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On Relationships, Love, and Being

I’ve become aware of the fact that we grow with each person we meet, and simultaneously we sometimes don’t realize how we have been impacted, changed,or shaped by those that we connect with. I don’t think there are ever any chance meetings. It’s almost if we draw other people into our lives so we can see ourselves more clearly, so we can see that we are inherently source. We want our uniqueness to be celebrated and we don’t want to share in the celebration of our human experience alone.

Sometimes,when left to our own devices we don’t realize that all experience is relationship. We deny ourselves certain experiences because we don’t feel it’s the relationship that we should be having or we don’t recognize it because it doesn’t emulate what we are familiar with.

Our attachments to our expectations and desires and the way we feel things can get in the way of experiencing the potential for true connection. The human condition is one that is infinitely connected and simultaneously alone with every breath we take.

It is our choice in every moment to decide how we choose to exist. I feel that is why we are constantly searching for a supposed other half. We are searching for the connection that will ignite the remembrance that we are eternally connected to the infinite ground of reality and that there is no separation between that ground and our true essence.

We search for those we can get messy with, those people that we can be completely human with and expose the parts of ourselves that are both fertile and overflowing with great wisdom and nourishment even in the most profound pain and ecstasy. We look for another to open the doorway to our soul, to expose the incredible power of our true nature. So much of the time we fear opening the doorway ourselves. We want a partner to walk with us into the places that we couldn’t bear to be alone.

I feel that it is my duty to open myself to “learning” each person I meet inside and out and to open myself to being truly and deeply felt. What are we truly afraid of when we are vulnerable and have the opportunity to deeply connect?What are we really afraid to see and feel?

When someone takes the initiative and shows a sincere interest and desire to connect and nourish the seeds of relationship by taking the time to get to know me inside and out, I feel not only deeply honored, but that I am essentially loved,seen, and that I matter.

I recognize that there are aspects of my self that feel much more strengthened, accepted,and empowered, when their Existence is validated by the other. Within the construct of my self I have many wounded parts still seeking outwardly for their right to live, love be loved, and be celebrated. These parts deeply fear that they will be abandoned if they truly allow themselves to be loved, cared for, and supported in actualizing their most authentic in the moment expression. They fear the inevitable death of the world and circumstances that have allowed them to stay small, hide, and not take full responsibility for creating the experience they are having.

When I resist relationship I resist connection to myself, source, and all those that I dance with on the path of life. I deny myself the awareness, and in that denial of awareness, I relinquish the nourishment and love that is available tome in every moment through the realization that at the base, the experience of my “self” is never truly separated from source.

It’s hard to just accept that in every moment the connection we desire is available to us. Can we sit in full appreciation and welcoming of our aloneness while noticing the simultaneous arising of the interconnection and inherent communion of all life?

We are always in communication with one another, no matter what we try to hide. In life, there really are no secrets. I find that I do a disservice to not only myself, but those that that I am in relationship with when I am not transparent about my needs, desires, essential truths and boundaries. Yet, I have noticed sometimes when I don’t receive the response within the interaction or connection I initially wanted, that experience can be a powerful catalyst for deepening my awareness on what my actual desires or needs are within the relationship.

IfI don’t allow myself to freeze or shut down when a wound is triggered and I invite myself to open to all that I am feeling, I can transcend into a space where the initial need or desire seeking to be met by the other, is now being met and actualized by me. From this new ground of awareness I can make a choice and discern truly how I would actually like to relate.

Do I want to relate from a place in which I am seeking externalized attention or validation because I myself feel empty or incomplete without other, or am I moving from a place of grounded clarity through my practice of learning to attune to my own inner voice of wisdom that is showing me exactly how to nourish and love myself?

Personally, I am continuously working towards the latter, of nourishing my own fullness so that it is the overflow of my fullness that dances and naturally invites in a potent space of relatedness and connection with grace and ease. When I continuously honor that space of deep listening, I am never led astray. I am only led onto pathways that will support the growth and the continued cracking open of my authentic expression.

Does this mean that it will always be graceful and easy and painless? Not in the least! Part of the beauty of our humanness is that we have the ability to be messy and it is often our most unskillful moments and suffering that results in a deeper unveiling of our unconscious aspects. This includes the shadow and the parts that we fear to expose and fear will never be loved or accepted.

On a path of complete isolation from human interaction, we can only go so far as to heal our wounds and especially our attachment wounds on our own. As a unified energetic organism pulsating with life, we thrive when we are in contact and relationship and open into greater dimensions of understanding through the gift of our relatedness.

When we have an opportunity to create real human connection and relationship, what gets in the way of our full reception of the experience?

Another’s love, interest ,care, and even conflict, friction, or animosity, can not only illuminate the ways in which we most desire to be cared for and loved, but show us the places in which we aren’t fully honoring and loving ourselves.

This is one of the reasons why being in relationship is so incredibly potent. In seeing and feeling ourselves through the other we will not only be shown our inherent basic goodness, but we will also witness the shadow aspects of ourselves that have been lurking within the unconscious yearning to be reclaimed and re-integrated.

When faced with those that show us our shadow do we run from them or do we make a choice to dance with and actually be in connection and communication with that which we fear most about ourselves?

I want to make a commitment to surrender to being vulnerable and learning to love the parts that even intensely polarize me to the other. I have realized that this polarity is a reflection of the resistance I have in accepting myself in someway. And in that polarity I have discovered that there is incredible wisdom and depths of connection just waiting to be tasted.

At the base, our “goals” in love won’t be truly realized without a simultaneous devotion to the path of unconditional self-love. For that is a gateway to unfathomable connection and sacred union. And one day you may discover that the actual realization of your goals in love, are that there are no goals. And, it is your complete surrender to being fully and completely with whatever aspect of your experience and relationship that is arising to be explored that will actually birth the connection you have been searching for all along.

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Today a friend of mine shared that she was feeling some frustration and upset around interactions with a fellow coworker that seem to be ongoing in the work environment. I suggested that she try practicing tonglen. Tonglen is the simple act of breathing in the pain and/or suffering of another person, situation, or even your own pain and/or suffering that is representative of the suffering of the collective.

It is a gift to remember that we are never alone in what we are feeling. In times of our darkest struggle, is it possible that we could open to the notion that there have been billions of other beings that have felt the same way at one time? And, that in moments of your deepest pain, fear, sadness, love, joy, and ecstasy, that there are many others not necessarily in the same space, or even on the same continent, that are feeling that same way.

I have found this to be a beautiful practice that has been really useful in my day-to-day life, especially when I am feeling frustrated by something or I am having trouble fully facing the extent of that which I am feeling and experiencing within myself and in the larger field of my external life.

A teacher of mine once wisely expressed that one of the most challenging things one can do is to practice tonglen with someone you feel triggered by or someone that you even perceive as an enemy. I often ask myself, what are they showing me that I don’t wish to see within me?

It is often easy to forget that when we judge others we are only judging ourselves. What better way to transmute the energy of the situation and bring us into direct contact with the unveiled truth of our experience by breathing in someone’s pain or the pain of a situation, even on a global level and breathing out love. It is a humbling heart cracking open practice and can often be extremely challenging, but also very rewarding.

The more that we allow ourselves to feel, the more we can actually be in connection with our selves and one another.

Here is an article by Pema Chodron that eloquently explains the practice in a little more detail: www.shambhala.org/teachers/pema/tonglen1.php.

With love and gratitude,
Sandie

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