Cup of Joe

Echoes

Echoes

 

We recently went on an adventure, a river cruise down the Rhine River from Basel Switzerland to Amsterdam Netherlands. It took us through some of the most scenic and historic areas of Germany, France and the Netherlands.

The age of what we saw was measured not in decades but in hundreds and thousands of years. There was a wisdom there, of hearts and hands and psyches being burned by the experience of time that we in America fail to see. The essence, the element of man is there and has been here for many thousands of years unlike the adolescence of America and the Democracy that we hold dear. Lessons seem to have been learned there.

Call me crazy, mistaken or just someone with a wild imagination, but I could feel the undercurrent of past intolerance. I could almost see the shiny black jackboots and galloping Crusades of armor heading off to right the imagined wrongs and to impose the will of their righteousness on the somehow less than superior us.

It was a bit jarring to see young soldiers in Strasbourg on the French border holding AK-47s at the ready. However, what I heard from the leaders of Europe was mostly of tolerance and steadfastness in the face of terror. Germany has pledged to welcome one million refugees. What I heard upon our return to America was calls for intolerance, hate, bigger walls and closed borders. We are still the most powerful nation on earth and yet the overwhelming response is fear.

Can we not see the lessons of the past? Can we see past the fear and decipher the hate from the reason? Perhaps we need to read the lessons of the past or perhaps the words of the one that we seek in times of trouble.

Sanctuary: Another Point of View

 

 

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Sanctuary—what does it mean to you?

A sanctuary is any place of safety and can have many interpretations. It is any place where you can feel safe to think, say, or do whatever you want to without fear of reprisal.

Where is your sanctuary?  Do you have such a place? If you are really, really lucky, do you have SOMEONE who is your sanctuary?

Many people say that they find their sanctuary in church, or being out in nature. I immediately get a picture in my mind of Quasimodo up in that bell tower in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” shouting “Sanctuary! Sanctuary!”

It is a very important concept to embrace, for we each need that refuge where we can feel safe and just be ourselves. But wait! Don’t we live in the good old U. S. of A. where we can think and say anything we want?

Consider another place. A place from which we can’t escape.

The strongest prison—the prison that has the highest walls—is the one in which we place ourselves. This is the jail where we are the judge, jury, jailer and executioner and oddly enough, we are the only ones with the key to set us free. The only one that can grant us sanctuary from our Selves.

The older I get, the more I realize that true freedom, the most precious and rewarding kind, is that sanctuary that is found in another human being. Someone that you can say anything to, share anything with, and get back only acceptance, love and understanding.

I’ve come to realize that not only do you have to unlock that door to let yourself out of your self-imposed prison, but you have to be brave enough to let someone in. And there lies the truth in counter-intuitive thought; that “vulnerability is a strength and not a weakness” and “freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.”

Have you discovered the sanctuary that can exist in your relationship with your significant other? How can you tap into the happiness that resides in your mind, your heart, and your gut?

You already know how to do it; after all, you are the only one with the key. You are the only one who can build your own Sanctuary.

“Scrape ‘em off Claire!”

“Scrape ‘em off Claire!”

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Some of you may recognize this as a line from the movie Scrooged₁. The more I live in this great wide wonderful world, the more I believe there really are only two kinds of people in it. There are those that fully understand this Frank Cross statement and those that are viscerally appalled by it.

There is the half that understand that there is a certain order to things regarding the haves and the have not’s and any attempt to alter this will result in the downfall of American society. And there are those that can’t stand to see the inequality and are just as convinced that it will, in the end, result in the down fall of that same American society.

It seems that the divide is so hard wired into each way of thinking/feeling that they might as well represent two separate species. There might be occasional lapses of understanding on both sides, but when it comes down to it, everyone will fall on one side or the other. In the end they will either say “Scrape ‘em off Claire” or they will feed the starving waif; they will either say “I’m not paying for their misfortune” or “We are all in this together.”

So will this great divide end the “American way” as we know it? Perhaps, but more than likely we will continue our arguing and grumbling about what idiots “they” are and somehow manage to survive. The reason for my optimism is that for the greater good, for the continuation of our very existence, we need both.

There are times when “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” and there are times when common decency dictates that some should give so that others may thrive. We need both kinds of thinking, both kinds of people, to make those decisions.

Scrooged is a movie from 1988, based on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Frank Cross, played by Bill Murray, is a hard-wired, driven, logical thinker with no regard for people. His girlfriend, Claire Phillips, played by Karen Allen is a social worker who runs a homeless shelter. “Scrape ‘em off Claire” is what Frank says to Claire when her focus goes from him to the volunteers who depend on her for everything.

 

Joseph P Battaglia is a Relationship Coach who works with his wife Laurie, a Career and Life Coach, to coach couples on how to put the spark back into their long-term committed relationship! Together, Joseph and Laurie own Living the Dream Coaches, LLC in Scottsdale, Arizona. Joe brings his photography, poetry writing, and blogging together to give people insight into the heart and mind of an artist. His 35+ years in the medical field provides him awareness of people at their best, worst, and most vulnerable. Call Joe at (888) 505-5762 or email him at coaches@livingthedreamcoaches.com.

 

 

“Scrape ‘em off Claire!”

The One Who Loved the Most

“Never be afraid to be the one who loved the most”

 

The One Who Loved the Most

 

Does that sentence make you feel just a little bit uncomfortable? Can you tell me why it does? The answer probably sounds something like “I’m afraid of being taken advantage of” or “I’m afraid of coming on too strong” or “I need to be in control and if I show my real self (be vulnerable), I’ll lose control.”

The operative word here is “fear.” And the question is, “Why?”

What will happen if you are the one who shows your hand first or more often? What will happen if you are the one who says “I love you” first?

If that person is the right one, it will only serve to strengthen the relationship and fan the flames of passion. It will also give that other person permission to show their feelings for you and increase the intimacy between you. Being vulnerable with each other is the very definition of intimacy.

Each one of the objections in the first paragraph is really just another brick in the wall that will serve to separate you from finding and maintaining real love. If you are afraid to show your real feelings, you need to ask yourself some serious questions. This is a big red flag being waved right in front of you.

If you are in the early stages of a relationship, by all means, go slow and get to know one another first. When you are convinced that there is a future in the relationship, be open and honest about how you feel.

If you already in a committed relationship, every hesitation in being open and honest needs to be examined. Some will be important, some not. Some will be a great revelation into your soul, some just silly.

Okay, so you have bared your soul and the response you got was not what you expected.  What now? In the end, every rejection you receive is not your fault or your problem. They are opportunities for change and they speak reams about the one doing the rejecting. That person is either not the right person for you or it’s not the right time. Don’t take it personally.

Showing vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness. Those that will not or cannot be vulnerable are only showing you their weaknesses.  The truth is, you will find that these responses are either a blessing in disguise and another heartbreak avoided or another opportunity to get even closer.

Take it from one who has learned this lesson. In a relationship, never be afraid to be honest with the one you love, and never be afraid to be the one who loved the most.

Joseph P Battaglia is a Relationship Coach who works with his wife Laurie, a Career and Life Coach, to coach couples on how to put the spark back into their long-term committed relationship! Together, Joseph and Laurie own Living the Dream Coaches, LLC in Scottsdale, Arizona. Joe brings his photography, poetry writing, and blogging together to give people insight into the heart and mind of an artist. His 35+ years in the medical field provides him awareness of people at their best, worst, and most vulnerable. Call Joe at (888) 505-5762 or email him at coaches@livingthedreamcoaches.com.

 

 

The One Who Loved the Most

A Rose is a Rose…

Arose