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 […] 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 […] Read more »

5 Ways to Determine You Are Under an Inner Critic Attack

Often when I am working with my clients it is clear that one of the major reasons they are experiencing suffering is because they are having an Inner Critic Attack. This part of the self has lots of names.  Traditionally known as the Super Ego; it also goes by the Judge, the Gatekeeper, the Critical Parent and many other names. In other words, the Inner Critic is a part of the self that is attacking another part of the self.  Now, normally we don’t walk around experiencing ourselves as having different parts. If we have a fairly healthy ego, we just experience all thoughts in our head as our own. The problem with this is that many if not MOST of our thoughts didn’t originally come from us. So it can sometimes be helpful to separate out the part of ourselves that is attacking us, and distinguish it from supportive voices that can actually help us change. When I first notice a client’s inner critic, my client is often not able to tell that they are having an Inner Critic Attack. So here are 5 ways you can tell that you may be having an Inner Critic Attack: 1) The Wagging Finger: One of the easiest ways to tell if you are talking to yourself from the Inner Critic is if you feel like someone is wagging a finger at you. The Inner Critic says things like “You really should have…”, “You knew better than to…”, “If you had just…”, “You are never going to […] Read more »

Transforming Hopelessness- Tip of the week: Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know

Sometimes when I am working with clients they feel hopeless because they have identified that there is something that they don’t know how to do.  Sometimes this is a capacity that they haven’t learned (such as creating boundaries or sharing from their heart).  In other cases it is a practical skill that was never taught to them (bookkeeping, scheduling).  Sometimes it is just that the future is unknown, and they want it to be known, dependable. Here is a tip that can really relieve a lot of stress: There is great beauty and blessings in not knowing.   First of all, if you are able to identify something that you don’t know how to do, it  is a great opportunity.  If you know you don’t know something, you can learn about it from an expert.  Admitting that you don’t know something allows you to reach out to others that do know a lot about that thing.  There are a lot of experts out there and this is the information age, where a lot of expert information is free.  If you pretend like to you do know something that you don’t, you are not allowing yourself to learn from people who have a lot to teach you. Secondly, there is great freedom in the mystery of the unknown.  So many of us are brought up to pretend like we have all of our stuff together all of the time.  Allowing yourself to not know can be a huge relief.  It can […] Read more »

Transforming Hopelessness #2

“The doorway To your creation Is your wanting. Desire gave birth To the world.   Let yourself want my friend, Each wish is a blessed Treasure.   Let yourself want my friend, The Earth longs To hear your Whisper.   Let yourself want my friend, For your yearnings Are not too big, Not impossible In the scope of all That is.   Let yourself want my friend, I promise it won’t break you But bring you closer To your Greatest Power. ” -Sefora Janel Ray   Wanting.  Desire.  Longing.  It’s crazy how we can sometimes keep ourselves from really feeling what it is that we want.  I’ve noticed that with a lot of my clients, they are really clear on what upsets them, or what is not working, but they have no idea what they want.  And if they figure out what they want, they are not clear on what that would actually look like.  Knowing what it is that you want, and what that wanting looks like is an essential step to creating a satisfying life.  It is also a really important practice to having happy relationships.  So many couples know what they hate about what their partner is doing, but they haven’t identified what it is they want to experience with their partner. Why aren’t we clear on what we want?  A lot of us have received messages in our lives that what we want isn’t possible, or that it is selfish to want.  Sometimes we are just […] Read more »

Transforming Hopelessness #1

Hopelessness—it hits most of us, one time or another. Sometimes I feel like most of my clients are trying to convince me that some part of their lives is hopeless.  They have all kinds of reasons that they can’t have the relationship, the career, the health, the money or the peace that they want.  At the same time, a part of them desperately wants to know that it is actually not hopeless after all.  It’s like a clash of the two movies “Reality Bites” and “Field of Dreams”.  One part of them is despondent and depressed, and the other part is hoping beyond hope that if they build it, they will come. Which role do I hold?  I hold a place of possibility and belief.  I believe completely and fully that my clients can have what they want out of life.  I believe what they dream of is possible. But let me just say, I am not coming from a magical thinking, “if they just say a bunch of cheesy affirmations it will all just happen” perspective.  I know that there is practical work that we all need to do, in order to accomplish our dreams.  I also know that there truly is hope.  It is possible.  Let me say that again: It is possible. How do we live with a sense of possibility?  How often do we listen to our friends and community from a place of believing in what is possible?  How often do we bolster the dreams of those around […] Read more »

The Dragon’s in Our Lives

I love this poem from Rilke: “Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.” I think about it a lot when I am working with my clients.  So often we have strong feelings of pain, jealousy, disgust or rage that seem like awful feelings.  In a way, those feelings are dragons.  They seem gnarly and evil, snarling at us to pay attention to them.  They also feel out of control and like they are causing havoc in our lives. But most of the time when one of these “dragons” come up for my clients, my response is “Great!”.  Usually the person has something that needs tending to.  And that’s where the princess that needs saving is.  Usually under all of the rage or pain, there is a helpless part of us that never got his or her needs met.  It might be a lonely 4 year old, or a scared 7 year old huddling in the corner. So what do we do with that little prince/ss inside that needs saving?  Save them of course! We are after all, the hero that we have been waiting for.  It can be a little tricky sometimes, but if we can see past the dragon of feelings, to the younger part that needs saving, we can often soothe that young part.  We can identify what that young part […] Read more »