Issue #03 | October 2005

Live consciously. Create a life that you love. Attract the loving relationship that is "right" for you.

Today’s Topic: Making Space For Love

Dear friends,

With the fall season underway, the pace seems to be quickening for everyone. As life gets busier, I am reminded of how important it is to re-commit to my own self-care. Whether it’s going to the gym, eating healthy or spending time with a good friend, my self-care habits support and sustain my personal well-being.

I also believe there is a connection between self-care and being open to love. If I’m frazzled and harried, I am much less receptive to opportunities of relationship and love. Relating and “being” take place on a different level than production and to-do lists. If I want to experience more love and relationship in my life, I need to create an inviting, still place where love can enter. Good self-care paves the way.

Shirley Vollett, BSW
Life & Relationship Coach

Something to think about…

“Stress and intimacy are virtually incompatible. When you are preoccupied with anxiety or exhausted from over commitment, you can’t be available to become fully invested in the welfare of another human being. And you can’t find the unstructured, leisurely time in which intimate relationships thrive.”

-Susan Page from If I’m So Wonderful, Why Am I Still Single?

Is there space in your life for love?

Recently, a single client of mine expressed real frustration with the fact that she was STILL not in a relationship. Then she went on to talk about how overworked she felt and how she could never find a moment of time for herself, and for the things that she loved doing. She felt frazzled, burned-out and discouraged.

My client saw work and relationship as separate areas of complaint. So she was surprised when I suggested that maybe there was a connection between them. It seemed to me that her lack of relationship was at least partially related to her lack of time and space for herself and her own self-care. Not only was there no time for herself, but there was no time for a relationship either!

My client is not unique. Many of us find it challenging to create time to take good care of ourselves.

“If there was a man in my life, I’d MAKE time,” she insisted. However, I believe that if she waits for a man to show up BEFORE she makes time, she may be waiting a long while! I think she needs to apply the “first-make-space” principle.

The “first-make-space” principle goes like this:

If you desire something, first create a space or vacuum in your life for what you desire. Then, what you desire will be drawn to you. (The most common example of this principle is the suggestion that if you want to attract a new wardrobe, first clean out your closet and get rid of old and unwanted clothes. This creates a vacuum for a new wardrobe.)

Many people have discovered that “making space” or creating a vacuum is a very effective starting point in attracting what you desire into your life. My client was waiting for a man to show up, before creating any room or space for him to show up into. Far from creating a vacuum, her lifestyle was actually signaling, “Stay away! I’m too stressed and full-up already!”

So what can this single do?

First, I invited her to challenge her justifications for her stress and overwork.

“It’s just the way my job is.”
“Every body has stress.”
“You don’t know my boss!”

I have noticed there are always abundant reasons NOT to take the time and space we need to care for ourselves. In this day and age it almost seems stylish to be skirting burn-out. It’s as if we are all competing for the title of “Most Stressed and Overworked”.

What if we were to seek instead the title of “Most happy with the pace of my life?” or “More time to myself this week than I needed?” I believe we need to give up stress as a badge of honour.

Secondly, I encouraged my client to make a commitment to her own self-care and well-being. This means cultivating the habits and activities that would have her be at her best, with the energy and inspiration to express her gifts into her work AND her relationships.

Self-care is a very personal thing.

It doesn’t look the same for everyone. So it is important that my client develop the habits and practices that will work for her. For one person, a quiet walk in the woods might be the quintessential self-care act, while for another it might be an afternoon of power-shopping, or a good long run. My client got excited as we began to explore ideas about what really nurtures HER -- physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. She then set out to create some time and space in her day and week to do it.

As she follows through on her commitment to improve her self-care, not only will her quality of life improve. I believe she will exude positive energy to attract and maintain the loving relationship that she desires.

I think we all understand the benefits of good self-care.

However many of us have found that the practice isn’t always so easy. If you, like my client, know that you want and need to take better care of yourself OR if you feel trapped in a stressful lifestyle, here are some tips:

1) Commit to better self-care, even if you don’t see how to do it.

Don’t give in to the despair that nothing can change. Others have transformed their lifestyle of over-working and stress, and you can too.

2) Take small steps.

Identify one new self-care practice (or reclaim a former practice) that you want to incorporate into your day or week. Choose something do-able, not impossible, so that you increase your chances for success. Do it for 3 weeks. Behavioural research has shown that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. Then it becomes self-reinforcing.


3) Make friends with your guilt.

When we begin to take care of ourselves at a new level, we may experience feelings of discomfort and even guilt. Perhaps we are encountering old attitudes that tell us taking care of ourselves is somehow “selfish” or we fear becoming “lazy” or “spoiled”. Feeling a little guilty may in fact be a good sign, indicating that you are stepping out of your habitual style of overwork and stress.

4) Celebrate even the smallest of “wins” with supportive others.

Give yourself a big pat on the back each time you do something nurturing and healthy for yourself. Share your progress with a supportive friend or family member. Or invite someone to be a “support buddy” with whom you can share a commitment to self-care and celebrate victories.

As you take better care of yourself, I predict you will feel happier, less needy and more loving. And you will have increased your capacity to attract and welcome a loving relationship into your life.

Invitation to action

Use the steps above to incorporate one additional self-care practice into your daily or weekly schedule. Begin meditating, get back to the gym, clean up your diet, block out some weekly “creative time”. Identify something that will truly nurture you – and do it.

Shirley Vollett, BSW is a Life & Relationship Coach who loves to support and encourage singles in their quest to have a satisfying, successful life AND relationship.

If you are wondering what next steps you could take in your quest for a relationship, contact shirley@vollett.com to receive a free Relationship Readiness Review and a Complimentary Coaching Session with Shirley. Type “Readiness Review” in the subject line.

Shirley also offers Get Ready For Love! A Program for Singles. Find out more at www.shirley.vollett.com/singlesgetready.htm

Visit shirley.vollett.com to find out more about Shirley's coaching services.

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This newsletter may be forwarded in full without special permission provided it is used for nonprofit purposes and full attribution and copyright notice are given. For any other purposes, contact shirley@vollett.com.

Copyright © 2005 by Shirley Vollett.
All rights reserved.



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