Episode 21 Cultivating Mindful Intimacy With Guest Jeff Cole
Are you ready to get intimate?
Today, Danielle Howard joins forces with Jeff Cole, a board certified coach with a master’s degree in contemplative counseling psychology, to explore how mindfulness can bring greater emotional and financial intimacy to your relationships.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- How everyone’s unique stories affect their relationships
- Jeff’s five elements of a healthy relationship
- How recognizing and sharing your personal history can foster emotional safety and trust
- How mindfulness and intention impact your financial relationships
- And more!
Join Danielle and Jeff now to learn how to introduce mindfulness and intention to your relationships for greater intimacy.
[00:00:02] Welcome to the Wealth Done Differently Retirement Podcast. Danielle Howard a certified financial planner shares insight into the financial tools techniques and temperaments needed to make the most of your retirement dollars and relationships. Danielle bridges the gap between Wall Street and Main Street bringing complex financial topics down to earth. Danielle will educate and inspire you as you define and refine your version of prosperity. [00:00:36] Hello and welcome to Wealth Done Differently Retirement with Danielle Howard a certified financial planner. Danielle has another guest for us and I’m really excited to get into this. The guest today is Jeff Cole. Jeff Cole is a board certified coach with a master’s degree in contemplative counseling psychology. With his broad perspective on the depths of the human experience, Jeff offers compassion understanding and unique insights into motivation and behavior. Good morning you guys I’m really excited about this podcast. [00:01:04] It’s going to be another good one. Yeah I’m psyched to be here. [00:01:06] Thanks. Jeff. I really appreciate you giving me a word like contemplative contemp I’m working on that one. What is contemplative counseling psychology? [00:01:17] Well really in a nutshell it’s about mindfulness. The Graduate Program that I went to sort of as a Buddhist based curriculum. But the general sense is really about mindfulness and being open to looking at your own experience as well as if you’re working one on one your own experience as a therapist and the client as well. But in terms of couples it’s really both people in their relationship being willing to look at their own experience as well as their partners and see it as sort of this collection of two different experiences, two past histories and being willing to be open to different possibilities and experience. [00:02:02] Danielle you brought him in today. You brought Jeff in and before we get into kind of how you guys met we talked a little bit before the podcast and you said you met through his wife and I actually saw a little write up. Would you mind if I read a little bit of write up about the work that he does with his wife as well please. OK. Just kind of part of the bio was you and your wife Lori and provide couples coaching at the Aspen relationship Institute and your work there is based on five elements of healthy relationships emotional safety and trust mindful communication which you just spoke about a little bit. Intimacy individuality and interdependence and partnership. I think that’s absolutely beautiful. And Danielle you met through Lori. Correct. How did that work out? [00:02:43] I met Laurie at a Aspen Women’s Luncheon and I was intrigued by the work that they do with couples. Again as it overlaps in the type of work I do with couples. I think it’s so important that that understanding of each person’s unique experience around money it comes out in my work with folks and I can only go so deep with people so having a connection a resource to be able to bring to the table for people and is is important. And I also know that with my own personal twenty eight years of marriage that my husband Mark and I have invested a lot into counseling coaching retreats and that this unique experience of togetherness can be challenging. And if we work through the challenges is very very rewarding. So I appreciate the work that Lori and Jeff are doing here in the valley and around the country as they bring their skill set to the table. And then how that is interwoven into the financial experience with folks. [00:03:59] Fantastic. So what are we talking about on the podcast today? [00:04:03] I wanted to bring the idea with Jeff here is that usually when we’re working with folks when people call either one of us is when they’re in transition something happens and that’s usually not necessarily something good. A lot of times people come in when they’re in conflict in areas so I thought we could talk about some of the elements of healthy relationships and in the areas of rewiring, refire and kind of that second half of life and what they can bring to the table for folks as they’re heading into the second season of life. One of the healthy areas that the five elements know that emotional safety and trust and I really feel that one of the ways we build that emotional safety and trust is honestly by getting intimate with our financial lives and sharing our stories and that our beliefs and our behaviors flow from our stories. So how do you guys work with couples in this heading into the second season of life around some of their stories that might not be about money it might be about any area of their life. But walk us through kind of what you work with with clients and building that emotional trust. [00:05:26] There’s such a broad topic and you know money sort of fits into all the five elements that in order to really have a healthy financial relationship with your partner. All five of those elements that we work with really are addressed in some way or another. And you know looking at the idea of story almost every challenge that comes up in a relationship has something to do with each of the partners story. It’s really what they’re bringing to the relationship. It’s about history personal history it’s about upbringing it’s about what was modeled by parents. So much of the challenge in relationship comes when you have two different stories that are being brought in by each partner. And sometimes they oppose each other sometimes there’s their differences and really one of the big pieces of working with couples is helping each of the members of the couple understand that what they’re bringing is a story. [00:06:28] It is it is their truth but it is also a unique truth to them based on all the things that they’ve experienced in their lives. And so in order to build this emotional safety and the trust piece is that each partner has to be willing to understand that the other that their partner’s story may be a little different. And this really comes out around money. There is money is such a generational were taught so much about it generationally and it’s really sort of how it’s being modeled by our parents and I would say in the most part it’s not necessarily modeled in the most positive of ways. And I know for me you know my parents were always fighting about money. There was never enough. It was. There’s also a big piece about gender roles and about you know when I was growing up it was pretty traditional that the husband was making the money. He was out earning the money. The mom was at home and there was sort of a imbalance between who got to make the financial decisions because I remember my dad would always say well I make the money so I get to decide how we spend it. And so when they split then there was this whole thing about child support. [00:07:40] And my mom never thinking that we had enough she would sort of hide away some of the money that she got for make sure that we didn’t run out of money and she always told my brother and I that we didn’t have enough money and if we wanted more we had to go to our dad to get more. And so I grew up with really the sort of negative perception of scarcity mindset sure. [00:08:01] Yeah. [00:08:01] And that communication around money was always really uncomfortable. So this idea this generational thing where until someone decides to change it, it’s going to keep going that way. And so my sort of make up my perception of what communication around financial matters is uncomfortable. And I think that happens a lot with the clients we work with. They grew up around the discomfort around talking about money. So they bring that into their own relationship and it’s challenging. [00:08:32] I think again we look at this area and generational it plays out even into our 50s and 60s. [00:08:42] It’s these stories that are so ingrained. I think that many times we just end up going on autopilot as we go through life and then all of a sudden we hit this transitory season of well I’m 65 years old I’m supposed to start taking retirement. I’m supposed to leave the workforce and now I’m supposed to don my white linen and sail off into the sunset with a cocktail in my hand. And that may be based on whether it’s stories of your personal family life or what the media has imposed on us. And I think that opportunity to have those conversations about what is true, what is not true for you,what is working what is not working and how do we cultivate financial health in our relationships. Whether it’s with our spouse whether it’s with our adult children whether it’s with our parents and a lot of it is just about that conversation that recognition of story that bringing things into the light. [00:09:54] I am seeing a lot of silver marriages where it just magnifies whether it’s the financial stories or people have more history in their belief systems and they’re more entrenched and they may have more connection or emotional disconnect with their with their financial lives. Do you guys work with folks that are transitioning into new marriages and how do you help them kind of bring this type of stuff to the surface. [00:10:28] That’s a great question and a really important topic to look at. We do a lot of premarital coaching and usually that tends to be it. Originally it was more with younger people and really bringing up that idea of having to have communication about expectations and stories and all those kinds of things about money. It is really challenging in and of itself there. But as you said you add years and years of financial history when you have couples who may be getting married at an older age or in second marriages and you do have all this added story. You also have a lot more I think like you said emotional investment in that story. And in order to bring two people together who have accumulated not just story but actual wealth or property or there may be other factors like they may have adult children or they may alimony to an ex spouse. [00:11:33] Yeah. [00:11:34] And there is a reluctance you know I see younger people generally the idea is it will just throw everything into one pot and you know we’ll go from there. It’s usually not a lot. So they’re starting out with whatever they’re starting out with and it’s really not all that complicated. But when you have two older people who have those financial histories it does become really challenging to have that interaction in the communication because there’s a lot of emotional attachment to it. There’s this sense about well if there’s a decision not to combine money or to keep things separate there’s always this. I think this latent feeling of well you don’t trust me. Or maybe you’re not really planning on being with me for the rest of your life so you’re keeping things separate because we don’t want to you know we want to make sure that we don’t complicate things. So it might not even be around the money. [00:12:26] It’s the underlying emotions that kind of come out with the financial decisions so it’s not right or wrong. I mean it’s just asking the questions and opening up the communication. Should we combine our finances. There might be a reason why or why not. And for people to let go of their maybe emotional connection with oh I don’t trust is about trust and really work through that underlying what’s really driving this. Because it isn’t the bank account or the investment account. It’s a lot more of that emotional that trust. The other five elements that are coming out sideways in the financial decisions. [00:13:09] So yeah that’s really where even this idea of contemplative counseling comes in because it is really looking at the underlying emotion and story and meaning that we attach to the content. [00:13:21] I mean the content is the money you know and it’s not to say that the content isn’t important because especially with money it’s it is it’s pretty at least the content is pretty black and white it’s you know these are the best practices these are the results of this behavior and so on. And yet underneath the surface under the line between content and story that’s really where the work is. It’s it’s of course we need folks like you who are working with the content and really know what to do. And you also need to understand that there’s all this emotion going on underneath, underneath and the stories and the meanings that are being attached to whatever is happening above that line. And there’s a lot of vulnerability there. There’s a lot of fear like you said that scarcity mentality. You know you use that term financial intimacy which made me chuckle a little bit because it’s sort of counterintuitive almost like an oxymoron like how do you have this idea of financial intimacy. But in order to do that you know intimacy really the definition is sort of being radically vulnerable and radically open in order in order to have that intimacy. You have to have that ability and money and financial issues is sort of the last place we want to be vulnerable. We want to be OK and we want to be protective and we want to be defensive and that’s all about the story and meaning that we attach to the content and we have to look at how that shuts us down and how that keeps us from being vulnerable and then ultimately financially intimate. [00:14:54] Yeah and it keeps you from living your true version of prosperity. It keeps you from living in your financial integrity. I really appreciate what you guys do around the mindfulness connection. And I know that’s a big word out nowadays is how can we be more mindful. [00:15:11] And I appreciate what you guys do in that area and how again it overlaps into that financial space as people move into their fall season of life. Because I think again what the media has put on us is oh you’re just supposed to build up this great big bucket of money and then turn on a spigot and live a life of ease. [00:15:37] And I think connecting with mindfulness and being intentional about what you want that season of life to look like and how your financial decisions are going to be a flow of that is really really important. I’m just going to give a quick example. Mark and I last summer were hearing about all these people that were heading to Europe for bike trips and we were like oh that sounds great. Let’s do that let’s go next spring. Mark spent a whole bunch of time planning a trip to Austria and Slovenia and Croatia. [00:16:08] We had everything kind of arranged like a plane flights and it was an expensive trip and I reconnected. Now I reconnected with my planner in me and I have to live what I’m talking to other people about to be able to say just because we can should we and we asked ourselves is this trip really is it on our bucket list. [00:16:33] Is it reflective of what we really value and what we want to use our time for. It would be an awesome trip. But when we reconnected with that mindfulness and were willing to get a little bit vulnerable in saying yeah no no my bucket list looks a little bit different than that. Mine does too. Why are we going someplace would be really cool but it’s not reflective of what we value or what our bucket list is. And so that’s one simple example of a financial decision that was shifted because we decided to have mindful communication to get vulnerable about what’s important to us and what played out and that most people go you guys are nuts you’re not going on a great trip. [00:17:27] But I think what will play out down the road will be even more fulfilling and rewarding. This idea of mindfulness is amazing amazingly powerful and in relationships and maybe to be a little bit clearer about what my definition of mindfulness is or at least what we work with is really non-judgemental awareness. And those you know you have to have both the non judgment and really the awareness of the dynamic of a situation. And so in order to do that both people do need to look at a situation and look at decisions really without that judgment. Self judgment or judgment of other. And you know I really like what you said about values because I think that really plays into this whole scenario as well and I think because money is such this generational thing that we do tend to either not know or really not live in our personal values or not really allow that to grow and to be discovered. And so when we’re making couples are making financial decisions there often is this sort of lack of attention to values and that’s where this mindfulness or non-judgemental awareness comes in and that’s really being open to exploring your own values and also looking at a way to sync them up with your partner and so that you are making decisions that you don’t regret and that you don’t feel you know with decisions. [00:18:56] There’s there’s always a sense of loss. You decide one thing or another or to do something or not to be something and you kind of have to be aware of that. [00:19:06] And certainly today there’s this whole FOMO thing of the fear of missing out on my gosh all over Facebook you see everybody doing ab traveling and having a lot of fun. And you’ve decided to have a potluck at home with your neighbors and play games and not put that on Facebook. [00:19:25] And if that’s what your values are at the time then honor that and trying this non-judgemental pieces about non judgment about self. That you’re still OK if you decide not to go to this to Europe on this bike trip and that the values that you have really are aligned more with another choice. [00:19:44] And it’s also that idea of interdependence in relationship and I think as you know we look at this fall season of life this idea of rewirement, refirement, reinspirement to honor each other’s journey in creating that new aspect of themselves. My husband retired from a 10 year career in teaching. I’ve given him. It’s like we talk about this gap year. Explore play. Figure out what’s next. [00:20:15] And I’ve wrestled with letting go of my expectations around what you’re home all day. I’ve got the to do list. Yeah. And so I appreciate again what you guys are doing with folks to help them embrace that idea of independence and interdependence. And let’s stay away from that co-dependent stuff. Please speak a little bit. How do you cultivate that independence and interdependence in partnerships. [00:20:52] Yeah sure. It also brings up a bigger topic too about transitions and that you know we all have a style of attachment and we work really deeply with the attachment styles. And as you’re saying the healthy form of attachment is interdependence really that’s being secure in your own essence and your own sense of yourself and also being able to connect on a deep level with someone else. And those patterns generally are formed with our primary caregiver as we’re children but we carry those over into the rest of our lives. And they are impacted by big transitions in our lives especially in transitions a relationship and certainly you know when we first meet someone and we’re madly in love and have all these intoxicating feelings and there is a different way that we interact with someone and how we attach with that person. But then there’s this big transition into the sort of post honeymoon phase and more of our typical patterned ways of attaching come back out and sort of understanding what your own and your partner styles are really important to see how the interactions are formed between the two of you. And as we get older there are other big transitions that happen. There’s certainly becoming an empty nester, all of a sudden the common bond that you had the common goal the common purpose of raising those kids is gone. [00:22:18] Yep. And but the kids also can serve as a distraction from some of the dysfunction in a relationship and it’s much easier to sort of put those dysfunction those issues on hold to say well it’s OK we have this other really important thing to deal with. So when your kids go off to college you have sort of this dynamic one of we no longer have this common purpose together. And so we have to look at our stuff yes of what what we have. We also don’t have the distraction from some of the issues that are happening and this transition is a really big opportunity to look at the idea of interdependence and healthy attachment to see if the ways that it’s been going if that was working if that wasn’t working. And then we have the one of the big transition of retirement. [00:23:10] You’re talking about formally the season formerly known as Retirement now where you are working at least when one person’s working. You don’t see your partner all day. We see them in the morning. [00:23:22] You go to work see them in the evening you see them on the weekends and then you have a retirement and then all of a sudden you’re with them a lot more often. [00:23:31] And you also have the that you’ve lost the identity of your work structure that the social connections and there’s so much going on that it’s a powerful powerful time. [00:23:43] Yeah absolutely. Your role in the family dynamic is different. Your role in the partnership is different. And so yes a lot is changing. And then you add in the financial piece of did we save enough. Do we are we financially healthy enough in retirement. Can we live the life we want to live. Did we talk about this stuff enough as I was thinking more about this. There are so many things that I didn’t even really consider like legacy. [00:24:08] Like our we planning to spend all of our money slated to the grave writing your last check and have it bounce. [00:24:14] That’s exactly it. Or you know is it really important for us to create college funds for our grandkids or there’s also looking at the parents of adult children who are going to need to care for them. [00:24:27] They still have a lot of moving parts. Absolutely. And the more you can communicate the more you can put all this stuff out on the table and do it in a way where it’s non-judgemental. Where you are willing to open that box of maybe some of the emotional stories the thoughts of what it should look like or you know what you thought it should be and say Is that really is that true or do we need to take a look at that. And where are your values what are you aspiring to create in your unique version of true prosperity. I think there’s just so much powerful work in building relationships whether it’s with a with a spouse, significant other. You know or multigenerational with our kids or with your parent. And as I unpack the financial pieces and you guys continue to do your work on how do we build these healthy relationships. [00:25:28] I’m excited about what’s happening and her old home excited about what’s happening here in the Roaring Fork Valley that we have all of these team members the all of these resources that people can access to really help them become their next best self. So how do people get a hold of you and Laurie and I know you have several workshops throughout the year. This podcast will go out after the one you’re doing this week. But share with us a little bit about what you guys are doing how people can get a hold of you. [00:26:01] Sure. Well our website is Aspen Relationship Coaching.com. There’s email info at Aspen relationship Coaching.com. And that’s probably the best way to get in touch with us. And we do try to do pretty regular workshops. We are doing one as you said that will have already happened. We partnered with the lead with love and a Valentine’s Day event. But we do every year we do partner with the book club and do a workshop there. We try to do a series of workshops on our five elements. That’s been an important part of being in the community and helping Dardus support the community feels really believe that the health of a community and the foundation of a community is really based on the relationship between the two small parts and that’s a partnered relationship. And if that’s healthy it sort of trickles down and radiates around through the kids through the workplace. However each person is involved in the community and so we really do really honor treasure the bond the partnered bond because that really is the foundation of a healthy community. [00:27:06] That’s that pebble in the pond and the ripple effect will be will be huge. And I appreciate again appreciate the work you guys are doing and how it overlaps with what I’m doing with folks. I look forward to working with you, Ongoingly and some of our opportunities for workshops and speaking engagements etc. If you’re wanting to find out about my e course I’ve got an eight week retirement. Doing your dollars differently E course that can be found at DanielleHoward4U.com. I also do a workshop financial fingerprints to footprints which actually delves into the story and belief systems and behaviors. And where do you want to step into and move forward with more information about that is on that Web site also. or if you want to come in for a face to face meeting with us. You can find that information and our journey of financial health @ WWW.WealthByDesign4U.com. Anything else you want to add to wind things down Jeff. [00:28:20] I was curious if you do find yourself working more and more with premarital couples. Don’t know if that’s you know certainly wasn’t on my radar when I got. It is you know we also do we have a premarital program and we’re actually coming out with an e-book as well for a premarital course and we do work through theknot.com which is the wedding site. But I’m curious if you do find people seeking out your council for premarital more and more silver marriages. [00:28:50] I mean there’s these folks that said wow. We’re done with the kids and now things have changed and now they they choose to do things differently. I am working with more and more couples on this and again from a perspective of understanding what it looks like to have good communication skills. There’s no right or wrong but we want to have everything out on the table as far as how you’re moving forward. Are there prenuptial agreements that you’re wanting to put in place. What are the details of that what you know what are you bringing to the table. The bottom line. What are you creating moving forward. Because my goal is to build on people’s wins. What has worked in your lives as you enter this new season and how do you want to create something beautiful together. Whether it’s new or whether you’ve been working on it for 27 years we’re all still a work in progress and we have the opportunity to build on our character assets and minimize the character liabilities. [00:29:54] And that intentional financial flow that will ensue from that. [00:29:58] Yeah I like that word intentional. That’s a big piece in the work we do with couples too. Thank you for your time. You’re welcome. It was great to talk with you. Appreciate it. [00:30:08] This was fantastic. I enjoyed just sitting back and listening to you to talk. And Jeff you hit on a couple of points there that really hit home with me. My wife and I are recent empty nesters and this past weekend she surprised me. It was more like she tricked me tricked me to go take a look at a animal that needed to be home to a potbelly pig and I’ll tell you what. I cute as a button. Her name is Mary. My wife really wanted this pig and then I started to do the research and we had to come to that understanding and that you know or you’re depending on each other and you’re putting the emotion aside but being able to say you know what this thing could possibly grow to over 200 pounds and destroy our entire yard. So I’m going to have to say No honey. She’s looking at it going oh yeah maybe not. And the fact that it will live another 20 years and that’s pretty much when I’m gonna hopefully retire someday. I don’t want a pig. So that was a very non emotional but somewhat emotional conversation but we both agreed that pigs are left best in bacon form. Sorry. So God bless Mary she’s a great pig and she was very emotionally attached to me. But I’m I’m going to go ahead and let somebody else house the pig because. Sounds like a good idea. All right Jeff thank you so much for your time today and Danielle thank you for bringing him this was a great podcast and I look forward to hopefully you bringing Jeff back as a guest again especially if you guys can hook up and do some classes and things together. I think that would be a great combination. [00:31:35] Yes I would hope for it to. And hopefully we can bring Lori along. [00:31:38] Yes yes yes. Like to meet Lori as well. Again thank you for coming in. And thank you all for listening to the Wealth Done Differently Retirement podcast with Danielle Howard. If you have not subscribe to the podcast yet please click subscribe now button below. This way when Danielle comes out with a new podcast it’ll show up directly on your listening device. This makes it much easier to share these podcasts with your friends and family. Again thanks for listening today for everyone at wealth done differently retirement. This is Aric Johnson reminding you to live your best day every day. And we’ll see you next time. [00:32:08] Thank you for listening to the Wealth Done Differently Retirement Podcast click the subscribe button below to be notified when new episodes become available. The information covered and posted represents the views and opinions of the guest and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Wealth by Design LLC. The content has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional investing advice. Always seek the advice of your financial adviser or other qualified service provider with any questions you may have regarding your investment planning. Danielle Howard, Certified Financial Planner [00:33:01] is an investment adviser representative of Cambridge Investment Research Advisors a registered investment adviser. Securities offered through Cambridge investment research Inc. 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