The World Needs Your Gifts!

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What keeps you from your gift?

What stands in the way from offering your gift to the world?

What can I say to convince you the world NEEDS your contribution?

I don’t consider myself the world’s greatest writer.  I am fully aware of my shortcomings as an artist.  I am in no way standing on some imaginary authoritative pedestal trying to arrogantly hand out my knowledge you are somehow lacking.  On the contrary, I am eager to see your greatness and I’m also eager to watch that greatness transform our world.

Even though I know my own limitations and abilities, thankfully I am aware enough to know I MUST offer my gifts and talents to the world.  I have lived the better part of my life ignoring my gifts, denying I had any gifts, and not believing the people who were brave enough to speak truth into my life about my gifts.  But eventually I finally woke up.  I finally realized that I am a much better person when I am using my gifts.  I spent years denying my gifts and ignoring the call to use my talents .  I was miserable.  I sank into a deep depression. I packed on weight in an effort to find joy in something, anything–even if it was food.  Then, eventually, I came to understand my creativity brought me joy.  My gifts unlocked something in me that has remained free ever since.

I have chosen to be an open vessel.  I am willingly allowing my gifts and talents to be used by the Universe for whatever reason it sees fit.  I unknowingly (or knowingly) named my blog Mysterious Flow because who can know for certain where our ideas come from?  I have simply made myself available for Life to speak through me.

There are so many things I write that doesn’t get shared in public.  I don’t expect that every time my pen touches the page it’s going to be read by thousands  and shared around the world.  Truthfully, I’m not attached to the outcome of my writing.  As soon as I release something into the world, that piece is no longer mine to hold onto.  Certain artists realize this easier than others.  Just because I gave birth to an idea doesn’t mean I have to follow it to the ends of the earth to protect its honor.

I have learned an important lesson: When I realize and believe the entire world is perfect this very second, that releases me to not be attached to the outcome of my writing.  My focus is taking care of my heart, my gifts, and my soul.  Another lesson I have learned is to take my ego out of the process.  If I post some writing that gets fifty readers, that writing is no less important than what was read by five thousand readers.  When I know my job is to simply keep writing, not to worry about the outcome, then I am focused on the right priority.

I will write for the rest of my life.  I believe someday my writing will provide an income enough to change my current place of employment, but until it does, I will keep writing just the same.  My allegiance is to my gift.  My devotion is to my Muse.  I am not unrealistically heaping pressure onto my writing that it has to help me quit my job.  Those unfair and unrealistic expectations wouldn’t serve me or my gifts or the world.

The interesting thing I have learned about declaring I am a writer and believing in my gifts and talents is how much easier the process has become.  I sit down to write–often times I have no idea ahead of time what wants to come out of me–and as long as I keep my pen moving, ideas begin to flow in from nowhere.  One idea after the other floods my mind and bleeds onto the page through my pen.

When I fully grasp my ideas come from a mysterious place that I have no control over, there is no pressure, there is no reason for my ego to sabotage the process.  I simply have to show up.  I have to carve out the time and quiet place to allow the idea to be born.  There is no manipulating or gimmicks or fancy marketing scheme.  Ideas long to find a conduit to be born through, I simply offer myself up as that conduit.

Often times, when I sit down to write, I find myself lost in all time and space.  I become wholly present.  Time stands still–it’s heaven on earth.  There is no past, no tomorrow, only the very moment I am in–the Eternal Now–moving my pen across the page.  The same Life that fills my lungs and pumps blood through my veins is the same Life that moves my pen and fills my mind with ideas.  Who am I to question this Life?  I just show up.  I show up expecting to be wowed!  I show up already in awe of the whole process.  But, most importantly, I show up.

I say all this to say you have gifts and talents the world needs to see.  Whether you’re a writer, painter, singer, musician, gardener, potter, knitter, iron worker, quilter, sculptor, or builder, the world is waiting with baited breath for you to display your gifts.

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The world NEEDS your gifts!  The world needs your strength.  The world needs your vulnerability and bravery.

Many of you instantly know what your gifts are the second I mentioned it.  People have been complimenting your gifts for many years now.  So for you, the difficult part is not discovering but creating space for your gifts to grow.

If you are unsure of your gifts and have the assumption you have nothing unique to offer the world, your task may require a little more cunningness.  Not knowing is just as exciting as knowing though.  Not knowing means you get to embark on a wonderful adventure full of wonder and discovery.  Just as Frodo didn’t return the ring to Middle Earth in a day, and Luke Skywalker didn’t defeat the Empire in a day, taking the journey of discovering your gifts doesn’t happen overnight either.

You may have to search for it, earnestly, honestly, much the same way Sherlock Holmes or Nancy Drew piece together their mysteries.  I sense it will be much easier than that though.  I believe if you asked the Universe to reveal your special contribution to the world, and then pay attention for the next couple weeks–I mean really pay attention–then your mystery will be solved.  You will hear it loud and clear, beyond a shadow of a doubt.  The Universe will respond.  Ask, listen, wait, pay attention, then receive!  When you know, you’ll know.

Of course, here’s the tricky part.  You’ll hear loud and clear what your gifts are then you’ll drag your feet, not believe it, ask for more proof, procrastinate, take on another responsibility that eats up all your free time, and basically anything else other than what you heard from the Universe.  Oh sure, you’ll flirt around with the idea, maybe even take a class or buy some supplies, but really you’ll wait.

You’ll wait long enough and pretty soon your gift will haunt you.

The haunting may not hover over your every thought, but it will patiently wait for you.  You will have a nagging feeling to fill every quiet moment you have with some kind of noise because it’s during these quiet times that your gift will try and grab your attention.

The interesting thing about our gifts is they will wait a lifetime for us if they have to.  They never give us a bunch of crap because we took so long.  The minute you realize you’re ready, your gift simply rolls up its sleeves and gets to work right along side of you.  There’s no angry rebuke, no chastising, just a beautiful co-creation begins to unfold.

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Have you ever received a gift of art from a small child?  Maybe they drew a picture with crayons and gave it to you full of pride and love for you? Chances are, you loved their gift because it came from their precious little heart.  You didn’t say their gift was terrible because the stick figures of people and pets weren’t the right shapes or sizes.  You didn’t crumble up the paper and throw it in the trash.  You probably hung their gift in a very public place.  You know their gift came from their heart so you proudly shared it with anyone that walked by.

Now that you’re older, what makes you think your gifts are any different?  If you shared your gifts with a childlike excitement–and without judgment–then the world will see your heart and respond with the same enthusiasm as a parent who receives a gift from their child.

Creativity longs to work with you.  Your gift is waiting with baited breath for you to join her.  She can’t wait to share all her ideas with you.  She doesn’t pressure you though.  She simply offers her idea and then waits.  If you agree and run with it, she’s ecstatic.  If you don’t see it, then she patiently waits and maybe offers an alternate idea in the meantime.  There is no ego with Creativity.  She never takes offense and she’s always ready to serve you any way possible.

What keeps you from your gift?

What stands in the way from offering your gift to the world?

What can I say to convince you the world NEEDS your contribution?

I think Marianne Williamson said it best in A Return to Love:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

You playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Peace my Friends!

 

~Travis

The Little Boy, Authentic Self, and a touch of TMI

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Do you ever wish you could soak in all of the world’s wisdom in one day? In one week? One year? In a lifetime?

As I sit in my office and I look at my bookshelf behind me, I’m moved by the wisdom that resides in my house.  Men and women who took the time to put their ideas out into the world.  Human beings who decided to make a difference.  They sat at their desk or their kitchen table and they purposefully wrote down their ideas to share with all of humanity.

Some authors state that what they wrote about wasn’t really what they had in mind; but instead the ideas simply flowed through them as though they were basically the vessel for the idea to be born through.  They talk as though all they did was take dictation for the idea to share itself through them.  It makes me wonder what ideas want to be born through me or through you?

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When I think back on my life, I rarely find much to regret.  I have lived a joy-filled forty-plus years on this planet and have many fond memories.  Sometimes I turn the clock of my memory way back to my childhood and watch an insecure young boy trying his darnedest to figure life out.  I wish I could report to that little boy to not give up on himself or on seeking wisdom and eventually he would figure life out.

That little boy was resilient!  He was handed a rule book for how he was supposed to conduct himself but unfortunately that rule book was blank.  So that little boy decided he would pay attention and try as hard as he could to fill the rule book himself.  Certain things he did were met with a harsh scolding so he wrote down his behavior in order not to do that foolish act again.  Other times his behavior resulted in spankings so he tried real hard to not forget those rules.  The little boy eventually filled the rule book up pretty full and learned when to talk and when not to talk, when to be funny and when to be serious, and the final most important lesson he learned was to make sure he was everything everyone else wanted him to be.

With that lesson firmly in place, he lost all contact with his authentic self.  For a long time, that young boy did nothing but try to survive by being whoever he needed to be just to get by.  He had genuine glimpses of his true authentic self and even attempted to share that part of himself with his family and teachers.  But more times than not, being authentic was strongly discouraged; and usually with a belt.

That little boy didn’t give up though.  He kept playing the parts he was expected to play.  He said what he was supposed to say, did what he was supposed to do.  But in the back of his mind he still held out hope that one day he would throw away the rule book he so carefully filled.

Eventually when the little boy became a teenager, he realized that some things were worth breaking the rules for–mainly girls.  The seductive and sensual taste and smell of the opposite sex caused the young boy to rethink his position on keeping ALL the rules.  Surely he could relax on some of the rules for his own enjoyment as long as he skillfully continued to APPEAR he was on the straight and narrow.

When that young, robotic, rule-keeping boy discovered the female body, something in his heart woke up (Okay, thanks Captain Obvious, yes I know something else woke up too).  But instead of feeling guilty like before when he broke the rules, now he felt more alive than ever.  His experiences catapulted him to a whole new level of personal satisfaction that could never be attained by just sticking to the rules.

Life has a funny way of calling out to your heart and inviting you to stop faking it.  Even tho you think you’re living authentically, your heart never lies.  Opportunities along the way call out to you–sometimes scream at you–and mysteriously pull on your heartstrings.

I recently read The Five Levels of Attachment by Don Miguel Ruiz Jr. and he discussed this authenticity.  “There is a moment when the Authentic Self becomes no longer an abstract term, but an experience.  I believe we all experience such a moment.  It could be during meditation, while painting or dancing, working or working out, lecturing or talking, making love, eating, or playing.  It’s the moment when judgment stops and pure harmony takes over.”

You could say when that young man first experienced the long and slow touch from his high school sweetheart he also discovered his Authentic Self.  The sensual act unleashed something in him that was more than just sensual or sexual.  For the first time in forever, he felt alive!  He felt like he could conquer the world–or at least die trying.  Sure, he was experiencing new and exciting things, but more importantly, his Authentic Self was coming to life.

Fast forward five years and he was still playing the roles and living by rules that he did not write for himself.  In his early twenties, he made the assumption that he was supposed to get married. . .

. . . So he did.

After he was married for a while, they thought they were supposed to have children. . .

. . . So they did.

A couple years after that he grew sick of playing by everyone’s rules and wanted to do his own thing. . .

. . . So he did.

His actions were less than exemplary for a loving husband and father so his wife warned him she would leave. . .

. . . So she did.

He heard once a man regains his freedom he could party like a rock star and sleep around all he wanted. . .

. . . So he did.

Then he heard from a dear friend that told him he was a great guy and if he wanted a great girl he would need to start being a man a great girl would want. . .

. . . So he did.

At that point he realized he needed to start reading books and changing his life. . .

. . . So he did.

He learned all about the ego, his Authentic Self, breathing techniques, people who were revolutionary characters, how people shape their beliefs based off their accumulated knowledge, how people are human beings not human doings, how real joy and happiness can be found in life only in the present moment, and how our society and environment shape our opinions and outlooks which cause our unintentional shift away from our authentic selves.

He also learned that his relationships with women were unhealthy–He was either trying to manipulate them to sleep with him or he was . . . well, he was basically trying to manipulate them to sleep with him.  Furthermore, when it came to women, he had a tendency to pick the ones who never liked him for exactly who he was.  He always seemed to pick the reflection of who he was on the inside.  If he wasn’t happy with himself, he picked girls that weren’t happy with him either.  He attempted to heal his wounds relying on women who were incapable to offer him healing.

I’m not bagging on all the females that crossed his path or trying to blame them for his shortcomings.  He dated many phenomenal women who were wonderful people, but his mistake was taking his ultimate question to them for an answer.  He didn’t ask them directly and most of the time he rarely comprehended he was even asking them anything at all by his actions; but, nonetheless, he took his question to them anyway.

Am I Good Enough?!?!?

It wasn’t until he answered the question for himself (with a resounding YES, by the way) that he was able to steer clear from the nagging external approval he so desperately sought.

I think it’s safe to say that little boy who desperately longed to know all the rules and lived his life for everyone else’s approval has finally grown up.  Through the help of years of counseling and a decade of deprogramming, I feel more authentic now than ever.  I still have a ton to learn and a lifetime of authors yet to read, but my Authentic Self is finally in the driver’s seat for the rest of this journey.  I’ve taken that young boy by the hand, thrown away the rule book, and gave him just one rule to remember–first for himself and then for others–LOVE!!

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Peace,

~Travis

Why is choosing to LOVE so difficult???

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Maybe it’s my recent head injury, maybe it’s my growing impatience for ignorance, or maybe it’s just time I said something.  Who knows, but I’m curious about something:  Why is choosing to LOVE so difficult???

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I watched the movie Selma recently and it struck a chord with me.  I cannot fathom being a part of that movement and what it must have felt like.

I believe I have rooted out any prejudice that may have lingered from my ignorant immaturity.  Yes it’s true that racism is not born into someone but rather taught.  Children who are young enough not to see in color love unconditionally until the day they are taught to love sparingly.

Besides racism, we all have an Us vs Them mentality.  We compartmentalize and label ourselves and everyone around us.  We are emphatically tribal.  We love those who are in our group, who think like we do and then we hate those who are different than us.  Sure, hate may be a strong word, how about this: We withhold love from those who are different, those who are outside of our tribe.

Why???

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The Golden Rule can be found in every single religious book.  Treat others the way you want to be treated.  But somehow we forget that along the way.  Many people that read Matthew 7:12 and consider themselves Christian still feel justified in treating people poorly.  There is no asterisk below that verse.  There is no Black, White, Gay, Straight, Democrat, Republican, Christian, Muslim, American, Japanese.  The Golden Rule is plain and simple: Treat others the way you want to be treated.

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Whatever excuse you have for not choosing to love is a poor one.  It may cause you some discomfort at first.  You may be going against your parents.  You may have to question long-held beliefs you have grasped far too long.

The answer is inside yourself.  LOVE!

Start with those in your family.  LOVE!

Move to those outside your family.  LOVE!

Look at those in your community.  LOVE!

How about those across the country?  LOVE!

Different political views?  LOVE!

Different ethnicity? LOVE!

Different sexual orientation?  LOVE!

Consider those overseas.  LOVE!

In what ways can you open your heart?  It really truly does come down to choosing.  Do you disagree?

I choose LOVE!

Guilt Sucks!!

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OK, so here’s what is going on with me: I’m wandering around the house feeling guilty for not doing several things at once. I feel as though I need to exercise, I feel as though I need to be writing, I feel as though I need to go buy some clothes for Hawaii, I feel as though I should go get a haircut, I feel as though I need to call my friend from Boston, and I feel as though I need to be cleaning the house. This overwhelming feeling leaves me paralyzed. While I struggle to decide which important thing I should be doing, I end up doing nothing. In order to work through this guilty feeling, I have decided to at least write about it so I’m doing one of the things I said I feel guilty about not doing.

It’s crazy; I sit and watch the clock tick away and I’m guiltier by the minute. I read for a little bit this morning, then made breakfast and sat down for a half-hour show and all of a sudden it’s after 10:00. Next thing I know, I’ll be off to get my son from school at 4:30 and I haven’t completed anything I planned on doing all day. That is not how the day has to go though. I can do things differently. I can write for a while, and then take the puppy for a walk, then clean for a while, then get my son from school. It all can be done with the time I have. As long as I stay out of my head long enough to not get sucked into some vortex of self-pity, I can do what I need to do today with my time.

Interestingly, I find myself yearning constantly about being a successful author who writes life-changing material for people to read. I dream about having long blocks of time to be able to pour my heart out on blank page after blank page. If only I didn’t have my day job I could become rich and famous for putting all these funny and quirky ideas that have been clanking around in my head like marbles in a pump into a readable format for the masses. Instead, I’m a poor helpless victim because I can’t spend the time writing that I wish I could. If only life were fair, I would be able to write every day in my boxers while sipping on coffee in the morning and red wine in the evening. While I’m at it; if life were fair I would be able to eat anything my poor little heart desired without having to deal with the emotional baggage that is making me overindulge in the first place. I should just be able to crinkle my nose like I Dream of Genie and all my issues would be solved. Right?

Unfortunately, life isn’t always fair and life does require something of me. I have to actually show up. I’m not going to randomly get a call from John Grisham’s agent one day and hear: “Yes, hi Travis, this is Agent Jim Doe, I understand you want to be a writer? I can’t wait to read everything you have been writing. You have been writing haven’t you?” That phone call is never going to happen unless I actually have been writing and writing enough to have something to offer the world.

Don’t get me wrong, I have been writing. But if my goal is to be a world-renowned author will I ever get to that point by only writing a paragraph or two every day? Sure, over the course of thirty years I might actually have enough to piece together a decent book, but if I want to enjoy the rewards of a fruitful writing career I have to go at it a little fiercer than a couple of paragraphs per day.

Given the struggle I have with my guilty feelings I mentioned earlier, I won’t become a successful author if I won’t sit down to write on the days I have extra time to sit down to write. Those are the days I can fill page after page until my ears are going to pop since the ideas are flowing fast. But truth be told, if I am dedicated to becoming an author, I need to write every spare moment I can get. I need to give writing so much focus that I can’t think about anything else when I’m awake except writing. If I’m not writing, when will I be able to write next? When I’m falling asleep, what do I plan on writing about when I wake up? Every spare moment I can steal away for the process of writing needs to be utilized in order to become the next great American author.

I may never become the next great American author for many reasons that will never be fully understood. Some authors don’t have the privilege of seeing their ideas supported during their lifetime while other authors experience waves of success that may seem undeserving in comparison. Nonetheless, whether success comes during my lifetime, after I’m dead, or not at all I must sit down and put my ideas on paper.

One of my favorite authors is Eric Hoffer because he worked as a longshoreman in San Francisco by day but wrote nearly a dozen small books throughout his lifetime. He wrote a book that became a bestseller called The True Believer: thoughts on the nature of mass movements. His book was written in 1951 and attempted to answer how people could willingly give themselves to mass movements whether they were meant for good or evil. After Hitler and the Holocaust several people in the world started asking themselves questions about how we could treat one another so despicably. Hoffer did his best to describe individuals who gave themselves completely to mass movements. He says, “Faith in a holy cause is to a considerable extent a substitute for the lost faith in ourselves. The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready is he to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause.”

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I picked Eric Hoffer as an example because he worked full-time while he wrote his ideas. His sole income didn’t come from his writing and truth be told he probably didn’t make very much money from the books he did publish. Interestingly, though, this full-time longshoreman, part-time author, died in 1983 but his ideas live on many decades beyond him. When I think about being an author who may or may not sustain a respectable income from my ideas, I succumb to the fact that the income I receive is not my main concern. Sure, being rewarded for slapping the keyboard day after day seems like a fair and novel idea but the reward is in the life that was changed that I may never even know about. Decades, even centuries, could pass and the idea that I was brave enough to put down on paper could make a difference in someone’s life and could change the world for the better one person at a time. I may or I may not change the world, but if I don’t at least try I will never know.

Now that I have settled the writing part of my day and one of my reasons for guilt, I can move on to taking the puppy for a walk. Life is good.

What Women Want: A Side Note.

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Apparently this whole “What Women Want” thing has been on my mind for quite some time.  While going through some old files on the computer I came across this pic I took in 2007.

It reminded me I need to continue my series and expand on this topic.

I trust you are having a fantastic week!

~Travis

 

 

What Women Want: A Special Note to the Men

A Special Note to the Men
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While making our way to Part One of What Women Want, I’d like to take a second and share some thoughts with the men.  Ladies, of course you have my permission to eavesdrop (I know you would even if I told you not to). 🙂

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Men, your woman needs more from you. You have to be more engaged with your wife; you are communicating even when you think you aren’t. Your passivity speaks volumes.  Your silence speaks louder than your words.

I have learned I need to make a conscious effort to actually speak out of my mouth what I’m thinking in my head. For too long, my life was lived in my head so my wife had no idea what I was thinking because I rarely told her. I still struggle to speak everything I’m thinking but I’m working on it daily.

Your wife becomes adept at reading your mind by watching your actions and sadly your actions aren’t saying a whole lot either.

We must open our mouths and verbalize our thoughts. We must push through the uncomfortable awkwardness of putting ourselves out there. Our wives are not responsible for our frustrations about how our lives have turned out. As much as we want to blame our wives for our mess, it’s not their fault. We project our frustrations about life and our feelings of inadequacy on our wives so we don’t have to feel the weight of it. Regrettably, though, the weightiness never goes away. We can’t escape it.

We try to escape our frustrations and our inadequacies but they’re always there, just beneath the surface. We escape into sports, hobbies, television, or work.  Instead of facing ourselves and confronting our inadequacies head-on, we shrink and look for excuses. We walk around every day with a knot in our gut because life hasn’t turned out like we planned. We saw ourselves as important managers, business owners, or sports professionals—more successful than we are—and it eats away at us. We’re getting older and we begin to wonder what’s the point. Our lives of quiet desperation erode little by little internally. It’s as if we have a parasite that is eating us slowly from the inside out.

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The first thing to realize is this feeling is not your wife’s fault. She is not responsible for this knot in your gut. She’s not responsible any more than the mirror on the wall is responsible for what you see in it. The mirror only reflects what it sees and your wife only responds to what she sees and hears from you. She serves as your mirror—a living, breathing mirror that projects back an honest portrayal of yourself. If you don’t like your wife very much, it could be you don’t like the reflection of yourself that she’s mirroring back to you.

This isn’t easy. It’s very difficult to admit we could be the issue and it’s not all her fault. Life seems easier when we have a scapegoat. Having to take full responsibility for ourselves isn’t fun.

Women are very intuitive creatures. They have an uncanny knack for feeling deep down what is happening in any given situation. Their men don’t have to say anything for them to understand they are not number one. She knows you are disengaged. She understands you’d rather drift through life without conflict from her. Unfortunately, she can’t sit idly by and watch you go through life depressed all the time. She nags at you because she cares. She points out you’ve been amiss lately because she longs to have the man back she fell in love with. She knows he’s still there deep down—she sees glimpses every once in a while—but she also knows the pressures of everyday life can get heavy. She’s not intentionally bothering you just to annoy you. She’s calling out to you in hopes that your true self will hear her.

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She wants you to know that it’s all right that you’ve changed over the years—she’s changed too. Life has a funny way of changing two people. It’s not the changes that concern her the most, it’s the drifting apart and complete lack of a connection—even once in a while—that eats away at her. She longs for you to turn towards her like you used to instead of turning away from her.

An important thing to remember is she’s just as uncertain about life as you are. She has doubts, insecurities, and regrets, too. She thinks about the course her life has taken and wonders if she went in the right direction with every decision she’s made. She doesn’t blame you for who she’s become. She’s made a choice to be with you and she still sees the good in you; so if given the chance 100 more times, she’d choose you 101.

I recently heard Garth Brooks’ Somewhere Other Than the Night and I think his words are appropriate here. Enjoy.

He could see the storm clouds rollin’ across the hill
He barely beat the rain in from the field
And between the backdoor slammin’ she heard him say
“Damn this rain and damn this wasted day”
But she’d been waitin’ for this day for oh so long
She was standin’ in the kitchen with nothin’ but her apron on
And in disbelief he stood and he stared a while
When their eyes met, they both began to smile

Somewhere other than the night
She needs to hear I love you
Somewhere other than the night
She needs to know you care
She wants to know she’s needed
She needs to be held tight
Somewhere other than the night

They spent the day wrapped up in a blanket
On the front porch swing
He’d come to realize he’d neglected certain things
And there are times she feels alone even by his side
It was the first time she ever saw him cry

Somewhere other than the night
She needs to hear I love you
Somewhere other than the night
She needs to know you care
She wants to know she’s needed
She needs to be held tight
Somewhere other than the night

To know she’s needed
She needs to be held tight
Somewhere other than the night

Peace and Love,

~Travis

 

PS. I’m intrigued to hear your feedback.

What Women Want: An Introduction

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Life is mysterious.  Life can be frustrating.  Life most definitely gets messy.  And when I started out with honest intentions to ask What Women Want from their partner, I was a little overwhelmed by the wonderful feedback I received.  The last thing I wanted to do was rush together a list, publish it, and call it good.  Women are more mysterious and deserve more effort than narrowing them down to a simple list (which, I must confess, I do have a list thanks to your helpful suggestions).

Just because I have a list to choose from doesn’t mean I have to spew it back to you in bullet point fashion.  As I read through all the great responses I received from my initial question about What Women Want from their partner, the patterns didn’t hit me at first until I decided to take a pencil and put a star by the ones I felt were bare-bones necessities just to keep a relationship going.  Then, I drew a little triangle next to the responses that I thought were extra bonuses (or above and beyond bare-bones).  Next, there were many responses that had to do with teamwork so I scribbled a T next to them.  And, finally, the last group of responses were the added spices, or the whip-cream-and-cherry-on-top suggestions that you gave me.

I wracked my brain for a couple weeks trying to decide whether these four areas were pillars, layers, components, or all-encompassing and I finally decided they do build on each other.  So I came up with a pyramid that starts with the most important aspects of What Women Want from their partners as a base and then moves up through the aspects that are still important, but not as crucial as the first one.

WomenWantPyramid

I feel as though I should state the obvious here.  I am by no means an expert on What Women Want.  Just ask my wife or any woman I dated in years past (actually, it’s probably best you don’t ask them about me). 😉  I have tried and failed miserably over the years and even now I struggle to grasp the larger mysteries of What Women Want. I attempt to be the best possible partner for my wife but even after all your helpful suggestions I still fail on occasion.  Some days it feels as though I’m chasing after the horizon.  Even though I chase after it, no matter how close it feels I may never get there.  But I try anyway.  Sometimes trying is half the battle.

I appreciate how Erich Fromm (1956) described this issue of love in The Art of Loving:

There is hardly any activity, any enterprise, which is started with such tremendous hopes and expectations, and yet, which fails so regularly, as love.  If this were the case with any other activity, people would be eager to know the reasons for the failure, and to learn how one could do better–or they would give up the activity.

Since I haven’t given up on love just yet, I have decided to be eager about some of my reasons for failure.  Thus, the deep interest in love and relationships.

Just so you understand where I’m going with this, I will give you a few examples of how I categorized your responses and narrowed them down.  In future posts, I will share in greater detail each aspect of the pyramid and give some insight for each one. As a teaser, here’s what I’m working on:

SHOW HER SHE’S #1

  • Be Honest with her
  • Be Faithful to her
  • Show her Respect
  • Show her Honor
  • Be Appreciative of her
  • Good communication (listening and sharing)

GIVE HER AFFECTION

  • Hold her hand
  • Kiss her
  • Tell her you love her
  • Small gestures
  • Smile from across the room
  • Show her passion

INVITE HER INTO TEAMWORK

  • Work together
  • Help her with the kids
  • Encourage her
  • Be Patient with her
  • Help her with daily chores
  • Thank her for every meal

OFFER HER THE ADDED SPICES (OR THE WHIP-CREAM-WITH-CHERRY-ON-TOP)

  • Be Spontaneous
  • Humor her, make her laugh
  • Have Strong Faith
  • Find new ways to woo her
  • Surprise her in and out of the bedroom
  • Please her sexually
  • Take her on vacation
  • Be adventurous

As you can see, I have a lot of information to unpack.  There’s enough here to fill a book, let alone try and write a simple blog out of it.  That is why I decided to break it up into installments.

I understand that all women are different and some things might be more important to you than they are to others so I’m not trying to minimize what might be important to you personally.  You might find the area you are lacking the most in your relationship is the area you would say is the most important.

For instance, you might have a partner that is great with the spices; he pleases you in the bedroom, makes you laugh, and keeps things adventurous. But he fails miserably with all other aspects of the pyramid.  He’s called a friend-with-benefits, not a genuine partner.

Your partner may do a great job of showing you you’re #1 (faithful, honest, respect, appreciates you, etc), but the spices are GONE and the affection is hanging on by a string.  This relationship is in jeopardy just as much as the relationship with the unfaithful partner.

Or, you and your partner may make a great team.  You take turns with the chores, you help one another with the kids, and you share the financial burden as equally as possible.  He may not show you affection like you wish and the spices might be stale but he’s a good man.  Some days you feel more like a roommate than a romantic partner.

As you can see, simply saying SHOW HER SHE’S #1 is the most important aspect of What Women Want is very misleading.  It isn’t the most important aspect but it is the base on which the rest of the aspects build on.

A quick note to the men that stumbled in here: Guys, if we don’t show our women they are #1, give them affection, invite them into teamwork, and offer them extra spices; we are headed for a world of heartache.  Life is mysterious, women are mysterious.  Life can be frustrating, women can be frustrating.  Life most definitely gets messy . . . you get the idea.  I can tell you this, guys, its easy to sit on a pedestal and keep our macho-man ego out of harms way, but there’s a lot we can learn from our partners if we let them influence us.

I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to scratch the surface of What Women Want.  Be sure to follow this blog so you don’t miss future installments.

I’d like to close with a direct quote from a wonderful lady who added a fresh perspective to this issue for me:

I think all women want to know they are the most important person to their partner… all women want to feel loved and cherished and important. When we don’t receive tenderness, touching, those little looks and genuine interest in conversation, we feel like we aren’t appreciated and loved.

I would love to hear your feedback.  I much prefer this (and future posts) to be a conversation about what we are learning from one another instead of me simply stating What Women Want.  So please, share your thoughts.  Share this post and invite others to give their feedback.

Peace and Love!!

~Travis