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Your Life Can Be Boring or Dramatic

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Hey, my name is Nat and I’ve been a fan of The Loveumentary since early 2013. Mostly I sit where you sit -- reading, listening and being inspired by Nate’s genius and moved by the stories of people who love courageously and live compassionately.

Without taking any or much credit for it, I’ve helped Nate out over the years too. I’ve stuffed boxes for Unbox Love, worked through plans for Love School, edited blog posts and emails, pushed the Kickstarter campaign out to a few more people, advised Nate on tricky business decisions, and introduced him to mentors who have helped shape what the Loveumentary is today.

We’ve become great friends.

So to come ‘round to the other side of Nate’s business where you can see me and read what I think … well, it’s daunting to give you content.

I so respect the Loveumentary community and the commitment Nate has to deliver quality content that makes you a better lover and lifts the quality of relationships everywhere. I feel underqualified to serve that mission, and I have no idea if what I have to say will make you a better lover. But it’s a solid insight. It’s given me a way to combine all the hours of podcasts and all the pages of emails now in my head because of Nate.

Enjoy.

Your Life Can Be Boring or Dramatic

Doesn’t it seem that way? Like, you’re either dramatic and exciting and alive, or you’re boring and lame and lifeless?

Here’s the thing: everyone loves a compelling story.

If you need evidence, just look at a movie theater.

Is anyone selling a boring story?

No.

(Well. Some stories are boring. But they don't sell many tickets to those shows...)

So if you can’t make a good movie from a boring story, you gotta make one from dramatic one, right?

If you’re someone who’s holding out for living anything more than a life of pure banality and lameness, you probably said yes.

This is why you have so much drama in your life. Which you hate. But you also love.

If you think being boring is the worst thing in the world, then the way to not live a boring life is to live a dramatic one.

A lame life is the worst. Better to live with excitement even if it’s nuts.

Being forgotten is awful. Better to be remembered even if it means being a bitch.

Going unnoticed is unfathomable. Better get attention, even if it takes causing a scene.

Feeling nothing is death. I’d rather feel something than nothing, even if it’s horrible.

What we love about drama is that it makes us feel something.

And because we want to feel something, we look up… or stir up… drama.

It’s not hard.

We witness drama all the time, take your pick: Cheating. Lying. Deceiving. Complaining. Bullying. Aggression. Judgment. Mockery. Exclusion. Sadness. Depression. Angst. Upset. Pleasure. Gluttony. Greed. Seduction.

Look it up, any of the above: In movies. In magazines. On daytime TV. On Netflix TV. In gossip. On Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

As it turns out, it’s not hard to invent drama.

Which is why I think so many of our stories are dramatic.

And that’s a problem.

Our culture tells so many dramatic stories, we think they are the only kind that make us feel.

Have you heard Nate say why he started The Loveumentary?

He started it and you’re reading this post because he got tired of the same two dramatic stories being told over and over:

  1. Unrealistic Fairy Tales. These are the glossed over, positively dramatic stories of cloud 9 romance, 20 karat rings, Prince Charmings, glittering vampires, sleeping beauties, and happily ever afters.
  2. Disaster & Destruction: These are the TMI, abhorrently dramatic stories of spouses unfaithful, scandalous, forever-nagging and deserving of tabloid spreads, abuse, selfishness, and sadness.

And then there’s the story no one talks about … the story of boring.

“The fairy tale doesn’t last, and I don’t want disaster and destruction… so I guess I'd better be happy just being boring…”

But there’s a third option. There’s more than just boring or dramatic.

There’s another story that makes us feel: The story of TRIUMPH!

Triumph is exciting. And it makes for a great story.

It’s challenging. It’s hard. There’s struggle. There’s high and there’s lows.

It’s full of drama... but this drama is different.

Stories of triumph have something at stake, so the drama has purpose.

When you take on a challenge, you’re living a story of triumph.

When you attempt mastery of a new skill, you’re living a story of triumph.

When you explore territory uncharted, you’re living a story of triumph.

When you forgive a deed long past, you’re living a story of triumph.

When you let go of excuses long held to avoid growth, you’re living a story of triumph.

When you face a fear head on, you’re living a story of triumph.

When you serve someone who’s taken more than they’ve given, you’re living a story of triumph.

When you chase a new record, you’re living a story of triumph.

When you pursue consistency where you’ve never had habit, you’re living a story of triumph.

When you create what’s never before existed, you’re living a story of triumph.

When you embrace risk, you’re living a story of triumph.

And when you fall down, bruise your knees, get upset, fall behind, lose, fall to injury, have your heart broken, miss a shot or a deadline and are rejected … all while pursuing any of these things … that’s all drama that’s worth it.

Drama for the sole sake of feeling something, is empty. It’s cheap. You get the feeling and then there you are, right where you started.

This drama runs at the expense of human emotion with no return on the other side.

While instantly gratifying it’s ultimately unsatisfying.

When you first pursue triumph and drama ensues, there is meaning in it.

It’s FOR something and part of a bigger journey. Triumph-drama is an investment. It comes with feeling, and as it passes you move forward and others upward.

It too runs the expense (and the expanse) of human emotion, and ends with a return at the finale.

While initially agonizing it’s ultimately glorifying.

* * *

I think we’ll always have a desire to feel something deep in our bones. And that desire will push us to look up, and stir up drama.

Those who choose drama, will live dramatically and experience very little growth.

Some will choose boring, and will live with banality.

And now I see we have a third choice: The story of Triumph.

Triumph. A life of progress. A life of improvement. A life of extraordinary.

Want to live a life of Triumph? Come to LoveCon. What's that? Oh, just another one of those things I've been helping Nate with. 3 days of awesome: anything and everything you need to be an amazing lover and live stories of triumph in all your relationships. November 20-22 in the Salt Lake City area. Early bird tickets aren't even available yet, but CLICK HERE and you'll be the first to know when they are.

If You Dance, You're Insane...

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...say the people who don't hear the music.

The Doctor and the Medicine Man

I recently heard a story of a young doctor who worked in a hospital in the Navajo Nation. One evening an old Native American man with long braided hair came into this doctor's emergency room. The doctor approached the man, and asked, “How can I help you?”

The old man looked straight ahead and said nothing.

The young doctor, desiring to help this man, tried again. “I can't help you if you don’t speak to me,” he said. “Why you have come to the hospital?”

The old man looked at him and asked, “Do you dance?”

The doctor was puzzled by the strange question when it occurred to him that perhaps this man was a tribal medicine man who, according to ancient tribal customs, sought to heal the sick through song and dance rather than using some of the more modern medical practices.

“No,” said the doctor, “I don’t dance. Do you dance?”

The old man nodded yes.

Then the doctor looked at the man and asked, “Could you teach me to dance?”

The old man’s response was thoughtful and inspires great reflection. “I can teach you to dance,” he said, “but you have to hear the music.”

Can You Hear The Music?

In my nearly 10 years of partner dancing, I've come across a lot of lessons that can be taken from dance and applied to relationships. This story reminded me of one.

You can spend hours watching, learning and practicing a dance, but something magical happens when you put that dance to music.

The music breathes a life into the movements. It gives them meaning and purpose. Somehow dancing makes you one with the music... like your body is producing the notes while at the same time, the notes are moving your body.

A good dance to an amazing song with an amazing dance partner is the closest thing I've ever experienced to magic in my life.

In the world of relationships, there are many "dance steps" you can learn to help improve your relationship. There are tactics, and tips, and principles that you can implement with the hope of fostering more love and connection over time, but...

If you do the moves without hearing and feeling the music, the moves never feel quite right. Ever see a couple exchange pleasantries through gritted teeth when they are visibly upset with each other?

Right moves, no music

Have you kissed someone knowing you were going to break up with them later that night... and you just got this weird pit in your stomach like you're living a lie?

You were doing the moves, but there wasn't any music.

Ever agree to sex while rolling your eyes, or complain about bringing home dinner for the family, or give a compliment with a hint of sarcasm, or begrudgingly offer to help put the kids to bed?

The moves are there, but the music is not.

Sometimes we need a little help getting the music started up again.

It requires us to stop dancing for a minute and check our radio dial.

What frequency are we tuned into? Are we stuck on a station of resentment, exasperation and frustration? Are we listening to the exhaustion, impatient, and short-tempered show? Or are we tuned into the music of concern, gratitude, patience, appreciation, acknowledgement, service, kindness, and love?

When you get tuned into the right music, the dance transforms and becomes the most beautiful thing you'll experience in this life.

It's OK To Look Crazy

As you dance the dance of love you'll come across haters.

These people will give you a laundry list of reasons why love is a joke. They'll tell you you're delusional, idealistic, and destined to failure. They'll criticize you for your commitment. They'll argue that you're throwing away your freedom. They mock your displays of affection. They'll complain about their own loveless relationships to see if they can get you to do the same.

“Those who dance are considered insane by those who cannot hear the music.” -George Carlin

These people will look at your dancing and think you insane because they are deaf to the music of love.

You're having a dance party in your car, and they're looking at you through the glass like you're nuts. If you ask me, it's their loss.

Don't stop dancing.

Ever.

What do you do to hear the music and dance with your partner? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Episode #52 - The Tao of Dating with Dr. Ali Binazir

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[powerpress]On this week’s episode, Melissa and I sit down with Dr. Ali Binazir, author of The Tao of Dating: The Smart Woman's Guide to Being Absolutely Irresistible and several other books. He's a super insightful guy, and we cover a lot of different topics in this interview including:

  • The 5 Principles of the Tao of Dating
    • The Principle of Abundance Don't think scarcity
    • Be. Do. Have. Be the kind of person. Do the kind of things. Have what you want.
    • Enlightened Self-Interest Good decision making = The decision that serves the most amount of people for the longest amount of time. How do you fill your life with the things and people that will have positive long-term effects on you.
    • Yin Yang You must have polarity in your relationships. Masculine and feminine. Giving and receiving. Different roles are essential to a dynamic relationship.
    • Get Out of Your Own Way Often times the only thing standing in the way of what you want is you.
  • The power women have to bring light into a relationship, act as a goddess, and inspire men.
  • By mentally wishing happiness upon others, you can completely change your neurology. "May you be happy."
  • The gift of appreciation and gratitude will make others feel valued and give you power in your relationships.
  • The men determine the direction of the relationship. The women determine the depth.
  • How meditation will transform your life and your relationships. "Bring your mind back from distraction."
  • The destructive notion of Soulmates.
  • A great way to tell whether or not you're a good fit for the person you're with is to notice what kind of person you become when you're around the other person.
  • The Magic Question - What's important to you about that?
  • We also reference Gary Chapman in this interview. You can find his interview here.

Remember that in life, everything that you want is outside of your comfort zone. Because if something is inside your comfort zone, it's either something you already have or something so trivial as to be undesirable: you don't want something you already have. So in order to get what you want but don't yet have, you have no choice but to venture outside of your comfort zone. -Dr. Ali Binazir

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Busting the No-Brainer - Day 14

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Day 14 - Intellectual

"It's a no-brainer.”

Sound familiar? You’ve likely heard or even spouted it off yourself when responding to what you feel is any easy choice. We are creatures of habit, often deciding issues based on snap judgments and gut reactions. This can result in “no-brainer” behavior with little to no mental effort influencing our perceptions and selections.

Do the following: Repeat the word “joke” out loud three times to yourself. Now quickly, what’s the white part of an egg called?

A majority of you likely responded by saying yolk. However, the question was what the white part of an egg is called... albumen. Your brain was conditioned to the “oak” sound simply by reciting it three times. You just conditioned yourself in less than 5 seconds! Isn’t that amazing? That is a no-brainer. A response formulated by habit. No thinking applied. responded with a no-brainer— yet completely incorrect— response when presented with a straight-forward question. You reacted in habit-bound behavior.

Now try this: Fold your arms. Which arm is on top? Mine is always my right. Quickly reverse the position with your bottom arm on top. Not so easy, is it? When I attempted this simple switch, I literally had to slow myself down. It required focus, making me feel akin to a kindergartener taking my first crack at scissor skills. Clearly, folding my arms in a specific way is habit-bound behavior for me.

We are all human beings and that means we are susceptible to, and often are, preconditioned. What makes this phenomenon truly intriguing, though, is that these programmed perceptions, and their resulting reactions, are as unique to the individual as code is to a computer. Even when we all receive the same stimulus input, the output varies.

For example, we’ll use the following image you may have seen previously.

Young women and old lady photo

What do you see? Is it the profile of a young woman with her head turned away or a weary old beggar woman with face downcast?

There is no right or wrong answer in this case. Again, part of what makes us beautiful as a human race IS our ability to perceive similar stimuli in new and different ways. This capacity opens the door to creativity, invention and problem-solving. However, if you either cannot or choose not to see beyond the initial image (whether beauty or beggar) you are undoubtedly missing something, losing out on potentiality and possibility.

Assumptions can block our ability to see novelty based on our brain's conditioned response. The egg white question, in contrast to the picture activity, most certainly had a correct answer. Yet, most of us (myself included) answered incorrectly.

This leads me to my capstone question for today:

Are you missing out on answers or even potential possibilities due to your preconceived notions?

You may apply this question to any of the following: a life problem, a political stance, health beliefs, religious or spiritual predisposition, professional opinions, and/or relationship disagreements. Whatever your individual circumstances, still ask yourself.

We will never be effective problem-solvers or possibility-spotters if we do not exercise the ability to go beyond the no-brainer mentality and examine our assumptions.

As the philosopher Marcel Proust once said:

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeking with new eyes.”

Daily Challenge

Part of being intellectually well is being open to new ideas and opinions both in life—and in love. Looking (and responding) beyond our immediate assumptions or beliefs is the key to opening a door to fresh understanding that can deepen companionship and character. So don’t delay. Take your darling by the hand and dare to discover what new ideas await.

Items you’ll need:

•Two pencils

•Two pieces of paper

•Your preconceived notions (oh wait, you already have those)

As a couple, select a topic that you and your spouse disagree on. This may range from an opposing political opinion to a disagreement on whose responsibility dish duty is.

Give yourself a few minutes and write down every immediate thought, idea, aspect or argument you have for feeling the way you do.

When you’ve completed this, switch papers. In the last 3 seconds, you have just obtained your law degree (you’re welcome) and with it has come your very first case. You must now present the evidence to defend your partner's opinion only using the evidence written on the paper before you.

Don’t do this half way. Really act as though your reputation, profession and payout relies on your understanding and explaining the merits of the arguments that sit before you.

At the end of your dialogue, discuss your experience. How does it feel to go against your natural inclination? What do you see now that you’ve viewed this picture from an alternative angle? Most importantly, what insight have you gained into the personal perceptions that drive you and your partner’s ideas?

Next time you open your mouth to disagree, think about this exercise and have the courage to examine your assumptions. You many find there’s an entire wealth of new ideas—in life and love—just waiting to be explored. That's a no-brainer! ;)

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[jbox title="About the Author:" border="5" radius="15"] Megan HeadshotMegan is a Doctor of Audiology, Holistic Nutritionist, wife, yoga-lover and ever-evolving health aspirer. Having transformed her own health, she’s eager to help you transform yours. She believes in power in its purest form: FOOD. Whole foods, to be precise. So pick up a fork and join her in a revolution of habits, health and happiness. A WHOLE new life awaits! Read more about her reformation of health and wellness at My Whole Food Habit.[/jbox]

Power of the Plank - Day 9

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Day 9 - Physical

Going back to the “less is more” theme, I present today’s physical fitness all-star: the plank. Trending in fitness blogs and magazines, the plank is all about taking it back to the basics. A fundamental with the strength to tighten and tone.

So why is this simple movement ranking as a favorite among the fit of the fit? Mainly for its powerful core strengthening abilities that bridge the gap between you and that ever elusive six-pack. But progressing towards your perfect physique doesn’t just stop there. Just because you’re not doing any active movement while completing this exercise doesn’t mean the muscle activation isn’t going full body. Stay propped up on those elbows there, Superman, because neck, shoulders, biceps, bottom, thighs, calf, chest and lower back are all engaged while simply holding your own body weight off the floor. You can also expect some super benefits, including the following, when tapping the power of the plank:

- A toned belly

- Reduced back pain

- Flexibility

- Improved mood

- Improved balance and posture

Not too shabby considering it’s something you can drop down and do right now. (Really, like right now... You know where this is going). No special equipment, clothing or cost needed! All while giving your body benefits far beyond those you’ll obtain doing countless crunches on the floor.

As in all fitness activities, appropriate form will either make or break your outcome (and possibly your body!). I know, I know. You’re thinking, “How hard could it be?” Humor me. Watch the follow 2 minute video explaining how to plank appropriately. Don’t spin your wheels by skipping this step. Two minutes is a small investment to make to get the traction you need to really take off.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucDYvYPcFQY[/embed]

Daily Challenge

Partner planking. It’s a new sport. I just invented it… and it’s about to bring “love” back into the same sentence as “exercise”.

Pick a spot on the floor with your partner where you can both plank, face-to-face, close enough to touch (yep, this is about to get good). Grab your phone or a timer and lay it face up between the two of you. Now get both those bods off the ground into your appropriate plank position (because you invested the 2 very important minutes to watch the video, right?). Start the timer.

Once the first 10 seconds roll by, you’ve earned your first reward. Keep that body up but plant a kiss on your sweetie. I’ll let you decide how many seconds you’d like to tick by engaged in this extra-curricular cardio exercise.  After another 10 seconds? Another smack-a-roo for the both of you. How many kisses can you get in before gravity wins out? It’s a companion competition, a body battle, partner planking… you two vs. the floor as you strengthen both your body and your relationship core!

Bonus Tip: Planks are easy peasy to incorporate into anyone’s day. My coworkers and I bust them out twice daily on breaks or sometimes as a pick-me-up after that afternoon slump. I like to get one done before hitting the hay after a busy day or even compete against those boring commercials to see who will end first. Get creative and share with us your favorite time and place to pull out the plank!

To get these posts by email, subscribe here:

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[jbox title="About the Author:" border="5" radius="15"] Megan HeadshotMegan is a Doctor of Audiology, Holistic Nutritionist, wife, yoga-lover and ever-evolving health aspirer. Having transformed her own health, she’s eager to help you transform yours. She believes in power in its purest form: FOOD. Whole foods, to be precise. So pick up a fork and join her in a revolution of habits, health and happiness. A WHOLE new life awaits! Read more about her reformation of health and wellness at My Whole Food Habit.[/jbox]

Your Greatest Sacrifice Will Be Your Greatest Investment

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Big investments always require significant thought, faith, a whole lot of due diligence, and plenty of sacrifice. Committing to spend the rest of your life with someone, and deciding how to spend that life together is arguably the biggest investment you can make. It means investing your hopes, dreams, patience, love, time, and even your body in someone else's hopes, dreams, patience, love, time and body.

But remember, the biggest investments and the greatest sacrifices often have the highest payout... And the sacrifice you make now for the one you love will prove to be one of your greatest investments.