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Mindfulness and Intimacy

Connecting deeply with self and others

How do we cultivate and sustain fulfilling intimate relationships? True intimacy with another begins with caring for one’s self, something many of us lose sight of when we’re busy parenting children, building our careers, engaging in new romance or dealing with divorce, grief or loss. Mindfulness practice offers us the opportunity for deep listening.. “Who am I and what do I want?”. Intimacy training gives us tools to reclaim our sense of self and build a greater capacity for relationship.

Intimacy begins with knowing yourself…

Body awareness meditation, voice, artwork, movement and storytelling are valuable techniques that affirm our spiritual nature, allowing connection to a deeper knowing. From this place we can awaken to our unconscious patterning, learn to let go of behaviors that no longer serve us and cultivate a more intimate life.

I invite you to explore my site to learn more about the work I do,  both through residential retreats for women and couples and personal or couple sessions.

All of my group programs are full for 2016/17. I will soon post dates for 2018, including both residential weekends and non-residential full day programs in Vancouver and Naramata, BC.

with love and gratitude,

Nancy

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mindfulness and Intimacy for Women ~ Hollyhock Retreat Centre July 26-31st, 2013

Please join me this summer for a extraordinary opportunity to go deeper into this work in the nurturing company of other women. Deepa Narayan and myself will be co-facilitating at Hollyhock Retreat Centre, a life-long learning institute on beautiful Cortes Island.  This 6 day residential workshop will be completely experiential and allow us to discover new ways of relating to ourselves, others and our lives. Deepa and I will be teaching only what we have learned in our own lives and through the past decades of training.

 

 

If you have ever felt, “if only…why doesn’t he/she change…life isn’t fair…I wish…I am afraid…
I am not responsible for this.. I want more out of life….”, come and join us!

Deepa and I are committed to creating a judgment free space for women from all walks of life to explore  what holds us back from a fully authentic and intimate life. We will be using many different modes of creative expression to wake us up to trying on new behaviors. We also guarantee lots of laughter and fun.

Hollyhock is a special place and because we have 6 days to work together, there is time to wander the beach, go kayaking or take advantage of the wonderful bodyworkers.

Register NOW!

Any questions about accommodation and transportation can be addressed to Hollyhock staff. If you want to know more about the workshop, please contact me directly.

Read more about Women’s Retreats

View from the deck at Hollyhock

Enjoy a garden tour

Meditation Sanctuary