Training on Strarting, Selling and Running an EAP: Minneapolis 10/10/18

Everything you need to start and run an eap. Check out the link: 

EAP in a Box  

Life after Death of a Loved One

Stay connected with other family members – The last thing you need is to be isolated and alone. You need other people at this time more than any other. Contact with others is particularly important in the first six months following a loved one’s suicide. Note, grief is pretty messy at times. 
Stages of Grief: Elizabeth Kubler-Ross Updated Cycle. Grief does not flow linearly from one stage to another. The cycles can be circular moving from Shock to Anger or Denial. Your response will be influenced by many factors. Do not judge yourself by you reaction of others. Everyone grieves in their own time and own way. Trust your process, get help, stay connected. Isolating yourself slows, delays or perhaps even prevents the grief process. Recognize that these feelings are real. Your job is to acknowledge and allow them, even if they are painful, scary or make you anxious. Whats Your Grief? Excellent resource site for grief. 

Survival Suggestions
Those who have been through the process are often the best sources for survival suggestions. The following tips are a common theme among various self-help groups, grief counseling and treatment sites.
• It takes time to survive. You may not think you will survive, but you will.
• Lean on your faith to help get you through this crisis. If you aren’t affiliated with any specific religious group, do meditation and bring forth your own higher power to help you heal.
• Getting past your feelings of anger, shock, fear, guilt, relief, and depression is necessary – but it doesn’t mean you forget. You do need to “wear out” all those feelings, however, before you can begin to heal. Allow yourself to do so.
• “Why” is always important. Give yourself permission to find the answers until you are satisfied. If you can only obtain partial answers, and that is all that will be forthcoming, be satisfied with that so you can move on. Listed here are a few websites that may be helpful for suicide survivors:

For Suicide, devoted to those who are grieving the loss of a loved one by suicide.
Suicide, survivors of suicide help and information, Judy Raphael Kletter.
Surviving, provided by the surviving suicide support group of the Central Christian Church.
Suicide Support Groups
The following link to suicide support groups comes from, Click on the state to be directed to a list of suicide survivor support groups in that state. There is also a link to suicide support groups in Canada.

APPS for improving mental health

There are many apps and choices for ways to manage your anxiety, depression, pain, stress and health. The trends are quite clear that technology is putting more responsibility in your hands to monitor, assess and treat manage many physical and mental conditions. Diabetes, hypertension, smoking cessation, and obesity just to name the major contributors of illness and death. Some of the top rated apps for helping yourself include the following: 
  • Stop, Breath, and Think
  • T2 Tracker
  • Thync
  • Cook + Cure
  • Expectful
  • MindMate
  • Headspace
40 Health Apps to Consider  Find what you deem most beneficial for your health, mind, body, working out or just to know heart rate or how to meditate. Make technology your friend to help you relax, manage stress and improve your health.

Pain & Chronic Illnes=Depression & Anxiety

There is no doubt that where there is pain, a chronic disease, or an injury, there will be emotional issues arise that are inevitable. After an injury or diagnosis of a health problem or crisis, it is likely there will be collateral emotional/mental health issues arise. Be on the lookout for getting depressed, feeling anxious about further treatment and fear of the what might happen to you or your life. It is pretty common to go through a grief process of denial, bargaining, depression and anger before arriving at a place of acceptance. This process can take years depending on the severity of the illness, pain, type of surgery, rehabilitation needed and support system in place. As you can see by this graphic, the prevalence of health and mental health problems in the U.S. is quite extensive. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), can help you manage your symptoms, pain, stress and fear. Mindfulness, relaxation, mental imagery, biofeedback, hypnosis and meditation are tools and techniques that can be taught to help give you relief or comfort. There is no need to suffer in silence or tolerate pain and fear because there is help and remedies that can provide relief. Be prepared to Coordinate you medical treatment  with psychological help. This link will describe mindfulness and the benefits. There are programs, classes available online and well as in hospitals and with mental health Mindfulness Study.  Inquire around to find therapist who specialize in working with physical and psychological issues. These tools help you take control of your life and release you from fear, anxiety and depression. 

Election to EAPA Board of Directors

I am very please to announce that I was just notified that I have been elected to the Employee Assistance Professionals Association Board of Directors. This is an auspicious board and wonderful opportunity to contribute to the future of the association. 

Trauma Recovery & Boundaries

When addressing a traumatic event in your life that has been a secret, avoided or too terrifying to confront, there are some essential elements to consider to help yourself feel safe. Vulnerability, boundaries, and empowerment are crucial when you have been abused. This posting relates to all person's that have been violated in some way. Sharon Martin, LCSW developed the list on the right to provide guidance for developing healthy boundaries. When sexual, physical or verbal abuse happens at an early age, there is no chance to protect yourself or even understand that it is a violation, which is NOT YOUR FAULT. Your recovery and sense of power to take control of yourself, relationships and emotions depends empowering your thoughts, actions and choices to protect yourself, create a sense of safety, and trust your instincts when your gut tells you "danger." As a child, you were violated, which made you confused, fearful and damaged your ability to trust, feel safe or protected. Taking your power back means saying no, recognizing your limits and dealing with personal safety. To survive any trauma, the mind has means to dissociate from the experience, however, this causes problems over time when you want to connect intimately with someone else. To recover from abuse, there are some essential elements to enhance resiliency:
  • Safety
  • Trust
  • Choice
  • Empowerment
  • Authenticity
  • Re-connection to your body, emotions, sexuality and physical touch
Psychotherapy helps make you feel whole again with intimate relationships. You don't have to live life avoiding your past and fears. Trauma recovery is possible with support, at a pace and place that is safe and manageable. Your instincts will guide you on who to trust and what is working to help free you up from fear and the past. Trauma Informed Care has a resource guide.  This is a trauma cycle showing an internal dialogue and feeling that accompany betrayal. 

This link will get you to it. Trauma Informed Care Resources

How to be happy.......

In a recent series of articles on happiness, I found a comfort in the profound simplicity to elevate and influence happiness in your life. Also noteworthy is that the first and foremost elements have to do with your thinking. Negative thinking to be precise. Being a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist (CBT) , I found the concepts to be helpful in demonstrating a methodology to combat negative thinking and how this influences your feelings and subsequent behavior. Tara Parker-Pope, the author was really on target with how to examine what you need to do or avoid to help your happiness.  A quote from her article: "Everyone has the power to make small changes in our behavior, our surroundings and our relationships that can help set us on course for a happier life." Let's start with mind. 
  • Conquer negative thoughts--replace them with positive thoughts & images
  • Rescript your life--you can take time to rewrite your story focusing on gratitude
  • Work on optimism
  • Hang around positive people--who we associate with influences our mood
  • Play more
  • Create positive memories
  • Get active with your body
“Friends can exert a measurable and ongoing influence on your health behaviors in a way that a diet never can.”
Remember, challenge your negative thinking and replace it with positive, loving and kind thoughts.
(click on the link for the full article) NY Times Article 

Gaming Addicton Research Study: Are Video Games Addictive?

Concerned about your children's time playing video games? Do you ever have a concern they are becoming addicted to playing. Signs to look for to determine how serious their problem is characterized by the following: From Wikipedia: "suggested by some in the medical community as a distinct behavioral addiction characterized by excessive or compulsive use of computer games or video games that interferes with a person's everyday life. Video game addiction may present itself as compulsive gaming, social isolation, mood swings, diminished imagination and hyper-focus on in-game achievements, to the exclusion of other events I life." Just as present in any other type of addiction including alcohol, tobacco, pain killers, cocaine, there are predictable problems with tolerance, withdrawal, and dependence. According to a study by Diane Kuss, with NIMH,
"neuroimaging studies indicate that Internet gaming addiction shares similarities with other addictions, including substance dependence, at the molecular, neurocircuitry, and behavioral levels." Link to study: NIMH Study on Gaming Addiction. If you are interested in completing an assessment, complete the form.Bottom line, the study says, about 6% of users become severely addicted. There is help available, but there will be withdrawal, emotional reactions and fears arise. Prepare by "detoxing" with a slow withdrawal with an end date in mind. Creating a host of alternative behaviors to replace the video-gaming time will be necessary. This should including re-establishing social connections and getting back into the world. Not an easy concept for someone who made be socially anxious, phobic or really, really shy. However, like any other addiction, there is help and there are ways to manage your life. All addictions change the brain. If you want to get some help for yourself or your child, call me. I will help you score and assess the seriousness of your time spent online with video-gaming to determine if you are addicted. 
Link to the actual article:   Internet Gaming Article

Blog Post views since inception. 103,405

WOW...…….I was so please to look at the analytics of my blog. Thank you all for reading it. My hope is you found concepts, strategies, tips, tools and techniques beneficial to  you with your life's journey. 

Negativity & Mood: "Avoid Debbie Downer"

Einstein has a pretty good point to stay away from negative people. Consider the following scenario; take a moment  you think about 2 people in your life. Imagine what you are like with a positive person and how you are with  a complainer that sucks your energy with negativity. It is likely that your mood and perspective immediately changes. Your mood can shift from positive to negative just considering history of your time and quality of the relationship. If the person in you mind is always  difficult, pessimistic, complainer or  gossip, your instincts are likely to shift to dread or avoidance. (At least mine does). Trust those instincts and reactions.
On the other hand, think of someone you adore, feel excited to spend time with, have positive feelings about past encounters, your mood elevates, you find reasons to want to call, spend time with and enjoy  mutual admiration and respect. You most likely feel lifted, happy and enjoy the entire experience from initial thought of spending time together  to post moment afterwards. When you can have this type of positive  experience  with a friend should be honored and developed. On the other hand, negative and unrewarding times with other should be limited or even eliminated. Pursue compassionate, thoughtful, empathetic relationships. Your instincts are your compass for how you spend your time and who you choose to be with in your life. Dump the Downers in you life and thoughts!!!! 

Mental Illness & Use of Social Media

In a recent article in the Economist regarding a study in Britons in a study by the Royal Academy of Public Health in 2017, there was a pretty disturbing review of what use of social media is doing to the brain, emotions contributing to mental illness from ages 14-24. The link below  will take you to the complete  article. The chart below clearly demonstrates how powerful social media is affecting the mental health of users. As you can see, the more obsessed you are with social media, the great the negative impact on FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), anxiety, depression and sleep. The remedy is to become  more social, build self-esteem and real world relationships, garner emotional support, work on your physical health and self-awareness. Monitoring and limiting  your time on social  media may be the first step. The "problem" described in the study compares overuse of social media, Facebook, Instagram, Texting, Tinder, Redit, Snapchat, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, WhatApp, LinkedIn, email, and phone equivalent to addiction such as gambling or drug addicts. Basically, overuse  of social media has been demonstrated to be detrimental to your emotional well-being and mental health.  Of course, what is too much? Is there such a thing as moderation? Do a check-in with your own time on social media, check your mood afterward to determine if you feel better or worse emotionally. In general, the study indicated the following: "Nearly 63% of Instagram users reported being miserable, a higher share than for any other social network. They spend an average of nearly an hour per day on the  app. The 37% who are happy spend an average of just over half as long. The happiness rate is much higher for FaceTime (91%), a video-calling app, and phone calls (84%). When it comes to social networking, actual conversations are hard to beat."

Stress Busters Interview on Good Day Houston with Debora Duncan

Stress is inevitable. What we do with stress is perception, attitude, confidence, fear, worry and history of resilience all wrapped up into one package. Mainly, perhaps hard to believe, but how we view events determines their meaning. If we believe a person, situation, experience is dangerous, out of control, we will likely react with feeling and being stressed. We get stressed out when we become overwhelmed and our resources, sleep, rest, and social life is suffering. Can you prevent stress, not likely. Can you manage it better, very likely. This short interview video may provide some pointers. Take a look at this 2011 interview on Good Day Houston for some fun facts.

Live longer

In a recent Ted Talk, I was intrigued to hear about what makes a difference with longevity, health and happiness. This chart will show you the findings of the study, but you really need to listen to the talk by Susan Pinker. 
Of course, paying attention to the other factors on the list is also a pretty good idea. These are the usual suspects of health. Smoking and alcohol are top candidates for you to modify and very much in your control. However, there are genetic and learned factors that predispose you to addiction. It will take professional help to treat longer standing and deeper issues related to addiction. The message is clear, stay connected socially and keep, develop or enhance close relationships. Take classes, join groups, find purpose and meaning to make your life more interesting, adventurous and especially FUN. Book clubs, bible studies, retreats, bingo, games nights, bowling, or continuing education classes helps your brain and connect to others. Why are the people in Scandinavian countries also cited at the happiest people and cultures? They are the most socially connected. Surprise yourself by trying some new things to do with your life and free time. 
Click on this link.  Longevity Talk by Susan Pinker 

Test Anxiety........Harms Performance

Harnessing difficult material for any standardized test can be difficult by itself. Anxiety interferes with concentration, focus and retention. There are many tools that can minimize or even eliminate performance anxiety. Managing anxiety is a skill to be learned, not magic. Learning to let go of fear, pressure, perfection are important aspects of breaking free of fear. When there is a great deal riding on a score to get into business school, medical or law school or even college, many people simply lock up. Scores go down and more anxiety sets in and performance suffers. Learning to be present, mindful, positive, confident and calm contribute to better performance and higher scores. Keeping your life in balance helps achieve better life balance and greater satisfaction with managing the sacrifices necessary when you chose to advance yourself.  Follow some the tips from this blog. Be sure you have a strategy, have developed the ability to calm yourself when you need to. If you follow the tips and strategies of your tutor, you will not only improve, you will feel better about the entire process or preparation. Mental rehearsal used by athletes, relaxation techniques, meditation, cognitive re-framing, and imagery are a few of the tools that will help you perform at the level you need to advance you life, career and education.
Click on this link for more information.
Additional blog

Vaping....the new addiction: What is it?

Vaping—the use of electronic cigarettes—has largely replaced traditional tobacco in schools. Peters has caught kids as young as 11 trying it, and use seems to be growing more common by the month. From the high school on down, its popularity has boomed in the past year, and teachers are scrambling to get ahead of a phenomenon with unknown long-term risks, and no sign of slowing down. Link: 60 Minutes Segment on Vaping
E-cigarettes, or e-vaporizers, are battery-operated devices that people use to inhale an aerosol, which typically contains nicotine (though not always), flavorings and other chemicals.
While e-cigarettes don’t have the tar found in traditional cigarettes, users usually don’t know exactly what’s inside—some of which may be equally harmful, according to preliminary studies. However, the plot thickens. 

Vaping now has moved way beyond nicotine as the liquid being inhaled.

ELECTRONIC cigarettes are being modified to enable users to inhale vapour from banned drugs. People admit using the devices to vape cannabis, crack cocaine, ecstasy and heroin, plus former legal highs such as mephedrone. Don't start and don't believe it is safe. This is the newest device to deliver drugs into your system. Get help, stop, quit and find healthy ways to manage your life, emotions, stress and anxiety
CNN Link on Vaping Story
More on Vaping


"Worry is the darkroom in which negatives develop."

Getting out of negative self-talk is part of the answer to releasing anxiety, stress and depression. If you are spending your life force and mental energy in this place, you are causing yourself needless suffering. Worry robs you of the present.  If you're preoccupied with "what ifs" and worst-case scenarios, worry becomes a problem. Unrelenting anxious thoughts and fears can be paralyzing. They can sap your emotional energy, send your anxiety levels soaring, and interfere with your daily life.

Chronic worrying is a mental habit that can be broken. You can train your brain to stay calm and look at life from a more balanced, less fearful perspective.  Always expecting the worst can take a toll on your emotional and physical health. It can leave you feeling restless and jumpy, cause insomnia, headaches, stomach problems, and muscle tension, and make it difficult to concentrate at work or school. You may take your negative feelings out on the people closest to you, self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, or try to distract yourself by zoning out in front of screens. Chronic worrying can also be a major symptom of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), a common anxiety disorder that involves tension, nervousness, and a general feeling of unease that colors your whole life.

Cognitive Behavioral Thearpy (CBT) can help reduce and even eliminate worry, thus reducing anxiety and helping your overall attitude, happiness and health. Meditate, relax, exercise, pray, listen to inspiring music, plan for fun, schedule time to be social, engaged in some hobbies, interests, or meaningful endeavors. These can replace worry. You can become so busy and fulfilled, worry dissolves. 

Presentations on TeleMental Health Videoconferencing

On May 4th, I will be presenting a workshop at the Spectrum 44th Annual Conference on Addiction Studies in Houston at the Westin Hotel at Memorial City. The topic is what is occurring in the mental health field related to technology and mental health programs, services, groups, teaching, training, support, and overcoming addiction. The world of mental health is changing rapidly. Technology, health related apps help you track your life, blood pressure, A1C blood levels for diabetics, sleep cycles, heart rate, mood and much more. The new wave is telemedicine, telemental health, coaching, support groups, 12 Step work, nursing and virtual doctor visits. My presentation will provide an overview of the different platforms that are most popular providing encrypted and HIPAA compliance for patient privacy. There will be a reception for networking from 5:00 to 6:00 pm in the Willow Room, 4th floor for Professional Development. 
Link to conference registration below. 

Worry....Where does it get me?

How much of your time and life is spent in worry, fear and anxiety?  Worry can be all consuming if you don't tackle it head on. Some strategies to consider to get started below;
1) examine your negative thinking patterns,
2) explore how worry is limiting your life,
3) what is worry doing to your energy?, 
4) how does your worry impact those around you?,
5) What percentage of the time do worries actually happen?
Research says, 85% of What We Worry About Never Happens.
Worrying gives the illusion of control. You think that by imagining all the worst things that could happen, you can have solutions in place beforehand. But the reality is that since you'll never think of all the possibilities, your worrying work is never done. In fact, worry becomes a habit and can take over your life.  According to Kat McGowan in a Psychology Today article, “The weird logic of fretting, many worriers actually think that their concern somehow prevented something bad from happening.” 

Five hundred years ago, Michel de Montaigne said: My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened. Now there’s a study that proves it. This study looked into how many of our imagined calamities never materialize. In this study, subjects were asked to write down their worries over an extended period of time and then identify which of their imagined misfortunes did not actually happen. It may be time to take charge of your negative thinking patters.  Free yourself from worry by focusing on positivity, gratitude, distraction, and validate all the good in your life. It may be time to let go of worry to improve the quality of your life, attitude and mental/emotional well-being. Hang around positive people, don't watch the news or at least limit your viewing of it. Not much good is reported to help you not worry. 

So, now I will give you something to worry about. How ironic is this?

The stress hormones stress and worry dump into your system shrinks brain mass, lowers your IQ, makes you prone to heart disease, cancer and premature aging, predicts martial problems, family dysfunction, and depression, and makes seniors more likely to develop dementia & Alzheimer’s. Learn to meditate, pray, exercise, listen to music, but mostly, change the script of your inner dialogue. So, what is the point of the brain scans? Worry, stress and  anxiety change your brain functioning. You release stress hormones and activate different neurons & receptors which makes the "worry circuit" even stronger ultimately changing your entire physiology. Find a coach, therapist, program to help you master your mind and free yourself from worry. 

Living a Life of Digital Distraction

Have you recently been to a dinner or coffee shop and seen a group of people all on their phones at the same time? It's sad to say that this has become all too common. A person's connection to their phone is reaching new dependence.
The numbers on phone use have become quite staggering:
  • 42% of people look at their phone within the first 10 minutes of being awake.
  • 59% of people between the ages of Millennials reported texting while driving, compared with 50% of Gen Xers (age 34 to 45) and only 29% of baby boomers.
  • The average American checks his or her phone 46 times in one day.
  • People underestimate their phone usage by 100%. In other words, they are on their phones twice as much as they believe!
Not only have the addiction to phones changed the social landscape and primary method of communication for many, but scientists are finding that such constant use is actually reshaping our brain! Independent studies have concluded that heavy smart phone users showed:
  • Impaired attention
  • Lower ability to process numbers
  • Reduced excitability
  • Worse performance on cognitive control tasks
  • Less production of Melatonin (chemicals that put you to sleep)
  • Less gray matter in their brains overall (brain connections and functioning)
At this point, you may already have an idea of your connection with your phone. But are you a Nomophobic? In other words, due suffer from... NO MObile PHOne phoBIA.

Consider the following: 1) less FaceTime on your phone, 2) less phone checking, 3) less screen time, 4) not viewing the phone or tablet in the evening (blue light and brain activation is not good for sleep) 5) more awareness about how much of your time and attention has you occupied with your phone. Where is your consciousness? Make you life and time a higher quality by real face to face interaction and more quiet time without your phone to distract or direct you to be less present in the world. 

Take the quiz here to find out: Nomophobia Quiz

Staying Alive

A recent TED talk at (some of the best the Internet has to offer) was a presentation on what the most important factors are related to staying alive. As you examine the bar graph, take note on the elements you are controlling successfully and the ones you need to address in your life. What do you need to adopt to help you stay alive longer and in a more healthy manner?

Obviously, this list is not rocket science and pretty basic, but also extremely relevant to quality of life. If you are at risk for any of the items below, get help!!!!! Doctors, coaches, personal trainers, nutritionists, addiction specialists may need to be consulted to coach you to help and become more accountable.

This is also a checklist of "opportunities" to begin to work on enhancing your health, life, relationships and social connection. The most important factors for you are probably very personal and long standing. Genetics, life style, habits all play a role in the challenges you face in living the most happy, fulfilling and health life you can. Making the most of your life, relationships and creating a formula to stay alive longer and enjoy your life to the fullest extent and time possible. If you need help, guidance, referrals, call us, we can help. The link below will take you to the talk. 

TED Talk on "The Secret to Living Longer."

What I wish my own mom and dad had done differently (regarding their divorce)?

In a recent conversation with dear friend and neighbor Gena Scurry, we were discussing the amazing success of her relationship with her ex-husband. In their very conscious and intentional agreements about how to co-parent since the divorce with her husband. Gayle and I were struck by the kind, loving and respectful manner they cooperate for the benefit of their children and their own sanity since their divorce. Often tragic, hostile, fear based, and painful emotions rule the aftermath of a divorce. No matter what the circumstances, children are essentially innocent bystanders of the divorce and resulting emotions and usually suffer as a result of the anger, depression, behavior problems, school difficulties, and confusion post divorce. Children suffer. Gena put together her thoughts on what rules are required to make co-parenting work and help ease the tragedy of divorce. With her permission, I am publishing her thoughts. Thank you Gena..........these are so needed.

What do I wish my mom and dad had done differently (regarding their divorce). I wish they would have HONORED each other in spite of their differences.

1) Honor each other.  Honor = Responsibility, Compassion, Respect with or without understanding.

I wish they could have each seen the gift the other was to me and my siblings.
I wish they could of seen we are a product of them both.
I wish they could have LEARNED to COMMUNICATE RESPONSIBLY and demonstrated that / modeled that for us.

2) Communicate Responsibly and do so openly in front of Children

I wish my dad, didn't feel so hurt and bitter towards my mom.
I wish my mom wouldn't had wondered into another unworkable relationship.
I wish she wouldn't have looked for comfort in another so quickly after/ before/ during the divorce.
I wish she would have given herself space to discover and love herself on her own. Then after that allowed someone to come into our lives, if it was appropriate.
I wish she would have completely HEALED.
I wish my dad hadn't taken so long to heal.
I wish he had discovered what a stand up citizen he is without another person to complete him (or continually looking for someone else to fill that void).
I wish during my parent’s marriage my dad didn't hide from his feelings through drinking.

3) Emote responsibly and do so openly in front of children

I wish my mom had learned to not be passive aggressive and shove her anger.
I wish my dad had generated more money and taken more of the load.
I wish my mom would have been around more and that we spent more one on one time without others (her friends or step-dad).
I wish we could have spent more time just our family (my mom and my siblings).

4) Work continually and respectfully help each other work on appropriate balance between self, work and kids.

I wished they loved and honored each other, even though the marriage failed.
I wish each would have taken responsibility for their part.
I wish it would have all been done standing in HONOR, intention to HEAL, LOVE- allowing and understanding the other is in pain.
COURAGE - to be and create the unknown. FORGIVE. FORGET. BE of SERVICE.
Continue to work as FULL PARTNERS.
I wish they would have stood for each other’s success.
I wish the time we spent together was special and when we were all together or apart there was a sense of PEACE, SAFETY, LOVE.

I wish each one of my parents were aware and acknowledged each others strengths and weakness and spoke / share them directly with us.
I wish blame was set aside and instead they spoke the language of I feel and I need. How do you feel and what do you need.
I wish they would have continued to grow individually and as my parents who have been entrusted to have me feel secure.
I wish they could of laughed together and enjoyed each others company even though they had decided to create separate lives.
I wish they were for each other.
I wish they would have had the wear with-all (sp?) to keep an OPEN ear and SHARE with each other.
I wish they would have allowed the other to speak into each others blind spots, support and allowed for the others support.
I wish they would have CULTIVATED TRUST.

5) Cultivate trust and openness.

(As a side note - most of all looking back on my parents divorce, it has always been clear to me, they didn't have the tools to communicate their disagreements or a manner to deal with their anger in a responsible productive way on an on-going basis. So they quit.)
Most of all I wish they would have acknowledged they didn't know how to communicate effectively their love, their disagreements, their anger, their sorrows. I wish they had  gone to work on being effective at that. And after that if they were still not fit to be married that they had created separate lives, yet honoring each other, loving each other knowing they did everything.

I also realized after writing this letter, it wasn't necessarily just the divorce that caused the pain but rather how the all adults not just my parents in my life pretended that this other very important person did not exist. It was as thought there was a silent vow not to talk about the other parent. From that day forward, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, high school graduation, college graduation, marriage, family vacations, family dinners were never the same.

Side note 2: If you are committed to creating a powerful co-parenting relationship, you must educate your entire community and share your vision with your family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, family friends old and new) and hold yourself and them accountable to living into this new paradigm of we are a family and we are not married. We are co-parents.