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.
As I mentioned in my last interview with Sara Avant Stover, October is Boulder, Colorado month. The Live All of You interviews featured during this month are all with people who call Boulder home—just like I do.
Jayson Gaddis is a breakthrough marriage and relationship teacher for smart, successful people. He helps get people the relationship results they want—fast—and only works with the most motivated of individuals and couples who really want to change their patterns for good. He is also the host of the Smart Couple Podcast.
Outside on his lovely balcony in Boulder, we talked about the value of moving toward our pain, how relationship can help us understand ourselves, and the real value of our stories.
As I was purchasing the Kindle version of Big Magic today (note: everything Elizabeth Gilbert writes/says/does should be on an artist’s priority list of conscious consumption), I realized I hadn’t written about my own list of books that have changed my life.
So with no further adieu, here they are!
These books have completely helped me upgrade my communication, relationships, business and health in the last few years, and I’m super grateful for them.
For the solopreneur, the inspired creative, and oh right everyone who’s coming to WDS—you might, like me, be wondering what to bring. Business cards? Obvious (actually, where are mine… ::opens moo.com::). Notebooks? Check. Pens? Yup.
But, what could you be forgetting? What object lying on your bedroom floor will haunt you on the airplane, personifying itself in your head and chastising you for your forgetfulness?
(No one else has an inner critic that intense? Ok, I digress.)
Let me help.
Here’s the heat I’m packin’—plus, I asked WDS alumni the #1 must-have they brought in prior years. Take it or leave it (but at least leave it intentionally).