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Relationship Alive!

Neil Sattin interviews John Gottman, Sue Johnson, Harville Hendrix, Peter Levine, Stan Tatkin, Dick Schwartz, Katherine Woodward Thomas, Diana Richardson, Terry Real, Wendy Maltz - and many others - in his quest to dig deep into all the factors that keep a Relationship Alive and Thriving! Each week Neil brings you an in-depth interview with a relationship expert. Neil is an author and relationship coach who is enthusiastic and passionate about relationships and the nuts and bolts of what makes them last. You can find out more about Neil Sattin and the Relationship Alive podcast at http://www.neilsattin.com
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Now displaying: January, 2016
Jan 27, 2016

Today’s guest is Sheri Winston, wholistic sexuality teacher, founder of the center for intimate arts, and author of the award-winning book “Women’s Anatomy of Arousal: Secret Maps to Buried Pleasure”. We’re going to talk about how the sexual energy of a feminine person works. We’re also going to talk about the female anatomy - and you just might find out some things that you NEVER knew before. Sheri also brings her knowledge as a midwife and a massage therapist to bear on the topic of just how we might come to sexuality from a completely different perspective. I guarantee that unless you’ve already read Sheri’s book (and maybe even if you have) you’re going to learn something new today.

Here are the highlights from my conversation with Sheri Winston:

 

  • What is wholistic sexuality? This is a way of seeing the sexual life force that emanates through us and around us at all times. When you’ve heard me talking about “the continuum” - this is it. We are always able to access this energy, and with our partners we are always connected, even when we’re not in the bedroom.
  • Contrast that with “male sexuality” - This is the popular model for “how sexuality works” - and it represents a very masculine way of looking at sexuality. Quick turn-on, deep penetration, huge orgasms. However, feminine people have a completely different type of sexuality.
  • What is feminine sexuality? Rather than a quick boil that starts at the center (masculine sexuality), feminine sexuality starts at “the edges” and heats up slowly, until the entire system is fired up. It can take a little while!
  • So wholistic sexuality is: being able to recognize these different types of sexual energy and recognize where you and your partner fall on the spectrum - and then to take each other into account!
  • How does a woman know when she’s actually ready to experience penetration? If you are “desperate” to have your partner inside of you, then you are ready. Anything before that and your entire system may not be quite ready. Also it should feel “completely fabulous”
  • If a woman is “wet” does that mean that she’s ready to be penetrated? NO! In fact, lubrication is one of the earliest stages of arousal, but many more things need to happen in a woman’s body (along with lubrication) for penetration to feel completely pleasurable.
  • It’s about the journey - so enjoy it!
  • Did you know that women have as much erectile tissue as men? Along with erectile tissue that’s present all throughout the broad genital region, the clitoris is actually just the tip of an enormous clitoral network that extends throughout that part of a woman’s body.
  • As an experiment, if you’re a woman (or partnered with a woman): See if you can observe all of the changes that are happening within a woman’s body as she is getting more and more aroused. Can you figure out where all (or at least some) of the erectile tissue is? Sheri Winston calls this a “herection”. :-)
  • Timing is everything! For instance, there is a stage in arousal where the cervix gets pulled up and out of the way. When that happens, deep thrusting penetration can feel amazing! Before that happens - it can be painful!
  • O1 vs O2...and beyond! How sensitive are you able to become to the levels of arousal when you bypass “Peak Orgasms” and allow your bodies to ride deeper waves of pleasure together, for more time?
  • Arousal is an “altered state of consciousness”: And when you see it that way, you can understand why it can take time to make the shift, and why it’s an experience that can be deepened. Figure out what you need for yourself, and what your partner needs, to stay in and play with that state of consciousness - it’s a grand experiment!
  • Here are some ideas for how to expand that altered state: How does changing the way that you’re breathing affect the sensation in your body? How does your state of relaxation affect things? Can you set the stage in different ways that connect you to a ritual of sensuality - to help deepen your presence, and ability to be absorbed in the moment?
  • The power of sound: Making wide, open sounds can actually help your body relax - it’s part of an automatic response where the lower part of our body reciprocates the openness of the upper part of our body (our throat and mouth when we make those kinds of sounds)
  • Set the container: Create an intention with your partner to close the space, energetically, to the rest of the world. That space and time when you are together is yours and yours alone, and other intruding thoughts/energies are not welcome. It can be a good idea to keep technology (phones, etc.) out of the bedroom.
  • How to keep things “alive”: Be INTERESTING and INTERESTED! Cultivate your creativity and imagination AND your curiosity about your partner’s experience.
  • Eye contact and kissing with tongue: Both magnify sexual energy and help induce the “altered state of consciousness” that we’ve been talking about.
  • Dedicate Time - In long-term relationships, sexual connection “just happens” less and less, without attention. Dedicate time as frequently as possible to experiencing your partner’s sensual essence. Even just 5 minutes of eye-gazing is better than nothing.
  • How do we handle shame? If you know that shame is an issue for you, recognize that it is at times for almost all of us! During the altered state of arousal, it can be a prime time for you to reprogram those parts of you - especially if your partner is prepared for those moments. Prepare positive statements that reverse the shame, and, as an example, you can have your partner whisper them to you (or yell them at you!). Whatever feels right.
  • Debrief - LATER. You can always take time at a later moment to talk to your partner about what came up for you (or to ask your partner about what came up for them) - what worked, what didn’t, strategize for the future, and take a moment to affirm the depth of your love for each other.

 

 

Resources

Sheri’s websites:

www.intimateartscenter.com

www.intimateartsonline.com

Woman’s Anatomy of Arousal on Amazon

www.neilsattin.com/arousal   Visit to download the show guide, or text “PASSION” to 33444 and follow the instructions to download the show guide. If you download the guide within the first week of this episode's airing, you are automatically qualified for a chance to win a free copy of Sheri Winston’s award-winning book “Woman’s Anatomy of Arousal”.

Our Relationship Alive Community on Facebook

Amazing intro/outro music graciously provided courtesy of:

The Railsplitters - Check them Out!

Jan 19, 2016

Today’s guests are none other than Harville Hendrix and Helen Lakelly Hunt, authors of “Getting the Love You Want” - which offers a step-by-step path for you and your partner to attain a more loving, supportive, and satisfying relationship. In this conversation, you’re going to get to hear exactly how their system of conscious relationship works, and come to a deeper understanding of what’s possible in relationship. You’ll also learn about their “Imago Dialogue” - also known as “safe conversations” - which is a process that you can use in your partnership - or in any dialogue, really - to ensure clear communication that actually GETS you somewhere.

An essential part of being in relationship is the path that it offers to you to become more fully who you are meant to be in the world. And to do the healing required - both the inner healing as well as what’s only possible in partnership with another person. On today’s show we’re going to cover some essential skills so that you and your partner can create a solid foundation for this healing journey into conscious relationship together.

Harville Hendrix, Helen LaKelly Hunt, and I talk about the following:

  • Imago Match - Combine the best traits and the worst traits of your childhood caretakers, and you come up with a list of the qualities that you are most attracted to as an adult. In particular, your unmet needs are calling out to be met by someone who also matches your childhood caretakers’ negative traits. Wouldn’t it be easy if you could just find someone who will naturally meet those needs? Of course! However, that’s not the way that our unconscious mind works - in order for the healing to actually occur, those needs must be met by someone who shares the same difficulty with actually meeting them! It’s a potential recipe for disaster (and why so many relationships don’t work in the end). And - if you’re aware, also a potential recipe for great healing and transformation through your relationship.
  • Couldn’t you just try to hack your way around it, and find someone to meet those needs directly? Isn’t that what’s at work as we’re looking for the “right” partner? We’re looking for someone who fits an ideal list of traits - and usually when we first decide we’ve found a match - ZING - they’re perfect in every way. Nearly all relationships lead to a time when suddenly you see that along with all of those positive qualities come a host of negative traits that were also there all along. So as much as we think that a hack could be possible, there seems to be no way around actually having to create a container for growth and change in your relationship - to handle the inevitable challenges that come with the easeful moments.
  • Is conflict a sign of trouble in a relationship? No - in fact conflict is usually a sign of a place where you and your partner can actually grow. Your partner actually contains a “blueprint” for your own growth and healing.
  • It’s easy to look to your partner to see where you might want them to change and grow...and yet the first place that you should look is within yourself. Helen LaKelly Hunt offers the example of how she might have really wanted to foster Harville’s latent emotional exuberance, she actually learned a lot and facilitated growth in her relationship by learning how to contain her energy. And this created space in her relationship with Harville for him to learn more about being expressive.
  • Why is this all a good idea? Now you are able to develop parts of yourself that were probably not encouraged within you as you were growing up. Harville and Helen even suggest potentially developing the parts of yourself that you are least attracted to in your partner, as a way of pulling yourself up the growth curve and getting in touch with the parts of you that are within you, waiting for their chance to shine in a healthy way.
  • So if conflict is OK - then how do you know whether or not you’re in the wrong relationship? While Helen says that essentially if the attraction is there then ANY relationship could be the material for a lifelong, growth-oriented partnership (that has the power to overcome some big things, like chemical dependency, or infidelity). That being said - if you’re in a situation where your partner literally cannot take responsibility for ANYTHING - i.e. everything is your fault - then that relationship is unlikely to succeed.
  • A suggestion: If you’re in a relationship that you think is in trouble (or even if you’re in a relationship that’s ok, but you want it to grow even more) - go on a couples retreat for a holiday or birthday. In a retreat-like environment even a partner who’s not inclined to do “growth” work might see unhealthy patterns that they’ve been contributing to, or get excited for a vision of what’s possible. Many couples have shown up to these kinds of workshops thinking they were done, only to get a renewed sense of possibility and love for each other.
  • Instead of trying to find the right partner, focus on BEING the right partner. Instead of trying to change your partner, focusing on growing yourself and your own capacities within the relationship. At the same time, it is helpful to energize and appreciate your partner for the things that they do well - to amplify that energy within your relationship. Otherwise too much change can lead to exits popping open for either partner - and having exits closed is an important part of having a safe container in the relationship.
  • Imago Dialogue: This is a three-step process for effectively communicating. First decide who is the “sender” (the person talking) and who is the “receiver” (the person listening). The job of the person talking is to speak in an “I” statement - and to break what they’re trying to communicate down into small, digestible chunks.
  • Mirroring: The first step as a receiver is to Mirror back what you’re hearing from the sender. Try not to paraphrase - use their exact words. And then ask - did I get it? And if the answer is “no” - then give the sender another shot at expressing what they need to express, and repeat this step. If the answer is “yes” then you can ask “Is there any more?”
  • Validation: As the receiver, can you understand where the sender is coming from? Do their conclusions make sense to you given what they are saying about their experience? If not, you can ask questions to clarify. If so, you should say that it DOES make sense. Note that you do not have to AGREE with their view of the world - the point is simply to GET their view of the world.
  • Empathy: As the receiver, can you imagine what it would feel like to be in the sender’s experience? Can you convey that to the sender as well?
  • IS THERE MORE? Always take the time to give the sender the opportunity to really communicate everything that they need to communicate.
  • Then, take turns. Once the sender’s meaning has been fully mirrored, validated, and understood - it is time for the sender to become the receiver and vice versa.
  • Make a commitment to ZERO negativity. What does it take to simply notice all the times that you’re bringing criticism, blame, or judgment into your relationship? And once you notice that, can you shift yourself into a position of seeing yourself as the source of your experience, and taking responsibility for your part in how things are (or facilitating change) rather than pointing the finger, or expecting the other person to do the work?
  • It’s not that you can’t tell the other person how you feel...but simply that you can learn to always communicate respectfully. It’s not what you say but HOW YOU SAY IT.
  • Are you making time for fun? Don’t just rely on happenstance for fun to happen! Schedule fun into your calendars, so that you are guaranteeing that you’ll have good times and be infusing your relationship with positive, fun energy.
  • Appreciation Practice - You could try giving your partner 3 appreciations every night before you go to sleep. How does that shift the quality of your relationship, when it becomes a regular practice?

Resources

http://www.harvilleandhelen.com

http://www.safeconversations.org

Getting the Love You Want - on Amazon

www.neilsattin.com/imago   Visit to download the show guide, or text “PASSION” to 33444 and follow the instructions to download the show guide. If you download the guide within the first week of this episode's airing, you are automatically qualified for a chance to win a free copy of Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt’s groundbreaking book “Getting the Love You Want”.

Our Relationship Alive Community on Facebook

Amazing intro/outro music graciously provided courtesy of:

The Railsplitters - Check them Out!

Jan 12, 2016

One of the biggest obstacles to being fully yourself in the present is being held back by the pain of the past. I’m thinking specifically of the endings that we go through. If you’re like me, you’ve been through a breakup or two in your life. Maybe you coasted through each one just fine - or maybe you collected a scar or two - or more. Whether you were the person leaving, or the person left behind, or it was a mutual decision - I’m curious - are there any remnants of past relationships that might be influencing you now, in the present? Are you in a relationship wondering if you should stay, or go? Or are you in the middle of a breakup right now? Or are there aspects of your current relationship that you’d like to breakup with - so that your current partnership can begin anew? Whether your breakup was something long past, or something happening in the moment - this episode is for you.

Today’s guest has been on the show once before, back in episode 2. Her name is Katherine Woodward Thomas, and she is the author of the New York Times Bestseller “Conscious Uncoupling: 5 Steps to Living Happily Even After” - as well as the national bestseller “Calling in The One: 7 weeks to attract the love of your life”. (I’m currently in her Conscious Uncoupling coach training program.) While the focus of this show is on how to have amazing relationships, I thought it was wise to tackle the question head on of how we break up, and how to turn it into a positive experience - instead of a traumatic one. We’re going to talk all about Katherine’s powerful 5 Step Conscious Uncoupling process on today’s episode.

The main points that Katherine and I cover are:

  • Your current relationship actually starts with how your last one ended. What from your past did you carry into your current relationship? Are there expectations of your current partner that are left over from your prior partner? Are there wounds that you have yet to heal? Fears that are holding you back? Your ability to grow from past breakups will determine whether or not you can avoid repeating past mistakes.
  • Conscious Recoupling: The process of going through a breakup process with your current partner, growing/healing, and staying together in a totally new way.
  • However in order to truly recouple, you have to be willing to go through a true breakup process. If you follow the Conscious Uncoupling steps, then you need to actually be willing to let go of the relationship in order to begin again.
  • You could be in the “bargaining” phase of grief. If your relationship is truly ending, there is the phase of grief that you go through where you think perhaps it isn’t possible going to come to an end - so there’s a risk of going through Conscious Uncoupling with the idea that you’re actually going to stay together with your partner. Most of the process is meant to be done alone - so if you focus on your work, and your growth, and your healing - then you can assess where things are truly at as you wrap up the process.
  • Why do breakups cause so much pain? They are considered a “rupture of attachment” - which is actually one of the biggest sources of trauma that we can experience. In fact, our brain processes relationship trauma in the same place that it processes physical pain - so no wonder it can feel so physically intense!
  • How do you know if you should stay or go? It’s always helpful to get professional help in deciding what the right thing to do is. Also, one question to ask is whether or not there’s room to accept each other’s growth in the relationship. Do your values match up? Can you support each other even with different interests/passions? Get curious about where you’re at, and where your partner is at - can you look at what’s happening through your curiosity instead of your pain and frustration?
  • What happens if you shift to seeing yourself as the source of your experience? One of the core attributes of Katherine’s work and the Conscious Uncoupling process is to see how you are the source of your experience, to take your power back from any feelings of being victimized by whatever situation you’re in. When you make that shift to seeing yourself as source and healing core source fracture wounds, then your entire perspective on your relationship may also shift. You can do that healing work within the context of your relationship - and it might inform your decision about whether to stay or go.
  • When you see how a source fracture like “I’m not special” is running your life, and shift to a more positive sense of self - miracles happen. Are there negative messages at the core of how you interact with the world? How does that determine the way that you see the world? How does that shift for you if you invert a core negative image into a core positive image? How will your interactions with life and your partner change?
  • STEP ONE - Find Emotional Freedom - The first step allows you to create a container to safely experience any big emotions that you’re having, so that you can then harness them for your own positive change.
  • STEP TWO - Reclaim your power and your life - In this step, you start asking the kinds of questions that help you actually make use of the situation. Questions like: How did I give my power away? What are different choices that I can make that support my vision for the kind of life and relationship that I want?
  • The power of making amends - TO YOURSELF. What are the specific actions that you will take to ensure that you never make the same mistake(s) again? This is an important part in the process of outgrowing who you were in the relationship.
  • STEP THREE - Break the pattern, heal your heart. At this point you get to dive into the core negative belief that your painful feelings seem to be reinforcing. If they had a voice what would they say? Things like: I’m not important, I’m alone, I’m not lovable, etc. You start to see how a belief like that totally polarizes your experience in order to support itself. So what happens when you take on the OPPOSITE belief? Suddenly your experience will re-oriented around that new view.
  • STEP FOUR - Become a Love Alchemist. In this step you clear the air with your former partner (this can happen on a soul level, not necessarily in person) - and create a new vision for what your connection to that person can look like moving forward.
  • STEP FIVE  - Create your Happily Even After Life - This is the step where you decide on a new vision for yourself in relationship, and can also create a ritual that empowers your new vision for your connection to your former partner. The community around you can also feel supported by participating in this new vision - helping your community heal from the ripples of trauma that your breakup has caused.
  • The importance of clearing the air - When you take responsibility for your part of things that happened in your relationship, you are creating breathing room for your relationship with your former partner to be able to grow in a new direction - and empowering yourself, again stepping away from being a “victim” and reclaiming your own power of choice and to steer your life.

 

Resources

http://www.consciousuncoupling.com

http://www.katherinewoodwardthomas.com

Conscious Uncoupling on Amazon

Calling in the One on Amazon

www.neilsattin.com/kwt2   Visit to download the show guide, or text “PASSION” to 33444 and follow the instructions to download the show guide. If you download the guide within the first week of this episode's airing, you are automatically qualified for a chance to win a free copy of Katherine Woodward Thomas’s book “Conscious Uncoupling”.

Our Relationship Alive Community on Facebook

Amazing intro/outro music graciously provided courtesy of:

The Railsplitters - Check them Out!

Jan 5, 2016

We’ve talked a lot on this show about the stages of relationship - I’m thinking in particular of the John Gottman episode, and the Terry Real episode - how almost unavoidably the “honeymoon” ends and then the real relationship begins. Would you like to know some ways to get that spark back - in a way that’s sustainable? Do you know what you REALLY want in your relationship, and I’m talking about how to get below the surface-level to the desires that will actually satisfy something deep within you? In this episode, we’re going to cover how to connect with your partner  in a way that promotes passion - and we’re also going to take the experience of attunement (like we talked about in our episode with Keith Witt) to an even deeper level that you can use in ALL of your interactions with other people.

Today’s guest is Shana James, a coach for the Authentic Man Program and co-creator of the Authentic Woman Experience, and whose site “ready2dateagain.com” helps men who are looking to have more satisfying relationships after experiencing divorce or painful breakups. I’m a huge fan of her work, and her ability to help men find their presence, women find their radiance, and to help everyone to connect powerfully in the kinds of relationships that they’re looking for. She’s currently hosting a telesummit for men to help them have more conscious, healthy, and satisfying sex lives - which you can find out more about at sexualsatisfactionsummit.com.  

 In this episode, Shana James and I talk about:

  • How do you figure out what you REALLY want? On the surface it seems like you might want one thing - an example that we talk about is wanting your partner to wear sexy lingerie - but what is the desire UNDERNEATH the want? The closer you can get to asking for what you really want - making yourself vulnerable in that way - then you might actually get your real desires met instead of surface-level desires.
  • What’s wrong with surface-level desires? Nothing is wrong with them, per se. It’s just that when you get a surface-level desire met you might find that it doesn’t actually satisfy the itch that you thought you were scratching. When you get to what’s beneath your desires (like a desire for connection, or vitality, or curiosity, or adventure) then you actually have a chance to feel satisfied...AND get what you’re really looking for.
  • What’s one thing that kills spark in relationship? Partners who have become unwilling to be vulnerable. If you can cultivate your courage in relationship to BE who you are, then your vulnerability can be an incredible spark enhancer!
  • How do you generate change and connection? When you choose to be generous in your relationship, you are adding energy in a way that invites your partner to come forward and meet you. It also helps you ignite your curiosity - which is the antidote to boredom and disconnection in a relationship.
  • What if you’re always the one being generous? How do you know if you’re just stuck with someone who’s a perpetual victim, or a narcissist, who just takes takes takes? One thing to ask yourself here is, are you being “generous” truly? Or are you being generous to a point, and then blowing up or shutting down when it doesn’t turn into getting what you want? How do you stay vulnerable, even in those moments?
  • How do you stick a fork in the windmill of a repetitive relationship pattern? Shana James shares a powerful question that could help you change the direction - and also some other ways that generosity and vulnerability become powerful agents for change in a relationship.
  • The power of true listening. Your ego might have a REAL problem with just simply listening to your partner. It could even feel like you’re “dying” in a way. And yet figuring out how to truly receive your partner is an amazing act of generosity that can keep your connection going strong.
  • Shana James talks about Authentic World, Authentic Man Program, Authentic Woman Experience and...what is authenticity anyway? Does what you have inside match what people see on the outside? Do you know your internal landscape, and are you healing negative images of other people that might be “authentic” to who you are right now, but might actually be getting in the way of connecting in a powerful way.
  • What are the different ways of being present? Are you being present in a spiritual way? In a physical way? In a sexual way? Can you be present with yourself AND be present with the other person, and their experience?
  • Learn how to engage your connection from different places within you. Shana and I talk about how to reach into a connection with another person and diagnose where you feel the life and vitality within them, and within yourself in relation to them - and how to use that to fuel conversation and curiosity.
  • Why is it important for your partner (or prospective partner to know the real you)? One of the biggest source of pain for people in relationships is the inability to truly be themselves, to feel like who they really are is going to be rejected by their partner. Wouldn’t you want to know if a prospective partner could truly accept you BEFORE you’re in a committed relationship? Wouldn’t you want to know that about your existing partner before you let another 3, 5, 10, 20 years go by?
  • How do you know how another person is making you feel in your body? Step one is to have an actual awareness of your body at “baseline” - how do you feel when you’re just you - alone? Then you can begin to notice how your internal sensation changes when you’re in proximity to (or even just thinking about) another person. Shana James also shares some amazing ways to use this information to create more connection and play in your interactions with other people.
  • The power of questions. We’ve talked about this a lot here on the Relationship Alive podcast - the quality of the answers you get and the experience that you have is determined chiefly by the kinds of questions that you’re asking. Want a better experience? Ask a better question.
  • How can you experience more pleasure? We talk about how your ability to tune into your own sensual and sexual energy - without turning that into an agenda, but just experiencing it - tuning into your own vitality, how that starts to resonate with the other people in your life. Can you be comfortable with that part of yourself and bring it into your interactions with your partner? Can you do it in a way that doesn’t have an agenda attached to it?

Resources

Shana’s websites:

www.SexualSatisfactionSummit.com

www.AuthenticWomanExperience.com

www.Ready2DateAgain.com

 www.neilsattin.com/shana   Visit to download the show guide, or text “PASSION” to 33444 and follow the instructions to download the show guide. If you download the guide within the first week of this episode's airing, you are automatically qualified for a chance to win a free copy of Gary Chapman’s book “The Five Love Languages”.

Our Relationship Alive Community on Facebook

Amazing intro/outro music graciously provided courtesy of:

The Railsplitters - Check them Out!

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