All posts by Mark Groves

Begin With The End In Mind: Self-Sabotage

What is Self-Sabotage?

Self-sabotage exists for a reason. It keeps us perceivably safe – from failure, from rejection, from putting ourselves out there. Its purpose is to not push us outside our comfort-zone, even if our comfort zone is loneliness, angst, depression, being overweight, in a job we hate, not living in our purpose, afraid to pursue our dreams, desperately wanting to be loved…and so on. The subconscious creates ways in which we sabotage so that we don’t get hurt again. Self-sabotage tends to come up a lot as soon as we start to heal and grow.

A possible root cause for your personal brand of self-sabotaging behaviour might have come from an experience you had as a little kid. Maybe you saw that when you opened up, when you were curious and dreaming and sharing your heart, you got squashed. Your light got dimmed. And now you have a story that says something like: “Don’t be too bright and/or share your vulnerability, because you’ll get hurt and rejected.”

So, the genius of your subconscious created a template that recognizes certain patterns, behaviours, and/or situations. When your subconscious recognizes those patterns in the world around you, it sends out a major distress signal to the rest of your psyche and causes you to shrink away from possible success. In essence, every time you get to the edge of where those triggering situations might happen, you mess it up. (I was a master at this too – and still catch myself.)

The intention of self-sabotage is survival. Does it serve you today? HELL NO. Self-sabotage creates an interesting conundrum: the fear of failure or rejection, or even the possibility that we might love ourselves, and then that be taken away, is what we create within ourselves when we self-sabotage. For example, if we’re afraid of failing, we quit and fail ourselves. We’re afraid of rejection, so we don’t speak up. We reject ourselves, our own voices, and our worthiness of being seen. And so on.

What’s beyond self-sabotage is self-worth. The belief that “If I fail then I’m not worthy” gets transformed to, “Regardless of the outcome, I’m worthy because I have honoured and chosen myself.” The reason growth and expansion of any kind are terrifying, is because when you are constantly growing, you are living in the unknown. You are literally creating
moments, thoughts and feelings you’ve never lived in. Expansion and uncertainty, when combined with boundaries and self-trust, become home.

Let’s look are your specific self-sabotage techniques so we can call them out and catch them as (or before) they arrive.

Possible Areas We Self-Sabotage:
● Money
● Dating and flirting
● Relationships
● Sex
● Accomplishments
● Bosses
● Public appearances
● Happiness
● Health and body
● Showing your talents
● Dealing with family members
● Dealing with authority figures like doctors and lawyers
● Facing bureaucracies and clerks
● Doing a job you hate
And whatever else your genius mind comes up with.

Popular methods of self-sabotage:
● Freezing
● Running away
● Hiding
● Not acting
● Being “busy”
● Acting to your disadvantage
● Not asking
● Performing below your capabilities
● Procrastinating
● Picking fights you shouldn’t
● Injuries (not all of them)
● “Accidents” (not all of them)
● Self-harm
● Getting sick
● Not showing up
● Sleeping in
● Being late
● Suffering from internal conflicts
● Drowning in self-pity
● Not standing up for yourself
● Indecisiveness
● Temper issues
● Excessive worrying
● Negative habits
● Isolation
● Emotional eating
● Impulsive spending
● Self-sacrifice
Becoming aware of these patterns and the emotions that drive these behaviors in
your life is the first step to changing them. Every single time you interrupt a pattern of self-sabotage and name it in your experience you create a new neural pathway out of it. You build a new mind muscle, a new pattern, and a new comfort level beyond what you had before.

Journal Prompts:

1. The area(s) of my life I tend to self-sabotage most are (list all that apply):
2. The way(s) in which I tend to self-sabotage are:
3. The outcomes (both positive and negative) that I’m most afraid of are:
4. This pattern holds me back from feeling ________, and ultimately from becoming (insert positive desired outcome in the future you hope for)
5. The next time I start to sabotage myself, what I can do to lovingly turn back towards my expansion is _______.
6. One thing I can do to remind myself that it’s safe to grow and change and give birth to all of me is _______.
7. A habit/ritual that nurtures me when things get uncertain are _______.
8. A person I can depend on to hold me accountable is _______.

Repeat after me:
“I am committed to my growth and expansion. I am proud of myself for
completing this worksheet.”

My Top 5 Christmas Gift Suggestions!

“What do you want for Christmas?”

“I’m fine. I already have everything I need.”
1. BS.
2. This is usually a test if it’s our partner speaking.
3. People always enjoy something.
No matter what holiday you might be celebrating or if it’s a birthday, finding the right gift can be a serious challenge.
For that reason I have composed a list from both my own heart, as they are products and companies I LOVE, and they are products/companies my friends and the Createthelove team love.
I know the struggle with the thought: “What the heck do I get the worst person to shop for?!”
We know this person. You’re probably this person for someone else. So let’s just forward this list to everybody and tell them what you actually want from it! Novel idea, right? This is personal growth in action: expressing what we want and need. Not hinting. Not wishing they’d read between the passive lines. Not hoping they’ll get the point when we share a story on our Instagram.
Okay, let’s get down to business.


Holy crap balls. THESE ARE JEANS THAT FEEL LIKE JOGGING PANTS. WHAT?! Think I’m kidding? I just got some and holy moly. They were inspired by a guy who wanted a pair of jeans he could ride his bike in AND look cool and not feel like he’s covered in stiff sand. IT WORKED. And they’re not a million dollars. The price point is super reasonable for an amazing quality product that is locally owned and EPIC. And we negotiated a discount for you. You’re welcome.

No joke, I own sixteen T-shirts from this company, two henley’s and a dress coat. I swear to you this is the best t-shirt I’ve ever worn. Soft, supple, and the fit is SEXY. I think so at least, and I often get asked by men where I got them. I feel good in their clothes and they have a great origin story… The price point is awesome and I promise you you will not be disappointed owning a lot of their clothes.

I really love their blue light blocking styles as well as their Daywalkers. If you want to get into the science on this you can nerd out on why we need them, or, you can just get some, improve your health, look super cool and a little smarter (glasses add 25 IQ points for me)…and look sexy and stylish.


These headphones are next level. I travel for work and these noise cancelling wireless headphones pretty much expunge the noise of the plane (and the annoying person beside you…)
Add to that they have amazing sound… all the better to listen to my podcast with… 


I love Victory Barber out of Victoria and Vancouver. The founder, Matty Conrad is not only a great friend of mine (and also just a really epic human), has created epic products. I love him. He’s a great man and Victory Barbers keep my hair on point. (He recommended I cut my thinning long locks… great idea!) My two fave products from Victory are the Wash and the Heritage Dopp kits(aka. Bathroom bags). They are vintage, cool, rugged, and raise my testosterone just by owning one. Can’t lose buying your man one of these.




I have a sleep mask from them and can tell you 1000% that every woman I know who has clothes from there is over the moon about how soft, comfy and amazing their products are. The clothes are SO SOFT. This is a home run as a gift… and as someone who has had the pleasure of being intimate with someone wearing Lunya… you almost wanna keep some of it on. TMI? Perfect.


I didn’t know that essential oils could literally change my life. This company is founded by and employs epic humans. I have a relationship with them and love to support them in any way I can because their products bring calm, peace, joy, and amazing sleeps. My favourite blends of theirs are Into the Forest, because it reminds me of trees (I love trees), and Dream State because…Sleep. I love sleep. 

I love love. I love crystals. I love woo woo. I love that this company, that is owned by an epic woman, comes with curated boxes of crystal combinations you need for ANY occasion. It’s very thoughtfully done and the branding is funny and on point. A great price point too. So thoughtful and simple. This brand is going to continue to blow up.

I love local. I love sustainability. I love the women in my life who tell me how to live it better. I love supporting all businesses, including and especially businesses from badass women. This is one of those businesses. My Createthelove team raves about these products. Check them out! We even got a special discount for you. Use the code CREATETHELOVE15 to unlock the joy.

THEY CREATE A MAP OF THE SKY FROM THE NIGHT YOU MET. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! No matter if this is a partner, a friend, or a map of the stars of a date of birth, this gift is winning. If it’s for a romantic partner, you’re welcome. You’re gonna be naked very soon.


Okay, this is going to sound weird, but these sheets are like the best spooning, naked hug. I need to warn you you will always want to be naked in them. They are literally THE BEST SHEETS I’VE EVER TOUCHED. And anyone I have bought them for as a gift has LOVED them and bought more. I bought a friend a king set instead of a queen set and they upgraded their bed to fit the sheets. True Story.
Eight Dates. insightful, simple, fun, and packed with research, love, care, and tips and suggestions on how to navigate all of our most challenging subjects in life and love. AND, it’s written by four really amazing people who are doing such beautiful work in the world. AND, you get to go on 8 Dates. This is magic and the pages of this book with change your life and your relationship, I promise you.
If you follow me on Instagram you know I love this place. I tried to move in once, but they apparently weren’t okay with me living in the nap room. THEY HAVE NAP ROOMS. And fires, and cold plunges, and hot tubs and NO TALKING and NO PHONES. This is what dreams are made of. You may not live near Scandinave, so if you can’t make it to one, be sure to buy you and your partner an experience. Experiences are more satisfying over the longterm and allow you two to build connection and create memories. Memories can be cherished… Gifts have a short shelf life.
This fitness brand is my new favourite. I swear to you that literally every person I gift Vuori to becomes a loyalist to them as well. This company is based out of Encinitas, California. They have the softest and best workout shirts! For travel and working out I like the Ponto Pant… they are comfiest things ever. For women the performance jogger gets rave reviews. Seriously, you cannot go wrong get something for each of you from Vuori. And we got you covered with a discount code for 15% off: CREATETHEVUORI15
Have sex. Cuddle. And the best gift ever?!? I polled men and women and a little surprise cunnilingus or fellatio never went unappreciated. Oral that is not attached to any expectations and/or outcomes. Just a nice little gift FOR THEM. Out of the blue. 
We forget that everything before sex is foreplay, including our conversations… This is a PSA. Let’s not forget to put down our phones and connect for real. Let’s not take our partner’s for granted. Let’s do the very beautiful, intentional work of being present and enjoying the intimacy of touch (and cuddling and talking too).
mark groves, relationship advice, dating advice, createthelove

Why You Can’t Let Go Of Your Ex (and How To)

So you’re attached to someone. Maybe you two dated for awhile. Maybe you dated and kinda skipped over the whole relationship part. Doesn’t matter. What matters is the fact that it feels hard as balls for you to let go.

So hard, in fact, that you’re sitting on your ass right now bemoaning to yourself about how much love sucks while throwing half-eaten chocolates at the television screen (thanks, Clueless) when by complete happenstance divine synchronicity you stumble upon this article and figure, “Hell, what do I have to lose?”

I’ll tell you what: Nothing, really, except the sense of misery and anxiety that’s currently imprisoning you.

Look, there are very good reasons – very logical reasons, in fact – that you haven’t been able to let go of this person you’re still holding on to. If you’re ready to listen, I’m ready to talk. And if you’re ready to get over them, join me for the Breakup Recovery Course 

Here we go.

#1 – You’re Not Living In Reality  (Sorry, But It’s True)

If you feel like you’re going crazy right now, it’s probably because you actually fucking are.

That’s right: You’re crazy. Loony. Slightly nuts, even. Why? Because you’re living in a world that is completely separate from reality.

I say this because denying reality is the definition of crazy, and right now you’re seeking a different reality than the one that actually exists – the reality that they don’t actually want to be with you – or at least, don’t want to be with you in the way you crave and deserve. The one in which they don’t call you. Have treated you poorly. Have made themselves clear. The one in which the ship has clearly already sailed.

You know what the truth is, but you’re seeking a different truth and a different reality than the one that is happening. You don’t want to accept what’s true.

Look, it’s a rule of life: You can’t deny the truth. You cannot deny what is real. The moment you deny what is real, you’re forced to separate from your own feelings and your own truth. And the moment you separate from your own feelings and your own truth, you’ll be living in a different world in which you can no longer trust yourself and this is a very slippery slope to staying stuck in unrequited love for the rest of time. And really, who wants that?!

#2 – You’re Terrified Of “Dying”

You’ve picked your partner from a space of “If I don’t have you I’m not complete,” so when you get rid of them, it’s only natural that at first you’ll feel like, “I don’t have you anymore; therefore I’m not complete.”

This feeling is intense and all-encompassing – so much so, in fact, that sometimes it can actually feel like you’re dying inside. The truth is, a part of you is dying: the part of you that feels like it needs someone else in order to be complete.


Go ahead: Let it die. What have you got to lose, after all, other than the codependent part of yourself that’s led you to make self-deprecating decisions your entire life?

When you do this, it will almost certainly feel terrifying at first. It’ll feel scary and uncertain and unfamiliar. You’ll probably want to turn back immediately. Don’t! You’ve been through this cycle enough times – the cycle of being so terrified of the unfamiliar that you’d rather stay with someone who’s bad for you. But is diving into uncertainty and learning to love your (incredibly sexy ass) self actually worse than being with someone who makes you want to bawl on a daily basis?

Well, is it?!

I didn’t think so.

Because when you finally decide to rise above all the BS – when you don’t follow the temptation by reaching out to someone who’s treated you poorly (or even if they ended things in a clear and respectful way) – when you don’t do the thing – when you’re able to finally say, “I matter more than this, I matter more than this person who treated me shitty, I matter more than these painful feelings that have driven me to make bad decisions in my past” – when you do this, it’s the birth of something so much greater. It is the birth of something so much more. It is the birth of the whole person – the one in which you no longer need someone else to choose you in order to feel complete.

Praise the sweet lord baby Jesus.

3 – You’re A Product Of Evolutionary Programming

Basically, we as humans are evolutionarily programmed to fit in and to adapt to the people around us in order to survive. Back in the day, if we didn’t find a way to fit in with our tribe, our family, or our society, we could literally die in the wild alone while chewing on bark and searching for squirrels to hunt. Bummer.

And so in order to avoid, you know, literally dying, we’ve learned to forsake our own selves and to adopt the thoughts, beliefs, and so on of the people around us at all costs. It’s as if we’re going around constantly saying things like, “I need you to love me in order to feel safe in this tribe. I need you to love me in order for this family to function. I need you to love me in order to stay in this relationship and pass our genes onto the next generation.”

The upside, of course, is that this programming has allowed humanity to survive up until now. The downside is – how do I put this? – that we’ve all become a bunch of goddamn lemmings.

Every time we say we don’t want a relationship when we really do, we forsake ourselves in order to be loved. Every time we pretend we aren’t as into someone as we actually are, we forsake ourselves in order to be loved. Every time we give up any part of ourselves in order to stay in a shitty ass relationship, we forsake ourselves in order to be loved. (Funny thing is, the love we think we’re receiving isn’t actually love at all.)

Hell, we’re so intent on not being abandoned or rejected that we actually believe it’s better to be in a shitty relationship than to be in no relationship at all. WTF?!

We mostly do all these things because we fear rejection and abandonment and not being enough – all things that, evolutionarily speaking, could have led to being rejected by our tribe.

But isn’t it crazy that in order to not be rejected or abandoned, we reject and abandon ourselves? Pay attention to that, because the very things we’re afraid of someone else doing to us, we do in order to get him or her.

The transition is in having the courage  to step up and say, “This is who I am. This is my voice. These are my opinions and my boundaries – and I will not abandon them in order to keep you .” Make no mistake about it: The moment you say “I don’t need to be anybody in order to fit in with you anymore,” the right people will line up around the block to be with you. The caliber of the folks who take interest in you will multiply exponentially. Finally, your milkshake will bring all the right boys (or girls) to the yard.

The One Question That Will Help You Make The Shift

The good news is, letting go of your ex becomes simple when you ask yourself one simple question:

“Is choosing them choosing me? Am I choosing myself right now? Is being in this relationship abandoning myself?”

Notice I said it’s “simple,” not “easy.” I said this for a reason. But if you’re courageous enough to let that old part of yourself die – to wade through the messy feelings of incompleteness and anxiety and uncertainty – what’s waiting for you on the other side will be so much greater.

If there is one thing you can learn from this, it’s this: Look for the ways you abandon yourself. Look for the ways you don’t choose yourself. That happens in relationship to your body, to money, to sex, alcohol, drugs – it happens whenever you sell out what your values are in order to be loved, in order to have a fleeting feeling that never lasts. The only thing that lasts is showing up for yourself and choosing yourself and staying present to yourself.

This is the work, and the work always starts with you. No one else can choose you until you’ve chosen you. No one else can love you until you love you. No one else can value you until you value you.

Choose you.

You’re worth it.

Am I Ready To Date?

How do we know when we’re ready to date after a breakup?

There’s no exact sign or moment, and there’s a lot to process after a breakup/divorce. There’s a lot of neurological things happening that evoke some of the feelings we get when we’re breakup up.

Check out this quick video on what are some of the things we need to consider and how we seem to get in our own way when it comes to creating a new story with love and relationships.

swipe right, tinder, mark groves, createthelove, relationship advice

What Are You Swiping Right To?

Having a dream relationship is a lot like any dream we have. We create the desire, we know what we want, we write it down, and then we create a plan. As we’re executing that plan someone pops into our life (via dating apps a lot of the time)… and they are *so it*. Almost.

And in this space of ‘almost’ is where a lot of people spend their lives. Why we choose to pursue and stay in the ‘almost’ can be for many reasons… maybe we’re afraid to be alone, maybe we wanted a quick lay, maybe we get validation from casual encounters, maybe we got impatient and our biological clock had us want ‘a’ relationship, maybe our culture and/or community shames being alone, maybe we place our self worth in the hands of love… and maybe, just maybe, we’re all scared shitless of the relationship we all say we want.

So it’s safer to play in the ‘almost’ zone, because then the connection can never really escape us. Then we will never have to truly show up.

So we stay… and we wonder why it doesn’t feel right. And on we go, and as we do we support the stories like “love fades”, “people who are together a long time no longer have sex”, “relationships are hard work”, “the grass isn’t always greener”… not every couple who have been together for a long time still love each other right?!

We perpetuate these stories because they allow us to stay in the ‘almost’. They allow us to play safe and to love with half our hearts.

When are you going to get mad and shift your life?! When are you going to wake up to your possibility and pursue a life worth living?! When are you going to align your life with your integrity?! With what you truly want?!

We are all so much better than an ‘almost’. But when we stay in mediocre relationships and pursue relationships that are not a “hell yes” we are telling ourselves that we’re not a “hell yes”. The message we send to ourselves and the world is that we’re not worth more, and neither is our partner. We must make the decisions that truly reflect what we say we want.

Commit to your desire, and then operate your life from the space that you will not be – nor accept less than a “hell yes”… because what we say “yes” to becomes our lives. So say “yes” to f*cking ridiculously amazing.

mark groves, relationship advice, dating advice, what is self-love,

Self-Love?! WTF Does That Even Mean?!?

A couple of years ago I was in Shavasanna after a pretty intense Kundalini class… for the non-yoga doers, I was basically just laying down in that state that occurs right before we sleep. My mind was running and the question I had asked myself was, “Why haven’t I found someone yet?”

To which someone replied… I’m not sure who that someone is, but let’s call her God, the big U (Universe, not Uterus), and said, “Your search has always been for yourself.”

Excuse me? What? Sounded like some existential bullshit I had heard before uttered by so many self-help authors. But I had never really understood what it meant, until that moment.

We are all constantly bombarded with cheesy ass shit like:

  • “Love yourself first.”
  • “You can only love someone else as deeply as you love yourself.”
  • If you want to find the one, be the one (okay, okay… I’ve said this one many times)
  • Self love, self love, self love….blah blah blah blah, and more self-love.

When I first heard about self-love I had no fucking clue what people were talking about. I thought I was supposed to grab some lube and kleenex and head to the bedroom. And then, like so many others, in the moment of post-coital observation, I felt no more self-love. In a way, I felt more empty (no pun intended).

Self-love seems rather elusive doesn’t it? It’s a buzzword that people love to spew but no one ever tells us how to fucking get it. It’s become the “conscious” lingo that everyone talks about, but no one actually knows what it is. It’s like Fight Club, except we already know how to beat ourselves up. What we seek is peace from the regular emotional shame we experience. We want a vacation from the poisonous self talk and perhaps just one glimpse of this fucking promise land so many “gurus” speak of.

I’m no guru, but I’ll tell you what I have learned from struggling as a human to feel like I am worthy of love. In that yoga class that day, I finally understood that I was not living a life of true self-expression.

I finally got it:

If you want everyone around you to behave with integrity, to love you, to honour you, to appreciate you, to support you, to value you, to give to you, to invite you to grow and change, you have to become all of those things. Your life has to embody what you want. Ie. If you want to find the one, be the one.

So WTF is self-love and how do we create it?

Well, first off, it’s important we understand that it’s not a destination, it’s a journey. You don’t just get to this magical moment where you’re like, “I DID IT! I FELL IN LOVE WITH MYSELF!”

Self-love is formed through the habits and rituals which fill our daily lives. It could be the choice to go to the gym instead of the club. It’s cultivated by creating a life that sends the message to ourselves that we matter and are loved and respected by ourselves, first. It’s declaring our values, and then having the courage to live them. 

Uh oh, I’m starting to sound a little guru-ey, aren’t I?!?

Okay, to make it a little easier, here are five self-love must-haves if you want to wake up, look in the mirror and be able to say, “Good morning you sexy mutha-fucka! You are going to kick-ass today! I love you bae.”

1 – Become best friends with yourself –  What do I mean by this? Take walks by yourself, take yourself to dinner. Learn you. Listen to your thoughts. Develop a meditation practice. Go on trips. Take drives. Spend quality time in your mind and heart. Go for hikes. Hug trees. Make love to yourself. Pursue your passions. Find a hobby.

We can’t love ourselves if we don’t even know who are. We can’t express our true feelings if we’ve never listened to them.

2 – Making healthy choices (food & exercise) – Eat more vegetables. Exercise. Get out in nature and hike. Stop eating shit that’s basically rubber.  Self-loving choices are not picking fries over salads all the time, or sitting on the couch instead of getting out for a run. People who love themselves have very different habits than those who don’t. We can’t begin to love ourselves and our bodies if we don’t make choices that cultivate that desired belief.

Start now. Go for walks. Do a workout. Join a gym… learn about food. Start to cook. Go to yoga (it has the benefit of movement and meditation). And for all my gym junkies and workaholic entrepreneurs – give yourself permission to rest. 

3 – Boundaries –  What are they? They’re guidelines and requirements for people to understand how to treat us. They communicate what makes us feel loved, what we need from a relationship, what our standards are when it comes to communication and how people need show up in our life, if they want to be in it.

But there’s something even more important that boundaries provide, and it’s that they cultivate self-worth. They communicate to others that we are worthy of being loved and respected. And at the exact same time, they send the message to ourselves that we are worthy of being loved and respected. Win-Win.

Careful though, because just as quickly as boundaries can create confidence, one slip up or “exception” can eradicate our self-worth faster than Amazon Prime. You must understand how important this skill is because we can’t have high self-worth without making decisions that reflect that desire. If we let toxic and disrespectful people into our lives and allow them to stay there, we will have no choice but to form the belief that we are unworthy and don’t deserve more. Fuck that. You do. But you’re the one who has to create those boundaries.

Having clear and healthy boundaries is easily the quickest way to cultivate self-love and self-worth, and to improve your Tinder profile. Okay, okay… it won’t help with Tinder, but it will help with what you swipe “yes” too…I even wrote a whole course about it

4 – Share your feelings – When we share our feelings, we send the message to ourselves that our feelings matter. When we tell other people what’s up, we allow them to peer into our hearts, which also sends the message to ourselves that we’re worthy of being loved. Vulnerability invites others to join us in a vulnerable space. One person always has to go first… be that person.

5 – Let yourself be loved –  until we let people in and choose people who can fully love us, we will never truly believe it.

A lot of us get stuck in this space where we’re SO GOOD alone and build a life that is centered around us. This is great…. But there’s a difference between walls and boundaries. Outwardly it might appear as though these people are selfish, but self-love and selfishness are two very different things. And in the latter case, the selfishness is really just fear masquerading as awareness and boundaries. What we’ve built is walls and walls keep people out; boundaries teach people where the door is.

The bottom line of self-love is this:

Stay true to you. Honour your needs. Create agreements in your relationships. Stand the-fuck-up for yourself.

We must stay the course. It’s SO EASY to just go back to the habits and life that led to us to the moment where we woke up and realized that we weren’t happy. It’s easy to do more shots, to try to hump away our pain, to take that job that doesn’t fulfill us or to say yes to a relationship with someone who just isn’t it. We have to live a life that is in alignment with our integrity and our hearts.

How we want to feel has to be more important than the fear that we’ll never feel that way. What we choose demonstrates whether we’re living a life moving in the direction of our dreams, or our excuses. We can’t do both, so choose wisely.


You Be You. Let The World Adjust.

Before I started writing publicly I sent an article I wrote to a woman I knew who was a “writer”.

She was the first of many since then who would tell me that that my writing was crass and I shouldn’t put it out to the world, unless I changed it. That my work would be better if I didn’t swear. It would get to more people and be more effective in helping them transform. She told me that I use the word “fuck” when I don’t need to… that I’m far too intelligent to use slang and foul language in my writing.

I almost listened. I almost started writing and publishing under an alias.

Wow… thank god I didn’t. I would’ve been sending the same perpetual message we all get sent:

“It’s not safe to be who you are.”

So I said, “Fuck it.” And hit “publish” –  as Mark Groves.

I’ve been told not to write about many subjects… religion, sex, marriage, divorcecircumcision… the list of the taboo is long. People’s sensitivities will always be there, but our willingness to speak truth has to be greater than our fear of not being loved by the people who experience it. And truth is fluid… much like our identities and beliefs. They will all change as we do.

Whatever your art or your dream is, let it be yours. Let your voice be found as you type/speak the words. Let your message from yesterday be your old truth and the one you share in this moment be an expression of what’s streaming through your heart right now.

And if you wanna swear, swear. Are there times when swearing isn’t appropriate? Sure. In those moments you and I shall edit our language… But let us refuse to edit who we are… because that would be us continuing to support a system that tells us to alter our truth in order to tow the line and be loved.

No longer are we limited by the geographic confounds of our often misguided and systemic-minded linear lineage. We can find our people. We can share what our hearts yearn to scream.

So here you are. On the edge of your truth. Often waiting for someone else to approve of your choices. But at the end of the day their opinion will never matter if you cannot lay your head to rest at night in love with your authentic and transparent self. What you think of you will always trump what they think of you. When you align you with you it causes cellular cohesion. That’s a peace “fitting in” can never give you.

In essence, Self-Expression = Freedom.

relationship advice, dating advice

This Is Why Religion And Sex Don’t Get Along

Humans are sexual beings. This is a fact that no one can really argue… I mean, it’s what creates us.

Despite the importance of sex to our evolution, we have an interesting, and often dysfunctional relationship with it though, don’t we? It’s something a lot of us fear, especially within our embedded cultural and religious beliefs…which are often synonymous.

And fear is a dangerous motivator, because if not met with curiosity, the things we fear often become the things we shame.

I have been working with (and know) so many people who hold a lot of shame on the subject of sex and sexuality. They (we) were raised to believe that masturbation, heavy petting (the Catholic way of saying second base), sex before marriage, sexual curiosity, sexual desire, sexual orientation… All of it – will send you to hell. 

Have you ever taken a moment to consider the ramifications of such powerful and irrational messages about sexuality being sent to young (and old) minds; that they should fear their sexuality instead of seeking to understand it? It’s such a confusing message to receive as humans when the very thing that makes us is… SEX.  **If you’re not familiar with it, it’s when the penis goes in the vagina. And then out. And then in. Until one (or both…ideally) makes an “O” face… and biology does its job.**

Even this discussion, mentioning penises and vaginas, will trigger many people. The fact that I’m so openly talking about sex and penetration makes many uncomfortable. And to those people, when you get uncomfortable, I invite you to get curious. Because often, underneath that discomfort, is shame around the subject and fear of your own perceivably deviant desires to get a finger in your butt, get spanked, or some nipple clamps… even, God forbid, try doggystyle. (which are all normal curiosities btw…)

The irony to all of this is that sexual conversations are usually labeled as “crass” by the very people who later on in the evening log onto Craigslist seeking “Casual Encounters”, surf porn, or hire a dominatrix… But there’s a consequence to sexual repression that goes far beyond the internet, and it’s not only in deviant sexual behaviour, it’s that we have to abandon ourselves and our own hearts in order to adapt to cultures and belief systems that say sexuality, and being sexual, is the work of the devil.

Sex is human. Desire is human. Curiosity is human. Curiosity around sex/sexuality is human. To embrace any belief that shames any/all of these truths requires abandoning ourselves and our true essence.

Beliefs/cultures/religions are tricky though.. because we want to fit in. That drive to fit in will make us do crazy things. It has us adopting beliefs that aren’t congruent with our hearts and living lives that feel heavy… lives that require us to send an actor in everyday to to play a role that we wouldn’t wish upon anyone. *(Religion in its essence is beautiful… I’m talking about the extremes that don’t embrace education surrounding sexuality and curiosity)

As humans we hold our beliefs SO close to our hearts that any threat to those beliefs not being true, makes us go to war, hurt others, and even reject our own family members…. It’s incredible really what we’ll do to praise a God and to keep religious and cultural belief systems alive. We are so terrified to be who we are… isn’t that insane?! We’re terrified to express our sexuality and to maybe accept that we’re meant to want to hump, to caress breasts and to tickle balls (or be the receiver of those things).

When it comes to sexuality and beliefs we have two options:

  1. Abandon the belief system to hold our identity intact, OR;
  2. Abandon ourselves to hold the belief…so we can fit into our community/religion/culture/society.

Choice numero uno leads to freedom, understanding, acceptance, curiosity and responsibility with our sexual energy because we’re not being shamed for it. AND, it allows others to be free too.

Choice number two has mannnnnny costs. What are they?

Let’s use the best case study we can of the consequences of sexual repression:

Utah, which is the state that is centre stage for Mormons, who are generally quite sexually repressive and homophobic (I do love my mormon friends… no insult to you… this data is just too powerful to ignore), has one of the highest rates of subscription porn consumption. ALSO, Utah has the highest use of anti-depressants and pain-killers.

Okay, so we can argue the science and methodologies of the studies, OR, we can just accept what this data infers:

The price of abandoning ourselves is not just a sad life. It’s a painful life.

In contrast, in a 2013 Dutch study on BDSM (aka. Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, and Masochism) – These kinky sex practitioners, when compared to the general population, we’re less neurotic, more extroverted, more open to new experiences, more conscientious, less rejection sensitive, and had higher subjective well-being. Wow. Does seeking to understand and express our sexuality lead to happier and healthier humans? Hmmmm. Not a shock really, is it?

Let’s get back to the topic at hand though. Shame and repression have an enormous cost… We need anti-depressants to numb the pain of pretending to be someone else and not embracing our true selves. And because we aren’t free to explore sexually, we’ll just lock the door of our bedroom and watch other people get peed on… when we’re the ones who want to get peed on! Where’s the justice?!?

The truth is…everything in life demands to be felt. We can’t hide feelings and desires, they will always come out in some way. Unexpressed and repressed emotions live in the fabric of our being. If we hate our lives and who we’re pretending to be and we don’t actively change our lives, we will take drugs, form addictions, and either implode or explode.  The soul demands expression. The heart seeks to create peaceful connection. The human spirit doesn’t need to be indoctrinated with values and morality… we can sense on a cellular level if something feels right or wrong.

So, I want you to tap into you. I want you to ask yourself if your beliefs feel congruent with your heart. You don’t need to be a Christian or a Jew or a Hindu or a Muslim or a Buddhist to be a good person, you just need to be you. When you show yourself kindness, love and acceptance, you are inherently kind, loving and accepting of others.

You don’t need to subscribe to any form of relationship that doesn’t feel right to you. You don’t have to be heterosexual if you’re not. You don’t have to believe things that cause you to feel shame and hurt. Adopt beliefs that have you feeling free and loved for who you truly are.

If you have to abandon yourself to believe anything, you never believed it in the first place.

Are you looking to tap into you? If so, get your tickets to the Masters of the Universe Summit now! It’s annual conference I host in Vancouver, BC – The early bird tickets are on sale NOW.

Use the code “createthelove” to save another $50!

family, bad childhood, create family, ideal family, mark groves, family advice, createthelove, childhood

You Don’t Have To Come From A Great Family To Create One

We don’t get to choose our families that we’re born into. That’s a truth everyone can understand… and for some people that truth is very painful. The reality is that some of us win the family lottery, and others, not so much. For some of us, family will be the greatest support system and a place where our dreams and aspirations will not only be birthed, but also incredibly encouraged. And for others, family will be the source of pain and struggle, and more of a barrier to success rather than a catalyst to it.

It’s without a doubt that our childhood affects us. It has a strong influence on how we relate to other people, communicate, and often, why we’ll be drawn to different types of partners. Romantic love, to me, is where we go to heal a lot of our wounds; the wounds that were given to us by our parents, and to them by their parents…. and so on. Then, it would seem, that love, and pain, are both hereditary.

Despite the wide array of childhood experiences, we, on average seem to turn out pretty okay don’t we? A lack of love in our childhood can sometimes be the contrast we need to make love our priority as we age. Even a blissful childhood can reinforce the importance and power of sharing an emotionally-healed family tree. Yet we can often shame people with great childhoods… but that’s only because we wanted what they had.

As Carolyn Myss says, “One of the greatest sources of pain for almost all of us, is the giant misconception that we deserved a great childhood.” No one escapes childhood unscathed. We all have scars. We all have pain. And no one owns the copyright on hurt. My level ten of emotional pain might be your level three… but that doesn’t make my pain any less valid than yours, it just makes it different.

Regardless of our childhoods, where we come from doesn’t determine where we go, we do. We decide what our childhood means to us. We decide how to transform our pain into purpose… that is up to us.

To me, us healing as individuals is some of the most powerful work we will ever do because we are literally taking away generations of pain patterns and emotional wounds that have travelled through our DNA as we become  the first person to say, “Never again. Never again will I allow someone to be unloved. Never again will I let the pain of my family be transmuted to the pain of my children. Never again will I allow fear and disconnection to get in the way of love, community, connection, and safe arms to be held and to hold.”

Healing is powerful shit. It’s not just for us… because when we heal ourselves, we heal all of those around us, and most importantly, we heal up. And by up, I mean we shoot healing laser beams up our relatives’ asses and even to all the dead ones that passed on their hurt.

I was working with a client recently who said to me, “But why do my mom & dad deserve my love if they’re the very reason I’m having to process and feel all of this pain, hurt and trauma?” To which I replied, “Imagine if your parents have never felt what it’s like to receive unconditional love? And you get to be the first person to give that to them?” Phewwwwf. That’s some boombastic stuff that hits us right in the feels. When we love unconditionally, for a lot of people, that will be the first time they’ve ever experienced it.

And you know, not all of our parents and relatives are going to respond well to our love and forgiveness… but remember, we’re not giving other people love SO THAT they’ll respond a certain way. That’s conditional love. We’re sending others love and forgiveness simply because that’s the energy we send out into the world.

“I love you no matter what. Whether you choose me. Whether you receive my love. Whether you’re even capable. I love you because love heals. And when I give you love, despite alllllll the reasons I have not to, in doing so, I love myself. I heal me. Through you, I find me.”

Easy to say, right? I want to share with you a true story about this very subject:

I have a friend who comes from one of those families where everything you hear from his childhood makes your heart cringe. You wonder how parents could ever be like his. You can feel his heart and the pain that has been transplanted into him. You can feel his search for healing. You can see the child who never really felt loved for who he truly is.

He was raised religious… and when he barely turned twenty one, he got married. That’s what they did in his family, community and religion. But he didn’t marry for love…he thought he did back then, but more so he married because he thought he was supposed to… I mean, it’s what you do, right? We follow the stories and narratives of those who surround us.

Despite the obvious space and disconnect between him and his wife, he was receiving the approval of his church and family. Throughout this time he was desperately disconnected from himself. His religion shamed true self-expression and he felt trapped… And when we feel trapped we do desperate things. So, he had an affair.

His marriage would end because of that (and clearly much greater issues)… and so too would be the beginning of the end of his relationship with his family. His father and mother slowly distanced themselves from their son because they felt ashamed of his choices, his failed marriage and disassociation from the church. He was not being a good practitioner of his religion. He was not being an “ideal” son. He was human, flawed, imperfect, like all of us… but he was not given the space to make mistakes and to learn…. but boy, was he learning.

He would go on to marry the woman he had an affair with. No gaps between relationships. No time alone. One day, she said to him, “I don’t trust that if I were unable to work, that you could support us.” This cut deep.

This man had never felt supported. He didn’t know what a safe and secure relationship felt or looked like…. It was never modelled for him. He was terrified that she would leave him…. So he cheated on her too. Hurt her before she hurts him. Prove that he’s not lovable because he does unlovable things and never felt loved by his family… and the pain pattern continues.

So now, we have a vulnerable and lost  man who’s never truly been himself. Who became the type of person and made the type of choices to get the love and inclusion of his family, community and religion. And yet, despite following the path he was taught, has never been more lonely, alone and abandoned…. by his family, community and religion. Shitty deal, right?

He was terrified that he would never achieve financial success to be enough to get the love of a woman. So, what did he do next? He started running drugs to make quick and easy money… and he was quickly and easily caught.

The thing he feared most, loneliness, would be forced upon him as he was sentenced to twenty-eight months in prison. In there, he would finally face his choices, his heart, his soul… and he would come face-to-face with his truth.

Today, that man is a great friend of mine. He’s one of the most giving, loving and community-oriented people I know. He has built a great business, and a wonderful life.

Not so long ago he wrote his parents a letter expressing his experience. He told them about his pain, about how much it has hurt that they haven’t made an effort to speak to him in ten years. That religion and family should always be accepting and loving… and that has not been his experience with them. He told them that, despite all of this, he loves them and forgives them… and yet, he still hasn’t heard back.

But that doesn’t phase him. You know why? Because this man has taught me that we can create our own families. We have a ritual in our community where we have “Framily” (friends+family) dinner every couple of weeks. The host rotates and so does the theme. Friends are encouraged to bring others who don’t know anyone… new transplants to Vancouver or maybe just passing through. People who maybe don’t have a family and may have never known one.

If this sounds amazing to you, create it just like we have. It may sound scary (and super exciting) but I want you to know that, despite where you come from and whatever your past is, you can create what you seek. You can be the architect of the life and family you want. You don’t have to wait for anyone else to give it to you… the healing comes when you give it to yourself and then share that love with all of those around you. I don’t even know you… and I can tell you that I love you.

Friends can be far better brothers, sisters or parents than our own. Our past doesn’t dictate our future. We don’t forgive others so that they may move forward, we forgive them so we can.

We don’t need to be blood to be family, nor do we need church to find God. We are all family, and knowing unconditional love, is knowing God.

My GO TO recipe for family are these amazing tacos

Who doesn’t love tacos?! Try them and change your life…

Come join my tribe and my family at Masters of the Universe Summit this year!

12 speakers from around the world… and only 200 tickets. Early bird is on! Get your ticket here and use the code “createthelove” to save another $50! –