A Meditation

I put on some of my favorite background music. The kind that when I hear it, my face relaxes. The muscles that pull my ears back and taught against my skull noticeably let go. Then I breathe, and notice my sternum is crunched forward and I lift my chest up and out to let more air in. My lower back is twisted, because my pelvis is tipped one way or another. I balance it and my lower back says “thank you”.

I am calm, in the moment, and I begin. I focus on the first word:

Belief. What do I believe? I focus on that one thing I believe. Onto the next word:

Statement. I say what I believe, in one simple phrase.

Action. I contemplate something I can do, right in this moment, that expresses this belief with motion.

Feeling. What am I feeling in my body as I focus on this belief. Does it match or is my feeling telling me something different? I stay here until I feel my belief. If an emotion comes up, I name it.

Perception. Does my understanding of what’s going on match this feeling or does it shift? How has my view of the world changed? I sit with this. Breathe. Relax. I focus on my belief, I say it out loud, I act on it with my physical being, I note what and where I feel it, and I see with this being-ness I am consciously creating in this moment…..

Assumption. I incept this experience. Like a seed, I plant this experience into my quiet mind to grow a response within me for all situations.

Faith. As I do not yet see the sapling break through the soil of my mind, I know Nature knows best. Those young greens will be my new automatic response to the world, based in my belief. I hold compassion for my garden that needs tender loving care and also forgiving space to grow. I have set my intention the garden will bloom from all the seeds I have planted.

Repeat.

Where did we meet?

We met, and then we traveled together, and then somehow got lost. We traveled through first days at school, un-accepting in-laws, debt, arguing over curtain colors and whether we share our politics with others.

But where did we first meet?”

What is it that brought you two together? Sometimes where you came to today can be traced to the choices you made year ago. Choosing to be be quiet when your needs were not met, choosing to hold resentment when you know in your heart ill intent was not present. As unpleasant as those sound, we meet there too, in the lack of communication and connecting via old habits that do not serve us in a healthy way.

So recall, further back, where did you two meet? What was it like to see each other those first few times when you knew, This is the one.

It could be a physical place. Recall that place. What time of year was it? What was the weather like? How did you feel physically?

Now recall, where were You emotionally? Were you excited, lonely, contented, anxious?

Where were you financially? Did you have security, or were you a risk taker back then?

Where did you meet? Were you fully conscious of your decision to be together, or did it just happen and life took the lead on its own? This question, “Where did you meet?” intends to prompt you to remember the value of your union, and perhaps reveal with hindsight choices you made and since forgot.

In this, make note of what you have forgotten over the years. Include your dreams, your compromises, your agreements and promises. Include in this list your Self. You are changed since then, and maybe parts of yourself are left behind on purpose, and forgetting was a part of letting go.

Remember these choices and prepare to be more conscious of the affects these choices had on your relationship. Nothing is right or wrong; they are just choices. But being aware of them helps us understand we can make new choices going forward.

No One Wins

A long time ago, my lover and I were looking for activities to do together. Tennis. He helped me find the right racket and shoes, and we found a court we both liked… But neither of us knew what the other meant by “play tennis.”

I knew how to serve, the line rules for singles and doubles, and I even knew the score keeping lingo. I understood “game, set, match”. But that is not the tennis I wanted to play. I just liked hitting the ball across the net, and if I could help my partner get some exercise in there, all the better. What? Stop the ball from play? For what reason would we do this?

For a while, we “played” the “game” and I became frustrated. It was playing and more placating to an arbitrary structure. I wasn’t getting any better by the sudden and oft stopping. Admittedly my fault, it was disruptive.

The energy behind doing something together diminishing, I started thinking about what to get at the grocery store while I once again poised to receive a volley.

My partner saw this and asked. I told him outright: keeping score was no fun. I did not want to compete with him for a score and up to that moment, did not realize how deflated I had become. Was it just because I was losing, I wondered to myself? Was it pride? No, it was more simple. Getting into a grove was being thwarted by stopping the game every time the ball hit an arbitrary line. How could we get better, more accurate, find joy in sweat and running if we were lurching to a halt every 15 seconds?

I was a swimmer in my early years, so tennis was a different sort of motion, which is why I liked it. My partner also liked tennis, but I found out that afternoon for very different reasons. He agreed – we would keep playing, even if we hit the net on a serve, or the ball was out of court or we needed to hit it twice to keep volleying. And we would not keep score. We played, and I was happy.

Until I wasn’t. I could see his deflation, his loss of interest. He wasn’t enjoying this extra energy nor the rhythm of waves back and forth. Mind you, he was is good shape, so the consistent running was not the issue. We stopped as he was visibly frustrated. For him, if we were not keeping score, it lost meaning for him. He needed to compete. For him, competing brought out his best. The score was the goal to reach for, and without it, his motivation waned and so did his stride.

What were we to do? The very thing that deflated my interest is the very thing that fed his interest.

On our own terms individually, we both enjoyed tennis. (Please don’t blame me if I call hitting a ball across the net the sum total definition of “tennis”. I get it – there is a competitive sport called “Tennis”.)

The other thing we saw in each other is we both wanted to be better at it. The way he meters his skill level was by the score. The way I knew I was getting better is how often the ball landed where I intended. Getting better made him happy, not the score. Getting better made me happy, not breaking the rules.

So we found common ground. I was willing to stop the game and have a serve if we needed to double-hit or if we hit the net. We could both hit the line and keep playing. I could blissfully enjoy our time together without competing with each other, and he could blissfully keep score privately in his head as he competed with me.

We were able to derive meaning and therefore enjoyment from the same activity in very different ways. This happened not because either one of us is brilliant. It took caring about each other, each of us caring about our respective self to speak our truth, and mutual respect for our differences. In that, no one wins – we both did.

Allegory of the Cave

Remember those philosophy lessons? Socrates, Homer and Dante? Confucius, Hafiz, Rumi and Lao Tsu? Plato, a student of Socrates, was able to put into a metaphor the simple concept of how we come to understand things. Simply put, we comprehend the world, people, and ideas to the level at which we are ready to perceive. The good news is, if things are confusing, we can know it doesn’t always have to be. Our world changes as our perception of it expands.

What is your understanding of people? Do we naturally argue? Or do you believe there is something wrong and amiss with the world that causes us to conflict so much?

To the extent that we feel discomfort from discord is evidence enough that something is “wrong”, out of place. If it was completely ordained in nature, nature would make sure it felt okay or benign to prevent changing it. But conflict does not feel good. I’m not talking about a healthy game of basket ball: I’m referring to fighting conflict, and the fear, anger and harm that it escalates into.

Having said that, there is no way really to avoid it, because nature did something wonderful: we are all unique.  Separated into bodies, unique as a snowflake or a fingerprint, even identical twins have differences. And with that, we see, hear, witness, perceive, remember, retell and are affected by the world in uniquely different ways. A husband and wife who have been through everything together in their 30 years of marriage will still argue over the dinner they last shared at the restaurant that was “next to the bakery…”  “No! it was next to the clock repair shop, and it was nonfat dressing, not oil-based dressing ”  ….   We comprehend the world, people and ideas to the level at which we are ready to perceive.

Conflict is uncomfortable, but why should our differences be? Maybe we are destined to experience this life as separate unique beings as a gift, but why does that become such a burden? If I’m in my cave of dry sandy walls where I can draw pictures, and you are in your cave of crystal studded walls where you can channel light, does our conflict come from our inability to understand each other’s cave, environment, possibilities? We are yelling at each other through the walls, trying to get stuff done, trying to have our point of view understood by the other, such that we forget we are yelling through thick cave walls. No wonder we’re grumpy, exhausted and hurt.

The conflict described here is not the difference of our unique gifts, not caused by diversity. It is the harm we inflict on ourselves and each other by forgetting we are unique. We suffer the passive amnesia that no two people, no matter how intimate, will ever see the world the same, will ever have exactly the same relationship with their maker as another, will always see the color green a little differently. And in that we forget what a beautiful gift nature created with all those differences.

We will all have a different take on a subject, something to offer the conversation, a unique piece of the puzzle to solve. The discomfort comes from forgetting who we are, and forgetting the other is in the same boat. Remember: You don’t have the full picture, and neither does your partner. Listen, hear, try to experience the other’s cave. And if you can’t, no worries. That you paused in your own world to respect someone else’s point of view, even if you don’t understand it or agree with it, is huge in making those walls that separate us a little thinner and possibility for connecting a little closer. So maybe conflict is inevitable, but the discomfort doesn’t have to be.

Courage: Quality of Heart

Sacre Cour is a place in Paris, France. A beautiful part of the city, one of the mountains that define the landscape under the old Roman / Gaul cityscape. Sacre Cour is also the name of the church that dominates that borough. Sacre Cour, sacred heart, reminds us that the root of courage is heart, not mind.

We do not know where we will end up when we decide to reconcile. The place where we will end up is always unexpected, not where we planned. Why is this?

Because the place where we are heading is undiscovered county, a place we have never been. It is brand new territory. Traveling in a strange land with a different landscape, climate and language, we understandably feel anxiety, trepidation, excitement. Or maybe we avoid it, stay home where it’s safe and familiar.

This is why true reconciliation feels uncomfortable or strange or exciting, because it is supposed to be a place that is unfamiliar if true change is occurring.

Remember though, this strange place may be a place you have been before.  Unknown with the mind, yet familiar in your gut?   In fact we have all been there: connected, understanding, compassionate. Many of us lose our way back, many more forgot how we left.  Re-conciliation is a return to the place of connection. Take heart, feel courage in knowing once you travel far enough in, you will recall the steps, remember the language, and return to heart.

Resolve to Reconcile

Peace is not for the faint of heart.  It takes courage, a little bit of faith, but most detail2importantly, conviction.  Choosing to live in peace means choosing a direction and heading there:

 

  • Remain conscious – west
  • Sustain curiosity – south
  • Embrace compassion – east
  • Live in a state of gratitude – north

All other experience – anger, confusion, feeling betrayed, rejected or lost – is the juicy stuff that people pass through to the other side.  The light is there.  Keep at it, and remember your compass.

Staying Together = f(Balance)

One of my favorite tarot cards is Major Arcana card #6 – The Lovers.  Aside from it evoking romantic images of two different beings, balanced in power, one interpretation makes it clear that the way they succeed is to respect the differences and the perfect space between.  In their union, they maintain that gentle duality, that individuality, that is necessary.  They need this to create the complementary nature of this card’s energy.  Indeed, without it, the inertia of their union would stop, solidify and die.

Asteroid-belt
Asteroid belt around binary stars.  Image: wccftech.com

Much like the value of yin and yang, balance of opposites, and physical forces of friction in the universe, a healthy relationship needs space and needs differences to keep it moving.

How does gravity function in your relationship?  How do you handle the build up of energy?

Learn more about Binary Stars

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