I had a revelation a few days ago, about a conversation I’ve seen happening online and in person where someone asks for a little more sensitivity around an issue like racism or sexism, and the other party says, “I don’t think so. I don’t want to have to walk on eggshells.” Understandable. We all want to be able to be our authentic selves, and not have to edit our personhood for someone else. But something happened that really helped me understand how “walking on eggshells” keeps people small. I participate in a mixed-gender group, and in one recent [...]
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So far Sefora Janel Ray has created 22 blog entries.
When your partner is really making you angry, do you assume that they’re doing it because they’re trying to piss you off? Or assume that they don’t care, or that they’re just mean, or lazy? You’re not alone. Many of the couples that I work with have a tendency to assume the worst about their partner. For example, when their partner is running late, the immediate assumption is something like, “They don’t care about me, that’s why.” Sometimes people jump to, “She never thinks about my feelings,” or, “He just can’t prioritize me.” I hate to break it to you -- [...]
Many couples think that the best way to get through a conflict is to take space from each other to cool off. Unfortunately, taking space isn’t always an option. There are times when you need to make a quick decision, you’re stuck in the car together, or you are at an event where you can’t take space and staying connected is preferable. The couples in my practice don’t often realize that the words they use with each other are magical. Just as words can aggravate and disconnect you from your partner, they can also calm an angry partner and help them [...]
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 [...]
When your relationship is in strife it can feel like the world is falling apart. We can feel even more alone, hopeless and seperate than when we are single. However, when relationships are going well they can be the thing that bolster our lives and help us be our greatest selves. The Dynamic: There is a common dynamic that I see over and over again in relationships. It’s where one partner (Let’s call them “the Frustrated One”) starts lecturing or talking to the other partner (Let’s call them “the Impatient Listener”) in a critical and sometimes patronizing tone. It happens all of the [...]
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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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
Many of my clients come to me unsure about what they want to do with their careers. They do know that they want to make a difference in the world. But they are not sure what they want to do, and how they will support themselves doing that thing. Here are 20 Questions you can ask yourself to get closer at identifying your purpose: 1) What (if anything) do you enjoy doing that you would do all day if you could? 2) Of the activities that you enjoy doing, what in particular is fulfilling about them? 3) What cause are you [...]
Sitting in my office today with the midday sun streaming through the window, my eyes continue to be drawn to a small bouquet of white roses from the memorial service of my friend Luanne Blaich, held last night. Their beauty is a perfect reminder of the amazing opportunity that Luanne's death has been for me and many others. Luanne died after a 3.5 year battle with Leukemia, in which her brave fight deeply humbles me. To speak about someone's death as an opportunity is strange and somewhat awkward. And yet, Luanne's death was an opportunity in many ways. It was an incredible experience to be a [...]
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, [...]
Are you looking to create the relationship and life that you love? Do you feel like you give so much that your own needs are not attended to? Looking for compassionate support to move through blocks in your life? As women, we can tend to give to others to the expense of our own needs. We can be riddled with self doubt and anxiety. We can get stuck in comparing ourselves to the other women around us. We can long for intimacy, but fear abandonment so much that we stay frozen and along. We can doubt our own ability, and our [...]
Recently I did a series of interviews with people on the theme of transforming hopelessness. I had the pleasure of interviewing Tad Hargrave (www.marketingforhippies.com). In particular, he had some great things to say about hopelessness as it comes up in business marketing (his specialty). Tad is an amazing resource for conscious business owners who want to market with heart. 1) Can you tell us a little about how you help clients shift out of their hopelessness and back into their power? Hmm. I think there are a few levels. Part of what's needed by most folks is context. They need to [...]
I once read a book on reincarnation called "Life Between Lives" by Michael Newton. In general, I have mixed feelings about reincarnation. Sometimes I believe that it is a metaphor for the many lives that we live in one lifetime. A grand description of how over and over again we are offered the chance to start again. For example, I don't know about you, but my childhood feels like 5 lifetimes ago. It has a dream quality, like it was lived by me, but it was not me too. And with each new day, each new moon, each year, each moment, [...]
"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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]