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Flushing It Out
69 minutes | May 13, 2022
Sex: Keeping It Hot - Ashleigh Renard
Ashleigh wrote “Swing” because it was her deepest, darkest secret. She thought that there wouldn’t be anybody in the world that could relate to what she experienced, so she wrote about about it to tell everybody. She thought, “Now I’m going to make this into art to share it.” An artist understands that every person will experience art in a different way, and that’s ok. “Swing” is a book about the story of her and her husband getting into an exclusive sex club in New York City and the things that happen at the club. The book is meant to be a “bait and switch” though, because according to Ashleigh, the book is actually about “how easy it is to lose yourself in the roles that you think you should be playing for other people,” not about sex clubs. She coached figure skating, 150 skaters on 10 teams. In a decade, she realized that she had been showing up for everybody else, but not for herself. Her marriage was imploding. She realized that she didn’t have a firm foundation anywhere in her life like she thought she had. All of us are looking to feel “filled up.” Most of us have one or two ways of feeling filled up that aren’t good for us. Ashleigh found out that getting attention from other men was one of those things that made her feel good. She got the attention and affection that she desired in her own marriage through other men that she interacted with at these clubs. Growing up, she was the child who “never needed anything.” She simply reached for another accomplishment. There are so many men who have connected with Ashleigh and to how she feels in the book. Some people may assume it to be a creepy thing, but it ends up being the complete opposite. Men describe her as being like a big sister. The way she describes things in the book are “you and your partner,” so there’s a universal aspect to it. People just want to talk to her about their feelings, men included. Where do we get our information? Our parents don’t typically talk about sex in front of us, or finances, or any of the other things that cause us problems as adults. Hot sex is a side effect of a healthy relationship. When we turn the iceberg on it’s side, though, it’s a way to get all of our communications and connections to be better. The book actually started as a screenplay, but she couldn’t finish it. She got about halfway through and realized that people would find comfort in knowing the story actually happened after posting some things on social media and getting some positive feedback. If we want to get to the place of radical connection, we have to go through the valley of honesty. She thought that the only thing that was ever good enough was something that was flawless. Anything less needed to be glossed over. “Good or better” was the only way to succeed. If you’ve had any kind of fracture in your relationship and you decide to stay together and work through it, on the other side of the fracture is a freedom to not be afraid of being imperfect anymore. Peeing can teach us something about how we should treat ourselves. For Ashleigh, she realized that she needed to simply pee whenever she had the urge. If she couldn’t go, “Ashleigh needs to pee,” or “Ashleigh is hungry or tired,” she couldn’t be trusted to make the good decisions about the other cues that her body is telling herself. How do we know what we like sexually if we don’t even listen to our bodies for the simple things? Ashleigh’s book “Swing” is available anywhere books are sold. Other ways to stay connected with Ashleigh are: On IG: @AshleighRenard “Keeping It Hot: The Workbook” - pre-orders available now!
54 minutes | May 13, 2022
Sex and Faith - Tiffany Dawn
Tiffany wants all women to have beautiful sex lives, which is why she loves to talk about sex. So much of what we’re told is either black or white in church isn’t really black or white. One of the harmful things about the way the Church has approached sexuality is that it is approached as black or white. Tiffany talks about a book called, “Out of Sorts” by Sarah Bessey. It explains that kids need “black and white.” A lot of people never leave the stage of blind acceptance, though. The black and white answers feel safe, but they are only meant to be a ‘beginning.’ We need to be questioning the “why” behind the black and white answers. She grew up in the church because her father was the youth pastor at the church. Her childhood was very sheltered and conservative. She was homeschooled. She never talked about sex and didn’t even know basic body anatomy. Even the word “vagina” was foreign to her. She grew up afraid of everything, especially relationships between her and the boys she was interested in. In college, she had a boyfriend. When he put his arm around her, she knew that it felt good, but she felt incredible guilt and shame around how she felt. She felt like in order to keep his attention on her and off of pornography, she needed to keep going further and further physically. Still, they never had sex but the guilt and shame kept growing. She felt like there was a wall between her and God. Eventually, her dad broke up the relationship because she was honest about how physical their relationship had gotten with him. The next few years, she struggled with hating her body and with relationships. She wanted to be in a relationship, but all of her past struggles with relationships made it extremely difficult. Eventually, she developed a mentorship with her pastor and his wife and started to share her thoughts and feelings with them, which started her healing journey. She then ended up dating another guy who was really good for her, which was the opposite of her first relationship. You can’t have good sex if you aren’t “in your body.” She still had a lot of baggage around sex. How are you going to enjoy sex if it’s just “duty sex.” She didn’t know her body at all and she couldn’t figure it out. She need to learn how to be present in her own body to be able to enjoy sex and figure out how to have a good orgasm. Sex is about being in it together. It isn’t a dictatorship or one person telling the other how sex should be. We need to be on the same page as our partners. Sex is not a duty. It’s all a mutual compromise. Tiffany also mentions a book by Sheila Gregoire - “The Great Sex Rescue.” This book contains research based evidence for breaking down the myths that a lot of Christian women have believed about sex. She sees nuance in how Christians view sex. Without context, it is very hard to understand what the Bible has to say about the subject. You can get turned on without judgment. Learn to understand your body and understand what your body is telling you and take the time to understand what works for you as an individual and as a couple. Resource for listeners: “The Wedding Night Talks - How do you get from nothing to great sex. Here’s what you need to talk about… “ You can find more about Tiffany at: tiffanydawn.net And on IG: @TiffanyDawnIQB
60 minutes | May 13, 2022
Sex: After Trauma - Kyra Flatow
Kyra was kidnapped and sexually assaulted by an ex-boyfriend her Junior year of High School. She was taken in the middle of the night and was transported to a field behind the local HS where she was assaulted in many ways. She was put back in the car and made the comment to him “I can’t believe I ever trusted you.” So, instead of taking her home, he took her to the dump, where she thought she was going to die. Nobody in her hometown believed her. He was a preacher’s son and an athlete and on an athletic scholarship and nobody thought he would ever do such a thing. So, she didn’t know where to turn or who would believe her. She didn’t see a therapist for any of this until nearly 10 years later and has been in therapy ever since. Every week in therapy is a new adventure uncovering new things about herself. If she had started therapy immediately following her trauma, she admits that she may not have gotten as much out of it. She wasn’t believed, so she didn’t even believe herself. We aren’t “dealing with things,” we’re working through things. She will never go back to her life the way it used to be. There is before the trauma and there is after the trauma and you can never go back to the time before, you can only work to make the life after the trauma the best that it can be. What’s the new normal? How has this trauma shown up in Kyra’s life? She is very up front about how things have affected her. She is very open and honest about what has happened to her, at least at a high level, with prospective partners. So many of them can’t handle it and basically run away. She realizes that this is not about her, it’s about what they can or cannot handle. Kyra shares a couple of examples of times with partners that involve how her trauma has affected her sexual encounters. She didn’t want to go to therapy because “broken people go to therapy.” She was willing to share her brokenness, but wanted to seem put together all the time on social media. This was because, according to her therapist, she needed to control the narrative. So, she had to bribe herself to go to therapy. She wasn’t there to talk about her trauma, she was just there to talk about whatever the problem was at the time. Of course, her problems seemed to point back to her trauma, so eventually she was able to talk about the things from her past and begin healing from these traumatic events. She cared so much about the person that assaulted her, she didn’t tell the truth about what happened. The night it happened, her dad told her to write down everything that happened. So she went back and got a copy. When she looked back at what she wrote down, so much of what she remembers happening wasn’t in what she wrote down because she was still protecting him at the time. “Good sex can’t happen until you learn to love yourself, and what you like and what your body likes.” Society teaches us that a man’s pleasure is the most important thing, but that’s just not true. Uncomfortable conversations are important to get the truth out there about sex. They’re hard to have, but they get better over time. Kyra can be found on IG: @kflatow09
39 minutes | May 13, 2022
Sex: Discovering Desire - Ashley Grubbs
When it comes to sex, where do we start? How do you want to be approached and how do you want to hear “no?” This is an important conversation we all need to have with our partners. What makes sex meaningful? How to hear “no” is a little more complicated. Is it a simple “no,” or is there a reason behind it? What words are we choosing, and what messages are being received with those words? Having these conversations eliminates some of the superfluous issues that come from miscommunication around sex. What determines the end of sex? Usually, it is after the man has an orgasm and this is the message we get at a young age. Religion and family of origin play a part in this, too, when the message centers around the pleasure of the man. So, then sex starts to become a chore, just like vacuuming the house. So, why would women want to keep having sex or have desire for sex if that’s the case? We need to understand what it is that we enjoy. Ashley talks about “brakes” and “accelerators.” A bad night’s sleep is a ‘brake.’ When your partner is attentive to you, that’s an ‘accelerator.’ So, we need to start understanding what helps our desire and what hinders our desire. When your car is at a full stop, pressing on the accelerator doesn’t automatically get it to full speed, it takes some time and constant pressure on the accelerator to get there. It’s the same way with sexual desire. Word choice is important. If you don’t feel “safe,” you should think twice about it. She says, “if it isn’t an enthusiastic ‘yes,’ then it’s a ‘no’” when it comes to sex. Comfort is something entirely different. How do we make sex both safe and comfortable? How do we find desire and safe, comfortable sex? We can start by changing things up and seeing what feels better. Change the time, change the place, or change the position. If you’re having sex the same way every time, we’re over-relying on comfort and it can start to feel boring and monotonous. Comfortable and safe sex is fine, but a third thing that Ashley suggests adding if you have those two already is variety. What about when we get older or when our health starts to deteriorate or when our bodies start to go? This is where exploring with your partner and figuring out what sensations you like versus what you don’t like come into play. It is about opening up the to the vulnerability of trying new things and exploring uncertainty with somebody who you’re comfortable with. The idea is to get more “yes’s” than “no’s.” It doesn’t have to be sexual in nature. Jumping into the deep end doesn’t have to be how exploration goes. If you start small, you don’t have to realize that something isn’t for you when you’re in the moment and it’s too late. For those that may have had some sort of sexual trauma, Ashley says that the number one thing about improving sex is not to talk about it when things could get sexual. Don’t talk about it at night (or the time you’re most likely to have sex), and don’t talk about it in bed ( or the place you’re most likely to have sex). We really don’t want to conflate the bad thing that somebody else did to you with the good thing that sex should be for you. You can get it touch with Ashley at: email@example.com blueharbortherapy.com Ashley also writes monthly for Kiss & Tell Magazine: https://www.kissandtellmagazine.com/author/agrubbs/
47 minutes | May 13, 2022
Sex: Release the Shame - Mr. Fox
So, how do we talk about sex and everything that goes along with it? For Fox, you start by acknowledging that it’s awkward. Two people doing a very intimate physical act is very complicated. Having humor about it can also go a long way. So, we start by owning the fact that we don’t have a lot of practice talking about these things and that it’s going to be awkward until it isn’t. Everybody is going to have their own experience with sex and it will depend on how sex was introduced in their lives. It also depends on the messages people have received during their lives surrounding sex. We as humanity attach sexual connotations to so many things that should not be sexualized. It is apparent in the commercials we see and other things such as children’s swimwear and beauty pageants for underage kids. This is one of the problems when it comes to understanding sex. For Fox, he suggests familiarizing yourself with what it is that makes you uncomfortable when it comes to sex. Everybody has a limit, but how do we know what that limit is? Of course, when there is sexual abuse in your past, this can be a very dangerous thing to do. Talking to a therapist is always important to help each of us understand our own individual relationships with sex. When we figure out where our limits are, it’s important to own those limits in addition to understanding them. How can couples be more sex-positive? Each person has their own experiences around sex. The main thing is to avoid shame when it comes not only to our partner’s experiences, but also our own. Fox explains that consent is very important, too. Quoting Planned Parenthood, he explains that consent is best when given with FRIES; Freely-given, Reversible, Informed, Enthusiastic, and Specific. How many of us had a comprehensive class on sexual education before we got involved with sex? How many of us had a class on finances before we started having to pay taxes? These are important conversations to have, but most of us are not having them. How do we give our kids the best head start on having a good relationship with sex? We start by taking away the awkwardness and shame that we feel around the topic. Also, we need to use the proper anatomical terms for our biological parts. We need to normalize talking about these awkward things. Not only do we need to normalize the awkwardness of all things in life, we also need to teach our kids to use their voices. Samantha and Fox use the example of hugging. If our kids don’t want a hug from a grandparent or from a friend, saying ‘no’ needs to be an option given to them and they need to know how to exercise their right to say ‘no.’ Even telling kids that if something feels good in the moment, but doesn’t feel good afterward, that’s something that needs to be talked about. So, how do we normalize these conversations with our children? Well, it’s only awkward of you make it awkward. We need to be able to talk about these awkward things in a non-awkward way. Then, according to Fox, kids need to be encouraged to explore themselves. The more we can talk about these things, the more we can get rid of the stigmas around them. We can take away the things that make sex taboo. Mr. Fox can be found at: Calm Fox Coaching FB, IG, and Twitter: @calmfoxcoaching Or visit calmfoxcoaching.com to schedule a free 45 minute call.
54 minutes | Apr 9, 2022
Trauma: Childhood Sexual Abuse - Phil Goldstein
In this episode, Samantha talks with poet and author of "How to Bury a Boy at Sea," Phil Goldstein. Phil talks about the struggles in his life caused by his childhood trauma that eventually led him to therapy. Once in therapy, he realized that being a victim of childhood sexual abuse didn't have to define who he is. He talks with Samantha and her husband, Jeremy, about the entire process and about his journey to healing. Phil also discusses the process of compiling the poems he has in his book and Samantha takes a few examples of pieces he has written and talk about what they mean to her and Jeremy. This is a heavy episode with such a great message, so listen in as Phil, Jeremy, and Samantha "Flush It Out!"
61 minutes | Apr 9, 2022
Trauma: Attachments - Jody Tompros and Thom Overton
In this episode, Samantha talks with Jody Tompros, retired social worker/therapist and owner of Mindfulness Painting, and her husband, Thom Overton, who is a couple's therapist. Thom discusses his book, "Can COVID Save This Marriage? A Therapist's Pandemic Diary," how it came to be, and how it helps people feel seen and heard. Thom and Jody discuss previous marriages, issues they see in couples that have come to them for guidance, and whether or not sex can be the sole reason a couple stays together. So, listen in as Jody, Thom, Jeremy, and Samantha "Flush It Out!"
46 minutes | Apr 9, 2022
Trauma: Rewriting Your Story - Rachel Nusbaum
In this episode, Samantha talks with the owner of Orchid Story, Rachel Nusbaum, about how we can all explore the art of writing to help us on our own healing journeys. Her business, Orchid Story is coaching with a focus on writing as therapy. Rachel tells us how writing has helped her and how it has helped so many others she has worked with. She reminds us the work of writing can sometimes be an uphill climb, but it is always worth it. So, listen in as Samantha and Rachel "Flush It Out!"
58 minutes | Apr 9, 2022
Trauma: Integration - Corinne Coppola
In this episode, Samantha talks with Internal Family Systems Coach, Corinna Coppola. Corinne talks about her upbringing and why she eventually decided to get into Internal Family Systems (IFS) as a practice. She talks us through the basics of IFS and gives us a foundation to go by if any listeners would ever want to explore this healing process. So, listen in as Corinna and Samantha "Flush It Out!"
44 minutes | Mar 8, 2022
Aging: Rediscovering YOU - Danielle Brooks
Danielle Brooks acknowledged all that was happening. She dug into her childhood trauma. She started to map out how some of the unhealed areas in her life shaped the decisions she was making. Danielle realized that people get stuck in regret or in lost opportunities. It was her 50th birthday and she was trying to figure out how to celebrate in the midst of the pandemic. She didn’t want to be stuck in “healing mode.” She figured out that we all need to listen to our intuition and listen to ourselves. Eventually she stopped therapy and got out of the divorce recovery group that she had been a part of. For her birthday, she decided to make “Top 10 Lists” instead. Dealing with the trauma is necessary, but there was joy she found along the way. She wanted to reconnect to the little girl inside of her. She also struggled with “toxic positivity.” She needed to be healed enough to know whether or not she was denying her own reality, but she also realized that it’s ok to be a positive person in the world. Grief was important for her because she was a person who didn’t have a lot of self-worth. It took her holding space for her own grief and allowing herself to feel those feelings in order to turn that around. Talking about it with safe people is important, also. She found her “helpers!” Danielle says that taking the first step is important. You may be surprised where you find support. There can be a lot of healing when you become open and vulnerable. This lightens your grief. We live in a youth-focused culture. This makes it challenging to feel comfortable at your age. Let yourself “be.” Be where you are. Be who you are. Be the age you are. How do you do an “autopsy” of your own life? She likes to write, so she started with one question. “When was the last time that I felt truly happy?” From the list that this question prompted, she started to dig a little bit deeper into those and went from there. After that, she started to go back even earlier and did the same thing. It created a “web of happiness” for her. Danielle was living life like she could outrun her past; that she could achieve enough to close the door on her past. She had rehearsed her vulnerability story very well. It was a story of overcoming; a military career, getting a masters degree, etc. She told herself that she could “pray her way” out of her past. But, she had never dealt with it. She had to go back and reclaim the rest of her story. Danielle finishes her time on the podcast by mentioning a couple of books that have helped her on her journey: Crystal Evans Hurst’s book, “She’s Still There.” Rediscovering the little girl inside of you. This book helped her to be confident with who she is. She is now embracing every aspect of who she is. “Everything Belongs” by Richard Rohr. This book integrated her Christian beliefs with the rest of her life. She was able to tap into her spirit and expand her capacity to open herself up to her internal intuition.
38 minutes | Mar 8, 2022
Aging: Honoring Our "Stuff" - Kerry Thomas
Kerry Thomas is an organizing and productivity coach. She has a lot of different passions, but her favorite is working with offices. Kerry has some things she needs to get off her chest when it comes to people’s “stuff” as they get older. Let’s start with, “what small changes can I implement now that’ll make things easier for those we leave behind?” When you have the luxury of helping people through the process of decluttering over time, it can be good and bad. First, she has seen success when the approach doesn’t come from a place of judgment, but when you come at it from a place of improvement. It doesn’t need to come from a place of telling them what to do. One thing that is helpful is when somebody else does the touching and smelling of clothes, especially. There are a lot of emotions associated with clothing, so when you’re trying to get rid of things, it helps to detach from the emotional side of things a bit. The more things you can do to tap into your subconscious (which is really “running the show”), you are able to find the emotions around your things. Feelings are fuel. This is what’s going to get you where you want to go. The reverse happens when we’re trying to let go of things and get rid of things. So, it’s very helpful to have an accountability partner or somebody who can help you to avoid that. If you’re the helper, it’s important to honor the other person’s wishes. With any age, if you go into somebody else’s environment, you can’t tell what might be somebody’s “favorites.” Duplicates and triplicates are a great place to start when decluttering or getting rid of stuff. Kerry encourages people to do the 90 day test; have a box for the questionable things and let them sit for 90 days. If you find that you still don’t need those things after that time period, it’s time to get rid of them. On thing she wants everybody to think about is that when we’re going through and helping our aging parents to declutter, it can be a good idea to record the stories that come from the trips down memory lane. This happens often when you have the opportunity to help somebody sift through their stuff, and capturing those memories can make the experience worthwhile. One of the best things you can do for your loved ones is to let them know ahead of time what you want kept in the family, what you want to be donated to specific charities, or if you truly don’t care where your things go, let your loved ones know. If it’s appropriate to ask the people who are aging in your life, please ask them that question. Do the work before it’s needed. Make sure you know what accounts are out there and make sure your loved ones have access to them. This is important for end of life events, or if there’s a memory issue. You can find more about Kerry Thomas and Conquer The Chaos at: ctcorganizing.com *here you can find her TED Talk and other information. Or on Facebook: FB Group: “Less Clutter, More Peace”
40 minutes | Mar 8, 2022
Aging: Stay Curious - Jill Perla
Jill Perla is staying curious with herself even at the age of 55. She believes that you should have grace for yourself and realize that new things are coming. There’s fear around the new chapter and there’s shame in not knowing what your next steps are. Things are shifting, and she’s allowing room for that, but there’s also fear there, and possibility at the same time. She wants people to stay creative and keep an open mind, even as they age. Sometimes we resist things that we should be embracing Jill has been professionally painting for 12 years. When she was younger, she would look at people who were 55 and think, “they’re so old!” But now that she’s 55 herself, she’s realizing that this age is not that old and that there’s a lot of time to still do the things she wants to do. She learns a lot about herself through her painting. “Creative Kickstart” is a group that she leads where she teaches people how to do the thing that reconnects you with yourself. For her, it was painting, but for others it could be writing, or hiking, or anything else, really. Growing up, hobbies seemed something that was just silly to her. Now, she sees them as a lifeline. Hobbies can charge you up and bring you joy. Jill encourages us to “never stop learning” and to “stay curious.” We need to always be looking for those hobbies that get discouraged in adulthood for some reason. When you stay curious, conversations are better and life is better. If we can be curious in life, people are much friendlier and the world can be a better place. As we age, we tend to find roadblocks to the things that interest us. The more we try, embrace ourselves, and have grace for ourselves, the more we will find. There’s a fear of failure that we push our children through as kids that we don’t push ourselves through as adults. The older we get, the harder it is to push through that. What are ways we can engage our brains as we get older? For Jill, it’s finding ways to engage. Any time we get an opportunity to use the opposite side of the brain we’re used to using, it’s going to help. Take chances and don’t feel silly when you do. You can ask for help no matter what your age is. Nobody knows everything, so ask for help. Don’t feel guilty for fulfilling yourself because you’re going to be more able to fill others when you’re fulfilled. You can find more about Jill Perla at: jillperlaart.com *Join Creative Kickstart for a free 30 day trial
39 minutes | Mar 8, 2022
Aging: The Sandwich Generation - Heather Suri
Heather Suri owns a Care Management Practice called Pathways In Aging. Care management involves helping families create teams. Their specialty is working with aging people. Older adults, in general, tend to have a different calculation of personal risk. When you’re in the closing chapters of your life, your risk is different from when you are a teenager. A lot of times, adult children just wish their parents would go into assisted living because of the risks associated with aging in place, but the challenge comes in finding the intersections between what they want and what their parents want. One of the roles of a therapist is not to tell you what to do, but to find the answers that are already inside yourself and be willing to listen to and sit with those answers no matter how uncomfortable. You are not responsible for your parents and all of their choices. People who have capacity have the right to make decisions that we don’t agree with. Boundaries are important to be able to find peace in whatever situation you’re in. Everybody’s boundaries are going to be different, but you have to be healthy yourself before you can take care of anybody else. You get to decide what your boundaries are. Define what’s right for you and respect and honor the boundaries that you set. One of the ways we can effectively work with our aging parents is by building a team. Figure out who the team is that will help with your parents. As the “sandwich generation,” we make everything our job, and it’s exhausting. Having a team will ease the stress and exhaustion. What is it that most families think they’re “alone” in? Is your parent safe to drive? When do we know when cognition changes are actually dementia, and how do you navigate getting them help? The answers aren’t ever black or white and it always depends on the situation and the family. Sometimes the kids aren’t the best messenger when it comes to having those hard conversations with the parents. Sometimes there are other people involved in the older parent’s life that can help when there could be a contentious relationship between a parent and a child. Sometimes there’s a lot of frustration and resentment between siblings because each member of the family has their own individual boundaries and bandwidth and the care will never be distributed evenly. Be able to articulate what you need and understand the talents and gifts of the other siblings. We need to prepare our own kids for our own aging. It’s important to have the hard conversations with our own kids to prepare them. Heather outlines some of the ways we can get started. Finally, remember that doing the best you can do is enough and it’s ok to get help. Heather Suri can be found at: pathwaysinaging.com (phone, email, or book a consultation)
44 minutes | Feb 8, 2022
Parenting: Connecting With Your Child - Eileen Grimes
Eileen Grimes is the author of "The Us Journal," which is a parent-child joint journal that encourages the kindling of an authentic connection with your child. Eileen has a masters in education and her passion is in healing relationships and encouraging connections. Eileen reminds us that we need to be curious about who our kids are. When our kids are young, they are dependent on us for care and we are in tune to their needs. We then become accustomed to meeting certain needs. Eventually, though, our kids become their own autonomous people. We as parents tend to want to control the relationship. We tend to feel like we need to be "everything" for our kids, but we have to realize that we're not the only thing they need. Our kids need other outlets, especially to talk about things that they aren't going to want to talk about with their parents. Parenting is not prescriptive. Every child is different and we need resources for each unique one. That's something we need to understand. As parents, we can't parent each child the same way we did for another one. Eileen describes us as our own little islands. She wants to teach kids how to build bridges to other islands, including with their parents, but also with others. This will give them freedom and access to life. When her son was born, she knew that she wanted to build a bridge to him to keep him from the hurt and pain that she had gone through in her own life. In the beginning of the pandemic, she wrote her own eulogy. First, she wrote what would be said about her up to that point, then she wrote another one that was what she would want to be said about her at her death. This is where the journal that she wrote came from, "The Us Journal." So, what are ways to get curious about your kids and connect with them? The three words that Eileen loves when it comes to connecting with children and being curious are “tell me more.” Asking open-ended questions allows them to guide the conversation instead of us. We can give up control. That relieves stress for us where we feel like there has to be a lesson or the conversation needs to go in a certain direction. It opens up a door that allows us to be listeners in the conversation. The other thing is to “be silly.” There’s a feeling of relaxation and comfort in being silly together with our kids. It's also important to get on kids’ eye levels when you’re talking to them. It decreases the idea of aggression. Finally, have a growth mindset and always be prepared to learn. This is the best way to teach your kids and give them the tools to deal with future relationships. We can give them the tools to say, “I am a part of this relationship as well.” Boundaries are also important. We need to set boundaries for them, but they need to be able to set them for us, too. “I don’t know” is important for kids to hear. Sometimes it’s important for them to figure things out with you, and it’s also important for them to understand that you don’t have it all figured out. More information on Eileen can be found in the following locations: www.lovedasyouare.co On Instagram: @LovedAsYouAreCo She would love to hear from people who are using the journal!
48 minutes | Feb 8, 2022
Parenting LGBTQ+ Youth - R. Featherstone
R. Featherstone, MSN PMHNP WHNP PMH-C, is a nurse practitioner in the Richmond, VA area. They inform us that flexibility is the key to parenting. We all have a vision of who our children will be before they’re even born and we tend to lay out our hopes and dreams for the child. This vision isn't challenged until the tween stage when the parents’ values get challenged. It's at this point that there’s grief there for the parent. There’s a cognitive dissonance between what they thought they were going to get and what they actually got. Their children may not meet their vision. For LGBTQ+ children, this is a huge disruption to all of the things that parents were expecting. It means that the lives of the parents and the child have new challenges. So, we have to acknowledge the grief. It needs to be processed and understood that what is happening is different than what was expected. It’s not that anything is wrong, and there’s no fault, but at the same time, there's a major disruption in the lives of the parent and the child. “This isn’t about you:” The child’s identity isn’t about doing something to the parent; there’s no fault. Touchstone events become an entirely different and new experience. Where you may have originally expected you would be taking your daughter to buy a prom dress, you may be taking your son to order a tuxedo instead. Parents aren’t yet used to respecting the autonomy of children who are making the decision to be LGBTQ+. They aren’t autonomous age-wise, but nobody, regardless of age, can be told how they should feel. Children, regardless of identity, deserve a blanket universal acceptance from a parent. "We will love you and accept you no matter what." For parents, it’s important to stay curious. Great questions to ask your child are, “What does this mean to you?” or, “How can I support you best?” Give them the autonomy to disclose their identity based on where they feel safe. Allow them to selectively control how they come out. People now have more options to describe their gender. Kids today have better terminology to use. The idea that all of these new terms are confusing our children is untrue. These new terms are allowing our children to have their autonomy and choose for themselves where they should be. You can never undo whatever you do or say the moment your child first comes out to you. It’s like a first impression. Cultivating a safe environment for your kids is very important. If they feel safe and comfortable around you, they will feel like they can talk to you about almost anything. For instance, asking about pronouns when you meet somebody is a great way to communicate that you accept them, support them, and want to learn more. The best advice Featherstone has for parents is to “work on your poker face.” Samantha describes is as, "be cool! be cool!" Nobody should be parenting in a vacuum. Parents need to have other parents to talk to about the things their kids are doing or involved in. There are conversations that should be between parents, and not between the parent and the child. Featherstone talks about how we balance seemingly opposed ideas. It’s both-and, not either-or. We also need to have reasonable consequences that mimic what happens out in the real world. We need to talk about values when we discuss consequences with our kids. If expectations are unclear and a teen feels like they’re chasing a moving target, they’re going to get really frustrated. Finally, they talk about The Trevor Project. Teens that are forced to grow up in a body that doesn’t match their gender identity is traumatic. Allowing teens to explore these options saves lives. “It is not benign to deny who your child is.”
43 minutes | Feb 8, 2022
Parenting With Regrets - Dawn Geschiere
Dawn Geschiere is a life and empowerment coach and owner of Yes To Life Coaching. She is the parent of 5 adult children and has lots of experience to share with us. The term “no regrets” pulls us into a “guilt,” and when we do have regrets, we already have the idea that we want to have no regrets. It’s impossible to have no regrets and when we struggle to achieve that goal, we wind up stuffing all of our “stuff” down with expectation of getting closer to “no regrets.” So, if we live our lives believing we should have no regrets, are we setting ourselves up for failure? YES Because we are believing something that just isn’t true or real. It turns into a toxic positivity where you think you can get to a magical place. Each time we wallow in the shame of regret instead of just listening to that voice inside our heads, we get stuck. We can’t undo the mistakes that we make, but we can learn from them. We need to allow ourselves a little bit of time with those bad decisions and we need to listen to our regrets. What is it telling me? What is it showing me? Don’t feel shame, at least not for very long. Don’t wallow in guilt and overcompensate. Instead, let the regret become your teacher. Process it, own it, be with it, let yourself feel guilty, see what it teaches you, and then move on. If your child is developmentally there, you can then talk it over with them. Our emotions reveal our humanity. Sometimes we set ourselves up with the expectation that there’s a “right” way to parent. I think we can all agree that there’s no “right” way or “wrong” way, but there are parents out there living in that binary world. Our parenting is just a big series of science experiments. Sometimes the experiment goes well, and sometimes it doesn’t happen the way we hoped. What you feel matters and what your child feels matters. There’s some dependency there, but your children are separate beings. We get to guide them on their journey. They’re going to mess up, and so are we, as parents. There’s a side to “striving” that is harmful to us. It makes us uptight and brings a sense of pressure and stress to our kids. We end up striving for something that isn’t even attainable; “no regrets.” What if we just stayed present when things went wrong? What if we tried to work through things with our kids? We react and then we regret how we reacted, and that’s ok. So, how do we allow regret to be our teacher? We process through it. We own it. We realize that we made a mistake and learn from that mistake, and it’s a continuous process. Is it a big deal? Is it a big regret? Is it a pattern? What is it showing me? We’re going to learn how to move forward and be better for it. You can find more information on Dawn Geschiere and Yes To Life Coaching in the following locations: Dawn’s Monday Mamas - FB Group and then also “Member Mamas,” which is a pay-as-you-go option. email: firstname.lastname@example.org ytlcoaching.com Dawn’s Breast Cancer Journey: https://www.caringbridge.org/signin?returl=%2Fvisit%2Fdawngeschiere%2Fjournal%2Fview%2Fid%2F61f2a6166f88d6721a8ce740
33 minutes | Feb 8, 2022
Parenting: Simplify Your Life - Amy Slenker-Smith
Amy Slenker-Smith is the owner of Simply Enough, a company that encourages and helps people de-clutter their homes and lives. Over the course of her life, Amy realized if she just had less stuff, she would have less stuff to take care of. She was a really “organized hoarder.” She was organized, but there was a lot of stuff. For her, life is much better with less, though. Your family of origin is going to guide how you relate to your stuff. Amy’s mom was a collector and that was the example that was set. You’ll either mimic what you learned or you’ll do the exact opposite. For Amy, a switch flipped one day. She saw how "stuff" was taking time and attention away from her son. “Do I want time with this infant that took so long to happen, or do I want random stuff from Target?” That then led to the binge. She started to get rid of all of her stuff. She realized how much the stuff was getting in the way of her relationships, not just with her son. The fewer toys your kids have, the more they will play. This is a counter-intuitive idea, but more stuff for kids starts to become overwhelming. There’s a difference between a "play room" and a "toy room," and Amy describes the difference. Change does not happen overnight. Healthy boundaries around her mom buying gifts for her son. This was the pattern that was set, but that pattern was broken, so boundaries needed to be put into place. Even after she got rid of the stuff, there was still clutter in her calendar and in her health. Was there time for a break? Was there time for exercise? Was there time for her family? Her husband flipped that switch for her. He told her (in a way that she could hear it) that she needed to change her priorities. You can find more information on Amy Slenker-Smith and Simply Enough in the following locations: simplyenough.net On Instagram and Facebook: @simplyenoughamy
38 minutes | Jan 14, 2022
Body Image: Be Kind To Your Body - Elena Sonnino
Elena explains that she is a guide who nudges you to find your own liftoff. She asks questions to get people to the nudge, but it’s about you finding your own joy, value, and truth. Our judgment of our bodies starts when we are so young. All of her experiences growing up caused her to be her own worst enemy with her body, but it took all of that to give her the opportunity to love her body, too. When she got into her yoga practice, she discovered that the body changes daily and she started to fall in love with her own body. She explains that your body is your “home base.” It knows so, so much, even before the brain does. The body knows stuff! There are energy systems inside our bodies. So, to understand when we naturally find “home” in our body and the places where we haven’t been kind to ourselves we get to know sensations and find answers within ourselves. So, how do we start the journey to release the shame we have about our bodies? The first step is to decide that you want to be in relationship with your body in a new way. It’s a light switch that you have to keep turning on. Next, get rooted, get curious, and be alive. Yin Yoga is about allowing the body to speak to you through sensations. The beauty of it is when we sit with our breath and get curious. She likes to call the sensations that come to us “benevolent messengers.” These are the body saying, “knock knock, I want you to pay attention to me.” "Release what it is that no longer serves you" is a great sentiment, but it’s really hard to release anything if you don’t know what it is that no longer serves you. Once we can learn to listen to our bodies, we can get to a place where we feel more alive within our bodies and we can then tend to that “aliveness.” We take in energy, we absorb it, and we allow the leftover energy to be released. Moving with the intention to give something permission to move through us is something we should aim for. How are we treating our bodies? Are we nourishing them? Are we offering our bodies what they need rather than what we think they should have? Poet June Jordan is quoted: “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” The body has everything we need and crave already inside of us.
39 minutes | Jan 14, 2022
Body Image: Personal Style - Cristina Maduro
We have clothes in our closet that trigger us because we aren’t at that place anymore, and we need to start demanding new things from the clothing we put on our bodies. We have been on autopilot for so long. Wardrobe has always been a connection to “self” for Cristina. There’s a connection to “who am I” and that’s how she related to style. When we show up as our best selves on the outside, it’s important to make that connection. You “dress for the interview” or dress a certain way if you are going to a specific event. That connection exists, but in our everyday lives we aren’t making that connection. Essentially, we aren't "ourselves" every day when we just throw "whatever" together in the clothes we wear. What does “dress-up” mean? We have been told from a very young age that there are appropriate ways to dress for certain occasions. What do you think it looks like to look “put together?” 8 times out of 10, the appropriate clothing already exists in your closet for any situation. Who am I and who do I need to be? How can I align with what I already have? Start with your favorites and write down why they are your favorites and why you feel this way. This is not to replicate the look, but to replicate the feeling when you’re choosing new clothes.
64 minutes | Jan 14, 2022
Body Image: Love Yourself NOW - Becky Upchurch
Becky Upchurch is a clarity and mindset coach. She, like so many people, grew up conflating weight and health and believes that people having weight and health issues has been normalized over time. She believes that so much time and energy is wasted on focusing on the wrong things when it comes to these things. Becky talks to Samantha about taking baby steps when it comes to our own weight and health. Baby steps don't feel like you're doing very much, but it assures that you're taking manageable steps and that you keep moving forward. Over time, major changes start to happen. Becky reminds us all that we can love ourselves NOW. To get Becky's Body Acceptance Guide, click here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qtJRKR7LhoCAbrSRarc23KhXaXvH6FHc/copy
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