Heartfelt Consent: Unlocking Joyful Co-Creation

 Real Skills Workshop - Community Event

RS 2024-02-13 Consent

Heartfelt Consent: Unlocking Joyful Co-Creation

Real Skills Workshop: Savvy Relating & Engaging

Hosts: Rick Wilkes (@Rick) and Cathy Vartuli (@Cathy)

Recorded: Tue Feb 20 2024

:point_right: Replay is below

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Consent gives us clarity in our co-creating. We invite you to join us for this Real Skills Workshop.

Real Skills Workshop

Do you want… a hug?

What a strange question! I had never been asked that before. And WHY was she asking when the event I was walking into was called Cuddle Party?!?!?

It was so weird. And it got even weirder!

Weirder because I really felt that with hear arms open and her heart willing, I actually could say NO! Without feeling like I let her down!

That is heartfelt consent in action. She wanted to know that even though I was coming for a touch experience event, was I – in that moment and with her – a YES for a hug? Or not?

She’d also done the work to make the request one that truly was about consent. In that moment, I was a YES, and I could feel how much of an upgrade it was to hug with confirmed consent rather than solely implied consent .

Wow. So useful! So healing to parts of me that never had that experience.

Cathy and I have been exploring and teaching and students of consent for a long time now. It remains fruitful to return to it, in all the ways. It frees our heart from annoying doubt. It fosters Agreements and frees us from expectations – ours and theirs.

So… is it a YES for you to join us? We invite you to pause and consider. Knowing also that you can change your mind, anytime, and we are delighted for your clarity. That’s part of heartfelt consent, too.

:point_right: Replay is below

With love,

Rick & Cathy ~ ThrivingNow
Your Emotional Freedom Coaches
Schedule private sessions here

P.S. Adira says, “Would it be pleasing to you to help me shovel? There’s plenty of snow to share!”

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Doubt makes us anxious. When we’re not sure what we’re doing/planning is actually WANTED, empathetic people feel the uncertainty. Conscious Consent gives us peaceful power. We invite you to join us for this Real Skills Workshop.

Real Skills Workshop

But is that what they want?!?

I get that there are people that don’t care. If they want you to do ___ they are expecting compliance. Whether that is your true YES or not is not something they consider all that much, if at all.

Maybe you were raised by someone like that. Or were in their classroom. Or work “under” them…

Well, that doesn’t work for me. If I am not clear about consent, I get a feeling inside. You could call it anxiety. Worry.

I used to call it that, too. Now, I am aware that it is a Call for Consent.

“I imagine that with all that is going on, you would like me to take care of the unpacking and doing the laundry. Is that true?”

“Actually, if you could take the kids for an adventure, then I could drop in and do that all by myself, which would actually be better for me. Does that work for you?”

“It does! Thanks for helping us get clear.”

Do you see what happened there?

Intuition does give us information. It guides much of what I do, in fact. But when I get that other feeling I know it’s time for clarity if possible. By starting with “I imagine…” it makes it clear that it is me imagining, and I am checking in to see where the actual Yes-Yes might be.

“Consensually Helpful” is so different from “bossy helpful.” Bossy helpful is like, “You’re too stressed. I’ll do the unpacking and laundry. You go pull yourself together and go play with the kids or something.”


Living in a world where consent-seeking is “normal” changes the we-space. We resort to “telling” less and “co-creating” more.

It’s easier to feel gratitude for what others do for us when we consented – because what’s happening is right for us, too.

Cathy and I get it. It’s a new language. It takes a measure of savvy and courage to ask, and to be prepared for a NO if it’s not what someone wants. Not always easy.

It’s vulnerable to share our asking, too. “Would it be a YES for you to…?”

We’ll explore this. Make consent hearty. Build calm confidence around this savvy skill.

Is it a YES for you to join us? We invite you to pause and consider. Knowing also that you can change your mind, anytime, and we are delighted for your clarity. That’s part of heartfelt consent, too.

:point_right: Replay is below

With love,

Rick & Cathy ~ ThrivingNow
Your Emotional Freedom Coaches
Schedule private sessions here

P.S. Adira says, “Moooo…ssssse. Headed home today to see Da-Da and Bo-Bo!!”

Unsure if there is an Agreement, a Yes-Yes? Thoughtful people stop. And sometimes, we get stuck! When we make consent conscious, we feel free to engage. We invite you to join us for this Real Skills Workshop.

Real Skills Workshop

Do we agree that we can ask for what we want, even if the other person is super stressed?

Honestly, I assume (with a lot of accuracy I’m convinced) that the answer is NO.

When someone I care about is super stressed, over capacity, beyond a breaking point… why would I add to their strain?!?

Who wants to be the Entitled Jerk? Who wants to be so weak and needy that they can’t get their needs met on their own?

So… thoughtful and empathetic people often find ourselves stuck. We need something like a 5-minute heart hug, just 5-minutes out of 24 hours, yet don’t say it. Don’t ask. Don’t even ask if it is okay to ask!

Sadly, the repercussions can be, uhh, BIG. Frustrations build. We amp up the compassion and empathy for others but how do we even ask for our essentials to be met?!

Chances are, I’ll still be exploring this 30 years from now. I still suck at asking. I just suck less at asking than I used to. (grin)

Which of course means it is time for a workshop on consent! Healtfelt consent. Consent that Matters and helps to support our thriving.

Cathy has done so much exploring on this, too. As a truly thoughtful being, she’s taught about consent in some truly challenging and intimate contexts.

Perhaps you’ll join me tonight in asking her some potent questions to help us figure out how consent savvy can support Joyful Co-Creating.

If it’s a YES…>## :point_right: Replay is below

Appreciate You! Our inbox is open!

With love,

Rick & Cathy ~ ThrivingNow
Your Emotional Freedom Coaches
Schedule private sessions here

P.S. Adira says, “Consent is like Magic Fairy Smiles!”


Heartfelt Consent - Unlocking Joyful Co-Creation - Session Replay

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We welcome your insights, ah-ha’s, and sharing. Please! Click [Reply]

We covered…

  • Finding Joy in Saying Yes (and No): We explored how truly listening to our hearts - and each other - can make every yes more joyful and every no more respectful.
  • Sharing Our True Selves: Learned about opening up with courage, sharing our boundaries, and why it’s a gift to ourselves and our relationships.
  • Hearing with Our Hearts: Discussed the magic of truly hearing someone, beyond just their words, and how it can deepen our connections.
  • Creating Together with Love: Found out how agreeing with heart and intention can turn any collaboration into a joyful dance.
  • Braving the Tough Talks: Shared tools for diving into those hard chats with kindness and coming out closer on the other side.
  • Uplifting Each Other: Celebrated how recognizing and meeting our needs and those of others can uplift us all.
  • Trust Through Truth: Emphasized that being open and honest is an essential ingredient to trust and lasting co-creations.

Resources Mentioned

  1. Free EFT Tapping Guide

  2. Thriving Now Emotional Freedom Circle

Click for Computer Generated Transcript

Heartfelt Consent: Unlocking Joyful Co-Creation

[00:00:00] Heartfelt Consent. Unlocking Joyful Co-Creation. This is a Real Skills workshop, and this is the promise, I believe, of heartfelt consent, is that we unlock the potential for co creating joy together, co creating spaces together, co creating experiences, and deeper, closer relationships that really work for our thriving.

[00:00:25] I was thinking, you know, what was, what was, what’s consent a thing when we were really focused on survival? And the most I could come up with is like, permission. You know, you might get permission to do something, um, but mostly it was, this is Quite honestly, to me, something that we get to explore together, and I’m delighted that I’m Rick from Thriving Now, and I’m delighted that in this workshop, I have people on, uh, with us that are going to be communicating with us by chat, and I get to co create with Kathy Vartuli.

[00:01:08] We’ve done a few thousand hours of co creating together. And, and, You know, we’ve, we’ve looked at consent as ways to co create spaces, co create spaces for clients and our circle and workshops and other things that we’ve done. And I know that you’ve taken this, um, to some of the most intimate experiences that humans have, um, as they enter into sexual relating and getting to know each other.

[00:01:43] Um, so. I’ve learned so much from you and the work that you’ve done with other leaders in the consent field. Um, so whatever you feel drawn to share tonight, um, I just want to let everyone know that, uh, we’re, we’re wanting to create a space where you can ask in the chat for us to go where you’d like us to go.

[00:02:09] We. We hold the, the freedom to not go there tonight or, um, but also that we’re going to, this is deep stuff. Um, I know that for me consent is so crucial because I went through a period of my life where, uh, things were happening to me and my body that were not consensual. I wasn’t even at an age where I could consent and that’s an example of like, hey, we could be touching on some things.

[00:02:42] If you need to take care of yourself by pausing, by exiting, please know. You have our invitation, not just our consent, but that’s part of this is that you’re free to, uh, take care of yourself. Um, and we invite that and encourage it, Kathy, um, with that. Yeah, um, I put in the, in the chat, uh, thrivingnow. com forward slash grounding, there’s some exercises there if some of this brings up issues for you or you feel like you’re getting triggered or getting activated.

[00:03:17] Those are great ways to calm yourself down and help take care of yourself. I really recommend if it’s something you often find yourself anxious or triggered. I, for a long time I had these printed out and posted around my house, because when we’re getting activated or triggered. Okay. Our brain doesn’t work as well.

[00:03:34] We get to our primitive brain. Our, we’re not thinking logically, but if we just, our eyes go across, oh, call this person or drink a cup of hot water or some hot tea or something, it can automatically, it can help us step into the self care. Um, and Rick, I love that you and I, we’ve taught, we’ve have a very dear friendship that we use to practice the consent.

[00:03:59] I think this is something we continually practice. It’s not something you just get and you’re done. There’s levels of it. And I like, I, for myself, there’s no, um, out of bounds questions or topics that are taboo, um, in terms of like intimacy, sexuality. I think that those are natural expressions of human, of humans.

[00:04:21] And we want to connect. And many of us run into those problems there because there’s so much shame in our society around sexuality. This talk is not specifically geared towards consent around sexuality, but. It copies and pastes into all areas and I know for a long time growing up, I didn’t understand consent because my family didn’t really understand consent.

[00:04:44] Whoever had the most power, um, in the moment won and we all did what that person wanted. Um, whoever had a reason to guilt other people or control other people, they won whatever happened. So it was a contest, a power contest. And I didn’t really enjoy people very much. I really mostly wanted to stay very far away from them.

[00:05:04] They didn’t feel safe. They didn’t feel good. Um, and I didn’t have connected relationships like I have now, where I really care about people and I can share who I am. And I think learning consent, learning the skills around this and building the muscles to actually use them is the key to having deep and loving relationships that really matter.

[00:05:26] Too much, too many relationships I see in the world right now are filled with resentment. And control and power, power over, where one person tries to get the other people to meet their needs, the other people might do it resentfully or reluctantly, and over time that builds up and festers, and the relationship becomes very passive aggressive or just toxic.

[00:05:46] So I really think that while we’ll be talking about consent, which to some people may not seem very deep, I really do think that the things we’re talking about tonight, if we don’t know them and can’t use them, we don’t have Major skills in connecting with people in a way that we really, really want to.

[00:06:04] So I really, I want to honor you if you would take a moment just to acknowledge yourself for showing up tonight. Um, I know personally how hard Rick and I have both worked on this to understand it and learn it and struggled sometimes when the other person didn’t want to do something we wanted to do, or wasn’t available, or there can be hurt feelings.

[00:06:23] And the fact that we’re able to repair them. And move forward has just deepened our relationship. So if you’re here tonight, you’re doing something really amazing for yourself. And I would love it if you could just let that in. That you’re letting yourself be exposed to and become aware of things that will help you, skills that will help you really create powerful relationships.

[00:06:48] If you’re here with us live, thank you. If you’re on the recording, thank you too. Um, you know, there are so many times when, um,

[00:07:02] uh, we hear, we get the privilege of hearing back that it’s months or years later that someone finds something. Those of us that are here live are co creating together and that it’s useful to them downstream. And I, I love that. I love that we’re living in an age where the work that we’ve done on consent and we continue to do, and that you will continue to do as you harvest wisdom and you try things out and you give us feedback, will be part of co creating these spaces where consent becomes the predominant way of relating to one another.

[00:07:41] If you’re, if you’re here live and you feel like it’s a yes for you, what do you find hard? About consent. The chat is open and we’re we’re not going to read your name. Um, not out of lack of respect, but out of privacy. That’s one of the ways that we try to orient this so people can feel more free sharing.

[00:08:05] Um,

[00:08:08] the, uh, go ahead. You talked about consent, but could you, I think you had the definition pulled up. Could we, could you help people orient, like, so they know what they’re saying they have challenges with. Yeah, so consent can clearly affirms an agreement. For actions that involve others and the we spaces that we share with them.

[00:08:33] It supports increased safety and a deeper respect and a freedom of choice. And I think this is a key point, including the unpunished freedom to opt freedom to opt out. Um, and it brings each person power. More confidently into the co creation. And, you know, the thing about consent is it sometimes can seem awkward.

[00:09:01] Well, why do we go through this awkwardness while asking for and reaffirming consent brings a fresh opportunity for each person to check in with their body guidance, something we also teach as part of thriving now and express any boundary changes they want for where they are right now. In essence, for me.

[00:09:25] Consent is about finding something that’s a yes, yes, not a. Yes. Okay. If you have to, that’s sort of like coping, like, it’s not sometimes we have to like, okay, the kid is sick. Like, you know, the, the plumbing is messed up. Like, we have to deal with stuff sometimes and we don’t necessarily like it. But, uh, but again, but.

[00:09:53] Even in that case, because I do get a sick kid coming and, and, uh, even rodent infestations. Um, the consent is like, um, there’s a yes, a shared response, a shared responsiveness. And for me, consent says, if I say yes, I could answer also the question, well, what makes it a yes for you? I care about us. This is something that needs to take care of, and I’m good at this type of thing, or I can do it.

[00:10:25] Um, it feels more balanced than trying to have you do it. It’s thoughtful, it’s kind, it’s generous. And I believe that that’s part of the heartfelt consent aspect of this, when we were naming this workshop, is when it’s heartfelt, when you’re saying yes to something, you can, you’re aware of like, yeah, this is a yes, because.

[00:10:48] Now, whether you articulate it or not, I’m going to propose that when you’re building depth and scent with people. When you can answer, yes, I’d love to, um, you matter to me or I enjoy being useful. Now, if you said, well, why is, why is you doing this for me? A yes, Rick, like you, you seem weirdly happy about it.

[00:11:13] Say, well, honestly, I really want to feel useful and this makes me feel useful. So yeah, it’s not just a, a consent I can, um, you know, like. Or it could be something like you’re stressed and I have the space to do this and my, I want opportunities to go deeper into service. Acts of service is one of my love languages.

[00:11:42] And again, like there’s logistics that we have to do to survive. One of my, one of the things that we’re looking at as real skills is I’m not a survival skills kind of person. I think I can survive, but I want to put. 90 percent of my energy toward things that help us thrive together inside of myself with others as well.

[00:12:07] And so as we think about consent, a lot of it, um, a lot of the energy and consent can be like medical informed consent. I’m going to tell you all the horrible things that could happen to you. And if you just still decide to go ahead with it, well, You’ve been warned, right? That’s sort of how informed consent has been, um.

[00:12:31] It’s not a joint consent. And, and, and sometimes, uh, consent has been portrayed as something like, well, I need to check in that it’s not a no, right? Um, can I kiss you? Yeah, that’s the first level of consent. Can you tolerate what I want to do? Can you tolerate what I want to do? Very involved. Um, what is that?

[00:13:00] What does that evoke for you, Kathy? Well, when you’re talking about survival, I think a lot of times when we’re in survival mode, like if people got married, cause they needed someone to help them support, to live, to like, I need someone to help produce children so we can have a farm. So we were barely eating by and.

[00:13:20] At that stage, you really don’t have a lot of options. So, just tolerating your partner, uh, keeping your mouth shut, not talking about things that matter to you, it probably got you through. You know, you survived until you died. But we live in a We coped, yeah, we coped, and we survived. Um, and there’s times when I still fall back on that, you know.

[00:13:43] There’s, I choose to make a choice to go to certain situations where I’m not always delighted and happy, and I made a choice to be there, and I cope with it. But I think the more time we can start spending in joyful consent, the more we practice that, the more evolved we become, and the more we’re attracting into our lives of joy and happiness.

[00:14:05] And I’m attract, I’ve noticed I’ve attracted more and more people that want to live in that space. So we want to move past Just coping and surviving into the thriving that Rick was talking about. And yet, very few of us have had this modeled from childhood. Most of us grew up with parents that were like, Kiss Uncle Bob.

[00:14:25] We’re going to the doctor now. We’re going to school right now. Come on, get dressed. You’re wearing this. You’re going to eat this. You’re going to, you know, we were told over and over. There wasn’t a, okay, do we have consent? Is it okay with you if I do this right now? Are you, are you in agreement? And sometimes you just can’t.

[00:14:40] I, you know, I watched Rick. with Rick and Jem with Adira. She’s adorable, and she’s very opinionated. She’s very strong willed, um, and they are very patient with her, but there’s sometimes they have to say, Honey, I’m so sorry, but we are having, we’re gonna like, have to put on your clothes, and we’re going out, like we’re doing this thing.

[00:14:59] So I think with children it’s hard, but they model so much for her. where there’s space to that she can get to choose and I it’s really it’s very tender for me to watch them parent her such conscious thoughtful parenting because I didn’t have that my parents did the best they could but they didn’t know those skills and so I love that for her but it’s also a little tender like I wish I’d had parents that would say honey would you like to try this now or I know this sounds scary but do you want to test it out you can stop and no one will shame you for not finishing it or punish you for like wasting their time.

[00:15:34] Um, so that’s really beautiful to watch. And I would like that for more of us. And I know we can create it in our lives just by gentle practice. The problem is a lot of us don’t have the, I didn’t for years have the knowledge. I didn’t even know how to do it or that existed. And once I found out it existed.

[00:15:52] It was so hard for me to actually do it. The muscles, my emotional and social muscles just didn’t exist to say to someone, I don’t want to do that. So I still remember I was in the, I think I was 33 and I was out on a date and. He was trying to kiss me and I didn’t want to kiss him and I was leaning like I was over the side of the park bench trying to get away from him thinking he would get that that was a no and I wasn’t saying no and you know I don’t know if he thought I was playing coy or just thought you had to pursue women or whatever it was but it was very uncomfortable and now I have the skills I built up the muscles where I could say to someone hey wait you I don’t want to do that.

[00:16:33] You’re, you know, I need you to back off. Um, and I also hang out with people that are much more likely to ask before they try to kiss me. So, um, if this seems daunting at all to people, to any of you, I just invite you to know that it’s just baby steps. You just take baby steps forward and you can get pretty strong at this pretty quickly, if you, especially if you have people around you that are modeling it and encouraging you.

[00:17:01] Well, it was shared. I want to reflect that. Um, The culture around consent is, has changed a lot in my lifetime, and we are still, I suspect that it will be continuing for many generations. If I have my way, I believe that consent is a way of finding agreements that are dynamic and respectful, and, um Thank you.

[00:17:31] They’re non hierarchical and someone pointed out that it may be a cultural thing. I would say it is, but it is so conditioned in that culture that the husband is always a leader. So a wife should not be having any consent issues because the leader is always right just because he’s the breadwinner for the family and the homemaker has no consent or say in financial.

[00:17:56] It’s called misogyny. It’s misogyny. It’s misogyny. It is not cultural. It’s misogyny. It’s built into our society that the men are always right and we should comply. And so many women have, people raised as women, have been socialized to comply. With men around us. I still notice I do this sometimes like, oh, it’s not necessarily safe for me to say anything or the, the fight I’m going to have for me expressing my opinion is so not worth it.

[00:18:27] I’m just going to avoid these people in the future, but I just, I just want to name it because so many people like, oh, that’s just how they are. That’s how society is. No, it’s misogyny. It’s discrimination. It’s not real. And I think getting a little anger about it can give us that power to say no. You were raised that way.

[00:18:48] You have the priv you have privilege and, and you expect everyone to, to comply with you. But that’s not what I want to give you. And that’s not actually, you don’t deserve it because you have a penis. So sorry. So.

[00:19:05] I agree. And we’re in a place where I have clients that if they Reacted the way that you did. We would be holding their memorial next week. Absolutely. There’s some places. It’s very unsafe to express that we’re safe here. I want to acknowledge that. the exploration of consent, there are people that have a circle of support for some people, you know, the thriving now circle is the only circle of support where they have like that level of consent being explored.

[00:19:44] And, um, as you like, you clearly Forcefully do not concur with that culture. You have a powerful call out and everything else. And yet I’m guessing from talking to you that every month without fail, you run into circumstances. Or that is conscious or unconscious. And, and that’s also an aspect of this is that, and you teach this, the unconscious messaging about like, who’s in charge here, who’s got the power here.

[00:20:30] And even if we take. In a power where there’s an imbalance of power, consent is a different dynamic than than honestly. I mean, we could talk a lot about consent in that case. I think that it’s not okay for me. You to treat me that way. I would put as a boundary is saying. I do not consent. I have a hard wall here.

[00:20:58] This stops with me. You know, maybe all of my ancestors had to cope with this kind of, um, behavior and attitude, but it stops with me. We have a lot of people, um, in our world that are saying that it stops with me. And navigating that is a challenge in places where there’s hierarchy, especially, uh, misogyny and, um, male dominated structures.

[00:21:32] That said, there are people that you can say, well, you know, are you the type of person that needs to be obeyed? You know, if my daughters are going, you know, my, my, um, I have a, an adult daughter. And, um, if she did not, you would never enter into a relationship or even a friendship, quite frankly, with, uh, a man that treated her that way.

[00:21:59] And she too is a brilliant scientist navigates these things that are still part of it. I do believe that what we’re talking about, the consent language, can come into it and say, um, as a boundary, I believe that, um, it’s very powerful to say, I do not consent to you treating me that way. And let me take some muscle building before people get Absolutely.

[00:22:28] So I want to be clear that I’m not criticizing anyone who’s living this and not seeing it. So many of us are brought up in it like a fish in water. This is all we saw. It took a lot of work for me to be able to see. I always like, why are these women upset when men tell them to smile? Why are they getting upset?

[00:22:46] Because I was told to smile so much in my life. And I’m like, oh, I don’t have to perform for these men. They’re telling me to perform for them, to be a certain, to express certain things that make them feel comfortable, as opposed to me being just myself. Maybe I don’t feel like smiling today. And so I, I, there’s no criticism of anyone who’s stuck in that.

[00:23:06] It’s just an invitation forward. I wanted to speak it strongly to give a clear, maybe a clear glimpse of it. Because so many people, again, you’ve been swimming in this forever, and it just seems that this must be the way it is. And I think for many generations, that’s been that way in our society, sadly.

[00:23:24] And emotional freedom includes a very different way of relating. And someone said, you know, with, with, In family, there tends to be a lot of guilt and obligation messages, especially mother to daughter. Now, again, that’s, that’s a cultural hierarchy within the female side of the line is often guilt, shame, obligation driven to we were sons and fathers and mothers, sons and mother.

[00:23:56] This is part of the exploration is that if we are free. And we’re looking for win win. And she said, sometimes with the sisters, there can be some asking of what is more win win. That’s a great frame. It’s the yes. Yes. Well, what would be more of a yes for us? Like, yeah, I can, I can cope with that, but what about this?

[00:24:19] That’s a consent conversation without the word coming into it. It’s saying, Hey, we’re, we can cope with this. And, and for a lot of people, they choose say, you know, I feel guilty and obligated tap, tap, tap. Um, and you know, I can’t imagine not doing this. So it actually is my choice. I’m being guilted into it.

[00:24:41] Like, that’s the language. That’s the expectation. I don’t like that feeling that I’m, the energy that’s getting radiated to me is not one of you’re free to say no. I would probably be punished if I said no. But the truth, I, what I, sometimes what you’re confronted with is, you know, I actually do consent to this.

[00:25:03] It fits what matters to me. Um, And yeah, that’s an unfamiliar and awkward way. Definitely is unfamiliar and awkward. Um, just recognizing that something is unfamiliar and awkward is a huge step forward, because that means you’re actually seeing something besides the water you’ve swum in all this time. And one of the things I’ve noticed, my mom is someone who does a lot of the guilt and obligation.

[00:25:27] I honestly don’t think she knows how to get her needs met otherwise. If you can’t ask for what you want, you are left with hinting and hoping, guilt and obligation, or overgiving to hope the other person figures out what you want. So there’s not really, there’s not a lot of options if you can’t say, hey, I would really like to go out for Chinese tonight, I don’t want to cook, could you drive me to Chinese, buy me dinner, and tell me, you know, tell me what, that you really appreciate me.

[00:25:56] That’s what I, that’s what I’d like. And the other person, and it’s really hard when we’re first doing this. to be with the feelings that come up if someone says, you know, I don’t really want to do that. Because for so long, like it’s so hard to ask. It’s so vulnerable to ask. And then if someone says, you know, I don’t feel like doing that.

[00:26:16] It’s like, oh, I must not be loved versus that person is respecting their boundaries and saying what they want. It’s it takes some work to get there. So please be gentle with yourself if you start processing this and moving through this. Oh, someone shared even a pretty, even at a pretty ripe age, I don’t know my, my consent is my right.

[00:26:43] And I appreciate you sharing that. Because I think even people, I work on this all the time. I teach it. I’ve taught it

[00:26:53] It’s not easy. This is not easy. Our society is not really geared towards consent, because consent means choice. That means I don’t have complete control over what’s happening. There’s a risk and a vulnerability around it. And, There are ways to build it in. So with my mother, I’ve started being gently setting boundaries and offering role modeling a different way.

[00:27:18] When I want to do something, I’m like, Oh, I would love to do that. That sounds wonderful. When I don’t want to do, I’m like, I could do that, but I don’t want to do that part of it. It’s. And then just be with her discomfort and when sometimes when she asks, and it’s hard to be with her discomfort because she wants to push at me like, and I’m used to complying.

[00:27:36] Um, and I’ve also started saying things like, you know, if I did that, I would feel resentful and that would hurt our relationship. So I’m going to say, no, she seems to hear that better than me just saying, no, I don’t want to do that. She understands what’s going on. Like I’m trying to. Keep the relationship good and healthy should give there’s a why on it.

[00:27:58] That’s not just my preference because if it’s just my preference, why wouldn’t I just comply and give her what she wants? Cause she really wants it. Um, so I think we can gently start working with people that don’t understand consent, even while we’re building up our own muscles and it doesn’t mean we’re going to get it perfect.

[00:28:15] It’s going to be awkward sometimes.

[00:28:19] And

[00:28:24] there’s a lot of encoding in us. That is related to, um, being asked, and whether someone says yes or no, and what that yes or no means, and part of consent for thriving really does mean doing the emotional work of saying, if they’re saying no. They’re taking care of themselves. I want people to be clear.

[00:29:00] Like my frame of reference around a no. I may have a gut reaction. Like a primal reaction to hearing no. But where I want to take that energy is I want people in my world that if I ask them for something they’re reliably aware of whether something is a yes for them or not. That they say yes gladly and they say no with clarity.

[00:29:31] And they can change their mind. If they say yes, and then like, get partway into it, it’s like, you know, I thought this would work, but it’s not. I’d like to change my mind. I’d like to do something different. Doesn’t mean you’re going to leave them stranded on the side of the road miles from town, but you can, you know, there’s things we can do to like, take care of ourselves, even when our preference change or we understand something different.

[00:29:54] And, and this goes to, um, I What makes consent hard? I think there are three that I want to make sure that we touch on in the workshop here. The saying and hearing no, the saying and hearing yes, and the asking itself. And we’re right now like with the no, um,

[00:30:23] No is a complete sentence on a very fundamental level. If I ask you, Would you like to go for a walk? You can say no. That’s a complete sentence. You don’t have to explain it. You don’t have to excuse it. I think it’s a Oh. Go ahead. I wanted to just emphasize that a little bit. A lot of times we try to explain our no’s.

[00:30:44] And we teach this in Cuddle Party when we run them. If, if I try to explain my no, now there’s something for them to try to fix. So if Ri Take me to the airport at 4 in the morning. And I’m like, Ugh, I don’t want to get up at 4 in the morning. Okay, um, no, I can’t. My car is in the shop. And he’s like, no problem, you can borrow mine.

[00:31:04] And now I’m stuck. As opposed to, no, I just, I love you, but please take an Uber. I don’t want to take you to the airport at 4 in the morning. Um, so when we try to explain the no, if we don’t let no be a complete sentence, then we’re kind of stuck. We trap ourselves often. Go ahead Rick. So there’s that part of the practice, that when you get somebody in your life where you can practice consent, practice saying no without any explanation, even those extra words that Kathy said.

[00:31:36] Why? Because There’s a quality of checking in with ourselves and being like,

[00:31:46] no,

[00:31:50] and I, heartfelt consent for me says if I’m really sensitive to hearing no, because maybe I grew up in an environment where anytime I asked for what I wanted, I was ridiculed, right? Or people reacted badly to my, or they reacted badly or worse. Right. I was punished for the act of asking, which makes asking really hard.

[00:32:20] Um, I might ask people to say, Hey, um, you can just say no, and I’m learning to be solid with that. I love someone if it works for you. Yeah. And if you can say, Hey, thanks for asking. It’s. It’s not a yes for me right now. Um, that feels different to me. It like it lands at a completely different place Um

[00:32:54] for energetically sensitive people Um, sometimes the binary way that we teach consent It is a great practice to be able to say no Absolutely. I find that when I say no I actually if i’m being asked something there is a yes for me there. It’s like okay Um That’s not a yes for me. What would be a yes for me is, um, to suggest maybe getting an Uber, uh, or I know this person who works night, you know, work goes to work at that time.

[00:33:33] Would you like, like, oftentimes if I’m clear, like in the way that it’s. That’s not a yes for me. That is saying no. It’s not wishy washy. Um, it’s, it’s not really something I’m open to arguing about. Um, and it gives my energy a direction. I don’t use it all the time. Yeah, well, it makes me think of how you worked with Adira.

[00:34:06] Adira would want the TV remote. She really wanted that TV remote. And they would say, that’s not for right now. And they would say, come look at this other fun thing. And I think when we’re working with other people that may not have had a lot of training in this. That isn’t a bad solution. Like, yeah, I don’t want to go to Chinese, but have you considered, you know, I was thinking about the art museum the other day, and I was wondering if you wanted to go see that.

[00:34:30] Like, if that’s a yes for you. Not just to, not trading one unwanted thing for another, but It can be a way to help people that aren’t used to you saying no, um, adjust. And one of the things, I, I’ve helped a lot of clients with boundaries. When I was first learning this, I would say no to my cat often. Cats don’t care how many times you say no, they’re just going to do their thing.

[00:34:53] But I had to practice. My vocal cords were so weak around the word that I would tell her, no, no, I don’t love you, or no, you can’t go there, no, you can’t do that. And she would just do whatever she wanted to do. And then I got a friend, and I’ve had this clients do this too, where Find a friend who you think you trust and say, I’m really practicing my no.

[00:35:12] So I’d like over lunch, we’re going to sit there and look, can I practice my no with you? Whatever you’re asking, I’m going to say no, and then I can change my mind. But I’m going to, like, I’m not going to knee jerk say yes to things. One, that helps you practice. And two, it signals to your friend that you’re going to start setting different boundaries, and you’ve had a chance to play at it for a little bit.

[00:35:32] So it’s not so Like if you’ve gone to a lot, go from like, Oh, yes, yes, yes. To everything. And people kind of expect that, that all of a sudden they hit a no, it’s going to be shocking. So you can signal to them that, Hey, something’s changing. This person’s working on this thing. Someone shared. I, I, sometimes I’ve said no to friends without a lot of explanation and got the sense that they were hurt or angry, but I don’t feel close enough to talk about, about this more with them yet.

[00:35:59] And that is. The, the kind of cultural thing that we’re in, um, consent is new, lack of obligation is new, you know? Hey, I did you a favor, man. You can do me a favor someday. Yeah. That’s like, Oh man, what did I, what have I done? I’ve, um, that’s the, the old school. You, you, uh, you, when someone asks you for something, if you value them, you do it, if you can.

[00:36:36] And so is some explanation useful. Um, I. When I noticed that I was either over apologizing or being just blunt, um, that it didn’t have the heartfelt aspect of consent. And so if I say, if someone, you know, I’ll just make something up. Um, uh, can I borrow 1, 000? Now, I can say, hey, you mean a lot to me. That’s not a yes for me.

[00:37:25] I don’t loan money out. It’s not something that I do. Would you like to brainstorm some other suggestions, or do you have other people in mind that you want to go to and ask? Yeah, it shows that you care, even if you’re saying no. If somebody is really close. Meaning they’re like one of the handful of people I could say, can you tell me a little bit more about what makes this a request for you?

[00:37:55] And because there is a category of. I do sometimes give some people money, but I never, I just don’t know. And that’s my own, it’s a boundary that I have. And it matters to me because my energy, um, goes to a weird, I’ve done it enough in my life, in the decades that I’ve been alive, it just is never a good.

[00:38:23] Energy for me to loan money to somebody. Um, so does that, does that make sense? It’s like if you give an explanation, um, that you feel okay with and they get hurt or angry, that’s their feelings. And you can sometimes reflect, I, I know this isn’t the answer that you wanted. And, um, I appreciate that you trusted us enough to ask.

[00:38:52] And I’m hoping that, um, That you can be okay with my, my heartfelt decision here. They may or may not be. That’s not outside of work. Go ahead, Kathy. Let’s take that to another level. I think that our society, we generally think everyone should always be happy with me, with all of my decisions. That, especially people that love me, should never be disappointed or hurt.

[00:39:15] I was brought up that way. If someone around me is hurt, it doesn’t matter if something happened far outside of my control. Exactly. My whole body gets tight. The truth is people have emotions. People can be sad or disappointed for a lot of different reasons. And I am learning to be with friends that can handle the fact that they might be disappointed.

[00:39:38] So as like, I can be with them. I can just say, Hey, I see that you’re, it looks to me like you’re disappointed. Do you want to share about your disappointment? It’s not going to change my mind. But I can be your friend through that disappointment. Um, and this is a black belt move. So, just realize, if you can let in your mind a little bit, then maybe it’s not my job to make everyone around me happy.

[00:40:03] Maybe I don’t always, everyone around me doesn’t, there’s nothing wrong. Feeling sad, disappointed, hurt, those are just feelings that come and go through human’s lives. And when I start being better about that, I’m like, Oh, it looks like you’re disappointed about that. Would you, rather than even say, I’m sorry, you’re disappointed.

[00:40:21] I invite them to just share what they’re noticing and just be with them as opposed to treating it like it’s a bad thing that they’re disappointed. It doesn’t feel great. I’m not trying to make them disappointed, but I’m just being me and they’re just being them with their feelings. And so I don’t know if that’s, I mean, this is again, black belt move, but I think it’s useful to have somewhere in your head.

[00:40:42] Maybe it’s okay if they’re not feeling great about the interaction. That doesn’t mean they’re going to abandon me and leave me forever. And the people that do are going to abandon me and leave me forever. Maybe I don’t want them in my life. So. Well, we have this board on the, this chart on the board and oftentimes if Adira gets very disappointed, frustrated, sad, angry, um, whatever, um, we’ll take her over to it and she can point to how she’s feeling.

[00:41:13] And with that, there’s also some possibilities that, you know, when you’re feeling this, would you like a hug or would you like to, you know, there are some choices here. Um, We’re going to continue to do real skills workshops on being with our own feelings and big feelings and the feeling big feelings of others.

[00:41:35] Um, but I wanted to share that. That’s that’s part of heartfelt consent is being okay with the asking being okay with the answer being okay with. Answering, um, those, go ahead, I can just be really challenging. Someone said, I got so used to not being asked for my consent to keep peace that I do not, I don’t know how to react even when someone asked me for consent.

[00:42:06] It’s like, I feel like it’s a major decision I have to make that if I give the wrong answer, they won’t, they might not like me. Our survival rate can get really invested into this. Um, especially if we grew up with parents that were overwhelmed, exhausted, tired. We could tell, hey, they’re near the end of the road.

[00:42:24] Like, they’re holding on to the knot at the end. I better not push them too far. I better keep them somewhat okay. I better take care of them a little bit. Otherwise, no one will be there to take care of me. So our survival brain can be very reactive to other people’s feelings. And, and also if someone asks us our choice, like it’s so rare that we feel like we have to get it right, that perfectionism, and it can be really tender, can we do a little tapping on that?

[00:42:52] Yeah. Do you want to lead that? Yeah. I invite everyone if you feel like tapping along, just take a nice, we’ll take our short seven minute break after this tapping. So I invite you to just take a nice gentle breath and let yourself feel your feel your butt in the seat. If you can let yourself come here and now let the Facebook cats go do their Facebook cat things.

[00:43:16] Um, notice your feet on the floor and the temperature of the air around your body. Those are good ways to kind of bring yourself into you and we’re just going to gently tap. Karate chop. Even though this is really hard. Even though this is really hard. Feels so awkward. Feels so awkward. And my survival brain is so scared of messing this up.

[00:43:40] My survival brain is so scared of messing this up. When I was a little kid, it felt life or death sometimes. When I was a little kid, it felt life or death sometimes. They were big people. Big people. I needed to keep them happy. I had to keep them happy. And now I’m grown up. And now I am grown up. Top of the head.

[00:44:05] I don’t have the skills I’d love to have. I don’t yet have the skills I’d love to have. Eyebrow, and I’m pretty smart. And I’m pretty smart. Side of the eye, I’m hanging out with some pretty savvy people. And I am hanging out with some pretty savvy people here. Under the eye, I bet I can learn this. I bet I can learn this.

[00:44:28] Under the nose, some of this feels really scary. Some of this feels really scary. Chin, and I can take it in baby steps. And I can take it in baby steps. Hello, my primitive brain gets pretty reactive sometimes. My primitive brain gets pretty reactive sometimes. I can’t ask for what I want. I can’t ask for what I want.

[00:44:53] I can’t say no. I can’t say no. Are you kidding me? But I do learn new things sometimes. But I do learn new things sometimes. So out of the eye, I wasn’t born knowing how to tap. I wasn’t born knowing how to tap or even label my feelings. Out of the eye, and here I am doing this silly tapping thing. And here I am doing this silly tapping thing.

[00:45:21] Under the nose, yeah. Under the nose, it helps a lot. It helps a lot. Jim, what if I can learn this in baby steps? What if I can learn this and babysit? How about, what if I can get my own voice back? What if I can get my own voice back? And again, what if I can learn my own preferences? What if I can learn my own preferences?

[00:45:49] How about that, and start asking for them? Let’s start asking. And just take a breath and just let it percolate through your nervous system. Just you being here and listening to us talk about it, sharing in the chat about your feelings about it. You’re already starting to open a door and build the muscles.

[00:46:08] Um, most people have never been exposed to a lot of these ideas. So they’re in your, in your nervous system, in your energy field now, like doing their thing and gentle practice and support can really make a difference Someone

[00:46:25] wrote, um, This for something to consider over the break, um, but I do feel overly responsible to make others happy and want to fix their feelings. I want to say that there are people that, um, I,

[00:46:44] I know that the way that their energy is oriented. is very reactive. When they’re, when they’re unhappy, they expect me and others. If they’re lonely, they expect to be called. If they want something, they expect other people to, um, come through. And if you were raised by that person, you’ve lived with some that you’ve been lover with that person, um, people that really, um, There can be a very entitled energy, but there also can be just this is their pattern.

[00:47:27] This consent conversation is actually a little ridiculous to think of me like going from this workshop and calling up mom and um, right? Like if, if mom is the person for you that, that’s just a ridiculous notion that you’re going to start practicing your no with somebody that just regulates. And goes, you know, um, and it’s not just anyone.

[00:47:56] So one of the things that can be useful is saying, well, who, who do I, am I even aware of that I could ask for something like, Hey, would you be open to practicing a no with me? Um, you probably can think of somebody, I, I hope maybe Kathy and I, we, we practice these things. Um, but think of people in your life that the consent conversations, the ideas and the notions that we have, that there’s a part of them that’s asking for that because it’ll help them feel more safe.

[00:48:40] They’re looking for it. They want to know what you consent to, and they want to be understood for what they’re consenting to, that it’s respectful, that they understand that it is not disrespectful to say no. It is respecting a person’s adulthood, their capacity to handle a disappointment. They’re respecting the love and the bond that you have or the devotions that you have.

[00:49:06] So it’s safe and respectful. And they so value freedom that they know that if they do something out of obligation, it doesn’t feel nearly as good as doing the exact same thing out of yes, yes. And so That’s a spectrum. If I list 150 people, there, there’s some that are in the, Oh yeah, this is, this is the sweet spot for us.

[00:49:31] Hi guys. It’s good to see you here. Um, and then there are people like, no, no, I want, I want my kids obligated, but do not take that away. I will, I will be very upset if you do that. Um, so, If you’re, as we go forward with just a little bit more exploration of this, if you have in mind some people that don’t feel quite so foreign to this concept, then you’ll be able to imagine, um, like, Oh, you know, I could try that with them.

[00:50:07] I could ask if it would be a yes. Would it be a yes for you if I. And please, and you can even say, and please feel free to say no. Please say no if it’s not. Um, there are people that are radiating that right now that have never had this conversation. I’ve been blessed, Kathy’s and I have both been blessed to run into people where the first time that we say something like, Hey, would it be a yes for you if we, and please, by all means, say no, uh, if it’s not.

[00:50:38] I love hearing no, and they’ve been like, where have you been all my life? This is great. I’m going to start this with every new friend I have. Um, and there are people that are not there that their whole orientation is not toward this. So if you come back with some people, go ahead. Yeah. And one of the things that helped me when I first joined Rick’s circle was 15 years ago.

[00:51:02] Um, I, I reached out to some other people in the circle and we practice things together. And that was really, I’ve made some amazing friends and found people that had been to the same work. They were in the same. Hearing the same thing I was and struggling with things and it just made my life a lot better.

[00:51:20] Zoom and Skype and everything make that a lot easier now. So we were back on the phone in those days. But um, there are people around even if you’re struggling to find someone. I just like to suggest that because I know sometimes I’m like, no one in my life can I say this to. Well, there’s people in the circle that probably can, would be really fun to practice with and get to know.

[00:51:39] All right, so I’m going to pause the recording. Welcome back. During the break, I got to ask my three and a half year old, would you like a kiss from your dada?

[00:51:57] And she’s also very good at saying no. She is really good with her no. I know there’s times when Rick will ask, do you want to talk to your Aunt Kathy? And we FaceTime, FaceTime a lot. And she’ll just like, nope.

[00:52:15] She’s not worried about anybody’s feelings. Right. And I I want her, uh, part of that, you know, misogyny neutralization plan that her mother and I have, is, yeah, I want her to get practiced at saying no. And if she says no, and I’m gonna have to, and I’m gonna have to, like, And we have to change your diaper in the next five minutes, one way or the other, because it’s not good for you or your body to sit in the poop any longer than that.

[00:52:50] But if you’re ready sooner, we can do that. Um, those are, those are things that, you know, I, I feel blessed to have the opportunity to, to. To be that way with, with my kids. Um, and consent conversation isn’t is covers anything where we’re asking a question and the answer could be yes or no, I, as a parent, I don’t ask if I said, we have to get in the car.

[00:53:20] Now is not, would you like to get in the car? I don’t want to be asking questions when no is not an acceptable answer. So I do believe that part of the consent. Energy is, um, uh, is a kind of transparency of, of realness. Like, I really need you to go get me a glass of water is different than, would you be willing to get me a glass of water?

[00:53:55] No, not right now. And then me sitting and pouting for the next, or like, You know, and getting passive, aggressive, or actually aggressive. Um, uh, that’s what I’m wanting to cultivate, a culture where, um, I, I prepare myself to be okay, even neutral. About hearing and know, um, I ask my 10 year old. Um, Hey, would you, do you want to take the recycling out for us?

[00:54:35] Occasionally? He says, sure. Rare. It’s rare. I don’t want to take the recycling out for myself. Well, I did say for us, it’s kind of like I’m inviting an active service. Now, if I need him to, then I would say something like, Hey, um, I need help with the recycling. I need you to take it out sometime in the next 15 minutes.

[00:55:02] Um, is that clear? And, um, notice how that’s not misusing consent. Um, By presenting it as like I’m asking for your consent when I’m, I’m actually not, you’re actually telling them to do it. If I’m going to punish someone like, um, if, if I, uh, it’s a good example. If I really need a hug, and I’m going to be really bent out of shape, if my partner doesn’t hug me, I would rather say, um, hey, I would be, I really need a hug, or I’m just going to be bent out of shape.

[00:55:46] Um, I am not forcing her to. She still has an option to opt out. She knows you’re an adult enough that if you get bent out of shape, you’ll out a little bit, and you’ll be okay. Call me here, take care of yourself. So that we’re, we’re touching on some of the things, um, where if by being direct. We, we can start moving away from some of the apologizing and, um, ex, what I would call excessive softening that I used to do if I was asking or saying, no, could we maybe sort of do this thing?

[00:56:28] I don’t. I don’t want to be a pain, but I’d really, you know, we don’t, like, I would like to go for Chinese tonight. Would you like to go with me? I would really like it if we went together. As opposed to like, oh, well, sometime maybe it’d be fun to have dinner out. We tend to be, we soften it. We are not very specific often when we’re trying to soften it.

[00:56:49] And we’ll put a lot of apology in there. Implying the other person is doing you a big favor if they do something with you. Um, and I think a lot of, a lot of us have been taught that, especially if we’re brought up with parents that are overwhelmed and tired, we’re taught that we’re a pain in the butt.

[00:57:06] We’re taught that we’re a burden. And so we reach out to other people and I still do this. I still catch myself a lot like, Oh, would you mind helping me? Like there’s like kind of a plaintiff thing because I don’t expect people to want to help me versus I’m an adult. This other person is an adult and I can, especially people I’ve built trust with, I can say, Hey, I just would really love your help.

[00:57:27] Is there a time that you feel like it would work for you? Um, and they can say yes or no and then I can deal with it myself. So Kathy and I do a lot of work with the primitive brain and the primitive brain is that part of us that really gets first crack to see whether there’s a threat. And if we’re stressed, um, and strained and overwhelmed, flooded, triggered, traumatized, um, or just to become a grouch.

[00:57:55] Um, You know, we’re a different person when we’re in our primitive brain. And I believe that part of the work of tapping and trauma and and relieving ourselves of our childhood is that we can look and say, Hey, when I was bidding for attention there at a 10, how stressed was this person? Like, did they feel like.

[00:58:25] Present and solid and resourced and like in their thriving. And if, if actually they were up at the eight, nine, 10, 11, uh, stress, strained, overwhelmed, they’re in their primitive brain, their biochemistry is different and. I, I’m in a place right now where it’s more about boundaries if I’m with somebody that’s in their primitive brain than what we’re talking about of heartfelt consent.

[00:59:03] Um, if somebody’s in their primitive brain, it’s like, that’s not okay with me. That’s a different kind of, like, No, then the exploration of, Ooh, I wonder how we could unlock some co creation here. You know, I’m really, I would really love to spend time with you. It’s been a long time. I understand that you may not be available.

[00:59:29] I really do, but I’m going to go into Chinese tonight. Would you like to join me now? If we’re having a heartfelt consent. It might be like, Oh, I so want to spend time with you. I am such a yes for that. But Chinese doesn’t work for me. Are you, are you open? You sounded pretty certain that Chinese was your food tonight.

[01:00:00] Are you open to some, some other opportunities? Like maybe we, I pick up carry out one place you pick up, carry out a Chinese and we go someplace or maybe, you know, It’s an exploration that can happen from two people that aren’t in their primitive brain. Um, I just want to say that, like, if you find the asking part of it really, really hard, um, Empathetic people.

[01:00:31] If you have those sensors, you’re going to pick up that they are not radiating, that they’re open to any kind of request. They don’t, they’re, they feel under resourced to me. They feel overwhelmed to me. Why would I ask something else, uh, in a consent conversation? Um,

[01:00:52] And that’s where the asking can be like, are they ever resourced? Are they ever? Maybe when they’re resourced, you could say something like, you know, I’d love to explore, um, how we can make our, our time when we’re, we’re stressed more. Yes. Yes. Work better for us. Are you interested in that? Um, but doing that when they’re in drain at eight, nine, 10, um, my experience and just my sensors say, that’s a different person that you’re with when they’re strained.

[01:01:34] You may offer something like, um, would some solitude or some hugs work? Be helpful to you or something else. Um, you’re offering something. Um, That’s different than I’d I really feel like I want to hug you too. Can I um for people that are in overwhelm? Um at a party or something like that their capacity to say no maybe diminished The no that you get back could be really like darp Ouch.

[01:02:11] Um, if they say yes, it can feel like maybe their heart isn’t in it. They’re just kind of going along. Does this make sense, Kathy? It does. And I just want to point out that one side of the primitive brain, people can be very reactive and tired and frustrated. But people also can go into flight, into fawning when they’re, when they’re in primitive brain.

[01:02:36] So that’s one of the fight, flight, freeze, fawn, where they’re very much wanting to please other people. They don’t feel safe saying no. And I imagine many of us have had experiences where that felt very true. The problem is. For people trying to detect that from the outside, even people that work with people that are traumatized all the time, we try, we’ve been trained from birth to hide the trauma or the reactivity.

[01:03:02] So, it’s very hard sometimes to see through someone’s fawning. And so, if you suspect someone is just going along because they, they, you know, they want to make you happy, I like to do, and I like to do this anyway, it’s like, What would make this even better? Or ask them, like, what about this would you like to do?

[01:03:23] I kind of break it down a little bit. Because if someone’s fawning, they’re just saying yes to say yes, and they haven’t really thought about it. Asking them gentle questions, like, is there something that especially feels good about this to you? Or, what would make this better? Now they’re re engaging their prefrontal cortex where they’re thinking, they’re more logical.

[01:03:43] And if they can’t come up with an answer, I’m like, especially if I know they’ve had a lot of trauma or there’s someone who knee jerk says yes, if they can’t come up with an answer about what they like about it or what would make it better, I’m kind of like, I don’t feel like you’re playing with me.

[01:03:57] You’re not, you know, I want people to engage and dance and it’s fine sometimes just to go along for the ride. But, um, What does that look like for you? Um, I talk, one of the things I wanted to bring up for this, this call is words are very vague. If I say, I want to spend Saturday hanging out by the blue pool, the blue pool in my backyard.

[01:04:21] You may have an idea that I have this built in pool with umbrellas and we’re going to hang out there and it’s going to be palm trees, maybe whatever. You have a picture in your head. And I might be thinking, oh, I have a kiddie pool I can blow up and we can splash our feet in it. So asking someone, what does this look like for you?

[01:04:39] Some of the joy can actually come in the collaboration and the play. It might be a blast to hang around a kiddie pool, but if you’re expecting something different, it might be like, Wait, what’s happening? So saying, what does that look like for you? Or what would you, what would you, what would make it even better?

[01:04:54] You start engaging in a dialogue. And I find that collaboration, that dance together, um, that brings me a lot of joy. And often we’ll end up creating something even better than we, than I had anticipated, or I had. planned in my head because we’re doing it together. It’s a, it’s a joint now. We’re not just like, I’m not just asking.

[01:05:15] And this person’s responding. We’re actually dancing together in the consent. Like, Oh, I love that part of it, but I don’t, I, I don’t like sand. So let’s not get a bag of sand and dump it in the backyard, but like, let’s get some seashells and, you know, some mocktails and, you know, like an umbrella, like, like we can play with it.

[01:05:34] And create something that feels really good to us. So that’s, for me, that can bring a lot of joy. And I know we’ve talked a lot about how difficult some of this is. The joy that, when someone just says yes for yes, like, I know if I invite Rick to do something, unless I tell him, hey, I’m in a really bad space and I really need your help, I know he’s doing it because he wants to.

[01:05:56] And I imagine every one of you has been to a dinner or a movie where someone didn’t want to be there and you could tell they didn’t want to be there. They’re just doing it because they felt like they had to. Was it fun at all? For me, it’s usually miserable. I can’t wait to get out of there. So I’d much rather develop these skills and find people that can connect and like, I know you’re there because you want to be there.

[01:06:18] And if you’re having a really, if it doesn’t feel right, you’ll say like, Hey, this isn’t working for me. Can we do something different? And then you’re actually dancing with people in the moment, in what feels right to both of you. And that’s just so amazing.

[01:06:35] It is. It’s a dynamic co creating and that’s, that’s an essential quality for me of co creating. And you gave some just such useful questions. Um, what would make this even better? Um, what a powerful question if you’re wanting to get closer to someone and you want to get to know what, what lights them up.

[01:07:06] You can do that right now for yourself. Like, can you, like, each of you, everyone listening, ask yourself, in this moment, what would make it even better? It might be, I’m going to take a sip of water, I’m going to pet my kitten, I’m going to shift in my chair because my leg is feeling uncomfortable, or, you know what, I’m really tired, I’m going to just You know, gracefully get off the call and take care of myself.

[01:07:29] Like, or I’m going to write in the chat that thing I’ve been wanting to say that I was afraid to say. So just in this moment, ask yourself, what would make this moment, this connection with all of us even better for you?

[01:07:43] And just give yourself permission to do something small there. Because it’s a lot easier sometimes to practice with ourselves than to dance initially with someone else. And I know I stepped on your toes a little bit, Rick, sorry.

[01:08:00] I’m just closing my eyes and feeling the vibe of the group and the people that we’ll touch through this work together. I

[01:08:12] need people, it feels essential to have people that are willing to explore this, to reflect on how do we. How do we co create spaces? How do we respond? And I, I’m trying on that. Um, let’s say someone says, um, Hey, um, you want to go to the movie? And if I try on the question, well, what, what would make that request even better?

[01:08:53] It might be something like, well, yeah, I want to see the movie, but, and. Um, could we maybe pick up something to eat and go for a walk at Weaver Park and, and just walk around, sit on a bench, talk, and then go to the movie? Like that would be awesome for me, or, um, it, that unlocks that joyful co creating because if you feel like you can.

[01:09:26] So that I feel treated and I’ll get the popcorn and the jujubees so you can feel treat like can we collaborate that way? There’s different different things make people light up. Yeah You can take that as and with with exploring and and dance together I I’ve done a lot of contact improv and sometimes someone will offer But you’re not a response.

[01:09:55] Like maybe they offer for you to roll across their back, but that’s not what your body feels like doing. And instead you just kind of offer like shoulder to shoulder, um, swaying back and forth or something. Um, somebody can offer and. We can, we can co create possibilities. You know, I’m, I’m really like I’ve been sitting all week.

[01:10:25] What would be even better for me in terms of spending time with you would be, um, for us to do this or that. And I really recognize that maybe you just want to go to the movie and, and see that particular movie. And yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s okay. As long as we get to do, you know, some movement beforehand, um, either I can do it on my own or we can do it together.

[01:10:54] Um, I could walk to the movie theater and you could drive me home. Like, There, we’re using examples that hopefully we can all relate to, but that, these things apply in, um, in the most intimate experiences that humans have. They can apply in some of the most challenging situations about grief and death and dying.

[01:11:21] And I see that you can say, um, what would work even better for me is this. How does that feel to you? Is that an improvement? Does that work better for you? And when we, when we drop into. Um, it’s not just the social side. It can be, it can be truly experiences of, of the deepest, most challenging things that happen for us.

[01:12:01] And one of the things I’ve noticed is if you won’t tell your partner or your friend or your lover, whoever it is, that you, um, don’t want to go to see a particular movie or you don’t prefer, If you don’t prefer that theater, you’d rather go to a different one. You’re not going to tell them that you don’t like something that’s much more important, whether it’s comfort during grieving or when I work with people all the time that are not having good sexual connections or good relationship connections and they’re like, this doesn’t feel good, but I can’t say anything.

[01:12:31] So when we start practicing and building up the muscles and giving ourselves permission to try to ask for those little things. We start finding that we can maybe ask, you know, I’d really love it if you touch me, where you’re touching me is great, but could you be a little more gentle? Or could we not do that right now?

[01:12:49] Or there’s different ways we start speaking up and owning our bodies and our lives in different ways. And that sense of empowerment, that sense of I get to decide for me. Um, for me, it made me feel like a grown up for the first time. I wasn’t a kid at the whim of other people. I was someone who gets to say what I like and don’t like, and I have ownership and responsibility for my choices.

[01:13:13] Um, it’s a little scary sometimes, but it’s also really delightful to have that, to be able to say, Oh, this is my life and my body and my choices around me, um, as opposed to like, Oh. I just want to avoid people because then I don’t have to follow what they want for me. So, um, I just encourage you, like, if you feel like this is too big a task, I, I mean, I started learning about boundaries 15 years ago and I’m still learning, which I think we still keep growing.

[01:13:42] There’s always new layers, but even just having basic skills puts you way ahead of most people in our society. And the ability to say, no, I don’t want to do that thing. Or yes, I would love to do that thing. Or I would like to do it this way. It just starts giving us direction in our own life. It lets us have our own power back.

[01:14:04] And until we start taking that power back, other people own it, whenever they’re around us. And it’s very hard to steer towards our own personal joy. If other people are driving and choosing where we’re going, so it just, it’s worth, it’s very much worth the process, at least in my book.

[01:14:29] Thank you, Kathy. Thank you all for being here. I, I believe that the Like most things in the emotional world, uh, Kathy used the term black belt, but there’s an evolution of skill and confidence and calm. There’s the awkward period where we’re trying things out. I highly recommend being at least in some awkward in any relationship that matters to you around stuff that matters to you, um, to explore and try these types of things.

[01:15:04] Um, I’m just really aware right now that when I learned boundaries, what I first learned was, Oh, in that situation, I had no boundaries. And a boundary would have been like, no way that is not going to happen. And as I’ve, I liked the fact that now I can actually feel around a lot, around everything that matters to me, that there’s a, there’s a solidness around what’s a no, that’s a boundary.

[01:15:46] And there’s this range of things that matter to me that are, that is where I really want to navigate with people as much of my life as I can. And so, Kathy, your, your point about, like, I’ve got a yes. How do I keep the energy moving? If somebody says no, um,

[01:16:16] rather than the usual way of trying to push that boundary, what we can do in a consensual way is would it be. Would it be helpful for, do you want to, and it would be helpful to explain why that matter that that matters to you so much. I’m happy to accept the no as a complete sentence. Would you be open to exploring things that might be a yes for us is another way.

[01:16:44] Yeah. It’s like, oh, you don’t, you’re a no to that, but would you like some, is there some other way you’d like to interact or would you like me just to go away? Um, and again, those are, those are tender things. Our energy moving so that we’re not up against a boundary and feeling like I have, everything that matters to me is on the other side of this no that I’ve got.

[01:17:07] Um, I want to be more resilient. And these approaches around consent is like, oh, I have a no. Well, what, what would perhaps be even better than that? Like, okay, that’s a no over there. What’s, what would be better for me? Um, if that’s not the direction I’m going, it might be a better for we, but that question, it’s consenting to give yourself the freedom to look within your heart and say, well, what, what feels good to me?

[01:17:42] What, how, what, What kind of co creating with myself and my dreams and desires and needs and essential nature, ah, is a yes for me here. And sometimes that involves asking, um, there’s a lot of things that I most enjoy in life that, um, I need a we partner or two or group or circle. Thank you for being here and being a part of that.

[01:18:09] Um, we have other types of dynamics, um, more interactive, uh, the thriving now circle, um, Membership is one time or you can do it by month. Um, and it’s affordable and a great group. Many of you here on the call are part of that. Thriving now dot com slash circle. If you want to check that out. We have a community center where this replay is posted as well as in other places on the Internet, but thriving now dot center.

[01:18:36] You can find connection and conversation and sharing of art and artistry. There are two closing thoughts. Yeah, I invite you to share with you if you’re new at this and you feel awkward. Another vulnerable thing you can do is to say, Hey, I feel awkward. I don’t I’ve not done this very much, but I trust you enough to practice being vulnerable.

[01:18:59] And I’d like to practice my boundaries with you. So you’ve just told them that they matter to you that you’ve told you given those context for what’s happening. I think sometimes we’re starting something new. We want to just dive right in. But just saying, Hey, Hey, I, you know, I feel kind of awkward. I’m not very good at this, but I trust you enough to practice with you.

[01:19:19] I’m going to start practicing my boundaries and Letting them know that this is coming because again if they’ve always you’ve always said yes, yes Yes, it might be surprising to them and sometimes we’ll take surprises. We’ve done something wrong versus they’re just like oh I didn’t this is great, but i’m surprised so Giving them context and then giving yourself some grace, you’re learning something that’s probably really new.

[01:19:43] The neural pathways in your brain haven’t formed yet, therefore it’s awkward. As you keep practicing, the neural pathways in your brain will form and it will just get easy, just like tying your shoe was when you were five. So if you can, give yourself a little grace and a little bit of, oh, it’s okay to be a little awkward when I’m doing this at first.

[01:20:01] There’s nothing wrong with it. The explorations continue. Um, thank you very much. Our inbox is open. Support at thrivingnow. com. Reaches both Cathy and I together. Bye for now.

Great to have you on this journey with us!