What I am going to share in no way negates women pressing on to live their lives as they see fit-
to be paid for the job they are doing (versus their gender), to follow their passion, or have options.
But, let's talk about where men have found themselves while women have been "finding" themselves.
I am a product of the first generation that was told we could do it all, and have it all.
While I was intrinsically not a career woman, I was always intrigued by the gifts God gave me,
and pursued them. However, quite honestly, my real dream was to be married,
have children and support my partner. Ideally, that would have been someone
who also embraced my dream to be a stay at home mom.
I never believed that having this perspective, I was holding back the progression of women
in the workplace or on the planet. Rather, I believed and still do, that
true freedom for anyone in any way comes from having the option
to follow your dream for the vision of your life. To be exactly who you are.
When I married my ex-husband, I was 25 years old.
I supported his career and promotions, including our six moves in six years to four different states.
I handled all the details of our life together, rehabbing all of our properties,
and caring for my sweet stepson.
I was already an enigma in the 1980's.
When I attended social events, (especially related to my ex-husband's job), I was often asked
by women from his office, "What do you do?". And when I answered, I watched a
returned expression with a cocked eyebrow, followed by the question: "Aren't you bored?"
On the other hand, it was my belief during this time that while my ex-husband loved his job
and was great at putting a roof over our head, he should also come home
from work, share his feelings and plant flowers with me.
And, more importantly, that not doing so was a shortcomming.
Somehow in this lost paradigm of roles, we found ourselves
not balancing one another out, but having to be all things.
And in that, some piece of the women's movement towards equality,
eventually over time seemed to leave men without the same respect that women were demanding.
Television today often portrays men as weak, as not having an understanding, as doing dumb and wrong
things, as taking too much energy, and as someone to walk away from in empowerment.
As someone truly not needed.
This is not a projection, it is a reflection. And it crept in when we weren't looking.
In some paralleled way, it reminds me of the same way television used to portray women.
And men don't speak up the same way about it, until asked.
Today, many men don't know if they should reach out, hold back, open a door, or pick up a dinner tab.
They are confused. They crave "relationship" and closeness as much as women do, if not more.
After talking to single men in the dating pool, I was taken back how many men shared
that they were waiting for a woman to make the first move- or that they were assuming that if
she didn't do so, she wasn't interested. And, that they were afraid that if they did make the first
move, they might be seen in a negative light or accused of crossing a boundary.
Men in partnership, on the other hand, at times report the experience of not knowing how to please
or live up to a redefined expectation, or feel under-appreciated for what used to be viewed
as positive qualiites.
Are men quietly finding themselves in the same place women were decades ago?
And just because women can do the same things as men,
has that started to translate into not needing them or celebrating our differences?
We are, in fact "equal"...but we are not "identical".
It's the gift of balance.
And, what I believe God intended.
the power behind triggers.
By the time many couples reach out to a counselor or relationship coach, they have typically tried
for an extended period of time to find answers on their own.
Without resolution, they are frustrated and overwhelmed,
having no idea how to manage whatever stands in the way of more balanced times.
Eventually, they may even grow to believe their relationship is "broken", and cannot be "fixed".
When I have the opportunity to work with a couple whose relationship is in that place,
I do not see it as broken, but rather that the papertrail they each brought into the relationship,
has yet to be clearly exposed.
Whether it's triggers, dynamics or patterns, they can be difficult to see on our own.
No matter how clear we are, or how much instrospective work we have done in the past,
we often need someone outside of ourselves to offer a fresh perspective.
I am always fascinated how God and this grand universe bring couples together who ironically
trigger the exact thing in their partner that needs healing. When the opportunity presents itself to
shed light on those triggers, huge shifts can occur.
Triggers are almost always from the past. They have a lot of energy, and can cause us to
react versus respond in a disagreement. The issues get lost in the layers of triggering back and forth,
until suddenly the argument goes ballistic and takes the opposite direction of resolution.
It isn't ideally productive to spend time peeling away all the layers of an argument, until the triggers are identified. Triggers have the ability to consume an argument if they are allowed to continue without insight.
To see them for what they are, is to let the "air out of the balloon".
Without understanding the power behind these thoughts and experiences, they can dominate, and the relationship ultimately takes the hit. To hear from a partner where their trigger stems,
is to understand them in a way that no one else does.
And, to cross share from this place and provide a safe haven for that,
brings a couple together in a closeness that is hard to achieve any other way.
This process does not take years, or dozens of conversations. It takes humbly showing up to hold an honest convesation. Being willing to acknowledge the connection from the past, and embracing it instead of
trying to hide it is the secret.
You are not alone. We all have a past, and we all have triggers. To give them light is to disempower them. To keep them hidden until you are triggered is to give them power. And, while we may learn about them or visit them when we are single, guaranteed, they will always arise when we are in relationship to another person, especially intimately.
Looking at triggers and arguments as a broken relationship can be such a loss. They are an opportunity
that has presented itself like pieces to a puzzle, in order to heal together and better understand one another. From there, arguments are more able to stay in the present, which is always a calmer, more grounded
place to voice your opinion and therefore be heard.
In my practice, I am absolutely passionate about triggers, dynamics and patterns. By simply seeing, acknowledging, embracing and practicing, immediate shifts can occur, and partners can grow closer. Triggers normally have a deep history, so this doesn't happen overnight, but like any good new habit, it can be learned through awareness and practice.
And when we take a step backwards, the miracle words are:
"I am sorry" or "that sits on my side of the fence",
And with that, you start again.
Practice creates a new pattern of "being" in relationship to and with your loved one.
My mother said these words to me all my life: "Every church is a house of God- and if you ever enter one where someone uses God's name in relation to guilt or shame- you have my permission to walk out."
And so, I have.
Her idea of God, was all knowing, all loving, all forgiving.
I have a number of clients who initially come to me for various reasons,
but whom share their disconnect to a higher power and/or God.
It is often because of an experience or injustice, abuse or hypocrisy.
Losing our relationship with God or our higher power while going through something painful
creates the greatest loss of all.
If someone asks me about that missing piece of their life, I suggest to them that
they simply start talking to God... in the forest, by the water, before they close
their eyes at night. And, to keep talking until they feel heard and answered.
When someone connects on that level, no one can ever take that relationship away.
That relationship belongs only between them. It is personal.
We are experiencing difficult times now. Ironically, those are always the best opportunities
to remind ourselves that true peace can exist in finding our connection
to the creator of our grand universe.
While I do not guide or judge anyone regarding their personal beliefs, I believe it is an empirical
truth that to not believe in something or someone greater than ourselves,
makes it difficult to have perspective on all else.
Within all life experience can be the opportunity for clarity, vision, change, and evolution.
To see it that way, is to view all things - even the most challenging, as part of a bigger picture.
I too struggle each day on this planet right along with everyone else.
My beliefs don't magically take that away-
But when I enter the woods, or take a bike ride, the beauty that fills my heart, reminds me of all
that I am grateful for. All that is "right" in the world.
And that is where hope and faith live. In the gratitude of my heart.
I have seen miracles. I know that they don't come from me. All things truly are in fact, possible.
Things generally become polarized in the face of fear...of challenge...of loss.
But in the midst of all that we face today, still lives "the light". Hope, faith, love... & joy. -D
A life lesson...from my dog.
This is my dog Zoey. She is a rescue...deaf- dicey vision at best...
She was beaten with sticks (which I found out by walking her on the beach,
picking up a piece of driftwood and having her escape out of a harness in fear)-
chases cars and reflections...
And, I believe she may have been tethered, because she still will eat things that would
poison any other creature, but if she finds it first,
it's impossible to get it out of her mouth.
Zoey steals my socks if they drop out of the dryer,
swipes my dishtowel if I leave it on the sink...pulls the towels out of the basket in my bath...
And, if I'm on the phone,
she takes her bed cover, drags it into the living room and chews on it until I come.
We take long walks together almost every day-
And, she sleeps at the foot of my desk and next to my bed.
Lately my schedule has been rather hectic.
However, she falls sweetly into the rhythm of life's changes with me-
whether it's the hurricane, a move, or being gone most of the day for appointments and work.
I can leave her for hours and she will just curl up and snore in bliss.
Yesterday was my day off. I had a barre class, an appointment, errands...
I left at 8:30, was home by 3- ate, walked her and had to leave again.
I got home at 10. I took her out to pee, gave her a treat and put her back to bed.
She started to fake bark (to talk to me), and then real bark (which she never does).
I got up- thought she might be thirsty or have to go outside again-nothing.
I sat on the floor, and signed for her to come to me.
She started to play (which in an apartment is not a good thing at 10:30).
I opened my arms again and she came to me.
She literally nestled her head in between my shoulder and face, and as I embraced her,
I rubbed her body up and down, while she moaned in a sigh of contentment-
the same way I do when my body is sore and I get a good massage.
We did this for a few minutes- literally hugging one another.
Then I gave her a treat, put her back to bed and she went right to sleep.
I crawled back into bed with the insight that just because we are in the same space and sharing
the same walk doesn't mean that she doesn't need to be pet, stroked, held, touched.
I reflected on a time down south when my dear friend's husband used
to cross the lawn at church to give me a hug.
She would stand next to him with a big smile on her face as I hugged back.
One day I told them how amazing that hug was to receive.
Because no matter how social I am or how many people I love or who loves me-
living alone meant that some weeks, that was the only hug I'd received.
It was such a gift. It was as if God whispered in their ear.
It continues to amaze me how this dog named Zoey that I rescued from
the shelter- rescues me in so many ways.
Today, another reminder...another lesson that I do not take for granted.
The Fisherman & The Businessman
A Classic Brazilian Story as shared by Paulo Coelho
There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village.
He saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore
having caught quite a few big fish.
The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, "How long does it take you to catch so many fish?"
The fisherman replied, "Oh, just a short while."
"Then why don't you stay longer at sea and catch even more?", the business man asked, astonished.
"This is enough to feed my whole family", the fisherman said.
The businessman then asked, "So what do you do for the rest of the day?"
The fisherman replied, "Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea, catch a few fish,
then go back and play with my kids.
In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife. And, when evening comes,
I join my buddies in the village for a drink. We play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night."
The business man offered a suggestion to the fisherman.
"I have a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person.
From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible.
When you have saved enough money, you can buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish.
Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company,
your own production plant for canned food, and a distribution network.
By then, you will have moved out of this village to Sao Paulo,
where you can set up a HQ to manage your other branches.”.
When the timing is right,
you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange. You will be rich."
The fisherman asks... "And then, after that?"...
The businessman says, "After that, you can finally retire, move to a house by the fishing village,
wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with the kids,
and have a nice afternoon nap with your wife.
When evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink- play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!"
The fisherman puzzled...asked "Isn't that what I am doing now?"....
I recently received an order from Amazon. And, I noticed something different.
Two vendors enclosed small notes.
These kind notes represent something that has been seemingly lost
in the fast moving, computerized, impersonal space we often live and do business in today.
Customer Service. Gratitude for business. Understanding opinion matters.
It was in fact one January years ago, when I made a New Year's Resolution to do business
only with companies that made me feel appreciated as a customer.
Discover and American Express were at the top of the list.
My credit union would be another- and so on.
It made a huge difference in my life,
and gave me a voice.
The Kombucha I drink daily, posts words of enlightenment shared by customers,
and a personal message from the founder who is proud to have his name on each bottle.
I am happy to give him my business.
Today's notes from Amazon vendors included the words
"Thank you...your purchase made my day"..."I hope this package brightens yours".
The fact remains that it does!
These small notes and words of human spirit between us, do make my day-
especially as I balance energy against hold times, computerized voices and lack of customer care.
These notes also invited me to call if there is a problem with their product.
(Aha...finally businesses have figured out that it is the powerlessness of unheard customers
that leads to retribution via negative review posting online).
Slowly there are signs of old-fashioned tried and true practices of kindness and human interaction.
These vendors stand apart and bring balance to a system that is failing.
Amen in 2020 to small companies (and large) who remember that
customer service is the pinnacle of true success.
I shall choose to do business with you.
Years ago I created a board for one of my photography exhibits stating my truth as an introvert:
"I am loneliest in a room full of people".
It is still true today.
However, if you stretch the boundaries of that room out into life- I am not. I am the opposite.
My exhibits were photo-journalistic in nature, and largely built upon the premise that we never know who may live among us- what someone's story is.
We assume there may or may not be any crossovers in our interests, our mindset, the lives we lead.
To open up to the idea that sharing in small pieces, is to live in the present and slow down.
This summer while I was on a bike ride, I saw a woman sitting at the edge of her driveway.
She waved at me and said "I sure would love to visit".
I turned around- (in part because I was worried about her, and in part because I was fascinated).
She is 92- appears ten years younger. She has blonde-grey hair, bright blue eyes, beautiful, taut skin
and rosy cheeks. She is articulate and spirited.
Her husband passed away a few years ago and while both her daughters live locally,
they are busy during the day and she is bored because she can no longer drive.
What I learn from her and am reminded of each time we talk is...
How beautiful it is that she will go out of her way to get her social needs met- and how it actually works.
How fear is not a part of her experience.
How alive, spirited and strong she is, still-
How much she loved her life and her husband...
And, how inspired I am to live life this fully every day.
I write this blog today, because I was reminded again-
when I met three different people while out running errands.
They struck up a conversation in passing- for seemingly insignificant reasons.
But, our exchanges touched each of us in some way.
A woman in a hot pink wool coat, with a Nike cap and Prius, asking about my recycled bags turned into a conversation about Florida, Chicago and the Museum of Art.
We are all so busy- leaving ourselves open to these conversations can seem like a waste of precious time.
But, we never know what they will share that can shift our perceptions, our day, our lives-
It is a moment of divine opportunity.
Next time someone passes you- dare to believe you each have a gift to share with the other.
Even if it's just a smile...and positive energy.
I recently had the privilege of attending this amazing conference.
It was one of the most powerful things I've ever experienced.
It seems that in many ways, we find ourselves "afraid".
We often assume that someone we know has no fear-
Or, not the kind that occasionally or regularly
causes us to question ourselves, and our lives.
As I work with clients, one of the things that continues to amaze me,
is that fear is an "everyone" challenge.
It is what stands in the way of true freedom-
and, it is a reality of being human.
It isn't something we simply rid ourselves of-
it is something to remind ourselves not to give power to...
and, to move beyond.
The day before this conference, I had fear in my heart- in my body-
Fear that was triggered inside of a situation that caused me to question myself,
my passion, my direction- all the things I am most sure of when I'm not in that state of mind.
I prayed deeply that morning- I was in tears- humbling myself for the clarity and strength
to embrace all that I'd trusted just 24 hours earlier.
At times I have heard God's voice so clearly- and in that, been able to hear and trust my own.
But, on this particular day, He would speak to me in a way that was nothing short of miraculous.
I'd decided not to cycle that day, but instead, take a long walk in the woods and by a small lake.
As I left on the trail, I questioned whether or not I needed pure silence, or... inspiration.
I looked at my Youtube playlist.
The very first one, was a famous life coach (Rich Litvin) that I deeply respect and admire.
I felt compelled to listen.
As I began to hear his conversation with another consultant/coach-
it was the exact topic in my own heart. It was as if I was sitting in that chair.
The words that he had for this conflicted consultant/coach were the words I'd told myself
and believed just the day before.
My body immediately felt light-my heart opened, my spirit felt alive with this clarity-
The magic of divine intervention- never to be underestimated.
The unexpected affirmation was as if God was reminding me-
You are not alone;
follow your heart...
trust your inner voice;
Do not give your power away.
This, I believe is an empirical truth for us all.
We need to simply remind ourselves, and be reminded.
To be unafraid.