Over the past couple of years, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand the concept of responsibility and what it really means. I examined it through the perspective of the tarot, and came up with this:
‘The root of responsibility is the ability to respond to any given situation as it arises. When we are in a state of abundance, acceptance and openness, we feel that innate capacity as the truth. Whatever presents itself to us can be met creatively, with joy.
On the other hand, if we approach situations with an air of heaviness or duty, they become less dynamic and more likely to feel burdensome. In the belief that we can control the outcome of our actions and choices, we move further from that ability to respond creatively.
We have been entrained to believe that responsibility encompasses so many external factors – others’ happiness, others’ welfare, others’ safety, and others’ rules – and the effects our actions have on them. The truth is, we are all only responsible for our own joy and vibrancy. As we align with that, the ripples we create may have beautiful effects on those around us, but we cannot control or guarantee that.
If we stay attuned to our inner abundance, passion and power, we are able to respond creatively to whatever arises. In doing so, we are being integrally responsible, to both the present moment and what is best for all involved. As we all return to this state of alignment, we begin to find ways to create responses that work for the greater good in ways that don’t feel burdensome and heavy.’ (from an archived post – ‘Exploring Responsibility through the Tarot’)
Okay, cool, but how do I get there from here?
I examined responsibility as an aspect of power, while writing portions of my first book. This is what I came up with:
‘True power lies within – it is not in the external trappings of wealth, status or dominance. It is an integral understanding of the capacity to create and take responsibility for your experience in every moment.
So the power of integrity lies in being responsibly creative and creatively responsible. I’m meaning responsibility here as being able to respond, which makes far more sense when combined with the power of creativity. If you are denying yourself this capacity, which is inherent in all of us, you become a victim of what life presents, instead of an engaged participant and co-creator.
This creativity isn’t linked to any one form of expression, but the ability to use your mind as a tool in conjunction with your higher knowledge.It’s the difference between conscious creation and impulsive responses based on patterns and beliefs in your cellular memory. It’s the difference between making decisions based on mind or ego desires that feel good temporarily, and integral choices that benefit you and the collective. It’s the unconscious choices that often lead to feeling victimized, because in relinquishing the responsibility to be integral, you have allowed yourself to bypass the creative process.’ (From ‘Domestication of the Spirit’)
Again, how do I get there from here?
The Importance of Self
It wasn’t until recently that a key piece of understanding fell into place. The word self, placed right ahead of responsibility is the root to finding your power as an empath. Especially one who has been in abusive relationships and felt a pull towards codependence or self-sacrifice. When that piece clicks into place, it’s like coming home to the truth.
Your purpose is YOU. There is no one and no thing outside of yourself that deserves your undivided love and attention more than you do. If you’ve spent time throughout your life feeling misunderstood, unheard, taken for granted, betrayed or passed over, it’s pointing you towards something in you.
The key ingredient is self-responsibility.
This is where it gets tricky for empaths in particular. Because we feel so keenly the energy and emotions of everything around us, we tend to prioritise those. Sometimes we mistakenly believe they are ours.
You may even have been taught to manage abusive situations by attempting to maintain others’ states of mind or moods. It’s okay. It’s never too late to take self-responsibility.
To be an empowered, healthy, conscious empath, you must learn to address your needs first. You must prioritise your state of being and emotional balance before becoming involved in situations or relationships, so that you always have that to return to.
I learned the long, hard way by giving myself away repeatedly, that if I’m not looking to my own needs, it’s no one else’s job. There are many people out there who will happily take all you have to give and then quickly leave when your energy runs out. It’s not about them, it’s about YOU.
Self-responsibility: why is it key?
For me, it has meant several years of almost total isolation, several new reminders of how codependence feels, and a whole lot of feeling, remembering, realigning, and discovering who I am. It’s deeper than self-love; it’s a commitment to respect, honour and unconditionally accept the core Self that has been seeking safety from a (potentially) unsafe or painful world. It’s a return to inherent, embodied power that comes of understanding that your energy is yours and yours alone, and without it, life is missing a thread in its beautiful tapestry.
The reason the word self is so key in this equation is that it can be an empath’s downfall. Often the deep desire to heal and give to others becomes your reason for being. You may have long-held ideas that your Self is defined by this innate capacity to be there in service to others. That is not your Self. The desires, the joy, the inspirations, the passion, the curiosity, the things that light you up from deep within, that’s your Self attempting to express itself through you.
How many projects and dreams have I put aside in favour of other peoples’ needs, wants or desires? SO many. And they didn’t ask me to, I did it willingly, believing that to be how love looked. It’s okay, because it taught me. It brought me to this moment of understanding and expansion.
Without putting your Self in the equation, life will continue to reflect experiences that feel like a state of codependence and survival.
Healing Begins Within
There is huge healing here. I’ve been engaged in the dynamic of narcissistic relationships for most of my life, and this one key piece shifted something huge in my energy field. It’s about choosing YOU and your energetic integrity over all else so you can show up in the world as the most empowered, alive and vibrant light you can be.
The challenge is, sometimes your self-responsibility appears to others on the surface to be hugely irresponsible. That may be because you’re not following the collectively-defined ideas of what the word means, and you’re not showing up in ways that make others comfortable. It may also be because they’re so used to you taking responsibility energetically for their shit that they feel the loss as an affront. Give yourself permission to take 100% self-responsibility and that includes not worrying how others respond.
Don’t be too tied to external definitions, because empaths are here for a different purpose. We are here to help realign ideas of emotional engagement and heart-centred ways of being. You are walking the path less travelled and your purpose is to find YOU, first and foremost. From there, bring forth whatever comes through you in whatever ways bring you the most joy.
Look around your life to see if there are any tendrils of co-dependence; where you may be putting the needs of others ahead of your own. It doesn’t have to be a person – it can be a pet, a situation, a business, a client, a job… Are you doing what you do because of a desire to affect others or because it’s the natural expression of your heart’s truth and it feels so damn joyful?
Self-responsibility and Self-love
The addiction to caring for others’ energy can run so deep it feels natural even when it’s not healthy. I find myself at a different rock bottom and realize what I didn’t do last time was accept total self-responsibility. And the Universe has gently guided me here, so this time I didn’t crash down, I floated ever so slowly like a feather on the wind. All the while, learning, observing and examining. And it has been a magical ride. Now I know and can feel the roots of my power. This time I know how to take hold and not let go.
I can commit to myself and say whatever I do from this moment forward will be for my joy, my expansion and my desire to express my light in the world. I will bring the truth of my heart out in the open, not for the sake of others or because I owe it to the world for my existence, but because I love my Self so completely. And because it feels so unbelievably joyful!
I’ve heard it said that lack of self-love is the root of co-dependence; for me that was only partially helpful. This was the missing piece. Without self-responsibility, I couldn’t access true self-love. The missing piece lay somewhere deep in the disconnection from Self. When that is plugged back in, all the old stories fall away.
The mistakes you’ve made don’t define you. You are not the sum total of the stories you’ve been told about you. They were built on distractions to focus your attention and responsibility away from your shiny core, to place the story of your duty to others in your willing heart.
Take Stock of YOU
What beauty have you created in the world? Where does magic flow through you on a daily basis? When have you allowed the truth of your heart to shine its brightest? How many times have you felt successful in different areas of your life? All of these things are yours, aspects of your Self expressing through you. They are your responsibility and your joy. Do not allow contrary story lines to deny you the power in your truth.
Give yourself the gift of freedom by embracing Self-responsibility. The permission to soar is yours alone to give.
* (This post was originally published on 15 October, 2015). *
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of hiding. I feel like I’ve spent lifetimes hiding, out of some weird loyalty to old systems and structures that might just implode if the truth were to come out.
What is this ‘awful’ truth that might topple nations and destroy everything the collective has worked so hard to support? The truth is just how beautiful I am.
I am a shining, delicious beacon of pure light, planted in this human realm to spread that shit around. I am an aspect of God, Source, The Universe, The Heart of Creation, All that is, whatever you want to call it. I am pure LOVE, in its unadulterated, unconditional form, just waiting to be unleashed. And so are you.
It’s high time you claimed your beauty.
It is not dependent on the way your life might appear on the outside, or what your hair looks like on a given day.
It is not diminished by your lack of monetary wealth or the twenty extra pounds you’ve tried so hard to lose.
It is in no way affected by your religion, your upbringing, or all the ‘horrible’ things you’ve done to other people.
I know what it’s like to feel less than perfect. I am not even close to that illusion, and I’ve done some shit that has at times caused me to feel great shame. But I’m human, and I’m also more. I’m intuitive, I’m magical, and most days I feel so fucking happy to be alive that I could burst. Some days I also feel angry, sad or completely frustrated. And in that way I AM perfect.
I’m tired of hiding my beauty and my joy, or masking the truth of what I feel because in some back corner of my mind I believe it makes others more comfortable. This is an illusion, perpetuated by years of collective adherence to the masks that define ‘good people’ or ‘responsible citizens.’
We all get ‘there’ in the end, wherever there happens to be. Death, I suppose, and as we weigh our souls at the gates of eternity, is it truly how well we followed the rules that counts, or is it how boldly we expressed our beautiful truth?
Every aspect of you is an aspect of that beautiful truth. The joy, the passion, the magic, and the love, along with the debt, the failed relationships, the ’embarrassing’ drunken sex stories, the lack of motivation at your job or in any aspect of your life. They’re all part of you, all human experiences that are leading to some pretty cool stories when we get ‘there.’ And what a party we’ll have watching the movies and clips of our lives as they played out in weird and wonderful ways.
Why wait until we get there?
This dimension is riddled with ways to judge and shame others who don’t adhere to some preconceived collective notion. The Shift that’s been talked about for so long is about acceptance, first of yourself, and then turning that compassionate, accepting eye outwards. Allow people to show up exactly as they are, you first.
Just because something has been an accepted ‘truth’ for generations doesn’t make it THE truth. There is no such thing – it differs from person to person. What is it to be a ‘good’ human? Maybe to stop talking about what it means to be a good human and just BE. There is no field guide or how-to manual.
Express yourself whole-heartedly. Don’t be afraid to fail. Show up in all your sobby gut-wrenching glory. Show up in your manic joy. Wear make up or don’t wear make up. Work or don’t work. Vote or don’t vote. Use whatever words align with your souls’ expression, no matter how they feel for others. Love with every fibre of your being, whether or not that love is returned to you in the way you might have hoped.
Whichever choices align with you and your most powerful Self are the only choices you need to consider. Whatever feels beautiful is right, because it’s right for you.
I’m tired of hiding, and I’m tired of the judgement. I choose acceptance and to love my beauty as a whole being, as an expression of the perfect star being I am. I honour my human self as a divine conduit for the experiences I desired to grow as a soul. I honour the choices of all beings who are also divine reflections of their souls’ essences.
Believe in your beautiful truth and live it boldly, each and every day.
* (This is re-posted from March of 2016, when the visibility challenge originally took place).*
This visibility challenge was an opportunity for me to commit to myself to show up every day, no matter what, to create a video. I had no particular ‘reason,’ other than to explore the vulnerability of being visible in more ways.
When I first began, I had no idea what the topics would be, or if I’d have enough to cover the time I had committed to. Each day led to insights that offered potential topics for the next day, and so on.
I enjoyed the process, and feel I gained a deeper sense of alignment through the daily explorations. I came to understand that being visible is not just an external experience. It is an integral experience that flows from deep within, expressing externally as we uncover and claim more of our inner truth. This was a valuable revelation for me.
The playlist below includes videos on vulnerability, change, trust, choice, denial, responsibility and power, just to name a few.
Is it really as easy as ABC? Good relationships don’t just happen, they take attention, maturity and a willingness to learn and grow.
Relationships are the ultimate mirrors, so it’s never all about the other person, but about what they may be reflecting to you, from within you. And you can choose what you reflect, especially if what you’re seeing is not what you think you want to see.
As you read through the list, consider if you embody the things you’d most like in a partner, and if not, is it fair to expect them to meet those needs in you? Consider whether a person looking at you would find the things on the list you’re most drawn to, and if not, see if you can begin to nurture them in you.
Keep in mind this list is from my own experiences. Your list may look very different. The great thing about all relationships is that they offer you fodder for your own list. Where have you had experiences in the past that weren’t so great? Instead of focussing on the ‘wrongness’ of them, remember how they taught you what you’d prefer.
Look to relationships of all types to provide feedback – friendships, work, intimate partners – where are you being shown room for growth? Where are you feeling especially fulfilled? How can you create balance for yourself?
Align with your Bliss
Acceptance – what does it mean to be fully accepted, right here, right now? It’s not easy to give it to someone else (or ask for it) unless you’re willing to first offer it to yourself. No matter what flaws you might imagine yourself to have that are keeping you from ‘perfection,’ just accept what is. Start where you are.
Alignment – your first priority is your alignment with your truth, just as anyone you are in relationship with has their own alignment as their first priority. Be clear on your needs and how to meet them, and create space to connect with your inner knowing on a regular basis.
Authenticity – to be fully seen, heard and loved takes courage, and requires authenticity. Give yourself the gift of showing up soul-level naked in the world, committing to yourself to be true to you. Sometimes this means not choosing certain relationships or making choices that are contrary to your partner’s. You can happily co-exist even when making different choices, as long as they are authentic to your inner knowing.
Beautiful – believe and trust in your own beauty. Express it honestly and authentically and it will be mirrored back to you. No one else can ‘make’ you feel beautiful if you don’t believe it first.
Bliss – follow your heart to the bliss that exists in you, and share it with the world. Don’t look for the world to provide you with it if you can’t first connect to it within. Be your own bliss generator!
Boundaries –the importance of boundaries cannot be stressed enough. All healthy relationships need boundaries. Only you know where yours are and how you choose to express and honour them. Allow them to be flexible enough to incorporate growth, but not to compromise them to invite abuse.
Commit to Conscious Change
Change – this is HUGE in relationships. Life is not static, and humans are not meant to remain in one spot, whether physically or energetically. You must be willing to be changed by your relationships with others, and be open to the changes they undergo. When someone you love changes, try not to hold them to the story of the person they were before, just because it feels more comfortable, or familiar.
Commitment – this is an interesting one, because the commitment you seek is actually not to one another but to your own alignment. What if you entered into a relationship with the commitment to each honour your expansion, no matter what that meant? It could mean that you are together for some time and then you discover you’ve both grown beyond the bounds of that particular connection. If you are committed to your own alignment and expansion, you honour that above the container of the relationship (which is a construct). It is not unloving to end a relationship if it is established with this at its core.
Consciousness – staying conscious means not numbing out when challenges arise, or escaping into old patterns and behaviours that soothe your wounds without addressing them. It means being courageous and facing your crap when it arises, no matter what the outcome. It means accountability, responsibility and maturity of thought, belief and action. It’s not easy, but it’s vital.
Courage – it takes enormous courage to engage intimately with another human being. To open your heart to love, potential pain and to feel seen on every level is truly an act of courage. Vulnerability is an act of extreme bravery that is underrated in our adrenaline-fuelled world. Honour yourself for trying, and trying again, and for believing in love.
Desire to dream
Desire – it makes sense to feel desire for your partner. Some people complain that their desire wanes after some time, but if you both commit to staying healthy and are passionate about your own interests and needs, you can keep desire burning for many years. Be spontaneous, invite surprise and mystery into your life, and stay connected to your own heart and soul. Take personal time if you need it, and give one another the space to pursue your individual passions, coming together to celebrate and share when you’ve filled your own cups.
Detachment – this may sound counterintuitive, but it is important to remain somewhat detached in a healthy relationship. Taking on the other person’s wounds or needs as your own is a sure way to lose yourself in a connection. Trust that if you are each connected to your own higher wisdom, the connection you share will remain strong. Trust each other enough to ask for help when you need it, and to work through some things on your own.
Dreams – it’s important to dream. Make your dreams as big and as bold as you can. Dreaming together opens you up to deeper intimacy, as you share your desires and wishes and then create ways to make them happen. You can work towards them together, creating an action plan and designing fun, collaborative ways to complete each step. Your dreams don’t have to mesh with your partner; they are the whispers of your soul. That doesn’t mean you can’t share the joy of exploring and celebrating them with someone you love.
Empathy and Freedom
Ego – a healthy ego is a filter that provides your unique perspective on life. Unhealthy ego hijacks your inner knowing and tries to impose its desires (often rooted in fear) on everyone around you. Learn to work with your ego as an aspect of your whole being, not for your ego. You’ll find it easier to surrender to the flow of life and the beautiful surprises it presents.
Empathy – is the capacity to put yourself in another’s shoes, or feel what they might be feeling for a moment. It’s a great benefit in relationships, because it allows you to step out of your own stuff and meet another where they are. It doesn’t mean you lose yourself, because it can be easily accomplished while maintaining healthy boundaries. It does offer you an opportunity to see the others’ perspective from a place detached from your ego. You can disengage from any need to be ‘right’ and co-create solutions from a mutually-understood platform.
Fidelity – this will also vary from person to person, and within relationships. If you feel this is your top priority, be clear right from the start. You and your partner(s) may have different understandings of what the word means, so talk about it to decide what constitutes infidelity, if it’s important to you. Open and honest conversation is the place to start.
Flexibility – this goes along with compromise and openness. It helps to be willing to see and discuss different sides of every situation, and often contributes to enormous growth.
Freedom – this is one of the key elements of healthy relating. It means knowing that both you and your partner are free. It is about trusting your partner to honour and respect that freedom in a way that enhances and uplifts all involved.
Grow in Honesty and Humour
Genuine – are you courageous enough to be genuine? If you try to hide aspects of yourself from someone else, eventually the cracks will begin to show and it will cause distrust to grow. People can feel misalignments between words and actions, even if they’re not consciously aware of them.
Giving – it helps to be generous with giving your time and attention in a relationship. Love encompasses giving without expectations, with an open-heart and a desire to offer support. And it feels great!
Growth – expect to grow. Allow yourself to relinquish control to make room for the growth. Consider if there are any structures that exist in the container of your relationship that are inhibiting growth (as individuals and as a couple).
Happiness – if you learn to make yourself happy, your chances of a healthy relationship increase. If you’re looking for someone else to fulfil your needs or ease your pain, you’ll find the happiness fleeting and empty. It is a huge benefit for your whole life to do the work you need to do to find happiness in you.
Honesty – this may be the number 1 attribute to healthy relating. This means radical honesty, even when you fear hurting your partner; it means honesty to yourself first. If you can’t be vulnerable enough to express your heart’s truth, you may be denying a deep need in you to make changes that will enhance your well-being.
Humour – it definitely helps to have a sense of humour; not only because it’s fun to laugh together, but also in the sense of seeing things from a perspective of lightness. If you take things too seriously, they escalate into drama more easily. Laughing triggers the potential to create solutions and reminds you that we’re all human and fallible.
Interdependence deepens Intimacy
Imperfection – embrace it, love it, own it! There is no such thing as a perfect partner, a perfect romance or a perfect life. There will always be things that come up to test or challenge you; things you dislike (like the snoring, or the way they eat); and ways things could be better.
Independence – this is vital in a healthy relationship. Personal space helps you get familiar with your needs and energy levels and what you can do to nurture yourself. You won’t likely find someone who shares every single one of your interests and goals, and that doesn’t mean giving up the things you don’t share. Allow one another space to explore your own interests and you’ll grow closer as you share the stories of your adventures.
Interdependence – this is different from co-dependence, which involves neediness and insecurity. Interdependence is about knowing your partner is there for you when you really need them, not relying on them to fulfil your every need. Be there to support one another through decisions, challenges, celebrations and change, while allowing one another space to be.
Intimacy – what does this mean, exactly? Some people think immediately of physical intimacy, which is a nice benefit in relationships. If you want a healthy relationship, look deeper; to intimacy in the sense of ‘into-me-see.’ To be truly seen, heard and accepted for all of who you are. That means even on the sobby, puking-your-guts-out or screaming banshee days. If you’re not allowing those days to be seen, you’re hiding the truth from yourself and your partner. Intimacy means letting down your guard and allowing someone else to see your fallibility, and holding space for your partner to do the same, in every aspect of your relationship.
Joy leads to Love
Joyful – always follow your joy. The best relationships come from the meeting of two (or more) people who come together in connection with their joy. Remember that the joy doesn’t come from without, but is generated within you. If you are joyful, you will attract others who are in touch with their own joy. Together, you create more joy in the world.
Kissing – a delightful benefit of relationships and something in life that is difficult, if not impossible, to do by yourself. I would suggest thoroughly testing out kissability before committing to a relationship because it really does matter.
Leader – this is about allowing for leadership to be fluid. There is not one leader and one obeisant follower; there are two leaders who are aware enough to know when to step up and when to step back. Each partner has unique strengths and talents which will contribute in different ways to the relationship over time.
Listen – when you listen, do you truly hear? How do you begin to listen, and hear? With your heart. Pay attention, and release distractions. Allow yourself to receive the words being spoken. Drop any judgements. Feel into the situation – does your partner require a response or are they just needing space to express? Ask if you’re uncertain.
Love – one of the foundation stones of a healthy relationship. It is vital to love yourself first, in all your messy glory. When you invite another into your inner world, the unhealed wounds are exposed, and without a strong grounding in self-love, it can turn quickly into a mud-slinging match. Generate love outwards from your full well of healthy self-love and self-respect.
Mystery needs Originality
Maturity – this can be challenging, especially when wounds are triggered and you revert into childhood patterning. Being mature encompasses being accountable, honest and present. It means allowing yourself to parent and be parented when situations arise that send you spinning into denial or habitual soothing rituals. It means being willing to grow and learn and change consistently as life unfolds around you.
Mystery – maintaining some degree of mystery is definitely important. If things become routine, mundane or too familiar, apathy can set in. Keep some things a mystery, and introduce mystery consciously. This is not the same as keeping secrets or hiding your activities from your partner; it is knowing how and when to share.
Needs – what are yours? Are you clear on how to meet them? Do you actively work towards meeting them? Revisit this regularly and communicate your needs clearly.
No – get comfortable with this word and using it without guilt. This is a major part of establishing clear and healthy boundaries. Self-sacrifice can lead to resentment and feeling drained. Accept and respect your partner’s no’s as their boundaries.
Openness – can you remain open after the deep pain associated with situations like grief, betrayal, infidelity or divorce? Human nature is to close down, to wall off your heart to the tricky stuff. It doesn’t really work that way. If you wall off the bad, you also keep out the good. Openness is a sure way to growth and expansion within a relationship, and it takes consciousness and presence.
Originality – don’t try to solve problems in this relationship using methods you used in your last one. Be original. Bring awareness to what’s at hand and remember who your partner is. They are not your ex, your mother, father, or sister … .
Patience and Questions
Passion – the essence of passion encompasses connecting to the fullness of life with your whole being. It goes way beyond sexual, and connects you to the deep yearnings of your soul. What turns you on (in every aspect of life)? Where are you moved to tears? What awakens your rage? All of this is passion, and it can be harnessed to create beautiful things, including within relationships. Live into the fullness of you, and connect to others from that aliveness.
Patience – consider how you feel when you’re going through challenges or trapped in your own mental machinations. Extend patience to others when they’re having difficulties and find compassionate ways to support them. Have patience if a relationship doesn’t follow a preconceived idea of what you had hoped or wanted.
Playfulness – this is so key! Keep things young, fresh and FUN! Remember how many hours you could spend with a friend when you were young, completely immersed in whatever game was at hand? Bring that into your relationships. Lose yourself in something enjoyable together, forgetting all serious, adult responsibilities for a while.
Priority – your alignment is your top priority, followed by your connection with your partner. Does that sound selfish? That’s the whole idea. As you look after your own needs and care for your self, you are better able to share your energy and resources with another. Maintain your own well-being to the point that your cup is overflowing.
Question – don’t be afraid to question yourself if something doesn’t feel right. Ask questions to get clearer on others needs or desires. Question any patterns that show up to see if they’re inhibiting intimacy. Trust the questions that arise as indicators of resistance or discordance. Then find creative ways to learn the answers.
Responsibility of Surrender
Respect – if you don’t respect yourself, you’ll find relationships that reflect and perpetuate that lack of respect. Show your self respect by honouring your own boundaries, meeting your own needs, taking care of your self and home, and engaging in activities that inspire you.
Responsibility – this differs from accountability in that it can be shared. Responsibility means being willing to take ownership of your part in challenges, successes and everything in between. Be courageous enough to accept your role in disagreements, and be mature enough to face your feelings. Shifting responsibility results in blame, shame and guilt, which quickly undermine the foundations of a relationship.
Safety – do you feel safest with three months’ rent and grocery money in savings? Do you feel safest in your own home as opposed to a rental? Do you feel safe expressing your emotions? All of these things are within your power, without a partner. Design your own safety bubble so that it supports you on every level of your being. When your safety feels compromised, relationships can feel constricting and dysfunctional.
Space – know when you need space, and learn to honour your partner’s need for space. It’s not natural to spend every moment together, and it begins to erode the mystery. Create ways to spend time apart so that the coming together is a happy reunion. It doesn’t have to be long stretches of time, just enough to remember who you are, individually.
Surrender – this word frightens some people, because it feels like giving up. What it truly means is giving over and releasing your ego’s grip on control. Surrender to the potential that exists in the unknown and the uncharted. Surrender your need for a specific outcome or expectation. Allow the combined energy of your hearts to lead you instead.
Tenderness leads the way to Trust
Tenderness – in 1984, General Public sang ‘where is it? …it seems like without tenderness there’s something missing.’ Good advice, and pretty self-explanatory.
Time – a good relationship takes time. There is often a ‘honeymoon period’ at the beginning, where you feel overwhelmed by chemistry, but creating a lasting and healthy relationship takes time.
If you rush things, you might find after a while you don’t have much in common with your partner, or that their initially cute habits are actually a source of frustration. It’s natural to take time to develop true intimacy, revealing pieces of yourself over time as trust deepens.
Touch – this speaks to both physical touch and being touched on an emotional level. It is moving to be invited into someone’s inner world, as they open themselves to you and reveal their vulnerability. It’s touching to be extended trust and to feel your own trust being rewarded with gifts of deeper connection.
Transparency – we all have secrets, but if you feel guilt or shame around something you’re keeping from a partner, it’s likely you feel the truth would hurt them. If you’re doing things you are aware would hurt your partner and are keeping them from them, consider the why – what are you getting out of it? Put yourself in their position and how you might feel if the tables were turned.
Trust – this is a tricky one. Can you truly trust another, or is it a matter of trusting your own inner knowing so much that anything not resonant will trigger red flags for you? If you’re in alignment with your knowing, it’ll be obvious to you what and who you can trust. Once you surrender to it, it grows and is rewarded by evidence of your faith in it.
Unconditionality – means to incorporate the wholeness of an experience as aspects of it. In other words, unconditional love allows for you and others to show up as they are and to mess up, fall down and be human. It means that even in moments where you feel like you hate your partner, love exists in the same breath. This understanding opens up space for all the ups and downs that are inevitable as your life together continues.
Understood/understand – if you want to be understood, extend understanding. Be understandable. Find ways to bridge the gap, keeping channels of communication clear and leaving out judgement. Whenever there is a misunderstanding, remember that communication is a two-way street. Have the patience to find clarity.
Values – are you clear on what you value and why? Do you and your partner share the same values? It’s an added bonus if you do, but not necessary, as long as you can respect one another’s choices and reasoning. Be clear and firm on where you are flexible and what is non-negotiable.
Variety – the spice of life! A little variety never hurt anyone. Think of ways to incorporate healthy variety into different areas of your life. Routine can dull even the strongest connection. Be creative; brainstorm with your partner to find ways to vary your habits.
Vulnerability – this can seem challenging because it has been equated to weakness. It’s the opposite: showing your vulnerability is a great strength. It has the capacity to awaken and connect with compassion in others, and create a safe space for their own vulnerability. It is the core of who we are as humans, and a common thread we all share.
Wildness and Zest
Warmth – how does it feel to be loved? When you tap into that energy of feeling love, does it warm you from the depths of your belly to the tip of your toes and the top of your head? Do you glow with that warmth when you think about someone you love? Feelings of warmth, both physical and emotional, are a delightful benefit of loving. Bask in it and spread it around.
Wildness – we all have an inner wild creature that lusts after freedom and fearless vulnerability that wants to be enticed out to play. Can you handle the wildness in your partner or are you intimidated by it? Get comfortable with your own wild side, whatever it entails, and allow it the opportunity to express itself. Do you get a kick out of skinny-dipping in mountain pools or ecstatic dance? Let it out to play and see how it enhances your connections with others.
Yes – do you feel it with your whole heart and soul? Trust that, and follow it. If you feel red flags, or a part of you doesn’t feel right in some way, trust that, too. It’s not fair to either partner to be in a relationship that isn’t a yes on every level.
Zest – are you filled with zest for life, and enthusiasm at discovering new and exciting things? Can you generate that in yourself? It adds a lot to a relationship to feel excitement over mutual discoveries and celebrations. Find ways to encourage one another’s explorations and adventures, and create amazing joint ventures.
* I am the author of this post. You might find the original version, which was used with my permission without attribution, on Your Earth Angel (yourearthangel.com) *
It may be inevitable, it might happen every day; that doesn’t mean it’s comfortable.
Nine times out of ten it’s not entirely unexpected. Something will come up to indicate change is on the horizon.
Sometimes challenges are presented as old wounds or fears getting triggered. Sometimes you begin to feel resistance to activities, people or situations that used to light you up.
Are you aware of the signs? If so, how good are you at instigating the actions needed to move towards change? If not, have you developed habits designed to resist change, which now stand between you and the life you desire?
It takes conscious, mindful attention to work with the flows of energy moving through your life on a daily basis. You’re not meant to be a static, stationary being. You’re designed to travel dynamically through life, exploring and tasting the variety of sensations and experiences offered each moment.
The following are a few common habits that may be keeping you from making changes in your life that lead you towards your goals and desires.
1) No change in the ‘same old, same old’ routine:
Albert Einstein said, ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’
It’s not always easy to recognize when you’re approaching things from the same angle, because the problem or situation may at first appear to be different. For example, some people leave one (unwanted) relationship to find themselves immediately in another, ‘better’ one. The situation might appear different (the partner has changed, the home may have changed, etc), but if you haven’t changed the way you approach the act of relating and the recurring patterns that caused issues in the past, you’ll quickly find yourself in a very familiar situation.
In other words, the common denominator in all your life experiences is YOU. It’s not easy to look at ways you’ve blocked yourself from changing, because it often involves facing some ‘dark’ stuff you’d rather not face. It feels easier on the surface to ditch the whole situation and start fresh. Everything seems peachy when it’s new and apparently problem-free. It’s called ‘the grass is greener…’ syndrome.
To see if you can shift your perspective and allow new, unforeseen potentials to show themselves, start bringing consciousness to the challenges in your life. See if the act of looking at things from multiple angles allows for things to change in miraculous ways, with minimal effort and discomfort. Take responsibility for your role in challenges and be willing to look at how habitual patterning may have contributed to each situation.
2) Using your mind to ‘logic it out’:
Brains are truly amazing things, however, they don’t have all the answers. Humans minds are full of inter-generational beliefs, wounds, projections, collective norms, and all kinds of other goodies that get in the way of creatively feeling your way to a solution.
Sometimes you don’t want to face impending changes, so you ignore the urges in your heart and soul and rationalize reasons not to change. It feels easier to push through discomfort or deny pain by thinking it out rather than feeling it out. That’s okay, it’s natural to want to avoid hurtful situations or revelations. Eventually the urges to change knock a little louder until you’re forced to listen.
A combination of mind and heart is the best mixture to solve any problem.
When you drop the need to be right or the need for external validation and access your heart’s wisdom, you’ll find the two work beautifully in harmony. Your ego finds all kinds of fun ways to present blocks as ways to keep you safe. Habits that are so deeply ingrained feel like fixed aspects of who you are. When you trust your feelings as a guide, you can distinguish the sound of the fear-based ego from the voice of reason that dwells deep within.
Step back from trying to solve problems and see what happens. In the act of surrendering rational thought, you leave room for other solutions to present themselves.
3) Hanging out in the relative safety of familiar fear:
There are so many things we’re taught to fear, and still other fears that develop as we explore different experiences in our lives. In holding on to stories of past hurts, failures and disappointments, you can develop a whole slew of reasons not to try new things. You might learn to avoid certain choices that potentially lead to pain.
Once you shift your perspective to encompass a broader view, with every experience as a vital lesson in your expansion, you move from fear to enthusiastic engagement with life. When you acknowledge and integrate wisdom from past experiences, whatever arrives is different. It reflects the inner changes you’ve been through to clear away old patterning and beliefs, and allows you to grow in new ways.
If you fear you’ll only draw the same pattern to you and experience the same disappointment, you’re in a state of constriction that more or less guarantees you’ll find what you expect. This is not to say you deserve ‘bad’ things; it’s to say that your belief in your story perpetuates it. This is a habitual safety zone. As much as it might bring ‘undesired’ situations to you, it is a familiar energy that some part of you has deemed safe.
To shift from it, you can rewrite your old stories to incorporate the lessons and wisdom of the old and leave the rest behind.
4) Not following through:
Are you full of great ideas and consistently create wonderful things, only to find you give up if they don’t receive the response you’d hoped? Do you fill pages with cool ideas and never begin the projects?
This is also rooted in the comfort of the familiar, that safety zone where it feels easy and secure to dream up ideas but not to put them out in the world. What fear is behind this? Is it a fear of rejection that holds you back? A fear of success? It’s a good idea to look at what’s blocking your ability to follow-through. What’s happened in your life that’s left you feeling like the world isn’t safe for your creations?
Looking at patterns, wounds and early experiences can help uncover the roots of the block. Perhaps an offhanded comment by a parent or teacher inadvertently left you feeling inadequate. Perhaps consistent messaging from someone you admired led you to believe that you were undeserving of success, happiness or love.
Wherever the root lies, ask yourself if it’s really true. You’ll know by how you feel. Most likely, the root is something projected onto you by another and accepted by part of you as the truth. This has then been used to keep you safe from proving it to be true (which is the fear).
5) The Art of Self-sabotage:
The habit of self-sabotage can stem from multiple reasons (or excuses), and manifests in many different ways. Think of addictions and rationalizations as ways to sabotage yourself from making changes. What about habitual descriptions of yourself (or another) in one way which avoids looking at other sides of the story?
Fear of the unknown, of failure, of success, of intimacy, of connection, of disconnection; all of these can lead to self-sabotage that keeps you from facing the underlying fear. These fears may be yours, or they may have been instilled by someone or something external, and adopted by you as part of the truth.
What does self-sabotage look like?
It can look like avoidance of a person, task or issue that causes unwanted feelings to arise. You might find 101 reasons not to do something and no reasons to do it. It can look like making busy work a priority over connections with others or soul-fulfilling work. There are many ways it can show up in your life, and you’re the only one who truly knows how it looks to you.
Look at your daily tasks and habits to see if they’re in alignment with your true needs and desires. Anything that feels like it’s filling a perceived hole or masking a problem without addressing it may be self-sabotage. Chances are, it’s only exacerbating the underlying issue.
Sometimes all that’s needed to instigate larger shifts is a small change in perception.
* I am the author of this post. You might find the original version, which was used with my permission without attribution, on Your Earth Angel (yourearthangel.com) *