Treading the soil of the moon, palpitating its pebbles,tasting the panic and splendor of the event, feeling in the puit of one's stomach the separation from terra - these form the most romantic sensation an explorer has ever known.
How do we heal?
Ah, love and romance. To be "romantic" means so much more than the dance of love between partners. It means passion in all forms, and can suffuse our entire being with a heady sense of exhileration, novelty and aliveness. And it is up to us to learn to make this part of our life experience, every single day.
And whether it's between partners or in the larger sense of community, the deepest yearning we have as humans is to love and be loved, to be understood and heard, to feel connected and appreciated for the absolute raw, gorgeous, base and broken truth of who we really are. There's a sweetness and intimacy to being in love that feeds our souls, and that can't be duplicated anywhere else ... and is very hard to hold on to.
So why doesn't it last?
It can, but not without giving it the time
and attention needed to sustain - or
revitalize - a weary twosome. (Let's not
call it "working on a relationship." Who
wants to do that?) If you're feeling mis-
understood and unappreciated, here are
a few basic questions to ask yourself:
Are you supporting your partner in actualizing his/her dreams? Are you listening with presence and actual interest? Are you communicating your needs without anger? Are you willing to learn to let go of past issues and resentments? Are your expectations of the marriage realistic? How much time and energy are you placing into your job, your kids, your taxes, your home renovation, in relation to your partner? When was the last time you gave your partner the gift of a complete fantasy? How predictable have you become? When was the last time you swept them off their feet?
Working Through Difficulties
Couples invariably seek help for the same reasons ... re-establishing trust after a betrayal, better means of conflict resolution, communication issues, intimacy.
In working to help couples find themselves and their best friends again, I think it's important to meet with each partner individually at first .. to help them discover what childhood wounds, old relatiomship baggage, personal issues of self, frustrations and issues in their personal or professional lives outside the marriage, are impacting their ability to be fully present for their partner. I use Imago Diaglues as well in bringing in a form of effective, more compassionate communication and enhanced understanding
Mindfulness ... Again!
There are many studies confirming what any meditator knows: Mindfulness Helps Marriage. If we can find more curiosity, acceptance and emotional stability within ourselves, we tend not to react so hastily to our or another's thoughts and emotions ... we learn to acknowledge and explore them more consciously. This practice also increases our capacity to feel and express empathy, to communicate effectively and to handle stressful situations with more equanimity, and catch fights before they escalate.
The demands of 21st century living and relating are so much more complex, and changing at such exponential speeds, marriages today are unrecognizable from those of even 50 years ago.
At 60% divorce rate, to say nothing of the percentage of partners who regularly and secretly fantasize about it, it's certainly no surprise to anyone that the institution marriage is in deep jeopardy. We still unconsciously tend to cling to antiquated belief systems about what it's supposed to look and feel like, and it doesn't.
A Conscious Relationship is one based on supporting first your own, and then your partner's, growth, change, movement, sense of aliveness and engagement in life .. mind, body & soul. It's about delving deeply into your own life process, acknowledging and healing childhood issues that your partner will invariably trigger, adopting mature ways of communicating, addressing inevitable conflict, and keeping trust the basis for a lifetime friendship.
So is there really a way to salvage all that we hold dear and deeply need as human beings about marriage ... loyalty, security, friendship, partnership, parenting together, a soul love that deepens over time .. while still maintaining our voice, identity, sanity and happiness?
After working with hundreds of couples over the years, my answer to that question is a resounding YES. What I've learned is that through fostering friendship ... getting very clear about and being willing to revamp our expectations and beliefs ... being willing to go deeply to repair the wounds from previous relationships and childhood ... restoring trust ... learning more productive and loving communication skills .. exploring and healing our own individual areas of dysfunction and lack of fulfillment ... we can actually re-enter the relationship with a profound sense of connection.
Navigating the raw emotions a partner can bring out in us, almost invariably triggering childhood wounds from our "family of origin," is a difficult journey. But with a willingness to explore ourselves fully as individuals, we can come together from a place of clarity and balance.