Maybe Marriage Takes a Village, Too

community
Maybe it takes a village to support a marriage, too.

The things couples go through, successes, failures, money issues, grief, aging, health, changing as human beings, being hit with reality all the time and realizing how much we don’t yet know.

The more years I’m married and the more years I support my loved ones, friends and clients in theirs, I realize our marriages themselves benefit so much from being loved collectively.

It’s great to have people that love us individually, but when we have people that love our marriage, in a nurturing way, beyond judgment, people that can relate to our challenges and us as human beings who are trying our best and learning, we can make so much out of it. We can create a culture around marriage as an incomparable learning opportunity that benefits from collective wisdom and support. We can take it easier on ourselves and lean on each other. No couple has it all covered on their own.

It takes a willingness, too. Admitting challenges in our marriages can be embarrassing, because we publicly declared our love for our spouse, because we don’t want to admit that we don’t know what to do, because we can bristle against receiving help because we want to hold up a pretty picture.

We need to let go of the fairy tale as a marketing tactic for selling marriage. A wedding, sure, but not a marriage. Perhaps a more apt definition of marriage is a lovingly entered joint commitment to  evolution. We use shared goals and the experiences along the way as we share our lives to help spark this evolution, to shape it.

I think the best part about my marriage 14 years in, is the growth, the learning and giving it to each other as a gift, finding ourselves in new places as new people because we needed to evolve and used the commitment to each other to hold the process. I’ve needed to learn so much about myself in trying to become a truly worthy partner and there’s much more to go.

I think of all of the forgiveness I ask for when I learn what I needed to learn. Humbling. Some of that learning is truly challenging, but I couldn’t be any more grateful for earning it, for who I realized I can be, for the commitment and for the woman in my life who gives me the reason and the person to share it with.

I thank those who were willing to speak to me, to be my teachers, to be my friend and to sometimes just listen for helping me get here and who I know I can count on for what’s yet to come.

Keeping Our Power Beyond People’s Reactions

I just wrapped up a coaching call with a client considering renewing our coaching relationship. We’ve done a great job so far of getting past a lot of bugaboos and creating a huge leap in self-awareness and confidence. She shared gratitude for her ability to do this, how much it meant to her and how it’s transformed her relationships and career path. She’s been courageous.

The questions she asked herself now, looking at what’s next for her was: Is it worth it to partner with a coach to have and keep my power beyond the reactions of others and my fears of them? What happens if I don’t?

When she looked at this, the fear was palpable and so was the possibility.

Some big questions for our lives. Where do we stop because of the reactions of others? What do we give up on? What version of ourselves doesn’t come out, assert itself and simply be because of this? What’s the cost and for how much longer are we going to keep things going this way?

If you want to, please share below both wins, where you stopped letting other people’s reactions define you or what commitments you want to make to get beyond this. I promise what you write will make a difference for someone else reading the post.

Are You Really Welcome Here?

armsfoldedREALLY wanting someone to understand something, especially when you think it’s for their own benefit, has nothing to do with them getting it. In the end, how much you want them to get it is what may impact them the most and usually puts our (work, family, friend, romantic) partners in defense, reaction and protection.

The willingness of your conversation partner is the most valuable currency there is in relating to each other. Cultivate it wisely and know when it hasn’t been offered to you.

Sometimes there is no in door. Knowing how to love and take care of ourselves when the door we want to be open is closed can be the most valuable currency for our own well-being and finally takes the pressure off the other person to take care of you by letting you in.

Adverse Childhood Experiences

Talk about putting things in perspective, this article demonstrates some predictable patterns and outcomes for those who experienced childhood traumas. The higher propensity for depression, addiction and victimization later in life, for example.

http://acestoohigh/got-your-ace-score/

Imagine if we were more supportive, more understanding and less blameful about the impact of what people have been through and what their struggle might be.

It also pinpoints the responsibility – to ourselves, those we will be in relationships with, our coworkers and bosses and society – that we have to take care of ourselves given any history of childhood trauma. We’re not talking about excuses here, we’re talking about understanding and getting the help we need, the empathy we can have for ourselves and others and the information we need to be better parents.

Thanks to one of my favorite, most kind, gentle and powerful therapists I know, Kathy Metcalf, for sharing this piece and for always being so compassionate. She is an amazing resource for working productively on the effects of trauma in your life. I’m eternally grateful to her for the work we’ve done around the loss of my father, among other challenges. Also, thank you to Paul Cooper and T J Samadi Demme, two powerfully compassionate coaches, for the work we’ve done as well.

Coaching Group for Professional Women

I’m looking for two professional women who are interested in being part of a four person coaching group (two have already committed).

Here’s the concept: I want to create a group of women who are committed to creating big things in their lives (you get to say what’s big to you) and each other’s. Your goals could be entrepreneurial, about breaking through to a powerful professional result, they could be relationship-oriented. Everyone will be working on their well-being as a foundational element as well. It’s hard to create breakthroughs without it.

What I’m looking to do is create power in sisterhood and really leverage it, with each woman pulling for the results of the other three and growing from each other’s processes. In addition, there will be a relationship with a man providing support for your goals who is committed to you winning, a platonic but intimate relationship with you based in trust and not power other than the power of our coaching relationship, which is yours to create. I want this to be a laboratory for how we can be together professionally and personally, empowering each other beyond the normal wasteful versions of competitiveness and gender issues in the workplace and our lives.

I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from my network about this concept, so I’m sharing it more widely. If you’re interested in hearing more about it or think it would be good for someone else in your life, email me directly here. Time and financial commitments will be discussed offline.  If you like the idea, please share it along with a note about why you’d recommend this for someone in your life.

Thanks for reading this!

Best,

Gregg DeMammos

 

Brian Williams and Accountability

BWillCoach Talk – Accountability

Stop moaning about Brian Williams’ suspension. He lied and he is appropriately being held accountable so he can come back stronger. It will be his choice whether he takes that opportunity and makes the most out of the learning available here.

I was watching the #1 college basketball team in the country last night, the now 24-0 Kentucky Wildcats when another moment of accountability showed up. A star freshmen player, Karl-Anthony Towns, was called for a technical foul for doing a chin up on the rim in a tight, conference game on the road. Coach Calipari took him out of the game and made it very clear how much of an offense this is to the team and the mission and the potential costs. If you were watching at home, the way the coach addressed the situation might make you cringe and think that’s too much for an 18 year old kid on a big stage. That he just made an honest and understandable mistake.

CalTownsLike clockwork, LSU scored 16 straight points and Kentucky was losing, late, its perfect record in serious jeopardy.

Towns didn’t pout, he learned. He went back into the game and made some absolutely key plays on the way to Kentucky winning. After the game, he showed his youth, by photobombing his coach during the post-game interview, but he also showed his maturity when he was being interviewed himself. He was asked about the run-in with his coach and Towns said something like “that’s coach Cal, he only wants all of us to get better.”

NBC wants Brian Williams to get better and he needs to. Let him sit on the bench and learn and come back stronger, too. Hopefully, he has as much support as Coach Cal provides and as much maturity as 18 year old Karl-Anthony Towns.

Last Night at The Relationship Circle​

relcirclePeople were funny, committed, vulnerable, supportive, honest, open, kind and brilliant while we created a temporary community of 12 people and took our own lives on.  We were willing to see the inner workings of how we operate and the possible futures we may not be prioritizing for the sake of somewhat satisfying and seductive habits that lead to predictable results in our lives.

We created uncommon experiences, powerful conversations and commitments for people to choose a path that leads us out of our comfort zones, a commitment to courage for the sake of the lives we want to live, the growth we want to see in ourselves.  That’s a great context in which to get to know people.  I really LOVED how so many people played the game last night.

Leading a transformational group for three years has been so helpful to me, too.  Working towards being who I want to be for the people that show up has been a great incentive for my own growth.  It really struck me that last night my emotions really stayed out of the conversation, at least the ones that would normally keep me from having the kind of perspective that actually can serve people.

Last month at my Advanced Circle, I called myself out there for holding a judgment about someone’s participation (I got stuck relating to her as uncooperative).  An embarrassing experience for a facilitator, but making the decision to own my reaction helped me show up way more open and loving and able last night.  So grateful to have this space.

Stuck In Our Own Creations

billboard-stuck_1116867iThis is an amazing part of life. We create something, a relationship, an organization, a partnership, a commitment and eventually it can start looking like a trap, a situation we don’t know how to get out of or something we see is taking over our lives.

This usually comes down to one thing, or two related things, bad planning and the gift of learning.

Bad planning usually comes down to naivete. It’s not on purpose. Learning is usually a good thing, but not so much when we’re unwilling to make the changes our learning asks of us or to see the learning available in the first place.

When the picture changes, when our marriage or our business requires more than we thought it would, more time, more resources, more attention, a more evolved version of ourselves, this is GOOD NEWS. The key is making sure we don’t respond by increasing our own suffering. There is always a win, we just may need more help than we think, there may be more foundation-building to do, we may need to grow or let go of our grip, our image of what it’s supposed to be.

If we can do this humbly and let go of our ego and get to work of learning and incorporating that learning, then we can really start to make life and our commitments work, and everyone has a chance to win.

This is something coaches and other people we empower to put a mirror up to us can help us make a huge difference around. They support us creating the humility to see what our traps are teaching us and the courage, conversations and accountability to grow into who we need to be to take necessary action and succeed.

Liberty and the Relationship of The Human Race

Liberty.

Such a radical act of humanity. The concept of liberty says I may become a target for standing for liberty since liberty is entirely subjective. One person’s version of liberty says that it is appropriate to kill me for living outside of what their ideology dictates.

Attempting to find ground where liberties are basically respected will always seem like a tyrannical act to some people’s sense of liberty. We see it every day, it is the source of many of our greatest daily frustrations, upsets, crises and tragedies.

Liberty is always a marketplace, which makes it potentially dangerous for all and simultaneously beneficial for most. Can there ever be perfection inside liberty? Of course we try to do our best, we learn, we fight it out all the time, but what would it take to play all out for the ideal of liberty?

Liberty itself is a battleground as well as a machine for the transformation of humanity. We are in early days for the experiment and we must accept many terrible things if we choose to be a part of that experiment. Working out liberty isn’t pretty. I think we know this.

Also tragic, unless we create total freedom from conditioning for the individual, from the accidental adoption of beliefs from where you are born, into whatever family, whatever culture and the unconscious choices we make from the environments we are in, the events we witness and suffer from, we can and will be a victim of our own unconsciousness. The Kouachi brothers are dead, but were they ever free? If they were free, who would they have turned out to be? Of course I don’t mean free to make a choice. I’m talking about the freedom you earn from questioning what makes you you.

What would liberty look like if creating individual freedom from conditioning was prioritized? Can it be? We cling to our idea of identity, who we are familiar with ourselves being and we live our lives unconsciously from what we haven’t allowed ourselves to question, to deconstruct.

I’m in awe of the problem and possibility of Liberty.

My 5 Year Old Has it Right

After my son Marcus told me I hated him when I told him he needed to stop playing video games this morning, I asked him if I loved him, what would I be doing differently.

He said I would be racing him and playing soccer and games with him.

I get it.

Love lives in a world of full agreement, or a lack of dwelling on the disconnect of disagreement.

When we’re young, before the disappointment of human beings disagreeing with our idea of Eden, our hearts don’t even fathom the possibility of disagreement with our own consciousness. It comes as a shock and HURTS. It feels like love is gone when we encounter disagreement. I still remember feeling like that when I was his age.

The thing is that this is a grave and understandable error and the correction of this error, that disagreement threatens love, is our life’s opportunity. Not just to get it intellectually, but to transcend through it. To really get it. This is our cross to bear, to do the work to return to love, as Marianne Williamson puts it.

Marcus is at the beginning. The unfortunate period where the disagreement rocks us, where it informs our personalities and unconscious beliefs about life. I empathize with him deeply.

And he’s getting the return, too. When he asked me to pick him up in my arms at drop off and gave me 17 kisses and told me he knows I love him, he took courageous action. He inspired me.

The idea that disagreement threatens love (threatens us, really, as we are made of love) – from loved ones dying too soon to not getting the job to not feeling heard to being rejected romantically or even abused – is false, but it hurts.

Love is always here, waiting for you. Getting back to it is the work of our lives. Be courageous.