hands gripping each other in a strengthening way

Ten Tips for Cocreative Relationships

I began this blog with the intention of recounting some of Kath and my worst fights. I couldn’t do it. As I stepped back into the yuck that I created—so much energy to be right, to not lose, hours and days wasted in disconnection–my body felt sick, heavy, exhausted.

Then I started typing out this list, and I felt exhilarated, giddy even.

I’m typing this on the way home from our trip back to Kath’s family, a weekend of celebrating her mom’s 90th birthday. In the past, this would have been a perfect time to get into old entanglements. All the trappings were there: travel exhaustion, so many old triggers for Kath (family, junior high school drive-bys), the drizzling, dreary weather, and, well, family. With all of those challenges, we managed to stay connected, find our way through some challenging times.

Because we (as Katie Hendricks has referenced time with family of origin) just scored a big gold medal in the Olympics of conscious work, I present to you: 10 Tips for Cocreative Relationships.

A cocreative relationship is a partnership of equals, where each person is committed to vulnerability, deep connection, authenticity, and their own growth—while doing everything possible to support their partner’s individual development. Here are foundational principles for designing such a relationship. Note: You’ll find the tip, followed by my commentary in italics.



1. Wean yourself from the addiction of blaming–yourself, other people, the world. If you find a hole that blame would have filled, fill it with wonder and an openness to learn from what is happening right now.

I still wonder: If blame feels so good, why don’t I feel better??* Well I don’t feel better. Ever.

2. Embody the art of speaking what is unarguable: Your Sensations, Your Emotions (the ones connected to your sensations) and what you really want.

EPI has loads of information about how to do this. It will help. Immensely.

3. Don’t feel connected? Well–how are you disconnected from yourself? Clear that withhold ASAP. MIND THE GAP.

The sooner the better. For more information, read the classic Conscious Loving, by Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks. Learn the equation: Withholds => withdrawal=>projection.

hands gripping each other in a strengthening way

4. Bring a spirit of play to your interactions. See your partner as your willing improv-player.

Play is the antidote to power struggles. If you can’t play, you’re in Reactive Brain. Go take care of that until you’re ready to step back into the game.

5. Remember to take care of your inner three-year old: Eat regularly, get enough sleep (including naps as needed), go outside and play. And send yourself to your room as needed.

I wouldn’t have a job if we all did this.

6. Discover your areas of Genius Quadrant (as laid out in Gay Hendricks’ the Big Leap). Create a relationship where you each stop doing what you don’t want to do, putting your attention on doing what each of you most love to do.

It’s really okay to do what you love. Suffering through life isn’t more noble. Committing to living from genius is a powerful move that truly will change the entire trajectory of your life.

7. Don’t worry—you are both equally screwed up.

How freeing to stop worrying if it’s you or your partner that’s the real problem. And—you are both equally divine.

8. If either (or both) of you goes into Reactive Brain, be like a football player: Sideline yourself, drink something nourishing, and calm down.

I learned this (again) recently when I thought I’d lost the car key miles from home. If I’d just slowed down and breathed, I would have found it waaay back in the pack pocket (and avoided the lengthy trot around Coot Lake).

9. “I’ve never seen a cocreative relationship that doesn’t pool money.” –Katie Hendricks.

Beyond money, true cocreative relationships pool resources: Time, physical energy, creativity, support, money, enjoyment.*

I know this is a big one. But remember the power of two: the sum of two is vastly more than 1+1. Connection generates a swirl of energy enabling all kinds of miracles to happen. This is how teams thrive, by each person putting everything they have on the table.

10. Speaking of teams: You two are a team. Commit to having your teammate’s back–and to bring your whole self to the game.


*This is, BTW, the name of one of three Country-Western songs I wrote—let me know if you want me to sing it to you.

**From Maria Nemeth’s Energy of Money

At the EPI, we’re all about cocreativity–come play!

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