After the election, I needed to hear about Super Couples. It’s been one hell of a week and I do mean hell. To me hell is what happens when our unspoken, sacred rules of humanity are broken. In this case trashed, burned, buried and even mocked but this is not an article about the election and the demise of trust. No really, it’s not. It’s about love, kindness, relationship and Tara Caffelle.

I bordered on becoming a dangerously sad drunk these past seven days and I’m not talking about booze. As a kid I endured sloppy holidays with intoxicated and teary uncles cornering me between the fridge and the chip dip begging me to never give up on my dreams. Go to school, they said, and don’t turn into me, they begged. Guess what?  I grasped their drunken despair this week. I drank a few too many glasses of wine and I ate a lot of chip dip. Still, this is not an article about the election but I can’t seem to get away from it. Neither could Tara or I when we spoke earlier this week.

Tara Caffelle, a relationship coach and a good one – great one – balls to the wall – best one.  She likens herself to being a couple’s fairy godmother who with her magic wand of good honest work is here to change the world one Super Couple at a time. In unpredictable times such as these, we all could use a fair godmother don’t you think? We can skip the glass slipper/glass ceiling or whatever…, ditch the carriage that goes poof into a pumpkin at midnight, but let’s keep the wand shall we? Tara’s kind of fairy dust teaches us all how to turn toward each other. We need that. She believes that when we turn in to each other we begin a ripple of loving kindness that can be felt by all. Her message is timely.


Tara Caffelle with TinaO


I needed her this week and badly. Not because my personal relationship was in trouble, rather because my relationship with the world had it’s teeth kicked in and I found myself feeling gobsmacked reading the ‘I left you and btw I took the kids’ on the American electorate kitchen table. We both felt it. How could we not?

Tara – Helloooooooo… How are you?
TinaO – Oh f*ck… I’m okay.  I’m recalibrating you know?
Tara – Yeah, me to. Me too.
TinaO – And all the positive spin spin spin on social media out there, we’re all just coping because it’s all we can do right now. 
Tara – Mmmm…. yes, we need to make it understandable for ourselves. Last night I read an article and I thought maybe this will be okay. I’m trying to make sense of this, I’m trying to make it be okay but there’s so much shadow between ‘here and it’s okay‘ and I don’t know that I’m ready to do that.  I was humming along just fine before all of this, and now what??? It’s exhausting.
We both realized:  How like a relationship this is.  
Tara Caffee with TinaO post USA 2016 election


I’ve had my fair share of relationship smack-down moments. I’ve been in love many times which means I’ve also been left at the altar so to speak more times than I care to remember or admit. I don’t believe in soulmates. I don’t believe in the Lord of the Rings version of marriage with One Ring to Rule them All. I don’t believe in ’til death do us part’ – What do I have to die to get out of this?  And some people do. I believe in love and I believe in freedom.  Love is a renewable resource and freedom is the mother who never dies, who never abandons, whom you can always come home to. I’m a sensible Canadian, but even I can hear the Nationalistic pride in my personal values.

USA = the land of the free and home of the brave.
Canada = our charter of rights and freedoms
and then Love = Love knows no bounds
We are fueled by love. We build countries on it.

Tara – I just keep coming back to the only thing I have control over is what I put out to the world and I think compassionate, loving, soft people who feel at home is what is going to save us. 
We’re going to be living in a world where we need to be looking out for everyone.  To look around and recognize we don’t take for granted anybody’s safety anymore, we actually have to look out for each other now. We are now all together in this.  That’s the invitation. It’s the ultimate in self-care. 
In the past, when my relationships have blown up, sometimes I’ve been the one holding the detonator and that’s a hard truth to accept. I have pushed the big red button of blame, of sabotage, of distance, of incrimination and justification. I’ve lashed out. I’ve also hidden from love behind the self-care mask and it sounds like this: What is wrong with you? I expect more. You let me down again. How dare you do this to me. Don’t you know how stupid…? I can’t do this anymore, I’m outta here.  Sound familiar? 
This kind of self-love is actually self-protection and not love at all, but it’s not exactly fear either. It’s the ring of survival where love and fear meet and duke it out until one is laid out against the ropes and going down and then what do we say?  I’ll live to fight another day. Why are we fighting?
This is why Tara’s work is so important. I am you and you are me.
When we actually prioritize our relationships, when we care about our relationships like we would ourselves, when we think about self-care (which btw is the most annoying phrase I’ve ever heard in my life), as our own care, being compassionate to ourselves, we have a full cup to give from and when everyone is feeding from that same giant pool of water, there can be enough.  It’s only when we focus on the periphery of our lives, that’s our water source gets empty, and it all starts in relationship. I take care of you, and I take care of us to take care of you, to take care of me.  I agree to treat you like you are the most precious being in the world, because you are. …That part just makes me cry.
 Tara Caffelle and TinaO election 2016
I’m thinking, oh boy, are we talking about fusion here? This is gonna be pretty dang triggering for those in therapy world so I asked her, is this what your definition of relationship is? I am you, you are me? She thought about it for a quick countdown of five seconds. I could hear her wheels processing, feel her scales weighing, and watch her truth-ometer kick in.   Yes, she said.  Yes, it is.  
I’m stealing from Dan Savage here. He calls it the cost of admission.  His cost of admission is having a partner who is a slob in the kitchen. It makes him nuts. Everything is everywhere: the bread, the mustard, the entire kitchen blows up but that’s one of his costs of admission to being in relationship with him. We have different prices to pay and our most challenging and triggering cost is just giving your partner what they need. Asking what does your partner require right now? What do they need, that needs you to give it to them? Just give it to them. I know you don’t want to. I don’t care. Do it because they are asking for it.
I can feel my own personal freedom alarms going crazy as I think: where in our marriage vows does it say I agree to give you what you need simply because you ask for it.
Tara responds: 
We take things personally. We get triggered. We react. Let’s not collapse and forget that we manage ourselves by asking and staying in charge of our own needs. It’s as if the relationship becomes a third person in your home and for them to feel welcome and safe, sometimes you have to step over your own bullshit, your own triggers, ego, resentment, and get ACTIVATED by saying NO, my relationship needs this from me right now. 
After fifteen years of marriage I can honestly say that I have been in places where the resentment was so deep and the pain was too debilitating to know what to do so I asked, what happens when the ‘love tank’ we talked about above is empty, rusted or has a hole in it? What if you can’t find the energy to step over your ego as you say?
Sometimes the cost of admission here is to be really fucking gentle right now, to not get triggered… even though you do feel triggered, to just to AGREE that we are going to be really, really kind to each other. We can ask, how can we be a little more gentle and caring? How can we hold each other? Sometimes it starts with the smallest things like shutting off netflix to cuddle or have a shower together. We can ease into making tiny threads of connection by turning towards each other on our way back to centre. 
We riffed on the question, What if your relationship was a guest at a Christmas party, who would they be? The drunk uncle on a soapbox? The clingy girlfriend? Are you sulking in the corner? On the make? Playing an instrument by yourself? Gorging at the buffet? Or are you still standing at the front door waiting to be asked in?
TinaO and Tara Caffelle
At TinaOLife, Tara writes a regular column called Where Relationships Get Real and there’s no denying that what we witnessed in the USA over the last year and a half was pretty toxic and yet dangerously real. We watched it all and not just the two leaders in survival mode throwing jabs and sucker punches at each other, but we saw a huge section of the population changed sides. They went from silent to outraged, respectful to hate filled, and contained to dangerous. It’s as if the land of the free and the brave left their marriage for the promise of power and domination. So I asked about betrayal. Is this what we do when our needs aren’t being met? Is this how affairs happen?

Yes, we begin to look outward.  When needs aren’t being met, when we’re feeling injured, when there’s disconnect, when we feel distanced in some way… It’s so easy for a fracture to turn into a big crack and then grow into a gash between. When the relationship bank account is at bedrock we will look for other ways to fill it.


We can do that for each other, and things don’t have to be ‘hard’ or ‘wrong’ to start. We all need a little extra cushion for these exact reasons and kindness costs us nothing.


Tara Caffelle with TinaO after the election
That really resonated for me.
Kindness costs nothing.
Kindness costs nothing.
Kindness costs nothing.
Kindness costs nothing.
Kindness costs nothing.
Kindness costs nothing.
 There’s a graffiti tag I’d like to see more of. 
The bottomline for me is that great functioning relationships ripple out and change the world. I’m here to support those ripples in all the ways I can. I’m an empathic person and I feel all the shit that’s going on in the world, I feel it so heavily, and this is how I can take action, it starts with you and me. 
I can hear it again:  I am you, you are me. 
Tara Caffelle Super Couple Tune up
Tara has a workshop coming up on Nov. 19th for the day (10am-5pm). It’s called The Super Couple Tune Up and let’s be real here – if Barack Obama can meet with Donald Trump in the Oval Office, turn in to him, talk, and then shake his hand, who are we to deny ourselves the deepest most delicious and rewarding connection with the person we continue to choose to be with? For heaven’s sake people, we LOVE our partner. Just get there would ya?
When I asked her what happens there she answered me as the Fairy Godmother that she is:
It’s pretty simple. You’re hanging out with your most beloved for a whole day and getting to learn a few things and have some lightness and sweetness between you. There’s no dancing bears, no walking on coals. It’s a relationship workshop because we know, living in the same house doesn’t make a marriage or a connection.  And it’s okay to have conflict, part of the workshop is WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR EACH OTHER? LET’S TALK ABOUT THAT?  What do you need from me?  How can I actually support that for you? I’m here to serve you as much as you need to, and I hope that after a day with me, you don’t have to come back because sometimes all you need is just a little tune up. 
Come as a couple. Come as a pair.
It’s like the Arc you can only get in two by two.  
Tara Caffelle and TinaO After the Election 2016
It took one and a half years to bring the divide of the United States to the surface so we can all see and hear the reality of the division. As a Canadian, as a wife, as a mother, as a friend, as a community member, as a person in traffic, someone who orders coffee, shops in stores, signs paperwork, makes agreements, pays bills and spends money, as a human being who lives in an ever constant relationship with the boring and painful, ecstatic and joyful, as a body whose bare feet are in communion with the earth and a spirit who touches the sky, relationship is the only bond we all share, like it or not.
I needed Tara Caffelle this week because my faith and willingness to show up again shook. My marriage with humanity brought me to my knees and I wanted to take my ring off. I believe her. Healing starts at home. When we are blessed with a home where love lives because we nurture it in the face of our own shaking vulnerability and we practice, daily, turning into one another, we show up with the Big S on our chest for Super Couple and we ripple love and sexy kindness out into the world.
You can’t hate, fear or divide from someone when you know them. I am you and you are me. Thank you Tara.
Register for Tara’s Super Couple this SATURDAY NOV. 19th here.  


Tara-Caffelle-TinaO-LifeTara Caffelle is a relationship coach who was married, then married in an open marriage, then divorced, then single, and now is in a happy and fulfilling monogam-ish relationship with a guy she seems to never get tired of. She’s a writer and is currently working on her first book about grief and love and intimacy which she found when she lost her best friend, her dog and 3 other people in the span of one year and 20 days.

She believes that sometimes we have to be brave enough to break our own hearts that our relationships set us free and that good ones, SUPER COUPLE ones, can, and will, change the world.

 TinaO Your Living Story
 TinaO is a Core Story Specialist, a writer, speaker and the founder of TinaOLife – a hub for all things worth living for, and the workshop Live Your Best Story. She’s also a professional network marketer with a decade in the industry and  she teaches: selling isn’t slimy and marketing isn’t make-believe. You can be yourself and be successful in Direct Sales.