Spend time with Ram Dass during a 3-day retreat in Maui for learning about Love Serve Remember Foundation’s campaign on The Urgency Network
A Bowen family systems coach in Collaborative Divorce Practice -
This article highlights the approach of Woody Mosten in Collaborative Law interdisciplinary Training re emotional outbursts. He demonstrates client self-soothing. And he reframes the highly laden…
The Human costs and benefit of Separation or Divorce -
Let’s start with the known costs of failure born of the macho mindset. Then we will seek the main benefit of suddenly having to face family law issues. In the 1993 book, Man Enough, Frank…
Avoid the Holiday Blues -
I hope you are all taking the opportunity to enjoy your family and social connections now that you are half way through the year end holidays. This is a fine time to show your family how much you…
I do not pretend to know them and their personal ordeals. So I offer only general comments borne of public knowledge shared by RemDawg, the NESN color commentator and Youk, current Sox infielder.
They are learning how to cope with real and potentially increasing bodily and career decline, two emotional stressors that challenge all of us. When the body fails us, thoughts of metaphorical and real death grip us. How can you not start to contemplate and rehearse further decline when you awaken and find you are having a hard time breathing?
Youkilis revealed this bummer after having been hit so many times in the ribs by a pitched ball this season. Remy revealed the aftermath of breathing challenges post lung cancer and an ensuing debilitating infection. Both were faced with the possibility of premature career and income loss. Yes , Death and Taxes are inevitable but we would like some control of the pacing of our destiny.
And with real or imagined loss, anger is not far behind. For men, the challenge of expressing rather than suppressing such anger requires just the kind of skills that are rarely taught in this stiff upper lip society, especially in the world of elite sports. Many are taught to act like jerks instead. For example: instances where management at all levels bury their head in the face of never ending and escalating revenge by head- and rib- hunting pitchers.
It makes no sense: given that life is a series of necessary losses. We need to teach the skill for expressing — in a balanced manner — feelings of loss, shame, embarrassment and anger. That means without too much macho or too much passivity, the types of extremes these highly achieving and respected men found so tempting in recent weeks.
We need to begin the education of the emotions, including stress management, at the same time we start to teach reading, writing and arithmetic!
Given the patience and emotional supportiveness apparently supplied by Red Sox and NESN management and the respective teams/work community, these guys return to the lineup this week should be very successful. And I suspect that they will be offering emotional education in their other “home” to their children and grand children — the type that may not have been so easily available to them and their closest friends at an early age.
Their successes make me proud to be a man and to be helping men mature in their joyful relationships with themselves, their partners, significant others and team mates.
Death, dying, and possible reprieve grab the foreground at the start of Judd Apatow’s new movie, Funny People. The focus on dying will keep a lot of critics and movie go-ers at bay, but the laughs and the new beginning foci will please quite a few humble folk, as sparse as they may be these days. By the end of the picture, we no longer have a failure to communicate, largely because charming humility fortunately replaces oppressive narcissism. Comedy really can reflect the creative artist at his/her best self expression, rather than simply emerge as by-product of a messy spilling of self-centered neurosis and relationship failure. The Sarcastic push-aways of Adam Sandler’s nasty George Simmons pale in the day light of Seth Rogen’s Ira Wright — the mensch’s —earnest humor.
Imagine if you were charged to write the sequel to this movie! The original runs 2.5 hours and still leaves important story moments undeveloped. The new one would be post conflict, with characters lacking as many flaws and heading towards mutually empathic relationships. How would you deal with a more co-equal main character and his supporting actor, now that they’ve become friends and potential peers, not only personally but professionally as well? Furthermore, how comfortable will you be in this Apatow genre: the men’s analogue to the chick flick? And most importantly how many asses would you get in the seats next time and how?
An interesting challenge: to entertain within a creative piece without depending solely on betrayal, conflict and its resolution, while portraying compelling humanistic characters with just enough conflict and flaws. Can you create a new genre based on positivity, meaning and fulfillment, a script that features great role models and inspirational mentors? If you write it, will they come? Will it be post modern spiritual AND escapist?
We relationship builders certainly could use more relationship enhancing movies and role models for our clients in search of emotional and inspirational support for successful collaboration both in friendship and marriage. Until you concoct the sequel, do enjoy the upside of this original dude flick and some truly funny people.
Often saddened by typical sessions with couples on the verge of divorce, I have helped them whenever possible by having them rehearse together how to finally tell their children about this impending family crisis.
I tell them that first they need to sit down soon, all family members together. I encourage them to prepare and refine 45 seconds of explanation that refer both to their parents’ sadness and on-going love for their children. That love would manifest in parents continuing to cooperate and act as a friendly partnership and role models on behalf of the children in the future —through marriage and all other transitional events.
After 45 seconds I charge them to zip further talking and just listen carefully to their children for the next few minutes. Despite serious fear of sharing vulnerability, the typically avoidant dad can be a quick learner. That involves overcoming an male tendency to procrastinate or hand off such expression of vulnerability. Dads are often ready to turn the announcement over to his more eloquent wife. Most wives, are more comfortable with the courageous expression of strong, relationship-building feelings.
If only all parents could commit to being excellent models of partnership and sharing. I’ve heard adult children of divorces that happened many years ago ponder now about such other peoples’ unfolding divorces. Burned by a divorce war, they might say, as I heard recently, “Those children will never be the same.” But I expect today’s clients, especially if they avoid litigation, to cope well and I expect parents to build a better partnership, post divorce, than ever before.
One really needs to stay objective and thinking with one’s head, as much as heart right from the beginning of any partnership. For a sense of financial well being it behooves one to learn one’s partner’s idiosyncratic reactions to earning, sharing, and investing money. Your partner’s relationship to money, even if raised by the same (e.g. siblings in the business) or similar parents, will be different. So one must understand that difference, rather than become a resistant victim of that discrepancy. Marriage is thought of as that developmental step that says, ” We’re grown up.” Yet it is divorce, for many couples, that provides the trigger that requires responsible adult behavior. Separation challenges one to grow: to understand tax law, to plan for asset accumulation and preservation, and to implement a rational budget without which there will be no viable life strategy for the future. Some people avoid creating a budget. So stress heightens when attorneys asks for the financials. In business, some grow too fast or while significant in size never get around to creating a board to oversee one’s mission, its changing challenges, or even the way one rewards talent or downsizes staff. Strategic planning either in the boardroom or bedroom takes time away from doing business or having fun. Rather than take away that precious time now, such planning gets postponed. So will you select the loss of time now or a much bigger and even more painful monetary loss later?
It is a necessary loss to take care to plan responsibly and talk easily and openly about how to manage expenditures before crunch time. Partnership means strategically fashioning a fair, balanced, mutually reciprocal teamwork - a team wherein you respectfully support one another. Certainly it is worth reviewing differing attitudes about earning, spending and budgeting money. Ask each other about conscious expectations, and about role models. Hopefully one will even access some of the heretofore hidden images from the past, stored in their brains. Variations in how one approaches the size of their diamond engagement ring or the wedding reception often or in the décor of your offices reflect the differing messages about money that each received from parents and extended family. Some lessons were intentionally transmitted. Other teachings were by example, including the unintended lessons. For example, was money meant to be spent or saved, used freely for luxuries or just necessities, to be hidden or spent conspicuously? There may have been confusion between the resources of love and money. For money is often the only “nurturing” that some (e.g. workaholic) parents were able to give their spouse or children. Feeling inferior and competitive with friends of higher socioeconomic status may cause conflict with a spouse or business partner taught to be prudent with his resources. How would he feel about her push to buy the marital or company car that represents an announcement of status? These dynamics may need to be teased out and negotiated with the assistance of a coach in addition to your accountant and attorney.
Such unresolved differences could eventually lead to divorce or business dissolution, which taxes one’s heart and pocket book simultaneously. Life is a series of necessary and potential losses and gains. Some occur as a result of nature (illness, death, accident or childbirth) and other due to circumstance (job loss, stock plummets, and bankruptcy, promotions or lottery success). Wouldn’t it be easier to explore these possibilities collaboratively while first falling in love, first choosing your co-executive or first developing your business and marketing plans?
Dr Shel J. Miller is an Executive, Family and Divorce coach. As the Keep-It-Together Expert, his mission is to lift spirits by restoring hope and peace in relationships that are struggling. One way he does so is through Family Event Coaching. He also works as a Child Specialist with Collaborative Attorneys and as a Parent Coordinator post litigation. His web address is www.ShelMiller@rcn.com and he may be reached at 617 731-9174 or by email at ShelMiller@rcn.com
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