How to improve your love life (spoiler alert: it doesn't involve Facebook)

If a relationship happens in the forest and no one witnesses it, does it really happen at all?
This is the question I’m asking myself after the emergence of a bizarre Facebook trend this week called the Love Your Spouse Challenge.
The idea is that people are ‘challenged’ to post pictures of their partner every day for a week to ‘prove’ how much they love them. Exactly why this is challenging or even necessary is not clear.
Big deal, you probably think – it’s only a bunch of photos, and it sure beats having a newsfeed chock-full with political rants. Plus, it’s not like oversharing on Facebook is a new phenomenon. I agree… and yet I find this trend perplexing. The idea that so many people feel they need to ‘prove’ the integrity of their relationships to anyone outside of that relationship is a little concerning.

We’ve had the ‘relationship’ angel card come up twice in the last week, so the Universe is putting a lot of emphasis on the strength of our primary relationships right now. The angels have been encouraging us to really show up for our partners. At no point, however, did they mention ~posting~ about our partners.
If you feel like you need to prove your love for your partner, that’s a fairly good indicator that you need to have a conversation. With them, that is, not with your 378+ Facebook friends. Because people who feel secure in their relationships generally don’t go looking for validation from other people. They don’t need to.
Perhaps it’s just me who feels this way – after all, I’m slightly allergic to highly personal Facebook posts. When my boyfriend changed his Facebook status – and, consequently, mine also – to ‘in a relationship’, I felt quite uncomfortable, for reasons that had nothing to do with our relationship and everything to do with what people thought about it. I knew that this would invite public comment on something that is, ultimately, private.
Sure enough, over an excruciating three-day period we got a bit of attention. I squirmed in my seat as well-meaning people posted excited comments. Someone even said ‘congratulations’ as if I had won a prize. Perhaps escaping that perennially shameful institution known as singledom is regarded as a prize of sorts (sigh). 
I don’t mean to be dismissive – it’s lovely that people wanted to share in our happiness, and many people knew that I had felt ready for a relationship for some time. But the showy nature of Facebook made me feel like I’d been forced to ride atop a float in some weird parade. Someone told me they were pleased because I ‘deserved to be happy’. Well, yes, thank you, I do… but so does everyone, surely. ‘I was happy before I met this guy, too!’ I wanted to shout. No one cares. It feels like we idealise relationships so much that we don’t recognise single people as being truly happy and complete. For obvious reasons, this is problematic. 
I know that the people commenting on my status change had only the best of intentions, and certainly weren’t making social commentary. But it felt like some remarks reflected an underlying, widespread belief that a relationship is the only measure of someone’s success in the world, and that a woman without a man is lacking in a major way. I suspect this is what fuels the idea that a relationship flaunted on social media is a healthy one.
But I digress.
From a spiritual perspective, your romantic relationship is a direct reflection of your relationship with yourself. When you’re feeling insecure or doubtful of your own worth, that will show up in the way you show up for your partner. You cannot have a healthy relationship with someone if you don’t believe you truly deserve love. Part of our soul’s journey in this lifetime is to grow to appreciate our own intrinsic worth and immense power, so we can shine our brightest. Yet we are socially conditioned to believe that our worth derives from earning the love of another. So we saddle that person with the burden of fulfilling us and giving our lives meaning, not realising that this task belongs to us alone.

Self-love is an inside job. You cannot outsource it. The bad news: it’s really hard to love yourself in a world that tells you you’re not good enough (alone or otherwise). The good news: it’s entirely possible to do so – which is why the Universe will keep gently nudging you in this direction. And the better you get at valuing yourself, the better your romantic relationship will become. Or if youre single, the better quality of partner youll attract. I did not meet a lovely man then became a contented, confident person who leads from the heart – it was the other way around. I became a contented, confident person then attracted a lovely man.

Is there a Facebook trend for that? I think there should be. #relationshipgoals

My reflections on a year of angel card readings: the seven things we all need to know

Woman posed with angel wings
OK, so it hasn’t been a full year of angel card readings. I dipped my toe into this slowly, and I only launched professionally in July. But I did start the Oracle Card Of The Day, which I do on social media every day (obvs), in 2014, so that’s good enough for me to call it a year.
Talking to people’s angels and delivering guidance that helps them heal and transform is an enormous privilege. What I’ve learned through being in such a special position is – and I’ve said this before, many times – that we are different, but we are all the same.
Here are the common messages that have come through in my conversations with the angelic realm this year, that apply to us all:

1 The answer to every problem you have is within you. The challenge is to listen to your intuition, and trust it. This is why the number one piece of feedback I get after a reading is: “This has confirmed what I was already thinking.” The more you can do to tune into your intuition, the better your life will flow.
2 Everybody is afraid of something. Most of us, a lot of things. Whatever it is (fear of rejection, failure or loneliness), you are not the only person who feels this way. But you are the only person who can move through that fear block. Drinking to ignore the problem is not helping you. Neither is remaining in that relationship that you’ve outgrown. If you choose not to move through fear, you will remain stuck.
3 Nobody is getting enough sleep. Nobody.
4 We’ve all got control issues. We all want to know when our soulmate will show up, when our children will be born, when we’ll get our dream job… the angels seldom answer these questions about timing directly, and here’s why: the Universe is much better at running your life than you are. Yes you should absolutely chase your dreams, but ultimately the Universe is in charge of the how and when. Learning to let go and trust in that process is a BIG hurdle for almost all of us.
5 Forgiveness is at the heart of almost every hurt. And sometimes you are the one who you have to forgive. I’ve talked about this a lot on the blog because it’s a big issue. I know you’ve been hurt badly in the past; so have I. Nothing will make what happened fair or right. But we have to let go of that resentment if we want to attract better situations and relationships. This is not about the other person, it’s about you. In short: if you want peace, you must let this go.
6 You need to spend more time outdoors. This message comes up again and again, and that’s because we spend too much time in front of screens instead of streams. Simply being around nature – especially water – stimulates movement in your energy field which helps you let go of negative emotions. It also takes you out of your head space (resulting in overanalysing and worrying) and into your heart space (which is where you remember that everything is going to be OK). Yes please do overlook the fact that I am writing this post indoors on a computer screen, and you are no doubt reading it in similar circumstances.
7 You are, in the words of that great 20th century philosopher Winnie the Pooh (lol), braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. This comes through for people in readings again and again, because we are all undervaluing our own awesomnity. Me included. My quest to raise my self-esteem has been the biggest theme on my blog. I know this because I know the Universe does not make broken people (even though you might feel like you are sometimes). You are doing the best you can, and that is enough. Of course you can do better – and you will. And that’s part of what you are here, in this ‘earth school’ (as past-life regression expert Dr Brian Weiss cutely calls it), to learn. Back yourself. You got this. And the angels have got your back.

Because you're worth it. Yes, you absolutely are!

Woman in bubble bathFor the past three weeks consistently, an angel card has come up every week urging us to reward ourselves. Generally the angels will repeat a message because we are not taking it on board. Since this pattern has emerged, I thought I’d explore some of the reasons we sometimes struggle to treat ourselves – and why we absolutely need to.

What I’ve noticed is that when a message about doing something nice for themselves comes up, some people will cite feeble excuses why they “can’t”, and generally these involve a perceived lack of time or money. I’m sorry to sound a bit like your mum, but if you don’t have time to look after yourself, you are doing something very wrong. And the excuse about money doesn’t hold much currency either, because self-love does not need to cost money. But both of these are beside the point. 
What’s really going on under the surface is that many of us don’t understand that we deserve to be looked after – and that that it is our job to bestow that care on ourselves.
To some people, the idea of making time for a pedicure, a yoga class or a nap on a Saturday afternoon seems like a treat that they aren’t entitled to unless they’ve done something special to earn it. And sometimes even when people do understand that it is important to treat themselves, they decide they’ll do that later when they’re not busy… you know… whenever that is...
Woman with coffee, love hearts rising from coffee steamGuys, we all need to do a better job of treating ourselves to rewards, and this is why. You are a child of the Universe, and therefore entitled to receive love and care. You do not have to earn that love and care, it is your birthright – and you are absolutely worthy of it. In fact, you are so valuable that the Universe has assigned two guardian angels to look after you and guide you – and there’s nothing you could do to get them to leave you. Your chief responsibility in this lifetime is to give love to others – but you can’t give away something that you don’t have yourself. If you are not willing to show love and care to yourself, how can you expect to receive it from anyone else? And actually, if you are not willing to show love and care to yourself, maybe you need to ask yourself some urgent questions about why that is (maybe there are some underlying issues related to self-esteem that you need to address). 
If you take only one thing from this post, let it be this: you do not have to change anything to be worthy of love and care. This does not mean that you don’t have more work to do on yourself and on your relationships (we all do) – but it also doesn’t mean you are not worthy of treats and nourishment right this minute. You are exactly where you’re supposed to be right now, and you’re absolutely deserving of love. It starts with you. 
Making time* for a 45-minute massage may not change your life but it’s a very good place to start.

*Notice I said ‘making time’ not ‘finding time’. No one has an abundance of time – it’s up to you to prioritise the hours that you do have.  

Take heart. How to feel, give and receive more love

Heart-shaped tree in field

Ah, love, that most desirous and ruinous of human emotions. Fortunately this blog is not about the drama of romantic love (although that is relevant too) but love in a spiritual sense.

The heart chakra, located in the centre of the chest, is the energy centre that’s all about how we give and receive love – to all people, not just our partners, and to ourselves. 

People who have blockages in their heart chakra can be judgmental or they could be prone to jealousy. They might be unable to forgive someone or they might be grappling with grief.

As the fourth of the seven chakras, this is the meeting point of the energy centres that are associated with the physical world (the basesacral and solar plexus chakras) and the three chakras representing the spiritual world (more on each of those in future posts). To get a bit airy-fairy, it’s where heaven and earth meet. 

When the heart chakra is balanced, we’re compassionate, empathetic, forgiving, peaceful, loving and able to help others without depleting our own resources (i.e. we don’t overcommit). We’re also able to honour our feelings, crying when we need to, but also administer self-care when we need it – that’s everything from drawing ourselves a bubble bath to simply speaking kindly to ourselves. We’re also able to receive love easily – we don’t say ‘no’ to people when they offer to help and we don’t put up barriers when people who we like get close to us.

What I think is so significant about the heart chakra is that while the solar plexus was all about shame, this chakra’s enemy is grief. If you think about it, it is loss of any sort (not just bereavement) that makes the heart hurt. Because self-love is so strongly emphasised in this chakra, this loss might be to do with your attachment to ideas about what your life should look like or who you thought you should have become.

Repressed emotions really come to the fore in this chakra – particularly for people who suffered deep hurts in childhood such as a death in the family, bullying or abandonment by a parent.

Two hands forming heart shape

People with deficiencies in the heart chakra might be:

* anti-social

* lonely

* fearful of intimacy

* narcissistic

* judgmental (including racist, sexist, homophobic etc)

* lacking empathy

* unable to let go

* unable to forgive

* struggling to accept help from people

People with excessive energy in the heart chakra might be:

* co-dependent

* jealous

* demanding of their loved ones

* needing to be needed

* fearful of betrayal

Physically heart chakra blockages show up in heart problems (obviously), circulation issues, asthma and lung issues, low immunity, high or low blood pressure and tension between the shoulder blades. 

Any issues with the arms can be related, too – and when I’m clearing this chakra in a reiki session people often report tingling in their hands. That’s because this chakra is all about touch – and that’s a key way we show love to people, right?  

To clear blockages in the heart chakra, forgiveness is the key (read my post about that here).

· Another suggestion I’ve heard is to try and go a week without criticising anyone, which will really help you examine how accepting you are.

· Remember that love is about giving AND receiving, so look at how you can increase the amount of love you’re giving out – that’s anything from smiling at people regularly to giving compliments and donating to people in need.

· If you’re into yoga, back bends, bridges and the wheel pose are great for targeting this chakra – and yoga also helps you to sit in the present moment, which is beneficial for your energy field as a whole.