As a healer I consider this book (as well as a previous book, “How to be an Adult” pub. 1991) essential reading for adults desiring success and happiness in relationship. Dave Richo shows that in allowing unconscious patterns to run our lives we cannot hope to build a viable adult relationship. As modern-day adults we must learn relationship skills while bring in mindfulness as to how we are with others. The brilliance of Richo’s on-going work is in the weaving together of vital psychological realities with the practical – and spiritual- desire for human connection. The book progresses from the common experience of becoming stuck in the mindset of our egoic self, into how to choose a partner in a healthy way, and then explores the various stages of relationship: the romance phase, working through conflicts, letting go of our expectations of others, and how to deal with endings.
One of the key themes in this wonderful book is Richo’s Five A’s: Being attentive, Being Accepting, Being Appreciative, Being Affectionate, and Being Allowing. He writes, “Attention means consciousness of the interconnectedness of all things. Acceptance means saying an unconditional yes to the sobering givens of existence, the facts of life. Appreciation means the attitude of gratitude. Affection means the love we feel for others, and for the universe. Allowing means that we grant to others and protect in ourselves the right to live freely and without outside control.”
When I work with individuals in healing a past relationship, or who are in the process of creating a new intimate connection to someone, Richo’s Five A’s are a wonderful checklist of essential qualities. Both partners should be working towards the creation of the relationship that echoes or builds upon these five themes. Any lack of development in one area is where we can focus and learn the skills necessary to build a healthy and sustainable relationship.
About the author: David Richo, Ph.D. M.F.T., is a psychotherapist who leads popular workshops at the Esalen Institute and around the country. He is the author of several books, including Coming Home to Who You Are:Discovering Your Natural Capacity for Love, Integrity, and Compassion,How to be an Adult,
Shadow Dance: Liberating the Power and Creativity of Your Dark Side, and many more. He lives in Santa Barbara and San Francisco, California.
© 2013 by Dean Ramsden. All rights reserved.