It’s Not About the Content

Content versus connection Oftentimes when I’m working with clients, their central concern is a desire to discuss issues about work, money, children, or their sex life: aka content What couples often don’t understand is that it is very difficult to talk about any kind of content if you are not connected to each other. Trying to talk about important issues while you’re feeling defended or angry leads to fighting, and the content gets lost. The trick to getting through content together is managing the connection you have with your partner. As soon as you realize that you are disconnecting, try to pause and re-establish how you want to be feeling with each other. I’ve found that this is best done by naming how you want to feel and have your partner feel, not how you don’t want to feel. Securely attached partners know how to get themselves and their partner back to connection when they are feeling disconnected. Sometimes simply holding hands and looking into each other’s eyes without talking for one minute can actually reset your connection. Research has shown that looking into your loved one’s eyes can help release oxytocin (the “love hormone”) which can help you feel more connected, calm, and in love.   Exercise: Self-Inquiry If you find yourself often fighting with your partner around certain content, try this mindfulness exercise: Sit quietly and check in with yourself: How connected are you feeling with your partner right now on a scale of one to ten, with one feeling not connected at all and ten feeling totally connected? What is the content that you were trying to discuss with each other? What creates connection with you and your partner? Is physical touch something that brings you together? Do you like snuggling with each other on the couch or in bed? Does talking about your day hope you feel connected? Do you laugh together about certain topics, and does that laughter help you connect? What about sharing an extracurricular activity? What words could your partner say to you that would help you relax and feel more open? Exercise: With Your Partner  Find a time to chat with your partner about re-establishing connection when you are talking about touchy subjects and feel out of synch. Don’t try to talk to your partner about this while you’re already disconnected and angry, or in the middle of a fight! Find a time when you’re both calm, connected, and on the same team. Once you are sitting together, discuss how to create connection instead of talking about the content. Here are some questions to answer: What can you say that helps your partner feel connected to you? What words or phrases help you want to open up to each other? Does physical touch help when you’re talking about charged topics? When was the last time you felt really connected to each other? What was happening in that situation that helped you to feel connected? Are there activities that you engage in together that help you feel connected? How do you want to feel when you’re talking about these topics together?   Read more »

But Can You Be Your Own Best Friend?

Sure you can Complete the hardest problem In the book And answer The trickiest equation. But can you Sit with yourself When you don’t  Know the answer And love Your own company? Sure you can Finish all Of your business Faster Than the average Jo. But can you Feel the awkwardness Between you an another When they cry And not run away? Sure you can Make money In the market With some clever New passing phase. But can you Be truly kind To yourself When you fail At something You long to achieve? Sure, You can impress Me and him, and them over there, You can make us laugh And wow us with your charm. But can you When faced with your most Loathing, embarrassing, snotty faced, bare naked self Be your own best Friend? Can you speak to yourself In such a way That lifts your face to the sky? That honors your humanity? Can you bring love and real acceptance To your most Vulnerable parts? Because when you do this You will know Deep in your bones That you Can truly Do anything. -Sefora Read more »

On Getting Fired

Getting fired is a lot like going through a breakup.  It can be devastating, relieving, shocking, really difficult, surprisingly easy or all of the above.  It shakes your stability and your routine. If getting fired from your job is in the devastating category, here are a few tips: 1) Remember that getting fired is like a death.  With death comes grieving and a lot of feelings.  Grieving typically has 5 stages: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.  You might catch yourself bargaining “If only I had just done this project on time then maybe I wouldn’t have lost the job.”  Or maybe you are in the stage of denial, which could mean that you are not facing the reality of how you will support yourself or get a new job after.  Allow yourself to grieve, forgive yourself and release any feelings connected to being fired. 2)  A lot of the suffering around getting fired is what decisions we make about it or the meaning that we attach to getting fired.  Like a bad breakup when someone says “I’ll never love again,” or “this was my one chance at love” we can feel like the job we lose was our only chance at doing what we want to do in life.  However, we can also make choices and decisions to learn our mistakes and choose something even better for us.  Practice choosing that this is an opportunity for you to come even closer to your dreams.  Practice believing that an even better job is around the corner. Learn what parts of the job you want to recreate, and which parts you want to make even better.  Like relationships, the next one is usually even better. 3) Getting fired is a huge opportunity.  It allows us to pause, take stock, and recreate our lives again.  Although sometimes we are tired of doing this or don’t want to do this, it is better to do it consciously than unconsciously.  Luckily, if you are fired you are often eligible for unemployment, which can help with the process of reevaluating and contemplating next steps.  (It can also sometimes allow for a much needed vacation or road trip!)  This time of transition can allow you to set your North Node or Career goal for the next 5-10 years.  It can help you become more focused and allow your career to be more actualized. 4) Practice self care and being an ally for yourself!  Like with any stressful time, it can be common for our Inner Critic or Super Ego to go buck wild.  We can start blaming ourselves and attacking ourselves for life going the way it has.  Because we are stressed, we might also forget to do the self care practices that keep us sane.  As you go through losing a job, take it as an invitation to step up your self care.  Be as kind to yourself as you can, and spend time doing the things that bring you joy and keep you sane.  Hikes in nature, exercise, time with friends or time alone, meditation, massage, baths, journaling, reading a good book, playing games or spending time with pets are all examples of ways that you can take care of yourself.  Remember that the Inner Critic is especially strong in times of stress.  Practice interrupting self attack and focusing on ways to grow and learn from this experience. Read more »