Relationships are rich soil for growth. About a year ago I really started exploring another layer of the word relationship and that’s when I started to get into tantra and all that work started percolating into my own practices and what I hold space for. I had been holding a paradox that was on the one hand we are hard-wired for relationship, and on the other, all relationship is a form of distraction.
For me, there is truth in both statements. If we go back to when we all lived in a nomadic way and off the land then we needed to belong to a tribe as that gave a certain degree of protection against the sabre tooth tigers and other wild animals that were around. And yet when we enter into the dance of relationship be it as lovers or friends, it can become all-consuming and so take us off course in terms of our dharma. If we layer on aspects of this year of the water tiger which is about finding our purpose by letting go and aspects from last week’s conscious conversation in community where we explored what it meant to be open to death and rebirth, we can begin to find our way through.
What are the phases of relationship?
I was listening to two people talk about conscious uncoupling recently and it was beautiful and painful at the same time. Beautiful in its rawness and transparency because they were talking about their breakup as a couple and they had created a brand together and that was no more. What it really reminded me of was the impermanence of life when we allow ourselves to respond with openness to whatever is showing up in our key relationships. It was also a great reminder that endings are not something to fear and that liberation comes when we can celebrate these kinds of death, and it is true to hold that stance takes great courage.
I love the following description of the four stages of relationship because it feels real and gives hope. The first is the honeymoon phase when you are enamoured by everything about that person; the second is the desert which comes when you start triggering each other like mad and really begin to wonder what possessed you to get into relationship with them. And this is the phase when most relationships end because they don’t want to deal with the pain.
The gifts come when you can transmute that and get into the third phase which we can call healing. There’s a view that we attract in lovers and friends because they can help us see our wounds in a different way and with greater awareness come to a place of loving acceptance by releasing some of those deep-held traumas.
The fourth stage could be called unconditional love because when we heal aspects of our wounded child we have more love and compassion for ourselves and those in our life. This is the sweetness that can emerge when you come through the fire.
What stops this cycle from finding completion?
One of the core archetypes that we all share and can relate to is the victim. What do I mean by that? There is something off in your relationship and rather than take responsibility for that, there is projection and blame placed on the other person. For example when a partner blames you for the way they are feeling, seeing your actions as the root cause for their pain or vice versa.
Really what is happening is that you are bumping up against the pain-body. Tolle defines the pain-body as “the human tendency to perpetuate old emotion” which is accumulated in their “energy field.” He says any negative emotion not fully faced and seen for what it is in the moment becomes a remnant of pain we carry with us throughout our lives.
The invitation is to acknowledge it for what it is and to cleanse your energy body of that old emotion. I find Green Angel is a great for healing this kind of pain and I have been using it a lot recently.
If you notice this kind of pattern coming up in your relationships then go gently on yourself. One of the other tools that helps me is to repeat ho’oponopono. There’s a beautiful version of it on my enlightened chakra spotify playlist that you can use as it often takes a while to clear any stuck energy that comes up in these moments.
Sometimes it is fear that keeps us holding onto a relationship that is past its use-by date! And that’s understandable because very few of us have a healthy relationship with death. And yet the truth is that each breath we take brings us one step closer to our own demise. So what is the way through?
Freedom holds the key
This summer I will have been married for 20 years! We are planning to celebrate and in some ways, I have to pinch myself when I realise how long it has been. And I think that one of the reasons that this relationship has stayed the course is because we both value freedom. Whilst we spend time together, we spend equal amounts of time apart. Andy has just headed off to the Lake District for five days to ensure he gets into the mountains this summer.
A story I shared as part of the recent online course I am running explored that more deeply by sharing a story from King Arthur’s round table in which one of his knights gave his wife the power to choose. After seven years together she left him and at that moment a small part of him died too. Another illustration that helps us to understand why it can be hard to grant another sovereignty over their life. So what do we need?
A few weeks back on the Enlightened Chakra course we looked at unconditional love and what enables that. It’s about enabling those around us to be in their sovereignty. How do we do that? It starts with seeing deeply into the other person so that the Divine in you connects with the Divine in them. And I offered my group a simple spiritual practice in our last session that can help each of us embrace that more fully, working with the phrase namaste.
Freud helped us to see why freedom is so difficult when he said
Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.
And when we fear responsibility we can find ourselves in victim. This is linked to basic survival represented by red in our system. In the chakras, this is the root chakra and in colour the root and the heart chakra are connected because each is the complementary colour to the other.
We can get to the enlightened root chakra which is clear in colour by clearing ourselves of all (self) judgement. We arrive at the enlightened heart chakra when we stop putting conditions, tacit or otherwise, on our loved ones. No more expectations simply acceptance of what is. This can be a life’s work, and I have found it has become much easier to shift by using the Colour Mirror essences and oils.