Category Archives: Women
Change is afoot.
Ford came forward to speak of having been sexually assaulted in high school by Kavanaugh, who vehemently denies any wrongdoing. Bill Cosby was sentenced to 3-10 years in prison after being found guilty of sexual assault.
The MeToo movement has emboldened women to speak out about their past sexual assault, abuse and rape experiences – many of whom have held their abuse secrets for decades. Men are judged and handed “guilty verdicts” by the public court of opinion in a matter of hours as women’s stories make their way through the news media. Both genders are forever impacted negatively by these misdeeds and their ever trailing after effects.
The number of rape and abuse cases is staggering. Human rights violations across the globe are appalling. War, violence, crime, human trafficking, environmental disasters – we can’t listen to the news anymore without hearing about someone who is suffering somewhere.
All point to a need for a vast global overhaul in our political, financial, educational and legal institutions to ensure equal rights for all, regardless of race, gender, sexual preference, financial status or religious belief.
Massive change is required on so many levels, from the global to the individual. We also need advanced communication and problem solving skills, where we really listen to and learn from one another, and work together to create win/wins. We need to develop workable strategies for achieving sexual, cultural and racial healing, gender reconciliation, and effective reparation practices for people who take responsibility for and are genuinely sorry for their actions and want a new start. We need a safe space to look at ourselves, learn from our mistakes, and develop effective relationship practices that enable all of us to thrive and realize our pure positive potential.
In our work, we focus on where we can make a positive impact, in our interpersonal relationships. We notice, that when we are willing to take a brave and honest look at ourselves, there is much we can accomplish.
From outward focus to inward focus
It is far too easy in relationships to take someone else’s inventory; to point out someone else’s faults and weaknesses and lay out what they need to change or improve. We do this with public figures just as readily as we do it with the people we love. We think we are different. We are better. We aren’t like that. We aren’t as bad as they are.
Unfortunately, this way of thinking only inflames disrespect, inequality and separation. It breaks down our relationships.
Alternatively, we can use our judgments to gain insight into ourselves, to build bridges between others and ourselves, and to find compassion for those we love (and those in the media spotlight).
One of the favorite tools that we use in relationship, especially in the face of judgment, is to simply ask, “Where am I just like that?” For example, if I judge you for lying, I ask myself, “Where do I lie?” If I judge you for being selfish, I ask, “Where am I selfish?”
In the context of MeToo, we can ask:
- Where have I been sexually assaulted, abused, or harassed?
- Where have I abused, harassed, or taken advantage of someone?
It takes great courage to answer these questions honestly. It is a brave person who can admit to them and offer up apologies and make amends.
But even if we haven’t been abused, many of us can relate to feeling afraid or powerless to speak up in the face of a partner’s angry outbursts. Many of us have had the experience more than once of saying yes to sex when we really meant no, and of feeling coerced to go along with something that didn’t feel right.
Me too. I didn’t listen to my deep-seated intuition to walk away from a financial investment that turned out later to be a Ponzi scheme that cost me thousands. I allowed myself to be talked into a job that I didn’t want. In my 20’s, I had sex with several men I didn’t have the courage to say no to. I stayed in an abusive relationship where I got beat up for a whole year before I found the courage to leave.
On the flip side, we can explore how many times we have used our power to coerce someone to give in and go along with something we wanted – in everyday instances like doing the dishes, watching a movie, or getting our way with any given situation. How many times have we tried to override someone’s resistance to romance or sex? How many times have we yelled or cried or begged or explained our side to try to get someone to do what we want them to do?
Me too. I have caught myself more than once trying coax, force, or guilt trip my kids into answering a text or returning a phone call. I have screamed at my ex for not parenting the way I do. And I withdrew my love and affection from Christian when he declined my sexual advances early on in our relationship.
When I judge the people I love in my life, and I dare to explore “Where am I just like that?” I see places where I can grow, change and improve. Healing comes from honestly and squarely looking at myself, from owning my side of the street and taking responsibility for the impact of my less-than-ideal actions. There is power and healing available when I take responsibility, both within myself and in my relationships.
I can do the same thing with public figures. When I dare to investigate where I am just like Ford – to honestly explore where I too have been victimized in my life, where I have been terrified to speak up and reveal my secrets, where I still need healing from past painful experiences, I see aspects of myself I might not see otherwise.
Or when I explore where I am just like Kavanaugh – where do I act self-righteously from privilege and entitlement, where do I defend myself rather than listen and take responsibility for my actions, where do I lash out when feeling attacked and afraid and made wrong, something powerful happens …
I am suddenly no better or worse than they are, or any other human being on this planet. Judgment shifts to compassion, resentment shifts to forgiveness, separation shifts to connection, hate shifts to love. My heart softens. Healing happens. A new possibility emerges.
Actions I can take to improve my interactions in relationship begin to show up. Apologies are offered up and new commitments stepped into. A better version of myself arises. And consequently, better versions of those I love and happier relationships also rise up.
It is my hope that we will use this new chapter in our lives to learn from one another, to deeply listen to each other, to honor and respect our differences, to bravely share our stories, to own our shadow, to take responsibility, to ultimately offer amends, heal, forgive and create a courageous new world together.
It is my vision, that every one of us will be able to say one day, “I have never been disrespected or sexually abused by anyone”, and all of our brothers and sisters will be able to emphatically say, “Me Too!”
P.S. Check out what our friend Dave Klaus’ Facebook post; it’s a really powerful example of “Where am I just like that?” in the context of the Kavanaugh issue. Click here to read …
My husband Christian and I have been busy of late. Distracted. More in our heads than our hearts. We felt a bit flat and off. I was definitely not in my feminine receptive loving flow – more in my masculine “doingness.”
When it came time for dropping back into our hearts and bodies with each other in lovemaking, I surprisingly felt a bit of dread about the whole thing. My body was so closed that mostly I felt like I didn’t want to open.
I could watch my mind wanting to rush out to the kitchen to eat something, to watch something on TV, to check my phone or email for messages – anything to avoid sinking and melting. I put on a shirt as a sign of sorts of my guarded, un-open heart. I dared to tell the truth about my resistance to opening.
Now, thank God, I am with a man who knows my deeper yearning: to melt into love and God through our bodies and hearts in sex. To let go of resistance and be fully present. To love and be fully open in my heart.
So he doesn’t pay much attention to my words, because he is listening to what is underneath my words: “Take me.” “Make me open.” “Melt my closed heart with your love.” He meets my resistance with his strong, yet gentle, persistent presence. I feel the strength of his hands and body as he wraps his arms around me and holds me close.
I push him away, but he stays with me. He kisses my face and neck and keeps holding me. He kisses me and senses my closed lips. He tries to tease me out. But I turn away from his eyes and lips and try to hide in his chest.
He stops for just a second to see if I am serious, to check if he really should back off. I love that about him — his heightened awareness and sensitivity to my body language and non-verbal communication. His checking in, enables me to feel safe, to trust him. I know if I really wanted him to back off that he would.
But deep inside myself, underneath this closed heart and body, is a desire to truly open and surrender to love, to melt. So I encourage him to stay, to continue to love me in spite of my “shut down.” He needs that reassurance to proceed. It helps him stay present, helps him know he is doing the right thing.
He keeps being there with me, relentless with his kisses and eyes and touch. He knows I will eventually open, that I won’t be able to keep resisting his love, his presence… And he is right.
Within minutes, I start to cry. Then sob. My whole body releases the build-up of tension and resistance in my cells through my unstoppable tears. I can feel my body relax more and more through my crying, and my heart begins to soften. He just keeps holding me, telling me it is good that I am crying. He knows that my tears are essential to my opening.
The tears eventually stop, and then I am laughing and looking at him and touching him and opening my mouth and heart and yoni to him, and he meets me there. In this sweet soft open loving powerful presence place.
And in the end we are melted and soft, a puddle of love, lying in each other’s arms.
We appreciate God and each other, for this delightful place of love and softness and strength and presence where all is well and good and right….
It never ceases to amaze me how I need to cry to soften myself out of masculine and back into my flowing easy open feminine heart. If he didn’t stay with me—if he took my resistance personally and stopped and turned away—I would never get to drop down into my tears and melt. We would never get to wash away all of the “disconnect” and “re-set” ourselves back to LOVE.
How grateful I am for the transformational power of Presence. And for having a man in my life who can funnel that presence through his eyes and body and call forth the deepest parts of my love.
A mother of three recently confessed to me in private, “I just don’t have it in me to work on my relationship or give to my husband. I feel so depleted and spent. My heart is shut down. I go from work to taking care of our kids and back to work again. I am over the top done. I swear, if he asks me for one more thing, I am going to scream.”
We women are typically the caregivers, the homemakers, the child caretakers, and sometimes the money managers and breadwinners too. In our nuclear family or single homes, there is often much more to do than we have time for.
When our lives are full at work and at home, we have a tendency to put other people’s concerns ahead of our own. We are so busy responding to the needs of our kids and clients and spouse or dates, that we often don’t even know how we feel, much less what we desire. We don’t know what to do that would be nourishing for our heart and soul.
We aren’t aware that we haven’t been paying attention to our own needs until we burst into tears or scream at someone we love.
Without realizing it, we get so caught in the logistics of life, that we forget to cry and laugh with the people closest to us. We begin to feel lost, disconnected and alone, and we begin to make up that there is something wrong with us because we have all the trappings of a good life but we still feel so lonely inside. We forget that we are beautiful and powerful and lovable, that our lives have a larger purpose, and that we are not victims, but rather master creators of our own lives.
That was true of Laura. She was so disconnected from her beauty and power and humor that she withdrew into protectiveness around other people. At the last retreat, she was so supported, loved and celebrated, that she is now taking acting classes, feels more open and comfortable meeting and interacting with people she meets, and recently had to adjust the mirrors in both her cars because she is sitting taller in herself!
If you would like to be reminded of the perfection of your life, including the messy parts, and if you would like to reconnect with your power and purpose and beauty, and if you would like to devote some nourishing time to yourself just because you deserve it, you are invited to attend Love’s Secret, a retreat for women who want more.
In this intimate retreat, limited to 16 women, you will get to sink down into safe space and connect with yourself like you haven’t in a very long time, perhaps ever.
You will actually get to “feel” your feelings, talk and be heard, and be supported to expand into your power. You will be fed nourishing organic meals, receive a massage if you wish, take long walks, and be supported by a group of supportive sisters to rediscover your unique specialness.
This retreat is so empowering and nourishing, that some women attend every time it is offered! Vicky, who is about to attend for the third time, said, “This retreat changed my life. It totally transformed my relationship with my husband and my children. I changed so much that even my daughter commented on how much happier I am!”
If you are longing to nourish your soul, your mind and your body, please join us for a retreat that promises to rejuvenate you from the inside out.
Don’t you hate it when he says, “I’m fine”, but you know there’s something going on? Don’t you hate it when he insist on staying in denial and just keeps saying, “I’m okay!” when it’s obvious to you that he’s either lying or being oblivious?
And don’t you hate it when you’re minding your own business, and she comes over and starts prodding you with, “Is everything okay?” or, “Is there something we should talk about”? And don’t you hate it when you say, “No, I’m fine, really, nothing’s going on”, and she just keeps on pressing and pressing, and pretty soon you end up arguing about absolutely nothing!
Don’t you hate it when he just wants to go to bed and “sleep on it”, but you’re laying there totally unable to sleep with all that emotion running. You just want to talk it out, so you can go to bed at ease, feeling connected again, and sleep in the knowledge that you’re okay.
And don’t you hate it when she has to make a big deal of everything and talk-talk-talk but you have to get up at 5:30 am and you really do need some sleep? And if you could just sleep on it, it would probably pass all by itself, since it was nothing important to begin with?
Obviously, the differences between men and women could fill a whole library of books (and has!). Here, we want to point out a crucial difference, that trips up most of us at different times, and that is our different responses to feeling stressed, or triggered.
Both women and men under stress aim for reducing their stress levels, in that way we’re all the same. We all want to feel less stressed and calm ourselves down.
But HOW we do it is totally opposite. As a matter of fact, it’s one of those places where you might wonder if Nature screwed up just a bit, because how women and men attempt to reduce their respective stress levels seem to only INCREASE the stress when they’re taken together.
In short, women try to make themselves feel better by talking, connecting, coming closer, sharing. Men, on the opposite hand, try to accomplish the same result by going inwards, going to silence, having internal conversations in their head, or “taking space”.
You can see how a woman and man in relationship would trigger each other more when they try to reduce their own stress levels, yes? The more she tries to talk and connect, the less space he has to make himself feel better. And the more he tries to “take space” or go away, the more it seems to her that he’s avoiding her, and she has to talk louder and pull on him, and he gets even more stubborn, and she gets louder …. it’s a mess!
It’s not all hopeless, of course. Watch the short video for a few simple, powerful ideas for having the whole thing be easier.