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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

 

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