Average cost of a divorce: $15,000 to $30,000
Average child support payment for one child: $430
Average alimony support percentage of highest earning spouse: 30% of income for up to 50% of time of marriage
Saving your relationship and working through your shit: PRICELESS
Remember the old commercial?
Well I sure do.
And this topic is near and dear to me in recent times.
But more importantly,
It is a possible reality to many of my couples clients.
Or potential couples clients.
The sad truth is that quiet often people go looking for help.
They sit in my office,
Wrenching their hands together,
Butterflies in their stomach,
Wanting to be heard.
To be understood.
And to be given hope.
They look at their spouse,
And they hope that they too have a sincere desire to heal the wounds of years gone by.
They hope that their partner is feeling at ease and will be open to the possibilities of getting help.
Often, tears are shed in my office by one or both parties as they recognize the pain,
They see the situation of their marriage clearer,
And they feel the tingle of hope spreading its wings inside them.
There they sit.
They share intimacies within this safe container,
Baring their truths of bitterness, of loss of desire, of financial pains, of feeling left behind and under appreciated.
They share their sins.
From adultery to drug usage to porn and anger.
They share their longing.
Their longing to reconnect.
To love and be loved.
And so they walk away from me,
Feeling connection and understanding.
Feeling as if they can recover.
They feel HOPE.
It is inevitable my follow up email with all my recommendations and observations comes into their inbox.
It asks them for their,
Many stand up to the plate.
But many steer away in fear.
They lean on objections.
From price to time.
They say they need to wait.
They say they think they can do it on their own.
They say this
And they say that.
But none of it matters.
They CHOOSE to not commit
And thus they choose to remain in their suffering and in the harsh reality that separation most likely will knock soon at their door.
But they feel like they cannot change the outcome.
Because it just is.
So they settle into victim mode.
And they loose HOPE.
How much does it cost to sacrifice your HOPE?
How much is it worth to step into COMMITMENT ?
It is priceless.
Thats what it is.
On both sides it is PRICELESS.
The only question
I ask these souls who choose to say goodbye is,
Are you happy?
At the end of any decision.
You must ask yourself.
Are you happy?
Here you will learn your truth.
Here you will learn about your fear.
And if you made the right choice.
No one can answer this for any of us.
It is between us and soul.
And it is PRICELESS.
Stop Existing and Start Living
Now accepting 1+1 Couples Coaching Clients.
No matter where you are in this big world you can get the private coaching to recover the intimacy and connection you desire in your marriage.
Explore Passion Coaching for Couples today.
And as always,
Stop Existing & Start Living
For more coaching, truth shares and awakened education join me for 1+1 coaching via phone, zoom or in person. Or follow me on Facebook for my morning FREE Conscious Coffee Broadcasts where I share truth bombs and alignment asskickery.
“Most people in the “recovery” or “therapy” process yearn for sexual healing. I make this statement as a therapist and as a human being who has facilitated myself and many others on the journey.” —Michael Picucci PhD, MAC, SEP
Sexual healing is the shame-free revisiting of complex sexual histories, limitations and perceptions combined with new awareness, understanding, and compassion. In the process of this rejuvenation, we learn how to merge our spiritual and sexual energies. The “sexual-spiritual split” is a culturally induced, deep psychic schism that haunts relationships and precludes emotional fulfillment. Resolving this powerful inner conflict is necessary for true body, mind and spirit connections.
These guidelines can be used to illuminate and focus a core healing journey that is central to having life mastery, which is the awareness of aliveness, sensual pleasure and contentment.
FIVE GRACEFUL GUIDELINES FOR SEXUAL HEALING:
3. Dialogue in relationship
4. Create ‘Fusion Exercises’
5. Rediscover adolescent awkwardness
1. Body Awareness. Introduce yourself to the possibility of bringing full body awareness and energy to your sexual regions. Some of us have depleted energy levels and a diminished sense of aliveness in our pelvic area and a fullness of energy in the our heart region. Others feel constricted with their heart energy while having an intense pelvic charge. This is particularly evident in early intimacy and bonding. Because of this culturally fragmented energy disbursement in the body, sexual motivation usually has more to do with feelings like neediness, escape from other feelings, and proving one’s self-worth, than feelings of pure pleasure and the normal desire for interconnectedness.
For many, pleasure can only be realized in highly charged scenarios. Often they are avoided because they are dangerous and/or self-destructive. Some of us are just fearfully frozen. Others become frustrated at a perceived lack of ability to negotiate the complexities. Many repeat unfulfilling patterns again and again. Whatever one’s history may be, the following exercises have proven helpful in energizing and awakening sexual aliveness.
In Latin and most Eastern and metaphysical philosophies, the word “breath” is synonymous with “spirit.” Conscious breathing brings energy (and spirit) into the body. This exercise will help improve anyone’s ability to breathe and improve sexual aliveness. First, do conscious, deep breathing exercises focused in the groin. Imagine that you can take your breath all the way down to the perineum, that lowermost part of the crotch between the vagina and the rectum or the scrotum and rectum. In reality, most feel they can’t breathe into their perineum, yet imagination can produce surprising results. This exercise can be done while brushing your teeth, riding in a car, or for a few minutes before or after sleeping. While the results may not be immediate, with a little practice and patience, deeper breathing of this sort will help lead to spiritual-genital integration.
The “rotation exercise” is an exercise that you can combine with the conscious pelvic breathing. Stand up straight, put your feet shoulder-length apart, relax (unlock) your knees, and rotate your hips in a circular motion, stretching out in all directions as far as is comfortable. Imagine that you are standing in the center of a mostly empty peanut butter jar, and you want to use your hip and pelvis, in a circular motion, to clean the peanut butter off the sides of the jar. Keep rotating, first in one direction, then the other. Lower and raise yourself to completely clean the inside of that jar. Attention to conscious breathing will be helpful. Take a moment or two to giddily and randomly move your pelvis, tuning into the energy and spontaneously moving and following your inner current. Just go with the flow for a few moments. You will begin, subtly at first, feeling a renewed aliveness in this region that is sensual, sexual, and centering – all at the same time.
These exercises are also excellent “warm-ups” for more pleasurable sexual experiences, alone or to be shared with a partner. (For additional information and exercises on all of the guidelines in this article see my books: “The Journey Toward Complete Recovery: Reclaiming Your Emotional and Spiritual & Sexual Wholeness” and “Ritual as Resource: Energy for Vibrant Living.”)
2. Sexual History. Begin a process of uncovering and sharing sexual secrets from your past with “safe” people. It is important to do this practice with those who are sensitive, understanding and compassionate listeners. These “secrets” are rightfully too sensitive to be exposed to individuals who will not afford them suitable respect. Along with these secrets there is a need to bring awareness to religious and other spiritually infused influences on your early sexual development and evolution.
I suggest writing a narrative history, or outline, to put one’s sexual development in a historical perspective. This begins with the first remembered “exposure” to sex, sexual energy, or sexual material. Then, as best you can remember, recreate your development with subsequent incidents. This exercise will help put your current sexual expression in an understandable and historical context. By sharing this history with a safe person, one can further heal the sexual-spiritual split.
After sharing “sexual histories in perspective” (in a shame-free setting), your psyche will gradually produce additional memories, further illuminating your history. Shared sexual histories provide a grounding and framework for your present experience while simultaneously creating a platform for new possibilities.
3. Dialogue in relationship. Encourage yourself to risk cultivating meaningful dialogue around sexual issues in dating situations and with significant partners. The deepest interpersonal healing takes place in relationship. Finding and cultivating a safe partner is, of course, pivotal. One can do a great deal of healing with therapists and within community. However, that healing will be limited by the appropriate professional and cultural boundaries of these relationships. To ultimately heal the sexual-spiritual split, we must explore relating to another human being while attempting to bring both polarized aspects of the split to this relationship without walls of shame arising. It is important to work through shameful aspects and feelings of inadequacy about sex with a partner. It is fine to move slowly. “Intention” and “willingness” are paramount.
4. Fusion Exercises. Consciously combine meditative, spiritual, or contemplative experiences with your own sexuality. Such experimentation is a very different and awkward experience for most people at first, but in time one feels a new and deeper connection with both pleasure and release. Sexual experiences often grow from being simply physical (with genital concentration), to becoming a full-body, kinesthetic event that can be powerful and rewarding.
Suggesting a combination of sexual and spiritual experimenting often brings laughter and confusion. People always ask, “How are we supposed to do that?” They often break out in further embarrassed laughter and disbelief when I suggest, “Try experimenting with masturbating (or self-loving) and praying at the same time!”
This laughter is a defense. Notice how foreign the suggestion feels, emphasizing the reality of an internal dichotomy! Think about this in relation to merging your core sexuality with a spiritual, loving union or relationship with yourself or another.
Create rituals with candlelight, mirrors and incense for sessions of self-loving and self-pleasuring. Slowly begin to make a “special time & place” in your life for, and begin to exalt in, your body (however you may perceive it), your sexuality, alone or with a companion, as an ecstatic all-encompassing manifestation of your humanity.
Use your intuitive creativity and responsible, courageous risk-taking abilities to create your own additional practices to merge sexual and spiritual energies. Like flowers growing toward the sun, as we humans experience this fusion in our psyche, our bodies and our defensive reflexes organically grow toward sexual and spiritual unity.
5. Rediscover adolescent awkwardness. Become willing to enter a period of discovery which I call “adolescent awkwardness.” In dating or in a significant long-term relationship, a time comes when the healing of this internalized sexual-spiritual schism must be addressed for the relationship to grow. We must surrender preconceived concepts regarding sexuality and intimacy and join another person in authentic adolescent discovery. Many of us missed a healthy adolescence, and therefore cannot go further into intimacy without visiting this important building block. It is important to give yourself permission to feel adolescent and awkward with yourself and another. It is rich, fertile ground in which to plant seeds of new awareness. Very workable and pleasing possibilities will grow from these seeds.
Appreciation of our own resistance signals the most important awareness of healing. All of the above exercises will initially bring resistance to the fore. This is good: we want to bring resistance up out of the unconscious, where it has ominous rule, and expose it to a “process of resolution.” By connecting with the resistance, and moving through it, we have the opportunity to discern and untangle the diverse feelings and incidents that have formed themselves into walls of shame.
Whenever shame or blockage surfaces (often feeling like a wall) in a budding or long-term intimate relationship, the struggle to share it is also the process of healthy adolescent development. It is the joining of less mature and more mature aspects of ourselves together in a sensitive, growing relationship. In this process, there is great value in the shame. Shame flirts with us. It lures us while at the same time it tries to hide. As suggested by the author Max Scheler in “Shame and Pride,” “It is from in and under the shame that our shimmering magic emerges.”
HEALING IS POSSIBLE: BELIEF CREATES THE EXPERIENCE
Combining love with sexual expression is an act of higher consciousness. It is important to believe that when two human beings share love’s energy combined with erotic energies, a transcendent experience occurs, one that is often profoundly healing and enriching. This is a very sacred sharing and a goal of a fulfilling sexual experience. Reaching this goal is the result of a conscious give and take, a negotiation of the openhearted experience of interconnectedness. Accepting that this is awkward, we need to learn to communicate our needs, desires and fantasies. Under each of the three currents are powerful and subtle feelings and energies that want to be expressed.
Releasing these expressions help us grow holistically; they teach us about natural aggression and passivity, about our feminine and masculine energies, and about pleasuring and being pleasured. They help dissolve shame, insecurities, and to accept contradictions and complexities. It exposes the need to experience them fully for healing, growth and self-understanding.
Contrary to what some believe about healthy sexuality, we need to learn that healthy loving expression includes the expression of our more shadowy desires as well as our tenderness. The delicate opening up of our repressed sexual histories, variations, deviations, and fantasies is enriching as well as healing. True and spiritual lovemaking is the interweaving choreography of our higher and our shadow selves. A holistic experience involves bringing together aspects of higher and lower self — how beautiful, and so very intimate to do so with open hearts.
EVALUATING OUR PROGRESS
To evaluate your progress in healing the sexual-spiritual split, I encourage you to simply ask yourself: What motives do I bring to sexuality? What do I want from the sexual aspect of my nature?
You will know that the healing is progressing when the answers to these questions emphasize spiritual fulfillment, integrating aggression and passivity, power and surrender, femininity and masculinity, and the desire for personal and shared experiences of fulfillment, pleasure and higher consciousness.
Let me preface this by saying I’m part of this group, too. Just because I’m a licensed therapist doesn’t mean I don’t need therapy. I have many, many things to work on, one of which is getting back into therapy.
Full disclosure: I haven‘t seen a therapist in years. I understand if you think that makes me a hypocrite, but it is my truth. I would rather be honest than pretend to be someone I am not.
Growth is not a light switch. It’s a lifestyle.
But here’s what I’ve learned from both my personal and professional experiences. Growth is not a light switch. It’s a lifestyle, something we must thread into our daily lives. And therapy can be the needle to guide that thread.
Yes, women need therapy too. But multiple studies and researchers have pointed to the fact that women make up nearly two-thirds of therapy patients, while men arguably benefit more from the process.
We have to let go of what we can’t control and just focus on our own shit.
I believe all men need therapy, including myself. Here are four of the most compelling reasons:
1. This generation doesn’t clearly define the male identity.
You might argue that this lack of definition is about the culture of 2015. Society had a strong definition of “the ideal man” in the ′20s, ′40s, ′50s, etc. But I believe it has to do with the fact that we live in a fatherless nation.
More than ever, our fathers are either physically absent or emotionally unavailable. So, how does a son learn who he is as he crosses into manhood? He doesn’t. The shadow of a suggestion of an identity he struggles after is one learned through advertising, media, and coping.
I worked as a therapist in residential treatment for about six years. I treated teens struggling with addiction, and the vast majority of them had an absent father. The boys clung to me, desperate for a positive male role model. They wanted a guide, a mentor, a man to teach them about life — what all boys crave at that age. I know I did. When deprived of that, they try to fill the void in unhealthy ways.
Therapy is a safe space for men who grew up with absent dads (most of us) to process the loss we’ve suffered, whether we realize it or not, and to create a new, healthy definition of what it means to be a man.
2. Therapy helps you find tools that will exponentially improve your relationships.
Generally speaking, men tend to maneuver more on a logical plane and women on an emotional one. Many men struggle to express their feelings, eventually leaving their partner in the dark, resulting in the two being separated by the unspoken issue(s) between them. Eventually, they grow apart.
I see this all the time in the couples I coach: Men tend to go to “fix-it” mode instead of expressing themselves and holding a safe space for their partner. They struggle with using “I feel” statements and don’t practice building their communication muscles.
Since therapists are trained to help you explore and process feelings, seeing a therapist is like visiting an emotional gym and exercising these expression muscles. Once we have the ability to express ourselves, we can stop trying to fix it. Instead, we can be present, and create a safe space for our partner to talk to us. Then confrontations can turn into healthy conversations, creating closeness, trust, and stronger relationships.
Seeing a therapist doesn’t mean you have problems. It means you want to be a healthier version of yourself. It just means adding more tools to your toolbox. These tools will translate directly into your relationship.
Your partner will see the difference in you and may be inspired to go on his or her own journey. Now we have two pistons pumping. Translation: You’ve stopped the tug-of-war and started to move in the same direction. This is the only way to improve a relationship.
It’s never about the other person. It’s about you.
3. It’s the only way a lot of men ever learn to stop trying to fix everything.
Men tend to think they can do everything by themselves. Not necessarily because of ego. It’s a pressure we put on ourselves to take care of the people we care about. When it comes to relationships, sometimes we don’t realize that we are only 50 percent of the equation.
By thinking we can fix it, we can easily cross the line into controlling behavior without even knowing it. That means we have to let go of what we can’t control, and just focus on our own shit. This is what therapy is all about. Therapists are trained to keep the focus on the client so they can take ownership of their own issues and let go of other people’s.
I believe that with this mindset, the dynamic of the relationship will shift. There will be a lot less pressure and a lot more trust. Of course, women can do the same.
But from coaching hundreds of women, I’ve learned that the majority want their man to take the lead. It gives them hope and builds trust. Then they become inspired to work on anything they need to work on.
We get into a chess game with each other, subconsciously. We won’t change or work on ourselves unless the other person does too. But the only thing that grows in that dynamic is anger and resentment. It’s never about the other person. It’s about you, the kind of person you want to be, and what you want to bring to the relationship.
4. We have a responsibility to be better men than our fathers were.
I know it’s 2015, and much progress has been made. But men still tend to shy away or get embarrassed about seeing therapists. There’s a pervasive misconception that therapy is for people with “real problems.” So, men just talk to their friends, who are biased, and can’t advise them with the same experience, perspective, or authority. Men tend to associate “treatment” with weakness. I think we believe that if we see a therapist, we are admitting defeat. We are admitting we can’t fix it on our own. That last part is true. We can’t. But that’s okay.
Imagine if men went to therapy as much as they go to the gym. How many relationships would be saved? How many sons would have a healthier definition of manhood? And how many daughters would have higher self-esteem and a sharper radar when it came to boys? Imagine how much pain and destruction we could avoid. Then tell me it’s not a good idea.
Photo Credit: Stocksy
Many evidence based studies prove that pelvic floor physical therapy is an effective treatment approach for men and women suffering from pelvic pain caused by tight muscles and restricted tissues. The pelvic floor muscles, namely the levator ani, coccygeus and obturator internus can develop adhesions, tension or trigger points which restrict movement and cause pain. Trigger points are palpable spasms/knots within muscle tissue and can occur in pelvic floor muscles. Trigger points can lead to adhesions of fascia/connective tissue of the abdomen, groin, pelvic floor and even restrict the viscera (colon, uterus, bladder, prostate gland) within the pelvic bowl.
The pudendal nerves and its branches, traveling from the sacrum (back of the pelvis) and running all through the pelvic floor region innervates the vaginal/penile and rectal areas. The nerves can become squeezed as it travels through tight muscles and fascia, which then decreases optimum pelvic floor function and increases pain.
The pelvic floor muscles are located INSIDE our bodies, in women the muscles are approximately 1-2 inches up from the vaginal/rectal region and in men, the muscles are approximately 1-2 inches up from the base of the penis/rectal region.
The pelvic floor muscles are key for four functions of the body:
1) lower back/core stabilization; 2) normal urinary function; 3) good bowel function; 4) satisfying sexual function.
As a core stabilizer, the pelvic floor works with 3 other core muscles, the Transversus Abdominus (deepest stomach muscle), Multifidus- (deep low back extensor muscle), and deep fibers of the Iliopsoas (hip flexor muscle). These 4 muscles work together to keep our core strong, flexible and prevents lower back pain. If one of the 4 core stabilizer muscles becomes weak or injured, then the other 3 muscles have to work harder to compensate. Over time this puts great strain on the whole core, which leads to back pain/stiffness/weakness.
The pelvic floor muscles are directly involved with three bodily functions, urinary, bowel and sexual.
For functional urination, the pelvic floor muscles surround the urethral opening and should relax when you are voiding and maintain closure or tension when you are not voiding. If the muscles are in spasm, urinary symptoms such as leaking, or feeling a strong urge to void, or having to go to the bathroom multiple times a day (called urinary frequency) and/or being awoken at night to void more than once (called nocturia), can occur. Women using public restrooms should not “hover” over the toilet, as this sustained half squat creates tension in the pelvis and does not allow full relaxation of the sphincters around the urethra to allow full urination. Best to use the protective toilet seat covers and sit comfortably.
For normal bowel movements, the pelvic floor muscles should be able to open and widen to allow the full passage of stool. When not having a BM, the pelvic floor maintains tension at the rectal opening to prevent leakage. If the pelvic floor is weak, leakage can occur. If the pelvic floor is tight, constipation resulting in sitting too long at the toilet, straining to defecate can occur. Toileting should take no longer than 5 minutes following the urge to void. Even though you may not feel completely empty, it’s better to stand and leave the bathroom versus continue to sit and strain. Constant straining can result in hemorrhoids and/or the development of a rectocele, which further impedes good function.
For satisfying sexual function, the toned and flexible pelvic floor allows for more intense orgasms in men and women. A fully relaxed pelvic floor helps women experience pain free intercourse with their male partners. Many patients who are experiencing sexual pain may experience difficulty with partner relationships or even avoid them due feeling of shame or inadequacy.
Pelvic pain due to restricted muscles can be released and return to normal function, no matter how long a person has been experiencing symptoms.
Physical therapists trained and mentored in pelvic floor work can:
- apply targeted manual therapies to rid muscles of trigger points
- utilize biofeedback therapy to help patients learn how to either downtrain (relax) their pelvic floor or to uptrain (strengthen) the pelvic floor
- perform visceral mobilization to improve the mobility of organs lying within the pelvic bowl
- mobilize and teach a patient self-connective tissue (skin rolling) techniques to abolish tight skin and fascia of the inner thighs and abdomen
- teach patients gentle stretching techniques with foam rollers, tennis balls, knobbles, Theracane, S –wands and dilators
- educate in exercises for a strong core
- teach diaphragmatic breathing and visualization to help lower tension of the pelvis and to increase oxygenation to the body and decreased stress
- guidance in cardiovascular exercise to pump more oxygen and nutrients to the tissues
- teach proper bladder and bowel techniques and habits
Most people start to feel better after 2 months of consistent, twice a week therapy which incorporates many of the above techniques. Some reach goals sooner; others may take up to 3 months. By attending regular pelvic floor physical therapy and performing all the home exercises, faulty pattern are reversed and many people are pain free within 2-3 months.