"Pletcher and Bartolameolli are undisputed experts on the subject of co-sex addiction.  They know more about it than anyone I know and have presented  an expose that with great clarity supersedes anything I have read before."

– John Bradshaw

Monday, November 23, 2009


Reconciliation comes from the Latin root meaning back and bringing together. Bringing back together is the original meaning of the word. Today, the meaning speaks to me and I feel moved and inspired.

My work with myself and others is about emotional maturity and spiritual empowerment. I believe that we all have within us an untapped potential of profound spiritual power and resources. Each and every day begins with meditation and prayer and throughout the day I return to this meditative place inside of myself, whether writing, exercising or attending to the affairs of my family. Even within the context of this priority of spiritual living, I am confronted regularly with my own ego, emotional immaturity and self-seeking ways. It keep me busy in my own pursuit of maturity but more importantly, it keeps me humble.

In studying mystics and spiritual sojourners, I have found that each and every one of them confront their own ego and have their own self-will that requires Spiritual attention. We all have ways to overcome. Some have physical ailments, others societal and family obstacles and others the dark nights of the soul and descent into emotional and soulful despair. It is said that misery loves company and in this instance, I must admit this is true for me. Perhaps this is why I resist welcoming reconciliation into my life.

I resist forgiving others and often I find self-righteousness energizing. It's embarrassing to speak that aloud as I mentor and teach about emotional intelligence and spiritual maturity, but it is one of my own shadows.

I have a belief that if I do not recall and continue to remember how I have been "wronged" by another, I leave myself vulnerable to being hurt again. Therefore, forgiving someone and bringing back together my heart with someone who has hurt me seems like putting myself at risk for being hurt again.

The wisdom of the 12 step program originating with Alcoholics Anonymous teaches us that resentment is our number one enemy. Today, I choose to trust the wisdom of this spiritual program and let go of my own self-will and beliefs that keep me frightened and justified. I choose to be responsible to care well for myself and at the same time, I welcome forgiveness and the sacred gift of reconciliation.

I believe that our most profound healing and transformation begins with an intention and a speaking aloud of this intention. So in this moment, I choose to speak aloud my intention for reconciliation. I choose to believe in the power of forgiveness. I also choose to bring back together my heart with those that I have loved and felt hurt or betrayed by. I believe this will unite my spirit and soul with their spirit and soul. Today, I choose to believe that forgiveness and reconciliation is an act of self-love and a blessing for the whole.

While it remains a bit scary, I believe it an important statement and intention to have. I trust that in surrendering my own fear around being hurt, that I will be able to embrace more emotional and spiritual maturity. We teach what we need to learn and today I am student as well as humble teacher.

My invitation to you is to look within to see where are your resentments and where might you resist forgiveness and reconciliation in your own life.

Blessings to you on your journey,


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Detachment versus Confrontation

It's difficulty to know when to let go and when to confront an issue in our relationships with others. Our dog will hold tightly to a bone and is ready for attack with certain dogs. But he also has an instinct to submit and lower himself to the ground, showing his surrender when another dog approaches. I am not sure what his internal mechanisms for deciding when to confront or submit actually are. From the outside, there is really no logic as he will lower himself for a small dog and go into attack mode with a dog twice his size. I wonder if this is simply instinct or if it is ruled by his mood. (Do dogs have moods?)

Personally, when I am considering confronting an issue in any personal or professional relationship that I have, it takes me some time to go within and utilize my own internal resources and instincts. Will the confrontation further the relationship or is it likely to bring harm? How important and intimate a relationship is it? Have I attempted to confront the issue previously without satisfying results? Is acceptance the next step for me to take or is the issue dramatically affecting the health of the relationship? Perhaps letting the relationship go is my next step to take?

The first thing that I know to do when I don't know what to do is to pray. My prayer and meditation practice is a five day a week discipline and when discernment is called for, prayer is the action.

The second thing I consider is the significance of the relationship in my life. The closer the connection, the more important it is to keep communication open and honest. It's a risk to do this, of course, because not every one has the capacity for closeness or is willing to be responsible for their part in relationships. We must learn to deepen our capacity for authentic relationships and then deepen our capacity for discernment in honoring our relationships.

Many of us have hurts and defensives that protects us and so open and direct communication can be threatening. But this, too, is good information. We learn who we can count on for honesty and who we can not. We learn to trust our own instincts around when to confront and when to submit and surrender in detachment. We learn who has the capacity and desire for an authentic relationship and is willing to be responsible for their part in our connections and who can only blame, defend and criticize.

Lastly, trust is necessary. I've learned that I must trust a Power Greater than myself when it comes to my relationships with others. I must learn to trust myself and embrace my own instincts and intuition as important guidance. I must also trust that when I choose to accept the limitations of myself or another in our relationship there will be peace for me. My deep desire for connection, authentic communication and emotional maturity will be met, perhaps in other ways and with other individuals. The universe is one of abundance, not lack.



Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Shame versus Empowerment

Thanks to John Bradshaw's groundbreaking achievements in understanding shame and his best selling book, "Healing the Shame that Binds You" we've learned a good deal about how to identify the emotion of shame and what causes its appearance in our lives. In our book, "Relationships from Addiction to Authenticity" we discuss the necessity of women moving from shame to empowerment in order to break the bonds of victimization, in any area of their lives.

We believe the first step in doing this requires that we identify the emotion of shame and how we as women have been carrying the shame of our offenders. (We discuss this fascinating dynamic of BIG Victim/Little Offender and BIG Offender/Little Victim in Chapter 3). Once we are able to look honesty at our histories and set-up for this dynamic, we can begin to see with clear eyes how we continue to carry the shame of others in their offensive behavior.

After this honest reflection on the set-up and the humility to see our current behavior, we choose to intervene on our own behalf. We seek support groups, professional assistance in understanding the dynamic, spiritual connections and individuals who are able to encourage us in our own commitment to change our behavior. Changing our reactions and automatic behaviors will TAKE TIME, but as we seek the appropriate support and remain steadfast in our commitment, we will begin to change our behavior and learn boundaries and self-care.

One of the most important aspects of this intervention and change in our behavior around carrying others' shame is having healthy anger. There is very little encouragement for women in our culture to be angry and to use this strength as empowerment. Anger's gift is strength. When we deny our anger, it becomes a resentment and often is acted out on ourselves and others. It is a misuse of this emotion. We must eat, shop, caretake, judge, blame, gossip, compulsively clean, etc., to keep the emotion of anger at bay. This must be unlearned and then anger must be embraced. Anger offers the gift of strength and understanding that our boundaries or someone elses' are being violated and action is called for.

As women, one of the greatest and most potent interventions on our own co-sex addiction and any other way we are allowing ourselves to be victimized is through embracing our ANGER. When we use our anger with intention, care and wisdom, it becomes a force for good. We begin to trust our intuition, know that this emotion is providing us important information and begin to set the boundaries that are called for in our lives. Healthy anger also points us in the direction of having the communications we need to have with others and take action for self-care and self-love. This honesty with ourselves and intentional use of the energy that anger provides us creates authentic connections with others. We can not have authentic connections with ourselves or others without the ability to feel and access healthy anger.

While it may go against many if not all of the conditioning in families, churches, educational institutions and social mores that we've learned, it is a good and necessary practice that we begin to invite healthy anger into our spiritual and psychological toolbox. As we do and use it with wisdom and discernment, our relationships with self and others begin to deepen into authentic connections that inspire and empower mutually.

So with support, practice and consistency, we can begin to embrace and honor our anger. We say, "anger is my friend" and we repeat as needed.

With love,