Recipe for a happy marriage

I’ve been happily married to my honey for 13 years now, and along the way I’ve learned a few things. In honor of St Valentine’s Day, here are my secret ingredients:

  1. The right person – and if you don’t get it right the first time, don’t loose heart! I’ve been married twice before, and for a variety of reasons… it didn’t work out. Of course at the time these relationships came to an end, it wasn’t easy and I felt like a failure. Divorce is usually messy and uncomfortable and downright painful.  With the benefit of time passing however, I can see that my former partners were a perfect match for where I was at on my spiritual journey.  I feel immense gratitude for the part they played in my life, for helping me become who I am today, and for fathering my beautiful children whom I can’t imagine life without!
  2. Love, of course. It really is what makes the world go around. And of course, love is so much more than a feeling. I really like David Richo’s Five Keys to Mindful Loving: Attention, Acceptance, Appreciation, Affection and Allowing your partner to be themselves.
  3. Being 100% responsible for the success and happiness of the relationship. Yes, you read me right. Not 50%, 100%. It makes an enormous difference to take full responsibility.
  4. Laughter- I’ve realized that it really doesn’t pay to take myself too seriously. So, insert a big dose of light heartedness and a generous sprinkle of laughter. It makes everything so much easier, and more fun.
  5. A healthy mix of togetherness and independence. We love spending time together, and have many shared interests. We also have our own independent interests and activities, and support each other in pursuing them, which allows us to grow as individuals and brings freshness and newness to our time together.
  6. Be more interested in being happy than in being right – huge! Oh the renunciation that is required when you feel So justified in your rightness!
  7. Say you're "sorry" when you mess up.
  8. Don't take it personally when they are going through their stuff.  This one took me years to get.
  9. Hold hands a lot.
  10. Don’t try to change each other. Period.
  11. Be grateful for each other and recognize how blessed you are to be sharing your lives.

The power of taking breaks

Having just returned from an amazing 3 week vacation sailing in the Caribbean to celebrate my husband’s 60th, I can certainly say with profound conviction that taking a real break is definitely renewing, refreshing and simply heavenly. It was all and more than I could have imagined – warm turquoise water, gentle breezes, fabulous sailing, gorgeous views, friendly people….. indeed a dream vacation for which I feel so so blessed. I felt my thoughts slowing down with each passing day, and enjoyed that oh so rare and wonderful sense of relaxation in my body and spaciousness in my consciousness that is so truly lovely.

The reality of juggling daily demands
Now that I’m back home to the reality of juggling the demands of work, family, friends, home and play… I am asking myself how can I recreate that wonderful sense of relaxation and spaciousness?  How can I achieve a higher level of inspired wellbeing in my day-to-day life? Since of course, I can’t just turn around and go traipsing off on another getaway, much as I would love to!

My seven power break tips, one for each day of the week:

  1. If you are at the computer, set a timer to go off a few times an hour and take a 10 second break to take some deep breaths, do some shoulder rolls, look out the window at a tree or the sky, close your eyes and picture a loved one, give yourself a scalp massage.
  2. As you are transitioning between activities, take a moment to be truly present to where you are, and who you are. One full, deep breath can be all that is needed to re-connect ourselves with our Selves.
  3. When you first wake up in the morning, before firing all cylinders and getting stressed out over your impending to do list, take a few moments to consciously relax and start the day off with a few moments of peaceful contemplation…. Visualizing the faces of your loved ones, and feeling grateful for their presence in your life, can do wonders for diverting your attention away from stressful to-do thoughts.
  4. Feeling wired and frazzled? Take your shoes and socks off and stand on the earth, any spot of grass will do, and feel your connection to mother Earth.
  5. Thirsty? Pause to sip on a glass of water, enjoying the sensation in your mouth, going down your throat, and hydrating your body. Take a moment to feel gratitude for this precious liquid.
  6.  Smile at someone, it does wonders for your mood!
  7. End the day by reflecting back on all that you are grateful for today… your heart will open and you will drift off to a restful sleep.

May you be nourished and restored all the days of your life!