Author Archive for Annie Lalla – Page 2

Vanquishing Your Victim

The path to true freedom

If you brought some friends home and they watched you walk into your apartment and put your feet up on your sofa with your shoes on, they’d probably assume they could do the same, right?

Similarly, we train our friends, family and our lovers how to treat us by how we treat our selves. If you put yourself down, see yourself small, incapable, apologize for your wants and needs or self deprecate in any way— you give others permission to do the same.

When you say: “Oh I couldn’t do that, I’m not good enough, I don’t have the courage, I’m not deserving, I don’t have what it takes,” etc.,  –even if these statements are just silently in your head– others can ‘smell’ them in you.  And if you happen to say them out loud, others get entranced by your words and follow your belief into seeing you accordingly.

If you tend to put yourself last,  make your needs less important than others (even and especially out of ‘love’) then you’re teaching others to place your needs behind theirs and to see your desires as less important.

Even worse, for parents and leaders out there, you’re training your children and your admirers to imitate your behavior. As they grow and copy what they learned from you, they’ll start putting their own needs below others as they go forward in their life as well, and so the cycle of self-subordination continues.

Many women feel mistreated in their life— they feel their experience is unfair. This “hard-done-by” feeling comes from a deep-seated resentment that they aren’t getting what they want, and beneath that resentment is often the belief that the reason they don’t get what they want, is because of others.

This is a classic “victim mind-set” where you see yourself at the mercy of external circumstances, not as creatrix or cause in the matter.  The problem is, the “t’was-them-not-me” stance posits causal power outside your self. It leaves you dependent and reliant on forces beyond your control. How convenient…

Now victims, in order to fulfill their namesake, must get mistreated, abused and hurt by someone or something.  And that malevolent ‘bad’ force becomes the perpetrator – they need to have a perpetrator to keep them ‘oppressed’ to maintain their victim dance. Victims must also be incapable of saving themselves— they need to be rescued by another—again they’re dependent on forces outside themselves, alas.

Of course there are genuine victims out there –such as children who were molested or women who were raped.  But for the most part in romantic relationships, I suggest you look for where you’re operating from a victim mind-set, and who or what you’re turning into the perpetrating villain.  We are ALL operating as victims somewhere in our lives. Become a sleuth in your own life and find the secret V in you.

We also victimize ourselves unwittingly every time we tolerate behavior that makes us feel small, reduces self-esteem, diminishes our shimmer or violates our dignity. To tolerate is not a virtue, it enables a toxic pattern in both you and another.  I do not recommend tolerating anything— rather, start expressing your feelings in real time.  Every wound or wince (no matter how small) that you do not honor as real, sacred and worth noting,  is an abandonment of your truth and a betrayal of your self.  When we betray ourselves a hundred times a day (with every unexpressed need, suppressed frustration, stuffed emotion) we train others to betray both themselves  and us. Victimization only breeds more victims.

Here’s the funny thing, it doesn’t matter if you find yourself in the role of perpetrator or victim, neither one is better than the other…they both amount to the same thing: irresponsibility.  Each side is failing to see them self as causal and so they have no accountability for the results they experience. Angry attackers/ villains/ perpetrators all think they had to do or say whatever they did because of how the other acted, each one has a ‘valid story’ that explains their deed.  They feel compelled and justified to act out in the fashion they do, the same way a victim feels compelled and justified to complain, feel sorry for themselves and seek rescue.  Personally, I see a villain as just another brand of victim!  No accident they both start with “V”.  Neither position gives you any real power.

Here are some ways to check if you might be in the victim mind-set:

·       You’re complaining about something and it’s a recurrent complaint
·       You have the sense “the-world-is-against-me”
·       You often feel misunderstood and alone around others
·       You’re angry or resentful and secretly holding a grudge or plotting revenge
·       You’re feeling helpless, attacked or abused and don’t know why
·       You’re eager to tell others about how awful person X was to you
·       You only ever tell your side of the story, never the villain’s
·       You ensure all the details make you look innocent and the other look bad
·       You find yourself called to exaggerate and embellish the truth in your favor
·       You feel innocent yet need to keep proving to others that you are
·       You get high off of others being appalled and commiserating with your pain
·       You can see NO way you’re participating in or co-creating the “bad” results
·       You’re very clear you’re NOT at fault
·       You feel righteous, sorry for yourself, maybe even vindictive
·       You’re hungry for an apology from the other
·       You feel confused, frustrated, trapped, desperate or overwhelmed
·       You cannot stand people who whine and feel derision for them
·       Others tell you, you’re acting like a victim

It’s time to vanquish the victim mindset!  Scan across all areas of your life and find the places where you’re unconsciously maintaining yourself or others as a victim or a villain.  Remember, on the deepest level both amount to the same thing: not taking full responsibility for your life.  Start recognizing that YOU co-create your life.  We may not be able to control all the circumstances in our life but we can control how we respond to them.  This ultimately is the deepest power we have as individuals, so it’s important we learn to wield it with finesse.

So now for the ultimate victim cure…it’s going to surprise you.  The secret cure for victim-hood is to go into your body and heart and get present to what you deeply and authentically need to feel safe, loved, nourished, and then ask for that out loud.  It sounds simple, but it takes immense courage.  Interview your body and discover what it truly needs, listen carefully to what’s yearning to be heard, then tell your partner /friend/ family member this truth without making them wrong or blame (be sure to use “I” statements not “you” statements and don’t get stuck in the past).  For example, your body might say to you: “I need to feel taken care of & safe”, so your job is to articulate this feeling-truth to yourself and then to go create the environment where you feel safe.  Maybe go for a walk in the park and take some space away from a conflict, go get a massage, find something healthy to eat. Perhaps it leads you to make an open-hearted, undefended request from your partner: “I feel unsafe and I’d love a hug from you.”

However, when you make a request, remember that your partner is not obligated to fulfill it.  If they do, great, see it a as gift.  If they don’t, go and take care of yourself.

The cure to being a victim is to discover what you truly need and want and then to fight through all your fears and courageously share those sacred desires [let’s make this a hyperlink to a blog on sacred desires] with those you love. Its the first step towards taking true responsibility for your life, and it’s the beginning of real freedom.

Love, Sex and Shame

Today we’re going to talk about 3 things: first we’ll explore how to increase the amount of love you experience in your life, we’ll also talk about sex -how to make it better and deeper for you and your partner. Then we’ll dive into shame & how it constrains your success in the first two areas. Finally, you’ll learn my one powerful secret of how to transcend shame and create freedom for yourself and others.

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Love definitions:

      • A profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person (Websters)
      • A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person deemed a desirable mate (Collins dictionary)
      • The experience of feeling acutely alive, fully understood & appreciated by another (A.L)

What is love? I’ve been studying it for 15 years & I’m still not sure. This mysterious human emotion eludes definition by even the greatest poets, writers & scientists.  And what’s more it’s a moving target, shifting and evolving with our own personal development.

Humans seem to have a universal need to belong and to love, and this gets satisfied when an intimate relationship is formed. And so we pursue love, some more relentlessly than others. Yet all of us dreamt of a fairytale romance at some point in our life and had fantasies of what happily-ever-after could be.  However, very few of us are still connected to that dream, and that’s what called me to me to do this work in the first place.  A lot of what I do is help skeptics believe in love.  But skeptics never think they are skeptics, they take refuge in ‘realism’.  We must all must be vigilant against our inner skeptic.  Even now, mine courts me regularly while keeping love at bay.

But why should we bother to love?  What does it offer us?  Why does it matter?

Well, there are many reasons: companionship, support, sex, evolutionary pair bonding for child rearing, to avoid loneliness, get validation etc.  But the most powerful pull it has for me, is LOVE as a transformative force or LOVE as a teacher.

Let’s talk about Love as a Path to Self-Actualization 

Love is the most powerful creative force on the planet. Making love literally creates life, which is the best magic trick going on the planet!  Love also facilitates your development into new ways of being. I see it as a gym and a university custom fitted to take you to the next level wherever you are in your life.  Love develops your strengths and teaches you about what’s most important to you.  What’s more, when coupled with honesty, it is a reckoning.  It mirrors and reveals your fears, your insecurities and your darkest shadow. The deepest internal development work you will ever do in your life is inside of your romantic relationship. Let me say that again…the deepest internal developmental work you will ever do in your life is inside of your romantic relationship.

It isn’t easy to be in love, this is not for the faint hearted; it’s a gladiator sport.  Real partnership will put you in front of a mirror to see your ugliest bits.  And you’ll want to run like hell at times, but if you are with your true love, this desire to run will only linger for a few moments, until you catch your breath and realize you’re with the most amazing man you’ve ever met.  So you don’t run.  You come back and do the ‘work’.  This is why it’s SO important to be with your true love and not a ‘good-enough-guy’.

Anything less than true love, and your ego (which doesn’t want you to change) will convince you to leave him and find someone ‘easier’.  But easier won’t help you grow into your highest self.  The same old problems will simply haunt you in the next relationship. Love kinda traps you (in good way), so you can’t run.  Where are you going to go?  When you’re in love, you’re already with the best partner you’ve ever met, so there is nowhere to run.  All there is, is to move forward and bring your best effort  towards creating the partnership.

Only through real love, can we finally come to terms with those parts of our self we’ve been running from our whole life.  Love offers us access to who we really want to be; & who we really are.  I want you to demand this of your love…demand to be challenged and pushed and nudged into growth.  If love isn’t expanding you, isn’t pulling forward your most authentic self, it’s a waste of your time.

As Rilke’s says, “love is the work for which ALL other work is merely preparation”.


Now I want to go into some quick practical ideas around love.

Many clients ask me, “How do I know I’m REALLY in love?”  Here’s how you know…

      • First, you’re interested in his needs, wants & desires as equally important as your own (eg: you facilitate him connecting with his parents as much as you engage with yours)
      • You’re unwilling to lie to him (knowing you withheld or fudged the truth with your lover puts an invisible wedge between you and him, if only in your own mind)
      • his deepest opinion of you is the most important of anyone’s (you trust him with your life, more than anyone else)
      • you clearly see him in your future, that future excites you (he fills out and stretches the dreams you’ve always had about your life)
      • you feel expanded & privileged by his presence in your life (not taken for granted)
      • you’re willing to do ANYTHING to make the relationship work (will never give up)

How do you know he’s in love with you?

-he’s genuinely interested in your opinion, feeling, ideas, needs and wants

-he’s willing to fight for your highest self even if it hurts your ego & costs your approval

-he clearly sees his life with you as his partner in the future

-he says he will do whatever it takes to make this work and you believe him

NOTE: you can’t ever make someone else love you.  But you can only develop yourself into the most amazing version of your brand of woman possible and then surrender that beauty to what’s most important to you, and then the right ‘HE’ will suddenly show up.

Barrier to Love:  Power Wielding/ Threats

First, don’t be fooled by relationship threats that form in your mind or his, these can seem to suggest you’re not in love…but they’re our ego’s attempts at sabotage.  The ego knows that love is dangerous.  It pulls for the status quo, familiar = safe.  The ego knows it must die for true love to be born.  1+1=3 (there’s you, your partner and the relationship). Love requires you die into something bigger than just yourself, the emergent higher level ‘US’.  Love is very expensive -physically & emotionally. It will cost your ego, not just a lot…but everything!

For the relationship, the “US” to triumph, the ego has to surrender to that greater thing that subsumes it, the ‘WE’.  And the ego is used to its tyrannical reign, which is why it won’t go down without a fight.  The ego will send out defenses to stave off love, often in the form of threats to the relationship…

We have to fix this or else…” this is often a bluff.  Unless your partner actually leaves, I see it all as subtle leveraged attempts at power. Our ego threatens to exit in order to get its way…it will risk everything to stay alive.

The first thing I teach couples is to close all their exits.  When angry we often make unconscious threats to the life of the relationship.  I advise no threats to the relationship for at least 3-6 of months.  They must create a safe container for the relationship to grow.  Like a child with 2 parents, the relationship needs to feel safe first or it cannot relax into the state that allows development.  The main msg for you: NO more threats to relationship. It is morally unsophisticated and the breaching of a sacred pact.  Can you imagine 2 parents fighting and one of them grabbing their child and holding a knife to the kid’s neck, threatening to kill it unless the other gave them what they wanted?  That’s what a threat to the relationship translates to.  It’s a cop-out

Threats take on various forms, intensities and tones (they can be from a v-victim stance or p-perpetrator stance), they’re usually undercover and they can sound something like these samples:

      • This is going to be over if you don’t…(p)
      • We’ll never work unless you…(p)
      • I’m leaving if you don’t… (p)
      • If you don’t do this, I’m outta here …(p)
      • This isn’t going to work. (v/p)
      • Unless we get this handled, I’m not staying (p)
      • I’m not sure about us. (v)
      • Why are we even together then? (victim version)
      • Why are you with me? (v)
      • I don’t know why we’re doing this? (v)
      • I’d fed up, I can’t take this anymore. (v)
      • I don’t know why I put up with this. (v)

All of these are guised threats, intended to exert power over the lifeline of the relationship, look for the leverage hidden in the statements. None of the statements assume we will get through this, or that the issue is solvable with collaboration.

In a power struggle, the goal is to be right, not be happy or resolve the problem.  Start noticing how you create power struggles and how you wield leverage, do you exert subtle manipulations and unconsciously threaten to get your way?  This is an unconscious pervasive habit that must be watched and curbed.

First step in relationships, is to always Close all the Exits, only this will give you access to your best self and the truth about what’s possible. Threats only provide short-term unsustainable changes.

NOTE: Now your job is NOT to look for where your partner is threatening the relationship and go tell him to stop, your job is to look for where YOU are doing these things and for YOU to stop.  Until the exits are closed, the relationship has no chance to feel safe & move up maslow’s hierarchy of needs.  In a relationship, or with a child who doesn’t feel safe, if survival needs aren’t taken care of…it cannot develop emotionally, intellectually or spiritually.

A lot of what I do with clients is hold up the mirror so they can see how they threaten and manipulate their way into love. I then share with them how to get what they want w/o these unconscious, clandestine techniques.  Love requires you to surrender your power and trust in the ‘2-person system’.  Love is communist.  In real partnership, the system will naturally ensure your needs get met, but you have to lean in and trust it.  This is counter-intuitive and difficult to do, that’s why SO much courage is required in love.

Surrendering to the relationship is nothing short of an art form and it can only be practiced and honed over time with attention, diligence and support.  Much of my work with clients is about teaching them how to do this.

Barrier to Love: Cynicism

In order to find Love…first, you must believe in it.

Many of us fear the naked vulnerability of being fully exposed to another and so we shrink from it, hiding in our well-justified boxes of cynicism & doubt.  But cynics are actually failed idealists.  They too had fantastic dreams once, but after disappointment & pain they turned off their belief in the possibility of true love.  It is that part of you, that I want to talk to.


Notice your own hidden cynicism, it the enemy of true love and produces stillborn relationships. But beware, cynicism never announces itself, it always shows up in disguise. We all must be vigilant of our inner cynic…

It often sounds like this:  “Oh, he’ll never change”…”I don’t know how to do this”  I can’t do this anymore” “I’m not made for this” “It’s never going to get better”  “I knew this would happen”  “This is just who I am” even when you do a subtle eye roll to what your partner said or an internal “Whatever”  these are all forms of give-up ness.  This is your ego courting you to surrender to the status quo,don’t fall for it.

When you say ‘never’ or ‘always’, it’s an absolutism and a form of cynicism. This thinking is closed, contracted & final, not expansive.  Anything that doesn’t have wide open possibilities in it’s speaking, is a form of cynicism.

Here’s the deal, if you don’t actually believe something is possible, then you simply can not ever experience it.  If it doesn’t exist for you, then you won’t be able to see it.   Even when it hits you in the face. It’s like noticing a new word everywhere once you first learn what it means.

Next part of developing love> Never Settle

In order to reach this ideal of true love, not only must you believe in it, you must also never give up your search.  A relentless, tenacity is required to keep you playing the love game -through pain, through heartbreak, through doubt, through everything.  So you must never ever settle.  And you’ll know if that’s what you’re doing. Here’s the painful clue: If you even have to ask the question at all “Am I settling?”, then you probably are…

If you feel like you’re settling, then it isn’t the ‘real’ thing.  What you’re looking for is your heart, your head and your body all to agree.  True Love always feels like a rare, unbelievable gift.  It generates gratitude and an overwhelming sense of reverence.  No one feels like they’re ‘settling’ when they encounter the Grand Canyon.  We don’t look up through the Hubble telescope and say…yeah, that’s nice, it’ll do.  To be in love is to be continuously overwhelmed with awe.

I invite you to revisit the part of you that believes you can have the kind of relationship that nourishes and expands your desire to grow and develop yourself. Where your head, heart and body all agree.  I invite you to have faith.


Have Faith

Faith, in a relationship, is the umbilical cord that connects you and your lover to each other and success in a long-term partnership. In life there are no guarantees, but if you want it to last forever, your job is to continuously keep faith alive.  Faith, remember, has no reasons, no proofs or justifications…it is pure blind resolve based on nothing but the unwavering belief in something you find so beautiful you cannot bear NOT to believe in it.  Faith is sometimes the only thing that keeps you going when the relationship seems dark and hopeless.  It is something you create in yourself, a fixed mark that keeps you tethered to your relationship’s future success, when you forget all the ‘reasons’ and cannot feel the emotion.  Faith is the only thing that can save you. It’s YOUR job to keep the faith in your love, not HIS.

If you don’t believe in true love, really…you will not only never be able to find it, create it and give it, you will also miss out on the quintessential characteristic of being a human being.   You will probably turn into one of those grumpy hard-shelled characters that kill dreams in other unconsciously and find reasons to stay small and satisfied with life as is.  You will also lose your most vivacious friends and end up in a career that is unsatisfying emotionally.  As well, you may never find a soul-mate, and even if you find a partner to get married and have kids, they will grow up never finding true love for themselves because the templates they grew up with were mediocre & flawed.

So I invite you to believe in true love, not because you have good reasons, not because it’s the right thing or what’s expected, not because I ask you to, but because a life where true love is possible is simply more inspiring than a life where true love is not. And life without inspiration is no kind of life.

Now let’s talk about sex….

Our Access To Immortality

We all know what sex is…the drive to mate, perpetuate our genes and garner some form of Immortality. It’s coded in our system as THE most powerful human force. Understanding it’s consummate & pervasive power equips us to work with, and co-opt this hard-wiring for conscious use.  You can’t fight your sex drive any more than you can stop your blood from flowing.  If you try to suppress your sexuality, the frustration merely leaks into other areas of your life, unbeknownst to you, and then wreaks havoc in ways you cannot trace or solve.

Stymied success in business, career, family, creativity, physicality or relationships often have their root in sexual issues and repression.  In short, sex can make or break a relationship; it is a litmus test for its health. Like pH, if the balance isn’t right, things can get sour fast. Here are some ways to look at sex that have max utility in your romantic relationships:


Make sex an important ritual

Sex is not a luxury, it’s a basic human need and if you refuse to genuinely investigate your relationship to sex, your naiveté could set you up with a faulty foundation for your intimate relationships.  Like food and sleep, have sex regularly whether you want to or not.  If you only ever wait for when you ‘feel’ like eating or sleeping, you will not be a happy camper.  You must be proactive and take care of both your sexual needs upstream, before desperation sets in.  Straight up:  little sex = unhealthy relationship.  This may sound controversial but I believe sexual frustration and unresolved sexual issues are the hidden, underlying cause for most romantic conflicts.

Aggression and sex are closely connected in our hindbrain.  In fact much aggressive behavior is barely distinguishable from sexual behavior in many animals in the wild.  If you’re engaged in any conflict, same sex or opposite, ask yourself how might this issue be related to sex? There’s almost always a hidden link or story.  Give example of recent fight with/Eben…verbally resolved, later followed by a sexy session.  Right after we were finished ‘playing’ he blurted out, “Damn, I was all angry and riled up earlier, but all I needed was to fuck.“  Indeed.  Next time you or your guy are feeling irritable or angry, try on that one of you is just plain horny, and take care of business.

Key: ritualize love-making, make it a sacred physical/emotional conversation that deepens your connection through regular practice.  Set times aside for sexual connection the way you make dinner plans. Romance needs to be scheduled -how and what you do can still remain spontaneous.


Learn to generate your own sex drive 

The trick is learning how to create -from scratch- your own sexual interest & appetite, especially if you’re part of a long term couple. Waiting for the perfect circumstance to arise, or the exact mood, or the right state is a dead-end game.  I recommend you attend to the subtle sexual reactions in your body during the day. The tiniest sexual thought, feeling or urge, once observed by your mind, can then be consciously massaged and ramped up to full-blown desire for your partner.  Co-opt random environmental temptations (other men, memories, fatasies) generate hunger however, whenever it occurs, then consciously bring that desire to your relationship and channel it into your sex life. “It doesn’t matter where you get your appetite as long as you come home for dinner”

We often see our sex drive as an unbidden force that mysteriously comes and goes as it pleases.  Recognizing that what you feel is not only your choice but your creation is an important insight.  The next step is putting powerful components in place that potentate the natural emergence of your own sexual desire.  ”Foreplay is everything you do when you’re not having sex.”

Moment to moment, you are either feeding your sensuality or numbing it.  Start noticing what gives you pleasure -which sights, sounds, textures, smells, ideas… this a form of auto-foreplay that’s useful to practice.  Becoming an archaeologist, excavating pleasure from the subterranean depths of your own psyche is key to being a great lover.  When it comes to pleasure…you can’t give it, if you don’t have it.   Story: see hot guy in magazine or poster, bring it home make it into a role play, juice the energy of it for your relationship. Enroll your partner to play with you…maybe you got a surprise txt form your guy during the day and felt an wakening between your legs soon after…go masturbate, but don’t come, and then tell him later what you did and invite him to help you finish.


Look for beauty in your lover

What do you notice about your partner? Imperfection or Sexiness?  Flaws or gifts?  Mistakes or commitments?  Become aware of what softens you and turns you on about them.  Fill your attention with those things. Filter for the positive in your partner and let that inform your affection & desire.  Whatever you become aware of expands under your attention.  Looking for things to appreciate and admire in your self, your partner and in the world is an upstream move that predisposes you for a healthy sexual dynamic. Next time you’re with your man…pay attention to some physical part of his body, focus on it , study it, memorize it, notice how your affection increases for anything you attend to…make this a practice, use new parts of his body to study and befriend.  Anything you research and explore, you will eventually fall for.


Sex as therapeutic tool

Like conversation, a massage, or a warm bath, sex provides a forum for emotional shifts and relaxing out of difficult states.  Especially when going through conflict or hardship, sexual interludes give the body a chance to reboot.


Sex floods the body with a variety of hormones & endorphins that shift mood and state.  Sexual initiations, may feel counter-intuitive during stress & conflict, but similar to shutting down and restarting a hung computer, it can often be the fastest way to get back to baseline functioning when having a problem.

David Deida, the most advanced teacher on male/female dynamics, claims that during a conflict, the most counter-intuitive but effective move is to shift your partner from anger/aggression to sexuality. In other words, he encourages women to start being sexy and seductive to their man during a fight. This breaks his mental trance/ pattern/ state and gets him into his body and therefore closer to his emotions.  Deida also encourages men to initiate sexuality with their woman when she’s upset.  It can strangely soothe her inner reptile & accompanying insecurities.  Be a lover not a fighter.

Sex is a kind of salve.  Physical touch is the first language we learn.  As a newborn baby, it is the main sensory modality we use to assess safety, love and protection.  Engaging physically with another communicates on a primal body level that you’re safe and coveted.  It soothes out stress, confusion, insecurity and fear, offering a refuge from pain and a sanctuary for emotional recharge.


Sex as playground for the Imagination

Creativity is what pulls us into flow states.  The more we bring to our conversations, our interactions and our sexuality, the more alive we feel.  Unfortunately, most people are shoddy lovers.  No one ever teaches us how to have sex, growing up, so we piece it together from random fragments in cinema, novels and porn.  And rarely do we get direct honest feedback on how we are in bed, constructive criticism being almost non-existent.  And so sex is a mysterious realm fraught with shame, fear, confusion and insecurity not to mention incredibly high stakes.  Having fun is usually the last thing on the agenda.  I suspect the answer is to become a great experimenter.  In the context of a deep, supportive relationship you should be able to bring your curiosity, fascination, wonderment and a sense of adventure to your sexual interactions.  Try out new and interesting ideas, positions, role-plays, fantasies, and costumes, mutually endorsed fetishes.  Let your bedroom become a playground for your imagination and watch your prowess and confidence grow with every new game you try. Sex is often the only place left where grown-ups get to really let go of reality and play.

Let’s look at SHAME and how it relates to sex.


Shame & Sex

Shame is our biggest impasse to fun, exploration & freedom in both love & sex.

Many of us are riddled with shame -we’re ashamed of wanting sex, ashamed of needing sex, we’re ashamed what we crave, like and even ashamed of pleasure itself.

One feature of Shame is that it only lives in the dark, it needs to be hidden in order to survive.  Secrecy is its oxygen.  This leads to the first important tool for spotting hidden shame in your life:

Whatever you don’t want to talk about is usually something you’re ashamed of.  Whatever you are uncomfortable sharing with others is often something you have shame about. Unless we’re talking about bank details or credit card numbers, it’s most likely shame that having you keep secrets.

I invite you to notice what you want to hide, keep private, withhold as secret and this will indicate where you likely have shame lurking.

Shame is about ‘others’, it’s a form of social consciousness installed from birth as part of our tribal heritage. When we lived in small groups of 200 on the plains of Africa , our survival depended on our ability to stay united with tribe.  If there were 7 pieces of meat to go around and you ate more than your share, another tribe member wouldn’t get fed and could die.  So following the implicit social order was extremely important for tribal success.

Shame evolved as policing mechanism to ensure individual members self-oriented needs didn’t sabotage the group survival. If you took an extra piece of meat you could and would get ostracized and left alone in the savannah to die.  That’s why shame feels like pending death in our body…because our wiring codes breaking social order as possible death.  If your tribe doesn’t like you, is pointing at you for something bad, then your life was literally at risk.  So we learned in our nervous system to avoid that.  That’s why public speaking is more terrifying than death…it’s coded that way. People aren’t really afraid of public speaking per se, they’re afraid of public embarrassment; if they don’t get approval from audience it feels like the end of the world.

This instinct is now built into our wiring, and kicks in even when we are alone. There’s always invisible ‘others’ around in our mind and they’re the one’s we are afraid might see the bad parts of us.

Kids are born shameless…they have the capacity for it, like language, but they don’t come with words any more than they come with what to be ashamed of.  Watch children, they don’t care if there’s poo in their bum or if they make a mistake or they sound dumb… until a grown up teaches them that they should feel ashamed…some even say it!

Parents unwittingly pass on their shames to their kids and so these pristine shameless minds learn what in them is good, acceptable and lovable and what is not…and what is not becomes shameful. As a kid, we have our point of view and God’s point of view (our parents), and when God says you’re bad, you believe it & let it override your feelings and experience. And so begins the tragic, split of the child’s private internal truth and the externally imposed truth.  Whatever gets split off in the child’s mind, then  goes underground to live in the dark, in secrecy where it’s safe from judgment.

The external judgments (from adults, teachers, friends, lovers) creates ostracized fragments of ourselves that get housed underground, in the unconscious basement as disconnected, un-integrated shadow parts of ourselves.  These hidden parts can never be killed or lost.  They just wait for an opportunity to get their hands on the steering wheel of your life, then they hijack your unconscious and wreak inadvertent havoc across your life.

Just about ALL of the places you might be stuck in your life…is the result of a parts conflict.  Where one conscious part of you wants one thing and an unconscious, often shame-driven part, wants another thing. And so they engage in an underground war that you don’t even know is going on. Until that unconscious fragment of you that’s dying to be included, is acknowledged, appreciated and invited back upstairs to the dinner table to sit with the rest of your more lovable parts, it will continue to hold you back from what you really want in your life.  Working with these ‘conflicting parts’ is a lot of the work I do with clients.  And until the struggle surfaces and gets conscious, it will continue in the background.  You cannot fight a phantom and win.

So how to deal with this underground stash of darkness that could be sabotaging your love life?  We’ll get to that.  First let’s look at how shame impacts sex and love.


Sex…anything you want sexually that you do not already have is likely because you are somehow ashamed of it.  Some part of you doesn’t want to want it, doesn’t think it should want it. Is afraid of wanting it. Thinks the want itself is bad somehow.

A young child wants and has desires and moves towards them easily, it knows something deeply true that we often forget as adults.  Desire and wants are inherently good and they have and require NO justification.  In fact the only thing about the human condition that is w/o purpose intention or agenda is our whim and our fancies. Any story we concocted about why we want it, is usually a retro-fitted fiction.  We want…why? Because. That’s it, end of story.  And that’s reason enough.

So kids know this and they want wantonly and they go for what they want, they’ll touch strangers legs and reach for anyone’s food they see; they are living from source.  No shame, no apology, no shoulds or shouldn’ts.

Our only chance at freedom is to regain this sensibility, starting with the awareness that ALL our truest wants and desires are inherently good, beautiful and valid.  Simply because they exist.  In fact, I’d go one step further, they are the most real parts of ourselves, the most unique and the most sacred.  If there’s one thing I would want you to get from this class it’s this: Following your deep wants & desires in a world with external constraints is the art of being a fully socialized human.  The paradox game is to maximally conserve our desires while staying aligned with our desired environments and dancing that ying/yang line that separates the two.

So for sex… listen to your desires, listen to your wants, record them, write them down, use them to learn who you are, really.  If our sexuality was a character, most of us have barely gotten past learning her name.  Get to know your own your sexuality and make her your best friend.

Start with masturbation. If you don’t do it, begin now.  Make this a high priority.  Get support if you can’t find a way on your own. Try the book “Sex for One” by Betty Dodson. Buy a vibrator and a start using it. You can ask your partner for help, read books, get a coach, but make sure you know how to generate sexual pleasure for yourself.

You can never be good in bed with others if you’re not good in bed alone. As a woman, learning about your body and what she wants, needs , craves and desires is not only your access to source energy and wisdom but it’s what you will need most to navigate through your relationships.

Second, become a researcher, like Jane Goodall, observing her apes. Be insanely curious, be fascinated, take notes on your own behaviors and likes and dislikes and learn about the character of your sexual animal with your partner.  Interview her regularly so you know what’s going down there.  Find your hunger buttons, explore what excites her. I actually use my pussy as a gage to decide whether I like something or not in the world. Do I want to drink apple juice or orange juice?  Ask my pussy.

I learned from a friend & teacher Mama Gena, if your pussy she says no, listen. Your sex, literally starts with your vagina and if you don’t have a good solid connection with her, you will be forever lost in the games of romance.  She is your best compass. Start translating what she wants to him; give her the microphone and some stage time. Until she is given the space, time and encouragement to speak out, you as a woman will always be unhappy, and so will your man.

I invite you to cultivate your inner female animal during sex, make noises, move your body, nibble, scratch, grope, caress, talk, laugh, be wild…sex is not supposed to be civilized, it’s supposed make you and your partner feel more alive. The point of all experience and emotions, is not to feel good or to feel bad, it’s to feel more alive.


With sex, stop being polite and start being yourself.  No one wants to have sex with a series of protocols. At our deep core we want to be and be with, a real, messy, untamed human animal. I encourage you to invite your partner to be messy, imperfect, foolish, playful, experimental, ridiculous with you…if you don’t give them permission, explicitly (in words) and implicitly with your body language, eyes, smile and energy, they will forever be constrained in bed, as will you.  Lead by example.

Your job as a lover is to unleash your partner’s deepest animal, help them be free, make mistakes and expand into their most audacious self. That’s what it means to love -full acceptance, exactly as they are.

In summary:  sex can be seen as many things, it’s a habit, a pre-condition for health, it’s a sacred ritual, it’s a problem solver, it’s a system reboot, it’s a sanctuary, it’s a salve, it’s a therapy and a playground. But most of all, it’s an exercise in intimacy, an ecstatic communion with self and other and world.  So have lots, often, even and especially when you don’t feel like it.

Quick note on “Pleasure limits”…

With sex, it’s all about pleasure.  Sex is the primal source of ALL pleasure, so if you struggle with feeling and enjoying pleasure, you will always be stopped in sex.  Pleasure can feel terrifying to some who learned at an early age that is was somehow wrong or not useful.

And we all have this cap -a limit to the pleasure we allow ourselves to feel. Each of us has a threshold beyond which we retract from more pleasure…but our body codes it as scary or dangerous or too much.  At a certain intensity, everyone pulls back.  And this is often what happens in love.

Many fights happen right after an deeply connected or intimate state. Our system senses this euphoric delight and at some unknown point it flips the unconscious switch into “can’t handle this” and we retract from our bodies, our delight and the other person…then ensues a fight.  Fights are a way of avoiding pleasure while maintaining intimacy.  The opposite of love is not hate but indifference …in a fight you may feel distant but it’s actually a very intimate space, all those raw naked emotions pushed up together in the same room…it’s almost sexy.


Shame & Love

How does shame relate to love?  Well, wherever, whenever and however we don’t feel loved, it often is related to some part of us that just doesn’t feel lovable.

It occurs as if the other doesn’t love us, but that’s a ruse, just projection. For example: if a stranger on the street called me “fat”…I’d barely notice it.  I’m not overweight, in fact I’m a bit too skinny right now.  So because I don’t have that particular insecurity ( I have many others) the insult has no place to dock and land and offend me.  Whatever feels insulting or offensive to you, does so because some part of you thinks they may be right. Otherwise their comment wouldn’t even bother you at all.  This is a hard one to swallow, but when you get it, you will understand your more violent emotional reactions much better.

If we don’t feel loved, it’s an indicator that our internal sense of self is contracted around some hidden shames.  These must be discovered and brought into the light.

Many people have a deep unconscious belief that they’re not lovable, which is the result of invisible shames that keep our esteem down (as well as our caliber of mate). We attract partners that match -not who we really are- but who we ‘think’ we are, based on our private self-esteem…I can tell someone’s internal self-worth form the kind of partner they are willing to spend time with. Unbeknownst to our conscious mind, we fall in love with people who we think are on our level.  So look at your partner, and you will clearly see what you think of yourself and what you deserve. If you’re proud of what you see, great. If you’re not…then your first task is to go to work on tracking down and finding those hidden parts of you that are hiding out in shame. Find ways to sit with those parts and explore what they need to feel understood and loved.  Most people need help with this, either from friends, family coaches or therapists.

All our shames are trying to teach us something, and they won’t go away until we listen.  They will keep knocking on that door of your consciousness until you open it. So you need to learn to listen, listen until you hear something new and let that land in your heart with curious fascination, then keep listening.



My answer to solving shame is simple & easy….

Look for where you keep secrets, tell lies, and hide yourself from others.  Look across the landscape of your life (physically, emotionally & intellectually) observe those places where you don’t want attention, places you want no one else to see.  This is the only way YOU can spot shame in yourself.  Look for the clues: silence, lies, withholding, hiding, avoidance, secrets. If you’re really serious about this game, this is where you must start. And be honest with your self.

Then you have to do something that requires is a singular act of courage, with no reason and no purpose except to transcend the very shame that is holding you back…

You must tell someone, anyone…start with one person you trust. And know, the more you speak it, the less power it will have over you.

As you begin to tell self & others the shame, (which needs to be hidden in darkness to survive) naturally begins to disappear. Transparency is the only solution to shame. Only the Light of consciousness can dissolve it, like ice melting in the sun. The more people who know, the more it dissolves and the quicker you transcend it’s grip.

The answer to shame is to take it out from the dark and speak it wherever and whenever you can to as many people as you can.  But you won’t want to…you will fight what I’m saying and find all kinds of reasons to argue with it.  But if you are really serious about getting your life back and transcending the shackles that keep you from getting what you want…this is the only way.

Here’s why: those parts that are banished to the basement and not allowed up for dinner with the other ‘respectable’ parts need to be loved, but before they can be loved they need to be seen -by you and by others.

As you reveal your shame, you will finally meet those parts of you that have been in hiding and only then can you befriend them and make space for them to be understood, valued and appreciated.

Often where we cannot love those parts, our friends, family or partner can!  Often, they’ve already seen them, noticed them and they’re still standing there loving you.  While you try to hide what is obvious to everyone else.  Only after this kind of confession will you really believe their love and start to feel your own acceptance of those parts as well.  You cannot do this alone.  Shame is born in the context of others and that’s the only way it can be conquered.

As individuals, we go as far as we can go on our own.  But only with a partner can we go further, to that next level. Your relationship is the context in which your most profound transformation is possible. True love is the one place custom-built for you to finally accept, appreciate and bring home all those myriad banished parts…finally making you whole, complete and fully radiant again.

Use love, use sex and use shame to investigate where you & your partner are not fully expressed and fully alive. Then take the light of your awareness and shine it all over those parts that are dying to be seen & adored. It is in your quivering, fallible, heart-wrenching humanity that ALL your beauty lurks.

The more you show, the more you know, the farther you go.

So keep going.

-Annie Lalla

Find Mr. Right and Get Him To Marry You

Welcome, Annie here. So glad to have you all in this training class. The plan is to go for an hour an a half with a ½ hr Q&A period at the end.

It’s really important for you to be focused. Let’s officially be on distraction alert. I’ve found my mind tends to wander at exactly the moment when what’s being said is most relevant to my pending transformation.

As I’m speaking, try to notice what your mind agrees with and what your mind disagrees with…we’re always judging & assessing. See if you can observe this process as it happens, it will be very powerful for you. Try this on…what if each time your mind tunes out, wanders or seeks distraction it’s actually trying to avoid seeing a hidden blind-spot, and this blind-spot is what’s keeping you back from getting the love you want. I invite you to be vigilant and observe how & when your mind welcomes or resists new ideas. How you do one thing is how you do everything, how you engage with this training reflects how you engage with your relationships. I encourage you to open your heart and be present.

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What You’ll Learn

So, it seems like we have over 170 ladies registered today , I take it all of you are serious about having love in your life. Yay!

First, I want to give you a quick heads up on what’s going down on this call today, we’re going to cover the following three aspects of romance:

  1. How to know if you’ve found the one, I mean really recognize your life partner as different from all the ‘practice’ relationships.


  1. How to attract HIM into your life and your heart by exposing and expressing your real desires & feelings


  1. And finally…how to create a relationship that stands out as not only the best relationship HE’S ever had, but the best he could imagine having. So much so, that he’s excited to commit and marry you.


I know that sounds like a lot of stuff, but I’m going to do my best to break it down to the simplest principles, so you can make this process happen for you, when you’re ready.

At the end of today’s class, in the Q&A section I’ll be going through all the submitted questions and offering on-the-spot coaching and answers. See box to left on the webpage? Feel free to submit short clear inquiries there. And finally, for those who are ready to take on their romantic lives as their highest priority, I have room for a couple new clients to work with me one-on-one in custom-coaching sessions. You can email to set that up later.


Annie Intro

So here’s a little about me as a basic intro. I’ve been a researcher of love and relationships ever since I was in kinder garden. I was the kid who always diffused conflict on the playground. Even in middle school I would notice the subtle unspoken games and dramas played out between friends in the school yard. I’d come home and share stories with my dad who was always curious about how I felt and encouraged me often to imagine how other’s felt. My dad was a psychiatric nurse and he nurtured my empathy from a very young age.

As I developed my emotional skills through high school, anyone struggling with friends, teachers, family or the guy they had a crush on, instinctively came to me to talk. I intuitively knew what questions to ask and how to help them access a new perspective from their heart.

During university I studied neurology, evolutionary biology, philosophy & cognitive psychology as well as literature –all attempts to further understand the intricate workings of the human psyche. I wanted to know how relationships formed, how they developed and how they broke down. Studying the intricacies of relationships became an unconscious hobby for me.

Before graduating with a degree in Biology & Philosophy I wrote a thesis called “What is Love? An Inquiry into the heart of the matter”. As a conscious Philosopher of Love… I’ve been in this game a long time.

After a 10 year stint in the corporate world as an IT Project Manager, I finally realized the only thing I ever really cared about was helping people connect better with themselves and each other. So 3 years ago, I quit being a consultant and moved to NYC to begin my career as a Love Coach. It was a scary move for me to leave a comfy high paid job and take on being self-employed…but following my calling was one of the best decisions of my life (besides saying yes to my fiancé’s proposal). And it was a crucial part of getting myself ready for the kind of partner I now have. Eben, a widely recognized teacher on personal development, business and marketing is my mentor and my student. If I was still working 9-5 at an office, which always felt inauthentic in my bones, there’s no way I would have had the profound self-esteem required to be a genuine match for my husband-to-be.

Ok, so now you’ve heard a bit of my back-story. Now, let’s move into what you came here to learn.

I said we’re going to talk about how to recognize the man that’s right for you, how to get him into your life, fall in love then eventually marry you.


Inner Work Required

Now before we get into the juice, we have to do a bit of inner work, because unless you’re mentally & emotionally clear on all the issues that block you, you are never going to get a guy to fall in love or marry you. So you have to be willing to roll up your sleeves & get a few crucial things worked out. And it’s not easy work, it’s the basically the work you’ve been avoiding your whole life. We’re all into personal dev and transformation, I know you’ve done workshops and read books and they’re great, they can make a big difference in your life.

But here’s the deal, real live relationships are the most intense workshops that exist. They are the place where you have to dive deep into your shadow work. And that’s why I’m always going on about falling in love and finding true love. Because unless you’re really IN LOVE, like really, then you won’t to be willing to do the massive work required to make the partnership effective. Your romance is where you bump into your biggest, deepest insecurities and fears.

Only true love is strong enough to withstand the uncontrollable urge to run…and if you are using your relationship as part of your self-actualization process, you will want to run many times. The sly rat in your head wants to avoid, elude, run away.

Only true love offers the courage to face your darkest fears. So you see it’s worse than you think, love isn’t about finding your guy, skipping down the street and running off into the sunset. Love is about rolling up your sleeves and getting down to those areas in the basement of your head /heart that you’ve been avoiding looking at for years. Being in love is the hardest work there is, it is not for the cavalier or the faint hearted. It is a gladiator sport.

Ok, so now that I’ve sufficiently scared you:

Here are some of the reasons why you may not have found love or marriage yet…

I’ll go through these real quick, listen for which statement applies to you:

  • you think the world owes it to you to have love and marriage
  • you think cuz you’re pretty & sweet & smart it’s enough to get a guy
  • you treat guys as if they’re more important or less important than you are (both are equally dangerous & produce the same result, ie: guy doesn’t feel met)
  • you believe someone should love you ‘just the way you are’ right now and vs. being a ruthless stand for your greatest self
  • you want to be rescued –physically, financially, emotionally, intellectually
  • you play games, ie: you don’t tell them the truth about what you’re really feeling or wanting, then get mad when he doesn’t know how to please you
  • you’re riddled by shame, fear & hopelessness, you don’t really believe in true love, it’s just a fantasy or fairytale that doesn’t exist
  • you are deeply terrified of intimacy but act as if you’re totally ready to bare your heart and risk everything for love
  • you are desperately attached to being married with kids by a certain date and that clock is ticking, love is a tick-box
  • you feel you’re getting older & running out of time, so you’ll take the best guy you find to slot into your ‘husband’ role, ‘good enough’
  • you’re mostly looking for someone who’d be willing to father your kids and provide you a comfy nest
  • you’re unwilling to look at your own patterns that interfere with intimacy and keep all your relationships back from success
  • you blame all your failed relationships on the other person
  • you fear rejection more than you want love
  • you’re afraid of sex and have loads of shame around it
  • you have it that you need someone, rather than want someone, no choice or freedom around it, desperation mode
  • you’re too masculine and guys don’t want to compete for that role, they want to be with a woman with nurturing feminine prowess
  • you’re afraid of your feelings and you don’t share them with others
  • you’re addicted to control and you don’t want real partnership, you say you do but secretly, you want to have a little more power than he does
  • you’ve forgotten you are a goddess, a creatrix and a high priestess of love, if you don’t know you are a Queen, you’ll never find a King


Ok, so those are the unproductive beliefs I’ve had and often find in my clients. We then work through the assumptions, traumas and delusions together until they find a mindset that gets them better results. If any of the above statements resonated for you, pay close attention to what I’m going to be sharing in this class. Because if you don’t get those identified and handled, you will keep doing and saying the same wrong things over and over and might never find your life partner, or worse…you’ll find a good enough guy, maybe even get married, have kids, but you won’t really be in love and the marriage will eventually dwindle. Fights may get worse, one of you may have an affair or ask for a divorce and then you’ll be back in the same boat looking for love in all the wrong places.

I know this sounds harsh, but in my opinion, divorce means you didn’t do your research properly. So don’t settle…every time we settle for good enough food, good enough friends, good enough job, good enough guy, we are stabbing ourselves and killing our life force.

Don’t settle, and here’s the test: if you think maybe you’re settling with your guy, then you are. No one ever looks at the grand canyon and says, it’s good enough. If you’re not wowing daily and in awe with your partner, then you’re probably settling.

I know that’s harsh but I’m being straight up.

So, you want to know how to find your guy, get him to fall in love and then marry you.


Be Dockable

First thing, stop being a shy or stuck up bitch. Smile and make eye contact with every guy that your body positively notices in the world. This is not flirting, this is merely saying “hello human”, the way dogs sniff each other on the street, it’s an acknowledgment that you’re both of the same species. Imagine you were in an intergalactic bar in star wars surrounded by weird alien creatures and saw your first human across the room, you’d be running over to say hi, hello human as if they were your only friend. That’s what I’m talking about. If you’re not inherently approachable, guess what, you won’t be approached.

And furthermore, start being assertively receptive. As a woman, your body language is always only ever saying one of two things “Don’t come over here” or “Hello human, I’m a safe place.” Now I get you might not want to look approachable in some contexts, like at a strip bar. But the key is to be conscious of what message you’re giving off with your body language, and call your shots. Guys won’t approach fort knox biatch, but they will approach an ice cream truck playing nice music.

I teach my clients how to be ‘dockable’. Think of yourself as a port on the water, and ask yourself is there space for a ship to dock at me. If not what’s in the way? A busy career? Another man? A sob story told by a victim of circumstances? A set of unproductive beliefs, terrors, shames? Unseen patterns that keep intimacy at bay?

Until your docking station (post) is clear and welcoming, your dream relation-ship simply won’t have a place to dock.


Be The Interviewer

Second thing, once you’ve learned to be ‘approachable’ then you can be picky about who you actually connect with. It’s like interviewing, if you were hiring someone for a job, you would want as many applicants as possible to send in their resume, and then be choosy about who you will talk to or date. Ok, so what should you be looking for in your applicants?

Get clear on what feelings and experiences you want from your romance. Often women I talk to have no idea what they’re looking for. So I recommend they create a character profile, not just a list of the features of their dream guy but all the features of their dream relationship. How do you want feel, think and grow in your relationship? What experience are you looking to have? How will know mow when you have it? If you don’t know what the ‘real thing’ looks and feels like, how do you expect to spot it?

I wrote a list describing my dream guy/relationship 2 years ago, it had 166 items on it…i went super detailed. Now the point of this exercise is NOT to create a spec sheet to match your guy and relationship against. Rather it’s an exercise in discovering your dreams around romance. This list is not supposed to be a feasibility list, it’s a fantasy possibility list. Ask yourself, if I had a magic wand, what would I wish for in my epic romance?

The point is not to go find what’s on the list in the real world, the point is for you to think about, articulate and meet your wildest romantic dreams. It helps you understand yourself better. Most of the time we dream within the constraints of “what’s possible” (given our past, given our status, given our limitations). But I want you to write this list as a visionary, as if it were part of a script for a cartoon fairytale, where there are no rules, where anything is possible. This is called “idealized design”, you start from fantasy and work backwards to observe how it could be made (after-the-fact) instead of starting from current reality and working forward.


Exercise: make your dream partner/dream relationship list, must be over 50 items, otherwise you’re not going granular enough.


Recognizing the ONE

This seems to be the most woo-woo part of the whole romance game. And of all the couples I know who are in love, one of the partners knew the other was the one, pretty quickly. So this might take some honing of your magic muscles. Reality and in particular human beings are holographic, that means information about the whole is contained in each of the individual parts, the way your dna is in each of your cells, yet it has the map for generating your entire body from scratch.

This is important to learn so that you can start understanding who someone is; one conversation tells about who they fundamentally are in the world. Another to say this is “how we do one thing is how we do everything”. This is useful & powerful to know because now you can start looking for patterns of behavior on one level and discern info about someone on many other levels.

When asked “How did you know, he/she was the ONE?” Most couples simply say apologetically, “You just know”…this always frustrated me. So I came up with a 3 – PART LITMUS TEST for True Love for myself. See if it is useful for you…


3 Things to Consider

1) You can easily imagine him as the best father for your kids

2) Your deepest, darkest fears pop into your mind either when you’re really connected or mid-conflict

3) You know you would stay with him forever, as is. Because only he can stretch you into the highest version of yourself.



Getting him to FALL

How do you create an epic love affair?

In my story, I walked into a dusty tent at Burning Man looking for my friends and saw this guy talking at the front of the room. I felt physical attraction for him instantly and he actually stopped his talk to welcome me in. As I sat down and listened to his bold inspiring ideas communicated with such congruence and wisdom, I felt something unleash in my body -like a giddy uprising of disbelief. After 15 minutes I knew he was the most amazing man I’d ever encountered. Now, back then I wasn’t yet sure whether I could get that guy. But I knew that if I could get him to see me, really see me. He’d agree that we were a perfect match. It took me 4 months to do this.

How did I do this?

Well first, I surrendered to my affection. I let it rise up and be acknowledged in me, I let myself feel it, fully. I even let myself dream and fantasize and imagine a future with him. And that’s a mildly terrifying feat, because if I allowed myself to feel this feeling of “he’s the one” and it didn’t work out, I would be screwed up & heart broken. But… I knew I had to own the love in me before I could ever or generate it in him.



I once learned something from a teacher at a workshop that shifted my relationship to love. He took me into his office and said: “Annie, if you ever see a man that you really want, you must go after him, relentlessly. And you will get him.” Those words never left me.

After Burning Man I became proactive in my communication with Eben. I had his email and I started writing him. I love writing, and I;m good at it, so it was a perfect medium for wooing. Each email was a holographic transmission of who I was as a human, as a woman, as a potential mate.

They were a little flirty, but not excessive, I simply wanted him to know I was fascinated by him.

Eventually an opportunity arose for me to go visit him in L.A, where he lived. And I did. At his apt I saw ALL his books, and realized many of them were the same books I had on my bookshelf. After that I was even surer we would be an amazing couple. The books we read are not mainstream; the similarity of interests was unreal.

I used that visit to further convey my unique brand of being and my appreciation of his. I was assertively receptive to him, but not desperate. I let him know I liked him and that I was intrigued by the possibility of a relationship with him. At dinner one night I straight up said, “I‘d like to come back to see you in LA in next month and spend more time with you. In fact I’d really like to explore creating an amazing relationship that nourished both of us.”

That was not easy BTW, it took a lot of bravery to say that. I knew he was dating other women and that he wasn’t looking to stop that. So asserting my interest in a relationship was a bold audacious move and I remember holding my breath as I said it, mild panic inside. But I knew what I was saying was true and I knew I would have to lead this dance, so I dug in and found the courage.

He seemed beguiled at my assertiveness, and so I went back to visit him a couple months later and halfway during that trip is when he actually fell in love. It all happened in one night and it was on the back of strange adventure with another woman he was dating who joined us for dinner. I deduced from his behavior that he was more into her than he was into me and my heart fell through the floor. All my dreams came crashing down. So I had to let go of my attachment to him as my one true soul mate and surrender to what was so.

In other words I had to totally lose hope about being with him before the dynamic began to shift. Only after being inside that dilemma, did I realize that I still wanted him in my life regardless, even if it was just as a friend. Whether he wanted me as a partner or not, didn’t change my love for him one bit. Many people take their love away if they don’t feel their affection reciprocated. Real love doesn’t look like this. Real love, is I love you no matter what.

This was a key turning point in our dynamic. Only when I let go completely of the dream, did the doors actually open for us to actually open our hearts, see each other and eventually be together. It was like magic.

So Eben didn’t actually fall in love until I opened my heart and let him see my fear, my pain, my wide eyed vulnerability. Up until that moment, he thought I was a cool smart chic but not a real live quivering woman with an epic heart, and that’s what got him…my heart not my head. I’d been trying to be smart to get him to fall in love, but it was my fallible heart that had him finally feel me and recognize me as his mate. Funny that.


Lessons To Share

I learned a lot from that experience and I can’t go into every detail here but I will summarize the lessons I took away: in order to get the guy to fall in love with you and commit, he has to experience the following things:

you as THE safest place for him to go, your arms, your eyes, your lap, those have to be a refuge for him. It’s a big scary world out there, and if he doesn’t feel safe in your presence, he will never build a life there…in fact if you become (for real, can’t fake it!) the safest place on the planet for him, he will never leave you. You will continue to win over every other woman and regardless of where his eyes wander, he will always come back home to you…

he wants to feel like a hero, which requires you to surrender to his strengths, wherever they are. Men want to feel trusted, which means you have to learn to trust him. And trust is not earned it can only be granted. Don’t let your egoic desire to be his equal, get in the way of leaning on him or allowing his contribution to you. Letting him help you solve your problem nourishes the relationship.

-he wants to feel praised, NOT criticized, attacked or put down (reward good, ignore bad behavior ), what you put attention on grows, good or bad attention. One metaphor I really like is hockey vs. curling. In the hockey, you use a stick to push and pull the puck across the ice. In curling, you never push or pull the puck, you merely sweep and smooth the ice out in front of the puck, encouraging it to go in certain desirable directions. It is never forced, only invited forward. This is the feminine way to persuade, use the curling technique, seduce rather than coerce. It works much better with men.

-he wants to feel supported and inspired towards his highest dreams. To love someone is to love their dreams…our dreams are what define us. Become keeper and guardian of his dreams and provide whatever you can to be the wind beneath his wings.

-he wants to have a great sex life. You want to be developing yourself and your sexuality so that you and him can have an open-minded, exciting adventurous sex life. Sex is why we’re all here (our ancestors were good at f*cking!) Don’t downplay its importance. I work with many couples and the single biggest litmus test that the relationship is not working is if their sex life is off. Sex makes or breaks relationships. Like food, it’s not a luxury, it’s a staple and must be made a priority. If you want a guy to choose you to sleep with for the rest of his entire life, you gotta first learn to enjoy sex and be open to constantly re-inventing your sexuality together. Most of my clients have a lot of shame around sex, it’s a big part of the work I do. But unless those issues are handles, they will haunt your relationship forever.

learn the art of fighting. Men don’t like drama, they want peace and they want to know that once a fight is over it doesn’t come back to visit again and again and again. Most people don’t have a clue how to resolve recurring conflict so that it actually creates more intimacy rather than less.

Fights are unavoidable and so the trick is to get good at them, learn how to prevent them from escalating out of control and how to bounce back from them quickly. This is big part of what I teach couples. How to consciously use conflict to learn about each other and generate more intimacy than was available before the fight.

make him feel like a king, adore himrevere him, praise praise praise. Men need and hunger for genuine praise, they want to be acknowledged, for specific things and in public of possible. Affirmation is fundamental to guys, they all secretly want to be admired. It’s part of our inner chimp wiring, males seek status and they feel high status when they’re admired.

If you actually do admire something in him, make transparent that truth. And notice how your ego holds you back from saying these things as an attempt to maintain leverage & power. Power is not the currency of true love, transparency is…INTO ME SEE. It’s a different game.

open your heart and share your fears, pain, dreams with him, show him your humanity. He is looking for a place where all his emotions are safe to land, if you cannot be with your own emotions, you definately won’t be able to be with his. This is what got Eben to finally recognize me. For any relationship to really work, you have to get good at ‘feeling’ (not thinking what you feel but actually feeling it in your body, in your somatic space)…this is a skill that can be learned & honed. It is the single most powerful tool for moving through difficult emotional states…many men don’t know how to feel and they’re looking to their women to teach them. So you gotta become good, especially if you want to someday be a mom.



Ok so the exercise for this section, on how to get him to fall in love and choose you above all others:

Become a researcher…you’ve got to learn how good you are at these different skills and you won’t know the answer yourself…you’ll have it ask someone else. For those who are super serious about learning where they need extra work, I’d recommend calling the last 2 guys you were romantically involved with and having a little interview.

Ask them, of all the skills I mentioned, which they thought you were good at and which you could polish up, here’s a quick list: providing safety, letting him be hero, avoiding criticism, giving inspiration, developing your sex, mastering conflict, offering praise, cultivating feeling expression.

And if that’s too edgy for you, ask your friends and see what feedback they give you. Make sure whoever you talk to, let them know that they are safe to tell you their truth and that you won’t hold a grudge. Let them know you really want to know how you can improve your ability to love a man. If your genuine commitment to develop shines through, they will only want to contribute to your growth.


Now onto the final piece, How Do You Get Him to Marry You? How do you get him to actually ask you to be his wife?

Ok, this is where I get a bit unconventional…so be prepared to hear some new ideas.

Truth is…the way to get married, is to not need to be married at all. Until you realize that a marriage, the ceremony or legal paper is just a decoration and that true marriage is a collaborative decision you make inside your heads & hearts, you will be forever chasing after the wrong thing.

Here’s the deal, in order to get married…forget about marriage. Worry about falling in love, and getting that right. That’s the most important part of the game. Being in love is very different than being married. Many, many people are married out there yet are nowhere near being in love. Be careful what you wish for.

I get women clients all the time saying: I want to get married by the end of the year, I wanna have a family with 2 kids and house etc etc. And all I can think is, lady you’re going to get exactly what you’re asking for…you’ll get married to some guy and have kids cuz the universe gives you exactly what you ask for…so be careful with your words. I have many clients that ‘already married’ and they’re coming to me, because they don’t feel in love.

Pursuing marriage will just get you marriage. It might seem obvious that being married means being in love. But it’s just not true. If you really want love, but your words don’t reflect that…that small oversight is very telling and creates a future you may not really want. It indicates that the woman is focused on the wrong thing. And here’s an insider scoop…if your guy isn’t willing or wanting to be married to you, yet, then it’s because something about your love relationship is not yet feeling fully nourishing to him. It’s hard to swallow, but I learned this first hand.

Eben wasn’t at all interested in marriage when we first fell in love. He said let’s put that conversation on the shelf for a year and I did. I just focused on making this relationship the best one either of us could ever dream of having. And after a year when the topic came up, I saw that he wasn’t yet willing to go to that next step. I clearly represented my desire to get married but never made it an issue. He knew whether we got married or not, I would never leave his side.

But I knew something was having him hesitate…I didn’t bother trying to push him into it, or pressure the outcome I wanted, I knew that would only backfire. So we systematically went through everything in our relationship that wasn’t working as well as it could and we tackled them one by one together.

And there was a moment a while back where I saw everything around marriage finally click into place, he started talking about marriage and a wedding and kids and I realized what ever was previously holding him back had now disappeared. He finally trusted me and knew that I wasn’t looking for a husband, I was looking for love. Marriage was a decoration I liked but didn’t need.

So many women are looking for a ‘husband’ as if any man wiling to marry her will do. And more often than not, these women make no mention of being in love…it’s like a husband is a slot to be filled in, a tick-boxed to be ticked. Well guys can smell that. It’s the smell of the husband-hunter and they want no part of it.

A man doesn’t want to be your husband, he wants to be your highest priority, higher than your need to be married. Let me repeat that, he wants to be Higher than your need to be married.

If being married is more important than being with the man you love whether he marries you or not, then I invite you to take a look at your priorities.

Pressure doesn’t work. Even if it gets the result, ie; he marries you, he will silently resent the pressure and a part of you will always know you pressured him into it, and you’ll never be sure he really freely chose you as his wife. This seeds all kinds of insecurities. Just like when you have to beg for a hug, it doesn’t feel believable.

So, my advice….no pressuring, no cornering, no coercion, no leveraging. This is a weak game and will never fulfill you.

I see women, giving their men ultimatums…”if you don’t ask me to marry you by this date, then I’ll leave, break-up, etc”. I think that’s crazy…and what’s more, it’s tyrannical. What that’s saying, is that being married is more important than being with him. If that’s true why should he want to marry you?

Ultimatums guised or explicit are not love, they are manipulations to get an outcome you want. It is not the mark of partnership. If you have to corner someone into marrying you, why would you want that marriage? That’s not partnership, that’s dictatorship.

The feminine way is to create yourself as the most eligible life partner and wife possible. It’s a matter of seduction not coercion. Remember the technique of curling vs. hockey.

It’s important that you represent your desires to your guy, be honest about what you want But make them in the form of requests and expressions, not leveraged, control tactics set on doing whatever it takes to get what you want.

I told Eben I wanted to be married; it was a pure, unjustified desire that I communicated clearly. But I never made our love or relationship contingent on it.

When a guy knows you love him no matter what and you share your deepest desires, he is always looking for a way to fulfill those desires. If he knows you want marriage but he isn’t offering it, then there’s got to be something still not quite right that’s holding him back. And it might be your attachment to marriage itself. Can you let go of that? Would you be willing to trade in marriage for love? Would you stay with him whether he married you or not?

Once you let go of something as a must, the universe starts offering it up for free. Try easier, lean back…and let it all fall into your lap.

So in summary, when you find your true love and you have the relationship you want and you are truly willing to do whatever it takes to make that relationship magical and beautiful and mutually fulfilling. Then, and only then does marriage naturally emerge, on it’s own. And often when you least expect it.

Like a garden rose blooming from a bud, you can’t rush it, it has it’s own perfect pace and no amount of nudging can make it bloom faster. All you can do is water it and make sure it’s in the sun and let nature take it’s course. Similarly, you can’t push the river any faster than it’s going. You can try, but you’re wasting your energy. Be your most amazing, self, love without conditions, and then let things unfold at their own pace.

So if you want to get married?

Just Love him. Love him better than he ever dreamed was possible. Learn about him, understand him -his needs, his fears, his hopes and his dreams. Become an expert in what’s important to him AND THEN bring your purest desires and your wants and your feelings without pressure or expectation and lay them at his feet. I guarantee you, his arms will open so wide he will lasso the moon for you. He will do anything for you, anything.

But you have to surrender to love first. Surrender so completely that it can feel like you are dying. And you are, you are dying into something greater, something beyond this level. Love demands that you give everything over to it. And if you do, you get more from it than you could have imagined. This requires faith.

When you believe in love and you surrender to it, he will surrender to you. And you will become the epitome of woman to him. He will worship you. And from that place anything either of you could ever want is possible, I really believe that.

So how do you surrender?

Well, it starts with being honest -about what you’re feeling, and sharing that with your partner. Like anthropologist reporting on chimps in the wild. Start telling him 1 out of every three things you think but don’t normally share. You can start with easy things, like “I didn’t brush my teeth today” or “I just gave the evil eye to the waiter before you showed up”

The more advanced move is to start telling him something you feel shame around. IMHO, shame, hidden shame, is the primary constraint to intimacy. And shame’s oxygen is secrecy. It needs secrecy and darkness to survive. So when you reveal a secret or a fear, to anyone, you rob it of it’s power. The more light shining on a part of you that’s afraid or ashamed the more that fear/shame dissolves. If you can start expressing your fears & shames with your partner, you will be on the yellow brick road to creating real lasting love.

Remember the 3-part true love test, I use:

1) Can you see him as father of kids

2) Your deepest shadow pops up when you’re very connected or in conflict with him

3) You would stay with him as is, because you see him access to your highest self


To the extant that you can share that dark shadow that pops up, he will trust you and he will start sharing his darkest parts. And that’s when the real love begins. Because to love someone is to love them as a whole, including all their parts even their ugliest most shameful parts. This is what me mean when we say we want to be loved exactly as we are, NO MATTER WHAT.

And when a man feels like you love his darkest, most unsavory parts only then will he believe in your love. And only then should he believe in your love.

As you turn it around, you’ll see that until you know he sees and loves your darkest most shameful parts, you won’t believe he really loves you either.

SO if one of has to go first, let it be you.

There are many ways in which this is a man’s world, but when it comes to love, we are the leaders. We are the high priestesses that create love and create life.

So it’s very important as a woman you take on learning these skills I’ve talked about and mastering them. As I said Love is gladiator sport and you need to be prepared to fight for it, fight through all obstacles including your own demons. And for that you might need support and that’s why I started doing the work I do.

Now you might be listening to all this stuff I’ve been saying yet be unable to apply it in your life. If you feel stuck like that and really want to solve it, I invite you to send me an email telling me a little about your situation. As of right now my practice is basically full but I usually have room for 1 or 2 new clients. So If you really serious about finding Mr. right and getting him to fall in love with you, send me an email and I’ll we’ll set up a strategy call next week.

Ok, now I’m going to open it up for Q &A and get some dialogue going. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.


[Click here for FREE audio replay: Find Mr. Right & Get Him to Marry You]