Back to the '70s, Forward to My 70s

Nostalgia for the good ol’ days has been on my heart lately. In 1973, Jim and I moved to Greeley, Colorado for his doctorate program in psychology. At first I had a difficult adjustment, falling into a deep depression. After a while, I began opening and healing through the help of loving therapies, conscious circles of leaders and learners, evolving friends, spiritual awakenings, as well as meaningful work as a school counselor, college teacher, counselor and workshop leader.

Life-changing experiences (then and now) allowed me to fulfill my potentials, find my new cutting edges, and share my life with my dear husband, our delightful first born child, Alaina, and such close friends. Undoing old patterns and creating new ways of Being was painful and essential. I am so grateful for learning skills and attitudes to guide me in my unfolding. Releasing conditioning and attuning my body-mind and spirit continues to this day, thankfully.

In the 1970s, I first learned to meditate, practice yoga and Sufism in many forms, dance, eat light organic vegetarian foods, collaborate with others in directing a holistic wellness center, and be in circles with dear friends, colleagues, students, and mentors. Life was so rich!

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Now I am in my 70s, and I yearn for the simplicity, circles, and spaciousness. Indeed, I am slowing down and gaining more and more perspective. We are taking on assistants and associates to share our Energy for Life and Soulful Couples work. I am choosing to take really good care of myself now to hopefully delay, or even reverse, the aging process. I love to stretch, practice yoga and Sufism, walk, be in nature, sing, dance, pray, and heal. I have circles of people to share spiritual practice and conscious conversation. Yes, I am blessed. I am setting up more circles and having other facilitators join me as well. (Check out our Events on www.soulfulcouples.com!)

The struggles are lighter, more manageable, and easier to resolve. Being an elder suits me, and freaks me out! What’s your experience of aging and yearning?

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Maybe you would like to join me in this practice:

To bring more mindfulness, I arrange my environment to be beautiful and sacred. Now as I look around each corner of my home, I notice an altar of some sort. Each altar tells a story. I dedicate my home and my life to the beneficent One. I listen to my highest calling and devote myself to following my life purpose, with my dear partner Jim Sharon, and with our three adult children, their partners, and their children. Remembering our connection to the One/Universe/ God/Love is the key! 

What is your name for that which is greater than you in all directions?

MEDITATION Practice

Try this with me: Breathe in life energy for a count of 5, hold your breath for 5, breathe out for 5, your worry, fear, scarcity, and the myth of “not enough.” Do this for 5 repetitions, 5 times throughout the day, for a month. What do you notice?

I invite you to make a little corner of your room a sacred space. Beautify your space by putting lovely items on it. Keep it clean and clear. Use this sanctified table, dresser top or TV tray as a reminder of your connection with the One today.

Let me know how I can support you. I love enriching inner peace through conscious conversation and calming meditation. I have prepared a “Meditation Primer” that I am happy to email you. Just send me a quick email at ruth@soulfulcouples.com.

Thanks and blessings,

Ruth Sharon

Lic. Professional Counselor
Wellness and Relationship Coach 
www.soulfulcouples.com
ruth@soulfulcouples.com


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Ruth Sharon is a relationship coach, Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT). Her passion is facilitating couples to enhance the vitality of their relationship and make healthy lifestyle choices. Ruth shares her wisdom, compassion and humor with individuals, couples, families, and groups. Ruth and her husband, who have been married since 1970, co-authored Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship, SkyLight Paths Publishing, 2014. They are delighted to offer coaching for couples and singles, in person and virtually, as well as transformative couples’ retreats, seminars and online courses.

The Loneliness Epidemic

All the lonely people, where do they all come from? All the lonely people, where do they all belong?  ~ “Eleanor Rigby” song by John Lennon and Paul McCartney

As a psychologist and couples’ coach, I’ve witnessed plenty of lonely people over the years. However, loneliness appears to have become an emotional epidemic in recent years!

Cigna, a major U.S. insurance company, published its landmark U.S. Loneliness Index on June 16, 2019 in the American Journal of Health Promotion. Cigna surveyed over 20,000 U.S. adults age 18 and older with this Index. The survey revealed some astonishing results:

  • Almost half of the respondents reported sometimes or always feeling alone or left out.

  • About 25% expressed that they rarely or never feel understood by others.

The loneliest segment of the population was generation Z, those between ages 18-22.

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Per usual, I will focus my remarks on couples, citing several key observations and explanations for the loneliness trend.

  • Many couples have indicated that they feel overwhelmed by long work hours, excessive job stress, and/or feel encumbered by family responsibilities and other activities. They don’t find or take adequate time to connect with their partners and frequently “miss” them.

  • Most concerning to me is that individuals are out of touch with their own deeper thoughts and feelings. They get so engrossed in various life demands or events (such as above) that they minimize contact with their inner nature, including their very essence. As a result, they too often have little substance to offer their mates during the seldom times that they do try to communicate beyond mundane conversation.

  • Couples widely complain about what they regard as an excessive amount of media or electronic-device engagement by their partners; often they accuse each other of over-involvement. Decades ago, the main sources of such activities were television viewing and reading magazines or newspapers. Since the turn of the millennium, people around the world are devoting an ever-increasing amount of time and energy to the many uses of iPhones and to online presence, including various social media sites and video games. All of these can perpetuate isolation or create a major distraction from connection with one’s spouse and family.

  • As folks can be “lonely in a crowd,” they often experience very limited satisfaction or contact with most of their social media “friends” due to a preponderance of superficial postings and less face-to-face connections than in the pre-online era. The same holds for emailing and text messaging.

Here are a few suggested remedies, besides the obvious one of reducing the amount of time and energy spent on the activities mentioned above:

  • Focus on self-development for personal growth and to enhance what you offer to your mate.

  • Take daily quiet time to introspect or meditate. Doing so develops presence, centeredness, clarity, and inner peace, all which serve to counter loneliness.

  • Genuinely and regularly inquire about your partner’s needs, feelings, interests, experiences, and values. Also, initiate expressing each of those to your beloved.

  • Identify your love languages and make a concerted effort to accommodate each other’s preferences for ways of giving and receiving love.

  • Enroll in couples counseling or coaching to increase your communication skills and to bolster your intimacy in various areas.

Toward contentment,

Your Relationship Coach,

Jim Sharon
(303) 796-7004
jim@energyforlife.us

Jim Sharon Headshot.jpg

Jim Sharon, EdD is a licensed psychologist and couples' coach who has over four decades of professional experience serving thousands as a counselor, as a life and relationship coach, and as a seminar and retreat facilitator. Dr. Sharon has authored two books and many professional publications, most recently, Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship (with Ruth Sharon, MS), published by SkyLight Paths, 2014. Jim and Ruth have been married since 1970, have raised three adult children, and have three young granddaughters.

We Just Had a Terrible Fight, Now What?

We just had a terrible fight. I feel so awful. I can’t believe what s/he said to me. I am shocked at how I behaved. I am upset, confused, in a swirl of chaotic emotions; my head is screaming at me, my guts are in a knot. I can’t breathe. What do I do now??

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Fighting can trigger off a cascade of reactions. Have you heard of the “Amygdala Hijack”? This is when the Amygdala part of the primitive brain signals danger and sets off the Fight-Flight-Freeze-Faint survival reaction. So yelling, angry words, and throwing stuff reflect the Fight reaction, while shutting down, going away, or not being able to speak coherently is the Flight or Freeze or Faint instinct. We can get hijacked when our protective buttons are triggered.

This is dangerous for our love relationship (or any relationship). What do we do when we get so lost in emotional reactions? How do we find our way back to sanity when we are angry, derailed, lost, confused, ashamed, and anxious?

“Clean up on Aisle 5” is what Jim and I say.

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Here are some tips to reset after fighting:

  1. Take time away for each other. Be sure to tell the other person you need a cooling off period to reset and will reconnect in a while.

  2. Be aware of what set you off. What is that hot button all about? Usually it is a tender wound from the past that has nothing to do with your partner. They just brushed up against it and you went ballistic.

  3. Ask yourself: what am I feeling? Go through the many layers like an archaeologist to get to the root if you can. Ask a coach or counselor for guidance.

  4. Sort out the situation so you can think clearly: When did I get set off? Was it words, tone, gestures that triggered me? Notice how I reacted with my thoughts, words, actions, reactions. Make a chart if that is helpful:

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5. Once you feel clearer, ask yourself what you need in order to heal this hot button, and repair the damage to the relationship. Clean up your side of the situation by practicing what you want to say to your partner. Be sure to use “I statements” like I feel… I want… I need… I hope… I am sorry.

6. After you have practiced on paper or in your head/heart/gut or with a friend/coach/counselor,  ask your partner to get together to clean up the mess.

7.  Arrange a time to talk when you are both calm, focused and clear. Hold strong to what you want from the restorative conversation. Stay on track with a few repetitive sentences to guide you. For example, “I am really sorry I reacted so meanly. I want to clear this up so we can get back on track with each other.”

8. Once you have settled down and are able to talk, set up agreements to help prevent this from happening in the future. Learn from your fighting patterns so you can transform from “Power Over each other” to “Power With each other.”

Example of Agreements:

  • Take a time out if you are getting escalated beyond rational thought.

  • Set up fair formats, like one person talks at a time, be respectful, no name calling, no dumping past arsenal on the other person, stay in the present moment, don’t bring in others to take sides, etc. 

  • Handle one conflict or disagreement at a time until there is a solution.

  • Do it in ways that build trust, respect, and closeness.

  • Go for completion, satisfaction and, healing.

Hope this is helpful. Let me know what happens!

Set up a call or meeting with me or Jim to discuss how to manage arguments in more constructive ways. Find us on Facebook. Read more about healthy communication in our book ”Secrets of a Soulful Marriage,” available on our website www.soulfulcouples.com and Amazon.

Your Relationship Coach,
Ruth Sharon
Coach for Soulful Couples
www.soulfulcouples.com
ruth@soulfulcouples.com

P.S. Have you experienced coaching with us, read one of our books, or attended a workshop we facilitated? We’d love to hear your feedback on our Yelp! page.


Ruth+and+Jim+at+Temple%2C+gray+hair.jpg

Ruth Sharon is a relationship coach, Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT). Her passion is facilitating couples to enhance the vitality of their relationship and make healthy lifestyle choices. Ruth shares her wisdom, compassion and humor with individuals, couples, families, and groups. Ruth and her husband, who have been married since 1970, co-authored Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship, SkyLight Paths Publishing, 2014. They are delighted to offer coaching for couples and singles, in person and virtually, as well as transformative couples’ retreats, seminars and online courses.

Common Ways That We Regard Love

Love is one of the major themes of books, poems, movies, TV shows, and songs. I’d venture to say that there are as many views of what love means as there are people in the world. However, these various perceptions, desires, and objectives can be clustered into some common motifs.

Here are some key examples of different attitudes and approaches about romantic love:

Immature and Dysfunctional Postures

Dependent: I need and want you to take care of me a lot because I’m not self-sufficient.

Co-Dependent: I derive my worth from your approval and validation.

Child-Centered: I want us to focus most of our attention on our children; our partner relationship is secondary.

Sexualizing: I primarily regard you as a sex object.

Narcissistic: Acknowledge that I come first, and admire me because I’m special in many ways! I’ll provide for you, but realize I cannot give you much (if any) empathy. 

Psychopathic: I will charm, con, and exploit you regularly, and you will accept my doing so because you need me. 

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Healthy, Evolved Platforms (These are not discrete.):

I’m focused on your overall well-being and expect you to reciprocate that level of caring.

We are both independent and interdependent.

Let’s support each other’s life purposes and build our dreams together.

I’m excited about the synergy we can continually create!

I cherish various forms of intimacy with you.

I want to enjoy sex with you on physical, emotional, and spiritual planes. 

We’ll parent our children from the strength and beauty of our relationship.

Let’s extend our love via service to our community--or beyond. 

Questionable

Open or Polyamorous: You alone cannot meet all of my needs and desires, so I want to have other partners.

Which of the statements or positions that I depicted most represent your own or those of your mate? How do you feel about those items that you especially endorse or that fit you?

In my next blog I will discuss love languages, including ones in addition to those that are frequently cited.

Your Relationship Coach,

Jim Sharon
(303) 796-7004
jim@energyforlife.us

Jim Sharon Headshot.jpg

Jim Sharon, EdD is a licensed psychologist and couples' coach who has over four decades of professional experience serving thousands as a counselor, as a life and relationship coach, and as a seminar and retreat facilitator. Dr. Sharon has authored two books and many professional publications, most recently, Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship (with Ruth Sharon, MS), published by SkyLight Paths, 2014. Jim and Ruth have been married since 1970, have raised three adult children, and have three young granddaughters.

What's Next?

As July 4 comes upon us once again, I ask myself these questions: 

What are my freedoms?

Oh, so many. What a glorious life! I reflect with my dear precious husband, each of my dear children, their spouses, and my three awesome grandkids. I connect with some friends, and of course, with my clients and social network. My spiritual life and my work are in a dance, shifting focus from one to another, until hopefully, they merge and become one in the same.

Visiting South Carolina recently, we toured a plantation and learned about the Gullah African culture and slavery. Being Jewish, I continually recount being slaves in Egypt.

Remembering my freedom is a gift I give myself often.

This is my time to pause, breathe, give thanks, enliven my grateful heart even more, settle my belly and allow the calm feeling to saturate my being. Ahh, this feels so good. And yet…

Another question that arises…

What is still bogging me down?

I have been doing a major life review after my 71 birthday this spring. What is light, what is calling to me and what is mine on my path to fulfillment, and what is weighing me down? I am preparing to let go of lots of what is over for me. Dear friends just moved into a new home together. Watching them rearrange their lives with each other and in a new space triggered my fear of moving out of our precious home of 34 years (and the possibility of having a new partner if Jim precedes me in death). Lots of emotions are surfacing. I am dedicating attention and time this week/weekend to clear away the old, and make room for the new. I love that I have so many tools to clear out what is no longer important or needed! Cleaning “house” inside and outside are ways to move the energy!

A whole series of questions comes in on the heels of the first two:

  • How can I free myself even more?

  • What is left to heal?

  • What relationships need my attention?

  • Who shall I pray for?

  • Who wants to play with me?

  • Who is in my community?

  • Am I fulfilling my purpose?

  • Am I living a balanced life?

  • What brings about healthy vitality and wellbeing?

Asking questions and opening the space to discover what is happening within me and in my world is so freeing! I trust this process and value time alone.

The most burning question in my gut is, “What’s next?”

What questions burn in you?

Let’s talk!

Set up a time to connect soon.

Toward the One, 
Ruth Sharon
Coach for Soulful Couples
www.soulfulcouples.com
ruth@soulfulcouples.com

P.S. Have you experienced coaching with us, read one of our books, or attended a workshop we facilitated? We’d love to hear your feedback on our Yelp! page.


Ruth+and+Jim+at+Temple%2C+gray+hair.jpg

Ruth Sharon is a relationship coach, Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT). Her passion is facilitating couples to enhance the vitality of their relationship and make healthy lifestyle choices. Ruth shares her wisdom, compassion and humor with individuals, couples, families, and groups. Ruth and her husband, who have been married since 1970, co-authored Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship, SkyLight Paths Publishing, 2014. They are delighted to offer coaching for couples and singles, in person and virtually, as well as transformative couples’ retreats, seminars and online courses.

Beware the Wrong Button!

I’ve been watching couples’ dynamics since I was four years old. I noticed my parents and other relatives and how they interacted. My parents fought when they disagreed. They would defend their own position and make the other person feel like they were wrong. Nothing got resolved. They would fight, then avoid each other for days until they cooled off. I truly don’t remember witnessing a conversation in which they would hear each other’s point of view, find understanding, and create a solution. Maybe they did it behind closed doors. I know their style helped shape me, my marriage to Jim Sharon, and my career.

Now as a couples counselor and coach, I facilitate conversations that lead to listening, compassion, and empowering approaches that uplift both people.

I warn us to beware of the “wrong button”. It is the trigger that brings most couples to my office. Being “wrong” is a source of shame that many bring from their childhood. I witness the most heartache, struggles, and disconnection when the button is pushed. Being afraid of the button being pushed creates a defensive way of life, in which true intimacy is rare.

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You know that button—the one that sets your nerves on edge. What do you notice when you feel judged as wrong? Do you attack first, curl up defensively, close your heart or act hard and cruel?

Do you build a case against your partner and have lots of evidence of his/her wrongdoings? Do you persist in telling friends and family about what your beloved has done wrong? Do you feel stuck in this paradigm of defending yourself, attacking, withdrawing, feeling helpless and lost?

Pointing fingers and blaming each other is a collusion to activate the wrong button and not resolve the issue or heal the wound. It is a primitive defense to try to be safe. Not functional at all.

Trying to prove the other person is at fault brings about power struggles that no one wins. I have witnessed more couples break up or threaten to end their relationship over power struggles. They regularly, unconsciously demean each other and accuse each other of being wrong. Exhausting, right?

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Here are some suggestions:

When you sense the button has been pushed, stop yourself. Step back. I encourage you to be aware of your body reactions, tone of voice, words, energy level, posturing, behaviors, breath. Scan your body and see where the tension or pain is. Own your reactions and behaviors.

The “wrong” button was installed when you were little. Can you remember being told this when you were a child? Let memories surface. Feel the feelings that hurt then and now. This can lead you to heal. A counselor or coach can help you move through these debilitating patterns and free your energy. This freedom from the past can help you create a healthier relationship.

Tell the truth that the “wrong button” has been activated. Tell your partner you need some time to collect your thoughts and feelings. Go off by yourself. Breathe. Try some journaling to empty out what is in the storehouse. Calm down. Be sure not to engage with your partner when you are reactive.

Take time to clarify what’s on your mind, feel what is in your heart, and see what is happening in your guts. What are you feeling? What do you want to tell your partner? What do you need? Try practicing what you want to say. Prepare your main points to convey. Be brave and bold. Speak your truth!

Being intimate with your beloved by being honest, vulnerable, and willing to heal brings you closer. Call a moratorium on being “wrong.” Be safe for each other. Help each other heal from past shame and hurt. Listen, understand, and hold each other.

Let me know how I can be of service to you and your partner. Call for a free consultation!

Toward deactivating your “wrong button,”
Ruth Sharon
Coach for Soulful Couples
www.soulfulcouples.com
ruth@soulfulcouples.com

P.S. Have you experienced coaching with us, read one of our books, or attended a workshop we facilitated? We’d love to hear your feedback on our Yelp! page.


Ruth_headshot_2017-203x300.png

Ruth Sharon is a relationship coach, Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT). Her passion is facilitating couples to enhance the vitality of their relationship and make healthy lifestyle choices. Ruth shares her wisdom, compassion and humor with individuals, couples, families, and groups. Ruth and her husband, who have been married since 1970, co-authored Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship, SkyLight Paths Publishing, 2014. They are delighted to offer coaching for couples and singles, in person and virtually, as well as transformative couples’ retreats, seminars and online courses.

Four P's

Pedestal: More than occasionally, my wife Ruth and I receive comments regarding us having nearly-perfect lives. Both of us are appalled by such remarks, as we certainly haven’t transcended humanness. Granted, we are relatively high-powered people who lead and enjoy overall high-quality lives. But, being close to “perfect,” whatever that means, anyway--NO! And as far as being enlightened (which we don’t often hear), I believe that everyone can continually receive and exude more light. So, let me be crystal clear, neither of us deserves nor wants to be placed on a pedestal!

Pain: Coinciding with the Jewish Passover (actually another P) holiday week, which I celebrate annually, I experienced a lot of burning pain from a urinary tract infection--my first UTI-- alongside of a frequent sense of urgency to pee. These symptoms were accompanied by two nights of fever, sporadic coughing, and several days of low energy. I felt deep empathy for a long-time acquaintance who recently incurred bladder cancer. Adding to the intensity, guilt over a recent incident (not involving Ruth in any way) came to a head that week.

Pride: The physical and emotional pain that I encountered during Passover rendered me more vulnerable and humble than usual, as that holiday can often serve to do. However, I was proud of myself for taking the opportunity to “dive deep” in myself to address the bodymind issues that were presented. I am proud of my introspective nature and of being resilient, although I’d like to be more of the latter. Anyway, I have always been an advocate of pride, which is akin to ego strength, as us psychologists call it. I greatly admire genuine humility, but dislike false humility, or a show of that trait. And I’m not talking about an inflated, egotistical, or narcissistic kind of pride, but more like a sense of dignity and self-respect.

Praise: This is the final word beginning with the letter “P” that I’d like to address. I have the utmost gratitude to Ruth for the compassion and support she offered me during my Passover ordeal. She was consistently available to provide TLC, meals, deep listening and feedback.

I have repeatedly thanked Ruth for her patience and her open-hearted physical and emotional support. I view my wife as a very caring, warm, nurturing and empathic person to most people in her life.

I hope that you can relate to some of what I’ve shared and that you will derive some value or benefit from at least part of this blog.

Sincerely,

Your Relationship Coach,

Jim Sharon
(303) 796-7004
jim@energyforlife.us

Jim Sharon Headshot.jpg

Jim Sharon, EdD is a licensed psychologist and couples' coach who has over four decades of professional experience serving thousands as a counselor, as a life and relationship coach, and as a seminar and retreat facilitator. Dr. Sharon has authored two books and many professional publications, most recently, Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship (with Ruth Sharon, MS), published by SkyLight Paths, 2014. Jim and Ruth have been married since 1970, have raised three adult children, and have three young granddaughters.

Tuning Myself

I watched my son Michael tune his guitar as he prepared to play one of his favorite songs for us during our recent visit. What a joy to hear him sing to his own accompaniment and engage us in his music. We had a little singalong. Don’t you love those precious moments of harmonizing and connecting?!

I thought about how I get out of tune, just as a guitar can. When I am off center, triggered, stressed, or tired, I may sound and feel off-key. Fortunately, I have learned countless ways to attune myself. When I am balanced and in tune, I affectionately say, “I am Home.”

When I am out of balance, ”I am Away from Home.” I love to cultivate lots of “Bridges to Come Back Home.” My Intention is to stay at Home as long as possible and return Home quickly if I am Away. My Bridges have been varied and colorful, as I am sure yours are. I go for breathing and meditating, tapping/EFT, writing, practicing yoga, dancing, exercising, walking, doing art work, calling a friend or relative, connecting with Jim, resting, crying, throwing a “conscious temper tantrum,” planning a trip, counting my blessings, saying prayers, making soup, applying healing techniques, cleaning, helping someone, etc. etc.

What is Home for you? How do you feel when you are Away from Home? What are your Bridges Back Home?

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I am deeply grateful for my spiritual life, which offers me perspective and tools to handle life’s challenges and opportunities. Ideally, my inner world can be attuned with my outer life so I can be at peace. Being connected with the Oneness of Life is a beautifully sweet nectar.

Lately I have been remembering a quote I read years ago: “I have to do it myself and I can’t do it alone.” I know I need guidance, connection, and community to enliven my path.

One of my dearest spiritual mentors was a musician in India in the late 1800s. Hazrat Inayat Khan played music that attuned his audiences and students to their truest nature. When he migrated west to Europe and America, he continued with his music and then attracted many with his teaching words. His vibration and atmosphere could activate the spiritual awakening of those whom he touched.

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His lineage and teachings are now transmitted by many teachers, including his grandson, Pir Zia, in Richmond, VA. Simple inner practices for wellbeing center around attuning to Love, Harmony and Beauty as attributes of the Divine. By incorporating meditation, breathing patterns, words, visualization and dialogue, I experience deep healing. Through this Universal path of spiritual realization, I feel connected to my Higher Self, my Soul, my Divine nature. Life seems filled with more grace, ease, wisdom, bounty, compassion and joy.

One of my dearest friends, Devi Tide, has been my guide on this Sufi path. She is coming to Colorado to collaborate with another amazing teacher, Sára Rain. I would love to share these women with you in a weekend gathering on May 17-18, entitled, “When Wisdom Leads and Power Follows.” For more information or to register for this retreat, click here.

With grace for the journey Home,

Your Relationship Coach,
Ruth Sharon, M.S.
Coach for Soulful Couples
www.soulfulcouples.com
ruth@soulfulcouples.com

P.S. Have you experienced coaching with us, read one of our books, or attended a workshop we facilitated? We’d love to hear your feedback on our Yelp! page.


Ruth_headshot_2017-203x300.png

Ruth Sharon is a relationship coach, Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT). Her passion is facilitating couples to enhance the vitality of their relationship and make healthy lifestyle choices. Ruth shares her wisdom, compassion and humor with individuals, couples, families, and groups. Ruth and her husband, who have been married since 1970, co-authored Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship, SkyLight Paths Publishing, 2014. They are delighted to offer coaching for couples and singles, in person and virtually, as well as transformative couples’ retreats, seminars and online courses.

From Work to Home

Ruth and I have supported many clients struggling with the transition between work life and home life. Increasingly, more couples complain that they are overstressed by their jobs and long work hours; they have little left in the tank upon returning home. Also, they often report that they have difficulty letting go of their experiences of the day. Hence, connection and quality time with their partners and families is substantially diminished. Furthermore, women especially have lamented that their mates disappoint, frustrate, or anger them by relating to them similarly to how they speak or behave at work.

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Here are some suggestions for ways to make the work-to-home transition smoother and more mutually satisfying:

  • Bolster your self-care, e.g. exercise, nutrition, sleep routine, to increase your stamina.

  • Request or arrange some remote work or perhaps flextime.

  • Upon returning from work, allow sufficient downtime to de-stress before connecting with your partner and other family members. Engage in a relaxing or energy-building activity.

  • Be mindful and intentional about leaving work behind and shifting gears.

  • Accept and respect each other’s individual differences.

  • Prioritize time to talk and broaden your conversation topics, especially beyond household management and job discussion. Also focus on active listening.

  • Gently and patiently inform your mate as to how you want them to be with and respond to you. Rather than criticizing or blaming, offer specific requests and encouragement for favorable communication and behavior (which you also model). Men often require some primers regarding sustaining attention and emotional expression.

  • Develop a few mutual interests and activities.

  • Arrange regularly-scheduled dates--at least three monthly, preferably more often.

What else do you already do to spark your relationship? Can you add something brand new for yourselves to this list? I’d love to hear from you at www.info@soulfulcouples.com.

I recommend discussing the above list with your partner and together considering additional ways of enhancing your connection and intimacy during your limited time together.

Toward love in action,

Your Relationship Coach,

Jim Sharon
(303) 796-7004
jim@energyforlife.us

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Jim Sharon, EdD is a licensed psychologist and couples' coach who has over four decades of professional experience serving thousands as a counselor, as a life and relationship coach, and as a seminar and retreat facilitator. Dr. Sharon has authored two books and many professional publications, most recently, Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship (with Ruth Sharon, MS), published by SkyLight Paths, 2014. Jim and Ruth have been married since 1970, have raised three adult children, and have three young granddaughters.

What Is a Soulful Couple?

The other day in my office, a couple was in distress. She began to yell and attack her husband of 20 years, dumping out bitterness, resentments, and disappointments that had stockpiled inside of her. I had to shout above her voice to ask her to calm down. “Let’s use this opportunity to acknowledge your upset AND see how to rebuild the relationship you want,” I suggested. She was shaking and could not calm down. When they left, her husband looked into my eyes with a pleading for help. I emailed her later and suggested we have an individual appointment to let her vent and clear out some of the upsetting memories and unmet needs. She agreed, fortunately. Sometimes the SH*T has to hit the fan before changes can be made.

Relationships are messy.

Pushing each other’s buttons can cause blowups or avoiding each other (classic Fight-Flight). The challenge is to be aware of the upset, own it as your own (your buttons were there before your partner came along, most likely), then advocate for yourself to meet your needs. Healthy communication and shared desire are essential.

Many people in dysfunctional relationships—where conversations explode or break down so the distance between the couple widens—continue to do harm to each other. Quiet periods are interspersed with attacks of blaming and shaming. This can lead to inner turmoil, sickness, injury, abuse, divorce, legal messes, substance abuse, infidelity, and hostility that ripples out to the greater family and community. Oh, so difficult and painful.

Jim and I guide people who are locked in that state to have at least a functional relationship, where the couple may say, ”we get along ok.” They are able to manage the household and finances, raise the kids. They are often hardworking people who are caught up in their busy daily routines. They often don’t see the possibility to be able to relax, let loose, have fun, and dream big.

We have identified stages of development for couples. So we described above, the dysfunctional, chaotic, destructive types of relationship.

Then we have more functional types of relationships. This involves taking responsibility for one’s feelings, needs, wants, desires. (Have you heard of being emotionally intelligent? Take a quick quiz online—just search for EQ or emotional intelligence.)

Building skills to constructively resolve conflicts and developing attitudes to collaborate with their beloved allows for more soulful, vibrant partnerships. This stage of development describes the more high-functioning couple, with a greater likelihood that they will positively impact their children, families, communities, and the world. They are influencers in positive, proactive and important ways. The ripple effect is potent!

We like to depict this development toward being healthy Soulful Couples with the metaphor of a Mansion of Love. Picture a large sprawling palace with glorious landscaping, filled with all you desire, infused with LOVE.

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Now imagine...

The dysfunctional, reactive, victimized couple lives in the basement, minimally getting by. They need to come out and see the light of day! They can practice skills to deactivate their old patterns and learn new ways of relating. Many we have worked with have moved up to being more functional.

The functional couple lives on the main level of the Mansion, as productive, busy people. They are vacillating between being anxiously in a hurry to get stuff done, or so exhausted, they’re crashed out on the couch for the weekend. The Soulful Couples are expanding their consciousness and awakening to who they truly are, beyond the programming of their past.

They view the Mansion of Love as their birthright. They expand to occupy more rooms of their Being. The Soulful Couples long to actualize their potentials—to really go for Life!

The Soulful Couples carve out time, space, and energy to honor their natural rhythms, with fulfilling work; restorative relaxation; hobbies and interests; romantic, sexual, and sensual engagements; and quality connection with others. They set intentions for goals and visions, and are proactive in building the life of their dreams. Connecting spiritually is essential—they express gratitude, humility, a desire to awaken and use their lives fully. They support each other’s life purposes and being of service to others.

What would you add? Let us know in the comments below.

Where are you in this Mansion of Love?

Chat with your partner or a friend about this, and see how you can move along on your path to being more soulful.

Let us know how we can support you. We can engage with you in person and online for coaching, events, and programs.

And for a lively conversation that’s full of inspiring ideas for helping your relationships thrive, check out our podcast, “Give Your Love Life Some Love,” on www.soulfulcouples.com.

Your Relationship Coach,
Ruth Sharon, M.S.
Coach for Soulful Couples
www.soulfulcouples.com
ruth@soulfulcouples.com

P.S. Have you experienced coaching with us, read one of our books, or attended a workshop we facilitated? We’d love to hear your feedback on our Yelp! page.


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Ruth Sharon is a relationship coach, Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT). Her passion is facilitating couples to enhance the vitality of their relationship and make healthy lifestyle choices. Ruth shares her wisdom, compassion and humor with individuals, couples, families, and groups. Ruth and her husband, who have been married since 1970, co-authored Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship, SkyLight Paths Publishing, 2014. They are delighted to offer coaching for couples and singles, in person and virtually, as well as transformative couples’ retreats, seminars and online courses.