Friday, July 24, 2009
This is a GREAT ARTICLE I saw on MSNBC.com, written by Lois Elfman for YourTango. It was so good, I had to share it with you here.
Why dancing is like couples therapy
Learning to dance together teaches communication skills, fosters respect
By Lois Elfman
Most women love to dance. It's kind of a biological imperative. We hear music and we start to move to it. In our dreams, the men in our lives are moving with us. Dinner and dancing is a kind of ultimate fantasy date, but too often we skip the second part.
Things have been looking up for boogie-enthusiasts these past few years thanks to the success of “Dancing With the Stars.” Seeing macho football players like Jason Taylor, Average Joes like Jerry Springer and billionaires like Mark Cuban adeptly moving around the floor can make men feel liberated to give ballroom dancing a try. The end result can be a heightened sense of electricity between couples.
“If women are not happy, this is when we nag,” jokes professional ballroom dance champion Elena Grinenko. “If you make your woman happy then she's relaxed and she's not asking for a lot because she feels very secure.” One way to make a woman happy, she argues, is to get her on the dance floor.
“As far as therapy for couples, it's a great thing to do,” she says. “Dance teaches us a lot about the relationship between the male and the female.” Dancing requires good etiquette and communication, and the body language is unbeatable.
Now in his seventh season on “Dancing With the Stars,” professional dancer Tony Dovolani spends much of his time between seasons presenting seminars and giving private instruction. Wherever he goes, he sees couples reconnecting through ballroom dancing.
“It's almost like you have a newfound love for each other,” Dovolani says. “Discovering new steps together teaches couples to interact with each other. They're looking into each other's eyes, anticipating the next move. It opens up energy channels of feeling and connection. It rejuvenates everything.”
Dovolani says learning to dance teaches communication skills and fosters respect. The physical activity is a great stress reliever and the positive feelings about the shared experience make couples excited to carve out alone time.
Don't let the skimpy costumes on “Dancing” dissuade you. People of all ages, sizes and shapes can take up ballroom dancing, which encompasses everything from cha cha and salsa to waltz and foxtrot. That's why Dovolani so appreciated being paired with actress Marissa Jaret Winokur in season six. A plus-sized woman who is only 4'11", Winokur said she never felt sexier in her life, and she encouraged all women to embrace the activity.
While not all men have Dovolani's moves, it doesn't mean they can't bring out a similar reaction in their own partners. “In dance, if you make your woman comfortable, she will love you forever,” Grinenko says.
So, from the practical angle, where do you start? There are ballroom dance studios in virtually every city. Some are connected with larger organizations, such as Fred Astaire Dance Studios or Arthur Murray, and a Google search produces plentiful listings for independent outfits. You can get private lessons or join a group class. Most studios have regular dance parties, so couples connect with each other and widen their social circle.
Couples who feel intimidated about dancing in front of people or are too busy to schedule lessons can get an at-home instructional DVD and practice at home. Dovolani and Grinenko, who dance together professionally (she has also appeared on “Dancing”), have developed a Web site called BallroomDanceChannel.com. Lessons can be downloaded for dances ranging from swing to samba.
“It teaches you the fundamentals, like the figure, the steps, a little bit of the appearance and what the character of each dance is,” Dovolani explains. “That way, you can start learning in your own living room and really ‘dance as if no one is watching.’ ”
Grinenko says that couples who start in the comfort of their own homes often wind up catching the dancing bug and taking more lessons in the studio. Oh, and if you want to know what gets her heart pumping, “For me, tango is the sexiest dance alive,” she says.
Copyright © 2009 Tango Media. All rights reserved.
Have you ever watched Dancing with the Stars and thought to yourself, "I wish I could do that."
Partnering on the dance floor is like being in any other relationship. You must find points of connection, ways to communicate and create an experience that leaves you both wanting more!
Learn the fundamentals of communication through movement. For the complete beginner, or people who have some dance background, this unique workshop is designed for adventurous couples who are open to having more fun and improving their communications at the same time!
For years, dance has offered one of the most powerful parallels as it pertains to life and relationships. The great Martha Graham said that "Dance is the hidden language of the soul," and in a recent article on MSNBC.com Tony Dovolani said about dancing, “It's almost like you have a newfound love for each other. Discovering new steps together teaches couples to interact with each other. They're looking into each other's eyes, anticipating the next move. It opens up energy channels of feeling and connection. It rejuvenates everything.”
It is one thing to move through life on our own, it is entirely another to create movement in partnership with another person. We are beginning this series with the Rumba. The Rumba has long been considered the "Dance of Love" and has all the ingredients for a delicious recipe for romance!
Guys will learn how to lead and move their bodies (and their partner) with strength and confidence, and women will learn the art of following, which allows them the freedom to express their sensuality, strength and creativity.
1st Hour: Learn the fundamentals of connection, the elements of lead and follow, and the art of non-verbal communication to create movement.
2nd Hour: Learn patterns, combinations, how to play with the movement (and enhance the experience of romance on the dance floor!)
Please note: This is a DANCE class. While you will be learning practical communication skills, wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to move your hips and get your groove on! This class requires active participation!
When: August 22, 2009
Time: Noon - 2pm
Where: Paragon Dance Studio - 931 E. Elliot Rd., Suite 101, Tempe, AZ 85284
Investment: $35 per couple in advance, $45 per couple at the door
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
“I can’t believe I’m reading a book about Vampires,” were the first words I heard when a girlfriend recently finished reading Stephenie Meyer’s first Twilight book.
A group of us girls had a deal that when we came across good reading – we would share. I was particularly surprised because having majored in library sciences, Kristen prides herself on reading material that challenges her mind, expands her education or encourages her personal development. She adamantly professed she could not for the life of her understand why she couldn’t put this guilty pleasure of fiction down and reluctantly handed me her copy to read.
I took it home, and promptly found it delicious. I voraciously sucked up, so to speak, every book in the 4-part series. I simply had to follow the story of Edward and Bella through to the end.
Why do chicks dig vampires? I can’t speak for most chicks, and I haven’t seen the True Blood series which I’ve heard is like Twilight, but for adults. (Whatever that means…besides more sex.) But I will tell you why I’d be willing to sacrifice my human nature for a lifetime of Edward Cullen.
The truth is, it’s not about the vampire. It’s about what strong, independent, highly intelligent and assertive women want in a relationship.
Edward represents what women desire in a man. Bella represents who women want to be.
In the Twilight series, Bella is an intelligent, independent and assertive female. She is wholly & completely herself – perfect in all of her imperfections: her insecurities, her vulnerabilities & her desires. She has an inner sensuality that she longs to express, with a man who is strong enough to create a safe place for her be vulnerable. She has her inner geek and her inner Goddess, and claims both as her birthright. She questions her own beauty and desirability, yet doesn’t back down from what, or who, she really wants. She has the courage to step out of the crowd of who’s ‘normal’ to choose the man who challenges her to the core.
Every woman longs for her match. Someone who can stand toe-to-toe with her, who isn’t intimidated by her strengths or her vulnerabilities; who can stand witness to her emotions and not be threatened by them. Who will hold steady and not withdraw, just because he may not know what to do next. To be able to ‘throw herself up against’, if you will, a man who at the end of the day states simply, “Do what you need to do. Stomp your feet. Throw a tantrum. Cry your eyes out. I’m not going anywhere.” He can romance her, make love to her and still challenge her in every way.
Edward is all of that. He’s intelligent, well-read, artistic, athletic and witty. He is more than aware of his own physical strength and his inherent nature – and aware of the threat that poses for the woman he has fallen in love with. He is mouthwateringly aware of himself; his strengths, his weaknesses, his desires and his abilities.
He is all man. And yet, even in his awareness of his own strength and ability to literally “take” that which is the essence of who Bella is, he expresses a level of self-control that allows him to experience Bella completely, without sacrificing her lifeblood (literally or figuratively) for him to surrender to his own base desires. For Edward, it’s not just about banging the chick or the instant gratification of sucking her blood and turning her into something that more closely resembles himself. He doesn’t expect her to change for him. He accepts her for all that she is, weaknesses and emotions included.
He doesn’t argue or compete for his role as the man in the relationship. He quite simply IS it. Whether he opens a door, controls a kiss, throws her onto his back or saves her life he is clear in his role. And while he may have to ride in every now and then on his white horse, in his shining white armor to save the damsel, he is fully aware that his dame has her own sword – and isn’t afraid to use it.
Our culture and media today is a crapshoot of mixed messages. Sex is used to sell everything, but we’re still supposed abstain from it. We are overloaded with information and technology, but supposed to find time to relax and unwind. Women are supposed to be good at their jobs, good at parenting, good at relationships, but if they show their emotions they’re considered weak and too sensitive. Men are supposed to be strong, provide for their family, be a good employee, be a good husband, be a good parent and be more understanding, but if they show their emotions they’re considered weak and too sensitive.
Uh…so in this day and age, how do we ever know who gets to be the guy, who gets to be the chick and when do we just get to be who we are? If we’re all supposed to be living up to some societal definition of the norm, how the hell are we ever going to get what we want? Do we ever get to have it “all”? Or by society’s definition do we have to sacrifice something of ourselves or our lives to experience the depth of love, passion and intimacy in a relationship?
Edward and Bella forge their own road together. They go up against the cultural paradigms of both human and vampire to create a life, and a love, on their own terms. They’re committed to their families, but not to the point of sacrificing themselves in the process. They’re committed to each other, and honor each others individuality – without asking them to be someone they’re not. They’re hot for each other and…well, unless you read through the series, I’m not going to give it away.
Immortality and blood-sucking aside, it’s the strength of character that oozes from a man who knows himself and what he wants that is so deeply attractive; and the opportunity for a strong woman be with a man strong enough for her to be vulnerable and let him take the lead.
It’s not about the vampire. But until my Edward shows up in real life…I’ll be happy to indulge in the fantasy. I can dig that!
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Have you ever thought you asked a simple question in your relationship, such as “Would you like to go the movies this Friday?” and gotten a response that led you to believe that perhaps you really did have six heads and were speaking a foreign language?
Studies have shown that over 90% of our communication is non-verbal. Is it any wonder then that much of what we say, or what we think we say, gets lost in translation?
John Gray is best known for Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. It’s a great primer for understanding that just because you think you’re speaking the same language, doesn’t mean you actually are. However, regardless of gender, communication in any relationship is often as simple as learning any foreign language. Once we know how to translate in our loved one’s language, we then have clear and successful communication.
Here are 5 steps to learning a foreign language that will help you get started in bridging the translation gap of your relationship communications.
1. Learn the vocabulary definitions. Just because you may both be using English to communicate doesn’t mean you’re operating from the same definition of a given word or phrase. If one of you wants to “spend more time together,” find out what that is defined by or what it looks like to each one of you. The definition may or may not be the same.
2. Do not judge a definition. When you look up any word in a dictionary, regardless of the language of that dictionary, it does not give you the definition and say, “here are some different options, but your interpretation is the right one.” The definition itself is neutral. Don’t go messing with Webster – he’s got his own dictionary. To get the definitions with your interpretations, create your own.
3. Learn the translation. When using a foreign language dictionary, you start by looking up the word you want to use in your own language. Often you will see that there are options for conveying meaning in the language you are attempting to communicate in, and you must choose the most appropriate translation for the context you desire. While the translation may seem similar, it is often different in meaning and context.
4. When in doubt, never assume, always ask. One of the best ways to learn a foreign language is to find a common, neutral ground and just start asking what that word or phrase means and then ask how to say it correctly in their language.
Without asking, you may get the translation right, but the pronunciation wrong. Or sometimes the translation you choose while correct by dictionary standards, is incorrect for practical conversation. If we’re lucky, the other person may understand what we are trying to communicate, if unlucky we run the risk of offending, upsetting or embarrassing others, not to mention ourselves!
By asking the one who is fluent in the language you seek to learn directly, your chances of learning how to communicate with the correct interpretation and meaning are increased exponentially.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice! I’m sure you’re familiar with the term that applies to learning a foreign language, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” Our relationships provide no shortage of opportunities to practice bridging the communication gap. Whether it’s spending time together, communicating throughout the day, deciding how to raise the kids, what’s important to us, what restaurant or movie to go to, there are plenty of open doors to practice learning (and speaking in) each other’s language.
If you’ve ever traveled or spoken a foreign language, you know that often, even if we don’t get it right, just by making an attempt to speak another person’s language even a little bit, we open the door to greater understanding, expanded conversations and more of what we really wanted to begin with.
(c) 2009 All Rights Reserved Jenn Kaye & Head-On Communications International
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Have you ever noticed that when you are in a relationship for awhile you can forget how to create that ‘spark?’ Or you think you’re doing all the right things to light the other person’s fire but they seem to be missing your delivery?
You feel like you’re shooting blanks. And when you don’t get the response you’re looking for, it can lead to frustration, blame, disconnect and virtually throwing your hands up in the air saying, “Well since nothing is working, and they clearly don’t appreciate me, I’ll just stop trying!”
Ack! I don’t know about you, but when I sense a withdrawal from my partner I get pretty uppity and the thought that goes through my head is, “You think that’s withdrawal? I’ll show you what withdrawal IS!” And that approach always gets us more of what we want doesn’t it?
No, it doesn’t.
Whether you’ve been in a relationship five days, five weeks, five years or fifty years, everyone experiences some element of this challenge. After interviewing countless couples over the course of the last ten years, one of the biggest common denominators in how they have continued to stay together is to take the time to re-discover themselves and their significant other.
Based on their wisdom and feedback, I’ve compiled their responses so that I can share them with you. Here are five ways re-light your fire together:
1. Spend Quality Time. Quality time doesn’t mean meeting up with a group of friends or having a bunch of people over for dinner. It means that you turn the television off and eliminate distractions to talk with and listen to your loved one. (One couple said if you really want to find out how resilient your relationship is, take a road trip of at least ten hours together!)
2. Learn Something New Together. Time together creates a certain level of comfortability. While we certainly like to be comfortable, it can also lead to complacency. We get so caught up in the way we are used to doing things and what’s comfortable that we stop investing in ourselves and our relationship. Take a cooking class. Go to a wine tasting. Learn a romance language and practice saying, “You are the most amazing man/woman I’ve ever known,” in Spanish, Italian or French.
3. Keep Your Sense of Humor. Yes, even when it comes to emotionally charged situations. Keeping you humor doesn’t just mean making light of a situation. Some disagreements are appropriate and emotions are a part of life. The secret to longevity in your relationship is being able to move through those challenging situations with levity. Don’t hold onto resentment and let those skeletons in the closet take over – be able to laugh at yourself and let things go sooner.
4. Talk to Each Other. All too often we can actually be afraid of talking to each other. Afraid of hurting another person’s feelings, afraid of telling the truth, afraid of hearing the truth. We talk to other people about everyone else rather than talk to each other about what really counts. Tell each other what you really feel. What you’re experiencing. That’s the authentic “you.” (The fear of communicating will always be worse than the conversation itself, and you’ll rediscover new energy in your relationship after talking.)
5. Keep the Romance Alive. There is no end to romance. It is an ongoing creative expression that tells someone you care. That they are appreciated, important and desired. As a relationship matures, the romance can evolve as well. Never assume that just because something worked once that it will have the same effect every time. Be creative. Try new things. While you may feel one thing is romantic, your significant other may interpret romance entirely differently. When being “romantic” always start with the other person’s definition first.
What surprised me the most about most of the couples I interviewed was that many of them said they rediscovered their relationship when they rediscovered themselves. Some had the opportunity to rediscover themselves after their children went off to college, a personal crisis or they decided that it was time for some personal growth.
Whichever way you choose to learn, our relationships are always a reflection of ourselves in some way. So have some fun…and rediscover the joy of being, and being together!
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Touch (tuch) to relate to; affect; inspire; influence; be in contact with; join; unite; come together; feel
Intent (in-tent’) purpose; design; plan; meaning; significance; highly attentive
I believe that life is really pretty simple. Simple does not always mean ‘easy’ mind you…sometimes we have to be willing to get uncomfortable and stretch the envelope to experience more of what we want in our lives:
- More Happiness
- Better Relationships
- Personal Success
- Keep Things in Perspective
- Being Comfortable in our Own Skin
- Laugh More
Touch with Intention™ emerged as a result of a lifetime of exploration into what motivates people to make the choices they make everyday, and how to educate and empower those same individuals to consistently choose to make a positive impact in their own lives and the lives of others.
Through applying practical, everyday tools for verbal, emotional, physical and spiritual expression, we create an open forum for more powerful and effective communication and understanding.
I originally created Touch with Intention, LLC as a support for personal expression. (At first I thought it was my own, and then I realized it was applicable for my clients, friends, family...and everyone else I came across!) The foundation of this concept is that our perceptions and expectations create the world around us and that the only way to manifest change on the outside of our lives is to create a change from the core within ourselves.
It is my greatest desire that by creating a secure foundation for stepping outside of our perceived limitations, even if only for a moment, we will experience greater passion, fulfillment and purpose in our lives.
The Touch with Intention philosophy is designed to help us to remember to L
The Touch with Intention philosophy is designed to help us to remember to Live Well, Laugh Lots & Keep it All in Perspective!
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
For thousands of years, food and wine have been considered aphrodisiacs that when consumed, instill desire and increase passion. Jenn Kaye and Touch with Intention, LLC have partnered with Bacchus Wine Made Simple for this innovative wine tasting and food pairing that will engage your senses and spark your romantic creativity.
Friday, July 04, 2008
10 Ways to Improve Your Relationship (and Your Health!)
How many times have you found yourself frustrated in conversation with your mate trying to explain something important and walked away shaking your head in frustration saying to yourself, “He just doesn’t get it!” Your shoulders tense, your brows come together in that little crease and the tension headaches continue.
Well knock it off. He just doesn’t get it in your language.
We all have different languages and ways of interpreting love and affection based on our upbringing, gender, personal belief systems, and other life experiences and filters. The key to successful communication in relationships however is not assuming that just because something makes sense to you or is something that you enjoy, it must make sense or be something your spouse enjoys too.
You may be wondering what the heck successful communication has to do with improving your relationship and your health. Here’s the scoop. Studies done at the Institute of Heartmath have shown that stress and different emotional states affect our autonomic nervous system, hormonal and immune systems, heart and brain. Quite simply, they’ve proven that negative emotions impact our health in a negative way, and positive emotions impact our health in a positive way. While we occasionally do experience emotions on our own, they are more often than not the result of a successful (or unsuccessful) experience with someone else.
That’s why I’ve come up with 10 simple ways for you to improve your translation and communication skills, and tip the scales in your favor for a better relationship and better health.
1. Never Assume, Always Ask. While some days it might seem like it, our significant other does not wake up each morning wondering what they could possibly do to tick us off. Miscommunication often occurs because we make assumptions about what someone else says or does based on our own set of filters, perceptions and interpretations. If your mate says something to you that feels hurtful or like you just got slammed in the heart, take a step back and ask “This is what I heard, is this what you meant?”
2. Learn Their Language. Ask them what makes them feel acknowledged, respected or special. Do they like it when you compliment them on their haircut or their clothes? Ask what makes them feel frustrated. Don’t judge their responses (or roll your eyes at how different it is from your own answers), just listen with an open heart. When you can communicate in their language, you gain credibility, increase your connection and you just may learn something new in your relationship.
3. 10 Words or Less. Not that what you have to say isn’t important, but longer more detailed explanations can get tiring (especially after a long day at work). Whatever you are wanting to communicate, see if you can bottom-line the main point down to 10 words or less. You will immediately increase your credibility and get your point across simply and more powerfully.
4. Start with “I”. Since when did blame or guilt really ever get us what we wanted? No one likes a sentence that starts with “You did” or “You said,” because it instantly sets us on defense wondering what we did or said that was not to someone else’s satisfaction. (And a constant state of emotional defense affects our physiological fight/flight response, putting more stress on our bodies internal systems). Take responsibility for your health by starting with your words. Begin your sentences with “I feel” or “I would like” and observe how others respond.
5. Ask for What You Want. Contrary to popular belief (and no matter how good you think you may be) we are not mind-readers. And “they” are not mind-readers. It is not anybody else’s job to read your mind to figure out what you want – for your birthday, to rub your feet after a long day, to just be held or told everything is going to be okay, to take the kids for a day so you can have some alone time. If you’re not getting what you want, chances are because you are not asking for it. Start now (and hey, practice asking for it in 10 words or less).
6. Rewind and Edit. Okay, so the last conversation didn’t go so well. You both walked away angry, frustrated, and feeling like crap. You both probably said some things that just didn’t come out right. All is not lost and you don’t have to wait a week to make up. See what you could have said differently that may have served the conversation better. Take the initiative and ask the other person if you can rewind and edit what you said the first time…and try it again.
7. There are No Mistakes, Only Practice. Stop blaming the other person (and yourself) for doing or saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Or even for not doing or saying the right thing at the right time. In truth, there are no such thing as mistakes. There is only an experience or outcome that we have based on a certain set of choices that we either like or don’t like. When we don’t like the outcome based on a series of choices we’ve made, we feel bad and stressed because we made a “mistake.” Nonsense. If you don’t like the outcome of a recent choice, just like the rewind and edit practice above, make a different choice. The only way to get better at anything we do, especially in our relationships is to practice, practice, practice.
8. Eliminate Static. Studies have shown that negative thoughts and emotions have a physiological impact on the body. Think of it like static on a TV. You want to see a clear picture, but there is nothing but fuzz blocking your ability to get the experience you want, leading to frustration and more negative thoughts. Disharmony leads to inefficiency and increased stress our bodies’ systems The next time you find yourself having that one-way conversation in your head that is a result of all the emotions you’ve pent-up and not expressed out loud, take a deep breathe and get honest with yourself about what is really bothering you. When you eliminate the static of all the little irritations and get to the heart of your emotions, you will have a clearer picture and less stress.
9. Snuggle More. Research shows that when two people touch or are in close proximity, one person’s heartbeat signal is registered in the other person’s brainwaves. This field becomes measurably more coherent as we shift to a sincerely loving or caring state. Life will always be busy. Stop feeling like you’re living in the same house and never see each other. Set some time to just snuggle and hold hands – connect!
10. Make Time Each Day for Yourself. Nobody ever said that a successful relationship meant sacrificing yourself in the process. (Okay, maybe your mom did, but it’s not really true.) If you are so busy taking care of everyone else that you find yourself wishing there were 48 hours in a day so you could have some time for you, stop! Studies show that taking just 10 minutes a day twice a day to do something nice for yourself can improve your mood, relieve depression, and increase feelings of well-being. When you are happier, you will bring a happier (and healthier) self to your relationship.
Start now. Take out your calendar, your Outlook, your Blackberry, whatever and block out 10 minutes for yourself. I’m not kidding. You’ll thank me later.
Here’s to you and your relationship!
Jenn Kaye, founder of Touch with Intention™ and Head-On Communications International, is an internationally recognized communications strategist and relationship expert. She helps individuals around the world get more of what they really want in their relationships and in their lives – with less effort and more fun. She has been has been seen and heard on NBC Radio, RealTime Moms, Babies First TV, Good Morning Arizona and quoted in dozens of publications including Femina, India's leading women's magazine and The Inspiration Journal. To sign up for her FREE newsletter or for more information, go tohttp://www.touchwithintention.com/