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Couples Weekend Workshop - Mindful Compassionate Dialogue (Portland, OR)

Is this for you?
You love your partner and are committed. 
When things are going well, you really enjoy each other and have a great partnership in many ways. But when things get difficult, you sometimes get lost and do not recognize yourself or the person you fell in love with.

The experiential exercises were incredibly informative and useful. I think that my tool box has swelled exponentially.
Workshop Participant
You feel sad and frustrated seeing the disconnect between you, because you care so much for each other.    You are ready to learn sound relationship principles and concrete skills for living these principles.

How it works 
There is nothing like intimate relationship to bring up every unresolved issue you have. While this can make being in relationship exceptionally challenging, it also offers a unique opportunity for healing and growth. This does not mean being each other's therapist, coach, or self-improvement director. It's about creating a safe and conscious space with each other where old stuff can be named for what it is, and you both can respond in a loving way.

You have likely already been working hard to create such a space. Maybe you've agreed to avoid certain topics and adopt a positive attitude hoping things will change. Maybe you have planned weekend get-aways to bring you together. Or perhaps you have sought out counseling or self-help books. What has been missing is a way to fully integrate basic principles of relationship and the associated skills. When principles and skills are integrated as a part of your way of being, you can access a new way of relating in the most difficult moments. Full integration means engaging compassionate awareness of your body, heart and mind as you learn. Mindfulness not only helps integrate your understanding in a lasting way, but also makes it easier to be the real you with your partner.

The basic principles we will focus on are not complex, but, for most, they require engagement at unfamiliar levels of honesty and vulnerability.  The first principle is that all human beings share the same basic needs and that everything we do and say is an attempt to meet or be in harmony with these needs (see this page for a list of universal needs).  

The second principle is that when we are conscious about the needs alive for ourselves and others, we can communicate from this level of universal needs and thereby create shared honor and connection directly and efficiently.  

My wife and I have been together for 12 years now, and for the last eight years we've been consciously trying to improve our communication. We've taken workshops, gone to therapists, and read books. We learned a lot, and improved a lot, and yet... it all seemed to stay at the level of 'technique.'

After working with you, and the way that you don't just teach, but you embody how to communicate, you transmit it, if you'll permit me the term, all of those techniques just fell into place. I feel like I finally digested 8 years worth of meals.

No matter how challenging the situation, my wife and I can now communicate in a way that deepens our intimacy and trust, instead of tearing it apart. It's just amazing to have a fun life now, without the struggle and arguments that we used to have so often. Ahhh....
Mark Silver, Portland OR

This brings us to the third principle, which is that when we establish a quality of connection in which there is mutual honor, a natural giving from the heart arises and we are able to find ways in which all needs can be met.

These principles promote putting most of our attention on creating a quality of connection and trusting that equitable strategies to meet needs will arise from that connection.  This is the inverse of what most of us have learned.  Most of us grew up with relationship modeling that implicitly gave messages like this:  

  • If you prove your view is right, your needs will be valid.

  • If you gain more power, your needs will be met.

  • If you focus on problem solving and analysis, your needs will be met and you will feel connected.

  • If only you can figure out whose fault it is, then you will feel better.

  • If you can just get enough information, then you won’t feel difficult feelings.

  • If the other person would just quit making you react, things would be better.

    The exercises you will engage in with your partner will challenge all of these beliefs, this is the hard part...letting go of what you have relied on to try something new in a moment when it really matters.

What you will do   
In this workshop you will engage with your partner in a variety of experiential exercises. You will be guided in mindfulness to acquire a subtle and potent understanding of how your body and beliefs influence your ability to engage in relationship from the three principles listed above.

You will learn to express and sustain connection through practicing the skills of Mindful Compassionate Dialogue (a synergistic blend of Mindfulness, Hakomi, and Compassioante Communication (NVC)).  This includes listening with empathy, understanding your needs and making requests, catching reactivity before it takes over, and expressing appreciation.

You will work through specific issues for which you and your partner would like resolution.  At the end of each exercise there will be time for questions and debrief.  You can share about your experience of the exercise with the whole group, but you don’t have to share about the details of your relationship. I ask that you not share about your partner's experience or details without their expressed permission in the moment.

What you won’t have to do  
You won’t have to share about your relationship with other couples.  You won’t have to discuss private issues with me or with the group.  You won't have to do any exercise that doesn't feel right for you.  I can always help you modify an exercise to better meet your needs.

Hi LaShelle— I wanted you to know how much I appreciate your work-- I so appreciate, and am moved by your skill in placing your compassionate, intelligent focus on our human heart connection with each other. Your insight has really helped me be better able to contain other people in my heart, and to be more compassionate and understanding of their needs, and my own. -- anyway, I just wanted you to know that I appreciate your good and important work— thank you!

From your biggest fan, Carl

What you will get   
You will get skills to name and interrupt reactivity before it takes over. This means catching things like blame, criticism, and anger and finding a way to get yourself grounded in the moment.

You will learn how to name what you need - being heard, respect, love, intimacy, harmony, honesty, etc. - and make clear requests of yourself and others to meet those needs.

You will understand how to listen to your partner in a way that they really feel heard.

You will awaken to an ability to stay connected to yourself and your partner in the most difficult of moments.

CANCELLATION POLICY:  to meet needs for inclusion, security, and predictability refunds are only given if requested 72 hours before the start of the course, so please discern carefully.


Friday 7pm – 9pm, Saturday 9:30am - 5:30pm, Sunday 9:30am - 1:30pm, September 28-30, 2018
Dharma Rain Zen Center
8500 NE Siskiyou, Portland OR 97220
The workshop is in the yellow duplex building on your left as you come down the driveway. There is ample parking on site.
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$450.00 per couple
Sold Out
$450 is the cost per couple. 
Lodging and meals are not included.

Dharma Rain is on a beautiful 14 acres that is being restored to native habitat.  Bring your lunch and enjoy a peaceful walk in nature on the breaks.

CANCELLATION POLICY:  to meet needs for inclusion, security, and predictability refunds are only given if requested 72 hours before the start of the course, so please discern carefully.