"If we truly know ourselves, nothing else anyone does is ever strange or unforgivable," writes David Richo, a counselor, teacher, and writer in Santa Barbara, California, who emphasizes Jungian, transpersonal, poetic, and mythic perspectives in his work. He is the author of Shadow Dance: Liberating the Power and Creativity of Your Dark Side and Unexpected Miracles: The Gift of Synchronicity and How to Open It. Richo has stated that the central thrust of his work is to show how the psychological and the spiritual can be integrated within the traditions of wisdom that we have inherited.
In this well-constructed and thought-provoking paperback, the author maps out the essential features of adult love. Relying on the richness of the Buddhist practice of mindfulness, Richo probes the five hallmarks of truly being present with another person: attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection, and allowing others to be as they are. He explores "F.A.C.E.," his term to cover the most pernicious enemies of intimacy: Fear, Attachment, Control, and Entitlement. There are chapters on choosing a partner, romance, conflicts, fears, letting go of ego, and when relationships end.
Teilhard de Chardin once stated: "The most empowering relationships are those in which each partner lifts the other to a higher possession of their own being." Richo agrees with this approach to a love relationship. In the epilogue, the author suggests some affirmations that men and women can use as fresheners in their mindfulness practices. Here is one: "We do not abandon others. If they seem inadequate, unintelligent, or insensitive, we only have more room in our hearts for them. We notice more tolerance within ourselves and more incentive to offer our time and service to protect them rather than malign them. We relate to pain. We do not stand in judgment of it. We keep others in our circle of love even if they scare, dislike, or fail us." The rigor of this practice demonstrates the genuine challenges of adult love.