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.

“Success has failed.” – Osho​

freedom

Osho was a controversial seer. He stirred the pot and gave people a lot to look at and consider. I pulled this quote from listening to one of his talks, probably from the 80s. It provides an excellent example of how insight is born. Insight is the opportunity for freedom.

Much like the scene in War Games where the computer discovers the futility of global thermonuclear war by playing the game over and over and over again, leaving no “winner”, the futility in this statement – Success has failed – gives us a chance to truly examine what we are up to. Living inside of a futility, of a pattern in our lives that exists without true satisfaction, is like a death, a small death, an abdication of the possibility of our lives. Our life examined may sometimes look like a collection of these small deaths, which is why this investigation can be so freeing and perhaps even necessary. For a moment, we can put how we live our lives aside to investigate what else may exist outside of how we are defining success, happiness, the purpose of our individual and collective existence, even.

Is the outcome of our 401Ks truly success? Is the promotion? Is consumption, the next gadget, the next day meeting your fitbit goal? Is the down payment, the next client? Is it the next win over whomever you feel is in the wrong? Is the next escapist binge the thing?

We get caught up in the day to day. If we let our definition of success drop for the sake of discovering our own definition, testing each new thought for futility as well so we keep ourselves from the next trap we can fall in, we give ourselves a chance to redefine and reframe our lives. To get off the hamster wheel. Is the life we are working towards or even admiring truly what we want?

I think the Kardashian thing (not sure what else to call it) is our own creation designed to help us get the message that some of what we have been idolizing, like fame, celebrity, obsession with ourselves and wealth for it’s own sake is absolutely futile, is not an attractive destination.

This is just a nudge to look for ourselves and drop out of our collective trance born from societal conditioning, media, our own reactionary ways (wanting something better than what we have or have had to deal with in the past), etc. A chance to investigate what truly moves us and how we would create our lives straight from our hearts.

I just want success, on your terms, from your own experience, for you.

If you want to investigate this further with me and create a plan to get there, feel free to be in touch.

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.

See Your Thoughts, Don’t Just Be Your Thoughts

engineerIf you want to reduce stress in your life, if you want to make your choices from a more powerful place, if you want to become more intentional, then developing this skill can be incredibly helpful.

We can live knee-jerk lives, where our response is completely based on the stimuli around us. Thoughts are borne from our reactions to stimuli and off we go, following those thoughts. Having a fear-based existence and stretches of our lives comes directly from this pattern. Many people we tend to judge are living inside this pattern, too.

When we can get to the point of just seeing our thoughts, knowing that we are not our thoughts, knowing that they are often creations of our discomfort, our histories and traumas, our conditions, we begin to develop a powerful ability to choose how we want to be. We start to see our thoughts roll by like trains and we get to decide which ones to board.

Better yet, we get to make our own trains and ride in the engineer’s seat.

Choo-choo!

May You Live to See Your Dreams Fulfilled

babywithparentsI was blessed to be at a Bris this morning (a Jewish naming ceremony for a male child). Any healthy baby is a blessing, to be sure, and the benefit of recognizing the birth publicly, offering prayers for the life of the child and the parents helps to focus ourselves on the potential meaning we can grant life.

One prayer said at this service includes the following:
May you live to see your world fulfilled.
May your destiny be for worlds still to come
May you trust in generations past and yet to be
May you live to see your world fulfilled
May your heart be filled with intuition
May your words be filled with insight
May songs of praise be upon your tongue, vision straight before you.
Even as you ever yearn to listen to words of the holy ancient one of old
May you live to see your world fulfilled

May you live to see your world fulfilled. Such a powerful statement of the opportunity of life and of the wishes we have for our children. It’s also often translated where you replace “world” with “dreams”.

As a coach, it states the beauty of the relationship we hope to build with our clients, partnering with people to have the world their heart wants, come into being. As a parent, it is a transference of the joy and beauty of this life you’ve been blessed to foster and share. We want their world to be as beautiful as they are and we know we can have something to do with that happening. As a human being, it reminds me of what we tend to forget about each other. How far we stray from relating to each other as fellow ushers of our world fulfilled.

This is a prayer we can say for our friends and for those we don’t understand as well, for our families, for those we don’t agree with, because if we truly fulfill, all the way down to the essence of who we are, who we were as babies, before the world took it’s toll on us, we will all wind up in the very same place, a world of acceptance, joy, cooperation and love.

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…

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.