In The Event Of A Loss Of Cabin Pressure

September 23, 2012 · Comments Off
Category: Geoff Laughton, Men and Parenting, Men and Relationship, Syndicated 

Bent Over BackwardsI was born in 1958, part of a generation where many were raised in accordance with Dr. Benjamin Spock’s book, “Baby And Child Care,” often by parents who didn’t have a similar upbringing to which they could refer for any kind of comparative frame of reference.

As a result, at least if my practice is any indication, there are millions of people in their 40′s on up who have really been struggling with how to find fulfillment in their lives and in their relationships. They are struggling with not fully seeing how their childhood of mixed messages, unavailable/absent parents, and the impacts of being raised by a generation who’d been raised in a “Spare the rod, spoil the child” generation has made that task even more daunting!

In the meantime, the last few generations – in an attempt, I believe, to try to compensate for the “sins” of the Fathers (and Mothers) of years past – have gone towards a parenting philosophy/style that is a hybrid of old and “new.”  This seems to show up as a merging of Spock’s notion of babies/children being individuals who should be treated as such with an indigenously based style of immersive parenting that makes the child the 1st priority at all times. This has included – for many – having their children sleep in the “marital bed” for the first few years of their lives (or longer).  If you’re a parent, and in a relationship, you might be wondering what this has to do with relationships. If you are, then you may be blind to a significant pitfall that challenges most committed relationships that include children.

There’s a reason why you always hear this ubiquitous quote on every flight you’re on: “In the unlikely event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop down automatically, so be sure to secure your own mask before securing your child’s.” If you think about it, how useful are you going to be to your child(ren) if you’re unconscious or dead from hypoxia?

However, I see couples all the time who have, effectively, put their children in charge of their relationship, without even realizing they’ve done it.  So, let me ask you a few questions, if you’re a parent with young kids (age 2+) reading this:

  • Is your bedtime (and, hence, your sex life) determined by your children’s bedtime, once your kids are beyond three years old?
  • Is your child over 18 months old and still sleeping with you both every night (and impacting your sex life)?
  • Has it been 6 or more months since you and your partner have gone on a date – or even on a romantic 3-day-weekend getaway?
  • Has a seemingly endless (and year-round) series of practices, lessons, classes, etc. for your kids taken the dominant place in your calendar (other than professional commitments) and you both struggle to find a time to plan something just for the two of you?

If you answered yes to any of these (much less all of them), then more likely than not, you and your partner are either already pretty challenged, or it’s only a matter of time before you are. You may be wondering why?

Family Problem SolvingBefore answering that question, I want to assure you that I am a huge advocate of healthy parenting and taking great care of your children. However (and here’s where the oxygen mask metaphor comes in), I have come to see that the healthiest, happiest children are coming from families where there are consistent, healthy boundaries; where they have no doubt that they are loved and cherished; and that their parents are in a thriving, healthy relationship with each other. What that means, in my experience, is that Mom and Dad have the following priority scale in place, in terms of how they allocate their self-care time, intention, and attention:

  1. Themselves as individuals
  2. Themselves as a couple
  3. Their children

If you are not tending to your own individual well-being as your first priority, you’re impeding the health of your relationship.  If you’re not putting the well-being, safety, and fulfillment of yourselves as a couple right after that, then you won’t have anywhere near the energy and healthy modeling to share with your children that they need.  Remember, your relationship is the first one your kids are witnessing – and watching intently – to begin learning how to “do” relationships and relating. If you and your partner are energetically dead, numb, overwhelmed, and/or resigned on any consistent level, don’t think for a moment that your kids won’t feel it.  They feel EVERYTHING.  There’s one way to begin making a pretty fast impact on having this be the model they learn from:

You are encouraged to put that oxygen mask on yourselves, both individually and jointly, to be sure you’re conscious, awake, healthy, strong, and connected.  Putting your energies there will hugely assist your children in getting the kind of childhood – and parents – they truly want and deserve.

I would really love to hear what you think and feel about this topic.  If you would be willing to share, and would want it to be anonymous, please email me at info@geofflaughton.com.  If you’re willing to have your experiences be of more immediate use and support for others trying to figure all this stuff out too, I invite you to post a comment or a note, to my Living Your Spirit Now Facebook Fan Page.

Geoff Laughton

Geoff helps couples get the relationship back with each other that they’ve been dreaming of instead of continuing to live the one they’ve been settling for.
Geoff is a Master Relationships Recovery Coach who has spent the last 15 years guiding individuals and couples worldwide in re-energizing and re-inventing their relationships – with themselves and others – before they get irreparably damaged. This, combined with his 29 years as a loving husband and father, has provided Geoff with the real-life experience needed to guide others in rescuing and renewing the relationships into which so much time, love, and energy have been invested – and need not be wasted.

What Is Commitment, Really?

September 9, 2012 · Comments Off
Category: Geoff Laughton, Men and Relationship, Syndicated 

Hamster WheelWe live in a disposable culture, addicted to constant stimulation, new thrills, and instant gratification. In that kind of model, with all the blends of media encouragement to keep it up, and the pressures of trying to keep up with life, where is your relationship fitting in?  Is it falling prey at all to “Hamster-itis” – my term for living life as if you’re a hamster or guinea pig on one of those wheels in a cage you remember from elementary school.  Are you gauging the health of your relationship/marriage by how often you get those hits of feeling like it’s still exciting and giving you enough TPW (Thrills Per Week)?

If you are, how often do you find yourself either questioning your commitment to the relationship…or fantasizing about walking away from it, permanently or temporarily through a virtual or real affair?

That’s increasingly happening more and more; perhaps, it’s even being amplified by the pressures of coping with all the economic fear that so many seem to be sucked into.  It makes me wonder how people really relate to the concept of commitment these days.  In so many arenas, it seems to have lost a lot of its meaning.  But, in the realm of committed relationships, it seems to be getting disturbingly loosey-goosey.

Dictionary.com has one definition of commitment that reads: “Consignment; as to a prison.”  Now, you may be feeling that’s a perfectly apt description of what your commitment to your partner/spouse feels like more often than not.  But, would it be more empowering for you both if you were living more by this definition: “Engagement; involvement…as in ‘ they have a sincere commitment to? ‘” That latter one seems much more exciting, and also challenging.  This kind of commitment really implies that that engagement and involvement is pure and whole…not selective, as in “I’m totally committed to my partner as long as s/he’s doing what they’re supposed to be doing to assure me that they love me,” for example.

Commitment in relationship is, at best, pretty tricky. It’s the glue that can keep you both hanging in through situations and developmental phases that require commitment to get through.  It’s the compass that can help you get clearer on what you really want (or don’t) without hitting a panic button and inappropriately leaving your relationship, just because the going gets tough (which it will in EVERY relationship).  However, it can also be misused in a way that keeps you with a partner that’s really and truly toxic. Commitment can, unfortunately, be what you have to suffering…endlessly.  So, how do you tell the difference between which type of commitment is tending to govern your relationship?

There are a few perspectives I would offer on this:

  • Taking The Longer ViewHealthy commitment in a marriage/relationship really orients you towards a reflexive long-range perspective; in other words, when you’re fighting with your partner, you’re easily able to realize it’s a short-term circumstance that’s not worth knee-jerkingly throwing the partner out with the bath water.  You can pretty easily see that a struggle’s an opportunity to work something out that’s just burping up to be sorted out…so you can actually get closer with your partner.  You will want that badly enough that you stay committed to the process until you’re both clear it’s been through its full resolution.
  • What Comes Out In The Wash – If you’re clear enough that you’ve got a high enough level of commitment to the relationship – and yourself – to take that long-range view, then it’s important that you monitor – over time – how well things are coming out in the wash; in other words, on balance, do you each feel that you’re both getting what you need over the long haul?  However, if you’re both fighting constantly, getting increasingly disconnected from each other, and/or are unable to even try to conceal the levels of resentment that are choking each of you, a healthy commitment would guide you both to getting professional help.  No couple can work out chronic conflict on their own.
  • Trading In – It’s unique to each couple what the “right” balance is between the kind of commitment level that keeps you hanging in and working out the kinks, and the kind that keeps you suffering in a relationship way past its shelf date.  However, reflexively and chronically tending to go toward, “This is really a pain in the butt…wouldn’t it just be easier to look for someone else that’s a better fit?” is an indicator that you’re probably not in a healthy commitment to your partner, but more in a commitment that’s devoted to it all being about you and your needs.  It’s not a bad thing to want your needs met, but a healthy commitment in a relationship is one dedicated to both partners being fulfilled.  That kind of commitment naturally orients you both to realize that both of you are creating the state of your relationship at any given time.  Recognizing and owning that will help you both re-connect with a healthy commitment to staying engaged in mutually serving each other’s growth and well-being, even if it means you have to hit some speed bumps along the way.

Couple talkingOne simple rule of thumb that will really help you to sort out what you’re really committed to in your relationship, how healthy that commitment continues to be (or not), and what it can make possible is to NOT try figuring it out solely in YOUR head!  You want to remember that – like all humans – you’re going to orient towards seeing things the way your ego wants you to see them…not necessarily seeing things as they really are, or as your partner may see them.  So, to help remove such bias, it always pays to talk with your partner…ask them how they see (and feel) things.

Continually re-examine what commitment really means to each of you, together…and, look freshly and constantly at what each of you are committed to NOW – within the overarching, long-term commitment you made to your relationship.  If you’re not able to do that, get some help from a third-party Relationships Expert, like what I offer couples, to see the forest for the trees.  If you’re not willing to do that, than you’ll know that you’re not really committed to the relationship working, but instead are comfortably committed to being and staying unhappy. Now, that’s an unhealthy commitment.

If you’re seeing that your relationship is ready for the major breakthroughs you want with your partner & haven’t achieved with others you’ve turned to for help, click here to take advantage of a complimentary 40-minute Love & Relationship Breakthrough Session with Geoff.

I would really love to hear what you think and feel about this topic. If you would be willing to share, and would want it to be anonymous, please email me at info@geofflaughton.com. If you’re willing to have your experiences be of more immediate use and support for others trying to figure all this stuff out too, I invite you to post a comment or a note, to my Living Your Spirit Now Facebook Fan Page.

Geoff Laughton

Geoff helps couples get the relationship back with each other that they’ve been dreaming of instead of continuing to live the one they’ve been settling for.
Geoff is a Master Relationships Recovery Coach who has spent the last 15 years guiding individuals and couples worldwide in re-energizing and re-inventing their relationships – with themselves and others – before they get irreparably damaged. This, combined with his 29 years as a loving husband and father, has provided Geoff with the real-life experience needed to guide others in rescuing and renewing the relationships into which so much time, love, and energy have been invested – and need not be wasted.

Is Your Relationship Sufficient?

July 3, 2012 · Comments Off
Category: Geoff Laughton, Men and Relationship, Syndicated 

Couple in CrisisDo you feel your relationship is sufficient? Do you even have a sense of what that would mean, look like, or feel like? If you’re not feeling happy in your relationship, what do you feel is missing? How do you want your partner to change to be able to feel more like you have the relationship of your dreams? Has your relationship gotten to the point where it feels like it’s “good,” or “going well” because it doesn’t suck as much as usual?

You may be thinking I’m being flip, but I’m not…I’m dead serious. You might be shocked (or not) to really know how many couples I know and/or work with where that state of defining and measuring “good” as a “doesn’t-suck”-reality is the yardstick one or both partners is going by to determine whether they’re happy in their romantic partnership. When pressed as to why it isn’t better than that, one of the most common answers is along the lines of “my wife/husband/partner just isn’t as {sexy, fun, vibrant, loving, caring about me over themselves….fill in the blank} they used to be.” If you’re feeling that way, it’s probably feeling like your relationship or marriage just isn’t sufficient.

A pretty big factor in this happening can be how you define “sufficient” and how your partner does or doesn’t. If you’re like a lot of people, you determine sufficiency by how much love, touch, help around the house, sex, help with the kids, etc. that you’re getting…or not. Now, none of those are bad, but are those really the truth about how “good,” or sufficient, your relationship is?

Author Lynn Twist, in her book The Soul Of Money, speaks about sufficiency like this:

The Soul of MoneySufficiency doesn’t mean a quantity of anything…it isn’t two steps up from poverty or one step short of abundance…it isn’t an amount at all. It is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough, and that WE are enough. Sufficiency resides inside of each of us, and we can call it forward. It is a consciousness, an attention, an intentional choosing of the way we think about our circumstances.”

This principle isn’t just about money. If you have found yourself thinking and/or saying any of the “things” you want more of that are in the list a few paragraphs above about your partner and/or your relationship, you’ve more than likely fallen into one of three very crippling beliefs that can kill off a healthy relationship dead in its tracks without you even realizing it’s happening until, perhaps, it’s too late:

  • There’s not enough;
  • More is better; and/or
  • That’s just the way it is.

While applying this sufficiency concept to your relationship to money (which DOES have an impact on your primary relationship) is incredibly helpful, take a strong, honest look at how much you’re applying those three variables that almost always lead to chronic feelings of insufficiency about pretty much everything!

Look at how often you’re dancing with and around those three beliefs in your life and your primary relationship. How often are you finding yourself getting some loving from your partner, but can’t help thinking “But, it would’ve sure been nice if you’d done this last week, instead of waiting!” or “What took him/her so long?” After you’ve been with your partner for awhile, the lust-filled honeymoon period has passed, and now – having to learn to live with the mundane, and perhaps annoying aspects, of how your partner really does stuff and handles things…you’re frequently thinking “My spouse is terrific, but I‘d be a WHOLE lot happier if I were just with someone who had more [fill in the blank].

The third belief of “That’s Just The Way It Isis usually the most destructive. It’s a natural extension of the first two beliefs, but it’s the one that – if you’re thinking it about most things in your relationship – is the indicator that you better start doing something about what isn’t working for you, or you’re going to keep marching towards greater levels of deeper resignation and more resentments that always lead to sexual and emotional disconnection…and, often, the demise of a relationship or, even worse, two people staying for years in one that’s killing their Spirits.

If you’re reading this, and any of what’s being said here is making you feel really uncomfortable, or saying (in a millisecond) to yourself, “That’s not me, thank God!”…it would be wise to just double-check. It really may NOT be you…if it isn’t, you’re on the right track, and are – in my experience – unfortunately in the minority. But, if you see yourself, and/or your partner, living any of these beliefs, it’s very possible it’s not too late to turn it around.

BeginTo do that, start with one simple step. Begin looking at how much you’re relating to and conducting your part of your relationship from a perspective of “It’s a you-or-me world, rather than from a you-and-me world view of things. As Lynne Twist says, “Can we recognize that better comes from not more, but in deepening our experience of what’s already there? Can we redefine growth to see it as a recognition of and appreciation for what we already have? Recognize that Enough is a place you arrive at and dwell in.”

Before you start fantasizing on trading in your partner for a better, bigger, or “easier” model, check in with yourself on how much you’re recognizing and appreciating yourself and see if perhaps, within your relationship with you, you already have enough to truly be and feel sufficient, if you would just at least question and challenge those three beliefs of insufficiency. If you get a “No,” then the shift starts with you working on that relationship first…and, consider including your partner in the process! And, it’s important to recognize that that process will happen much more effectively if you reach out for support…after all, if you (and your partner) knew how to do it yourself, don’t you think you would have already done it?

Geoff Laughton

Geoff helps couples get the relationship back with each other that they’ve been dreaming of instead of continuing to live the one they’ve been settling for.
Geoff is a Master Relationships Recovery Coach who has spent the last 15 years guiding individuals and couples worldwide in re-energizing and re-inventing their relationships – with themselves and others – before they get irreparably damaged. This, combined with his 29 years as a loving husband and father, has provided Geoff with the real-life experience needed to guide others in rescuing and renewing the relationships into which so much time, love, and energy have been invested – and need not be wasted.

What Are You Waiting For?

May 24, 2012 · Comments Off
Category: Geoff Laughton, Syndicated 

by Geoff Laughton

One of the most common things I hear from clients is along the lines of “When I [fill in the blank], I’ll be able to/will do [fill in the blank].” That may be talking to their spouse/partner about something that has been bothering them for years, and keeping them in a constant state of withheld intimacy. It may be finally going for the dream career that they’ve pined for for years. Maybe it’s to actually start doing the self-care regimen that has been put off for years. Whatever it is, I’m sure you can easily pinpoint what it is you keep putting off for whenever the moon and stars are perfectly aligned for, before you’ll allow yourself to take the leap into some desire.

The one exception to this seems to be when we feel like we have no other choice (or, in fact, we don’t). When given what seems to be no other viable option – usually after being hit with the proverbial “Cosmic Two-by-Four” like a requested divorce, loss of a loved one, loss of a job, or any other pretty lethal disappointment/life-changer – we will finally confront one of the (if not only) forms of true freedom we really have: the freedom to make our own choices.

Yet, we avoid this in so many ways, both subtle and blatant. We do this, in one way or another, as we watch so much drama, change, and devastation happening on the planet, with people & families, and with our pictures of what we thought life would/could be like. Relationships are prime ground for this to happen in on a daily basis. When I work with people on their relationship, there is often a seemingly endless succession of opportunities for intimacy, expansion, healing, and relief that will get postponed for various reasons which, to the person telling them to me, all seem perfectly reasonable! Unfortunately, for so many of us, we’ve settled for those perfectly reasonable justifications for not going for what we are really wanting, or sharing what we are truly feeling, for weeks, months, or years…and, the whole time, wondering why we’re not happier!

This has me asking myself (you bet I’m doing it, too), my friends, and my clients a question that seems to me to be one of the most critical and profound questions any of us should be asking ourselves and anyone we care about: “WHAT ARE YOU (WHAT AM I) WAITING FOR?” (In moments of heightened passion for this question, it may be shortened to “WTF are you waiting for?”)

When I was at David Neagle’s Breaking Free Live Event , in April of 2011, he showed a film called I Am Alive: Surviving The Andes Plane Crash. It is a documentary, done by the History Channel, on the 1972 plane crash where 42 soccer players found their plane crashing in the Andes in the dead of winter, and how the survivors dealt with the choices of what it would take to be able to survive. There were two men who decided to risk being able to reach help, rather than just sit and wait in the fuselage of the plane for the certain death that was going to be unavoidable.

One of the most stunning questions that emerged for me from watching this film was what would it take in my life, for me to choose to take the risks of climbing out to seek a chance of life (which, in their case, meant walking across Andes summits without the benefit of today’s modern extreme weather gear) versus the certainty of death were I to do nothing but wait to die. As it happens, I’ve actually already faced that choice on numerous occasions in my life. Because you’re the one reading this right now, I put the question to you!

What are you willing to let yourself die to in your internal set of pictures about who you are, and what you’re capable of, in order to have the chance to LIVE? The men who got help in 1972 were willing to risk death to be able to live, and help their comrades live. In your relationships, be it with your love partner, your children, your best friends; what are you willing to die for to be able to know you’re truly living to your (and that particular relationship’s) fullest potential and passionate longings? What gifts does your relationship have to offer to others besides the two of you that aren’t getting to be given, because you are hanging out in the fuselage waiting for some miracle?

To not even ask that question – much less have the courage I know it takes to really listen to the answer from your heart and Spirit, rather than your ego – seems to me a death sentence of a different sort. In light, again, of all the MASSIVE unrest and shifting that’s happening all around us, and scaring the living doo-doo out of so many people, there is no other question…seems to me, anyway…that may be more important right now. Our children…our grandchildren…the generations coming after us…are all waiting for us to ask not only that question, but also:

What am I waiting for?

In case you need some supporting arguments for why this is so critical, besides my opinions, and/or what it might take, go and watch
I Am Alive for yourself, and (this is just as important) watch the documentary called I Am This is one of the most important films I’ve ever seen.

Whatever your heart, your Spirit, guide you to do…my challenge to myself, and to you, is to – at the very least – pick one thing to stop waiting for…and, if you can’t seem to get there, remember you don’t have to do it by yourself (hell, I don’t even think we can do it by ourselves).

I would really love to hear what comes up for you about this topic and article. If you would be willing to share, and would want it to be anonymous, please email me at laughtoncoach@gmail.com. If you’re willing to have your experiences be of more immediate use and support for others trying to figure all this stuff out too, I invite you to post a comment or a note, to my Living Your Spirit Now Facebook fan page (click here: geoff’s fan page).

So what are you waiting for?

Geoff Laughton

Geoff helps couples get the relationship back with each other that they’ve been dreaming of instead of continuing to live the one they’ve been settling for.
Geoff is a Master Relationships Recovery Coach who has spent the last 15 years guiding individuals and couples worldwide in re-energizing and re-inventing their relationships – with themselves and others – before they get irreparably damaged. This, combined with his 29 years as a loving husband and father, has provided Geoff with the real-life experience needed to guide others in rescuing and renewing the relationships into which so much time, love, and energy have been invested – and need not be wasted.

What’s Your Dream Relationship?

May 5, 2012 · Comments Off
Category: Geoff Laughton, Men and Relationship, Syndicated 

by Geoff Laughton

To me, one of the greatest goals that I hear a lot of people, from adolescence on, tout as a key objective in their lives is to find their “dream relationship,” or “dream partner.” When I ask them what such a thing, or person, would look like, there has often been a list given that is both Hollywood-ized, to a degree, but also tends to be all about what that other person, or the relationship, is going to provide them. Having that Mr. or Ms. McDreamy is going to make their life SO much better. In such a scenario, an inordinate amount of power gets given over to that other person and/or entity.

This is an almost certain recipe for failure; even if the relationship itself lasted, it would be choked off of it’s passion and juiciness potential by what would be an ever-growing haze of co-dependency, marked by an equally ever-growing resentment that always builds when someone on whom we depend to take care of our needs doesn’t get the job done.

A much healthier set-up is when we first develop the relationship with ourselves into which a person can step in a way where they are not being seen as a power source, but rather as a kind of amplifier…someone who amplifies that relationship we have with ourself, and adds new components. This synergy can create a separate, inter-dependent entity that – in my way of feeling anyway – would help weave a love partnership that reflects the truest Soul qualities of each partner and mirrors, in form, the fusion of Heaven & Earth…mind, body, and Spirit, that the picture here (painting at left copyrighted by DJ Sie) represents for me.

In noted Spiritual Teacher and Author, Mary Manin Morrissey’s book, “Building Your Field Of Dreams,” she offers five questions that we can use to “test” our dreams…to see, in my read of it, whether what we think is a dream we have for our life is, at the very least, in alignment with our Highest Good and the highest and best available learning our Spirit wants for us.

Again, though, the health and success of any relationship is inextricably woven with what the health or dis-ease is in our relationship with ourselves. So, I am sharing these questions with you and inviting you to go through each one of them in the context of your love for, and relationship with, yourself first. Then, if you are currently in a love relationship with a partner, see what answers emerge in regard to your partner and relationship.

Doing this will allow you to both more deeply appreciate yourself, your partner, and your relationship (or not), and serve as both a preventative and healing tool in those relationships. Why? Because it will reveal how much of a burdensome, unnecessary weight your love relationship is carrying…the burden of of projected needs and expectations that a healthy, thriving love for yourself would provide in a far more lasting and enduring way, no matter what’s happening in your relationship with your partner. When we can “catch” that, we can take such projections off our partner (or any external relationship) and re-true our relationship with ourselves…that then frees up our love relationship to be of a totally different (and healthier) purpose.

Here are the questions…take your time going through them, and answer them from your heart far more than from your mind. Any question that yields a “No” response is an indicator that you probably would be well-served to then ask yourself what you would need to do and/or adjust within you (not your partner) to be on track towards a “Yes” answer:

  • Does/will the relationship/dream enliven me?
  • Does/will the relationship/dream align with my core values?
  • Do/will I need help from a higher Source to make this dream/relationship realized?
  • Does/will this relationship/dream require me to grow into more of my True Self?
  • Does/will this relationship/dream ultimately bless others?

Be sure that, if you take on doing this “test,” that you pay attention to whatever feelings come up as you ask yourself each question. Notice how the feelings may differ when you’re applying it to your relationship with yourself versus applying it to a past or current love relationship that was extremely important to you. By the way, this is really applicable to every relationship…I think this is a great test to apply to how we hold and interact with our relationships with co-workers, our children, our family, etc.

I would really love to hear what comes up for you when you do this exercise, both out of my obvious attraction to the exercise, but also as part of research I’m doing for an upcoming book and class on relationship I’m in the midst of creating. If you would be willing to share what came up and what you learned with me, and would want it to be anonymous, please email me at laughtoncoach@gmail.com. If you’re willing to have your experiences be of more immediate use and support for others trying to figure all this relationship stuff out, I invite you to post a comment or a note, to my Living Your Spirit Now Facebook fan page (click here: Geoff’s Fan Page).

I hope you enjoy, and get illuminated (maybe even a bit uncomfortable) by, doing this exercise…and will seriously take on using whatever you learn to continually deepen, align, and expand your relationship to yourself – and your Beloved – towards the limitless places of connection and expansion that I feel are totally possible to live in.

Geoff Laughton

Geoff helps couples get the relationship back with each other that they’ve been dreaming of instead of continuing to live the one they’ve been settling for.
Geoff is a Master Relationships Recovery Coach who has spent the last 15 years guiding individuals and couples worldwide in re-energizing and re-inventing their relationships – with themselves and others – before they get irreparably damaged. This, combined with his 29 years as a loving husband and father, has provided Geoff with the real-life experience needed to guide others in rescuing and renewing the relationships into which so much time, love, and energy have been invested – and need not be wasted.

Pink Floyd As Relationship Experts?

April 14, 2012 · Comments Off
Category: Geoff Laughton, Men and Relationship, Syndicated 

by Geoff Laughton

 

Ok, if you’re not a Pink Floyd fan – and/or haven’t listened to the Dark Side Of The Moon album (it’s been pointed out to me recently, by the way, how badly I’m dating myself by even using the term “album”) – this article may take you a bit more time to get in the groove of.

There’s a song on the Dark Side album called “Speak To Me/Breathe.” The first verse contains the following lyrics:

 

 

Breathe, breathe in the air
Don’t be afraid to care
Leave but don’t leave me
Look around, choose your own ground
For long you live and high you fly
And smiles you’ll give and tears you’ll cry
And all your touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be

Now, you may be wondering if I’ve lost my mind, using Pink Floyd as any kind of reference for how you can improve your relationship, but bear with me. What had me even begin to think of this song was a conversation I had with a friend recently about some relationship dynamics they were experiencing. The person was struggling with how to relate to, and be with, the current state of things in what could be a budding relationship without really knowing the “rules of the game.” Without certainty about where the other person involved is at about where their relationship is headed, or not, my friend was struggling with how to figure out how to be or what to do without a plan or a sure bead on where the other person “is at.”

Now, in any kind of currently “traditional” paradigm, you want to know where you stand…with your partner (if you have one), with your future, with your life plan, with your friends, with your job, etc. If you’re like a lot of people, the only surprises you really enjoy are parties, lottery winning, a free car and/or wardrobe, a free trip somewhere great, and – hopefully – an unexpected night of hot sex with your honey. So, to avoid any of the other kind of surprises, you consciously – and more often, unconsciously – try to manipulate, strategize, and “plan” what your future is going to look like. Then, when it doesn’t look like it may turn out how you’re planning it, you may even then go into trying to adjust variable and control it even more to get it “back on track,” right? When you go that route in your relationships, you’re likely to have a rough time. This is where Pink Floyd was really onto something in 1973.

When things are starting to feel rough with your Partner, how often do you start “dealing with it” by breathing? In fact, how often do you even pay attention to consciously breathing? I highly recommend trying it. It will get you in your body more, you’ll feel more (yes, including difficult feeling, but also including ecstatic ones), and it can even vastly improve your sex life! However, most of us simply react and go up into our strategic brain when things don’t look like they’re going to plan.

Some of you pretend you don’t care…but you really do. You just choose to hide it or withhold it (and what’s really going on for you, to boot). If you really care, you need to communicate that to your partner. If your Partner’s pissing you off, or hurting your feelings, you need to let them know you care. The passive-aggressive stoic route is way outdated. One way you can choose to go in that kind of situation and if you are withholding is to check out. So, “leave, but don’t leave me” can translate into go inside yourself…check in with your heart, gut, and mind to see what’s really triggered your reaction, take responsibility for what’s really your stuff, and then come back to your partner and fill them in on how you’re taking responsibility for your experience!

The lyric of “Look around, choose your own ground” is all about trying to bring FULL awareness to EVERYTHING going on around and in you. It’s about being fully present as much as possible with yourself and your partner. If you’re not, the ground you choose (i.e., how you’re likely to respond) is more likely than not to be distorted and full of projections. Choose what’s true for, and in, you…and, then communicate just that…not what you’ve already decided is true for your Partner.

The rest of the lyrics, to me, speak to the critical skill of recognizing that you (and your Partner) are neither your thoughts nor your opinions (and even perceptions, a lot of the time). To make a relationship work solely from the mind is certainly doable…but, watching paint dry is likely to be vastly more entertaining. To have a really juicy, vibrant, and dynamic relationship (or even life), I suggest you’ll do well to pay more attention to what your body tells you and knows…through all five senses and through all your feelings…they’re a much better reference point, in my experience. Your body cannot lie to you, no matter what. Your mind? That’s a whole ‘nother story.

Notice how much you’re trying to manage your life and your key relationships to some plan (which you’re never going to have a 100% guarantee of working out, no matter how hard you try), and try even a few days of ditching the plan…see how much more present to yourself and your partner you really are…and enjoy the moments more, rather than experiencing moments as benchmark measurements to gauge how well THE PLAN’s going.

Geoff Laughton

Geoff helps couples get the relationship back with each other that they’ve been dreaming of instead of continuing to live the one they’ve been settling for.
Geoff is a Master Relationships Recovery Coach who has spent the last 15 years guiding individuals and couples worldwide in re-energizing and re-inventing their relationships – with themselves and others – before they get irreparably damaged. This, combined with his 29 years as a loving husband and father, has provided Geoff with the real-life experience needed to guide others in rescuing and renewing the relationships into which so much time, love, and energy have been invested – and need not be wasted.

Living Heaven On Earth?

April 3, 2012 · Comments Off
Category: Geoff Laughton, Syndicated 

Once upon a time, Buddha was quoted (or paraphrased) as saying, “Life is suffering.”

In contrast, many years ago, someone taught me that “Suffering is optional.” Somewhere in between that observation and what we long for as possibilities in our lives is a middle ground that beautifully holds the tension and exhilaration of how to reconnect with, and respond to, our innate desire to live Heaven on Earth, both externally and internally.

How is that possible? By each of us living as our highest and finest expression of who we truly, authentically are…unapologetically, yet grounded in the innate guidance that our individual Spirit offers us in every moment, if we’ll but listen.

One of the catches to this, though…living such a life of alignment with one’s Spirit has to be done no matter what our circumstances may be and (here’s the real clincher for a lot of folks) no matter what others may think or like.

We all know well the voices of the “Monkey Mind,” or ego, that tell us we can’t be this way, shouldn’t do that, don’t dare say “xyz” to someone, for fear of reaction and rejection.

We tend to forget that we’re born with a freedom and sense of unlimited possibility…no limitations residing within us.  Yet, within our families and within our school experiences, that sense of “no limitations” gets squashed, distorted, adapted, and compromised to the point that we often lose track of where the “real” us – our essence – begins and the “socially acceptable” us ends.  In maintaining the latter, we get tired, confused, frustrated, self-doubting, self-judgmental, short-tempered, shut down, and disconnected.

This effort ultimately wears us out, and the negative energies that can get so rampant leak out on our children (if we have any), on our colleagues, our spouses/partners, and back onto ourselves.  This cycle is one I’ve seen with so many people.  It’s a cycle I’ve lived and still live if I’m not paying attention, staying connected to my highest self and truth….and, if I’m not living and practicing love as much as humanly possible.

It may be considered a cliche (though I believe cliches become cliches because there’s a lot of proven truth to them) that – as the Beatles said – “Love is all you need.”  My contention is that Heaven on Earth is achievable at ANY moment, simply by returning to our connection to love…not just self-love (as critical as that is), but love, period.

Not loving yourself and feeling lower than in the dumps?  Love someone or something else. In that moment, perhaps you’ll notice you’re living Heaven on Earth.

I invite you to try that practice today.

Geoff Laughton

Geoff helps couples get the relationship back with each other that they’ve been dreaming of instead of continuing to live the one they’ve been settling for.
Geoff is a Master Relationships Recovery Coach who has spent the last 15 years guiding individuals and couples worldwide in re-energizing and re-inventing their relationships – with themselves and others – before they get irreparably damaged. This, combined with his 29 years as a loving husband and father, has provided Geoff with the real-life experience needed to guide others in rescuing and renewing the relationships into which so much time, love, and energy have been invested – and need not be wasted.

To Thine Own Self Be True

March 28, 2012 · Comments Off
Category: Geoff Laughton, Men and Relationship, Syndicated 

I was facilitating one of my men’s groups recently, and one of the topics that came up as a “hot button” was how to navigate the slippery slope of getting needs met while not appearing needy, and what are even “appropriate” needs to look to your partner to satisfy/support.

This gets so tricky, because we are relentlessly conditioned to see relationships as almost a Utopian idyll where all problems go away and we get to walk around blissed out for as much as possible (and get to have TONS of sex while you’re at it).  When you add any gender-specific ideas/ideals to what relationship should be like, it gets even trickier.  For example, a lot of men are brought up to believe that communicating just about anything from their hearts that could be conceived of as insecure, unconfident, or fearful is sure-proof sign that they’re weak or wimpy.

In an effort to avoid appearing weak or needy (combined with perhaps an equally obsessive drive to avoid conflict), one partner will start looking to the other for what they think are clues/cues to what the other wants from them…not realizing they’re really looking for clues as to what’s going to be OK for THEM to say or not say that will “fly” with the other person. Add to all that that we’ve gotten ourselves into such a restrictive box of over-DOing, that how we want to Be gets lost in the shuffle. When any or all of that is going on, the relationship is no longer yours, but more the hostage of all your hidden (and not-so-hidden) emotional wounds and conditioning, partnered up with all your defense mechanisms that will often project onto your partner that they are the one that needs to change or be fixed.

It’s critical that we begin to wake up, on a much bigger level, that our romantic relationships – hell, all of our relationships – are, first and foremost, about us. I don’t mean that in a nihilistic or narcissistic way, but in the sense that every relationship is a product of two people bringing themselves – and their conscious & unconscious baggage – to a joint enterprise that we want to believe is about loving each other and creating a whole bigger than the parts…but, often turns out to be two people trying to get years of unmet needs met and satisfied by another person onto whom they have projected all kinds of old-need-generated fantasies on.  When the other person doesn’t meet those needs and expectations, they can easily become the one who doesn’t love us or care about our needs.  From there, the spiral can go downhill pretty quickly.

So, what to do?

Firstly, start getting over any illusions you may have that there’s a Magic Bullet that will solve it all overnight. This is a life-long process, in my opinion.  So, you have to start with a first step.  What might that be?

Start by practicing re-orienting yourself back to your Self…your Highest Self. What does that mean?  For simplicity, I define Highest Self as the truth of your heart…your Spirit. The wisdom that part of us has is on 24/7, if we only will turn to it.  One problem many of us encounter, though, is that we’ve been conditioned through a lot of our childhood wounds to not believe in, or trust, that Self. Beginning to re-orient to that Highest Self is – initially – an act of Faith…faith that that Self is in there and can be dug out from under the rubble of our patterning, our past, our shame, our guilt, and our multitude of “I’m not enough” stories to be able to hear its guidance.

When you are upset with your partner, or feeling relentlessly unsatisfied, turn and look into the mirror of yourself, and ask yourself – in meditation, in journaling, or in visualizing yourself (as you imagine your Highest Self might look and feel like) talking to the part of you that’s upset and frustrated with unconditional love, patience, and compassion, simply asking “What are you needing that you’re not getting.”  If you “hear” an answer, then practice NOT looking to your partner, initially, but looking to yourself and your own inner resources to see if that need can’t be soothed by your own patient attention.  One essential trick, though…you have to be willing to see things – including you – as they really are, not as how you magically wish they’d be.

When you are true to your Self, the rest usually falls into place with a fair amount of ease…you just have to be willing to receive it and start imagining that life does NOT always have to be hard, even when your circumstances are challenging.

Geoff Laughton

Geoff helps couples get the relationship back with each other that they’ve been dreaming of instead of continuing to live the one they’ve been settling for.
Geoff is a Master Relationships Recovery Coach who has spent the last 15 years guiding individuals and couples worldwide in re-energizing and re-inventing their relationships – with themselves and others – before they get irreparably damaged. This, combined with his 29 years as a loving husband and father, has provided Geoff with the real-life experience needed to guide others in rescuing and renewing the relationships into which so much time, love, and energy have been invested – and need not be wasted.

What’s Up With Men, Anyway?

February 14, 2012 · Comments Off
Category: Geoff Laughton, Men and Relationship, Syndicated 

I was just reading a post on Facecrack that a dear friend of mine asked for some men to offer feedback on.  It was concerning an article she’d seen on a website discussing the differences between men and women, and how those differences made relationships challenging. The author was basically contending (and I’m in agreement, to a large degree) that men get into trouble in relationships because they really don’t know how to contribute their half/part of their emotional responsibilities towards feeding relationships.

His theory was that most men don’t adequately know their emotional landscape very well (that’s a fancy way of saying they live too much in their heads, and don’t really connect with their feelings enough).

Now, I could probably write a book about the differences between men and women, and how that impacts things in a straight relationship.  However, I’ve been thinking lately of what might happen if we stopped trying to figure out things in our relationships based on gender stereotypes or preconceptions (at best)?  I’ve heard a gazillion men and women say, “I’d sure be a lot happier if I could just figure out how [fill in the gender blank] think/work!”

I’m not arguing for or against the differences that are often cited about how men and women respond differently; however, just for the hell of it, what if you weren’t to look at it, or try to figure it out, from the perspective of how your partner’s different because of their genital make-up?

What if you were to navigate the choppy waters that arise from looking at thedifferences between you and your Partner not as gender-specific but more from the perspective of how PEOPLE are?  At the risk of grossly over-simplifying, while there are certainly genetic differences between men and women, I’m not so sure that the other differences are as much about equipment as they are about conditioning.

You know what?  Even if I’m completely full of it, I’m going to argue the point that, if you buy the notion that we’re all connected (otherwise known as the “Oneness” paradigm), then a way you can work better with your partner when you’re hitting major speed bumps together is to stop trying to relate to each other through the lens of how you’ve been conditioned to believe the other sex “thinks.” Hell, for that matter, trying to work through conflict solely on the basis of where your minds are at is also futile, for the most part…at least if you try to do it before you’ve started tuning in to how you’re each feeling.  Yes, I said “Feeling!” Try to relate to what’s happening as a “Person Thing.

Women are often characterized by a lot of dudes as “overly emotional.”  I’ve heard a lot of women say, “Men think with their (ahem…) organ(s)” or “Men don’t feel the way we do.”  As a member of the Dude Club myself, it’s disingenuous to deny there’s a lot of people for whom those generalizations may be true.  However, there is definitely something shifting with men.  Like the title of this article says, “What’s up with men, anyway?”

Well, I really believe there is a large shift happening (yes, one amongst MANY) in men’s consciousness. I believe it’s a shift that isn’t about men mutating differently, but that men’s conditioning is being challenged by men at a level I haven’t seen before en masse.  Men (at least the ones I know and work with in the Men’s Groups that I lead) are truly beginning to see that their minds are just NOT going to get them out of much, particularly with their women and relationships.  The new common ground really has to shift to being more inclusive of feeling into each other, and realizing that – male or female – the true desire of all desires, when you really cut underneath any of the bulls**t, is to feel connected…which does NOT happen in the mind, in my experience.

Here’s an excerpt from an email that a man in one of my groups shared with me (and the rest of the group) after our last meeting, where a great deal of vulnerability was shared by all:

“Disruption, de-stabilization…this is really what the Wise Ones mean when they speak of death and rebirth.  Humanity has been lower-mind dominated for thousands of years now. Finally, we are waking up.  Sure, sure, sure…there’s plenty to indicate otherwise. Need I even list the examples? Nope, let’s not go there; because, as long as we choose – us men – the connection to the Universal Spirit, the Divine, we shine through.

“Now, I can hear the skeptics, the cynics…I can hear them crystal clear. Giving away their power to the proverbial “Them.” Giving away power to “they.” Those people, out there, way out there, who somehow make decisions about the way things will really be.  You see, the thing about it is, an authentic connection between nine men and the Divine [which is what had happened at the last meeting of this Men's Circle the night before this man wrote this] is contagious. And, we are not the only ones. All over the globe people are waking up. What is new is this connection we are discovering with our Source and with each other. This connection, of course, is truly ancient, but we as a civilization, as a species, have gone through a profound disconnection with our Source. Now, we are finally returning home.

“This connection is contagious. I give evidence that we all sat together last night and spoke of presence, of love and support, of growth and ambition, and clarity and surrender as if it was a natural matter of fact…as if it was a matter of fact that we should speak of these things and share all of this. This is the shift of consciousness that many pockets of the world are undergoing, right now. And all we have to do is not deny it…not give our power away to “them” and “they.” We are here, we are here now. The time is now.”

Now, whether you agree with this Man’s perspectives/opinions or not, you can see that he’s speaking from a place of passion, depth, heart, and clarity…qualities/energies that men are often taught are “weak,” or not manly, except on a sports field or in a corporate boardroom…yet, we ARE in a time – be it in terms of relationships with Partners, or other relationships in general – where transcending gender stereotypes is crucial and relying on gender conditioning is not going to cut it anymore.  You’re hard-wired for love and connection, and the old paradigms are clearly not working…so, are you willing to look newly at who you’re really sleeping with, underneath the surface (including yourself)?  You could be delightfully surprised at what you find.

Geoff Laughton

Geoff helps couples get the relationship back with each other that they’ve been dreaming of instead of continuing to live the one they’ve been settling for.
Geoff is a Master Relationships Recovery Coach who has spent the last 15 years guiding individuals and couples worldwide in re-energizing and re-inventing their relationships – with themselves and others – before they get irreparably damaged. This, combined with his 29 years as a loving husband and father, has provided Geoff with the real-life experience needed to guide others in rescuing and renewing the relationships into which so much time, love, and energy have been invested – and need not be wasted.

Being Seen – An Essential Ingredient In The Recipe Of Love

December 24, 2011 · Comments Off
Category: Geoff Laughton, Men and Love, Men and Relationship, Syndicated 

A man who’s been in relationship for awhile happened to say, “She [his partner] really sees me.” After he shared that, another man in the group asked, “What does it mean to you guys to ‘be seen’?”

What ensued was a close to 45-minute conversation about what “being seen” meant to various men in the group. It was a moving, inspiring, and critical conversation.

When we’re talking about relationship there are so many definitions, so many “pictures”, and so many expectations of what a good or great relationship is or should be.  The level of expectations around it all are immense.  The profundity of the “Being Seen” factor is that it’s at least one unifying thread, in my opinion, that allows us to gauge a “real” relationship from a fantasy one.

One of the most common criteria that the men shared, and this is certainly the case for me, for being seen is that their partner (and their deepest friends) “gets” them; in other words, “sees” and loves who they are beyond their B.S.  When we’re truly “seen,” our essence…our Spirit…that transcends and shines through in spite of our facades, personas, behaviors, and situational temperament is known, reflected back to us, and – in a sense – stood for by our loved ones.

Stemming from that was the commonality that every man that night who feels seen by his partner and/or best friends realized that the very act of being seen in any given moment ends up amplifying that which is being seen. At its simplest, when our Spirit’s energy and character are truly seen or “gotten,” and mirrored back to us through our partner’s love and acceptance (which sometimes involves a lot of tolerance, too), we have to work really hard to deny and stay numb to what most makes us who we truly are beyond what we do and how much money we have (big factors for a lot of men).

In working with couples, one of the biggest issues that I see is the startling degree to which one partner or the other has stopped “seeing” the Other. That’s bad enough in itself, but if our partners are indeed a reflection/amplifier of our best essence, then when we’re not “seeing” our partner, we’re blind to our self.  This increases the egocentric tendency to look more to our partner to give us a secure identity, and when they fail at this impossible job, our wounded parts inside get upset, hurt, and often end up withdrawing our love, energy, and presence.  See the trap in that?

While it’s important to “see” your partner to have a healthy relationship, it’s equally essential that you first start “seeing” yourself more. [A caveat here, though...this means also being willing to see - and own - your darkest parts of yourself, too.  You rob yourself if you only look at the "pretty" parts of yourself.] How can you do that? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Spend 3 minutes at the beginning of your morning (or right after your morning meditation, if you do that valuable practice) consciously looking for at least 3 things about yourself that you treasure and admire (internal qualities, not accomplishments)…write them down in a journal.  Do that for 30 days, and see what you notice about how you feel and show up in all your relationships.
  • Find some pictures of yourself from childhood to present day that make you smile and warm up inside…that really warm up your heart and move you…and put them together in a collage that you look at every day. See who you are inside through the pictures.  So, when I say “look” at them, I seriously mean look closely, intently, and with your heart, not just your eyes.
  • Take a few minutes each day, for the next 10 days, to look someone you love deeply (your partner, a friend, your kids) right in the eye, and “see” them by telling them a quality of theirs that transcends any action, behavior, or personality trait that you sincerely admire…and, tell yourself how you either have that same quality or something damn close to it…and see if you’re willing to let yourself breathe that in and feel it.

Strengthening your ability to “see” yourself, and then letting yourself be seen by your partner (i.e., receiving, which is a challenge for many of us), is an essential ingredient – I’d even say a mandatory one – in any truly loving and healthy relationship, be it romantic or platonic.  So, you’re invited and encouraged to go into the remainder of your day taking a whole new “look see.”

Geoff Laughton

Geoff helps couples get the relationship back with each other that they’ve been dreaming of instead of continuing to live the one they’ve been settling for.
Geoff is a Master Relationships Recovery Coach who has spent the last 15 years guiding individuals and couples worldwide in re-energizing and re-inventing their relationships – with themselves and others – before they get irreparably damaged. This, combined with his 29 years as a loving husband and father, has provided Geoff with the real-life experience needed to guide others in rescuing and renewing the relationships into which so much time, love, and energy have been invested – and need not be wasted.

Are You Willing To Be An Idiot For Love?

December 7, 2011 · Comments Off
Category: Geoff Laughton, Men and Relationship, Syndicated 

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What’s your biggest fear, other than harm coming to someone you love? Is it being out of money?  Is it being alone or unloved?  Is it that people will find you you secretly read Mad Magazine in the john when no one’s looking?  Failing?

Odds are pretty high that your biggest (or one of the biggest) fears of all is being humiliated…and you may not even know it. Your relationships will be the place that will allow you to test that out, in case you’re curious.  There have been times, when my wife and I were arguing, when I’d get mad and say, “You don’t need to talk to me like I’m an idiot, you know!” (Of course, the minute I ever said that, I was contradicting myself.)

If you’re a regular reader, you know that movies are one of my favorite sources of educating, learning, and enjoying; hence, the poster you see above for the new film, Our Idiot Brother.  If you’ve seen any trailers for this film, it can look like this is just another in a seemingly endless stream of moronic comedies that keep pandering to the lowest common denominator of human existence.  However, if you go see the film, and pay close attention, it’s actually a film with a deep message for you hidden amongst some simple – and, it should be said, enjoyable – low-brow humor.

Paul Rudd’s character in the movie is someone who everyone treats and talks to like he is truly an idiot.  Now, he does some seemingly idiotic things in the film, but if you’re really paying attention, the only thing his character is really doing is being 100% honest, heartful, sincere, caring, and authentic/real.  For doing all that, his character gets ostracized, thrown in jail, ridiculed, rejected, and humiliated by others.  Yet, in spite of all that, there’s not a moment where he’s willing to sacrifice his integrity, heart, or truth…and the only times he skirts it even a bit, he gets in more trouble.  Now, ask yourself this question: “How often am I being that way in my life?“  You may want to particularly ask yourself that question in regards to your key relationships.

How much of yourself (your being, your truth, your heart, your capabilities for loving and connecting) are you denying and/or hiding from others because you don’t want to look like an idiot?

Of course, we’re conditioned to do that from childhood on…you know, “Get along to get along…”  When you were a kid, you’d have probably done almost anything to be accepted by whatever clique you were wanting to be embraced by (I’m not even getting into what happens in our families growing up…that’s a separate article).  There may even have been times, particularly in childhood/adolescence, when you “sold out” someone you care about to “be cool” (for a kind of quirky example of that one, go see the film Fright Night).

Now, you may be saying to yourself, “Well, sure, but I’m a mature adult now.  I’d never do that now!”  Yet, if you’re really brutally honest with yourself, you’ll likely see that there are many ways you sell yourself out with others to not upset, hurt, or cause problems for people you love.  When that’s the motive, it looks like you’re being “considerate” or “caring.”  While there may be elements of that, how often is it TRULY about not wanting to upset the other person because you don’t want to look bad (by the way…looking bad tends to make us feel humiliated).

Getting the drift?  In the film, Rudd’s character hangs in there…he’s virtually incapable of lying or being out if integrity with himself.  How true is that for how you relate to your spouse or partner?  To the degree that it does happen, how much of it is because you’re also trying to consciously or unconsciously manipulate a situation to get an outcome that’s going to make you look good and get what you want?  What would happen instead if you were just honest (granted, you can do that in a responsible, mature, compassionate way…it doesn’t have to be about clubbing people to death with no sensitivity) with yourself and your loved ones, ESPECIALLY when it scares you to do so?

In the last week, I’ve worked with three couples who were suffering deeply because they weren’t wanting to look bad, or like an idiot (to be clear, I’m using that word as almost an archetype, not a judgement).  Studies are showing that more marriages deteriorate not just from lack of communication (the root of all evil), but the lack of relentlessly honest communication, even if it’s going to possibly hurt the other’s feelings.  This is one of the prime causes of resentment, which kills more marriages than money issues, or damn close.  Once they started sharing what they weren’t saying to their partner, things started shifting almost immediately.  Was it painful?  Sure.  Did anyone get pissed off?  Sure.  But, through hanging in with a commitment to being more intimate (which requires more candor and vulnerability), after they started moving through the initial reactivity, they were able to get into their hearts (see the feature article in the August 24 issue of this eZine to refresh your memory) and start getting close again.

One of the smartest things you can do for yourself and your relationships (other than remember that you’ll ultimately feel more humiliated if your relationship fails…for many, again) is to first get real with yourself…be an idiot with you.  Then, when you’re as clear as you can possibly be, see if you’d be willing to take the risk of being an idiot for love…see if you’re willing to invest in your happiness, and the health of your relationship, enough that you’re willing to risk looking and/or feeling like a doofus to be able to bring all of you, and your intimacy, to your relationship.  If you’re feeling pretty scared about that, because you’re not sure how to do that…then let’s talk.  You know how to find me.  It’s a skill you’re never too old to learn or improve.

Give that a try…and, go see the movie, if you want to see what I’m talking about and the impact the main character’s stand for integrity ultimately does to all those around him.  after all, isn’t it pretty obvious how much of the troubles in our world today could have been avoided if we were all practicing compassionate truth instead of co-dependent BS?

Geoff Laughton

Geoff helps couples get the relationship back with each other that they’ve been dreaming of instead of continuing to live the one they’ve been settling for.
Geoff is a Master Relationships Recovery Coach who has spent the last 15 years guiding individuals and couples worldwide in re-energizing and re-inventing their relationships – with themselves and others – before they get irreparably damaged. This, combined with his 29 years as a loving husband and father, has provided Geoff with the real-life experience needed to guide others in rescuing and renewing the relationships into which so much time, love, and energy have been invested – and need not be wasted.

Who Are You, Anyway?

December 1, 2011 · Comments Off
Category: Geoff Laughton, Syndicated 

One of the most common complaints or issues that people share with me that they are struggling with is along the lines of “I don’t know what I want to do with my life,” followed closely by “I have no idea what my purpose is, and I feel like I’m just drifting through my life.” The economic times seem to be adding to the distress of that kind of question. People who are getting clear that they are not living a life that is congruent with who they really are often describe feeling trapped, particularly in their careers (and often in unhappy relationships where financial stability is seemingly at stake).

This gets so tricky, because we believe what our minds tell us. For generations, men have been conditioned to believe that the sure-fire way to “success” is to strategize, plan, and think their way into their destiny. It’s become clear that more and more women are trying to adapt to this same fashion of self-actualization.  To me, it’s a human condition or dilemma that causes so much suffering, confusion, and inertia…particularly to the degree we’re fanatical about preserving our control of how our lives are going.

I recently heard someone share how they’ve been feeling more and more (though they’ve actually been thinking, and confusing it with feeling) like their life may be over, because they’ve had such a hard time finding a job in the field that they’ve worked in for many years. In listening to this person, it was clear that they’ve actually considered that this could be a reality. I’ve even been there myself in my past.

When faced with so much seeming instability, uncertainty, or even “real” circumstances like unemployment, the knee-jerk reaction for so many is to go to into raw, primal survival, followed by intense thinking and mental strategizing for solutions, followed by much more disappointment, dejection, and internal terror. When this is going on, one of the key doorways to finding an opening, some relief, or openings to possibilities and transformation is to start with doing whatever it takes to remember who you really are. (By the way, it also helps to be sure you’re checking in with what’s really real and what’s a fear-based projection of what you think is going to happen).

More and more people have forgotten something so basic, the forgetting of which creates so much needless suffering and blocked creativity and generatively: we are not what we do or how much money we have in the bank. Those things are only outward expressions of who we are. They’re important, to be sure…we do need money to eat and have shelter.  Yet, who we are is what sources the clarity and direction we are starving for when we, ironically, get disconnected from who we really are at times like losing a job.  Who you are is not your circumstances, be they terrific or seemingly in the toilet.  Who you are is your Spirit, your soul that gets the opportunity to grow and expand its depth and wisdom through having human experiences.

Our connection to our Spirit-self, if you will, is only (at least in my experience, thus far) able to be experienced in our hearts…which requires being connected to our bodies.  When you’re lost in the hall of mirrors between your ears, trying to figure your way out of your survival panics, you’re not likely connected to your body…at least not below the neck. So, much of what you’re “figuring out” is likely to be your mind turning in on itself, relying on decades of conditioning to come up with an answer.  Yet, without connection to who you really are, any solutions have a real chance of being the equivalent of a house of cards.

So, what do you do when you’ve forgotten yourself, find yourself losing sleep, overeating, feeling like three rungs below plankton on the self-worthiness scale, and isolating in your man- or woman-cave staring at the boob tube for your main source of connection, inspiration, and human contact?  Here are a few suggestions to start with, all of which will take high intention on your part, most likely…so be forewarned:

Call 3 of your best friends - you know, the ones that will tell you the unvarnished truth, with love, whether you’re going to like it or not – and ask them to tell you 3 things that they admire and love about you.  One critical thing, though – ask them to give you three examples of you being what they admire and love from actual experiences you’ve had together.  That way, your mind won’t tell you they’re just being nice. Do your best to let it in.

Take 15 minutes, right now, to make a list of the things that – had you all the money you could possibly ever need or want – you’d want to be able leave behind as a legacy you’d feel proud of on your deathbed, focusing especially on those things that have nothing to do with Do-ing and everything to do with Be-ing. Keep that where you can see it each day, and when chips get down, read it religiously every day to remind yourself of how your Spirit longs to express itself.

When you’re struggling – particularly with money issues, employment, or feeling good enough for your partner and yourself – rally your community around you…friends, former co-workers you’ve stayed friends with, your Spiritual community, your partner, your men’s or woman’s group…and ask for their support.  Your ego is going to SCREAM at you not to do any such thing. But, believe me, failing to do this is one of the more sure-fire ways to ensure you’re going to just stay miserable, start believing your Ego’s own PR, and delay your growth and joy beyond reasonable limits. We cannot do this life alone, and all that American ethic of self-determination failed to take into account it’s just plain easier to allow yourself to be raised and lifted by that there village…no matter how old you are.

Lastly, when you find yourself sitting there thinking your life is over because your old picture of reality and who you are (from the ego’s position, anyway) seem to be shattered, see what happens to how you feel when you begin to exercise your right to choose how you relate to anything, and start relating to your seemingly s**tty circumstances as the opportunity your Spirit’s been waiting for to come back to itself and help you hear that out-of-the-box idea that will create a life beyond what you’ve yet experienced. I promise it’s possible…I did it when it became clear that my corporate career was going to kill me if I didn’t get out, and this E-zine – and the lives I’ve been privileged to contribute to expanding for the last 15 years – is testimony to what happens when you listen to your heart, and allow your head to follow.

Geoff Laughton Presents: Joanna Kennedy, dedicating her life to helping people take off their masks

November 19, 2011 · Comments Off
Category: Geoff Laughton, Men and Relationship, Men and Sex, Syndicated 

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Joanna is committed to re-uniting the authentic masculine and feminine. Formally an engineer and high-tech manager; she has spent the last nine years studying relationship dynamics, sacred sexuality, and partner yoga as well as cellular and emotional healing.

Joanna now owns and directs The Center for Greater Loving where she offers private sessions, products, and workshops that help liberate men and women to be their natural selves, have passionate sex lives, and create deeply loving relationships. She dedicates her life to helping men and women take off their masks, be themselves, and remember the power and potential of love.

Maximizing Chemistry: Enjoy an hour of laughter and inspiration while you discover the power, passion and joy that arise when the authentic masculine and feminine re-unite with each other. Learn how attraction, passion and chemistry in relationship require the interplay of masculine and feminine energies. You’ll see why so many relationships fizzle without this key component and you’ll leave knowing the secret ingredient needed to create happy, satisfying relationships with lasting chemistry!

We’ll answer these questions: What is masculine and feminine energy? Why is it an essential component of lasting chemistry? What is my natural essence – masculine or feminine? How can I attract the partner I truly want? How do we create lasting passion?

Joanna Kennedy 303-956-2796 joanna@greaterloving.com twitter.com/greaterloving facebook.com/greaterloving

Geoff Laughton

Geoff helps couples get the relationship back with each other that they’ve been dreaming of instead of continuing to live the one they’ve been settling for.
Geoff is a Master Relationships Recovery Coach who has spent the last 15 years guiding individuals and couples worldwide in re-energizing and re-inventing their relationships – with themselves and others – before they get irreparably damaged. This, combined with his 29 years as a loving husband and father, has provided Geoff with the real-life experience needed to guide others in rescuing and renewing the relationships into which so much time, love, and energy have been invested – and need not be wasted.

It’s Not What You Think

October 3, 2011 · Comments Off
Category: Geoff Laughton, Men and Relationship 

[custom_field field="laughton" this_post="1" limit="1" between=", " /]Do you ever notice how much time you spend trying to “figure out what’s going on” in your life…and in your relationship, if you’re in one? If it ends up being a fair amount of time, how’s it working for you?  When you do get some “answers,” what’s the most common result you get from having obtained that answer?  Furthermore, where do those “answers” most frequently come from for you?…others?….your mind?….your heart?….or, from your intuition?

Perhaps the most important question is, once you figure out what’s going on, what are you actually doing about it?  How often are you actually making some kind of change that makes a lasting difference in your relationship and/or your life? This gets so tricky, because we believe what our minds tell us…we actually often think it’s The Truth. For generations, we have been conditioned to believe that the sure-fire way to “success” is to strategize, plan, and think our way into our destiny. Surely, if you can figure that out, you’ll know how to “do” your life, right?

Yet, for all of that mental gymnastics that occupy you day-to-day, how much is really changing in your life, your relationship, and your family (if you have one)?  How long have you been suffering with some issue that – in spite of how much cerebral elbow grease you’ve put into trying to sort it out and “fix it” – you end up spending months or years tolerating in a masterfully inertia-ridden way? In my experience with SO many couples, the answer to that question is almost always “too damn long.”  It seems to be a human condition or dilemma that causes and/or perpetuates so much suffering, confusion, and inertia…particularly to the degree you’re fanatical about preserving your control of how you think your relationship is supposed to go, distinct from where it wants or even needs to go.

Where does your relationship want or need to go?  Hell if I know!  However, if you have the same response to that question, and really want clarity about it…and want that clarity because you actually want your relationship to look and feel differently…you better be taking a hard look.  Notice I didn’t say “figure it out.”  I’m saying you need to take a deep, comprehensive look at that question if things aren’t going the way you perceive you want them to be going with your partner on a consistent basis. While that big piece of tofu in between your ears (thank you Dr. Rick Hanson) needs to play a part in that process, I’m going to suggest that if you let it be the sole source of your seeming answers, you’re hosed.

So, you may be thinking right about now, you’re reading a lot of questions with no answers yet, or how to get there, right (damn, another question)?  Maybe you want the map?  Well, there are several different paths to taking that hard look, getting the clarity you need, and beginning to shift what’s actually happening in a way that your life starts shifting on a regular basis. Hell, I even know a few of ‘em.  But, I’m not going to give you any (at least directly) today.  Why? Because, chances are currently too high that you won’t do anything with them, even if I were to write them up right now.

It’s astonishing how many people tell me, “I don’t need any help with my life/relationship, particularly from someone else…I’m reading some books and figuring it out.”  Yet, even as they say that, if prodded as to how long they’ve been doing that, they often hem and haw before admitting that it may have been years, and that not much has been changing.  It’s incredible how easy it is for you to forget Einstein’s definition of insanity: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.”  How insane are you and your partner being, not only with your relationship, but with your life?

You have to start being honest with yourself (if you want anything different, that is) about why you’re not doing anything about what doesn’t seem to be working.  You’re going to have to start facing the truth that if you keep putting up with what you don’t want, there’s something going on in your mind for which the misery is seeming to actually work for that belief structure.  If you can really allow yourself to get the truth of that, then you can begin the trip out of that loop, towards what you really want.  To do that, you’ll need a map.

Now, no map is worth a damn unless you have some idea of where you’re trying to go.  To figure that out without first acknowledging where you are (the origin point, as it were), is ludicrous.  Yet, even before that, you have to make the decision that you not only  want to take the trip, but are committed to it no matter what…and will do whatever it takes to get there. If you’re not getting the changes you think you want in your life, it’s a sign that you need to stop thinking…at least for a bit.  Instead, you need to start feeling into yourself, and begin seeing what your heart and your Spirit are telling you is wanted and needed for a change.  My suggestion is that you start that process with really going to your gut to ask “Why am I willing to suffer for so long?”  Keep asking it…don’t trust the first answer; particularly if it’s along the lines of “Because I keep hoping my partner will change.”  Your partner has NOTHING to do with it.  It has EVERYTHING to do with you.

If you can embrace that reality, then the answers to what’s helping you tolerate so much likely unnecessary suffering in your relationship will start surfacing.   Furthermore, don’t forget for a moment that, if you’re suffering, so is your partner…it’s just going to be a matter of whether they’re awake to it or not.  If they aren’t, they need to be doing the same process with themselves.  For many, doing that is going to be resisted like a mother…your mind does not want you looking at this.  But, what does your heart want?  Why did you get in the relationship in the first place?  If you can remember and reconnect with that, then this inquiry I’m suggesting is critical.  From there, you then have to decide if you’re really willing to do something about it.  All of that inquiry needs to start in your heart and your gut, I suggest.  Your mind has a totally different agenda, and you don’t really feel love and joy in your head.

You also probably won’t know off the bat what to do about it (which is where people like me can come into the picture), but without that committed decision to do something, you’re going to be ensuring that your life and relationship keeps heading towards becoming a testament to the expression “Same S**t, Different Day” that most relationships are unfortunately – and needlessly – settling into.

Don’t you deserve better than that?

Geoff Laughton

Geoff helps couples get the relationship back with each other that they’ve been dreaming of instead of continuing to live the one they’ve been settling for.
Geoff is a Master Relationships Recovery Coach who has spent the last 15 years guiding individuals and couples worldwide in re-energizing and re-inventing their relationships – with themselves and others – before they get irreparably damaged. This, combined with his 29 years as a loving husband and father, has provided Geoff with the real-life experience needed to guide others in rescuing and renewing the relationships into which so much time, love, and energy have been invested – and need not be wasted.

Do You Swear To Tell The Truth, The Whole…?

September 26, 2011 · Comments Off
Category: Geoff Laughton, Syndicated 

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Whether or not you’re currently in a relationship with a lover/partner/spouse, you know that relationships of ALL kinds are a crucial ingredient in what makes life worth living (at least that’s how I look at it).  You probably also know that managing a relationship with anyone easily and quickly can turn into seriously tricky business at the drop of a hat.  Now, if you also take into account the adage that says, “How you do one thing is how you do Everything,” it’s not too hard to see that it behooves you to be as awakened and conscious to what you’re bringing to all your most challenging relationships on any consistent level.

If you’re scratching your head by now, look at this little true-ism: when you look at all the different people you’ve ever had any kind of struggle with (lovers, children, co-worker, authority figure, etc.), what’s the common denominator that you notice (other then the recurring thought that if they only weren’t such a jerk/pain-in-the-butt/annoyance, etc.)?  Does it seem to you that that denominator is all their collective shortcomings?  If so, you’re seriously missing the boat.  Is it that they all are folks who need to change?  If that’s your outlook, you again have missed the boat.  This may seem really basic to you, but it’s stunning to see how many people don’t get the TRUE common denominator: it’s YOU!  YOU are at the center of any dysfunctional relationship you’re a part of.

It’s not that the other party to a relationship doesn’t have faults, flaws, unconscious behaviors, etc.  However, no matter what another person’s doing, your experience of any relationship is totally an experience in which you are the Mission Control Center.  I’m not the first person, by a long shot, to point out that, at the very least (not accounting for heavy safes that fall on your head that you had no control over), you are 100% responsible for the experience of your life and your relationships you’re having.

Now, you may be asking yourself (as I am right this second), “So, if so many others have said it, why in the hell are you saying it AGAIN!?”  It’s pretty simple: because, based on the behaviors and issues I keep seeing with every couple and individual I work with (definitely including Yours Truly), we aren’t getting it!  You may have heard it a thousand times, and a thousand times you may have nodded your head in agreement; however, is it showing up in your life?  That’s where the rubber really hits the road.

Why is it so hard for you and I to get this one?  I think it’s pretty simple.  You don’t want to look at the truths that are inevitably going to be discovered if you really look under the hood at what drives the patterns that continually come up in every relationship you’re in.  You don’t want to see the truth of your need.  You may not want to see the truth of how little you actually believe you’re worth being loved and valued.  You don’t want to see the truth of how much you’re depending on the other person in the relationship to do the heavy lifting of self-validation that you’d really like to do for yourself…and, you may not want to see the truth of how much you actually getting what you want scares the s**t out of you and would totally send your entire inner Strategic Defense System ass over tea kettle.  It’s far easier to have your partner, or the other party to whatever relationship you’re suffering in right now, as the problem.

If someone you’re in relationship with is constantly abusing you, they are definitely a substantive factor in your experience of being abused.  Yet, if your mind wants to go to “They’re bad because they’re abusing me, and shame on them,” I’d suggest you’d be better served first going to “Why am I willing to let myself be abused?”…that’s the part you’re solely responsible for…or, at the very least, it’s the only part that you really have any real power to do anything about.

By now, I’d bet you may be saying to yourself, “Self…this Dude’s sure being a buzz kill; I get the problem, but what the heck do I do about it?”  Again, it’s pretty simple…if you want any kind of healthy relationship, in ANY context, you have to look at what you aren’t communicating…that is, look at what you’re withholding.  Then, you really are going to have to screw up every ounce of courage available to you and be unflinchingly, brutally, and compassionately honest with yourself.  You have to tell the truth on yourself to you, first and foremost.  Just about every judgement you’re listening to in your head about the other person…sit on your toilet backwards and look in the mirror…real hard.

You have to be willing to make a decision you’ve had enough…the only decision I know of that can then propel you to get the support you need to start really taking on shifting both the patterns and the person you’re being (and get to the person you’re not being) when you’re caught in them.  A healthy, vibrant relationship is ABSOLUTELY possible…the reason they seem so hard to come by is largely due to this unwillingness to really look in the mirror and take full responsibility for how you’re experiencing the relationship.  If you’d be willing to do that, you’d have a much better shot at telling yourself the truths that need to be told so you can actually have clarity about what steps need to be taken to end the unnecessary suffering.

It’s just like Warner Ehrhard said years ago: “The truth will set you free; but, first it will piss you off.”

How pissed off are you willing to be for true love of yourself and, then, others?

I would really love to hear what you think and feel about this topic.  If you would be willing to share, and would want it to be anonymous, please email me at info@geofflaughton.com.  If you’re willing to have your experiences be of more immediate use and support for others trying to figure all this stuff out too, I invite you to post a comment or a note, to my Living Your Spirit Now Facebook Fan Page.

Geoff Laughton

Geoff helps couples get the relationship back with each other that they’ve been dreaming of instead of continuing to live the one they’ve been settling for.
Geoff is a Master Relationships Recovery Coach who has spent the last 15 years guiding individuals and couples worldwide in re-energizing and re-inventing their relationships – with themselves and others – before they get irreparably damaged. This, combined with his 29 years as a loving husband and father, has provided Geoff with the real-life experience needed to guide others in rescuing and renewing the relationships into which so much time, love, and energy have been invested – and need not be wasted.

Dancing with Sacred Rhythms

September 15, 2011 · Comments Off
Category: Men and Relationship, Men and Sex, Syndicated 

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New CoupleThis is probably not new news to you, but the vast majority of how your relationship is going with your partner has a TON to do with how your relationship with YOU is going. On a long-term basis (that is, after “The Honeymoon Period” is over), you’re not likely to be treating your partner and your romantic relationship much better than you treat yourself.  When you’re feeling dissatisfied or deprived of certain needs being met by your partner, how often are you looking to see whether or not you’re treating yourself any better?

One of the keys to taking sufficiently good care of yourself is to tune into and learn to dance with your Sacred Rhythms…particularly the Sacred Rhythm of Rest.  You may be wondering what the hell a Sacred Rhythm is, right? It’s not the newest beat dreamed up by Kanye West.  Your Sacred Rhythms are a fusion of the speed at which your heart and Spirit would naturally do things, that work together to help keep you both aligned with your heart’s deepest wisdom, but also to your body’s wisdom.  It’s part bio-rhythm, part physical capacity, and part intuition.  When you’re wondering if you, or your partner, have possibly lost your mind, given how you’re suddenly and unexpectedly behaving (or they are), it may just be that one or both of you are out of Rhythm.  You’re dancing with yourselves, and each other, with two left feet.

For example, I can remember a time when I wondered why my wife was seeming, once upon a time, to be so frustrated with the lack of time I was spending with her.  To me, I thought I was spending plenty of time with her, and really couldn’t understand what the problem was.  What I wasn’t seeing in those days was that we had two entirely different rhythms and expecting that we both would have at least similar, if not identical, rhythms.

At that time, however, I was a workaholic working an average of 60-70 hours a week in my corporate life, coming home to briefly eat and shallowly connect with her and the kids, before either passing out in front of the TV or at my desk as I did even more work.  I had no idea what my real, or Sacred, rhythm really was other than wake-up, work, go to bed, and repeat.  Sounding at all familiar to you?

You and/or your partner might have something like this going on. If you do, you might even think it’s all reasonable or ok, because – after all – you’re working hard, which is what you’ve been encouraged to do since you were knee high to a grasshopper.  However, if your partner doesn’t have that same – or a similar – rhythm, then all hell can break loose and cause all kinds of problems, not the least of which is the two of you not having sufficient time to even really hear or communicate what’s happening with you, in you, and and what’s needed by you.  And, if you try to communicate at a time when you’re seriously over-riding your natural rhythms, you’re not likely doing the best job of communicating and probably aren’t getting heard the way you want and need to Couple Dancingbe.

The human body is organically designed to work in periods of acceleration and rest.  However,  as noted author Tony Schwartz points out in his book “The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working,” more and more people are forcing themselves to operate and live like machines that can go 24/7; however, machines are designed to do that.  You are not!  The same is true with relationships…all healthy relationships require periods of resting…not just cuddling or napping together, but resting into a level of quiet and stillness with each other – and with yourselves – that allows you to hear your own needs, as well as try to tune into the energy of your partner to feel how they may be doing, to help gauge how you can best dance/work together in a given moment or time.

How do you know if you’re not doing this Rumba very well or smoothly?  Here are some tell-tale signs:

  • You’re not even noticing your own breathing at any point during the day, and a simple act of connecting starts feeling like you’re being dragged down the rabbit-hole of doom and overwhelm.
  • Your To-do list(s) starts getting consulted more than yourself or your Partner, and then becomes the manifesto or blueprint by which your relationship – and your life – is being managed and directed.
  • You keep saying “Tomato” and your partner keeps hearing “Potato,” and neither of you are taking the time to find out why  that difference is happening and what to do about it…because you’re too busy, have too much to do, and you’ll figure it out later.
  • The only quiet time you find for yourself, or each other, stops being cuddling or sex, but those last few minutes between your head hitting the pillow and you going off to Dreamland.

If any of these things are making you squirm a bit, or even worse, making you mutter “Oh s*t!” inside your head, then it’s time for you to examine how you’re relating to your own Rhythm(s), including determining if you even have any idea of what they are.  If you don’t really know what they are, then a pretty key way to start finding out is to simply go to a stopped place.  That means you stop…even for a few minutes, throughout your day.

Two sidesStop for moment of checking in with your body…how’s it feeling? What’s it need right now?  Stop for a Love Break…think of (and feel) someone or something you love deeply…quickly call your partner, your kids, or a friend, and just tell them ) or their voicemail) one thing you really love about them and say “Talk more later!”  Look into a mirror, and actually notice the energy and face looking back at you…pay attention to how it feels to do that.  Even start meditating for 5 minutes a day before you start your day.  Any of those things would begin making a difference in your ability to get acquainted with your Sacred Rhythms of You, get more masterful with letting your heart be your Choreographer, and then bringing that deeper and different sense of yourself to your relationship…not to mention being able to better weave amongst your partner’s rhythms without having to take so many things personally.

I would really love to hear what you think and feel about this topic.  If you would be willing to share, and would want it to be anonymous, please email me at info@geofflaughton.com. If you’re willing to have your experiences be of more immediate use and support for others trying to figure all this stuff out too, I invite you to post a comment or a note, to my Living Your Spirit Now Facebook Fan Page

Geoff Laughton

Geoff helps couples get the relationship back with each other that they’ve been dreaming of instead of continuing to live the one they’ve been settling for.
Geoff is a Master Relationships Recovery Coach who has spent the last 15 years guiding individuals and couples worldwide in re-energizing and re-inventing their relationships – with themselves and others – before they get irreparably damaged. This, combined with his 29 years as a loving husband and father, has provided Geoff with the real-life experience needed to guide others in rescuing and renewing the relationships into which so much time, love, and energy have been invested – and need not be wasted.

I Hate You, So I Can Love You!…Really?!

September 12, 2011 · Comments Off
Category: Geoff Laughton, Men and Relationship, Syndicated 

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A few Saturdays ago, I wrote about Mercury Retrograde, essentially warning that a lot of unusually intense emotions, reactions, circumstances, etc. were like to be busting out all over the place…particularly with loved ones.  I told you to not necessarily take anything at face value or have conflicts automatically mean something is horribly wrong.  I even shared that I had had an uncharacteristically horrible blow-out with one of the folks I dearly love the night before.  At the end of that evening, prior to writing you about it, I just felt horrible, felt I’d ruined that relationship for life, felt inept, and just flat out confused as to what the hell had just happened.

Whether Mercury Retrograde really has anything to do with it all doesn’t matter.  What really matters is that, if the guano is going to hit your fan, can you turn it into a souffle of growth, progress, and deeper connection with someone (and yourself)?  So, like the headline for this piece says, can you turn a moment of strife or hate (I use that word more as a dramatic label than The Truth) into more love?  Absolutely.  I’ll give you an example of how I did it using the blow-up referred to above.

As is the case with most things that really make you lose your stuff, the specific details of what “happened” in the squabble I went through a few Fridays ago aren’t as important as what I’ve discovered and gained that you can too if you run into similar situations with your partner or other loved ones.  The gist of what caused the blow-up was a simple conversation where the other party said something that a part of me “heard” as a message that the other person didn’t want to play with me, essentially (not at all the truth, by the way).  I got hurt and then very angry, but told the other person that I would talk to them later when we were meeting up to get some things done that we were working together on.  In the interim, I was still fuming and my mind was building evidence for its case about what was really happening with the other person.  The more the case got built, the more “right” I was feeling, the more self-righteous I got, and the more hurt and PO’d I got.

Meanwhile, the other person, turns out, was going through something similar.  When we got to our meeting place, we did the work that needed to be done, and then went to the parking lot, where I intended to apologize for my initial reaction energy, find out what the facts really were, and work through anything that needed to be worked through.  But, the other person had built their case, was even more mad than I was, and we both basically opened up a can of whup-ass on each other that was hurtful, spiteful, and not at all the truth about much of anything, other than our respective reactions and interpretations.  The evening ended in us both leaving in a huff and being completely disconnected.  It felt horrible.

Odds are, you have experienced something like this, right?  Maybe even it’s something that happens with you and your partner more frequently than you like…or with one of your kids…or a co-worker.   Truly, this kind of stuff happens all the time, and you may have grown up watching it happen in your family a lot, in one form or another.  If you did, then this kind of thing can seem almost “normal.”  However, you – like everyone else – have your limits on how much of that you can handle before the hurt and upset turns into potentially fatal (to the relationship) levels of resentment.

So, when this happens, and you’re feeling like you “hate” the other person and would just as soon throw them under a bus as look at them, what do you do?  The first thing is take the time to cool off, feel and move the emotional energy, and then start looking at what you were really wanting that caused the upset, based on circumstances that may not have even been explicitly related.  In other words, using my example here, I was mad at this person because I thought that they didn’t want to be with me and hang out.  As I’ve looked at it more deeply, however, I saw that what a part of me was really wanting was to be reassured that I was loved by this person…which would be “proven” by them choosing me to play with.  It’s just like grade school, isn’t it?  But, we often react to and handle things as if we were still in grade school!

If you can figure out what you’re really wanting (which, on one level or another, is usually to feel connected), then go back to the other person, clean up your part of not communicating the way you would’ve liked to, take responsibility for your actions/non-actions, allow the other person to do the same (if they’re ready and willing), and then explore what you want to create instead.  In other words, how can you convert that temporary, child-like “I hate you,” to a more adult and conscious “I love you and want more of that“?

In doing that with the other person I’ve been referring to (with the help of a facilitator, by the way, which is a good idea to have when the blow-up’s severe enough), I not only saw what I really needed and wanted, and saw where I was responsible for not asking for it the way I know how to, a huge internal relief and freedom came in.  Then, it turned out that there was so much the other party was wanting and needing with me (all of which was centered in emotional connection) that they didn’t get because their reactions and projections went to town…much of which stemmed from things not communicated.  In the end, we both apologized, took responsibility for our parts, shared explicitly what we needed, set some new boundaries, and left the conversation fully back in love with each other again.

Moral of the story…don’t automatically take a blow-out – once you cool off and move the energy of the anger/hurt – as a sign of “The End Is Near!“  Instead, see what happens if you were to use it as an opportunity and a sign that there’s more love wanted and waiting to be had…if only you’re willing to take full responsibility for what you need and communicate it!  So much of the time, the deepest roots of continual conflict will be tied to how much one or both of you are NOT saying, not what you ARE saying.  And, if you’ll say it, even if you still have some rocky waves to traverse, if you hang in there with each other – rooted in your commitment to see each other as deeply loved – you’d be amazed at what you can overcome and create newly with each other.

Geoff Laughton

Geoff helps couples get the relationship back with each other that they’ve been dreaming of instead of continuing to live the one they’ve been settling for.
Geoff is a Master Relationships Recovery Coach who has spent the last 15 years guiding individuals and couples worldwide in re-energizing and re-inventing their relationships – with themselves and others – before they get irreparably damaged. This, combined with his 29 years as a loving husband and father, has provided Geoff with the real-life experience needed to guide others in rescuing and renewing the relationships into which so much time, love, and energy have been invested – and need not be wasted.

Hiding Out in Oz

July 27, 2011 · Comments Off
Category: Geoff Laughton, Men and Relationship, Syndicated 

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by Geoff Laughton

QuarrelWhen you are looking at what makes your relationship(s) (oh hell…and life itself) challenging and difficult,  it will help to really examine the power and Modus Operandi of shame. It’s often been called the Master Emotion, and while it may not really be that for you, you sure can count on the fact that, to the degree you have it and don’t know how to work with it, it will become your Master and the insidious, stealth bomber on the well-being of your relationship(s).  It’s a huge topic, so today, I want to share about  just one facet of how shame can control you that is worth paying sober attention to.

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Are You On the Receiving End?

July 15, 2011 · Comments Off
Category: Geoff Laughton, Syndicated 

Receiving HandsOne of the biggest issues that shows up in the couples and individuals I work with, particularly in regards to their relationships, is where they are so challenged to comprehend what it means to receive. When you dig down even further with the issue, it becomes clear that a LOT of people don’t know how to fathom the notion of receiving without first having earned it and/or without being sure that the right kind of score-keeping is happening to be sure that the balance sheet of worth is properly maintained.

If you’re reading this article, and you’re already noticing a little pull in your tummy, or some internal gasp of recognition, then keep reading.

Dictionary.com offers three definitions of receiving:

  • “To take into one’s possession (something offered or delivered); to receive many gifts
  • “To have something bestowed or conferred”
  • “To have delivered or brought to one”

The word “Receive” comes from the Latin “regain; to take back.” When you look at those definitions and the root from which they come, and then think about what your definition of receiving is – and how you relate to it, what comes up for you?

When you look at the partner you love dearly (or anyone else that fills that bill), do you not have frequent desires to bestow, deliver, and share the gifts you have to offer them…particularly love, compassion, and attention? When you decide to do that, does your partner evade it, minimize it, or just plain seem pretty darn awkward with the whole thing?  If that happens, then what happens to you, inside?  Maybe you get discouraged, insulted, hurt, or shut down…particularly if this is a frequent dynamic.  It wouldn’t be at all unusual if you even start going down the mental highway of believing that your partner/loved one doesn’t even love you anymore.  It’s healthy to look at why you have issues with getting that which you so easily share to others.

I want to suggest that, while those kinds of reactions aren’t unusual, to confuse the reaction with the TRUTH is likely a big mistake.  For someone – given the origin of “Receive” above – to let in what you’re trying to offer them means they’d have to take themselves back; specifically, whether on a conscious or unconscious level, receiving (particularly loving actions/energies) puts you in the position of getting to take back your worth…to take it in, actually. Your partner wanting to give to you is surely about them loving you and wanting to communicate it in different ways.  However,  have you ever thought about looking at it as a way – intended or not – for you to see yet another degree of yourself through the reflections that being given to put in front of you?  If you could do that, you could deepen your own appreciation for who and how wonderful you are.

Now, to the average bear, you’d think that this would be easy, welcomed, and wanted. Yet, it’s NOT.  So many people just can’t grasp why someone would want to give to them, to see them and acknowledge them in any way, shape, or form.  If you have that going on, can you see that that’s not really natural?  It’s natural to be loved and loving, and it’s natural to both give and receive. So, if neither are natural for you (anymore, if ever), it’s probably time to consider that it might be time for you to look at what scares you about being given to…particularly being loved. Were you to allow it to stay unexamined, you and your relationships will progressively get depleted and uninspiring.

If that’s not what you want, here are some areas to examine inside, to help you with that:

  • Notice what the almost automatic thoughts are that come into your head when your partner is spontaneously loving on you.  If it’s easy to let in, great.  If not, what are you thinking (“Why are they doing this?” or “What do I have to do in return?”) are not uncommon for a lot of people.
  • Write down what the costs were to you when you were growing up (yes, it almost always has some roots in how we were brought up) of trusting love and compassionate being shown to you?  Was there a lot demanded in return?  Was it given so sporadically that you lost touch with what was because of you and what was a manipulation?
  • Take an honest, hard look inside to see if your challenges with receiving also have anything to do with things you haven’t communicated to your partner that has now elevated to a level of guilt and/or resentment that receiving from them feels impossible…because you know you’re not coming clean with things and, therefore, don’t deserve to be given to.  In other words, does keeping receiving at bay allow you to passive-agressively get back at your partner/friend for slights/hurts that you haven’t acknowledged or cleaned up with them?
  • If you’re often the giver, do you often take the time to pause for a second, and really check in with your heart and gut to see why you’re giving in that moment, and if it’s being driven by the sheer joy of giving…or, from an (un)conscious attempt to re-balance the scorecard of what you can trust about being loved based on where the score is?  If you feel resentful a lot after you give, there’s a clue for you.

Taking a look at those things will help you be able to really not only get what might be the matter, but will also help you begin identifying where you need to focus your efforts to begin getting back on the track of regaining yourself through the mirror that others’ giving provides you…if you’ll only look.

If you want to get even deeper into the heart of this issue in your relationship, consider clicking on the link at the top of this issue to have a complimentary chat about it.

I would really love to hear what you think and feel about this topic.  If you would be willing to share, and would want it to be anonymous, please email me at info@geofflaughton.com.  If you’re willing to have your experiences be of more immediate use and support for others trying to figure all this stuff out too, I invite you to post a comment or a note, to my Living Your Spirit Now Facebook Fan Page.

The law of commitment

September 22, 2010 · Leave a Comment
Category: 2010 September - Men and Power 

by Roy Biancalana

Imagine your life three years from now. If you’re like me, that’s a fairly easy thing to do. Most of us know what we’d like to attract, create or manifest in our lives. It’s the “how” part that trips us up. We know where we want to go, but we’re not sure how to get there.

I want to discuss this confusing “how” issue. There are  universal laws that govern manifestation. If you consciously align your life with these  laws consistently, you will attract, create and manifest whatever vision you have for your life.  My niche and passion as a relationship coach is supporting single people who desire to attract the love of their lives. So, I want to show you how these laws can be used to manifest a great relationship.

The first, and by far, the most important law that governs manifestation is the Law of Commitment. You must actually want to manifest what you say you want to manifest in order for it to manifest. I know that seems obvious, but consider New Year’s resolutions. Why do most of us not fulfill them? Because underneath our stated intentions, there’s a stronger, and usually unconscious, counter-commitment at work, holding us back. In other words, you’ve got one foot on the gas and the other on the brake. If you want to manifest an amazing life partner, or, if you want to grow your business (or manifest anything else), you must discover and let go of your hidden, unconscious counter-commitments to doing so.

Here’s the startling truth: If you are single, on some level, you want to be single. And if your business is not succeeding, on some level, you don’t want it to succeed. Sounds nuts, doesn’t it? But this first law says that your results reveal your true commitments. It doesn’t matter what you say you want; your results reveal what you really want. Let me give you an example.

I met a woman recently that was 45 years old and had never been married. She said she wanted to fall in love with a great guy, but as we talked, she admitted a deep fear of being rejected, hurt and abandoned. Can you see why she has kept herself single all these years? The counter-commitment to not being hurt was stronger than the stated commitment to falling in love. If she deals with her counter-commitment and lets it go, my guess is that within a month she’ll meet the man of her dreams.

If you want to manifest something new in your personal or professional life, the critical first step is to deal with your unconscious counter-commitments. You must take your foot off the brake if you want to get anywhere. And you do that by spending a significant amount of alone time asking yourself what I call, “Quantum Manifestation Questions” or QMQ.

The QMQ for the Law of Commitment is this: What is the benefit or payoff for not getting what you want? What do you get out of things staying the way they are? If nothing comes to mind, turn it around. What’s the downside to manifesting what you want? What do you fear might, or will happen, if you get what you want? Sit with these questions for days, if necessary.

If you discover your counter-commitments and deal with them, you will effortlessly and quickly attract, create and manifest your heart’s desire—if of course, you align yourself with the four other Laws of Manifestation. Stay tuned.

RoyBiancalana Roy Biancalana is an author and certified life/relationship coach specializing in supporting people who desire to use their relationship pain as a portal to profound personal growth, the discovery of a life purpose and the creation of authentic intimacy. He coaches by phone. (http://www.coachingwithroy.com)

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