5 Stars for The Five Keys To Mindful Loving
“Most people think of love as a feeling, but love is not so much a feeling as a way of being present.”
~ David Richo
“An inspiring and highly practical guide to effective relationships.”~ Kathlyn Hendricks, coauthor of Conscious Loving and The Conscious Heart
“Well-constructed and thought-provoking.”~ Spirituality & Health
Laura‘s review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
This is an excellent book, but it’s one to take some time with. Richo’s writing is eloquent and right-on, but it can also be a bit dense at times. This is the kind of book to have going at the same time that you’re reading other things. It’s good to come back to when you’re feeling calm, soft, and able to focus. The practices at the end of each chapter are excellent, and they require a lot of deep internal work. I think that if you did all of the practices in this book and really took it slowly, it would be like doing 6 months of therapy…. maybe. It’s that kind of deep, tender work that has to happen slowly so that the rest of your being has time to adjust and to change.
Richo’s theme is “the 5 A’s.” He states the importance of attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection, and allowing in relationships. If we received the 5 A’s adequately (or, ideally, more than adequately) in our childhood, then we are able to shower our adult partner and friends with them generously. If we didn’t receive the 5 A’s adequately…. well, then we have work to do. Good work, of course, but work that involves a lot of grief and a lot of opening up to vulnerability.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from his book (there were a lot…. he is an excellent writer and was able to put difficult feelings and experiences very precisely and gracefully into clear words):
“To love is to become loving.”(p. 28)
“Psychologically healthy adults come from a background of flexibility, not severity.”(p. 37)
“Practice does not mean forcing yourself to improve but trusting your potential to open.”(p. 42)
“‘They did it for my own good’ is collaboration in the abuse.”(p. 58)
“Love is indeed a journey from aloneness through closeness and opposition into communion.”(p. 69)
“When we tolerate not having our needs met fully, fear turns to vulnerability and a more generous love awakens in us.”(p. 82)
“Human experience occurs only in a relational context, and specific conflicts from our past are excavated in relationships. As a result of relating to an adult partner, we can remember our life with our parents more vividly than we ever thought possible. In the conflict phase, in fact, we cannot help but meet up with the revenants of early life. This is the phase in which we hear ourselves saying to our partner and our children the very words we heard our parents say to us long ago. This is when we carefully train our partner to help us reenact our earliest and most bitter disappointments, hurts, and losses. In this phase we instinctively bring up the issues we are now ready to grieve and reenact the past to show what happened to us and to master it with the mirroring help of someone we trust. Every passing moment in a conflicted relationship dispossesses us of our illusions, as the psyche continually adjusts itself to newly revealed truths.”(p. 127)
“We move from the extreme of romance to the extreme of contention in order to reach the center of commitment.”(p. 127)
“Spirituality is not about transcendence of the world but deeper involvement in it.”(p. 186)
“A commitment is to workability.”(p. 227)
“Grief is a path to the virtue of compassion and to world progress, something that retaliation has never been able to effect.”(p. 262)
David Richo, PhD, MFT, is a teacher, workshop leader, and psychotherapist in Santa Barbara and San Francisco, California. He combines Jungian, transpersonal, and mythic perspectives in his work.
The Five Keys to Mindful Loving
by David Richo
His perspective on love and relationships is presented here in, “How to Be an Adult in Relationships, The Five Keys to Mindful Loving.”
By focusing on becoming, or being, a more loving and realistic person, rather than searching for an ideal mate, we are able to develop more mature relationships that become deeper and more meaningful. Often the most profound concepts are found in the simplest truths, the essential elements.
Richo explores the five keys, or hallmarks, to mindful loving.
a.k.a. the 5 A’s
These five A’s play a key role in our relationships throughout life. When deeply understood and applied, these simple concepts form the basis of richer relationships.
- Attention to the present moment; observing, listening, and noticing all the feelings at play in our relationships.
- Acceptance of ourselves and others just as we are.
- Appreciation of all our gifts, our limits, our longings, and our poignant human predicament.
- Affection shown through holding and touching in respectful ways.
- Allowing life and love to be just as they are, with all their ecstasy and ache, without trying to take control.
So when you are ready to grow beyond shallow and superficial relationships into a more meaningful and lasting relationship, learn and apply the essential elements. Knowing is not enough, you also must do; make use of your knowledge, then it becomes wisdom. Then, as Susan Piver says, “you can go beyond romance to real intimacy.”