Marriage

Acknowledging self protection is critical for connection

We all self protect. We are built that way, as mammals. We have mechanisms in our brains that scan the environment for threat and allow us to guard against that threat. This is helpful, but how does it impact our relationships?


Threats can be real, or they can be perceived. If your mother used to turn into a frenzied tyrant when guests were coming over and she wanted the house clean, and later in life your wife asks you for help in preparing the lawn for guests, you might become guarded while helping with these tasks. You’re guarded because your brain and body remember the wrath of your mother, but in real time, the threat is only perceived because your wife activated the memory.


Stop and think of a time when you were threatened by a current or past partner, when really it had to do with a memory or event that had taken place before that. Maybe you blew the situation way out of proportion. Maybe you had no idea why you were so mad then, but now you can see that you were self protecting based on something that happened previously. Maybe you have never considered this before and see now that this is what was happening! Well done!


This affects relationships in large and small ways every day. Partners are frequently upset about something that is causing them to feel emotionally threatened that has roots in the past. The threat otherwise truly wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t a prior trigger that we were just consciously or subconsciously reminded of. Previous threats, or traumas, make imprints in the brain whether conscious or not, and we move forward in life guarding against those threats until we bring them to consciousness and heal them.


If we are hardwired for this type of protection, and we naturally scan for threat, what can we do about it so that it doesn’t sabotage connection in relationship? This is key, because, unchecked, it will sabotage your relationship, rest assured.


When I work with couples in my coaching practice, I teach them about present moment awareness, tracking sensations, and speaking to one another in moments of tension from a place of noticing (rather than mental analysis). I will give you an overview of these tools now, so the next time you notice yourself in protection-mode, you might pause to practice the following:


1. Present moment awareness is something that we cultivate over time, but a simple mindfulness practice to begin daily would be to take five minutes, twice a day, and breathe while purposefully noticing that you are breathing. It’s that simple. Count the breath to anchor your attention to it. Count an in-breath of 6 seconds, hold for 3 seconds, and an out-breath of 9 seconds. This is a triangular breath technique that invites the parasympathetic nervous system to active, which is helpful when you do not want to overreact. You will notice a relaxed breath pattern, a relaxing of muscles, and maybe a relaxation of tension in the stomach when you have breathed for a few moments and activated the parasympathetic system, also known as the “rest and digest” part of the nervous system. The more you practice this, the more you’ll train your brain to default to this internal sense of regulation, which feels pleasant and enforces a lower chance of emotional reactivity.


2. Sensations associated with self-protection include clenching muscles, tight jaw, withdrawal and caving in of the chest, or erratic movements as if you want to fight. These are all associated with the fight or flight response, and I’m sure you can think of more. How does this impact your body when you feel threatened? When you have a practice of noticing the present moment, you can then also notice your body’s sensations associated with any emotion. As a culture we are not used to noticing sensations first, so this is something to practice. Notice when you want to run, fight, flee, and what the associated sensations are. This is incredibly empowering, as then you are more likely to respond to a situation less reactively and more mindfully.


3. As individuals cultivate the above practices, they are able to upgrade their communication skills to move from the common accusation or assessment strategies often employed in conflict, and move to a personalized account of present-moment notices. This might sound like, “I’m noticing that I want to run away, that my chest feels tight and my breath is short.” A few things happen when a couple begins to speak this way. First, arguments are completely diffused. Second, compassion and empathy naturally grow between them. It is difficult to hear someone’s present moment experience and deny the truth of it, as often happens in arguments where two people are trying to prove a point. An added bonus to speaking from present-moment awareness of the body and breath sensations is that you do not have to name your emotions. Many times in various therapies, we try to train our brain to memorize emotional language, but when we are triggered, it is much easier to notice and report what is going on in real time than it is to identify an emotion word to label the experience. The latter brings us back into our analytical minds, and I am advocating that we stay in present-moment awareness rather than analysis when we are in self-protection.


These tools are worth cultivating, because what each and every person wants, regardless of age, previous history, various diagnoses, etc, etc, is connection. We all want connection. And, we know that when we default to self-protection, then connection is harder and harder to achieve. In the modern world, we seem to have more separation and self-protection than ever. And you may see it right there in your closest relationships - an ongoing lack of authentic connection, often due to the self-protection that you are both maintaining.


The good news is, you can safely train yourselves out of this tendency as a couple. You can own your own tendencies to self protect, you can learn to safely share your vulnerabilities with your partner, and you can both learn to respond safely so that connection is achieved - hopefully the deepest connection of your lives.






You can heal the Mother Wound in your relationship

Every boy wants to be held by the mother.

Every man with an UNresolved mother wound wants to be held by the mother, and projects this onto women, often angry for what they can not give him.

Every man who has Resolved his mother wound knows what it truly is to be held by the Feminine, The Divine Mother, and realizes that this is what he truly yearned for all along.

The feminine, giving freely, as she was always meant to.

Every woman wants to hold her child.

Every woman not initiated into her femininity will perpetuate, willingly or scornfully, the attempted nurturing of adult boys into men, but she can not. This arrangement will hold both hostage. If you make snide comments about having to raise your husband, you are both in this pattern.

Every woman has the responsibility to reclaim her own true feminine such that she recognizes the honor of the Divine Mother within her, and then she can stand beside a man, she can watch him crumble and hold him nonetheless, she can invite him into the space of her nurturing when necessary, and this is a man who knows the unmistakable force of the feminine which he is blessed to reside beside.

I can take your relationship through a mother wound pattern and together we heal it. If you are in therapy talking about issues of responsibility and emotional compatibility, it may be time to say "fuck this" and get to the heart of the issue, which is likely an imbalance in the archetypal energies in the relationship. This can and must be healed for healthy actualization of your relationship potential.

This is the result of thousands of years of mistaken understanding of what femininity and masculinity truly are, their potential, and in turn, your potential.

In relationship, in Conscious Union, your partner and you have the unique potential to help one another rebalance polarities. It's an inside job, which is why we work with all three of you - each partner (2, & gender matters not here) and the relationship (1).

Schedule a consult to see if this is right for you. Couples link here to read more.

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The turners of the tide

On being a woman and rising

Woman do not make excuses for him.

He is showing you what he can do.



Woman do not make assumptions of him.

You are sure to underestimate.



Woman do not heal for him.

You have been waiting on you your whole life.



Woman do not wait for him.

He knows where you are going and he’ll go with you if he chooses.



Woman do not carry him.

Not when the weight is disproportionate.



Woman do not threaten him.

He carries the fear of mothers’ threats forever as it is.  



Woman do not chase him.

It only leaves you further from yourself.



Woman do not betray him.

When you do you betray half of yourself.



Woman do not shame him.

Surely we do not need any more fear between us.



Woman do not give up on him.

If you do, your sons will feel it.



Woman do not lay down for him.

Not anymore. Not like this.



Woman do not stop loving him.

The heart of the world needs your love and he is in it.



Woman do not stereotype him.

You know better than to be unfair.



Woman do not hide your eyes.

Meet his. Meet mine.



Woman do not give up on love.

Your bitterness serves nothing.



Woman do not forget your divinity.

You know how to heal and nurture and forgive and rise again.



Woman do not stop. Do not stop.

Do not worry and do not stop.

Surely, surely, we know we are the turners of the tide.

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This is conscious love, even while experiencing a death in relationship.

I work in the space between two people, and I invite two people to turn toward one another.


Conscious Soul Union is just about my favorite thing.


This is a template, an activation for humanity, an offering. It is not something that we "perfect" at all points in time and awareness, myself included. Consciousness is a continual invitation. It's chosen moment by moment.


Recently, my partner and I were not conscious with one another, and we are suffering a death for it. A completely avoidable (had we been conscious), completely beautiful, completely opportunistic death.


Regardless of what happens next, regardless of attachment, all of those things are true in this moment.


We can't get it all right all the time. My god, he and I certainly tried to hold ourselves and one another to that ideal, to great demise. It can't be done. We broke under that pressure, that we didn't even see coming.


But we let the consciousness go. It was the holidays. We had wine instead of discourse. We took the love for granted. I didn't see the storm brewing.


I reached out to community because I didn't want us to do this alone. We are both incredible people with incredible hearts and this process deserves a lot of support.


And I've looked at this all over this past week and a half, and I've had conversations with mentors and friends, I've had healing sessions, I've been allowing my grief, I've been in meditation, and I'm taking this opportunity to both ask and own my part, to grow, and to love. Love without expectation. It's so hard and yet in those moments where those rays of love shine through, it's the most obvious, most real thing.


I love serving the space between two people because that space is where the MOST learning, the most sacred connection, the most evolution of soul and spirit is possible.


Our partner is our mirror.


We find the most opportunity in one another's reflection, whether consciously staying and working it out together, or dividing a union and doing it on your own. But the work, always, is of two individuals. Union is not an abandonment of Self. It is the conscious intersection and dance of Selves.


When I allowed my triggers to guide my actions, I made a mistake. He did too.


I am calling on all of us to actively pray, take right action, and come together in this space between.


I can see it in other partnerships. I didn't stand as the neutral "coach" when it was happening in my own. (Because perfection and 100% consistency is not possible, and, uh.... I don't want to coach my own relationship.) But I do see now where we went wrong and potential paths forward. And I want community when I'm in this place. I want balm for our wounds. I want care to infuse. I want vulnerability and risk. I want to align in the space of the heart. I want to navigate this space between.


I am calling on all of us to actively pray, take right action, and come together in this space between.


This is what I do for people in partnership. I see the dynamics, the way two people trigger and miss one another, and I infuse care. I invite vulnerability in a safe way. I invite the mirror perspective. I get you out of the space of your triggers and into alignment with your heart.


As the third party, I hold space for your Union to strengthen, continually emerge, and become more conscious. This is a work of my heart, both personal and professional. And here is why:


These skills - every one of the skills required for conscious union and conscious relating in a love relationship, are the very foundation for the evolution of all relating on this planet. My Soul knows this to be true.


I am calling on all of us to actively pray, take right action, and come together in this space between. This is where we heal our traumas. This is where we heal the rift between masculine & feminine, both internally and externally. This is where we heal the wounds of the collective. And this is what we came to do on this planet at this time.


I am standing by this mission. Heart open. May we choose to consciously navigate the space between.

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The Facebook Post with the Most.... reactions that is.

Posted Nov. 7


Women were never meant to be understood by men.

From the time Yeshua approached Mary Magdalene beyond the tomb after his death, the men were jealous.

How could this magnificent being, this man, approach a woman?

So they called her a whore.

And they wrote a story that called her a whore.

But do you know what really happened?

She sourced his strength. His ascension would have been impossible on his own. Union created this alchemical ascension.

❤️

Women were never meant to be understood by men.

Women are the life givers, the vast sea, the source of energy needed to sustain.

❤️

Women, depleted in your bodies now, this was a trap.

You've been set up.

Your bodies were not meant to house this much stress, to multitask, to combat adrenal fatigue and hormonal imbalance.

Ever since that story was written, we've been compensating for something that was lost - and it is such a deep and profound loss that it has caused the chasm that we all now feel.

The chasm between feminine and masculine. Between what we call Man and Woman but that which is not actualized feminine and masculine consciousness. Between effort and ease. Between power and submission. Between predator and victim.

The story gets to be rewritten now.

❤️

Women are not meant to be understood by men. When men began to seek to understand with only their minds, repressing the right brain, the sea of emotion, the wonder of the feminine - half of our potential was lost. Actually, more than half. Because to shut off the feminine resulted in a wounded masculine. It is the root of what you call "toxic masculinity."

Men are meant to cherish the feminine, protect and adore. They are meant to get lost there, to source strength there. HOWEVER. Most men do not yet know what this is about, because they are still looking to their women to source strength as a mother would source strength. This is not that. And truly, most women do not understand how to provide in this way, because they are depleted and tired.

You will not fully understand with your cognitive mind. It is impossible. You will have to be willing to lose yourself. You will have to bring your power and lay it down before her - if she herself is worthy of it.

We are at the precipice of a new paradigm. We do not cross over by fighting between men and women, by establishing who is dominant or not. That way is old. It is dead. It is fear of what is not understood, and it's ruling you - until it isn't.

❤️

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June-iversary

I wasn’t an awesome wife. Maybe my intentions were good, but I wasn’t actually very good at it.

I wanted things from him, but I didn’t actually believe in him. How shitty is that?

We had a baby after nine years together, got married when he was one, and divorced four years after that. I deeply appreciate the time we spent together, as tricky as it was. June is the anniversary of our marriage ceremony, and we separated on July 4th - “Independence Day,” he joked.

Every summer, late June, I go to the farmer’s market and buy a big bouquet from the farmer who provided the flowers for our wedding - sunflowers and poppies and amaranth. I bought this bouquet this week, and then tonight, I was reminded that I hadn’t been the best wife. We do a lot right as co-parents, and sometimes, we still find ourselves in a stand-off. Old patterns die hard.

With these flowers, I honor it all.

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What he doesn’t know, what he may never know, is what a different woman I am now. I walked into therapy (who am I kidding - I collapsed into therapy while the adrenal fatigue took hold and the dam of emotions broke) that first October. What I said to her was, “I never want to be that kind of woman again.”

I knew that I had been wrong in so many ways, but what was playing out in my marriage was my own belief in my own inadequacy. My need for safety went so deep, from so much untreated trauma, that I was grasping and bossing and forcing, trying to make it so. Trying to make safety and completeness happen. It doesn’t work that way.

I was emasculating. I had seen generations of women do the same thing and I didn’t yet know another way. I wanted him to go out and earn more, but I was the primary income earner, and I resented him for it. When he asked me why I was never satisfied, I never considered that I could be satisfied with the resources we had - I always wanted more. As a teacher and avid researcher, I told him how to parent. He stayed home two days a week with our child and loved it, but I wanted him to go out and provide for us differently. I didn’t appreciate him enough. I didn’t stop what I was doing when he got home from work at 9:30 and go greet him. I didn’t ask him to bed.

I had been striving for “enoughness” since forever, and since my first child was born and placed into adoption when I was nineteen. At that point I took up striving as a way of life, and that poor man, I just drug him along. I was really serious about getting things done. And I wanted him to be too.

My mother in law, a few years ago, said this gift of a thing to me when I was feeling terrible about how I hadn’t loved him right. She said, “Don’t ever forget that you both said yes. Your souls both said yes.”

I can’t think of what I was trying to do in that marriage other than get it right, and forever getting it wrong.

We had grown up together, from middle school on. We were hippie friends in high school, he drove me to Warren Wilson College during our last year of high school and we both fell in love with it - I went but he didn’t. He held my hand when I was a pregnant-too-early teenager (who’d left WWC) and we went to see the Allman Brothers, even though this was not his baby. We had fun when we were younger. At one point during the divorce he said, “I knew who you were on the inside. I always thought you’d remember, and I was waiting all this time for her to come back.” But after my daughter was born, I just spent my life living as though every action had to prove I was enough - enough to be a mother again, enough to prove my worthiness. And so, that was the pressure I held over him too. I had stopped having fun by the time I was 20 years old.

I did remember, who I had been. Ironically, (or not, as life works this way), it was in the backyard of Warren Wilson College where we lived the years our son was a toddler that I began to come back to myself. It took walking out of that old life to remember it, though. I started to change and remember, and I suppose our marriage couldn’t survive it. Or that’s just one side of the story. One day I’d like to hear the other version.

I celebrate June 26th, for what we tried to do, for all we tried to do, by buying these flowers and honoring the journey. I also bake a pie on his birthday, like his grandmother taught me, though I mostly eat them myself.

I’m grateful, and I’m sorry, and I’m completely satisfied with life as it is, all at the same time. The past four years have changed me in a way that only this exact path could have. I have arrived, over and over again, to deeper understandings of love. Each man on the path the next soul to help ignite the next-layer-deep of me. Re-dedicating myself, a thousand times and more, to honoring my soul’s journey. Trusting that what I am living is the exact right thing to be living, and that there’s always some learning left to do.

I am no longer the woman I was in my marriage, even if he remembers me that way. And then I stare over at the flowers, fresh and not the exact flowers of my wedding day.

New. Vibrant. Here. Now.

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June 2010