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But I tend to come up with philosophical and existential questions that make everything harder. This expands to different areas in life, specifically relationships. Learning that I belong to the anxiously attached category helped me understand the painful break-ups and self-destructive patterns of thinking that followed.
In my life these external resources have been: Along with that, I was exposed to continuous fights over parental infidelity, leading me to lose trust in men. Since I was also criticized a lot, I always wanted to be more, which served me well but also with the downside of never being happy with who I was.
I also wonder if I lack determination in my decision-making or reactions. I wanted to break the taboo of dating someone from a different socioeconomic status, which is why I started dating my boyfriend Bradley about a year ago.
I often find myself analyzing everything my partner says, looking for its origin in order to discover the real him: These conversations alarm me and rev up my sympathetic nervous system to withdraw from trusting him in the long run. But then again, I realize that this is still giving authority to external circumstances to keep me content. I never fear being left because someone smarter or kinder may come along.
I fear being left for a more attractive girl, or simply a different kind of beauty. I worry about getting old and losing physical beauty, but at the same time I realize that being a goddess is not a requirement to keep a man loyal. Many men cheat even when they have a goddess at home. What puzzles me is that even though I consider my mother a very beautiful woman though lacked in other areas and know that it did not stop my father from cheating, I take physical comments to heart and I worry about losing the field to younger girls.
I wonder if I have unconsciously always gone for the wrong guys to prove myself that men are not trustworthy. I want to be OK on my own, even if no man is ever going to be loyal to me for eternity.
I want to stop worrying and being loved to be happy. Well, if some of what Martha brought up resonated with you, raise your hand. Lots of raised hands out there. Which brings me to the topic I want to talk about today: Prof Kristin Neff of the University of Texas at Austin is the pioneering researcher of self-compassion.
After all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect? The most obvious one is recognizing our common humanity. And you would be wrong. Out there in Oregon, writing these thoughts to me, Martha is probably pretty sure that she is the only person in the world that has this constellation of challenges. And yet, you the reader can probably identify with a bunch of them: Once you realize the rest of the world is also having these issues, it somehow becomes much easier to bear.
That brings us to Principle 1, Self-kindness. Some folks — especially perfectionists — have somehow internalized that there is virtue in ripping into yourself.
Besides, which part of you is ripping into which part of you? Are you slapping yourself in the face with your own hand, or elbowing yourself in the stomach?
Do you have any idea how weird that sounds? Stop that now before I call in the shrinks. And that brings us to Principle 3, Mindfulness. Just go ahead and feel it fully, without letting it be your whole existence and identity. When you allow them to express fully, feelings fade over time. But if you resist them, they persist. So let them be, then let them go. Mindfulness is also about being fully present in the moment.
This happens to be the antidote to overthinking or rumination, which is what this letter is doing a lot of. Like many of you, Martha is a smart, highly-educated woman. And like many of you, she thinks a lot about things that have never happened and may never happen. Some of these thoughts may turn into worries, which may become anxieties looming large enough to alter your daily behavior. For example, Martha talked about infidelity: What works is to do something else instead.
For those of you who are in the Bay Area on Mon Oct 3, would love to see you at my live workshop. Please drop by and say hi! Christine Marie Mason is one of the most extraordinary people I know and one of my favorite humans. She has been an entrepreneur, CEO of 6 different companies, BA and MBA graduate from Northwestern University, organizer of nine TEDx events, a yoga teacher, artist, musician, mother of six fantastic kids, grandmother, and most recently, a prison peace mentor.
We met 15 years ago at a yoga retreat, so I thought I knew her pretty well by now. What I did not know was that when Christine was 12, her young mother was murdered and left in a cornfield. She had her first child at 19, then again at 20, and still finished college and the MBA program.
Her first husband eventually had a schizophrenic break and ended up losing his job and squandering all their money. Her second husband got cancer, then proceeded to cheat on her in spectacular fashion even while Christine was helping him recuperate. After a particularly long day in this spell of dot-com craziness, I was walking down a crowded street to catch a commuter train, when I saw my old friend Daniel. Daniel always had a ready smile.
He was self-contained, a loving husband and father and accomplished professionally—at that time he was CEO of a public company, making all manner of kitchen gadgets.
That night, he was shining. It looked to me like he had shed layers of himself; he was carrying no burden. He responded in an instant. Poise does not freak out over laundry, talk too much, go 90 miles an hour to make it to a meeting, or accidentally break things due to inattention. After a great struggling 75 minutes of a vigorous athletic form of structured postures linked together by the breath we were practicing a form called Ashtanga yoga , the class arrived at Savasana , corpse pose, where we lay on our backs, arms outstretched, palms up, legs extended, letting all of our muscles relax, allowing our bones to sink into the floor, in a sort of half-state between sleeping and waking, a state of deep aware stillness.
Through the breathing, the rhythm, the turning inward of yoga—through the not turning to an external thing like whacking a tennis ball or working into the night —I found my first peace in long memory. Yoga, as it has been popularized in the west, is often practiced with pumping music. People move fast and sweat and detox.
If the connection between my feet and brain does not work, how am I going to connect to other people? Nor did I know where my organs were in my belly. My insides were like a black hole between my ribcage and my knees. Can you feel where your liver is, unless it is in pain? After a while, I found that I could lift my arches and run an energetic current up my shins and thighs and ass and heart and right out the top of my head and back down again. The power I used in previous forms of athletics to release energy was something that could be channeled and leveraged inside of the body, to heal it and balance it, and restore equilibrium and clarity to my whole organism.
The yoga practice that was handed to me started a new kind of self-inquiry: Am I aware of my breath?
Where am I looking? Where are my feet? Are all four corners of my feet on the ground? Are my arches lifted away? Where are my fingers? Are they evenly aligned or evenly spaced? Am I standing tall or leaning forwards or backwards? Where am I in space? How good is my proprioception: What am I actually feeling?
What is actually happening? It was a straight line to hyperawareness. I began to learn that the body has rising and falling energies, that when it gets certain inputs it releases certain chemicals, that there is a virtuous loop between the actions of the body and the chemicals that are released, and that this cycle is autonomic until we intervene and override it.
We can start to use our breathing and our thoughts to restructure which chemicals are getting released from our minds and into our bodies. We can reprogram ourselves, literally. Once I began, it was rapid-fire study. I went to my first class, and I knew I was going to return.
Eventually, I found a connection to divine source on that quiet, meditative, sweaty little mat, something I never quite got in any traditional church. That tiny studio, with a purple Om symbol painted on the wall, above a pizza parlor in the middle of Chicago, curtains blowing in, sirens and car horns below, became a holy place.
It was there that I discovered a sense of having a permeable body: I was made of the same stuff as everything else in the universe. I wanted to go deeper. In , I went on a retreat led by power yoga founder Baron Baptiste. His easygoing introduction to yoga philosophy, musical open laugh, softness, strength, humor and accessibility just made me happy.
For example, once we stayed for a full 20 minutes in a hip opener known as frog: Somatic theory says we hold our painful memories in the body, and holding this position for this long had people in the room women especially , letting go and weeping at all the things held in the groin and hips.
I took his teacher training in Tulum, just to keep growing. Then I stumbled, or was led, into a month of teacher training in an intense, academic program that honored a deep Indian lineage, with Yogarupa Rod Stryker- and that training has continued apace for the last 15 years — from the yoga of sound, to contact yoga, to extensive breath and tantric energy work, to studying Sanskrit texts — it is an unending investigation.
By investigating the body, I began to investigate the mind also, and then even deeper into relationships. Once, early on, I was holding a yoga position called side plank for a long time.
This position requires the body to form a long, firm, extended board, placing one hand on the floor, the other to the ceiling, and balancing between the side of the bottom foot and the palm of the hand, holding the belly snug and the hips high.
It can be rigorous. My arms started shaking; my balance was challenged. I invite you to look at your reaction to that. Are you feeling proud, or maybe the inverse: How can you be kind to yourself in this moment, play your edge, and take responsibility for your experience?
How much are your own thoughts and reactions responsible for your own suffering? If side plank was hard, the other big practice, seated meditation, was harder. Sitting still, harboring a quiet mind, initially felt impossible. Even two minutes of meditation felt interminable. Every part of me resisted. To make it easier, all kinds of techniques were offered: Watch your breath right where it enters and exits the nostrils, imagine a flame, say a mantra.
But it was all just practice to do one thing: To become a watcher of my own thoughts. But if I am watching my thoughts, who is thinking the thoughts? These thoughts must be separately constructed. I am not my thoughts.
And if I am not my thoughts, I can un-identify and manipulate them to a better outcome. Lo and behold, this was true. By watching and stopping unhelpful patterns of thinking, I learned that I could change the day-to-day experience of life in my body.
Well, maybe one person. For example, I learned to not judge a rising emotion or thought — just to see it as neutral energy. If all thoughts and actions are only energy, neither positive nor negative, I can transmute it. I can remove the negative element, and just use the energy. If an unsettling thought would arise, I would ask myself, what can I do other than sit here or numb out through work or busyness or sex or distraction? What can I do to not numb out, to really feel and then leverage the emotion?
Can I channel it into awareness, creative force, or even just let it pass through me? Most of the productivity and creativity in the last decade has been the result of having learned to transmute whatever intense emotion is coming up into an activity or action that is in touch with experience, rather than pushing it away.
Now, if I have disturbing thoughts, I can choose to be matter of fact: With yoga, the recovery time from these disturbances, delusions and illusions and suffering is shorter.
It takes hardly any time anymore to come back, maybe a minute or two of breathing and —there it is! This is especially useful in navigating the daily kind of potential offenses in traffic or in the supermarket parking lot — is this my best self acting here?
Yoga roots me in a life-giving and life-affirming place, rather than the old soup of pervasive inadequacy. It has made me strong, mentally and physically. The yogic ideal is strength and suppleness, being rooted yet able to reach, the perfect combination of grounded and flexible. There is an Indian fable that puts it sweetly: Ananta is strong enough to support the world, yet soft enough to be a couch for the gods. I started going to class to feel better, and fell in love with the practice, and it gave me back my life.
That translates into bringing others along with you. Whatever you know, you are obligated to pass on: Those who know must teach. If you know, you owe. Teaching yoga, helping one person at a time find the tools and technologies to achieve the Poise of the Soul, is a great gift. I sometimes teach Vinyasa flow classes.
Sometimes, I teach extremely stiff people, and witness what it means to grow old without being connected to your body—it is not for the faint of heart. But I also see the relief they get from a single new insight or opening into a joint or the breath.
It makes me recall my very first practice, and remember each time a teacher gave me a new posture or an insight. It reawakens gratitude and it gifts me with joyful learning.
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That whole story I tell about having written the book before my sex-change operation? I made it all up. And yet, here I am, dispensing advice to womenfolk on being a better woman. In fact, many of you, my readers, are plenty wise. Julie has an unusual perspective on all of this:. He told her he had kids from a previous relationship and lived alone. She was in a long distance relationship with him for months before I found out who she was and told her the truth.
It was a very sexually active and enthusiastic physical relationship in our marriage, and we were not fighting or distant. He was a messed up human being inside who was a very good actor.
It just takes one broken person. He had been binge drinking on work trips, too, and I never knew. He was a mess across the board. But the kicker is, she believed his lies long-distance and got back together with him. All while he was still lying to her about various things.
They eventually broke up, but she still thinks she had some great love with him and even said nobody knows him like she does. After seeing what long distance looked like that way, how easily it all was hidden whereas I discovered his behavior within two weeks of it starting , I would never advise it to anybody. He had a breakdown in life and the affair was only part of it.
He messed up his friends, family, work, and finances at the same time too. Of course long distance can be done. People have made it. Or than seeing a sudden change in a married partner or dating partner locally would likely be. Such a great letter!
The other woman has no way of getting to know the cheating husband very well, so she constructs out of whole cloth this whole story about how great he is.
Another great letter on the topic of long-distance relationships comes from Marcy. Her perspective is slightly different:. We saw each other every couple of months for days until I moved to be with him and talked obsessively, both sacrificing countless relationships with people who were available locally. Was it worth it? In a way, yes! We have two children and built a relatively stable, often happy, in person life together that has lasted longer than many traditional marriages.
But I would likely never do it again. And we WERE genuinely compatible in the ways we experienced. Long distance relationships allow you to idealize positive traits for an extended period of time while grossly undervaluing negative traits. The intensity of the sex once you finally see each other, coupled with the future planning, almost guarantees it. Sex was intensely magical at a distance, but soon became detached and uncompromising once we saw each other regulary.
Sunk costs began playing their part: We married and began moving towards a sexless marriage in my late 20s. Now in my mid 30s, we have neither kissed nor had sex in years. You have no idea what someone is doing while it appears that they are deeply engaged in a chat with you. While imagined him laying on his bed staring at his laptop screen in anticipation of my messages, my husband was undoubtedly playing videogames the vast majority of the time we were chatting.
This became apparent when we moved in together and I realized that he struggled to look at me during conversations or have any serious face-to-face interactions with me at all.
In fact, this was one of the greatest downfalls in our marriage. My husband is a gamer and much prefer spending large portions of his free time engaging online friends. This did not change when I moved and is an enormous incompatibility that I downplayed. Playing video games alone is more fun than talking in person which he hates , or playing with our children which he dislikes , or even having sex.
He also prefers exceptional amounts of emotional distance, evident in seeking a long-distance relationship. You can insist on having separate hobbies, circles of friends, or vacations.
You can subscribe to a multi-partner lifestyle like polyamory or swinging. Women picking matches for their friends: But what if there was an app that let you pick matches for your friends? Would that be more useful? Recently I came across such a collaborative matchmaking app. So you get to meet dates that you have friends or interests in common with, as opposed to the stream of randos you see on most dating apps.
Am I totally convinced this works? But it does seems worthy of a closer look. A few months ago, I gave a TEDx talk third one! The Five Pillars of Authentic Success. The first of the five pillars is Intimate Relationships. To be fair, the talk is not entirely about dating. But The Tao of Dating has always been about the whole person anyway, because dating brings into play all of who you are. Why do you think half the book is about yoga, meditation, mindfulness, gratitude and other happiness practices?
The Tao of Dating Superfan Contest for the ladies only. Some of you have listened to the audiobook over 20 times. Some of you have gotten copies of the book for a dozen friends. Some of you have memorized entire passages. Some of you sleep with a copy of it in your pillowcase, even thought it makes the pillow lumpy. This makes Kip sad, of course, because he still has or so books on him, and he just wants to be held and read — preferably in your bed because well Kip is a guy duh.
Some of the illustrious titles in this library:. So just to make this clear: Below is how you score points. If I come up with more ways to score points, I will let you know. The talk has 5 themes: R ead the full review: Standard rooms have large rainshowers and luxurious touches such as a pillow and sheet menu. Don't miss the establishment's suberb Michelin-starred Saüc restaurant. Exuding a vibrant cool, this is where the party people stay — which is not to say that you could not have a perfectly peaceful time.
The lobby sets the tone with its white leather sofas and zebra-print rugs. Wood, leather and satin dominate the chic but modestly sized bedrooms, while bathrooms are tiled in dark marble. A creatively refashioned Twenties property in an atmospheric area, between the Gothic and Born districts and directly opposite the cathedral.
The hotel exudes Art Deco grandeur. The rooftop infinity pool steals the show; there is a also a spa. The ground-floor gallery highlights the work of up-and-coming artists and a library space provides a welcome refuge.
Recent additions include a top-deck sundeck and cocktail bar, which sometimes hosts live music or DJs. The rooms are fairly tiny unless you splash out for an Executive, but they are swish peace lilies in test tubes and huge backlit photos as headboards , and such is the price you pay to sleep in a historical building. T he Serras is sunny, friendly and supremely comfortable.
Its decked rooftop bar and pool area, with views across the port, is worth a visit even for non-guests. Standard rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, balconies and beds with mattresses by appointment to Queen Elizabeth II, no less.
The house restaurant, Informal, is overseen by Marc Gascons, who has a Michelin star at his restaurant near Girona. O ne of the loveliest hotels in its price range, the Villa Emilia is not especially central it is located in the Eixample, just off the Gran Via but it is conveniently close to various forms of public transport. If you want to jump this queue and choose an optional audio guide app you can download to your phone that will guide you around the park we recommend booking your tickets in advance online by following the link below.
Park Güell skip the line entrance ticket with optional audio guide app for your phone. Yes How to get to Picasso Museum Metro: This artwork collection not only includes his paintings but also a good selection of sculptures, tapestries and early sketches. Photos around the MNAC. The square offers you a relaxing spot to have a coffee or a bite to eat and just take in the atmosphere. The square has a beautiful fountain in the centre and some fine restaurants and bars.
At the foot of each the lamposts you will see a plaque that identifies them. Liceu Green Line, L3. Car parking near Placa Reial in Barri Gotic historic quarter. There are many other Barcelona tourist attractions but this page summarizes some of our favourites.
If you don't have much time to visit the city some of the Barcelona tourist attractions mentioned above should most certainly be on your short list. But don't forget places like Barcelona Cathedral , Barcelona beaches , and Tibidabo moutain with panoramic views of the city that are also wonderful places to visit. There are also many interesting attractions a short train ride from Barcelona e.
Home Discount card Accommodation Apartments Accommodation guide Camping Las Ramblas hotels Hotel guide Hotel map 5 star hotels 4 star hotels 3 star hotels 2 star hotels 1 star hotels Where to stay in Barcelona? Location map showing the nearest metro stop to the Sagrada Familia. Click for a magnified view of this map. Book your tickets online to jump the queue at the Sagrada Familia. Location map of La Pedrera showing the nearest metro stop.
Location map of Barcelona FC Museum showing the nearest metro stop. Amazing stone support structues at Park Güell.