Do People Who  Believe in Soulmates Really Ghost More?

Do People Who Believe in Soulmates Really Ghost More?

Soulmates and Ghosting

In January 2018 a research article entitled, “Ghosting and Destiny” was published indicating that those people who believe in the concept of a soulmate where more likely to endorse ghosting as a means of ending a relationship.  Conventional dating advice often warns against the idea of believing in soulmates as many people have come to believe that this represents a lack of growth in an otherwise healthy relationship.

The problem is not with the concept of a soulmate.  On the contrary, it is the way our culture has come to understand what a soulmate is.  Due to our Disney loving, Cinderellaesq culture, we believe that a soulmate is our ‘perfect half” or the person that will make us happy “forever.”  We believe in “happily ever after” without recognizing the pain of growth every relationship must go through.

Soulmates are Real but Not in the Way you Believe

Those people who have found their soulmate know that this fantasy is simply a fantasy.  A soulmate is often a relationship that appears when you are ready to grow.  it is one that will challenge you, make things difficult and ultimately help you face some harsh realities about your own personal growth.  A soulmate may also not be forever.  Many of us have soulmates that show up to bring children into the world or to teach us an important life lesson.  We have many potential soulmates not just one in the course of a lifetime.  In this way, many people confuse a soulmate for the concept of a twin flame – the person who is truly our other half.  Yet, to meet your twin flame, you need to do your personal growth work and often clear some serious karmic issues.

Few people are capable of rising to the level of being ready for a twin flame in this lifetime but many people are capable of meeting a soulmate.  Yet, if you believe that it is okay to ghost someone who is not your soulmate, you may find yourself in relationships that end prematurely or with the wrong people.  Ghosting is not acceptable past a third date (in my opinion).  Everyone you meet is an opportunity for connection or growth.  Sometimes you need to look past your own ego to realize the story or the lesson that is trying to present itself.

Outcome of Ghosting

I have personally run into people who have ghosted me – often years later and it is awkward.  It always leads to an apology and an explanation.  While ghosting is not something to take personally, it is a sign of emotional immaturity and someone, who even if they are a soulmate, is not ready for the responsibilities of a soulmate relationship.

I’ve recently met one of these people.  There is no doubt in my mind that we have known each other in a previous life.  The connection was easy and comfortable.  Yet, within the first few dates, I realized that he is working through his own issues and avoiding his personal growth work (my intuitive readings consistently confirmed that this “fated relationship” was not going anywhere because of his unwillingness to do his karmic work) .  While it can be hard to understand why a soulmate would appear who is not ready, you have to see it as the opportunity it is: To speak your truth and trust that you deserve better.  When he disappeared, I gently confronted the situation and his response confirmed what my intuition told me: He is suffering and not capable of giving me what I need emotionally. My job was not to get upset or angry.  On the contrary, it was simply to acknowledge that a romantic relationship couldn’t be.  It was a reminder to walk away rather than give my heart (as many empaths do) to someone who needs healing.   I wished him well, sent him kindness and thanked the Universe for the opportunity to be reminded of how hard I have been working to take care of myself.  Soulmates appear all the time, you just have to listen to the signs. Sometimes they simply show up as a reminder of how amazing you really are.

Soulmates Are Special

Soulmates are some of our greatest teachers.  Be ready to receive the lessons and honor whatever that connection may look like.  They are special in their ability to make us feel safe, to make us feel heard and for the often immediate comfort we feel in their presence.  That does not mean that it is a romantic relationship that is supposed to happen in this life.  You have free will and the Universe expects you to use it accordingly.

 

 

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Licensed Psychologist and Founder of Rapport Relationships

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes is a relationship expert and licensed psychologist.  She provides dating strategy, consultation, and date coaching services to clients all over the world.  Dr. Rhodes is a frequently sought media expert on the topics of seduction, sensuality,  dating, divorce, and relationships.  In addition to Rapport Relationships, Dr. Rhodes is the founder of Visual Arts Reimagined (VAR) where she provides services to visual artists interested in entrepreneurship and leadership.

Energy Vampires and Compassion: Protecting Oneself without Judging Others

Energy Vampires and Compassion: Protecting Oneself without Judging Others

A few months ago, I final read Dr. Christine Northrup’s book, Dodging Energy Vampires.  It had significant meaning not only for my clients but for my personal life.  I have had significant trouble maintaining my own energy around certain people and it took me a long time to realize that I am an empath.  Like many empaths, I had to learn the hard way and undo the damaging conditioning done by our society that always referred to me as “too sensitive.”

Yet, rather than feel validated as I read this book, I felt that there was a slight tone of negativity that made me believe, for just a hot second, that I must be stupid for not realizing that there are toxic people in the world.  We all know there are.  What I’ve learned from my practice is that the majority of these people need healing too.  The conventional advice to simply stay away from all people who you identify as an “energy vampire” seems to promote a dualistic view that people are either all good energy or all bad energy.

And that’s not realistic.

Having worked with domestic violence and sexual assault trauma victims (and at times, perpetrators), I’ve learned that people will be open or closed to intervention at different points in their life.   A custody battle will turn highly contentious with a narcissist involved but the system (if it is working correctly) can intervene and make a statement.  Does it always happen? No.  The most toxic energy vampires are master manipulators but that does not mean we should run and hide in a cave our entire lives.  Some of the most toxic men I’ve come into contact with have also been the most hurt and damaged by their own relationship history (You can watch an episode of Mindhunters and listen to the serial killed Ed Kemper talk about his mother – just saying).  They are trying to survive as much as you and I are.

I like to think that the tone of Dr. Northrup’s book is a familiar one.  I’ve certainly tried to save clients from bad decisions by being more direct in session.    Yet, from my experience, people must walk his or her own path.  They must learn and when they are ready for change, we can all be there to cheer for them.  What the toxic vampire needs is for his or her victim to grow strong enough to reject them so they can be forced to begin their healing process.  While some will never choose to heal in this lifetime, it doesn’t mean that, as an empath, we don’t take the opportunity to do our own work.

Assessing, acknowledging and separating yourself from toxic vampires is only the first step in healing.

What needs to happen as you have this opening to realization is a profound and deep healing process that starts with finding your authentic voice and bolstering your insecurities.  It means diving deep into your own dark side, swimming in what is there, and emerging from the other side with the knowledge of what it is about you that finds these people intriguing and attractive.  An energy vampire is essentially the Universe telling you that it is time to get to work on YOU.

If you miss the call or do not heed the warning, you will repeat the process with someone even more toxic (Freud called it the repetition compulsion).  It will keep happening until you are strong enough to leave this dynamic behind.  When you reach that level of strength, you will no longer need to blame, criticize or judge the vampire.  You will feel safe and be able to acknowledge that he or she is simply on their own path and that you have the CHOICE to decide if you will be a part of their own healing journey.  Choosing to not be at this stage of healing creates a sense of well-being and empowerment.

The types of relationships that give us the most trouble as empaths are karmic ones.  They are the ones that feel magnetizing and amazing – like you’ve known each other for years on the first date.  Most often, if we have not done our healing work, these are not soulmate relationships.  They are here to wake you up and teach you something.  Often, these relationships will be with energy vampires.  So while it is always good to run the other way, without doing the work to heal, you will never truly be free.  Often, they also will never leave you alone!  This is especially true if you are living in a culture where abuse and violence is a natural part of the way men and women communicate.

Energy vampires are not pleasant people.  They are, however, our greatest teachers and the people who probably need the most compassion.  But it is not the job of an empath to take care of them.  On the contrary, it is the job of the empath to fight like hell to heal so that his or her authentic voice can be heard when they set their firm boundaries with loving kindness.  It is the job of the empath to grow when they are being held back.  It can be so easy to resign oneself to life “as it is” but with the advent of technology, a re-emergence of spirituality, and a heck of a lot more knowledge about energy medicine, we don’t have to sit around and hope that things get better – we can take action.

Finally, part of the healing process is radical self-care.  Energy vampires show up to signal to you that you are. not taking care of yourself.  You may be physically unhealthy, drinking too much wine, not exercising or working 90 hour weeks.  If you are an empath, heed the sign that YOU need to make some life changes.  The energy vampire is not there to help you change but if you can recognize his or her purpose, you may realize that they are a Universal gift and a real opportunity for transformation.  Even if you are living in a community where physical escape is not possible, you can transform your emotions and your mind.  No captor  is ever really able to take your soul if you know that you have a greater life purpose.  I like to think that as empaths, part of our journey is learning how to care and protect ourself AND to speak our truth.

I like to send gratitude to all the people I have identified as an energy vampire in my meditation practice.  I will not be spending personal time with them but if they are showing up or around in some way, rather than get defensive and judgmental, I let go and say thank you.  They have been my greatest teachers.

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Licensed Psychologist and Founder of Rapport Relationships

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes is a relationship expert and licensed psychologist.  She provides dating strategy, consultation, and date coaching services to clients all over the world.  Dr. Rhodes is a frequently sought out media expert on the topics of seduction, sensuality,  dating, divorce, and relationships.

Tips to Cope with Dating Anxiety

Tips to Cope with Dating Anxiety

There is Anxiety and then there is Dating Anxiety

When you are someone who is living with anxiety, sometimes the simplest tasks can seem like an insurmountable challenge. You might fixate on something you said in a conversation that the other person probably didn’t think twice about, or you may immediately go to the worst-case scenario when you hit a bump in the road— and in your mind, all of these illogical thoughts make complete sense to you and are even destined to happen. It’s not until someone offers a different perception that you realize how irrational you were being in the first place. So if you encounter anxiety in everyday events, something such as dating can make anxiety skyrocket. 

One of the biggest pieces of advice we get when dating is to “be yourself.” It’s simple enough— don’t try to fabricate a persona that will eventually crumble three dates down the line just to impress someone. But with anxiety, you begin to even wonder how to be yourself! Your mind is flooded with questions like “how do I know if I’m being genuine?” and “what does it even mean to be myself? Who am I?!” It seems so irrational, but it’s easy to overthink even the simplest things in a dating situation. 

What makes dating such a nervewracking experience, especially for people with anxiety, is the fact that you are putting yourself wholly out there for someone else’s approval. What happens if you’re being 100% yourself and the person you’re dating rejects you? While many people would understand that there are probably outside circumstances to lead to such rejection, people with anxiety automatically jump into a self-critical mindset, assuming that is was something they did to turn the other person away. And even worse, there are elements of self-shaming, and believing that there’s something wrong with you and that’s the reason you got rejected. Of course, in reality this is rarely the case.

But when it comes to the actual process of dating with anxiety, there are a few ways to manage the ever-racing anxious mind. Especially if you’re just starting to date someone that you met online or only briefly in person, there are so many things to take into account when going on a date. What should you wear? What should you get to eat? Should you drink? It’s hard to know what wavelength your date is on when it comes to these aspects of a date, and can often lead to overthinking and stressing out about the date. 

Tips for Coping

The best thing to do when it comes to a first date with someone brand new is to just feel it out, and have a laid-back and casual chat with your date about the date. Ask what looks good to them on the menu. Ask them if they like drinking, and what sorts of drinks they like. When it comes to what to wear, you’re going to want to put in some effort, but don’t feel the need to dress up to the nines for a single date. If it looks like you care about the date, and care about the person you’re on a date with, chances are everything will go smoothly.

Though anxiety will usually lead you to conclusions that never pan out, don’t let it take total control over your date. I have seen disasters of first dates from a third party standpoint, and it’s usually completely unmanaged anxiety that brought them to that level. Some people drink copious amounts to calm their nerves, and end up making a drunken fool of themselves in front of not only their date, but everyone else in the establishment. Before you go on a date, make sure you’re taking self-care steps in reducing your anxiety so you don’t let it manifest negatively during your date. If you need to, take a bath, or mediate, or listen to your favorite record. Anything that you typically do to take your anxious brain down a level, do before your date. If you get caught up in the anxiety, and let it fester to an uncontrollable level, it will absolutely have a poor effect on your date. 

The most important thing to keep in mind about dating anxiety is that the stakes are much lower than you’re probably thinking. There’s no use in trying to change yourself for one person, let alone one date. If you’re going on a dinner date, wear what you would wear going out to dinner with your family or friends. If you love chicken parmesan, go ahead and order it even if your date is only getting a salad. It’s easy to blow these small things up out of proportion with anxiety, but the real important thing to keep in mind is how you vibe with your date, the content of your conversation, and the overall chemistry you feel with this person. All you have to do is take a deep breath and enjoy the exciting process of getting to know someone new. 

People are attracted to others who are unapologetically themselves.  Fake it if you must at first but take the time to find your true self.  Your dating life will thank you!  – Jennifer B. Rhodes

Isabel Lamont

Content Manager

Isabel Lamont if the content manager for both Rapport Relationships and Visual Arts Reimagined.  She received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College in 2018.

Soulmates, Karmic Relationships, and Intuition:  What Love is Really About

Soulmates, Karmic Relationships, and Intuition: What Love is Really About

The only real valuable thing is intuition. – Albert Einstein

Being born and raised in New York meant that I was raised in a family that valued intelligence, business, and type A ness over intuition.  There is nothing wrong with these things of course.  Yet, so many of us are sensitive souls who struggle to survive a childhood of feeling like our natural gifts are not valued.  We want to fit in and live the life our friends covet.  Marriage, family, and the white picket fence is a dream that so many Americans strive for.  It is a great dream but it is not for all of us.

I was fifteen when I realized that what I wanted in my 30s was different from my friends’ dreams.  They wanted to be married with four children.  I wanted to travel.  I wanted to live a much more exploratory life.  I did not want to marry young.  I wanted the guy who would do both of those things with me.  So when my college boyfriend of 6 years told me he didn’t think I should go to graduate school and we should think about getting married, I said no.

We can’t predict the future of our dating lives.  We can’t predict whom we are going to meet.  We can, however, change our perception and mindset around the whole process.  We can learn to appreciate everyone we meet along the way, thank them for the lessons that we learn, and open ourselves up to a love we never knew could exist.

At this stage in my life, I have had a soulmate and more than one karmic relationship.  My college boyfriend was definitely a soulmate.  Had we met later in life, things may have turned out differently.  Yet, to this day, he has been one of the most important relationships in my life.  He was always supportive, emotionally grounded, and the epitomy of a great man.  I feel so grateful that he has set the tone for dating in my adult life.  He will not be the only soulmate I have but I am grateful for the lessons I learned about love at such an early age.

Karmic relationships, on the other hand, are some of the most painful lessons we need to learn.  I and I expect you as well, have at least one of these relationships show up.  They are often intense, all consuming and intensely painful.  Yet, they are the biggest lessons and the mirror that we need to be brave enough to look in to see where our healing needs to take place.  It has taken me many years to heal from the heartache of not marrying the man I thought I was going to in my late 20s.  Today, I’m grateful that the relationship did not go further and am grateful that he chose to end it.  I had a tremendous amount of work to do and my healing would not have happened if I was not pushed to my breaking point.

I have always been intuitive.  In all of my relationships, I have known that something was off or not right.  When we are younger, we tend to ignore our intuition in favor of our mind.  We think that by being logical we can spare ourselves from the pain.  We think that by having a checklist and sticking to it will help us find the love of our life.  We believe that we have full control over our relationship destiny.  In reality, we are often presented with options but really miss the opportunities.  Today we spend all our time swiping, using our mind to decide who our next date will be rather than simply being and feeling.  Letting go of the control of our love lives is not an easy thing to do.

We hire dating coaches, matchmakers, and other professionals because we believe we are doing something wrong or do not feel like we have the time to do the search ourselves.  The truth is, we don’t need to work so hard.  We need to follow our intuition, build a life that is representative of who we really are and wait for the right people to show up.  Yet, too many of us wear the mask of what our culture tells us is the right thing for us and few of us are really brave enough to become who we really are.

It is through science that we prove, but through intuition that we discover. – Henri Poincare

If you think you are brave enough to become who you are really meant to be, I want to hear from you.  Those of you who are willing to explore your personal growth, examine your single life and make concerted effort to create the alignment that makes your soul sing, are the clients and future coaches I want to work with.  Learning to live via your intuition means letting go of the illusion of safety that your mind creates.

I never thought that I would be a relationship expert.  Then one day I woke up and realized that my life’s purpose is to help others stop judging themselves about a bad date, stop blaming other people for dating hiccups and begin to wake up to the lessons and the opportunities that are staring them in the face.  Every day is a beautiful opportunity to be open to receive your next soulmate.  Sometimes you just have to get out of your own way and realize that love is not something that can be owned but something that is experienced.

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Licensed Psychologist and Founder of Rapport Relationships

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes is a relationship expert and licensed psychologist.  She provides dating strategy, consultation, and date coaching services to clients all over the world.  Dr. Rhodes is a frequently sought media expert on the topics of seduction, sensuality,  dating, divorce, and relationships.  In addition to Rapport Relationships, Dr. Rhodes is the founder of Visual Arts Reimagined (VAR) where she provides services to visual artists interested in entrepreneurship and leadership.

Why Your Energy is Keeping you Single: Lessons Learned for Self-Care

Why Your Energy is Keeping you Single: Lessons Learned for Self-Care

There is a lot of blaming and finger pointing that goes around our culture.  It is probably most evident during that transition from everyone is single to everyone is married.  Somehow as the last single person you receive the brunt of unsolicited advice about your dating life as if getting married made your friends experts in relationships.  You don’t tell them that you secretly wonder how long it will be before they are divorced.   All of this negative energy is not good for your personal journey.

All these unspoken judgments between our friends and people in our lives is simply a manifestation of our own journey.  Some of us are meant to marry at a young age and have a mid-life crisis.  Others of us, myself included, are meant to have wonderful relationships but not get married until later in life.  Some of us are not meant to get married and others of us are meant to get married three or four times.  The judgment we pass on each other is not only harmful but a complete waste of time.

What Does Energy Have to Do With It?

We are actually more alike than we would ever care to think we are.  Singles and couples are really human beings trying to find an energetic match in our vast universe.  Some of us do the personal growth work and are rewarded with a life partner who is our soulmate while others of us must learn valuable life lessons through the failures of our relationships.

As a relationship expert and a single, happily dating woman, I have come to realize that the energy that we put out in the Universe is more important that any dating skill set that could be learned from a book or a coach.  So many of us have had so much trauma that our energetic frequency is a lot lower than we care to realize.  It is the reason why we attract narcissists, people with substance abuse problems or other issues.  When we mistakenly think we have done our work but do not like who has been showing up in our lives, it is a sign that more work needs to be done.  Margaret Paul reports some of her clients, “…got together wanting to get love, rather than knowing how to love themselves and share their love.”

I often hear complaints from both my male and female clients that the “good ones” are already married, that women do not like nice guys, that men don’t act like men, and that all women just want to marry for money. When I was younger, I also thought some of these things during my times of frustration. Now that I have taken time to learn more about myself, become happy with who I am and have an awesome self-care routine to take care of my own energy, I realize that the people who show up in my life now are happier and way healthier than some of the people in my past.  I have also realized that letting go of what I think it is that I want, need or deserve has created space for wonderful new experiences.

But most of all, the final part of your healing journey is to find ways to GIVE love.  Love is not meant to “fix” you without you committing to it.

Quick Fixes Don’t Always Solve the Energy Issue

We live in a quick fix culture where people just want to fix an issue and move on.  Unfortunately, cultivating a healthy sense of well-being and magnetic energy requires healing over a long period of time.  It may require stepping out of your normal routine, your typical comfort zone and taking a hard look at your life and deciding if you are on the right track or not.  Clients often get angry with me when I suggest that they are either highly exploratory or creative and are squashing their potential by trying to live up to the expectations of New York.  It may take a year but most of these clients come back to share their personal journeys.

One such client did that 18 months after her initial consultation.  She is by far one of the most exploratory personalities I have had in my office but was stuck on grieving the loss of a “perfect” relationship with a man with a traditional job who made a ton of money.  In her grief she was unable to see the blessing in disguise.  She came back to share that since she has traveled and moved to Alaska, she is finally enjoying her life again and dating people that make her happy but look like a mess on paper.  Our work has turned to helping her cultivate gratitude for the people who will now be showing up to teach her something new and help her heal.  She has never looked more healthy and happy than during this check in when she reported she was dating a creative soul.

Why Self-Care Matters

Getting on YOUR right path is the key to a happy and healthy life.  Choosing the RIGHT partner, not the one you think is right, will make the difference in your well-being and your future financial success.  We think that finding the love of our life should be easy but, in reality, it’s the most important decision we will ever make.  Shouldn’t you put forth more time and effort into getting that decision right by taking care of yourself and making sure you are attracting only people who will help you rise?  Doesn’t it sound less stressful to simply walk the streets feeling phenomenal and allow the right person to appear?

I encourage you to take time now to think about your own well-being and self care.  I encourage you to think less with you mind and to use your mind-body connection to guide your decision making.  I encourage you to think about what does your BEST life look like and what makes your heart sing.  Knowing these answers and taking small steps to implement change can change your entire energy and bring in so many new opportunities.  It will also give you the strength to know that once you are on your right path, you will have added valuable tools to your toolkit to help tackle whatever life throws at you.

What I Learned About Love from Two Different Yoga Retreats

What I Learned About Love from Two Different Yoga Retreats

I was royally burnt out in August 2018.  My interns were witnessing me act like a crazy person and I was just feeling exhausted.  I knew that I needed to get away and just write but the timing did not allow me to take more time to travel outside of the country.  So while speaking with a colleague and a friend, she told me that I needed to find something close by that combined my two favorite things: Yoga and Wine.

I didn’t think I would be able to find anything but I gave it a try.

I sat up late on a Wednesday and googled “yoga and wine retreats.”  Next thing you know, I found the link to Yoga Wine Party with a retreat in the Catskills starting in two days.  I was floored.  It was like the weekend was designed for me! I emailed them hoping that I would hear quickly that they still had room.  Sure enough, I got two emails from Yoga Wine Party and Dina Ivas, the amazing yoga teacher running the retreat.  There was room and all I had to do was pay.  The process was so easy and I went to work completely excited Thursday morning that I was going to do something both fun and healthy (well at least partly).  It was another experience of the Universe providing the perfect opportunity for growth.

I had no idea what to expect and quite frankly I was so exhausted that I simply threw some clothes in a bag and left NYC Thursday afternoon to relax before showing up for a retreat.  I’m glad I took a day of self-care before arriving but even with a massage and some sleep, I quickly realized I was exhausted and forgetful. Part of the last minute disorganization was forgetting to bring my vitamins and some wine.

yoga wine party dr. jennifer rhodesFear not, I found the best wine store I’ve ever been in on my drive to Heathen Hill Yoga. I literally made a wrong turn and there it was – a super cute small boutique in the middle of a small town in the Catskills.  Wild Common Wine was opened in December 2017 by a creative formerly in the film industry who used to live in Brooklyn.  Not only was the owner warm and welcoming, she was highly knowledgeable and helpful in the bottle selection process.  She and her husband live in their vacation home full time and opening Wild Common was a return to her original roots in the wine industry.  Like so many of us, she didn’t imagine that she would be living in the Mountains but is glad to call the Catskills her home.

Armed with some wine (mostly so I didn’t feel like an idiot), I arrived at Heathen Hill Yoga and was immediately greeted with warmth and lots of hospitality by both Dina and her partner Liz Howng.  Wine tasting commenced before dinner and I immediately knew that I was in front of a real wine educator – I actually learned more in that one tasting than I’ve ever have hanging out with a sommelier friend of mine.   Liz is a Level 3 WSET wine educator and a phenomenal teacher.  It was so much fun to actually get a real wine education – an added bonus I did not anticipate.

The real magic of the weekend was not just three amazing yoga classes or three different proper wine tastings, it was in the community that Dina, Liz, and the owners of Heathen Hill cultivated without trying.  Meals were set at a long communal dining table that encouraged connection, the blossoming of friendships, and real intimacy. Around the dining room table we learned more of how we were alike than different.  We learned that some of us were happily married, divorced or single.  We learned that some of us were parents and some of us never wanted children.  We learned some of us were in our twenties and some of us had children in their 40s.  We learned that we all loved good food and wine.   Yet, the biggest lesson for me was to watch how incredibly generous, caring, and loving everyone was toward each other.  People shared their gifts of massage, listened with a compassionate ear, and told heartfelt stories.  They bought bottles of wine for everyone and truly connected. This was a group of 12 strangers and it was a privilege and an honor to be a part of such an amazing experience.  It fueled the beginning of my recovery and I am grateful to each and every one of the people who I had the pleasure of interacting with. I left the weekend on a high and wished it had been one more night longer.

Following this weekend, I went to visit my family and to sit and work on my book.  While it is always a good time to see them, I felt that I needed to take some time for myself over the labor day weekend to really focus.  I knew I needed complete quiet in natue.  Still on my high from Yoga Wine Party, I found another yoga retreat center and booked a yoga vacation. Well actually, it was more of an ashram and I figured the structure and focus on just yoga would be good for me.  I arrived and immediately felt like something was off with the energy of the people, not necessarily the center itself.  Little did I know, I arrived on the day of a major Hindu holiday and the evening meditation sessions were scheduled to be four hours of chanting. I’m not opposed to kirtan or spirituality but I realized that this would not be a yoga vacation – it was going to be me avoiding a cult-like atmosphere just to find some peace to do my work.

Despite my initial judgments, I encouraged myself to ride things out for a couple of days just to explore.  I made a deal with myself that if I could do work and write, I would stay.  During the days, that is exactly what I did but during the meals, the negativity of the people working at this ashram seeped into the experience.  Rather than being warm, welcoming and open, they were judgmental and closed off.  They fostered an “us” versus “them” climate and made several attempts to guilt trip people into helping them in the kitchen as “karma yoga”  when most of us were quietly doing karma yoga on our own.  For a center whose purpose is to promote love, kindness, and compassion, I found it completely devoid of all three. Connections need to be mindfully cultivated and they were not – a detriment to the entire community.

Yoga is as much fitness as it is a spiritual practice with a very long history.  Experiencing both of these retreats in such close proximity highlighted an immense learning lesson:  It will never just be the yoga that makes for an amazing experience alone.  It will be in the people your heart connects to during yoga that makes the difference.

I believe the founders of Yoga Wine Party have found a winning formula for making that possible for all of us.  They are amazing teachers and I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to spend time with them.

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Licensed Psychologist and Founder of Rapport Relationships

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes is a relationship expert and licensed psychologist.  She provides dating strategy, consultation, and date coaching services to clients all over the world.  Dr. Rhodes is a frequently sought media expert on the topics of seduction, sensuality,  dating, divorce, and relationships.  In addition to Rapport Relationships, Dr. Rhodes is the founder of Visual Arts Reimagined (VAR) where she provides services to visual artists interested in entrepreneurship and leadership.