21 Questions to Ask About Your Relationship

Motivational image from my father.

Thich Nhat Hanh, my spiritual mentor has given me so much knowledge and wisdom on love and self- enlightenment that I would like to share with you.  The questions below which I took from his book, How to Love, will give you a better understanding of the relationship with the one you love, or with the one whom you believe you once loved. I am hoping that you will take the time to do this short exercise and experience its healing effect. These questions not only will help you in your existing relationship, but also in the strained ones. If you need to make a decision on whether or not to release a relationship that has not fulfilled you emotionally and spiritually, these questions will definitely open your mind to what is true for you and help you find the answer to love.

I, too have a confession to make: I once had a soulmate relationship with an intelligent, kind, handsome, and very chivalrous titan that dragged on and off for over 15 years and that was not good for my emotional well-being. Even though he is no longer in my life, my heart was wishy-washy about letting thoughts of him go. I kept imagining what it would be like if miraculously, he were to change and open his heart to me and allow his vulnerable side to be revealed. I never had the chance to know him deeply and truly. Finally, I have decided to do this heartfelt exercise below just to experience release and closure.  To my surprise, I was able to release him from my heart and healed my soul.  I am complete with this relationship.  I invite you to try answering these questions and experience it for yourself…

20 Questions for Looking into your Relationship – by Thich Nhat Hanh

  1. Are you in love? Yes, I think so.
  2. Are you still in love? Yes, I think so.
  3. Do you want to reconnect with the person who used to be the one you love? I am not really sure.
  4. Do you think that this person is happy? No, I don’t think so.
  5. Do you have the time for each other? I can make time for him, but I cannot answer for him.
  6. Have you been able to preserve your true presence for yourself and for the other person? Yes of course, but I don’t always feel that he is present for me.
  7. Are you capable of offering him or her freshness every day? Of course I am because routine bores me and I like exploring and trying new things.
  8. Do you know how to handle the suffering in yourself? Yes I do, but when it comes to Love, I am not so certain that I have mastered this area.
  9. Are you able to help handle the suffering in the other person? Yes, I believe I am able to do so…but the one I love has never showed his true suffering to me.
  10. Do you understand the roots of your own suffering? Yes I do.
  11. Are you able to understand the suffering in the other person? I have yet to experience any true suffering in him.
  12. Do you have the capacity to help the other person suffer less? Yes I do if he allows me to.
  13. Have you learned the way to calm down your painful feelings and emotions? Yes, I have truly.
  14. Do you have the time to listen to yourself and your deepest desire? Yes I do make the time to listen to myself, but as for my deepest desire related to love, I have not truly made the time.
  15. Do you have the time to listen to him or her and to help him or her suffer less? Yes I can make the time but I haven’t been given the opportunity to know what the suffering is.
  16. Are you capable of creating a feeling of joy for yourself? Yes absolutely, it’s my favorite thing to do.
  17. Are you capable of helping the other person to create a feeling of joy? Yes I am confident I can do that if he gives me a chance to do so. 
  18. Do you feel you have a clear spiritual path? Yes, wholeheartedly.
  19. Do you have the feeling of peace and contentment within yourself? Yes!
  20. Do you know how to nourish your love every day? Oh my Goddess, Yes!

How to Love is my very favorite book and I truly believe that every goddess and titan needs to have it in their personal library collection and read it often. Try to answer these questions for yourself and allow your heart to truly awaken and feel the love that is right for you. Remember to always be truthful with what is in your heart. If you are up for it, answer my question below after you have finished the 20 questions above.

  1. Can you see yourself being with this person for the rest of your life? No, because I do not believe that I can truly be my passionate, creative, wildly-mad-about-life goddess self! So you can imagine that this question obviously helped me to move on and release him from my life.

So there you have it. I am healed from this emotionally unfulfilling relationship. And please don’t even try to entertain the thought of who this titan could possibly be because that is for me to know and for you to always wonder about…. 🙂 xo

This love is real and long-lasting!

Let’s Wake Up to the Moment

Photo: Karen Ari Sami Location: Lorien Hotel and Spa

Greetings to you,

It’s been too long. I hope life has been treating you well. I have had some moments of emotional ups and downs in the past two months, but overall life has been very kind to me since I turned 45 on May 15. It feels like I am going into a phase of self-mastery, knowledge, and spiritual power that I cannot explain to you at the moment.

After the past month of being with and around people every day, I am finally making time to relax and recharge. Below are some words of wisdom from my favorite spiritual teacher Thich Nhat Hanh‘s book How to Relax. Sometimes, the only way to relax is not in trying, but simply in just giving a command to our mind, body, and spirit to do so.

Waking Up to the Moment

Walking meditation is a way of waking up to the wonderful moment we are living in. If our mind is caught, preoccupied with our worries and our suffering, or if we distract ourselves with other things while walking, we can’t practice mindfulness; we can’t enjoy the present moment. We’re missing out on life, but if we are awake, then we’ll see this is a wonderful moment that life has given us, the only moment in which life is available. We can value each step we take, and each step can bring us happiness because we are in touch with life, with the source of happiness, and with our beloved planet.

I hope you enjoy the wisdom above. For me, walking is a daily meditation that I cannot live without. Regardless of where I am at the moment, walking at sunrise and sunset are usually my must-do activities. Most often, I prefer to do it alone and in silence so that I can hear the birds and the bees singing, whistling, and chirping.

Try walking without shoes. It feels amazing!

The Four Elements of True Love

Now available in our sanctuary, and I also assign it to my clients to read.

So it seems that I have been looking for love in all the wrong places and with the wrong people for over four decades, without knowing that all along, the answers come from within. I have always been a lover of knowledge, philosophical wisdom, and mystical phenomena, always searching for that one spiritual teacher to guide me through love in addition to God. I have devoured numerous enlightening literature from all over the world – great thinkers, artists, outcasts, religious leaders, and spiritual gurus, and have definitely developed a beautiful, enriching and peaceful frame of reference. But there has always been something missing in my life, no matter how many times I thought that past loves were the one for me, that I had finally found true friends, that I could get true love from my family, something was still off.

In my search to discover the secret ingredients to true love, I finally have found him, my modern day spiritual teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, a renowned Zen master, poet, and peace activist who travels the world and shares his teachings, wise words, and love with people internationally through talks and retreats. His beautifully packaged books and his loving practical, poetic writings really resonated with me in mind, body, and spirit. When I read his words, I get chills of excitement because I have finally found someone in real life that I can call my life teacher because I am forever thirsty for learning, growth, and enriching experiences. I not only love parts or some of his books, I do indeed love them all!

Here is a little taste of his wisdom from  True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart, that has shaken my core and thrilled me with such an understanding of what true love really is, and this will forever be the guide to all my relationships in business and personal moving forward, including the relationship with myself. Slowly, we have added a nice collection of Thich Nhat Hanh’s books in my Goddess sanctuary and soon I will have every one of them here for you to read. Enjoy his deep words and brilliant emotional intelligence below…

According to Buddhism, there are four elements of true love.

The first is maitri, which can be translated as loving-kindness or benevolence. Loving-kindness is not only the desire to make someone happy, to bring joy to a beloved person; it is the ability to bring joy and happiness to the person you love, because even if your intention is to love this person, your love might make him or her suffer. Training is needed in order to love properly; and to be able to give happiness and joy, you must practice deep looking directed toward the person you love. Because if you do not understand this person, you cannot love properly. Understanding is the essence of love. If you cannot understand, you cannot love. That is the message of the Buddha. If a husband, for example, does not understand his wife’s deepest troubles, her deepest aspirations, if he does not understand her suffering, he will not be able to love her the right way. Without understanding, love is an impossible thing.

What must we do in order to understand a person? We must have time; we must practice looking deeply into this person. We must be there, attentive; we must observe, we must look deeply. And the fruit of this looking deeply is called understanding. Love is a true thing if it is made up of a substance called understanding.

The second element of true love is compassion, karuna. This is not only the desire to ease the pain of another person, but the ability to do so. You must practice deep looking in order to gain a good understanding of the nature of the suffering of this person, in order to be able to help him or her to change. Knowledge and understanding are always at the root of the practice. The practice of understanding is the practice of meditation. To meditate is to look deeply into the heart of things.

The third element of true love is joy, mudita. If there is no joy in love, it is not true love. If you are suffering all the time, if you cry all the time, and if you make the person you love cry, this is not really love – it is even the opposite. If there is no oy in your love, you can be sure that it is not true love.

The fourth element is upeksha, equanimity or freedom. In true love, you attain freedom. When you love, you bring freedom to the person you love. If the opposite is true, it is not true love. You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free, not only outside but also inside. “Dear one, do you have enough space in your heart and all around you?” This is an intelligent question for testing out whether your love is something real.

Well, what do you think? Are these four elements already in your relationships? If so, I congratulate you for being ahead of me. Please share your thoughts with me if it pleasures you so.

Love Always,

tu-anh

True Love is seeing my Nini Love sleeping peacefully with a smile on her face.