— an exploration & practice of right relationship —

THE 2023-2024 GROUP IS FULL. (Registration for the 2024-2025 group will open in July 2024.)

  • September 2023 through May 2024
  • Group coaching & community gatherings every other Wednesday 9-12am Pacific (12-3pm Eastern)
  • Regular 1:1 listening practice conversations with a program partner
  • Ongoing quarterly community of practice after program ends
  • Person-centered and experiential—show up with what you have & go after what you want
  • Gatherings are held live via Zoom and are not recorded
  • Pay what you choose: $1,250-$2,500

If belonging is our birthright, 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 with ourselves and one another.

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 come by it honestly. We learn what we live.

Supremacy cultures teaches 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).

REGARD is a 9-month, paradigm-shifting deep dive, group coaching space, and 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 9-month 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.

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
  • Telling the truth about what we want and need
  • Recognizing consent & honoring boundaries (ours and others’)
  • Navigating conflict and difference without compromising our integrity
  • Confronting our mistakes without spiraling into shame 
  • Repairing relational harm and returning to harmony
  • Generously acknowledging and cherishing the people and communities we love (because we want them to thrive, we want them to know how we feel, and 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, care, and competence to uncomfortable conversations
  • Recognize, confront, and dismantle oppressive beliefs and behaviors in ourselves and in our relationships
  • 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)

This is what I want for us: more joyful connection and less suffering in all of our relationships.

Hi! I’m James-Olivia. I am a friend to humans who love and lead, a facilitator and enthusiastic advocate of uncomfortable, extraordinary, life-changing conversations, a foundation shaker and root nourisher, and fellow work-in-progress (i.e. avid & grateful maker of mistakes).

I ask exquisitely rude questions & I cherish exquisitely honest (and sometimes squirmy) answers. This is one of the ways I love.

I believe the conversation is the relationship, and that in Right Relationship there is room for us (you and me and everyone) to show up with our whole selves. I believe neither freedom nor joyful connection can be sustained without combining relentless regard 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 conversations that radically alter our most important relationships  — with ourselves, our loved ones, our work, the world, and everything.

What Regard isn’t.
This exploration of Right Relationship…

  • will not teach you how to transform someone else’s behavior. Manipulation, coercion, and control are generally ineffective strategies for creating just and sustainable relationships. (We may, however, have a few laughs noticing with compassion where we try our relational fuckery.)
  • is not a space where judgment, shaming, or punishment are employed as teaching tools. You will be both supported and challenged to examine your conditioned beliefs, and you will not “get in trouble” for making mistakes, taking care of yourself, or not knowing all the answers (they’re your answers… you’ll get to know them in your own time).
  • will not neatly answer all of your questions. In fact, you’ll leave with new and different questions to explore. (Yay!)
  • is not a comfortable or safe space; it’s real life. Things get messy in real life. Differences are inevitable… and we can navigate the discomfort together with grace and care. Discomfort doesn’t have to mean suffering, and messy doesn’t have to mean reckless. Regard can be a space for exploration, growth, learning, practicing, taking responsibility, and holding others capable.
  • will not bypass the systemic realities of supremacy culture. If you are unready or unwilling to share in frank conversations that explore identity, socialization, systems of oppression, privilege & marginalization, and how these things impact our interpersonal & collective relationships, please consider joining us at another time. If you are willing but uncomfortable, welcome to the conversation!
  • is not a support group (although I welcome and encourage supportive, loving humans to join each other here). Support groups provide a space for people to share personal experiences, feelings, and coping strategies. While acknowledging your lived experience is a crucial element of your experience in Regard, having the group hold space for emotional processing or lengthy personal stories is not its intended function. We will focus less on what happened, and more on what now?
  • is not therapy or a space for excavating or processing trauma.

What Regard is: a 9-month, experiential exploration of right relationship, group coaching, 1:1 partner conversations, and a community of practice.

  • September 2023 through May 2024
  • Group coaching & community gatherings every other Wednesday 12-3pm ET
  • Regular 1:1 listening practice conversations with a program partner
  • Ongoing quarterly community of practice after program ends
  • Person-centered and experiential—show up with what you have & go after what you want
  • Gatherings are held live via Zoom and are not recorded

“Thinking of you and smiling face and heart.  Thank you for how you’ve influenced and shaped my life and relationships.  It hasn’t been easy or pleasant to make some of these changes and I am beginning to taste the sweetness of more truthful, reciprocal relationships.” —Anakha Coman

“Working with James-Olivia has truly been a GIFT. To be loved, held, mentored, and challenged by them has been powerful and deeply healing. Through their witnessing and guidance, I have strengthened my relationship with myself, my will/power, and my community. I’ve learned to lean into conversations and situations with more love, awareness, regard for myself and others, and possibility. They embody love, liberation, and leadership in ways that have given me so much inspiration, hope, and another way of being in this world. I’ve cultivated joy and embrace for my full humanity more. And I will forever be grateful. In a culture that benefits from your suffering and disconnection to Self, Regard and Disobedience School are a gift for your soul and the world. —Michelle Morales

Uuuummmmm. I love James-Olivia too, but I also strongly desire to role a huge blunt after REGARD some days.” Rev. Ladale Benson

“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

I love that James-Olivia brings a strong anti-oppressive framework to their practice, and the many ways that they consistently link the personal to the communities and systems we are all a part of. While I can always count on James-Olivia to be loving in our conversations, it is a love that is committed to truth telling and accountability; I know that I will leave our conversations understanding myself, my relationships and my social conditioning more thoroughly, whether or not it’s pretty. But James-Olivia is utterly unconcerned with pretty, which creates the space to actually just BE and make aware, sovereign, clear decisions about who we are constantly becoming. I can’t think of a bigger gift.” —F.C.