Raising children is sometimes triggering— in very specific ways. I first learned this when our oldest was 6 years old.
At the time, my marriage starting to feel weird. I couldn’t find another word to explain it. I knew what it felt like to experience tension in our marriage, or numbness and disconnect. This wasn’t that.
I wasn’t actually sure what it was, however, I knew something was off. We felt oddly disconnected… even as everything seemed fine.
At the time I was seeing a therapist. I tried to describe to her what was happening. She responded by asking the age my husband was when his parents divorced.
He was 6 years old, just like our daughter.
I shared this awareness with my husband, and the ill-defined fog between us immediately lifted.
In its wake was his clarity, and his pain. Now he understood, as he looked at our daughter, why he felt devastated. He was looking at her and picturing his own experience when he was her age. The contrast between her joyful innocence and carefree ways, and what he was experiencing at 6, was challenging for him to comprehend. However, in this noticing, he was able to focus on healing his deep inner wounds. Meanwhile, our relationship again felt strong, solid and comforting.
We have 4 children. With 3 of them, as each one turned 6, something like this happened. After the first one, I recognized it a lot sooner, and he promptly accepted the invitation for deeper awareness and healing. It wasn’t disorienting after the first time.
Having such an experience alerted us to how multidimensional family life is—there is always far more happening than meets the eye!
And, 24 years in, we embrace it. We celebrate it!
Because every time something like this happens, we get to clear out old conditioning and become more alive and more present, to ourselves and one another. This is one of the purposes of intimate relating—it’s an invitation for old wounds to be painful again, in order to get our attention and in the process, inspire us to heal.
- Have you noticed something similar in your relationship?
- Are there overt patterns you are aware of, that result from a past experience which now strongly influences the present?
- Are you aware how something in the present triggers an experience from the past?
I would love to know your thoughts on this. Please press reply, and let’s dialogue about it.
With pleasure and purpose,
When I began my personal growth journey, the revelations were massive.
Self-awareness opened me to a whole new world. The breakthroughs and transformations were profound! And dramatic.
Decades later, the noticing is much more subtle, and the whole process feels a bit like espionage of the soul. Instead of discovering I had walked into an unconscious wall when I realize how blocked I have been, I now get a whiff of something and then carefully bring my attention to it, to see what I can find.
I recently had such an experience.
There are many experiences I have which I attribute to my husband’s actions. Many of them are truly wonderful, but not all of them…
So when someone asked me two weeks ago whether I ever blame him for my experience, I thought for a second. As someone who has done a great deal of work on myself and coach others to do the same, I know better than to blame someone else for my experience. Therefore, my first response was, “No, I don’t blame him—that’s not something I do.”
However, moments later I realized that, while I avoid using the word “blame”, I do attribute things to other people, and to my husband in particular. Once I was honest with myself in this way, I realized that, giving attribution was a sneaky way to avoid feeling blame. I felt morally superior because I wasn’t stooping so low and blaming him. But actually making him the cause of my experience was the same thing as blaming him for it, but in much prettier packaging.
When I become aware of something of this sort within me, I do not turn away from it. I don’t try to tell myself it’s not true. I don’t attempt to excise it from my system. And I don’t conclude that I am a bad person. Not at all—instead I lean in and make friends with the part of myself which I have been previously avoiding.
I do this because every time I do, I discover important things about who I am. Leaning in inevitably results in my finding a nugget of truth.
And once I claim that truth, or honor that need, the offending behavior tends to drop away.
In other words, I know that qualities and behaviors I don’t like are covering up something important and when I embrace that important thing, those behaviors will drop away.
How did I put that into practice with this, when I realized that I do blame my husband for what I experience?
First of all, any time I was aware of believing that my reaction, my emotions, my experience were the result of something my husband said or did, I stopped and asked myself if I was blaming him for it.
To my surprise, the answer was YES pretty much every time I asked myself this question!!!
Second of all, having already asked my husband if he wanted me to tell him when this was happening and hearing his yes, I let him know when I blame him for something. Typically I say it somewhat flirtatiously or coyly. Occasionally it’s quite vulnerable. And never do I actually say it in a way that blames him. Because the point of my communication is to tell him about my awareness; it’s not actually about blaming him for anything when I share in this way.
What have I learned? I have learned that even after years of learning to take responsibility for the quality of my relationship, and the experiences of my life, I still have been subtly blaming my husband for times I feel dissatisfied.
The next step is to be compassionate towards myself, and to look at the patterns in play:
- When do I tend to feel that way?
- What am I thinking or feeling when I blame him?
- Once I tell him I was blaming him, what is the emotion right underneath? (It’s usually internal spaciousness and joy.)
This is still a work in progress, so I will let you know what else I discover.
What about you?
What are you newly aware of in yourself, and in your relationship?
And what are you doing to shift it?
Press reply. I would love to know.
With pleasure and purpose,
It’s super easy to know what you hate about how other people treat you. Perhaps you have a whole list of things your partner does that he definitely should NOT do! Because whenever he does them, it drives you crazy, and it drives you crazy afterwards too. The way he interrupts you just before you make your point…or when you say something he checks his phone for messages, or when you say you’d like to go on a date (and you are dreaming of something romantic) he responds with “sure, let’s get pizza tonight”. Or maybe it’s how he kisses you and even though he’s done it that way for 17 years, you have never told him you don’t like it!
You get the idea.
When you are mature in your relationship and you are fairly clear on your needs and desires, you probably have a long list of what isn’t working for you and how the way he addresses you is not what you want it to be.
If this sounds familiar, my question to you is: How do you treat yourself?
- What do you tell yourself when you look in the mirror?
- What do you say inside to yourself when you look at someone who is going for their dreams?
- When there is something you really want to experience, do you go for it? If not, what do you say to yourself about not doing it, and why it’s better not to?
If you find yourself comparing yourself to others who seem to have a much better relationship / life / career / children / whatever…
If you feel really critical about how your partner behaves towards you… then, again, my question is:
- How do you treat yourself?
- What do you discover as you answer this question?
- How can you be more kind and more supportive towards yourself?
Let me know what you find. And let me know if you have questions, because this very inquiry IS ESSENTIAL to creating the partnership you really want, and I have lots of ideas about how to do that!
Tell me, what are you discovering?
Where are you succeeding in shifting your self-talk so that you are treating yourself as well as you want others to?
Where are you frustrated, with no idea how to proceed?
With pleasure and purpose,
My friend Danusia Malina-Derben has 10 children—that’s right TEN children. You can see her here with half of them, including her now 6-year-old triplets.
She is a devoted mother, a single mother actually, and she is also a powerhouse businesswoman.
She is super ambitious and a C-suite level consultant who has spoken at American Express and assorted other well-known companies.
She also has a lovely voice with a lush British accent, which matters because you get to hear it! Danusia is the host of the School for Mothers podcast where she inspires listeners with a new vision of motherhood.
It’s the kind of motherhood where you deeply love and tend your children, while also taking action, and being creative and powerful in your professional life–all without guilt, or shame, or swimming in a sea of not being good enough.
I really love her. She’s innovative and full of surprises. She’s all heart, empowerment, and creativity while discussing the everyday challenges of motherhood along with the cultural messaging we all must navigate.
I am deeply honored to have been interviewed by Danusia on the School for Mothers podcast and am super excited to share our conversation with you. It’s called Passionate Partnerships.
Have a listen and let me know what you think.
What is your inner stance toward parenting?
How do you speak with your children and how does that seep into communications with your partner?
What was most valuable for you in our conversation?
Email me at email@example.com and let me know—I am truly interested.
With pleasure and purpose,
WANT TO BE AN EARLY READER???
My first book, “Uncompromising Intimacy,” is in the hands of my editor and I will soon be getting it back.
When I was young, starting with my first summer at Sleep Away Camp, I started writing letters.
I have written hundreds and hundreds of them over the years.
When I had little children and was in the process of orienting to the deaths of first one and then the other of my parents, I had a very thorough homeopathic consultation with an MD. He asked me what I liked to do for fun.
The only thing I could think of was “writing letters”. Of course, now I can think of a list longer than this email of things I really enjoy doing. But back then, it was writing letters, and that’s it. Writing letters still is something delicious for me. When I sit down to write to you each week, I savor the opportunity.
I think of writing letters as journaling while in dialogue with someone else.
And, since I was a teenager, people have received my letters with gladness and gratitude; they have also told me I should write a book.
The amazing thing is that now I have written a book–at least the first draft of my manuscript. I have written my book as though it’s a letter to my reader.
Who is my reader?
My reader is YOU if you want more emotional intimacy and sensual passion in your relationship, if you want tools and understanding to create the relationship you yearn for.
It’s you if want to co-create Conscious Partnership and have the tools for a lifelong deeply satisfying, passionate relationship.
If this speaks to you, please become an early reader of “Uncompromising Intimacy”. It will mean being one of the first to purchase the book on Amazon, and it will mean celebrating with me and writing a testimonial.
It will also mean getting the book for 99 cents. Once the book is released, it will cost $12.95 or $17.95. Actually, I have been completely focused on writing the book and haven’t yet learned how to price it, so I am just making up those numbers. But I definitely know it will be more than 99 cents!
Would you like to be an early reader?
If so, join my book launch community where I will share special updates, teach some of the content in the book, and celebrate this big moment!
If you like the sound of that, join the “Uncompromising Intimacy” Early Reader Community Facebook group.
I can’t wait to see you there, to talk about all things related to creating a truly outstanding relationship.
With pleasure and purpose,
Wedding officiant–that’s what I was this past weekend as I celebrated the marriage of two of my wonderful clients.
They chose a gorgeous setting in Sonoma County, near the ocean and in the magnificent rural landscape of northern California. The whole affair was elegant and warm, with family from all over the country and Europe in attendance.
I coached this couple for four months and was able to bring to the ceremony the depth and intensity of their love and the challenges they have overcome to joyfully, and with open hearts, merge their lives together.
I think one of my favorite moments of the weekend was hearing them express their vows, hearing them express their love and the clarity with which they see one another.
This was also very meaningful to me because my mother officiated many weddings and I used to eavesdrop in on her conversations about practical matters, and the purpose and meaning in the ceremony.
This is me, at the beginning of the ceremony, watching in awe as the groom and his father walked down the aisle together.
I felt close to her as I performed that role, drawing on her energy which continues to be available 17 years after she took her last breath.
It meant that giving generously to this couple fed me deeply in ways they couldn’t have known…
In preparing for the ceremony I thought a lot about this wonderful couple, and also about marriage in general. Here is an excerpt from the ceremony.
“Marriage is like a garden. It requires ongoing tending, or the beauty is lost. With consistent attention, there are exquisite blossoms…marvelous scents, incredible colors, and breathtaking shapes. In every flower, there are mysteries to discover, new patterns to see and more delight to be had.
The key is remembering to put in the time, and attention, for the garden to thrive, to remove the inevitable and often persistent weeds in order to keep everything vibrant…
Marriage is not for the faint of heart, even as the rewards are among the best that life offers.”
Does this ring true for you?
What analogy would you use, to describe the experience of being in a committed relationship for a very long time?
I hope you are enjoying the transition from summer to fall, with the equinox between them.