Breaking the myth (of a perfect marriage)

As a couples counselor, I expect myself to have a perfect marriage. This puts undue pressure on us. It’s time to get right sized. I’m not anywhere close to being, thinking, acting, feeling, or doing a perfect job. I look in the mirror and I see wrinkles and flab. I walked down the street five minutes later, and I feel fit and sexy. 

I show up lovingly and assertively when my husband is in the hospital (with his fourth kidney stone). I am elated. Feeling spiritually fit. Then I proceeded to tell him all the ways I’m fit and that instead of dwelling in anger toward him, I’m choosing to take the higher road. Perhaps next time I want to just take the higher road without articulation. He would prefer that also. And in fact, he told me as such. I get to listen. He does tell me what he wants and needs. I can be clear in my reply. I cannot always do it, but I can acknowledge the validity of his requests.

Begin, Again, Here

This is where to begin. Mirror back what you hear your partner wants. If they don’t share, you can ask. What would you like me to do or say right now? Then offer it up, three times, to encourage it to soak in fully.

Later that day, I’m stroking my ego that I can puzzle quietly next to him while he naps on the couch, heavily medicated, and an hour later, I’m judging that he is not hydrating “enough” or screening all his pee to catch the 6 mm stone. It’s not my body. Not my business. How do I forget this? 

Interestingly, I’m considering being honest with my couples tomorrow. Telling them that marriage is hard. Do you want to chance to heal – to grow – to transform multigenerational trauma? Then wake up. Do this. Now. Advocate for your partner. Find out what they want/need and go there. I dare you. 

Start with Yourself

And here’s the kicker, before you can do that, you must advocate wildly for yourself. Therefore, trust yourself to no longer abandon yourself. Ask yourself, what do I hunger for, what do I need, what does my heart desire. And courageously share it with your beloved. We are not mind-readers.

You Matter.

Your Relationships Matter.

My Daily Practices in a Life of Serenity


In the past, my life was riddled with active addictions, misunderstandings, and intense self-judgment. I had difficulty looking in the mirror without criticism, acknowledging what was enough, and coming to terms with the illusion of control. I turned to drinking, drugs and dudes to escape from the pain of Suffer. This only led to even greater Suffer.

Now, I enjoy the fruits of a well-examined extraordinary life of Serenity: sobriety from alcoholism, healthy assertive communication, and radical self-care. Here’s a peak at how I do it:

The three c’s create an extraordinary life of Serenity:




Connection is necessary for my top value: Serenity. Serenity is the opposite of addiction. Serenity is comfort in my skin, clarity in my mind, and calm in my heart. I make a daily practice to connect with a sense of ease. Recovery meetings, true friendships, heartfelt hugs with my beloveds. These all happen. Regularly. This is proper use of my will. Connection with truth and beauty happens with a flower outside.

Communication is essential for connection and Serenity. Even if I’m on a 10-day silent meditation retreat, my non-verbal communication reflects whether I’m calm in Serenity or caught in Suffer. The inner self-talk impacts my soul’s expression, so a look in the eyes is enough to tell you how I’m doing. The mirror meditation of each morning, rounding the corner and saying, “Hey Buddy” to myself is much easier when I do the first act of Serenity: Smile upon awakening, before feet kiss the earth.

Contemplation is the art of accurate self-examination through communicating with my higher powers. Prayer (yep, the Serenity Prayer is a daily practice), meditation (metta, maitri, lovingkindness) and writing. These all work. I get to use my will to allow space for them to happen.

Serenity Prayer

God grant me the Serenity

to Accept the things I cannot change

the Courage to change the things I can

and the Wisdom to know the difference

In conclusion, I want to offer a reminder about dialogue. One specific and powerful communicational tool called the Imago Intentional Dialogue helped. Today’s guest blog, from Shambhala Mountain Center (a favorite place of mine for meditation, now called Drala Mountain Center), highlights the power of the Imago Intentional Dialogue.

Metabolizing Grief

keep it real

Grief. Mass grief. Personal waves of it over the last five months. Both in-laws died within 2 weeks of each other last fall. My middle brother died this month. My dream of leading retreats with my husband died (years ago, though we’re still married and working through the pain of loss), I’ve been in denial about much of this.

Pain & Blessings

The pain of unhealed wounds, unmet needs, untreated addictions, all of this touches our lives at some point on this journey, whether we are aware of it or not. I’m aware. I’m moving into acceptance. And from there, I take action.

My husband and I keep it real by meeting each other where we are NOW. I get to learn how to be more patient with his grief process. I get to provide more space. Because, when my impatience meets his procrastination, I basically generate my own suffer.

So now I offer retreats to couples without my husband. I offer free classes at Tutu’s House without my husband. I write to release the pinch of dominant culture without expecting my beloved to co-author the book. I can recognize, as we grow old together, that “we are not me” and for that I am grateful.

I have more blessings in my life than I can say grace over, truly: nearly 30 years of continuous sobriety, nearly 22 years of conscious monogamy and dedicated marriage, and two adorable and brilliant and thriving young men who inspire me to shift the drift to create a more beautiful world my heart endeavors to believe is possible. If I just release the grip. And tenderize daily.

surrender to silence & stillness

Why Am I Talking?
When is the last time you let yourself surrender to silence and stillness?

It’s been a minute or so for me, so I’m listening to my na’au (my intuition) and the full-bodied yes that is taking me and my family to Thailand for a 10-day silent meditation retreat here.

Join me (in Spirit) anytime between December 29-January 10 to drop into deep contemplation. Let’s sit in silence and stillness together, even if we are miles apart, together, we shift the drift of dominant culture. Here’s some of my thoughts, influenced by my studies of and transformational interpersonal work in Hawai’i lifeways & healing White Body Supremacy and Somatic Abolitionism.

Dominant Culture has these common characteristics:

Sense of Urgency and Optics
Either/or Thinking
Power Hoarding
Intention to control & dominate nature
Linear understanding where everything is separate

Through our contemplation we can move toward greater Unity and accessing the wisdom of the tender heart, in order to better…

Trust yourself to no longer abandon yourself
Focus on your part in the nightmare
Repair your part and drop stones of resentment
Have faith and joyful commitment in constant trust of the power of prayer to ease the burden and enhance the beauty of everyday life. 
Hold Spirituality in high regard
Change occurs as part of a cycle in nature
Steward the land and live in harmony with nature
Be indigenous to your own heart. 

Thanks to Shawn Murray Brown, PhD & Kekuhi Kealiikanakaoleohaililani.

Take good care of yourselves and spread Aloha. 



Amy Elizabeth Gordon | Relationship Doula
Serving Hawai’i Island and beyond

how to surf

acts of fear

constant trust in the power of prayer

Having the great good fortune of living in Hawai’i, the ocean is a source of great comfort and support. And yet I’ve been in the ocean only twice since I last wrote you. That’s only two times in over a month; that’s highly unusual. And yet I’ve been surfing this whole time. 

Surfing for me is riding the wild waves of a lifey life. It’s knowing which ones will be challenging, yet fun, and which ones do I need to dive under and regain my breath as soon as possible. Lately there’s been some big waves. Personally, we’ve had 2 deaths in the family and prolonged sickness. 

But I rise. Each day. Like a wave. Like a sunrise. Sometimes with gentle grace and rainbows; sometimes with turbulence and obscuration. Always with the presence of the higher power. Don’t forget gravity!

And I surf the waves. Surfing is prayer. Prayer is chanting. Prayer is asking for guidance to be okay in this moment, no matter what, and remember that presence matters and awareness of breath strengthens presence. 

How do I surf when life keeps getting super lifey? I relax and take it easy. I cease fighting anyone or anything. And in turning my life over to a higher power, I find the ability to surf the emotional waves of life without drowning in overwhelm. Breathing and cultivating gratitude are my daily practices.

I’ve learned from Hawai’i lifeways and Mary Kawena Pukui that the Hawaiian has continued to pray in the same wholehearted spirit of his ancestors. With deep devotion. With lively fervor. With constant trust in the power of prayer to ease the burden and enhance the beauty of daily life. 

This inspires me. 

Chanting as a Spiritual Practice

My Buddhist practice includes a chant of aspiration and dedication of merit. 

From the stormy waves of birth, old age, sickness, and death, from the ocean of samsara, may I free all beings.

Buddhist chants, Hawaiian chants, Yoga chants; vital aspects of my spiritual life, an energetic exchange to my higher powers. To give breath as a sacrifice and an offer of my willingness and eagerness to live a more spiritual life. 

Last time I wrote you I included a beautiful Kundalini yoga chant, Akaal, I play daily that has helped hugely with the recent death of my in-laws. Akaal means “Undying” and refers to the soul that is being released. This sound current helps guide the soul to pass out of the earthly realm…

I pray with faith in the constant power of prayer to ease the burden and enhance the beauty of daily life. And from this place of energetic aliveness, I pour into others. My purpose is to be of maximum service and help others liberate from their own suffering, and one key way I do this is in my work with couples and their relational health. 

Special Offer for Relational Health Coaching

Now through the end of the month (November, 2023) I have a special deep dive relational tune-up for you. Message me at [email protected] and let me know what shift you wish to manifest in your primary relationship and I’ll do my level best to guide you there. Mention “deep dive” for the special rate of $333 for a 3-hour Discovery & Breakthrough session. (Regularly $1,000).

Take good care of yourselves and spread Aloha. 


Amy E

Amy Elizabeth Gordon | Relationship Doula
Serving Hawai’i Island and beyond

You matter. Your relationships matter.

clear your mind  
open your heart  
rekindle your spirit  
energize your life

Cut thru chaos

trifecta of bliss

Are you more mind-full or mindful in this moment?

Hello again. Thank you for reading my updates. Your time is just as valuable as mine and my purpose for sharing how I’m negotiating my energy on a daily basis as a relational health coach is to uplift you to have extraordinary relations with Self, Other, and Spirit.

Last week’s email update was full of personal challenges and I wanted to take a moment to share a bit how I cope. Here’s a beautiful chant I play daily that has helped hugely with the recent death of my father-in-law.


The key to all of it, the “so muchness” of what is going on, is to be mindful. To pause and notice. And in moments of awareness, to notice my noticing.

How do I feel in my body temple now? What are the sensations of my present experience? Coming back to my senses is key in being grounded in the present moment. Turning my life over to a higher power is key in surfing the emotional waves of life without drowning in overwhelm. Breathing and cultivating gratitude are my daily practices.

I know what being mind-full is like. For me it’s that itty-bitty-shitty-committee that wakes me at 2am demanding I think about life, death, and every possible worry in between. Shifting into mindful consciousness is when I can take the reign of my magnifying mind and focus on gratitude and embodied presence.

Here’s a few nudges to cut thru chaos in these simple ways:
1. breath practice
2. gratitude practice
3. media diet

1. breath practice

breathing in, i know i am breathing in
breathing out, i know i am breathing out


mind wanders to the next worrisome thought
discursive thoughts distort serenity
habitual hydraulics of hypersensitivity hijack wellbeing

return again to a mindfulness breath practice

breathing in
breathing out


2. gratitude practice

craft a daily gratitude list:
(for example):
1) sobriety
2) sunrise in shades of pink and purple
3) full moon eclipsed by clouds

A-Z gratitude practice
what starts with “a” that you appreciate?
typically you’ll fall asleep before arriving at “z”

upon awakening smile before feet kiss the earth

continue the gratitude practice by writing 100 things you appreciate about yourself. Yes, you. A hard, worthwhile endeavor for all of us. In this, you’ll be overriding the tormentor left over from yesterday (your self critic). And cultivating a higher Self of resilience, compassion and service who is tender, powerful and generous. 

3. media diet

Watching media diet is important also. Gently asking, am I tethered to my devices in a way that they control and demand my attention or are my devices on my leash, able to be trained and contained?

My attention is precious. So is yours. Harness it now.

Take good care of yourselves and spread Aloha.