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Archive for compassionate communication

3 Keys for Healthy Relationships

Unless you are a hermit living in a cave and growing your own food, you need to interact with other people. Stressful relationships top the chart of my clients’ reasons to see me for stress management. “Hell is other people!” declared French playwright Jean-Paul Sartre. And, sometimes you might agree, and wonder why the hell this person Is trying to make your life miserable. Usually, though, conflict with another person is not so intense – just low key annoyance. He says something that triggers your anger. You say something that he interprets as criticism.

How do you break the cycle of negativity between people? Because at our core, we are social beings woven together in Divine Love. We thrive on respectful, loving, courageously kind interactions with others.

Here are three keys to building healthy, loving relationships:

1) Self-love. At Unity North Spiritual Center, we sing a song, “I love myself so much, that I can love you so much, that you can love you so much, that you can start loving me.” Be your own best friend and treat yourself with loving kindness. Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t want a friend to say to you. The energetic vibration you send out comes back to you. When you feel more love for yourself, you will get more love back.

2) Listen. Listen deeply to the other person. What are they really trying to say underneath their crunchy exterior? Marshall Rosenberg, founder of the Compassionate Communication Model, asks What is the unmet need? Are they really expressing hurt feelings? Or fear of abandonment? Or sadness from an unresolved past wound? Can you find compassion in your heart to hear what the other person is really saying which he lacks the skills to communicate? Raise the vibration of the conversation through your deep listening with the ears of love.

3) Creativity. Imagine that there might be another solution outside the box of your frustration. Open your awareness to the possibility that there might be a third option, a better solution, or an easier path. Keeping an open heart and mind opens the doorway for creative solutions. A new awareness and understanding might be right around the corner which will create a bridge to better communication.

Certainly, some relationship stress requires intervention or therapy to come to resolution. However, most stressful situations between people can be improved through applying three keys: be kind to yourself, listen with the ears of love, and allow your inner creative wisdom to show you a better solution.

In my spiritual healing practice, I focus on helping change-makers manage stressful relationships so they can expand their impact in the world. I offer Intentional Energy Healing sessions to raise the energetic vibration of the relationship so everyone can thrive. If you would like assistance to heal a relationship drama with a loved one, I can help. Let’s set up a time to chat. Email me at leah.skurdal@gmail.com

BIG LOVE

What the world needs now is BIG LOVE! Bigger than fear. Bigger than self-doubt. Bigger than your excuses. Not the fluffy Bunny Peep love of Hallmark cards or the casual, “love you” greeting. What we need now is deep, profound I-will-do-what-it-takes love. I know what that kind of profound love feels like. So do Marlene and Bill.

Marlene and Bill, a retired couple in their 80s, live in the land of ice and snow in Northern Minnesota. When Bill was diagnosed with prostate cancer, doctors prescribed 39 radiation treatments – which required driving an hour to the town of Brainerd, five days a week, from Thanksgiving through the New Year. Aside from the courage it takes to survive 39 radiation treatments, (no small feat) getting to the appointments during a Minnesota winter took a different kind of grit, courage and profound love.

The winter of 2014 Up North, as we Minnesotans say, included record snowfalls and thirty degree below zero temperatures day after day. Marlene took the wheel. “You’re not dying on my watch!” she told Bill. Which means: Die if you must because it is your time to go. But you are NOT dying because I did not do MY 100%.

Marlene drove Bill to and from the hospital, two hours a day, leaving the house by 7am, five days a week through harsh winter driving conditions. Some people commute an hour to work but not usually at Marlene’s age of 82 years old.

Marlene drove 4500 miles that winter. Half of the time, the roads were not plowed. Marlene would position her four-wheel drive SUV behind an 18-wheeler and plow on through the snow drifts covering the road. On some days, it was only Marlene, Bill and the truckers who were committed enough to venture the journey to Brainerd.

One day, as they left home on a snowy day in sub-zero temperatures, Marlene and Bill said to each other, “we have nothing to complain about. We’ve had a good life.”

They drove in silence. Marlene prayed the rosary for an hour straight twice a day – which she credits as the reason they arrived safely every day. After the 39 treatments ended, Bill’s cancer went into remission. Spring finally arrived and Bill went back to gardening and feeding the wildlife.

That’s what it took: grit, Minnesota heartiness born of determination, prayer, and BIG LOVE. That’s what 50+ years of marriage will do for you.

We could use some of that BIG LOVE these days. The BIG LOVE required to teach kids and adults compassionate communication skills so they learn to get along with each other. The BIG LOVE required to find or create an educational system where your kid can thrive. The BIG LOVE required to build a loving home environment where each of the family members feels loved and appreciated for their unique talents.

In my work, Intentional Energy Healing, I play all out for my clients. We set an energetic intention to create or to heal something in their life. One client got her estranged daughter back in her life. Current client intentions include completing a marathon, healing family relationships, and experiencing more daily joy.

What are you committed to in your life? For what are you willing to DO WHAT IT TAKES?

Post comments below. Message me if you would like support to create a life you love.

 

Anger, Resentment, Betrayal – Oh My!

Feeling betrayed lately? Among my clients, I notice similar patterns showing up around the same time. Lately, it has been the pattern of betrayal.

Someone has an affair with their friend’s spouse. Someone’s ex-spouse tries to steal from them. A co-worker gossips and spreads untruth.

Another theme I observe is that the level of emotional pain my clients feel goes beyond the current situation. It seems that the betrayal is a symptom of recurring emotional pain and not only the cause of this emotional pain.  How can we heal the root of betrayal so the pattern does not recur?

In my work, we look at the energetic vibration woven into the tapestry of a story. Within the tapestry, the feeling of betrayal carries a judgment of right and wrong. Someone is a victim and someone is a perpetrator. Someone expressed themself in a hurtful way and someone received hurtful feelings.  In the vibration, there is a giver and a receiver – two ends of the vibratory pattern. I can’t feel betrayed unless I am willing to receive that feeling.

How can you receive more love when you feel betrayal, anger or resentment?

In my meditation yesterday, I asked, “What is the question?” I heard, “How do I love more deeply?” Good question. “OK, how do I love more deeply?” I heard, “Allow. Allow. Allow. Allow. Allow.”  Great.

So, to love more deeply, I need to open my heart more fully. Tricky thing for us empaths who already feel more than our share of the world’s pain and need some boundaries.

Do you open your heart wide and risk feeling the pain of betrayal when someone steps over your boundaries?  Or, do you love more deeply which means, loving yourself more deeply and being willing to take care of your boundaries – and be willing to say, “That hurt my feelings.” Then, loving another person enough to let go of your need to be right and meet them in the field beyond right-doing and wrong-doing, as the Sufi poet Rumi says.

Ouch. Some days, I’m better at that than other days. Sometimes it takes me awhile to get to the place in my heart where I experience compassion for everyone in the story. One day, when I had experienced what, from my perspective, felt like a friend’s betrayal, I suddenly got a spiritual tap on the shoulder telling me to listen. When I turned inward to listen deeply to my heart’s wisdom, I understood a much bigger storyline than the immediate betrayal. My friend had her reasons which, from her perspective, made her happiness more important than my unhappiness. If I had walked her path, I might have come to the same conclusion.

But I’m walking my path. And right now my feelings are hurt by your embracing your happiness at my expense.  Ah. Therein lies, the judgment, the wrong-doing. When I add the tagline, at my expense, I imply that you knew I would feel hurt and chose to make yourself happy anyway. But, doesn’t everyone have that choice? Isn’t that acknowledging another person’s boundary? What happens when people’s boundaries bump against each other? Complicated questions to ponder. The more immediate question to answer is:

So what do you do with your feelings when you feel betrayed?

  • Acknowledge your feelings of anger, sadness and resentment. Then, give yourself some love. Open your heart from the inside to receive love from your Higher Self. It is only your smaller ego self on the outside that feels betrayed. You always have access to the deep inner reservoir of Infinite Love within. Connect to a place behind your physical heart in front of your spine that opens into your Soul and through Soul to God the Infinite where there is only love.
  • Allow love to stream through from your wise Higher Self like a balm to sooth the emotional pain. Surround yourself in this healing balm of Infinite Love that is yours to claim.
  • From this connection to your Higher Wisdom, ask deep questions and ask for guidance in navigating this rocky terrain.

What is behind the other person’s story?

What do I need to learn from this situation?

What did I do well?

What could I have done differently?

What action do I need to take next?

How can I come to peace about this story?

Ultimately, you want to feel peaceful inside, right? You can hang on to anger and sadness for a longer time until you are done processing those feelings if you choose.

When you are ready to heal those emotional wounds and ready to take a step forward (you don’t have to do it all at once) you will experience the relief of forgiveness as a weight being lifted from your heart.

  • Open your heart to feel compassion for yourself to have experienced this hurt.
  • Perhaps you can remember a time when you said or did something hurtful to another and how you would have liked to experience their forgiveness. At least you can forgive yourself. Open your heart to forgive yourself for your past misdeeds. You can say to yourself, “I’m sorry for whatever I did that contributed to my hurt feelings.”

If you believe you did nothing that contributed to the betrayal, look into your ancestral lineage and other lifetimes. Sometimes the roots of an emotional wound run very deep.

After filling yourself up with love from the inside, if you are ready, open your heart to a bit more compassion for another person who chose to act hurtfully out of their own hurt and broken heart.

When you can heal the emotional pain you are carrying, (how long did you want to carry around that bag of rocks anyway?), you open a doorway for others to release their emotional pain as well. When you shift up, you create a happier environment where you and others can thrive.

When you choose to respond with compassion and kindness, you rewrite the story.

Break the cycle.

Weave a new tapestry where your needs get met.

What are your thoughts about betrayal?  It is a many-faceted topic.  Add your comments below.

If you would like assistance getting through a betrayal and healing an emotional wound, I can help.  Message me and let’s set up a time to chat.

New Year – New and Improved Relationships

A major stressor I see with my clients is managing the significant relationships in their lives – with spouse/partner, kids, parents, siblings, supervisors, co-workers, or customers.

The teenage kid slams the door as a gesture of power. The spouse/partner criticizes the dinner, car parking job, or the way the holiday lights were hung. The co-worker makes snarky comments. Siblings do not share in caregiving needs for the aging parent. No one in the house helps clean the dishes. And my client’s neck and shoulder muscles tighten trying to manage all the details of life.

Sound like anyone you know? Lol

I can help! Managing your significant relationships starts with managing yourself. When you set aside time for just you to regroup, you have more energy to handle the stuff of life. When you set aside time to listen to your own wisdom over the roar of daily living, you can hear what you need to do to get your own needs met.

What does the flight attendant say in case of a plane malfunction? “Put your own oxygen mask on first!” You’re no good to anyone else if you can’t breathe. When your resources are depleted and you are running on empty, you have less to give others. When you have replenished your reservoir, you have more energy to set boundaries for yourself. You have more energy to share your love with the significant people in your life. Because you do really love them and want the best for them as well as for yourself. You just don’t want to feel depleted all the time, right?

Learning the skills to listen to your own wisdom so you can know what your boundaries are takes practice. Developing a skill-set of ways to respond when someone pushes your buttons requires perseverance. But, you do have the mindset and the perseverance to learn and practice new skills long enough to get them in your muscle memory so they become second nature.

My 10-week online program, Spiritual Pilates, will give you the skills you need to respond from a higher part of your being when you are under stress. Spiritual Pilates will also provide the opportunity to practice the skills in daily living so you can integrate them into spiritual muscle memory.  By participating in the Spiritual Pilates program, you get to reset your default from stress  to inner calm and joy.

Plus, here’s the special deal for your significant relationship:

For the program beginning January 17, 2017 you can include another person for the same cost.

So you and your spouse/partner, kid, sibling or friend can

  • get on the same page
  • share skills
  • remind each other of the skills to use when you forget
  • have an accountability partner
  • heal emotional wounds
  • raise the quality of your relationship.

Disclaimer: This is not therapy or counseling.

However, Spiritual Pilates can be a great resource and toolkit to up-level your significant relationships – starting with your relationship with yourself.

Call or text me for the details. 651-472-3995.

What are your significant relationship challenges? Communication? Sharing chores? Feeling appreciated? Add your comments below.

Happy Fresh Start to the New Year!

Leah

Communicating With Love

Raising teenagers today is not a job for wimps. Your own unresolved teenage angst gets triggered by their stuff. You can easily end up miscommunicating if you’re not mindfully present with your teen.

My client’s intention, when checking in with her teenager, was to listen. However, what came out of her mouth sounded like criticism. She chose to take a time out after the resultant angry outburst before adding fuel to the fire but felt guilty about miscommunicating again.

Happily, I had already coached her on choosing her response wisely. She took a few minutes to center herself with some meditative breathing and BodySoul movement which helped her align body, emotions, mind and Spirit. She listened to her heart about what had made her push the criticism button. An awareness surfaced of an unresolved feeling about her own mother. As she opened her heart to heal the wound, the next insight gave her peace, comfort and understanding about her misinterpretation of the situation with her mother.

Resolving her feelings gave her confidence to re-approach her teenager with a loving and open heart. She remained emotionally present for her daughter which allowed each to communicate some hard-to-hear messages. They both listened respectfully to the other’s point of view. This exchange kept the door open for further communication.

My client was grateful for my coaching, and grateful that she had centered herself and stayed present while communicating with her teenager. When you align body, emotions, mind and Spirit, you show up differently in the world – and for the world.

If you are struggling to communicate with your teenager or if you have challenges finding your calm center when you get off track, I can help.  Text me to set up a time for a free chat. 651-472-3995  I would love to hear how your journey is going and how I can be of service.

Try compassion

Today it felt good to play the hero for a newborn baby. Everyone in the store could hear the baby squalling. On and on and on and on. I said under my breath, “pick up the baby.” I saw a young mother wheeling a shopping cart with the crying baby strapped into a car seat.

Another woman angrily approached the young mother and said, “that is abusive!” The woman held her phone as if she were threatening to call an authority to report the mother for child abuse.

I remembered how, as a new mother, I had felt overwhelmed and clueless about how to get the baby to stop crying. I mosied on over to the young mother.

I heard the mama say something about how the baby hated the car seat but she wanted him to be safe. “My babies hated the car seat too,” I empathized. “I just picked them up and held them.” She took the baby out of the car seat and as she held him to her chest he stopped crying. I think everyone in the store breathed a sigh of relief.

“Babies like to feel mama’s heartbeat and feel loved,” I said compassionately. She murmured something about him always wanting to be held. “Yes,” I assured her, “babies do like feeling mama close. That’s why I carried mine in a baby sling all the time.” The mama said she had tried a wrap that didn’t work but she had a baby front pack that she hoped would work. She set Baby back into the car seat without strapping him and he remained calm. I wished her well as she wheeled away.

The situation de-escalated easily through simple and compassionate communication. The angry woman did not help the baby because the mother became defensive and self-conscious. Who knows what was going on with the mama. Maybe she had depression. Maybe she was so sleep deprived she felt numb. I remember those days of no sleep.

I am telling this story because many miscommunications contribute to stress and anxiety. Next time you see a stressed-out mom in a store, empathize with her. Murmur some soothing words to her: “it is hard when Baby is colicky.” “Newborns are a lot of work but they are so precious.” “I remember when my baby cried a lot.”

As I returned to shopping, a different woman thanked me for intervening and helping the new mom. Having determined that I was a compassionate person, the woman then proceeded to show me the clothes she was choosing to get my opinion on what to purchase. I murmured something that sounded compassionate and moved away. I am not that compassionate.