The Right Ingredients For A Balanced Relationship

June 14, 2010 by  
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Jack and Jill's wedSaturday night I had wine and cheese with two girlfriends at my house.  After a couple of glasses, one of them declared she was finally feeling like she didn’t need to fix everyone that came into her life.

I thought it was an amazing statement because this girlfriend is very kind and it is easy for her to go above board in reaching out.  That might seem like a contradiction when I’m often talking about community and compassion but it really isn’t.  In intimate relationships if we behave like the ultimate caretakers those will be the people we will tend to attract; people in need of ultimate caring.  These relationships are difficult to sustain as they become very one-sided.  One person does the caring the other receives.

If we want to be in healthy relationships, we need to accept people as they are and welcome them to be our partners in the journey of life without needing them to actually do the travel.

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Missing God…

May 11, 2009 by  
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Reading Rumi has made me feel somewhat nostalgic for god. I miss him. Maybe he misses me too.

Maybe god is at his wits end. After all he has tried in vain to find a language that would get through to us. Surely, he thought, with all the imagination and heart he’d poured into the flora and fauna he couldn’t fail to get his message across. Somewhere he would find a listening audience. Even a few solitary listeners would do. He knew that words and magic tricks were of no use in dealing with a cunning species that had its own words and tricks. He’d labored to find a subtler method of communicating, a more refined language, a medium that would seep in under the radar screens of human consciousness.

It just didn’t work out. Instead of unfurling our contemplative antennae, we reverse engineered the whole starburst of natural creation down to its genetic skeleton. We managed to decipher the blueprints of the assembly line; zoomed in on the infinitesimal building blocks out of which everything under (and including) the sun is made – tiny particles that don’t even exist, not really, except maybe as a dark blip through the looking glass of an electron microscope.

Pretty soon the hands of God will rise up and issue a universal gesture of surrender. Having no purpose he’ll wave his magic hand and fade finally away. And no measurable change will be detected, or noticed.

And if man should paradoxically follow in the footsteps a non-existent God – losing his way, losing any sense of coherence, losing his taste for existence in a like manner, he too will exit the universal stage. And no one will notice a thing.

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The 3 stages of love

May 11, 2009 by  
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The 3 stages of love

Helen Fisher of Rutgers University in the States has proposed 3 stages of love – lust, attraction and attachment. Each stage might be driven by different hormones and chemicals.

Stage 1: Lust

This is the first stage of love and is driven by the sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen – in both men and women.

Stage 2: Attraction

This is the amazing time when you are truly love-struck and can think of little else. Scientists think that three main neurotransmitters are involved in this stage; adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin.

Adrenaline

The initial stages of falling for someone activates your stress response, increasing your blood levels of adrenalin and cortisol. This has the charming effect that when you unexpectedly bump into your new love, you start to sweat, your heart races and your mouth goes dry.

Dopamine

Helen Fisher asked newly ‘love struck’ couples to have their brains examined and discovered they have high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. This chemical stimulates ‘desire and reward’ by triggering an intense rush of pleasure. It has the same effect on the brain as taking cocaine!

Fisher suggests “couples often show the signs of surging dopamine: increased energy, less need for sleep or food, focused attention and exquisite delight in smallest details of this novel relationship” .

Serotonin

And finally, serotonin. One of love’s most important chemicals that may explain why when you’re falling in love, your new lover keeps popping into your thoughts.
Does love change the way you think?
A landmark experiment in Pisa, Italy showed that early love (the attraction phase) really changes the way you think.

Dr Donatella Marazziti, a psychiatrist at the University of Pisa advertised for twenty couples who’d been madly in love for less than six months. She wanted to see if the brain mechanisms that cause you to constantly think about your lover, were related to the brain mechanisms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

By analyzing blood samples from the lovers, Dr Marazitti discovered that serotonin levels of new lovers were equivalent to the low serotonin levels of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder patients.

Love needs to be blind

Newly smitten lovers often idealise their partner, magnifying their virtues and explaining away their flaws says Ellen Berscheid, a leading researcher on the psychology of love.

New couples also exalt the relationship itself. “It’s very common to think they have a relationship that’s closer and more special than anyone else’s”. Psychologists think we need this rose-tinted view. It makes us want to stay together to enter the next stage of love – attachment.

Stage 3: Attachment

Attachment is the bond that keeps couples together long enough for them to have and raise children. Scientists think there might be two major hormones involved in this feeling of attachment; oxytocin and vasopressin.

Oxytocin – The cuddle hormone

Oxytocin is a powerful hormone released by men and women during orgasm.

It probably deepens the feelings of attachment and makes couples feel much closer to one another after they have had sex. The theory goes that the more sex a couple has, the deeper their bond becomes.

Oxytocin also seems to help cement the strong bond between mum and baby and is released during childbirth. It is also responsible for a mum’s breast automatically releasing milk at the mere sight or sound of her young baby.

Diane Witt, assistant professor of psychology from New York has showed that if you block the natural release of oxytocin in sheep and rats, they reject their own young.

Conversely, injecting oxytocin into female rats who’ve never had sex, caused them to fawn over another female’s young, nuzzling the pups and protecting them as if they were their own.

Vasopressin
Vasopressin is another important hormone in the long-term commitment stage and is released after sex.

Vasopressin (also called anti-diuretic hormone) works with your kidneys to control thirst. Its potential role in long-term relationships was discovered when scientists looked at the prairie vole.

Prairie voles indulge in far more sex than is strictly necessary for the purposes of reproduction. They also – like humans – form fairly stable pair-bonds.

When male prairie voles were given a drug that suppresses the effect of vasopressin, the bond with their partner deteriorated immediately as they lost their devotion and failed to protect their partner from new suitors.

Source: The Wellcome Trust is the UK’s leading biomedical charity. Their mission is to foster and promote research with the aim of improving human and animal health. This includes raising public awareness of the medical, ethical and social implications of biomedical research.

Explore-At-Bristol is one of the UK’s most exciting hands-on science centers!

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STRANGER AT A COFFEE HOUSE

May 11, 2009 by  
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Written by

Ligiah Villalobos

A few years ago, I went through a very painful experience.   Finding out that the guy you’re in love with is sleeping with someone else has a way of making you lose all self-confidence.  Your heart feels empty and hollow.  You feel unattractive, worthless, miserable.

On this particular day, I had spent the entire day crying and going on an emotional roller coaster that seemed never-ending.

I took a shower, hoping that would help me clear my head.  It didn’t.   So, I decided to get out of the house and go to my usual coffee house in Venice, California where I went to write.  Maybe a change of scenery would be good for the soul.  I called a friend and asked him to meet me there.

I arrived at The Novel Café with my hair still soaking wet, no make-up and puffy eyes from all the tears I had shed that day.  I got myself a cup of chamomile tea and sat at a table to write while I waited for my friend.

Soon after, a man walked in – a stranger, no one I had ever seen before.  But he reminded me of the man who had just broken my heart – dark-skinned, dreadlocks, Venice vibe.  The man walked up to the counter, ordered his drink and turned to look at me.  I could feel him staring but I didn’t look up.  He came toward me, standing almost in front of me for what seemed like a lifetime but in reality it was only a few seconds.  Finally, he found a chair across from me, sat down and opened a big book.

But, I still felt his eyes on me and could tell he wasn’t reading the book.  I started to feel very uncomfortable – there are lots of strange people in Venice and at this coffee house, they were regulars.  I was really anxious for my friend to get there.

Finally, my friend arrived.  He asked me how I was doing.  I started to cry.  I then began to give him all the details of the break-up.  The more I talked, the more I cried.

Half way through our conversation my friend said, “You know, there’s someone across from you pretending to read a book but actually looking straight at you?”  I explained that the stranger had been doing that for the last half hour.  My friend then said, “That’s Venice for ya, just a bunch of losers with nothing else to do.”  For some reason his comment made me cry even more.  I felt like one of those losers.  I asked my friend if we could leave.  The man was making me too uncomfortable.

As we walked out, we passed right by him.  He made eye contact with me then lowered the big book he had on his lap, wanting me to see what was on it.  I nervously looked down and to my surprise I saw two pages that were covered with amazing pencil drawings of me.

There was one of me writing, a second one capturing me as I ran my fingers through my wet hair and a third one of me looking out the coffee house window, deep in thought.  He was not reading at all, he had been sketching me the whole time.  My friend and I were speechless.  The drawings were absolutely stunning.

The man didn’t say a word to me, he only smiled.  I quickly walked out, too much in shock to even say, thank you.

Since then, I have gone back to that coffee house dozens of times and have never seen him again.  But that night, this complete stranger gave me a gift of kindness when I most needed it.  He was able to go beyond my outward appearance and see my soul.  He saw something beautiful in me when I couldn’t.

As I walked out with my friend and into the night, I began to cry, completely overwhelmed by the experience.

My heart was full again.

Ligiah Villalobos is the Writer and Executive Producer of the feature film Under the Same Moon, (La Misma Luna). The film was an Official Selection at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and became the highest sale for a Spanish-language film in the history of Sundance.

Villalobos has been named “One of the 25 Most Powerful and Talented Hispanic Women in the Entertainment Industry” by the Hollywood Reporter and Billboard Magazine in 2007 and was recently honored with the 2008 Norman Lear Writers Award at the Imagen Awards.

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Love After Love…

May 11, 2009 by  
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The time will come

when, with elation

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror

and each will smile at the others welcome, and say, sit here. Eat

You will love again the stranger who was yourself.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate

notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life

Derek Alton Walcott (born January 23, 1930) is a West Indies poet, playwright, writer and visual artist who writes mainly in English. Born in Castries, St. Lucia, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992.

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It’s not what you say…

May 11, 2009 by  
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love-sick1Psychologists have shown it takes between 90 seconds and 4 minutes to decide if you fancy someone.

Research has shown this has little to do with what is said, rather

  • 55% is through body language.
  • 38% is the tone and speed of their voice.
  • Only 7% is through what they say.
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We make a living by what we get…

May 11, 2009 by  
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“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was a British politician known chiefly for his leadership of the United Kingdom during World War II. He served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. A noted statesman and orator, Churchill was also an officer in the British Army, a historian, a Nobel Prize-winning writer, and an artist.

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To laugh often and much…

May 11, 2009 by  
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To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch…to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.  This is to have succeeded!

Ralph Waldo Emerson,  (1803 – 1882) whose original profession and calling was as a Unitarian minister, left the ministry to pursue a career in writing and public speaking. Emerson became one of America’s best known and best loved 19th century figures.

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The Science of Love

May 9, 2009 by  
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When do you know if you fancy someone? What does love do to your brain chemicals, and is falling in love just nature’s way to keep our species alive?

We call it love. It feels like love. But the most exhilarating of all human emotions is probably nature’s beautiful way of keeping the human species alive and reproducing. With an irresistible cocktail of chemicals, our brain entices us to fall in love. We believe we’re choosing a partner. But we may merely be the happy victims of nature’s lovely plan.

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Liviu Librescu – Hero at Virginia Tech

The revelation that Dr. Liviu Librescu blocked the door of his classroom in Norris Hall on the morning of April 16 so that his students could escape through the windows came as no surprise to his family, friends, and colleagues. The renowned aeronautical engineering educator and researcher had demonstrated profound courage throughout the 76 years of his life.

As a child in Romania during World War II, Liviu was confined to a Jewish ghetto, while his father was sent to a forced labor camp. After surviving the Holocaust, Liviu moved forward with stalwart determination to become an engineer.

During the rise of the Communist Party in Romania in the 1960s, Liviu earned his undergraduate aeronautical engineering degree from the Polytechnic Institute of Bucharest and completed his Ph.D. at the Institute of Fluid Mechanics, Academy of Science of Romania. He achieved academic prominence, but in order to have his papers on aerodynamics published anywhere except at the academy during Communist rule, he had to work in secrecy and-at great risk-smuggle papers to publishers in other countries.

Dr. Librescu and his wife wanted to leave Romania for Israel, but obtaining the requisite visas was a difficult and lengthy process. After three years-and with the help of the government of Israel-the family finally was allowed to immigrate in 1978.

After serving as a professor for seven years at Tel-Aviv University, Dr. Librescu accepted a one-year position as visiting professor in the Virginia Tech Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESM). The family decided to settle in Blacksburg in 1985, and Liviu became one of Virginia Tech’s most respected educators and researchers in the field of aeronautical engineering.

The roster of his publications, awards, and honors is remarkably long and international in scope. Author of: 4 monographs; 21 chapters in books; 288 articles appeared in Peer-Reviewed Journals; 250 papers included in the proceedings and 190 lectures at national and international conferences and congresses; 40 invited lectures to various Universities of the USA and in more than 10 foreign countries. Among more recent honors were: The 1999 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research, Virginia Tech; Selected as a Foreign Fellow of the Academy of Engineering of Armenia, 1999; Honorary Doctorate Recipient of the Title of Doctor Honors Causa of the Polytechnic of Bucharest, Romania 2000; Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Shipbuilding of Ukraine, 2000; Frank J. Maher Award for Excellence in Engineering Education, 2005.

“Professor Librescu died as he lived, devoted to his students and to his profession,” said Dr. Ishwar Puri, head of the ESM department at Virginia Tech. “He loved his position as a professor. A prolific researcher and wonderful teacher, he devoted himself to the profession, solely for the love of it.”

“It is a question of pleasures,” Dr. Librescu said in 2005, when asked why he continued to work so hard. “It is not a question of organizations or calculations. If I had the pleasure to do this, then I will put time aside to do this. It is personal freedom. If you are limited, then you miss the freedom. And I-I would like to be fluid. I would like to be free as a bird and fly everywhere.”

A number of scholarships were offered in the name of Liviu: Virginia Tech, ESM Department, established the Liviu Librescu Scholarship; it was already awarded to 2 students for 2008; The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey named a room in the Holocaust Resource Center, honoring the memory of Liviu; The Holocaust Remembrance Project initiated by the law firm Holland & Knight awarded the top essay contest to Xinyi Li from Duluth, Georgia, in honor of Virginia Tech University Professor and Holocaust survivor Liviu Librescu.

Liviu received following awards: Shofar of Freedom Award 2007; Inspire Awards 2007 in the fight against hate and intolerance (ADL 2007); “Medal of Valor” 2007 presented by The Simon Wiesenthal Center; AARP the Magazine Inspire Awards 2007; ”Most Inspiring Person of 2007″; Tribute to Librescu at The 68th Annual Awards Dinner of the NCFJE 2008; New York City Comptroller honors the memory of a Virginia Tech massacre victim, Liviu Librescu on Friday, November 14, 2008; Facilitator Award honoring posthumous the life and actions of Professor Librescu 2009.

Dr. Librescu is survived by his wife, Marlena, and his sons, Joseph and Arieh, who reside in Israel. During his funeral in Israel, Marlena was presented with the Grand Cross of Romania, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in honor of her husband’s “scientific achievements and heroism.”

http://www.weremember.vt.edu/biographies/librescu.html

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