Spiritual teachings suggest that we are all beautiful, unique expressions of one source of life force. Each of us is an emanation of that divine light. That essence cannot be understood but is felt and recognized by qualities such as love, joy, peace, and well-being. This essence is not unique to us, but we all have a unique experience of that essence.
We each live in our separate reality. Each of us living in unique experiences can be challenging for intimate relationships, but recognizing that we are expressions of the same being makes compassion easier to find.
Botanist and citizen of the Potawatomi Nation Robin Wall-Kimmerer wrote in Braiding Sweetgrass, "What happens to one happens to us all. We can starve together or feast together. All flourishing is mutual."
Relationships benefit from remembering that all flourishing is mutual. It is easy to focus on the challenges we experience and approach them from an adversarial standpoint forgetting that we are on the same team. The tendency is to start by trying to solve the problems without addressing the polarization. For example, we approach the logistical difficulties of making life work without considering our state of mind, our experience of compassion, and remembering we are on the same side.
We jump to:
How do we fix our sex life?
How do we communicate better?
How do we get on the same page with finances?
How do we parent together effectively?
How do we not hurt each other's feelings all the time?
And we think I would be happier if my partner were different.
But it doesn't work that way if our nature is love, happiness, and well-being. We can't be happier because we are happiness itself. We can only look at what gets in the way of our experience of happiness, and that isn't our partner. It is our own misunderstandings and limiting beliefs.
When we forget this, I forget this all the time, and don't consider our state of mind as we try to address relationship challenges, we forget about compassion for ourselves and our partners.
Relationship challenges merit finding solutions, but the state of mind we approach them from is vital. When we start trying to find solutions without the foundation of compassion, we get ourselves into trouble. The more we try to fix something, the worse it gets. Then we end up feeling hopeless and discouraged. It can look like the issue is bigger than us and that we can't solve it. But the real problem is not the issue, it is that we don't have enough clarity to see the solution. We just aren't resourced enough to hear our common sense and wisdom.
No matter the relationship challenges, they will always benefit from remembering the essence of who we are and that we are all one.
Remembering our essence means returning to the feeling of source energy within ourselves, the feelings of love, peace, and well-being. These qualities indicate we are resourced. Our cup is full and our heart is open. Since our essence is within, we don't need anything or anyone to resource ourselves in this way. You know how to find your way to this space within yourself.
This is our natural state. It is who we are. When we don't feel this way, it indicates that we are caught up in limiting beliefs and misunderstandings about ourselves that create suffering, but these are temporary experiences that come and go. They reflect our state of mind at that moment, not reality. They don't mean anything about us or our relationship. We all have moods that go up and down. We all have moments of less clarity and more clarity. We all have times when we are more zen and less zen. This is the human condition.
We can, nonetheless, value a good mood, clarity, and well-being and recognize that is when we are resourced and can trust our thinking. We can have compassion for the times when we don't feel this way and acknowledge our feelings are an indicator that we need self-love and self-compassion because we are suffering. And this is a time not to trust our thinking because we have lost perspective.
When we suffer, the priority is to take care of ourselves, not fix problems outside ourselves. Inner well-being is essential. Once that space is found, we can approach the practical challenges from the best possible state of mind and then find solutions.
The recipe for addressing relationship challenges is to find our well-being first, and from that vantage, it's clear our well-being resides within and that we are all expressions of one source. Seeing and feeling the truth of this makes addressing the logistical issues very practical.
Remember you and your partner's flourishing is mutual. You are on the same team. We can all forget this at times, and when we do the priority is to remember.
Rohini Ross is co-founder of “The Rewilders.” Listen to her podcast, with her partner Angus Ross, Rewilding Love. They believe too many good relationships fall apart because couples give up thinking their relationship problems can’t be solved. In the first season of the Rewilding Love Podcast, Rohini and Angus help a couple on the brink of divorce due to conflict. Angus and Rohini also co-facilitate private couple's intensive retreat programs that rewild relationships back to their natural state of love. Rohini is also the author of the ebook Marriage, and she and Angus are co-founders of The 29-Day Rewilding Experience and The Rewilders Community. You can follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To learn more about her work and subscribe to her blog visit: TheRewilders.org.