The Trouble with Authenticity

Has anyone ever asked you, “How are you doing?”, and it’s a day when you’re not at your best?
You don’t want to be a downer, nor do you want to discuss it. So, you lie and say “I’m great!” 

All of us have experience with this, our culture has trained us how to pretend and save face. If this automated response was costing you more than you have ever thought possible, would you want to know about it?

Soulful relationshipsfractal_ammonite2 are grounded in trust. When you connect with others in a soulful way there is no room for pretense. As our capacity for soulful connection deepens, so does our capacity to feel others feelings. If people are deceiving themselves or others it becomes a glaring incongruity. And old conditioned ways of looking the other way until it has passed simply don’t cut it anymore. We can’t fool people the way we used to, they can see right through a smiling façade.

Evolutionary communities that are dedicated to bring forth the highest and best in everyone involved, quickly face a new challenge of social harmony. How do we create a safe space for honesty at all times when many of the folks in the community are going through a healing process that’s emotionally messy? You know all that deep stuff that has to come up and out, before you can integrate a liberating spiritual truth into your physical and emotional body. You know those uncomfortable socially unacceptable feelings like fear, grief, despair, anger and the most socially unacceptable of all, self-loathing.

What if you ask someone how they are doing and they actually tell you the honest truth? Are you ready for it? How much truth is ok? You want the truth, not a therapy session. Confronting old patterns of social denial and finding new ways for casual social relating are challenging.

Can you imagine meeting a friend at the grocery store and you casually ask, “How are you doing?”, and they respond with, “I’m dealing with my self-loathing issues lately.”? What is an appropriate response? To a large degree it’s determined by how safe the relationship is and what spoken or unspoken agreements are in place.

What used to be obscured by social denial and “going polite” is going the way of the dinosaurs. Humanity’s deepening capacities for love and care are requiring new social agreements.

I don’t think there is a one size fits all way of dealing with this issue. But, I have seen families and communities who have found new ways of being fully present to emotional truth without it be a drag on the conversation. It requires new language patterns and a new understanding about what truly brings out the best in our relationship with our self and with others, in an evolving social milieu.

The rules are changing. We can all shape a new conversation about social honesty that empowers new evolutionary ways of relating.

Where would you start?

Because we are problem solvers with a keen interest in matters of the heart and relationships, we have worked out some of our own solutions to this dilemma.

There might be a Part Two to this post if there are enough responses to this one.

We want to benefit from your wisdom and experience.

What is your experience with this kind of awkwardness? Have you ever discussed it? Have you had to develop a new vocabulary to find your way?


Evolutionary Relationships in Action

This post is short and immediately useful.

​Give yourself a reality check on your relationships . . .

Hidden Workings of the Universe

Are you practicing soulful relating as much as you could? We took a look at what practices have yielded the most value over our 38 years of practicing evolutionary relationships. We came up with our ten favorites.

The hallmark of evolutionary relationships is deep, spiritual connection. It is a relationship dedicated to the personal evolution of everyone involved. 

You can download the PDF of these 10 practices at the bottom of the page and print it out to use as a self-check  - or - you could use it to discuss with people who are important to you and share your ideas about it with one another. Or both ;-)


1. See problems as opportunities.

Every problem contains the gift of spiritual development within it. Learn to un-wrap
the package by looking at what you might be learning out of the difficulty.

2. Nurture a conscious relationship with your Soul.

The more spiritually attuned you are, the more enlightened you and your partnerships will be.

3. Make choices grounded in love rather than fear.

Become aware of your automatic reactions that are based in fear and look for the
love choice instead. Ask yourself, what would love do or say in this situation?

4. Mutually agree upon strategies for dealing with predictable breakdowns.

Use them when needed for miscommunications, upsets or disagreements. It’s important to have these strategies in place before the breakdowns occur. It is difficult, if not impossible,
to create and implement them in the middle of a breakdown.

5. Commit to win/win outcomes; don't settle for anyone being the loser.

For the partnership to win, all partners need to win. If anyone in the partnership loses, the entire partnership loses. Keep asking questions that lead you to the win/win outcome.

6. Communicate honestly from the heart and practice high performance listening.

People respond positively to the expression of heart-felt truth because it builds trust, even if they don't agree with it. High performance listening is listening without judgment for the
concerns of the other person that may be hidden behind their words.

7. Assume personal responsibility for your emotional reality and refrain from blame.

Blame and projection will pollute the emotional climate of a partnership faster than anything.

8. Take the initiative for the satisfaction of your own needs and wants by making clear requests of others that inspire their cooperation.

Don't wait for people to guess what will make you happy. Nobody likes having
to endure demands or covert manipulation.

9. Share power rather than struggle for it.

Let go of the need to be right all the time. Value others ideas and perceptions as being as valid as your own. Heal your unresolved power/authority issues from the past.

10. Write down the purpose and desired results for your partnership.

A partnership without a stated purpose and intended results is like a ship setting sail without a chart or plotted course. The purpose should be stated in a way that lifts the spirit of all partners. The desired results should be clarified as feelings you want to enjoy
in your partnership.

​Click Here to download your Top 10 Practices of Evolutionary Relationships

Your comments and perspectives are always valued here. Please let us know what you think by leaving a comment or question below.

New Year Resolutions? Consider the Value of Procrastination

We’re sure you’ve seen all the programs, courses and exhortations about making New Year resolutions and setting your goals to accomplish in the coming year. That is all well and good, as far as it goes. It just doesn’t account for what inevitably happens when we embark on the tasks of goal accomplishment. That’s why we thought it would be a good idea to look at that dreaded guilt tripper procrastination from a slightly more enlightened and expansive perspective.

The following is by David Whyte, the acclaimed poet, author and lecturer originally from the United Kingdom, now living in the Pacific Northwest.

David says . . .

“Procrastination is not what it seems.

To see procrastination as undesirable, especially in the initial stages of an endeavor is to say that Job was procrastinating by wrestling with his angel; that a woman feeling her first birth pangs should simply get on with it; that a bud should be broken open to reveal the full glory of the flower.

What looks from the outside like our delay; our lack of commitment; even our laziness may have more to do with a slow, necessary ripening through time and the central struggle with the realities of any endeavor to which we have set our minds. To hate our procrastinating tendencies is in some way to hate our relationship with time itself, to be unequal to the phenomenology of revelation and the way it works its own way in its very own gifted time, only emerging when the qualities it represents have a firm correspondence in our necessarily struggling heart and imagination.

Any creative frontier is by its nature a conversational frontier, it is a meeting of the inner and the outer worlds we inhabit, it is a knitting together, a growing together, a surprising arrival with its own, to begin with, unknown unfolding, caught within it as part of its genius. Procrastination when studied closely can be a beautiful thing, a parallel with patience, a companionable friend, a revealer of the true pattern, already caught within us; acknowledging for instance, as a writer, that before a book can be written, most of the ways it cannot be written must be tried first, in our minds, on the blank screen, on the empty page or staring at the bedroom ceiling at four in the morning.

An endeavor achieved without delay, wrong turnings, occasional blank walls and a vein of self-doubt running through all, leading eventually to some degree of heartbreak, is a thing of the moment, a bagatelle, and often neither use nor ornament. It will be scanned for a moment and put aside.What is worthwhile carries the struggle of the maker written within it, but wrought into the shape of an earned understanding.

Procrastination helps us to be a student of our own reluctance, to understand the hidden darker side of the first enthusiastic idea, to learn what we are afraid of in the endeavor; to put an underbelly into the work itself so that it becomes a living, satisfying whole, not a surface trying to manipulate us in the moment.

Procrastination does not stop a project from coming to fruition, what stops us is giving up on an original idea because we have not got to the heart of the reason we are delaying, nor let the true form of our reluctance instruct us in the way ahead. To procrastinate is to be involved with larger entities than our own ideas, to refuse to settle for an early underachieving outcome and wrestle like Job with his angel, finding as Rilke said, Winning does not tempt that man, This is how he grows, by being defeated decisively, by greater and greater beings.”

Please feel free to share your thoughts and questions about this post and even your own “creative frontier”.

Under the Golden Shower Tree – Photo of the Week – 4-27-13




















Under the Golden Shower Tree

Last week when we sent out the Photo of the Week we mentioned that we were celebrating our thirty-third year of marriage on Saturday April 20. That day we were in the arboretum and happened upon a young couple getting married outdoors in a small amphitheatre. We quietly took a seat on a stone wall atop a hill overlooking the celebrants. We were positioned under the marvelous tree in the photo above.

As we sat with our arms around each other’s waist, we could hear the minister performing the ceremony below, including reading a quote from Neal Donald Walsh. As we listened, leaning into one another, we silently renewed our own wedding vows. We count it no small miracle that we are not only still together, but deeply in love, cherishing and respecting one another even more as the years go by.

Thank you for being here to read this and share in our lives. We wish you no less love and happiness than this.

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