couple

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.

Whose Is Whose?

When I asked my client today how she was, she shared what was going on with her husband. This is always my tip-off that she is entangling her sense of self into other people. When the distinction of whose stuff is whose is blurry, you can feel confused, helpless, powerless and drained. Maybe you have heard the term codependency? This refers to the stage of development that involves wrapping yourself around others, merging into others, gaining self-worth from others’ approval. Our brains and nervous systems seems to be wired this way, just as primitive tribes and clans who had to band together for survival.

As a counselor and coach for many decades, I have witnessed the developmental stages of children, teens, and adults. Yes, adults go through stages too! I have named these Dependency, Codependency, Independence, and Interdependence.

If you notice that others’ problems may become yours, others’ moods and feelings blur with yours, you get triggered when someone else gets triggered, or you worry about how to help others… this could point to codependency.

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Take this quick quiz to score yourself, from p.32-33 in our book Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship, Chapter 2: Breaking Loose.

Rate yourself on scale of 1-5 for each statement, where 1 does not seem like you, and 5 is very typical of you:

______ I am afraid of being rejected or abandoned. This fear makes it difficult for me to end a relationship, even when I feel very misunderstood or mistreated. As a result, I end up feeling trapped.

_____ I too often try to take care of my loved ones, neglecting my own needs, feelings, and interests.

_____ I tend to feel overly responsible for my partner’s feelings and problems.

_____ I tend to either dominate my loved ones or to behave submissively.

_____ I frequently blame or shame my partner.

_____ I am told that I am too controlling or manipulative.

_____ I feel so entangled with my partner that I often take on his/her moods.

_____ I lack clear boundaries and the confidence to assert myself.

The higher the score, the more likely you are to be stuck in restrictive patterns of thinking and behavior that reflect your codependency. If you have a score of 24 or more, be gentle and compassionate with yourself. By becoming more aware and proactive, you can move toward being more independent.

See page 33 in our Secrets of a Soulful Marriage book to take the 21-day challenge toward shifting to new, healthier patterns of thinking and feeling for yourself.

Individuating can be scary and evoke vulnerable feelings, challenging your primitive brain into fearing extinction if you separate from the others. Meeting with a coach or counselor can help guide your way on the path from codependency to independence. Crossing the threshold of being more self-confident, mindful, and self-aware is a freeing process! As you become more clear on your boundaries and who you are, you can engage with others in interdependent ways that serve your evolving sense of Self.

Let me know how I may serve you in your journey.

Feel free to comment here about your quiz results or any questions you may have.

Please LIKE our Facebook page and join in the conversation there!

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.

I Am No Longer As I Was

My Mother died, and I am no longer as I was. 

Memories are rolling through my consciousness like a fast moving train, with snippets of my mom, dad, sisters, and extended families traveling speedily through my mind...

  • Rolling down the hill after Fourth of July fireworks, twirling into a fantasy land off the ledge of a lush green grassy knoll

  • Seeing my junior high best friend perched on my doorstep, as I walk around the corner from my school, with her overnight bag and giddy anticipation of our weekend fun.

  • Coming into my bedroom from the bathroom and gasping with delight, “Oh how beautiful,” witnessing the light dancing around my little sister’s wavy honey-colored hair. I had to snap a photo!

  • Making rich chocolatey fudge with my big sister, then packing it into baggies to take to the matinee.

  • Traveling with my mom and sisters  to Brooklyn in the cab of our friend’s freight truck at 4 am, to arrive in time for my grandparents’ coffee smell to fill the hallway leading to their warm apartment.

  • Sitting on my daddy’s lap in the cozy overstuffed chair, watching the Thanksgiving Day parade on TV.

  • School, Hebrew school, youth group, fantasy play in the woods, being a good girl filled my early childhood.

  • Experiencing a visceral mystical moment in Hebrew School, having my life purpose revealed at age 10.

  • Soon after that, my family broke out into a series of  terrible flights, with chaotic anger, violence and insanity. This blew away my safety and security.

  • Healing through powerful therapy, personal development trainings, guides, teachers, coaches and mentors.

  • My purpose is clear again!

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My mom was so orderly (see Jim Sharon’s last post, Tribute to THE Balabusta) that our home ran smoothly and efficiently. She knew where everything was and regularly took inventory of what she had, designating days of the week for certain chores and managing stress through (almost compulsive) planning and taking action. Believe me, all our physical needs were generously met. The downside of living so systematically is that little time is allotted to play. I missed special playtime with my mom. Good news, though: my dad was great in filling in that gap; he loved to play, as do I.

Grieving is tiring and consuming at times. I find myself napping or resting on the couch in our sunny living room. A powerful energy surge in my spiritual and emotional healing comes from more deeply connecting with my Jewish roots and wings. Being with my community at Temple Emanuel has been a serendipitous gift that keeps opening. One of my friends once queried, “Who will bring me soup when I need it?” I found out who brings me whatever I need during this mourning period.

I extend profound and humble thanks to all of you who have held me dearly during this catalytic time.

I nourish and am nourished by my dear husband Jim Sharon, our family, friends, neighbors, clients, our vast interfaith community, yogis and Sufi travelers on the Path. I am so grateful for all the support I am receiving!

I decided to commemorate my mom and also align with my focus on the Power of Intention. I am now setting my intention to honor Shirley Goldberg’s memory by making order in my home and my life. This month I am cleaning out the linen closets, 2-3 kitchen cabinets, and getting rid of unneeded and unwanted stuff in my office. I will continue choosing areas of my home to declutter and clear.

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As a meditator and healer, I'm clearing my emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies as well, as part of my regular daily practice.

How can I support you? Are you making contact with your past, too? Are you ready to acquire powerful tools to clear away what you are completing, making room for the new that is on the horizon?

Be in touch with me, in the comments below, or on Facebook and other social media.

Leave a review if you would be so kind, to share the good news with others: we are changing, healing, evolving, becoming more of who we truly are.

Your Relationship Coach,
Ruth Sharon, M.S.
Coach for Soulful Couples
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.

Setting Intentions for 2019

Happy New Year! May 2019 be your best year ever!  

I invite you to set your intentions for 2019. Be sure to include ways to enhance your love relationship, or if single, to find your beloved and create your soulful relationship.

Life can be so magical, right? I used to teach assertiveness training for many years in a college psychology department. As part of my class handouts I wrote an Assertiveness Bill of Rights in the late 1970s, designed to support and affirm our desire and ability to advocate for ourselves. In the 2000s, someone contacted me out of the blue to ask if she could include my Bill of Rights in her book on stress management. Where did she find it?? On the internet, she told me. She devoted a whole chapter to what I wrote. Wow, how fun!

Now I feel called to write a new Bill of Rights, designed for Soulful Couples. You can help me elaborate on the Bill of Rights for Soulful Couples; just email me ruth@soulfulcouples.com with your ideas.

Soulful Couples Bill of Rights

I have the right to be cared for, listened to, cherished, and respected by my beloved partner.

I have the right to quality attention with my partner, including through dates in my home and outside of the house.

I have the right to share the household, parenting, and financial responsibilities with my mate.

I have the right to communicate clearly and assertively so we can get on the same page and understand each other.

I have the right to express my true feelings, desires, needs, and inner wounds... and to be accepted for them.

I have the right to negotiate agreements and solve conflicts peacefully and powerfully.

I have the right to learn, grow, and expand my consciousness with my partner so we can explore new thoughts, activities, and behaviors.

I have the right to experience my spiritual connection on my own and with my beloved.

I have the right to enjoy sexual and sensual pleasure with my lover.

I have the right to enjoy the simple moments as well as the grand experiences.

I have the right to fulfill my life purpose and to support my partner being fulfilled, too.

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Date Time With Your Partner:

Take a few moments to contemplate these rights. Read them to each other and discuss. Revise them or write your own additional ones. Which ones resonates with each of you the most? Set your intentions to increase the frequency and intensity of fulfilling these rights. Give attention to each other and reduce your tensions together. Talk it over regularly with your beloved and keep track of your progress as the year unfolds.

Remember we are here to guide and support you! Schedule your call or meeting with us on www.soulfulcouples.com.

And stay tuned for the launch of our brand-new podcast, “Soulful Couples: Give Your Love Life Some Love,” and our upcoming events!

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


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.

Making Space, Taking Time

I often hear from clients how they need more time and space in their lives. Burnout is a real thing. Stress can erode our health, our joy and our relationships. By draining our energy and exhausting ourselves, we are not being our best selves. We struggle on so many levels.

Jim and I have found retreats to be essential in achieving more life-work balance and inner harmony. By allowing rest, receptivity and fresh perspectives to be priority, we can release the effects of tensions and stress, and then harness more energy.

Inhale more live energy; exhale stress and worry. The stress reactions diminish, and then fresh, live energy can flow into our minds, bodies, and souls. With this energy comes clarity of intention and purpose so we are more able to manifest our dreams and goals.

When Jim and I return from retreating, we can function in more efficient, effective, and caring ways. This retreat I speak about can be a 10-minute meditation in your bed in the morning or night, a refreshing walk in nature, a Sabbath day of rest, a weekend at the spa, or even a guided retreat in your own home. Starting in January 2019, Jim and I are available to guide you in your own home-retreat, alone or with your partner. Set up a free call with one of us to discuss the possibilities for your sacred time of renewal…

I received this poem in an email recently and it really touches me. Take a moment to breathe and read this, as you de-stress and align with what serves you. Take a mini-retreat now!

Fire
By Judy Brown


What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.
So building fires
requires attention
to the spaces in between,
as much as to the wood.

When we are able to build
open spaces
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on the logs,
then we can come to see how
it is fuel, and absence of the fuel
together, that make fire possible.

We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.
A fire grows
simply because the space is there,
with openings
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.

When I take time to retreat, whether it is a few moments of meditation or a weekend at the hot springs, I give space for my inner fire, my inner light, to burn brighter. Do you take time and space for yourself? A misconception that plagues us is that taking time for self care is selfish. Not true. My truth is that I fill myself first and give from the overflow!

Enjoy this holiday season with yourself and those dear to you and in service to those in need. Many volunteer opportunities are available in our community. Jim and I are serving food to the people in the Family Promise homeless program. My chiropractor, Dr. Matt Pennetti, just asked for gifts to be brought to his office to support a Somalian family in need. What will you do?

Please add your comments here or on our Facebook page, and spread the good news by reviewing Energy for Life and Soulful Couples.

If you have read Jim and Ruth Sharon’s book Secrets of a Soulful Marriage, please leave us a review on Amazon!

Let us know how we can support you in fulfilling your life dreams and goals and having the relationship that nourishes your soul. Set up your free consultation now.

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


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.

Leaving the Familiar

My Traveling on our sacred pilgrimage to the Holy Land was a life-changing experience! The impact of becoming a Bat Mitzvah in Israel is still unfolding. I hope you will come along with me on the journey…

After traversing much of Israel, we headed to the most northern area, to the first-century temple ruins of the Jewish People at Bar’am National Park.

I breathed in the energy of the bright blue sky, pleasant breeze, and bird songs. My calm presence was ready to enter into a covenant with the Eternal.

Jim and I met the amazing Rabbi Amy Klein in the parking lot with hugs and wows! Then we carried the supplies, table, chairs, and Torah up the stairs to the ancient site of the Holy Temple (the northern version of the one in Jerusalem in the first century).

After we were set up, we exhaled deeply, and became very present as we sanctified and blessed the space; we graciously called in the angels, prophets, ancestors, and guides. The place was full of life!

The wrapping of the prayer shawl felt like a nourishing embrace from the Divine.

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Briefly, I will recount the story of Abraham being called out of his familiar home and his father’s idol shop. He heard the Divine guidance to journey to an unknown land, to a promised land, where he would be the father of the multitudes, as numerous as the stars in the sky. His wife Sarah could not conceive children and was quite elderly. Sarah generously surrendered to Abraham’s calling and offered her hand-servant Hagar to be with Abraham. Ishmael was conceived. The difficulty in the family led to Hagar and Ishmael parting ways with Abraham and Sarah after Sarah birthed Isaac.

My heart was broken. Reading this passage every year in synagogue, I wanted peace in the family. The lineage from Abraham became the Jewish people through Isaac (later Christians), and the Muslim people through Ishmael.

I long for the family of Abraham to recognize each other as brothers and sisters. My pilgrimage to the Holy Land held the prayer of connecting with people of all faiths and being witness to the peace among the residents of Israel. I am happy to report that this was my experience!

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At my Bat Mitzvah ceremony I renewed my pledge to honor the covenant with the Eternal One,  to continue to build bridges of peace, to reach out to strangers, to be a lamp to shine the Everpresent Light of God into this world.

We ended the service with this poem that I wrote:

Radiant Light

I am held in beauty as the light weaves a garment around me to honor and give homage to this life on Earth. I am completing my journey here.

As I am passing through light-filled space, the radiant light-woven garment transforms into a wedding chuppah to bless the sacred marriage of my soul, my Neshama, with my Beloved One.

My soul enters the holy marriage of Divine Unity with Love, surrendering in humility and joy. I let go. The light envelops and suffuses my fading identity. I let go even more.

The mystery is unfolding, beyond my worldly senses or understanding.

My soul is embraced—safe, at Home. My diffuse being flows on to other realms with higher energy vibration than is manifest on Earth.

The radiant garment becomes my wings to guide my journey gracefully… and silently.

Amen

Ruth Sharon
Written 10/8/13 in Tirzah Firestone's Kabbalah class

Please let me know how I may support your spiritual journey.

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


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.

The Joy of Soulful Travel

My morning yoga on the green lawn by the ocean is so refreshing. I feel alive, youthful and joyful!

Now, as I sit in the well-appointed white room overlooking the blue glistening Saronic Gulf off Athens, the breeze blows fresh air over all of us. Ahh, so comforting! I am Home.

Taking a holiday retreat is essential to my well-being. I hope you will plan your retreat as well. What is on your dream board or in your heart? Do you long to take a trip somewhere beautiful? Jim and I would schedule “Date Night” to search the internet, plan our trip and make reservations. The anticipation is thrilling — and now we are here in reality!

We hope you will set your intention, give it your attention, then remove the tension from your dream. Let us know how we can support you in fulfilling your passions!

We first began to imagine the possibility of going to Israel ten years ago in a dream-building seminar. Yes, it has taken ten years—so be patient with yourself! As you can see, we have added Greece to the trip, as we always wanted to come here, as well. The flight from Athens to Tel Aviv is only two hours, so we combined both places into one trip.

After this beach retreat, we will venture into the holy land of Israel to visit with other peacemakers, stay with members of Servas.org, tour the sites, and celebrate my becoming a Bat Mitzvah at seventy (this ritual is usually performed when a child turns thirteen). We will share more from Israel on our next blog.

Right now on this sunny afternoon in Vagia on the island of Aegina, Jim is lying on the bed reading a novel. Our dear friends from Victoria, British Columbia, Eileen and Eliot, are here, talking about the day’s plans. We shall take a walk to the beach, perhaps take a dip in the warm sea. Later we will drive up the road to the Temple of Aphaea, the Goddess of Feminine Wisdom and to the St. Nektarios Monastery.

Being free of daily responsibilities helps me to feel more attuned to the present moment. I witness the lively breeze activating the swaying palm trees and notice my ever-moving breath.

Breathing in sunshine and peace; breathing out hurrying and worrying. Finding balance and calm, my energy is revitalizing.

What adventures are you dreaming of? Have you taken a soulful vacation with your beloved or on your own? We’d love to hear your comments, either below or on our Facebook page.

Be good to yourself!

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


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 Worlds Part 2: Exploring the Emotional Landscape

This post is the second in a four-part series. The first installment looked at the life and health of a relationship through the lens of the Physical Realm, focusing on the concrete, practical, and specific aspects of our body, home, car, work, money, etc. Today, we’re approaching relationships through the lens of emotion.

After facilitating our Growing in Love couples retreat this weekend in Denver, CO, I realized that many couples are asking for guidance with the Emotional Realm. We all have a great capacity for feeling and understanding emotions, and learning to honor and work with our own and our partner’s emotional process is a very rewarding aspect of being in relationship. Throughout my years of coaching, I’ve found that there are a few practical skills and concepts that can be tremendously helpful when it comes to navigating the sometimes mysterious-seeming territory of the Emotional Realm.

Here are a simple recipe for developing more emotional intelligence, which I call HeartSmarts™. You may want to print this out and hang it in a spot where you’ll see it often!

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Meet Your Emotions

  1. Be aware of your body. Emotions express themselves in the physical body, so scan your body regularly to get to know yourself in the emotional realm. “Body scanning” simply means bringing your attention to what’s going on in your body. Start by noticing your breathing. As you slow down, you can become aware of any discomfort or compelling/intense energy that you feel. Accept what you notice, not as a problem, but as a gift in self-awareness.

  2. Name the feeling. Measure the intensity on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is most intense. Experience the feeling—let yourself feel it; explore it; interact with what is going on inside; learn to listen to your inner voice, concerns, and knowing.

  3. Ask yourself: What do I need to gain closure to what is being experienced? Take action to resolve the issue that is bothering you in ways that build your relationship (with yourself or others). Ask for support if you desire, from your partner or another skilled person.

  4. Learn to clean out your lifelong storehouse of unresolved emotions. Often, this is best done with the help of a counselor, coach or mentor. Schedule a consultation with Jim or Ruth Sharon to find out how coaching can help with you with this process.

  5. Keep your inner world clean, clear, sacred and whole, with daily practices (ask Ruth or Jim Sharon for practices specifically tailored for your situation and needs).

Basic Emotions in Relationships

As a relationship coach, I often see couples who are seeking help with working together to  process the emotions that arise in day to day life. The good news is, with practice, anyone can develop their understanding and skill in the Emotional Realm.

Think of a crayon box or paint palette with the primary colors alongside the rainbow of hues that come from different combinations of a few basics. Emotions are much like that. Each main, primary feeling can have many variations and combinations, which can make decoding quite challenging. Start with the Primary Feelings to gain access to your secret inner world.

Primary Feelings are observable through our body language, tension and health patterns, words, tone, and behaviors. Did you know you have a storehouse of old feelings and unresolved situations? All your history is stored in your body and brain. So when something similar happens, your old feelings are usually triggered.

Getting to know yourself and your partner in the Emotional Realm helps you feel so connected, close, and motivated to build trust and safety. Listen to the feeling tone of yourself and your partner. Pay attention to the breathing, posture, tone and words. Practice accessing your inner wisdom and sensing system so you can detect your and your partner’s feelings.

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Primary colors of feelings can be measured on a 1 to 10 scale. Let’s learn about MAD, SAD, SCARED, and GLAD.

MAD is the most obvious and most threatening of all the feelings, because it can be loud, scary, out of control, like a fire. You know that you can use fire to simmer food, build a campfire, or burn down the house or village. Anger can also be helpful, because it shows you what is bothering you. You can make efforts to correct the problem or injustice when you harness the fire of anger and use it for positive change and effective communication.

A little MAD (1-3) may pop up when you are annoyed, frustrated, dismissed. You may have more MAD (4-7) when you have a repeated situation that is unresolved and keeps appearing. You may get aggravated by others’ poor behavior, by injustices, etc. When you can’t take it anymore and you are at maximum saturation of MAD, you explode (8-10). This can relieve you temporarily (until you load up again and blow). The problem is, you may have left a trail of messes behind you to clean up or put in the pile of other unresolved old or current stuff. MAD can be cumulative and reflects as annoyance, irritation, sharp comments, physical energy that can help or harm, resentment, resignation, and depression.

SAD is a watery emotion, as you notice in tears and feeling welled up (a lump in your throat or fullness in your heart like the dam may burst). It can be heavy, as in feeling weighed down. SAD shows you what is missing, what hurts, what needs aren’t getting met, as well as grieving a real or perceived loss. You can feel sad about specific events or very general sweeps of your life. When you have an ideal of what you want and you see what is actually happening, your sadness may be triggered. The gap between ideal and real can be heartbreaking. Many of you have experienced difficult or traumatic situations and have much deep sadness stored in your nervous system. Give expression to what is going on. Speak, write, draw, dance, walk, sing, pray so the energy of sadness can be healed and transformed into healing compassion for others.

FEAR is a shaky feeling, where you feel insecure, scared, worried, anxious. Your gut may be tight, your jaw clenched or your brow furrowed. The fear may be hidden deep inside or can be experienced as unshakeable worry, guilt, or shame.

Panic attacks, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive behaviors can be so debilitating. But fear also show you your cutting edge. When you take on something new (in your relationship, work, life circumstances), resistance often will show up. What obstacles are in your way of manifesting what you want? Engage with your fear to find out what is going on. Be curious. Ask open ended questions of yourself and your partner.

Be the CUP to support yourself or partner. When you are scared, give extra compassion and comfort. Create as much safety as you can so your nervous system can calm down. Stress reactions of FIght-Flight-Freeze-Faint can block thinking clearly and planning for what is calling you to take action. Fear and excitement are related, so try to harvest the titillation of something new happening to spur you into expressing your fears, building safety under you, then taking action with support.

GLAD is the feeling of relief, release, resolve. It can experienced as delight, calm, peace, freedom, celebration, gratitude, accomplishment and humility. Going on vacation, getting a raise, starting a new business, buying a new home, having a baby, having a party, giving or receiving a gift, making love, enjoying a delicious meal, having a touching moment with someone dear or a stranger can all evoke the feeling of happiness and joy.

What is on your list?

I have noticed that when you connect with yourself and with your partner, the opening to Love is palpable. When the Love Field is established and growing, much joy can erupt!

Notice what happens when you focus on the Emotional realm daily. Journal your observations and findings, talk to your partner, your friends, or your family members about your learnings.

We’d also love to hear what you discover! Please leave us your comments here or on our Facebook page.

Stay tuned for #3 in this four-part series, which will address the MENTAL REALM. Then, #4 will be on the SPIRITUAL REALM as it connects to the relationship journey

All the best,

Your Relationship Coach,
Ruth Sharon, M.S.
Coach for Soulful Couples
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.

Four Worlds Part 1: Want More Space for Love?

Perhaps we are living as if we occupy a small efficiency apartment in an imaginary luxurious, lush Mansion of Love. Do you want to explore more rooms and find out what else may be possible?

Tune in for this four-part series on the various dimensions that you can connect with to bring more Love to your life as a Soulful Couple!

The Four Worlds Outlook on Life is a mystical and practical teaching in many traditions. In this series, we will explore the Physical, Emotional, Mental, and Spiritual Realms and how to receive and give more Love in each and in the interaction. This week’s post is dedicated to the Physical World.

The Physical World is visible, known, obvious, dominated by our five senses. Look around your life. Be an observer. Look with innocent eyes at your physical life. Notice what is right in front of you, the concrete objects and how they are arranged. Take a moment to experience what you see, smell, taste, feel, hold, touch.  What do notice in your body as you observe your home, your car, your own body, your medicine cabinet, and your bank accounts?

Difficulty:

When something seems out of order in this realm, or worse yet, out of control, we may be prone to diving into blame, guilt, shame, judgment, annoyance, and resentment. Fighting ensues and walls are built.

Remedy:

Do something to make your physical world better! Take action, even something very small, like making your bed or clearing the kitchen table or walking around the block.

The Soulful Couple's Response:

Ask your partner to join you in making your physical world even better. Create a plan, check in regularly, and celebrate your successes. If you get off track, simply draw your attention back to your intention. Be a team working together.

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Our Story

Early on, Jim and I could tell we related well on the physical level. We loved setting up our small apartment with new stuff. We would come home from work and play, be fit, be sexy, eat well, clean the house, do chores together. The beginning of our married life featured stable jobs and stable income. We even put my whole teacher's paycheck in the bank and we lived on Jim’s salary. Our physical world was in order and oh so satisfying.

Now fast forward to decades later: we can truly say our physical realm works very well. We have owned our own home and cars, raised three kids into terrific adults, and run our counseling, coaching, and consulting business for 42 years. As we age, we continue to care for our bodies, homes, yards, cars, and money in responsible and joyful ways. We need more help than when we were younger, but outsourcing work to others feels good.

Of course, there were times when we struggled to have the energy to care for ourselves and our stuff; we had dark and difficult times with illness, injury, messiness, disarray, and problems with money. But by working together, we have been able to find the flow that works best for us as a couple.

Your Turn

Alone or with your partner, write or speak your observations about your physical world. What is your story?

Will you take time and space to love your physical world? Alone and with your partner, try giving loving attention to what is needed to bring about more health, balance, order, and a calm environment. What will be your intention and focus of attention in this realm?

We’d love to hear your thoughts! You can leave a comment here or on our Facebook page and let us know how you see these themes appearing in your own life.

All the best,

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


Couples Retreat: Growing in Love

August 24-25, 2018

Join us for two days of learning, sharing, and growing together with your beloved! This retreat will be a powerful opportunity to explore new depths in your relationship. There are still a few spots left - just go here to learn more and register!


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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.

What Is a Soulful Couple?

If you’ve been following our work, you may have wondered, what does the phrase “Soulful Couple” really mean? A soulful couple is a name we, Jim and Ruth Sharon, first coined to describe our own relationship. Over the years, it’s been touchstone for our journey together, and it’s also inspired the work we do with other couples. Today I’d love to share a little more about what being a “Soulful Couple” means to us...

We know we are souls having a human experience on this amazing journey on Earth. We have come with intention, purpose, and commitment. Our lives have been divinely inspired and we connect spiritually through prayer, meditation, service to our fellow humans, and enormous healing.

Our Journey

Through a series of lovely synchronicities, we met in college in 1967—yes, the ‘60s. We married in 1970 after a long distance relationship (yes, we managed to keep the flame alive). I graduated from college with a degree in Elementary Education, and Jim earned his Master’s in Psychology. I knew I wanted to be a psychologist also, but I did not have the funds for more college. Generously, Jim’s dad paid for my Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. We moved to Colorado in 1973 for Jim to earn his doctoral degree in Psychology. The plans were being laid, unknowingly, for us to work together!

We carved out our own way to begin our family, work together and serve the community. Our private practice was born in 1976, along with our daughter Alaina. We are honored to have three amazing children (who are all married to terrific people) and we enjoy being with our two granddaughters (more kids to come, we hope!). As our passion grew for serving other couples to help them raise their vibration and expand their skills, we established Soulful Couples programs, events, coaching and writings. In our practice, we guide others to heal old patterns, connect with one another, and align their life purpose so that they can harvest the glorious gifts of sacred loving relationships.

When we were first married and set up house, I used to say we “fired on all cylinders.” We could not believe our good luck in meeting each other. Now we know we were baschert—meant to be together.

We labeled the four areas of existence (the cylinders) long ago—being physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually attuned with each other.  Now affectionately we refer to this alignment of our individual lives as “Living in the Mansion of Love.” We are committed to living in more and more rooms of this expansive, ever abundant mansion and its lovely grounds. We are truly blessed.

What is your story? How does your individuality dovetail with your partner’s life focus and purpose? Share with us in the comments below!

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Try This Date Night Idea!

What does “Soulful Couple”mean to you?

In workshops and retreats, we ask this question using the acrostic:

S
O
U
L
F
U
L

Here are some of the words that come up for couples we know:

S = sensitive, sacred, spiritual

O = open, optimistic, opportunities

U = understanding, Upper Mind, uncovered

L = loving, loyal, laughing

F = forgiving, faithful, fun

U = uplifting, uncomplicated, urgency to fulfill life purpose

L = light, luminous, luxurious

Ask your honey to have a date with you, at home, at a coffee shop, on a walk, at a restaurant. When you are both ready, take a deep breath and calm your nerves so you can be present and engaging. Use the acrostic on a piece of paper to fill in your words together. Keep interacting and discussing the concepts that come up so that you come to understand each other more and connect heart to heart—perhaps even soul to soul.

Were you surprised by the ideas or insights that emerged from this activity? Did you learn anything new about your partner or your relationship? Please share your comments here and on our Facebook page. We love engaging conversation and sharing wisdom.

All the best,

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

Ready for more active, playful, outdoor fun?

Check out our Events and RSVP at www.soulfulcouples.com!

Join us for free Date Nights at some great summer concert venues, and learn about our Growing In Love couples retreat. And we hope to see you at our Celebrating Love Party on Saturday, July 21! You can RSVP for any of these events at info@soulfulcouples.com

One-on-One Coaching

Schedule your private coaching sessions to sort out how to be more balanced in your life. We all need a light shed on the unknown path. Let us join together to illuminate your way.


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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.