Is this you?
You want to be able to access the skills you’ve practiced when you need them most. You sometimes find yourself thinking that it shouldn’t be so hard or that you are not being who you want to be in a particular relationship. Or, you might find that relationships seem to be okay, but then fall apart or stay stuck and you are not sure why. You might be feeling confused and disheartened because you need a new way forward.
Navigating personal relationships in a way that is consistently fulfilling and transformative requires subtle skill and understanding. You may have taken the time to educate yourself with books, but when it comes to applying what you have learned in a book to an actual relationship, it doesn’t always make sense.
For example, you might have read every book you can find about self empathy, but still find yourself struggling with inner conflict. Or perhaps, you have been trying for years to connect with your mother in a way that feels good to both of you, but still find many conversations are a struggle. With an intimate partner maybe you find that things go along smoothly and then suddenly you are disconnected and have difficulty finding your way back. All these situations, would benefit from individual attention.
What is Mentoring?
Mentoring isn’t therapy and it isn’t life coaching. It’s not focused on healing trauma and delving deeply into emotional/psychological patterns as in therapy. And it’s not focused on working toward a specific goal as in life coaching.
Mentoring is about an on-going relationship in which compassion, wisdom, and skills are transmitted from mentor to mentoree. It’s about cultivating a new way of understanding and orienting toward a particular realm of life, in this case, personal relationships.
Here are some components of mentoring:
The relationship between mentor and mentoree is what guides the process rather than some external structure or idea of how teaching should occur.
Underlying principles are the focus rather then end outcomes.
The majority of learning comes from experimenting with new skills and understandings and then reflecting on those experiences.
It's personal. Learning comes from sharing what’s actually happening, not from abstract concepts.
The mentor helps the mentoree shape particular skills and understandings by offering consistent feedback.
What will we do in this course?
In this mentoring course you will choose one or two personal relationships for which you would like to receive mentoring or a particular type of context or challenging circumstance. Relationship focus could be with a family member, friend, community member, yourself, co-worker, or intimate partner.
The relationship or context you are choosing to work with is framed as a place of contemplative and applied practice. This means that our work will not be about changing another person or how they behave in relationship to you. It will be about changing how you show up in the relationship, at the levels of body, heart, mind, energy, and behavior. As you show up with greater skillfulness, compassion, and authentic alignment, the relationship will naturally change in unexpected ways.
Each week, we will work with one or two themes depending on what's alive for the group. The theme for each session will give you focus for practice and experimentation. You will have the opportunity to share how that particular theme shows up in your relationship and I will help you find the next step of your practice. Mentoring will be offered along whatever dimensions you need it; finding mental clarity, connecting with feelings and needs, releasing stuck places in your body or energy, interrupting old habits, identifying and changing core beliefs, and/or practical skills like making requests, setting boundaries, etc.
Witnessing others in the group as they receive mentoring is a powerful way to learn. It allows you to see the same issues you face from a little more distance, which can open the way for new perspective, compassion, and creativity.
Learning and practice modalities will include: feedback, role plays, giving and receiving empathy, practicing self-empathy aloud, physicalizing relationship dynamics and healing interventions, mindfulness, meditation, and appreciation.
While our meetings are only two hours once a week, you will find that you need to set aside time between meetings for reflection and integration. I can give you at home practices for this. This commitment will allow you to get the most from the course and also participate more fully with the group.
What will you get?
Subtle and individual attention without the high cost of one on one sessions.
Relationship skills that help you:
Engage in self empathy
Express and receive appreciation/celebration
Express feelings and needs in a way that creates connection
Make direct and specific requests
Set boundaries with clarity and compassion
Repair disconnect without making anyone wrong
Clarity about Relationship dynamics that keep you stuck: there are numerous relationship dynamics that have been named and delineated through a variety of frameworks such as attachment theory, character theory, and sociological studies of power dynamics. We won’t try to learn all the relationship patterns as a matter of intellectual knowledge but rather simply focus on the ones showing up in your relationship.
Learn to identify Internal Resources and Obstacles
You will be able to name clearly core expansive beliefs and access the embodied perspective from those beliefs.
You will learn to see core limiting beliefs as they arise and influence your behavior.
Below are the themes that typically arise relative to each person's learning edge. I will offer a conceptual framework on each topic as they arise and the topics themselves will weave in and out of our mentoring work together.
Appreciation / Celebration: When there is a sense of clarity and trust between you and another about the intention to consider each other’s needs, all other parts of relating are easier. Appreciation is one of the most simple and direct ways to create that clarity and trust. We will talk about the mindfulness practice of appreciation, three ways to express appreciation, and the obstacles to giving and receiving appreciation.
Empathy: Getting to empathy in a difficult relationship can be challenging. We will start by talking about the ways to find empathy in your own heart and then how that might be expressed in your particular relationship in a way that could be easily received.
Reactivity: Reactivity derails relationships over and over again. Being able to recognize reactivity when it arises is the first step to coming back to center. When you see reactivity clearly, you can make decisions to take care of yourself and respond to the other person without making things worse. You will work through subtle exercises to help you recognize reactivity.
Self-Empathy: Self-empathy, in its most simple form, is the ability to turn your attention towards your experience with curiosity and gentleness. In addition, it involves connecting with your feelings and needs and hearing the reactive stories you might be telling yourself. We will look at how it applies with your own inner dialogue as well as in the face of the other person’s reactivity.
Honest Expression: You will learn to let others know the impact of their behavior on you and take responsibility for your impact on them in a way that builds trust and connection. This might include a variety situations like; expressing gratitude, healing, setting boundaries, and collaborating in the midst of conflict.
Requests: Making requests in a clear and self-responsible way means having an understanding of your own needs and how they are met. In addition, making requests sometimes requires creativity, that is, the ability to imagine something new rather than just the absence of what you don’t want. You will have the opportunity to role play situations and practice making requests.
Boundaries: Setting boundaries isn't just about what you want to keep out. It's about seeing a situation clearly and learning to decide what's truly nourishing for you in a particular context. Learning to set boundaries with yourself and others helps you create a life that is balanced and nourishing. From the framework and consciousness of Mindful Compassionate Dialogue, a life giving boundary means having clarity about what meets needs and what doesn’t relative to incoming contact and expression – physical, verbal, emotional, & energetic. Such clarity allows you to consciously welcome more contact and/or expression or consciously shift the level of contact and/or expression.
Repair: Repair attempts and apologies are often associated with shame, defensiveness, justification and no real connection or healing. Still, you like to hear people say they are sorry. Why? My guess is you want to know that the other cares about you and therefore cares about whether your needs were met by their action or not. You are also hoping that if they say sorry they will avoid that same behavior in the future.
Unfortunately when someone offers an apology out of guilt, shame, or defensiveness the likelihood that she or he will understand better how to meet your needs in the future is pretty low. The more likely outcome is avoidance and a quiet harboring of guilt and/or resentment.
We will practice with the steps that help you stay out of shame and blame and create true repair with another.
Internal Resources and Obstacles: Core Beliefs: Core beliefs refer to the basic assumptions that you hold about life and the way life works. You can think of core beliefs as one of the main ways you organize your experience and behavior. Core beliefs can either limit or expand your sense of aliveness and fulfillment in life. For example, if you have a limiting core belief that you don’t belong and you enter into a new group of people, you are likely to notice the ways in which people turn away from you more than the ways you are invited in. You are also more likely to stand outside the group, avoid eye contact and conversation. In this way, your core belief is limiting your experience and your ability to meet each experience in an open way.
Limiting and expansive core beliefs tend to correspond to seven basic needs. They are: safety, belonging, support, authenticity/agency, autonomy, acceptance, & purpose/community. We will name these common core beliefs as they arise in your examples and study how they show up in your relationship.
Negotiation / Collaboration: there are at least three main skills that contribute to successful negotiation and collaboration. One is clarity about what the need is and how it can be met. When you are grounded in your own sense of clarity and honor for your needs, you are more likely to express them directly. Two, is a confidence that your needs can be met in a variety of ways. When you already have in mind two or three ways your needs might be met, you will have a sense of flexibility and be less likely to push for one particular action. You are then able to hear a "no" to your request without taking it personally and without severing the connection between you and the other person. Three is your ability to stay in dialogue and negotiation when you hear "no" to your request. When you hear no, you can get curious about the feelings and needs of the other person.
Do you need more information before signing up? Send me an email with your questions to email@example.com
Trainer: LaShelle Lowe-Chardé
When: 7:00pm - 9:00pm, Thursdays, Six consecutive weeks, May 2 to June 6, 2019
Where: Friends Meeting House, 4312 SE Stark St, Portland, OR 97215
Cost $280.00 (Participants can opt to pay a $99 deposit to register, and pay the remaining balance on or before the first day of the workshop.)