A Mother's Day Gift: More Presence, Less Shame

A Mother's Day Gift: More Presence, Less Shame

Over the last few weeks we've been diving into deep conversations with parenting experts that I wanted share with you in time for mother's day: a little gift of reflection in the midst of your everyday. 

It's my hope that the podcast helps to inspire some delicious introspection that helps to hold you and all the relationships that matter in your lives.  

Your Reason for Living

reason for living

The stories you’ve been told and relationships you’ve had throughout your life make up the heart of who you are. They become conditioned into your being, into who you are and how you relate. Your experiences and your connections also form all of the little unconscious ways you see and interact with daily life.

Stories become a relationship template that informs how you live, love, and relate. And you learn many of those stories from your elders. It’s not just the family lore they tell but the way they showed you how they felt about their own histories. You have learned so much from how they’ve nurtured themselves and nurtured you - and all the ways they haven’t.

Their stories make up your story, just as your experiences will shape the stories you pass onto to future generations. And your story may be one of fear, overwhelm and retreat. Or it may be one of seeking, creating new stories and diving in.

My own story is one of survival and making meaning

My family taught me what survival and meaning-making are. At least that is what I make of what I learned from watching and listening to them as I grew up. That’s the very part of the story that I want to sink my teeth into, chew on and spend the rest of my life digesting and recreating in my own way.

My paternal grandmother and grandfather were holocaust survivors. I recall sitting in my grandfather’s lap as a young girl tracing the faded green numbers tattooed on his left forearm and asking what these marks meant. The story I heard time and time again, was a gentle tale, a  loving tale. He told me that we - myself, my sister, my parents - were their reason for living.

My grandparents survived things I can’t even bring myself to imagine, and I know they wouldn’t want me to. But I also know that they wouldn’t want me to forget this central message.

The reason for living

To dedicate yourself to discovering your own reasons for living is the practice of Connectfulness. At least that’s what I call it. It’s a practice of calling into your awareness the stories of your ancestors, the stories of your life and relationships, and the stories you hope to pass down to your descendants.

Connectfulness is about your history, your present moment, and your legacies. It’s about how you experience all of the interconnected relationships of life.

I hold my own story of connection as a deeply rooted piece of who I am. It’s how I maintain connection with my own loved ones and ancestors who are no longer in their earthly bodies. It’s how I hold space for my children and future generations in a world of constant upheaval.

I share this with you today to inspire you to look into your own story, your reason for living. What ancestral story roots you in your own being and inspires the story of your legacy?

You may not ever have looked this deeply into the story that inspires and informs your history, life and legacy. But it's a part of you. You have a story and now is as good a time as ever to connect and root into it. Dare I suggest, now is THE time to root in.

The Practice Of Being Seen

Relationships after all are shaped by story and story is shaped by relationships.

My dear friend and storytelling coach, Marisa Goudy and I call this the Practice of Being Seen.  First, you recognize the roots of your own story and then you trace how it forms the core of who you are and branches out to support how you live your life, build your relationships, and do the work you’re meant to do in the world.

This fall, Marisa and I are launching a Practice of Being Seen podcast. We’re excited to dive in even deeper to our own stories along with the stories of our guests. And in doing so we hope tohelp you look at your roots, connect to the stories you live everyday, and  imagine your emotional, relational, creative legacy.

I’m incredibly excited to share this rare glimpse into the diversity of stories that inspire the human reason for living with you.I hope you are just as excited to stay tuned!

[button type="default" text="be the first to know when the podcast launches!" url="https://connectfulness.com/practice-of-being-seen-podcast" open_new_tab="true"]

P.S. Marisa and I have been building a community for like-minded therapists who want to root into their own stories. In addition to hosting powerful conversations in a private online group, we’ve also mentored colleagues as they shape their own stories into Connectfulness.com posts. (Have you read them yet? You can find them here.)

PLAY & CONNECTION | Episode 45 of The Couples Expert Podcast


Last week I had the pleasure of being interviewed (again) by Stuart Fensterheim, LCSW on The Couples Expert Podcast. We had a great conversation about how play is essential for connection and growth.

Play has a purpose. It helps us sustain healthy relationships. As I mentioned in the recent what is play post, play is a state of mind.  

In this episode Stuart and I talk about what play means and the purpose it holds, how playfulness can help you reconnect with your partner, how you can use play and a playful mindset to reset your relationship and how play can help you repair hurts and avoid common relationship pitfalls.

[button type="default" text="Listen to the Podcast Now" url="http://www.thecouplesexpertscottsdale.com/?powerpress_pinw=4867-podcast" open_new_tab="true"]

I'd love to hear your feedback!

Now that you’re inspired to play, make a date for it. Join my Valentine’s Day mid-day couples retreat in Accord, New York. Or sign up for the early interest list for the {Re}Spark e-course to help parenting couples rediscover their playful spark (I’ll be releasing it soon).

The best sexual education your kids could have

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” You’ve heard that  Jim Rohn quote, haven’t you? This summer, I feel like I’m boosting my average in a profound and fabulous way. At the end of May, I attended The Most Awesome Conference for Therapists, seriously...that's what it was called and it totally lived up to it's name! The caliber of therapists and consultants that I met there was so far beyond any professional experience I've ever before had. Simple put, it was awesome - truly. At this conference I found myself immersed within a tribe of therapists who’ll be collaborators and wonderful co-conspirators. Who know’s what we’ll mix up? So many awesome things have already sprung from those connections!

Stuart Fensterheim, LCSW is one example. I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Stuart following the conference for his THE COUPLES EXPERT PODCAST.

Stuart and I  talked about the connections that make everyday count and, how parent partners are the central core of creating security for a family. We delved into how couples can hone those connections to stay focused on maintaining the security that keeps relationships and families feeling safe. You’ll learn how couples can shift away from the primal panic that triggers conflicts. We also explored the special needs of stepfamilies.

If you want to raise children who are are connected and know how to have healthy relationships (and I do - that’s Connectfulness!) then, as a parent, you need to enjoy a healthy, connected relationship with your partner. Your kids learn from you and the environment that the two of you create together.

Thing is, most of us (myself included) didn’t necessarily absorb all this yummy connection in our own childhoods so we may need support as we fill in the gaps we want to teach our own kids.

The podcast is a great place to start.


Children soak up connection

Children  are built to be connected beings. They’re born to attach to us and attach us to them.  As parents, our role is to teach these little humans how to relate human to human. And to do this, we have to help them understand intimacy and boundaries in a way that feels safe and secure.

In other words, the relationships we have with our parents as children, and the relationships we have with our children as parents...this stuff matters.

Watching your parents be a couple together IS sexual education.

Babble.com recently featured What the Dutch Can Teach Us About Sex Ed by MICHELLE HORTON - and it includes a pretty extensive interview with me. It’s all about why it’s so important to delve into these intimate conversations. Have a look and discover why talking about pleasure is something we all must become more comfortable doing. (I promise you’ll like it!)

“I find it so important to talk about how parents enjoy one another. I suspect we often forget to teach this important piece beyond the mechanics [of sex]. Our little ones deserve to know that relating and being intimate with others can feel good, emotionally and physically. Pleasure is, after all, what drives us.”

Bringing sexual education home is about getting comfortable with pleasure and intimacy — and that’s often the dilemma, isn’t it? Have you forgotten how to connect to and enjoy your partner? Parenthood has this way of distancing mates.  So many little things (and people) popping up with demands. So little time left for one another. And if your partner doesn't boost you up everyday, then who does?!

More ways to connect

If you are a Hudson Valley neighbor, consider joining me for The Art of Connectfulness: A workshop for Parenting Couples. We’ll address this dilemma while we ALSO make connecting happen in a fun tangible way.

Local or not, I encourage you to sign up for the global virtual summit on #couplesconflicts with Dr. Carlos Todd. The summit is packed with sage advice and wisdom from couples experts around the world. It includes an interview with me that will interest you if you want to learn more about  the mindset of play and how it can help couples to manage conflict (if you’re following my work, I bet you do!).

Sign up for free at www.couplesconflicts.com!

The #couplesconflicts summit also features three of my awesome conference colleagues: Stuart Fensterheim, LCSW, Robyn D'Angelo, LMFT & Michelle Farris, LMFT!