Archive for March, 2010

Tamara’s T-shirts

March 23, 2010

Last weekend Maureen and I co-facilitated another Getting the Love You Want Weekend Workshop. It was amazing, I felt high by the end and believe me, there were no substances involved! Watching people fall in love all over again creates a natural high that is infectious to say the least.

The workshop creates its own real love story, much more powerful than Hollywood any day.

Let’s face it, when people come to the workshop most (not all) are not at their high point. On top of that, most are anxious and want to re-engage with their partner but truly do not know how.

This is where the t- shirts come in…….

I have an assortment of t- shirts I wear throughout the weekend which I hope act as visual cues to remind the workshop participants what they need to remember throughout the weekend. The following is a stream of consciousness post about last weekend from the perspective of my t -shirts.

Practice Kindness:

It’s the 1st t-shirt I put on. Reminds all of us that no matter what, being kind is better that not. Friday night… I asked all participants to raise hands if they would be willing to take on a GREAT big challenge. Every hand went up. I then told them the challenge: to give up blame, criticism, and negativity for the weekend. All hands stayed up. Everyone was in. I knew this was going to be good!

Laugh Often:

Just remember, we are all scared sh_t-less so remember to laugh a lot. It will feel so much better. The participants are already cracking and sharing jokes and these people are funny. People are bonding, couples look more relaxed. I am relaxed. Great possibilities are in the air.

We Are Golden:

Saturday a.m., time for the Appreciation Dialogue. Time to learn how to appreciate your partner verbally. It’s a skill and we teach it. The brain’s limbic system is already calming before my eyes. Reconnection and even joy begin to appear. Emotional engagement between couples has begun and the people are softening. Beauty!

I Rock:

Need I say more?

Ok I will!.

We all receive messages in childhood either implicitly or explicitly that tell us we are not ____________ (fill in the blank). Yet what we all wanted and needed to hear is… “you rock” . So why not remind everyone… “I rock” then hopefully everyone will know inside themselves “I rock too.”

Practice Kindness:

Reminder time…. t-shit goes on again. Deep listening time.

Understanding the influences of childhood all shared in the privacy of one’s own relationship. This part always amazes me. I love the beautiful connections couples make at this point in the workshop. Understanding and compassion and the reality that childhood influences couplehood. Big learning and everyone is fully present. This is when things really turn around. I feel privileged. Great compassionate hearts becoming even greater right before my eyes. I am a lucky person to be part of all this.

Laugh Often (again):

Exit time! We all do it but how do we do it? This is definitely when we need to keep laughing or else things will go sideways. Everyone is on board and the challenge is still in effect. There is no negativity, criticism or blame anywhere to be seen. Lots of smiling and big open hearts though!

It’s Not That I’m Stubborn… It’s Just That I Know I’m Right:

I had this t-shirt made for my eldest son Max when he turned 13. It was a verbatim quote by him that I had put onto a t-shirt. He wore it proudly until he grew out of it and then gave it to me and I proudly wear it when introducing the intricacies of the Power Struggle.

The core of this struggle is really the age old question in any relationship, who is going to be “the one?” I want closeness, I want to be validated, I want to be right, I want you to agree with me even if you don’t,  but you want all these things too because we both want to be “the one”. This is a big pill to swallow. The truth is some medicine we just have to take.

(I need a new t-shirt for this part but I haven’t found it yet something about gold I suspect would be in order!)

Moving right along and into relationship consciousness comes the frustration dialogue. These folks really rocked. They were brilliant. They stayed intentional, listened deeply and took on the great task of trying to meet their partner’s need which they themselves chose out of 3 choices. I am joyful and my work is almost done.

Live In Love:

I bought this t-shirt in L.A. at a bargain discount store for only $9.99 (it was Marshall’s in Beverly Hills if you must know).Profound words on sale but I am the queen of bargains so this makes sense to me! Here comes Hollywood but way better. Positive love flood, caring behaviours, love letters to be posted in the coming weeks by us, sex lecture, chocolates and long stemmed roses given by each partner with sweet words to each partner.  We are nearing the end of Sunday with sweetness and deliciousness and a commitment to conscious love with some real tools to make it all work.

Getting the Love You Want

It’s happened, and it’s all good, and my work is done for this weekend.

Next one is June 4-6, 2010. Can’t wait!

Dare ya –

Remember when you were at the workshop and it was close to ending and you and your partner exchanged roses? Remember how you felt? Remember that now and hold it in heart. That’s the real love story.

Until the next time…

Yours truly,


Don’t Play Games at the Games

March 2, 2010

iwona kellie / Flickr

Well by the time you read this the 2010 Olympic Winter Games will have just ended and we will be taking stock of how they impacted us, our city and our little corner of the world.

Regardless of whether you were for or against the Olympics, stayed in Vancouver or left town, felt joyful or disgusted by them, I propose we all sit back and take stock of what games mean to us, and how we play them – often capturing Gold medals of our very own.

Let’s get real, most of us play games. And the games we play we are really good at, maybe even the best in our discipline.

The events include being passive and aggressive, just aggressive, just passive, distant and withdrawn, or just plain difficult to be around.

Why do we do this? It’s not for a medal. Last time I checked the medals were nowhere as breathtaking as the ones Corrine Hunt and Omer Arbel designed for 2010 (if you haven’t checked these out you must, they are the definition of stunning).

Oh no, the medals most of us win come wrapped in a big fat discouraging box of blame and criticism.

But why you might ask? So glad you asked! Here’s what I think…..

I think we are creatures that are dominated by two things: Our feelings, especially hurt feelings, and even more, really hurt feelings. And the other thing is that we always want to be the ONE. You know what I mean, the ONE to be right, adored, supported, the list goes on. Problem is, our partner wants the same thing too!!

Herein lies the problem, both people want to be the ONE. Let the games begin.

It’s the same old story: the silent treatment; pretending everything is ok when it’s not; pretending to listen when clearly there is no listening happening; being polite yet seething with anger. There are lots more events at these games but I’m sure you get the picture.

When I play games the way I know, I’m not being totally honest with myself or my partner and I start having a lot of conversations in my head. When I do this, what I am really doing is making up stories which likely aren’t true. If I’m aiming for a gold medal, I am not going to give away my strategy, which basically means not being honest about what is going on.

adrian 8_8 / Flickr

Is this making any sense? I hope you can relate because it’s very difficult to be in a relationship and not play games. It’s how we protect ourselves from being hurt.

Recently, I learned a unique way that one couple has been turning this around…

I’ve been working with this couple for awhile now. They attended a “Getting the Love You Want” workshop last year and were doing quite well. Alas, after a time, they found themselves replaying their old dynamic. This is often the case for many of us.  They became discouraged and resorted to silence, distance and lots of reactivity. Quite by chance they began emailing each other to communicate their feelings and perspectives. Sometimes it is just too hard for folks to dialogue when the limbic system is highly activated. At these times, more distance and time are needed. Their emails became more frequent and they began understanding, even validating, each other through email. The tensions have settled and they have turned a positive corner.

This has got me thinking.

What a brilliant strategy this couple has found. They are beginning to change the games they’ve been playing for a long time. Taking time to calm the limbic brain, being intentional about what is being said and finding a way to validate your partner is key to any dialogue process. Emailing each other has seemed to lessen their reactions and now dialoging is easier for them. I believe it’s a bridge that helps you arrive at the next place (something Lawrence talks about in the workshop).

There are many different kinds of bridges. At this time, and for this couple, email is one of them. I like it!

Dare ya –

Think about your games. What are you really good at playing in your relationship? Identify it. Admit it at least to yourself and if you can, admit it to your partner. If not, make it a goal for the future. What’s really important is to CHANGE the way you are playing your game. Just do something different and see what happens!


-Keep it positive and be sweet, kind and loving.

-Your partner is not a bad person; he/she is trying to survive just like you.

-What you might see is really covering up deeper held feelings your partner can’t express.

-Mirror. It changes everything.