The Heart of the Matter

Articles, reflections, and ideas about spiritual awakening, conscious relationships, self-awareness, personal growth, creativity, community, inspired service, and more.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’d like to wish all of you from the U.S. a wonderful and meaningful Thanksgiving Day. To those of you who aren’t in countries that celebrate Thanksgiving today, I urge you to consider contemplating gratefulness and appreciation today anyway.

Thanksgiving is much more than just a holiday with loads of food, parades, and sharing with people we love. It’s really about gratefulness - gratefulness for all the things have gone our way, but also for the people and circumstances that are our challenges.

Nancy and Jim Rosemergy tell us: “Thankfulness is one of the great avenues of God’s presence and power. When we give thanks, a door opens through which Spirit can do Its work.”Giving thanks is a choice. It’s easy to give thanks when we like what happens, but we can also choose to be thankful any time under any circumstances. As Nancy and Jim said, doing this opens a door that allows us to follow a path to change in our lives. It may not seem easy or natural to give thanks in the face of challenges, but it is a practice that can be cultivated and one that will lead to magnificent changes.

And so I give thanks for all the people I care about, for all the people who care about me, for everyone who has helped me in any way, especially for Antoinette and all she’s contributed to me in a multitude of forms, for all my learning and awakening and growth, for my home, for my job, for my income, for the car I drive, for my computers, for the opportunities I’ve been given, for my fabulous experiences acting in “Into the West” and “Bordertown,” for the people at Capitol High School who allowed me to do a long-term substitute job teaching AVID and English, for the food I eat, and for so much more.

But I also give thanks for having trigeminal neuralgia, for the healing I know is coming, and for the blessings I know are coming from it; for my break-up with Antoinette, for still being friends with her, and for the blessings I know are coming from that; for my less than abundant flow of money, for the abundance I know is flowing to me now, and for the blessings I know I'm receiving by not having lots of money; for the challenge of seeking again for the woman of my dreams, for knowing that the right woman is coming into my life, and for the blessings I know are coming as a result of my search; and, of course, for all my other challenges in life.

I invite you to join me in sitting down and consciously and intentionally writing down all the things you appreciate and also the challenges you have and whatever gratitude you can choose to have for them.

But, beyond that, I urge you to join me in just choosing to be grateful for life and for whatever comes, knowing that somehow, whether we recognize how or not, everything is either for our highest benefit or else is leading to our highest benefit.

Thank you everyone, and thank You, God.

May we all use this time of giving thanks to grow and to open our hearts.

In abundant gratitude,

Monday, August 01, 2005

Choosing Movies, Choosing Relationships

I’ve observed that conventional wisdom (the “they” in “they say”) holds that there are two easily recognizable types of movies – “chick flicks” and “guy flicks” – and that the differences in them reflect basic differences in men’s and women’s orientations to life. Women, C.W. (conventional wisdom) says, are attracted to romance, relationships, character studies, and female characters. Men, on the other hand says C.W., like adventure, action, violence, explosions, and male characters (except that they like women as objects of male libido).

There are, of course, exceptions. I'm one of them. I love movies about relationships and romance. I avoid movies full of violence. Even “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy was too violent for my tastes. I have little interest in action, per se. I don’t like explosions, car chases, or fighting. I enjoy sensitivity, caring, honor, feelings, overcoming adversity, transcending one’s own inner demons, and altruism. I feel put off by macho posturing, controlling and abusive behavior, and domination. I am as focused on the women in movies as I am on the men. And when I am focused on men, I am interested in how I admire and would like to emulate them for the quality of their character. I especially appreciate movies with a spiritual (not necessarily religious) theme or message.

Of course, I am a relationship coach, which, I guess, does make me an unusual sort of man. My interest in relationships goes far beyond the movies.

There is, I suggest, a crucially important point to be made about dating and choosing our partner for a relationship in this frequent male-female difference. A common complaint I’ve heard from women is that the men in their lives don’t want to put enough time and energy into communication and development of their relationships. Many men reply that women want to talk too much and do too little. Perhaps movie preference is an early-warning signal for this problem developing in a relationship. Perhaps anyone who wants a compatible relationship later on would be well advised to pay attention to what movies their dates want to see and how they deal with differences. Choosing to enter and stay in a relationship with someone about whom we have constant complaints and who we continually desire to act differently is a well-recognized self-defeating behavior.

Specifically, if men and women are going to be constantly critical and contemptuous of each other for the movies the other wants to see, then maybe they don’t really belong together. I appreciate Marianne Williamson’s comment to women, “The problem is not that you attract the kind of men you don’t want; the problem is that you give them your phone number.” Or, in this case, the problem is that you keep going to movies that you don’t like with them.

Am I suggesting that for relationships to work, we need to always like the same movies? No, of course not. However, I am suggesting that for their relationships to work, women and men need to show understanding and compassion for their partner’s differences and to find a way to find a mutually-agreeable method to choose movies to see.

I have two solutions to the “which movie shall we see” issue that I recommend:

One option is that 50% of the time a couple goes to see a movie they both want to see, 25% of the time they go to any movie he chooses, and 25% of the time they go to any movie she chooses. If they can’t find a movie they both want to see 50% of the time, I wonder if they have enough in common to make a relationship work together. If they can’t be generous enough to go along with their partner to a movie of the other’s choosing 25% of the time, then are they mature enough to be in a long-term relationship? And, if the other partner consistently wants to see something in their 25% of the time that the first partner can’t tolerate, then, again, I question if these two people belong together. (Of course, occasionally either might go to a movie the other won’t see alone or with a friend.)

Another option is for one of them to select 3 to 5 possible movies and the other one to choose one from that list. The next time they switch roles in the selection process. If, out of all the possible selections, the partner can’t find one he or she is interested in seeing, then that’s not a positive sign. Where is the foundation in common values and interests for a healthy relationship?

There is hope for higher quality intimate relationships between women and men. If women who want relationships with men who will talk about feelings and listen empathetically will only get involved with that kind of man, then there will be better relationships. If men who want relationships with women who like sports and action movies will only get involved with that kind of woman, then there will be better relationships.

Or, most significantly of all, if we will get involved with someone who is different than we are with the intention of learning to be more accepting and compassionate toward them instead of with the hope of changing them, then we will have better relationships. We can start early in dating someone new by paying attention to our preferences in movies, by understanding and showing compassion for differences, and by discovering if we can develop a way of choosing which movies to attend that is satisfactory to both of us.

© Copyright 2005 Michael Dickerson Deluno, All Rights Reserved

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Welcome to The Heart of the Matter

Welcome to The Heart of the Matter, my blog of articles, reflections, and ideas about spiritual awakening, conscious relationships, self-awareness, personal growth, creativity, community, inspired service, and more.

I write and am entirely responsible for The Heart of the Matter. I am Michael Dickerson Deluno, M.Div. (Ministry, Starr King School for the Ministry, Berkeley, CA), M.A. (Psychology, Antioch University Seattle, WA), spiritual/relationship/life coach, interfaith minister, writer, educator, speaker, consultant, and actor.

My spiritual foundation and thus the foundation for The Heart of the Matter is interfaith, drawing from mysticism, Eckhart Tolle/The Power of Now, New Thought (Unity, Religious Science, Association for Global New Thought, etc.), A Course in Miracles, Buddhism, Abraham-Hicks, CoreLight, Sufism, Quakerism, Unitarian-Universalism, and more.

My psychological foundation and thus the foundation for The Heart of the Matter is Transpersonal Psychology, Humanistic Psychology, Focusing, HeartMath, Nonviolent (Compassionate) Communication, Inner Bonding, the Sedona Method, Voice Dialogue, the Option Process, and more.

This publication is for educational, inspirational, and coaching purposes only and should not to be taken as psychological or medical advice. Suggestions I make are for your consideration only. Nothing you read here should result in your changing anything in your medical treatment, psychotherapy, or personal health habits without specific communication between you and your physician, psychotherapist, or other appropriate health-care professional.

The Heart of the Matter is my professional blog. There is no discussion of the articles, reflections, and ideas. If you’d be interested in a group that discusses what I write about, as well as similar topics, email me at I'll start a group when there are enough people interested to make it worthwhile.

I hope that you’ll find some of what I write valuable.