Episode 36: Dr. Deborah Anapol: The Natural Laws of Love

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According to my guest, Dr. Deborah Anapol, a new paradigm for LOVE is emerging at the dawn of this New Millennium. As we search for love in our lives, we often feel as though we’re on a journey without a compass—or even worse, with a faulty map. We are programmed from our earliest childhood experiences with scores of assumptions about love. We’re taught male and female roles, and ways of seeing ourselves, that may lead to separation, fear and mistrust. These many fallacies and misconceptions lead us to associate love with disappointment and pain. Join Chip and Dr. Anapol as she provides a warm, simple and universal guide to the principles that are common to all loving relationships. Dr. Anapol distills love down to its basic essentials and reminds us that love is not just a good idea, it’s the law. And be sure to keep listening for Dr. Anapol’s exercise that will reawaken the love and passion in you.

Transcript

Announcer: This program is intended for mature audiences only.

Chip August: Welcome to “Sex, Love and Intimacy.” I’m your host Chip August, and on today’s show we’re going to be talking about love, we’re going to be talking about love without limits, we’re going to be talking about the seven natural laws of love. We’re going to be talking to my guest Deborah Anapol. Dr Anapol is a healer, a writer and a teacher.

She’s the author of several books; her latest is “The Seven Natural Laws of Love,” published in 2005. She’s currently at work on a new book about harmonizing feminine and masculine energies.

Dr Anapol has organized and produced several conferences, as well as working with couples and families and individuals who are exploring conscious relating and sexual healing, she leads seminars nationwide, and is an inspiring and controversial speaker who has appeared on radio and television programs all across the USA and Canada.

Dr Anapol is the author of “Polyamoury: The New Love Without Limits” published in 1997, she’s a co-founder of “Loving More” magazine, and a producer of the video “Pelvic-Heart integration.”

Deborah Anapol: Most people, if they’re honest with themselves will find that, over time, they have an attraction to more than one person. And sometimes, the way this is handled is by what’s now called ‘serial monogamy’, that is, you get rid of your first partner, and get a second one, or a third, or a fourth. Interestingly enough, this type of relationship was originally called ‘serial polygamy.’

What happens, very often, is that people communicate their desire, or their behavior, in a way that does create judgment and blame, because that’s what they’re expecting, and that’s what they’re anticipating.

A lot of our agenda, and I’ll say ‘our’, because I think it’s extremely rare to find a person who is not driven, to some extent, by this agenda, of receiving love and feeling good because of the excitement, the sexual charge, the egoic gratification, all of these things, that we call love, or sometimes infatuation. But they’re very different from how I’m defining love, which is really more about what you can give, and the willingness to recognize the other as essentially your own self.

Chip August: Welcome to the show, Dr Deborah Anapol.

Deborah Anapol: Thank you.

Chip August: So, I just want to sort of dive right in here, I notice that you consider yourself a controversial speaker. What do you speak about that’s so controversial?

Deborah Anapol: Well, many people find the idea of having any kind of relationship, other than a monogamous, heterosexual, couple relationship, to be pretty controversial. And in all the years that I’ve been teaching about relationships, and tantric sexuality, I find that the whole idea of loving more than one person is extremely threatening and scary to a lot of people. That’s gotten less true over the years, but I think it strikes fear in the heart.

Chip August: Well certainly we see that, nationwide, in all kinds of suggested constitutional amendments that marriage can only be between one man and one women. So, I’m clear that this is something that’s a deep chord, in the United States anyway.

Deborah Anapol: Right. Interestingly enough, in most of the world, it’s acceptable for men to have more than one wife, but usually not vice-versa. So, in a sense you could say that polyamoury is about equal rights for women. But even polyamoury is really, I’d say, not understood by the majority of people in the way that I intended when I wrote the book, and that I discuss in the book. It’s been out for, well, it’s hard to believe, but over ten years now.

Chip August: Yeah. Ok, let’s talk for a moment. This word, ‘polyamoury’, gets throw around a lot. I think some of my listeners probably have an idea what they think it means, and others have a different idea what they think it means, and I think I know what it means. What do you mean when you use the term polyamoury?

Deborah Anapol: Well, the way I defined it in the original book, was when you allow love to flow, when you allow love to create the form that your relationship take. Rather than starting out with a picture of how it’s supposed to be. And, because humans are not naturally a monogamous species, it’s extremely rare to find someone who has only one sexual partner, or these days, one spouse, for their entire lifetimes, very unusual.

So, I think most people, if they’re honest with themselves, will find that, over time, they have an attraction for more than one person. And sometimes the way this is handled is by what is now called ‘serial monogamy’, which is, you get rid of your first partner, and get a second one, or a third, or a fourth. And interestingly enough, this type of relationship was originally called ‘serial polygamy.’

And the name was changed to ‘serial monogamy’ when it became the norm for this society. But coming back to your question, ‘what is polyamoury?’ It might look like more than one partner, but it might look like monogamy, not monogamy that’s enforced by some external authority, but monogamy that is simply the truth of what you’re experiencing. It could also be a single person, who is celibate, if that’s their truth.

Just, whatever form your love, and your erotic love, as well, happens to take, that would be polyamoury.

Chip August: You remind me of some of the modern architects. You’re saying basically, that the form should follow the function. Create what your heart wants to create, not, create this form then see if you can make your heart fit.

Deborah Anapol: Exactly.

Chip August: So, you’re not saying people shouldn’t choose one partner, be in love, spend fifty years in love, raise a family together? There’s something wrong with that? You’re not saying there’s something inherently wrong with that are you?

Deborah Anapol: Absolutely not. If that’s what occurs in your life then that’s wonderful. That’s beautiful It’s just extremely rare.

Chip August: Right. And then, I guess the alternate of that is, you’re also not saying, that just because that might work for some people, doesn’t mean it should be legislated for all of us that it’s that way, or no way.

Deborah Anapol: Exactly, exactly. And when I wrote “The Seven Natural Laws of Love” what I realized is that, when I started talking about polyamoury, really what I was trying to do was redefine love in a way that was more in harmony with natural law, rather than man-made law. But at that time, I didn’t quite have the guts to say “alright, I’m redefining love now,” instead I thought I had to give it a special name, and that name was polyamoury.

Chip August: Ah. So, when you talk about the ‘natural laws of love’, say more about that, natural laws, I mean, who made these laws? Are these laws everywhere? Tell me more.

Deborah Anapol: Ok. The idea, of a natural law, and I think the word ‘law’ might be a little misleading for someone, because we’re used to the concept of man-made laws, that are used to govern societies, and that are usually enforced, with punishments. And a natural law has no punishment attached to it, it wasn’t made up by anyone, and you don’t have to observe it if you don’t want to, but if you don’t, you just won’t get the result that you want.

And in most of our lives we’re used to these kinds of natural laws. If you jump off a cliff, you will fall. Unless you’re a bird, anyway, you’re not going to fly. If you put your hand in a fire, you’re going to get burnt. Unless you do it very quickly and you know the right part of the flame.

In some cases we don’t understand natural laws entirely. For example, we don’t understand why when people prepare themselves in a certain way they’re able to walk on hot coals without being burnt.

And so, a natural law, not only is it not created by men and women, but sometimes it’s poorly understood, and yet, we find that certain things are universal. Which means that people from different cultures, and different countries, and different eras have these things in common. They’re not beliefs, they’re not norms, they’re not legislated.

Chip August: So, I understand gravity is certainly a planet-wide phenomenon, it’s definitely, doesn’t matter where you grew up, or where you were born, you’re going to experience gravity. Tell me a natural law of love, that’s universal.

Deborah Anapol: Well, one of my favorites because it makes such an incredible difference for people once they realize this, is what I call the law of source. And the law of source says that the source of love is inside of you. It’s not in your partner, it’s not in your parent, your child, or even an external divinity. That the love that’s already inside of you, in fact, in a way you could say that your nature is love, you are love.

And, if people love from this place, a feeling that the love they already have is completely abundant and eternal, and can never be taken away, then, we begin to love in a way that’s more unconditional, that’s not so fear-based and manipulative. As long as you believe that the source of love is outside, it isn’t true, and the results that you get from this kind of love are generally conflict and misery.

Chip August: So, if the source of love is inside me, what do I need other people for?

Deborah Anapol: To share that love with, to express that love with, and, in a sense you really don’t need… I won’t say you don’t need other people, because we are social animals, but you don’t need a soul mate, you don’t need a romantic partner. Now, many people find that this enriches their lives, and creates a lot of meaning, but it’s not a necessity.

You can love, and this is the, I think the intent with monks and nuns. They’re married to the divine, and therefore they’re free to love everyone. To express their love throughout society, throughout creation.

Chip August: So, you’re basically proposing, what seems to me to be an antidote to some of the insanity, where people feel like they’re not complete, except through the love of someone else, and then, they squeeze that person dry, trying to get from them a thing that really has to live inside oneself.

Deborah Anapol: Exactly. And because what you describe is not in harmony with the natural laws of love, it doesn’t work very well.

Chip August: Uh-huh. What’s another natural law of love?

Deborah Anapol: Well, another one is, again one that I just find to be so revolutionary in people’s lives, is the law of truth. Now, a lot of people believe that if they really tell the truth about who they are and what they’re feeling and thinking, that they won’t be loved, they won’t be accepted. But the truth is that, the more you self disclose in a vulnerable way, the more you allow others to love you. And the more you’re able to express the love of who you really are, not who you’re pretending to be.

Chip August: But many of us have pretty shameful, dark, scary secrets, things that make us feel like we’re not really lovable. And have experience that when people find out those secrets, sometimes people run away.

Deborah Anapol: It’s true that not everyone is going to accept you unconditionally, but the amazing discovery that has been made by virtually everyone who has been willing to risk telling the truth is that, the more truth you tell, the more love appears in your life. Maybe not from that person you were infatuated with, who was wrong for you, but the deeper unconditional love because of another law. The Law of Attraction, is inevitably going to come your way when you tell the truth, in a vulnerable way.

Some people, because they feel shame, or guilt about certain aspects of themselves, may communicate their truths in a way that attracts blame and judgment, because they’re blaming and judging themselves.

Chip August: So basically, they’re projecting their own internal state on what’s happening externally, and because it is their internal state, that’s what they see?

Deborah Anapol: Exactly, exactly. And this comes up quite a bit with people I coach in polyamorous relationships. A lot of people feel bad and wrong for loving more than one person. We’ve been conditioned to believe that this just is not ok.

So, what happens, very often, is that people communicate their desire, or their behavior in a way that does create judgment and blame, because that’s what they’re expecting and that’s what they’re anticipating.

For example: let’s take a woman who does not want to make a monogamous commitment to her partner, and instead of speaking from a place of her needs and her desires and her fears, she comes on in a way that’s very defiant, a way that’s very, you might say, intellectual, or rebellious. And all of these kinds of ways of communicating are very likely to create resistance and defensiveness in the listener.

Chip August: So there’s a way that what this person puts out is what they’re going to get back?

Deborah Anapol: Exactly.

Chip August: This is all fascinating, I want to talk so some more, but I also want to take a short pause for a break now. So, you’re listening to Love, Intimacy and Sexuality, I’m talking to Dr. Deborah Anapol, we’re talking about love, we’re talking about polyamoury, we’re talking about perhaps a new paradigm, a new way of looking at love. And, please, come on back after these short messages.

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Chip August: Welcome back, you’re listening to Sex, Love and Intimacy, I’m your host Chip August, I’m talking to Dr Deborah Anapol, we’ve been talking about what she calls ‘Love without Limits.’

We’re talking about polyamoury, and all the many facets and natural laws around love, and before we took our break, you said something about infatuation, and it just sparked a little thought in my head. And I wonder, is there a natural law that covers infatuation? Is infatuation different from love? What is infatuation?

Deborah Anapol: Well, I think this is one of the biggest confusions in our culture is that for many people what I would call infatuation is what they would call love. And, the Eskimos have, whatever, hundreds of words for snow, and we need hundreds of words for love, because it means so many different things to so many different people.

Infatuation, I really wouldn’t even put in the category of love, not that there’s anything wrong with it, or bad about it, but it really has more to do with, I would say, a chemical high, and this is, not really at all related to the deeper love, or the more conscious or spiritual love that I discuss in “The Seven Natural Laws of Love.”

Infatuation, and there’s been a lot of research in the last decade about which chemicals are released at what point, and essentially, to keep it simple,  we’re talking about endorphins, the same kind of endorphins that are released by the brain when you take certain drugs, when you engage in sports, extreme sports. The chemical rush, is very powerful, very pleasurable, and potentially very addictive, and it can be a lot of fun. But it’s not love.

Sometimes it leads to love. Very few people, I find, are really able to navigate that transition from the chemical driven infatuation, to the more heart centered, and spirit centered, unconditional acceptance and desire to give and to serve. A lot of our agenda, and I’ll say ‘our’, because I think it’s really extremely rare to find a person who isn’t driven,  to some extent, by this agenda, of receiving love, and feeling good because of the excitement, the sexual charge, the egoic gratification, all of these things that we call love, or sometimes infatuation.

But they’re very different from how I’m defining love which is really more about what you can give, and the willingness to recognize the other as essentially your own self, as who you are in a larger sense, that the spiritual truth that we are all one. When that’s expressed at a human scale on a one-to-one level, that is love. The recognition we are all one.

Chip August: It seems to be, in my life, that those moments are pretty rare. That, if I can find one person, in this world, where we can really see into each other’s souls, and experience our love as both something exciting and as something spiritual, then that seems like a very rare thing, not a very common thing

Deborah Anapol: Well, historically, it’s been extremely rare, because people have made choices based more either on infatuation and sexual attraction, or on practical considerations. ‘Is he going to be a good breadwinner?’ ‘Is she going to be a good mother?’

And I think it’s part of our evolution as humans, that as we do open up, in more ways to more people, that what was once extremely rare becomes more accessible. Certainly there are some people with whom it’s easier to find this kind of resonance and communion, and that’s why we have special friends and partners, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Chip August: I got it. So, where I’m leading kind of, I’m kind of circling back on this polyamoury thing, you know. What I’m wondering is, I think I see couples where, what’s going on is, the longer they’re together, there’s a new kind of challenge that comes up in relationships.

It becomes more and more difficult to sustain the passion and the fire, and the fun, and I watch people, instead of rising to that challenge, start talking about ‘well, I’m going to open the relationship.’ And in a way it’s like, ‘well, I’ll just keep running from infatuation to infatuation, because the infatuation wears out in my real soul connection.’ Do you find that happen in your practice, do you see people struggling with it?

Deborah Anapol: Constantly, constantly. And, as I said before, of course the infatuation is going to wear off, because it’s chemical driven. And, after about two years the endorphin rush slows down, maybe you can stretch it out a couple more years if you don’t live together, don’t spend too much time together, or engage in tantric practices to maintain this.

But, it’s going to run down and that doesn’t mean the charge and the passion is going to run down, but as you say, if people are not willing to risk everything to stay in love, love will die.

It’s an interesting dilemma, because, if you look elsewhere for that charge, and many people do this, and even make it work for them. This was one of the things that attracted me to polyamoury, many years ago, was there seemed to be this possibility, to have the security of a long-term partnership, and to have the freedom to explore infatuations, new relationship energy, it’s often called in the polyamoury world.

And it’s true, you can create that. But, if you’re not, at the same time, really living by the natural laws of love, and really continuing to expand the intimacy of the partnership, it’s going to wither and die. At the same time, if you try to control your attractions for other people, and lie to yourself, or to your partner, that they don’t exist, and somehow try to force all of your love and sexual energy to just focus on this one person, your partnership will also wither and die.

Chip August: Right. When I work with people the thing that I say is: if we practice being open, sexually open, flirtatious, loving, warm, giving, to everyone. If we’re a little turned on all the time. Then, when we are with our beloved, we have a lot of practice being open and warm and flirtatious, and being turned on.

If we practice shutting it down and shutting it down, and telling ourselves we shouldn’t feel this, and it’s bad to feel this for other people, there’s no switch inside us that we can just flip to then turn it on when we’re with the beloved. That we can create boundaries, but that the path is to learn how to love everybody, and then, when you’re with those special beloveds, you’re practicing loving everybody, that love is there that’s present all the time.

Deborah Anapol: Beautifully said.

Chip August: Thanks! We need to take a short break, we’re going to give our sponsors a chance to support us, and for us to support our sponsors. When we come back, Dr Anapol has an exercise that you can do at home, so please do join us after the break.

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Chip August: We’re back, welcome back to Sex, Love and Intimacy, I’m your host Chip August, I’m talking to Dr Deborah Anapol. We’ve been having a really lovely conversation about love, about love without limits, about the natural laws of love. When we took a break we were talking about being in love all the time.

I want to talk for a moment, just personally, I feel like, after two divorces, the partner I have now, my partner in life, I really feel like I’ve found my soulmate. It’s an extraordinary experience that I don’t really have a lot of words for, and I just wondered if you could talk a little bit about, finding your soulmate, but loving other, and how this all fits into the natural laws.

Deborah Anapol: Well, I think that’s the ideal, probably for most people is to find a soulmate, and be with this soulmate, and to fall madly in love with a soulmate, but the reality is that it’s an extremely challenging form of relating that not everybody is up for. A lot of people that I talk to, when they’re really honest with themselves, what they’re looking for is ease. And, as Madonna once said, if you find somebody you think is your soulmate, you may want to run in the other direction.

Because, this is somebody who is going to push every button you’ve got, and really challenge you to your limits, now for Madonna this is what she wanted, this is what she chose. And not all of us have the courage and the drive and the stamina to jump into a relationship like that, we want it easy. And, if it’s a true soulmate, it’s not going to be easy. It may be very fulfilling, but it’s going to really demand that you step up to the plate.

Chip August: Yeah. Well, I consider myself a tantric Buddhist, and I like to tell people that, by that I mean, that I think that love and creating a soulmate and really hanging in there for the tough work is the fast path to enlightenment.

Deborah Anapol: Yes.

Chip August: You’re a great guest, and I could talk to you all day and all night, but we do have some time limits on this, so I’m just curious, if people wanted to learn more about you, wanted to get your book wanted to find out more about your conferences and your workshops, how could they get in touch with you?

Deborah Anapol: Well, my website is www.lovewithoutlimits.com, and that would be… you can e-mail me from that site, you can read a lot of my articles, you can buy my books, and you can find out what I’m currently up to. If you’re interested in coaching, over the phone, or in person, you could also phone me at 415 507 1739.

Chip August: Terrific. I also want you to know that there will be text and transcripts of this show and all the Personal Life Media shows, at the Personal Life Media Network, which is personalifemedia.com, that’s all one word, personallifemedia.com. And included in the text and transcripts for this show will be a link to Dr Anapol’s site, so you can just kind of get it through our site, if you like.

Also, if you have comments, or suggestions, or you want to get in touch with me, please know that you can, also, by sending an email to [email protected], again all one word, personallifemedia.com, [email protected] Or if you want to leave a voicemail for me, we have a voice mail system, and if you call 206 350 5333, leave your name, my show name, Sex, Love and Intimacy, and your questions or comment, and please leave a phone number and/or an email. And just know that when you leave a message on that system, it indicates your agreement for us to use your message on air, if it seems appropriate to use it on air.

Dr Anapol, you have been a terrific guest, and I always like to ask my guests, can you can recommend or suggest and exercise people can do, at home, that can create a little more love, a little more intimacy, a little more sexuality, in their lives.

Deborah Anapol: I would love to offer that.

Chip August: Cool.

Deborah Anapol: And, I have many many exercises that I have used in my workshops over the years, but this one never fails to get people into a place of love, and not just love, but passion. And, the wonderful thing about this exercise is that it doesn’t require another person, you can do this all by yourself. And then take that passion into your own life, or into a situation where you can share it. And when I have people do this in my groups, I use a piece of music that has been a favorite of mine for a long time. It’s a recording by Roberta Flak, “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.”

Chip August: Mmm-hmm, beautiful song.

Deborah Anapol: But you could use any piece of music that puts you in the mood. Instrumental, or with lyrics, just not one of those ‘I can’t live without you baby.’ And, find a place where you can be relaxed, warm, and not interrupted, and get yourself in the mood with some beautiful music.

And then, recall a person in your life, it could be a someone who is in your life now, or someone from the past. It could be a lover, a parent, a friend, but someone you have felt great love for. Someone who you have felt completely accepted by. Someone who has loved you to the depths. And, really focus on that feeling that you’ve experienced, of complete love and acceptance, and allow yourself to feel really, really, immersed in a sea of love.

And then, from that place of feeling the heart connection, and the love in your heart, call to mind someone who you have felt wildly attracted to. It could be someone you know personally, it could be a famous person that you greatly admire. But allow yourself to feel that passion and attraction, that admiration, that worship. And, when you’re feeling that very strongly, turn that energy of love and passion and attraction  on to yourself.

And, love yourself in the same way that you have reserved, perhaps, only for others. Allow yourself to feel real excitement, and to feel that tingling and that vibration all over your body, that perhaps you’ve only allowed yourself to feel in response to another.

And, if you find that you can’t do this, or you have resistance to it, this is a wonderful opportunity to take a look at what’s in the way of really loving yourself passionately.

Chip August: Sound like a wonderful exercise, sounds like a lovely place to remember that you are the source of love.

Deborah Anapol: Exactly.

Chip August: Thank you so much for being a guest on the show, I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me today.

Deborah Anapol: My Pleasure.

Chip August: And thank you listeners for listening in, that brings us to the end of another show, and goodbye for now.

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