Listen! Your Relationship is Whispering

I am newly single after a good 10+ years of being in relationship. It’s like taking a great big gulp of air when surfacing from a long deep dive to the bottom of the ocean. It was beautiful under there and a little dark and sometimes scary, and up top awaits this enormous horizon I get to see with new eyes. Little things are different, just walking down the street, taking myself out, moments when I connect to myself, to my center, in a way that was hard to do when I always had another person to consider and check in with about just about everything. That feels a little icky now and I’ve been washing off the sludge that has grown in crevices I didn’t realize existed in my body and energy field.

So I’ve been asking a lot of questions. I am a woman who feels pretty connected to herself and independent in that I have almost always arranged my life in a way that allows me the freedom to do the things that I really want to do, with a minimum amount of exterior demands on my time, my energy, my travels, my expression. But still, it’s so easy to see now how I slowly allowed the comfort, routine and “safety” of relationship to dictate my actions or inactions. How easy it is to slip into a place over time where we don’t even realize we are compromising ourselves, when we stop questioning our relationship and our place in it because maybe we are tired, or maybe we don’t want the honest answers, or maybe it’s just really hard work and we aren’t up for it. Maybe we don’t even see it.

I got complacent. The worst part of my complacency is that I stopped listening to my own guidance. So many signs were there and I didn’t tune them out, but I trusted my partner’s word over the inner word from my own guides and higher self. I knew certain things, but I enabled her dishonesty by trusting her too much, which did not push her to do something different, and ultimately hurt me personally very deeply. I felt betrayed by her but worst of all was the way I betrayed myself, my own knowing.

Our bodies tell us what we need to know. Our intuition tells us. We only need to make the space and time to hear it and then to act on it. So rather than reacting constantly to what is thrown at us, if we listen to what our inner wisdom is telling us and take action based on that knowing, we find that we are in alignment. I think the key is to find that alignment all the time. But we often compromise our own knowing to be in relationship. We rationalize away why our relating looks the way it does. We settle for something less than what we want, need or deserve—joy and expansion—so that we can hold onto relationships that ultimately are not healthy for us. If only we knew when to leave. Most people stay way too long because we are afraid to leave or just don’t know how. Or because we convince ourselves that there are things worth fighting for, or staying for and forget to do a cost-benefit analysis.

Yet we would follow a path of joyful living where we could be so present with ourselves, our loved ones and our process if we made our daily spiritual practice this checking in and acting on our own behalf. We would not spend so much time straying from our path and trying to find our way back, hurting ourselves in the process, if we listened to what our wisdom tells us. We know. We KNOW. Yet, now when everybody is just a text message or an IM away, we check in with everybody but ourselves about decisions that are ours to make. Our lives are ours to make.

When we get new illnesses, it’s so important to look at what our body is responding to energetically. I do not believe we get sick randomly. I believe, as many medical intuitives do, that when something is happening in our body’s organism, it’s telling us something, it’s there to teach us something. We can ignore its message and just treat the illness, or we can really tune into our body’s wisdom and see the bigger picture of what is necessary for our own healing.

Relationships play this role as well. They each come to teach us. Initially, it’s not apparent what a relationship holds for us in its teachings. We may get glimpses early on, but often, we spend years after a relationship is over figuring out the lessons. Better if we could see it more clearly when we are in it and appreciate the gifts of that relationship more fully.

I think we get so mucked up with the larger culture’s unrealistic ideas about relationships, the romantic ideal of forever. Sometimes forever really is possible and satisfying. What if we could let go of that expectation and be so present in our relationships that we were able to assess when the relationship has shown us what we need to see, and move forward in our lives. What if this allowed us to have grace in letting relationships go? How that would change the world. How much more dynamic our lives could be.

I’m not advocating that people flee before they’ve done the work. I’m talking about really doing the work, and when we’ve built what we came to build, we can stand back and appreciate the fruits of our hard labor, the fun we had while we were creating and loving and we could leave it standing and in tact, rather than impulsively burning down the house in order to get out. Then we would have well constructed communities that live inside of us and around us, rather than rubble and ash. This is not to acknowledge that sometimes we need to burn things up. But let us make that choice really consciously, to protect ourselves and transform energy, rather than to harm and inflict pain on ourselves and others because we have no other tools.

We have the tools available to us. It starts with our internal compass. But many of us know what to do, but don’t know how to do it, so we either do nothing or do something poorly. Take nothing for granted. No matter how long you have been in your relationships, assess whether they are really working for you. Check in with yourself about what you currently need, what needs to be said or talked about, or what action you need to take. Give yourself the space to make choices in your relationships every step of the way. When we stop making choices and just accept that we are in it, regardless of how unsatisfying, we cease to live vibrantly. I will choose vibrancy with myself any day over dullness in relationship. It’s always easiest to see in hindsight.

Courageous Love, Soulmates and Finding “The One”

How many people spend their lives searching for “the one”? Another romantic myth that is perpetuated by many spiritual belief systems and plain old romantic folks who can’t let go of this idea that if we search the earth for that perfect fit, everything else will fall into place and our lives will be complete. I don’t believe there is the “one”. I think there are many potential “ones” and that we find the right one for the right time in our lives and place in our own growth process.

Relationships come to teach us the deepest lessons we will learn in this world. This is the playground for deep growth, but most people don’t like to play that way. The work of being in relationship, of learning about ourselves as we relate to people we love and learning how to love fully, fiercely and with great presence is the hardest work we will do in our lives. So hard that many people choose just not to do it. We have so many ways to avoid doing this work. We create a maze of defenses to keep ourselves from getting too close and from creating too much intimacy because vulnerability is an absolute requirement for intimate development. How scary it is to be seen in all of our facets. We like to be liked and seen positively rather than holistically, ugly and all.

So we think if we find that perfect soulmate we’ll be able to let our guard down just for them because they are who we’ve been waiting for, and “it’s meant to be” so they won’t ever leave us, right? But we have many potential “soul mates”, play mates to traverse this gorgeous life with and they tend to come right when we need them, for whatever spell they are meant to be in our lives. Let us learn the lessons we are meant to learn from each one and then move forward courageously and fiercely, ready to love and love again, to bear our souls when we lock in again with the next brave loving soul we connect with. Many people can fit our needs at any given time…how well and for how long varies.

Many of us stay in loveless relationships because we are convinced “it’s meant to be” so we come up with complex stories for why we need to stay together. We do not do ourselves or our lovers favors by maintaining lovelessness or relationships where we are simply existing and have ceased to grow. We either need to find the love again, or free ourselves up to have it with someone new, starting with ourselves. We avoid loving ourselves to such an intense degree when we stay in unhealthy relationships. The truth of limitation in relationship is so painful we do everything possible to avoid accepting it.

Every relationship runs its course. Many have limitations. But as many of our relationships have clear limitations, we keep putting them all into this ideal model of “forever.” It’s like having a small cup of water that we keep pouring over and over into the large jar of forever, thinking if we keep pouring it into this jar that can hold so much more that the water itself will magically expand. But the water is what is available, and meanwhile, we are getting thirsty. Forever is a really long time.

This is not about my being cynical, but about encouraging people to be more realistic and honest about our relationships. It’s about being Courageous with your Love. If you find a soul mate, enjoy them for the time you have together and be grateful each day that they are here to work and play with you for whatever amount of time you have together. Be courageously present to that each day. Can our fierce presence help us to stay in gratitude rather than falling to taking for granted our beloved? When we begin to take for granted, it’s time to assess why we are doing that and whether the relationship is still right for us. Hard questions that might need to be asked over and over. We are not limited to just “the one.” We have many possibilities, so which one is right for you right now in your life? The answer may not be as obvious as the one you are with.