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"Your heart and my heart are very, very old friends."
I believe that human beings are on Earth to create and experience love. In any other incarnation - as angels, gods, animals, aliens, trees, pure & radiant energy - we may be able to create and experience some other form of love, but never in that special way we do as human beings: that precious, tender, vulnerable, consciously mortal way of loving.
If I were asked "why do you keep incarnating on Earth?" I could answer with a rather lofty reply about being of service to humanity... or I could be more honest and say, "for the pizza and the love."
What a powerful gift: to love as a human being. The fact that we humans can generate such a profound force astounds me! And no matter how much love pours out of us, we are always replenished with more - and we keep sharing that love, in spite of all we go through. In spite of all the risks and pains, all the rejection and abandonment. Our hearts are broken so many times, yet still, we continue loving. What incredible beings.
To experience love within the safe, intimate container of "relationship" is a true blessing, and I do everything I can to nurture & protect that blessing in both my personal life and when working with couples because I believe the sacred relationship between two people in a committed partnership is the highest form of spiritual practice.
I understand that not everyone holds the same perspective as I do. Beliefs about love are personal and often tied to our values, cultures, religious or non-religious upbringings, models of relationships we witnessed from our parents, and the media, films, & novels we consume. Beliefs about love are also shaped by our our fantasies, dreams, desires, ideals, egos, fears, and traumas. Love can be thought of as romantic, ecstatic, unconditional, everlasting, friendly, empathetic, platonic, transient, playful, comforting, erotic, karmic...the list goes on.
But from one extreme to the other: whether we simply view love as an evolutionary mechanism to aid with pair bonding, procreation, and survival – or as a sacred vehicle for soul transformation and communion with God - we cannot deny that love is a most powerful phenomenon.
Areas of Cultivation
Some of the elements I help couples cultivate in their relationship include:
Conscious and Peaceful Communication
Feelings of Safety and Protection
Deep Appreciation & Awe
Significance and Respect (feeling seen & valued)
Nurturing and Support (of each individual's path & of the couple's path together)
Connection and Communion
Vulnerability and Openness
Honesty and Transparency
Playfulness and Excitement
Reverence/Worship (relationship as spiritual path)
I’m here to help you gain clarity on which of these elements need strengthening in your relationship. Together, we'll work through the process of reviving your relationship, including resolving any tensions due to deception, resentment, lack of passion, misunderstandings, or other areas you feel mis-aligned.
In the Sufi creation story, the Universe existed as One, Divine, Totality of Energy at the beginning of time. While there was a fullness in this completion, there was also a (paradoxical) lack, as there was no "Other" in existence to gaze upon the One with love, awe, and devotion. So the Oneness of God existed at the beginning of time feeling a sort of Divine sadness - a deep longing to be seen, known, and loved by an Other.
This was motivation for the Oneness to divide itself into the multi-faceted, myriad forms of all living beings. It was only then that it could experience the journey of re-uniting back into fullness, through the process of being seen, known, and loved by the Beloved. In a way, when we experience being seen, known, and loved by our own Beloved, we are experiencing pure, Divine communion - the purpose of existence itself. We are re-uniting with God, as God, through our sacred union.
The late, great Ram Das speaks of this sacred relationship as a sort of triangle. “One in which there are the two partners and a third force. This third force is that which emerges out of the interaction of these two partners. It is the shared awareness that lies behind the two of them. They are in this yoga of a relationship and have come together as one, in order to find the shared awareness that exists behind them, allowing them to then dance as two so that the twoness brings them into one and the oneness dances as two. That is the kind of vibrating relationship between the one and the two, so that people are both separate and yet they are not separate. But often, we come into a relationship very much identified with our needs at some level or other, and it really only gets extraordinarily beautiful when it becomes ‘us’ and then goes behind the ‘us’ and becomes ‘one.’”
I refer to this third force – the 'one' that is created between two people in a sacred relationship – as “The Big Heart,” and I believe that everything we do while in a sacred relationship should be dedicated, in some way, to nurturing The Big Heart. At the very least, neither partners' actions, thoughts, or motivations should be harmful to The Big Heart. But, ideally, all actions, thoughts, and motivations should be aligned in tender service to that that extraordinary third entity.
Another way to look at this is perceiving the relationship as a sacred ceremony - a continual, glorious, powerful, transformative ceremony. Whenever you and your partner are in each other’s presence, each of you holds the awareness that you are now in a holy space; you have entered a sacred ceremony. This mindset allows both of you to always be in each other's presence in an elevated state of consciousness - in the same reverent, heightened state of consciousness that you would bring to a sacred ritual. It's important that you practice this all the time. This is what I mean when I say, “the relationship itself is the spiritual practice.” If you can maintain a meditative, non-reactive, compassionate, peaceful, aware, ego-less, high-vibrational presence every moment when encountering your Beloved – you have certainly mastered something! But as I said, it’s a practice. An art. Like any spiritual path, it involves a constant becoming, ever deeper awareness, subtle refinements, and a constant revealing of the true self while annihilating all that's false inside you.
This might sound much more challenging than an average, status-quo relationship...but it's worth it! The fruits that a relationship bares when it's treated as holy are the most nourishing fruits - infinitely more nourishing than fruits from a relationship treated as anything less than Divine. As well, the initial challenge of continual, full & present, loving awareness eventually subsides as the practice becomes natural and effortless, leading to a partnership in which both lovers simply bask in the love & depth they've cultivated together.
I once gave a speech at a wedding for a couple who embody conscious union. Cheryl & Rico understand that marriage, in its purest sense, is a promise to help each other evolve, support each other’s most magnificent dreams, and cultivate the greatest love possible between two human beings - a love that encourages each person to experience communion with the Divine.
Cheryl & Rico's shared values on love are one of the many reasons they are a great match for each other, but they share a lot of common interests, too. One of their shared obsessions is with outer space exploration. In fact, the theme of their wedding was cosmic, and upon each of the guest tables (adorned with planetary systems & stars) was a quote about space, embossed in gold, on a small stand at the center of the table. My table housed a quote from the famous astronomer Carl Sagan:
"For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love."
Cheryl & Rico have experienced that vastness - and so much of what exists inside it. Not just the joys & the ecstasies; they’ve experienced the challenges, the uncertainties, the unanswered questions, the impermanence of being. Yet even during those moments of extreme stress, tragedy, loss, and fear, they continued along strong, side by side, with compassion and maturity beyond their years. I was honored to be a part of their wedding ceremony, and this little portion of my website is a shout-out to their love.
And, it's here to act as a transition to some final thoughts on love. For those of you who don't consider yourselves spiritual (and are, perhaps, turned off by all this talk of Divinity in relationships), read on to hear a beautiful, scientific love story between two, brilliant atheist minds: Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan.
An Interstellar Love Story
“Where there is love, there is life.”
Carl Sagan and his beloved fiancée, Ann Druyan, were part of a team of scientists in the 1970’s that sent an unmanned spaceship from Earth to the far reaches of the galaxy. Ann wrote about how difficult it was to decide what exactly to put on the golden record attached to the side of that spaceship. This one record was meant to contain information about all of life on Earth - the entire human experience - which would someday, maybe, be deciphered by other-worldly intelligences should they ever come in contact with the ship.
When the project was complete, the spaceship blasted off containing music, photographs, greetings in 55 languages, a mixture of Earthly sounds, a salutation from the United Nations, and…an EEG containing the brain waves of a young woman thinking about the man she loved.
It was Ann herself, madly in love with Carl, who volunteered to have her most intimate, love-filled thoughts recorded for non-human entities to someday find and interpret, so that they might catch a glimpse of what is surely one of the most precious & extraordinary experiences in the entire Universe: to love as a human being.
What sort of love are you cultivating in your life? Is it worthy of being discovered as a shining example of Love, at the furthest reaches of the galaxy? Would you like it to be?
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