Dangling Participles (Emotional Affairs)


by Jami Keller
Dangling participle: adjective (dăngˈglĭng)  (pär-təsi-pəl) Simply put, a dangling participle is “an adjective missing its noun.”

Close friendships with people (who are not your partner) are appropriate in relation to good boundaries. When you find yourself thinking about a friend, as well as anxiously anticipating time with that person who is not your partner, this needs to be a red flag.

Emotional affairs are just as damaging and dangerous as sexual affairs. Beware of your patterns with any people you are attracted to that are not your partner. Even relationships as “benign” as close work friendships may have a connection that is not healthy – nor is it safe.

Here are some signs that you are in an inappropriate relationship with someone other than your partner:

  • The sexual chemistry is palpable, but the relationship has not become sexual (no touching inappropriately, no kissing, etc.)
  • Conversations are very personal, and often include frustrations about each other’s significant other.
  • You begin to justify why you need to spend more time with them, often neglecting your partner and family.
  • You dress up for them.
  • You would end up feeling guilty if your partner saw you with them.
  • You hide text messages, your phone, etc.
  • You have become dependent on the emotional high that comes from being with them.

If you are curious whether or not you are in an inappropriate emotional affair, take this quick online quiz from “NOT Just Friends” by Dr. Shirley Glass.

Is there someone in your life whom you have twinges of guilt about because of the close relationship you have with them? It’s never too late to extract yourself from this emotional affair, and seek help for a deeper connection and healing between you and your partner.

We highly recommend taking action sooner than later. The longer you allow this to go on, the more at risk you are of shifting into a sexual affair. And, the more you are at risk of destroying the life you’ve built with your partner.

Are you ready to work through this? Passion Provokers is here to help!

Hope Floats Your Soul


By Marla Keller

Have you had hopes and dreams that were shattered, causing you to believe that it’s not okay to ask for more in life? Has life deposited hope and peace into your heart (love/acceptance), or has it brought only turmoil and pain (fear/shame)?

How often do you experience a sense that there is a foundation of joy, peace, empowerment and love that you can live into consistently? This may be your honest desire – but it can turn into the loss of hope and tranquility when you seek love and acceptance (approval) through work, food, mind-altering substances, service, busyness, relationships, or religion.

Emptiness like this can be palpable with every breath you take, and your foundation of shame brings you more abandonment, isolation and bitterness.
Your shame also deposits you on the floor in a heap of solitude and fear.

Why solitude? Because you’re tired of being what everyone expects you to be, so you have separated yourself from everything. And why the fear? Because you know ‘where your place is’ in the world. If you dare to venture down new paths, you might suffer more heart wrenching rejection and pain. And that shame might be exposed to those around you, as in “if they really knew me…”

Is it time for you to step down off your faulty, cracked, broken foundation and create a beautiful new foundation of LOVE (peace, joy, empowerment, humility)?

Along this journey of life, my husband Jami and I have found that the following three things will bring you joy. Not just a passing joy, but the kind that breeds new hope and beautiful tranquility. 

1. Stop ‘shoulding’ on yourself and others

According to Brene Brown, when we think or verbalize the word should, it always comes from a place of shame. Shame is the secret hiding behind most all broken behavior in our lives.

Brene says, “There’s a huge difference between shame and guilt. And here’s what you need to know. Shame is highly, highly correlated with addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, suicide, eating disorders. And here’s what you even need to know more. Guilt, inversely correlated with those things. The ability to hold something we’ve done or failed to do up against who we want to be is incredibly adaptive. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s adaptive.”

What does releasing ‘should’ look like? Every time you are tempted to start a sentence with “I should” or “I shouldn’t,” cancel it out and replace it with a positive expression of your desire. Instead of saying, “I should be a better mom” say “I desire to be a better mom.” It’s that simple!

2. Practice mindfulness 

Start observing your thoughts from a distance, without judging those thoughts as being good or bad. Consistently check in with your thoughts to see what’s going on in that brain of yours, without you even being aware of it. This is an amazing practice that will allow healing for yourself and for the relationships around you.

3. Allow your hope to grow 

“What you focus on expands. So focus on what you want, not what you do not want.” …Esther Jno-Charles 

Focus on your hopes, and release your fears.

How Important is a Dad?


By Jami Keller

The true value of a Father, imperfections and all, is becoming more and more apparent in our society and our world. Research now tells us that the influence of a Dad (whether present or absent) has as great an impact as the Mother; and the way that either parent feels about the child is paramount.

Since 1995, when Marla and I first started coaching couples in their relationships, we always have stressed how important it is to be “together-together.” From our work, we just knew from the very beginning that this partnership was vital to the well-being of children, no matter what the status of the relationships. It turns out that we have been proven right, and then some.

Being connected and mindful of your partner and the goals you share makes all the difference in life, especially when it comes to child rearing. The good news is that no matter the issues, IT IS VIABLE! We believe this is due to the way the Mother feels about the Father, but time will tell as better studies are done.

This article explains how a baby’s time in the womb is vital, and has the greatest influence on the role of a Father in his child’s life. We know that the dynamic between parents greatly affects a child’s attitude and behavior. Nearly every time a couple comes to us for their relationship and starts using the tools we provide, they report that their children are also happier and behaving better.

Here is more background on the impact that parents (especially the Dads) have on their children from conception to infancy! And, I would add that this influence continues to have a high impact on children through adulthood, as I have seen with my 24 and 25-year old daughters.

One thing that people ask us about is whether or not it’s too late to fix things. Mothers especially feel unnecessary guilt about the things done, and not done. I say “unnecessary” because we all do the best we can, even very sick parents we have worked with have tried to do well by their children. Nearly everything is fixable! So Dad, you really can change things around, even if your kids are thirty!

Here is our list of things to do and say this Father’s Day (no matter what the current relationship looks like), in order to take full advantage of the role you play and its influence on your family:

1)  Accept any appreciation with a big smile and a “thank you!” Let the family know you were there as much as possible. Even if your choices could have been better, you did the best you could have at the time. Don’t let hindsight rob you of your contributions, even when you made mistakes.

2)  Let the children know you wanted them! This is a foundational issue for all of us. For me, being adopted by my Dad at the age of two meant enough to me to get past most of the “difficult stuff” – because he chose me! And, because he didn’t have to. No matter the biology, parenting happens. If there is “another Dad” in the picture, let that be true as well. It is far better to be graceful, even when there are conflicts.

3)  Give Mom the credit she deserves. At the very least, she carried those babies. And guys, we all know how much more difficult it could have been without her. If possible, show the family what is most important by valuing her – being connected and loving. This means listening and meeting her needs even if that means helping her ask for them.

4)  Be Present! Turn off the phone and television, and look into your family’s eyes and really let the moment grow your connection.

5)  Say the words, “I LOVE YOU and I AM PROUD OF YOU!” We have yet to work with someone who does not value these words from their Father. It can be the greatest gift at any age!

So, go ahead and do the “Dad stuff” on Father’s Day. Accept the cards or calls with a listening ear. Be open to the lives that you have contributed to, even if some of that contribution has been painful. Some of our greatest gifts come from our greatest pain, especially when our Dads come back into the picture and are present with a grateful heart. 







Cancel, Cancel. Feel, Feel. Love, Love.


By Jami Keller

We all have old habits for the way we think and process. The difficulty is that these old habits used to work really well, or at least our perception is that they did. Often they were probably survival skills that actually just got us by. In order to really achieve the peace, power and joy that we know is possible, we need new skills.

It turns out our hearts lead more of our decision and thinking process than we ever thought. Because we can measure electric magnetic waves and trace the signals our hearts give our brains, we now know that the heart is in charge of the amygdala response (otherwise known as fight, flight or freeze).

Instead of letting this subconscious process decide how we feel – with enough practice, we can consciously choose what we feel in any situation. To begin, you must take charge of your life and choose to invest in being conscious and mindful of what you are feeling. At Passion Provokers, we use this technique to help people choose their own paths, instead of getting swept away in the daily stress and relationship traps they have set for themselves.

I learned this ‘Cancel technique’ in college. My anatomy and physiology instructor, Professor Milkiny, would say “Cancel, Cancel” anytime one of us would give a wrong answer out loud. He explained that saying the word twice made your brain stop making the synapses that would lead you to remember the wrong answer, instead of the right answer.

Turns out that he was right; and, it works to wake up the brain make it refocus. This is important because: the old habits we may have formed – which
led to feeling depressed, angry, or anxious – are getting in the way of feeling the confidence we need to deal with lives and get the best results.

So after being thoughtful about the things that have hurt me in the past and taking a serious look at my issues of denial – and yes, it is more than a river in Egypt – then I will recognize that I am allowing my old habit of feeling sorry for myself. So, I say “Cancel, Cancel” to stop the old habit.

Saying the words “Feel, Feel” allows me to quickly do a gut check and feel what is happening now, and compare it to what I have come to recognize as healthy processing. Yes, feelings are actually partially processed in your belly; there is enough neural matter in your digestive system to make a cat brain.

With practice it gets easier and faster. It is amazing how fast our brains work and apply skills. It  is doing this all the time, whether or not I am being conscious about it. When I am not, the thought just goes to the default of looking for the old pain and assuming that is what I will be getting. 

I also say “Love, Love” (out loud, if I won’t look too crazy in public)  because the only reason to live is love, and love has to be a choice before it is a feeling. On this journey of love, its definition of continues to grow and change. Turns out the most loving thing sometimes is to say nothing at all – or at least wait to say or do something when it will be better received. Best of all this little “brain hack” allows me to be true to myself and my intention of being present, to what is happening now instead of imposing my picture of the past on it like I used to.

So when I stub my toe, or just think that I am so stupid I say: “Cancel, Cancel.” Then Feel, Feel” And then “Love, Love.” After the first few times, it happens faster and faster and allows me to act in the moment. A life of loving myself and others is so much better than thinking I am dumb.

Try it for a week, and you will find a whole new set of options for some of those frustrating problems!

Photo credit: David Castillo Dominici, FreeDigital.net

Crazy or Candida? Gut Health and Your Relationships 

By Marla Keller
Jami and I have been talking about the importance of gut health, and the fact that we all have a “brain” in our guts that tells our brain how to feel, for over 20 years. And now, recent studies have proven the truth of our words. How our digestive tract affects our emotions, and the key to feeling our feelings, is in your belly.

Science is Now Linking Gut Health to Emotional Health

The natural and symbiotic flora in our guts is grossly out of balance here in America. The genetic modification of wheat and the processed foods we eat are easily converted to sugar, and when we eat this way the healthy bacteria in the gut that we all have, like Candida, will become overgrown and actually tap into the vagus or 5th cranial nerve.

This highjacks the cat brain (watch the TedTalk) in our digestive system and this brain then transmits information to the brain in our heads that causes unhealthy bodies and behaviors. Therefore, the impulse to call our significant other “Crazy!” or to feel crazy ourselves.

This means we are far more cranky than we need to be!! Add stress and “Voila!” you have an adrenaline meltdown, which bad flora like Candida loves and thrives on. Double WHAM! Now our emotions are inconsistent and our ability to communicate is lowered because, well let’s face it, we are generally depressed. Most of our clients realize how depressed and self defeating they have been for most of their lives. Especially the otherwise “super successful.”

What we have known for years, and has been proven scientifically with overwhelming consistency across several fields, is that the highest level of peace, power, and passion for life requires FIRST that we update our emotional strategies with current tools, and then take charge of our gut health to be fully aware of the amazing capacity we have to feel and connect.

Jami and I have upgraded our gut health over the past 8 months and have seen a HUGE difference in our attitu
des (so positive), our energy (So. Much. Energy.), our sleep patterns (8 good solid hours without interruption), my libido (such passion), our belly fat (Jami has a six-pack for the first time in his life, and my belly is melting away), etc.

Click HERE to join our Gut Health Challenge so that you, too, can experience more passion in your life!