Archive for stress management

Parent Teen Connection

Masculine Fathers, Effeminate Sons

“Effeminate AF, but I’m straight.”

“I don’t know my kids anymore,” lamented a father estranged from his teenage son and daughter. He faulted the divorce and his soon-to-be ex-wife for the chasm between him and his children. The father complained that he didn’t know his kids well enough to know what gifts to get them for their birthdays.

Granted, the tricky business of buying gifts for teenagers often gets met with disdain, so I err on the side of cash – a gift which is always appreciated. Unless of course you have the open communication to drill down and find out what they really want within your budget (not an iPhone) and values (not vaping supplies) – or you are good at guessing. One Christmas, my husband intuited well-received gifts for our teenage daughters of canvases, acrylic paints and quality brushes, which led to hours of friendly painting parties. Score! Success for daughters who love art! But the teenage boy remains a mystery to me, having none of my own and no brothers. Although, I hear from other parents that their teenage sons remain mysterious to them, too.

Nonetheless, all the gift giving conflicts aside, I felt taken aback by the estranged father’s next comment.  He continued to lament that his son was effeminate.  The father said this in a way that I understood his son being effeminate was a painful burden to him, perhaps a failure on his own part.

Effeminate means to demonstrate traits more often
associated with feminine mannerisms and behaviors.

In a flash of insight, I intuitively saw a behavior pattern beyond the discussion of teen birthday gifts. The father was negatively judging qualities and behaviors traditionally associated with the feminine as less desirable than those qualities and behaviors generally associated with the masculine.  His judging and devaluing the feminine affected his relationship with his wife and kids – which led to divorce and estrangement.

Hold on! Let’s unpack some assumptions around effeminate behaviors.

 A woman friend and I mused about why we enjoy hanging out with gay men. It’s because gay men have similar brains to us. Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden conducted brain scans and found that gay men, left-handed men and straight women share common brain architecture that improves communication. The corpus callosum, the bridge between right and left brain hemispheres, contains more processing connections to integrate logic and emotion more efficiently.  Straight men, right-handed men and lesbians also share similar brain architecture with larger right brain hemispheres which tend toward better spatial awareness.

Not all effeminate men are gay and not all gay men share effeminate traits. Everyone has masculine and feminine energies as two halves of a dualistic whole. The yang, expressive, masculine, out breath balances the yin, listening, feminine, in breath. Masculine and feminine qualities run on a continuum from very masculine/extreme macho to very feminine/extreme dainty with most people expressing their unique balance of masculine and feminine traits somewhere in the middle. Girls who cross the line and express a more rough and tumble nature might be called tomboys. Boys who cross the line and express a more gentle nature might be called effeminate (or more derogatory terms).

What do men experience when they don’t fit into society’s standards of masculinity?

The Good Men Project addressed that question in an article, Men Ask: ”Is it Weird That I’m Effeminate AF but I’m Straight?”  Some responses affirmed what my friend and I experienced. “I’m effeminate and get along better with women.”  (stronger corpus callosum and better communicator).  Some answers made me feel sad. “I feel kind of undesirable because I’m effeminate.” “I hate being an effeminate straight guy. No girl would want someone like me.”  

Can men be effeminate and still be good men?

The Good Men Project website states they have “pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st Century.”

Let’s continue their conversation. It’s not just my estranged father friend who negatively judges feminine qualities in males. He shares an attitude prevalent in our culture that devalues traits traditionally considered feminine: empathy, sensitivity, caring, compassion, tolerance, and nurturance –traits that make good communicators.

The father was undervaluing a trait that would serve him if he embraced it – Emotional Intelligence- EQ – the ability to handle interpersonal relationships. Danial Goleman, in his book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter, shares how EQ skills, more than IQ, determine success in relationships and at work.

There’s good news for my estranged father friend.  Current research on the neuroplasticity of the brain and on Emotional Intelligence shows that our brains respond to outer stimulus by building new neuropathways. Emotional Intelligence can be learned through practicing social awareness skills like recognizing visual cues, listening with compassion and empathy, and fine-tuning your radar for the emotional climate around you.

If my friend practices building new brain neuro-pathways through improving his communication skills, (such as listening with empathy and compassion to his teenagers), he might strengthen his corpus callosum and develop some traits considered more feminine – and ultimately act more like his son. Maybe he can even rebuild a foundation for re-engagement with his kids.

Trying to communicate with your teenagers or your spouse can augment stress. Not communicating with the people who matter most to you will cause you more stress. Upleveling your Emotional Intelligence skills and your response to stressful situations will add to your satisfaction in life – a goal worth the effort.

 Leah Skurdal has taught people to respond to stress from their natural state of Inner Wellbeing for over 25 years. In her speeches and workshops, Leah inspires audiences to envision the best version of themselves. Leah offers individual Energy Healing and Stress Resilience Coaching in person, by phone, Skype, Zoom and Facebook Live. She is author of the book, Seeking Serenity: How to Find Your Inner Calm and Joy and can be reached at Check out her workshop Raise the Bar on Stressful Relationships 8/13/19 in Coon Rapids Minnesota.

Body Wisdom

A Workshop to Integrate the Spiritual into the Physical

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
Wisdom is knowing not to put tomato in the fruit salad.
~ Anonymous

You might have a lot of information about your body, staying healthy and physical symptoms. Do you also listen with your intuitive heart wisdom to what your body is really saying? What message is your body telling you through discomfort? Who in your life is a pain in the neck? Is someone else’s energy contributing to your migraine? How do you release toxic thoughts from your joints?

In this fun and insightful workshop, learn practical tools to:

  • Unravel stress from your body before it causes physical dis-ease;
  • Gain intuitive insights into your innate well-being;
  • Release negativity stored in your physical tissues.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019
11499 Martin St. Coon Rapids, MN 55433

Ripples of Peace

Build resilience to stress.
Learn tools to strengthen relationships.
Join our workshop Tuesday 5/28, 7-8:30pm.
11499 Martin St. Coon Rapids, MN

Update Resilience

I choose to thrive!

Today I am consciously choosing to use my Five Simple Strategies to Subdue Stress! With the restoration company fixing our ice dam related water issues, the leaking sink drain requiring a call to the restoration company and the leaking main water line unrelated to the previous water issues requiring calls to find a plumber, the wrong door key requiring a second trip and Whew! I am needing to breathe, smile, and find something to be grateful for.

Some days it is easier than others to focus on gratitude. So today I am grateful that I can feel gratitude! I am grateful for a great restoration company with competent workers. I am grateful for clean water that flows easily through my tap without me having to carry it into the house. I am grateful for a refrigerator full of delicious fruits and vegetables. I am grateful that the song in my head is Josh Groban singing “so much to be thankful for.”

If you need a boost of resilience, come to my class tonight

Five Simple Strategies to Subdue Stress
2 S. Pine Dr, Circle Pines MN

Boost Your Good Vibes

Tap into your natural core of well-being any time for stress relief, to recharge your batteries and to gain wisdom about your next steps. Respond to drama with inner strength and compassion. Integrate spiritual practice into your daily actions.

Responding to Stress from Your Inner Strength
May 14, May 21, May 28 – 7:00-8:00pm
Unity North Spiritual Center, 11499 Martin St., Coon Rapids, MN

May 14 – Boosting Your Good Vibes
Gain awareness of how negative and positive energetic vibrations impact you. Cleanse your field of depleting energetic vibrations to enhance your wellbeing.

May 21 – Love Transforms Fear
Connect to Divine Love to pre-pave a potentially stressful situation for improved results. Strengthen interpersonal relationships and resolve conflict with Divine Love.

May 28 – Creating Ripples of Peace
Create a sacred group to engage in conscious co-creation for the next seven generations. Connect to intuitive wisdom to enhance creative problem solving potential.

Pre-register for all three sessions – $100
Individual workshop – $37
50% proceeds to Unity North Spiritual Center
Call Leah to register – 651-472-3995

Visioning Our Future

What’s your vision for the future?

“When your vision becomes more powerful than your memory,
your future becomes more real than your past.” ~Roger Hamilton

Keeping you on track to live the life of
passion and purpose you envision and prefer.
Leah Skurdal, Wellness Coach
Call now to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

Harness Stress for Resilience

The archer pulls the bow’s drawstring which creates tension or stress. You may have learned, as I did, that too much stress in your life contributes to a host of ailments and premature death. However, just as the archer harnesses stress to launch the arrow toward the target, you can learn to harness the energy of stress to propel you toward well-being.

In her TED talk, How to Make Stress Your Friend, health psychologist Kelly McGonigal, shared research that surprised me at first, although it makes intuitive sense. Researchers found people who learned to view their stress symptoms (like sweating and pounding heart) as helpful for their performance became less stressed out and less anxious. Not only that, but their blood vessels didn’t constrict in an unhealthful way and instead allowed blood to flow freely as if they were happy and brave.

I get it! How you respond to stress is what matters to your health and wellbeing and creates resilience!

In this lively and insightful workshop, I teach ways to respond to stress from your innate, inner wellbeing so you build resilience and harness the energy of stress to launch you forward in life.

You are invited to learn and practice
Five Simple Strategies to Subdue Stress
Call to schedule a session for your group.

  • Learn tools that harness the power of stress to launch you toward your target, like the archer pulling back the bow’s drawstring
  • Build your stress resilience muscles so you can turn changes and challenges into opportunities
  • Add a vitally important and often overlooked tool to your personal and professional toolkit to gain confidence in stressful situations
  • Learn proven stress management tools from a trained professional with 25 years of experience

Call Leah with Questions or to schedule this fun and informative workshop for your group. 651-472-3995

Unwrap Your Spiritual Gifts

Which of your gifts and talents are you ready to unwrap and explore:
Intuitive knowing? Inner healing? Angelic connection?

Are you curious about:

  • How to hear the still, small voice of God Within more often so you can feel more passionate, purposeful and confident about your choices?
  • How to access your innate well-being and inner healer so you can allow God’s healing to flow to you and through you to heal others?
  • How to connect to your guardian angel so you feel extra comfort and protection when you feel stressed or afraid?

Unwrap Your Spiritual Gifts
Tuesday, March 12, 2019 7:00-9:00pm

Mastery in the Art of Living
at The Wellness Circle
7094 Lake Drive, Lino Lakes, MN 55014

Join this fun and informative workshop to access new ways of being and learn five tools to Unwrap Your Spiritual Gifts. You will:

  • increase awareness of your body’s energetic vibrations to better manage your emotions and mental chatter;
  • move your body and tone sacred sounds in harmony with your spirit to feel more peaceful;
  • connect to your guardian angel in the sanctuary of your heart through guided meditation to feel protected;
  • express your creative wisdom in written guided poetry to better know your wise higher self;
  • discover what your inner wisdom is trying to tell you in your dreams.

You are a wise spiritual being living a physical experience. When you connect through your wise Soul self to God the Infinite, you access radiant gifts like self-love, compassion, and discernment. Your relationships grow stronger and more rewarding when you use your natural inner spiritual gifts.

Click on the link to register for the workshop. You can call or text me with questions. 651-472-3995

I’m Leah Skurdal, Spiritual Wellness Coach at Mastery in the Art of Living. I offer an inspirational look at living as a spiritual being having a physical experience. I combine research with stories of spiritual transformation to make challenging skills easy to integrate into daily living. In my book, Seeking Serenity: How to Find Your Inner Calm and Joy, I help people align body, emotions, mind and spirit to reduce stress, create more joyful relationships, and expand their intuitive wisdom.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!


Sometimes, too much family togetherness at the holidays can feel stressful.

Here are 3 tips to bring your best self to the Thanksgiving table.

First, set your intention to stay happy no matter what. Connect to your inner wellbeing that is not dependent on what other people say or do.

Second, shift into neutral and be curious. How did Uncle Bob come to that conclusion? Why is Mom stressing about the gravy? How can you respond to stressors with compassion and not contribute to the drama?

Third, you will probably digest your food better if you allow more love, light and joy to flow through you. How can you raise the vibration for everyone at the table through your joy?

Really, at the end of the day, all we can control is our own response.
Happy Thanksgiving!


To learn more about skills to manage your energy and vibration, email me and let’s set up a time to chat.