What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly. – Richard Bach
At our (Sold Out!) Hold Me Tight Couple Workshop last weekend, I was so deeply moved, when I witnessed couples going from a state of fear, panic, anger, resentment, and disconnection, to trust, connection, safe communication and intimacy. At our closing “forgiveness-commitment-appreciation” ceremony ritual at the end of the weekend, I felt that the energy in the room shifted and lifted.
It was like the butterflies were flying out of their cocoons and there yet again, I felt the magic of the work that is possible with couples: Identifying the negative cycle we get stuck in, owning our moves in that cycle/dance that we get hijacked by, the power of forgiveness, talking about sexuality and intimacy, and renewing commitments through the power of rituals.
At the end of our recent Hold Me Tight couples workshop in Nevada City, we created a ritual where each one of the couples gave an appreciation and expressed gratitude to their partners, made a commitment and set an intention, for and about their relationship.
It was a touching moment, many eyes got tearful. It struck a cord with many of the couples. Dreams were remembered, hopes were rekindled.
In the end of her book Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, Sue Johnson devotes a chapter to the idea of rituals and commitments, to keep love alive, and to maintain the benefit of the couples work done by reading the book, at the workshop, and in couple counseling.
Making a commitment to each other and setting an intention for the future of the relationship, are rituals most couples ‘do’ when they say ‘I do’…, however, I believe that there is a value in ‘re-committing’ as a regular, recurring ritual.
It was touching to hear couples reassure each other that ‘You Matter to Me’, ‘I Am All In’, I love you ..
Here are few of the testimonials we got after this last weekend workshop.
“You are an incredible team. I love how you keep it real and seeing that we all have ‘issues’. This is by far the best program we have ever attended, and we are going to recommend it to every couple we know, even if you feel your marriage is great..”
“Thank you both for the great class this past weekend. Thank you for your intervention. We both felt that neither of us was all in and it was blocking us from the true love that we both feel for each other. My eyes were opened when you said the word sacred about our bond that we have.. Thank you again! I look forward to a long, healthy life with her!”
“We learned that being vulnerable is the best thing we can do for each other.”
And for those of you who have asked me about my work in Burning Man… Every year on the week leading up to Labor Day, I make a pilgrimage to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada to partake in the Burning Man festival event.
Burning Man is a temporary city of 70K + participants, based on principles of radical inclusion and self reliance, artistic self expression, gifting and sharing economy, and much more.
It culminates with a ritual of the ‘burning of the man’ on Saturday. The day after the Temple and all its contents are burned in a sacred ceremony. If you want to read more, visit my last year’s blog, What do ‘Burning Man’, ‘Psychs on Bikes’ and ‘Hold Me Tight’ have in common?
“Burning Man takes the Temple seriously, and while just about everything at Burning Man is amplified both figuratively and literally, the Temple is also amplified, but not with booming music and wild ecstatic dancing or with art cars that slither along the desert floor or with other lunatic cacophony. While the Temple is something that does reflect the mad masquerade and joy of our community, it does so with sacredness, solemnity, a sense of remembrance, grief and renewal that can appear as a stark contrast to the rest of the event. It is that contrast that helps to define the Burning Man community as anything but one dimensional.”
For me the temple is a place to contemplate, meditate and experience transformation and forgiveness as well as a place away from the hectic ness of Burning Man.
I find Burning Man, with its gigantic artistic and creative art installations, enormous pilgrimages from all over the world, the principles of sharing, gifting and self-reliance, and the conflicting beauty and hardship of the tough desert conditions to be compelling.
I have also over the years of participating, found my own way to contribute to this amazing event. I now go every year as part of the medical team on the Mental Health Branch (CIT- Critical Incident Team) of the Emergency Service Department (ESD), they call us ‘psychs on bikes’.
We provide mental health services to deal with anything from ‘home sickness’ to ‘drug over dose’, to sexual assault and domestic violence. To say the least.. it’s fascinating.
and lastly, autumn is here..
We have just passed the fall equinox, welcoming the darker times of the year. As the days get shorter, we tend to move ‘inside’, both on the emotional as well as physical aspects of our lives. We move inward and become more contemplative, getting ready for winter, for holidays, and for less light.
It is time to pay attention to S.A.D (Seasonal Affect Disorder), to sadness, melancholy, and longing.
If you are feeling too sad, depressed or overwhelmed, please do not hesitate to reach out for help.