Great book review with interesting twist


BOOKCultivating Healthy Relationships offers an interesting series of meanderings and explorations through diverse wholistic healing discussions. Many interesting ideas are proposed for understanding and appreciating the body (physical and energetic)-emotions-mind-relationships-spirit connections.

In reading this book, I am reminded of when I first struggled to learn the game of bridge. It was difficult to understand bidding when I had not yet understood the values of suits and the hints that are implied in responses of partners to previous bids.

Suzann Panek Robins has much of value to share, and brings to the table a wide variety of sources to explain aspects of the holistic spectrum. Her basic focus is Freudian and Jungian, but her wide-ranging explorations cover numerous other psychological systems of psychology – both from conventional and complementary/alternative sources.

This rich feast will be best appreciated by those who have a fairly good basic understanding of what I call the wholistic spectrum of healing.

Review by Daniel J. Benor, MD, ABIHM
Internatiional Journal of Healing andCaring, Editor-in-Chief


The Fine Line

Lately, I have been exploring the intersection of pain and pleasure. Not feeling well brings pain that I try to experience as pleasure by telling myself that I am perfect, whole and complete. I love myself, just the way I am – even if I am in pain. But it is not that easy. Saying I accept the pain, doesn’t make it go away. When my whole body aches, it is difficult to pretend that it doesn’t. When I have no energy, it is hard to do anything.

When I am in Yoga class, the pain is excruciating.

On the other hand, when I am making love, there is no pain. Pleasure takes over my body in a way that escapes me when I am standing or sitting or even trying to go to sleep. My pain is often worse when I am lying still attempting to relax. But it doesn’t hurt when I am having energetic sex. Why? My guess is that when my lover and I are being sexual, I am out of my mind and out of my body as well. I drift to a place of pure pleasure. It is like floating on a sea of tranquility and I want to stay there forever. I want to move there permanently and never come back to this body that is causing me so much trouble, and certainly I don’t want to go back to my negative mind, which blames me for all of the discomfort as if “I” didn’t think the right thoughts or say the right words.

It is hard being uncomfortable in my body after working for so many years on loving myself and accepting everything as perfect. Affirming that everything is in divine order,    perfectly unfolding just as it is, doesn’t work anymore The pain is NOT perfect, it hurts, and then some days, unexpectedly, it goes away. I am OK for a while, I get a few things accomplished, and then it returns again. I try to rest but that doesn’t work when my body is uncomfortable.

And then the opportunity to make love comes again, and suddenly nothing hurts. I am in bliss when I am being stroked and caressed, kissed and nuzzled (I could get more graphic here, but my love life is not the point of this blog). The point is: where does the pain go? When it is not with me, does it haunt someone else? Can pain be shared like  pleasure? Why does it seem to own me when it steals my days and/or nights? Do we own our pain? Can we control it? Is everyone’s pain the same?

I don’t know the answer to these questions; I only know my own experiences of pain and of pleasure. I’d love to hear your comments. What is your experience of pain? Of pleasure? Do you also have a fine line that can be easily crossed simply by stopping your thoughts and moving from one idea to another. Is the relief of pain really simple?

If it is, then why is it so hard to shift sometimes and not others? And why does it return so easily? I don’t want to be in pain. I want to be in pleasure and stay there all of the time. But then, how do I get anything else done?

Sexuality and Spirituality

We are born sexual beings. Some say we are also spiritual beings having a physical experience. Others say they don’t believe in spirituality. What do we mean when we talk about spirit?

For me, both sex and spirit are like electricity. I don’t know how they work, but I sure like the power they produce. This is also true for the type of intimacy I find in various relationships. When I experience healthy communication that leads to intimacy, it is powerful. When I experience spirituality, it is the spirit of enthusiasm; the joy and exhilaration that comes from knowing I am in the right place at the right time for the highest good of all concerned.

For some, sex is a casual experience that occurs randomly in a chaotic universe. For others, it is a life long commitment to one person who honors the body as “the temple of the Holy Spirit.” At least that is what I was taught: find a mate similar to yourself, get married, make babies, and live happily ever after. My parents did that (although they didn’t look too happy to us six kids, especially after 50 years).  I tried it and my marriage lasted almost 25 years. When I thought about the next 25 years (I am likely to live to be 75), I began to make different choices.

The first thing I did was to join an Intentional Community Harbin Hot Springs in Northern California just happened to be clothing optional, it was also Heart Consciousness Church. The land and water were old Native American healing grounds. We honored the physical body as the spirit of the land. Sex was  readily available, but there was little intimacy as I now understand it. While living there I began thinking of writing a book about various kinds of intimate relationships, and what I now think about as the “Energetics of Sex and Sexuality.”

Sexuality, to me, is our identity as male and/or female. It encompasses the gender roles we all play.

Sex is what we do when we raise our energy and unite with another person for the purpose of procreation and pleasure. I believe sex is intended to be pleasurable; right? Or is it only to make babies as many of us were taught?

Today’s social climate shouts, “Sex is for Fun and Good for Everyone.” But where is the intimacy? And what about the spiritual component of sex? 

The book I eventually completed talks about INTO-ME-SEE. It teaches that self-love and self-pleasuring are as important as cultivating healthy relationships on every level of our lives. Exploring Intimacy addresses the roles of insight and intuition as we learn to love ourselves, which we must do before we can offer love to any one else.

Exploring Intimacy provides several methods for achieving an Integrated Self, and looks at how gender roles have evolved over the years. 

The book explores the scientific component of the vital life force or libido that is alive and active in all of our relationships, as well as during a sexual encounter. It explains the meaning of Kundalini and the Path of Manifestation as well as the Path of Liberation. I hope you will check it out (ask for it at your local library, that is a great way to support an author, and also makes it available for others in the future).

All of life has a sexual component – from when we are born until we die. What we do with our vital life force determines our exploration and eventual integration of sex and spirit, our sexuality and our spirituality.

Keys to Healthy Relationships

I found this article interesting and had to share it with you:

Everyone in the world is in a kind of relationship. Whether it is with a significant other, friend or family, relationships will always be a part of an individual. As stated in the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, love and belongingness or being in a relationship with other people is vital in a person’s life. Needless to say, it is essential to keep healthy relationships.

But how does an individual keep his relationship healthy? There are definitely many ways to make one’s associations with his fellow men beneficial.

When it comes to family, it is important to spend time together. Little gatherings such as dinner meals will make the members closer. They can get to share stories, talk about various topics, and probably even deal with misunderstandings too. If the children already have their own families, regular get-togethers could still be done to keep the bonds as tight as possible. Besides, these will present opportunities for the different generations to know more about one another.

Relatives, especially the immediate ones, need to maintain healthy connections as well. Although gathering more people in one place at the same is harder, it will certainly be worth it. Just imagine the fun and laughter everybody will have, particularly with the ‘big’ clans.

There are many occasions, such as during the Christmas season, which the family could celebrate together.

Another crucial type of relationship a person has to keep healthy is the ones with friends. An individual will meet countless of people in his lifetime, and many of these would be long-time or close friends. Just like family, friends ought to spend time together.

As most would come from different backgrounds or walks of life, it really would be nice to relate with unique personalities who have distinct life stories.

In addition to the stories (and gossip) to be shared, friends are great to have in times of need. Since a lot of folks live away from home and their families, they usually would have friends as their nearest of kin. Friends are the ones whom people can cry on or communicate their problems with. Of course, a person has to associate himself with genuine individuals.

The last key relationship to strengthen is with a significant other. This is probably the relationship that most people work on in their lives.

Two of the most indispensable values individuals in a romantic relationship must have are love and respect. For this kind of union to work, it has to breathe on true love. It cannot simply operate on things such as money and lust. People need to have sincere affection towards each another.

Respect is the other quality they should have. Each of the party involved ought to have respect to the other individual as a person.

It is also vital to have an open communication with each other. If there are problems or disagreements, these should be talked about as soon as possible.

As the saying “no man is an island” goes, it denotes that every individual is compelled to have relationships to live. And to make everyday living a whole lot better, people simply need to keep healthy relationships.

Next read more articles in advice on relationships

Visit Relationship tips Includes topics on communication, intimacy, jealousy, successful relationships, controlling partners and more. Small steps taken every day will add up to a big success. Star taking small steps to create a solid foundation.

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Radical Conversations in Relationships

When we truly want to learn more about another person, there is unlimited value in the process of deep communication.  Good business team building and satisfying romantic partnerships both require communication that results in radical conversations.

Radical conversation involves full sharing and disclosure of information pertinent to the task or issues. Making time to discern what is important to each situation results in greater success on current projects and greater personal health. Each radical conversation leads to the self-discovery of what it is like to be me, while hearing what it is like to be you. When each one desires to continuously discover more about both our self AND the other person, this kind of exchange can fulfill  the promise of learning more about the core of our being.

When we are able to understand the other people we work with, or live with, the result is healthier relationships on every level. This does not require a tremendous amount of time once common language regarding personality traits and temperament is established. The next step is the self-awareness to take responsibility as we speak.  And lastly a willingness to withstand a genuine encounter with the truly Other.

This level of communication requires that:

1} The people involved commit to sustaining the conversation over time. Not everything can be disclosed without previous thought and reflection.

2) Each person agrees to talk openly about their values and assumes responsibility for their own psychological well-being. This means thinking before speaking and knowing your personal boundaries regarding what is important to expose at work and a willingness toward full exposure at home.

3) Each must commit to sharing their own experience without reproaching the others about past hurts or future expectations. Similarly, each one listens to the others without feeling defensive about what is being said. Know that a person’s sharing is always more about them, even if it seems to be directed toward you. Quit taking it personally.

The joy of Exploring Into-me-see at this level requires some effort, but the results can be so rewarding, that it is worth the effort. Learn more in Exploring Intimacy: Cultivating Healthy Relationships through Insight and Intuition, published by Rowman and Littlefield, 2010.

Available at, or www.wild iris market

Relationships @work

Team building is essential to form a healthy network among individuals who work TOGETHER toward common interests and objectives. Practical steps can be taken to build and stabilize what is known as “social coherence.” Social coherence occurs when a harmonious alignment of various relationships allows for the efficient flow of physical and psychic energy. Adequate communication skills must be utilized for optimal collective cohesion, which then results in a working group taking positive action toward an end goal rather than becoming entangled in negative emotions.

Cultivating Healthy Relationships through Insight and Intuition

Suzann addresses relationship issues both at home and at work

Contemporary scientists have determined that every emotion results in a physiological response called “stress.” Mentally, we label the quality of our response as positive or negative. During a perceived positive response the internal process is efficient, free-flowing and easy. Negative responses result in anger and resentment that is hard on the body and undermine social cohesion. These negative responses can actually cause the body physical harm, which later results in sickness or ill-health. This leads to the breakdown of the team.

One of the main sources of stress and incoherence, also known as lack of cooperation, stems from communication problems among teammates, almost as if they speak different languages. Co-workers are basically civil and cooperative. However, when a new team comes together, many people have anxieties, judgments, frustrations, and preconceptions that remain under the surface. When these unexpressed feelings remain unspoken, they are unconsciously communicated. This creates energetic separations that result in miscommunication and other relational problems.Task performance suffers. Problem solving, decision making, and activities that require focus and coordination are compromised.

An ongoing practice of communication-building techniques can establish coherence. A new base-line can be established for effectively dealing with stress. This involves learning to recognize and to consciously shift the ongoing emotional undercurrents. Judgments, negative projections, insecurity, and worry that creates incoherence and wastes energy need to be eliminated.

Team coherence can be achieved once individuals are engaged in a simple and fun process of learning communication skills mixed with relaxation techniques that have been shown to increase mental and emotional flexibility. This process can also promote resilience and the capacity for team mates to be in charge of their emotions and in turn their physical and mental health. Flexibility and resilience can dramatically reduce stress-related energy drains during day-to-day activities and interactions, even in the midst of challenging situations.

Stress reduction and relaxation training systems that establish common definitions for emotions, and also utilize the breath and creative visualization, have been used with individuals in health care, education, law enforcement, corporate and military settings with significantly improved outcomes. Contact Suzann Robins at 303-428-0968 for individual or group coaching on these simple to learn techniques.

Value of relationship coaching

Everyday interactions are influenced by things that happened in the past. But our past does not need to dictate our future. Learn what your life is about from the inside out. Looking within is a powerful path to creating healthy relationships. Overcoming difficulties in any relationship involves finding the strength of inner security. This begins with learning to trust your instincts.

People look at other people in different ways. Some look for beauty, others for flaws. Some see the essence of the person, others hear only spoken words or they tune into the tone of voice without caring about age or height, weight, gender or their relationship to the speaker. People sometimes miss what is actually said and hear only what they expect to hear. Or they “project” their thoughts about the other person as if that person were a screen that only reflected what the other is thinking.

People perceive each other through filters and we each have filters of our own that prevent us from actually seeing or hearing what the other is doing or saying. Sometimes people are mirrors for us. They reflect something we did or said, or perhaps simply thought, and we were unaware. We can be grateful for the gift, or resent that the reflector saw through the facade we put up for protection.

What is it that we protect ourselves from? What are people afraid of when it comes to intimate relationships? Why is it so difficult to know our self? And even more difficult to let others really know who we are, and what we are about? Perhaps this fear is passed down from previous generations? Or does it develop from an accumulation of bumps and hurts?

I don’t know the answers, I can only guess, based on my own relationship experience and stories from hundreds of clients and thousands of friends. I have found that many people are afraid of their own thoughts! Somehow they internalize that they are not OK. They focus on the bad things that have happened from the beginning of their lives. Little hurts accumulate and become BIG wounds. In psychological circles, we refer to this as trauma, or stress related illness.

Not everyone is traumatized by their childhood or the things that happen to us over time. Instead, they take the bumps in stride and know the path as one of learning, rather than one of difficulty. We define these people as having a positive attitude or a sunny disposition. They are fun to be around because they always see the bright side of whatever is going on. They form meaningful connections.

Are you traumatized or wounded? How sunny or cloudy is your attitude toward overcoming difficult relationships and cultivating healthy partnerships?

Are human beings born helpless?

Human beings are born helpless. We immediately rely on others.  Our need for interaction never ends and this necessity can often cause difficulty in relationships. This blog is intended to help improve difficult relationships through offering tips for understanding how past conditioning influences outcomes. Future is determined by knowing and changing the past. We cannot change what actually happened in the past, but we can alter the way we think about it.   

Newborns rely on the developing senses of sight, sound, smell and taste. These senses allow us to be in touch with this new world. We need to be touched and held. Babies thrive when they are gently stroked and cuddled. We also develop our sixth sense of intuition, which allows us to detect the quality of touch. We learn trust and distrust depending on how quickly our needs are met. We also absorb information about how the caretakers feel about filling those needs. These judgments can cause future difficulty in relationships because something that was said or done when we were children can trigger a feeling in present time that was related to the past.

As we mature, we sense the energy others emit. Emotional intelligence develops and we discern the difference between one facial expression and another. This initial sense of awareness is automatic.  At a young age, we make judgments that we carry in our thoughts throughout our lifetime. Happiness and sadness, anger and joy, register in our brain as different qualities of caring and connection. These emotions register as physical feelings. We express emotion by imitating the people who surround us. Eventually, we learn to manage our “mood.” Mood is a response to the environment that carries a distinctive emotional quality. Emotions are generated by a combination of three factors: inborn temperament, developing personality, and by observing those around us. Temperamental traits remain constant from birth through adulthood. Personality results from preferences that change over time and vary with the circumstances. Emotions result from energy moving throughout the body, in other words: Energy in motion.

Discovering how to activate this energy flow is one useful tool for cultivating healthy partnerships.

Learning about the limitations of temperament and the expansiveness of personality are also valuable skills for overcoming difficult relationships. If you have ever had difficulty in any relationship, then it is a useful first step to become aware of how previous conditioning can interfere with current communications. Learning to let go of the judgments we made as children is a second step to improving today’s situations. Stay tuned for more about how this works in our everyday interactions.

human interaction


Cultivating Healthy Relationships

working with insight and intuition

Human beings are born helpless, which means we are immediately in relationship with others. As newborns we rely on developing senses. Sight, sound, smell and taste allow us to be in touch with this new world. We need to be touched and held. Babies who are stroked and cuddled thrive.

Our need for human interaction never ends. From birth, we detect the quality of touch and begin to make judgments. We develop emotional intelligence as we learn to read the meaning of facial expressions. We learn to trust the motivation of others when our needs are met. Babies mature and begin to sense energy fields. This requires that we become self-aware and eventually learn to manage our “mood.” Mood is a quality of feeling or a distinctive emotional quality. Emotions are a result of our internal energy in motion. Emotions are the combination of temperament and personality.

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