Archives

Resources and books

The following are a few of the books I have found helpful in my work with individuals and couples:

 

Let your Life Speak
By: Parker Palmer  – an honest look at how our vocation can be aligned with our deepest urge      

In Love with the Mystery
By: Ann Mortifee – timeless wisdom accented by extraordinary photography

Taming your Inner Tyrant
By: Patty de Llosa – a path to healing through dialogue with oneself

The Shadow Side of Intimate Relationships: 
What’s Going on Behind the Scenes
By: Douglas & Naomi Moseley – Shadow work for couples

Making Your Second Marriage a First Class Success
By: Douglas & Naomi Moseley

Hold Me Tight – Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love
By: Dr. Sue Johnson

A Hidden Wholeness : The Journey Toward an Undivided Life
by Parker Palmer  – How to close the gap between what we love and what we do

Mars and Venus in the Bedroom
By: John Gray Ph.D. – a classic that still applies

Tantra – The Art of Conscious Loving
By: Charles and Caroline Muir

When the Body Says No – The Cost of Hidden Stress
By: Gabor Mate M.D.

Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life
By: James Hollis

Why Good People Do Bad Things: Understanding Our Darker Selves
By: James Hollis

Mother-Daughter Wisdom
By Christiane Northrup
PARENTING
Mind Power for Children- A Guide for Parents and Teachers
By: John Kehoe and Nancy Fischer (Mortifee)

Celebrating Becoming ~ Relationships with Self and Others

October 17-19th, Naramata, B.C.  

Nancy invites you to her final retreat in 2014, held at the brand new “Marga’s Studio” in the beautiful Okanagan, B.C.

Both straight and LGBTQ women, singles or in couples are warmly welcomed.

Marga’s Studio is a place of peace and quiet away from the noise, distractions and pressures of the city, with magnificent views of Okanagan Lake, Chute Creek and surrounded by forest. Naramata is located 25 mins from Penticton, B.C. and 5 hours drive from the Lower Mainland.

Marga’s Studio

Airport or bus pickup is available for those flying or busing into Penticton.

Together we will explore our relationships, with self, our spouse, parents, children, friends and co-workers.

What you can get out of this retreat:

• An opportunity to share your experience with other women looking for deeper relationships or together with your partner.
• Take away tools to cultivate more intimacy with your spouse, children, parents and dear friends
• Effective language to help you establish clear and clean boundaries both with our intimates as well as in work and business
• How to celebrate your sexuality in your ever-changing and evolving life
• Learn how to use your voice in new and enlivening ways
• Participate in sacred rituals, deep sharing and storytelling
• Enjoy nourishing and delicious meals made with love
• Have fun exploring new ways to access your creativity through movement, art and nature

Cost: $375 per person covers accommodation, all meals and art materials. Payments can be made by cheque, e-transfer by interact, Visa or MC (Payments made by credit card will include a 3.5 % service charge)

 

Spectacular Okanagan Lake

 

Reclaiming Ourselves ~ a journey inwards for Caregivers

October 24th-26th at Bowen Island Lodge

Being the primary support for a vulnerable or disabled relative can be an all consuming and sometimes overwhelming experience. Some of us feel isolated, exhausted and disconnected from ourselves outside of our care-giving role.

“When I’m not caring for others, who am I?”

PLAN (Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network) invites you to join with other care giving individuals and couples who are looking for a renewed sense of self and deeper intimacy with their partners, friends and community.

This special weekend retreat on beautiful Bowen Island, the first of a series of workshops to support and nourish family caregivers, offers the opportunity to be rejuvenated and renewed with delicious meals, comfortable natural surroundings, good companionship and time to relax.

Co-facilitators, Ted Kuntz and Nancy Mortifee will lead us through personal and group processes, creative expression techniques and mindfulness practices. We’ll sing, move, reflect, and tell stories to help us connect to a deeper place of knowing in ourselves. We’ll learn how to let go of unconscious patterns that no longer serve us, resulting in a greater capacity for intimacy with ourselves and those we care for.

When: Friday, Oct. 25th – 5:00 PM to Sunday, Oct. 27th – 3:00 pm

Where: The Bowen Island Lodge www.bowenislandlodge.ca

(Guest shuttle from the Bowen Ferry Terminal available)

Retreat fee: Thanks to a generous gift to PLAN supporting the launch of these retreats we are able to offer these exceptional rates:

$200.00 pp for double occupancy

$300.00 pp for single occupancy

*Prices include all accommodation, meals and supplies

Space is limited to 12 participants, so please register now.

Facilitators: 

Ted Kuntz is a psychotherapist, inspirational speaker, and the author of ‘Peace Begins With Me’ and ‘8 Weeks to A Better Relationship’. He is a parent of an adult son with disabilities and medical challenges.

www.peacebeginswithme.ca

Nancy Mortifee is an educator and Mindfulness and Intimacy coach who shares her eclectic practice with individuals, couples and groups. She co-authored ‘Mind Power for Children, the Guide for Parents and Teachers’ and shares the care of a family member challenged by mental illness.www.mortifeetraining.com

To register contact Stephanie Debisschop at:sdebisschop@plan.ca. or call the PLAN office: 604.439.9566

REGISTER NOW ONLINE 

 

Oprah in love with the mystery….

Several years ago, I helped my sister-in-law, Ann, create and publish her stunning book, In Love with the Mystery.

Today, Oprah Winfrey quoted Ann’s book in her monthly newsletter, “What I know for sure”.  Here is what she says…

 

Oprah Winfrey sings praises for IN LOVE WITH THE MYSTERY by Ann Mortifee

 

About IN LOVE WITH THE MYSTERY…. (excerpt from my forward to Ann’s book)

“A few years ago, Ann chose to begin awakening each morning at sunrise.  During these hours of quiet, she developed a fertile stillness that has led to an ever-deepening awareness.  Every passage in this book is testimony to Ann’s commitment to this deep listening. Her words evoke a quickening through which we too can awaken more fully to the gifts in ourselves. These passages are potent; one striking the heart like a gong, the next, as comforting as a lover’s caress. I found them both heartbreakingly beautiful and liberating….”   Nancy Mortifee

To learn more about Ann or to order her beautiful book click here or ask for it at your favourite book store.

 

Alright.. ENOUGH ALREADY!!

I can still hear my teacher’s voice from across the room…

“The trouble with you, Nancy, is you aren’t sick enough of this behavior to change it. That’s why you’re stuck.”

“Are you serious?” I think to myself, “What are you talking about? Of course I’m sick of it. Look at how I am suffering.”

I’m indignant, defiant and scared. “Take a breath, girl,” I hear another voice say (this one inside my head) “let’s think about this for a sec.” As if watching an old movie, I recall the many other times I brought this same issue into the “circle” and here I am again. My defiance began to melt and it donned on me that I could actually make another choice. Thus began my journey to understanding what it really means to be ready to change.

In my heart I knew that I had made many beneficial changes in my life, shifts that came out of a deep commitment to awakening. Every day I realized the benefit of my personal shadow work. And still, I pulled in my teacher’s words, that before I could affectively change my core defense patterning, I needed to do more than simply be tired of it; I had to be absolutely sick of it. I mean really, really, sick to death of it.

We have all heard Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity, ““Doing the same thing, over and over again, expecting different results.” What I’m talking about here are those most challenging, intractable patterns that over and over again, directly compromise our intimate lives, with ourselves and others.

My friends who have committed to the AA twelve step program, say in order to actually STOP drinking, gambling, over eating, shopping, or whatever, a person needs to hit “rock bottom”. “Bottoming out” might mean you’ve been arrested, lost your job or an intimate relationship, such as your spouse or your kids. Or maybe it comes from doing something that’s just SO embarrassing you can’t live another day with your behavior.

It’s easier to get this when you consider the more dramatic behaviors and certainly some unhealthy patterns are more obviously dangerous than others. But what about behaviors that are subtle, less obvious to others, or are easy to deny in ourselves?

One of my most debilitating defence patterns has been self-abandonment. I have wrestled with this pattern my whole life and the truth is, hardly a day goes by without my “abandoner” showing up. For years, my self abandonment was easy to deny, because it showed up in disguises that society admires. To the external world, the self abandoner may appear selfless, accommodating, easy going or flexible; a really nice person who puts others first.  Hmmm… some of that sounds okay.

However, the self-abandoner can also be spineless, afraid of looking bad, wishy-washy and ultimately full of anger and resentment. Left uncared for and uncontained, the self abandoner undermines all intimacy with self and others.

For me, my “bottoming out” was my last divorce and the recognition of the wounding that my dysfunctional relationships had caused my daughters. It was clear that I had only an imaginary sense of self. My, how I suffered, until I finally realized that I was sick enough of this particular behavior pattern to take it on in a serious way.

“So how do you know when you are sick enough”, that’s what my clients often ask. My answer is this:  When you get to the point where the pain of holding onto the pattern is greater than the pain of letting it go, you know you’re on the right track.

In my case, I have historically attracted similar painful experiences into my life over and over again, before I have finally got the message. It’s as though the volume increases with each subsequent hit until I eventually reach my denial threshold and finally choose surrender over defiance. Does this sound at all familiar?

Now, it may seem simple, in that it defies logic to hold on to a behavior that hurts us and yet, sadly, applying logic to childish patterning only serves to fuel self judgment.  Any fool would know that not speaking up in a dangerous situation leads to hurt and injury, right? But the “fool” in this case is just a scared child who is hungry for someone to look after her, and that someone is me.

So what can we do when we know “enough is enough, already!” Well, the only strategy that has worked for me is to reach out for help. Perhaps there are those rare individuals who can take it on solo, I just don’t know any of them. Friends and family can be huge supporters and yet, sometimes they can unconsciously collude with us, which really isn’t any help at all, in fact often makes it worse.

For me it requires intention, then commitment, follow-though and accountability. It takes a willingness to be vulnerable and to allow my fear, rather than continuing to be defended and defiant.

As you know, I am a big fan of group process; I love the magic that a group brings to the circle and to each individual in it. Bringing the “same old” issue to a gathering of women can help us move through the barriers much faster than letting it stew and keeping us awake at night.  Those of you who have been in my women’s groups know how mysteriously the common themes emerge and how magically the work of other women helps us with our own.

If you’re on the fence about exploring this kind of personal work, I invite you to listen to your heart and your belly. If you hear a voice that says, “Alright, enough already!” I’d take it as a good sign to take the leap.

 

Nancy’s next retreat is Mindfulness and Intimacy for Women at Hollyhock, July 26-31st, with co-leader Deepa Narayan. For Nancy’s full schedule of retreats and events click here

 

originally published June 17th, 2012, most recently edited, June 11th/2013

 

 

 

 

 

Naked Option; a last resort

A few weeks ago, my stepdaughter Claire sent me the link to a deeply moving documentary called “Naked Option; a last resort”.  Recently chosen by the Athena Film Festival as one of the 10 Movies that can change the world, the film chronicles the banding together of women in Nigeria’s Niger Delta to fight against the economic, social and environmental devastation resulting from the presence of multi-national oil companies on their homeland.  After years of silent suffering and watching the efforts of the village men failing, the women threaten, as a “last resort” to strip themselves naked in public, violating one of most serious cultural taboos.

Women of the Niger Delta

Watching the film I experienced many feelings, including rage and deep grief over the suffering of these people. “How can this STILL be happening?” I cried.  (link to film below)

The next morning, during in my meditation, my mind returned to the scenes in the film. I tried to pull back and witness my reaction to the film. I’ve learned that when something on the “outside” hits me in such a powerful way, I need to use it as an opportunity to ask, “How am I like each of the characters in this drama?” Thich Nhat Hanh, in his famous poem, Please Call Me By My True Names, teaches us how all human experience weaves together into a single tapestry of the whole. All that we may consider beautiful, horrible, positive and negative, is found within oneself, if you are willing to take a look.

Please Call Me By My True Names

Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow-even today I am still arriving.
Look deeply: ever second I am arriving to be a bud on a Spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings, learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower, to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry, to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death of all that is alive.
I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river.
And I am the bird that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily in the clear water of a pond.
And I am the grass-snake that silently feeds itself on the frog.
I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones, my legs as thin as bamboo sticks.
And I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old-girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate.
And I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.
I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hands.
And I am the man who has to pay his “debt of blood” to my people
dying slowly in a forced-labour camp.

My joy is like Spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.
My pain is like a river of tears, so vast it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and my laughter at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my truse names, so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.

——————————————-

So, I ask myself, “How am I like that multinational oil company?”

We may try to only invest in socially responsible businesses, and yet, do I really know how the people are treated in the factory where my running shoes and cell phone are made? And how about the raw materials that go into the creation of my wonderfully fuel efficient little Prius? Is the health of someone’s drinking water being compromised?

With increasing regularity, I see pages of Facebook “complaints” about the state of the  world that leave me hungry for personal ideas and self-reflection. How can I/we be more mindful of our OWN actions and responsibility for our world? How can we expect to change if we think Monsanto’s behaviour has no relationship to our own?

The women of Nigeria have been afraid to speak up, afraid of the violence, rejection or abandonment that might result from taking a stand, especially in the face of the masculine. How are they different from women living in a world of privilege? Learning how to speak up has been one of my biggest life challenges. I can say the same for many of the woman I have worked with.

It takes courage and conviction to suspend our judgment of our self and others long enough to find our compassionate nature. As far as I can tell, it’s the only route that can lead to personal and subsequently, global, change.

So thanks, Claire, for helping to remind me to keep asking the difficult questions of myself and encouraging others to do the same.

The Naked Option- Click here to watch the film.

A New Direction for MTI

Mortifee Training Inc. was co-created by Nancy and Peter Mortifee in 2006.

Nancy and Peter are married with four daughters between them and live in Vancouver & Naramata, British Columbia. When they met, Peter, a physician, specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation and Nancy an educator and author,  began  a five year intensive Intimacy Training and apprenticeship with Naomi and Douglas Moseley (The Moseley Method). They went on to study Gestalt Awareness Practice with Christine Price at the Esalen Institute and then began to share what they had learned with individuals and couples. They brought over 100 years of life experience to their practice.

Over the next few years, Nancy’s focus began to shift towards working with women and in particular, women in groups, creating the Healing the Feminine Women’s weekend retreats. Peter’s passion for social finance and governance structure, has also led him to exciting new projects, including becoming a member of the Ashoka Foundation Support Network and director of the Trust for Sustainable Forestry. Peter also is very active with the MANKIND PROJECT. (MKP) where men are supported in their deeper journey inwards.

NB: “I have witnessed first hand the transformative power of the Mankind Project, both in Peter’s life and the life of dear friends and colleagues. I highly recommend women encourage the men they love to check it out… Nancy

Together with Peter’s sister, Ann Mortifee and her husband, Paul Horn, Nancy and Peter are also directors and stewards of the
Somerset Foundation.