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.




The Death of Truth

In the next episteme labeled

Partnership World;

A world experience given by

WE and WEing,

Does the language artifact called “Truth” retain any meaning?

In Partnership World; a world experience given by WE and Weing,


Just what utility would the language artifact Truthpossess?

What access to human experience, if any does “Truth” offer us?

I suspect the answer is none at all.

Truth is Dead



Are You Open to Unsought Opportunities?

FreedomIn your full time professional world you may have enjoyed the feeling of control over your activities and the approval from those around you. When Baby Boomers leave the comfort of that world, they will experience a major life change. The change requires navigating the emotional transition that arises from letting go of the past, traversing the period of unknowing, and welcoming the new beginnings. The degree to which you hang onto your need for control or approval during these phases will determine how smoothly you make your transition into your retirement lifestyle.

When you free yourself from your need for control or approval in the encore stage of life, you create space to allow unsought opportunities to arise. When you let go of the need to control what happens in your life you actually can experience greater fulfillment by being aware of the unexpected. This is a new chapter of your life. When you let go of your need for approval from those around you, you become freer to make new and exciting choices for your retirement lifestyle.

The Sedona Method is an effective process for releasing such limiting feelings. The 5 Step Process consists of:

Step 1 – Notice what you are feeling about wanting control or approval.

Step 2 – Ask yourself three questions:

  • Could I let this feeling go?
  • Could I allow this feeling to be here?
  • Could I welcome this feeling?

Step 3 – Ask yourself if you are willing to let go of the feeling.

Step 4 – Ask yourself when you will let it go.

Step 5 – Repeat these four steps until you no longer experience your feeling.

For a more complete description of this deceptively simple, yet powerful, process, please see

When you let go of your need for control or approval you can more easily accept the dynamics of transitioning through the change into your retirement life. Allow yourself to surrender to the process, have faith in yourself and those around you, and trust that everything is as it should be in the present moment.

What do you do to be open to unsought opportunities?

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach,


Gun violence clues lie in early childhood nurturance and neglect

So long as we dwell on red herring surface issues such as gun control, the underlying issues can never be addressed.

Has anyone noticed that none of the shooters are female?

Rather than rehash old arguments regarding gun control and mental health availability, maybe we should look into how we raise and nurture our sons, our male children in this country such that some of them explode into violence.

A late teacher of mine, Charlie Kreiner, once asked us a question I will never ever forget,

“What do you have to do to a male child such that he will agree to kill and be killed in the name of masculinity?”

I ask: “How do we engage with our adorable, delicious, joyous, and loving male children such that they grow up to perpetrate domestic violence and become killers?”

I suggest that there is a clear connection between gender-related nurturance neglect, developing emotional numbness, and the capacity of any individual to perpetrate violence.

Evidence is emerging in neuroscience literature. Watch and listen to neuroscientist VS Ramachandran speak in the TED Talk The Neurons that Shaped Civilization.

The roots of our capacity to empathize lie in early childhood and in the manner we as young children are treated, or not.

We learn that young children are born with an enormous capacity to mimic, mirror, and to reliably reproduce the world they experience. But the number of mirror motor neurons shrinks by about four years of age and their capacity to learn shrinks as well.

Emotionally neglected children do not develop into adults who have the capacity to feel the consequences of their actions.

It is impossible to feel the pain of another if your capacity to feel at all is stunted or missing altogether. Sometimes it looks like the violence perpetrated on elementary school children; other times it looks like domestic violence in the home.

Gun control is a red herring. The clues to the origins of gun violence lie in early childhood nurturance and neglect of children.

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:


Aurora Colorado violence: relationship literacy = domestic harmony

The Aurora Colorado cinema gun violence massacre is not about guns, controlling guns, reacting with yet more gun legislation – it is really about people, you and I, communication, and the quality of our relationships.


Rather than talk about domestic violence – why not shift he ground of being to legislating on behalf of domestic harmony?

Why not promote relationship literacy legislation in place of gun control legislation?

What do I mean by shifting the “ground of being?” What is being done now? How can you help?
Relationship Literacy is:
  • about shifting the ground of being in the conversation about domestic violence and abuse to promoting domestic harmony.
  • Relationship Literacy is tasked with the mission to “Bring honor and respect for ourselves and to each other in every communication in any relationship.”
It is now my counseling practice, and I am working towards “Relationship” being adopted as the “Fourth R” in our educational school system. (after the three traditional “R”s of education, “Reading ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic”.) Do you want to join?

Imagine teaching middle and high school students effective relationship and communication skills.

  • Quality of all their relationships would rise.
  • Domestic date rape and abuse would diminish.
  • Calls for police intervention services would go down.
  • municipal court loads would shrink.
  • Child Protection Services would be out of a job altogether.
  • Domestic violence would begin to disappear.
  • (This is all measurable BTW)
Note that there would be no room, no place, no conversation about, no need for legislative agendas regarding guns and violence.

If you want to be part of forwarding this pro-life conversation, let’s meet, talk, and generate the next step towards domestic harmony together.

You are invited to comment below and participate in our conversation.


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.



Last Night I Dreamed of a Dead Woman from Long Ago

Six nights ago I dreamed about a long-dead friend and have felt obsessed about it ever since. Just finished looking at old pictures of her I found in dusty high school yearbooks. She graduated in June of 1976 a year ahead of me. Her name was Jo Anne.

We didn’t hang out much at all in high school. We became friends many years later after she tracked me down to Richmond, the capital city of Virginia, where I lived and attended grad school in the mid-1980s. She wasn’t my girlfriend. We were never lovers. More like I was her confidante – Continue reading “Last Night I Dreamed of a Dead Woman from Long Ago” »

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.

We owe the homeless street people a debt of gratitude

In retrospect we owe them, big time.

I am one who doesn’t like to live with existential discomfort; I try to avoid disquietude as much as I possibly can.

I make an effort to avoid shoving issues under the rug, or spending more time in denial that I absolutely have to.

So I will, more often than is comfortable, choose to keep my eyes wide-open, feel what there is to feel. look, ponder, and reach for meaning I can live with, some meaning that allows me to live with myself for yet another day.

Case in point: The homeless and street people that publicly populate street corners. I listen to my inner monologs, my outer dialogs surrounding how I choose to respond, or not, to street people who strategically intrude into my flow of consciousness, who solicit my and our support, most often located at highway off-ramps or at traffic lights.

I am always and uncomfortably confronted by the following discourse: Do I choose to “see” them, acknowledge them, and offer them money or food? What does that make me, what does that make them if I do, or don’t? Am I still a good person if I speed on by? Have I dodged the bullet if the traffic light turns green just in time for me to slide on by? (Oops, sorry dude, I gotta go….) Should I slow down or stop traffic and risk irritating the drivers in the vehicles behind me?  Is a dollar too little; is a five, ten, or a twenty dollar bill too much? Are they really only looking for money to buy drugs? Am I being taken in, exposing myself as gullible if I succumb to giving them something? Couldn’t they find a job if they really wanted to?  Can I look good to myself, my neighbors, and my God in what I choose to do or don’t do? And so on and so forth.

And I attempt to empathize with and put myself, as much as one who has never been a street person, in their shoes.  I try to feel how hopeless and how powerless they must feel, to come to grips with what kind of person it takes to stand by the side of the road and subject themselves to the flow of human caring, or more often, human indifference, and do this for hours, days,and weeks?

It takes a clear need, an extraordinary need to take that step, breakthrough those invisible but iron social boundaries, and agree to subject oneself to that.

But is also takes courage to hold on to one’s self-worth, to be vulnerable, to give up all pretense of looking good, and a maintain fragile dignity in the face of all that.

It also requires significant faith in our common humanity.  These are people, our neighbors, who have decided that they will do what it takes to make it under intolerable conditions

And I begin to feel we may very well owe them our gratitude for heroism in the face of yuck. By their choice to stand out there, rain and shine, reminds us that “There but for the grace of God go I.” They are a vivid reminder to us, exposing our pretense, our struggle to feel safe and secure in uncertain times.

If we are honest to ourselves we will admit that one job lost, just one catastrophic and expensive health condition from now – and we are right there next to them, holding up a sign asking for a hand out.

They displace my complacency, remind me of our common humanity, and they offer me an opportunity to rise to and wrestle with my own humanity.

And so I offer the next street dweller I pass my gratitude, my acknowledgment: I catch their eye, bless them with good fortune, I make human-to- human contact, ask them to take good care of themselves; I reach for the packets of beef jerky I keep in my car and a dollar, or larger bill. Sometimes I double my order at a McDonald’s and give them half.

I haven’t made it to street person and middle class nirvana yet. I keep inquiring, reaching for that meaning that will break me and them through the boundaries that invisibly surround them and me, and us.

And I ask you who read this to share with me and us: What do you see, how do you cope with those boundaries, and how do you celebrate your humanity in the face of all that? Thank you.