We thought, "well, we've been investing in all sorts of things that we love- good foods, books, trips to the jungle, a sacred living space, etc. but how about we start turning our attention and 'investments' to what, or rather, to whom we love the most, each other!" Of course by doing what we love we enrich our relationship but the study of the art of relating helps us put concepts and words to the ups and downs we experience as a couple.
In this post we share notes and expand on session 3 of the Evolver Learning Lab's "Falling and Staying in Love", which was taught by Bryan Franklin and Jennifer Russell.
There is a lot of information in this one and so some things may be unclear. We recommend focusing on whatever resonates with you and seeing how you can apply it to your partnership.
- Often in a relationship, one person has a strong sense of self, and the other has weak sense of self. The strong self seeks perfection and is overly assertive. The weak self begins loosing his/herself in the relationship by being overly submissive to the person who is domineering. In a healthier evolutionary context, these two versions of the self are complimentary opposites; teaching each other to imbibe more of the qualities they lack to become well rounded individuals.
- How do we shift gears to be in a healthier relationship?
You peer inside yourself
You take the things you like
And try to love the things you took
And then you take that love you made
And stick it into some
Someone else's heart
Pumping someone else's blood
And walking arm in arm
You hope it don't get harmed
But even if it does
You'll just do it all again
Transparency is important: to be honest about who we currently are, our shadows must be shared and accepted as well as the positive traits. As a society, we've gotten too used to the "just-do-it-all-again" mindset. In a relationship, two separate life-stories are coming together. To a degree, we start combining them unconsciously, but the key to making it into a cohesive tale, is to consciously co-write it together. Here are some questions to ask ourselves to expand our awareness of what it means to relate:
- What are we, as a unit, in service to?
- Can I include my relationship in my spiritual path, as a vital component of my personal definition of spirituality?
3. What is my relationship to myself?
4. What are my current highest joys?
5. Do I need more time to myself? Do I feel guilty about this?
6. How do I currently define relationship? What do I think a relationship's purpose is?
7. Do my definitions match up to my partner's?
8. Does anything need to change? If so, what can I do to inspire a change?
9. What is the highest vision I have of my partner? On the flip-side, do I trust the vision my partner
has for me?
10. How do I make them aware of their highest potential?
-Do I do it by complaining about their faults? Or do I reinforce and admire their strengths?
11. Can I be patient with my dreams and visions of the highest version of our relationship, by
allowing them to manifest through the subtleties and intricacies of life's flow without
trying to manipulate them?
Most problems come from our resistance to being the future self our partner sees. Most of us get conditioned to say "this is just the way I am," instead of "I am willing to evolve this perspective, as long as I stay true to the essence of who I am." Indeed it is a mouthful, but this is an example of a more evolutionary train of thought that we all must get used to because we are becoming far too mentally complex to stick with the simple concepts we've gotten used to in mainstream society.
So, we should listen to the complaints of our lover, but helping them to refine their delivery of the critique to best encourage our growth; instead of them triggering the ego that feels threatened by such changes.
However we aren't looking down to dim down the relationship. We need polarity. Sometimes things will get tense and sometimes things will get on like a pleasant dream. Repulsion and attraction works on the atomic level all the way to the macro-galactic. If there are no boundaries then we crash into each other, if we are too withdrawn then we simply drift away from each other. Dynamic repulsion and attraction is needed. Don't settle for an average relationship- mimic the planets and other balanced celestial beings -when the energy for a little conflict arises fight the battle gracefully, tactfully and know when to stop: when the concerns have been addressed it is time to let things work themselves out until the next interaction. We should not try to optimize each and every conversation and each mistake. If you approve your lover's mistake, don't think it means you've approved all mistakes, it means that you trust them and their will to evolve. We are to observe where the relationship goes and how to creatively change our patterns. After all we are the guardians of the relationship. The relationship is it's own entity; we both keep it safe by not crossing certain boundaries that would destroy it.
There are two forces within us all: the paternal and maternal sides of love.
-The positive aspects of the paternal: sees potential for the future, improvement, change, evolution
-The negative aspects of the paternal: nothing is ever enough, discontent, harsh judgement
-the positive aspects of the maternal: sees that all is perfect, all is well in the here and now
-the negative aspects of the maternal: complacency, stagnation, regression
How do we each position ourselves so as to brighten the partner's being. It is a challenge because we all live in the paradoxical situation of holding these two forces together. "The marriage of these of these two forms of love is the crucible of evolutionary love."
To be devoted to another person is to be aware that the person is just the mask over the divine mirror of infinity, which reflects us unfailingly.