Come Monday I usually start to wonder what am I going to write about for the week's Tidbit. And this Monday it became evident that Relationship is the theme of the week. I am blessed to have relationships with people that give me so much opportunity to learn and grow and express myself. So a moment of gratitude here to all of you who support my education.
My first therapist told me that relationships were the ways in which we resolved our own internal conflicts. It took me a while to get that. And then ten years later I got it again, a little differently. And today, it has a whole new spin. Relationships are opportunities to know who we are, to grow ourselves, to find our wholeness within ourselves instead of looking outside for others to make us whole. And to share that glorious process of discovery and to support each other.
It is our choice how we structure our relationships. We can build on a foundation of love and appreciation (and we all usually start there) or from a perspective of fear and lack (where many of us tend to go when something happens that scares us). We can learn to stay open and receptive and choose to respond from the heart no matter what; or we can live in old wounds from the past and re-enact old conflicts. When we recognize that our heart is shutting down we can ask what we need to do to keep it open. And then take action to do it. Take a breath or go to the beach, talk to a friend (doesn't matter how many legs they have), pray, tap, do yoga, dance, hug a tree.... It takes practice to choose positive action and we will make mistakes and that is OK because mistakes are how we learn. Or we can choose to let our heart shut down and abandon ourselves to self pity or misery or catastrophic thinking, which often becomes habitual and familiar.
I am not saying that experiencing negative emotion does not have its place. I remember a night I was so depressed after a break up with my boyfriend that I went to bed with a bowl of popcorn (comfort food), and a box of tissues, and Linda Rondstadt on the stereo singing her sad broken hearted love songs. And I cried and cried and cried myself to sleep. The next morning I felt wonderful! I had released all the old broken hearted pain and had a new day without all that old baggage. Cathartic emotional release (drama therapy is a great example) is wonderful when we have a lot of stored up energy that we become willing to let go, but repetitive negative patterns can evolve a life of their own and they do not serve our higher good. What they do serve is the conflict between conscious and unconscious beliefs and intentions, but that is another tidbit (I have been told that these tidbits have grown certainly into appetizers and perhaps even into full course meals, but they are still tidbits to me).
We need to learn to take care of ourselves in relationships rather than expecting the relationship to take care of us. It does not serve us well if we interpret another person's attempts at self care as abandonment of us. More often, we abandon ourselves by not speaking our truth or listening to our inner knowing. Sometimes we project our own feelings onto others; that they are doing it to us, when in reality we have let go of our practice of making ongoing choices to take responsibility for staying with our higher self. We have all been "abandoned" at one time or another; it is part of living on this planet. We were born. People come and they go. We all die. (And, paradoxically, at the same time we are all one, never alone, never abandoned; if we keep our hearts and minds open it is easier to recognize this.) Our job is to learn to take care of ourselves and choose how to support positive emotional vibration in ourselves first and thereby empower others to do the same, creating relationships based on mutual growth and appreciation.
"If all you did was just look for things to appreciate you would live a joyous, spectacular life. If there was nothing else that you ever came to understand other than just look for things to appreciate, it's the only tool you would ever need to predominantly hook you up with who you really are. That's all you'd need." Excerpted from the Abraham-Hicks workshop in San Antonio, TX on January 26th, 2002