There is no aspect of life more ripe with opportunities to grow than our relationships. It also seems to be perhaps the most difficult and often painful way to learn. Sometimes, I get the distinct impression that I may have been a little over confident when I signed up for what I wanted to achieve this lifetime.
I can see it now, back in the place it all began, way before I was born. A fluffy, nebulous space of brilliant, white light. There I am, in my shiny soul nakedness, just brimming with enthusiasm about my coming incarnation, having a chat with God about what I might like to learn this time around.
” I’m so stoked about this lifetime, God. I’m totally inspired and excited. This is my time, I can just feel it. This is gonna be my last time around. I just know it”
“There’s no reason to rush dear. You have all the time in the world to complete the syllabus. Besides, this is infinity, you don’t get extra credit for finishing ahead of time” God chuckles, being particularly partial to a pun.
“No really, God. I’ve been over the last one, I see exactly where I went wrong – I know I’m ready. You know, you really had me with that parenting thing. You really got me going. I just have to tell you, that is the most brilliant way to teach unconditional love, I don’t know how you come up with this stuff.”
“Oh, well you know… I’ve had a bit of practice, and of course the omniscience thing is handy, “ God murmurs, with customary modesty “Anyway, back to you. Have you had a think about what you might like to try this time? I thought you might like to give Life Purpose 101 a go” He suggests gently.
“Life Purpose? No way God, I want you to really challenge me this time. I want to do Relationships again, but this time, take off the training wheels, I’m going for Gold!”
” Ahh, hmm, I see.” God pauses, for quite a long time, until squirming, I interrupt the silence
“God, I know what you’re thinking..” God raises an eyebrow
“Well, erm, no obviously not” I respond a little sheepishly “The thing is God, I just wanted to say that whilst it may have looked like a bit of train wreck from your perspective, especially towards the end of my marriage, I feel I grew so much and I have given it a lot of thought and… well, I just know I am not going to make the same mistakes again”
God tactfully says nothing and look into the middle distance. In retrospect, I can see he was probably mulling over the free will issue and how difficult it is to uphold when you really just want to steer your creations away from the impending cliff edge of their own self-destruction.
“Trust me on this, God. I’m ready. Don’t hold anything back, I want you to give me your best shot.”
“As you wish, my child, as you wish.”
And here I am. Stumbling clumsily between the ego: “why is this happening to me?” and highest self: “what am I being shown here?”. Some days, some years, some relationships it feels like the time I misguidedly imagined I could become some other version of me who isn’t terrified of rollercoasters and got on Space Mountain at Disney.
I’m holding my breath, clenching my teeth and hanging on for dear life. All I can do is try to remember that this crazy rollercoaster ride through the darkness only feels like it is going to be fatal. That it’s going to end and I’ll be back in the light pretty soon. In the light is where I feel like I’m finally getting it. I can see where my patterns are, painful as it is to really see them. But it is in becoming conscious that we can finally choose a different behaviour and that’s when we get to choose to stop the ride and get off.
A prayer or intention for the rollercoaster of unhealthy relationships
Dear God, (or Goddess, Universe, Highest Self…whatever works for you)
Please heal the part of me that permits and accepts unhealthy relationships.
Teach me to protect my inner child from people who hurt her/him, even unintentionally.
Show me that forgiveness doesn’t mean staying connected at the expense of my well-being.
Remind me that it’s not my job to try to heal or change other people but simply to learn the lessons I am being shown.
Help me surrender, to trust and let go.
Amen (or So Be it, Thank you, Om Shanti)
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Today I’d like to talk to you about getting unstuck from unhealthy situations in important relationships. I have heard it said that 99% of the solution to any problem is to become conscious of your behavior first. So I’d like to start by sharing a little exercise with you, for which you are going to need a pen and paper, I’ll pause a minute while you go find one…
Welcome back! To begin, on your piece of paper, write the numbers 1. 2. and 3. underneath each other.
First, what I would like you to do is to think of an important yet frustrating relationship in your life, could be a romantic one, or it could be with a parent or sibling or friend. Got it? Good. Now write the name of that person next to the number one.
Next, think about what it is that you most need and don’t get from that person – could be something like acceptance, affection, consideration, passion, commitment, sensitivity – you get the idea. When you have chosen that thing, write it next to the number two.
Finally, calculate how long you have been in this situation of not getting this important need met in your relationship – could be days, weeks, months or years. Write this answer next to number 3.
Now write this sentence on your piece of paper
I have to stop going to the hardware store for milk. I have been doing this for ten years now.
Crazy or what? You know how Albert Einstein defined insanity? See the top of this post again if you need a reminder.
Now, I am going to have you write the sentence again with some substutions for certain words. You see where this is going? OK, but no chickening out now.
It’s important that you see this written down.
Here we go,
I have to stop going to __(your answer to number 1)_ for __(insert your answer to number 2) I have been doing this for __(answer to number 3)__
Take a look at this sentence without guilt, shame or judgment. Just notice – with curiosity about what might be motivating you to keep up this – shall we say – level of optimism about this particular relationship. There has to be a reason that some part of your brain is telling you to keep showing up at the hardware store for milk. It’s probably not a rational part. It’s likely to be part of you that is totally stuck on the idea of How Things Ought To Be. It might well be a younger part of you that says with sad confusion,
But this person is my fill in the blank they are SUPPOSED to fill in the blank.
You might respond to this younger part of yourself kindly ’Yes they are sweetie. And they ought to and you deserve to have them do that. But… I’m a little worried about how much it hurts you to keep getting your feelings so hurt when you are disappointed.’
Always remember that the only person you have any hope of changing is you.
Take this piece of paper and stick it on your bathroom mirror for a month. Each time you brush your teeth, take a look at it and try to come up with some ideas of how you might try to do this differently. It doesn’t necessarily mean ending a relationship. But it might mean working on laying down the expectations you have of how things ought to be, so that you can have a little more peace about how they are.
Think about it. Ask yourself this question
If I could give up the belief that ******* should be ******** how would that change how I feel about the way things are?
Chances are if you didn’t have the expectation that this person should behave in a certain way – you wouldn’t be suffering when they don’t. Try this on for size. And let me know how it works for you. I’m going to be working on it right alongside you.
How about we do this in three dimensions some time? I am booking individual and couple sessions in April at this time and have some limited availability for Skype sessions in March. Also, today I updated the Workshops and Seminars page so please click on over to check out the Spring workshop schedule which includes the Freedom Peace & Power one-day life-makeover workshop for people who want to give their healing, growth and living at their full potential a super boost and the highly successful Vive La Différence weekend workshop for couples interested in more relationship goodness and joy than they will know what to do with.
Hope to see you soon, even if it’s on Skype.
Check out her post This is Why I’ll never be a grown up and be gentle on yourself today!
I had an amazing weekend facilitating the Vive La Différence Weekend for Couples with Bruce Gold. I am awed and humbled by the transformational power of love. It truly is the strongest medicine. This morning, one of the participants forwarded me an email she had received today which I would like to share with you along with a song – MC YOGI Give Love.
Daily Inspiration for Monday, February 27, 2012 from Renaissance Unity
“If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain:
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.”
My passion is freedom and my purpose is love.
Your presence in my life is like a burning fire and a cool breeze.
Your truth pushes and cradles me.
I intend to be a better person today than I was yesterday.
With Your help, I passionately live my purpose.
With my help, You transform the world.
And so it is.
Today I hope that you feel connected to and inspired by your life’s purpose.
Do you remember being a kid thinking you couldn’t wait to be a grown up? Longing for the day when school would be over and no-one would be telling you when to go to bed or that you had to eat your greens. Didn’t it all look like so much more fun from that height?
I distinctly remember the feeling of shock when I finally realized that growing up didn’t involve some magical moment of transformation. The sheer disbelief that adults were actually just children who had become really, really old. Admittedly, with some people it was harder to believe than others.
Yet the truth is that inside every grown up personality you’ll find an inner child, perfectly preserved. The facets of our identity that were forged in our early years dictate much of how we operate in the world.
Whether we are conscious of them or not, our inner child has a lot to do with both our strengths and weaknesses. For example, the amount of praise versus criticism you experienced as a child has a lot to do with your self-esteem as an adult.
Many people survive an emotionally abusive childhood only to grow up and continue to bully themselves with internalized negative messages. Are you guilty of this? Here’s a quick test, would you ever speak to a child the way you speak to yourself?
Regardless of how your childhood was, you can do a better job of parenting your inner child. Here are some tips to start you off.
1) Find safe people to comfort you when you are feeling little
2) If you don’t have healthy relationships with your relatives, create family for yourself from friends
3) Sleep is important, naps can change everything
4) Don’t over-schedule yourself, start the day slowly and gently
5) Schedule more play-dates for yourself
6) Make time for art or music or other creative expression
7) Structure is comforting, create routines that nurture you
8) Too much sugar (or fill in the blank) is a bad idea
9) Play outside – your inner child likes fresh air, rediscover your sense of adventure
10) Be silly and laugh often
Get the idea? How many more can you come up with? Above all, be gentle with yourself. Don’t make me come down there.