Turning Intentions Into Action

If you’re reading this now, a big warm congratulations to you!  Not only did you grit through a year where the world was flipped on its head, you’re taking time to read a blog centered around conversation, mental health and relationships. Thus, your intentions are set in the right place.  

This year has certainly given all of us time to become more aware of our own mental states and how they’re affected by those around us. Conversation Block™ was made so that individuals and couples could address the not-so-pretty parts of those mental states. For many, we’ve been forced to awaken unconscious states. With positive intent this has put us in a position where we must find a deeper understanding so that our relationships are met with less stress and more fulfillment. This is the momentum we want to continue to build going into 2021.

However, the awareness and conversations are the initial steps.  Without action, we are just giving hopeless energy, are let down or are left repeating patterns without real change. To uphold yourself, and your partner, we must ensure that our intentions and words and take action. 

Put it on Paper

There is a real intention in making Conversation Block™ an art piece for your home. It’s there to serve as a reminder. Whether you’ve used the tool to finally put a tough topic to rest, open up conversations that go deeper than the weather, or it’s used as time-out from technology; the conversations mean nothing if they’re forgotten the next day.

Instead, find a small notebook where you and your partner can jot down important things that were said to each other. You may find it useful to take notes about your state of mind prior to using the tool and after. When you’ve overcome something together, write down your promises to each other, date it and sign it.  This way, you’ll both avoid misconstrued intentions, and your words won’t fade. 

Start Acting Right Now

We are creatures of habit. As much as we want to bring our full intention, awareness, and complete will into each moment, we often fall into a default state of mind. The good news is that our brains are malleable and a true desire to obtain a better relationship, goal, or lifestyle, we can replace old habits that block us from obtaining what we want.

Often the problem lies when we think we need to wait until all of our ducks are in order. “Once I get X, I will start doing this for myself.” “If my partner follows through with Y, I will then uphold my side of the bargain.” Forgot the rules and be a leader. Create the relationship you want (with others and yourself), realize your timelines start at this moment, and don’t stop until you’re proud. 

Reflect Alone and Together

The benefits of putting blocks in your schedule to reflect and note the progress toward your goals is key. Some prefer re-centering themselves or sweating it out over Pilates, others find journaling their thoughts useful.  Always look for the truth in what you want and what you are doing to get there. 

Also, ask your partner to hold you accountable. Whether you share the same goal or find it a challenge, make a bet on it, or at least promise to encourage one another no matter what. Your partner can be the one that helps you make sure you don’t cut your dreams short. Use the journal in concert with Conversation Block™ to track your intentions and reflect how you’ve upheld those promises. Never stop finding ways to improve.  

We can too easily get overwhelmed by the chaos of everything going on around us. Remember to stay centered and focused by going within. Observe your thoughts, write them down, chase down your curiosity, and never underestimate the power of connecting with others. Go into the new year with the intent to bring the light inside of you to as many new people as you can. Stay in the moment and use it as you wish to execute on the things that will get you to your bliss.

Conscious Communication Around Family Holiday Gatherings

It seems that the Holidays bring out two different types of people. Yes, the ‘Whos’ spend the weeks leading up to the holidays sharing recipes and planning games, amongst other shenanigans. The other group—let’s call them ‘grinches’—are more likely to find themselves mapping out ways they can coyly get out of the gathering. Hoping the “unplanned circumstance” for which they have to skip this year’s holiday get-together won’t be met with a guilt trip. The thought of being completely conscious around family sounds like a challenge in itself.

What is it about holiday gatherings that brings out the best (or worst) in us? Deep history, perhaps. These are the people who have seen you through almost every stage of life and frankly, there’s nothing they haven’t seen or don’t know about you. Sometimes it seems there’s an extra strong wall blocking us from having empathy for our family members. As Ram Dass once famously said, “If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.”  We’ve been through the same rocky waters, yet we don’t allow much latitude or excuses to be made in their circumstances. 

That said, how can we take a different approach to the judgment and tension in which we sometimes find ourselves surrounded during the holidays? Is there a better way to navigate these stressors and bring conscious communication to the table? Here are 5 tips you might want to consider.

Know what you’re getting into

It doesn’t hurt to do a little meditating before setting out. Know yourself and know your triggers. If it helps to discuss with someone, make sure you confide your concerns to someone who can view things objectively and provide the support you need. Set boundaries if you must and don’t be shy about enforcing them. If a topic is brought up that you believe is better off being avoided, make it your rule to exit the room.

Don’t be afraid to address elephants… consciously

This has been a hectic year to say the least. It’s also been a year for many of us to look within. Perhaps addressing sensitive topics and conveying your new outlook or perspective can be a great way to connect on a deeper level.  Be respectful about the words you choose and stay open-minded when receiving and asking thoughtful questions.

Catch-up…learn something new

Stepping out of our comfort zones, aka our own egos, can allow us to learn something new about each other. How has each of your family members handled 2020? What ways have we found creativity in riding the waves of uncertainty and chaos? Weigh both the pros and cons of the year. What have you taught yourself and what are you listening to—what podcasts have caught your attention? Engage in conscious communication.

Bring a little cheer!

Remember the movie you all grew up watching? How about the inside joke (dad doesn’t get) and how it never gets old? Reminisce about your favorite memories. Don’t be afraid to bring out the jukebox and do a little dancing. Be the light for others.

Be grateful

Remember to be present in the moment. Whether family gatherings are a huge source of anxiety or just whizz by because of all the catch-up you get to do—soak up each moment. Learn something, create a bond, cherish what you have. And who you have.

While a Zoom meeting may be the most probable celebration in 2020, we can all recognize and be thankful that we have the opportunity to connect, regardless.  Stay with that theme and celebrate this year by taking on new conscious perspectives. Dig in, look to understand each other, and if necessary, let go of history. With every challenge we’ve overcome this year, connecting on a deeper level may be just what we need. Close out this year by reaching new relationship milestones.

A Certified Life Coach’s Take on Conversation Block™

conscious communication

A big warm thank-you to Jay Shetty Certified Life Coach Sara Kubica (sara-kubica.com), for her thoughtful blog reviewing her own experience using Conversation Block™. Sara is dedicated to helping people transform their mindsets and their lives. And she knows first-hand the personal development work it takes to make your relationship with yourself, no less loved ones, the best it can be.  Here’s what Sara has to say…in her own words.

Conscious communication is one of the most, if not the most, valuable tools for any human relationship. There are two parts to this process. The first is being very deliberate, honest, and intentional with your words to another person. It means you can share how you feel in a direct yet loving way. It means having no hidden agenda and not being aggressive or defensive. It means you are able to respond to a situation, versus reacting and flying off the handle. We all have the need to be heard and understood by the people we love. Which makes the second part equally as important. We need to be able to listen consciously as well. That means holding space and understanding for whatever it is the other person is saying through conversation and how they are feeling.

Seems like a lot to remember and do when you might trigger… right?! Let me be the first to tell you, this hasn’t always been easy for me to do. Sometimes I just felt the need to yell profanities and STFU when I was mad. And the last thing I felt like doing… was hearing someone else’s side of it. These are all things I’ve been working on now for the past few years. Because these arguments and disagreements won’t ever disappear.  They are part of every relationship. In fact, they are necessary for the growth in every relationship – so I better embrace it all and learn to do better.

Conscious communication is a practice. It’s not a skill you typically can pick up in a day. Over time, as part of a practice, it becomes your habit. There is inner work that needs to be done in order to consciously communicate, and then, there are amazing tools like the Conversation Block. I was given this by my dear friend Jennifer Simmons, who is the co-creator of this tool along with her partner. Their adorable story is here. So, it comes with this beautiful hand-stained wood block, and 2 sets of cards. The smaller set of cards has words or actions that describe the state-of-mind most conducive to facilitating mutual understanding between people, meant to guide and enable users to access their highest state. AHHH! There are 48, with two blanks for you to add anything you feel is missing. The second, larger card deck has insightful questions and phrases to help people address any difficult topic or situation. These really bring things to the surface and push us to move through barriers and get unstuck. It doesn’t come with rigid instructions—there are basic guidelines—but you use the cards in a way that feels authentic to you and your partner, family member, friend, or kid! The block though – that is set on the table. Because the block is stained different colors, each person has a different view of the block. It serves as a constant reminder that there is always more than one vantage point, and there isn’t an always a right or wrong view. “There are differences of opinion or ideas that are uniquely yours that are not visible to the other person.” Reminding us that holding space for other people is KEY to successful, conscious communication.

So, of course, I sat down and used it with the girls right away. Not when there was any argument or behavior issues, but as a way to engage in something different (which we all need right now!) and to do some bonding! It gave us all a chance to speak about ourselves and really hear each other. One of the questions that we all loved was “Even though we’ve known each other a long time, are there things that we don’t know about each other that we could learn and discover?” I told them funny stories from when I was little, and they told me thing that they didn’t think I knew about them. Wink wink. But really it was such a great conversation to have with them, full of laughs and hugs. One of the questions from the deck that I now use in everyday conversation with them is “What do you need from me right now”? What an incredible way to empower my kids to ask for what they need and for me to show up for them in that way. Boom. Whether it’s help with virtual school, a bagel for lunch, or a big hug, this question has made such a positive impact in our relationship. Now there are some tougher questions and statements as well. Tougher for the simple fact that it really pushes the vulnerability and understanding on both sides. “I don’t know how get it right with you, and I really want to”. And – “I’m afraid you’ll be upset with me, but I really want to share my feelings”. PHEW! Hard to start these, but I promise if you and your partner are committed to conscious communication, this is an incredible tool that will bring you closer together.

Now, as a Life Coach, all this stuff is right up my alley. I love learning and practicing it. But it can still be a little uncomfortable. Why?  Because it pushes me to get vulnerable when sometimes I want to stay quiet in order to stay safe. But – comfort is the enemy of progress, so bring it on! I’m also recommending this to my clients who want to see growth in their relationships. Any relationship – definitely romantic relationships, but parents, friends and kids too.

Holiday Gift Ideas For Your Relationship

relationship gifts

2020 has been a trying year for the majority of us. Some have been let go from their jobs, others have been forced to take on new family roles. Being under one roof for prolonged periods of time has put us in situations where we are feeling stressed and farther apart more than anything. Perhaps, a small gift is just what we need.

While we can’t predict the future, the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t so far away. Throughout the ups and downs, what matters is our ability to stay conscious in our thoughts, practicing patience, understanding, and always believing in one another. This may be the perfect year to give your partner something with extra meaning. Whether homemade or something that gives peace of mind; we’ve gathered seven ideas that will show your partner the importance of your relationship as well as your care for their state-of-mind.   

Gift Idea #1:

The Science of Trust: Emotional Attunement for Couples

World-renowned for his work on marital stability and divorce prediction, John Gottman has conducted 40 years of breakthrough research with thousands of couples. Based on principles from Dr. Gottman’s work, Conversation Block™ embodies the practices and tools based in his research (oh wait, sorry, that’s gift idea #6).  Back to the book…schedule a weekly date night to ditch the technology and take turns reading to each other. Openly discuss what you can relate to from the book.

Gift Idea #2:

Picture Frame

It’s likely you have a handful of these as decor around the house already.  What if you were to surprise your partner with a picture they didn’t expect? How can you turn an ordinary day into a precious memory with a frame and note explaining why this particular day is now a memory of lifetime?

Gift Idea #3:

Wine or Beer Cap Collector

Let’s face it, we may have visited the liquor store a little more than usual this year.  But along with that, laughs, tears, and memories were likely made. Maybe uncorking a bottle of wine is a fine way to unwind and have a conversation over how to handle tough situations. 

Gift Idea #4:

Journal

For couples who have discovered the power of self-reflection, we highly recommend giving your someone special a special tool to help them understand themselves better. Go an extra-step and write your intention on the inside cover of the journal.

Gift Idea #5:

Essential Oils

Step-up their self-care toolkit with essential oils.  Show that you’ve done your homework by pairing lavender or chamomile based on your partner’s needs. Offer to give your partner a foot or scalp massage. Or draw a bath, add essential oils, a few candles and sink in together. Enjoy what it feels like to be in the moment, with no goals or distractions, and literally nothing getting in the way between the two of you.

Gift Idea #6:
ConversationBlock.com

Conversation Block™ was built to deal with realities in relationships. There may be no better time than now to address the challenges you and your partner have stormed throughout the year. If you’re a growth-minded individual and want to feel a stronger connection, to get past situations weighing your relationship down, and attain greater fulfillment, then Conversation Block™ is the perfect gift for telling your special someone how important your relationship is.