Courageous c·onversations by Rokelle Lerner
Courageous c ·o nversations by Rokelle Lerner
One of the hallmarks of a fulfilling
relationship is the ability to selfdisclose, thereby allowing ourselves
to be known. What stops many of us
is the fear of conflict, rejection and
abandonment that keeps our true self
deeply buried. When we avoid conflict
in our relationships it creates a joyless
pretense of safety and security, not a
true haven of comfort and love.
myself. Can I stand up for myself, can I
stand up with myself, and can I speak
my truth and know that I will survive
whether or not someone agrees with
me or not? Bringing our fullness into
our relationships isn't a bonus we get
if we're good enough or if someone
makes us feel safe. It is our birthright.
Sadly, we forego this right unless we
Keeping ourselves hidden has less
to do with our intimate partners
and much more to do with our own
codependency. For example, a primary
concern that often arises in the
lnnerPath couple's retreat is: "Rokelle, I
can't really express my true feelings and
opinions because I don't feel safe with him
or her". My response is: whose job is
it to make you feel safe? Ironically, the
issue in our relationships is not can I
trust my partner; the issue is can I trust
There is no question that true intimacy
takes courage, but courage is not
something you either have or don't have.
In fact, it is a quality that's often born
out of the depths of our discomfort
and despair: when you're so depleted
from doing a 'performance' that you
hardly recognize the person you've
become, or when there is so much pain
in your relationship that you feel like
you're dying a slow death. During these
times, your fear of rejection begins to
pale in the face of losing your integrity.
That's the birthplace of courage for
many of us.
Courageous Conversations ................................. 1,2
Cottonwood's lnnerPath Programs .......................2
The Equine Labyrinth at Cottonwood ..................3
Fall at Cottonwood ...................................................4
Nutrition in Recovery: Quinoa ...............................5
Toasted Quinoa Salad with
Butternut Squash, Dried Cranbernes
and Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette .................................5
Courageous conversations aren't
easy, but it's the basis of meaningful
connection and genuine fulfillment in
so many areas of our lives. If we want
to be loved, we have to be known.
Somewhere along the way, many of us
have learned to keep our thoughts and
feelings to ourselves out of fear that we
will be rejected if we reveal what's going
on inside of us.While this approach may
have served us in certain situations, as
we go deeper into our own spiritual
journey and as we strive for a reality
that reflects our highest potential, it's
ultimately the truth that allows us to be
known and indeed, sets us free.
One of my favorite metaphors on this
subject is the idea of the "elephant
in the room" which represents
the obvious truth that is not being
addressed among a pair or group of
individuals. Perhaps denial takes over
and we kid ourselves into thinking that
if we don't deal with it, maybe it will
go away. Whether it's obvious or not,
there is no question that the unspoken
truths that we carry around and bury
deep down live in the space between
us.There is a distinct energy that comes
from repressed upsets and emotions, as
well as unexpressed love and creativity
that creates a wall between others and
us. Living a life of secrets doesn't allow
(continued on page 2)
love to flourish but, instead, suffocates it. a stunning example of self-disclosure to our mental, emotional and spiritual
health, the next article will be devoted
I'm not suggesting that we resolve from David Schnarch:
to blurt out our truth like a blast of "I don't expect you to agree with me; you to explaining tools we can use to bring
fire from the furnace. There's a saying weren't put here to validate and reinforce courageous conversations into our lives.
that, "honesty, without sensitivity is me. But I want you to love me-and you
called brutality". The way we express can't really do that if you don't know me. Rokelle is the Clinical Director of lnnerPath
at Cottonwood Tucson Rokelle Lerner is one
ourselves must be carefully thought out I don't want rejection, but I must face that of the most sought after speakers and trainers
and executed with dignity, gentleness possibility if I'm ever to feel secure with on relationships, women's issues and addicted
and respect. If there is anger and you. It's time to show myself to you and family systems. She has received numerous
for her work with children and families
resentment behind our words then the be vulnerable. One day when we are no awards
including Esquire Magazine's "Top I 00 Women
odds that another will hear us is slim longer together on this earth, I want to in the U.S. Who Are Changing the Nation,"
and the National Association of Children of
to none. Since all of us long to be heard know that you really knew me".
None of us know how much time we Alcoholics lifetime achievement award for her
work with adult children of alcoholics. Rokelle
have on this earth. Certainly, before has been an advisor and consultant with foreign
we die, our greatest desire is that governments, US agencies, corporations,
someone truly knows the essence of schools and hundreds of individuals on
who we are. Courageous conversations relationships, bo)Jndary Issues and addiction.
Rokelle has appeared as a guest consultant
do, indeed, take us out of our comfort on numerous television shows such as Oprah,
The truth is that the more we love zones. It's always a risk that we won't Good Morning America, CBS Morning News
and 20/20. Her articles and interviews have
someone, the more we have to be be heard, or worse, we'll be rejected been featured In the Washington Post, New
able to self disclose or our identity will or judged. However, the potential York Times, Newsweek, Time, People Magazine
become lost in our relationships. And, gifts are astounding which not only and Parents Magazine.
this is something we all need to do for includes the possibility of renewed Rokelle has published the best-selling books
ourselves whether our partners can authenticity, intimacy and passion in Affirmations for Adult Children of Alcoholics,
do this or not! Speaking with courage our relationships, but the reclaiming of Affirmations for the Inner Child. and Livin~ in
the Comfort Zone: The Gift of Boundaries in
means cutting through the anger and our integrity that we've damaged from Relationships. Her latest b'ook is The Object of
allowing our vulnerability and our keeping ourselves hidden.
My Affection is in My Reflection: Copin~ with
hearts to be known. The following is Since this topic is of utmost importance Narcissists.
or seen by the people closest to us, it's
important to "gentle down" before we
decide to reveal what's on our minds
and hearts. When we act from courage
instead of anger, there is a certain grace
that is brought to the conversation.
at Cottonwood offers workshops for individuals
and couples who need to work on codependency, relationsh ips,
communication, grief and loss, trauma, anger, and addictions.
Rokelle Lerner, psychotherapist, author and lecturer
on relationships, families and chemical dependency, is the
clinical director and facilitator for lnnerPath. Group size
limited to 8 and meals and lodging are included in our fees.
20 IS: Jan 19-23 • Feb 23-27 • Mar 23-27 • Apr 20-24 • May 18-22 • Jun 22-26 • Jul 27-31
Sep 14-18 • Oct 12-16 • Nov 9-13 • Dec 7-I I
lnnerPath Women's Workshop
Jan 12-16 • Feb 16-20 • Apr 13-17 • Jun 15-19 • Jul 20-24 • Oct 5-9
lnnerPath Couples Workshop
2015: May 11 -15 • Nov 30-Dec 4
Deyelopini: Healthy Families Workshop Contact us to schedule
Contact us to schedule at 520 743 2141 or
The Equine Labyrinth at Cottonwood
by Charles Gillispie, MFA, LISAC
At Cottonwood, we combine labyrinth walking with
horse husbandry. Patients embark on that same
symbolic journey into the invisible holy placeaccompanied by a I ,200 pound animal. The horse
is present as both teacher and a guide; the walk
is in service to both human and equine. We invite
you to participate in a shared journey that requires
cooperation, increased awareness, and humilitythe very qualities required of any pilgrim on a
journey to encounter the mystery of spirituality and
The equine labyrinth at Cottonwood is based on a
Roman design found on the floor of a palace in the
city of Pompeii. It can accurately be dated to the
year 79 A.C.E.
Cottonwood staff created the labyrinth, with
the help of patients, over a four-month period in
20 I I. The philosophy of sustainability was a guiding
principle. The labyrinth design incorporates living
desert plants and utilizes rocks that were already
present in the area.
The equine labyrinth was also designed to enrich
the life of horses and donkeys that live on the
Cottonwood property. A walk into the labyrinth,
guided by a human, allows our equine a chance
to exercise, explore, and nibble plants usually not
available to them.
Humans have been walking labyrinths, as a spiritual
practice, for about 800 years.
The practice is closely related to the pilgrimage
tradition that emerged in Europe during the Middle
Ages. On a quest to encounter holy places and
touch holy objects, pilgrims often walked labyrinths,
inside or outside of cnurches.The labyrinth walk was
considered a symbolic journey into the "invisible
holy place" for which there is no actual physical
location on earth.
Charles Gillispie, MFA, LISAC, is a Cottonwood counselor
who specializes in eco-therapy and treatment of young adults.
Fall at Cottonwood
Nutrition in Recovery: Quinoa
By Lisa MacDonald, MPH, RD, Director of Nutrition Services at Cottonwood Tucson and
Executive Chef, Richard Serna
What you eat affects how you feel.
Mood, ability to concentrate, energy
level, sleep habits and food cravings are
influenced by brain chemicals. These
brain chemicals in turn .are influenced
by the diet. It is so important that
those in recovery view nutrition as
supportive in the recovery process
and for emotional well being.
Complex carbohydrates such as brown
rice. oatmeal, whole wheat, quinoa,
etc. are important for serotonin
production in the brain. Serotonin
is a brain chemical that promotes
sleep, increases pain tolerance, and
boosts mood. Quinoa (pronounced
keen·W ah) is a grain like product
that we like to incorporate into our
cuisine due to its superior nutrition
qualities. QU1noa has been cultivated
for over 5,000 years by many native
Indians. The Incas considered It a
sacred food and referred to it as the
"mother seed." Unlike most grains,
quinoa contains all 9 essential amino
acids making it a complete protein, an
important consideration in vegetarian
cuisine. Quinoa also contains high
levels of fiber, phosphorus, magnesium,
potassium, riboflavin zinc, copper,
manganese and folacin. Quinoa is a
gluten free grain and is easily digested.
texture with a nutty flavor when
cooked. Because of quinoa's delicate
taste and light flavor, it can be
substituted for any other grain such
as rice or cous cous as a side dish,
in a casserole or in soup. Cook with
fruit juice, add dried fruits and nuts
for a nutrient packed breakfast.
Quinoa can even be ground up and
used as flour in your favorite cookie
or muffin recipes. Quinoa lends itself
well to a cold grain salad mixed with
herbs, cooked veggies and vinaigrette
dressing as in Chef Richard Serna's
recipe for Cottonwood's Toasted
Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash,
Dried Cranberries and Lemon Thyme
Lisa MacDonald, MPH, RD, is the Director of
Nutrition ServiCes at Cottonwood Tucson
Quinoa has a creamy, slightly crunchy
Toasted Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash, Dried Cranberries and
Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette
Butternut Squash diced to inch thickness
Fresh squeezed Lemon juice
Thickened Vegetable Stock
Fresh Thyme Leaves
Fresh Chopped Parsley
Celery Diced V. inch thickness
Pepper co _taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spread qulnoa evenly on cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 8 minutes.
After 4 minutes, stir quinoa and spread evenly in pan to prevent burning.
Cool. Once qulnoa Is cooled, rinse and combine with 2 cups of water
in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook
until tender and all water Is ~bsorbed. Remove from heat and cool
For the butternut squash, peel, remove seeds and dice Y. inch thickness.
In a small bowl combine butternut squash and toss with the teaspoon of
olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread onto a cookie sheet and
bake at 350 for IS minutes. Cool completely.
Thickened Vegetable Stock:
Chef Richard Serna
serves os the
ot Cottonwood Tucson
In a small saucepan, add the vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. In a
small cup, add cornstarch and a teaspoon of water to make slurry. Whisk
slurry to simmering vegetable stock: remove from heat when it starts co
thicken. Cool completely before use.
In a blender, combine lemon juice, Dljon mustard, minced garlic and
honey. Blend at medium speed. While still blending, add your thickened
vegetable stock. Once combined. slowly add your 2 teaspoons of olive
oil. Remove from blender into a small bowl and add your fresh thyme
leaves. Set aside.
Setvl!'g $1~ 112 cup ( 1059)
Selvl~~s Par Container 8
Amount PM Sol\'lng
'II Dalll Volut"
Saturated Fat OIJ
Trail& F't 0g
Total Carbollydr"' 35g
· Diet&ry Fiber 3g
VItamin A 60%
• VItamin C 20%
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For added protein options, enjoy with a grilled 4oz chicken breast or 2ox grilled tofu.
In a medium bowl, add your qulnoa, butternut squash, diced celery
and dried cranberries. Mix together.Toss the Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette
slowly Into the qulnoa mixture. Once Incorporated, toss In your parsley.
Calories fiom Fat 2S
4110 West Sweetwater Drive
Tucson, Arizona 85745
View from Cottonwood campus