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Couples Trouble? Stop Blame!

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The biggest behavior causing trouble for couples is blame. In any unresolved issue it is highly likely that blame is playing a major part. Yelling, lecturing, repeating your position endlessly, proving your points, seething silently, placating or rolling over, withdrawing, and fantasizing about your departure, all contribute.  But the number one habit eroding your relationship is likely blame. Can you even stop blame for an hour?  Try it and see where your mind goes.   Nothing will ever change when blame is dominant.   Wishing and hoping it will go away will not bring results.

Constantly focusing your attention on your spouse won’t work.  What he or she is or isn’t doing which supposedly causes your lack of fulfillment and happiness is sinks you both.  At best you can settle until you get sick and die, or end it and leave for good.

A better option might be to get some solid help!  Couples who stop procrastinating, threatening, or pretending the issues will go away, take action. To stop blame takes commitment, awareness, and a guide to support you.   You need new tools and skills, plus the pathway.

Replace blame, hurt, and anger with respectful, blame-free communication.  Learn to listen free of judgment and blame.  Get on the same page and learn how to create a new, conscious loving foundation.

You will not be slogging through the old issues.  All that does is stir up the old trouble again.  You have already done enough of that! The way I work is to start from the moment we begin. Troubled couples focus forward.  The old stuff gets addressed by learning new skills, and then glancing backward. You begin to see what you were actually up to.  Each partner learns how to take ownership and responsibility for his or her part in the issues. Recognizing your triggers, manipulations, blame, and sabotage, and what to do to shift these behaviors is key!

 

Stop procrastinating! Rebuild and rekindle, starting today.   And you don’t have to live in Seattle to work with me.  I see couples virtually.

Contact me today at morgan@breakfreetherapy.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morgan SontagCouples Trouble? Stop Blame!
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Learn Powerful Skills to Communicate and Listen Effectively!

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Stop waiting to communicate! Those relationship issues you swept under the carpet are not going away. Are you hoping he or she will change?  You cannot wish and hope or yell and harangue and expect change. There is a lot more happening when negative habits emerge and take root in a relationship.  No amount of nagging, pleading, and crying or threatening can make change happen.  There are the habits, perceptions, beliefs and feelings running through the mind and the body which impede change.  The mind-body connection has to be included. Learning new information, developing fresh perspectives, and practicing powerful skills leads to clear, effective, and loving communication. To learn how to create permanent change requires support, learning, and guidance.  Take action to regain closeness and harmony.

Don’t slog through another summer with this undercurrent of anger and bitterness. Stop pretending to get-along in social situations.  Learn how to communicate and listen in a way that works.

You don’t have to live in Seattle to work with me! I do virtual work with people all over the world.  And if you do live in Seattle and particularly West Seattle, come meet me for a complimentary free session through June 15th.  Mention my website to schedule your session.  Mail me to inquire and schedule at morgan@breakfreetherapy.com .

Morgan SontagLearn Powerful Skills to Communicate and Listen Effectively!
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Rise up! No matter what.

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“In the midst of the madness of our world, hearts are breaking open, people are blossoming, and the golden soul of humanity is rising up.  Never doubt it for an instant. Seek it out and nurture it. ” Rivera Sun

Remember that your thought-forms are vibrating your perception energetically out into the world. Every single day as you take action, read or choose not to read, or fall into a heap and think the thoughts that you do, you are sending out millions of energetic impulses that determine and reinforce your experience.  Inspired thought or mediocre or negative creates your context which determines your perception.  You must not give into, and get wrapped up in the sludge, the dark, the hideous, the fear. Rise up and out!

Look at the momentum in the world that is making a difference!  Look at the potential of a new paradigm. We are not going back to sleep! We must use our thoughts, feelings and imagination to empower one and another to keep rising, keep going, keep intending a future reality, not touched by this limited, current time and space.   Where are we headed? Imagine it! Move toward it.

Change is happening! Don’t doubt it.

Morgan SontagRise up! No matter what.
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Finding your Voice!

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lovingme
     It has taken me awhile to wade through all my emotions lately and speak out.  I have held the space for much pain this week. Grief and fear has been up big-time for many people, silenced, shocked, traumatized, immobilized.
     It struck me that what is required or important right now is the courage and strength, each in our own time,  to stand out and speak up.  But the ability to do that stems from self-love, self-respect, self-honor, and self-value. And frankly that has can take decades to develop. To claim your true voice and take a stand for yourself and others is no small feat.
     Learning to love yourself, and discover your authentic voice is a bold, painful process.  It is facing all of the times you were mistreated and all of the times you allowed it. Looking at the proof you gathered as evidence for your lack of value is part of the journey.  Facing your anger at yourself and others, and realizing all of the time you spent avoiding it is difficult.   Acknowledging how you abandoned yourself over and over takes courage. You realize that you built walls based on distortions to protect and avoid your unloved self.  And you recognize the false, mental voices which defend, excuse, and argue for your limitations, or which lash-out, deflect, and snarl under pressure.  Looking back at your life you see how you perpetuated your lack of worth, where you settled and sold out, and it hurts.
     Step-by-step, you learn how  to de-construct the false illusions, false-selves and personas, the versions of stories told to you and that you told yourself.  You learn to set new boundaries and let go of old thoughts, situations, people.  Eventually, the burden (and yes, it is weighty) from awakening dissipates,  and the fully self-expressed no-holds-barred, YOU emerges.  No apologies, no hiding, no shame. You break free of the unworthy, unlovable you, and speak up!
     It is a good thing to take your time.
     And, the world needs to hear you.
Morgan SontagFinding your Voice!
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S.O.S.? No, my cape is long gone.

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I want to update you on Vinnie as it has been awhile.  Vinnie has had a number of learning-the-hard-way experiences.  His default or unconscious programming runs the show often as it would, since he is just learning to recognize repeating patterns.  He has had some rough situations.  His phone was stolen at knife point, his 2 week old lap-top stolen from his house by a former friend, and miscellaneous other losses and hardships.  Vinnie has made some unwise choices depleting his own resources.  Last night, he went to bed hungry.  It has been quite a long time since that was his situation.

I am careful to not rescue or hero.  Rescuing does nothing but perpetuate the problems.   The relief it brings is fragile and temporary.   The Hero is insidious, seductive, and rather slick. The Hero wins kudos from passersby who view the self-sacrifice as noble.  Heroing is reinforced and condoned in our society.  The Hero assumes that I know what is better or best for you. It includes the qualities of people-pleasing and codependency.   You can lose your own life in rescues clouded by good intentions to save folks from their consequences.  Nope.  It would not serve him while depleting me.

Vinnie is getting free coaching when he shows up for it. I am fine with that.  He’s smart and lovable…and young! He has a lot to learn and to pluck him out of his path to “save” his life is unwise, self-righteous, and a temporary fix.   Vinnie now knows that his results are based on his own choices.  He gets that he is not a victim and is perpetuating old patterns.  He is often able to rise with optimism after he has had a challenge.  I have given him pathways, support, love and a hand-up financially and what he does with that is up to him.

There is no room for the Hero in relationships which grow and evolve. Trust me.

I have no cape in my closet to fly to S. Africa.  Whether or not I go to visit, depends on Vinnie’s growth, not my rescuing him from his life.

Have a great Summer!

Morgan SontagS.O.S.? No, my cape is long gone.
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Appreciation beyond the obvious…

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daff

Every spring when the daffodils pop, I smile in appreciation beyond the obvious.   At the first yellow budding, I recall a particular spring break in college, when I answered an ad posting.  “No experience needed- daffodil pickers to fill in for 3 days.”  “That might be fun,” I thought. I invited a girlfriend to join me.

On the first morning, I looked out into the darkness and could see it was raining hard. Surely, they will cancel. I called the number and the message said, “Be there at 6 am. Don’t forget your lunch.”   I bundled up, threw my rain gear in the car, and drove to pick up my skeptical friend.  “Oh C’mon , this is an adventure!”  I laughed and turned up the radio.

It was hailing by the time I found the field.  A man waved us over to a school bus of fogged windows, parked by the side of a road.  Since there were only a handful of new workers, our training was short.

The light was beginning to show on the field and it was unbelievably cold.  Before long we were out in the rain, sleet, and hail with packs of rubber bands, wearing yellow rubber gloves, rubber boots and rain gear.

We had been cautioned to stay out of the center of the muddy rows.  This was not regular mud but clay, and slippery as ever.  “Keep moving, keep your feet moving!” the field guy yelled repeatedly.  Maybe they don’t want people to be lazy, I wondered.

It wasn’t long before I figured out the keep-moving-your-feet rule.    I saw an older woman screaming for help! She was literally sinking in the clay.  As it filled in around her, she could not move at all. It was like wet cement!  An alarm sounded and 4 men came running. With great effort, they pulled the woman out.  She was reprimanded for having this happen.  Holy shit!

Ok, got it! Don’t stand in one spot for long!  When the same thing happened later to a man, they put a harness on him.  Quickly they dragged him out on his belly with a 4-wheeler!  Unbelievable! There was no way I was going to let this happen, although I did slide twice, and fall once on my back.

I was pretty over this as the sideways rain and wind whipped up. But soon we were back on the bus for lunch.  Shelter relief for 30 minutes… I held my cold unappealing sandwich with numb fingers and stared out the window at the downpour.   The seasoned workers talked on with mouthfuls of food.  They compared the seasons, and how many bundles they had picked. The rows were thicker and fuller this year which meant more money.

Most of the men would not wear gloves.  It slowed them down. Their hands and arms were covered with hideous oozing sores. The gooey juice in the Daffodil stem is poisonous.  If you are exposed for any duration your hands and arms break out- with an eczema/ chicken pox-like itchy rash. It scabs, crusts and bleeds continually.  It is a short season and the rash clears up eventually, or so one fellow told me.

When you see the rubber banded bundles of Daffodils for sale,   think about the fields, the growers and laborers.  Appreciate all of those  hands picking, packing, loading, unloading, pulling people out of the clay, taking breaks to eat  cold food with icy fingers.   Be happy it isn’t you out there snapping rubber bands around stems, filling plastic buckets with your hard picked bundles.  I appreciate those people every year when the Daffs appear.

Those were the longest 3 days of my life at that point, and even longer came later… on a boat in the Bering Sea … but that’s another story.  😉 !

Happy Spring!

Morgan SontagAppreciation beyond the obvious…
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Include your Heart

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Did you know that research has discovered that the heart holds memory and can make decisions just like the brain can do? Did you know that the heart has qualities of neuroplasticity and can reorganize itself, just like brain?  Did you know you can increase your heart’s intelligence, which can then have a profound effect on your life just like increasing your brain’s intelligence? You can learn to stop repetitive, defeating behaviors through your heart.  If our thoughts/brain are not in harmony with our feelings/heart we create stress and strain on a physiological level.

So consider that having lasting change or harmony in your lives is difficult if  you approach your struggles from purely cognitive problem solving…the body must be included,  especially the heart.  There are specific practices to strengthen your heart’s ability to guide.  Some are so simple they are used in elementary school programs.

If you have taken any of my classes in the past, you have been introduced to this research.  If you work with me, you will come to include your heart and your whole body’s wisdom, in my Gay and Katie Hendricks’ influenced approach.  Science is on the track of providing research and evidence that in order to change our lives, we must include all of us…not just our mental/thinking capacity.

Morgan SontagInclude your Heart
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Making a Difference!

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If you read December’s post, you know I answered the call of a very lonely, self-loathing boy, who pleaded for help online. In the course of several months, Vinnie has bloomed. He has learned to stop engaging in negative self-talk. He can shift and focus forward. His anger at himself and others does not have him in a grip. He is softening. He is learning to speak up and advocate for himself. He is learning about projection and how one’s point of view can be distorted, narrow, and miss the whole picture. It’s quite moving to be a part of his unfolding.

With kids like Vinnie, a counselor can become all roles, including Mom. He needs attention, care, guidance, problem solving help, emotional support, etc. He has no friends he trusts. People are surviving in his community, and there’s lots of theft. “You are the only person I trust, he tells me.”

Vinnie has NEVER asked me for material items. His request has been for help with his “thinking and feelings.” Lately, he asked for homework help. His teacher had told him his last English paper was “crap.” But she never explained why. We worked on it, and he received the top grade. The only comment the teacher made was his paper was “advanced work!” Oh boy, he has a high bar to reach now! Evidently the poor public schools cannot deliver. Many of his classmates get tutoring from private schools on the weekends and holidays.  He is determined to get tutoring as well, with a hope to raise his scores and apply for a college scholarship.

vin tires

Recently, he was excited that he found an old bike frame. I asked him if it was ride-able and he said, “No, it needs wheels.”  I sent him a little money, and he was so pleased!  He sent me these pictures. But, WOW! it’s stripped!  He needs all the rest of the parts!! Brakes, pedals… He told me he can still ride it, and is happy to have the wheels…omg!

bikebyVin

Over the course of working with him, I have asked many questions,  probed about his physical, spiritual, and nutritional health and lifestyle.  (He needs food for starters!)
If you have traveled in developing countries you know that at night it is dark, with maybe one overhead light bulb, and often no indoor plumbing.  Vinnie lives an impoverished existence all the way around.
After researching funding platforms, I finally chose one. I made a huge list of Vinnie’s basic and educational needs for 2 years in high school, including tutoring, and calculated S. African Rand to dollars.  Vinnie will continue to rise as long as he can get educational support and the basics..  He has a plan.  He is smart, rather philosophical, eager to learn, sweet, polite, and committed.  Now he has hope. He has love.
Morgan SontagMaking a Difference!
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Paying it Forward in S. Africa

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Here’s the private message which appeared recently on my Facebook business page.

“I need your help.”

I hesitated. I didn’t know you could chat through a business page.

“What is happening? What do you need help with?”  Break Free Therapy & Coaching answered.

“I have anger, depression, stress.”

After 3 days of questions and answers back and forth, my suspicion nagged at me.  The author text that he was 17, from S. Africa?  Really?!  Could I be duped into some complicated international scam?

Then this message arrived.

“Please, Sir! I am a bad person. I don’t belong here! I need therapy!”

I let go right then. I opened my heart, and met an isolated, self-loathing teen from Johannesburg. I told him I was not a “Sir”.  To which I became, “Madam” and “Miss or Mrs. Morgan.”  He is (((Vinnie))) to me when we text or email.  Skype is inconsistent, and so is his technology, but we connect every day for a bit.

VINNIE1

Vinnie said he had written to many therapists online asking for help. All responded with their hourly rates.   He expressed deep gratitude, and told me how excited and hopeful he felt when I wrote back asking about the issue.  It never occurred to me to talk about pay. He said up front he was in high school.

Short background:  Vinnie’s mom told him he was a mistake; that she didn’t want him. Locked up, starved, beaten with a chair, failed attempts to poison herself and her boy continued until she died in 2011. He now lives with resentful relatives he never knew existed.

Vinnie is getting a crash course in the tools to address the mental racket of critical and tormenting or punishing thoughts. He is learning how to meditate.  He is learning how to forgive and to focus forward.  He is learning how to shift his perceptions and his experiences.  We talk about music, the stars and galaxy, about God, neuroscience and the mind-body connection. We talk about his strong path, his heart, how his Wisdom Self was seeking help.   After every exchange I am choked up…in awe of the mystery in this, the poignancy, the learning for both of us.

I see myself reflected in Vinnie’s eager, hopeful face. I pay it forward here. I honor my own mentor, who was there for me when I was 16.  She sent me long hand-written letters every 2 weeks. She sent boxes of books…Rumi, Tagore, Hafiz, and Gibran….from Australia, where she was teaching high school.

This relationship is a surprise, an unexpected gift.  I don’t know what it all means, what redemption or reclamation or what will be revealed. I just know this is destined and important.

Wishing you the wonder and magic of this season, filled with peace, love, and fabulous surprises!

Morgan SontagPaying it Forward in S. Africa
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Melting Down….

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I lost it the other day; I melted down in waves of grief, mixed with outrage. Sitting in my car on the phone with a friend, I was about to go in for a chiropractic appointment.  I could feel the welling up, so I let it out. Then, I walked into the waiting room, no apologies. Whatever people thought of my teary face was irrelevant.

I am asked frequently about how I deal or do I ever deal with anger, frustration, overwhelm.  Not often do I get to this point.

But yesterday this optimistic, committed-to-seeing-the-bigger-picture Sagittarius could no longer contain the enormity of all that is happening not only in my little sphere but what’s occurring in our world.  I am exhausted, worn to the bone dealing on one level with sweet little Chesapeake’s multiply misdiagnosed conditions,  while caring deeply for my people, some who have extraordinary challenges and pain  in their personal lives right now…amidst the bigger back-drop of Paris and Syria, while catching snippets of Trump’s trash.   I have felt nauseous, like vomiting, and stunned at how well Trump is doing.  A breaking point for me…feeling like it’s too much to hold.

Sometimes it is difficult to muster inspiration, let alone trust in a new day coming.   The news seeps in and as world citizens we do need to face into what’s happening. We have to take a stand!  I do get tired, discouraged, angry, and wonder about my impotence to impact change.

But then, I habitually come back to presence…I return to my commitment to lead, to speak, to support, to breathe, to smile…We have to…I have to.  We must collectively come to peace and bring it to others.  We all have to keep on with courage and tenacity, believing that there’s a momentum happening, with a tipping point, a turning point.  We have to send love, we have to find our peace and live it. We have to pave a path through each moment, each day choosing to feel fully and get back on the horse.

Light your world

What I learned and what I teach (from Katie Hendricks) is we can be Sad AND happy simultaneously.  We can get present to what is right before us which delights us AND be outraged by what is happening in the world.

“Life is both dreadful and wonderful… Even though life is hard, even though it is sometimes difficult to smile, we have to try… It is with our capacity of smiling, breathing, and being peace that we can make peace.”   From Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hahn

Chin up!  Keep going, keep the faith, and focus forward.

Morgan SontagMelting Down….
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