A relationship is a daily practice.
We practice LOTS of things in relationships. Vulnerability and conflict. Giving. Receiving. Advocating and surrender…
We practice not so great things, too. Like needing to be right, finding fault, walking on eggshells.
Whatever it is we practice, we get better at it.
The ground zero, most basic practice of any relationship is to notice when we have left ourselves, our center, and to bring ourselves back.
Often, as we relate and interact, we leave ourselves. We go and reside elsewhere.
There was a time when, for the most part, I did not reside in myself. That may sound silly. Here I am, so where else would I be? And yet… I pretty much had packed my bags and abandoned myself. It may not be something that you'd have noticed in passing, but if you looked a little deeper, you may have sensed a vacancy… an emptiness… where there would otherwise have been a solid sense of me.
Where did I go?
Sometimes I’d so over into the mind of my son. Sometimes into the emotional drama of my daughter. Sometimes I’d be miles away with a friend or my brother or my mom. Very, very often I’d move into the psyche of my husband.
I connected to their thoughts and feelings. I witnessed their reactions. I focused my awareness on their body language or nuance of their voice. I tuned into them because I believed the way to be ok was for them to be ok. And for me to be in good standing.
Sometimes this awareness would get obsessive. All my energy would be channelled into the other person’s movements, mannerisms, words, silence, sighs... (EXHAUSTING, yeah?)
Can you relate?
The most important relationship practice is to bring all of this connecting, witnessing, awareness, tuning in.. to ourselves. Because a healthy connection to ourselves is the basis of true connection to another. The good news is that we are really good at these things... we just need to bravely turn them inward.
And practice coming back home.
It might feel safer to attach yourself to other people.
It might seem like you need to put other people first to feel worthy.
It might be hard to figure out what you need and want.
And it might bring up a lot of things you don’t want to know, see or feel when you sit still.
That’s ok, Brave One. I get it.
We will always leave. The practice is to notice. And to...
Feel your heartbeat.
Notice your breath.
Press your feet into the ground.
To come back. One step at a time. Again and again.