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?

 

 

Creating Change

Shifting From  Me to We

Andrea Costantine (http://andreacostantine.com/) gives a great presentation on being inspired to make a difference in the world by getting involved and creating community through compassion, contribution, and connection. Andrea believes that when people come together, change can be made.

She says,”When we gain a sense of community, separation dissipates, leading to happier, healthier, more compassionate human beings.” When this happens then we are more interested and willing to contribute to the well-being of others.

Some of us touch other people’s lives in our daily interactions by doing our best at what ever it is that we do. If we work in a profession where we do not have direct contact with people, we still make a difference in their lives with the products we create or services we offer. Some of us make time to volunteer in various ways where we connect with children or animals, or help others learn to read, or participate in a community garden. Multiple opportunities exist to be of service and make connections with each other.

This is exactly what Cuddle Party (http://CuddleParty.com) is all about. People come together, at first thinking about getting their own needs met for safe, affectionate touch. But they soon realize it is about giving as well as receiving. Whether they are being touched or doing the touching, it is reciprocal, and nurturing for everyone involved. After a few minutes, there is no difference between giving and receiving; it feels just as good to touch as to be touched. And this is the way all of life should feel when the barriers between YOU and ME dissipate, and we recognize that “We are One.”

What does this phrase “We are One” mean? We seem to be hearing and seeing it more and more often. It is what community is all about – coming together in UNITY. What happens to one of us, happens to all of us. Whether it is a fatal shooting, or a simply wounding with words, we are all victims to the violence that we are surrounded by. Sometimes it seems no matter which way we turn, we are being violated by GMO products or some other pesticide in our food source, or bombarded by political or religious actions that seem totally out of our control. We shield ourselves from this by shutting down to the good and the possibility of change in the world when we succumb to helplessness. We learn to be helpless when we make it all about ME and do not feel there is anything that I have to give to YOU.

A simple gesture of caring, a smile, or a kind word can make a huge difference in someone’s life. When we open to the idea that “everyone matters” and that everyone is important no matter what they are doing. When we accept each other without judgment about who’s way of thinking or acting is Good or Bad, we are able to open our hearts as well as our minds to this concept of “We are One.”

What ways have you found to make a difference in the world?

End of the world as we know it?

The buzz about the end of the world in Dec. 2012 reminds me of the split between mind and body. Is this a political or a metaphysical question? We never actually know what is going to happen next, no matter how much we plan and prepare.

When we take a vacation, we trace our route and say we want to be at one place on this date, and another on that date. Mostly it works, but sometimes there are unexpected turns in the road and magnificent things to see and do that were not planned. Other times mistakes are made and we have to retrace our route, or we lose “time” because we lock the keys in the car, or we sleep poorly because we picked the wrong motel.

When we go to work day after day, mostly we know what to expect and it can be exciting when something different occurs. Sometimes the phone suddenly rings and every thing we planned to do changes. Other times, it is the same ole, same old. One never knows. However, we continue to have expectations and to set our intentions about how we want something to work. If we can live in the mystery of not knowing what is around the next corner, we can always be excited and surprized by what happens. When we have expectations, we are often disappointed.

Which way would you rather live? In disappointment or surprize and excitement? I am one of those people who don’t like surprizes, but I don’t like to be disappointed either, so what is a girl to do?

I like setting my intentions and then love with my arms wide open, letting happen what ever happens and surrendering to the moment. This is not always easy, but recent health problems have left me not knowing what is going to happen next. I am learning to live in the mystery and allowing myself to be pleased with the outcome, what ever it is . This has forced me to slow down and take what comes. It is a hard lesson. My body and mind are not in agreement. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak, and other times my whole self says, “Let’s go!” Yet I don’t have an ounce of energy to follow through.

How does this work for you? And what do you think is going to happen next? I’d love your comments!

An insider’s wishes for successful gay marriages

Exploring Intimacy means allowing for In–to–me-see…

Gay marriage has become legal in several states. We are finally seen as equals and this move was way overdue. Now that many have taken the leap into marriage, or are considering it, I want these unions to last. Not just to endure over time, but to thrive and grow. (Let us prove the conservatives wrong).

Many people (especially in the LGBTIQP communities) crave intimacy, yet go about it in self-destructive or at least self–defeating ways. The crystal meth epidemic in New York is one example. I want us to see ourselves as better than that, and be a strong healthy community, in mind, body, and spirit. Communities are made up of people who truly care for one another.

To me most people give up on relationships way too easily these days, or else they hold on to the idea of “until death do us part” that our parents held so literally. Too often we give up on blissful connecting with our partners and settle for the daily grind of getting through the tough parts, not really connecting in deep heartfelt ways.

The most consistent relationship you will have in your life is the one with yourself.”

This is a really important place to start. Self-love is not shallow, ego driven, narcissism, but a self-care that helps you make good decisions, and sets a standard of how you want to be treated by others.

We connect with people on different levels. At first, we might be attracted on a visual, physical or intellectual, mental level, then we come to know their heart and we fall in love on deeper levels. This helps build a mature lasting love. When we start to tap into new unexplored traits and characters of our partner, we build something new together that doesn’t leave either one behind.

Many avenues can lead to intimacy and getting in tune with your partner or spouse. Here are three easy questions to consider when opposing egos create a power struggle.

Step back and ask:

1. “What would be best for the relationship”? Unless you like playing tug of war, it is so much easier to both get on the same side of the rope and pull together! See your relationship as a third entity worthy of time and care.

2. “Is this really going to matter a year from now”? If not don’t get all heated up about it, know when to apologize, and when to accept forgiveness. I am a big fan of fresh starts.

3. “Am I telling everyone except my partner that we have problems”? The best path to intimacy is to build trust by sharing your thoughts and worries. Opening up makes space for the other to share also.

A simple pause can create meaningful unions that will last as long as you both are willing to do the work it takes to communicate openly and let the love grow.

Reverend Kyle Applegate is an Ordained Inter-Faith Minister and registered in NYC as a marriage officiant as well as a certified Tantric Coach, LGBT Diversity Awareness Educator, and Sexual Healer. He served on the leadership team of national and local Polyamorous Organizations. Kyle is also a member of the Transgender Community Advisory Panel for Callen-Lorde health center in NYC.  

Contact him at: kyle@sacredjourneyhealing.com

The value of relationship coaching

Everyday interactions are influenced by things that happened in the past. But our past does not need to dictate our future. Learn what your life is about from the inside out. Looking within is a powerful path to creating healthy relationships. Overcoming difficulties in any relationship involves finding the strength of inner security. This begins with learning to trust your instincts.

People look at other people in different ways. Some look for beauty, others for flaws. Some see the essence of the person, others hear only spoken words, or they tune into the tone of voice. People sometimes miss what is actually said and hear only what they expect to hear. Or they “project” their thoughts about the other person as if that person were a screen that only reflects what the other is thinking.

People perceive each other through filters and we each have filters that prevent us from actually seeing or hearing what the other is doing or saying. Sometimes people are mirrors for us. They reflect something we did or said, or perhaps simply thought, and we were unaware. We can be grateful for the gift, or resent that the reflector saw through the facade we put up for protection.

What is the energy we protect ourselves from? What are people afraid of when it comes to intimate relationships? Why is it so difficult to know our self? And even more difficult to let others really know who we are, and what we are about? Perhaps this fear is passed down from previous generations? Or does it develop from an accumulation of bumps and hurts received along the way?

Relationship coaching can help you discover your answers. I act as a guide, based on my own relationship experience and stories from hundreds of clients and thousands of friends. I have found that many people are afraid to become aware of their own thoughts!

They internalize that they are not OK and focus on the bad things that happened in the beginning of their lives. Little hurts accumulate and become BIG wounds. In psychological circles, we refer to this as trauma, or stress related illness.

Not everyone is traumatized by their childhood or the things that happen to us over time. Instead, they take the bumps in stride and know the personal growth path as one of learning, rather than one of difficulty. We define these people as having a positive attitude or a sunny disposition. They are fun to be around because they always see the bright side of whatever is going on. They form meaningful connections.

Are you traumatized or wounded? How sunny or cloudy is your attitude toward overcoming difficult relationships and cultivating healthy partnerships? If you are seeing only the clouds, give me a call at 303-428-0968 and let’s find the sunshine together.

Affectionate Touch

We can live our whole lives without sex, but we have a need for touch and affection.

Many think the only way to get touched is through sex. Cuddle Party provides an opportunity for safe, affectionate, nurturing interactions that may or may not include touch. People attend these part communication workshop, part social event in order to meet new people and have comfortable conversation while getting their touch needs met, if desired. Cuddle Party is held in Denver, CO and many other cities around the world. Check out meetup.com and www.cuddleparty.com for more info. You must register to attend.

Relationships @work

Team building is essential to form a healthy network among individuals who work TOGETHER toward common interests and objectives. Practical steps can be taken to build and stabilize what is known as “social coherence.” Social coherence occurs when a harmonious alignment of various relationships allows for the efficient flow of physical and psychic energy. Adequate communication skills must be utilized for optimal collective cohesion, which then results in a working group taking positive action toward an end goal rather than becoming entangled in negative emotions.

Cultivating Healthy Relationships through Insight and Intuition

Suzann addresses relationship issues both at home and at work

Contemporary scientists have determined that every emotion results in a physiological response called “stress.” Mentally, we label the quality of our response as positive or negative. During a perceived positive response the internal process is efficient, free-flowing and easy. Negative responses result in anger and resentment that is hard on the body and undermine social cohesion. These negative responses can actually cause the body physical harm, which later results in sickness or ill-health. This leads to the breakdown of the team.

One of the main sources of stress and incoherence, also known as lack of cooperation, stems from communication problems among teammates, almost as if they speak different languages. Co-workers are basically civil and cooperative. However, when a new team comes together, many people have anxieties, judgments, frustrations, and preconceptions that remain under the surface. When these unexpressed feelings remain unspoken, they are unconsciously communicated. This creates energetic separations that result in miscommunication and other relational problems.Task performance suffers. Problem solving, decision making, and activities that require focus and coordination are compromised.

An ongoing practice of communication-building techniques can establish coherence. A new base-line can be established for effectively dealing with stress. This involves learning to recognize and to consciously shift the ongoing emotional undercurrents. Judgments, negative projections, insecurity, and worry that creates incoherence and wastes energy need to be eliminated.

Team coherence can be achieved once individuals are engaged in a simple and fun process of learning communication skills mixed with relaxation techniques that have been shown to increase mental and emotional flexibility. This process can also promote resilience and the capacity for team mates to be in charge of their emotions and in turn their physical and mental health. Flexibility and resilience can dramatically reduce stress-related energy drains during day-to-day activities and interactions, even in the midst of challenging situations.

Stress reduction and relaxation training systems that establish common definitions for emotions, and also utilize the breath and creative visualization, have been used with individuals in health care, education, law enforcement, corporate and military settings with significantly improved outcomes. Contact Suzann Robins at 303-428-0968 for individual or group coaching on these simple to learn techniques.