Relationships are all about WE and US, not ME.

How many times have you, or someone you know say, “THEY are not making ME happy, there’s something wrong with THEM, MY needs are not being met.” Or alternatively, “If only THEY would… I would be happy.”

One of the couple complains the other defends, the temperature rises in the room, feelings get hurt, the argument escalates, and the relationship goes downhill from there.

WE’ve all had conversations just like these. We are all too aware of how conversations like these will end. WE hate listening to conversations like these between those around us. WE are well aware that our homes, our families, our communities, the public media, popular literature, are awash in conversations just like these.

I call these conversations ME-based conversations. They are full of ME, MY feelings, MY experiences, MY needs, and how I am being frustrated.

But what if shifted the way WE talk about our relationships from ME-based language to WE-based language?

What if WE were to say instead, “WE are not making ME happy; there something wrong with US, OUR needs as a couple are not being met?”

With this simple linguistic shift in the way WE speak about ourselves to ourselves and others WE take our partner off their hot seat, stop making them wrong and the one accountable for our feelings, responsible for the dysfunction of our relationship with them.

Isn’t it a lot easier to hear our partner when they tell us, “WE are not making ME happy,” “There something about US, how WE speak and listen to each other that isn’t working for US.” Isn’t “WE need to take a look at how successfully WE are doing US.” easier to hear than, “if only YOU would…then I would be happy.”

With this simple clever shift in the way WE talk about ourselves WE take our partner off the hot seat, stop making them responsible for our feelings and upsets. When our partner no longer has to defend themselves in the face of our upset and dissatisfactions – then WE can shift our attention to where it belongs, to US, about WE, and what is going on between US. Once WE have accomplished this, WE can begin to discuss, focus upon those thoughts left unsaid, misspoken, mistaken and misunderstood.

As a WE, speaking with one another as an US, WE have an opportunity to powerfully listen to one another. Together, WE are able to focus upon our WE-practices and take a good look at persistent behaviors and ways of our being together that are hurtful, unproductive, identify and examine those behaviors that simply don’t work for an US, any US.

As a WE in partnership with our relationship at stake, WE can look for what is missing, that if present would make a difference for US as individuals and bring new workability, expanded love, relatedness and intimacy to our WE.

And then We can be happy.

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Memories: complementary pages to download for your feast

In time for Thanksgiving!

When we stop and think we might notice that Thanksgiving has changed over our lifetimes and the lifetimes of our parents.

Familiar faces that no longer grace our tables, fond family stories of Thanksgivings past, favorite recipes we once shared each year.

As we all gather to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, how about we take the time to stop and remember and preserve memories of Thanksgivings of past years?

Here are complimentary Thanksgiving memory page templates from Memoriesbroughttolife.com ready for your download. Pages you can use either stand alone or as part of your Living Legacy LifeBook.

To take advantage of these pages, go to the Downloads page and be guided through a simple process: enter your name and e-mail to be provided complementary access to all the downloads we currently have available.

We would love for you to have them and add them to your collection and capture these irreplaceable stories.

May we all enjoy a truly memorable Thanksgiving.

paul.zohav@livinglegacylifebook.com

 

Promises outweigh possibilities, hands-down

I will admit that I have spent considerable time imagining my life as I would like it to be, considering all the delicious possible alternatives to my NOW and safely enjoying my feats of imagination.

For instance, I could enjoy being thinner with a more vital and fit body in my mind – and live in the hope that my objective reality would follow, somehow, someday. It is kind of like living my life on television.

However, after some decades had passed in this manner I noticed I was living in a possibility dream-driven la-la land in which nothing really changed, or if a circumstance altered it did so very slowly or by sheer happenstance.

I noticed that I was going around in imaginative circles going nowhere without even a Ground Hog Day movie-like plot to permit me a “happily ever after” ending.

The key for me, and for us, is four-fold:

  1. MAKE a PROMISE: in place of imagining and enjoying illusory possibility. Our promises give us access to the NOW in away that purely cognitive-based processes cannot.
  2. GET into DIALOG: reach out and touch somebody who can listen to us outside of the power-sucking monolog we are in with ourselves.
  3. Hold a CONVERSATION for INTEGRITY: identify any “gaps” between who we are today and who we desire ourselves to be.
  4. Give people around us our WORD and then honor it in our and their eyes.

Rinse and repeat as necessary.

I understand that the above can be a little bit easier said than done, maybe even very challenging and confronting.

So this is my promise to you: if you wish to work on something important to you “out loud” with me please contact me at:

Paul@relationshipliteracy.com

 

There is a Holon of Love Goin’ on.

Originating quote:

“Loving is learning how to let go of what we think we know about ourselves, others and what’s happening. Love IS letting go

I would assert that Love is about letting go of identity and other distortions in the field between us and an other.

When we remove: relationship-toxic points of view, undigested bits of history, and false identity from the past we become present, spiritually dynamic life swimmers; love is revealed and available.

Love is an experience; it comes from the World of Being and as such it exists outside of time and space, and resists representational (talking about) descriptive language.

Admittedly and having just said that…

Love is the experience one has when all that is in the space between you and the other has been taken out (however temporarily) and the two (or more) individual/spirits see (grok) each other clearly, having successfully distinguished and disappeared the (illusory) distance between them, to form a third Meta Being, also known as a “Holon” (see Sex Ecology and Spirituality by Ken Wilbur) a Being that is greater than it’s individual parts.

Love is the experience of all participants constituting the Holon/Transcendent Being.

Prior to that moment of transcendent unification (however fleeting) much of what has been labeled “Love” in the past is much more about the individual not the relationship, more monolog than dialog, more about biology than spirit, more lust than love.

BTW the same Holon-istic mechanism can be experienced within other holons, for example, an orchestra, where a unity is generated among the musicians, the conductor and composer, and a series of moments of transcendence arises among them. (A good friend of mine once revealed to me that her first orgasm was as a violinist in an orchestra.)

The formula is the same: take out of the space between you and another what is not germane to relationship, what remains is an experience of love in relationship.

offers paul@relationshipliteracy.com

 

At Mid-marriage? Opportunity knocking!

You’ve been married for a while, you awake one morning, look over at the other side of the bed and begin to wonder, “Who is that?”

This is a pretty good indication that the two of you have reached “mid-marriage,” the curtain is ready to rise on the next act in your relationship.

If you were to take a marriage and family inventory you would notice that children are mostly grown and flown, the sacrifices you are making on behalf of family and career are growing less valid, and you are seeing renewed availability of time and money to spend on yourselves and on each other.

You have something else as well.

You have an extraordinary opportunity to recreate your marriage and lay a new foundation for the next stage of your relationship.

Mid-marriage is the ideal time to take a moment to:

  • Take a look back at who you have been for each other
  • Acknowledge your achievements
  • Hold a party to celebrate accomplishments
  • Close the book on the past and go on to
  • Lay a new foundation for the next decades of your lives (together or perhaps apart)

Relationship Literacy counseling will support you help you do all of this, and more.

What do you ant, who do you wish to be over the next 20 years of your life?

asks, paul@relationshipliteracy.com

 

Complaints are for catching

A complaint is no more and no less than you or someone else someone saying, “I am not happy with the way things are and I am asking for your help.”

It might be because they are not happy with how they are feeling about themselves, their environment, the state of the world, or perhaps they are not happy about something that has to do with you.

It might sound as if they are unhappy with you. However, remember that even if it has something to do WITH you it is not ABOUT you.  It’s about them and how they are feeling at the moment.

Their complaint, however, offers you an opportunity to respond and make a difference for them and strengthen your relationship.

The way to respond to a complaint is to do play “Catch and release” I use the acronym CARE for Catch, Acknowledge, and Reflect. (C.A.R. for short)

When someone sends a complaint your way, you Catch it, Acknowledge it, and then Reflect it.

You catch it by hearing, listening, and then restating what it is they are concerned about it, saying something like “Oh, I got it. What I heard you say is that you are feeling upset about X.”

Then comes your opportunity to make a real difference for them and for your relationship with them.

You respond to their complaint with a response like, “How shall we deal with this?” or, “What do we need to think about to resolve this?” or, I am here right now, how can I help?”

Then between you, you can hash out the issue, the concern, or complaint and actually arrive at a resolution that empowers both of you.

My father, my son, and me

I really can’t complain.

I know I have no right to complain; but I am going to do my best to complain, anyway.

My problem? I have never been able to identify with nor wholeheartedly embrace the choices my thirty-five year old son makes.

His offense? He persistently refuses to live the life I would have him live, or make the choices I would have him make. He is smart and he is educated, but he has no significant other, no noteworthy means of supporting himself. He manages to get by with some subsidy, all while marching to the beat of a drummer only he can hear, God bless him.

I mean, I get it that I in my sixties am the child of the “Sixties.” Transforming our world was our ministry, our call, our manifest destiny. We had the Beatles, Civil Rights, Feminism, a Cold War, the Vietnam War, we walked on the moon.

He, on the other hand is a Gen X child of the “eighties.” They have heavy metal music (sigh), AIDS, gay rights, plus a few of their own wars and 9-11’s aftermath to cope with – but what he and his generation’s role will be, is not clear at all to me.

I will have to read the book when it comes out, I should live so long.

Reflecting on it, I don’t know how we got here. When I was thirty-five he was nine, we were living on a commune in Virginia, and I was reading the Lord of the Rings to him. It took a really long time but we loved sharing those books together, a peak father and son memory. Then life happened and he grew up.

To be honest, it occurs to me that, when compared with how my father must have felt when I was thirty-five, I get off pretty easily.

By the time I was my son’s age I had moved across the world to live on an Israeli kibbutz, drafted to serve in the Israeli army, married, changed our family name, had a son, returned to the U.S to live in yet another communal society, and then had a second child before going and getting divorced. None of this was in my father’s game plan for me.

So some compassion for my dad is overdue. I have some sense of how my father struggled to come to terms with my choices while loving me the best he could. Bless him, I did not make it easy. In my mind’s eye I have a sense of déjà vu, albeit with a role reversal.

So, when I take the opportunity to compare just how jerked around my dad must have felt when I was thirty-five, I get that I have no real right to complain.

But I will complain nonetheless and seek any sympathy I can solicit. It’s my story; I’m sticking to it, and I promise to go on loving my son as best I can, God help me.

LifeBook thoughts and expanding permutations

There are 76 million baby boomers and another fifty plus million others who could use the Living Legacy LifeBook as a framework for honoring themselves, each other, their roots, futures, and their descendants.

The more I discuss my book and ideas with others the more ideas for application arise. Please add more in your comments below (Thanks)

LifeBook or LifeBooks could be:

  • Part of a welcome packet for an independent living or retirement community.
  • Part of a Pre-burial plan contract purchase (if you are buying a hole that has not been dug, a monument that has not been cut to be erected on a plot you yourself will never really enjoy, have one of these to complete between now and the time you will be using your plot. It also makes for a well-written eulogy…)
  • Home care agencies, instead of watching one more soap opera with their home bound client – they can ask great questions and listen to some truly astounding replies.)
  • Senior downsizing movers and De-clutterers could use this.
  • Senior housing placement agencies can offer this as part of their services.
  • Senior centers could use this as inspiration for activities.
  • Retirement or other financial counselors could offer this to clients as a service.
  • Divorce counselors, attorneys, mediators can offer this to couples in distress to help them clarify their marriages and intentions, conceivably help restore health to damages relations.
  • A gift from:
    • Adult children to their Senior parents which would make visiting their parents much more enjoyable and productive
    • Senior parents to their adult children which would make visits much more enjoyable and productive
  • A gift to:
    • Newlyweds so that they can start their Living Legacies right away, and learn each other[s families early on in their marriage.
    • Oldy-weds (a relationship enhancement tool) who can take their intimacy and compatibility to the next level by sharing their lives in this manner – one tell their stories or bucket list, the other scribes – then switch roles, then discuss between them.
  • A service for religious congregations.
    • Honoring their senior members,
    • younger members, youth groups, can visit and listen and record older members as they retell their stories, share their wisdom.
  • And much more yet to be conceived. 
  • There is even a memory board game in the works… (imagine)

Anything you can do or say that will help me reach 150 million Americans would be deeply appreciated.

You can write to me directly at livinglegacylifebook@gmail.com

Thanks!

Paul

 

 

 

Derailed (The Fire, Part 3)

Click on any photo to ENLARGE it.

My Camera Post-Fire (the memory card with ~ 800 pics survived) at the Burn House. Photo by William Bass.

Derailed

Fire changes things. Destroys. Creates. Transforms.

Think of metamorphic rocks, rocks such as gneiss, slate, quartzite, and marble. Think of transmutation of elements. Transmutation as illustrated by the old alchemical striving to turn lead, the base metal of Satan the Devil, into gold, the metal of Gods and kings, or modern nuclear reactions, explosions, and radioactive decay. One forgets among the unleashing of atomic demons the alchemists were more esoteric than literal as they sought to transform their very souls.

Sometimes those who spend lifetimes in search of such divine gifts never obtain their goals.

Sometimes those who don’t seek these Gifts of Fire end up in flames anyway.

Sometimes life spins out of control.

It feels that way at times. Certainly within our minds. Even if Life goes on until Dead.

Jeff Shushan, a brilliant and insightful psychotherapist Kristina and I worked with off and on through the latter part of 2010 into 2011, used the term “derailed.” An unexpected and traumatic event occurs. It is a life-changing event. Circumstances feel overwhelming and throw people off course. Yes, you can be alert, awake, aware, present, mindful, and choose to respond rather than react. Still, to full heal one must take time to grieve, to reassess, to determine what steps to take next and in what direction, with whom, and how.

To see lots more photos and continue reading, go to: http://williamdudleybass.com/MyBlog/derailed-the-fire-part-3/.

William Dudley Bass
February 2012
Seattle, Washington
http://williamdudleybass.com

 

Copyright (C) 2012 by William Dudley Bass.

 

Words to Live By on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day – a day of romance, flowers, chocolate, and pretty cards, a day of expectations of special treatment and loving words. If you are a business owner and even if you are swamped and fatigued there are certain rituals you are expected to perform – a special meal is just a starter. It’s considered prudent to make sure that special someone gets something special.

Well for all you men who need a little more guidance in the art of meeting expectations, here’s someone who provides us with a few choice words Title: “These Are the Things You Don’t Say to Your Wife”

Hope you enjoy as much as I did!