Some friends and I were watching a dance performance at the Boulder Theater when a friend-of-a-friend arrived. During an intermission, she began to talk about her recent breakup, and the texts she was now sending him that he wasn’t replying to.
“I told him he was beautiful, and he didn’t say anything. All I need is a ‘thank you.’ Just a ‘thank you.'”
She proceeded to mention a couple of other messages she was “needing” replies from.
When she said it, it knocked me back to the person I am when I say things like this, which is a self that doesn’t quite feel like my full Self. It’s something I’m acutely aware of, and it inspires me to write about how we can start conversations that empower us—even if we never get a response to what we’re expressing.
When we have something to express, how can we communicate what’s truly in our heart?
Often, if we think we need a specific thing in return, it means that we are communicating from a state of lack—that we’re waiting for a response or reaction to fill us up or help us decide what to feel. To need in this way can feel very disempowering.
Arrived here after Valentine’s Day 2016 and missed out on the sale? No sweat! You can get still The Relationship Vitalizer workbook (same content, repurposed for all your special holiday and anniversary needs) for $18 here.
Valentine’s Day is often regarded as a Hallmark holiday or something to be eye-rolled at or made fun of.
It’s also sometimes filled with pressure for one partner, and filled with anxiety and expectation for the other—or worse, both, for both partners. Ugh!
But, what if it didn’t have to be this way?
What if we could use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity and invitation to go deeper in our relationships—without spending tons of money on a fancy night out?
The workbook is laid out in the following sections:
Intro, Setup & Preparation
Step 1: Inquiry
Step 2: Expression
Step 3: Reverence
References for Diving Deeper
Part ritual and part deep-dive exercises, you’ll explore inward first, then play with what you’ve found with your partner in a safe space, then come together in intention-setting and celebration!
This 2016 workbook will only be available for 72 hours—from midnight PST on Feb. 11 until midnight PST on Feb. 14—so if you want it, name your fair price and jump on it!
Got questions? I have answers!
Where did you source the exercises in the workbook from?
From my own experience with my partner, Tony, and from the inspired memory files of all the amazing books we’ve read and the people we’ve talked to. Special thanks to Andy & Libby, Gay & Kathlyn, Gaby & Raj, Alexi & Preston, and Amber & Farhad. You inspire us so much.
How long will the exercises take?
I recommend allotting an hour for them—perhaps after a fabulous homemade dinner on VDay, or before heading out to go dancing together? You might want to allow two hours if you really want to take your time with it (or add some champagne while you’re doing it).
Do we have to do this specifically on Valentine’s Day?
Certainly not! While you’ll want to make sure you grab it before midnight on Valentine’s Day, you can use it whenever. This is a fabulous exercise to do on an anniversary, as a quarterly or monthly check-in, or just because. It’s never a bad time to deepen your bond.
Can I do this without a partner?
Yes, you can. Some of the questions might not apply if you’re doing it solo, but honestly, you can do these with a close friend whom you’d like to invite to support you (and you, them) in greater expansion and aliveness.
Is this a religious thing?
No. The questions are meant to help you go deeper with yourself and your partner and could be viewed as “spiritual” in nature, so be prepared for that.
Will this make me uncomfortable?
Some might call the questions a bit “confronting,” but at the same time, you won’t find: “What’s something you’ve been hiding that you don’t want to share? Now tell me!” either. On the confronting scale: If that question is a 10, and “What’s your favorite flower?” is a 1, these exercises are at a 6 or 7. And remember: You never have to divulge anything you don’t want to, to anyone. Repeat after me: Empowerment and boundaries!
Why is the workbook only available for 72 hours?
I wanted to make this purely a Valentine’s Day offering. Plus, the number 72 is a uniquely human and embodied number—it is both the average number of heartbeats per minute for a resting adult and the percentage of water of which the human body is composed. Neat!
When will I receive the workbook?
Nevermind the pre-order time Gumroad says (a technical glitch is happening). You will definitely receive this in your inbox at 11:59 p.m. PST (or even earlier!) on Thursday, Feb. 11. You can count on it!
Good news, guys! Since my video I published last week, I’ve learned some bare-bones basic techniques in Final Cut Pro, so this video has way less “ums” than it originally did.
If you don’t really believe me since there are still enough “ums” in it to make a drinking game, that’s fine. (I recommend Spanish cider, since it’s 4% ABV. Have fun!)
But really, this post is very meaningful to me.
In this video, I show how I made an Argument Diffuser Box for my relationship—and how you can easily make one too from materials you probably have lying around the house (and if you don’t, I’ve included where you can find some pretty ones below).
The Argument Diffuser Box is filled with decorated mini-exercises, all rolled up and tied with twine, designed to be plucked from their home when in the midst of a fight or heated discussion.
I authored all of the cards and exercises myself, but a lot of them were inspired from some of my favorite books (listed below the video) on intentional partnership.
The cards are fun and light-hearted, and inspire you to get out of your lizard brain and back into love, play and affection.
I explain much more about them in the video. Enjoy!
Now: Make Your Own!
For the box:
I used a mini-suitcase from a teddy bear my boyfriend gave me a long time ago that I saved because I had a feeling it could be re-used. :) But here are some great ones if you want to go ahead and make it look extra pretty and intentional:
It would be really fun and nerdy to hide them in a book box.
For the notes (cards + writing):
I had some blank business cards from Muji that I hadn’t used, so I stuck with a brown, rustic, natural motif for the entire thing and drew some colorful designs inside the cards. If you want to make things more colorful or cute:
Books I Mention (Also My Top 5 Relationship Books):
Conscious Loving (check out my interview with the co-author, Kathlyn Hendricks): My relationship Bible, every page has dozens of nuggets to it. This has helped me build a solid foundation of trust and vulnerability in my relationship and I honestly think it should be required reading for everyone.
Hell, I do not want to post this video, right now.
Ugh! Cringe! Blarg!
It all goes through my head:
“Stop saying ‘um,’ stop playing with your hair, stop saying ‘like,’ why are you so bad at explaining things to a camera…”
I still can’t decide if I absolutely hate filming videos and I shouldn’t do it, or if this means I should dive into it and two years from now I’ll be like: “Wow, I’ve come so far! Look at me on my come-so-far throne!”
I don’t know. But, I’ve got to try. I feel pulled to try.
My word for 2016, since words are a thing now and I like words, is ENGAGE. I want to feel engaged, alive, present in everything I’m doing—whether that’s reading The New Yorker in my bathtub, or speaking at a conference. I want to be there, embodying whatever serves in the alchemy of the moment.
So, this video is where I explain what I have planned for 2016 for Live All of You (the first half of 2016 at least, apparently, according to Socially Awkward Video Amy). I actually am really excited to refresh my site, continue sharing more, and do it all from love.
So, cheers to that. No really, cheers, I need a drink.
Like this video? That makes one of us! Feel free to subscribe or like it at the bottom via YouTube. Thanks for still being my friend after watching!
The most savored Thanksgiving experience I ever had was in Boulder, completely unexpected.
My friends Julie and Chanel took me up into the mountains to a friend’s house. It had sweeping windows, vistas of snow caps from every angle. A very long table was set up on the ground, and we were all invited to sit around it on cushions.
And what I remember most about it was the intention.
There was plenty of food, but there wasn’t this rush to eat it. It was there on our plates, and we were all invited—all 20+ of us—to give thanks before we ate. There was live music, a beautiful singer and guitarist, who played a tune I had stuck in my head for months afterward.
Mainly, there was a softness, a quiet reverence that I loved about it. And after we ate, we stayed talking and drinking, sharing and making new friends.
This one Thanksgiving gave me a greater appreciation for what the holidays can be—if we let them.
This year, I’ll be at 2-3 different Thanksgiving celebrations on the East Coast. And what I desire most right now is connecting to others on a deeper level. This means more than going around the table and half-heartedly blurting out something I’m thankful for.
I want space for honesty. I want space for someone to be so honest that they might say: “You know, I’m really not feeling a lot of gratitude in my life right now” and for that to be welcomed, felt and loved. And then, if they like, explored in a group setting.
And so I have some questions for you that you might like to ask in your own gathering. These questions are sourced with 100% gratitude from the If: Gathering, touched with a dash of my own flavor.
These can be asked all at once at a dinner gathering, or perhaps if you’re with loved ones for a few days this holiday season, you can ask the first one or two at lighter-feeling times and the other two at more intimate times.
1) What are the easy, uncomplicated things that you’re thankful for this season?
2) What are some of the more unexpected or surprising gifts you’ve received this past year?
3) Even in the midst of gratitude, is there something you’re longing for?
4) What might the Divine be inviting you to learn through this longing?
Please, if you use any of these and would like to share with me the results—I’d always love to hear it.