Summary: Move Into Resilience host Pamela Stokes interviews author of BEING TOGETHER, Padma Gordon. In this third and final part, we learn what motivated Padma to write her new book, how the book provides practical wisdom for people already in relationship or before being in relationship, and the importance of kindness, to your partner and to yourself. We learn one of the characteristics of resilience is asking yourself before acting or behaving, “Is this good for me or is it causing me harm?”
- [00:41] What motivated you to write your book?
- [11:19] bcom
- [16:30] Is this good for me, or is it causing me harm?
- [19:41] The importance of kindness.
- [20:07] “In the garden of relationship, kindness is compost.”
- BEING TOGETHER, By Padma Gordon on Amazon
- BEING TOGETHER at Barnes and Noble
- Padma Gordon website, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube
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[00:00] Hello! And welcome to Move Into Resilience. I’m your host, Pamela Stokes. Today we have a special interview with Padma Gordon. Padma Gordon is a spiritual guide, embodied mindfulness counselor, author, and lover of life who invites people to deepen their connection to body, heart, and soul. She teaches about relationships through her lens of awakening.
Her new book is called BEING TOGETHER: Practical Wisdom for Loving Yourself and
Your Partner. And now let’s welcome Padma Gordon.
Pamela Stokes (MIR): What motivated you to write this book? What was the impetus behind it?
[00:41] Padma Gordon (PG): You know it’s really interesting, because I’m getting asked that question
kind of like regularly when I’m doing podcasts and interviews, and the more I sit with it the more I realize that actually what motivated me is the relationship that I am currently in with my partner. That was the motivating factor. And you might remember,
MIR: I do.
PG: Yes. we’d talk a little bit about what was going on. And he was just in a big transition, kind of when we met, or coming out of a transition. And he was finding himself on another level in a new way which was challenging for me at the time. And so just the feeling of staying the course. And that what it took for me to do that with all my tools, with all my awareness, with all whatever I have on board, which is a fair amount.
PG: It still was challenging. And then I would look around and I would see people getting divorced, and I would see people breaking up on a regular basis, as we know the divorce rate is so high in this country. And I just felt like what’s the magic sauce? What are the amazing gems and nuggets that actually allow this to work? Because relationships are challenging, really challenging. It’s challenging especially if you live with the person, and maybe there are kids
Involved. And it’s an edge. And then we have all these external factors. Everything that’s going on in the world right now is pretty dysregulating for many of us.
MIR: Yes. For sure.
PG: Socially, politically, environmentally. And so that all has an effect. So how do you stay with that? So it was my curiosity and my desire to really know. It was a deep inquiry process for me that brought me to write the book. Combined with I had sort of, I was a little plateaued in my creative world, and I just knew something needed to happen. And then this invitation arose to write a book. And so I really feel like what happened is, it’s a very creative endeavor to write a book, needless to say. And it’s gathering of information. It’s not just, for me anyway, it wasn’t just like oh, here’s a download from the universe. It was a download from the universe, combined with, let me look over here. And getting into that, what I find so nourishing, which is often called flow state. Being in this flow state, where things are just clicking, and you’re noticing, and pieces are falling into place and it’s a highly creative, massively empowered, enlivening state of being.
PG: And that was what occurred once I made that commitment. And again it was a a stay the course. And just to draw the connection between relationship and the book, it’s that you will benefit if you stay the course. And if it turns out that it’s run its course, you tell the truth about that too.
PG: So for someone like yourself who was partnered, married for a long time, these things do run their course. And not to, though, just jump out of it too quickly, which 35 years is certainly not a quick jumping out. So that’s my download.
MIR: Yeah. I like that. I like what you said how it was. I remember when you met him, actually and so that’s pretty cool to watch this whole sort of process happening. And to know that as you’re creating, and as you’re in this flow state, you’re not only realizing things and bringing them in from what you already know, but you’re also bringing in other people’s information, too, and how enlightening that must have been for you. I’m gonna mention the title again. BEING TOGETHER: Practical Wisdom for Loving Yourself and Your Partner. And we’re with Padma Gordon, who wrote this book. And, I highly recommend that you get this, even if you’re not in a relationship. because it has all of the guidance that you might need for when you do get into relationship. And if you’re in a relationship, then get it too! This is good for all levels. And one of the things I like about this book, too. I wanted to kind of bring this forward, is that you are mentioning this not in the in a gender-specific way. And I think that’s also really very key, because relationships aren’t necessarily for a man and a woman. They can be for women together or men together, and I think that is so very interesting that you did decide to do that in your book. Maybe that’s something that’s normal for relationship books. I don’t know, because I actually haven’t read too many of them. But this one. I liked that, and I liked how you brought in stories of other people’s lives and the couples and things, but I will say I did get a little jealous. Because there’s one in there that’s like, they’ve been together what 60 years or something, just like ridiculously long. And they’re still totally happy and they’re laughing at each other’s jokes and they just love each other so much and I really wanted that. But that’s not what I got. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t that possibility, so it also kind of encouraged me to remember that this isn’t just that one person, and I’m a failure.
PG: Definitely not.
MIR: Right? This is what we did and what did I learn and how did I grow? And again being part of the resilience piece, knowing that there are couples out there who are doing the work, who are facing inward together, and growing and evolving and becoming something bigger than just the two people. They become the we. And I just loved that you brought all of those different genders together and the couples.
PG: Thank you. Yeah it just felt right, especially at this point in time, because love is not gender-specific. Love is not gender-specific, and relationship is not gender-specific. That’s just what felt true and aligned for me. And as far as that couple, and you may be referring to Jen and Jay.
PG: I just want to say about the book is that, take Jen and Jay for example, they’ve worked
it, they’ve struggled. They’ve had their moments. They’ve gone through the eye of the needle I don’t know how many times and had periods in their relationship that were not fun, and maybe even were kind of where they were distant, or they just felt crummy, or they felt like, oh, am I really aligned with this person? But I think what they did is they stayed the course. So the relationship then held them and gave rise to this both internal individual and collective resilience to move through it and to allow these times of disconnect to be there at least for a little while. Not for too long.
PG: I think when you let it go too long, and there’s a separation, and there’s a disconnect, it can be very, it’s hard to come back sometimes. Because then that becomes a pathway, that becomes a pattern, that becomes a way of not being together, of being distant together, being separate together. And in relationship what we really want is connection.
[09:09] Voiceover: We’re here with Padma Gordon, author of BEING TOGETHER. You can find her book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and you can find her at Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Her website is padmagordon.com. And let’s get back to the interview.
PG: So that’s why it’s so important to start with this oh, I’m connected to myself. And that’s a big part of the work I do with people is to assist them to how do you stay connected to yourself as you relate to someone else. And how do you know when you’re leaving yourself or taking more care than is actually true for you. Right? And this can be in an intimate relationship, in a parent-child relationship in a child-parent relationship. It can go in all those different ways. So that level of self-awareness is really important.
MIR: Yes and those are some of the things that you bring in here, too, in the book is that you’re bringing in things from meditation practice. You’re bringing in things from the Hindu readings/writings. You’re bringing in spirituality. You’re bringing in all of these different pieces, and the PhDs and the brain science, and this is what I love about it, too, is it’s this mélange of all of these different possible ways of looking at something. It gives enough of the touch points so that people can do the practical, I mean you’re actually giving them some skills to practice too, which is also super cool. And that you’re saying, “Here’s where I got this.” And so then they can go and investigate it themselves.
PG: That’s right.
[11:19] MIR: …Bessel van der Kolk, who’s one of my guys. One of my hero guys. And I really appreciate that about what you’ve combined together. So you’ve got everywhere from Bessel van der Kolk, who’s one of my guys. One of my hero guys, because of the whole nervous system/brain stuff. But then you’re also talking about the spirituality piece and how we are all one. So I love the connectivity of those concepts together.
PG: Thank you. Well, it’s a reflection. That’s great to hear, first of all. Thank you. It’s really great
to hear. It really nourishes me to hear your reflection and to hear reflections from people who’ve read it, because it’s only been out not even a couple months and we’ve been in Covid. So I don’t run into that many people to say, “Hey I read this, and this was really…” So it’s really useful to hear it. And what I’ll say is, also about the book and how you described it, is actually you really just described me. Because it’s really through my lifetime experience—alll the multiple filters and lenses that I see through. And my learning and my evolution, combined with all the stuff I actually learned and deepened into in the process of writing it. Not to mention living in this relationship and my previous relationships. I’m very thankful to those too.
PG: So that’s what you’re getting when you read the book, is you’re getting this topic through my multiple lenses, through the multiple lenses of my mind and my heart.
MIR: Yeah, yeah. And I was going to say, too, I felt that. And I felt that there was a real caring for me the reader, that you’re like, yeah you can do this. Like you’ve got this, like here’s some stuff. Practice this and this is gonna be okay, so I felt very supported.
PG: That really makes me so happy. Oh, that’s great. That is my intention, is to make it, to kind of distill it down and make it accessible, so that you have that experience of oh, I could do this.
And that said, it’s going to take some practice. It’s gonna take some work. It’s gonna take some looking inside.
PG: It’s gonna take restraint to not point a finger at someone else. It’s like, okay, let me look at myself and see what’s going on. And, ideally, that the person that you’re with is also doing that.
MIR: Yeah, ideally.
PG: Right? Because it’s two people doing the dance of loving themselves and loving each other.
And then it becomes an evolutionary path.
PG: A really potent evolutionary path.
MIR: I’m so excited for my future.
PG: Yes, I see it. It is happening, absolutely. You’re primed.
MIR: Yeah. Well I’m not ready right now. I’m pretty busy, but eventually.
PG: When it’s the right time.
MIR: It’s nice to know, I feel like I kind of have a lot of these things naturally anyway from I think maybe having grown up in a family with six children. I really believe that having all those siblings and having all those dynamics to have to work through, and being able to get along with all these different personalities has given me the practice. But certainly, these are things that are more about the personal one-to-one relationships that people have. The partnerships that people have. Loving relationships, not just family.
PG: Right. Well you had relationships with each of your siblings and your parents and everybody, and it seems like the part that got kind of underdeveloped or under-acknowledged was you just really tending to yourself in that milieu of this big family, right? And that so often happens and then we know how to tend to everybody else.
PG: And being able to do that while we attend to ourselves consistently. We’re super good at the resilient part.
MIR: Right. Super good at putting things forward and letting people have an easier time hopefully and not necessarily being authentic to myself and ask is that going to be good for me too?
PG: That’s an important question to ask. That’s great that you bring that up, not only for yourself but for anybody. Does that work for me too?
MIR: Yes. Yes.
PG: And then, does it work for us or for that “we”, if you’re in a partnership or when you’re in a partnership.
[16:30] MIR: Is this good for me, or is this causing me harm? Yeah. This is actually a concept that I’m going to be bringing up in a podcast is sort of the definition of someone who’s got resilience. One of the questions they ask themselves, “Is this good for me, or is this causing me harm?” Right? And so I think that definitely needs to be in the forefront of everyone’s mind. Is what I’m doing right now good for me or is it harming me? And I think that’s probably where I lacked a little bit of discretion in decision-making for myself in my relationship, and so yeah if there’s some edges where I needed to grow, I think that’s definitely, the awareness of that has been helpful for me.
[17:09] Voiceover: We’re here with Padma Gordon, author of BEING TOGETHER. You can find her book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and you can find her at Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Her website is padmagordon.com. And let’s get back to the interview.
PG: That question. Even just to pose that question again for everybody listening. When you are engaging with another, ask yourself how’s this working for me. If you even just notice how is this working for me.
PG: It’s a really important question to just engage with as you’re living, because we can get going really quickly, and there’s this habit pattern that all of us have in various ways of selling out for love. And so if it’s working for me, and I’m in alignment with myself first, then it’s really going to work a whole lot better for the couple. And so taking that, making a note of that and prioritizing that, and then discovering how do I leave myself, which, when I worked with you, when you worked with me, like all these different modalities help us to see and know now how do I leave myself. Because there’s a physical component, there’s a mental component, there’s an energetic component. You find yourself leaning really far forward, sit back. Sit back into the seat of yourself. Feel your feet on the ground. Take a big breath. If you find yourself spinning around in your mind, you’re probably not fully connected to yourself because the mind is only one part of us.
MIR: Right. Yes. Yes. Beautifully said. So I was going to ask you, I have some more questions, have you had any big lessons of late that you’d like to share?
[19:41] PG: “…a general practice in relationship is kindness.” Thank you for asking that. Well, I feel like the main lesson that I got for myself and this I’m speaking about myself and just as a kind of like a general practice in relationship, is kindness. Is really be nice, whatever that looks like. And I’ll preface it with saying be nice, while you’re in integrity with yourself.
PG: Don’t be overly nice so you give yourself away, and you’re just being nice when you don’t really feel like being nice and saying yes when you feel like saying no.
[20:07]PG: “In the garden of relationship, kindness is compost. Kindness is sunshine. Kindness is water.” So be kind. Be kind because kindness in the garden of relationship, kindness is compost. Kindness is sunshine. Kindness is water. It makes the garden grow. And kindness is a sort of an umbrella for acceptance, appreciation. Or different expressions of kindness might be acceptance and appreciation and caring, different flavors of caring. Whether it’s how you speak to the person, how you respond to the person, whether the person would love to have their hands and forearms rubbed because they spend hours and hours on a computer. Whatever it is, really practicing kindness. Because in my relationship, I feel like one of my edges is…so there’s kindness on the one side and then there’s containment on the other side. So for me I express and a pattern is this pattern of criticality and observing what’s falling short. Well so I work with myself to look for what is working. What am I appreciating about this lovely man who’s in my life?
PG: What is he actually bringing to the plate? Whether it’s what I thought I wanted. I mean, for instance we’ve, in this summer of Covid, we’ve taken motorhome trips to amazing places, because being out in nature has been incredibly healing and stabilizing for me and for us, and for our family. And so to just appreciate what the person is bringing. So my partner brings adventure. He loves adventure. He’s a super-duper outdoorsman–very skilled, very aware. very confident in that domain. Great! Let me just receive that. I love that. And rather than looking at where maybe he’s not this or not that. So practicing kindness, because if you don’t practice kindness and really treat the person as though they are precious, because they are,
PG: You might lose them. They might decide I don’t need this. This doesn’t feel good. I don’t want to have somebody just finding fault with me. And we can all do it. Some of us are more prone to that. And also starting with oneself, right? If the inner critic is running wild in here (points to head), it is very likely that it will also find its way out.
MIR: Yeah, that’s what I was just going to add in was the rule also applies to oneself. Be kind. We tend to have these inner voices that aren’t. And so finding the good when we can and acknowledging what’s good about us for sure.
PG: Cheering ourselves on.
MIR: Especially if you don’t have someone cheering you on.
PG: If you don’t have someone else cheering you on, it’s even more needed. And appreciating each other. Appreciating yourself and each other, multiple times a day.
MIR: Yeah. You mentioned that in the book.
PG: Be effusive. Be authentic. And you know what? In the beginning it might not come naturally, and it’s okay. You can practice it. It will become. Because what you practice is who you become.
MIR: I agree.
PG: So practice what it is that you want. Practice your direction. My direction in my relationship is to have a loving, peaceful, harmonious, fun, nourishing relationship. And so then I check in with myself. Is what I’m doing moving me in that direction, or is it taking me off-course? Because if it’s taking me off-course, well, I can change that. I can shift. And it’s amazing, in the face of losing something, the immense discipline that actually comes online to restrict or restrain from, for instance this criticality or judgment or all these things that arise. Which means that I/we do a lot of internal self-management, and feeling our feelings, and taking lots of deep breaths or maybe taking a little walk, having pauses, saying I love you, and I’m gonna go away until I can engage with you in a way that feels good to both of us.
[24:52] Voiceover: You’ve been listening to an interview with Padma Gordon. Her new book, BEING TOGETHER, can be found at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and she can be reached on her website padmagordon.com. Thank you so much for joining me. This is Pamela Stokes, and you’ve been listening to Move Into Resilience. Find us at moveintoresilience.com for more information. Take it easy!