Episode 12: Spiritual Love Relationships
This week, I talk to Lorraine Platt, who, with her husband, runs a thriving Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists/ Relationship Development practice just north of San Francisco. What got my attention was the deep and broad rooting in spiritual practice and spiritual traditions that Lorraine and Richard bring to what might otherwise be what David Deida, for instance, calls, "second stage therapy." Most therapy intends to help heal the wounds of the past. Lorraine's work also helps men and women look forward boldly. In this interview, we discuss her Buddhist roots, serious practices for men to learn how to feel and listen to their bodies, and how women (and men) can embrace a kind of powerful caution that is devoid of fear. Their goal, which is the goal of the Fearless Lover is to create, foster and explore relationships that are not merely good, but inspiring.
For more about Lorraine and Richard, go to passionpurpose.org
Woman: This program is brought to you by PersonalLifeMedia.com.
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Adam Gilad: Welcome back to the “Fearless Lover” here on Personal Life Media. I'm your host, Adam Gilad. Every week, we're the spiritual foundation of how to create a life of love, something most of us dearly want but not everyone is willing to put the work into actually achieving.
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Lorraine Platt: We both have a Buddhist foundation which is about benefiting others, all sentient beings benefiting from each person’s actions. I must admit, that was not the complete focus when we got together, it's the foundation that we both have.
Part of the appeal of falling in love is that emerging, the melting of the boundaries between two people that feel so wonderful.
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Adam Gilad: My guest this week is someone I recently met. Her name is Lorraine Platt, and with her husband, she has a counseling practice in Marin County and I love the title of it. First of all, Lorraine, welcome.
Lorraine Platt: Thank you, Adam. Hi.
Adam Gilad: Hi. Now you, guys, are licensed service, correct?
Lorraine Platt: Yes, we are, licensed in everything.
Adam Gilad: Licensed in everything. What is [xx] that in your work because I started really exploring it is that you work [xx] couples and singles in terms of how to find love. But the title of your practice, it's right up front there, is not just passion, it's passion and purpose. How does purpose a part in creating an enduring love relationship?
Lorraine Platt: That’s a great question. We chose that name because our focus in working with couples is bringing the masculine and feminine principles together. So passion is the feminine and purpose is the masculine. Of course, everyone knows you need passion in a successful relationship for it to be juicy, for it to be really connected. But the purpose is finding a meaningful and compatible partner, meaning it's clear, it's grounded, and it is purposeful in your life. It brings healing to each individual and to the relationship itself as it evolves overtime.
Adam Gilad: Now, like you said that the purpose is the masculine principle but it's something that first partners have to express.
Lorraine Platt: Exactly. The purpose is the clarity, the focused masculine presence and both people, of course, have masculine and feminine in them. In terms of creating a good foundation in a partnership, there needs to be the clarity that this person is a good fit for you. So it can't just be based on emotion or attraction, that’s one part--of course, it's a very important part in a relationship--but there also needs to be the very practical piece of “Is this person good for me?”
Adam Gilad: When you look at purpose, it's not just that, “Do we have the same purpose in life?” You're saying there has to be a commitment, I would think, of purposeful relationship but I'm on purpose in this relationship that is not interior or tangential to my personal life.
Lorraine Platt: Exactly, that it's meaningful to both people and, ideally, that it spreads out into the community, that the relationship of that couple is beneficial to their community. It's not just to feel good or to have something that they want in their life, but that--like I said—it heals each person as an individual and that that person can take with their learning out into the greater community and be of service.
Adam Gilad: Beautiful. So it really radiates outward. In a few seconds, I'm going to ask you about how fear plays into this and holds people back. But before we get there, not everyone looks at relationships that way. A lot of people look at it as a comfort or a escape or making up for some sense of loneliness or lack in your life. It's a kind of high intention for getting into relationship, and it's this kind of a spiritual intention. I wanted to ask you about, I mean, you're in the heart, you're in the whirlwind of spirituality over there in Marin County. I wanted to ask you about what--you and your husband have been married for a while, what have been your spiritual influences in creating a practice to help people find love?
Lorraine Platt: We both have a Buddhist foundation which is about benefiting others, all sentient beings benefiting from each person’s actions. I must admit, that was not the complete focus when we got together, it's the foundation that we both have. You're right, that is a very high intention and those other more basic needs do come into play of wanting comfort and companionship and all of that. I think the evolution of relationship happens in stages in people.
As they say in Buddhism, start where they are and then evolve from that and--like I said--ideally transform each other through their relationship so that they are taken to a higher level with each other that does spreads out. My other influences are Twelve Step Programs actually which have an incredibly strong spiritual foundation which is grounded in Buddhism. Also, a lot of [xx] work and energy work which have really served to get me out of my head and into my body. Those are great foundations, very useful in a relationship.
Adam Gilad: I also see on your list is that David Deida about your husband and yourself mention him.
Lorraine Platt: Yes, that’s actually how we got together. I had a pattern of being with unavailable men as many women do. And being therapist for many years, I knew that had something to do with me and what I was creating but I couldn’t really figure it out. It was when David Deida came here to the Bay Area a few years ago that my husband--he wasn't my husband at the time--but he invited me to come to the workshops and to participate with him and practice David’s work which is based on the masculine and feminine principles in relationship.
When he showed up and he committed to doing this work with me, I got really scared and I’d never had a man commit to me, commit to doing something and being available and asking me to show up with him on a consistent basis. So it's like my whole world opened up and I could see why I had been so scared because while I was always aware, I was really longing to have that connection and then chasing men. Then they would run away which is a common dilemma between men and women. And to really have an experience of moving out of that, I realized I needed to help other men and women do the same.
Adam Gilad: That’s great, that’s a good story. I understand where you're coming from. What I want to get--I want to dig deeper here--when you said he asked you to show up and there was fear, for people who are listening, could you explain what you mean exactly by showing up and how does fear played into that and then how you overcame that fear.
Lorraine Platt: Let's see. He was asking me for a commitment to explore the possibilities of us being in a relationship together, asking me to be present regardless of how I felt. I think that’s the epitome of showing up is it's beyond what's comfortable. So it's really a second or third stage relationship as we touched down before. You're not just doing what feels good in the moment which our culture is so much about and then people are unsatisfied and they don’t know why. So he was asking me to be with him and commit for a period of time to see what happen regardless of how I felt. As far as we can see, we could work some things out together and possibly be compatible partners. Does that make sense?
Adam Gilad: It makes sense, absolutely.
Lorraine Platt: Yes. So often, people do leave when it gets uncomfortable and I think they don’t know--not only is it uncomfortable and they want to get away from that--but they don’t really know if they're supposed to continue or not. They don’t know how to continue, how to move through it with another person because people lose themselves even in just dating let alone getting into a committed partnership.
Adam Gilad: What do you mean they lose themselves?
Lorraine Platt: Part of the appeal of falling in love is that emerging, the melting of the boundaries between two people that feel so wonderful. Then, unfortunately, there's often this backlash later because you have lost your boundaries and you don’t where you end and the other person begins. We lose our sense of autonomy, the more we connect with another person. So we have to reestablish that over time and that requires knowing who we are and what's OK with us, what isn’t having particular boundaries.
Adam Gilad: It sounds like a dilemma. You show us all about being fearless, but how do you fearlessly move in to a relationship and allow yourself to have that delicious merging and at the same time, maintain your internal autonomy?
Lorraine Platt: Yes, that is the dilemma. Yes, it's an incredible balancing act and such a great question. I think it all starts right here because if people can establish a good foundation in the beginning, then it doesn’t have to fall apart after six months. There's a common period after--let's say, three to six months--when all of the challenges starts to come up, the novelty wears off and you start to see the other person for who they are.
So what I tell people to do is to move into it slowly in the beginning because you will lose yourself. So if you're going slowly and talking to people and evaluating how your feeling, if you have the space to actually discern what's happening, then you can hold on to yourself while letting yourself fall in a bit but without it being so much that there's a point of no return.
Does that make sense?
Adam Gilad: Yes, it makes sense, and I like your therapeutic, does that make sense? It's interesting. I'd like to really narrow that down because there's a word that that can be seen as a kind of fear if it's done in a certain way as a fear based caution. But you're not really canceling a fear-based caution, you're canceling something else.
Lorraine Platt: Exactly. It's like having--you need to skeleton so that your muscles can relax. When you have a foundation, when you have boundaries and clarity and you know what you're doing, it's more awareness. Of course, caution needs to come into play, but when there's awareness and a deep understanding of one’s self and you're intentions, where you're coming from, what you're trying to create, then you can be fearless.
Then you can take risks that are calculated--for lack of a better word--but really are useful in terms of the risk paying off in a way that’s really wonderful. You're creating safety as you're going into it just like a skeleton holds your body together. So you can totally let go because you've built the trust with yourself. Does that make sense? You know what you're doing and you have a foundation and then, you can just let go because you've learned to trust this other person.
Adam Gilad: I like that. It redefines caution out of the context of fear and into rebuilding an infrastructure. I'm just romantic.
Lorraine Platt: Exactly. It's like the Buddhist, the kinis [sp], the female Buddhas. They hold an open lotus flower in one hand and a chopping knife in the other which represents awareness and discernment. They complement each other so beautifully because the lotus flower is the open receptive feminine that just wants to connect and be loved.
Adam Gilad: I just want to put that to our female listeners that the chopping knife is the metaphor.
Lorraine Platt: The metaphor, [laughs] absolutely, yes. It's simply a metaphor, a symbol for discernment so that both people can love fully without the fear because, mainly, they’ve learned to trust themselves. They’ve learned what's important to them. They’ve decided they want to live fearlessly and dive into life and connect with other people. Because they know themselves and they're connected to who they are, they can fearlessly dive in and be fully alive and play with other people and come from a place of trust and see what happens.
Adam Gilad: That’s good. You just remind me of something. I [xx] teacher where he says, “First, you feel that you're falling in love instantly, [xx] friends to come and check out the guy.”
Lorraine Platt: Exactly. [laughs] Exactly! Which is another useful tool of discernment because until the trust is built with the man, the masculine partner, the woman needs to hold that part herself as well as the feminine. She needs to hold the protective energy and she can use her girlfriends for that and that can be a spiritual practice. It's important for women to get together and really nurture the juicy receptive feminine as well. What I see is that a lot of women get stuck in a cautionary distrustful, actually even suspicious parts, toward men and it really keeps men out understandably.
Adam Gilad: Absolutely. You've got to give them an image of the kini, going back to an image where in a dating situation when you're man is the chopping knife is up front and the lotus is kind of hold back a little. Then, as you get to trust him, you could bring the lotus forward and pull back the knife a little and then, hopefully, eventually pocket the knife.
Lorraine Platt: [laughs] Exactly.
Adam Gilad: That lotus, [xx] I mean, that’s just beautiful feminine… so that’s one image of sort of a slow replacement or shifting that balance. On the other hand--and [xx] teachers and you have on your site, you say you teach women to relax, to softening and they’ll open their natural radiance and become an irresistible force of nature. That sounds like you say, “Hold the lotus out in front.” So how do you balance those two?
Lorraine Platt: It's exactly what you're saying, Adam, where over time, as the trust does build the lotus opens more and thus come forward and there is more room for that receptivity. It's so purposeful in the beginning to have that discernment because men need that as well. Women teach men how to show up and to be present and so women give men feedback and it's very, very useful. So if a man is doing something that isn’t really in the best interest of the woman, well, for both people actually.
But let's say they're on a date and the man says something offensive and the woman snarls, just a little example, the man knows, “Hey, wait a second. I got out of line there. I'm disconnected from my heart and I'm not really thinking about this other person that I'm with.” So men and women teach each other as they're together especially in the beginning. So it's a great way for them to find out where the other person is on their spiritual path.
Does that make sense?
Adam Gilad: Yes, it makes sense. If the woman snarls, [xx] probably got to cut back on the red meat. It just crossed my mind.
Lorraine Platt: [laughs] Or maybe [xx] is a little bit more.
Adam Gilad: So, I wanted to go to the male and female before we close. We talk about what would hold the woman back. What feelings would hold her back from radiant, from being her top feminine beauty that men really craved so much, and I think [xx] to trust is a big one.
Lorraine Platt: Yet, but you know it, Adam, it's also a choice to not live in fear and to go out into the world and let everyone see her heart, to just assume that it's safe. It's an incredible paradox where you're just doing it anyways and because the universe is holding you and it doesn’t matter what men are doing, that perspective is really important as well. So we're talking specifically about dating but as far as just being out in the world, it is a moment to moment choice to not live in fear, for her to open her heart and make herself available, and see who’s drawn to her. Of course, the present-conscious men are going to be drawn to something that beautiful.
Adam Gilad: What about men? You say on your homepage, you say that men grow stronger to practices that provide structure, clarity and commitment. What keep her man back from really inhabiting their masculine?
Lorraine Platt: Men would say that they're afraid of not being appreciated. They're afraid of being criticized and undermined, that that masculine, disconnected energy will come at them from women. And they're right, it's happens a lot and that they will then lose themselves and not know how to interact without not know how to protect themselves. Really, what women need, when they're in that place, is a lot of acceptance. Of course, things come from fear as well.
But for the men to just stay there with them and to keep being present regardless of the wild emotions that come at them. But for men to stay in his center and for him to do that, the practices include meditating and grounding and spending time with other men so that they can get really solid in themselves in who they are regardless of what's coming at them especially from a woman. Men often don’t understand women’s emotions because they're so different and can often feel out of control.
Adam Gilad: Really? Some of them are one when you said the practice from men, I think, this is where really I want to close and to get some practical advice. In many relationships or [xx], practice for men should be fearless without being a jerk or [xx]. But what is it to be fearless for a man with women and what exactly are those practices and what spiritual practices might be used? You mentioned meditation certainly. Grounding, what did you mean by grounding?
Lorraine Platt: Grounding is feeling his feet on the floor and breathing, breathing down into his pelvis, feeling himself as a man, feeling the silence, the masculine is all about silence. And so really resting into that and staying present even when a woman is upset and not getting defensive, not being thrown off by that.
Adam Gilad: That was [xx] when I was younger.
Lorraine Platt: [laughs] There was another piece that you asked me about that as well. What was it?
Adam Gilad: I'm asking about what spiritual practice, you mentioned meditation and, of course, there's so many different kinds. You're talking about grounding yourself in you're body and being present and not getting defensive as a second one. And you set off for the third one was spending time with men, obviously now, with any men.
Lorraine Platt: No, with other conscious men who are on the same path. My husband facilitates men’s groups and he leads them through different practices so that they can help each other to get stronger and more focused. They learn how to deal with different challenges whether it's with work or with women, the things that are important to men so that they can feel really solid in their lives and feel supported. That’s the most important thing is for each person to feel supported and then to practice with their own sex. Then, when they go back into relationship together, then they’ve got a solid ground that they can stand on and they don’t feel so isolated like they're doing it all themselves. We're all just practicing as we go along.
Adam Gilad: Exactly, and I'm really glad you mentioned this support thing because in many ways, obviously, particularly American culture, it's so cut off from traditional family support and the kind of immersion we used to have in a community, we're just mobile. [xx]. Were just a very different kind of world now and lot of couples, particularly we’re cut off from traditional family support or community or [xx] support, things that everything that’s wrong in their relationship is what's wrong with the other person rather than seeing at their larger spiritual or structural issues about masculine and feminine, for example.
Lorraine Platt: Exactly, yes. That’s a really great point. And that’s the other thing is that men and women can get feedback from each other and then, of course, relate to each other the experiences and not feel so alone. Then also, just get some practical directions especially for men who like concrete direction that they can go back in with and that really helps.
Adam Gilad: Lorraine, it's so great you, guys, are doing great work. If somebody wanted to get in touch with you, how would they do that?
Lorraine Platt: They can go to our website which is PassionPurpose.org. They can call me at (415) 302-1700. I do phone coaching throughout the country and I also meet people individually or as couples and my husband and I meet with couples as well. So people can get the masculine and the feminine perspective at the same time which is very useful.
Adam Gilad: [xx] you've got a work out up there in that Marin County there.
Lorraine Platt: Yes, we're having a great time doing it as well.
Adam Gilad: That’s great that you have a relationship to be able to share that and, thereby, actually expressing exactly what you said, relationships should do which is give back to the community and give back to the world.
Lorraine Platt: Yes, thank you, Adam. I feel really, really blessed.
Adam Gilad: Thank you so much for taking the time, Lorraine Platt. You've been listening to “The Fearless Lover” where we learn every week something else about the spiritual route of how to create a life of love, something that we really want but usually don’t want to take the time or effort, you'll actually create.
Thank you so much, Lorraine.
Lorraine Platt: Thank you, Adam, and it's worth it. It's definitely worth it.
Adam Gilad: Yes.This is Adam Gilad for “The Fearless Lover” here on Personal Life Media. Go to the PersonalLifeMedia.com for other amazing shows with fascinating hosts and guests and I'll see you next week.
Woman: Find more great shows like this on PersonalLifeMedia.com.
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