Relationship





BY JEFF FOSTER





The healthiest relationships are the honest ones, the ones grounded in Presence, not fantasy or false hope, and a deep commitment to a living truth.

Where two souls can share their authentic, real-time, embodied selves with each other, reveal their deepest truths – raw, messy, unresolved, unfinished and rough at the edges - and continually let go of their preconceived, conditioned ideas about how they ‘should’ be.

The relationship is continually renewed in the crucible of intimacy. There may be ruptures, misunderstandings, intense feelings of doubt, anger, fear, anxiety and groundlessness along the way, yes, of course, but there is a mutual willingness to face this mess as it arises. To be vulnerable. To say “I hurt. I am in pain. I feel deep sorrow” and not blame the other for that pain.

To say “I need some support” but not demand it of the other. To share desires and hopes and longings and dreams and not command that the other see things in the same way, or meet all of your needs.

To receive their ‘no’ and their ‘yes’ too, even if it hurts. To stay in the crucible of transformation; to look with wide open eyes together at the present rupture, not turning away, or clinging to ‘the way it used to be’ or follow other people’s ideas about how things ‘should’ be.

To let second-hand concepts of happiness burn up. To sit together sometimes in the rubble of shattered dreams and expectations, plans and hopes, and work towards finding a place of reconnection, repair and reconstruction.

This is the courageous and often intense work of relationship. Even if we have to start by admitting deep feelings of disconnection.

This is a relationship that is alive. A relationship that makes space for our deepest longings, fears, pains, yet does not expect the other to resolve these, or take the hurt away. That asks the other to be a witness, a midwife for our own healing. And offers the same in return.

To inspire each other to find our own happiness. Even if that means letting go of or 'breaking up' the relationship in its current form.

Love holds the other lightly, it does not cling or attempt to control. It only wants the best for the other, only wants them to step into their power, live their fullest life, find their deepest joy, follow their original path, learn to love their bodies and their own deepest feelings, and find new ways to take care of themselves.

“I love you, and I want you to flourish”. Relationship can be the ultimate yoga, yes, an ever-deepening adventure and rediscovery of ourselves and each other, rediscovering ourselves in the mirror of each other, a continual letting-go and a meeting, a dance of aloneness and togetherness, not losing ourselves in either extreme but playing somewhere in the middle. Sometimes coming together, sometimes moving apart.

Closeness and space. Intimacy with other, intimacy with self. Breathing in, breathing out. Relationship is not a place we reach, a point of arrival, a destination, a 'thing', a dead story; it is alive, and forever a point of departure, a beginning, each day. We can only start together, here, and there is joy in that beginning.

There is excitement in the not knowing. There is life in the continual death of expectations. Staying close to a healthy fear of loss. Staying near to the groundlessness of things without losing ourselves in that groundlessness. Finding safety in the uncertainty. Finding a new ground in the power of love itself.

Standing where we stand. Breathing in, and breathing out. As Eckhart Tolle says, relationships aren't here to make us happy - for true and lasting Happiness lies within us all, that unshakable Presence that nobody can ultimately give us, or take away. We are safe either way.

Others will not complete us. They will not save us, or resolve our deepest inner experience for us. They will, however, give us the gift of exposing our wounds, our inner children, those lost fragments, bringing them to the surface, the places within us that are crying out for empathy, those beautiful orphans of the light. And then, a risk!

To reveal our raw hearts, our loneliness, our vulnerability, our sensitivity, our not knowing, our joy, our ‘shameful’ secrets, to another human being on this small blue planet in the vastness of space.

To drop the mask and expose the unprotected, unguarded heart. To risk being rejected, left alone, shamed and ridiculed. To risk a repetition of the old, perhaps. But a bigger ‘risk’, maybe: To be loved for who we are!

To be held in the blinding light of another’s fascinated attention, like a baby held with such tenderness by an adoring, attentive mother. To be met in the present moment, nowhere to hide, nowhere to run. To let in the New. To risk losing the image, the false self, the carefully constructed persona, and to let another embrace the softness here.

This is the highest possibility of relationship. To see another’s exquisitely delicate heart and to let your own soft heart be seen. In the seeing, there can be healing, transformation, great beauty.

We can be therapeutic vessels for our brothers and sisters. We can bring each other medicine, encouragement and great companionship on this sometimes lonely path of coming alive before we die.

And maybe it takes a lifetime to discover: The One you always longed for was actually deep inside of you. And to have that One reflected by another – a partner, a friend, a lover, a therapist, or an animal, a tree, a mountain, the moon or the Vastness of the Cosmos – even if it’s only for a moment… …well, then you know Heaven on Earth."

~Jeff Foster