Shift-it Coach Newsletter
Volume 8 | Issue 3 | February 17,  2012


It's a mild winter here in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada now. We had our snowstorm over the holidays but now it's the usual rain, rain, rain (which keeps the trees green).

Its perfect weather for the cocooning I am doing --- holed away putting my Certified Visual Coaches from 2011 through their final exit exams. Part of which is listening to them coach a client and review their visual map of the session.

I can't tell you how much joy it brings me to witness the high quality work that they are doing.  Such integrity, skill and passion.  And they add innovations too, things I haven't thought of doing with new twists to my processes.  I am SO EXCITED about the Visual Coach Community that is building and the ripple effect we have globally.  Makes my social change heart warm!

Talking about hearts (how is that for a segue eh!), with Valentine's Day just passed and certain friends and clients hitting up against some common relationship challenges, I've decided to write this issue's article on space and closeness dynamics in relationships ... a good area to get a SHIFT in when you need it!

Yours in Visual Expansion and SHIFTing IT,

Christina Merkley,
The SHIFT-IT Coach
and Interactive-Visuals Mentor



Sylvie Kwayeb Fagon
Certified Visual Coach®
Plouezoc'h France

"My connection with visual thinking and tools started years ago with Mindmapping.

In 2009, I came across your website and that was it! I started with The SHIFT-IT Home Retreat Kit. Was impressed with its quality and the results that unfolded after using it.

I then enrolled in Fundamentals of Interactive-Visuals online (very comprehensive and full of great resources, from drawing to business choices. And it was fun too!) From there I joined The SHIFT-IT Online Group (supportive and respectful with people from all around the world – wonderful)

I then committed myself to Visual Coach Certification®. Again a group with a high level of competence and humanity. Very well organized and professional. Even more than what I was expecting. I experienced the pleasure of my clients discovering and unfolding their visions like I did. Now I am a Certified Visual Coach® in the middle of creating my new business and it feels great!

Thank you Christina, because when you say "pick my brain", it is true: you really share your knowledge, skills, experience and tools with a huge generosity.

I trusted that you were the right person for this step of my life and I was right!"

Sylvie Kwayeb Fagon
Certified Visual Coach®
Plouezoc'h France
[email protected]


Thrive in the Time of Awakening (with THEO)
12 Weeks Online: Feb. 21-May 8 (Webinars, Tuesdays, 5-6:30 p.m. Pacific)

This collaboration with Sheila & Marcus Gillette and THEO is a deep 'inner work' experience. With a focus on 'soul integration' and 'orphan rescue' work ... an intimate opportunity to learn techniques to heal core issues. For the spiritual minded. Supportive, international community using the unique 2012 energy to heal and grow ourselves, our work, our relationships and our world.

More Info and Registration.
*Starts Tuesday!

Magic Marker Advanced Mastermind
17 Weekly Webinars Plus 2-day In-Person Retreat. March 5 – July 2, 2012

I'm happy to announce a new intermediate-level program to support blossoming visual practitioners (scribes, facilitators and coaches). For people who have already received base visual training (from me or equivalent experience), and are keen to build the next phase of your visual career. This mastermind provides up close instruction and support to enhance your skills and biz (whether you are internal or external). Includes weekly drop-in calls, online forum for sharing, private mentoring with me, plus an in-person retreat. Group limited to 12 members.

Full Details and Application Process
* 6 Spots Left: Application Deadline Feb. 24th

Visual Coach Certification (2012 Cohort)
10-Weeks Online: April 10 - June 19 (Webinars, Tuesdays Noon-1:30 pm Pacific)

Become a Certified Visual Coach®. For leading-edge coaches, counselors and therapists from around the globe. Add the power and innovation of Visual Coaching to your own practice. Includes advanced visual coaching techniques, use of my SHIFT-IT System® (17 visual maps) with your clientele, instruction in the 'template-izing' of your own content into visual tools, plus marketing and biz development mentoring. Apply now to secure your place.

Full Details and Application Process.
* 2 Pre-requisites Required

Fundamentals of Interactive-Visuals (In-Person Version)
May 3-5, 2012 in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Over 87% of your facilitation, coaching, training and consulting clients are visual thinkers – learn powerful visual skills to boost the effectiveness of how you work with them. This in-person, professional skills training thoroughly covers custom chart work, visual scribing, visual facilitation and visual coaching (the four main applications of working visually with groups and individuals) so you can add these powerful tools to your own consulting, facilitation, coaching and training offerings.

Register Now Just 7 spots left! Early Bird until March 2.
*Note: Pre-requisite for Visual Coach Certification.



As we are hot on the heels of Valentine's Day ... I thought a coaching article on relationships makes sense.

My primary area of coaching is not relationships (I mostly coach clients on creating authentic work and right livelihood, particularly via creative or unique means ... and the various issues connected to doing that).  But sometimes 'relationship' does pop up, and there are some common things that I see.

As a coach, when "Relationship" shows up as a topic of interest for my clients, it is usually when some sort of dissatisfaction has kicked in. Either my coaching client doesn't have a primary love relationship (and would like one), or they have one but it has some challenges.

In the case of clients who already have relationships but are dissatisfied with them, they either want to work on the relationship or they don't. Or, their partner does or doesn't. Or a flip/flop and combo of these two occurs (with both partners going back and forth on their positions).

The Distancer and Pursuer Dance:
I'm not a therapist, I'm a coach. As such, I tend to focus on the future and what can be created (rather than on the past and what has already happened). However, because people often create from their pasts (or more accurately from their core beliefs formed from past events) I sometimes need to wade into the past to understand and help my client SHIFT-IT --- or suggest my client co-engage a therapist to help us do it.

There is a distance-closeness dance that all people do in their relationships but for some couples the degree of it is much stronger due to their histories. One person tends to be the keener in the relationship and the other isn't. One person turns towards or pursues and the other turns away from and withdraws. These roles can flip/flop throughout the stages of relationship too.


The Pursuer is the person in the relationship who pursues the other. Who often feels left out, below, or less power or value than the other. They want to catch the other person or have the other person pay attention to them because they have unmet needs from their pasts that they are unconsciously trying to get the other person to take care of. Instead of focusing on their own life and stability, they focus on the other person.

This person could be the one who pursued the relationship from the very start ... or, they could have been reluctant (love avoidant or wary at first) then switched over to pursuer energy after the other person withdrew their energy. These people often come from childhoods where they experienced loneliness, neglect or even abuse often from a one-down or powerless position. Or witnessed their same sex parent acting in a pursuing way to their opposite sex withdrawing parent.


The Distancer is the other side of the polarity. These people are the ones who avoid intimacy to varying degrees. They keep their partners at arms length often using work, children, hobbies, exercise, etc as exit strategies to keep unavailable. They often came from enmeshed backgrounds where they had a lot of responsibility as a young age or had to care for ineffective parents or siblings. Or, alternatively, from situations where they were overly controlled or hovered over.

To them, closeness is associated with burden or duty. Intimacy makes them uncomfortable but they also desire it as human's need contact (which often drives them to pursue a partner then abandon them when true intimacy begins to sneak in --- i.e. The 90 Day Wonders and beyond who disengage after the romantic stage of a relationship wanes).

Both of these types of people have intimacy issues just in different ways. And its not uncommon for a person uncomfortable with intimacy to have both energies within themselves too --- either ping ponging back and forth between the styles when they connect with different people ... or even flip-flipping within the same relationship with the same person. They never learned how to be intimate in a healthy, sustained way (which is unfortunately not an uncommon occurrence in our world).

Often these two types of energies find each other and have codependent relationships. However there is an opportunity inherent in these relationships too ... to bring both people's issues into the light of day in order to make them conscious and to heal them. Not only improving their own quality of life but also the quality of life for people around them and for generations that may follow too.

The solution for The Pursuer is to stop chasing The Distancer and to re-engage with your own life. Get involved with activities you enjoy, see your friends, get engaged in your community, focus on your work goals, etc.

In short, get a life and stop expecting the other person to meet all of your needs – they can't and they shouldn't. And to do your own Inner Work on the wounds from the past that drive you to inappropriately pursue. All of these help you pull back your energy to a more appropriate intensity level, often allowing The Distancer to get in touch with their desire to come find you!

The solution for The Distancer is to get in touch with your own needs for connection and closeness. To understand through Inner Work what is behind your walls and to take steps of advancement towards your partner. To stop or lessen your various activities that block intimacy and learn how to negotiate space in a close relationship --- developing more skillful boundary and communication skills along the way.

As you give your partner more of what they need, you get a partner who feels more secure and is more pleasant to be around, which makes you want to see them more! And the unconscious meaning that you apply to relationships begins to shift to a healthier place.

Obviously this is a deep topic. And as a coach there is only so much I can write about in a short article. Hopefully I've managed to give you a little taste of this particular relationship challenge. If you have it (or have had it) you most likely recognize what I am talking about. If you want to learn more, here are a few recommended resources to help you do your inner healing work on the distancer/pursuer dance so you can increase your understanding and relate in more satisfying ways.

Facing Love Addiction, by Pia Melody. A classic author in the field of codependence.

Terry Real and Relational Life Institute

Keeping the Love You Find, by Harville Hendrix

For a related post, on Harville Hendrix's work on the developmental wounds that people bring from their past into their relationships, click here.

The Gottman Relationship Institute via the research of Drs. John and Julie Gottman

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©2012 Christina L. Merkley

You can, as long as you include this blurb and a functional link to my site:

Author's Bio: Christina Merkley, "The SHIFT-IT Coach" and creator of the SHIFT-IT System®, is a Visioning and Strategic Planning Expert specializing in Visual Thinking and Law of Attraction techniques. Based in charming Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, she works deeply with individuals, partners and conscious businesses to define and manifest what they truly want. And, trains other helping professionals in her innovative ways of working. For more information visit: and


Ready for your SHIFT? There is a HUGE TRANSITION going on in the world today both at a spiritual and physical level. Many people are feeling the call to ascend to a crisper, cleaner and more soul satisfying life - are you one of them? Enlist me as your personal transition aid. Define your vision, bust through your interfering resistance and start taking action. Pioneering Visual Coaching and Law of Attraction methods.

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Are you a helping professional with a creative bend? Are you intrigued with the visual way I work with my clients? I've trained hundreds of facilitators, consultants, trainers and now coaches, counselors, social workers, etc from around the globe. Learn fundamental visual skills that you can use in your own work with groups and individuals. Come join the visual tribe!

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Christina Merkley
The SHIFT-IT Coach &
Interactive-Visuals Mentor

Christina Merkley is The SHIFT-IT Coach. Creator of the SHIFT-IT System®, she guides individuals, partners and conscious companies in defining and getting what they really, really want.

A teacher of Law of Attraction, she is also an expert in visual meeting techniques, strategic planning and visioning: having worked for such notable companies as BBC, Readers Digest Funds, eBay and Stanford University. After a move from San Francisco, she now lives in charming Victoria, British Columbia, Canada - where she maintains a vibrant coaching, facilitation and training practice.

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Looking for more rich, SHIFT-IT content? Check out my blog for recent ramblings, resources and general interest features:

How to Effectively Select a Visual Practitioner

Visual Tools to Map Your New Year

Transformations Via the Tube

In Appreciation of Jerry Hicks

The Brouhaha About 2012

The Four Ways of Working Visually

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