3 Steps for Repair Work

When I am tired or low on interpersonal resources, I find it difficult to show up with compassion and grace. I sink back into judgmental, controlling and reactive habits even though I know they are self-sabotaging and unlikely to result in what I actually want. Here 3 Principles I return to when I am doing repair work in an important relationship.

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Powerful Choices

I have been reflecting upon questions of power, consciousness and choice. Caroline Myss (one of my favorite teachers, despite her judgmental style) often talks about how our choices are our fundamental power.

As I was preparing for my talk on Conscious Commitments last Sunday, I found myself thinking more deeply about the choices I've made in my own life.

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Bodies, Boundaries and Beliefs

During a boundary exploration exercise at a workshop last year, I had a moment of profound insight. We were exploring the felt-sense of boundaries in our bodies, and playing with our ability to track sensations and read cues that arose from within.

The exercise involved a person walking slowly towards me from across a room, while I was supposed to sense out a “stop” from my body as she was getting closer.

Our instructions were to follow our body cues, sense out an internal boundary, and to indicate when we wanted the other person to stop approaching.

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All About Needs

Last week, I received this lovely question:

"I love how much more literate in feelings I am now, however honestly, I just don't really get the universal human needs.Like how to actually connect to them and communicate about them in real life in real time?

It always just seems totally forced and out of touch. This seems so basic, but I need some sort of in-depth crash course on the NEEDS part ... do you know of anything already out there on the internet? Or would you like to write something? :)"

I love your question!

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When Words Matter. (Or Not)

As I sit down to write to you today, I notice I am tired and longing for sleep.

It's the best kind of tired.

The kind of tired that I feel after having used up every moment of a day doing work that I love, grappling with issues that feel meaningful and working with people I care for deeply.

The kind of heavy tired that seeps into my bones, promising a night of deep rest.

So with that in mind, instead of trying to be all creative this evening, I want to draw your attention to some of my previous posts in case you find some wisdom and insight already waiting for you!

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How To Know If You Are Ready For Love

I remember telling my therapist (long, long ago) that the one thing I wanted to work on in therapy was why I was drawn like a moth to a flame to romantic partners who inevitably caused me tremendous distress and heartache.  

I could recognize them from a mile away, but inexplicably still sought them out.  

Clearly my internal operating system was deeply and fundamentally flawed.

I no longer believe this about myself (thankfully), but my own journey to wholeness has in large part included an exploration into the nature of love.  

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Why Being "Positive" Might Be Bad For You

Have you noticed the cultural pressure to “Be Positive” or “Be Strong” or “Focus on the Good”?

It's as if we think that acknowledging or empathizing with painful experiences inadvertently creates more of them.

I hear it all the time.

“I would never do therapy,” someone said to me disdainfully, “All that focus on bad feelings and old stories will simply create more of them in my life.  I don’t want to attract negativity like that.” 

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5 Steps to More Powerful Requests

Whenever I ask for something relational that I’m needing (comfort, affection, to be heard or seen) I feel super vulnerable. This isn’t easy.

I worry about:

1. Being turned down

2. Feeling disappointed, and

3. Then judging myself for being too needy, demanding, pushy or selfish.

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What (Not) To Do When Triggered

As I was helping two people work through a conflict a few weeks ago, one of them turned to me and snapped,

“So basically you’re accusing me of being abusive?”

I took a deep breath.

“OK. Let’s slow down ... first, am I understanding what you are telling me accurately: You said you called your partner a liar, swore at them multiple times, raised your voice, followed them from room to room after they asked for a time out and then shattered a glass on the floor between the two of you - is that right?”

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Bi-Partisan Friendships: Bridging the Divide

In a conversation I had last weekend with Roxy Manning and a group of leaders interested in bringing NVC-consciousness to diversity work at institutions of higher education locally, she used a phrase that I love: Focus on engaging, not changing

For me this translated into: Be in relationship with one another, and stop leading with so many demands for other to change. Let the relationship lead the way.

So, this week, I want to share a video with you about two women who committed to doing just that: Caitlin and Lauran, two friends on opposite sides of the political spectrum, sharing their “bi-partisan friendship.”

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Including More Parts. (Getting Bigger)

We lived in Germany when I was in elementary school and each year for the holidays we would visit extended family “back home” in South Africa.

I'd always be just a little more grown up.

Hugging and welcoming us, family would turn to me saying with glowing, love and pride, saying: “Oh my, look how big you’ve gotten! You are such a big girl now... ”

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