All posts filed under: Relationships

Cultivate Love and Compassion With Your Partner

By Ben Cohen, Ph.D. // A question I often ask couples that I work with in counseling is: “How do you want to act toward your partner?”. I’ll have them write a list of adjectives to describe this, and of course, what people usually say are things like: Loving, patient, compassionate, caring, giving, supportive, etc. I’ve never had anyone say: angry, critical, blaming, and attacking! And yet, the latter is how we often act with the person we most need to act kindly toward. Thich Nhat Hanh speaks beautifully about the need to “cultivate” positive aspects of ourselves, and to engage in loving behavior. He often uses the metaphor of “seeds”: When you water the seeds of anger in yourself (or your partner), that is what will grow. If, on the other hand, you water the seeds of love and compassion, then that is what will grow and flourish. Which would you choose? We can use meditation as a time to water those seeds of compassion: “Breathing in, I feel love” “Breathing out, I feel …

Family Retreat

“Being” Over “Doing”: Advice for Meaningful Family Life

By Leslie Gossett // There is a billboard on the interstate here—an advertisement for a popular gym. It says “More ways to do it all.” There is a picture of a happy–looking person doing various gym activities. I feel nauseated every time I pass that billboard. Perhaps it’s different where you live, but here in the San Francisco Bay Area, this is the pervading culture. Life is becoming more and more about doing and less and less about being. I work closely with many families here in this area. What continues to surprise me is not how busy they are, but how much they complain about being busy while having no support for changing that. Schools are increasingly more demanding of not just the student’s time, but also of family time. Sports practice, music rehearsals, and after school activities happen every day of the week. Games and performances take up weekend time. And many children, tweens, and teens have more than 2 hours of homework each day, in addition to their rehearsals and practices. Parents …

Losing a Loved One, Discovering the Highest Self

By Sue Frederick ~~~ It’s the morning of July 14, 1980. I awaken to the sounds of a mourning dove outside my window and a view of Boulder’s sacred limestone slabs reaching into the clouds; these front range Rocky Mountain slopes are where my husband and I once spent happy afternoons climbing, hiking and feeling invincible. Yesterday, this elegant and strong young man died from cancer at the age of 34. His death ended a year of unforgettable suffering for both of us. My ego tells me this is a deplorable soul-sucking tragedy. Paul was the most loving man I’d ever known and did not deserve to suffer and die before his life could unfold – before we could have our future. No one will ever love me like that again, says the ego mind. I’m alone, grief-stricken, and sick with heartbreak. I’m scarred for life – just as he was at the end. But I’m still here and he is not. This voice in my head crushes and flattens me, pushes me back into …

Relax and Wake Up! Buddhist Teachers Reflect on the Wisdom of the Emotions

By James Schnebly with Jenny Bondurant & Kay Peterson ~~~ Our emotions can lock us in habitual struggle with ourselves and our relationships, yet they are also doorways to our intrinsic wisdom. Out of this understanding, helpful practices have emerged within the tradition of Buddhist tantra.  These practices are based on the understanding that emotional energy falls into five archetypal patterns, or buddha families, which contain different perspectives and relationship styles that can manifest in either a confused or sane way. Jenny Bondurant and Kay Peterson have been working with these teachings and practices for decades, and now lead retreats which provide others with the opportunity to explore the energy of their own emotions, and learn the skills needed to  befriend and welcome all states of mind, just as they are. Recently, I spoke with Jenny and Kay about how their personal relationships to the five buddha families and a bit about the upcoming retreat they’ll be leading at Shambhala Mountain Center.  They had much to say about how engaging with these teachings and practices allow us …

What does it mean to be in a secure-functioning relationship? And why should it matter to me?

By Stan Tatkin and Tracey Boldemann-Tatkin ~~~ Secure functioning refers to an interpersonal system based on principles of true mutuality, collaboration, justice, fairness, and sensitivity. It means that you and your partner are in a foxhole together, protecting each other from the outside world… and from each other. Secure functioning assumes you and your partner have different minds, with different interests, drives, and histories. Secure-functioning partners are fully interdependent in the sense that each happily accepts the other as a burden, and both agree they are in each other’s care. In this kind of two-person system, you and your partner form a couple bubble, which you can think of as a protective boundary that protects your resources and sense of ongoing safety and security. Think of a couple bubble as an ecosystem or terrarium that provides you and your partner with the sustenance you need to carry out your daily tasks, deal with fears and anxiety, handle difficult situations and people, and undergo personal growth. In a secure-functioning relationship, you and your partner assure each …

Celebrating the Garden Project

We spent this past snowy May Day morning celebrating an incredible act of generosity that has made a real impact on our community culture here at Shambhala Mountain Center — the sponsorship of the SMC Garden Project by the Aida & Mike Feldman Philanthropic Trust & the Feldman Family. This grant allowed us to build a geodesic dome greenhouse last September, which has provided over 2,000 pounds of food (mostly greens), and also allowed us to purchase a bright red Massey Ferguson tractor, which has helped our land & forestry crews immensely. We gathered with Sonia Feldman (granddaughter of Aida and Mike) and Larry Rich from the foundation, along with members of the SMC community and governing council for brunch festivities: beautiful foods prepared with the microgreens grown in the greenhouse, speeches & toasts to the shared experience, and a tour of the greenhouse. Watch the slideshow below to see how this project came together! Our deep gratitude goes out to the Feldman Family Foundation for giving our aspirations the chance to become physical reality, and for supporting our …