GOOP: Getting Smart About Love
Suzannah Galland calls herself a life strategist, which she likens to the art of Aikido: “I bring people back to the heart,” she explains. In short, she offers a triple punch of sensible advice (“you can often tell what the heart wants by watching cues, expression, and breathing”), intention profiling (“both those of the subject, and the intentions of people in their lives”), and a more enigmatic and masterful power, which she refers to as both perception and intuition (click here for more on Trusting the Gut). “I believe that our unconscious and subconscious minds are like these great, deep pools of untapped information that we can learn to access,” she explains. “My job is to retrieve crucial information from the pool, and then use the information to illuminate unconscious blocks, clear up blind spots, remove fears, and create amazing clarity.”
A session with Suzannah is exactly that: She engages you in conversation and studies the way you react to fairly straightforward questions, and does some back-of-the-envelope note-taking against your name and birthdate. And then she reveals the way you navigate the world—whether you’re aware of your patterns and sensitivities, or not—in a way that will probably drop your jaw. She calls it perceptive processing, and below, she explains how it works (and how you can begin to practice it yourself when it comes to love). “Being a clear filter will give you the opportunity to download the reality of a situation, rather than how you might be reacting to it,” she adds. “We are often triggered by past experiences that can obstruct, scatter, and mask what we really need to know.” Below, a game plan for getting to the heart of it all.
Q: Can you explain how a session typically goes down?
A: My clients often call because they’re blocked or have a sense of urgency or fear for some reason that they don’t understand. They want answers right away. I hear them out, calm them if necessary, and make them feel relaxed. At the same time, my much deeper task is to observe, listen to what is behind their words, reach into their unconscious pool of information, engage in a perceptive process, and begin to develop tactics for them to work through the issue at hand. As they speak, I’m collecting all the relevant data about the client, the situation, and others that might be involved.
I get a lot of other information from their body language, social cues, breathing patterns, even facial micro-expressions. This helps me know if I’m in alignment with them, and I adjust my interaction if necessary—it is important that we are in complete harmony. If I’m meeting them over the phone then I work with voice patterns, hesitations, word choice, and whatever else is at my disposal.
If a person’s flow of thought suddenly jumps or goes out of sequence, that also tells me something. It may not be immediately meaningful, but very often it turns out to be significant later. All of us experience things in slightly different ways so I pay close attention to each individual client’s unique communication patterns.
It’s vital that the person feels comfortable with the process and that I don’t push them farther than they can handle. I offer gentle prompts to lead them into the territories that they are wary of, as those can be the most necessary and rewarding in guiding them to what they are capable of achieving. Our minds are much more powerful than we’re even aware and our memories are much deeper than we realize. There’s a lot of information in there that we pick up from others. If we can begin to understand this, it can have a profound effect on our ability to make the right decisions and choices.
Very often I find that the client is not asking the right question. Reframing the question can be as critical as any other information or insight that might be unearthed. The right question is a tactical key that can unlock the entire process and solution.
Q: What’s the end goal? What are you hoping clients will achieve?
A: I’m trying to help people reach their intuitive selves—which is in the heart.
The end goal is for clients to “come out on top” in any situation. The work is highly results-oriented, and happens in real time. Their achievements are both practical and intimately personal.
I work from an authentic place. I become their silent partner. My process reveals others’ thoughts and agendas. I enable the client to gain a clear understanding of both their own true intentions and their blind spots. I’m able to access the pool of hidden information contained in the situation, and remotely detail the others who are involved. I develop strategy and tactics that are aligned with the client and their true intentions. They begin to know exactly who they are dealing with. Through our collaboration they have the sense of support that provides immediate confidence because they know I have their back. When someone feels supported in that way with truth it resonates with them. They can walk into any situation and create deals, and connect with loved ones with the most amazing results. The personal side effect of this process is an increasing ability to penetrate their own blind spots, connect more intimately with true intentions, and show up differently in their world.
Q: So how do we access this sort of truth on our own?
A: By slowing down. By deep, conscious breathing and staying well-hydrated. Yoga, meditation, and even hypnosis are the usual paths people can take. Once there, we have the opportunity to observe the signs that are put in front of us. There are always signs if we look for them, and they are put there for us to sense and act or react upon. Your intuitive body will guide you to ask the right questions.
Still awareness is critical. We spend so much time thinking and analyzing, that we dictate what our future should be. That is to say, we orchestrate events to suit our desires and propel ourselves into a state of action and reaction. Unfortunately, this method isn’t likely to work out because our perceptions become distorted, which leads us to see a false reality. We can’t differentiate between the authentic and the false. We create a risk because we know—at some level we’re losing control—that something’s off.
Q: In practice, how do you coach this, particularly when it comes to highly-charged emotional experiences, like love?
A: So here’s an example.
We all want to find the right partner in love. It is transparently clear that our quest is subject to unwanted wrong turns because of blind spots. We just can’t see critically important traits that will show up over time. I am able to make the client aware of these blind spots in present time, not after years have passed, and help them refocus on their desires that will provide longevity. It is a joy for me to recognize when they’ve found someone special and give them the needed perspective to bring their intimate relationships to a deeper and fulfilling level.
It’s just as challenging for me to work with a client who’s dealing with underhanded situations or who’s dating a person they distrust.
A well-to-do female lawyer was in the last stages of a divorce and was having a much-needed rebound affair with a younger newbie attorney in her firm. They were having this hot, amazing, lustful relationship. She was already talking about marriage, and making his career brilliant in order to transform him into this giant equal.
I knew right from the start that this rebound affair was a highly-charged issue. As I sensed her, I could see how vulnerable she was. I decided to profile her ex-husband. He was a megalomaniacal figure, who was abusive and annihilating. He had spent years reminding her that she was ugly—it was very understandable that this fantasy rebound make her feel deliciously young and beautiful again.
I knew that my task was to get her to remove her ex-husband’s perception of her as ugly and old, and replace it with the beautiful and sensual reality of who she actually is. The words intimate and tenderness kept flashing on my mind screen. I knew she craved them. My next task was to profile the lustful young lawyer; unfortunately, his intentions were to use and exploit her. He was smart at manipulating her, and it was working. I could sense that taking her fantasy away would create an even greater void, and so I designed a way to put her in the driver’s seat, so she could come to the same conclusion on her own. We agreed she would perform three simple tasks across three nights so she could see what this young stud was really about.
Night One: The mandate was simply to enjoy herself. No stress, no worry, no planning. And…I told her not to bring up his career.
Night Two: She was to go out for dinner and talk about herself, which was an important break from her old pattern.
Night Three: “See if he brings up his career, ” I advised her. “See how he brings it up and when. If he brings it up in bed, you have a problem; that’s a red flag. Nothing is wrong with healthy opportunism in a relationship if it happens in broad daylight, when you’re both in your strength. In bed, it’s a rough game. ”
Wouldn’t you know it: He asked her in bed.
I had advised her to “take a moment, see how your body feels.” The lust that had filled her body left—inside she went dead. Now that she was in the driving seat, she knew what she wanted and what she didn’t. She pierced her own blind spot, and allowed herself to regain control without grief or loss.
This was an important situation where using my perceptive process really allowed the client to participate and be proactive in making a huge decision. My client realized that her lover was incapable of the tenderness and intimacy she needed. She was grateful for the space to heal, and happy to attract a relationships that she actually wanted.
Q: Love seems to be a real pain point for women, where we don’t always want to see the reality of our relationships. Why do we lose our heads, and why are we so willing to make excuses?
A: Because reality very often resides in blind spots! These are voids in our awareness. We dismiss anything in the void because it holds no interest for us. We respond with no emotion, at least no positive emotion. This why a conversation that involves a blind spot generates no interest, no communication. We often feel like it’s going nowhere, like a message into a black hole. I understand how to pierce blind spots with perceptive listening and intuitive guidance. Think of the blind spot that afflicted the emperor who famously and proudly wore his invisible “new clothes.” Everyone could see he was naked—except the emperor! Like everyone who experiences such exasperating situations where we can’t see and others can, we can do nothing but make excuses. We can’t see it, and it can drive us crazy.
Q: Why is love so important, so essential?
A: To believe in the soul is to believe we are on a journey. This is true whatever your belief systems may be. I believe our destiny helps our soul strengthen. We are here to love. So naturally, we want to express love to ourselves, to the world, and to others because that is our natural state. Sometimes our past experiences of trying to express love gets in the way of being able to connect and express our love in the present.
The truth is there are Love Mates for every one of us. It is our spiritual right. If we pursue love with any passion, we come to know quite deeply the yearning for love. Yet experience kicks us to the corner, time and again. Whether we’ve been rejected or heartbroken, we find ourselves ready to curse as much as pray for the ultimate love we know is out there. Our need for love is that total, that universal, and that simple.
Falling in love presents enormous risk. We will always wake up with the scars and bruises to remind us. We cannot ignore them. Yet all too often we make a huge mistake about this risk. It is not falling in love that makes the heart and soul ache, it is the realization of the loss, and the desertion that harms us.
I focus on helping clients get back their core essence, their true nature. I help them understand who they are at the most pure level. I help them understand their past choices, and in that process we repair some of their past choices that are painful.
Q: So Love Mates rather than Soulmates?
All too often I find my female clients are locked into a painstaking quest to find “The One.” It’s the number one reason why so many of my clients are in pain. They can’t or won’t let go of that lost love, or, they’re focused on an intangible ideal. While there may always be exceptions, for most of us holding out for “The One” is most often an exercise in futility and heartache. This belief in “The One” is what I call Soulmate Mania. Soulmate Mania can make women so hardened that it’s less hurtful to think that love no longer exists. In painful reaction we shut down our natural impulse to express, give, and receive love.
One client summed it up like this: “Once, the idea of a soulmate was everything. I certainly believed one was coming. The concept was like an empty canvas I could paint. I was filled with hope, I was excited, and I was lucky. And over the course of nearly ten years I had two lovers I considered my soulmates. I felt totally in touch; everything was sensitized. But after the second relationship ended, it floored me. I was screaming and retching. After withstanding that I became hardened. I would sleep around, make myself out to be Ms. Independent, but I was still in pain; looking for that same feeling of fresh oxygen: Just tell me my soulmate’s coming. Tell me so I can breathe again. I want to scream: ‘It’s not FAIR: Why NOT me?”
It’s very easy to sell misinformation, to create and spread an underlying assumption that you’re somehow incomplete if you haven’t found your soulmate. People pine away for years. “I can feel you near me,” they’ll say, gently. Then, “Why aren’t you here?”
The premise is almost something commercially created, like whitewash or sweeteners. When, by chance, the magical encounter occurs, we immediately think, “THE ONE” But there is no measure, no record or proof by which we may judge this powerful feeling with any lasting accuracy.
When a so-called soulmate relationship collapses, the feeling of abandonment can be so total that it’s as if we are in a maze of walls-within-walls. We would do better to be grateful for the infinite possibilities before us.
A lifetime is not forever, and holding out for “The One” can be a great way to avoid living it. We need to realize that we can feel a soul-connection with a person we’ve just met, even find love with them. There is no greater time than right now to seek love, or be open to the vulnerability of receiving love. That is what invites a Love Mate in. That is what opens us to the possibilities before us, love mates for our souls. It is an invitation to hold the dream of love closely to our hearts and to think about it in new way. It lifts the curse of believing that this or that love is “The One.” Instead a Love Mate becomes uniquely right for us because we appreciate their individual natures. Their particular contributions to our lives are not determined by how long the relationship lasts nor should it be based on a reward system. Soul connections and love mates are beautiful and true in and of themselves. Part of my work is to take out the hopelessness and replace it with the knowing that there are many love mates out there for your soul to love.
What I’ve discovered in my work, particularly with women, is that we cannot ever see ourselves as others see us. This is what we hope for when we look into the mirror. This is what we embrace when we discover and fall in love with a person: At last! This is who I am! But mirrors are deceptive instruments, and other people are also reflecting us through their own mirror-filters.
We must rely on our hearts for the truth, first and last. These times are so fraught with fear and desperation. We are in danger of being fatally divided from one another. We look outside ourselves for leadership; we look outside ourselves for community, when the truth is we are seeking something that is already within us. There is no greater time than right now to seek love, or be open to the vulnerability of receiving love. That is what invites a love mate in. That is what opens us to the possibilities before us. It is an invitation to hold the idealized dream of a soulmate closely to your heart, but to think about it in new way. When a client calls me with a crisis or quick question about love, my perceptive process allows them to see there are love mates all around them.
HOW TO COUNSEL YOURSELF WHEN YOU’RE LOOKING FOR LOVE
To make anything work, you have to start with YOU. We hear this message time and time again, “In order to truly love, you first have to love yourself.”
Knowing ourselves, trusting ourselves, valuing ourselves…such strength rises out of living in the present; not dwelling on the past, not deferring to the future but acting to improve our lives in the here and now. True strength comes from accepting who you are and then standing your ground. Our need for a Soul connection can be life threatening if we let our needs blind us.
Test your Attractions/Get Back to Reality:
If you’re feeling a strong attraction to someone and want to get a better sense of whether or not it is mutual, ask yourself:
What are you like when you are with them?
How do they behave?
How do they treat you?
How available are they?
Are they tentative? Are they listening to you?
What are they offering you right now?
These questions do not involve a value judgment. They just illustrate the differences between us all. Some people are awkward, but sincere. Others are well spoken but superficial. Some people are genuinely articulate and communicative and that’s the attraction. Either way, taking the time to reflect, will give you important information that will help determine the next steps.
Then, do nothing…
So often we feel compelled to phone or to pursue a person when we are still in doubt. Doing nothing is a powerful action: Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of your desires. This is a positive way of containing your power, and it will strengthen your opportunity to draw a person to you.
HOW TO COUNSEL YOURSELF WHEN YOU’RE IN A RELATIONSHIP, AND STRUGGLING
If you are in a particularly difficult state of opposition with your beloved, take a minute. Ask them to do this one thing with you:
Sit facing one another, kneecaps touching. (This is very important.) Look each other in the eye and say nothing for a full minute. You will emerge in a different place, with such empathy, that you will discover a deep place of mutual connection. You don’t have to be in the middle of a quarrel to try this. If you’re happy and you take a minute this way, afterwards you’ll be positively tantric.
Breathe Them Away
When a lover has crossed you, treated you miserably, or in any other way failed to deliver what you hoped for together, imagine them in the palm of your hand. Hold them there mentally, imagining this person so miniature in scale that their transgressions become meaningless. Gently breathe on them 11 times and repeat this over the course of the day and notice how your pain is slowly fading away… you will feel stronger and more centered by the end of the day.
Note: You can forgive without condoning behaviors.