Friday, March 15, 2013

An Interview with Mia Sage

Some women are known for their beauty, others for power, and still others for a special talent. A few women, like Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and Byron Katie, are known by their compassion. Mia Sage is one of those. 
Mia hails from a small village in the Black Forest. Yet her receptive brand of coaching has spread throughout the US and the EU. More than 10.000 coaches use her innovative Coaching Transformers to bring kindness and aliveness to their families and businesses. 
“My only aim was to earn a decent living by helping a few women with their careers and relationships,” she says. “My friends and family wanted me to stay home and get a ‘real job’. But I wanted to live on the Mediterranean and do something interesting with my life. So I created the Global Coaching Network so that coaches worldwide would have a forum to collaborate and cooperate. Then I wrote How to Talk to Men for my clients. The next thing I knew a whole lot of women wanted to talk to me.” 
Mia values peace and harmony above all else, so she never expected to marry or live a traditional life. Then she met a man who shared her values. “My book is fragments of conversations with my man. We take long walks and spend quality time talking about the challenges people face in love and marriage. As I learned to examine human dynamics more deeply, I began to speak into my smartphone. Then I typed my observations into notes for myself. Those notes turned into blogs and these blogs turned into a book. Judging by the response my message must have struck a chord.” 
“Public attention is good and bad,” she says. “It really disturbs my privacy. But it also helps to meet wonderful women who value harmony with the men in their lives.”
According to Mia, a woman can’t fully appreciate men until she learns to build great friendships with other women. Too many women compete. They lose their feminine essence by struggling with each other, and then projecting their anger onto men. Achieving a bond of trust with women creates a sense of community that brings out the best in men and women alike. 
There are hundreds of books out there offering relationship advice. How is your approach different?
You are so right. There are also thousands of relationship courses and training films. Each one fits a certain type of person. I wanted to create a series of perceptual lenses that women can use to see relationships more clearly.
If you put on somebody else’s glasses your vision will get fuzzier. Every woman requires her own prescription. So I wrote about relationship from a variety of perspectives so each woman could refine her own view. Traditional relationship books provide useful information and good advice. I wanted to create transformative stories, metaphors and insights women could use to let go of cultural prejudice so they can restore their innocence and curiosity with men. 
So you provide options rather than answers? 
I have never met two women who wanted exactly the same thing. Every woman has special needs. Our cultures give us a distorted view of men, so it's not easy to see men as they are. As a woman learns to see the real man, her infatuation grows into compassion. That transformation is heartwarming. You know you are seeing clearly when your heart is growing lighter and sweeter. 
What if a woman doesn’t like what she sees? 
Women find men fascinating. Men organize their entire lives around their attraction to women. When a woman lets go of her expectations and moods she naturally loves men.
Unfortunately too many people are poisoned by fairy tales, film legends, and painful memories. Many women expect something from men that doesn’t actually exist. Men run from that. As a woman discovers her innate femininity, her confidence grows. She learns to surrender to the powerful magnetism men and women share. 
How do you teach women to lighten up? 
Playfulness is the most beautiful, powerful part of being human. I created a light-hearted form of psychodrama based on Inner Theater. Women who attend courses with me learn to use humor to play out their relationship situations. Instead of ideas or lessons they awaken their own wisdom by rehearsing all sorts of creative responses to the man-woman situations in their lives. It’s always surprising how laughter dissolves anxiety and creates a loving bond among women. I try to avoid  platitudes and one-size-fits-all formulas. Inner Theater doesn't exactly teach. Rather it opens a process of discovery that continues to expand over many weeks and months. 
So how should you talk with men? 
Every man is different. Some guys need a strong partner who holds them accountable. Others need a softer, sweeter approach.
In my experience talking to men requires more than words. Deep, honest communication depends on the conditions in which the conversation takes place. Setting the tone is essential. Men sense our moods and attitudes first. When you respect a man for everything he is, the words emanate a deeper vibration that brings out the productive, protective side of men.
Women worry too much about how they look or about what men think about them. Ultimately a man chooses a mate based on how she makes him feel about himself. Your acceptance makes you irresistible.  
What if a man does something that you can’t respect? 
There is nothing in the world that a man can do that will make me not respect him. Who am I to judge what another person should be and shouldn’t be? How can I know what he needs to do and what not? Judging his actions won’t make him behave differently anyway. So why should I run around with a heavy heart, because somebody did something that I don’t approve of? My anger only hurts me. It doesn’t change anything. A wise woman befriends men who share her values and goals. Then she gives them the kind of acceptance she also desires for herself. 
How do you help women to learn that kind of acceptance? 
You can't teach people to see the goodness in others. Socrates said that you can learn more about someone in an hour of play than in years of talking. So we play.
We practice a few specific Communication Transformers that awaken a woman’s sensitivity and aliveness. I like to begin with Appreciation, because our hearts are eager to love. When our hearts are open, soft and full of love, then we can move on to the next Transformer which is Inquiry--how to ask questions in a way that the man sees his own value in your reflection. The Transformers turn good men into great ones. But they only work when you look for the good in him. If you don’t see it, he won’t. 
Do you have an example of inquiry with appreciation? 
I like to ask men what they have done to provide for their families. That question helps a man recognize his commitment to those he loves. Before I speak to a man I listen deeply. When I find his wavelength it seems as though the right questions just spring to mind. “What are you most proud of in your life? What do you consider the most important achievements in your career? What would you like to acknowledge yourself for?” 
In your new book “How to Talk to Men: The Geisha & the Gorilla”, you emphasize harmony between the sexes. Can men and women really live without conflict? 
Men and women are growing closer with each passing generation. Tolerance is growing into acceptance in many countries. Relationships are evolving. I don’t believe that fighting is useful or that the war between the sexes is inevitable. There are no winners in battle. Finally all wars end. Cooperation between men and women is an idea whose time has come. 
But don’t all couples fight? 
I have disciplined myself to love deeply and to play passionately instead. I have known my man for a decade now and in all this time we have never had a single disagreement. He has never made me feel bad about myself and I have never corrected him. A very successful business acquaintance of mine says: “I don’t get mad--I just get my way.” That is one of the most brilliant things I have ever heard. It takes some focus, but the pay off lasts a lifetime. Her enormous success derives from her ability to read people and to respond to their needs instead of pressuring them. 
What do you say to a woman that needs conflict to bring up the passion in her relationship? 
I would recommend that she create a more passionate lifestyle. Relationships are living systems. If problems arise you have a glitch in the system. You can redesign the system to enhance the pleasure you share.
Life is meant to be an exciting, shared adventure. No one goes to a concert to hear musicians screaming at each other. We go to listen to people who are harmonizing. The same thing holds true for relationships. Harmony builds tremendous attraction. A man automatically gravitates to the woman that makes him feel good. He tries to escape from a painful situation. 
Sheryl Sandberg has just published her new book Lean In. Your message seems to be more “lean back”. What about standing up for ourselves? 
I love Sheryl’s message. Her views are spot-on for women in top management. I also see value in a variety of other approaches, depending on the setting and the situation. Often you can get your way by giving in. When a woman goes into her natural receptivity, she can get a man to lead her exactly where she wants to go. We call that Communication Transformer “Yielding”. 
It sounds like a paradox. 
That’s exactly right. The human mind can’t grasp the idea of getting what we need by giving in to what someone else desires. But the heart knows a deeper wisdom. Every person has three different sources of intelligence. The mind, the heart, and the body. The intellect has the power of one, the heart the power of 10, and the body the power of 100. Passion is instinctive physical intelligence. That is why we teach the Yielding Transformer through exercises that bypass words to communicate directly to the body. 
Divorce rates are rising and many people seem to have given up on marriage. Are you optimistic about partnership between the sexes? 
Women are intrigued with men. Men are enchanted with women. We both want to connect and to share love. Both sexes share a powerful need to please the other. Our loving devotion is the source of the higher intelligence that makes us human. That connection has been evolving since the dawn of time. The love that people share is constantly expanding to create new meanings. Not everyone evolves, but most do. 
Last, but not least, how can people get in contact with you and where can they order your book? 
Thank you for asking. People can order How to Talk to Men through Amazon, as well as on our website www.howtotalktomen.org. To get in contact with me, please email info@howtotalktomen.org.