I'm no love guru, but I can see that these are difficult and uncertain times for many people who are in relationships, including my own.
When our own psychological and emotional states are unstable, we can start to see the world as unstable, as well. And what often happens is when we're in a close relationship with someone else, we can start to perceive the other person as the reason for our own instabilities in one way or another.
Yet, what is likely is that the other person is in their own world, living out their own stories, in their own separate life, ignorant to what you perceive is going on. As the feelings start to build and remain uncommunicated, the divide grows. Suddenly, you both are carrying what is perceived as a big problem and the only way out is a big conversation that takes a lot of time and energy to detangle the scrambled web of misperceptions and emotions, just to get back to being on the same page.
What happened? What went wrong? How did it get so bad?
There's no doubt, relationships are hard. They take work. But, just like cleaning our bedrooms, if we don't keep it up every day, we will have a big mess to clean eventually that is much more stressful than if we had. We can say the same for work or spiritual practices. It's easy to get lazy about them and let them slip by the wayside. Suddenly, we're stressed that our body feels out of whack or our mind is too overloaded with stress.
Relationships are important. Although the easiest relationships to take advantage of, like our best friends, our spouses, partners - are a big part of the foundation of our lives. Who do we go to when we are sick? When we need help? When we need love and support? When we need advice or just need someone to talk to? There are probably 1-3 people that come to mind for most people, aside from our parents. Yet, these are the relationships we tend to take for granted.
It's ok. It's human nature. And it's also a good idea to take some time to reflect on how your closest relationships are...really, as well as what exactly you want from them.
You may start by asking yourself a few questions:
What is it that you want from a relationship? Are both of you getting what you need from each other?
Is the relationship equally symbiotic? Are each of you putting in effort and what does that effort look like? For example, women may play a lead role in communication , whereas men may play a lead role in planning outings or taking the women out to dinner, etc.
Are you aware of what the other person is going through, mentally, physically, emotionally?
How is your communication, respect and understanding? Have you been secretly harboring some unspoken feelings about them? Or have you been on the other side and keep to yourself without taking the time to acknowledging the other person?
If these questions have sparked your curiosity or triggered you in some way, consider it's time to start connecting more with yourself and your loved one.
In my experience, one thing I have learned is that at the heart of all the questions and doubts we may have about our partners, the main thing is that we just want to love and be loved.
We just want to share love, feel supported and be acknowledged in our human-ness.
What can we do to keep the connection and communication flowing in our closest relationships (partners, lovers, spouses) to foster love and support both ways?
Here are 3 simple yet powerful and effective intimacy exercises you can use daily:
1) Daily Talking - 10 minutes
Anytime of day, sit down across from your partner and set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes. Start the timer and let your partner say whatever he/she wants about anything for the entire duration of the time.
It could be a rant about work, some menial things about the day, some deep feelings about you or something else going on in their world. Whatever it is, just sit, look in your partner's eyes and receive everything they say without interruption, judgement or opinions.
Just deeply listen and receive what they say without taking anything personally. It's a safe zone for both of you. When he or she is finished, Simply say "Thank you." And then it's your turn.
What this does is open up a safe space for both you and your partner to communicate without judgement from the other, as well as, start to lift the veil on what planet your partner is really living on, getting the communication going between you.
2) Daily Heart Connection - 5 minutes
Set a timer for 5 minutes. Sit or stand across from your partner with your right hands on each other's hearts and your left hands on top of his/her right hand. Look into each other's eyes and breathe.
As you breathe, imagine inhaling love through their hand into your heart and exhaling your love through your right hand into their heart.
Keep your gaze in each other's eyes, simply giving and receiving without words, without boundaries, just being human together.
If you notice your mind is wondering, just come back to the feeling and the breathing. Foster an attitude of openness, presence and vulnerability and just see what happens. If you begin to get emotional or feel triggered, stay with it and with yourself in the feelings just allowing them to be without ignoring or deflecting until the timer goes off.
In this exercise, we get a rare chance to feel our own human-ness through another being. If there are any barriers between you and another person, they soon melt away when face-to-face with another human being who is just like you in many ways. We get to look beyond the personality into the soul or spirit of the other person and appreciate the truth of who we are and the beauty of life reflected in another's eyes.
3) Mantras to Relieve Suffering in Relationships
Coming Soon in Part 2 of this article!
There is so much to be learned from our human relationships - for it is through relationships that we can often see ourselves reflected in the deepest and most obvious ways.
I hope these reflections and exercises bring you peace of mind, connectedness and a deeper knowing and trust in yourself and the life that's at play all around you.
I am currently offering 3, 5 and 7 day Private Retreats in Bali, as well as private sessions for Yoga, Meditation, Personal Coaching and Integrated Intimacy. Take a look at my Private Retreats and Private Sessions pages and contact me at email@example.com to know more.