The Eclipse was one of the most comforting moments of my life thus far. If you didn't get to experience it in Totality I hope I can shed some light...or...I guess darkness on what the experience was like so we may all go into this next chapter feeling invigorated by it's occurance.
We all know that feeling. When our whole body tingles with emotion.
When we watch two people who deeply love one another commit their lives to each other.
When a baby is born.
When we hear that song.
When we we're far away from city lights, laying under an epic amount of stars.
When we re-count the beauty of someone's life after they've passed.
When we feel truly seen and known by another.
When we re-connect with our truest self.
The Eclipse brought forth these feelings. The whole sun was blocked out, darkness descended quickly and the temperature dropped. A ring, brighter than anything I have ever seen in my life, pierced the daytime darkness. Our whole group reacted with strong emotions, speechlessness and tears.
It reminded me that life is a journey of discoveries. Each year I am blown away by something new.
So many of us close ourselves off from these experiences. We don't need an Eclipse to have them in abundance. It was just one of those moments that humbles and inspires us.
In the moment of Totality, I returned to my roots. I allowed myself to be shocked, surprised, blown away. I allowed myself to cry (as if I could even hold it back) and feel that indescribable comfort. I felt as if I was transported to another world. One where all my fears and worries disappeared into that darkness. I was at full peace. Time no longer mattered, problems no longer lingered in my mind. I was wiped blank. I relinquished my control, realizing life is much more magical than our minds can comprehend. We always try to comprehend everything...and in that moment I just surrendered.
We've made leaps and bounds as humans, but we still can't stop the moon from blocking out the sun. We still can't stop ourselves from dying. But if dying is anything like the eclipse felt, then it's all okay. That was the comfort I found in Totality. And that comfort is ours if we pause and watch nature, the stars and the universe swirl around us in it's epic beauty.
Living with wonder replaces living with hate or despair.
Living with wonder humbles our running lips and leaves us speechless when no words are needed.
Living with wonder unites all people.
The Eclipse is also a sign of new beginnings. What are your intentions for the coming months and years? I want be out in nature more often, pause more frequently, practice gratitude and wonder, remembering that as long as I am pursing what I know to be true within me that everything will be okay. And ultimately, to approach life with more curiosity and less fear.
FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE: My groups reaction to the Eclipse
FYI. There is cussing in this video...because...damn...nothing was held back.
The importance of financial security was beat into my skull through the constant verbal concerns expressed during my upbringing. This was somewhat concerning given the fact that I had never been able to pull off good grades in school. I was stuck in an in between land, which I feel most of us inhabit, for a good portion of my life thus far. Fear drilled its way into my decision making and found a way to put up a wall. Thank God I am good at climbing because I’ve spent a lot of my time sitting on top of it and jumping from one side to the other.
The first time I jumped over it was during my only year of college. Both my parents are in dental professions and I was lured into applying for Dental Assisting school in order to have some certainty and create a stable future. I was sitting in orientation, among a crowd of women as the presenter listed off the things we would need for school. One of the things on the list was Scrubs and where to find them online. As the presenter scrolled through the online store my mind only thought about one thing; what would be the most crazy and unique patterned scrubs I could buy? About 10 minutes later, and only 20 minutes into the 2 hour presentation, I stood up and walked out. The doors opened and flooded me with fresh air and light. I took a deep breath, the kind you take when you know you’re in the right place, the kind that contains a smile in it and sometimes joyful tears. I’ve always been braver than I give myself credit for. I left the possibility of a secure job behind and continued into the unknown.
A lot of us forget to look back at ourselves as a young child, when we were most free, and see what was there. I was obsessed with dress up, wrestling, starting clubs with other kids where I was the leader, singing, dancing, posing, creating space with decorations, being creative in all ways, spending lots of time alone with my imagination, analyzing my emotions and other people (yes, I remember doing this from as early as 6 years old). But what do those things tell me about what I should do now? They tell me so many things. They tell me I wasn’t meant to be a Dental Assistant, that’s FOR SURE. They tell me that my concern has never been about money or even stability, they tell me that I enjoy leading, performing and connecting emotionally, that is my currency first and foremost, without that all the money in the world wouldn’t satisfy me.
But hey, I am also realistic, and I do need money to survive. So what are legitimate jobs for me? Well, I went on a little journey after that fateful day in Dental Assisting Orientation. I started with the Floral Design Institute. An obvious choice for my creativity and visual mind. Once I started Forest & Field (now 7 years ago!) I also got this emotional fix. I was working with couples on their weddings and getting to hear a lot of their stories as well. Sometimes I felt like I was coaching them through certain aspects of planning in a very emotional way. Unfortunately, I was in an interesting time of life where I was incredibly concerned with how every action I took affected the world. It was stifling, but I was learning. This meant that I felt guilty about floral design because it didn’t “help” the world in the epic way I desired. (more on that later)
The next road I took was toward health. For a few years I studied Herbal Medicine and Nutritional Therapy. As I’ve mentioned in my other posts, I came down with allergies for a whole year that debilitated me. Ultimately my road into health was because I wanted my life back. Although, after completing both courses I felt a little lost again. My mind has always been so creatively driven that even the thought of being a Nutritional Therapist and Herbalist triggered me back to the moment I walked out those doors at Orientation. Yet this time it was different. I was SO thankful for the knowledge because it saved me. It healed me. But I was scared to peg myself in an area that I didn’t fully feel fulfilled. The more people reached out to me for advice the more I pulled away. I haven’t shared this information with anyone but Johnny, but I feel it’s important to mention, and here’s why.
Sometimes we think we have to do something just because we said we would or we spent a lot of time or money on it. This is no way to live life. Thankfully, I think I’ve found a way to re-define it for myself so I don’t fully have to let it go.
This past year has been the most eye-opening for Johnny and I. We’ve opened ourselves up to a vulnerability and a truth that we ignored in the past. We’ve been blunt and honest about our life, our circumstances, our marriage and our direction. It’s been REALLY hard and REALLY good. We realized that some of his childhood coping mechanisms had put us into some hard places. And it’s like we both finally woke up. We spent so much time living for other people and trying to “save the world” that we lost ourselves. Sometimes it’s not about doing what is “right” or having a “servant's heart” it’s about being true to who you are and giving yourself grace and freedom. When I allowed myself that I became more healthy and able to love and give to others out of that well I dug within me. When we “try” to serve others and be compassionate it can actually steal the truth and love within us, making us resentful and ultimately thwart the vision that we were trying to accomplish in the first place.
I learned that I need to be ME. That was the best person I could be for the world. This whole year has been re-defining that using my childhood self and journey to understand what it is that I desire. Honestly, it’s really easy when you’re just open and real. Ask someone who has had a few beers what it is that they truly want, they may say something completely different than if they were sober. How can we let down our guards and be real with ourselves sans intoxication? If you’ve been feeling unfulfilled then you’re probably not embodying your truest expression of self.
In order to bring the story full circle, I’d like to share where I’m at right now. For so long I’ve dabbled in many things, it’s time I create a more direct vision. I am not tossing aside any of my training, I am just specializing. First off, I am allowing myself to love Floral Design and use it as a way to transform a space and create a feeling, like I’ve always desired. I think I got worn out on doing weddings that weren’t fulfilling me creatively and were repetitious, this year I have the opportunity to create installations and epic art while bringing the couples story and desires into their wedding. I also have found ways to meet my need to contribute through making medicine out of arrangements, donating to charities and doing flower graffiti around Portland with the leftovers.
As far as the health aspect goes, I enjoy having nutrition and herb knowledge for my own life, family and friends across the board, but I really need to focus on something specific in practice. I started getting overwhelmed by it and knew that I wasn’t in the right place. This is where I’d like to officially announce my new direction (which is always subject to change). I will be focusing on mood and emotions. This means digestion will still be a key focus due to its huge impact on emotional well being and function, but I’ll be diving into more mood specific food and herbs in order to support people while also supporting them emotionally through my Strategic Intervention Coaching. Feel free to continue asking me questions about health, but know that I am switching gears in that arena. On top of all that Johnny and I are heavily focusing on couples and marriage coaching. Healthy marriages are the backbone of a family and we are incredibly passionate about this life choice.
I know this is the right direction because it feels deeply right. It feels in line with my true self, and there is no better place to be. Fore more on being yourself check out my most recent Vlog below!
Be Wild. Be Well.
Building trust in a relationship is all about repeating and reinforcing.
If you want to build trust with your partner you can follow these steps:
1. Commit and Declare
The first thing is to just say,
“I want to build trust with you and I’m committed to that because I love and care about you.”
2. Create Heartfelt Emotion
Some couples have strayed from being emotionally vulnerable, so even the first step can be hard for them. After you say something with your words you need to create heartfelt emotion behind it. For a lot of people, especially women, PRESENCE is of utmost important, no one wants a partner who is constantly distracted and not focused on them. “PRESENCE is EMPATHY for what the other person is experiencing in this moment right now.”
Exercise: Sit across from your partner and look into each others eyes. Practice this definition of Presence. Think about your partners Positive Intent instead of seeing the things they do that hurt you, see how they might be protecting themselves from vulnerability, see them as a child that maybe didn’t get the love or attention or freedom they needed. Marriage is a place where we can grow and be pushed beyond our boundaries, practicing true presence with our partner is seeing the positive intent inside them and also the hurt that they have gone through. It is empathy for the other person. While looking into their eyes flood yourself with thoughts of gratitude and dedication to the other person. Practice this everyday.
Your wife is nagging you all the time. Positive Intent: "she is scared that you don't care about her"
You husband is unable to emotionally connect with you. Positive Intent: "he is protecting himself, making sure he is safe."
In both these situations if the other partner understands the Positive Intent behind the actions they can better love their spouse and build trust. Our positive intents were formed as survival mechanisms. We learned that we would only get love from our parents when we cried and complained, or we were put down when we tried to be emotionally vulnerable and so we stopped in order to protect our self,
A Positive Intent doesn't mean the person should go on acting like it, it means they should understand where there actions are stemming from and realize there is a positive intent behind them, something that they've used that is no longer helpful. After the realization it is time to make a change.
3. Share, Listen, Learn
-Every time partners communicate it can be seen as either a comment or request.
-Are they just commenting about something or are they asking something from you.
-Practice listening and responding to your partner so you can learn new things about them and meet their need to connect and build trust with you. Allow them to speak truth, even when it’s painful for you to hear, that safe space is where trust is truly built.
4. Align Vision
After completing steps 1-3 you should come to a place where you are aligned with your partner on what you spoke about. This is when you align your visions and confirm what you both desire.
5. Act of Love
Seal the conversation with an act of love. This can be as simple as a hug and kiss or more extravagant, like a date night. If you can’t end the conversation with an act of love then more trust building needs to happen. You may go back in steps and keep working on 1-3 before moving to 4 & 5.
FOR MORE TIPS CHECK OUT MY NEWEST VLOG BELOW.
"HOW TO BEST LOVE YOUR PARTNER"
Put two people together with different backgrounds, different childhoods and different sexes (for some) and see what happens. This sounds like a crazy experiment and yet so many of us embark on this journey.
This is life partnership.
My introduction in Part One describes it as a spiritual journey to wholeness. That sounds nice, doesn't it?
But it isn't nice sometimes. It requires incredibly understanding, patience and fervor. This is why I began developing The Love Map. There are so many unspoken, subconscious dialogues taking place whenever we interact with our partner. There are influences from our childhood, our past experiences, our positive and negative reinforcements and on and on and on. We are a cluster of inputs which can create some confusing outputs for a person who didn't go through the same things we did. This is the reality of being different people. So how do we start practicing deep understanding in our relationship with all these unspoken rules and triggers? This is where the map comes in:
As I've studied psychology and intervention coaching there has been a common theme.
The Human Needs.
This is where my map starts. Once you understand what needs the other is most trying to meet in their day to day life it unveils more about the person, their words and their actions. So the next part would be discovering how they already meet those needs.
Ways They Meet Their Needs.
Next we can discover how they receive and give love using their
There is also the idea that you are attracted to a someone who has
Strengths You Lack
If we understand what needs they are trying to meet, how they are trying to meet them, how they desire to be loved and admire what strengths they have that we don't then we also should understand how they act when stressed and if they are a
Fuser or Isolator
On a really basic level we can add to our understanding of giving love and attention when we ask
Are They: Auditory, Visual or Kinesthetic?
An incredible, eye opening exercise would be to understand whose parental love did they crave the most, who did they have to be for that person, what kind of love was withheld. And what positive/negative attributes do you as a partner share with their parents. This is all about
And finally you must discover their lost self, false self and disowned self. Their lost self would be the part that was discouraged by parents or societal demands. Their false self would be what they erected to fill the voids that their lost self would have taken up. Their disowned self are the behaviors that came out of erecting the false self, these could be seen as coping mechanisms or other negative reactions that have been bred in us. They are so offensive to us that we pretend like they aren't there. We disown them. This is the
Once you understand these parts of yourself, and your partner, understanding begins to grow. You see your partner as a wounded child and you begin to understand why they do the things they do. Their little idiosyncrasies, habits, criticisms and actions begin to make more sense. Once you understand how to love them you can help them grow and visa versa. Putting this much effort into creating a Love Map is an incredibly way to have a thriving relationship. Don't get me wrong, bringing this stuff to the surface is hard. It's not, "here's who I am and how to love me." DONE! It can be painful and you might flounder around as you process and put into practice. More on that in Part Three.
“When we gather the courage to search for the truth of our being and the truth of our partners being, we begin a journey of psychological and spiritual healing.” -Harville Hendrix
When we see marriage as a spiritual journey to wholeness it can change everything. When both partners enter their marriage this way or come to realize it later on it can have profound effects on their relationship.
So often we work hard on our career or other endeavors in life, why is it that we don’t view marriage as something to challenge us, help us grow and become whole? Why do we give up?
We need to look into our past, our childhood, and discover how we were denied adequate nurturing and how we repressed essential parts of our self. It’s as if our parents pass us off to our spouse so they can finish the work that was started. The more dysfunctional the family of origin, the more intentional the communication and action must be in the marriage. We can do this searching through self-reflection, journaling, therapy or whatever avenue makes sense to you. As we discover new things about ourselves we can share them with our partner to start building a new way of interacting. Every single day Johnny and I share new things with one another and calibrate accordingly.
Some people might say, “My partner doesn’t listen to me" or you don’t feel comfortable sharing with them. In this case trust must be built first. Marriage remains stagnant without trust, openness and vulnerability. We can start by “going first”. When our partner reveals anything about themselves, no matter how small, we must respond with understanding and compassion in order to start building the trust from our end. As we build our Love Map (a concept I will describe in Part Two) we will inevitably find ways to love our partner in the way they desire so deeply. Even the most stubborn, elusive partner will soften when their needs are being met on the deepest level. We’ll actually start to see them as “wounded children” whom we can heal with our unconditional love.
Stay Tuned for Part Two.
Bailey Patrice & Jonathan David