Jayson Gaddis: Exploring the Dynamics of Interpersonal Relationships

Naropa_Mindful_Podcast-Jason-Gaddis

The newest episode of our podcast, Mindful U, is out on iTunesSpotify, Stitcher, and Fireside now! We are excited to announce this week’s episode features Naropa alumnus, Jason Gaddis (MA Counseling Psychology ’05), relationship coach and host of The Smart Couple Podcast.

play-icon  Jayson Gaddis: Exploring the Dynamics of Interpersonal Relationships

Being a better person within the dynamics of relationships really starts with our relationship to ourselves. We constantly cultivate our amazing relationship with who we are in the context of relationships. We can learn to have a better relationship with ourselves sitting on the cushion, and that’s super useful, but getting the day in and day out feedback from other human beings telling me what an asshole I am is also powerful.

Full transcript below.

Jayson Gaddis, relationship student and teacher and host of the Smart Couple Podcast, is on a mission to teach people the one class they didn’t get in school–”How to do Romantic Relationships.” That’s why he founded The Relationship School®. He was emotionally constipated for years before relationship failure forced him to turn his life over to learning about relationships. Now, he’s been married to his amazing wife since 2007 (after some brutal breakups) and has two beautiful kids. When he doesn’t live and breathe this stuff with his family, he pretty much gets his ass handed to him.

Full transcript
Jayson Gaddis
“Exploring the Dynamics of Interpersonal Relationships”

[MUSIC]

Hello. And welcome to Mindful U at Naropa. A podcast presented by Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.

I’m your host, David Devine. And it’s a pleasure to welcome you. Joining the best of Eastern and Western educational traditions – Naropa is the birthplace of the modern mindfulness movement.

[MUSIC]

DAVID:
Hello, today I’d like to welcome Jayson Gaddis to the podcast. Jayson is a graduate of Naropa University graduating in the transpersonal psychology department. Since then Jayson has developed a coaching business helping people, especially with relationships. He has started the relationships school.

It’s a pleasure to speak with you today. So, thanks for coming.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah. Thanks for having me.

DAVID:
Awesome. So how are you doing today?

JAYSON GADDIS:
I’m doing really well. Yourself?

DAVID:
Pretty good. So what year did you graduate?

JAYSON GADDIS:
2005.

DAVID:
OK. Yeah, nice. So, a couple of years ago. And then from there you started the relationship school or like what was your path?

JAYSON GADDIS:
Oh man, it’s a longer journey, but basically, it’s worth noting I met my wife at Naropa and we’re together 11 years now. So, I love Naropa just for the fact that I met my partner there.

DAVID:
Yeah that happens a lot.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah apparently it does.

So, yeah, I graduated in 2005 and I set out working for an agency — doing wilderness therapy and family therapy for almost a year and then I decided to start my own private practice as a psychotherapist here in town.

And I was a little intimidated because the joke was that you can throw a rock in any direction and hit a therapist. So, I was like, oh man, it’s going to hard.

DAVID:
Is that joke true though?

JAYSON GADDIS:
I don’t think so.

DAVID:
OK. There are a lot —

JAYSON GADDIS:
I mean I haven’t tried it. But its —

DAVID:
Don’t throw rocks at therapists people.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Right, but I had a teacher, Duey Freeman who taught at Naropa for many, many years say, if you’re good you can still build a successful practice in Boulder. And so, I did and eventually built a very successful practice here with a waitlist — working with couples and individuals about their relationship issues.

And then eventually I closed that down because I was tired of people not doing their homework. I was tired of who I was attracting. I was tired of repeating myself. And I wanted to do more groups and events and get my message out further.

I had started a blog. I had been running men’s groups. And I had just you know been testing and experimenting constantly with people. How do we really get good relationship results without just coming in once a week and kind of talking about my relationship problems? And having someone kind of hold space and listening and it just wasn’t results based enough for me.

So, then I turned myself into a coach — I let go of my license — my professional psychotherapy license. And eventually started the relationship school. And now we’re serving students all over the world. And we have live trainings — we train people to become relationship coaches. And we get amazing results because it’s a nine-month program — you can’t you know just come in once a week and hope to get better.

You have to actually do the work.

DAVID:
Wow ok. So, what I’m hearing is you were a therapist and with therapy, it kind of has this intention to just talk about the issues and maybe work through them, but then you sort of realized that coaching has more of a potential to do the homework as you were saying. And so, couples are showing up with the intention to do the homework.

JAYSON GADDIS:
In a way, yeah, I would say it like this — that I love therapy — my wife’s a therapist and it can be limited if we just keep people stuck in their story. Because people, you know, just recount their story and they just want someone to listen to. I think that’s better for like friends. A really good therapist should challenge you, should call you out and be able to effectively help you work through trauma or other issues. And a good therapist does that.

I was wanting bigger tools and better tools and I was wanting better results. So, I kept studying with different types of teachers. Outside of the therapy model and started getting better results. It didn’t mean I threw away my therapy tools. Absolutely still use them today.
But I just added right to my toolkit.

DAVID:
OK. Very cool. So how long have you been doing the relationship school?

JAYSON GADDIS:
We started our first class in 2016. So, we’re now on our fourth class so about three years and four classes in.

DAVID:
OK. How many people do you take in per year?

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah, so anywhere between 20 and 50. So, it depends on because some of our students are training to be relationship coaches. And some of them are just training to be a better human being in the context of relationships.

DAVID:
Yeah. Interesting. So, when it comes to being a better person within the dynamics of relationships does this just involve an intimate relationship or does this relationship with your community, relationship with your boss, relationship with your work, your friends — does it just apply to all?

JAYSON GADDIS:
It can. Absolutely and it does from what our students say. But it really starts with our relationship to ourselves, right. We’ve got to continue to cultivate our amazing relationship with who we are. And we do that in the context of relationships. So, whereas like meditation which I learned at Naropa and still do and I’m grateful for. Meditation is sort of — I learned to have a better relationship with myself as I’m sitting there on the cushion, which is super useful, but I’m not getting the day in and day out feedback from other human beings telling me what an asshole I am. And or where I’m amazing and that’s where a relationship as a path, which is what I teach is so powerful is because we get the direct reflection of other humans and they start to mirror back who we are and who we’re not. And once we start to cultivate that relationship with ourselves it keeps growing.

Our primary focus in the school is to have a good relationship with yourself and a good long-term relationship. So that could be an intimate partner. It could be a husband or wife. It could be a close friend, a parent, your child. But really, it’s the long-term relationship appears to be the hardest relationship to do well. Most people really struggle there — like all of us have friends. All of us can do that. And all of us can fall in love and get infatuated with someone — that’s pretty easy, but past a year, two years, three years, five, 10 years in — people really struggle and that’s — that’s kind of what we help people with.

DAVID:
What do you think it is about that one year mark where people start noticing the reflections come out of the things that aren’t so yummy — they tend to get a little sticky and icky and —

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah, it’s because of, you know, we — you and I fell in love like I would start to see after 6 months to a year that you have problems — you have faults. I’d start to see your weaknesses. I’d start to see your insecurities — you couldn’t hide those anymore from me and the drugs would start to wear off. And I would sober up to the reality that you’re a normal person like me and you have as many problems as I do.

And then it becomes a game of like well, do I want to deal with you? Which is really dealing with myself or not and a lot of people it comes out under stress in conflict. This is where couples really get tested is when stress enters the relationship. How do you deal with stress and most of us are not taught as young people and we’re not taught in school how to deal with interpersonal stress? And we’re not even taught how to do relationships well in school. It’s just sort of expected. And so, most people just rely on what they learn in their families. What they watch the big people do when they were little kids. And it really doesn’t bode well for you. So, the people that I find that do really well long term are people who study relationships and who dig in and are willing to grow and develop themselves.

DAVID:
I really find it beautiful that you start at the center, which is yourself. You develop a solid root of who you are who you, who you are becoming and also the idea that maybe you aren’t perfect. That you can show up with your flaws to yourself but be okay with that. And willing to work on it and develop. Because if you’re not willing to do that then showing up with a partner is going to be a little bit more difficult. Because you’ve got to deal with their stuff and then you got your stuff as well.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah. Which is never going to go away, right. Your stuff is always going to be there. And it’s how do I deal with my stuff. So, we’re perfectly imperfect and one of the questions I get the most is — do you have to have a good relationship with yourself to be in a good relationship. And I’m like, no because that would imply that I need to get on the summit of some sort of self-acceptance before I can be in a relationship with someone. And it’s like we’re in the process of self-acceptance throughout our lives. Throughout our lifespan and so it’s a fantasy to think that next year after 10 more therapy sessions or a few more meditation retreats I’m going to accept myself.

You might in that moment, and then tomorrow you’re going to be pushed with an insecurity. And you’re going to be right back in your shit. And the powerful thing about a partner is that they can witness you through those ups and downs and highs and lows. Together you too can learn to love each other through all of those parts of yourself that aren’t always so pleasant and aren’t always so nice to be around.

DAVID:
I like that too because Trungpa even talks about that. You’re not going to be perfect. Don’t come to me perfect because that is unavailable. No one’s perfect. Bring your shit to me because that’s what grows a good garden is that compost — is that stuff that you have to work with. And with a partner then you have a reflection to actually have somebody guide you, help you, or just be of witness. So, you’re not doing it alone.
You actually have a somebody who loves and cares about you and can sometimes show you, like hey like I get you’re having a hard time. But here’s all these times where you didn’t and those are beautiful and let’s like divert revert back to those. Or let’s have this moment, you know I don’t want to take away from your authenticity of this moment. So, let’s do it together. And see what happens on the other end.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah and that’s why again togetherness, sanghas, community is so so powerful.

DAVID:
Yeah. So, with all these people coming in to learn about relationships and the clients that you get — is there a similarity with where they start with the decision to start this relationship school? Are you noticing there’s like, oh within the year and a half — that’s when you start realizing like let’s do this together. Or hmm maybe something we need to work on or is there some similarities that the relationships show up as when they show up to you?

JAYSON GADDIS:
I’d say the only similarity is that those people are in pain or longing. So, something about their relationship life isn’t working and they’ve had a pattern after pattern repeat. For me, that’s what happened. And I was in enough pain to finally be like maybe I’m the problem. And that’s when people come in as they’re like I, shit I have something to learn here. You know, and they are like, wow, I’m willing to learn and so people are — come in with a lot of humility being willing to empty their cup and say I have more to learn about relationships and I want to learn. I want to understand this fascinating mystery called relationship. We just get into it. And so, everybody’s pain point is a little unique and different based on who they are and their culture, their upbringing, their gender. It just depends. But pain is a common factor.

DAVID:
There are so many things along the way that you could have picked up through family dynamics, through social interactions, through television and just interacting with friends that either could be good, bad or neutral. And those all show up with a partner and it’s just weird how it just gets all stuck together and you’re like let’s see if this works out.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah and we have to burn down — one of the things we teach our students is burning down the fantasy of how relationships work,

DAVID:
I like that.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Because we’re sold a fantasy in Hollywood, romance novels, social media — like you meet the right person and everything kind of works out. And it’s like no that’s bullshit. Everything doesn’t work out. It takes effort. Just like a business partnership would or you know two people climbing Mt. Everest together. It takes teamwork and you need to learn how to deal with each other. And again, because we haven’t been trained formally to do that — we just do what we’ve always done.

DAVID:
Yeah. Do you notice when people show up to you with their humility are, they easier to work with than people who are like, yeah, just my partner brought me here. I don’t know if I want to be here.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah, it’s like the —

DAVID:
Just so willing.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah, the student mindset, you know. They just have the growth mindset and they’re again humble enough to admit they have a problem. They’re secure enough with their insecurity to raise their hand and say I need help. And that as a warrior. That’s my favorite kind of person.

DAVID:
That takes a lot.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah takes a ton of courage, you know, in the face of we’re supposed to have this part of our lives handled. It’s like no actually, I don’t.

DAVID:
They’re like please show me how to break this pattern. I noticed it finally. Everyone has been saying it to me.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah and even better is when they can say — and I understand it’s not the other person. And it’s not their fault. I have something to learn here. This is a big deal.

DAVID:
Always stuff to be learned, you know? So, do you have couples show up where they seem divided? Like one person was the initiator of the let’s go do this thing together and the other person’s like I’m just not really feeling it.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Oh yeah, yeah. I mean this weekend I’m leading a two and a half day workshop on conflict and I guarantee you there’ll be people in the room where one partner dragged the other person there. And then you got to deal with that person. You know, the person that got their arms folded and is sitting in the back — doesn’t really want to be there. Those are hard people to teach because they’re not in enough pain and they’re not willing yet to admit that they have something to learn. So, not much is going to go in.

DAVID:
Okay. Interesting. Have you ever had to deal with a situation where in your mind you’re just like this relationship is not going to work? Have you ever had to address that within a session to be like, hey, guys — like I’m hearing a lot of things — it doesn’t sound like the work is willing to be put in and, or the work you do put in might not save this. Maybe it’d be best to uncouple.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah, I don’t know that I’m that suggestive, but I definitely in the past I used to work with couples all the time. Now, again I’m mostly an entrepreneur running this school and teaching people through a kind of a classroom live workshop type setting. But, when I have been with couples like that — yeah, it’s — I’ve said things like, why the hell are you two together? You know, just because I think the best practitioner is being him or herself — Carl Rogers said that. And that is why who I try to be and who I am when I’m with people is just — I’m just being me. And I’m careful obviously to have my agenda of what I think should happen because I don’t really know.

But I just want to challenge people like well if you guys fight so much and you’re just pointing the finger like why are you together? What’s keeping you together? Usually, it’s fear. Like a lot of people —

DAVID:
Is that what they say?

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah, well they don’t say — they’re not even aware that’s going on or —

DAVID:
They’re afraid of being alone or —

JAYSON GADDIS:
Exactly. They’re afraid to be alone. It’s like hey, I’d rather be with you and be in conflict than be alone, especially if you’re like 50 years old — like that’s — it can be scary to be alone.

DAVID:
It’s almost like you’re in a relationship with being attached than you are with the person. You are in relation to the attachment.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah, that’s right. Well, let me let me share one quick frame we teach at the school, which is growing up most of us have an injury that I call a core human injury. So, where basically we have to choose — do we — we don’t have to choose, but it seems like children choose this, which is we have two fundamental needs — attachment, as you’re saying and self-expression. And we need both to survive and thrive, but one is more important than the other and that’s attachment. Because attachment is food. If you don’t have a caregiver looking after you — your kind of screwed. You’re gonna die.

So, because that attachment bond is so paramount — I’m willing to suppress who I am and my expression to keep connection with you. And so, this happens with adults. Just think of the last time you were dating someone — you probably didn’t bring all of you to the table. You might have hidden parts of yourself because you want to get asked out again. Same with a job interview. We hide parts of ourselves because we’re afraid that if that person saw it, they would leave us, or they wouldn’t accept us, or they would reject us. This is going on all the time and people — so people get in adult long-term relationships and they think they have to keep compromising who they are to keep connection. And that’s just bullshit. You can actually have the connection you want and be who you are. But that takes some work.

DAVID:
Wow, ok. That kind of leads up to my next question — you sort of answered it, but I’m just curious if there’s anything a little deeper where it’s — so all these relationship issues arise and they’re from past traumas — they’re from past experiences, they’re from being conditioned or an unwillingness to actually learn. Is that like a product of when those two people get together or is this like a lifelong kind of learning thing and then two people come together, and they just sort of show each other those things over some time.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Well, the way I think I understand your question is you’re asking like two — when we partner with someone and our issues sort of surface — come to the surface, right. Are you asking how we deal with those are you asking why that happens?

DAVID:
I think I’m mostly asking where do you think they come from most of the time? Is it a trauma within the family while growing up? Is it being conditioned from certain surroundings? Is it an unwillingness to meet your partner at that time? I’m sure it’s probably all of these, but I’m curious if there is like, a main direction that these go into?

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah, I mean most people that study relationships all agree that when you enter into an adult partnership, you’re bringing with you your entire relational history. And that’s from birth onward or conception onward. And so if you got hurt as a little boy or girl at age 5 or as a little kid at age 10 or there was a chronic kind of neglect situation where one parent was depressed or an alcoholic or just wasn’t even in the home — that leaves an imprint and it leaves an imprint your body — in your cells and the memory is there whether you remember or not.

And so, at age 28 or 40 when you enter into an adult relationship — then you’re in it longer than the honeymoon phase — you make it past that and you actually stay — the attachment system starts to fire and awakens all of that unresolved — you could call it trauma or just unresolved stress that got locked in the body that now is going to come out and that’s bad news if you’re not on the growth development path.

It’s good news if you’re on the growth development path because it’s all compost, as you said earlier, or it’s all material for you to work with and to learn about yourself and to become who you are. You actually need that if you want to be a full optimal human being that’s going to live a great life and be fulfilled. You need all these — basically what I would call disown parts. And your partner is going to awaken your disowned parts so that you can heal them.

DAVID:
Ok, so what does it take to connect deeply with a lover in a vulnerable moment? Like what does it take to make that awakening moment happen for people to realize to step forward?

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah, well I mean I’m guessing most of your listeners have had these moments with when falling in love — when you were 16 or 20 and maybe they’re students at Naropa right now listening that are — your feeling that — that what you just described. This beautiful deepening moment with another human being that’s just kind of cosmic, you know, the chemistry is hot, sexy, it’s like electric. And that will fade — guaranteed 100 percent. And — if you stay with that person. And the question becomes after the honeymoon stage is how can I keep seeing my partner as a mystery and as this vast ocean of possibility? How can I continue to look in their eyes and find out who they are and not put them in a box because the brain — the human brain likes to automate people — likes to automate things to make it easier — its more efficient?

So, you don’t want to do that with an intimate partner because then it starts killing that deepening process that you’re talking about.

So, there are endless ways we can deepen with each other. And one of my favorite ways, you know, the listener you guys can try this, which is just to grab a close friend or someone you care about and look them in the eye — do some eye gazing — just a couple of minutes and then say —

DAVID:
For all the non-Naropa people that’s a little weird too because we use it in school and practice — staring at people’s eyes and when you first do it, you’re like oh, you feel a little weird inside.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah, because we’ve been trained to maybe not make eye contact and connect deeply or in the moment, right? And so, when you can do this type of exercise you can ask a simple question, which is, what’s happening between us right now?

DAVID:
Simple question.

JAYSON GADDIS:
And we can start to co-explore yeah, what is happening? I’m noticing that I feel a little tense or as I look at you, I feel excited or, you know, and we can start to go back and forth — it’s another way of saying this is like the I noticed game. Where you’re noticing what’s going on between us and it becomes like a meditation between the two of us of being present, right now and what’s happening. It’s very like a gestalt type of exercise.

DAVID:
There’s something about the way the words are phrased that makes it a safe space for couples to explore things that might not be easily explored through their relationship. And, that’s one thing I’ve noticed is like staring in someone’s eyes, getting real with them, being authentic and then at the same time being vulnerable and being like what’s going on between us? Because then you’re noticing that they notice, and you notice and there is a conversation that needs to be had about it.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah, and you start to notice your blocks. Or if you’re afraid and you’re like, oh this is uncomfortable for me. I want to look away and cool stay with it and breathe and notice that and let’s do this. You know, stay in it with me, you know, one more minute. Let’s go two more minutes.

DAVID:
Yeah, and it’s within that moment that you can show up and invite each other to have skillful boundaries. And be like hey, this is a thing that happens, and I guess that’s okay but when it happens, I would like for this to happen as well. And or maybe we can have a word where we just kind of — let’s have a moment to reflect on what’s happening at this time.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah and I hear a boundary for me is and — is just looking away. You know, this is — this is too much. I need to take a break. I’d like to look away just for a minute and I’m going to look down or I’m going to close my eyes because I’m kind of losing myself in you or I’m losing myself — starting to float away and we don’t want to dissociate.

So, it’s like how do I come back to my body and back to this moment?

DAVID:
Awesome. Thank you.

So, do you have any like special stories like successes or anything you want to share with maybe some people that you were working with that you were surprised with the technique that they tried or the technique that you gave them or is there anything they were just like, wow, that totally worked.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah, I mean there’s so many. I could talk about myself — my own story in different chapters there or I could talk about a student. Do you have a preference?

DAVID:
Let’s talk about you — if you’re okay with that?

JAYSON GADDIS:
Oh yeah. Ok, yeah, I find it to be the most useful, instructive thing — talking from my own experience.

DAVID:
Yeah, we get to hear the therapist doing therapy on oneself!

JAYSON GADDIS:
Well, that was kind of a big no no but I learned through blogging that it was actually extremely helpful for me to share my own story for people.

DAVID:
Why is that a no no?

JAYSON GADDIS:
Well in psychoanalysis — that you’re not supposed to talk about yourself, but we didn’t learn psychoanalysis at Naropa.

DAVID:
There they go.

JAYSON GADDIS:
And I will say that still there’s — there’s kind of a stigma around therapists that they do all the asking. It’s kind of a one way relationship and it is — because the power dynamics — it’s appropriate.

DAVID:
Yeah, but you’re not sharing your stories.

JAYSON GADDIS:
No, I’m not saying check this out —

DAVID:
You’re just blogging about it to be like hey — this has worked. I am proof.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Right, but I will when I’m teaching in the relationship school — I will absolutely share my story as an instructive, you know, so I’ll just do that now as an example.

So, I grew up pretty amazing parents and I learned to hide my emotions, right. So, when I finally — and bury my emotions especially as a man that wasn’t really cool — it was weak. There’s a lot of associations with that part of myself. So, when I finally started going to therapy as a client and peeling back the onion and started learning how to cry and feel again — it was extremely healing. And bringing that into an intimate partnership was also extremely scary.

And so, finally, I started to learn how to do that, which was huge. And I married a psychotherapist and I was a psychotherapist and we would sometimes — when we’d fight — we would analyze who did what for hours.

DAVID:
A lot of footnotes going on. Very cool.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Sometimes going in circles. And, we got more efficient over time. And one of the things that — one of the tools that my wife taught me on the fly over many years of being together was — I would listen — she would say something like, you don’t understand me. And I would argue with her and I’d say yes, I do. I know exactly what you just said, and I might parrot back what she had said. And she’s like, yeah but, you’re not understanding me still.

And we — we fought like that for quite a long time. And then I finally realized how futile that was of me to argue with her about her experience — because that’s what I was doing.

DAVID:
It’s almost like not validating.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Not at all. No, so I finally learned to validate. Which is huge. But I learned to listen to her in a way that had her feel understood and my new rule of thumb was, I don’t understand her until she feels understood. Not I’ll understand her when I think I understand her, but I understand her when she says so. Right, it’s simple.

DAVID:
That’s good.

JAYSON GADDIS:
But a lot of people will defend themselves when they’re listening. And that was a major breakthrough. And so, we teach that in the school now — this way of listening until someone else feels understood.

DAVID:
It’s when the argument starts happening it gets so complex and that’s why it takes a really good root and a solid foundation of emotional deliverance to be able to say I don’t know what you’re saying, and I would love to know and I’m willing to learn, you know?

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah, and I’m going to stay curious even though I’m reacting right now. And I’m wanting to defend myself — I’m going to keep setting that aside because I’m more committed to understanding you.

DAVID:
Yeah. And if you don’t do that in the early beginnings then, while you’re arguing, then the argument gets more complex with other stuff because then you’re arguing about arguing of the things you don’t understand that you’re trying to understand. And so, it’s like you get to try to understand the deepness and the richness of the words.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah.

DAVID:
You know.? And so sometimes just hanging back and just listening and accepting and be like, wow, like you just said that. And I hear you.

JAYSON GADDIS:
It’s very powerful, right? And the other person feels like they have space and then they’re going to take an interest in you now, you know genuinely — if I feel understood I’m going to be like ok thanks, wow. And I’m going I want to reciprocate. I want to give the same kind of understanding that you just gave me.

DAVID:
Yeah. And holding space for someone isn’t easy, but it’s always the best thing you can do. And to —

JAYSON GADDIS:
Unless you need to set a boundary.

DAVID:
Yeah, which is ok too. You know, boundaries are good because that’s what makes things work well. It’s OK to not know what someone’s saying — that’s ok, but you need to voice that. And you need to allow them to hear you, then invite them to unpack it. Like, tell me more. I don’t understand. Tell me more.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah, and you got to be aware that you might have a lot of filters blocking you and you’re listening.

DAVID:
Yeah, I like that you said that. Is there a way to dismantle the filters and or turn them down a bit or just make them go away for the moment? Is there anything that you do for that?

JAYSON GADDIS:
I think the biggest practice there is — just the constant self-awareness and self-reflection that you need to continually be turning over your own material. So that you can be even more amazing listener. And so, I need to keep checking my assumptions, my biases, my orientation, privilege, my whatever stance I’m coming from.

And if I can go slow — the slower the better, typically. And I also like to encourage people to interrupt someone. We call it active listening here at the school and it’s considered rude in this culture to interrupt people when they’re talking. But I encourage people to interrupt because I don’t like listening to someone who is on a 10-minute monologue personally.

DAVID:
Yeah —

JAYSON GADDIS:
So, I say — hang on, hang on David. I just want to make sure I’m understanding what you’re saying.

DAVID:
Yeah.

JAYSON GADDIS:
And if — if they can feel my intent to understand — they’re okay with me interrupting them. But, if I’m like a jerk about it and I just want to get in my thing that I want to share obviously that’s not going to work. So, if you have a positive intent to understand people feel that.

DAVID:
Sometimes you can get in a vicious cycle. Like 10 minutes of one person talking about a pain. You start repeating yourself.

JAYSON GADDIS:
You start beating yourself. And that you’ve lost the person — honestly most people space out. And the only reason they’re still listening is because they were taught to listen that way as little kids. Be polite, don’t interrupt. And so, we just let the person go on and on and on. And we’re just gone — we’re checking out we’re somewhere else. That’s not listening.

DAVID:
Yeah, and you have to be ok with being interrupted with as long as it’s done in a respectful manner.

JAYSON GADDIS:
It’s going to help.

JAYSON GADDIS:
I like that. So, I’m hearing there are components of listening and also acting — of deep listening holding space. And then there’s also the being self-aware and noticing patterns and when they show up to oh, maybe not do that — act a different way. How important are both of those to the process and is there anything else that is really crucial?

JAYSON GADDIS:
I think presence. You know those are — those are great and presence again when you are sharing something, especially if it’s important to you my presence is going to matter the most. More than — what I say back or whether I’m looking at you in the eyes or not. Just my presence is huge because a lot of us grew up with maybe parents that weren’t present or live in a culture that’s not very present. So, to have a present willing person who is genuinely curious about our experiences — it’s healing.

So, presence — I would that.

DAVID:
Showing up — that’ll do something for you.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah.

DAVID:
So, I was just kind of curious like how much transpersonal psychology do you use in your workshop programs when you’re teaching people relationship techniques?

JAYSON GADDIS:
I’d say a lot. I mean I don’t know about techniques more than the view — like just having a transpersonal view on life — that there’s more than meets the eye. That there’s more going on here. That there’s this powerful thing that happens when two people get together. That can feel transpersonal. It totally informs — that I never really use the word anymore. But it’s in me and I am absolutely — when I sit with human beings and I’m witnessing a student go through an exceptionally hard time. I’m holding a much bigger space and picture than they’re able to hold. And I’m trusting life in a bigger way and to me, that’s very transpersonal.

And that presence that I’m able to offer and that we teach our coaches to offer to people — is extremely against healing for people. Right? And it absolutely has a transpersonal element to it.

DAVID:
Awesome. So, you say you teach the relationship coaching and I’m curious you said you’re going to be doing a workshop this weekend and all that. If people are interested are, they able to do this online — is this an online program, as well? Or is it just an in-person program like how can people go deeper into the practice that you offer?

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah, we’ll occasionally do free or affordable public talks here in Boulder.

DAVID:
Cool.

JAYSON GADDIS:
I just did one at the Impact Hub.

DAVID:
Cool spot.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah, downtown. I will be doing one at the Yoga Pod in December on the yoga of relationships. And so, those are in person two hour, hour and a half events where I talk and there’s like Q and A. And it’s interactive. And then I do deeper dives. Two and a half day workshops here. This one’s called “Embracing Conflict” this weekend and it’s all about, you know, getting comfortable with conflict and interpersonal stress.

So, we teach about the brain and the nervous system and what happens to us. Why conflict is so hard. And then how to work through it — how to do it well. So, it’s very intimate, very vulnerable, very deep. And then we have online courses. I have both live and virtual trainings. So, our biggest course that we offer is called deeper — its DEPIR — DEPIR spelled differently and it stands for the Deep Psychology of Intimate Relationships and it’s a nine-month training basically two-semester class that you didn’t get in college or high school on how to do intimate relationships really well.

DAVID:
Very cool. OK.

JAYSON GADDIS:
And that has to in-person components and then virtual. So, there are people from all over the world in that one.

DAVID:
Awesome. Ok, so how do people find all this? What outlets — social media outlets do you have?

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah.
So, we’re on Instagram, Facebook — it’s The Relationship School, I believe or Relationship School. I’m on Instagram. Jayson Gaddis Jayson with a “Y.” And then it’s relationship school dot net is our website. And then we have a podcast called “The Smart Couple and it’s on iTunes.

DAVID:
Ok. Can you just spell your name? Because it’s spelled a little bit differently and your name is kind of interesting because it has an eye instead on an “A.”

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah, yeah.
Jayson. J-A-Y-S-O-N
Gaddis G-A-D-D-I-S

DAVID:
Awesome. So just real quick. This is our last little moment — do you have anything else you want to just say — anything special, anything that you’ve noticed while doing this work and has shifted in you.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Yeah, I would say you know to you and the listener that you know we live in a pretty chaotic world right now where to me, one of the fundamental problems is people don’t know how to work out their differences. They really don’t know how. And I don’t want to blame them for that. Like if we actually follow their path in their history back far enough, we would see that they just got whatever downloaded transmission they got by watching grownups and adults. And now they became one who doesn’t know how to work out their differences and that cycle will continue over and over again for generations until you — step up and be the person that is willing to do it differently.

DAVID:
Yeah.

JAYSON GADDIS:
And to me, that’s the thing that’s going to change this world is human beings relating differently with one another and learning how to listen to one another and caring enough to confront someone to set boundaries. All the things that lead to good parenting, great long-term relationships, more safe connected interpersonal dynamics. So, this is to me a superpower — a modern superpower and is the rise of maybe machine’s coms or AI or technology — to meet us as a commodity that’s only going to increase in value over time.

So, you may as well get hip to it. And, you know, people at Naropa you all get this, and you probably could lift some more weights in the relationship gym yourself.

DAVID:
I like that.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Just look at your own relationship. How do you do conflict at home when no one’s looking? You show at Naropa all, you know, together. But, all of us when we go home — most of us don’t want to admit — we kind of suck at conflict, you know.

So great, no problem. There’s no shame in that — it’s just can you use that to learn and become a student again just like you are of all the things you’re studying there. Can you also study relationships and human connection? Because I think it’s going to change the world.

DAVID:
I do too. Thank you. I have this idea where we all have the mechanisms to do the right thing. We just need to learn how to work it correctly.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Right?

DAVID:
And sometimes we’ve learned otherwise. But we have what it takes to be good humans. And it’s an invitation to do that.

JAYSON GADDIS:
Nice.

DAVID:
So, I’d like to Jayson Gaddis for speaking with me today. He is a graduate of the Transpersonal Psychology program and he also has developed the relationships school and it was a pleasure speaking with you. So, thank you.

JAYSON GADDIS:
You’re so welcome.

[MUSIC]

On behalf of the Naropa community thank you for listening to Mindful U. The official podcast of Naropa University. Check us out at www.naropa.edu or follow us on social media for more updates.

[MUSIC]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.