Understanding Relationships

*Dynamics for a Good Working Relationship
*Dialogue for an Intimate Relationship
*In the Game of Relationship - is it Offense or Defense?


Here I am packing again. This time I will be leaving the United States for quite awhile - over 4 months. Nancy will stay behind for about 6 weeks to attend to a project that has been long overdue: completing her book on relationships. It's been on the back burner while we've been busy with joint projects, and oh yes - working.

We've written about relationships before. Way back in June 2001. We have also given you a chapter from Nancy's book which talks about the place of anger in a relationship. I know that's a subject all of us are very familiar with - at least those of us who have had any kind of relationship. Here are some samples from both newsletters and the new book. Follow the links to read the newsletters in their entirety.

For us we know one thing - relationships are continually evolving, growing, challenging and truly an experience in life not-to-be missed.

Relationships - June 2001
Which of us hasn't dreamt of finally finding and keeping our perfect relationship? What if we are in a partnership that is confusing and always changing? How do we cope with the loss and heartache relationships can sometimes bring? What if we don't seem to be attracting any kind of intimate interactions at all?

The working dynamics of good relationships are for many of us one of the greatest mysteries of life. It is a secret each of us seeks to unravel from the day we are aware there is more than one of us around. Why do interpersonal interactions -- something we are all engaged in every day, every minute, every second of our lives -- sometimes seem so challenging, complicated, confusing, difficult, and mysterious?

The quality of our partnerships with others actually reflects the quality of the relationships we have with ourselves. Do we know who we are, and do we like who that is? Do we believe we are worthy and deserve unconditional love? While we may know how we would like someone to love us, do we love ourselves that way already? Do we trust and accept all parts of ourselves? The bottom line for most all of us is we simply would like to be loved and accepted for who we are, for our real selves.


Mirror of Relationship, July 2005
In our healing, counseling and life-coaching practice, we have heard many people say that anger is the hardest part of their relationship. They often ask how to deal with this emotion. We suggest that first, they must determine if the everyday irritabilities are worthy of that much energy, or do they represent a pattern of behavior that we can let go, for the sake of maintaining harmony. The real emotion of anger in all its passion has a great intensity. This energetic pattern often has roots older than the current situation or relationship, yet that old pattern is being ‘triggered’ by something within the present moment. We can determine those past patterns and present triggers by examining the issues and conditions we have come to place on love – specifically the love of self.

Anger often expresses itself as an outward attack on another person. In allowing ourselves to examine this emotion as an old pattern with a present-day trigger, we can recognize it as a defense mechanism. Even though we may know this to be true intellectually, it is still difficult not to accept anger from our partner as a personal attack.

This powerful emotion demands a need and a longing for acceptance. If we can get past our own emotions in that moment to remember that anger is the other person’s way of covering up their own hurt or pain, we can have unconditional compassion for them and recognize their cry for help. Listening openly and accepting the feelings of someone else and whatever emotional state they may be expressing in the moment can diffuse the hurtful energy. Remember, anger is not really personal, for it represents the internal feelings of the individual expressing the emotion.

The most destructive thing about anger is not only that it deeply hurts someone we love, but how that energy causes a chemical reaction within ourselves that can damage our physical and emotional bodies. It deprives us of our inner peace, our unconditional love of self and our unconditional compassion for others. Holding the energy and emotion of anger can literally make us ill. It is important to physically deal with the intensity of that emotion. This is easily accomplished by taking a walk, running, dancing, singing or finding another active way of moving through the energy.


In the Game of Relationship - is it Offense or Defense?
At one time or another, most of us have experienced that wonderful "butterfly" sensation that always accompanies a blossoming romance. When you're falling in love, everything in life seems a little bit better, and nothing can keep you away from the subject of your adoration.

Then reality sets in.
As we become more comfortable with our partners and the demands of our day-to-day lives begin to catch up with us, the novelty and excitement of new love can slowly begin to wear off. With so many other important things to focus on in our everyday lives, it can be difficult to sustain that intense level of passion in a relationship.

More than any other part of our lives, our intimate relationships provide us with the greatest opportunity for growth and joy. By failing to give our relationships the attention and effort they deserve, some of us could be forfeiting a very large part of our happiness and well-being.

Relationships with others work when we are self-focused; for our insight and understanding of ourselves is what will allow us to remain in intimate relationships. However, understanding of your own reactive patterns and insight to the fact that you are creating these anxious moments for yourself does not solve the problem. How do you change? How can you break the old habits?

The best way to lose anxiety and achieve a more balanced, calmer relationship is to break the cycle you are playing with. The patterns you exhibit in reactionary emotional situations (fighting, distancing, withdrawal, over-extending, under-functioning, pursuing, childish temper tantrums –to name just a few) must first become obvious to you. Whenever you feel defensive, when you begin the automatic, reflexive reaction, the need to ‘do something – anything’, you are the one who must take the first initiative of observing yourself. Then, enact a plan that is based upon your inner reflection and solid understanding of your patterns.

In reviewing the patterns of your own emotional reactions, ask yourself some probing questions. You might try some of these:
What outside this event is triggering my anxiety?
What memory from my past am I carrying into this present moment?
What happened before that I am ‘sure’ is going to happen to me again now?
Are there things going on outside this relationship that affect the way in which I am interacting?
Is the other person really responsible for my own frustrations, my own anger and my anxiety?
Is it my own life plan? Am I disappointed with myself about where I am right now?
Am I on track with what I choose in my life?
What responsibilities have I given to someone else that are really my own?
Are my frustrations really about myself?

When you begin to pay attention, you will find the courage to break your own cycle so that each of you within the relationship can begin to experience the wish for intimacy and togetherness that you have both struggled with. If your pattern is to fight, then withdraw or gain distance from an emotional situation, the challenge would be to re-examine your commitment, ask the questions above, and gain insight into your own behavior, before blaming the other person for your feelings.


True creative relationships are expressed and experienced from a state of relaxed trust and creative joy.

Relationships are simply learning how to play with each other, how to love and accept ourselves unconditionally, and how to trust who and what we are. When we share ourselves in a relationship, we will feel our own sense of completeness, and we will realize we are never alone.

In creative relationships, it is very important to remember how to play and balance our energy, both as an adult and as a child. To have a successful relationship, we must awaken the divine young child inside ourselves first. A young child is full of curiosity and knows the universe is beautiful and full of surprises. A young child is naturally loving and trusts in a positive way. A young child is naturally truthful and in integrity. A young child is more occupied with being natural, not normal. A young child lets their imagination soar, unlimited in the creation of a magical and miraculous world. Always, always seek out a good playmate for your primary relationships, and especially someone who knows how to play fair. Allow yourselves to remember the world is magical, and allow that magic and enchantment back into your life. Be who you are, and do the things you love to do as often as you can! That is really the only way to really live our lives.

**Clear Light Arts, ADL, Heart & Soul Healing and Ancient Wisdom Spiritual Centre, ADL are 501 (c) not-for-profit (charity) organizations. All donations receive full tax deductible receipts.

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