Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Markers… Yours, Mine and Ours

September 6, 2010

Flickr / ornellaswouldgo

Why mark important events?

What markers are worth marking?

How should they be marked?

Some dates we mark because we love to celebrate happy times; some because we are grieving a loss; and some we feel we must acknowledge even if we don’t really want to (certain birthdays come to mind when I think about the latter! I had one of those this year and let’s just say it remains unmentionable). But back to relationship markers…

The marker that I feel most proud of, my greatest achievement of late is my 25th anniversary with my life partner Sarah. In gay years that’s actually 175 years because it is said that a gay year is like a dog year – you get 7 years for a straight folk’s 1 year because it is so damn hard. Well we have made it this far and wow have we been marking it BIG! 75 or 25 it doesn’t much matter it’s a LONG time believe me!

First off we went to Maui for 2 weeks with no kids. What a paradise: sun, beauty, beaches and pineapples galore. What a place to reconnect and remember what’s important. We had lots of dialogues about little and big stuff. We had tons of fun. We watched the sunset every night and walked the beach every day. We ate, we drank, we rested. It was just what we needed to mark our time together.

It’s been a summer of marking the time….. dinners with friends and family; many indulgences; we keep remarking a few times a week things like, “wow can you believe it’s been 25 years?!” or, “the time has sure gone by fast” or, “wow, feels like a lifetime time moves so slow!” or, “you know I still really like you”.

Let’s be honest. It has not been a bed of roses, sweetness and good moods. OH NO, not at all.

It’s been more like a constant sea of change. Like a wave: there’s the high of course, the crest which is the best part and then just when it seems as if it is going to last, crash we are at the low point only to build up again and the cycle continues. I guess after all these years I’ve learned that’s just life.

Way back when, in the beginning, of course it was wonderful. We were so young and actually had no idea about anything let alone relationships. Determined, in love, confident, conflict avoiders; pleasure seekers, — that was us.

Then a few years later add a dog, mortgage, a renovation, separate careers and 2 kids to the mix…all of sudden we had lots to disagree about!  That was just about the time we found Imago. Goodness knows what would have happened if we hadn’t.

So how have we completed 25 years with grace? I’d say our recipe was  about 3000 dialogues (ok, maybe 500), tons of humour, countless date nights, some serious setbacks and a whole lotta  trying. At the time, we didn’t know it was our recipe. No magic, just a lot of plodding and more commitment to”us” than I would ever have imagined possible.

There is one more key dynamic that I am still learning about and am far from perfecting. As we mark 25 years, I realize we are both continuing to mature to the point where we can delight in the other partner being who they really are, not who we want the other to be (this is another blog entry unto itself so stay tuned.)

I can say I am truly happy and grateful for all the work we have done that has taken us to this point.

Oh yeah, one more thing, happy markers are a great excuse for a party!!

Dare ya –

Mark something about your relationship you are proud of…anything. Contact us and tell us about it!

Yours truly,

T at 25!

Epic Move

April 7, 2010

quinet / Flickr

Maureen and I have just completed an epic move. After much talk and searching we have found and moved into shared office space for the first time. Now we all know when the real power struggle happens… after two folks make a commitment! We will keep you posted on this! Joining us will be Marianne Gareau, a Registered Psychologist (also an Imago therapist) and part-time will be Sara Menzel, MA, RCC (in training to be an Imago therapist) and Pam Hirakata, Registered Psychologist (trauma specialist). Our new space is still on the West Broadway corridor but closer to Cambie St. Needless to say I haven’t been able to focus on a blog entry for 2 weeks, but I will be posting on Sunday April 11th.

For now I want to announce that Jill Fein Baker, Imago Therapist and comedian extraordinaire is coming to Vancouver from Chicago to do a public lecture titled “Love in the 21st Century” and a two day “Keeping the Love You Find” workshop for individuals. You may remember from the workshop the four journeys and how, while growing up, we all lose parts of our selves (parts that remain under-developed while other parts are over-developed) and how we all develop our favourite defensive strategies. This is the focus of the two day workshop. It is open to all, single or in relationship. Don’t miss this opportunity!

Friday, April 23rd 7:00 – 9:00pm “Love in the 21st Century”
YWCA 535 Hornby Street
Tickets $20.00
Register at

Saturday – Sunday, April 24-25, “Keeping the Love You Find”
Vancouver School of Theology at UBC
9:00am – 6:30pm
Pre-register at
$325.00 per person

Til next week then…

Dare ya –

I am going to have a hot bath how ‘bout you?

Yours truly tired!

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,