Time flies! Until one day you're 42 and going, "Wow, I've learned a few things"...
"Look At Their Body, Heart and Mind"
I have heard that desire is the most dominant energy on earth. So we tend to become spellbound by this energy of desire. We get taken in by this emotion that comes over us, we become idealistic, and we start picturing moving in together, having great sex, or making babies... even though it's only the 2nd date. We create so much expectation and 'love' around the relationship, that we fail to notice how much they *dont* fit us.
And that happens to me too. One time, I was riding the bus, spellbound by a women's body... when a heard a whisper say, "Don't just look at her body." We want to look at their body, heart, and mind.
In looking at their heart, you're looking at their quality: are they more emotional, fiery, or more serene? Do they have a big heart that thinks a lot about others a lot, or are they more self-concerned? And look at their mind too: are they more broad-minded and open-minded? Or do they think in more narrow, repeating ways?
In looking at their heart, mind and body, you can discern their soul-age. I believe we usually choose people of a similar soul-age to relate to. Someone of a similar soul-age to us is likely learning similar lessons as we are. An older soul has more developed Love in their being. They are gentler, calmer, and wiser - even if they also have things like anxiety or worry going on. Relating to a much older soul can be very uncomfortable for a younger soul: they are less reactive, less emotional. They may even seem unloving. But there can be rapid growth also for the younger soul if they can trust in the older soul's vision and direction.
Either way, it's wise to practice appreciating people in all three of their aspects: mind, heart, and body, since you will be relating to them in all three ways, and that's very different than just coming from the energy of desire, which I think is safe to say isn't very wise and often ends in dissappointment and frustration.
You Haven't Seen All of Them Until You've Seen Their Pain
In looking at a person's heart, you may see their pain. But let's call it a pain-body. Everyone has a pain-body. But at the beginning of a relationship especially, we are on our best behaviour - so they're not likely to show it to you. This is really a teaching from Eckhart Tolle. He says the majority of us have a pain-body attack about once every two weeks, though it's more frequent for some and less for others.
When our pain-body is 'active', we become deeply negative, and with varying degrees of unconsciousness. We might get needy. Or maybe controlling, or greedy, or jealous. We've ALL got pain. Tolle further says, "The pain-body makes us into a victim or a victimizer".
So when I meet someone new, I know that at some point their pain-body will surface, and either derail plans or just make things uncomfortable. And mine will too. There is no way around this - but what you can do is be aware of pain-body dynamics. If you are aware of them, you are already more free of them.
Eckhart Tolle's work for me was life-changing. When a person's pain body is active, it will try to draw you in and make you feel bad. They aren't doing it on purpose, their pain-body is doing it through them. There's a lot more to say about this, but the main thing is: you are not your pain-body, and neither are they. When you really get this, it is profound. It can end suffering. (For more on that, I recommend Tolle's videos or books).
Joy and Growth Are More Important Than How Long You Are Together
The purpose of relationship is *joy* and *growth* - through love. And joy and growth can be experienced in a short relationship or a long one. Certainly a longer relationship has the potential for much deeper learning, loving and growing, but that doesn't always come along. Plus I think sometimes life gives us a shorter thing to prepare us for a longer, deeper thing.
I also notice that I am learning about attachment and detachment. Sometimes I get too attached to things, people, or places, and spirit encourages me to take it more lightly, to let go more easily and remember the joy in living simply. And sometimes my lesson is to be *more* attached: to get out from behind my computer and be in relationship more, to not avoid relationship. I notice that we often avoid relationship - we got hurt and now we don't want to get hurt again. And I think that's perfectly valid.
The truth is, the duration of relationship is not up to me. We can't really force them to happen or force them to end. Like so many things, they have a life of their own, and we can learn to ride them and enjoy the journey. There ARE things we can do to make room for love and to nourish love...but we aren't in 'control' exactly. "Control" in our lives is largely a myth, in my opinion.
Be Willing to Lead and to Speak Up
Recently I was on a date with a friend. It was a dinner date. Then after the date ended I found myself feeling kind of critical of her, "She is too x, y, z...and not enough a, b, c". I was complaining. A while later I realized that I could have led more. I had not spoken up for what I really wanted to do, or even what I really wanted to have for dinner! I was trying to make her happy...and she was just going with the flow. Yikes!! My lesson: Lead more. Which doesn't mean being CEO of the night or something...but someone's gotta take the reigns.
The insight here is that in any group (two or more is a group), someone is leading. Is it you? Should it be?
Learn the Power of Words And Use Them With Care
If you don't respect the power of words, if you use them mindlessly a lot (saying 'what's on your mind') then you are most certainly in for a lot of pain. But if you really take this truth to heart you will already have done a lot.
I recommend learning to speak precisely. It is very powerful. Speaking with tact also matters. There are ways to say almost anything that is loving. This may require some learning to do but it is worth so much. Love is an exchange of energy - it needs to flow out lovingly often.
I also feel that learning to enjoy silence with our partner is very, very important. If we never enjoy silence with another, then by definition we are always talking/thinking - and that is serious. Enjoying silence together is really group meditation (remember to breathe) and all it's benefits: deeper understanding of the other, sweet empathy, soul-full communion. All this happen when words aren't there, in silence. I believe that the more there is love (I mean truly a state of Love), the less words are needed. We are listening, and empathy is happening. This is really what we are all longing for, and its the next stage in our human development - extreme empathy bordering on telepathy.
Whatever You Do, Don't Get Angry
Even a single moment of anger can destroy so much love in a relationship. I sometimes see love like an energy field of vitality that surrounds two people. It protects you from the negativity of the world, and it makes you feel wonderful. It is healing, and it centers in your heart. But every stressor chips away at that field. If you've not been sleeping enough, or if work has been rough, that love field gets weakened, until one day you find yourself irritable, reactive and with a short fuse.
But one moment of anger can deflate a love-field like nothing else. Learn to notice when you're feeling some irritation or impatience, and then take action to feel better immediately, because those feelings are a small step away from anger.
Ask yourself what you need. I find flower essences are a great help for this.
Sex Can Be Talked About Like Anything Else
Today there's a lot of low quality stuff out there (I almost called it BS instead of just low quality) telling us this technique or that technique will make sex great... or that men are from Uranus and women are from Jupiter or something like that, lol.
Too, too simple.
In my opinion, the best sex comes from connecting our mouth to our...BRAIN.
That's right: Communication! Who's with me on this?? Great sex really comes from a deep emotional connection, and from listening/tuning in. I think this idea that sex should be totally non-verbal and just automatically great is really a great hindrance to great sex.
And I think it's idealism - expecting too much, too soon, which kills many great things before they can become great.
The real issue is maybe that we don't feel comfortable talking about sex...so the need is obvious: We need to talk about sex more! And the rewards will be there, because sex will get better. They are really just body parts and we really can relax and talk plainly about it: saying what you like, what you want, what you don't want. (I recommend the Enlightened Sex Manual by David Deida :-)).
Don't Expect Too Much. Actually, Expect Bumps in The Road
I used to be so idealistic... my 45 years have reduced that somewhat. I now think it's wise to expect there to be awkward moments, moods, and habits that your partner will want your (kind/gentle) help to change.
Fact is, today we often have short attention spans. Facebook, Netflix and drive thru windows have trained us to be that way. But a short attention span is death to all good things that take time, and relationships are one of them.
So breathe, relax, and don't take it too seriously at first. Don't move on too quickly when they're aren't sparks right out of the gate.
Do you want love that lasts like a warm glow or do u want quick sparks that burn out just as quick? There could be a temptation to go to the next person, and the next person. Some people do that. They are addicted to falling in love, so they do it often.
Cultivate depth, and expect challenges to come, as I do. Handle them well and you may be rewarded with a mature, deepening, satisfying love.
We Can Train Each Other!
Yes, we can! And in fact, we should. We can train each other with love, understanding and encouragement - everyone can be a loving coach. From putting the toilet seat down to much bigger things.
This doesn't mean being aggressive or controlling, but knowing that everyone is a work in progress and everyone has their blind spots. But do be gentle if you want your suggestions or advice to be heard and well-received. Use tact, gentleness, and asking for permission first is often a good idea too.
Timing also matters - catching them when they're not frazzled is better, and not speaking when you are angry or irate...please wait for another time.
Remember to focus on building the solution instead of attacking the present state.
Beginning with appreciating them can also be a good idea.
Finally, if someone has an issue, it might be easier to ignore or reject them, but it might be kinder to the next person they connect with, if we help them to shift, change, or improve while we have their attention.
We can improve everyone, for everyone's benefit, instead of ignoring, walking away from, or criticizing each other.
Love Is One of The Most Healing Things There Is
This is a deep, recent realization for me, and I'm not quite sure how to put it.
I have seen this: love between the masculine and feminine is a Sacred Force. It is a healing, Divine Presence. Each complements the other in an incredibly beautiful way.
We are designed for each other. But this is so easy to overlook...or not see, in the speedy, irreverent culture we live in today. But I'm talking about true love here - caring. I'm not talking about obsessive desire, or power tripping or the many versions of love-like expression that we have today that are really more a healing crisis in process. I'm talking about the incredible, beautiful, grand design of opposites that plays out in so many ways but especially in the tantric energy and complementation between the masculine and feminine.
To love may be to heal.
Sex In the 21st Century - an intense look at healing, our past, and sex