In this first Loving Completely workshop we take a look at the five ways of relating that make up an integrated approach to healthy and loving relationships, which Dr. Keith calls the "Five Stars". We set the context for the rest of the Loving Completely course by exploring:
- How we choose partners
- Attunement as a superior way of relating
- Training your brain to be pro-social
- Identifying what kinds of mindsets are active in you
- Reflecting on how your attention shapes the story your tell about your life
- The different kinds of attractor states and default modes that influence your relating with yourself and others.
How to benefit from class exercises
Every module makes suggestions of activities to do in the day or days following. When you feel ready, you move to the next module. Each module includes all the practices for that module on the page, or you can download a pdf of all the practices in each session. Links to download the session practices can be found on the first module of every session.
To do the exercises we recommend you set up your phone and/or computer to take notes throughout your day, and/or buy a journal if you prefer writing longhand. If you buy a journal, try to get a nice one with a cover you find appealing. There is some research that suggests writing exercises can be more powerful if done by hand, and you can always transcribe entries from your phone/computer to your journal, or from your journal to your phone/computer if you want to do both.
Writing is a way of processing with yourself, as conversation is a way of processing with another. Any time you process personal information (like discussing or writing about decisions and information coming mostly from you logical, linear, linguistic, literal left hemisphere), you open yourself up to intuitive wisdom from your intuitive, non-linear, autobiographical, emotional, sensory right hemisphere.
This is one reason I suggest you recruit other people you trust with whom you can share insights, perspectives and dialogue. If you're in relationship, your partner would be a valuable choice, but there are often multiple people we trust—sometimes with different parts of our lives. People to share with can include lovers, parents, friends, family members, a partner you're taking the class with or various combinations of different folks. We are social beings and grow much faster when we share with caring others.
That all being said, you might go through different modules, or the whole class, alone. You might write volumes, or never write a word. I encourage you to experiment and find combinations of activities that help you grow, learn, and become more intimate with people you care about.
Don't feel obligated to do anything! If one of my clients follows through on 25% of my suggestions, that's usually enough for significant progress. Try suggestions that appeal to you, and keep doing the ones that seem to deliver insight and progress. If some parts of this class seem irrelevant or not right for you, skip them!
Find your personal rhythm of absorbing the material.
As you take this class, expect big insights and transformative practices to emerge that will change your life for the better. Focused intent and action, in service of principle, and driven by resolve, is the most potent human superpower, and in this class we invite and guide you to harness that superpower to grow and have superior relationships with others and the multitudes of your inner selves.
Use the comments below to discuss each module with other course participants. Remember that these comments are public, so be sure you don't use this the comments section for personal note taking!
Our first exercise involves cultivating the habit of asking yourself five questions about other people you see in the world, and paying attention to the answers your mind and body give you.
Here's how you do it. Ask yourself the Five Star questions about people you meet, your current partner, or even about fictional characters in movies or books, and then record what you noticed, felt in your body, and thought as you asked the questions.
You can do this at a mall, on a bench, at work, in a coffee shop, or in your home. You don't need much contact to have an opinion about another person. One study had a group of people meet someone briefly for less than a minute, and another group know someone for five weeks. When asked to evaluate the person they'd met, both groups were equally accurate! Our nervous systems absorb millions of inputs, and we have multiple channels of social attunement which have evolved over millions of years of being social animals, and being super-genius human beings.
When you ask a question, you stimulate your right hemisphere (where intuitive knowledge and bodily wisdom reside) to respond with intuitive wisdom. That why the Five Stars are questions—they are designed to stimulate and strengthen your social intuition.
If asking all five feels like too much, just ask one or two Stars a day, and record your reactions. You can try different questions on different days. You'll probably discover yourself naturally noticing some Stars more easily than others. For instance, guys are pretty quick at noticing whether erotic polarity exists between them and an attractive woman, but can be less conscious of whether she'd be able and willing to get back to love in a conflict.
On the other hand, you can learn to be aware of the presence or absence of all five.
We'll explore the Five Stars in greater detail in future modules. Right now, just ask yourself these questions about as many people you encounter as possible, and be curious and interested in your answers, What do you think as you ask? How do you feel in your body as you ask? Remember to write down what you remember.
After your first day's entries, try sharing them with someone you trust (if it feels right to share with another), and pay attention to how you feel during the conversation. Do you feel awkward? Close to the other? Tense? Does the conversation lead to conflict, or end with you feeling more intimate? Record what you notice after your talk.