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.

 

 

 

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.

Discover Your Family Treasure

Stories of familyThe encore years of life offer Baby Boomers a time for reflection and conversations to discover valuable family stories. When you uncover the stories you hold for your own life you create greater awareness of how you fit into your family. And, when you share your stories with others in your family, you expand their perspective of their own lives, as well as of the family as a whole.

Reflections on your own life stories can help you design your retirement lifestyle. What do you remember as the most important? Are there any repetitive themes? How can they inform your choices for the next stage of your life?

Discovery Process

There are many ways you can discover your family treasures, including:

  • Journals and diaries that you and others have kept, or currently write.
  • Asking other relatives what they remember about events that you remember – their memories may be illuminating.
  • Allow other relatives to interview you with their own questions which you may never have thought of.
  • Record your discoveries to share in the future by writing them down, or by making audio or video recordings.

Sharing Your Stories

Family members may think they know each other well when they have grown up together. Other relatives may know each other superficially because they see each one another infrequently. Instead of keeping conversations on a mundane level, I encourage you to share the wisdom you have accumulated throughout your life when you reach your retirement years. Your stories will allow others of all generations to know and appreciate you more. Your perspectives on life can inform family members of new ways of experiencing life.

Throughout the ages, and in other cultures, the wisdom of the elders has been highly regarded. I recommend that you gather your own stories and the stories of your family and actively keep them alive by sharing them with one another often.

What family treasures will you discover in your encore years?

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach, www.welcomingretirement.com

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

 

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.

offers: 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.

Living Legacy LifeBook – the movie!

 

    Our Reticent Writers and Bloggers Support Group has been an enormous resource for me this past year. Our support group member Scott Bell produced this excellent video for me; Susan Straub-Martin designed the beautiful covers.

Here is the link to the video.

Living Legacy LifeBook video, six minutes.

Here is the link to the website:

The Living Legacy website

Here are the Living Legacy LifeBook’s high-points:

You can’t take it with you – but you can leave something of abiding value behind, your Living Legacy.  Downsizing your life should not mean you need to garage sale your mind nor compromise your identity. The Living Legacy LifeBook is a simple, easy, do it at your own pace guide that permits adults to:

  • Process a lifetime of memories.
  • Review life accomplishments.
  • Achieve an enhanced sense of self and safeguard identity.
  • Create a memory aid for when remembering becomes a concern.
  • Downsize living quarters and distribute long-held possessions – without losing the memories associated with those possessions.
  • Enhance relationships with those who are closest.
  • Experience and enjoy meaningful, good quality time spent with family and friends.
  • Keep vital life documents close by, readily available for reference.
  • Create a personal Living Legacy, a contribution, a posterity that will last for generations – a true immortality.
  •  And much, much more.

Please send me your feedback, thoughts, networking suggestions, and responses.

Thanks for watching.

Paul Zohav