For those seeking practical tools, wisdom, and loving community to help their relationships to thrive. Open to all sexual orientations and genders of self-identified womxn, whether cis, trans, genderqueer, genderfluid, or otherwise non-binary folk who in any significant way identify as female.
Thursdays, 5-6:15pm PST / 8-9:15pm EST
Jan. 17, Jan. 24, Jan. 31, Feb. 7, Feb. 14, Feb. 21, Feb. 28
It takes a village to raise a relationship.
We are more alike than we are different. The things we struggle with behind closed doors are more similar than we know. Many of us feel alone around our intimate relationships. We may not talk about them precisely because we believe we are shameful or somehow “the only ones” to fuck it up so badly – but the truth is, if those walls between our homes could dissolve, we’d see we are far from alone.
While most of us try to resolve our relationship struggles alone, the truth is, we need help. Just as it “takes a village” to raise a child, it takes a village to raise a relationship. Every partnership deserves a throng of loving supporters behind them.
For 7 weeks, this will be your village. Come with your break-downs, your heartaches, your hurts, your dilemmas. Come with your celebrations, your joys, your successes. Let us help one another. Let us support one another. Let us tire with the way of doing relationship alone.
This group will inspire you to stretch in the places where you need to grow your tolerance and your compassion for your partner. To speak up in the places you need to risk disappointing them for the sake of being true. And to discern whether it is your empathy or your expression that needs engaging.
You will learn when to back down, and when to step up. When to empathize more with your partner, and when to listen more to yourself. You’ll learn how to stay connected to yourself in the midst of the roller coaster. Committing to never abandoning yourself again. And with this as your foundation, this group will help you to move and to speak from the ground of love.
This is a place to get support. To find hands to hold as we try on new ways of responding to those ancient triggers. To learn from each other. To help us keep perspective on our daily struggles – remembering they are part of larger, typical, *human* patterns – and ones to speak up about, rather than hide away in shame.
Each gathering will be part class and part support group. I will offer brief instruction on a particular topic, followed by group practice and then open discussion.
* Week 1 – Recognizing our shared humanity, struggles, and strengths
* Week 2 – Regulating ourselves and helping to regulate our partners – practices for soothing the fire and thawing the ice between us
* Week 3 – Owning, honoring, and reclaiming our needs in relationship
* Week 4 – Speaking our truth with love, even (especially) when we’re pissed or hurting
* Week 5 – Responding to complaints: Hearing the heart beneath our partners’ criticism
* Week 6 – Resourcing ourselves – and our young, innocent, tantrum-ing selves – when our partners aren’t available or willing to give us what we want
* Week 7 – Committing to the path of loving well, starting within
Participants find great value in the continuity of the monthly meetings and the opportunity to learn and grow in a lively community.
Every Thursday for seven weeks, we’ll meet via Zoom as a group for live teaching and practice. You’ll learn new relationship support practices, discuss and actually practice them within the group, then have large group Q & A and discussion.
At the end of every group, you’ll have homework (aka “lovework”) to take these tools home and try them on in your relationship, then report back to us in the Facebook group (see next component)
In between gatherings, you’ll have a private Facebook group to report back on what you’re learning, what’s going well, where you’re struggling, to ask questions, and to give and receive support
Every Sunday I’ll offer a Facebook live event in the private group to address your questions
$197 Early Bird – by January 1st
$247 Regular Bird – by January 17th
Do I have to commit to attending all 7 sessions? No. Your attendance at the live gatherings is encouraged, for the sense of community and real-time practice that you’ll receive, but not required. Participants will be sent a recording of all calls.
Do I have to be in a relationship to attend? No! Simply be a human being who longs to strengthen her capacity to respond choicefully, with power and grace alike, in life’s harder moments. You can bring experiences from past relationships to the group to process and practice with.
How is this the same or different from other women’s groups? It’s similar to a peer support group in that there will be opportunities for peer feedback, reflection, and even advice in the Facebook group. The online gatherings, however, will be more structured, and will focus on a particular themed practice each week. It will be different from a pure class, however, in that there will be opportunities for open, honest sharing, and a warm welcome for the whole gamut of human feelings that arise in reflecting on one’s inner experiences in intimate relationships.
Who is this series meant for? Loving Well is for awake, self-aware womxn who have done their “work,” who aren’t new to personal growth anything, but who are nonetheless human, get triggered, and struggle with either keeping their cool or showing up fully as much as they’d like in their intimate relationships. It’s designed for womxn who are ready for honest self-reflection, who value self-responsibility, and who long to show up as their empowered, full-hearted, well-boundaried selves in their relationships.
About the Facilitator
Marina Smerling is a life and relationship coach who longs for us to say “yes” to our wildly beautiful and fallible human selves, just as we are. Her work draws upon over a decade of training in Nonviolent Communication (NVC), the Hakomi Method’s mindfulness and somatic-based approach to transformation, and time with her beloved spiritual teacher, Jeannie Zandi.
Marina lives with her partner and his nine year-old son in Gainesville, Florida. When not coaching, Marina can be found nerding out over kombucha, dancing to anything with a beat, playing Uno with the family, and otherwise navigating the art of living in a broken world with a wide open heart. Learn more at www.shamelessheart.com.
Testimonials from Previous Programs
“It’s because of this program that I’m alive and have hope. Through working with Marina in a group setting, I am learning to love myself, know myself, be more authentic, own my emotions, and find ways to fill my needs. The program has had an enormously positive impact on my life.”
“This course gave me more confidence in my ability to know my needs and make requests, as well as the capacity for clearer, more effective communication in my relationships.”
“Marina is the genuine article: authentic, vulnerable, compassionate and wise. She holds a solid space for others to move boldly forward and open their hearts to themselves. I adore her dedication to the simple idea that we are each precious beyond measure. Her work has opened my heart and allowed several miracles to happen in my life.”
“I can’t say enough how this program has changed my life and those around me.”
“Marina has helped me give voice to the wounded and shamed pieces of me through empathy and play, allowing me to be so aware of my own destructive self-talk. This woman has absolutely empowered me and inspires me to be the most open-hearted, uninhibited, and loving version of me. I hold so much gratitude for the gifts and tools she has brought into my life.”
“This group is jazzercise for your empathy muscle and both a playground and safe refuge for your spirit. Listening to Marina get her NVC on is like watching your favorite, relaxed musician on stage: that shit looks so natural one forgets that years of dedicated practice and study are at play. As for NVC itself, it’s nothing short of life-changing; offering a practical roadmap of choice for how to perceive and react to both internal feelings and the world around us. NVC is seeing in color after a lifetime of black and white.”
How to Register
Write to Marina at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is usually faster than phone.
Please note: If you think you may be in a relationship where domestic violence or abuse is present, you deserve the best possible support. Marina is not trained as a licensed mental health professional and does not have expertise in supporting domestic abuse survivors. If you think you may be experiencing relationship abuse, please call the domestic violence hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and/or seek the support of a trained therapist in your community.