Tag Archives: Couples Alive

Home, Sweet Home

Home, sweet home.  I have been away since April 7.  Most of my time away was up at The Haven leading a Come Alive, followed by Couples Alive I & Couples Alive II.  It was a very full stretch.  Of course, I loved the work and the wonderful people I had the chance to meet and work with.  I am very fortunate that I get to do work I love.  We finished off the trip with a two day corporate client event down in Portland.

Couples Alive & On the Edge!
Here are just a few of the great couples having some fun!

There were many moments where I had some great ideas and/or experiences I wanted to share.  However, there wasn’t much free time so the imagined blog post were never completed. Now home, I have the time but not quite as inspired!

Currently, the biggest thing on my mind is my desire to create community and connections for myself here in Whitefish.  See, I found myself thinking about moving, and when I mentioned this to CrisMarie, she wisely pointed out that my solution might not really be solving my underlying dissatisfaction.  In the past six months I have been living on Gabriola Island BC more than I have been at home. Prior to that six month period there were some key changes in my connections here.  We finished our Masters program at Jwalan Muktika School for Illumination (JMSI) my term on the JMSI Board ended, my favorite hangout The Green Tea House closed, and we had a major break with some of our closest friends here in Whitefish.  Suddenly, Whitefish, though gorgeous and quite wonderful, seems more like a tourist stop than home.

After getting the first dose of wisdom from CrisMarie, she let that settle and delivered the second bit of input. Though she thought I thrived while engaged in a community, she didn’t think I was all that good at creating one.  Again, the feedback stung but had a lot of truth in it.  When I moved to Seattle, I did struggle to create the connections I wanted.  Mostly, I blamed that on traffic and too many choices.  Looking back more closely at my patterns, I noticed that I am great at jumping into groups and structures already in place, but may not be so great at building those connections myself.

So home again and this time without any long periods away for a while, I am hoping to break through and build the community I want here.  I know there are lots of possibilities. My first step is Whitefish Ladies Golf Night.  There are six of us who are game for being part of a team.  We play once a week on Tuesday evening.  I am not a great golfer, but the team agreed, this was for fun and connecting.  It’s okay if we lose or have big handicaps!

I would also like to start a monthly Body, Breath and Energy evening or Relational Health night in the Flathead Valley, bringing a bit of The Haven to Whitefish.  Of course, that will involve some marketing and may be more than I am up for.  Still, I would love to find some ways to do what I love right here at home.  Home, Sweet Home

I was happy to land back here in Montana.  Loved sleeping in my own bed and picking up Sooke, our most amazing dog.  Indeed, home is sweet. I just want to put a bit more effort into making it even better.  I’ll keep you posted along the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Richness in Couples Alive!

We are preparing to lead the next Couples Alive I & II, April 15-19 and April 19-23.  These programs are part of the Couples Alive Series that is offered up at The Haven.  We love leading these programs!! One, because we get to work together and two, because we can deeply engage with people who share our passion for relating, loving and living with a partner, friend and lover on this human experience journey.

In preparation for the Couples Alive I:  Foundations – Communication & Boundaries, I received a call from someone who was considering the program.  They shared that as individuals and a couple, they were deeply skilled in psychology and relationship skills and were wondering if this Foundation program would be the best choice.  The easy answer was to simply say it was required.  (Which is true – but I am never fond of getting a ‘rule’ thrown back at me. So I wanted a better response.)

When we were designing this series as a three couple team, CrisMarie & I, were quick to volunteer to take all of the series as participants when each program, I, II and III was launched.  We wanted to fully emerge ourselves in the material both as a way to prepare for leading and also to test our theory that the models and material is powerful and useful for couples at all stages of relationship.

Indeed, when we took each of the programs, we had no problem using the tools and experiences offered to explore the landscape of our relationship.  Though I have close to 30 years of experience teaching the communication model, I always find rich new depth in applying it to my own world and relationship.  That one model alone is the best tool I know for peeling back the layers of my life and bridging the gap between my world view and that of another.  Besides there really isn’t ever an end or finish-line when it comes to intimacy.  I know I am always evolving, involving, shifting and sticking and there’s enough discovery there for a lifetime.  As a couple there’s infinite possibility.

I also reflected on the couples who had been with us in the Couples Alive I, Foundations that we have led.  Again, I was struck by the variety and diversity.  We have had newlyweds to couples married for over 40 plus years. We have had same-sex, heterosexual, monogamous and poly-amorous couples all in the same group.  We have had couples who were thinking of separating, who live a part and one couple, that was separated but wanted to try again.  Yes, there has been an amazing scope and range in the couples who have been in the Couples Alive I, Foundations program.

It works because we designed it so that the couple gets to work on their issues, whatever they may be. Concepts and models are introduced (or refreshed). Then the truly rich possibilities come through applying these ideas within the container of each unique couple. The models are simple, universal and deep. They can be utilized at any stage in the life-cycle of a couple: from romance to power-struggle through to co-creation, over and over again.

Add to that, the opportunity for couples to learn from and share with other couples and the possibilities are endless. One of the richest parts of the series is watching couples learn and grow through simply knowing they are not alone, the the couple journey is really not a formula. It’s alive, organic and riddled with highs, lows and status quos.  Sometimes, the best learning is simply that there isn’t really something wrong!

Yes, the Couples Alive I is called Foundations but it isn’t simply for those Couples just starting the journey. Foundations are worth exploring anytime.  Come and join us!!

 

 

 

Leap of Faith

My word for the year is a phrase, “Leap of Faith”.  I was going to simply stick with the plan, one word for the year.  At first I thought Leap – however, that did not quite fit.  Faith wasn’t quite right either.  Then I saw this picture that I bought earlier in 2012 while taking Sooke to the vet.  I love it.  There’s the elder duck leading the way out of the nest up in a tree and then the little ones, look out and then finally, leap.  Their wings seem so small and incapable of flight.  Yet, there they go!

It's time to fly!!
It’s time to fly!!

Sometimes I feel like those little ducks.  Yet, I am much closer, may be even older than the mother duck pushing the babes out of the nest.  If I reflect on my life as it is now, I do see both, and in many ways both are taking a Leap of Faith.  Sure, the more physical evidence of the leap is seen in the baby ducks.  However, that mom, likely has some inner angst about what is about to happen and must have tremendous faith to step out of the way.  I relate to both.

This year we plan to re-launch Thrive!.  This in many ways will be a Leap of Faith.  We intend to bring our whole selves to this new business.  This means we no longer want to have our lives compartmentalized.  In the past, we had our corporate presence and we had our various more personal pursuits.  The revitalized Thrive! will be designed to integrate both.  We plan to maintain our work with leaders, teams and organizations, and we also will include our strong belief that business is personal.  That the corporate world would greatly benefit from embracing a whole person/whole team approach.  In many ways this concept is really mother bird speaking.  We know this concept is a mature and vital path that works.  We have been embracing it ourselves for years and have built a powerful partnership that continues to ignite and sustain our health, wealth and relationship.

The baby duck part of the leap is simply being willing to step out fully as who we each are and who we are together.  Last year we started leading the Couples Alive Series couples programs up at The Haven.  The Haven Institute has always been like a safe nest where I can learn and develop.  So it was easy to step into leading together.  We didn’t question out value or wonder about being accepted.  We simply brought all we have learned through being together for over twelve years and assumed if we were open, real and curious we had lots to offer any couple – same sex or not.

Now we want to be more transparent in who we are out in the bigger world, to take the leap of faith and trust that we can fly. Sure, may be not everyone will like discovering we are not simply a business partnership.  However, I believe until now our biggest doubters have been ourselves.

Aside from the work transition and re-launching, I am also leaping into the world of writing.  I have been writing for years.  It has been my path for integrating and revealing to myself my inner world.  More recently I have stepped further out.  Through my blog and writing for 406 Magazine.  Yet I don’t think of myself as a writer.  I don’t fully commit to that path.  This year I am making the leap.  I have signed up for a kick-off workshop with writers I know will challenge and encourage me to go deeper and broader.

So my phrase, Leap of Faith, fits for me.  I am both mature and quite young at what I am jumping into.  I have a solid foundation that I can count on and I am ready for new ground and possibilities.

Though what intrigues me most is the space between the young ducks just launching themselves out of the tree and the older duck giving the push.  That space is where faith becomes something beyond leaping into the vast unknown or holding faith in that which is known for someone to step into.  The space is yet another aspect to leap of faith.  I believe it is that middle ground.  I must leap.  My wings are not young and new – my wings are scarred and older.  I have known the pain of crashing into the ground and failing to fly.  Yet I must still step from the tree and take the leap.  Knowing I have the heart and courage of being both young and old.

So I am thrilled to take the a leap of faith into 2013.

Susan Clarke is a long standing faculty member at The Haven Institute. She leads The Living Alive Phase I, with Carole Ames starting Feb 13 – Mar 10, 2013 and Come Alive April 7-12, 2013, and with CrisMarie Campbell: Come Alive Oct 13-18, 2013; and Couples Alive I – Foundation, Communication and Boundaries, April 15-19, 2013 and Couples Alive II – Edge, Igniting Passion & Aliveness April 19-23, 2013.