Posts tagged love

Do You See What I See?

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What is stronger than concrete but weaker than love? There is no correct answer, only supposition. Think for a moment before you continue.












I assert PERCEPTION is stronger than concrete but weaker than love.

How is perception stronger than concrete? What is “perception”? … the act or faculty of comprehending by means of the senses or of the mind.” More specifically, I believe that perception is the particular experience of a stimulus—a thing, a sensation, or an issue—from the perspective of a particular person. Two different people may respond to the same stimulus in two different ways. For example, what do you perceive this image to be?


“It is obviously a vase.” “No, it is two heads face-to-face.” “No, it is clearly a vase.” “Yes, I see, but…”

Either way we respond, both perceptions are true. Our point of view or interpretation becomes a Truth which establishes the backbone of our actions and responses in the world. Our Truth informs the thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs, principles and values, emotions, and behaviors that make sense to us. Our Truth informs the way we get our needs and desires met. Our Truth informs our best judgment and our ability to understand and cope with experience.

The aggregate of our perceptions forms the basis of our very lives, and the earlier or greater the impact of our perceptions, the more formative the experience. In this way, perception, like concrete, structures experience and structure provides security. To ensure our security, we will defend our perceptions and insist that we are, at most, correct or, at least, more sensible or more justified than others.

For example, some people believe that climate change is a fiction. Allegations have been made that scientists and institutions involved in global warming research are part of a global scientific conspiracy or engaged in a manipulative hoax. Some of us contest the conspiracy theory and perceive abundant evidence that climate change currently threatens planet Earth as predicted. In this matter, perception may be stronger than concrete.

How is perception weaker than love? What is “love”? … a feeling of warm personal attachment and affection. More specifically, “love” to me means a warm personal attachment based on trust and good will that promotes personal growth for the parties involved.

When we love, we assign credibility to another, and we allow ourselves to feel vulnerable to another. In doing so, we become susceptible to influence. Our perceptions may become flexible, and our thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs, principles and values, emotions, and behaviors may shift. For example, we may change our attitudes and habits about diet and exercise, convert to a different religion, or bend our political leanings.

Whether we unconsciously wish to avoid conflict and to be accepted, whether we feel confused and undecided, or whether we intentionally shift our perspective, we may be more receptive to what a loved one has to say than to what a stranger has to say. In this way, when attachment based on trust and good will are at stake, perception may be weaker than love.

Do you have STRENGTH and FLEXIBILITY to establish your point of view and to receive others’ points of view even if they contradict established interpretation of reality. If striking this balance challenges or confuses you, Contact Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation, and we will bring clarity to your perceptions.

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It’s Not You; It’s Me.

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[PREFACE: The relationship did not entail any bickering or unresolved issues. His reliance on the “It’s not you; it’s me” argument brought about his unilateral decision to end the relationship. Given the shock to me, only in retrospect could I put together the two clues and the one gut instinct to which I did not give proper credence.]

I once based my world on the Love of a lifetime. When the object of my affections withdrew, I broke. My long-held dismissal of marriage evoked an attitude that, within the bounds of a relationship, if my partner no longer loves me, then he needs to leave. However, once I felt the bond of Love to which I had laid my soul bare, relinquishing the attachment tore apart my heart and my mind.


Within the laws of the universe, he didn’t do anything to me to which I did not implicitly consent. He owed me nothing but a courteous good-bye. I am the one who based my world on this Love that I felt and that he ultimately did not. I endorsed his freedom to make his own decision about Love, choosing “me” or “not me.” How could I do otherwise?


The disappointment so complete, I am left to puzzle the damage. Political correctness suggests that I wish him well, but I do not.


In fact, I resent that he ever comes to mind, sneaking in when an empty space in my thoughts or something reminiscent occurs. Sadly, his abandonment will never go away so I must manage the impact. The best I can do with the fact that our past will always be part of my life in the sour way that curdled milk feels at the back of the throat–too late to un-swallow–is to put less importance on his interference in the present, neither inviting nor resisting it.


With time I hope that the ill he brought upon me will transform robbery into apathy. If his leaving makes room for a more suitable relationship, my appreciation for the turn of fortune may well instill a cautious optimism.


Now I know what it feels like to be decimated by someone who claimed to have loved me at one point and then chose not to love me when the time came to choose. If you know what it is to grieve for the living and need guidance along the recovery process, please Contact Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation, and we will invite a paradigm shift that brings clarity.

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Raise Your IQ, Genius!

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“Okay, so you’re a rocket scientist. That don’t impress me much.” – Shania Twain


You have got genius inside of you! That is a fact. Discovering the roots of that genius and cultivating it depends upon your IQ. I am not referring to the standardized, culturally-biased Intelligence Quotient. Neither am I referring to any particular cognitive talent you may have; there are plenty of talented people who forfeit the strength, endurance, and power to develop their gift(s). What sets the thriv-ers apart from the languish-ers is their Investedness Quotient.


Just as money invested wisely yields dividends that contribute to personal wealth, your Self invested wisely yields dividends that contribute to personal enrichment. When people criticize others saying–“She is so self-centered.” “He is so self-involved.” “How selfish can you be?”–they speak about a particular kind of behavior pattern that alienates others. Self-investedness, however, conveys a focus on the Self regarding what matters most to us, what relationships and activities we pursue, and what dedication of time we allow based on our values, principles, and ideals.


I know a young man who is a self-involved drug addict. (As it happens, addicts tend to have low Investedness Quotients.) When I inquired into his motives for developing a drug habit, he blamed it on boredom. My response, had I the opportunity to do it over, would have been, “Get a LIFE, man!” This perpetually regressive adolescent, no doubt, self-medicates pain that he discusses with nobody. But more than that, he lacks self-investedness, and this down-fall defines him unless and until he takes steps to invest in himself.


What do such steps look like?

  • A rational decision to love ourselves enough not to pollute and impair ourselves.
  • A regular involvement in pro-social activities–to leave situations better than how we encountered them.
  • A daily commitment to be of service to at least one other human being.
  • A generous dedication of time and attention to a rewarding skill or ability.
  • A judicious willingness to share about our pain (sorrows, frustrations, anger, etc.) with a person wiser than us.
  • A heartfelt endeavor to assume responsibility for shortcomings and to make amends as warranted.
  • A bold admission that, if there is a Higher Power, each of us is not it.
  • A continuing inquiry into what these steps look like in our uniquely personal experience.



As for the genius inside us, it is our birthright. We may not conceive of its wherewithal, but we are called to find it. Just as the best possible way to manage a problem–the optimal coping strategy–always exists, and we are called to find it. We were not made to languish but rather to thrive. To the degree that we are disconnected from that, we need to raise our IQ. Take a risk. You are the best investment you could ever make! (https://twitter.com/ Good_Vibes_Only)

If you are ready and willing to self-reflect, re-evaluate your behavior, and make judicious decisions about your Life, please Contact Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation, and we will develop a “portfolio” that makes you rich.

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Your Claim To Fame

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The greatest gift that we can ever give to people and the world is the example of our lifeour claim to fame. It is the only gift that, as individuals, we alone can give. The gift speaks to matters of character. Everything that we ever embody–qualities, values, principles, beliefs, opinions, ethics, morals–colors our responsibilities (our ability to respond) and contributions, and our reputation stems from the pattern that we thereby establish.


When people discover that I have a trauma background–challenges, hardships, adversities, illness, injustice–and they also discover that I have become a strong, spiritual, insightful, compassionate, courageous, resourceful, and tenacious individual rather than a bitter and brutalizing one, people ask me how I managed to embrace a Loving legacy.


First, I must confess that, in my darkest times, I have been bitter and brutalizing. There are sins of speech and deed for which I must account, and I live with the burden of remembrance for inexcusable behavior. My conscience, despite apologies, rages at me. Because of this, self-reflection, re-evaluation of my actions, and genuine amends shape my personal development.


Despite occasions of contemptible behavior, my reputation and the overarching example of my life demonstrate my conviction to uplift myself and others. From an early age, I nurtured a curiosity about people who, despite disadvantage, forged an honorable and admirable legacy—Helen Keller, Anne Frank, Martin Luther King, Jr., and everyday people spotlighted in the media. The gifts of others’ examples prompted my resiliency. I further owe my resiliency to my ability to self-reflect, my willingness to seek recovery and accept help, my capacity and desire to give and receive love, and my cultivated gratitude.


Clearly, my life has not proceeded as planned. The story of my life defies all early indicators that I would go on to enjoy a priceless marital partnership, to contribute to society through a stellar career, and to craft a retirement of continuing contributions. Yet there remains a single legacy that I aspire to leave in my wake–this above all else–that I chose Love and loved well.


What is the gift of the example of your lifeyour claim to fame? What is the first next right thing that needs to happen within you in order for you to realize this? What reputation stems from your responsibilities and contributions? What is the legacy you aspire to leave in your wake? We await your inimitable reply!

If you would like to build your character, shape your reputation, and forge a legacy, please Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation, and we will claim your fame together.

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Suicide… Make A Plan


The 4th of August marks the 28th anniversary of my sister Heidi’s suicide. She had been a patient in a state psychiatric facility at the time. The belt from a robe became her noose. A fellow patient found her hanging in the shower. She had left no note.


I physically feel the terror of the horrific course of events. How could Heidi come to conceive this ending to her life? How long was she suffering with suicidal intent? Was the gesture impulsive or did she know when she awoke that morning that this would be the last day of her life?


Anyone who is considering suicide needs to have a plan–a Suicide Aversion Plan to STOP the mind from killing–and it is advisable to devise one in advance of a crisis. The best time to create one is when we are well so that the plan goes into effect in the event of a suicidal emergency:

— What actions can we take to postpone the decision to act on a suicidal impulse?

  • Participate in a diversion activity, e.g., listen/dance/sing to music, create art, take a bath
  • Call a caring friend
  • Go for a walk, preferably with a caring friend but alone if necessary
  • Pray/meditate (This is a valuable daily habit)
  • Make a gratitude list (This is a valuable daily habit)
  • Take a nap
  • Tell yourself that you can think about it TOMORROW


— Whom will we tell about the immense pain that spurs thoughts of suicide?

  • A psychotherapist or psychiatrist
  • A hotline worker
  • A chaplain
  • A support group
  • A family member
  • A dear friend
  • An Emergency Room nurse


— What are/were our dreams? What one thing can we do to sustain them?

— Who would wish for us to live? What one thing can we do to return in love to others?


The critical aspect of the Suicide Aversion Plan is that it must command full credence, having been composed by the rational mind, even if the suicidal mind tries to argue against it. Our full faith and trust must remain with our rational self. The immense pain that spurs thoughts of suicide will change and will pass. If we are incapacitated by the pain then we must convalesce. Treat yourself with the utmost of tender care.


A wise person once gave me a sign that read: Keep breathing! I always thought that meant to not hold my breath, a rigidity that suppressed feelings. Only recently did I realize that this was an instruction to release anything that impelled me to kill myself and therefore stop breathing! Keep breathing!


If you are feeling suicidal, resiliency education is not of utmost importance right now. If you are in imminent danger, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room, preferably at a hospital that has an excellent reputation for behavioral healthcare. If you need to see your psychiatrist or psychotherapist on an emergency basis, please contact him/her and express the urgency.

“Everything will be alright in the end. If it is not alright, it is not the end!” – Unknown

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Searching for Ms. Right or Mr. Right



Are you searching for a partner? Who is Right for you? What are your particular parameters for an ideal or optimal mate? What physical attributes, personality characteristics, educational and socioeconomic benchmarks? But we are getting ahead of ourselves. This is not the starting point. A wise woman taught me to first write a love letter to top all love letters to nobody in particular:


“My Beloved, My Sweet, My Partner…

You make my world a better place in which to awaken day upon day. And all my doings and comings and goings find deeper meaning in the embrace of our partings and reunions. My friend, my confidante… I cannot imagine a day without you. My lover, my family… I cherish the home we make. Drawn together by the call to be our finest selves in each other’s company, let us always tend the bridge that brings our intimacy along the shores of our individual lives. You are the greatest gift in my life.

I put my hand in your hand and together we can do what we could not do alone…
Vanessa”

Then, she said, put your own name as the recipient on the love letter and give it to yourself. This is how you long for love. Now give that love to yourself. Further, I challenge you to love yourself unconditionally or as a Higher Power would love you.


To love ourselves unconditionally does not mean to be self-involved at the cost of other relationships; it means to be self-invested for the sake of all that is worthwhile. To love ourselves unconditionally does not mean to ignore or excuse our faults; it means to take responsibility to remedy our shortcomings. In tandem with unconditional love, we must be at peace with ourselves–our age, our bodies, our mistakes, our losses, our fortunes–especially that which we cannot control. We may wish to initiate change in some aspect of our lives. If so, then be inspired to be right with yourself.


To be right with yourself is to love and be at peace with yourself. You can then be Ms. Right or Mr. Right. To borrow from Gandhi’s “Be the change you wish to see in the world” with adaptation:

  • Be the LOVE you wish to see in the world.
  • Be the PEACE you wish to see in the world.
  • Be the RIGHT PARTNER you wish to see in the world.

Looking for a partner–someone who is right for you–has everything to do with being right with yourself and how you conduct your life. Deepen your unconditional love for yourself and be at peace with yourself, and you will permit only such relationships as support such love and peace. This is the starting point, and it is never too late to start.


If you wish to deepen your love for yourself, to add quality to your life, and to begin as Ms. Right or Mr. Right, please Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation (Resiliency Coaching) and I will guide you in making a more loving journey.

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I Beat the Odds and Won the Lottery



I grew up in a home that was riddled with domestic trauma–verbal, emotional, physical, sexual abuse. Everyday life would unfold around common family activities, and I never knew when the next implosion would come but always tried to anticipate and escape it. Hypervigilent, I faced my daily life in a climate of fear and dread. My parents were ill-equipped to cope with their own experiences and emotional material; they could scarcely manage to rear their four children.


At some point in my teens, I entertained the notion that, if “God” is Love, then Love is “God”. A stream of scenarios occurred to me as I pondered and tested this theory. And I arrived at the supposition that, if I can live from a place of Love, I can align my motivations, outlook, and behavior in accordance with the Universe, and the principles of justice and compassion.


Presently, my view of the “Most High Source” has evolved; it is more complex and less anthropomorphized. But my earlier realization that Love is “God” allowed me to establish an ideal: If I love and love well, then I will fulfill my humanity. The legacy that my parents imparted threatened to skew my perspective and compromise my heart. Yet I learned by doing the opposite of the examples that my parents set. This fact saddens me sometimes, but it proved an excellent strategy for avoiding the perpetuation of a damaging legacy.


I naturally connected with Love because I yearned for it. And I knew, as the Beatles professed in their song, The End, that “the Love we take is equal to the Love we make”. My early experience further taught me that Love, if it is true, must be free and not bargained; otherwise, it is not Love. Later, I heeded the advice that, “when at a crossroads, choose the path toward Love”.


Paying attention to examples of Love in the wide world, I nurtured and preserved myself by focusing on examples that affirmed my learning. Kahlil Gibran’s chapter on Love in The Prophet provided an exquisite jumping off point for meditations on Love early in my life. I have indeed loved. In addition, others have loved me, and my heart has received their gifts. I beat the odds of an upbringing that could have led me to imitate “God”-forsaken examples of human behavior by, instead, attending to the yearnings of my heart and by offering Love as an exercise of good will. I won the lottery in my meditations on Love.


If you desire a way to readily foster Love within yourself and for others, please Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation–Resiliency Coaching–and I will guide you in making attitudinal and behavioral changes for the better.

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Send Up The White Flag

Everyone has at least one major secret. “Yeah, there’s one that you keep that you bury so deep no one can tear it out!” – Billy Joel Code of Silence

I have two major secrets that I carry. Failings. Burdens. Potentials for blame or humiliation. I can stop them a bit at a time, but I have not been successful in eradicating them altogether. The saying goes, “You are as sick as your secrets.” It stands to reason, then, that as I aspire toward health and wholeness, I must surrender my secrets.

Resiliency provides a dynamic and fluid realm from which healthy responses emerge for each particular situation. Major secrets indicate rigidity, tripping points, compulsions that keep us spinning our wheels and not moving forward. To succumb to our secrets is to perpetuate sickness.

In order for me to begin to release my major secrets, I would have to begin to see myself as equal to every person, and I would have to forfeit hypocrisy and love myself as much as I expect others to love themselves.

What major secret(s) keeps you from health and wholeness? And what would you have to begin to do in order to release your self from any rigid pattern(s) that keep you from health and wholeness?

If your major secrets are holding you back from health and wholeness, you are part of the human race. You do have options! Contact me,, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation–Resiliency Coaching–and I will help you navigate the surrendering of unhealthy patterns.

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Freedom from Death

Emotional hurts have a way of making a lasting impression while all the big and little daily happiness-es can run like water through a fist.

I have been faced with hurts that have been difficult to clean up. One in particular was the loss of one of the great loves of my life. Losing my bearings and stalling on my life course, I became vigilant about preventing such vulnerability from happening again. So, I asked myself, “Self, if you found a loving partner and he leaves, would you regret allowing this person close enough to hurt you?” And Self hesitated.

Would anybody ever be worth that kind of power over me? The more interested I would be, the less willing I would be to take the risk. I would have my heart and mind trained to receive familiar signs of impending danger–red flags. However, with my heart and mind trained to notice every red flag, every possible joy would figure less prominently through that lens. That orientation would only lead me entertain the affections of someone whose hurtfulness would not mean much. This is a position of resiliency impairment, defeating the whole purpose of being in a relationship with someone whom I could love deeply and and who could love me deeply in return.

My only recourse from defeating my wish for another great love involved grieving the original loss and regaining my strength, or courage… and deliberately so. To grieve deliberately requires that I allow the thoughts and feelings where I resist letting go (grasp) to be expressed–thoughts, feelings, and physical discharge (crying, yelling, hitting pillows, etc.). To facilitate this, I need to allow someone else to witness my expression without judgment or personal commentary.

One way that I find helpful to guide the grief process involved Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ model from her book, On Death And Dying–denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. By focusing my attention on each stage, I have my say; whereas I had not had my say in the death of the great love. One way to gain perspective on the situation was to view it as a story: I called it “the loss of one of the great loves of my life.” I explained it as “he left me.” I described it as “heartbreaking,” saying “I absorbed the blow.” How else could I tell the story? The result of the call to grieve deliberately enabled me to release my resistance to the death of a dream.

Every grief is different between one person and the next and, for the same person, between one situation and the next. The time required to diminish the pain of grief likewise varies. If you are enduring a grief for a longer period than you would like, I can help. Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation–Resiliency Coaching–and I will accompany you along the way.

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Is That A $100 Bill On The Floor?

I have a $100 dollar bill for you… if you want it. Yes?

Well, what if I wad it up in a ball. Do you still want it?

Now what if I stomp on it repeatedly with my filthy shoe? Do you still want it?

Finally, what if I tear it in two? Do you still want it?

The reason why we still want the $100 dollar bill is because no matter what abuse it suffers, it retains its inherent worth. And isn’t this so about the human being?

We face insults and rejection. We get our feelings hurt. We endure heartaches. We fail. How ever we experience a diminuation of self, the truth remains that we retain our inherent worth.

What then is the loss of self-esteem subsequent to troubles that shape our life? The illusion that good fortune in life affirm our goodness and bad fortune in life punish our badness defines a “just-world hypothesis.” The reality, in fact, indicates that bad fortune visits good people and good fortune visits bad people. And the only reason why this is so, according to HEROES, pertains to the universal purpose of life–lessons. Nowhere in the process of this universal purpose is there a down-side to high self-esteem; it only reinforces the love, the responsibility, and the healing to ourselves and to others.

No matter what other people may think, say, feel, or do about us, we must safeguard our life by building and never forfeiting our self-esteem. This means, we love ourselves, even as some may neglect us and withhold the emotional nourishment we need. We get our needs met elsewhere. We adhere to values and principles that embody high self-esteem, and find social support to reinforce them. We “walk the talk,” honoring our word to ourselves and to others. In so doing, we foster resiliency and prepare to thrive.

Tell me how you preserve your inherent worth. If you struggle with low self-esteem, I can help. Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation (Resiliency Coaching), and I will guide you in the re-emergence of your inherent worth.

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