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Inside Knowledge

Mar 22, 2018

Lauren Selfridge – Show Notes

Lauren is an associate marriage and family therapist. She works with couples and individuals in California using Imago Relationship Therapy.

Her personal definition – “resilience is when I can take what is happening and make a beautiful story out of it.”

She was a very spiritually connected being from a very early age.  She describes herself as having a little bit of fierceness to her.  She also had things happen to her that have made her strong where she wasn’t strong.  They shed light in the areas where she needed to grow.

The concept of building beloved community was inspired by a colleague Shirley Strong.  How can we build competencies as a community towards social justice while keeping the connection to the spiritual world present?  We want both the wisdom and compassion.  For her it is about bringing consciousness to the areas where she has privilege.  Bringing her heart to the work so that she is not blaming or shaming herself or others but holding ourselves responsible for the good of everyone.

Her favourite way of building community is through story telling.  We have to be willing to share our stories on a deep and vulnerable level.  We need to bring curiosity to the table and have a genuine interest in other people’s stories; try to get outside our own minds.

She thinks you can build your community exactly as you want to.  For many people it is important to have in person connection but if you have a chronic illness this is not always possible.  She believes video communities on the Internet, such as Facebook Live, are going to change the sense of isolation that many of us feel.  It is vulnerable, it is imperfect, it is not pre-recorded, we can see the facial expressions of people, we can share our emotions through emoticon buttons, or put a message in the chat box.

Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix and Helen La Kelly Hun is the main Imago book.  They say that “talking is one of the most dangerous things you can do”.  You can end up looking for where they are wrong and we are right.  It can increase the pain in the relationship.  Get out of the cycle of defensiveness and blaming.  It is important to turn to toward each other physically and designate someone who is sharing first.  Put down your baggage (opinions, judgement) so you can walk unburdened across the bridge into the other person’s world.  Curiosity, openness, willing to see through the other person’s eyes.   Then as they share mirror what they are telling you in a neutral way.   Tell them why they make sense based on who they are.  The third step is to emphasise and guess a few emotions the other person might be feeling.   Can incorporate that mindset into regular conversation.  We need to want to nurture the connection in our relationship because when we can do that we come up with amazing things together.   Rupture in a relationship is an opportunity to deepen that relationship. 

She says that if she feels inside that what she is about to say is really clever then she should not say it – because usually clever is not about connecting it is about shaming. 

What we think we are arguing about is rarely what we are actually hurting about.  The only reason we are not moving through it easily is because there are emotional ties to the past. 

The inspiration behind her podcast was her own experience of being diagnosed with relapsing multiple sclerosis.  Her world was turned upside down.  She knew she had some choices ahead of her.  She decided she was going to make a choice to make this into a positive thing.  It hasn’t always been positive.  She has been through some of the darkest times through this but she has come to meet herself on a deeper level.  Through her podcast she wanted to ask deeper questions – how is your spirit, how are you getting through this, what are some of the biggest surprises for you, if your illness could speak what would it say to you?

She is learning to go with the flow as much as she can.  Her guiding quote – “it wasn’t as she planned, it was perfect instead” by Byron Katie. 

A lot of the way she has seen herself in her life was around her physical energy.  It affects her if she feels she has changed at a core level.  “Am I my physical energy”?  She loves to dance but she has found other ways to express the part of her that wants to dance.  There are some things we just cannot do – sometimes we need to grieve that we can’t do the thing. 

Personal resilience tool – “letting my symptoms be my tour guide”.  They are in charge of where they take and if I am willing I go along with the adventure.  “Take me across the bridge, what have you got to teach me?”  This expands her world view and reduces stress.