Author: Stacy

Men Have Big Hearts

The ManKind Project first showed up on my radar in 2013 when I was searching for a men’s group dedicated to expanding enlightenment within their community. As a woman committed to her own personal growth and has been since 1997, I wanted to help my husband find a tribe for himself.

Much of my transformation occurred in a space devoted to and held by women. After reading The Queen’s Code by Alison Armstrong last year, it was revealed to me that I was expecting my husband to try on and practice the learning I brought home. It was an innocent, yet damaging mistake to require my husband to behave like a woman. In my mind, what I was learning was good for any human being, regardless of sex. What a revelation to really get that men and women are different for so many more reasons than simply our body parts!

It was in April 2017 that my dear Thomas put himself in the New Warrior Training Adventure with the local ManKind Project. Their purpose with this flagship program is to help men show up and live in extraordinary ways. They have set out to prove that emotionally mature, powerful, compassionate and purpose driven men can heal some of our society’s deepest wounds. “Men are hungry to make a difference. Their brilliance is often buried under years of harmful beliefs and behaviors that get in the way of them showing up with integrity, compassion, and authenticity.”

What an exciting day it was to welcome this transformed man home on Sunday evening after his NWTA weekend. He carried himself with a calm certainty about who he was as a man among men. It was incredible to be a woman in that space! It felt right.

Of course, as we got settled back into our routine, that brilliance became smudged by the classic stresses that accompany work and home life. I found myself being cynical and declaring the program hadn’t worked. Which, of course, sent Thomas to a dark place of frustration and shame. My negativity propelled him right back to a place of unworthiness and being less than. Fear is so destructive.

Fortunately, my period of obstinance was short-lived and skills of grace and compassion were reactivated. I could remember learning takes time and space to firmly root the new ways of being. As the feminine presence in our marriage, it was my duty to energetically create the environment for my male counterpart to expand into his authentic self that emerged after having sloughed off 48-years of old, ineffective male programming.

Like women in their own tribes, these men stay connected long term in their communities to remain empowered in their mission and continue developing leadership mastery. What a blessing to have these big-hearted warriors in our lives to practice emotional authenticity and personal responsibility! And what an even bigger gift for our society to have access to people, programs and communities dedicated to ending the longest running war in history. Harmony shall be restored between the sexes.

 

Blossomness

It has been about four weeks since Valentine’s Day … the day of love. My darling husband totally earned a gold star on that day for his efforts! I will reveal that this year, of the previous seven Valentine’s Days we’ve celebrated together, was the best one yet! I was left giddy by his thoughtfulness.

Today, on my desk, was an envelope (obviously a greeting card) addressed to My Love. The message printed inside the card read, “Each day I love you more.” Of course, this dear man included a handwritten, mushy message for me. One line that stuck out was, “a wonderful sense of calm.” I couldn’t agree more.

We have worked so hard to reach this place of serenity. You see, this is a second marriage for both of us and the statistics are not in our favor with 67% of all second marriages in 2012 ending in divorce.

Way back when, I recall us saying to each other that this was it. If our couple didn’t succeed, we would throw in the towel. Quit the game of relationships. Our hearts were broken the first time around and to endure that trauma again was to be avoided at all costs. Certainly, the two of us have gone through some really tough times and tried to quit each other, but in the end stayed true to our declaration to couplehood.

Comparing relationships to gardens is my thing and having tended to our garden for the last seven and half years, I have witnessed the increase of joy and pleasure in our entire family. Did you know a standard apple tree does not produce fruit until it is between 6 and 10 years of age? Imagine watching that little seedling over the seasons! Year after year of watering, fertilizing and pruning … only to end the day with no fruit harvest. You’ve dreamed of homemade apple pies and have such a desire to create them from the apples of your very own tree. In today’s world, when you can simply purchase a pie at the store, what’s the point?

It’s true what they say about happiness being cultivated through your own efforts. Master gardeners teach that providing proper care for your apple tree will contribute to its vigorous growth and timely fruiting … year after year. Awesome! The time and effort that was put toward our relationship is now paying off. The tree has blossoms on it for the first time. What an amazing journey we have been on! Together, we are masters of our marriage and have learned how to properly care for our couple. We can only imagine what the “vigorous growth” will look like because the peace and love we feel in our home is deeply rooted. From now until the very end, we have our couple to harvest from. Spring is two weeks away and I can feel in my soul that beautiful, juicy fruit is in store for us by summer’s end.

Back in Business

Well, that didn’t take long! Last summer, when I decided to indefinitely pull the plug on my business, there was fear around when or if this chapter of my life would reopen. Now, I am tickled to announce, “I’M BAAACK!”

You can’t ignore invitations from the Universe, especially ones that are so blatant. Admittedly, I’m a thickheaded one who often requires the proverbial bat upside the noggin in order to get a message. Proudly though, this time around, I was open and willing to see the opportunities, as well as feel the readiness within me.

The fact remains, I love couples. I love being in my couple and very much desire to have everyone else experience the fullness and joy that comes with sharing life with your best friend. It’s true what they say about it not being an easy path, especially in today’s culture. We are an instant gratification society with everything available at our fingertips. When we don’t immediately get what’s desired, the reaction is to look elsewhere. It is sad to witness tender, young relationships end because one of the partners wasn’t satisfied and chose to seek out someone who could produce the “right” results.

The best comparison is that of a seed planted in soil. When you meet that potential, special someone, it is the beginning of something. With appropriate care and attention, that tiny seed has the ability to flourish into something extraordinary. Everyone knows this doesn’t happen over night. Many seedlings do not reveal themselves above the soil for at least two weeks. I know some women who can’t date a man that long before it ends. One of the two of them has outrageous expectations and a very limited timeline.

Along the path of the seedling, it goes through phases comparable to a relationship. Some folks make it past the sprouting phase then lose site of the need to nourish the young plant. They look to the other person to make the relationship thrive. It is so vital to look at the relationships as a separate entity … a third party distinct from the two individuals who occupy the space.My passion for relationship educations goes deep, as does the desire to get it to the masses. It is only fitting that I am the co-founder/owner of The Radical Love Summit. This is the project that called me back into the game after taking my hiatus. The summit’s mission is to revolutionize the way people experience love and relationships. Early in 2016, I found myself discouraged at the number of relationship, love and intimacy coaches who were popping up in the professional arena. “How can I ever find a client when competing with these people?” Then it came to me (with the help of a coach) that we aren’t in competition … we are all needed! So many industry professionals is required to help move humanity out of complacency around couples and into a confidence. It is also appropriate that we gather as many coaches/teachers/guides as possible into one weekend as a service for our community. What a blessing to be a relationship coach in 2017 and beyond!

Pansies

Since when did people become such quitters? Is your job feeling uncomfortable? Quit. Is your spouse not meeting your expectations? Divorce. Does that one friend continue to irritate you? Release her. Life is too short to be so inconvenienced, right?

I call bullshit.

It seems to be the trend in the 21st century. The spiritual community has the prettiest wording for it, suggesting you release what no longer serves you. Okay, I get there are situations where this is valid, however I feel it’s too often taken out of context … a reaction versus a response. I do it all the time! Someone at work made me feel uncomfortable and my first thought is, “I deserve better than this. I’m outta here!” I’ve watched clients dump men they were seeing because he stirred her emotional pot. When did we become so soft?

Some folks say all the technological advances are to blame and we’ve turned into an instant gratification society. I can subscribe to that. Craving a burger? Turn left into the drive-thru of a fast food joint. Feeling lonely? Hop onto any social media website and be instantly “connected” to someone.

However, these reactions are so knee-jerk and lack intention. It’s sad to witness, even in myself. It takes something to really be aware of yourself and others. You might say it’s like a new kind of existence. The type of reality in previous centuries was dedicated to surviving. Our predecessors planted fields and tended to livestock for nourishment. They built their owns shelters to be protected from the elements. In the little time that remained in the day, connection with family occurred. Today, our food is delivered to the door of the home we signed a piece of paper for. So much more time available to connect with people, yet we don’t.

Why? I say it’s because we weren’t taught how. It seems connection between us is no longer for the purpose of preserving our existence. Or is it? Instead of the intention for procreation, relationship may very well be required for conservation. To nurture all that is grand and glorious on our planet. We created this amazing way of life that immediately provides for our needs and now is the time to slow down, in the same way you would after planting a seed. Give it time to germinate and sprout. What might be cultivated from our thoughtful responses?

Time. That seems to be what’s being neglected. Ha! I sound like an older generation person. “I remember when …” Time to think. Time to feel. Time to process. Time to allow humans to be. I’ve noticed that when I allow the inclination to quit to have its time in my space, the urgency dissipates. Glad I didn’t crumble under the discomfort. It’s not even that the next day was better, but rather the next moment was. Our life has sped up into small increments, requiring us to strengthen the muscles of our brains in a new way; to be more conscious and intentional. Expanded awareness.

The next time you feel that pressure to run, hide or quit, go to the tool shed in your mind and grab a shovel. Start digging into yourself and see what you find beneath the surface. What got triggered that had you react so quickly? Take time. Look at what was uncovered. Accept it. Love it. Clean it up. Tidy up the hole you dug because the seeds nearby want to sprout into something beautiful. You quitting is only hurting yourself.

I Take You To Be My Lawfully Wedded Abode

We bought a house! What. A. Ride. I have to admit there have been at least a half dozen times I’ve wanted to quit. At some point in the process, I realized how much it was like being in a committed relationship with a person.

It’s been many years since I was in the dating scene, but certainly I can liken house hunting to searching for men I desire to court. Even the online component is the same! It would have been handy to have a real estate version of Tinder over the last several months. Admittedly, I was quick to judge a home by its exterior cover photo. My husband, on the other hand, would continue clicking on each and every photo to assess the potential of us living in that space. Ugh! So deliberate.

After finding homes that seemed interesting enough to see in person, it was another piece of the puzzle to coordinate showings with our realtor and the seller. Yes, much like setting up an actual date with someone! There were moments when we were like, “Do you want to sell your house or not?” Either the seller had minimal showing availability or they didn’t bother to tidy up the place. It was like being greeted by that guy in his grungy jeans and stained t-shirt. Eww!

And then came the time to make an offer! “Will you be my steady girlfriend?” We would anxiously wait, knowing there were others who were possibly more attractive for the choosing. At one particular address, someone offering cash was picked over us, leaving a feeling of being less-than-worthy. The emotions were real! It was like she said, “Thanks, but no thanks. I found someone better than you.”

Oh, but when we found the seller who said yes, there was such joy! It was exciting and scary at the same time! This one said yes to a long-term commitment … 30-years to be exact! And so it began. We were seeing first time flaws during the inspections and, despite them, still choosing to move forward. External factors, including the mortgage lender, were getting in our heads and stirring up doubt and insecurities. Yet, we knew this was the one we desired to build a future with.

As the actual closing date drew near, the impact of commitment got more real. Wait! What? No more renting? What seemed like an insignificant change of address quickly began to reveal itself as something bigger. We were buying a home! To have and to hold, to honor and cherish! Closing was very much like the wedding because there was a particular deadline that allowed us out of the contract and still get the earnest money back. Although not for long, we did consider running away. <gulp>

Now that we have moved in together, just like with a human being, new discoveries are constantly made. “Hey! When we dated, your dryer worked. Now there is no heat. What the heck?” The expense to repair was not expected and discouragement was triggered. It seems, in this century, people in relationships encounter unexpected circumstances and call them deal breakers. Imagine if we could get out of the mortgage at anytime after closing because of too many irritations with the house. That would be nuts! If only the same accountability held true for people in a couple situation. Oh right, that’s called marriage!

What I know for sure is, owning a different home would only bring me another set of issues to navigate through. This wee nugget has served me well with my husband … reminding myself that being with another man would simply mean dancing with a different set habits and behaviors. I gladly choose my husband and our new home, with all their quirks, and am in it for the long, rewarding haul.

Shavasa – wha?

Outlaw YogaWhile living in Kansas in 2012, I tried yoga for the first time. It was a class, more of the restorative variety, offered at the local gym that left me less than jazzed about the practice. In 2015, after having moved to Colorado, I ventured into a chain studio for my free week of hot yoga. Sweating like a pig WHILE doing yoga poses was definitely more attractive for me. Still, though, it wasn’t an activity that I felt compelled to add to my calendar on a regular basis.

It wasn’t until this summer that the topic crept back into my consciousness. You know those thoughts that lurk in the background waiting to get noticed? Even after receiving a mass mail postcard from a local studio, I wasn’t inspired into immediate action. Finally, in September, after the whispers from my higher self could no longer be ignored, I went in for a complimentary session.

With a friendly environment, an intimate class and a super cool female instructor, maybe this yoga thing was gonna work out? And a workout it was … holy cow! This girl pushed my limits. And I secretly liked it! “Okay, I think I can come back for more of my free week.”

Each experience in this commUnity was enhanced with a different instructor (male and female) and new participant faces. The music was bold and fun. The poses were technically simple, yet physically challenging. Some of the classes even featured LIVE musicians. How cool! I like yoga!

As part of the sabbatical from my coaching practice, I also set aside all traditional contributors to expansion like books, webinars and networking. At least I thought I had. After joining the yoga studio, it took a few weeks for me to realize THEIR contribution to my expansion. My context for yoga had been from a place of physical exercise. It wasn’t until a few weeks in, that I heard words like self-love, flow and being. Ha! Okay, then. I simply required a different environment for my expansion.

What a delight to leave each class feeling more open and chill. Yes, chill is the word I use to describe the sensation. The Urban Dictionary calls that sweet, calm and easy going. You betcha! Transformation was happening, inside and out, that I was not fully aware of. My handstands! Yes, the strength I display in one of those bad boys impresses the crud out of me! My divine, feminine essence. Indeed, being more aligned with my true self leaves me feeling more graceful, light … feminine.

During class a few poses get called by their Sanskrit names and the final one, Shavasana or Corpse Pose, is one of deep restoration. It is a resting pose that allows one to be still and completely let go. I’ve taken to basking in the energy of peaceful gratitude. What a gift the folks of Outlaw Yoga have given me! The space they hold is filled with love and a commitment to connection … so perfect for a relationship coach intending to get her groove back.

Place Heals the Hurt

meadow-kissEudora Welty, an American short story writer and novelist, said “People give pain, are callous and insensitive, empty and cruel … but place heals the hurt, soothes the outrage, fills the terrible vacuum that these human beings make.”

My initial reaction was to envision a physical space like my home followed by a location like the mountains or ocean. Certainly, those places can heal the hurt. But when I get truly in touch with my heart, I know the most healing place for me is, and has been, in the arms of my husband.

For some, that may sound corny or too dependent, yet for me it’s truth. Much of the personal growth teaching for women these days encourages self healing before she can thrive in a solid relationship with a man. Absolutely, alignment with self is imperative, however I believe a woman can achieve that WHILE being in relationship.

When I first met Thomas, I had just come out of a marriage where my husband announced he was gay after two children and13 years together. Two years after that revelation, he died from cancer. My experience of Thomas is that he is a man of love. He oozes kindness, affection and adoration. Anyone in his life is fortunate to be cloaked in this man’s loving presence.

In our early years, his amorous way of being was a novelty. It was delightful to experience this new way of connecting. You see I grew up in rural Kansas with a family of German decent. We did not practice physical displays of affection, let alone express it verbally. My parents never told me they loved me. My first husband and I expressed our love, and I know I felt affinity for him but with this new man, the sensations reached me at a cellular level.

Despite the passionate bonding, Thomas and I endured more than our fair share of hardships. He had his own past filled with callous and insensitive people. Losing his children in a nasty divorce from his first wife was traumatic at the deepest levels. Together, we were a hot mess of painful wounds that required healing. Most advice in the relationship arena would have been for us to heal separately. We disagree. Waging the storms together, even the ones aimed at each other, quickened the process. Exponential recovery is what we experienced.

Today, I am at my most feminine while my husband has reached a new level in his divine masculine. Certainly, we’ve had guidance from books, healers and specialists. We both agree this expansion would not have been possible without each other. As a relationship coach, I see too many folks choosing to stay single with a declaration to heal BEFORE moving into a serious relationship. I often want to cry out how it’s impossible to get to that place alone. Mending solo, inside the vacuum, will only go so far.

With over half the US population choosing to stay single, my heart aches for the ones missing out on the magnificence when sharing life with a primary partner. Every night I fall asleep in the arms of safety. Every morning I am greeted with comforting kisses that act as a shield against what life has in store for me that day. My marriage is my place of refuge and revitalization … and for that I am grateful.

Connecting with Humanity for Minimum Wage

Sbux Green CupMany folks know the story of how I met my husband at Starbucks. In case you haven’t heard it, I’ll share the sweetened condensed version.

It was autumn of 2007 and I was separated from my first husband. On a particularly heavy Sunday evening, I needed (yes, needed!) a chai tea latte. My deep thoughts at the Starbucks drive thru were interrupted when the gentleman taking my order asked why such a serious face for a coffee order. “I didn’t realize you could see me,” was my reply. After ordering the tea and pulling around to the window I was greeted by the most handsome and friendly man! You see, I wasn’t one to ever really notice other men, but this guy got my attention! Wow! We chatted briefly about the caffeine content of my beverage and then I drove away, soon to forget him.

Fast-forward eighteen months, post divorce and death of my boys’ father, and I am sitting in the café of that same Starbucks, lamenting with a girlfriend about the online dating scene. At the bar, I notice a handsome barista. Yes, it was the same man who took my order at the drive thru! Immediately, I went into reconnaissance mode with friends to discover he was divorced and not dating. My visits to Starbucks increased dramatically, as did my smiles for the cute barista. It took some time to make a solid connection, but it finally happened. Today, we are joyfully married.

Thomas no longer works for Starbucks, but the impression that company made on him is positively permanent. Because we have spent many hours and dollars there, as a couple, the establishment has an obvious special place in our hearts. After having my hormonal collapse in the summer, I felt a strong need to change my scenery. Working my business from home, while being a mom and wife in the same space, was feeling stale. My thought was to get a part-time job outside of the home. While sipping a mocha and surfing the net (yes, at a Starbucks), I was moved to apply with them. As a relationship coach, I’ve always been attracted to their mission~

To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.

The essence of connection with others lives in that statement. And, their values take it to a even deeper level~

  • Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.
  • Acting with courage, challenging the status quo and finding new ways to grow our company and each other.
  • Being present, connecting with transparency, dignity and respect.
  • Delivering our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results.

We are performance driven, through the lens of humanity.

Through connecting with other partners, with customers and local communities a deep sense of purpose is created at Starbucks. They believe we can all become a part of something bigger and inspire positive change in the world around us. This intention has always been at the heart of my business.

It was no surprise that I electronically submitted my job application at 8:00 in the evening and got called in for an interview at 8:00 the next morning. I was hired and, to date, the experience has been fun! It’s so nice to be working with regular people who have mostly regular lives. We don’t have deep conversations about our spiritual frequencies or our abundance blocks. I stand at the register, with a loving smile, ready for the customers. It’s fun to witness my impact on their faces. Other partners thank me for my contributions in lightening the mood or the workload. The simplicity of it all has been so healing … and I earn a paycheck to boot!

We’re On a Break

lampSo far, this year has been a bumpy one. Good intentions were set in the beginning, yet by forces unseen, the path veered in a different direction. Isn’t that how relationships go sometimes? We aspire for success but life has a different agenda. By summer’s end I decided to stop the battle and step away because I was tired and no one was winning.

By now, are you wondering with whom I had this experience? It wasn’t necessarily with a person, though it felt like it. I went on sabbatical from my business as a relationship coach. Everyone and everything was triggering irritation and intolerance. Not good qualities for someone in my profession!

Another tidbit you don’t know is that I’ve been on a journey with doctors for my hormones for the last year and a half. The symptoms started out subtle and I assumed less stress and more sleep would cure them. No such luck. My body ached and I required a nap most days. Attempts at exercise were futile and eating healthy with zero appetite was not an option. Something was wrong and all I got from the gynecologist were prescription offerings for birth control and Prozac. Grrrr!

Early in the spring, a bug was put in my ear about low vitamin D. After the levels were tested, they proved to be significantly low, prompting the start of supplements. Physical changes in a positive direction began and it finally felt I was on my way out of the dark woods. Or was I?

At the start of summer, a dear girl friend dumped me over my behavior toward her. She called it rude and appalling and I called it straight talk. I justified my position with a classic phrase from the conscious community, “She’s unwilling to expand her frequency to accommodate the growth of our friendship.” Yep, I did that.

My higher self whispered that perhaps I was being rigid and I basically told Her where to shove it. I was one grumpy woman … and when it wasn’t someone else’s fault, I was berating myself for being such a loser. Fellow coaches pointed out my mindset and I argued it was just fine. Other friends played the frequency card on me and I privately rolled my eyes. By this time, I was unsubscribing from all conversations around consciousness and spirituality. It all occurred as a load of crap and I could not, with integrity, talk that talk with clients.

And my family … bless my beautiful family. My husband and boys hunkered down and endured these dark storms being sourced from the once anchoring bright light of our household. Cleaning and cooking were never favorite activities, but I never before had abhorred them so. If I could barely manage a household, how could I even consider running a business?

The idea of stopping my practice was met with such resistance and I refused to be a quitter. It wasn’t until a professional group meeting where I was internally seething toward the speaker that I knew it was time to pull the plug. I looked at my business like a lamp. Something I would unplug and put away in the closet. It wasn’t jiving with the current décor yet I wasn’t prepared to donate it away permanently. In the future I’ll bring it back out with fresh eyes and perhaps utilize its services once again. For five years, the purpose of my business has been to expand awareness for conscious and intentional relationships with self, others and earth. It is clear my self needs tending to.

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