Tough Conversations Reflection
A Reflection by Kirsten Farney: So many times we expect that our loving relationships should be free of conflict. That expectation can come from our cultural depictions of relationships or maybe even those that were modeled for us in life. The reality of relationship, however doesn't always look conflict free. In fact, if I learned anything from our panel last week, it was that no matter how great of a communicator or how much expertise a person may have in psychology, therapy, relationship studies, marriage, parenting, etc. we're guaranteed to experience conflict in the form of really tough conversations.
Personally,the most comforting parts of that discussion were when everyone in the room laughed together each time a panelist revealed their moments that we could ALL relate to. It made me wonder, then why do we feel like we're failing when we go through these challenges? Are we really getting it wrong? I'm going to go out on a limb and say "no, we're not."
I heard someone talking about how every time our kid isn't doing what we want them to do, or our partner is not listening to us or our parents disagree with our parenting and we throw our hands up in the air and think, "I don't want to have this conversation! This sucks!" God is watching and thinking, "This is exactly what you need! This is where it gets good!"
When I'm really practicing mindfulness in relationship, I can see that my kids, my partner, my parents - everyone who challenges me the most - are there to show me exactly where I need to grow, exactly where I can own my thoughts, emotions and shortcomings without judgement, exactly where I can love more by allowing others to be who they are and feel how they feel without the urge to change them. When I’m practicing, I have a keen understanding that we've called each other into our lives to grow together. Yes, that is a sacred relationship, AND it's not easy. It's painful, it's messy, it's exhausting. And many times I get it “wrong.” But it's worth it.
At the end of the day, perhaps it's the return to the mutual understanding that "we don't have to get this right," and that's exactly where we're getting it right...
Thank you to our amazing facilitators below!
Jimmy Bartz is the rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church. Before moving to Jackson, he was the founder and priest at Thad’s, an emergent, fresh expression Episcopal Church in Santa Monica, California. He has also served as the Campus Missioner at the University of Texas in Austin, at All Saints’ in Austin, Texas and All Saints’ Parish in Beverly Hills, California. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, and in years past has worked with Red Bull High Performance teaching athletes spiritual disciplines, with Naval Special Warfare working to create systems for character development within special operations teams, and was a speaker at TEDx, Venice Beach. Married to Cindy and dad to Jas (17) and Jade (12), the Bartz family loves to spend time outside mountaineering, skiing, fly fishing, hunting and surfing. Jimmy is currently writing a book on the spirituality of risk.
Oliver Goss is a licensed clinical social worker who has worked as a child and family therapist for the past 20 years. Additionally, he has worked with couples for the last 13 years using The Gottman Method, an approach to couples therapy that includes a thorough assessment of the couple's relationship and integrates research-based interventions. For the past 8 years, Oliver has worked as a home health and hospice social worker as well.
Margaret Hutton is the Director of Faith, Care and Action at St. John's Episcopal Church. She and Derek have been married for 24 years and have two mostly grown sons, Reed, 21 and Ryan, 19. Margaret has spent the last 21 years being a feminine force in a house full of boys and dogs in the rural mountain town of Victor, Idaho.
Laura Santomauro is owner and operator of JH Family Solutions. She holds two of the highest certifications available in the most effective and prestigious couple therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). Through continuing education and mentorships, she refines her therapeutic skill set to provide the most effective treatment and innovative approaches in the field. Laura has over 20 years of experience working with individuals, couples and families on a wide variety of presenting issues, in community counseling settings, school settings and private practice. She has also provided a number of community-wide educational workshops on parenting, couple and family resiliency. Laura regularly works with individual, couples and families as well as teaching and supervising therapists.