Acclimation – A Powerhouse Relationship Skill

ford-marshburn-hadfield-google-hangoutOne of our greatest assets as human beings is our ability to acclimate. I was thinking about this and looked up an article about what it’s like to acclimate to gravity after months in space. Apparently, it’s no walk in the park.

Trusting your power to acclimate can make life drastically different. The thing is that when we’re talking about our lives and relationships, we need to be on purpose about using the power of acclimation.

Acclimating to feelings is a great place to start. Feelings unconsciously have us make decisions that may not serve us. If only we could acclimate to the feeling, we might take more decisive action towards our goals and interests.

I encourage you to practice acclimation on purpose. Look at an area of life where you could be more powerful, like asserting your leadership. If you understand that you will be acclimating to speaking up, for instance, over the next month, you can speak up as a practice and see how you are doing at making this a more normal part of your workday. As you acclimate, more of your power will come through and your fear will lessen.

You can do this with so many parts of life. Codependents who are looking for a change need to acclimate to not helping in ways that hurt them. If we want to wean ourselves from technology’s hold (or any addiction), we need to practice acclimation. Changing eating habits requires acclimation. All behaviors that we exhibit that we want to let go of, we need to acclimate to life without doing that thing (like cutting people off, half-listening, listening for forming your rebuttal, always voicing the most alarming possibility, pushing away from the unknown, etc.). When you remember that you have this power and practice it, you can broaden your horizons vastly.

Part of acclimation can include getting support. If you let people know what you are working on, they can hear you as a student and help you with feedback as you move from fear to comfort.

Men Are Obsolete. So What?

Hanna Rosin is making a name for herself by being the one to trumpet “The End of Men”. She’s telling anyone who will listen something we already know, something that doesn’t get us anywhere.

What I’m interested in and what I talk to men and women about is what now? What incredible opportunities does the end of outdated stereotypes, expectations and needs (to provide, protect, to act aggressive, to dominate) create for both men and women and the world.

I’m more interested in the Evolution of Men and how great that can be for women as partners, as colleagues, for all of us and how we can take best advantage of everyone’s potential to contribute. How about you?

Listening Skill

Our society has been listening very well for the next thing to make each other wrong (supported nicely by HuffPost, Jon Stewart, Drudge, TMZ and on and on…). We’re as good as we’re ever going to be at that. Is it helping us progress?

The skill we need to work on is just listening. Shhh, it’s right there…just…listen. The more deeply we listen, the more commonality we hear.

Do you Really want to Connect?

To hold and raise others comes from heart, from our true being.

To stop and change others comes from fear.

Every time we hold and raise, it makes a mark of love. It connects the essence of both beings, whether that be one on one, with an audience or with an entire people. It gets behind their protection, at least a little and grows with consistency.

Every time we stop and change, there’s a cutting, a bruising, even if we can point to a good intention, that intention is coming from fear and the fear leaves a mark, it fully engages the fear of the other, creating more protection and separation. You know that reaction from another that you truly can’t understand, where you mean to give someone something they should care about for their own good and can’t believe that it seems they are not listening to you, they just don’t seem to get it and maybe never will. It’s because you’re coming from fear or because you’re afraid of the fear you are reacting to in the other. You’ll probably retain those who already agree with you and that’s about it. Is that why you’re speaking?

Stopping and changing people has us where we are, whether it’s as parents and children, as two political parties, bosses and teams, as people in different income strata, looking at each other as abusers, protecting ourselves from each other, refuting each other, not listening for value.

If you want to talk about something you care about, global warming, peace on earth, the gift of your faith, the value of personal responsibility, the predictable path from the continuation of the behavior you see around you, hold and raise your audience. The person you’re speaking to is as beautiful, eternal, loving and caring as you. The rest you sense or see in them is falsehood, created by fear in the first place. The same falsehood others have mistaken for the real you.

Become Authentic in your Relationships

If you want to shift your relationships, decide right now that they have no disempowering past that gets carried into the present. Do not fall for the trap of your habitual reactions and compromises that put you in places you never wanted to be. Leave the old patterns in the past and create the relationships from your vision, then act from it consistently. More often than not, it refreshes others and frees them, too.

People also may not go along initially and it may rub them the wrong way, but for how much longer are you going to be inauthentic, asking people to get along with a version of you that ISN’T EVEN YOU? It’s ok for people to be upset that you no longer act in ways that don’t serve you, if, from love and truth, you just want something else, if you’re finally being you.

It’s their right not to come with you.

Leadership Tip – Adore Them

Adoring people moves them forward more powerfully than pushing them because you’re uncomfortable with where they’re at today.

The pushing comes through and then what you’ve taught someone more than anything is how to push back on you.

When you adore someone, you give them space to look on their own at areas to improve, because there’s nothing wrong. You can adore and offer learning, offer standards, offer consequences, for the sake of development, but once you push from your own discomfort, you’ve lost them, they’ve lost awareness of whatever better intentions you had and at best, maybe they’ll succeed to spite you. At worst, you’ve seen what happens…

Hurt is Complicated

There’s the hurt that is happening now and there’s also what we do with the belief called “I am hurt”, which is mainly from the past coming into the present.

What really complicates the process of distinguishing whether we are holding a belief that we are hurt is that this belief comes up most prominently when we are triggered by something happening in the present. We are feeling both the present hurt and the past hurts simultaneously. When we feel something, we think feelings make something exclusively real and much more than a belief. So we may ignore the value of discovering if we have a belief, too, that we can do something about, as well as something that hurts right now. I am hurt is nearly synonymous with I am not safe. It makes sense. In the short term, the safest you can be is to relate to something that hurts as real. You’ll probably fight or flee and get away. When we look at the cumulative impact of what we do with the belief that we are hurt, the illusion of safety disappears.

Many of us who are stuck in the belief that we are hurt, hurt others, often with very little understanding of the impact. When we live with the belief that we are hurt, we may hurt others physically, we may hurt them by withdrawing, we hurt by not being reliable, we hurt by vociferously defending ourselves, we hurt by assuming that others are trying to hurt us and making them wrong, and on…

We may also hurt ourselves by blaming ourselves, not speaking up, holding low opinions of ourselves, accepting a consistent experience of suffering, going along with what we think others want to our own detriment, and on…

Many of those people who are hurting us and who we believe are hurting us, are stuck in the belief called “I am hurt”, too and may be unaware of exactly how they are hurting themselves and others. We’re usually more concerned with feeling hurt, consciously or unconsciously, than taking responsibility for the hurt we may cause. This is both obviously unfortunate and very human. We don’t want this to be true, but sometimes it is where people (and ourselves) are stuck.

I’m not telling you to excuse people and stay in the line of fire. Do not. I’m not telling you to make believe that you’re not in danger if you feel you are. If you are in danger, get out of danger the best you can. It is also not your job to fix someone who has the belief that they are hurt or to talk them out of it. That can be frustrating or dangerous. We all have the tendency to deny or defend our hurt.

I am saying that we could all make use of more compassion, giving it to ourselves and others and receiving compassion, which can be very challenging for those of us who believe we are hurt. Finding our own way out of our belief of hurt is invaluable and challenges us to be both brave and vulnerable. Understanding others’ belief that they are hurt can save us all more hurt. We can see what’s coming and know where it’s coming from and act accordingly.

I choose to work on this in my own life, because I love my family, my clients and myself and honestly, I love everyone (embarrassing, but true). I wanted to live outside of my distortions of feeling hurt that were coming from my past and all of the things I did and said while I was living inside those distortions. Choosing to live outside of “I am hurt” has been a daily challenge which has spurred on a lot of personal growth, success of all sorts and uncovered more and more ways to see how it has affected me, so I can be responsible for it. You don’t need a dramatic story of terrible things that happened in your life to wind up with the belief “I am hurt”.

Like I said, hurt is a complicated topic. There’s very little to take from here and put into use straightway, other than to look at yourself first.  Are you living in the belief “I am hurt”? If you think you are, get supported so you can live outside of it and give it your best effort.

Woody Allen on Relationships or, How to Make Better Tasting Eggs!

“It reminds me of that old joke – you know, a guy walks into a psychiatrist’s office and says, hey doc, my brother’s crazy! He thinks he’s a chicken. Then the doc says, why don’t you turn him in? Then the guy says, I would but I need the eggs. I guess that’s how I feel about relationships. They’re totally crazy, irrational, and absurd, but we keep going through it because we need the eggs.” ― Woody Allen, Annie Hall

If we’re in it for the eggs, we’ve got no chance, relationships will eat us alive. You probably have bite marks, yourself (and given them)!

It’s what you can make out of the crazy, irrational and absurd that’s the opportunity of relationships. Our reactions to what happens in relationships are a window into our transformational process. I know, it would be so much easier to just have unlimited eggs, but when you take relationships on for the sake of your transformation and all of the success that can come from it in every area of life, relationships become the most powerful tool around.

From here, the eggs get better and better 🙂

This Week’s Relationship Circle – Starting Over

Do we ever really start over, after a fight with our partner, after a break-up, after getting our feelings hurt?

We think we do, but how much of that last incident and all other incidents that have happened to us in our relationships (mommy, daddy, authority figures, past loves) are we carrying around with us? Is there ever a true reset, where we give ourselves cleanly and openly to the next person who comes into our lives?

We want to, but most of us don’t see how much of the disempowering parts of our past that we are “gifting” to the next boss, the next romantic partner. We relate to ourselves as formerly hurt, as the victim, and unconsciously look for someone to heal us, to “complete” us. Like the line in Jerry Maguire, the idea of another completing us can be romantic, it can feel euphoric, like the right person will take all our hurt away, but this is not the case.

Our natural state is on guard, leery of the next person to resemble the threats of our past and we are looking out for anything that carries even a whiff of resemblance. Eventually, we will find what we are looking for. From then forward, our relationship partner is moving closer and closer to threat status. This can take so much life out of our relationships, so much time and energy and when we fill the space of our relationships with fear based energy, love seems to get scarce.

We’re normally reacting to this pattern in our partners, so they’re reacting o the pattern in us, and on and on.

OK, enough of the gloom and doom, because in actuality this blog post is about getting more out of and freely contributing more to our relationships than ever before. At the last circle, I asked what the experience of our relationships would be if we didn’t have to be on our guard any more, if we were living beyond our former threats to love, relationship and our feelings. The response was that we would feel like a child. Bingo!

Beyond our past hurts lies our freedom, our chance at providing unconditional love, our life beyond feeling like we need to have such a heightened concern for our own emotional well-being. In other words, freedom, and resiliency without even trying. If someone gave you this gift, if this is who your partner was being with you, what would that bring to the relationship?

This is my suggestion,that you be the gift, that you take responsibility for learning how to live beyond your past hurts. Once you give this gift, you will be training your partner, your boss to let go of their own, over time, and a spaciousness, where joy, love, camaraderie, partnership and intimacy can truly grow. This is the true source material for starting over.

And as I know people love to sit in the “how” department of Target, I’ll put a few items on the shelves.

This is my favorite article on understanding the physiology of our own reactions in relationships. I’ve shared it with everyone I know:

Second, practice acknowledging all of your reactions. Get in the habit of knowing when they are happening and get out of the habit of making them right. By all means, get out of the way of oncoming buses, but when you notice an emotion when your mother’s number flashes on your caller ID, just admire the reaction, acknowledge the powerful body sensations and the thoughts that race through your mind and start practicing dis-identification with the reaction. These thoughts ARE HAPPENING, these feelings ARE PRESENT, and they are not YOU. Over time, you won’t take your own reactions so seriously and personally. It will cease to be his or her fault for making you feel a certain way. The engine is inside of YOU, you created how it feels right now and you can also allow it to pass. When it does, you’ll have more of your heart, intellect, compassion and love available for yourself and everyone else.

Next, try just walking away. Sometimes our reactions are so strong, we just can’t help but say or do some pretty ill-advised things. I learned this one from my mother. When I was a kid, my mom would get upset at some of the frustrating things I would do and she just took herself away until she could give me the version of her that she really wanted for our relationship. This was a gift because she explained it and took responsibility. She said she was doing that for me, not because of me.

Another suggestion is completion work. Completion is a process you undertake with ontological coaches who are specially trained for the work. The goal of completion is to leave the client with no energy that disempowers him/her in an area of life. It’s a process because completion is basically infinite. As we take our completion deeper and deeper, more of the essence of who we are comes out and our fears and automatic ways of being (fight, withdraw, injure, avoid, looking for sympathy and agreement as an unconscious need, etc.) start to disappear. We can handle life more powerfully.

Feel free to contact me about completion work and any other questions you have as you live and learn in your relationships.

This Week’s Relationship Circle – Getting Related

Review of this week’s Relationship Circle (names withheld):

I love you people. All of you, ______ the superstar, Gregg the sensei, ________ with the great smile, _________ with the heart like a forest, everybody there, individually and collectively you guys are awesome. I felt this the very first time I came to this meetup, I felt deep love for all of you, and I want to thank each of you for taking the time to open up and allow people to get to know you for the two or three hours we’re at Café Asia! WE ARE FREAKING AWESOME.

Mission Accomplished, huh?

Getting related is not as simple as you might think. First of all, it’s infinite. You can be infinitely related to another human being, so there’s no end to the layers of separation that can be peeled off. And what’s the payoff of peeling off these layers? Freedom, from fear, from the endless work of protecting ourselves, the possibility of deep surrender to unity, to share ourselves fully, to be known, to feel loved.

For most of us, giving someone the experience of being related to, or instructing someone else how to give you an experience of being related to is more accessible. The instructions are easy to remember and can be somewhat challenging to execute. Listen without judgment. Be with the person, as present as possible, while letting them be exactly as they are. When you apply this generously, people transform. They calm down and feel safe enough to look at themselves, because you are no longer a threat. Your point of view and getting related rarely can coexist in the same space powerfully.

Trained coaches and some other helping professionals can pierce through a person’s protection and get related right to another person’s heart. This can be a shocking and powerful experience. It’s like emotional open heart surgery, but the possibility it creates, the opportunity available for relating beyond fear can source powerful breakthroughs. Fear is the reason we are not related and love can scare (get right to our vulnerable spot) while being more powerful than fear.

Don’t try this at home, kids, because our upset or disappointment with another, which is often the impetus for wanting to break through someone’s protection, will wind up giving them a better reason to fortify that protection.

Keep practicing relating and getting related to others. You’ll see the benefits.