Interview With Maraya Loza-Koxahn: Sharing Her Thoughts on Why a Good Relationship is a Tango, Cultivating Interdependency and Much More
1. You have a unique background- an integral therapist with a passion for Argentine Tango. How do you integrate dance into your counseling practice especially with your female clients having dating/relationship problems?
When I work with couples, even if I’m not teaching them tango as a dance, I am presenting them with the metaphor of tango in our discussion about their relationship.
In any healthy tango partnership, as in any healthy intimate relationship, the two must first be able to maintain their own individual axis and equilibrium so that one does not fall down should the other walk away. At any one time, only one can lead and one must follow – it’s a delicate interdependency that requires awareness, patience & commitment.
For women, the most important thing to understand beyond that is to surrender.
Although this might sound easy when it comes to the dance, it’s often not – and is often a reflection of how willing a woman is to surrender in her life beyond the dance floor. We have become so ‘liberated’, independent, capable and mistrustful that we don’t want to give up control.
I know surrender is difficult concept for a lot of women to even consider when it comes to their relationship.
If what they’re experiencing now isn’t to their liking, surrendering is a suggestion – to change the dynamic in order to increase the passion, fun and intimacy. For a while, the man may flail around without the rudder of your guidance but he’s not stupid. Eventually, if you let go and let him, he’ll access his deep masculinity and rise to the opportunity to take more of a lead – on the dance floor and off.
2. A number of my subscribers tend to be in the worry zone- they are worried that they are single, they are worried if they would ever find love, they are worried if the man they like will call them, they are worried if their relationship will last etc.
What advice do you have for women who seem to be in a constant state of anxiety and worry?
Stop it! Worrying serves no useful purpose.
Worry and anxiety are based on fears of an imagined future. Since you do not know what your future holds you are capable of imagining it any way you choose. Worry has become a habit of negative thinking and now you do it automatically and unconsciously. You will have to work diligently in order to change your thoughts (and consequently your feelings) in order to get in alignment with what you want to attract rather than repelling it.
Catch yourself when you get negative and immediately think about something that pleases you – pet your cat or dog, watch a movie – anything that makes you happy and shifts your thought process. Keep at it. It takes time but if you’re persistent you can attain better control over your thoughts. Don’t let them run you; you’re in charge.
It’s the feeling of a particular experience that you want to focus on – not so much a particular man and his attributes.
What you focus on expands and draws to you what resonates with where you’re at. You can’t attract a healthy man when you’re in a state of worry and anxiety, desperation and scarcity. Imagine feeling loved and secure and happy.
Be the kind of woman that the kind of man you want to be with wants to be with.
Read that again carefully and really get it. No man wants to be with a woman who has a closed heart, who worries about what might or might not transpire – a woman who focuses on the negative. A man wants to be with a woman who is confident, loves herself, has a passion for life, believes she is beautiful inside and out, and has an open heart.
Focus on what’s going well.
Practice regular appreciation for the good in your life and in your relationships. Take good care of yourself – your body, mind, thoughts, finances etc. Relax, and imagine that the perfect man is out there looking for you and then you just show up in a lot of places – places that you enjoy being with or without a man – and be open and compassionate to everyone present.
Use this same attitude when you’re making yourself available on on-line dating sites. Eventually the right man will show up for you. If you’re already in a relationship – you’ll be amazed at how he changes if you are the only one consciously making changes. It only takes one to lead a tango.
3. Body image issues also seem to affect women especially as they age. They feel inadequate and undesirable especially as they compare themselves with other women. And to make matters worse some become so skeptical that they feel that men only desire young, beautiful looking women.
Can you share some practical strategies to overcome these negative beliefs?
I’m over 50 and I feel more beautiful now than I did when I was younger.
That has more to do with self-esteem than the way I look. We ALL have body image issues – even those you believe to be the most beautiful women, even men. It took work, but I’ve come to terms with my own body image issues. Anyone can.
Good quality men are attracted to a woman’s essence (inner beauty) and her vitality more than any particular outer appearance.
Maintain good health, walk with good posture and confidence, take care of your skin, have passion and compassion in your eyes, and smile.
Good quality men want to me able to have a conversation and make a connection.
Be interesting and interested. If you feel great and you’ve at least come to terms with what you’ve got (love it if you can!), then you exude that and people are attracted to you. Mature men want so much more from a woman than her outer shell.
Emphasize your assets and minimize what you don’t like.
That can be done with changes to hair, make-up and wardrobe. There are all kinds of resources to help with that. Consultants love to do makeovers. Read books on body image to help turn your beliefs around. DO NOT believe the underlying theme of advertising that you are not good enough. Look in the mirror every day and tell yourself you’re beautiful and you love yourself – no matter how difficult and until you believe it. Ramp up your self-esteem!
4. One of the famous lines from the movie Jerry Maguire is “You complete me.” As incredibly romantic as it sounds, it resonated with how so many people enter into a relationship- expecting the partner to make them happy. We find a number of our subscribers embracing this flawed line of thinking where they seem to be too dependent on their partners to make them happy. You want to be in a relationship to be happier and not to be happy and if you are expecting a man to make you happy, you are setting yourself up for eventual failure and heartbreak.
Can you share your advice on how women can ensure that in the course of a relationship, they don’t lose themselves and burden their partners to make them happy?
My husband (only a little bit jokingly) lives by the adage “happy wife, happy life!” and he works very hard to take care of me.
He’s an excellent provider. Because of that (and more) I want him to feel successful, I want him to be satisfied that he’s doing his part in making me feel happy – so I make sure I’m doing what I need to do for myself in order to be happy.
But, on a very serious note, we both know that we are each responsible for our own happiness and nothing the other does can change that. Happiness, like love, is a choice.
I do not expect him, or anyone else, to take care of all of my needs and wants. When I feel good that I’ve taken care of myself, I feel better able to take care of the needs of others – whether a husband, children, clients or aging parents.
A relationship should be the safe basis from which you can pursue that which gives you personal fulfillment and happiness whether it be a job, your life’s purpose and/or your creativity.
It can also be the home you return to in order to feel happy and content but DO NOT EXPECT to derive that feeling from the other person – but from the cozy environment that you two have created. In fact, in a loving relationship you can expect all the things from your past that were never healed to come up.
This can cause a lot of unhappiness if you look at it as something your partner caused rather than the opportunity for growth that it is.
You have to be complete in yourself before you can engage in a healthy relationship with another or/and expect that opportunities will arise in which you can work things out in order to be so. Experiencing the contrast to happiness is important so that you can continue to work toward what you want. Happiness, for most of us, is ephemeral. It’s an inside job that requires tending over a lifetime.
5. Sometimes our subscribers are so scared of losing their man or they refuse to accept the reality that the relationship is over and in the process, they numb their feelings or resort to desperate tactics. They resort to excessive texting and calling, dating other men just to make their man jealous, having sex with him hoping that would save their relationship etc. I guess the root cause of all these behaviors is to avoid pain- I don’t want to feel the pain of being betrayed, I don’t want to feel the pain of being dumped etc.
How can women bravely face their fears instead of working towards avoiding them?
Take the ending of a relationship gracefully.
A desperate woman is unattractive; a self-confident woman is attractive. There’s no shortage of men. If this isn’t the right man for you (if he doesn’t want to be with you) then be thankful that he’s leaving to make space for the man who is right for you.
Feel your feelings. Feelings transform once they are acknowledged and expressed.
This takes time – but you can get better at it as you practice and mature. If you stuff a feeling it just persists and finds ways to leak out – manifesting in bad behavior or causing physical harm internally. Pain is an inevitable part of life. Take time for yourself to grieve and process the situation, nurture yourself, then eventually bounce back with renewed faith.
Once you’ve had your heart broken a time or two, and you notice that you’re still standing to love another day, you can keep that resiliency in mind – you will be better for having had another growth experience.
Relationships are designed to teach us something about ourselves if only we’ll take the time to notice and use that information to do better next time. If you repress, you will just attract the same kinds of situations and people over again until you get the lesson.
6. A number of our subscribers also suffer from being in relationships with years of resentment and hidden anger. This comes from lack of communication, lack of understanding, one partner compromising and sacrificing more than the other etc.
What are some ways for women to effectively deal with resentment before it destroys their relationship?
You’re angry because he didn’t do something that you thought he should do, something he said he’d do and didn’t, and/or something he did that you thought he shouldn’t. You can tell him that you’re angry – when you’re feeling more in control.
Do not lay blame on him for the way you are feeling.
You are not his ‘victim’. He’s not in relationship to complete you, to do your bidding, or to ensure your happiness. You think that if he was more co-operative your life would be so much easier. But, I doubt that you’ve turned out to be exactly what he was bargaining for either. We learn to forgive, adapt and forgive again – repeatedly – if we want to maintain an intimate relationship – for the purpose of our own growth and a deep connection with another.
I’d like to suggest that clear, calm, authentic and honest communication on a regular basis is a good start to getting things cleaned up.
But, often it’s not. For the most part … we’re just not that mature. The likely scenario is that, even if you use the most responsible and kind language that you can, he’s going to hear that you’re disappointed in him, that he did something wrong, that he’s not good enough. He is not responsible for your feelings.
If you feel resentful you’re going to have to transform those feelings yourself (with little help from him hopefully). You can keep asking for what you want but be prepared to not get it.
If you’re feeling resentful it’s highly likely that he is too.
If there are years of embedded resentments that have gone unaddressed – and you don’t even know where they came from anymore (sometimes from past relationships, sometimes from childhood), the chances of clearing them out are pretty slim unless two people are patient and dedicated to doing so. It gets worse before it gets better and people generally prefer to move on than to walk through fire together.
Sometimes it’s better just to call it quits, do the work on your own, and start over fresh with a new one. If you do, don’t let the resentment build up this time – address things as they come up.
7. One reason why women tend to be stressed out is because they tend to place everyone else above themselves including their friends and family. When they spend money or time on themselves, they usually feel guilty. How can women overcome this habit and stop beating themselves when they engage in self care?
It is not selfish to take care of your own needs.
‘Self-fullness’ is a necessary precursor to taking good care of others. So, if you’re that so-called selfless person that is taking care of everyone else but you’re running on half a tank – then you’re not giving them the best of you.
Learn to say NO.
Don’t take a bath if the kids are home, or awake – they will invariably want you. Get someone to take care of them so you can give yourself a manicure or go out for a drink with your girlfriends and do not constantly be in text communication with them. Go for a drive.
Take a class, read a book. KNOW that you are worthy and that you are the kind of person that takes care of others in addition to herself.
Guilt is a feeling that comes up when you do something that’s not in alignment with who you think you are. Guess what? You are that person who takes time for herself because she knows how important it is to the greater community. No need to feel guilty about it.
8. Another difficulty our subscribers face is trying to cultivate habits that stick for the long term. One of our subscribers recently commented on how she feels good and positive when she listens to a motivating speech or when she reads a self help book but it doesn’t take long for her to get bombarded with negative thoughts. The daily grind and routine of life seems to quickly negate any positive progress she makes. In her words, when I take one step forward, within no time I am pushed three steps back.
Can you share any practical strategies that can help women to not just feel good in the moment but work towards a positive change that lasts?
Imagine a thought that has been repeated (and becomes a belief) and has etched a neural pathway in your brain like a superhighway.
It’s created the shortest, fastest route. Now, you want that thought to go away and you want to replace it with a more positive thought. Just like walking a new path it takes much repetition for that new one to now become the road you travel and for the other road to grow over.
Two thoughts can’t take the same space at the same time.
STOP the thought you don’t want, cut it off before it has a chance to take hold and spin you round and round again. Replace it immediately with another, more positive, thought. Think about things that make you feel good. I find the thing that works best for me is to immediately start singing an uplifting song in my head. Keep reading those helpful books and listening to uplifting talks and watching self-help videos.
It’s easy to fall back into the ditch of the original thought and, we always prefer to do what’s easy unless we have a damn good reason for doing otherwise. Persist. It takes determination and discipline. With any change, it takes time. Repetition, repetition, repetition. Have faith and patience.
9. What are your top 3 relationship tips that you would offer women who are single and looking for a long term committed relationship?
Be happy with yourself – if you’re not your best company then who else would want to be with you? Become the person that the person you want to be with wants to be with.
Regularly practice appreciation for what you already have. Appreciate yourself. Keep a journal where you list what you’re grateful for – every day. Express appreciation to others.
Focus on the good feelings of your perfect imagined future. Focus on what’s good and going well in your life. Do not focus on what’s missing. What you focus on expands. Imagine the experience that you desire – not the kind of man you want but the kind of experience you want to have with him.
Really feel like he’s already out there looking for you. Imagine him beside you in bed, every night and each morning and speak lovingly to him. Imagine your life with him and really feel the higher vibration of your love for him and his for you. He can’t help but walk into that space you’ve created for him.
10. What books or resources would you recommend for women that are looking to attract the right man and create long lasting fulfilling relationships?
There are so many that I’ve read over the years that resonated with me at different times for different reasons that I can’t possibly give a complete and list.
I suggest that women trust their own intuition while looking in the bookstore, library, or on-line, bookshelves of friends, recommendation from therapists depending where the woman is at in her life and process. Glean what resonates with you from your research, try it out, discard what doesn’t interest you at this time. There is no right answer for anyone, or any situation, so use as many resources as you can.
There are also many wonderful therapists that have published and you can search on-line with keywords that are appropriate to your situation. Many of them have newsletters, blogs, DVDs etc. – lots of free information out there. There are even free coaching calls offered by coaches trying to drum up business.
Here are a few books that have stood the test of time – to get you started:
The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz
About Maraya Loza-Koxahn
Maraya Loza Koxahn is an Integral Therapist with a passion for Argentine Tango. After graduating with a BA in Psychology and a BFA in Art Education from the University of Calgary, Maraya went on to study numerous alternative health modalities. For over 20 years she has assisted individuals and groups in these areas: bodywork; nutrition, lifestyle and psycho/emotional counseling; communication and community-building; art and dance.
To know more about Maraya, visit her website www.TwoRedShoes.ca.