Women’s way of knowing?

The internal union of masculine and feminine traits essential

As the second oldest of five girls raised in the 50s, I learned from my family and my catholic education what it meant to be a woman: get married, have babies, keep your husband happy with a well-kept home and lots of good cooking. The variety of roles women play has changed dramatically in my life time. Although we have more options than ever before in written history, how women are perceived by others is only one measure of this change. More important is how each of us view women as a group different from any group of men. And how do we as individuals see our self? How much effect does our internal thinking have on the way we see ourselves and others?

The first woman was nominated by one of America’s two major political parties to be president of the United States. Hilary Clinton won the popular vote by an estimated 2 million, yet she lost in the final count of the electoral college. Maybe not so much has changed? Clinton is my age, but her life took a different path. She mothered only one child rather than three, went to college after high school and earned a law degree. I began my formal education in my mid-30s and mastered Psychology when I was 50. Hilary has spoken out for women’s rights, and stood up for equal rights for people of color, lesbians and gay men during her career as a politician, often against strong opposition. As Secretary of State she was involved with controversial foreign affairs. And is it is often said that she has shady dealings with Wall Street. Her public and private life are under constant scrutiny. Because of the internet, both Bill and Hillary Clinton became international celebrities. I have no such claims to fame, other than a few academic articles and a published book on healthy relationships. And, I realize I still have not found my voice.

Through an ancient myth, titled Psyche and Eros, I learned something about life’s lessons. This story, written thousands of years ago when women did not have a public voice, illustrates the internal struggle between mental and emotional responses. This seemingly simple story proves that men have always endeavored to understand the roles women play in the development of civilization. This election process and the myth highlight realizations about conscience (ie: knowing right from wrong) and consciousness (becoming aware of how individuals think about what is right for them, yet wrong for someone else). In both the story and the election “collective unconscious” is illustrated by archetypes of what it means to be a man or woman. Neither are “right” or “wrong” any more than being black is more right than being white, or being rich is more wrong than being poor. Today men and women acknowledge this internal struggle as part of our daily lives, no matter where we fall on the spectrum of possibilities. Many people tap into universal distrust, or even hatred, for people who are different: whether they hold different beliefs, have a different color skin, or are part of a different economic class.

Most everyone would agree we have gender-based stereotypes in spite of the hard work of women’s liberation and recent findings in brain research, which prove that some women are just as capable of analytical, linear, rational thinking as some men. Many people argue that these left-brain mental abilities are more essential than their right-brain opposites, such as creativity and more holistic ways of viewing the world. Concepts of emotional desire and nurturing love are often thought of as “getting in the way” of being successful. However, some men are just as capable of nurturing and affection as any woman. Once we understand how the internal Psyche and Eros must work together, we see how inseparable they are and have been since early Greek and Roman times.

More to follow

inner rainbows

kundaliniWe each have an inner sense of knowing and ways to attract the things we need in life. Each color of the rainbow has a particular attribute outlined in ancient traditions connected to the chakra system:

Red=Security — What makes you secure?

Orange=Creativity — What do you create to express your self?

Yellow=Power –Do you express power with rather than “power over”

Green=Love — In what ways do you give and receive love?

Blue=Clarity of Communication — Are you clearly asking for your needs to be met?

Indigo=Vision and Imagination — Are your dreams fulfilled?

Violet=Connection — Are you practicing forgiveness?

Listen to a 12 min. meditation designed to sooth your mind and body using these colors and manifest more of what you need in your life at this time.

Learning to Listen

Learning to Listen

As my semester of teaching Psychology 101 progresses, I am reminded of new piece of brain science about how Introverts and Extroverts are hard wired found in The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World (2002) by Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D. (pp. 74-5)

Recent studies have shown that Introverts tend to exhibit a longer “pathway” between hearing or seeing something and being able to respond. They need more time to think, and often prefer to write rather than talk. Extroverts are talkers, quick to respond, often not taking time to reflect on what is being presented before blurting out their opinion on the subject. This behavior can cause Introverts to feel unheard. Another consequence is that too often ill-considered decisions are made.

This process can be detrimental to healthy relationships because in every dyad, one will tend more toward Extroversion and one more Introvertion. The resulting miscommunication can leave both parties frustrated. Relationships would benefit from change on both sides. It would be great if more Introverted people practiced expressing their ideas and insights, rather than allowing themselves to become suppressed and defer. The more Extraverted person needs to practice slowing down their rapid response and make more space for listening. Introverts can become more expansive, more persistent. Extraverts can become less exuberant.

America is run by and for extroverts who boldly speak their mind without taking long term consequences into consideration. It is compelling to compare this state of affairs to when men ruled the world, leaving women, half of the population, without a voice – without a vote. But even when women were first “given” the right to vote in this country, the fact of their being heard only changed on a small scale. Much bigger change came later, with birth control. Prior to women experiencing the sexual freedom that came with the “pill” they were often depressed because of being ignored and shamed. They experienced anxiety because of not being heard. Today, men and women have equal opportunity for depression and anxiety. Is this discomfort related to the Introversion and Extraversion spectrum?

Susan Cain, author of Quiet:The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking (2012), notes that “television pundits—that is, people who earn their livings by holding forth confidently on the basis of limited information—make worse predictions about political and economic trends than they would by random chance.” (p. 52) [emphasis added]. She adds that American society has always valued those who can respond quickly.

Paul is an example of a man who experiences invisibility in this extroverted society. He has come to recognize that as an Introvert, he needs more courage to be persistently more visible. Several negative experiences occurred throughout his life. An early memory is a teacher who asked what is so important for you to interrupt the class, when he excitedly wanted to share. As an Introvert, he was hardwired to share from his inner landscape, and he felt shamed. And something else was learned, “It’s not okay for me to speak my mind.” He recently created Introvert Awareness, a website intended to help talkers slow down to provide more time for listening and for the listeners, who are often Introverts to share their thoughts more frequently.

Extroverts need to value what Introverts have to say, and Introverts need to value themselves enough to speak out. Paul finds that when attending a meeting, “Because I ruminate and thoughts come in waves, I often realize later what I might have said. Because of the way my brain is wired, I need more time.” Reflection leads to clarity rather than rapid decision making. We all need to recognize that we cannot solve problems or make changes in a one hour meeting. Perhaps we need to reconvene, add two or three more meetings to give all parties involved time to think more clearly. What if we learned the consensus process as opposed to Robert’s Rules of ‘Rigidness’ where the majority (read “those who think more quickly”) get to make the rules.

Similar to the paradigm shift allowed by birth control, a whole new paradigm in decision making could be the equivalent of changing the world. Any decision made without adequate time for reflection and consideration of the consequences is too quick. Perhaps we all need to stop and think about how our decisions effect the next seven generations. This alone could bring more balance to the world.

It is important to keep in mind that Asian societies value introverts–value reflection, and those who think more deeply and slowly. How can we, Americans, become more MINDFUL? Therefore creating less anxiety, depression and stress. How can we help introverts become more courageous? How can each of us live a life that is more heart-felt?

Seven Keys to Healthy Relationships

This is an example of one of the Keys you will receive weekly if you sign up.

Key Five : Communication is essential to achieve intimacy. Becoming more transparent is one way to allow others to really know who we are and what we desire from life. However, the closer people get and the more time they spend together, the more likely arguments will occur. Use the love languages introduced in the previous Key about LOVE. Clear communications, without shame or blame, without attack or defense, are essential ingredients for healthy relationships at home or at work.

Actions: Make an effort to pre-determine talking rules before there are any conflicts.

Determine how each person prefers to communicate depending on given circumstances.

Both parties in any disagreements need to fight fair in the appropriate time and place.

For instance: If one person is a “yeller” the other person needs to accept that will probably not change, and that it is healthy to “follow the charge” all the way through.

If one needs space to think in the midst of an argument, the other person must give them that space or nothing will ever be settled.

Use statements that begin with “I” rather then “You.”

For example: “I don’t like when you _____.” is better than “You always _______.”

Another model is: “When you (state the action), I feel (state your emotion).”

Once ground rules are agreed upon, keep the lines of communication open.

Example: Chris is learning that tangible gifts are Sandy’s way of showing symbolic love. The giving of a gift is one way to receive love and acceptance. At first, Chris was ambivalent about some of the gifts. They did not seem appropriate to satisfy particular wishes and desires and Chris let Sandy know about the dissatisfaction. Over time, Chris realized that GIFTS are one of Sandy’s love languages, and came to understand the deeper meaning behind them. As this was communicated between them, Chris became more loving when receiving the gifts, and Sandy can feel more acceptance and appreciation when giving them. The more they were able to talk about this, the more appropriate the gifts became.

Reflection: Open and honest communication can make or break relationships. In what ways do you misunderstand when people give you their gifts? If someone refuses to engage in conflict what other solutions can they offer? What do you think will happen if differences are ignored and not dealt with when they first occur?

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Solitude and Intimacy; We all have an inner intovert

Solitude and Intimacy; We all have an inner intovert

Solitude is very different from a ‘time-out’ from our busy lives. Solitude is the very ground from which community grows. Whenever we pray alone, study, read, write, or simply spend quiet time away from the places where we interact with each other directly, we are potentially opened for a deeper intimacy with each other.
Henri Nouwen

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/intimacy.html#wk8IeDID0ET1orcL.99

A review of ‘Exploring Intimacy’

New Review From Booklist

Robins’ well-researched text skillfully weaves historic perspectives with overviews of mind-body-spirit system theories and exercises designed to help us reconnect with others and our environment. Consciousness study began when Freud suggested that early childhood memories caused body distress. The rise of postwar individualist thinking led to military and industrial establishments that sought to control the destiny of individuals and the world by emphasizing materialism to the detriment of emotional and social health. Robins reviews subsequent reactions against such reductiveness and leading to “a call to conscious awareness,” and the recognition that discerning inner truths allows access to healing energy and enables individuals to regain and maintain balance and follow the “Path of Love.” Filled with illustrations of body shakras, the flow of positive and negative forces, and the overlapping circles of nature and nurture, this comprehensive study smoothly blends Eastern and Western approaches to healing energy. Robins’ detailed, richly interpretative, and practical study will find an audience among those who are seriously involved with alternative therapies. –Whitney Scott


Public vs Private

healthy-relationship-hearts-11Public vs Private

The launch of Sheri Winston’s book was successful. My visit with the father of my grown children also went well at beautiful Pipe Lake near Seattle. A weekend like this pushes my public vs private conflict big time. I have always been open with my kids, there is very little they do not know about me and my life including my sexuality. It is one of the reasons my marriage ended.

I believe”sex” and intimacy issues are a normal part of life. Honesty and openness are my highest values in every relationship.

Because of this I am honest about my attraction to women as well as men. In many circles this is a no-no. You are supposed to choose. Make one commitment to last the rest of your life. It used to be like that for heterosexuals, however today they have more freedom than when I was growing up.  Homosexuality is also more acceptable. But the stigma around loving more than one remains, although this too is changing.

Polyamory is becoming a choice for many. What is your honest choice?



Relationship Coaching for your sex life

Relationship Coaching for your sex life

Would you love to be having the most fabulous sex possible? Do you want to be the lover of your partner’s wildest dreams?

Then my friend Sheri Winston’s new book, Succulent Sexcraft: Your Hands-On Guide to Erotic Play and Practice is for YOU! Sheri’s new book is packed with information about how to improve your bedroom skills—you can even become a sexual virtuoso!

This treat of a book is well-written, packed with play and practice exercises—it even has lots of erotic art images (both vintage and contemporary). It’s a brilliant, integral, wholistic, hot and juicy educational romp!

If you don’t already know  Sheri, her previous book is one of my all-time favorites. I recommend Women’s Anatomy of Arousal: Secret Maps to Buried Pleasure to all my friends, clients and students. It won a national prize and has gotten almost 80 rave reviews on Amazon.


“Social Media” Anti-Social and Anti-Intimacy

Strengthening long-distance communication at the expense of near-by interaction

Guest Blog by Paul Glassco

Ten years ago, I was working at a giant CAD software company. At the beginning of annual employee meeting, a short video was run. First, the camera focused on a guy sitting at a kitchen table, texting away on his cell phone, and we can see his text stream and the responses. The camera catches another guy sitting across from him at the same table, also texting on his phone, but we cannot see his screen. They are both texting up a storm, with some grimacing and one hand gestures. Suddenly the camera switches so we can see the second guy’s screen—and it’s the same text stream as the first guy’s!

Everyone got a good chuckle; even I laughed at the hilarity of two guys sitting across the table from one another but using modern telecommunications instead of just talking. But it left me with a sad feeling—what is happening to the human part of human communications?

Our modern technology – the internet, cell phones and laptop computers with cameras, and applications like Skype and ooVo – strengthen our abilities for tele-Vision and tele-Hearing, making fantastic revolutions in human communications. People all over the global can talk, view each other and ‘stay in touch.’ However, that last phrase is a clear misnomer. We are strengthening telecommunications at the expense of the more human-scale and near-by communications. Vision and hearing have been extremely amplified, but at the expense of touch, smell, taste and warmth.

Thirty years ago, a friend and I visited an Indian reservation and archeological site. It was extremely quiet—no planes or jets, no cars, no radios, no nothing in the way of man-made artifacts other than the ruins themselves, which were of course quiet. Suddenly, I heard a terrific noise in sharp contrast to the quiet, looked up and saw about a mile away a single truck motoring down a seldom-used road.

Seeing and hearing are long-range as well as short-range forms of human senses, covering miles as well as inches. Touch, smell, taste and feeling others’ body heat are only short-range forms of sensing, requiring proximity of just inches to be at all useful.

It turns out that, through some perverse synergy, we have been able to amplify the already-long-distance senses. However, our technology has done little or nothing to amplify short-distance senses. As technology has ‘progressed’ it has helped those distal senses, as the low-hanging fruit of human ingenuity. But what has human ingenuity done to help the proximal senses? These are much harder to capture, digitize, transmit, receive and replay.

Have we made the best choices for furthering human intimacy? It would seem not, and this saddens me. We are taking the easy-to-mechanize senses, already overdeveloped in people, and further strengthening them. In my opinion, we need to focus much, much less on virtual reality and more on real reality—our everyday, close, intimate, sometimes inconvenient experiences. So-called ‘social media’ are actually making us more anti-social!

We are at the beginning of a new His and Her story

Gender roles are changing? Anyone agree or Disagree with that statement. What does it mean “gender roles” you ask — the tasks assigned to you simply because you are male or female. What defines a male or female? Biological markers, length of hair, sexual preference or orientation? All those were true in the past, but many seem meaningless in today’s economy of openness and fluidity. I would love to hear your comments on what it means to you?