Musings and Reviews of Metaphysical, New Age and Meaningful Writings

Posts tagged ‘true love’

Want More Happiness and Abundance? Read HUMAN CONNECTION #BookReview and #AuthorInterview

Human ConnectionLaughing, Learning, Leading, Loving and Living Large all play a critical role in making our lives and personal relationships as good as they can be. Arthur F. Coombs’ delightful storytelling in HUMAN CONNECTION: How the “L” Do We Do That? is all about becoming the best “you” possible using these five tools.

Coombs is an excellent storyteller, weaving a very personal narrative with historical examples of how it takes connection with others to be happy and fulfilled. He takes us under his wing, and unabashedly shares the most poignant moments in his life, including both his failures and successes. He also includes motivational stories and quotes from his family and friends as well as famously wise men and women, from Gandhi and the Buddha, to Coco Chanel and Marianne Williamson.

Laughing is the first key to forming a solid connection with others and also “the only way to get through life…” quotes Coombs, adding “…laughter can kick off positive thoughts and feelings that lighten the mood and put things into perspective.” Coombs offers wonderful examples of how humor not only alleviates stress, but makes us feel good, and then he keeps us smiling and laughing throughout the book as he covers the other four L’s as well.

Whether you want to be a good Leader at work or at home, the capacity for Laughing, Learning, Loving and Living Large are all interconnected and Coombs deftly makes it all sound seamlessly doable, from loving ourselves, to unconditionally loving others.

Coombs family


Reading this book will inspire you to Live Large — abundantly, wholeheartedly, to the fullest — and also give you the tools to do so.

Arthur F. Coombs III is a best-selling author, speaker, leadership guru, and single father of four, who is known for his visionary and innovative practices. Here, he answers my questions on HUMAN CONNECTION: How the “L” Do We Do That?

What would you like readers to take away from reading your book?

If we want to have a meaningful impact on those closest to us, at home or in the office, we must genuinely connect with them…in person. Not just through email, texting, or social media sites.

Technology has made our lives easier in many ways, but when it comes to human connection, nothing beats doing life together in real time.

Yes, life in community gets messy. We hurt other people’s feelings. We get our feelings hurt. We disagree. We argue. We sometimes say and do things we regret.

But when we continue to try, when we make connections and develop deeper relationships, we grow exponentially. We learn about the world around us. We bond with others. We heal. We mature. We become better versions of ourselves.

Why is connecting with others in person so important?

With genuine human connection, you can have more profound, more fulfilling relationships if you focus on five L’s: Living, Laughing, Learning, Leading, and Loving.

Living: Making an effort to be physically present, to interact and share with others on a regular basis is a critical step.

Laughing: Laughter is a beautiful and healing expression of joy. Whether you are 2 months or 102 years old, laughing is how we communicate: “I want to know you. I feel safe with you. I trust you. I feel connected to you.”

Learning: Being open-minded and willing to listen to another’s point of view or feelings without necessarily accepting them is a gift to both people. Connection demands that you are eager to teach and be taught.

Leading: If you want to lead others well in any capacity, you must first care about them. Whether you are leading or being led, true human connection is vital.

Loving: Love has many languages, takes many actions, and has endless forms of expression. Learn what moves you and perhaps more importantly what moves those you care about. Choose mercy. Choose compassion. Choose forgiveness. Choose each day to be genuinely kind.

We were not created to live and work alone. Authentic human connection is everything. And it begins with you. Without genuine human-to-human connection, you will never live the rich, wholehearted life you were meant to live.

In your book, you explain how we “Create Our Own World.” Can you provide a little insight into that concept here?

It sounds so cliché, but you truly are the masters of your own destiny.  It seems we all commit to ourselves to improve and yet most will admit they are not living the life they truly want. How many times have you made the same commitment to change for the better only to see it die a quick death? Many make promises to lose weight, stop smoking, start their own business, eat healthier, exercise regularly, be a better parent… you get it. I applaud the verbal affirmation. It is a start. However, there are no quick fixes, magic pills, or secret shortcuts. Real transformational work is hard, exhausting, and will involve sacrifice and uncomfortable choices. Two cues:

1: Break the goal down into small, doable, daily tasks. Instead of the abstract goal of “losing weight,” commit to specific small actions you can do every day that will propel you towards your overall goal.

2: When you stumble on your small committed action (it will happen), no sweat! Just get back to it tomorrow. Recognize that stumbling and getting back up is part of the process.

You are the source of your fortunes. Your dream is clearest to you and you alone. Let the dream drive sustained action. You have a fresh 24 today. What will you do with them? What world will you create?

What is a “Story Holder” and why do you think it is so important to be one?

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

Just like those tree-climbing fish, society often tells us that we are not enough. We are not smart enough. We are not tall enough. We are not pretty enough, thin enough, fast enough, strong enough. Enough, enough, ENOUGH! When we pile on our own negative perceptions and feelings for others on top of what society tells us, we are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that will most definitely come to pass.

You must bask in the light of others and allow them to share from time to time. You must give them the emotional space and comfort that allows them to drop their mask and talk to you. You must listen to your friends’ stories and savor and celebrate their authenticity and empathize with their pain. Hold their stories with reverence. Let your friends know you can be trusted and are worthy of hearing their stories. And when appropriate, laugh with them. Let them feel they are enough. Let them feel your trust, loyalty, and love.

You quote Brené Brown saying “…we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.” How does one truly love themselves?

 There are many things I do that promote healthy self-love. I sing and dance in the kitchen making my kids cringe and laugh all at the same time. I laugh at my mistakes. I make many. But the quickest and easiest tip I can give anyone that is struggling with self-love is to do a random act of kindness for another.

My natural reaction to stress, depression and my own selfish funk is to turn inward and shut myself off; I want to stay focused on my burdensome to-do list, and I want to be left alone. But then the lyrics of the song “Have I Done Any Good” by Will L. Thompson start dancing through my head, and I remember that the fastest antidote for self-loathing, discouragement and depression is to do something for someone else. I promise it truly works. I’ve tried it over and over, and it has been a foolproof method for creating healthy self-love, optimism, and cheerfulness.

How would you define true or real love?

The best definition I can give you for true love is “Love is wanting the happiness of another with no ulterior motives.” It is that simple. Hard to do, but that simple.

What is the secret to Living Large, as you describe a genuinely fulfilled life?

Do not let your past enslave or define you. Do not worry about the things you cannot control. Embrace and even encourage honest mistakes. Happiness is a choice, and anger, resentment, and jealousy are as well. Choose wisely. It is yours and yours alone to make. Your reputation means little; what other people think of you is not nearly as important as what you think of you. People and organizations who use shame, guilt, and judgment to create fear, intimidation, and control are not worth my time and energy. No matter how hard I try to please, plenty of people are not going to love me. There are only two things that are truly important to me — my time and my relationships. I protect closely what I do with my time and who I do it with.

Human Connection: How the “L” Do We Do That? is available on Amazon. Learn more at

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra DiariesChakra SecretsBalance Your Chakras-Balance Your Lifeand The Chakra Energy Diet



How to Find True Love by Being your True Self

perf6.000x9.000.inddHow To Get Married After Forty is an excellent guidebook to help you find the right relationship or improve an existing one, no matter what your age. It takes you through the steps to rediscover who you really are and how to be your “true self” to achieve “true love.”

Why is this book geared toward people over 40? The authors, in their therapy sessions, have learned that while people of all ages need and want a loving partner, those over 40 are looking more for partners who are kind, caring, thoughtful, and capable of intimacy, rather than those just driven by their hormones. They want someone genuine, someone real. And since we get what we project, the authors take us by the hand on an interesting discovery into who we really are and what is behind our feelings and actions.

I learned a lot from the information on how our dysfunctional families (the authors state 80% of childhoods can be classified this way) can leave us with toxic beliefs and ways of relating that sabotage our efforts to have a good relationship.

Luckily, it’s never too late to marry, remarry or revitalize an existing relationship, and the authors provide the tools: Seven steps to finding and happily keeping a life partner, Ten hidden beliefs that destroy intimacy, plus worksheets, exercises, meditations and visualizations on how to express feelings, how to communicate, and how to forgive. With this help, we can achieve a relationship that will honor what’s in our best interest and serve as a vehicle for our transformation and growth into our best selves.

The stories included from the authors’ years of counseling couples and individuals make the book very relatable to any reader, while their well-referenced guidance makes the book an invaluable tool for other counselors and life coaches to use as well.


Karen headshot-medKaren McChrystal, M.A., and Steve Ross, M.A., both writers and therapists, answer my questions here about their collaborative effort on How To Get Married After Forty.

1) What is the underlying message of your book?

Karen McChrystal: Being fully yourself is the very best way to attract and create a wonderful loving relationship. Authenticity ensures we will select for the person(s) who really fits with us. After forty, this is more important than ever. Generally speaking, before the age of forty, most people are devoting much of their time and interest to having a family and rearing children. After forty, we can devote ourselves to cultivating what we, as individuals, are really about, and who fits with us in this next stage of life. Now, as we stand forth as mature individuals in our own right, we come face-to-face with any impediments we may still have to being fully ourselves. How to Get Married After Forty offers guidance and steps for becoming fully ourselves and finding mates who celebrate this in us and also want authenticity.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASteve Ross: The underlying message is twofold. First of all, we want to send a message of hope, especially for those over forty: no matter what you’ve been through, it’s never too late to find your partner, to marry, remarry, or qualitatively improve the relationship you’re already in. Secondly, we’re sounding a wake-up call: being happy is connected to being true to yourself. We call that “personal authenticity,” and we call our approach “radical” because it doesn’t focus on the externals of dating or where to meet people. Our approach is from the inside out, about being true to oneself first and foremost, which makes one more able to commit to and love another person. We say, focus less on finding an ideal mate than on becoming an ideal mate. That makes a person really attractive to others who appreciate and want someone open, honest, loving, and genuine. What’s the point of trying to appear like what you think someone else wants and getting close with people who can’t see, don’t know, and perhaps aren’t even interested in who you really are?

2) What inspired you to write the book?

Karen McChrystal: Both of us, as co-authors, met after the age of forty; both of us were (are) psychotherapists, deeply interested in what keeps people from leading fulfilling lives past the age of child-rearing, and in how to help others actualize themselves and to evolve into fuller dimensions of human potential.

Probably my initial inspiration was my long-standing interest in how people could learn to come forth and shine brightly as who they really are. I wanted to live in a world surrounded by people who each expressed their unique brilliance and gifts.

So when I became a psychotherapist, I focused on the subject of creativity versus madness, wrote my Master’s thesis on the creative process, and started out my psychotherapy private practice working with blocked writers and artists. I found great joy in helping these clients access their natural creativity by removing inhibitions rooted in their past. Their transformations before my very eyes was wonderful. I got the idea for How To Get Married After Forty based on the lessons from this work, about how people can live as who they truly are. And, of course, the lessons of this work could be, and were applied to my own marriage.

Steve Ross: This book was a joint effort, but we were coming from different places. I agree with what Karen said about this, but my passion about personal authenticity was very personal and pre-dated meeting her. Back around 1986, I was a counseling intern at a Community Mental Health outreach center in San Francisco, serving several neighborhoods, including the Castro. About half of my case load were gay men with AIDS and over the course of my time there I lost several of them. Later that year the AIDS Quilt came to San Francisco. It was housed in the bottom level of the huge Moscone Center Convention Hall. I can remember the literal descent from daylight into twilight as I walked down level after level to the bottom floor. It was like a journey to the underworld. The hall was almost totally silent. I could occasionally hear someone breathing or softly crying. I have no idea how many others were in the room. I felt absorbed by the silence and the sheer gravity of the situation. We walked up and down the rows of colored fabric, reading the words of love and condolence, studying the photos. I saw panels of at least three of my former clients. I was not overwhelmed, but I was full to the brim. Each time I passed someone I made brief eye contact, we nodded, eyes soft, faces unsmiling, filled with emotion. I left that silent, dimly lit and cavernous hall with a keen awareness that during that time we had checked our social graces at the door. All of us had worn our real face, were totally in the moment, real as real can be.

As I walked up those stairs, literally from darkness to light, the bright blue sky and fresh air of a city afternoon getting progressively brighter and sweeter, I felt a tremendous energy and sense of exhilaration. I clearly remember thinking, “This is how I always want to be and feel and live, in this same state of authenticity and focus, and why couldn’t that happen? What prevents us from doing that?” Once home I sat down to write “The Seven Steps to Personal Authenticity,” which I presented in lecture format to various groups. Later, after meeting and sharing a private practice with Karen, we started a pre-marital counseling service and turned our attention to how people can discover and enhance marital compatibility. When we began writing our book, my Seven Steps ended up as Chapter 4.

3) What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Karen McChrystal: A deeper understanding of what it takes to be fully ourselves in relationship, what the deep-seated impediments may be, and how to work through these. Most mid-life relationship books give lists of nice things to do for your mate, to keep them interested, to keep sex fresh – more like grocery lists. Or they may raise the issue of hidden beliefs, but do not explain more than the obvious ones, nor do they discuss how we heal in the context of relationship – healing through feeling safe to be fully ourselves, through communicating effectively, completely and truthfully, through testing to see if our partner will re-traumatize us, through listening with accurate empathy rather than with pre-conceptions, judgments and biases, and through honoring who each of us really is.

Our book is based in solid psychoanalytic/psychotherapeutic theory and research, time-tested, and which has provided us and our clients over the years with life-changing fundamentals.

Steve Ross: We hope our readers will feel revitalized, energized, and empowered by our book. We hope it will inspire them to move forward on the path of self-discovery and personal authenticity.

How To Get Married After Forty is available on Amazon Kindle, and makes a perfect Valentine’s Day gift for yourself, your friends, and even your mate if you want your relationship to evolve ever deeper.

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra Secrets, and Balance Your Chakras, Balance Your Life


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