The Journey Of Relationship
From Here To Maturity…
By Scott Kalechstein Grace
Intimate relationships are the best personal growth seminar in town. The purpose of being in relationship is to give and receive love. It’s that simple. When we have wounds that block our ability to love and be loved (and who doesn’t?), the purpose of relationship then becomes healing…to help one another in removing the blocks to the awareness of Love’s Presence. What are the tools to make such a journey? What does it require of us?
Meeting the ‘right’ person is no insurance, and no substitute for the work of developing relational skills that allow for both intimacy and autonomy, the inhale and exhale of relationship.
One of my favorite quotes:
Soul mates are forged, not found.
– Jett Psaris and Marlena Lyons
‘The work’ part of the relationship is the dis-illusioning process that is a part of any spiritual path, which is what a relationship can be when it is dedicated to helping each other awaken. There are tools and practices that can help move the process along, and they will be discussed in further posts, but the most important tool is willingness!
Here is an overview of what I have learned so far in…
THE CLASSROOM OF ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP
Relationship Stage One (Attraction, Honeymoon)
I applied to a great school and I’ve been accepted! I’m on the top of the world! (And I blame my partner for my joy…)
Relationship Stage Two (Friction, Power Struggle)
Classes begin, homework is assigned, egos bump heads… (And I blame my partner for my pain…)
Relationship Stage Three (Mature Love)
Egos have been sandpapered smooth enough to begin to give our unique partnership gifts to the world. (And I thank God for our joy!)
Romantic Balloons And Bubbles That Must Be Busted For Class To Proceed…
- I can get all my needs met by one person… my soul mate will do that for me.
- The right person will make me happy.
- Having a partner will make my life easier.
- The ease and high of the honeymoon stage should last forever and if it doesn’t this person must not be the ‘one’ for me.
- Being in a relationship will increase my self-esteem and add meaning to my life, putting an end to my loneliness, issues of rejection, and feeling abandoned.
The Healing Path Of Relationships
Unavoidable Relationship Facts That Cause Great Suffering When Not Understood And Accepted
- Love brings up anything unlike itself for the purpose of healing and release. Trust the colonic… A relationship will make the unconscious conscious so you can see (and smell) your crap and choose out of it.
- Your partner is your mirror, not your savior, and will wind up treating you the way you secretly (or not so secretly) treat yourself. That’s a big motivator to make loving and accepting yourself a top priority. James Taylor wrote “You’ve been better to me than I’ve been to myself.” That’s a honeymoon stage fairy tale. In real life your partner is your mirror, not your savior.
- Welcome and prepare for conflicts. Expecting them to occur is wise, not cynical. Your partner will trigger the hell out of you at times. It’s part of their divine job description. If you keep your feet on the ground than relationship won’t bring you to your knees. Have tools to use and agreements in place for when buttons get pushed. Relationship will flush out issues of abandonment and entrapment, encouraging you to stop abandoning yourself, prompting you to drop your masks and outdated survival strategies, and assisting you to learn the delicate dance between autonomy and intimacy, taking care of yourself and caring about someone else.
- Any unfinished business with Mom and Dad, past partners or siblings, will eventually surface between you and your partner. This is a great blessing and is part of how the universe always moves us towards healing, completion, and mastery.
- A conscious relationship is a spiritual path. The purpose of a spiritual path is to disillusion you (remove you from illusions). Embrace that and you grow into mature love. Resist that and you suffer deeply. Eckart Tolle reminds us that “The purpose of relationship is not to make you happy. It is to make you conscious.”
RELATIONSHIP GROWTH IN FOUR CHAPTERS
Chapter 1- You attract re-enactments of your childhood wounding…i.e.- an unavailable alcoholic, a controlling mother, etc. You wonder why life is doing this to you. Where are all the available men? Where are all the good women? Why am I being deprived? What’s wrong with me? When will I be loved?
Chapter 2- You continue to attract replicas of your history, but you are learning to respond in other ways besides feeling like a victim. You recognize that the universe is out to heal you by helping to bring your unresolved feelings to the surface for resolution, and to give you the opportunity to complete with your past by learning to respond differently. i.e. – instead of silently trembling in the dark or acting out in punitive ways (childhood responses), the adult learns to speak up, express feelings without blaming, and to say no.
Chapter 3- You attract someone who is mostly different from your past but has the potential to act the part if driven in that direction. They become an occasional replica of your history, giving you plenty of practice in responding in other ways besides the limited choices available in childhood.
Chapter 4- You eventually draw in someone who is not at all like your controlling mother or your absent father and you occasionally project your childhood story on to them and work through the feelings without full blown suffering and constant drama. What’s relationship about then? It’s about giving and receiving love, celebrating life together, and serving the earth with your feet on the ground.
The Gift Of Grief: Fully mourning what you didn’t get in childhood moves you through the chapters and prepares you to be an adult who can bring realistic expectations to a relationship.
The Gift Of Relationship: It will bring you face to face with your unresolved childhood pain until your grief work is completed.
Ways Of Approaching Need Fulfillment
- Bulldozing: You put your needs above everyone else’s, and feel entitled to having them met at other people’s expense.
- Yes, Dear: ( A favorite of spiritual people) In the name of transcending your ego, you act as if your own needs are unimportant and unspiritual, and you judge yourself as unworthy of having what you want. Inevitably, you deny you have needs and/or try to get them met unconsciously, using strategies that helped you survive a troubled childhood, ie- being passive aggressive, withholding, seducing, blaming, manipulating, and guilt-tripping others into giving to you. By the way, a ‘needy’ person is someone who is not giving themselves permission to have needs, and so their needs leak out unconsciously, bringing discomfort to everyone around them.
- The Middle Way: You practice choosing assertive adult strategies, like asking for what you want directly without demanding it. You realize that you can never really win if your partner loses, and so you always go for a win-win. Also, you are willing and able to meet your own needs or get them met elsewhere when your partner isn’t available. A child has limited choices, an adult always has plenty.
Some Things To Do While You Are Single
- Walk the path of being single with your head held high. You are learning lessons of self-determination and empowerment, where you get to determine how you want to live, who you want to include in your life, and what you want to accomplish on this earth. You don’t have the excuse to blame anything on anyone else. You get to fully accept the responsibility for your state in life. Being single is a sacred and valid spiritual path. Walk it in fullness and with dignity.
- Since people (including your next partner) will tend to treat you the way you treat yourself, spend time upgrading your relationship with yourself, replacing the inner critical self-talk with a gentle, nurturing, loving inner parent.
- Immerse yourself in the study of communication skills, like Marshall Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication (www.cnvc.org). When a relationship comes along and conflicts inevitably arise, you’ll want them, need them, and lean on them.
- Make loving yourself and giving your gifts your most important areas of focus. When you get into a relationship and you make it through the honeymoon stage these will remain the two most important ingredients for both your personal happiness and having a non-codependent, healthy relationship…LOVING YOURSELF & GIVING YOUR GIFTS!
- Get to know yourself, what you stand for and what you won’t stand for. Practicing both standing firm in your truth and the art of being flexible. You’ll need both in an intimate relationship.
- Live your life to the fullest. Accept the possibility that you may never have a partner and live life as if it’s your complete responsibility to live out your dreams and make yourself happy right now. Practice the most difficult Yoga posture of all: Standing on your own two feet!
I, Scott, love being available for coaching people who are single, in relationship, and those that defy labels and categories. Send me an email at [email protected] to start a conversation.