How did it come to be that so many of us know so little about creating and nurturing deep connection and sustainable relationships?
Here we are, fully grown humans, having somehow missed out on foundational skills, practices, and perspectives that support us in choosing Right Relationship.
The important conversations we need to have sit and fester.
In our desire to stay connected, we grasp at familiar habits. We ignore, dismiss, or try to fix other people (or ourselves). We act tougher or more helpless than we are. We expect our partners to “just know” what hurts or pleases us, and feel frustrated and justified in our belief that we shouldn’t have to ask for what we want and need. We hold our tongues and seethe silently at serial boundary-steppers so others won’t see us as angry or unkind. We beg for or demand attention and validation where there is none to be had.
We pretend we’re not hurting. We pretend we’re not scared. We pretend we’re not disappointed. We pretend we’re not powerful, amazing, talented, brilliant. We pretend and pretend until we can’t pretend anymore, then we lash out and say the things we really mean… but maybe didn’t mean to say quite like that.
We shun, we rage, we withdraw, we chase. We attack, we defend, we avoid, we control. (And this is the short list.)
We came by it honestly. We learn what we live.
We live in contexts that teach us that strategies like punishment and reward, withholding affection, blame, manipulation, violence, either/or thinking, defensiveness, retaliation, and rescuing—to name a few—will somehow “earn” us the closeness and harmony we yearn for, then we end up wondering why our best attempts at Right Relationship leave us feeling frustrated, bitter, confused, conflicted, ashamed, disappointed, bored, angry, or resentful—and ultimately disconnected.
Here’s the thing: we are connected. We are in more relationships than we ever thought possible. We are in relationships with ourselves, our bodies, our needs & desires, our parents & children, our clients, our communities, work, play, home, ideas, information, the cosmos, difference, life, death, time, money, government, technology, food, history, ancestors, art, pain, medicine, humanity, gravity, nature… literally everything (including our intimate partners and closest loves, but I don’t want to overwhelm you 😉).
That’s lot of relationships, but how do we get to Right Relationship?
Our relational skills need an upgrade… and context matters.
Systems we were born and socialized into—like white supremacy, cis hetero patriarchy, and capitalism—shape and influence our families, our communities, and nearly every aspect of our cultural ecosystems, impacting our capacity to discern right action and sustain right relationship.
It’s no accident… these systems were designed to disconnect us from one another, and we are in relationship with them. Without acknowledging and addressing how cultures and conditioning of hierarchy and oppression impact how we show up, we miss out on the deep and rich connections that are available to us.
These deep connections really are available to us. I want us to have them. I want us to choose them.
When we have the perspective, presence, and practice to be in Right Relationship with ourselves, we can have more joy, more connection, and less suffering in our most important relationships with everyone and everything else.
REGARD is a guided conversation, paradigm shifting deep dive, small-group coaching space, and a community of practice for humans who crave deeper connection and more authentic relationships — with themselves, the people they love, their communities, the world, and everything.
In this fiercely facilitated, compassionate, and sometimes uncomfortable conversation, we’ll explore the challenges that arise in our most important relationships… without bypassing the contexts, constructs, and systems of power that we inhabit together, and without dismissing the innate power and responsibility we have when we show up truthfully as who we are and with what we have.
Four months of weekly deep-dive, small group, real-time conversations about our real-life relationships.
“James-Olivia tells you the truth, they are always surprising, and they’re willing to hold your hand while leading you into places that may be uncomfortable for you. If you want truth and surprise, without being pandered to, these are conversations you need to have.” —Tiana Dodson, One Beautiful Yes
In REGARD there is space to explore and practice the relational skills of:
- Identifying and interrupting the places where dominant culture impacts how we show up in relationship (a.k.a. dismantling internalized white supremacy and smashing the patriarchy from the inside out… so we can actually get to the rest of this list)
- Telling the truth about what we want and need
- Recognizing consent & honoring boundaries (ours and others’)
- Navigating conflict and difference without resorting to contempt
- Confronting our mistakes without spiraling into shame
- Relationship repair
- Generously acknowledging and cherishing the people and communities we love (because we want them to know how we feel, we want them to thrive, and also most of them are not mind-readers)
This group is a space for asking tough questions about how we were taught—and not taught—to relate, for facing the honest answers, and for cultivating the skills and capacity to:
- Bring courage and care to uncomfortable conversations (because we have both courage and care inside us)
- Recognize, confront, and dismantle oppressive beliefs and behaviors in ourselves and in our relationships (because we’re not bad or broken… we learned what we lived)
- Show up with integrity and grace in our most important—and sometimes most challenging—relationships (because we can do this, for ourselves, for each other, and for the world we want to create together)
“James-Olivia is who you want to work with when you want to be LOVED, HEARD and GUIDED into understanding the intersections of disconnection we’re ingrained in — fully and deeply. They are incredibly gifted at listening to the experiences of your life and helping you dissect and dismantle the lies of limitation and cultural programming that separate you from moving towards embodying your realness in our society.” —Ash Johns, www.ashleyjohns.com
“James-Olivia creates ease, a sense of trust (because you know they will be honest), holds space for complexity and inspires connection and openness. It’s no wonder their sweet spot is around healing and deepening in relationship. They live and breathe it. In a field of coaches/healers/spiritual people holding space for radical transformation (which necessarily includes the examination of how we exist and choose consciously in systems and structures of privilege and oppression) they are someone who models integrity in leadership. I’m thrilled to have been introduced to them.” —Nancy Guerrera
Hi! I’m James-Olivia.
I am a relational life & leadership coach, facilitator and enthusiastic advocate of uncomfortable, extraordinary, life-changing conversations, loving interrogator of reality, and fellow work-in-progress (i.e. avid maker of mistakes).
I ask uncomfortable questions. I cherish the uncomfortable, honest answers. I believe the conversation is the relationship, and that in Right Relationship there is room for us to show up with our whole selves. I believe neither freedom nor joy can be sustained without combining relentless compassion with the disobedience of inquiry.
In my own life and in my work with individuals, partners, teams, and organizations, I actively seek out and engage in the deeply uncomfortable, honest conversations that radically alter our most important relationships — with ourselves, our loved ones, the world, and everything.
This is what I want: more joyful connection and less suffering in our most important relationships—with ourselves, the people we love, and the world.
This exploration of Right Relationship…
- will not teach you how to transform someone else’s behavior, because manipulation, coercion, and control are generally ineffective strategies for creating just and sustainable relationships. (We may have a few laughs noticing—without shaming ourselves—where we try them.)
- is not a space where judgment, shaming, or punishment are employed as teaching tools. You will be both supported and challenged to examine the conditioned beliefs and habitual actions that impact your relationships, but you will not “get in trouble” for not knowing things, making mistakes, or taking care of yourself.
- will not neatly answer all of your questions. In fact, you’ll probably leave with some new and different questions to explore. (Squee!)
- is not a comfortable or “safe” space.
- Things get messy, because it’s real—and we will build the skills and capacity to navigate the discomfort, because uncomfortable doesn’t have to mean difficult, and messy doesn’t have to mean sloppy.
- In our conversations, differences are inevitable and nervous systems get activated.
- Regard is a space for exploration, learning, practicing, growth, taking responsibility for what is ours, and holding others capable of taking responsibility for what is theirs.
- will not bypass the systemic realities of white supremacy, cis hetero patriarchy, and capitalism.
- If you are unready or unwilling to share in frank conversations that explore identity, socialization, systems of oppression, relative privilege & marginalization, and our collective relationships, please consider joining us at another time.
- If you are willing but kind of uncomfortable, welcome to the conversation!
- is not a support group (although it does tend to attract supportive, loving, and compassionate humans).
- is not a space for excavating, supporting, or processing trauma.
- This bears repeating: in our conversations, differences are inevitable, and our nervous systems get activated. If you are unable or unwilling to take care of yourself in the presence of difference, tension, or conflict, Regard is not the space for you.
- If you have questions, want additional support, or are unsure if REGARD is the right place for you, let’s talk.
“Engaging in conversation about right relationship and right action with James-Olivia has had a lasting impact for me. Literally every day since we connected, I’ve been thinking about topics and applying concepts from on our call. I experience a depth of presence, support, and curiosity from James-Olivia that I’ve experienced with few others. Co-creating a safe, vulnerable, and honest space wherein each of us could show up, be real, and learn was a nourishing and fulfilling experience for me.” —Nic Strack, www.nicstrack.com
“I love how James-Olivia holds space. Their clear boundaries, defined agreements, and way of being make having challenging and deep conversations feel safe. I felt like I could take my time with my responses, and answer honestly without any fear of judgment.” —Violeta Lerma
“This! James-Olivia Chu Hillman creates a beautiful container for conversation, teaching, and coaching. And their approach to Right Relationship is genius.” —Shyloh K. McGill