weaving connection,flirting and fun into your busy life
with mark + Amanda testa
The other day, as I was squeezing by my husband with an overflowing laundry basket to fold, and he was unloading the dishwasher, we enjoyed a little laugh as he made eyes at me, it was a simple and sweet moment of connection as we passed each other.
We were talking about all the boring chopping wood and hauling water aspects of running a family, especially with kids. There is always a task that needs completing.
It makes it challenging to find time to connect.
All that boring mundane stuff that takes a lot of time! Yet, the mundane small moments are a powerful time for creating opportunities of connection. Even if it is just a smile, a loving touch with no intent but to offer loving kindness, sharing an inside joke, flirting, these are simple ways to bond vs not.
What often happens however, is we get to focused on completing tasks, or getting to the next thing, that we miss opportunites for connecting, and therefore we neglect our relationships. Often unintentionally.
In this episode, we talk about embodying the "Groundskeeper" Archetpye in your relationships. What are the simple ways to weed and water your connection?
You'll discover how to find ways to weave in connection especially when you feel you are too busy, as well as simple tips to invite in more flirting and fun!
Enjoy this episode to step up the connection and playfullness in your relationship.
Complete transcript below.
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Amanda Testa is a trusted healer, coach, and guide who’s served hundreds of clients over the years with masterful skills in coaching, pleasure embodiment, and somatic trauma resolution.
After thousands of hours of training in trauma informed sex and relationship coaching, tantric sex coaching, energy healing, somatic trauma resolution, breathwork, yoni egg coaching and more, she’s seen time and time again the magic and wisdom of our bodies.
We all have the ability to return to our blueprint of health, aliveness, pleasure and sovereignty, and you can too.
With her powerful, loving and gentle support her clients find their desire and pleasure again, find safety and bliss in their bodies, and remember they are enough just as they are.
Find out more about her new monthly Pleasure Membership HERE.
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EPISODE 260: Groundskeeping in Relationships
[Fun, Empowering Music]
Amanda Testa: Hello, and welcome to the Find Your Feminine Fire podcast. I am your host, Amanda Testa. I am a sex, love, and relationship coach, and in this podcast, my guests and I talk sex, love, and relationships, and everything that lights you up from the inside out. Welcome!
Hey, what’s up? It’s Amanda! If you're enjoying this pod, and you know you are ready to say yes to more pleasure, and you are just wanting to know, “How the hell do I do it,” well, you’re in luck because as of now, we have spots available in The Pleasure Foundation, which is my pleasure membership where twice a month you get an amazing practice that teaches you how to drop into your body, to become more connected to yourself, and to learn the art of sacred self-care. So, if this is something you're interested in, go to www.amandatesta.com/tpf (as in The Pleasure Foundation) and we will see you there!
Hello, and welcome to the Find Your Feminine Fire podcast! I am your host, Amanda Testa, and today I’m going to be talking around revitalizing your relationships. I’m gonna share with you a little bit about an archetype I love to work with here, and then I have my amazing husband Mark Testa here. Welcome, Mark.
Mark Testa: Thanks for having me.
Amanda Testa: I convinced him to come on and talk again because we were having an awesome conversation this morning about the mundane shit you do in a relationship to make it good, and I was like, “Actually, that’s a really good podcast topic.” So, here we are talking about it! And it actually goes really in line with an archetype I like to work with called The Groundskeeper. The Groundskeeper, this is, again, part of the ReBloom body of work, but I love The Groundskeeper because basically when you think about a groundskeeper, if you think about a garden, right, they're the person that’s out there weeding and watering and moving things in and out of the sun and making sure everything in the garden is tended to. When you think about this archetype, it really is this archetype of vitality and aliveness and nourishment and safety.
And so, what the intention with this archetype is it wants to bring in steady rhythms of emotional and embodied regulation. So, with The Groundskeeper archetype online, your body, your relationships, and your life become fertile ground for medicine, magic, love, and creativity to flow through. It’s like these little rhythms and routines that take care of the health of your relationship, and the intention here is that you are kind of creating these environments, first of all in yourself through your own personal work, and also in your relationship. Sometimes this can be hard because depending on what was going on in our lives, depending on the traumas or whatever we might be carrying, we have different abilities to care for ourselves, but the more you let this part come online, the more you kind of nourish this blueprint of The Groundskeeper, the more you’re able to kind of be the calm in the storm.
So, I like to think about this example. So, you’ve probably heard your calm is contagious, and when we have a strong groundskeeper, when this archetype is strong and alive in us and in our relationship, when the waves come, you're a steady force versus the waves taking you down, versus the emotional intensity of your kid’s meltdown or stresses with work or financial things.
When those things come along, then you are strong enough to withstand that, versus when The Groundskeeper is not very healthy, you're gonna get taken out by the first thing that’s upsetting, right? These are all things we learn and grow in, right babe?
Mark Testa: Mm-hmm.
Amanda Testa: Because most of us, our lives don't elicit a beautiful groundskeeper oftentimes, so we have to bring it back online, especially as a parent, especially in a relationship.
So, I’m curious for you too, Mark, even just as I’m sharing all this, what comes up for you?
Mark Testa: I think you’ve got to -- from a man’s perspective?
Amanda Testa: Yeah, just to even have that lens of what that means to you.
Mark Testa: Yeah, I think what it means is, yeah, it is mundane stuff, and you have to be strong at chopping wood and carrying water. Everything’s not special.
Everything’s not exciting. You’ve just got to be comfortable doing it, and you've got to keep doing the work, and it doesn't come easy, and it doesn't come natural, and it comes back to self-awareness, but that doesn't come by itself either, right?
You know when we met, I was already studying a lot of this stuff and working on a lot of this stuff and thought I had it down until I met you. [Laughs] But it’s always just a work in progress.
Amanda Testa: Yeah, well I think the self-awareness part is key, and this is something that I hear a lot with couples, especially when you're in the weeds with young kids and just trying to balance all the duties and the mental exhaustion and just the depletion that parenting can feel like when you have small kids. First of all, anyone out there listening that has small kids, I just want to remind you that things will get better. Things will get better. I was even listening to a podcast with Michelle Obama the other day talking about how they just suck the life out of you because they're so intense, and so, your relationship, it might feel depleted, but just stay the course, and I promise it gets better.
But we were talking about this because these are some of the things that you can start to do even when you feel in the weeds, and I think even most importantly when you feel like that, because when you're in your most health in this groundkeeper energy, here are the things that you do:
Number one, you devote regular care to your health, wellness, and thriving. You prioritize your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual wellbeing for the sake of those around you and your own body. You keep yourself at safe distances from things that are unsafe like behaviors, situations, locations, and people that are not healthy to be around. You remove the things that are hurtful, that are harmful, that are unhealthy, and this also creates more vitality, more strength, more energy to deal with all of the things that are on your plate, and especially in times of stress.
Mark Testa: You definitely have to be your own advocate, 100%, at first, right? Like they always say on the airplane, put the mask on yourself first because you can't help anybody -- and it’s easy to not prioritize physical health. Not many people exercise. Not enough people exercise, but that’s a great mood enhancer.
It’s great for anxiety and depression. It’s better than sugar for treating mood issues, keeping a distance away from bad behavior, right? If you know certain things are gonna throw you down the rabbit hole, you’ve got to avoid that, and same with people, right? That’s too easy to go down the rabbit hole with negative people in your life. And so, you’ve got to protect yourself first before you can be of value to other people.
Amanda Testa: Yeah, and I think sometimes when you're a parent it can feel hard, especially if your kids are little and they need a ton of hands-on attention, but I will say here’s one of the things that’s important to note is that the more you care for yourself, the better you’ll be able to care for others.
I remember when my kiddo was a baby, I was a personal trainer. I taught this workout for mom called Stroller Strides, which is from a franchise called FIT4MOM. So, if there’s one in your community, I would highly recommend you check it out because a couple of things happened there. Number one is that you have a group of moms to support you when things are hard. You get to workout. You get to have that endorphin release. You get to have the community and connection.
So, I think things like that are really important, and when you think you don't have time or you can't get away, these are the things that you can get creative in finding ways to take care of yourself because, again, a lot of places you’ll go to have childcare, even the Y, and even if it’s swapping with a neighbor or a friend so that you can each have time to take care of yourselves is so important.
Also, really noting that The Groundskeeper is really good at noting what needs to be weeded and watered. So, as much as schedules can not be consistent sometimes in life, especially when you have kids and things change or they get sick or have a meltdown and you’ve got to kind of reroute your plan for the day or your morning or whatever it is, you’ve got to have that flexibility. When you can kind of take a little look at your day, I always encourage you, even with a relationship -- I want to kind of pivot this talk to really focus in on relationships because I think this is so pertinent there. But look in the morning, what are the things that you're doing that invite connection, that invite harmony, and what are the things that don't, right?
Mark Testa: Mm-hmm. I know my morning routine is all about me, and I felt bad this morning about it, too, because we had some child stuff going on, and I went to the gym.
I want to tell you, though, I was quickly aware that that was probably not the best thing for me to do, leaving you with our daughter. And so, I’m sorry. I’ll cook dinner tonight. [Laughs]
Amanda Testa: [Laughs] Thankfully, you do cook dinner, and I do appreciate that so much. But this is the thing. This is the thing about the rhythms and routines that are supportive is that noticing what that is for you, right? So, in the morning, what we notice is typically I need my alone time, Mark needs his alone time. There’s nothing wrong with that because we do. We need that time in the morning when it’s quiet before our kid’s awake to feel good about ourselves, to shake off the cobwebs, wake up, get ourselves into a good mindset. And when that doesn't happen, I can tell a difference.
And so, normally, what happens is I get up pretty early and I have my little spot, and then Mark gets up and he has his little spot. But we do make little connection points within all that, right?
Usually, if I can tell he’s awake when I get up, I’ll just make a point to touch his body in some way or just grab his leg or just somehow give a little physical touch. And then when he comes out of the bedroom, I used to totally ignore him, and I realized that was kind of rude. And so, because I would be so into my journaling or whatever I was like, “Don't look up. Don't look up.” But that’s rude. You can't just totally ignore someone.
Mark Testa: I didn't mind that either.
Amanda Testa: Yeah, so that’s one of the things is when you weed and water, you realize, “Oh, when he comes out, I’m gonna pause. I’m gonna look up. I’m gonna say, ‘Good morning. I love you, babe,’ and we have a little interaction, and then he goes down to his thing,” right? So, this is the beauty of weeding and watering. You do this mundane shit. Like we were talking about, it’s mundane. It’s not sexy. But these are the things that you can notice, “Where am I inviting in connection, and where am I pushing it away? Where am I inviting in an opportunity to be loving, and where am I pushing it away,” because those little things make a huge difference in a relationship.
Mark Testa: Yeah, I’ve noticed, yeah, for sure, when we make a point to do those little things, it goes a really, really long way, and it can be little stuff, you know? Like, we were eating breakfast. I had the dishwasher open. I helped you clear your plates, right? Super simple. I think that’s really important to have that ability to be of value to other people even in the small, little, mundane things.
Amanda Testa: Mm-hmm, and I know everyone’s busy, everyone’s tired, but you also have to be self-aware in, “How am I contributing,” because it’s easy to let one person do all the things, and let’s be honest, oftentimes, this can be the woman-identifying person in the relationship that does a lot of the things or the front-facing parent because they are on the frontlines of taking care of the kids, cleaning up the house, doing all of that, but what happens is kind of looking in like, “Where can I contribute, and where do I enjoy contributing?” The good thing about Mark is he is a really amazing cook, an awesome cook, so he loves to cook, and that’s a creative expression, right babe?
Mark Testa: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: What would you say? Why do you enjoy it?
Mark Testa: It is a creative expression. I like to make good things that are healthy that taste good. Nobody really likes cleaning the kitchen, but I like a clean kitchen so I can cook in it. So, I kind of take control of the kitchen and cleaning up and the detailed work in there as well, but it’s all just part of -- you know, that’s easy for me, and it contributes far and wide for our family.
Amanda Testa: Yeah, and so, I think it's like when you're talking about self-awareness, what are the mundane things that I could be doing that I’m choosing not to do, where if I stepped up and did this, it would make a big impact on my relationship, because like, for so many women that I talk to, if there are any dudes listening, if there are any people listening, I just want to give you a little reminder that the more you can step up and help, the more you’ll be appreciated because no one person can carry the load for everything, and for everyone that looks different, right? It doesn't have to be exactly equal because it’s not gonna be equal, but it’s like where is there a way you could help your partner in whatever way that is, or if it’s me helping you, right? It’s like what are the things to just pick when you do that weeding and watering throughout the day and looking at, “Where could I potentially help?”
So, for example, you take these pockets of your day. So, looking at your morning, what happens here? Okay, then the next segment of the day, right? Getting our kid off to school. What happens there? Whose role is what? Where can we invite in more connection? Where are we missing an opportunity for connection, right?
So, for example, one little thing for me is that my kiddo gets up early, and sometimes I’m like, “Oh, man. That’s 30 minutes I could have been doing something else that I needed to do or more work I needed to do,” but I’ve shifted my mindset around that to be like, “How awesome is this that I have 30 minutes and my kid wants to come and snuggle with me, and I know that’s a fleeting thing, so I’m gonna enjoy it, and we’re gonna chitchat, and we’re gonna just snuggle, and I’m gonna just let that be quiet time where I can just connect with her.” That’s an opportunity, right? That’s an opportunity for connection versus feeling like I know we’re all busy trying to get to work. We all have to get started at the same time in the morning, so we need to be showered and ready and fed and lunches packed and everything by 9:00 AM. But even so, it’s like what can you do to create more connection in that time, and do you really need to fold the laundry right then or could that just wait, and let it pile up a little bit so you can connect with your kid, right?
Mark Testa: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: That’s the thing, too. You don't go to the gym every day, because oftentimes you are helping. Like, if I'm busy in the morning, then you’ll make me breakfast or hang out with her or entertain our kiddo while we get things done.
Mark Testa: So yeah, among that whole weeding and stuff, you’ve got to have flexibility, too, right? So, things that you want to do to take care of yourself sometimes need to be moved to later in the day or you don't get to do it that day because there’s a better use of your time or a higher priority that has a bigger effect on the whole family and the whole system. It’s more important to do something like that and put yourself last sometimes.
Amanda Testa: Yes, and I think, too, when you look out through the day, just taking care to look at the mundane things, like, “What could I be doing that I’m not, where could I step up a little bit that I’m not, where could I maybe add a little more connection that I’m not,” because, at the end of the day, when you're not taking the opportunity to be connecting, to offer your heart or to offer support or to be loving, that’s going in the opposite direction, right?
Mark Testa: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: You do a lot of work around your own self-awareness, and that’s one of the things I really appreciate about you is that we each do our own work so that we can show up more strong for our relationship and our family, because it is. You can't do it alone.
There has to be a willingness from both parties. So, I’m wondering for you, when it comes to self-awareness, what’s some of the work that you do, what are some of the things that you do to help you there?
Mark Testa: Well, first thing in the morning is I journal. That’s probably the most consistent, really deep work, that reflection on self-awareness. So, what’d I dream about, what am I talking to myself about, what did I wake up in the middle of the night about on my mind, I write all that down, and then I have a daily -- so, those are the top two things, but then the third thing I work on in my journal are the daily words (diet, exercise, meditation, stoicism, surrendering, being resilient). All these words that mean something to me, things that I want to work on that I journal about, like, “How am I doing on this, what could I be doing better on in this, what does this really mean to me, how am I gonna get this to implement in my day?”
Am I perfect at the outcome of all that? No, but I remind myself literally of about a dozen or 18 different prompts every single day in my journal that are important to me. And I just added a new one yesterday on something that I read that I felt like I need to have a little more work and awareness around. So, that tool, that technique of that sort of journaling for me has been really very helpful, keeping the important things very top of mind.
Amanda Testa: What was the new thing that you came up with?
Mark Testa: Sufficiency.
Amanda Testa: Ooh.
Mark Testa: Right? Who’s that author that talks a lot about that? I’m blanking. Anyway, sufficiency, like what you have is enough. You have enough, and so, what does that actually mean? It’s not just about money either. It’s about just what you have is sufficient, right?
Amanda Testa: Just like gratitude, basically, right?
Mark Testa: Not quite gratitude, but kind of. I’ve actually, speaking of gratitude, switched gratitude to being thankful. It feels more active than just saying, “I’m grateful for…” I’m actually thankful for because I’m thanking something.
Amanda Testa: Ooh, I like that.
Mark Testa: So yeah, that’s my main thing every day, and then of course I listen to podcasts and exercise, and I have you in my ear frequently, which I’m grateful for. [Laughs]
Amanda Testa: Oh, I love it. I think, too, the other fun thing is making time to connect when it feels challenging. Like, okay, when you're looking at -- so often I hear from couples, “Oh, we just never have time to connect. We never have time.” And so, that’s when you get to be creative, right? You get to be creative on when you can squeeze in some time for connection, when you can find ways to get creative, and sometimes it is kind of a fun challenge --
Mark Testa: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: -- especially when you don't have a lot of alone time. So, this can be a way to just invite in more fun and playfulness because, yeah, maybe you lock yourself in the closet and laugh about how there’s no room, and it’s just hysterical and funny, but you find a minute to connect here and there. Or maybe you have all your kids in school, and you have the flexibility of having alone time when they're in school. And so, maybe it’s dropping them off at a friend’s house or locking the door and putting a movie on, all the ways that you can find connection points. Because what happens oftentimes is when we’re overwhelmed we have a couple ways that we can respond, right?
Oftentimes, it can be either number one, having outbursts just like you’ve held it in, and then you’re pissed about something or you're holding resentment, and then you just unleash, and of course that doesn't go well for anyone. Alternatively, people often shut down or there’s a lot of numbness or, “I don't have the capacity to do that, so I’m just gonna shut down or go away or do whatever,” and everybody responds differently. There are so many different ways we respond, and there’s so much attachment stuff here, too, but also just kind of noticing what that is for you and in your relationship and what patterns normally show up for who, and as I talked about on last week’s podcast, sometimes you might find that you have a lot more health in this area than your partner, or maybe your partner has a lot more health in this area than you. Whoever has the most health in this area has to step up and inspire the other one, because this is just how it is.
Sometimes one person might be -- you might shift who’s the person that’s got more health, but the thing is at the end of the day, do you want harmony, or do you want to be right, right? Because if you're holding out for something because you don't want to apologize again or you're always the one that has to do this or, “I’m always the one that has to do that,” that’s another time self-responsibility comes in where that self-awareness piece of, “Wouldn't it be great if my partner could do this? However, I don't even know if they have the capacity to, but I do know that I have the capacity, so I’m gonna make the step to create the harmony that I crave,” right? Because oftentimes it’s not because your partner won't or they don't want to. It’s because they don't have the capacity. They don't have that skill. And so, this is why you always want to continually learn and grow.
Mark Testa: Mm-hmm, and we’re in relationships, so if you want it to be harmonious, everybody’s got to kind of do their part. I know when we are doing our part without asking for anything in return and just doing it, we get along a lot better. When we get along a lot better, we communicate a lot better, and when we communicate a lot better, we actually take the effort and initiative to connect more, and it’s a beautiful cycle that just keeps going around and around.
When you connect more intimately together, then you want to help each other and you want to communicate to your partner better. It really is. I mean, it definitely goes full circle and around again. It’s all interconnected. There’s just no one -- you can't isolate anything. It all needs to kind of work together holistically.
Amanda Testa: Right, and the other thing to think about, too, is connection is like that antidote to disconnect, to numbness, to addiction, to all the things that can be hard, right? So, when you think about one person who might have more skills in the area than others, that is a lot around coregulation, right? That’s when one person’s nervous system is calm, is soothed, is functioning optimally, then you can bring that gift to someone else, and them being in your presence can bring that embodied regulation to them.
As a parent, you might notice this. When they say your calm is contagious because when you are calm, when your nervous system is calm and you take your dysregulated child in your arms and you hold them, they calm based on your nervous system. The same thing is true for your relationship.
Mark Testa: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: And so, I just invite this because this is how you can be more proactive in your situation, right?
Mark Testa: Yes. Very.
Amanda Testa: And so, maybe there are these practices that you and your partner can do together that are coregulating. Oftentimes, we like to make time for each other and just connect and lie together and talk and just be, like that physical closeness.
Mark Testa: Yeah, that’s great, I know. It’s very connecting. It just lowers all guards. We communicate really deeply about cool stuff, which is kind of how we got started into wanting to do this podcast together. Yeah, so…
Amanda Testa: I think the other cool thing that we’ve learned since we’ve done this work together is, oftentimes what I see happening in relationships or what people will do is because maybe they have not been able to experience physical touch that didn't have a hunger to it.
And so, what I mean by that is a hungry touch is a touch that wants something, right? A loving touch is a touch that just wants to give and be loving. And so, I think, oftentimes, in long-term relationships if, let’s just say, maybe one person is touching with a hungry touch all the time and the other person doesn't want that, they will just stop touching altogether.
So, I’ll invite for, again, any dudes out there listening who are like hmm, don't always touch with a hungry touch. Just touch to touch, because the more you touch without expectation, the more your partner will relax into your touch and actually enjoy it and want to reciprocate.
Mark Testa: Right, and not that I’ve never touched you with a hungry touch, but I just think the more work we do together, the more we communicate, the more when I hold you, I feel you differently. I know that sounds weird, just like as my partner, as somebody that I love, as another human being, somebody who’s got my back, somebody who I want to support. The connection is actually deeper than the superficial, temporal touch of a hungry touch. It’s much better. It’s deeper, more meaningful.
Amanda Testa: Mm-hmm, yeah, and then you want to touch each other all the time!
Mark Testa: Yeah! Right. Exactly!
Amanda Testa: [Laughs]
Mark Testa: I’m touching her under the table as we speak.
Amanda Testa: We touch and kiss all the time, and I think it’s great and fun. And so, this is possible for you, too, and this is why what I want you to take from this podcast is do some weeding and watering of your relationship. Notice, “Where can I invite in compassion to whatever is going on,” and find more ways to connect, right? Maybe it’s just looking through those rhythms throughout your day. What can I do to invite in more connection, to invite in more self-awareness, to invite in more health for myself, or to invite in more health for my relationship, which of course expands into your family and beyond. And so, that’s the point that I want to make clear.
Mark Testa: And I would say, too, the other half of the relationship that doesn't want to do this, that doesn't feel like it’s what they want to do, it’s too soft for them, it’s too, I don't know, emotional, it’s too all of that, if you feel that, that’s a problem.
You’ve got to accept all that because that’s the only way you can nurture everything. You’ve got to be soft. You've got to go into that whole part of that that doesn't feel right, doesn't feel natural. I can't say some of the things we do together that I jump in with both feet. I do, but I might feel a little self-conscious like, “Well, this is a little weird,” but I’m always really, really glad that I did it.
Amanda Testa: Aww.
Mark Testa: Right? So, I’m not saying that it is weird, but just what I’m saying is for some masculine yang people out there, it might not be part of kind of who you are, but we’re talking about that, right? There’s the yin and the yang of the relationship, and everything has that sort of pattern in it, and you just have to be able to flow with that. When you look at that symbol, there’s that white dot among the black, and there’s that black dot among the white, and that means you’ve got to let a little of each into who you are in order to have the harmony that you're looking for.
Amanda Testa: Oh, that’s so good, and I appreciate you. Thank you for being open, and the willingness that you have, I’m so grateful for it.
Mark Testa: It always comes out of the other end unexpectedly better than I could have planned. That’s part of my word surrender is you surrender to what is, and you can’t even predict what the other side of that looks like. You can't even predict it. You don't even want to try to predict it because our predictions are based on very limited experiences. I want to experience something unpredicted, unpredictable, unexperienced already --
Amanda Testa: Yes. Yes.
Mark Testa: -- something better.
Amanda Testa: Ooh, that’s so good. I think that’s the beauty of surrender, too, especially when you're talking about relationships and sex, it’s like when you can surrender, that is where the magic is.
You have to let go of control, and it’s scary for people. And just like you were saying, even just I appreciate the willingness because it is true. Most men-identifying people, people that are raised as men in this culture are not taught to be emotionally open. They're not taught to be vulnerable. That is actually viewed as a flaw coming along, right? And so, it’s not easy to be that emotional and soft, as Mark was saying. So, it takes work, but I think that’s the point that he’s making. At least this is what I see from it. You can let me know if this is true or not --
Mark Testa: [Laughs]
Amanda Testa: -- because I could be just hallucinating here. But for those out there who feel really strongly like this feels weird or it’s hard, it is. It is hard. It’s hard for everybody to be vulnerable, but the thing is, when you can kind of soften that machismo guard and really let your partner in more emotionally and share who you are more emotionally, there’s such deep connection on the other side of that.
Mark Testa: And that’s what we all want. That’s what we all want. And so, we harden to protect ourselves.
Maybe we tried it and it didn't work, and so, we think being hard or trying to control is gonna be the way to not get hurt or to have control. Really, all that is is another wall. It’s another barrier. It’s another arm’s length. It’s another disconnection. In one way, it’s easy to be by yourself, right? When you let someone else in, now you've got to start dealing with other things and other moods and other other, but what we want is that relationship and that connection. Like you said, whether it’s any kind of addiction or any other mood or whatever, the connection is the elixir to fix all that, the human connection. We’re not meant to be alone. We’re not meant to be without a group. I mean, back in the tribal days, that was certain death. We need each other.
Amanda Testa: Mm-hmm. Agreed.
Mark Testa: I’ve got to go pick up poop for us. [Laughs]
Amanda Testa: Oh, yeah. So, yes, and it can feel scary to cultivate these embodied connections, but that’s the work of it, right?
And it’s so worth it on the other side. So, if it feels hard for you, know that’s normal. It might feel uncomfortable, but it’s so worth it because at the end of the day, that’s what we want. We want that deep connection. We want that connection on all the levels, right -- physically, emotionally, mentally, all the things. And it is like the pieces in a puzzle, but there are little things that you can do, like these mundane things you do, that make it easier or harder at the end of the day.
So, I’ll just invite you to go through your day, do some groundskeeping, and let me know what happens for you. Maybe if there are any ahas that you get, please connect with me because I love hearing all your stories. You can find me @abtesta on Instagram. You can message me, and I’d love to hear how this went for you, and thank you again, Mark, for being here.
Mark Testa: And I’ll offer this, too. I mean, maybe you don't want me to, but --
Amanda Testa: No, please!
Mark Testa: -- your male or male-identifying audience, I’m glad to talk to them about this sort of thing because if you're gonna be with someone, be with someone. Don't be with someone just to go through the motions, and in the back of your mind and in your subconscious be unhappy and be miserable and look for an escape in whatever it is that you go to because that’s not the whole purpose here. So anyway, I’m glad to (you can reach out to Amanda) take a few questions.
Amanda Testa: Yes, I think what would be really good is we should do more podcasts and let you have your -- you can speak to that perspective.
Mark Testa: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: Thank you.
Mark Testa: I’d love to. I’m gonna go pick up poop in our backyard and keep our grounds clean.
Amanda Testa: He’s joking. We have a big ole golden retriever who makes a mess of the backyard, so he’s joking about helping out by cleaning up, which I think I do pick up most of the poop actually.
Mark Testa: Ah, I do it on Saturday, but we’re not keeping track. That’s the good thing we do.
Amanda Testa: Yes!
Mark Testa: We don't keep track.
Amanda Testa: And it’s funny because we laugh, and I’m the one that wanted the dog, but we both love the dog even though he doesn't want to admit it. I catch him loving on the dog.
Mark Testa: [Laughs]
Amanda Testa: Anyways, well, thank you all for listening, and I will look forward to being back with you next week!
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