I had a delightful breakfast yesterday with someone who contacted me through seeing me on FaceCrack. Both of us are middle-aged and have been around the block more than a few times. Somewhere in the midst of our conversation, we started talking about divorce. My new-found friend, Mary Grace, said “It seems like more people are actually reversing the trend of just going right to divorce when things get tough, and are trying to work things out first.” Later in the day, I was reading Huffington Post, and saw an article about a conservative group that’s trying to lobby for Congress to enact a bill that would require a one-year cooling off period for people considering divorce, that would include mandatory “reconciliation counseling.”
Not withstanding the potential that has to make me much busier, these two coincidences really struck a chord that I want to encourage you to feel into if you’re in a relationship or marriage that is struggling in any significant way. When you got married, for example, you said vows to each other that (for most weddings) include the words “For better or worse.” You may have said those words in some kind of religious/Spiritual setting, where the implication was you were committing to those vows in front of God/Spirit/The Divine, thereby lending them a certain cache of Sacredness. When you said those vows, I imagine you meant them. But, things – like all of life – change.
You may have grown apart… economics may be driving a lot of tension and disconnection into your marriage… your kids may be going through challenges that are so intense, you can’t even think about putting any energy into your relationship… it’s just about surviving and getting through. That’s all understandable and widespread. However, the key question is what are you going to do about it? Just continue surviving and trying to get through it? That’s a one-way ticket to you and your relationship becoming candidates for getting cast in that Zombie TV show on AMC, called the Walking Dead.
So, what does all that, and Sacredness, have to do with anything?
Of all the things that could have enormous potential to be of service to you and your Partner, besides all the obvious communications issues that most distressed couples are in the throes of, is to re-visit what was/is Sacred about your relationship. First, though, let’s grab onto a definition of Sacred that might work for you. Here’s a couple that blend well together:
Worthy of or regarded with Awe, Reverence, and Respect
Dedicated to; in honor of
Now, when you’re feeling stressed to the Max, overwhelmed, and lonely – especially in your own relationship – Sacred may be about the last thing you want to be paying ANY attention to; in fact, your Ego is probably screaming in your ear hogwash like, “Sacred doesn’t pay the bills;” or “Sacred sure isn’t getting me the help (or, for some, the sex/affection) I need.” That would be totally understandable. What I want to encourage you to try on for size, however, is what happens if you actually do the heavy lifting it often takes when you want to rip your hair out (or someone else’s) to FIND the Sacred… even the Sacred in the disagreement or tension you’re experiencing in a given moment that has you just wanting to say “Screw this!”?
Lao Tsu once wrote, “A sensible person prefers the Inner Eye to the Outer Eye, and Plato said, “There is an eye of the Soul which is more precious than then thousand bodily eyes, for by it alone is truth seen.” Those were written a long long time ago, but they still hold enormous wisdom for you with your relationship. When you committed to your marriage and relationship, did you hold that commitment as Sacred, by the definitions offered above?
You’ve read here, in the past, about how most – if not all – conflicts in relationships is really about the conflicted relationship you have with yourself. So, when you are seemingly unable to find anything sacred in your partner anymore, the first thing to do to try to begin shifting the situation is to do whatever it takes to re-connect with the Sacred in you. One way to do that is to dig as deep as you have to to re-connect with what you saw as Sacred in your partner when you realized you were falling in love with them… then, re-see the mirroring of you that that is. When you can see that, and (importantly) FEEL that, it gives you a greater potential to create a ground of working something out that’s based not on the projections you may be throwing all over your partner, but on that Sacred mirroring that you both “signed up” with each other to provide.
Additionally, the Sacred trumps anything the Ego-Mind comes up with. It’s not at all that the issues of poor communication, upset feelings, broken promises, lack of attention, etc. aren’t relevant or important. However, trying to work those out when you’re in the midst of your Ego telling you that those behaviors are the truth about who your partner is, and what they REALLY feel/think about you, is an almost certain dead-end. But, if you’re looking at that stuff from inside a true heart-ful connection to the Inner Sacred that you are and have available to you at all times, that creates different perspectives. Those perspectives offer you breathing room that allow the other, more mind-ish, stuff be worked out as a pathway to re-aligning yourself with your True Self, rather than as a way to just get what you need to make you feel better (rather than BE-ing better) in a transitory Ego-based way. What you can newly create together when you’ve both gotten back to that kind of State is way richer than anything the mind alone can come up with.
Another Lao Tsu quote comes to mind here: “Those who are open-eyed are open-minded; those who are open-minded are open-hearted.” So, the next time you’re royally pissed off or disappointed in your partner, to test out this orientation I’m sharing here, try these two things (and then let me know how they work, or not, for you):
Excuse yourself and get yourself into a nature environment, which – for most of us – can get you totally re-connected to the Energy of Sacredness, from within which you could allow yourself to feel the Sacredness inside you. Then, from there, allow your heart to guide how you’re going to work out the issue with your partner.
Create the time and space for you to temporarily detach and go look inside to see what is the conflict/issue (and your Partner) now here to teach you? Rather than feeling persecuted by, or made invisible in some way by, the other… what happens if you regard the person and “the issue” as a Spirit-sent teacher/teaching especially brought to you to be able to expand and deepen you, not attack or demean you.
In closing, I want you to be clear that this is simple, but rarely easy. The hold of the Ego, and our commitments to being right (or not being wrong) are extremely powerful. This is not a practice I’m sharing here that’s likely to be mastered overnight. You have to be committed to just going for it one moment at a time, because these are not the times anymore for resting into complacency or resignation. Like a lot of things, if you practice, mastery will come; if you don’t, you may be throwing away a Sacred commitment – and relationship – for all the wrong reasons.
“It is with the interior eye that truth is seen. Our whole business, therefore in this life, is to restore to health the Eye Of The Heart whereby God may be seen.” – St. Augustine
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