This past weekend I attended a 3-day cleansing/fasting retreat hosted by famous author John Gray (“Men are from Mars …”) at his ranch in Mendocino, CA. Hey, I like to eat … and I’m not that big on fasting, even though I know it’s excellent thing to do for health. (And God knows I can afford to lose the 6 pounds that I dropped :-). John’s approach is to fast for 2 days, followed by a day of health “feasting.” Boy, I can sure live with that much better than the “master cleanser” 10-day fast I did a couple times years ago.
The way this cleansing retreat works is that we go 2.5 days without solid food, just tea and a lemon-based cleanser drink that the Mars/Venus organization sells, plus some nutrients that somehow seem to not only nourish the nervous system but stem the appetite. And throughout the weekend, we had the real treat was being taught by John Gray about so many different things, including male-female relationship dynamics.
One of the techniques he teaches (from his newest book “Why Mars and Venus Collide”) is something he calls a “Venus talk.” This is where a woman can share with her partner and all he does is listen. She shares her frustrations, disappointments and worries, followed by what she is grateful for. She is supposed to start the conversation, however, by telling her partner “I’m not asking you to be responsible for anything, to fix anything ,,, I’m not trying to get you to change in any way. I would just like you to listen and try to understand.” As Gray explains, this is like music to a man’s ears, because it makes it possible for him to listen without feeling like he has any need to defend himself. Better yet, the man gets to see the world through a woman’s eyes, because women typically carry so many more things in their heads and hearts than we men do.
Although it is a natural female tendency to be fair and reciprocate, it is not considered necessary — or necessarily even helpful — for a male to do a Venus Talk in his turn (for men, there’s a “Mars Talk,” which is totally different). It is enough of a healing experience for the man to experience being successful at listening and understanding. When a man is successful at anything, this raises his testosterone levels, which is what men need to do in order to reduce stress (unlike men, women have more of a need oxytocin, the bonding hormone). When a man is successful at making a woman happy AND she lets him know it, that is the best testosterone booster possible for him. A male is much more able to be successful at listening and understanding, when he knows that he is not being accused of being the cause of whatever difficult feelings she may be having.