Looking around it is plain to see that so many of us out there lead hectic, over-scheduled lives. Twenty-four hours just does not seem sufficient to do everything we need to do in a day. Many of my clients express a desire for an additional hour, or two, or twelve--particularly parents. Having heard about the importance of early childhood experiences and their impact on development and attachments, parents/caregivers worry that the amount of time they spend with their child(ren) won’t be enough.
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We work hard to get the job. We interview as best we can. We get the job. But, how often do we really get a good job description. I am talking about the job of partner, spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, significant other, husband, wife. More people sit in my office and say things like "S/he is just never happy...no matter what I do!" or "S/he keeps pushing me away and I don't know why!"
Yesterday I put my own advice into action. I invited a colleague to join me to walk the labyrinth. Really, this is something I should be doing more of as it is an amazing path to mindfulness. When I work folks, we often include some form of meditation, mindfulness or centering to help manage anxiety, fear, stress, discord and just general feeling blah. There are many people who love meditation and find it to be an important part of their mental health. There are just as many who, try as they might, can seem to quiet their minds and bodies to be still. I am one of the latter. Quiet still meditation is hard for me – I can do it from time to time but it seems to take a great effort to get there. I do it whenever I can. However, when time is precious or being still just seems in possible, I try a moving meditation – like walking a labyrinth.
When I start working with a new couple or individual around relationship concerns I often begin by asking them what their relationship goals are. Most, but not all, will tell me that they are just looking for a nice, loving, monogamous relationship. They say that like I am supposed to know what that means -- and I don't. Not that I am clueless, but rather because I know that there is more than one meaning to the word monogamous.
You can’t dig your way out of a hole. Think about it. You are in a hole and you keep digging. What happens? Eventually, the hole gets so deep that you can’t throw the dirt out of the hole anymore and it just keeps falling back down around you. If you start to dig sideways, the integrity of the walls weakens and risks falling in around you. What should you do?
There seems to be a thread in the conversations I have had lately with many of the men I see in my practice. Our discussions are centering on the institutionalization influences of how masculinity is defined. We have entered into these talks from a variety of perspectives but we seem to end up circling around the same concerns. Coming to grip with how men define their own manhood is a pressured and loaded situation.
Divorce isn’t easy on anyone. When you are getting divorced with children, trying to minimize the amount of change and disruption can be overwhelming. Nesting is where the children stay in the family home and the parents take turns coming in and out according to the parenting schedule. Think of it as the kids have custody of the parents who come home and then go to the other house! Nesting is not for everyone and is fraught with difficulties, but when the situation works, there are great benefits.
Divorce is never easy on anyone. When you have children, it is even more complex. How you make decisions to navigate the divorce process and ensure your children are as insulated as possible will take special insight and a tremendous amount of personal resiliency.
Have you ever been in a relationship (whether romantic or platonic) and felt frustration about how things were going -- wishing the other person would behave differently? You have tried being nice, coaching them to change (whether they knew it or not) and spent hours considering how impossible it is that someone couldn’t notice how inappropriate and unsatisfying their behavior is? We have all experienced it. Sometimes we can just let it go and sometimes it gets so bad we find ourselves in a divorce, looking for a new job or estranged from a friend or loved one.
Bringing a new baby into the family is an exciting time. We celebrate the newness of life and have hope for the future. People are curious about the delivery and the birth story. Parents are excited and siblings are cautious (at best).
Do you remember being a child and jumping into the deep end of the pool for the first time? You were probably not sure what would happen, whether you would sink or swim. Could you be brave enough to take the leap, even though you weren’t sure it was the right thing for you to do? For many, first jumps are to be celebrated…a perfect cannonball, a quick resurface and a dog paddle to the edge to try it again. However, there are those that jump in and sink a little too low, take in water, feel pressure and the fear of not being able to breathe. The latter is what it feels like when you are in a life situation where you are confused, feel internally trapped and needing escape.
As small children we role play as adults. We are explorers, teachers, doctors, police officers, presidents. Most often we are mommies and daddies. Children are socialized from the earliest moments to aspire to be like their parents and have children of their own. Occasionally, as children grow up to adults, they decide that they don’t want children, and that is a fine decision. However, for those that want children and have difficulty having them, it is a devastating reality.
So many people try to figure out why men and women are so different (and why are we so alike in so many ways!) Gender science looks at how men and women develop, communicate and relate. Understanding what it means in practical reality can be confusing!