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In this issue...
Fall Schedule
Advice to Couples
You've Been Mistreated - Now What?

Contact: 734.424.2797 or e-mail. For more information see Carole's website.  


September Newsletter...


I have had an interesting summer - gardening, yard improvements, travel, reading, visiting with friends & family. I have spoken of my tomato crop previously. This year it hsea serpentas been disappointing, so I won't brag about the harvest as I did in my last newsletter.


I visited some very good friends who live across the bay from San Francisco. The background of the masthead above is a strip taken from one of the many murals in the Mission district in San Francisco. They are amazing art pieces which, if you are ever in San Francisco, be sure to see them. The mosaic on the right is from a children's playground nearby.


I just returned from a visit with my daughter in New York. We had a leisurely time - seeing movies, taking long city walks sometimes with our dogs that are from the same litter. They seem to remember each other & have a fabulous time with one another. My granddaughter Neesawas away at camp. We also had some interesting cuisine. Plus, we experienced after shocks of the earthquake that happened while I was there. Naturally, I am concerned as I write this as it's only a few hours from the time hurricane Irene may reach New York City.


I am working with my partner and a small committee planning a World Dance Party as a fundraiser for the Jim Toy Community Center that serves the LGBT community of Washtenaw County. The Center provides a meeting place for more than a dozen organizations, as well as, advocacy, educational programming, & social events. This year the Center has focused on anti-bullying initiatives. The dance party is Sept. 24th from 7:30 - 11 pm. Come dance & celebrate diversity & support this very good cause.


For more info & to purchase tickets using paypal go to:


If you would like to make a monetary donation to this event, offer a service or have something to contribute for the silent auction, contact me at 734-424-2797. Any support you can offer to this good cause will be very much appreciated.


Fall Schedule 


Note: Date Change

 Discover a New Way to Love 

A Couples Weekend Workshop

October 21-23       Ann Arbor area
 Everyone welcome!


Whether you've been together 6 months, 5, 10, or 30 years, this weekend will offer you new tools and understanding that can help you co-create a closer, stronger coupleship. This workshop is based on the best selling book, Getting the Love You Want, by Dr. Harville Hendrix, founder of Imago relationship therapy. Call to register or to find out more information. Carole Kirby 734-424-2797.


The following three FREE Workshops are held from 2-4:30pm at Crazy Wisdom Bookstore,

114 S. Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor.

  • Sept. 18 - How to Improve Your Relationship Without Talking About  It, Finding Love Without Words.  
  • Oct. 16 - Our Amazing Brain, Neuroscience's New Discoveries & Implications for Us  
  • Nov. 20 - Boundaries, Learn Ways to Strengthen & Regulate Your Boundaries 

See my website for more information.

While free, please call or email to register. Hope to see you there...


Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.

Without them humanity cannot survive.   


"We are all swimming in the projections and filters of each other's life experiences and often we are just the stand-ins, the chess pieces of life to which our loved ones have their own built-in reactions..."

Quote from Shemsi Prinzivalli, PhD,  How to Be a Mystic in a Traffic Jam: Living as a Spiritual Person in Everyday Life.

Advice to Couples

by Sue Johnson


Ms. Johnson wrote a book called Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, to help struggling couples pull themselves out of their relationship hells. Her advice to couples can be summarized like this:

  • First understand both of you have an inborn and lifelong need to be seen, touched, recognized and comforted by others.
  • Love is: absolutely primary...it's a survival code," All people long for a "loving responsiveness from other people; whereas isolation is traumatizing at any age.
  • Second, understanding that at the bottom of each argument, each rejection, each nasty comment is a frustrated desire to connect or reconnect.
  • When couples feel distant from each other, it's like "emotional starvation," If people sense they are losing the source of their emotional sustenance, panic sets in and they desperately try to regain it.
  • Unfortunately, couples often turn to counterproductive ways to re-establish connection - clinging, stonewalling, attacking, defending, nagging, hiding. The result is even more distance and disconnection.

Note: I will offer a FREE workshop in the winter using information from  Sue Johnson's book Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. 



You've Been Mistreated - Now What?

from Rick Hanson's Newsletter "Just One Thing" 


The Practice

Stay right when you're wronged.



It's easy to treat people well when they treat you well. The real test is when they treat you badly. Think of times you've been truly wronged, in small ways or big ones. Maybe someone stole something, turned others against you, broke an agreement, cheated on you, or spoke unfairly or abusively. When things like these happen, I feel mad, hurt, startled, wounded, sad. Naturally it arises to want to strike back and punish, get others to agree with me, and make a case against the other person in my own mind. These feelings and impulses are normal. But what happens if you get caught up in reactions and go overboard? (Which is different from keeping your cool, seeing the big picture, and acting wisely - which we'll explore below.) There's usually a release and satisfaction, and thinking you're justified. It feels good. For a little while.


But bad things usually follow. The other person overreacts, too, in a vicious cycle. Other people - relatives, friends, co-workers - get involved and muddy the water. You don't look very good when you act out of upset, and others remember. It gets harder to work through the situation in a reasonable way. After the dust settles, you feel bad inside.As the Buddha said long ago, "Getting angry with another person is like throwing hot coals with bare hands: both people get burned." You can see much the same thing internationally. Gandhi put it so well: "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." Sure, you need to clarify your position, stand up for yourself, set boundaries, speak your truth. The art - and I'm still working on it, myself! - is to do these things without the fiery excesses that have bad consequences for you, others, and our fragile planet.



Start by getting centered, which often takes just a dozen seconds or so:

  • Pause - You rarely get in trouble for what you don't say or do. Give yourself the gift of time, even just a few seconds.
  • Have compassion for yourself- This a moment of feeling "ouch, that hurts, I wish this hadn't happened." A neurologically savvy trick for activating self-compassion is to first recall the feeling of being with someone who cares about you.
  • Get on your own side- This means being for yourself, not against others. It can help to remember a time when you felt strong, like doing something that was physically challenging, or sticking up for someone you loved.
  • Make a plan- Start figuring out what you're going to do, or at least where you'll start.

And now that you're on firmer ground, here are some practical suggestions; use the ones you like:

  • Clarify the facts- What actually happened?
  • Rate the bad event accurately- On a 0 - 10 awfulness scale (a dirty look is a 1 and nuclear war is a 10), how bad was it, really? If the event is a 3 on the awfulness scale, why have emotional reactions that are a 5 (or 9!) on the 0 - 10 upset scale?
  • See the big picture- Recognize the OK aspects of the situation mixed up with the bad ones. Put the situation in the larger context of unrelated good things happening for you, and your lifetime altogether. See the biggest picture of all: how your experiences are continually changing and it's not worth getting all caught up in them.
  • Reflect about the other person- Consider the "10,000 causes" upstream that led him or her to do whatever happened. Be careful about assuming it was intentional; much of the time you're just a bit player in other people's drama. Try to have compassion for them, which will make you feel better. If applicable, take responsibility for your own part in the matter (but don't blame yourself unfairly). You can have compassion and forgiveness for others while still considering their actions to be morally wrong.
  • Do what you can, concretely- As possible, protect yourself from people who wrong you; shrink the relationship to the size that is safe. Get support; it's important for others to "bear witness" when you've been mistreated. Build up your resources. Get good advice - from a friend, therapist, lawyer, or even the police. As appropriate, pursue justice.
  • Act with unilateral virtue- Live by your code even if others do not. This will make you feel good, lead others to respect you, and create the best chance that the person who wronged you will treat you better in the future.
  • Say what needs to be said- There is a good formula from the field of "nonviolent communication": "When X happens (stated objectively; not "when you are a jerk"), I feel Y (emotions; not "I fell you are an idiot"), because I need Z (deep needs like: "to be safe, respected, emotionally close to others, autonomous and not bossed around"). Then, if it would be useful, you can make a request for the future. Some examples: "If I bother you, could you talk with me directly?" "Could you not swear at me?" "Could you treat your disagreements with me and your children as seriously as you do those at work?"
  • Move on- For your own sake, start releasing your angry or hurt thoughts and feelings. Stop your mind from obsessing about the past, and focus on the present and future. Turn toward what is going well, what you're grateful for. Do things that feel pleasurable. In the garden of your life, you have to pull some weeds, sure, but mainly focus on planting flowers.
  • Be at peace- All you can really do is what you can do. Others are going to do whatever they do, and realistically, sometimes it won't be that great. Many people disappoint: they've got a million things swirling around in their head, life's been tough, there were issues in their childhood, their ethics are fuzzy, their thinking is clouded, etc. It's the real world, and cannot be perfected.

We need to find peace in our own hearts, not out there in the world. A peace that comes from seeing clearly, doing what one can, and letting go.


You can visit Rick Hanson's newsletter "Just One Thing" for more interesting articles.