May 7, 2021

Sondra Harmon Transformational Relationship Coach & Author

Sondra Harmon Transformational Relationship Coach & Author

Certified Meditation Teacher, Transformational Relationship Coach & Author Sondra Harmon discusses her challenges in previous relationships, how she became happily married after many years of hurt and disappointment, why she was motivated to change herself and support others, strategies for finding love or improving your current relationship and much more…
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Certified Meditation Teacher, Transformational Relationship Coach & Author Sondra Harmon discusses her challenges in previous relationships, how she became happily married after many years of hurt and disappointment, why she was motivated to change herself and support others, strategies for finding love or improving your current relationship and much more…

Sondra Info: 


Free Book
Facebook Group:



Nigel Beckles: Welcome to my podcast. Where are you living at the moment?

Sandra Harmon: Actually right now I'm in Puerto Rico. And how long have you been in Puerto Rico? I've been here a little bit over a year. The idea was to live part of the time here in Puerto Rico and part of the time in Manhattan, which is where I've been living recently, but with all the travel restrictions going on, we ended up just staying here in Puerto Rico full time.

Nigel Beckles: I understand you are a certified meditation teacher and also a transformational relationship coach. Where did you study and which qualifications did you obtain? I became a meditation teacher with a group in India. That's called e-comm now. And it's one of those places. If you Google, you can, it's like the big place. It looks like Taj Mahal, except it's like four times the size. And it was started by a couple prodigy and Christian, Angie, and their spiritual teachers that come from a lineage of spiritual teachers. But they're also. And I'm also married. And when I was really starting my quest to figure out like, what's the deal with relationships. I had come across them through a retreat that they had done in the US where a friend of mine kept saying, Oh, you know, you need to go.

You know what you need to come to this meditation retreat. I'm like, no way. How can you possibly think I'm going to meditate? I have add I'm like I can't, I can't sit still. How I, no, no. And he must have asked me four or five times to come to various retreats. No. Anyway, I finally, um, got to experience one of their meditations, which was so simple and so quick and so transformative that I was like, okay, sign me up. I'll go to whatever retreat it is. And then I ended up in San Francisco, just got like blown away in terms of. Of how it shifted, not what I knew. Like there was no new knowledge, but it shifted like my consciousness that I, I decided I was going to go to India and study with them. So I studied to become a meditation instructor and then also to become what they call a, a consciousness transformer, one consciousness transformer.

And I learned more about how do you, how do you teach and how do you help people? Change and shift in a way that's not about reading books or, um, you know, learning new tips or tools or strategies. And I also, at the time and run across a book that they had written called freedom in relationships. So I spent, I spent about a year going back and forth to India and studying with them. I had my own monk that helped me out, but then I started specializing in their relationship, meditations and wisdoms. And I did a lot of that in New York. So I really became familiar with what are those barriers that are in our mind and our heart to keeping us from connecting.

And then along that time, there was a woman, Alison Armstrong. She's very, very well known in certain circles. And unfortunately not very well known in other circles who has a background in researching with me and her. In fact, your website is, I think, understand men. She said she'd started researching then because she wanted to know the enemy, right. She'd gone through a difficult divorce and she wanted to understand men so she could know the enemy. And after researching with thousands of men, she's like, Pretty cool. Awesome. And that's what she taught. So I was introduced to some of her books and she was offering a course to learn how she taught transformation, which, you know, also we travelled around the country with her learning and then also researching.

So I spent two and a half years doing similar research, re researching with men, researching with women on. Different aspects of relationships and different aspects of masculine and feminine energy as well as different healing modalities. So those are kind of the two most impactful long-term training programs that I've been on with various ventures. Well, I understand you provide guidance to people who have repeatedly becoming involved with failed relationships. So what has your experience been of difficult romantic relationships? I always say I'm kind of like. Uh, Goldilocks, you know, the story of Goldilocks and the three bears. So it was my first relationship and these were all like eight to 10 years.

My first relationship, it was just too hard. So I switched to another one, which was too soft. So then I'm thinking, okay, the third one will be just right. Right. My experience of it though, was it was. Worse than the first two combined. And it just kept getting like more and more difficult. And I was having the same issues, but with different men, completely different men. And at one point I just, I just had to change. I had to like, look at what was going on and a woman that I had just barely met, but she was the first person I ever saw. Really great relationship. And with all these relationships, she said, you know, sweetie, what's in it for you. And that's when I first turned inward and that's what took me on my journey to India. That's what took me on reading two or three books about relationships every single week. That's what took me on this tour with Alison Armstrong traveling and learning from her. So, yeah, so that was my experience. And I just don't want, I don't want people to suffer as long as I did

Nigel Beckles: I have a chapter called relationship patterns.

Sandra Harmon: The, the viewpoint that I take on it is there is something in us and it doesn't matter where it came from because it could come from parents. It could come from society. It could come actually just from our DNA. Like there are certain instinctual behaviors we have because we're either men or women and we're all human that compel us to do things that maybe don't make sense. In the modern world, don't make sense for us. Don't make sense for the type of relationship we're trying to build. And it's a lot to me, it comes down to a lack of consciousness. So bringing conscious awareness to that kind of landmine in your own head or brain or consciousness or whatever you want to call it to me is the key.

It's different for every person what's there. But I like to look at. That moment of hurt and upset as the key to finding out what's going on. And too many times what we do is we sweep it under the rug, right? Oh no, it's not a big deal. Oh, you know, he didn't mean that or, you know, whatever. It's like, we hold onto the hurt, but we pretend we don't hurt or we blame ourselves. We could blame the other. And even though that sounds like something that may be liberating, it actually still keeps us attached to keep that blame going. Doesn't allow us to look inward anyway. And, and so in my book, that's my exploration are what are the. Well, different things that we do rather than allow ourselves to experience the hurt and look underneath what's going on so that we only have to go through it once.

Nigel Beckles: I did want to ask you, what do you believe are the biggest myths? Regarding maintaining a healthy relationship.

Sandra Harmon: One of the biggest myths that I see that changed my, my world is I think that there's this idea out there that when you have this great relationship, you'll never get your feelings hurt.

You'll never be disrespected. You'll never be disappointed. These things that we think that when we have the perfect relationship, we won't feel those things. We won't experience that. And I know that's kind of what I was looking at. It's like, well, wait a second, I'm being hurt. I'm being upset. Like this is, you know, this is like wrong. I've got to figure out how to stop this. I've got to change the other person. So that's like my number one thing, like just realize you're going to get your feelings hurt. You're gonna feel disrespected. You're gonna get disappointed. And it's not that you, you won't it's how do you deal with it? And how do you use that to become even more connected with yourself and your own needs and your own?

Like what fills you up and the other person too? So that's probably the number one thing that I, I look at. Well, what advice would you give someone who is single and looking for a serious relationship? It depends on where they are with their former relationships. You know, if they left their relationships hurt and like less than they were before, if the, if they're holding on to the past in any way, my first advice would be to dissect and we'll release. What's still within them. So they can start a new relationship with an open heart rather than starting the relationship with all the walls that they've built before that had to do with somebody else. So if they're they're coming off bad, I'm going to use the air quotes, bad relationships. That's what I would recommend if they're in a really good place and they're already open or open-hearted, they're not holding onto the past, I would really focus on what is the experience of the relationship they want to create and what do they want to bring to the relationship?

So many times we're focusing on what do we want to get from the relationship and to really look at what's the. You wanted the relationship and what you're bringing to it. And I know that sometimes that can come across as yeah. But you know, what about me? What about what I'm getting? Right. Um, you know, I, I, in my past relationship, I did all this. I did this, I did that. And still, I got my heartbroken that falls under the category of they're still a little hurt. But if you're openhearted and you're aware, that's all you have is what, what you're giving. And then I guess the one last thing for both is how to ask for what you need. And I think not to generalize, but I'm going to generalize.

Women tend to have more difficulty in asking for what we need. Like it's and there's a thinking out there that, well, it's just that we expect somebody to read our minds, but I think sometimes it's just easier to have that expectation that they can read our minds rather than risk the no asking for what our heart's desire is, is really vulnerable. And it's really hard. And if you're asking from somebody that you really care about, you can end up having all these tricks and strategies to manipulate the person into giving you what you want, rather than just coming out and saying, you know, this is what I need. This is what I need to be my best self. If you're still holding on to stuff, there's one advice. If you're openhearted another and then. Learning how to ask for what you need is good for everybody.

Nigel Beckles: So we've spoken about singles. What about couples? How would you advise a couple to improve their relationship? If it was a bit rocky? One of the things that a lot of times clients will ask is.

Sandra Harmon: Can we come in as a couple, can you work with both of us? And I won't do that in the beginning because there is this myth out there in order for me to be happy. I have to get that other person. I have to get my partner to change. So a lot of people go into, yeah, they go into counseling or they go into therapy. Together. Not because they themselves want to look at themselves and what's going on with them and what they need and why they've got these landmines. But they're going in hoping to get the support of another person to change that much. And that other person, the first thing I would say for couples is look, if you're the one suffering. Look at yourself, not from the lens of blame or from the lens of shame or not being good enough, but like really dig in and see what it takes for you to be joyful for you to be happy for you to be fulfilled, fill yourself up. And now. Let's look at maybe having some communication about tips and tricks, because it's really hard to ask someone else for something in a relationship when you are demanding it, right.

When you have all that energy of like, you know, if you don't pick your socks up, you know, you need to pick your socks up off the floor. What's wrong with you that you don't, maybe you don't actually. Need to have socks picked up. Maybe you should pick the socks out. You know, all these things. When you can ask for change in an open way or communicate in an open way, it's a totally different flavor. So people that are to the point where they want help, I recommend that the person who wants to help starts with getting themselves help. Seems reasonable. I mean, we have to work on ourselves.

Nigel Beckles: I observe many people go into relationships, not looking for a partner, but looking for an unpaid therapist. And unfortunately many of us are not equipped to be therapists.

Sandra Harmon: Yes. Because I interviewed hundreds and hundreds of people. And some of the best advice I got was from this woman who was talking about when she's upset and when she's having frustration and anger. She doesn't go and talk to her husband about it. We just had our anniversary, my husband and I did on Thursday and our wedding vows were a little bit different in that we weren't promising to love and cherish and stay together forever and ever, you know, sickness and in health. What we ended up having is our vows with something that went more along the lines of, I promise to nurture compassion in my own being. I promise to care for my feelings. And then share that compassion with you. I promised to nurture joy in my own being, and then share that joy with you. I know it's something like that, but you get the idea. It's like our vows were about us taking responsibility for filling up ourselves first and then, you know, overflowing with joy. Now you have something to give to somebody else. If somebody isn't filled up themselves with love and joy and compassion, any amount they give to someone else, they're doing it as an investment and they want interest back.

Nigel Beckles: Well, you cannot pour from an empty cup as the old saying goes.

Sandra Harmon: Yeah, that's exactly it. So really that's why when I talk to people that are part of relationships, I work with the individual that's suffering to get them filled up. With all the compassion, all the self-esteem, all the love, all the joy, all the ability to care for their own feelings. So that they're not grasping it all like a drowning person. It's like, you know, I need more tension. I need more love. I need more understanding. I need to be seen. If you can be seeing yourself and see yourself and take care of yourself and grow this love, then you share it with the other. And it's like, yay. It's different flow. It's a different flow.

Nigel Beckles: How long have you been married?

Sandra Harmon: We've only been married two years. So I went through this journey of, and for anyone out there listening about how, you know, the possibilities of having had difficult relationships. Cause I had, I'd had very difficult relationships and everything turned around for me when I was 49. And I just, when I started reading and researching and learning. Oh, my God. I watched so many Ted talks, hedgehog saved my life. And then I, I met my husband when a couple of years after that I was 50 51 and we met, it was amazing from the beginning. Not that he doesn't hurt my feelings and not that I don't do things that upset. Well, let's talk a little bit about your book. I see them here and they just. You know, they're open and they're smiling. And my premise is that we're born for connection, but what happens. And that's where I go into the hurt. That happens naturally part of relationships, like I said, but also part of life, like life is going to hurt our feelings. Life is going to disappoint us. All of these things. And what is it that we do rather than just letting that hurt flow through us. And getting back to connection because again, using my toddlers on a playground example yeah. You know, one of them will get in a fight over a toy or something, but then 10 minutes later, they're playing again. You know, adults, we hold on to this. So it's actually a fun book. It's illustrated with a lot of cartoons. And I use a metaphor of hot potatoes. Hot potato beans. Meaning that thing that, you know, it's hot, it hurts and yet we're holding onto it and all these different ways, you know, we're sweeping it under the rug, which is kind of storing them up until they come up to our eyeballs and we explode, or we file our hot potatoes away waiting to pull it out at the right moment when he does the next thing that's upsetting. It's a choice. All of this as a choice. And I think sometimes we don't realize we have a choice. Do we want to hold on to these hot potatoes? And there's good reasons to have them. I'm not saying I'm in fact, the whole book goes awesome reasons to hold onto hurt this way, and then awesome reasons to not hold on, to hurt in this way.

And you get to a point where it's a choice. Do you want to hold onto it? Are you being served more? My the blame or holding onto the past or replaying it over in your mind again and again and again, are you being served more than that because there's good reasons for it, or are you going to be more served and letting it go and having connection and having the possibility of connection. The whole book is based on a workshop. I did, I was in lockdown for a year, so I took a workshop that I did and turned it into a book. So what is it in your mind? That's having you look at something in a way that's creating and I call it the mess. It's like looking at the mess in our minds, that's reading the hurt and it's an exploration into the meanings that we give things. It's an exploration into the expectations that we have. I'm not a person who says don't have expectations, but are there expectations that are causing the hurt?

We're looking at the strategies that you have strategies, meaning are you looking at your partner or some group of people or life itself as an enemy? That's when you start to strategize, that's when you're, you know, you're like, okay, if I say this and they'll do this, or, Oh, I better not say this. And I'm gonna like, pretend that I didn't hear that. And then later I'm going to count like all the, Oh my God, we spent so much time strategizing. Okay. So strategy's part of the mess. And then the last, one of the stories that we tell, so you have MTSS easy to remember. Meaning expectations, strategies, stories. And then the last part that I have people explore is taking a look at the thing that makes messes really messy, which is you and how so much of what we're doing is just looking at ourselves. And that's one of the things that I think keeps us disconnected in relationships is we're so focused on our experience that we're not looking at the experience of the other, you know, somebody, and this happens a lot with women, you know, their, their boyfriends or husband raises their voice. They're angry.

And now all of a sudden it's like, how could you do that to me? That's not nice. I don't like when you're angry, stop. Without exploring. Well, what was the experience that you were having that was causing you to react that way? So the last part of the mess is exploring how we're not necessarily always connected to the experience of the other. And that's it. That's the whole book. So Sandra, how can people reach out to you? Ah, yeah. Well, one is they can go to my website. So it's, um, Saundra, and I definitely have my got my email address there. You're free to email me about anything. I actually love questions from random people because it gives me a chance to think about what would be a viewpoint of this, what would the way of looking at it?

So I do a lot of Facebook lives. I have a Facebook live group that is also, you can get to it from the website. I wanted to do for this podcast is I have my book and you can order it on Amazon and you can in Kindle or in paperback, but I actually have a PDF. And if anybody listening just wants to read it and wants to download the PDF with all the pictures, it's really easy.