Featured Coach | Bob and Marlene Neufeld

BobandMarlene_bigBob and Marlene Answer Top Questions

What vision do you have for your life and your coaching practice?

Marlene: My vision is that I expand in my ability to give and receive love and am a catalyst for others to do the same.

What are the top three things you love about coaching?

Bob: I love getting curious and following the lead of clients and discovering something new. Marlene: I love coaching with Bob because every time I do so, I feel closer to him. Bob & Marlene: We love co-creating ah-ha’s with our clients through them experiencing their bodies and delight in watching the changes which occur from these.

Before I started coaching I …

Bob: I loved to play with 6 year olds and create opportunities for them to learn to read and write.

What makes you laugh?

Marlene: Provoking someone in a playful way brings forth laughter in me.

The legacy I want to leave behind is …

Bob & Marlene: We want to leave behind a world that is filled with people loving themselves and each other.

Who are your top three people you would want to coach and why?

Bob: I would love to coach Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, in how to govern using the Four Pillars of Integrity.
Marlene: I want to coach any couple who is open to learning, willing to participate fully in the process and to move and experience their body-wisdom.

What were the greatest benefits you received from studying at the Hendricks Institute?

Marlene: The greatest benefits I received were to learning to love myself fully and learning to take healthy responsibility (not more and not less).
Bob: I learned to make friends with all of my feelings, learned to say “no” and make clear requests.

What brings you the most joy in your day to day life?

Bob: being able to be in the present moment and enjoy whatever surprise comes up

Top 10 things we couldn’t live without:

Marlene: I could probably live without some of these but I would not feel alive:
my joyful, playful, loving, authentic interactions with Bob
yummy delicious healthy food
friends who are authentic and willing to have fun & explore conscious living
loving sensuous touch
singing and moving to sacred phrases
my authentic, dynamic, playful relationship with Marlene
loving juicy non-goal-oriented sexual exploration
the sacred beauty of the natural world
my simple beautiful home and community
friends who are interested in exploring what’s deeper inside of themselves

In 1993, Gay & Kathlyn’s book “Conscious Loving” began the magical mystery tour that has transformed each of us personally as well as us as a couple. We had been married since 1970 and were seen as having a good relationship. We knew that we could be having more fun and creativity. In 2002, after we had both retired from our professional careers, Marlene as a Social Worker and Manager, and Bob as a teacher of children and adults, we gave ourselves a gift of 4 days of training with the Hendricks in New York City. These 4 days launched us into a new stage of quantum growth. We jumped into the apprentice program and have never looked back.

What attracted us were both Gay and Kathlyn’s integrity as well as the example of the apprentices. Going to a live seminar was like magnifying their book ten times. One morning on the way to the seminar we found ourselves walking behind Gay and Katie. What we saw was two people who were the essence of playing and inter-relating in ways that were meaningful as well as fun. The apprentices showed us how to play full out, challenging each other while caring deeply.

At our first training as apprentices there were many life-changing moments. One was when Kathlyn asked Bob two questions; whether he was willing to make friends with his anger and what was behind his beard of 33 years. For the first time he began to look underneath his “nice-guy” persona, to explore the cost of this persona and look at some new possibilities. Now, 6 years later, Bob revels in fully feeling all his feelings including anger, fear, sadness, joy and sexual feelings, (writing this has brought tears to his eyes). He has been clean-shaven from that day on.

During that same week, Marlene came to realize how often she “gave herself away” by focusing on what Bob might want rather than what she wanted. She committed to focusing on her own creativity rather than trying to read Bob’s mind.

We now daily appreciate, laugh and play together. Our sexual expression is fuller than it ever has been. We rarely take what each other is doing personally. We have learned to close the gap between when “something happens” and we drift into old patterns (which we still do from time to time) and the wonderful creative ways in which we shift back into ease and flow and connection with each other.

We have created a thriving coaching practice together helping couples create closer loving relationships and learn life-changing relationship skills. We’ve helped couples ranging in age from 19 to 73; couples across the USA, Canada, Japan and Europe; heterosexual, same-sex couples and a polyamorous triad; students, therapists and executives. We have worked with couples who were in crisis as well as couples who wanted to solidify and enliven an already good relationship. We’ve explored with couples who have lost their sense of connection and desire for each other; with couples who’ve lost trust through betrayals; taught volatile couples to be able to express themselves unarguably; helped couples who were caught in blame to take healthy responsibility for what they were creating; coached couples in making impeccable agreements; and assisted multi-cultural couples go beyond their cultural differences and connect with each other.

Recently we created a session for a couple who were celebrating their 5th marriage anniversary. They had two young children and were finding it difficult to remain connected in their busy lives. They reported, “through mainly playing, fun and curiosity, Marlene and Bob guided us to feel that connection that we always had in our relationship. It will remain a memorable moment that we will always refer to while we go through the positive and challenges of this life together.”

A few years ago, we saw a couple that had been married 26 years. They had more than 26 years of feelings, expectations and jealousies they hadn’t expressed to each other. Their youngest son had recently left home and suddenly they realized how big and quiet the house was, and how lonely they felt. It didn’t take long; once they began revealing the wall they had built between them came tumbling down. When we contacted them for follow-up, they told us “you took us back to when we were first in love…we still refer back to what we learned from you.”

Our two-on-two model and experiential approach is unusual and circumvents the pitfall of taking sides. We model healthy relationship and share our personal experiences. By working with both of us at the same time, issues are dissolved more quickly. One of us can observe or participate while the other facilitates. We work on the phone as well as in person. One couple we helped enjoyed the phone, as he was a long-distance trucker. We arranged three way conference calls. He did some very deep emotional work in the cab of his truck, a place where he felt safe.

We have brought conscious living into schools and are creating a curriculum for educators. Marlene has collaborated with colleagues bringing conscious living principles to health-care professionals with compassion fatigue, to women recovering from additions, to allergies and traumatic cellular memory. And we come back over and over to our first passion, helping couples. One couple said their experience with us was “by far the most positive, most helpful & most fun (!) counseling/coaching experience” that they had ever had.

We offer group ‘playshops’ recently co-creating a couples retreat with another couple who led partner yoga and chi gong. We provided experiential couples activities designed to help couples appreciate each other and connect deeply.

We’ve expanded beyond our initial training with other training in the Hakomi experiential method, exceptional marriage mentoring, and emotionally focused couples therapy. Yet, we repeatedly come back, in our own relationship and in our work with couples, to the basics of relationships grounded in the four pillars of integrity and loving ourselves exactly as we are.

We appreciate Gay and Katie for introducing us to a new way of living and loving and challenging us over and over to ask, “What is the most creative thing we can do in this moment?” We love being the catalyst for transformation in others. Our greatest joy is co-creating an amazing relationship with each other and sharing that with others.

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