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Your significant relationship- how are you showing up?

This week marks 2019’s designated day of Love- February 14th, Valentine’s Day. You could spend your time right now reading about the commerciality this brings and the hollowness or shallowness of this dedicated day to romance. Or you could be reading about how to sweep your lover off their feet and thrill them in sexual desire.  Instead, I’d like to discuss a much broader topic that is central to a successful relationship……. how are YOU showing up in your significant partnership with lover, spouse or partner?

Who are you choosing to be?

There is no doubt there are challenges in all relationships. The key, I believe, is understanding where your responsibilities lie and who you are choosing to be in every moment. There is also an ambience to a relationship and what you bring to create, maintain and grow that ambience.

What do you put in?

There are a couple of really great metaphors I have been taught about successful relationships. The first is that a relationship is a container. It is as full as what you put into it. The kind of things you put into it determines it’s ambience.

For example, if all your energy is focused on your work, you put very little into the container. If all your focus is on the kids what are you putting into the relationship with your partner? It needs feeding. What are you feeding it with? You can hear more about that here:

What is the ambience of your relationship?

If you feed the container with abuse, control, cynicism, lies and indifference, what do you think the container is going to be like? Gestures of flowers, chocolates and a beautiful meal once a year is not going to do much to change the ambience of the over all relationship is it?  Also, you are going to be able to take very little from the relationship that is positive and nourishing.

If love, respect, honesty, curiosity, interest, empowerment and support are regularly poured into the container, the ambience will be empowering and nurturing. Another gesture on February 14th is only going to reinforce what you already know to be true about the relationship, right? Valentine’s Day is just another part of your Valentine’s Life that consistently fuels a beautiful relationship.  You will be able to draw positive and nourishing from the relationship whenever wanted or needed.

What you bring to the relationship creates that ambience. Once a year won’t do it. Choosing to be the supportive, romantic, funny, respectful and honest partner you want to be everyday is going to build the kind of relationship you really hope and long for. However you want to show up with your partner, choose it purposefully, consciously and intentionally and choose it everyday.  Honour your values and bring them alive in all you do…. and that includes your significant relationship.

Is there balance?

A co- dependent relationship is like two cards leaning on each other. One will fall if the other leaves. Independent and inter- dependent relationships are fair healthier and resilient.

This does not mean all your attention is in your relationship. That is not healthy and balanced. If you did, what other parts of your life suffer as a result? This would only put strain on your relationship and make you dependant in each other. This is known as co- dependency.

This brings us to the second metaphor. Co- dependency is like when two cards lean against one another. Take one card away and the other card crashes to the floor. This is not a healthy open relationship.

Instead, learn independence. Cultivate your own life, interests and friendships. Be an interesting person to yourself and your partner. Be excited about ALL your life.

Including your partner. Be curious about him/ her. Delve deep into them. Discover their fears and their strengths. Listen to their longing and their dreams. Let them surprise you. Allow yourself to be in awe. And be awesome.

Learn to stand beside them.  Two cards side by side.  Neither one reliant on the other.  Each supporting one another.  Creating space, freedom and openness in the relationship to be individual, independent wholes.  Offer support, love and understanding when needed, in the knowledge that your partner is naturally creative, resourceful and whole. Allow them to do the same with you. Be open, transparent and vulnerable.  This makes the relationship greater than the sum of the parts.  An inter- dependent system that serves more than the two- it serves all the rich communities of which you are both a part.

Taking responsibility

You don’t need each other. You choose to be together. Don’t blame them. You are at choice.  Take responsibility and choose to be in the relationship or not. If you choose to stay, be all you can be to serve you, your partner AND the relationship.

If it is really not serving you and you have tried everything you can or if you feel you are not being met by your partner, perhaps it is time for an honest conversation. To ask for what you want from the relationship and your partner. You don’t HAVE to put up with any crap……. you CAN choose to, for the sake of so many other benefits that may get as well. It is up to you.

As Valentine’s Day 2019 looms and passes, think about what you and your partner bring to the container that is your relationship. If something is missing I challenge you to speak to them about it….. lovingly, kindly and respectfully. Take ownership of your responsibility and allow them to take ownership of their’s. Discuss it, craft it and design a relationship of which you are proud.

One night of romance can be beautiful. Celebrate it on February 14th or not. It is the little drops of beauty and kindness that fall into the container of your partnership, the fierce love that holds responsibility and accountability to both of you that make it strong.

Don’t allow the hum- drum of life to dull your Light. Shine bright in your work, friendships, parenting, passions and significant relationship.

Love hard, love fiercely and above all love daily and create a container full of jewels that makes your relationship priceless.

Over to you

Do you have a Valentine’s Day or a Valentine’s Life? Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day once a year or throughout the year? Are you consistent in your responsibility for your relationship? Do you nurture your relationship as much as you can? Could you improve in your nurturing? Who do you bring to your significant relationship? Are you happy with what you bring? What would you do differently? Who would you be instead? What’s getting in the way? What are you getting right? What do you want more of?

Pass it on

Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below or on social media posts. I’d live to hear from you and get a conversation going about this topic. Also, please pass it on to anyone you know who would be interested to read the blog. I’d appreciate it. Thank you.

A Magic Carpet Ride- case study

Stuck in Overwhelm

A few months ago, Philipa (not her real name) approached me to see if coaching could help her overcome her feeling of overwhelm by the demands of her work and life.

She said that she had an internal dialogue going on that caused her to sabotage whatever she tried to do.  She was sick of it and weary of not being able to make any progress.

Lightening Up

The first thing we did was go on a Magic Carpet ride

We agreed to start working together and the first thing we did was take Phillipa on a magic carpet ride! She experienced what it felt like to have fun, feel supported, be full of energy and in a place where the destination was less important than enjoying what she was doing.

Philipa practiced this over the next couple of weeks, and this changed her feeling of being overwhelmed. It broke the belief that she needed to grind through and struggle to get anything done and freed her to hold lightly the things she had committed to.  Rather than diminish her resolve to complete them, this made her commit to them more. She was quite literally, enjoying the journey.

Because things weren’t such a grind, Philipa was being much more effective and an added benefit was that she had more time to spend with her family – something she desperately needed and wanted.

Enjoying the Journey

Philipa’s move from thinking about the destination and more about enjoying the journey was a pivotal moment.  It allowed her to think more about her relationships and enjoy the process as it unfolded.

However, this exposed a powerful sense of loneliness.

This was a tough area for Philipa to explore but she fought through it. The rewards were clarity, strength, resolve and confidence.

It’s quite typical that when someone starts coaching, they start by focusing on a small area of their lives.  Very soon, as Philipa’s journey demonstrates, it opens up into so much more. This in turn brings about broader and deeper fulfillment and a sense that life has greater meaning and purpose.

If you’d like to discuss how coaching could help you with issues that are causing you concern and would like to create your own magic carpet ride, give me a call!

Intention and Expectation

Do you feel that things should go a certain way?  Does your intention involve detailed steps that lead to frustration if things do not happen as you plan?  Is there an expectation that your life should look a particular way? Does your life live up to your expectations?

The Power of Expectation

Expectation is a powerful thing. It can drive you to great success and it can lead to disappointment, judgment and regret. In my own life and the lives of friends, family and clients I notice how people paint pictures in their minds about how things are going to work out. Rarely if ever, do things work out how you imagine. If they do, you didn’t get there the way you expected. Expectation is a flight of fancy, a fantasy or dream. When life does not measure up to those expectations, you might feel disillusioned about your skills, abilities and talents and doubt whether you have what it takes to succeed in the way you want.

In my experience, the disparity between expectation and reality is a real one- common, realistic and to be expected. The disappointment comes when you have unrealistic expectations that things will develop as you imagine they will. The truth is they almost definitely won’t. Expectation is a rigid plan, based upon your current knowledge of the way things evolve and past experience. However, this situation is new or at least not identical to the past. Therefore things will evolve in new and unexpected ways.

A Need to Control

Isn’t that the way things go? Doesn’t that match your life experience? If so, why are you surprised when things do not develop as you imagine they will? The answer I think is because you want to be in control. That is certainly true for me. I want to know what is going to happen- the when, the how and the why. I focus on the minute details and start to worry (even panic) when things deviate from the plan. Is that true for you too?

It is convenient to imagine you are in control. I think the ego likes to think it knows how things will be. It gives you certainty, confidence and assurance that things will work out. It might give you the confidence to start something and take the first few steps.   Alternatively, it might tell you that you shouldn’t try. That your experience in the past has met with failure, so why bother trying to do it again.

Once you start, very soon, things begin to change. Depending on how hard you grasp onto the projected reality of your expectations, these changes might plunge you into doubt, anxiety and concern. You begin to expend energy trying to control what cannot be controlled. You end up at the final destination exhausted, anxious and in fear. This is not conducive to a mindset that makes the most of where you are and move forward in a positive way.

Rather, you are far from receptive to opportunity and the potential that might unfold from the situation. If you arrive where you are in a mindset of openness and receptivity, not only did you experience the journey in a more peaceful manner, you are also ready to take full advantage of the opportunities unfolding in front of you.

Expectation and Intention

I would invite you to exchange expectation with intention. If you view intention as a light focus on the journey and the outcome rather than a rigid and prescriptive path to the end result, you can more easily let go of the fine detail of how you get there. Instead, you can let things unfold- trusting in the knowledge that things evolve as they will.

What is the mechanism by which this works? If tight control has to give way to light focus, how can you make any plans or strive towards your hopes and dreams? There is something powerful about making plans. It gives energy to your path and direction and empowers you to take action.

There are many factors that contribute to any action. All you can do is take responsibility for your action. In taking action you are setting wheels in motion that send energy out into the world and influence things far beyond anything you can possibility imagine. Therefore you have to let go of control a little. Rather than focus on the minute details, take a broader view and look out for the opportunities that come your way. They may not come from the sources you predict or expect. Some may come from left field that really surprise and support you.

My Personal Journey with Intention

Let me give you an example. In 2015 I took a long hard look at my business and the legacy I want to leave behind. I realised that I had a lot to offer and contribute in the area of health, wellness and confidence. Therefore, I had to look at the way I marketed my business and my client perception as well as the manner of delivering my products. I also had to live my life differently. Rather than living in fear and doubt, I wanted to live with a more positive and trusting mindset. This was, if you like, my Intention. I had expectations about what I wanted it to look like, but not how it was going to happen.

Very quickly, the first step along the way revealed itself. I started a public speaking MeetUp to overcome my fear of talking to groups and began to devise content for courses and workshops that have become the Mindful Movement courses. I also joined and then headed up a Networking group that has brought me tremendous business mentoring and contacts.

My relationship with money needed to be improved and I was offered a free ticket to a money management course that transformed my financial situation and my perception about money. I have been introduced to all kinds of people that continue to support me emotionally and spiritually as I develop personally and professionally. As well as on- going life coaching that has helped me in all areas of my life I have had the good fortune to receive excellent training about marketing and training which has transformed my business visibility and reach.

Holding the Intention Lightly

Each step along the way was revealed to me in an opportunity, a hunch (“gut feeling”, “intuitive leap”, “felt guided to” are all ways of saying this) or a stroke of luck. By keeping my gaze on an open horizon rather than focused at my feet, I noticed the opportunities which took me closer to my goals. Did I miss stuff? Probably, but it seems this is not a one chance lucky dip. Opportunities keep coming. All of this allows me to live free of pressure and anxiety and that makes all the difference in the world. This doesn’t mean I live free of pressure and anxiety.   I realise it is self- imposed and that I need to do what I can and at the same time allow life to do its thing as well.

Co- creation is the Key

If I had tried to plot that course back in 2015, I would not have expected to be here and taken the journey I have. In my imagination it looked a lot different- not nearly as effective nor as much fun. It seems that the Universe has had my back all along. To allow that I have had to surrender control of the parts that are truly beyond my control. You have to be a willing participant in the process and co- create the life you want. It doesn’t happen without your active participation. My experience is that I play a very different role than perhaps I realise.

You do not achieve anything in isolation. Your journey depends on so many factors, such as people, timing, synchronicity and luck as well as intention, persistence and tenacity. There is only so much you can control. The rest you have to let go of and trust that things will either work out or they will not. When you speak to successful people, they all say how lucky they have been. They have been willing to go out there and make it happen and they have been blessed with good fortune. Mechanisms seem to happen in the background and the plan comes to fruition in time.

Satellite Navigation System

Satellite Navigation System in the centre of the dashboard of a car.

There is a Universal Satellite Navigation system. Just like your own Sat Nav in the car, once you put in the address, it plots your route.

Mike Dooley speaks about the Universal Satellite Navigation system. Just like your own Sat Nav in the car, once you put in the address, it plots your route.   Until you arrive at the destination, you have no idea that you are taking the correct route. You trust the computer software to get you there. The same is true for life it seems. Perhaps we give up too soon. Perhaps we take a wrong turn. As long as we keep going we will arrive at our destination. All we have to do is start the engine, decide the end location and put the car in gear. The rest unfolds one step at a time.

Over to you

That has been my experience. What is your experience? How have your plans and dreams unfolded? Have you tried to bully life into making things happen your way? Did you surrender control and trust that things would work out for the best? I’d love to hear your comments, so please do put your comments at the foot of the page or interact with me on social media.

Pass it on

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