Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Keep It Vibrant! Make Date Night “Experience Night”

Recent research into long-term relationships confirms that novelty is essential for sustaining romance. Exciting new experiences cause the body to produce the same hormones that are activated when we fall in love. When we encounter the unknown, we enter a state of heightened awareness. We feel alive. And when we do this together, we feel connected through that sense of vitality.

One way to inject novelty into your relationship—and make date night compelling as well as fun—is to experiment with activities that are entirely new to you both. The range of experiences available today is virtually unlimited. With ten minutes of research online (try searching “exciting date ideas” or listings of local events), you’ll find plenty of ideas for things that will make you both a little nervous or apprehensive—which is exactly what you’re looking for.

You might take a class together, like contra dancing, painting, singing, partner yoga, or couples massage. Join a drum circle, go out for an evening of karaoke, volunteer at a hospital or homeless shelter, or shoot a game at the local pool hall. Attend an experimental music concert, a performance art show, or a lecture on a topic you know nothing about. Be spontaneous: Climb a tree, do a cartwheel, walk in the rain, make out in the moonlight. Read poetry to each other, go bowling, join a book group, or take a photography walk. Challenge your inner skeptic by visiting a palm reader, having your aura photographed, or getting a tarot reading. Camp out instead of reserving a room—especially if you’ve ever insisted, “I don’t camp!” Remember, the point is to go beyond your comfort zones.

Physical activities, particularly unfamiliar ones, are especially bonding, as they will call on you to support and rely on one another. Take a hip-hop or tai chi class. Try hula hooping, skinny dipping, line dancing, or indoor skydiving. Take lessons at a rock-climbing gym, join a boot-camp workout group, or train for a triathlon. Or get a little more intimate by seeking out a Japanese spa, a mud bath, or even a pole-dancing class. If these suggestions are too mundane for you, how about stripping down for a naked yoga class?

Read more inspiring ideas in Chapter 11: Exploring the Edges in the new book The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Seek a Higher Possibility

When faced with challenging circumstances, strive to stay open to other ideas, options, and approaches. There is another possibility in any situation, even if it's not obvious at first.
Jeanne, a spunky seventy-something, lives in a townhouse. The woman next door has a grandson who likes to hang out on the patio while listening to rap music and smoking. The sounds and smoke drift right into Jeanne’s windows, which she prefers to keep open. Jeanne had asked the young man several times to turn the volume down, but soon the music would be going full blast again. She also bought him a smokeless ashtray, but he didn’t seem inclined to use it.
Jeanne was frustrated with the situation for months, until she finally got fed up with keeping her windows closed and feeling like a prisoner in her own home. So she sat down and asked herself, What’s possible here?
Jeanne realized that although she prefers not to smell cigarette smoke, she feels that, at her age, she really doesn’t need to worry about cancer. A higher possibility for her, she decided, was to let the smoke and noise be reminders to be grateful that her senses were still sharp. This shift in perspective brought her an immediate feeling of peace. One day she even found herself standing up and beginning to move to the music she found so offensive—getting some welcome exercise in the process.

This solution may not work for everyone, but it worked for Jeanne. If she had stayed stuck in her position, she says, she would have continued to resist the young man’s behavior and done nothing except add to her own frustration. She certainly wouldn’t be getting up to dance! What Jeanne had learned was this: Once we’ve taken all reasonable steps to alleviate a difficult situation, what’s left is to find a higher possibility.

Read more inspiring, true stories in Chapter 4: Raising Your Soulmate Potential of the new book The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships