Host: Sheryl Glick R.M.T.
Special Guest: Marion Baker
In today’s episode of “Healing From Within” your host Sheryl Glick author of The Living Spirit- Answers For Healing and Infinite Love welcomes Marion Baker, author of The Lime Green Plastic Covered Couch. Marion is a registered Therapeutic Counselor with a specialty in transpersonal therapy—a modality that marries spirituality and psychology. As we know love is what makes the world go round and is the focus of either so much joy or suffering, but many unrealistic thoughts and beliefs surround this phenomenon. Perhaps in simplifying the mystery we may find a way to discover love in its many forms.
Marion discusses her search into alternative healing methods as she struggled through years of internet dating, failed relationships, and didn’t have a clue for sustaining a lasting relationship…She will share how Transpersonal Psychology encouraged her to face her own self-defeating patterns and her realization that we are not alone in our struggles and search for true love.
As a child, Marion remembers standing transfixed as her mother turned into a crazed demon mad and yelling at her. As most child traumatized and feeling guilty and terrorized Marion had no idea what she had done and felt this is not the way it should be. “I know there is a better way and I want to find it…”
Marion sums up in the following paragraph some of the patterns she harbored as a result of childhood as do most of us, that made understanding a loving relationship very difficult… She wrote “My own family culture was to be hard on each other, not interact much or show much love or affection. If I described the way love felt to me in my family it would be guarded. Distance was maintained by being critical and learning to accept criticism. It was a mindset that helped my family survive on some level. “Don’t get too close, you could get hurt.” But it didn’t bring any of us closer together or give us the skills to enjoy a life built on loving relationships. ”
Marion also realized that as an intense and committed person these qualities are both a blessing and a curse as is the case for many of us…our best strengths also carry the potential to be our worst weaknesses and whether to heal or harm is a choice we all have to make. Marion has learned to throw caution to the wind in her life and allow her ambition and adventurous spirit to flow avoiding controlling behaviors, limited outdated beliefs and following her heart based instincts. Sheryl as the author of The Living Spirit shares this view and expresses in her book this way….As in all aspects of life it is one thing to “talk the spiritual talk,” and quite another to “walk the spiritual walk.” …For many of us discernment is the major problem. We enter this earthly incarnation with a particular set of circumstances, both positive and negative. They include things like our families, physical characteristics, personalities, talents, ailments—the list goes on and on. As we move through life, we internalize the belief systems of the physical world around us, so much so that it is often difficult to figure out where beliefs end and where we begin.”
“Fast forward 30 years where we find Marion working as a cook at the Clearmind International Retreat Center with no idea of the work or ideas she is really interested in. One day Marion turned to see a woman almost gliding across the floor as if she were walking on a cloud…having met her years ago when she had seemed needy and pathetic to Marion and someone to avoid at all costs now she stood strong confident alive and comfortable in her own skin…and I knew I wanted to be just like that.”
Marion discovered “All I wanted was to meet the needs of a little girl who wanted to be loved.” For so many people discovering love and compassion within us and ways to increase that feeling and express it in ways that benefit the world is probably the reason for having a physical life in the first place. True happiness is growth and expressing our uniqueness into the world while ridding ourselves of lower restricting emotions that hold us in a state of limitation and fear.
Marion goes on to write “I didn’t really know what it was like to have a lasting relationship with a man or supportive friend or what it was like to feel love for my parents..my mother presented as a Big Bad Ogre but I now see her a sweet little old lady who reacts with big emotions when she feels threatened.. So of course this pattern and fear of expressing my needs started in childhood and formed a pattern that didn’t allow for expanding my emotional landscape then.”
Sheryl Says Of course realizing our perceptions may not be the whole truth of any given situation and that we have the personal power within to alter false beliefs or patterns can create a whole new reality. We should encourage children to try to use their words express their fears and concerns and listen with respect adapting our often rigid approaches to parenting and flowing more in line with the needs of the child not our own. Allowing children to take responsibility for making decisions and participating equally in important aspects of their everyday living situations is best for them, rather than to be controlled by the needs and demands of their parents who sometimes overlook the innate wisdom of their children…Good parenting, teaching, and good medical practitioners allow for individuality, honoring and encouraging uniqueness and or differences rather than pigeon holing people into unrelenting and painful situations.
Forgiveness was the key that unlocked it all for Marion. Moving past the uncomfortable feelings of her childhood and recognizing her ability to create with love a new view of herself and her future endeavors made forgiving others who were only following the patterns and restrictions of their training not only possible but opened a door to many new possibilities for growth.
Sheryl says, “In The Living Spirit, in regard to knowing we are never alone and are always loved should be expressed to children by parents and caregivers early on in our life… Sheryl wrote” We have been taught in our formal school days to read, calculate, and create through music, dance, art, writing and verbalization. Yet most of us were not taught to understand the physical law of cause and effect. We were not shown how people’s interactions with us affect our physical, emotional and spiritual well- being. I believe that a well-balanced healthy lifestyle requires being surrounded by supportive people and situations that enhance our positive thinking and produce positive results in our endeavors. Even when some forces may disrupt the flow of events, if we are working within the framework of spiritual or higher values, our choices will be wiser, our recovery from any tragedy will be faster and we will have a chance for a better outcome and a more lasting loving impact on others….” “Many parents have a limited understanding of what is really going on with their children as children are often unable to recognize why they are not feeling well or are afraid and not able to express themselves adequately”
Some parents need more training in becoming good parents with better communication skills and a greater view of how to listen to their children and reassure them when they express anger and fear so it doesn’t develop into major patterns of trauma and feelings of loss lack or abandonment for the child.
We can tap into a source of love that is bigger than our personality and which can open us up to a bigger picture of what love is by realizing that sometimes we are so channeled into an idea of what is in our ego- minded thinking or part of our Lizard Brain mentality that we forget we may be focused on an illusion and this stops us from observing and living actual life…Marion tells the story of a old movie where a young girl is in love with the playboy son of her father’s boss and years go by until she is told by a friend…It sounds as though you’re in love with an illusion..illusions are dangerous people. They have no flaws…. Love then is in the giving and realizing that it comes from within your own heart and sense of personal growth…it does not come from another person or from the outside world..it emanates from the love of life and as you make yourself a more empowered and dynamic person sharing beauty kindness and grace with others…you may draw a similar energy or person into your life… Living from the heart or soul based life rather than the ego or belief systems that are often limited or flawed affords us new ways to love parents, children siblings partners and even strangers…..
By realizing where her own unhappiness emanated and taking personal responsibility for new thinking Marion was open to new possibilities for sustainable relationships and greater love… and wrote “I saw my unhappiness was linked to my sense of helplessness when I couldn’t change others and continued to fight my family rules. When I decided I was tired of leaving relationships, of finding a new place to live after every break through and of suffering the heartache of loss, I had a good long talk with myself. I made a hard decision and followed it up by getting out of my comfort zone and doing things differently. Now a whole new world has opened up.”
Marion describes a few characters or archtypes Pollyanna, Florence Nightingale and the Wicked Witch of the West that illustrate how relationships may be unbalanced and when there is not a give and take and return of love, we are not in the right space for advancing an intimate and honest exchange…
Example – Marion tells the story of Leila who was seeing Rob for almost a year..and who called when he feels insecure lonely sad or needs comforting..he wants to get close when he feels vulnerable and I rush to his side like Florence Nightingale. When he is feeling good I don’t hear from him and he spends time with his friends and never invites me along…I thought we were falling in love but someone reaching out to you when they are feeling insecure isn’t love it’s simply insecurity. Florence Nightingale works as long as the patient continues to love and appreciate her. When she is no longer needed..Florence becomes the Wicked Witch..
Example – Jane caught up in the Cinderella Fantasy…in a relationship with Paul a man who is charming and fun time together as long as they are alone. In public he seems to be talking or flirting with other women and laughs winks and smiles at them when he thinks I’m not looking..I met him at a party and he acted that way with me and he was with a girlfriend at the time… Fantasy kicks in here…thinking he going to be different someday… The pain begins when you want something more or different from what the current relationship is offering. When you realize you have been an equal participant in creating the relationship dynamic it gives you the power to end the pain.(Direct it to a healthier place or choose to say good-bye. The pain began when you etch a sketch picture your brain has created and it no longer matches the real man in front of you.
Marion tells us about the concept of The Love-O- Meter which is an important way to recognize how you are able to share and receive love according to how love was expressed in your early family life.
Marion wrote… “The level of emotional maturity with which you relate to relationships is the one you learned in your family and your culture.” In other words, you only love as much as you learned to love. Imagine that you have your own personal love meter, like a thermometer that goes from zero to 100. The amount of love you get when you are young will fill up your love-o-meter to a certain level only…If your parents love was at 30 percent functional, your love meter will only fill up to 30 percent as well. If you had a great mentor or someone that was a loving influence it can fill up your love-o-meter a notch or two but everyone in your family and surrounding community is at essentially the same love level..You will naturally be attracted to a man who has the same level of love..in other words your capacity to give and receive love or your level of emotional availability will match. Hence we play our own role in the relationship that is equal in function and dysfunction to that of our partner.
What is hard to see is our own part in the dynamic. Either we care-take, fight, shut down or be disapproving or we smoother our emotions by addictions. Each of us has our own cultural brand of how we deal with difficult relationship issues. Our behavior may look different from our partner’s but it still keeps us distant from love at an equal level.
For example, people with parents who didn’t show them love or affection were distant and or constantly criticized them often find partners who do the same.. Or they themselves become critical because they need to recreate the emotional distance they grew up with. In my first marriage my husband regularly told me women were stupid and inferior so I tolerated it and dished it out. I was equally ingrained in the dynamic. When I decided not to allow that kind of behavior any longer and grew out of it the marriage was over. Emotional distance can take on many different disguises and it comes in varying degrees. It could look like a long distance relationship, an affair with a married man, someone whose schedule keeps them away a lot or dating someone with a big age difference so you have little in common with them. These circumstances leave little room for any kind of sustained emotional engagement. Note…What is key is the level of distance you are familiar with. You will be attracted to someone whose upbringing matches your comfort level without realizing why.
Marion wrote…. “It took counselor training to realize we are a deeply and beautifully flawed race. For every trait that is attractive in someone, there is usually a dark side. Someone who is a great leader may also insist on always getting their own way: someone who like harmony may not be able to stand up for themselves; and someone who is proudly self-sufficient may be too embarrassed to ask for help in a crisis, never mind recognize they are in one. The tough part is that so much of our behavior is unconscious. We act automatically without stopping to consider another way of behaving might work better. Usually we are willing to try something new only when we find ourselves deeply unhappy. For a situation to work, it has to work for both people and no one has to suck it up and stare at a collection of foot-ball lighters displayed on the mantle…It’s okay and healthy to ask for the cooperation you need to live in surroundings that work for both you and your Partner.”
Long term married women know their husbands are an average guy and like all of us have our own brand of quirkiness. The perfect Hollywood movie hero simply doesn’t exist.
An old belief that pointing your finger at your husband with blame can bring about change is damaging. In any relationship as Marion writes there can be plenty of Ogre-dom evidence to point your finger at. Blaming your guy for turning you into a victim is a mindset that keeps you from discovering your part in the intricate relationship dance.
Sheryl liked this following description of true love…”True Love is truly about putting your own personal interests aside in support of the one you love: the love of your life will risk all and sacrifice all to express his affection and admiration for the woman in his life. It is not about being placed on a pedestal..It is about seeking equity with a peer who is your most trusted confidante, friend and lover. And to discover this beautiful Truth, there is a path of hurt and pain and the willingness to keep risking for love because it’s worth it.” (Written by July Ono President On the Beach Education Corporation.)
You might decide to find a better understanding of what love really is when you get frustrated with repeated events in your relationships and do some self-investigative work. If you don’t take that step to improve yourself first, and clear away the restrictions that limit you creating a healthy and loving relationship you are doomed to stay in “the teenage love phase” dreaming of a man who is perfect and that mirage will hold you back from creating a realistic and intimate love experience.
What we are all pursuing is happiness and when you realize happiness comes from within your own sense of feeling at one with your best attempts to grow, expand, explore, create and become the best loving comfortable version of yourself you will achieve self-love moving past the illusions of your childhood patterns and realize it is only your way of perceiving and thinking that keep you from achieving true happiness peace and love…Marion wrote and Sheryl agrees…”The happiest people I’ve met are the ones who have a spiritual path. They think differently, and have different values and place greater importance on nurturing vital supportive and loving relationships than those who are driven to pursue The Thing…Money, A Perfect Body and Perfect Relationships..”
Sheryl says in “The Living Spirit, she wrote about “Taking Responsibility for Our Happiness” and says, “Before there can be peace and happiness in a person’s life and in the world, every person must be responsible to do their own work about acknowledging what needs to change within their own attitudes or actions so that they may better relate to the outside world. Finding true happiness and joy is the natural outcome of self-investigation. There are no short cuts. No one can make you happy or unhappy unless you give him or her the power to do that by surrendering or giving your own personal power away…. Most people want to be loved and accepted by a group or an individual regardless of the cost to their own individual character. Therefore they tell themselves many stories in order to be accepted by others….However, it is not only by our own efforts and choices that each of us can develop a sense of accomplishment and self-growth but by recognizing the greater whole of our being and the role we play in creating everything in our lives….”
Since our upbringing plays a major role in our psychological makeup and shows us why we are attracted to certain people and not others understanding that is step one. If you really want a fulfilling relationship it is necessary to take stock of what you are thinking or doing that is keeping you stuck. You may think that something outside yourself is the reason for not having a good partner or good relationship but that is taking a powerless position suggesting you have no choice but to make the same mistakes over and over never learning from them and then blaming your parents but our parents and grandparents didn’t think that way jumping from one relationship to another divorce in past generations was not as prevalent as it is now.
Marion Baker author of The Lime Green Plastic Covered Couch has shared wonderful insights into ways for self-investigation and for mastering emotions to understand that our upbringing plays a major role in our psychological makeup and childhood patterns are creating many of the situations we find ourselves in as adults. To begin changes in your own emotional landscape and assume responsibility for personal growth and new perceptions is the way forward to change and then greater love.
We have not just discussed Marion’s search for Self and love but what ultimately drives all of us through all suffering pain and loss …the need to understand who we are and how we may find a happy loving and successful life experience… In alignment to that thought Marion wrote “Above all else what I wish for each of you and the biggest reason that inspired me to write this book was the desire for more people to come to the world of peace and loving connection of vulnerability and of openness. For over forty years I’d lived in the other world, the one of defense pride one-upmanship, better than, guarded safety and of hard and fast opinions, especially those about your life. It’s lonely. No one really gets in, not even me.”
Marion and Sheryl ask you to remember a quote by an ancient poet Rumi “Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there”