Create an ‘altar’ to your future partner, advises relationship specialist

A pinup picture depicting your fantasy of a romantic partner can be a good start to finding a special Valentine, says a Victoria relationship specialist.

Renee Lindstrom of Inside Awareness says a single person looking for a romantic partner could set aside a small, private space in their home where they create an altar, depositing items to symbolize the attributes they are looking for in a love relationship.

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A woman looking for financial security, even luxury, might include a picture of hotel millionaire Donald Trump. A man looking for physical beauty could post a pinup from the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. Or they could deposit things in multiples of two, to symbolize a couple, such as two flowers. “Anything symbolic that reminds you of something you would like to have in a relationship, you can put in that area,” said Lindstrom. “You are creating your own vision and it’s actually becoming real in your space.”

The process doesn’t guarantee you will find what you’re looking for.

But it gives you a clearer idea of what’s most important to you and you can make a better effort at finding a person with those characteristics.

“Advising somebody on how to look for a relationship, I would have them start by looking at themselves,” said Lindstrom. “Define what you want to create that dream.”

She warns, however, that little love altar in the home with its pinup pictures, magazine cut-outs of fancy cars or Hollywood mansions is strictly personal. You shouldn’t flash it at any new romantic interest and tell them this is what she/he has to measure up to. It’s just meant to help you focus on the ultimate prize — love.

Lindstrom, a 57-year-old divorced mother of two grown children, who still dates and maintains relationships, teaches courses in physical and emotional movement in community centres like the Monterey Centre. And she believes love is the most important aspect, element or life prize for all people.

“We all want love and we all want to be loved,” she said. “It’s the driving force of all people.”

One of the courses Lindstrom teaches is called Creating a Love Map. It’s a way to start people seeking love efficiently, or “with intent,” as she likes to call it.

She believes psychologist Abraham Maslow’s pyramidal hierarchy of human needs is a good way to examine our pursuit of love. The bottom of the pyramid contains those elements crucial to maintain basic animal survival: Air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sleep and sex.

Lindstrom said these elemental needs are shared by all creatures. And pursuit of them, including sex, involves a certain level of animal desperation. This explains why sometimes in modern society the pursuit of hookups and casual sex can seem so desperate at times.

“People who are operating in survival mode are desperate,” she said. “There is a lot of fear and anxiety down at that level.”

But by pursuing relationships with clear “intention,” we can move up the hierarchy of needs. From survival we can progress to safety then to love and interdependence, then on to esteem and ultimately personal integrity and spirituality.

And we can and should always approach things like sex, relationships and love in ways that can be sustainable and not destructive.

“This is all about empowering yourself to be independent so you can be vulnerable in the most important relationship of your life and that’s love,” said Lindstrom.

She also likes the idea of thinking about a “love labyrinth,” a little maze that can take you and ultimately a special partner through the twists and turns of a relationship. You can start together in that first flush of romance. Then you might move apart as you both assert a little independence and then come back together.

“Love is about being able to stay connected to what’s important to you and still hear what’s important to your partner,” she said. “You don’t have to lose yourself.”

She has even devised love labyrinths for couples and traced them out on the floor to use in a wedding ceremony. The two people then travel through the little maze to their ultimate destination, a loving union.

Which brings us back to Valentine’s Day, that special day of the year devoted to romantic love.

“Valentine’s Day is a wonderful day to focus on love, which, of course, is the primary value for all humans on the planet,” said Lindstrom.

To learn more about Renee Lindstrom and her ideas on love and relationships check out insideawareness.com.

rwatts@timescolonist.com

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