Maria Connolly, LPC Facebook Facebook Facebook


Continually grow as a person and find your work/life balance

Satisfying Intimacy in a Committed Relationship Is Possible with a Mind, Body & Spirit Connection

Many people fear intimacy in marriage, yet to have a meaningful sex life, you need to be mentally, spiritually and physically intimate with your partner. As a somatic coach, I’ve seen how being in tune with your mind, body and spirit in every aspect of life is key to feeling fulfilled. This is true when it comes to your sex life as well. Intimacy in marriage, or in your committed partnership, only happens when you’re able to connect with your partner on deeply satisfying mental, physical and spiritual levels.

But perhaps more than any other area of life it’s easy to put up with a ho-hum, status quo sex life, especially if you’ve been together a long time. And if you’re a woman it can be difficult to know what to do about this, since we’ve been culturally taught over millennia to take a more passive approach to our sexuality.

Let’s explore the different aspects of a healthy sex life and then see what you can do to increase the intimacy with your partner, which will spice up your sex life, without feeling guilty!

Mental Intimacy

Sex begins in your brain. The brain is involved in all aspects of sexual behavior including desire, arousal and orgasm. Researches are using neuroimaging to study human sexual behavior. Not surprisingly they found that women are sexually more complex creatures. However, they also found many similarities between the sexually aroused brain of men and women. Click here to read more on this brain study.

In the beginning of a sexual relationship when romance is at it’s highest it’s easy to fantasize the ideal sexual encounter. In a committed relationship it takes more effort. You can get your brain in gear by looking for the positive in your partner – whether s/he is particularly kind or s/he has the sexiest smile. Another strategy is to be adventurous and try something new.  Our brains release sexual hormones when we try a new activity so plan a special surprise for your partner and your own desire will ignite.

Physical Intimacy

This aspect of sexuality may seem obvious but sometimes we forget how much can be communicated through touch. Women often need to feel intimate through conversation, and while that is valid and deserves a place in a relationship, don’t forget what you can communicate through your body.

Look for opportunities to touch your partner throughout the day, not just in sexual interludes. Touch them as you pass by in the hall, give them a hug, rub their hair after a long day… It’s amazing the amount of reassurance touch can give a relationship. And in the bedroom you may want to occasionally practice absolute silence to force you to transmit all your feelings through touch.

Spiritual Intimacy

It’s important to acknowledge that your sex life is a foundational aspect of your relationship. If it weren’t, you’d simply be friends, not partners. Your spirit is what leads to eroticism or sex imbued with meaning, romance and desire. 

Start to view sex as sacred. You might already set aside time to meditate, pray or attend religious services so don’t be afraid to set aside “sacred” time to devote to your sex life. It’s easy to think that there’s always tomorrow night, but if you view your sex life as a sacred commitment, you’ll look forward to it and you’ll give it the 100% attention it deserves.

When you get your mind, body and spirit involved, sex can be a fun, satisfying and important way to keep a relationship vital.

Unfortunately, many people are afraid of intimacy on some levels, so their relationships get hung up on sexual challenges. Which is why Nando Raynolds and I have decided to co-facilitate, “Love, Sex & Intimacy: Getting Your Heart’s Desire,” a forum for men and women to come together. Join us to exchange some frank talk about sex and deepen your skills, compassion and understanding. We’ll be meeting online Thursday, February 16th, 2017, 6:30-8:00pm and in-person Saturday, February 18th, 2017, 10am-1pm & 2-5pm. Please contact me to register to attend.

How to Get Out of a Funk Quickly So You Don’t Get Stuck There

If you want to know how to get out of a funk faster to regain happiness, use these proven tips for mindfully exploring and resolving the source of your funk“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” ~ Mary Engelbreit

“Urggh! I can’t do anything right today! Everything I touch is falling apart!” Have you ever felt like this? Once your day starts off on the wrong foot, is your whole day shot? Or do you have a sure-fire way of resetting your emotions, so you can get over it faster? Do you know how to get out of a funk quickly?

We’re not always up and peppy. I don’t think humans are meant to be, do you? There are ebbs and flows throughout our lives. Most of us go through a predictable cycle of peaks and valleys. However, it can become a perpetual problem, if we spend too much time focusing on the negative. I agree with this beautiful expression from

“Our minds are like oceans. Like the tides, thoughts come in and then retreat back. When your mind is stuck, the ebb and flow of your thoughts are all negative. Each new thought process makes the negativity even stronger, creating a snowball effect.”

Being in a funk is normal; staying there is not a healthy option. A funky mood is signaling that it’s time for reflection to make a change in your life. Give yourself space to do that and then move on. Otherwise you’ll experience these effects of a sustained funk:

  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Loss of energy and enthusiasm
  • Isolation and withdrawing from friends and activities
  • Lack creativity
  • Persistent feelings of hopelessness or despair
  • Inconsistent and irregular sleep patterns

It’s taken me years to recognize the signs, and still at times I can spend precious time in a pretty deep funk before I can get out on purpose. But the good news is that we can all learn how to get out of a funk through practicing mindfulness.

Previously I shared five ways to mindfully shift your level of happiness. Here are some additional ways to show you how to get out of a funk and back to enjoying life to the full:

Listen to what your body is telling you. It may be a case of just needing restorative sleep, good nutrition or self-care to regain your emotional balance.

Identify the negative, reinforce the positive. Your feelings help you understand and explore why you’re in a funk. Allow them to guide you, without judgment. Try writing them down. Start with how you’re feeling. “I feel       ” then “I feel anxious because     .” Keep digging until you get to the root cause so you can extinguish its power over you.

Take a break and do something creative. You may not think you have time, but how productive are you going to be in your funk, anyway? You’re not. So give yourself a break and restore your energy by getting out of your head and into your body. Creativity helps you process your mood and express things you can’t with words alone.

Break a sweat, get the endorphins pumping, and work the funk out. I use a number of exercises to bring myself out of a funk. If, because of injury or limitations, you need a low impact solution, try The Feldenkrais Method® of Somatic Re-education. Learn to release the tension in your body and you’ll release the tension in your mind.

Use NLP to do a reality check. Connect with when you were at the top of your game. You’ve been there before. You’ll be there again.

It may be tempting to blame other people or circumstances, but we are individually responsible for our own mental state. You get to change how you internalize and deal with what life throws at you. I would love to partner with you and share personalized techniques for excellence with you. Please feel free to schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation so we can explore your options. I’m happy to meet in-person, by phone or via Skype.

Fire Up Your Resiliency Skills and Turn Inspiration into Extraordinary Achievements

Learn how to ignite your mental and emotional resiliency skills so you can turn your inspirational ideas and good intentions into extraordinary achievements“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” ~ Henry Ford

You do it. I do it. We all do it. What? We come up with a great idea or a good intention, but because we don’t jump right on it, we never get around to doing it. “I’ll do it someday”, you promise yourself. But you never do.

Jim Rohn coined a phrase for this phenomenon: “The Law of Diminishing Intent.” Which means that the longer you wait to do something, the more likely it is that you will never do it.

When we put off taking action, we lose emotional energy that would be used to fuel that action, and inspiration fades away. And when you do take action, you’ll still go on an emotional roller coaster like this…

Inspiration. When inspiration strikes, you’re on the top of the world and feel invigorated, convinced this is the best idea ever!

Doubt. You start second guessing yourself and you begin a downward slide. You tell yourself why it won’t work.

Fear. Because you fear failure or wasting your time and resources on something that might not work, you quickly plunge downward.

Disappointment. Because you expected it to happen in a predetermined manner, you hit bottom when it’s not as easy as you thought it would be. You may be ready to give up.

Ignite Resiliency Skills. You mindfully make a choice to override what your brain is saying. You pick yourself back up and start up the hill again.

Perseverance. You’re conviction and self-esteem increase and propel you to the next step.

Joy. You’ve done it! You’ve reached the top!

Do you see that engaging your mental and emotional resiliency skills is the pivotal point for making your inspiration a reality? It’s important to know that your mind is only trying to protect you from doing things that are painful. And it’s encouraging you to do what’s pleasurable. These are just mechanisms in place to protect you. Knowing that, you can mindfully choose to create workarounds when these feelings become roadblocks.

Firing up your resiliency skills means you can adapt and be flexible as things unfold before you, because you’re not wedded to a specific outcome. It keeps you focused and determined despite setbacks. Resiliency and fortitude gives you the tenacity to learn from your mistakes. It gives you the strength to control your emotional responses and manage any unrealistic expectations as you purposefully push forward. It forges a strong connection with your purpose and motivation by always having a solid answer for the question “Why?”

If you want to live without regrets, learn to take immediate action, but don’t go in blindly without a next-step strategy. You don’t want your ideas to simply die. But test them to make sure they’re feasible. Think of your inspiration as a seed that you’re planting in your life garden and your resiliency skills as your gardening tools…

  1. Plant your inspiration. Capture it by writing it down.
  1. Let your inspiration germinate. Within 24 hours, seriously think about it with pen and paper (or tablet) in hand. The Law of Diminishing Intent says you only have a 48-hour window of opportunity to act.  
  1. Cultivate your inspiration. Break it down into steps and schedule when you’ll accomplish each step. Pull the weeds of doubt and fear. Fertilize your idea with a clear vision and strong emotional attachment.
  1. Watch it grow. Your ability to listen to and follow daily inspirations is a huge factor in attaining true happiness. So don’t let your ideas fade away. Don’t wait. Don’t put off. Now is the moment to listen and get the momentum rolling.

 If you’d like an accountability partner as you develop greater mental and emotional resiliency skills, please feel free to schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation so we can explore your options. I’m happy to meet in-person, by phone or via Skype.

Making Your Bed – A Small Routine that Makes a Big Difference in Your Life

Making your bed is a routine that could save your life because it’s the first win of the day that motivates you to choose to live mindfully and productivelyDoes an improved quality of life depend on you changing something? Perhaps you know you should exercise more, eat more healthfully, or develop more mental resilience. But you just can’t seem to get started. Rather than be in a “let life just happen mode”, you may need to switch into a “take charge of life” mode. Making your bed will help you do that!

We all hear the reports that the rate of health problems such as obesity, depression, and heart disease are increasing. Even when a solution is as easy as taking a pill, people don’t comply with that. Studies show that people on lifesaving medications take them only 45 to 55 percent of the time. I believe many are in crisis. They just don’t know how to get started and stay on track.

A meaningful and fulfilling life is built gradually and purposefully. There are no shortcuts. It involves developing a daily practice of habits, rituals and routines that gets you started every morning. And they don’t have to be hard or complicated. Start off with one that that gives you an immediate win – making your bed!

After you awaken, what do you do the first thing? After visiting the bathroom, do you stagger toward the coffee pot? Then what? Do you sit down and mindlessly wait? If that’s the case, you’ve already left something undone or unfinished. Do you really want to start your day with a loss? 

You can regain ground easily. When you awaken, throw the covers wide open so your bed airs and dries out. Then after you push the coffee pot ON button, head back to the bedroom and make your bed. It will only take a few seconds, but the gain is tremendous. Why? Because you’ve made yourself do it. You’ve taken control of your day. You’re no longer on autopilot just letting stuff happen. You’re in command once again.

A “making your bed” routine is a way to develop discipline, which I abide by religiously! The military is noted for its discipline, which begins each day with making the bed with precisely tucked-in corners. As Admiral William McRaven, ninth commander of US Special Operations Command said: “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”

Making your bed starts your day with an easy win. It’s a decisive action that creates order out of chaos, setting the tone for your day. It triggers and reinforces in your mind that your intention is to live purposefully and productively.

Charles Duhigg says his book, The Power of Habit, “making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of well-being, and stronger skills at sticking with a budget.” He calls it a “keystone habit,” something that kick starts a pattern of good behavior. Since you do it first thing in the morning, you’re more likely to do the next practice in your routine, whether that is exercise, meditation, reading or journaling.

So rise and shine! Isn’t it time to start making those life-altering changes? On January 12th, my colleague Nando Raynolds and I are presenting a free talk: “Make 2017 your Best Year Yet!” We’ll share with you our proven strategies, including NLP skills, for accomplishing what you desire most. Why don’t you join us! You can learn more by clicking here or feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

It’s Your Time! Make This Year Your Best Year Ever!

Don’t give up, because you CAN make this year your best year ever by applying these three simple rules that will dramatically change the way you think about life“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The beginning of a new year is always a great time to assess where you are in your life and where you want to be. So, did you accomplish most of what you set out to do? More importantly, how can you make this year your best year ever?

Achieving desired results is a product of 1) having the right mindset, 2) taking actions that are consistent with that mindset, 3) having a process of follow-up and/or accountability, and 4) having lots of human support. To do that, there are three important rules to follow:  

Rule #1 – you must know exactly what it is you want (your compelling vision).

Rule #2 – you must track exactly how you are doing – at all times.

Rule #3 – you must make each step toward your vision manageable.

To make this year your best year ever, mindfully and introspectively ask yourself the following questions…

What did I accomplish over the past 12 months? No win is too small. Celebrate your victories! Focusing on your successes will reinforce the belief that you can be anyone you want to be. If you’ve kept a journal, you can easily review these wins. If not, I encourage you to begin journaling now. Otherwise, the memory of these successes fade away, which only lessens your feelings of self-confidence and satisfaction.

What were my biggest disappointments and what did I learn from them? Failure is really a great teacher if you don’t let perfectionism get in the way. Your emotions and moods shape the way you learn. If you’re negative, and self-defeating, your learning and productivity will suffer, regardless of how skilled you are. On the other hand, if you’re open and curious you’ll be receptive to learning.

 How did I limit myself, and how can I stop?  Our perception of failure is one of the biggest thought patterns we must heal. It’s simply an indicator that you’re entering an area that brings you discomfort and it’s time to open yourself up for further growth in life. When you develop a healthy balance between action and fear, you’ll become unstoppable. 

Did I uphold my personal values? Throughout our lives we adjust to fit in, to belong and to survive. We reshape and adapt, often covering over our “authentic” selves in order to cope. Different parts of our bodies—often our backs, necks, and stomachs—may hold unresolved emotions. This may be experienced as tightness, pain or, surprisingly enough, a disconnection or detachment with our bodies and our spirit. The good news is that as you become more aware of your body and make positive changes, you’ll change the way you experience others, the world and yourself.

What is my major focus for the next 12 months? When you tackle the issues that trouble you most, and you do more of what matters and less of what doesn’t, you’ll be happier. Take time to reconnect with your body and purpose by taking the 7-Point Wellness Assessment.

What are my specific goals for the next year? Spread out your goals into sets of 2 or 3 to be accomplished during each quarter of the coming year. Define measurable steps for each one of your goals. Place them where you can review them daily, so your determination remains strong.

Who can I buddy with to help me achieve my goals? Only share your plans with the yea-sayers. Avoid the downers and nay-sayers. Look for people that are already mastering the skill or have similar motivation to succeed.

Don’t doubt it for another moment. It’s your time to shine! You can make this year your best year ever. On January 12th, my colleague Nando Raynolds and I are presenting a free talk: “Make 2017 your Best Year Yet!” We’ll share with you our proven strategies, including NLP skills, for accomplishing what you desire most. You can learn more by clicking here or feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Let's get started with 30 free minutes

I invite you to learn more about me and my coaching and counseling services. Please contact me to schedule an “It starts with you!” 30-minute complimentary consultation with me, in-person, by phone or via video consultation, so we can explore our partnership.


How to Step Forward to a Future You've Created

Discover how to replace your old, self-limiting map with a new map full of possibilities for the future

© Neways Integrated Wellness Center. All rights reserved. Site developed and hosted by Rogue Web Works.
Professional Certified Coach by International Coach Federation