My Son Wears Pink Sunglasses, He’s Either Gay or a Girl Right?

my son's rad pink shades

my son’s rad pink shades

Is your son less of a boy or man if he wears pink?

Chances are, if a boy wears pink in this culture he will likely be judged as gay or feminine over time.

I paint my toenails. I wear pink sometimes. My son likes pink too and loves to play princess or fairies with his awesome babysitter. So, are we both gay or feminine now?

So, the other day we went to a friend’s house and my son had on his stylish new pink shades. We were the last ones to arrive at the party (a vulnerable moment for a three-year old as the group of kids was already in their flow). Naturally, he wants me to walk him over to the group of kids. We hold hands and walk over.

We walk right into what is now a circle of seven kids ages 4-9 most of whom he’s played with before. Immediately his friend, a 5 year old girl, blurts out (so everyone can hear):

Hey, you have pink sunglasses! Boys don’t wear pink sunglasses!

She then laughs out loud and points at

By |September 26th, 2012|boys, gender, girls|3 Comments|

The Trap of Asking Your Partner to Change

photo by j. gaddis

photo by j. gaddis

Nearly every person I have worked with has the same relationship issue

Trying to change their partner.

In my experience trying to change our partner is one of the top three relationship issues out there (co-dependency and boundaries are the other two).

For example, years ago when I was dating around, once the honeymoon phase was over, I tried to change every woman I ever dated.

“Hmmm, If she only __________.”

She’s so awesome, but her _______________.”

Then I met my wife, who I still tried to change. Since she wouldn’t change I broke up with her, twice.

Then, with the help of a seasoned relationship therapist and a super honest, but harsh letter from my wife (we were broken up at the time), my game was reflected back to me very clearly.

It hurt to see and feel.

I saw how I wasn’t willing to practice real, deep love. It was too scary, too much, too confronting.  Rather than face my fear, I was making her wrong claiming, “if only she would ________, then I’d be willing to drop in to deeper love and deeper commitment.”

This is a very common pattern for

Care-Taking vs Caring For

I have a part of me that is a care-taker. Which is why when I meet other care-takers, I can get triggered and irritated by them. :)

Let’s unpack this care-taker thing since it’s one of the most common relationship issues.

There is very little room for pain and suffering in our culture because the cultural message is “it’s not okay to feel.”  So, we stuff our feelings and traumas, meanwhile we are deeply hurting inside. Then, we posture over this and act like everything’s fine because another cultural norm we have is to be strong, independent, and self-reliant. Better not show our vulnerability…

So naturally, when someone bursts and falls apart, some of us come to the rescue (others run away). But not necessarily because we care. Many of us come to the rescue because we can’t tolerate our experience seeing other person in pain. So we help them

Agency

What is agency?

For the purpose of this post agency is, in general terms, akin to sovereignty. Individuation (or differentiation) is the path to agency.

I think agency is one of the common drives of being human. As we evolve, we seek agency and communion (as Ken Wilber says). In other words, we seek to be fully ourselves while staying connected to each other and all that is. (I explored some of this dynamic in my post on acceptance).

My own definition of agency:

Agency is conscious selfishness. When I am practicing conscious agency, I am a healthy, mature, individuated, integrated adult who puts my own needs/wants above everyone else’s in the service of the collective. I am the author of my own life. I am congruent in mind, body, heart, spirit and I land in my personal integrity. I put my own self-care, self-love, and desire above all else, so that I am more available and resourced to be of genuine service to others (with zero strings attached).

My integral friend Robert MacNaughton, who turned me on to the term

The Year of Self Love

my kids and me at Lake Michigan

my kids and me at Lake Michigan

A quick personal update:

What a summer!

Autumn is slowly arriving in Boulder. Powerful times. I feel like the trees that are shedding their leaves, letting go of what must die and embracing my stance as it readies itself for darker days.

Everything in my life is getting more sacred, more vibrant. My eyes are opening more as is my heart.

My life is very full with two little children. They continue to crush me with their love. It ain’t all warm fuzzies. Both kids have a way of triggering me in places I didn’t know existed. I love this householder path–awakening through marriage and children.

My wife and I are re-visioning our life together. We have spent a lot of time getting more and more clear about what we want for ourselves, our family, and our relationship. It’s intimate, sacred.

I also recently spent three sleepless nights with the sacred Yagé (ayahuasca), facing my deepest darkness and my brightest light. The Shaman’s teacher was the facilitator. He’s straight from the jungle and the most powerful & soft man I’ve ever met in my entire life. Needless to say, the divine Yagé has once again pulled the rug out from under my

Co-Dependency

If we are honest, most of us are scared to be ourselves with the people closest to us.

When we act like this, chances are we have an inner caretaker in us that wants others to feel okay. Why? So that we can feel okay. This is commonly called co-dependency, or emotional fusion. In other words, our okayness is dependent on the other person, thus the term co-dependency.

In my experience, co-dependency is one of the top three relationship issues all of us wrestle with.

Ever heard a parent say “I just want you to be happy. I’m happy if you’re happy.” You might be thinking, “yeah, that’s empathy and it’s healthy.” I disagree and would argue that not only is it NOT healthy in adult-adult relationships, it keeps me stuck in a loop where neither person gets the freedom to fully feel a whole range of feelings from sadness, fear, anger, grief, and even joy.

This one is tricky and sticky for me personally. Since I grew up with a Mom who made her okayness dependent on mine so this is of course my default relational setting. So, if my wife is upset or freaking out, my default is

A Classic Teenage Relationship Dynamic Where Both Girls and Boys Lose

photo by j. gaddis

photo by j. gaddis

The other day I watched what I judge as a very common teenage boy/girl dynamic.

Two early-teen boys are saying goodbye to three early-teen girls. The boys, as they walk away shout “aren’t you going to give us a hug?”

And, as I ride by on my bike, I see the three girls each react and pause as if they are not sure what to do. Perhaps each one checked in with herself for an instant. Then, they each looked to the each other or the peer leader to make the call. (“strength in numbers” they might have thought quietly). Within nano-seconds, they collectively decided to move toward the boys and, my guess is, give them a hug. I rode past them so I didn’t get to stay for the outcome. I can only speculate.

I get there are many, many unknown variables working here, yet there’s a theme I see in teens that plays out in adults I see every day. Here’s my take of what I see as a common girl/boy dynamic in this culture.

Since the boys are unwilling to be direct and ask for a hug, they put the ball in the girls court so they don’t have to face any kind of rejection. If the girls do reject the offer to hug the boys, the boys get to blame the girls. “Bitches.” This way, the boys set themselves up as victims and the girls are the persecutors.

Let’s say any one of the girls didn’t want a hug. If she wants to stay true to herself and say “no thank you” she risks being judged, rejected, or labeled “bitch” by the boys, and strangely, also by her girl friends. She risks losing attention and