Episode 5: Dr. Felicia Williams: Spiritual Partnerships
Dr. Felicia Williams: Spiritual Partnerships
Announcer: This program is intended for mature audiences only.
Chip August: Welcome to Sex, Love and Intimacy. I’m your host, Chip August. On today’s show I’m talking to Dr. Felicia Williams. Dr Williams is an expert on what she calls spiritual partnerships.
Felicia Williams: For each human being, there’s a supportive, nurturing connection to something that’s greater than our individuality that really supports our being here. I think it’s really valuable for a couple at some point in their relationship, hopefully in the beginning, to talk about what they believe in as a higher power. I know couples who go hiking together on weekends and the practice of calming down and slowing down and being out in nature and sharing their enjoyment of that, I think is as spiritual for them as reading the Bible together was for my parents.
Chip August: She’s a doctor of Psychology. She’s a facilitator with the Human Awareness Institute; she’s a licensed spiritual counselor and a life coach and also happens to be a pretty good friend of mine. I think you’re going to really enjoy meeting Dr. Williams and talking to her. So would you like to say hello?
Felicia Williams: Hello. It’s very wonderful to talk to you today Chip!
Chip August: Thank you very much. Today I want to talk to you about relationships. I want to talk to you about connecting to a higher power. I want to talk about love, because that seems to be what you’re an expert in. So, where to start? Why don’t we talk about this higher power stuff? What is a higher power and how does one connect to it?
Felicia Williams: Well, a lot of people consider their higher power God and I think that in a universal sense that our greatest higher power is actually love and we connect to that through an understanding that we’re not all there is, whether it’s a connection through nature or to the universe or a consideration of how we connect to source-that for each human being there’s a supportive, nurturing connection to something that’s greater than our individuality that really supports our being here.
Chip August: I notice in life that (chuckles)… it’s always dangerous to think that there’s two kinds of people, but someone once said to me, “There’s two kinds of people. People who think there is two kinds of people and people who don’t”. But I get that there are people who believe in God, some form of God or church or something like that and those that don’t. If you’re a person that doesn’t, how does one find this higher power? Where does this come from?
Felicia Williams: Well, for a lot of people, it comes simply from a connection to nature. People who love to hike sometimes will get out in nature and find themselves like elevated to whole different state of being because they’re connected with the trees around them, with the skies above them, with the earth beneath them, with the water that flows and they feel themselves a part of that universal flow. To me, that’s connecting with God or with Spirit or with source.
Chip August: And what does any of that have to do with couples and relationships?
Felicia Williams: Well I find that for a lot of people in the difficult times in a relationship, if they have a common belief in a source greater than themselves, that is actually a drawing point for then to come back to and to refer to in finding their way through the difficult times.
Chip August: We’re talking to Felicia Williams. I’m Chip August. This is Sex, Love and Intimacy; we’re going to take a short break, give our sponsors a chance to give us a little support and us a chance to give them a little support. We’ll be right back! Thanks!
Chip August: Welcome back! This is Chip August; I am talking to Dr. Felicia Williams:. She’s a licensed Spiritual Counselor and a Life Coach. She is also a facilitator with the Human Awareness Institute. We are talking a little bit about a higher power. We’re talking a little bit about connecting to our higher power. This whole connection to higher power and how it fits with couples, just to be clear, are you suggesting that before we have sex we have to pray together or something? How does this all work? How does this fit in somebody’s life?
Felicia Williams: I think it is really valuable for a couple at some point in the relationship, hopefully in the beginning to talk about what they believe in as a higher power and while there can be differences, one person may believe in God and want to go to church every Sunday and another person would like to get out in nature and connect with God that way, that they actually find some common ways that they can connect with whatever they consider their higher power or inner source. I belong to a church called East Bay Church of Religious Science and one of the things I love about that church is that it really emphasizes that it doesn’t matter what you call God. It matters that you call God and so however that you personally, individually connect with that higher source that becomes a place of power for you and when a couple can have a conversation to understand how they each do that and then find a way that they can, in common, do that, it becomes like having a third party in your relationship that is there constantly supporting you in being in the relationship.
Chip August: Okay. So as a couple, we’re starting out. We talk about this. Are there practices that we can do to enhance the spirituality of our coupleness [sp]?
Felicia Williams: I really believe that there are! And there is a wide gamete of those practices. For example, I consider that my parents were in a spiritual partnership. They were married for 69 years and one of there common practices was to pray together everyday and in the evening before they went to bed, they would read from the Bible together. Now, they could have waited until they went to church on Sunday and read the Bible like everyone else did, but one of the practices that (I don’t know for what reason; they just determined for themselves), was that before they went to bed at night, they read to each other from the Bible. I really think that that strengthened their relationship. I know couples who go hiking together on weekends and the practice of calming down and slowing down and being out in nature and sharing their enjoyment of that, I think is as spiritual for them as reading the Bible together was for my parents.
Chip August: I notice for a lot of us that the relationship between religion and sex is actually pretty negative. It’s not pretty positive. Could you talk a little bit about your conception? So where does sex fit in, in spirituality?
Felicia Williams: Well, I really think that God created us and created all of us. So my spirituality is sacred and my sexuality is sacred. And in that place of being in my sexuality that I’m actually connecting with the power that created me. I think it’s no accident that in the midst of sexuality that a lot of people say “Oh, God!” [Laughter] There is a way that we are connected with that very life creating energy that is a source of who we are and so… But I grew up in a very traditional religion where sex was something that was not positive at best and something to avoid was the other message that I got and it was very confusing when I was having all of these wonderful connecting feelings, and then thinking, “but oh, this is something shameful or dirty!” So in my own life, I had a lot of reprogramming, relearning of myself to find that place where I do see sexuality as a natural extension of who we are, in our divinity, as well as in our humanity.
Chip August: And do you have suggestions on how if somebody is feeling a lot of shame about their sexuality or feeling a lot of those conflicts that they can relieve that shame or they can move out of that? Do you have ideas around that?
Felicia Williams: Well I think there’s, again of communication bet the couple in the midst of their sexuality and around their being sexual.. The simple thing of looking into each other’s eyes and being able to see the goodness or the God or the divinity as they’re engaging in sexual behavior brings a sense of beauty to the act.
Chip August: That’s just a beautiful answer. Thank you so much. We are talking to Felicia Williams. She’s a Doctor of Psychology and a Licensed Spiritual Counselor. This is Chip August and you are listening to Sex, Love and Intimacy. We’ll take a short break and give our sponsors an opportunity to support us and we’ll be right back.
Chip August: This is Chip August. You’re listening to Sex, Love and Intimacy. I’m talking to Dr. Felicia Williams. Dr. Williams, tell me. You’re a licensed spiritual counselor. Who licenses’ you and what does that involve?
Felicia Williams: Well this is a four year program in Spiritual Studies through the United Church of Religious Science, which recently changed its name to the United Centers for Spiritual Living and it involves learning wide variety of spiritual practices, as well as spiritual theology and experience in practicing counseling.
Chip August: Then I also noticed that you are a doctor. What are you a doctor of and where did that come from?
Felicia Williams: I have a Ph. D. in psychology. My initial idea of how I wanted to work with people was through a traditional psychology degree. So I got my Ph. D. and worked in the field as well as teaching in the university prior to becoming a facilitator for the Human Awareness Institute.
Chip August: And tell me about facilitating for the Human Awareness Institute.
Felicia Williams: Other than, it’s one of the greatest joys of my life. I get to travel around the world working with individuals and couples, learning and teaching about love.
Chip August: Wow! That sounds like a nice thing to do. And so tell me, do you find that things that you do at the Human Awareness Institute and the things you do as a psychologist and the things that you do as a licensed spiritual counselor somehow all combine?
Felicia Williams: The thing that I find most wonderful in my life right now. I feel like I had three separate things in my life. I grew up in a traditional religion and religion was separate from education, and education was separate from practice. And when I found The East Bay Church of Religious Science, I read their mission statement and at the time I could put the mission statement of the Human Awareness Institute next to the mission statement of this so-called church and you couldn’t tell which was which. It’s both about transforming the planet one heart at a time, creating a world where everyone wins and taking into account that people have different belief systems, different ideas, but there’s a core of love that runs through it all that’s the same. That’s what is fantastic to me right now.
Chip August: When people approach, when people come to work with you, is there a sort of a common theme to what people are asking for?
Felicia Williams: A lot of times people know that they’re capable of something more in their life but they just don’t know how to get it. So couples may have a pretty okay relationship but they want something more outstanding or they may be stuck around a particular issue and feel like if they could just get an impartial third party to help them see what they can’t see, then they might be able to have more success, more love, more happiness in their relationship even better sexual relationships.
Chip August: That sounds like really fulfilling work! You must really like your work!
Felicia Williams: I love my work and I get to travel around the world really getting to see that people are basically the same way everywhere. You know we want to be love and be loved.
Chip August: I want to give you an opportunity to do a little self-promotion here. If people wanted to get in touch with you, if they wanted to hire you to speak or wanted to work with you, how would they get in touch with you?
Chip August: Healing Space. That’s all one word. You can meet Dr. Felicia Williams. Dr Williams, I’d like to end this with an exercise. I like to have my listeners have an opportunity to practice something that they’ve learned from each of my guests So is there an exercise that you could lead people in so that they could perhaps do right now?
Felicia Williams: One of the things I encourage all the couples that work with me to do is exercise of appreciation. It’s a way of just sitting down and spending a minute or two each saying the things that they appreciate about each other. Now theses can be simple things of, “I appreciate that you washed the dishes today,” or qualities about each other, you know, “I appreciate how kind you are. “I appreciate how patient you are.” But I encourage them to sit down, facing each other and one person is speaking the appreciation and the person receiving…all they can say is “Thank you.” So it’s not like a back and forth. “I appreciate you. I appreciate you”. Literally you can set an egg timer for a minute or two and one person speaks the appreciation and the other person receives. So if I were doing this with you Chip, I would sit and we’d look into each eyes for a moment and just breathe, just a s a place of centering for what we are about to do. And I would begin by saying, “I have an appreciation for you, are you willing to hear it?”
Chip August: Oh, yes!
Felicia Williams: [Laughter] And then I’d just begin to say my “in this moment” sincere appreciation. I appreciate your taking the time and thinking of me to be a person to be on this program. I appreciate the generous person that you are in the world and how your caring and your interest makes a difference to people all over the planet because they get to here this. And as your partner, I would go on to say personal things that I appreciate about you. I appreciate how handsome and sexy you are and I would fill my two minutes and your response each time is just “Thank you”.
Chip August: Thank you
Felicia Williams: And then we’ll pause and kind of breathe together and take it in and then you would have an opportunity to do the same for me and I would just pause after each one and say “Thank you”.
Chip August: So then I’d get to spend a couple of minutes telling you I appreciate how beautiful you are and I appreciate what a good friend you are and I appreciate your taking the time to do this interview and to help me with this program, and we’d go on and on for a couple of minutes like that. Yeah?
Felicia Williams: For me, that really is an entrée into a spiritual connection. Any time that you recognize the beauty in a human being, that to me, is seeing God in them, that’s seeing their God-self, their angel ability and that’s a way a being spiritual partners
Chip August: It reminds me of the translation of- I guess a Sans Skrit phrase, na ma stay [sp], which is, “ the God in me sees the God in you”.
Felicia Williams: Absolutely! That’s exactly what it is.
Chip August: We’re coming down to the end of another show. I want to thank you Dr. Felicia Williams for joining us! For text and transcripts of this show and other shows on the personal life media Network, please come visit our website at www.personallifemedia.com. Make that all one word, personallifemedia.com. If you have some suggestions for me about shows that you’d like to here me do or blogs that you’d like to have me write, why you can send your emails to [email protected] and I will get that.
The folks at frogz.com have very generously given me all kinds of accessories for people’s iPods, cases and covers and things like that. They are internet retailers of these kinds of accessories and I’m giving them out as gifts and what I’d like to do is give them to listeners who email me with really good ideas for another show. So if you send me an idea for a show or a blog that I use, I will happily send you an accessory from frogz.com. Thank you, frogz.com, for sponsoring us! As we end this interview I just want to know if there’s any lat thought that you’d like to say before we say good bye.
Felicia Williams: I just want to say, what a delight this has been and I encourage all the listeners to find your own way of connecting with your spirituality and share that with your partner. If there is one thing that you can take from this to enrich your relationship and take it to an even higher level, just take the opportunity to sit with your partner, talk about the ideas that you’ve heard here and make it your own.Chip August: Wow! That is just a great way to end. Thank you so much Dr. Williams and thank you all for listening and join me again next time on Sex, Love and Intimacy. Good bye for now!
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