2019, February

How Self Improvement Efforts Kill Relationships

Our planet is shifting to a space of higher awareness. More and more individuals are taking the time and effort to look within themselves in an effort to be more, love more, and expand more.

Yoga studios are springing up quicker than the rate of fast food joints. Meditation training outshines cooking classes. Mindful, healthy eating supersedes how to prepare meals in under 30-minutes. This is awesome… but there is a pitfall.

This movement toward the inner self is disrupting relationships.

As humanity goes internal to become more aware, the attention is removed from others who are on the outside. In this process, people abstain from intimate committed relationships. More than ever, people are choosing the path of personal growth and at the same time, choosing to stay single.

Some common declarations we hear are:

“I value my independence.”

“I’m waiting for my soulmate.”

“I’m happier being single.”

“I refuse to settle.”

“My self love sustains me.”

Could it be that acute self-awareness leads to being unconscious with others?

As individuals experience their conscious awakening, there is an unintentional neglect of another and the relationship between them. Conscious partnership is a commitment to the needs of the relationship rather than the needs of self.

Now before getting your feathers ruffled, it is not being suggested that you neglect yourself (ever). Simply notice where the attention is when engaging with the other person.

This ineffective, traditional idea of “couple” is based on two independent, autonomous persons sharing responsibilities equally. Should conflict arise, each one uses his/her cognitive skills to resolve their dissimilarities. They mentally and emotionally disconnect from one another to deal with their issues with the assumption that when they come back together, they can then meet each other’s needs (current and past) to create a fulfilling relationship.

With this outdated model, the focus is on the individual and a goal of meeting only personal needs. The relationship solely exists to satisfy those requirements. Unmet needs become the complaint that leads to dissatisfaction.

The illusion is that you are in a relationship that does not satisfy your needs, therefore you are with the wrong person, and every empowered person knows it is their divine right to experience peace. If that doesn’t happen, change partners and try again to get those same needs met with a different person.

Your relationship is about you and your requirements and if it does not provide you with empowerment, its dissolution is justifiable no matter the consequences for others.

This focus on self is feeding an already-damaged society filled with conflict. These huge social issues cannot be changed until the perspective changes on what it is to be in an intimate relationship. It is time for humanity to be educated and understand relationships, and for couples to be empowered to flourish.

Avoiding being in a relationship creates disruption in the evolution of humanity because couples are the foundation of our species, giving rise to larger structures of family, community and society. What happens in the home determines what happens in society. Flourishing couples are essential to a healthy society.

Your couple is not about you; your couple is about itself. Only by honoring that responsibility will you get your needs met. When you make your relationship primary and your needs secondary, there is a paradoxical effect of getting your needs met in ways they can never be met if you make them primary. Fears are released and empowerment flows freely, then extend to the evolution of society. By transforming couple-hood, we transform every social structure. And that is what Mother Earth desires.

2019, January

5 Keys to Creating Conscious & Intentional Relationships

What do you know about being in relationship? How did you come by that knowledge? Much like swimming, chances are, you were thrown into the deep end of a pool and survival instinct took over.

Unless you desire an Olympic medal in the 200-meter freestyle, instinctual swim techniques can get you by in life. Yet everyone knows that to master just about any subject, a level of learning is required. So why is it assumed that being in relationship is as (unconsciously) natural as breathing?

Throughout traditional primary school, children are taught the basics: reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic. Where in that curriculum is the fourth “R”… for relationships?

Merriam-Webster defines relationship (noun): the way in which two or more people, groups, countries, etc., talk to, behave toward and deal with each other

b: a romantic or sexual friendship between two people

c: the way in which two or more people or things are connected

Oftentimes folks identify with the second definition and because of their single status will decline being in relationships. Not true! At any given moment, you are in relationship with your mother, sister, co-worker, barista, dog and planet. Mindful connection with non-romantic people and groups gets neglected, as well as dealings with unfamiliar people. It is time for humanity to wake up to their existence on this planet and be conscious of the effects their speaking and behavior has on the collective.

Imagine a soap bubble floating about the atmosphere. Put yourself in that bubble. In the instant that you engage with another human being, your bubbles merge into one. The membrane that surrounds you is fragile and at risk of being damaged by harsh words and actions. Co-existing in the bubble requires being aware and intentional of who or what shares that space with you.

Moving beyond pairs, families and groups who come together for a meal or meeting share one large bubble. If two individuals of the entity are at odds with each other, that energy is felt in the group. The shared space can become filled with a sense of heaviness to the extent that it is toxic to others, affecting the communal experience.

Individual leaders of countries at war seem to make choices from a desire for personal satisfaction without considering the consequences to the community whom he shares the land with. And the land that endures the destruction is part of a planet. Mother Earth is one large bubble orbiting in the Universe to sustain humanity’s existence. We are all in relationship with Her, therefore a balanced harmonious planet is dependent on healthy relationships.

How do we exist in healthy relationship with others?

As with all goals in life, we know a level of consciousness and intention is required to achieve the necessary growth. Here are five vital practices that can bring forth ease and peace of mind to your most important relationships.

1. Get Present

Self-awareness. Notice the sensations in your body and the thoughts in your mind. Are you anxious? Are you blaming? Once dialed in, you have the opportunity to choose a conscious response, as opposed to a knee jerk reaction.

Habits form in the brain as neuronal patterns. This grooved in process allows for someone to easily perform actions on autopilot. When dealing with misunderstandings and conflict with another person, this is not a good thing. Being fully present to the situation can make a big difference in moving through or preventing upsets.

2. Stop Making Up Stories

Be curious, not judgmental. Deal with the what’s so. Hear the purity of the words and see the true actions. It is easy to color a situation with personal experiences and beliefs that likely do not match the person you are engaging with.

Inaccurate interpretations muddy up the experience. When in those uncomfortable places, look at the problems or conflict from a different perspective, keep them distinct and separate from the person.

3. Straight Talk

Communicate with transparency. Ask questions to get clarity. Be authentic. Devoting energy in an attempt to control how another will respond or feel only brings additional clutter to the interaction. Your vulnerability can free up another to reciprocate.

4. Integrity

Follow the Golden Rule: treat others the way you desire to be treated. Honor your word. Your higher self is talking… are you listening?

5. Compassion

We’re all human for Pete’s sake! Practice forgiveness of others and yourself. Having gratitude for the goodness in your life rather than focusing on what’s not working is the experience of forgiveness. View the situation and engage with another from a place of love.

Now you have an idea—beyond survival mode—of what it truly means to be in relationship.

These practices in acute self-awareness lead to a new level of being with others. As individuals experience this awakening, through these simple practices, there is no longer the need to abstain from being in relationships. Fears are released and empowerment flows freely that then extends to the evolution of society. By creating flourishing relationships, we positively transform every social structure on the planet.

2018, December

What Women Need to Know About Male Enlightenment

As a woman blossoming on her path, I surround myself with other women on the same journey. We go inside ourselves to clear the clutter so we can further expand our consciousness; to know more and to love more. During this growth process it’s natural to desire that others join us on this beautiful journey because it is what we have always done. Within our history are stories that tell of women coming together in tribes, red tents and clans. These women connected and supported one another through life’s tribulations.

On the flip side, what stories are told of men? Traditionally they are tales of thrones, battles and other acts of machismo. Men participate in acts of competition more often than those of collaboration. They fight off life’s adversities to avoid feeling what is required to go through them.

It is known that in our essence, we are the same, divinely sourced by love. When comparing the two sexes through evolution, doesn’t it seem as if men have traveled further from our Source? Time and space have shaped both sexes over the millennia into that which we are today. The history, both divine and circumstantial, lives in us at a cellular level. It cannot be denied.

As of late, more and more people are waking up to notice the earth’s state of dis-ease and choosing personal transformation with the intention of changing the trajectory of our fate. It could be said that women have had a head start in this current shift toward harmony. We are blessed that those before us did not stray far from Source. From that perspective, why are enlightened women insisting on sharing life with a man living “at the same level” as she? Is that even realistic?

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Jim Sharon, Ed.D., who is a licensed psychologist, counselor and relationship coach. Dr. Sharon compiled and edited Ordinary Men, Extraordinary Lives: Defining Moments, 40 transparent stories of transformational events in the authors’ lives. He was also the founder and coordinator of Whole Man Expo, an annual event held in the Denver area to foster enlightened masculinity. And, most recently, Dr. Sharon and his wife wrote Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship (to learn more about Dr. Sharon and his work, you can visit his website here).

In my time with Jim, I very much felt his intuitiveness and was eager to get into the heads and hearts of the male species… enlightened or not. Our conversation began with an agreed upon acknowledgment: both men and women are unified through love and men have more layers to move through during their evolutionary process.

He communicated that men under the age of 30 are more inclined to be in touch with their spirituality, which is proof that the shift is indeed in motion. He also indicated that men in their 60s and 70s are mellowing out. So, for the ladies looking for the enlightened man, there are the pools to fish from, I’m kidding! We can’t leave three decades of men in the dust. Besides, there are so many of them working on “being softer.”

That is the point, ladies. Men and women alike are at different places along the path. And for those of us who are further along, we are not exempt from displaying compassion and love. Notice I used the word “display.” That’s a verb, an action word. I see so many women expressing (from their hearts) compassion or others and that’s where it ends. It is slowing the planetary shift toward harmony. As evolved women, leaders on the path, I feel it is our obligation to turn around and extend the proverbial hand of love. Of course, the person you are reaching to must be willing to receive your gift.

Dr. Sharon revealed the hurdles men are confronted by when a woman offers her light to him. They do not want to appear weak or helpless. Men resist surrendering themselves. Now before judging, remember this behavior is in their nature just as nurturing is our instinct. Men have been warriors since the beginning of time. Imagine the reprogramming that is and has been taking place. It is undeniable that both patience and acceptance are required at this current time in history.

Ladies, you know the depth and width of your power. Be aware of how it must occur for a man. Jim shared that when he first met his wife, he declared, “Women are oceanic!” That resonated with me. Yes, we areJust as we expect men with power to be responsible with it, so must we. While not designed for destruction, our being and love are potent! As we expand, let us be mindful of who energetically gets pulled in and possibly even neglected. If there is a primary man in your life, throw him a life preserver. Of course, it is important the fella sets aside his ego and grabs hold.

“Mutual accommodation” is Jim’s advice for the woman seeking the enlightened man. Be willing to take down your walls, be vulnerable and invite him to do the same. Discard the male key attributes checklist from which you measure because he can sense your discernment. Allow him to show up in all his messy manliness. Permit yourself to show up in your fickle feminine loving light. Both sexes must be flexible and move with the flow of the Universe. Resisting the dance of exploration and discovery only complicates and prevents the evolutionary process.

When women and men alike can authentically show up exactly as they are and where they are on the path and be accepted, we can more precisely aim for a peaceful and harmonious planet. Two is better than one. There is no “I” in team. We must end the fears around deeply connecting with another. Thriving relationships are necessary for our success as humans. Who are the men, once rejected, you are now willing to allow back into your heart?

2018, November

Our Sensitive Couple

In the early days of our couple, I would have compared my overall sensitivity to that of rubber. This particular material is solid, yet not obvious like stone. Thick skinned might paint a clearer picture.

My husband, on the other hand, was completely the opposite, especially in response to my communications. Growing up a quiet, suppressed child, it was only a matter of time before I broke out of that cage and practiced speaking my mind. I’ll admit the pendulum had swung too far in the opposite direction and when I met Thomas it was still in the process of swinging back down to a sensible level.

For years, I examined our fights and discovered the sequence of events leading up to the tipping of the apple cart. Thomas would do something objectionable, in my opinion, motivating me to immediately communicate my dissatisfaction. Because isn’t communication a healthy practice in relationships? Some may have labeled it nagging, but from where I stood, the intention was to prevent future repeat offenses. Looking back, I can see how it may have landed for him as being parented by his partner.

After doing the work to uncover my femininity from the rubber coating, I was able to witness my negative habitual communication patterns and practice zipping my lips. Unfortunately, Thomas continued to react as if I were delivering a debilitating verbal lashing. How could this be? I had softened in my approach and only spoke what was truly necessary in moments of disagreement. It was as if he was still stuck hearing me based on our past exchanges.

The educated female coach that I am tried to explain this phenomenon to him and it only resulted in him feeling blamed. In my defense, my desire was to eliminate his over-the-top reactions anytime I expressed even a minor moment of dissatisfaction to him. Surely, if he was aware of the intensity, he could practice toning down his expressions. At some point, I started to call them emotional shit shows. Even when I was at my calmest and committed to having a rational discussion, he would go off the deep end. Widened eyes, increased energy, misplaced defensiveness … that all lead to yelling. No amount of research helped me figure this one out and I could not believe my man was bi-polar.

It wasn’t until early this year, after discovering the work of William Dodson, M.D., when I caught the break I was looking for. He introduced rejection sensitive dysphoria to the ADHD community. RSD is “an extreme emotional sensitivity and emotional pain triggered by the perception – not necessarily the reality – that a person has been rejected, teased, or criticized by important people in their life. RSD may also be triggered by a sense of failure, or falling short – failing to meet either their own high standards or others’ expectations.” Bingo! (Here is Dr. Dodson’s article about it in ADDitude Magazine.)

With this new information to explain his behavior, I have space to witness my own level of intense reaction to his activation. What’s that about? The inquiry is still in motion with a few theories about where the healing can happen within me. Oftentimes, with ADHD, the solution to the “problem” is medication. My intention with this particular speed bump is to be such that I can gracefully dance with his RSD when it arises, as well as be adept with the triggers.

Stay tuned as I report on our progress!

2018, October

Being Married to ADHD

Thomas and I met in 2009 and the most attractive things about him were his handsome charm and the depth of his emotions. To hear him share freely about his passions was so captivating. The man wholeheartedly loved his children, his customers, his friends, a random store clerk and any person who crossed his path. As a woman with my history, it was a gift to be included in his heart space, even if just platonically.

Over time, our friendship blossomed into a full-fledged romantic couple, complete with highs and lows. The intensity of the highs was unlike anything I had ever experienced … and I liked it! Unfortunately, in a universe of polarity, the lows were just as dramatic … and it sucked! It never really occurred to me that something might be going on “behind the scenes” until a few years into our relationship Thomas shared about his ADHD diagnosis from before having met me.

Like most folks, I visualized a little boy who couldn’t sit still or pay attention. That didn’t fit the man I knew, so I turned to the Internet and books. In 2012, I learned what I learned and it helped some. Getting Thomas reunited with his Adderall prescription became the first order of business (not knowing all there was to know about this drug). His experience was that it helped to slow down the thoughts in his brain, yet neither of us saw that it was also exaggerating his anger.

It didn’t reduce our intense fighting, though, which was the toughest part about being in relationship with him. I was training as a relationship coach and learning tools for us to use when in conflict. He agreed the practices could be useful, but when conflict came around, they all went out the window. In those years, I was a dirty, fiercely angry fighter who didn’t see there was a problem with my “authentic self-expression.” Based on Thomas’ past, the last thing this man would do was allow yet another woman to defeat him. Naturally, as a survivor, he would do what had to be done to win the fight.

After coach training, the topic of divine feminine energy came on to my radar. This is where I discovered how misaligned I was, as a woman, when I behaved like a distorted, angry man. New tools kept me grounded in my divine feminine space that allowed Thomas to stay longer in his divine masculine. Unfortunately, life stressors continued to get in the way of our flow and I forgot many of the things I loved about my man. To avoid triggering either of us into a negative state, I learned the art of walking on eggshells and biting my tongue. Obviously, these behaviors were connection killers.

Early in 2018, I was introduced to the work of Dr. William Dodson, who has specialized in adults with ADHD since 1994. He discovered that current textbook description of the symptoms – inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness – fails to capture the essence of this type of nervous system. Instead, there are three defining features of ADHD that explain every aspect of the condition:

  1.  an interest-based nervous system
  2. emotional hyperarousal
  3. rejection sensitivity

Those nuggets of information, and all that is contained within, opened a whole new world for us. (So that I don’t have to try to explain all of this myself, this article does it best.) Being part of the 90% of humans who are considered neurotypical and assume everyone’s brain functions the same, I was neglecting the other 10%, who have an ADHD nervous system. I was guilty of trying to “fix” my husband’s brain so it would function like mine.

With a new perspective to view my husband from, so much has shifted! I was able to comprehend why he did what he did, rather than just telling myself, “His brain is different and needs corrected.” Finally, I am able to combine my relationship tools with my divine feminine practices and effectively engage with this man! Certainly, I have not mastered it, yet we come out of the deep valleys so much quicker. Unfortunately, his intense emotional reactions still activate my emotional pain body and it has now become a signal for me to move toward self-healing.

Being part of a society that supports disposable relationships, I still find myself being drawn to the dark divorce conversation despite knowing I’m in survival mode. Thankfully, we’ve worked so hard to create a deep root system in our couple, I eventually return to the light and full knowing of who we are authentically for each other. Our love is true and real, and together we are extraordinary.