Relationship as a Path to Transformation and Meaning
Relationships provide us meaning and reflection. They help us organize who we are and what we do in this world. Here is a cycle I have experienced in relationships and the gold I try to excavate from each part.
Most of us feel the desire to be known, seen and felt, but we stop short of attuning to what others might know, see and feel in us. Building our structure internally means knowing who we are and giving people a place to connect.
It can feel painful to go into our own hearts, minds and bodies, but if we don’t, others are exploring uncharted territory, which is dangerous for them and us. No one knows the boundaries until they are crossed and projections run rampant.
The more awareness we have of how we are organized, what we want and our wounds, the more available we can be for safe and pleasurable connection. From this place, we can value others for what they bring to the relationship rather than for the deficits of our past relationships. We move from a place of desperation or manipulation to true desire.
Desire is a sense of pure excitation and motivation that doesn't feel laden with guilt or shame. Connecting to it puts us in a state of flow and creativity. For many of us, desire is associated with intolerable loss. It may be natural to move into mental exercises as soon as we feel desire to shut down the feelings of vulnerability. When we stay present in our bodies, we can process the feelings of loss from the past and move onward (sometimes simultaneously and for long periods of time) to expanding our capacity for desire.
When we have tolerance for desire, we can further explore the details of who we are, who we perceive others to be, and the ways we imagine connecting with them. Bringing clarity to the forms of connection we desire and allowing that desire to build cultivates a richness of reverence and sustainability for relationship.
When we give ourselves permission to follow the truth of our felt experience without it meaning much about what other people’s felt experience should be, we naturally create the same opportunity for others when they are around us. Embracing contrast allows us to remain in relationship across a spectrum of experiences, expanding our possibilities for connection.
This is where our internal structures and capacity for desire can be tested. Solidarity in who we are and our boundaries supports us to feel comfortable with the various ways others feel toward and around us. Regardless of how strong our internal structures and capacity for desires are, contrast is sure to be activating and climactic. We notice how we are different and what we have to offer one another; this awareness rides the spectrum of pleasure and pain.
Upon our contrasts being highlighted, we are presented with a new cycle. Relationships transform with every contrast. It is our responsibility to be conscious in those transformations. Conscious transformation looks like assessing where and how your future investments will go. They may continue to go to the same relationship, but targeted differently; or you may choose to approach a relationship from an entirely new lens.
This means we are aware of our usual mental, emotional and physical postures and are curious about new ones that better fit our personal truths and partnerships. We are available to teach others about how we respond to their various postures and to receive their feedback without offense.