Tag Archives: relationships

Stuck In A Suffering-Healing Cycle? Here’s What’s Really Going On

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I advocate for taking 100% responsibility for our realities and relationships.

However, this belief has sometimes had the interesting effect of causing me to accept behavior that feels truly emotionally abusive and narcissistic.

In fact, these “spiritual” beliefs, when misunderstood, can actually disempower people and encourage them to stay in relationships that are unhealthy.

Our “conscious” wisdom tells us we should stay in partnerships that trigger us because they are good for us.

Because through them we can heal our primary caretaker wounds, our attachment issues, our childhood traumas, our [insert your favorite self-help term here].

Because we should be able to accept and love what’s showing up for us, and if not, well—we’re not “doing our work.”

(But wait—don’t say “should!”)

I am here to say: Fuck. That.

Elizabeth DiAlto speaks to this more eloquently when she distinguishes between resistance vs. dissonance.

“In the self-help and personal development world, there is so much emphasis on owning your side of things, noticing your triggers, etc. And we sometimes internalize and put pressure on ourselves to get okay with things or to lean into things that just simply aren’t healthy for us. And we override knowing better for ourselves,” she says.

“Whereas resistance begs inquiry, dissonance does not. Dissonance says: ‘not for you, move on.’ When something is healthy for you, it’s useful or productive in some way. Which means in no way is it punishing, self-sacrificial nor does it constantly trigger you into coping or dissociative behavior.”

So, guess what.

You don’t have to suffer to heal your issues.

Hardship? Sure.

Feeling and inquiring into your pain? Of course.

Conflict that results in discovery and deepening and doesn’t diminish your light and life? Yes!

But, staying in continual patterns of suffering to “heal your wounds” is simply another form of self-punishment.

This can be threaded back to unhealthy societal patterns we learned through religion, our parents, instilled “martyr” syndrome, etc.

You might think you’re being super spiritual and strong, but you’re actually buying into the same Type-A, aggressive, overly masculinized culture we were raised in—your ego has just tricked you to think it’s for the sake of “evolution.”

It’s a trap.

You don’t have to suffer to heal your issues.

Unless you believe that you do.

Then, fuck. You definitely do.

P.S. This is something I have to relearn over and over again. Sending you hugs if you’re in it. 💜 Let me know if I can help get you out of it.

The Key to Feeling Empowered in Conversation (Even If It’s One-Sided)

world connection

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.

Continue reading The Key to Feeling Empowered in Conversation (Even If It’s One-Sided)

Ladies: We Need to Stop Relating This Way

women talking

I’m eating lunch at a delicious ramen noodle place in Denver (so trendy), and I overhear a woman talking to her two female friends about a breakup.

“I just put his stuff outside the house. And, of course I couldn’t do it without tequila.”

They sighed knowingly.

Then, an interesting thing happened. The other two women started taking turns offering up something their husbands do that they despise.

“Ryan plays video games for an hour after work and I’m like, can I have the TV back please?”

“Totally! Mark does that with football and I can’t stand it.”

Ladies—we need to stop relating this way.

Continue reading Ladies: We Need to Stop Relating This Way

Here’s How to Make Valentine’s Day Not Lame

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?

This question prompted me to create The 2016 Valentine’s Day Relationship Vitalizer workbook for you.

Name your price for it here!

IMG_2871

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!

IMG_2870

IMPORTANT:

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!

IMG_2868

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).

IMG_2872

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!

IMG_2869

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!

Name your fair price here and grab it now!

Special thanks to Wonder in Boulder for not minding me using their space as a beautiful backdrop for these photos. :)



How to Make an Argument Diffuser Box for Your Relationship

IMG_1983

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).

IMG_1984

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:

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:

For the wrapping:

At first I thought about just folding the cards up, and then realized that was the most boring thought I’d ever had. Tie them up in style!

Show Notes

Books I Mention (Also My Top 5 Relationship Books):
Also:
  • Sorry my apartment is messy! Tony and I just moved in together and we’re working out storage issues. :)
  • By “epitaph” I meant “epigraph,” and that’s why I’m a writer, not a pronouncer.
  • I’d love to have a Conscious Partnership Development chat with you, anytime.
  • What do you think of my box? Want one? Let me know in a comment!

The Holidays With Loved Ones: 15 More Questions Worth Asking at The Table

image1

Since my last post, Thanksgiving and Gratitude: Four Real Questions Worth Asking at The Table, turned out to be wildly popular, I decided to post more questions to help you go deeper with your loved ones during the holidays (or any time!).

It is my belief that through self-inquiry and self-expression—in both solitude and community—we can learn to thrive as our whole selves in the world.

Here are 15 questions to help you do that.

Of them, some are sourced from the If: Gathering and spiced with my own flavor, and some are purely from my own inspiration.

Enjoy!

1) If we could pull up one more chair at the table, who would you invite? Why?
2) What is one thing we don’t know about you that you hold sacred?
3) What is trying to be born through you?
4) What are you learning about yourself right now?
5) What are some words that you want to describe this season of your life?
6) Tell a story about an answered prayer or desire that felt magical to you.
7) What makes it easier for you to connect to the Divine?
8) What is one thing that keeps you from being truly authentic with others?
9) What are you believing right now that you know isn’t true?
10) What is one area of your life where you need more strength and support?
11) Share a time when someone else’s honesty gave you permission to be honest.
12) What are you avoiding right now that is important to you?
13) What one thing in your life do you feel like quitting?
14) How have you loved someone in the details of their life lately?
15) What’s one thing you sense the Divine is asking you to do?

image4

How Jayson Gaddis Lives All of Him: On Relationship As a Vehicle for Self-Knowledge

jaysongaddis_intropic_big

This is part of the Live All of You Interview Series! For more on what this is all about, head over to the intro post and make sure to sign up to find out who I’ll be interviewing next.

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.

Let’s hear from him.

Continue reading How Jayson Gaddis Lives All of Him: On Relationship As a Vehicle for Self-Knowledge

The 12 Nonfiction Books That Have Changed How I Live In the World

12 nonfiction books image

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.

Continue reading The 12 Nonfiction Books That Have Changed How I Live In the World