Serve the Separation (between us)

Our heads and stomachs hurt from so much talking at.

Not with, barely even to.

We’re doing the talking and we’re on the other end, feeling dunned, bludgeoned.

So are “they”.

In the end, there is always a separation, whether it is your parent, friend, child, peer, boss, “opponent” or with the divine. We can’t be inside each other’s experience. We can’t fully empathize without some self-protection being present. At least most of us, most of the time. Being truly connected really is the promise, the great opportunity of being alive, whether that’s with a mountain range, a blue sky, a song or with each other.

And if someone doesn’t serve that separation, if someone doesn’t own it as their territory and address it with either their words, their listening, their surrender of protection or defense, in a way that really connects us to each other, the separation remains or grows. This may be one definition of love. We really need to receive someone fully, as they are, to cross that divide between us. It breaks the spell. We stop fearing each other, overtly and in that way that’s always there, at least for a moment and that magic is present.

The greater concern than who wins is this gulf growing between us, whether that’s your wife or husband, or your fellow citizens. If we really touch it, we sense that the distance is heartbreaking.

I hope we turn towards healing, listening and serving that separation. It’s there in all our relationships, at least some separation exists. Be the one who owns it as your loving responsibility. We may truly hear each other and care for one another if we can do it. We may come back together, closer than ever.

I remember the extraordinary family members of the people lost at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, who forgave Dylann Roof and shook us all. They know how to serve that separation. They listened as deeply as they could to who Dylann Roof might be and how he might have wound up there and wished him all of god’s grace, the most precious thing they value, which flowed through those they lost. They gave him that love for any pain he may face. They gave him their wish for his pain to subside in the light of Christ. And just to say it, no religion or faith is required, but it can certainly be employed.

Our fellow Americans face pain, we sense great separation, don’t we? If that gulf is not crossed, how do you think this will go?

I promise you that serving separation, before making our point, before needing anything to change, is a worthy practice. It plants seeds. It can bring any two (or more) people together. It can open up everything.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2015/06/19/i-forgive-you-relatives-of-charleston-church-victims-address-dylann-roof/

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Podcast Interview with Gregg DeMammos of Empower and Emerge

gregg-902x1024It’s really nice for a guy who deals with social anxiety to get as much positive feedback as my friends and the listeners of this podcast have given to this conversation I had with Bob Schwenkler.

Case in point, I’ve written and rewritten a sentence here about five times. The gist of it was…I hope you listen to it HERE.

And like my friend said, “It’s a very touching and educational interview, especially for parents. But anyone who works with or interacts with other people will benefit. Listen in the car, at the gym, while folding clothes. Just listen it will change the way you think about your relationships.”

Thanks!

via http://reclaimingmalerolemodels.com:

This episode should be required listening for anyone who has (or wants to have) children.

I have never heard another person speak so articulately and with so much heart about what it takes to be an extraordinary parent who raises loving, emotionally intelligent children.

Gregg DeMammos reveals some powerful wisdom in this interview. Even as a non-parent it was a powerful and fascinating interview for me to listen to.

In this episode we talk about:

• How Gregg respects his childrens’ temper tantrums and anger, and transforms them into life lessons and deep love.
• Gregg’s journey of learning to use his emotions in ways that worked FOR him.
• How, despite growing up with no father as a role model during some of the most formative years of his life, Gregg later chose to be an extraordinary father who raised extraordinary children.

http://reclaimingmalerolemodels.com/rmrm020-how-to-be-an-extraordinary-parent-who-raises-extraordinary-children-gregg-demammos/

 

Becoming People Together

One of the most valuable things we can do is to disengage with the roles we play in our lives – child, boss, parent, spouse, co-worker, etc. – and practice seeing ourselves and others as just people.

Get out of the haze of the morning rush, of what has to get done, of the reactions to what’s not getting done and see these human beings in our lives as complex, vulnerable, sensitive, less than sure people who are trying to figure this all out, too. Just like us.

I’ve never gotten more hugs and kisses in my house since I started practicing this. Being seen as a person is a relief (no matter how little or how big we are).

Becoming!

I don’t know about you, for me, the word “becoming” hits me in the gut. It references who I am today, that I got myself here, for good and for bad and that who I become is up to me. It’s a choice who I become and it may mean I need to be ready to let go of some things about me. I get emotional thinking about that.

I started with a client just before the new year and at the time she was in a challenging place. Wanting to divorce, wanting some new experiences in her life. By the time we were finished with six months of work together, she had a new, exciting man in her life, they were living together in a penthouse apartment, completed the divorce and decided what she really wanted her already successful career to look like going forward while taking some steps to get there.

When I review our early emails, what stands out to me was that in our first session she gave herself permission to have, to grab a “hot, sexy life”. Those were her own words. She knew who she wanted to become and it was so real even without the evidence showing up yet. It was juicy and easy to want that for her and to partner with her to make it so.

Her request of life reminds me of Rumi’s words – “Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.”

Life still happened for her, daily life, ups and downs, but who she decided to become was a form of letting go. Letting go of the idea of who she thought she had to be, from years of lessons from family, society and religion. Letting go of that peculiar inertia that exists tempting us to make today and tomorrow so similar to yesterday. Letting go to herself, the spirit inside and the games she wanted to play with this precious time on earth.

Being a coach in this playground is like surfing and trusting the next wave will always come. A mishap in dating, some emotions, some trepidation, but we return to who you are becoming. Some setbacks in the divorce process, again emotions and other impact and she gets support to get back on the board and paddle out. The next wave comes, a better ride but still bailing because it and we weren’t just right.

Becoming has grown stronger in her, though, more of a part of her. She truly is becoming now. Then someone enters her life, is drawn to who she has become and continues to become. Now that wave and the rider are one. There is intention there, sure, but the letting go is complete, the dance is truly happening and beauty is made that could come about no other way. Not only did these results come, but now she was a different person. Still much like herself, but  now this new life was just a part of her. Fully integrated. She became.

Having an audience to your becoming, someone who is a big, fat “YES!” to it can be very helpful. Especially if they are willing to come along on the ride with you. Sometimes there is fear and trepidation about who we want to become. Oftentimes, it’s a secret (shhh!) and we’re barely comfortable thinking of it, let alone saying it out loud and creating plans and taking actions to bring it about. The more we feel it in our bodies, feel this acceptance of what we want our life to look like, an excitement for it with an ability to taste it no matter how far it seems from here, the more likely you are to take ground and get there and the better a tool a coaching relationship will be for you. If you’re not there yet, I know the feeling. It can be built, too.

The best part for me as a coach (other than the joy of seeing my client transform and succeed) is that I’m expanding, too. I’m becoming right along with my client. The wave is so real and pungent and you need to be able to ride it too to grow that energy and have it lead to actions. It’s a trip that is so great to be on with my clients.

Who are you ready to become? An even better leader? A woman who has it all? A mother and a lover? A success on your terms? Truly happy with yourself? I’d love to hear. Just telling me (or anyone ready to be that big, fat yes! for you) will be the start of it coming true. Let’s make it real.

We Need Permission

REALLY 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.

Stuck In Our Own Creations

This 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.

Slap Some Truth on ‘Em

proverb

I told the truth yesterday to a former client who is six weeks away from her wedding and called me for some support around her fears and concerns.

I asked her how many great marriages she sees around her.

I told her that being married may be the most challenging thing that most people do in their lifetimes. You’re signing up to partner with someone on EVERYTHING in life, where each of you are far from expert in most things you will deal with.

I told her that love is wonderful, it helps, but it is not enough on it’s own to ensure a happy marriage.

I told her that trying to make everyone happy will jeopardize her happiness on her wedding day.

I asked her to share with me what she sees in the two of them that convinces her that they have a chance to make this work.

I told her she may wind up letting some people down and not be perfect and instead need to be human, for her own happiness.

I asked her why she was doing this at all.

These are the things we are often afraid of saying, of hearing, of dealing with. We cross our fingers, we let love leave us in an ambiguous state, we deny reality sometimes, we get caught up in belief. Love is wonderful, I encourage its growth all the time, but do we really need to be blinded by it and not look more closely? The only harm we are protecting ourselves from is that we may see we’ve built a house of cards and that can just be a starting point if you’re willing to look at it, a place to build from.

By the end of the call, with no prompting from me, she was reborn in her commitment, felt clear and more sure that she was with the right man, more trusting of herself than she was when she called me in a near panic and in breakdown. She felt the impact of her fears, shed some tears, saw that she could handle all of this and knew why the man she chose is the man that can take this on with her (and she thinks he’s cute as heck, too). Before we even finished the call, she texted her fiance to apologize to him, explain her recent behavior and let him know how ready she was. Of course he needed no explanation.

She was ready to lead her way into marriage. I had no idea how this conversation would go and no attachment either, but this is the way it went.

It’s not the truth that hurts us so much, it’s the not dealing with it. We are much more courageous and able than we give ourselves credit for. We create longstanding patterns where we let our fears run away with us. When we see more clearly, we give love an even greater chance to find it’s way deeper into our relationships and into ourselves.

Gotta love that Russian ethos… Slapped, huh?

People do things differently

Holy shit, this has caused me so much agita in my life. This tendency I have to control, to think I know best so often. People doing things differently is a real test for some of us. It defines the experience of some relationships. It can be incredibly pervasive. It can help us see how anxiety and being in the unknown goes in our lives.

It seems so simple, but this phrase makes me pause. It’s truth. It’s a mirror. People do things differently.

Our relationship to people doing things differently is something we can look at as leaders, managers, partners, employees, friends, family and of course, romantic partners. If we’re the controlling type and we get intentional about letting people do things differently, we really have to deal with ourselves. It’s a highly meditative act, to notice what we go through when we just let people “do them” and expand our comfort with it. It can be powerfully transformative to isolate this distinction and practice it on purpose.

If we’re working with someone on something and letting them be, then we need to just let clear expectations and standards do their work and let go of “the how” around how they get there. If we make the how more important than it has to be, then we’re going to transfer our pain from anxiety to them and create a fairly miserable situation. We will also likely miss out on any learning that others’ creativity can provide and have little patience for people’s own process and learning curve. People are not people anymore, they’re “do it right-ers” or they become a problem for us.

Sometimes, though, it’s time to train. Training creates effective uniformity and is necessary in some environments. Training really requires agreement, otherwise it’s force and struggle. Training always has some resistance to it, but ideal training is you and the trainer partnering together around expanding your own resistance. When we take responsibility for making training look this way in our lives, we can be grateful for being trained, grateful for the expansion that comes from it. When we take responsibility for this agreement as the trainer, we get to let go of one rival and love our trainee for their courage, commitment and integrity. Resistance is likely to show up, but we can go back to that relationship with the trainee and walk through it together.

Unfortunately, our first exposure to training included no such agreement. It couldn’t. We were babies. We couldn’t choose our trainer and we didn’t know about the idea of agreeing to this training relationship. It was just thrust upon us and it likely created our relationship to training and being trained. By looking to this agreement, choosing it, empowering it and continuing to be responsible for it as we grow up, we can cut that initial conditioning of how it went out of our lives. If we don’t, we’re just likely to repeat our initial relationship to training and being trained.

Getting clear on what is happening in a relationship – allowing each person to do things how they do them or choosing to be trained in certain areas of the relationship – can make a huge difference, cut out some unnecessary pain and create an intimacy beyond control where we can truly appreciate each other more as human beings.

Whew, that feels better.

I call this post Loving Zombie Freakout Bitch

This is what I love about coaching conversations. People keep it REAL. A client of mine today was looking at her cycle around disappointment and called her own reaction Zombie Freakout Bitch (ZFB moving forward) with zero regret or self-consciousness. We were laughing and enjoying every bit of it. IT WAS FIERCE.

We took an unfortunately unconventional approach to working on this. Unfortunate, I think, only because it is not more widespread. We let ZFB just be. We looked at how natural this feeling is and just let it be, without making it wrong in any way. We also looked at the consequences. So many men, especially, get scared of this way of being. I was afraid of every version of it (quiet and withdrawn, raging fury, side eye, saboteur…) for years until I saw how useless that was. I was trying to control my friends, family and wife. It was all around me and in the end the person that couldn’t hang was me. I made up a meaning to it that I was no longer loved and that was terrifying, pervasive and WRONG.

What we looked at was what would it take to leave ZFB to be what it was and incorporate this way of being without needing to control it. What would it take of her partner? What information would she give him so he could, from a connected place, wait it out and not need to have a negative reaction to it and where would that leave them if they were successful. Because at the end of a ZFB moment she saw that there was usually creativity, partnership, clarity and eventually love, as long as it could take it’s course. It would take this understanding of the cycle and some practice to get there.

In the end, is ZFB here to ask us to expand? Are we infinitely more capable when we are not scared of this way of being, when we can stay present and open and not be triggered into fear? What does that bring to the rest of our lives and relationships if we have gotten that far?

My mind and heart opened to this the more I read about Hindu spirituality (I’m no expert, here). The value and understanding placed in energies we normally judge as wrong, as embodied in some feminine deities. It helped me embrace what I may have originally pushed away as wasteful or damaging. It helped me start to add the title “awesome” to energies I would formerly cower in front of. There is a lot of possibility here in being able to embrace energies as cosmic realities instead of thinking we can judge and control our way out of them. And I found that when I put this into practice and after a while my appreciation started to truly come through, it really worked, for everyone.

Personally, I’m sick of the “bitch” title (unless we are using it playfully like my client was, devoid of self-judgment). We so rarely look beyond it or at the potential value of a woman’s reactions to our own growth in ability to allow these energies or even the truth in whatever the cause of the reaction is. If we pass this test and can become masters amidst this energy, think of what we become capable of (moving towards fearlessness) and how we can really welcome women’s contribution and whole being more fully. Not every woman would be comfortable with or warrant the title ZFB (and we sure as hell better not give it to them!), but we all have our own picture of what upset looks like. When upset is no longer a threat, when we can bring the kind of empathy and true appreciation to it that is not self-serving and designed just to make it end and our misery along with the behavior we are judging, then we may be unlocking something very creative and powerful.

Oh, and men (like me) can be ZFB’s too. Where my bitches at? 🙂