort … and to relieve the discomfort we will often rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that rejects the truth of our core belief

A complicated process … perhaps ?

But none the less, its an ESSENTIAL aspect of our change and growth


As I began to take more personal responsibility for my own experiences and become more consciously aware of my own habits and behaviours, the more I continue to question my own thoughts and beliefs …


Saying NO, considering my own needs first, dropping the guilt trips and blame games, confronting conflicting truths with intentions to understand, voicing my opinion with more confidence, living my truth without the need to justify my actions and changing the way I think about how I help and support others, isn’t always easy …

it has and does bring me great discomforts as my experiences change

Because the more authentic I become the less people I please


FACT: being authentic means we ARE going to displease others

FACT: our truth WILL challenge others

FACT: to love ourselves we MUST look at our people pleasing habits


I believe people pleasing becomes a problem when we choose to please others out of fear of being disliked or rejected

I believe people pleasing becomes a bad habit when we do it to avoid criticism and conflict

I believe people pleasing becomes unhealthy when we believe other people are more important than ourselves

Accepting that some people do not and will not like me isn’t something I’m comfortable with, but I’m learning to not take it personally

Accepting that some people must leave my life isn’t something I do easily, but I’m learning to let go of what was so life can become ALL it can be

Accepting that my choices will be disapproved by those who matter most in my life causes me discomfort, but I’m learning to trust my own heart and walk my own path with more confidence

Accepting that other peoples happiness isn’t my responsibility is sometimes challenging, but I’m learning to maintain healthier boundaries

Maintaining healthy boundaries is important for ALL of our relationships and interactions with others and ourselves … because when we start living an authentic life our giving comes from a place of love and not from a sense of duty or responsibility

Acknowledging how we allow others to manipulate us and how we deceive ourselves is important for ALL of our relationships and interactions with others and ourselves … because when we stand in our truths we encourage others to do the same, which cultivates more self love and less unhealthy attachments and dependencies


Can you say NO without guilt ?

Has your NO been respected in the past ?

Does your NO hold power ?

Are your boundaries respected ?

Are your opinions valued ?

Is your body respected ?

Are your feelings validated ?

When we focus on pleasing others, we fail to please ourselves …

Take back the POWER to LOVE yourself

I read a wonderful blog about “Taking back your NO”, by Lisa Vallejos, that inspired me to write about our people pleasing habits … the blog is an emotional story about holding space, sharing experience, healing hurt and supporting truths … well worth a read, so click on the link …

Taking Back Your “No.”

There is NO shame in loving thy self



We live in a world where SEX sells but MASTURBATION shames … something I can’t quite wrap my head around … because masturbation is a common behaviour and a popular habit enjoyed by many, regardless of age or relationship status … yet it’s something that many people are not all that comfortable talking about


I was raised in a loving home by loving parents, but whenever the topic of masturbation or sex came up (usually initiated by yours truly) then tensions in the room certainly increased, and it STILL causes discomforts whenever the topic is raised … heavens forbid if I can bring up the topic of conversation around my 3 children (now aged 18, 19 , 20) … and who wants to imagine older people in nursing homes with any form of sexual need

Hmmmmm … sex is considered to be a basic human need, essential for the survival of our species and pleasure is something we ALL seek … so WHY does it cause so much embarrassment and discomfort and WHY don’t we talk more openly and honestly about it ? … Our teenagers are most likely surfing the net for sexual content to satisfy their curiosities and wonderings … because its just TOO darn uncomfortable to talk about … and not ALL old people have been raised under the strict restrictions of Catholic guilt and shame … many acknowledge and identify with their sexual needs … but they are often shamed and guilted into silence and submission by those who find the topic uncomfortable


As professional helpers can you see the importance of understanding WHY we may prefer to avoid this subject ? … understanding our own attitudes and beliefs is imperative to ensure that we don’t deny the needs of others, based on our own discomforts

 I’ve had many honest and open conversations with people, including the elderly about sex, masturbation, libido and intimacy … conversations that not too many people are willing to engage in, let alone initiate

WHY do people masturbate ? ? ?

HELLO !!! … because it feels good of course … it relieves tensions, supports relaxation, improves mood, helps us to become more familiar with our own bodies, increases sexual pleasure and it can improve relationships


Is it shameful to touch yourself ?

Do you feel guilty for giving yourself sexual pleasure ?

Do you feel uncomfortable talking about masturbation ?

Answers to those questions will give some insight into your own beliefs and attitudes towards sex and masturbation, which will influence your own thoughts, feelings and therefore experiences

But I pose another question …How can we truly love ourselves if we feel negatively about satisfying our own intimacy needs ?

Yes … I AM a masturbating, sexually active woman … who has experienced feelings of shame and guilt

Anyone else ? ? ? … then lets see a show of hands (insert wink)


My experiences of masturbation have been somewhat interesting to say the least, memories that would make me blush with embarrassment whenever my parents brought up funny stories at family gatherings (insert snigger) … I was the kid with ALOT of questions and far TOO many curiosities and wonderings … accidentally stumbling across a place that gave me a tingly sensation at a very young age

Yes, I was that kid rocking back and forth happily in the shopping trolley and on her chair during class and assembly, getting all tingly … at primary school for fooksakes (insert gasp) hahaha … Oh yes, many an embarrassing moment for my parents … so I soon learned that it was NOT something to be done in public, and so I secretly indulged in my tinglings in private, feeling like I was doing something very naughty … which was where the feelings of shame and guilt began

I refer to them as “tinglings” because I never experienced the intensity of a true orgasm until I was 19 years old … which will probably surprise those who know me well, considering I was a child hood rocker (insert snigger n snort)


Have you ever experienced an intensely emotional or energetic shift during love-making ?

Have you ever sobbed during an orgasm ?

Have you ever avoided or denied yourself sexual intimacy to gain a sense of control ?

Have you ever engaged in casual sex to either gain or lose control ?

Have you ever completely let go of all inhibitions and allowed yourself complete sexual liberation ?

Yup … the child with ALOT of questions and TOO many curiosities and wonderings grew up to be a woman with ALOT more questions and many MORE curiosities and wonderings (insert smile)

For me, masturbation now holds a much deeper meaning without the subconscious experiences of shame and guilt attached to it … the energy around self love has shifted and my experiences are changing … masturbation and sex have both become a source of healing as I choose to keep my heart open to new and different experiences


The theory of how the universe was created with the bursting of atoms suddenly takes on a whole new meaning … having recently experienced an orgasm so profoundly intense that I felt it literally changing the cellular structure of my mind … like a burst of light to my conscience and a shot of love delivered directly to the centre of my heart … I held my eyes tightly closed because I was so completely overwhelmed with what was occurring inside of my body … WOWZERS !!!

Then as the orgasm subsided the tears flowed from a place so deep that I had an unnerving drowning sensation … as if I was breathing under water … I laid there for a few moments, alone, with a feeling of complete surrender … and was compelled to LOOK at myself because I felt “different”… so I stood in front of the mirror naked and gazed into my eyes


I seen a softness and vulnerability … I SEEN myself for the person I truly am, instead of being distracted by the imperfections of my body … I witnessed my soul … and as tears ran down my face and love filled my heart I said the words out loud …


It was probably the most profound heart healing Ive had to date


There is no shame in loving yourself



 I used to believe that vulnerability reflected a sense of weakness, fragility, delicacy, powerlessness, incompetence, incapability and inadequacy ..

… but HOW did I come to hold this belief ? ? ?

As a child I was raised to believe that the world was not a safe place for the vulnerable

As a young woman I was taught that I needed to show strength in order to protect myself

As a mother I nurture, protect and defend my children during their vulnerable years

As a woman I’ve experienced hurt when I’ve exposed my vulnerabilities to men I trusted

As a nurse I’ve seen how the aged experience vulnerability ..

So … no surprise WHY it’s a state of being that I’ve tried my best to avoid

But I’m starting to think and feel a little differently about vulnerability. Although I still find it to be an uncomfortable place to sit, especially when I express parts of myself that I’ve usually kept hidden .. its a place I want to sit or stand more often


How DISGRACEFULLY wonderful (wink) hahahaha … Something I love most about myself is how my external experiences often reflect my internal processes … just as my personal experiences often reflect my professional developments … because there’s an openness and honesty about how and why I do what I do

TO BE vulnerable is to be able to stand in and express our truth

TO BE vulnerable is to have the courage to expose who we really are

TO BE vulnerable is being susceptible to harm, hurt, attack, judgment and criticism


TO BE vulnerable takes courage .. but to gain courage we must first be willing to be vulnerable ..

Brene Brown has a lot to say about vulnerability in her book, “Daring Greatly: How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent and lead” … I havent read it yet myself, but its on my list of TO DOs


Sitting with our vulnerabilities can be a wonderful source of healing, but its company can be a little uncomfortable and unsettling. I think its fair to say that we tend to feel most vulnerable during times of loss, when our hearts have been broken. Our hurts often causing us to close up, shut down or turn off, to protect ourselves …

… but what if we did the opposite ? ? ?

What IF … when our hearts have been broken wide open we kept them open ?

What if we flowed with the experience and used it as a rich source of healing & growth ?

What if we privileged our heart breaks the same as we do our heart joys ?

What if we felt safe enough to allow ourselves to feel & flow through the hurt ?

What if we shared our deepest thoughts and feelings with others ?


The less fearful I feel about sitting with and exposing my vulnerabilities, the more my thoughts and feelings change about matters of the heart … I now believe that the purpose of our heartaches are not to hurt us, but to remind us about our ability to love … I now believe that our hearts break when we become attached to an expected outcome, that conflicts with our own and someone elses needs and wants … I now believe that the purpose of heart-break is not to disappoint or punish us, but to break our hearts open and teach us about the importance of self-love … I still believe that our biggest motivator is love, but we tend to focus that love towards others instead of ourselves … I still believe that learning to love without attachment is a difficult concept to grasp, but appreciate how it can better serve us … I still believe that although our happiness can be influenced by another, it should never be dependant upon someone other than yourself


VULNERABILITY … is about standing up and being seen 




Mirrors and Reflections

soul mates

There was a time when I thought that finding my soul mate would make me feel whole and complete, because I held the belief that our soul mates were our other half … but WHY did I hold this belief ? ? ?

Because growing up I heard people introduce their partners by saying things like … “this is my other half” … or say things in jest like … “I’m his better half” … I’ve lived in a society that promotes the romance and unrealistic expectations of relationships … and as human beings we are often hard wired to connect, attach and depend upon other people … hence MY belief.

But this belief and thinking reflects that we are less than, that we are not whole. It confines us and holds us back from being all that we can be. So, is it any wonder why we then attract other halves ? … Is it really a surprise why we then connect with those who don’t feel worthy of love ? … Does it really shock us then that our partners seem to be emotionally unavailable ?


After my own experiences and reflections on love I now think very differently about soul mates. I now think that soul mates are MIRRORS that REFLECT our souls. I think they are people who AWAKEN us, providing us with an opportunity to look deeper into ourselves. And I think that we can find such reflections within ALL of our relationships, connections and interactions. A pretty huge shift in thinking that created a NEW belief.

I NOW believe that our soul is attracted to what needs to be discovered within ourselves. An awareness of any subconscious blockages to our own flow and expression of love and light. An experience that exposes our deepest truths … which are our wounds, hurts, fears and scars in need of healing.

accept the love

In reflection I can now appreciate how my previous relationships reflected how I was feeling about myself, as I found myself confronted with my deepest hurts, fears and insecurities. I’m slowly learning the art of gratitude for those not so wonderful experiences and reflections, but it’s certainly NOT an easy habit to maintain … WHY ? … Because whenever we find ourselves confronted with an ugly truth or a dark shadow that’s been lurking in the depths of our subconscious, we automatically click into survival auto pilot mode … we FIGHT, FLIGHT or FREEZE !!!


When we FIGHT we become defensive, we may feel angry or frustrated, we engage in conflict and we aim to win and conquer those who threaten us …

When we FLIGHT we become anxious, we may feel hurt or upset, we avoid conflict and we aim to escape, run and hide from those who threaten us …

When we FREEZE we become numb, we may feel fearful or overwhelmed, we shut down and we close off to avoid how we think and feel about what threatens us …

So … WHY is it important to become more aware of our automatic responses ? … because that’s often where and how our BAD HABITS are formed. Being more mindful in our interactions we can begin to practice with different responses. So instead of jumping to our defenses in FIGHT MODE and engaging in behaviours that increase conflict, we can focus more on conflict resolution by learning how to communicate our thoughts, feelings, needs, wants and expectations more effectively. Instead of feeding our anxieties in FLIGHT MODE and avoiding conflict by engaging in self destructive behaviours, we can learn how to sit more comfortably with our discomforts. And instead of avoiding ourselves in FREEZE MODE by building up walls to protect ourselves, we can learn how to face our fears with more courage and confidence.


I strongly believe that when we start to take complete responsibility for our own experiences, we start to focus our attention on our own healing and then become more proactive in our own growth.

“Healing ourselves is the ultimate environmental activism, it’s a political act” (Ben Ralston)