Someone built this sign and went to the trouble of transporting it to the middle of the Nevada desert for this year’s Burning Man. The message is an irrefutable truth meant to wake us up from our slumber and remind us that life is impermanent.
I lived in a spiritual community for close to 20 years of my adult life. Long enough to learn to view pretty much everything from the perspective of spirit. Spirit isn’t limited to the walls of a building or any one teaching, or any one teacher. Everything is spirit, we are spirit, and by virtue of that fact, everything we do in life is, in essence, spiritual. It’s from this perspective, that I see relationships as a spiritual practice.
What I mean by that is that I view relationship as one of life’s most profound schools of learning. This includes all of your important relationships, but particularly the one you share with your intimate partner (should you currently have one).
Intimate relationships test us like no other. They test our patience, our ability to forgive, our willingness to empathize, our capacity for compassion. They reflect us back to ourselves in sometimes the most unbearable light. Intimate relationships confront our imperfections and expose our human frailty.
Intimate relationships also offer us some of life’s most potent, fulfilling experiences like love, passion, trust, vulnerability, intimacy. The full spectrum of feelings are on the curriculum to be felt and learned from. It’s completely up to us whether we choose to enter into them as a student or not.
As a student of love, your practice is to welcome every experience in your relationship as your teacher, including your partner themselves. Whether your partner is challenging you or pleasing you, your partner’s actions are an opportunity for you to grow, as a human (and spiritual) being.
One of the common corner stones of all great spiritual traditions is mortality. Our pending death levels the playing field for every religious doctrine. We’re all going to die, regardless of what you believe in or who you pray to.
Accepting that fact, requires us to evaluate how we’re living our lives today, while we’re alive. What are our priorities? Are we happy? Are we living in love, or are we living in fear and self-protection? What’s ultimately important, in the face of our inevitable demise? Will today’s complaints, dramas, frustrations, irritations, matter at all in our final days?
It’s not a surprise that the vast majority of death-bed conversations are focused on the value of relationships. When all else falls away, we’re left with one thing, our thoughts and memories of those we have loved throughout our life.
The Buddha said “the path to freedom is the liberation of the heart, which is love.”
Under the umbrella of love is also kindness, compassion, forgiveness, and the caring for our wounds and the wounds of our partner – the imperfections that are often at the root of our conflicts and challenges.
How do we allow for imperfection in ourselves and our partner? We let our self-protected hearts be softened by our inevitable death, and the death of those we love. The answer is so simple, but that simple solution is at the core of every spiritual teaching – loving, with an open-heart in the face of life’s imperfections, and ultimately, mortality.
When we commit to live with an open heart, we do whatever it takes to keep it open. That looks different for every couple, but every couple has their unique path that leads them to an open-hearted love.
For some couples, the path to an open heart is found in finding forgiveness for past mistakes. For other’s it’s found in touch and sensuality. The path to an open heart may be found in a healing conversation, or remembering how to bring kindness to our partner through our words and actions. And realistically, for some, it’s letting a relationship go, also with an open heart.
Finding the path to an open heart is unique to every relationship, but that is the task at hand when we accept our role as a student, and recognize life’s imperfection as our teacher.
I’ve shared these thoughts with my readers before, because this is the irrefutable truth that can lift us up out of our limitations, and land us smack dab in life’s greatest lesson:
Death will insure you lose everyone you love.
Let that truth teach you how to love today.
Helping couples find their path to love and intimacy is one of my greatest joys. If you want to know how relationship coaching can help you along your path, set up a Discovery Call with me and let’s talk.
I love my couples. They reach out for sex coaching, wanting to create a fulfilling sexual and intimate life. The number one obstacle to achieving their goals is sometimes an unhealthy relationship dynamic. For most of us, opening ourselves to sexuality with our partners requires trust, connection and a sense of emotional safety. If our relationships are being impacted by unhealthy dynamics that leave us triggered and harboring conscious or unconscious resentment, sexuality will be impacted or, at worst no longer exist.
Sexual Trauma and PTSD keep painful memories from our past alive and present in our day to day lives. Hypnotherapy uses the power of your own mind to unlock the hold these memories have on you, by helping your brain process them in a gentle and effective way. If you suffer from trauma, you’re well aware that some memories trigger feelings of present-time fear, keeping you anxious, and on high alert, even though consciously you know you’re no longer in danger. If some of those memories have created Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that means your brain is ‘matching’ those past memories to present day experiences, or what is referred to as ‘pattern matching’ in Hypnotherapy.
When two people get together to form a relationship, there are two sets of wounds merging and intertwining, our partner’s and our own. We know when our old wounds are being dragged into a conflict because our pain and defensiveness will suddenly spike. If our partner is speaking the same words as our inner abuser, the armor will go up, and disagreements will escalate into shouting, tearful battles.
When I hear a woman make such a resounding statement as ‘I’m done with sex’, I imagine a long road of frustration, obligation, unmet desires and unspoken words, leading up to that absolute declaration. Sex is not about obligation, although women have been told it was their obligation for eons of time. Relatively speaking, it wasn’t all that long ago that women were considered the property of a man, and their role in life was having a family and pleasing her husband. (and in many parts of the world still are).