Hereâs the third artiÂcle, feaÂturÂing the key conÂcepts for a new modÂel for relatÂing.
In This Moment
As I promised, hereâs the last of 3 articles that are sample chapters from my relationships book, The. Best. Relationship. Ever. Enjoy!
If youâre lookÂing for a partÂner that âfits you,â you owe it to yourÂself to read my book, Find Your PerÂfect PartÂner Itâs availÂable as a KinÂdle book here, for $2.99 US. Two of my othÂer books, This EndÂless Moment and Half Asleep in the BudÂdha Hall, are also availÂable as KinÂdle books, same price. Those two are also availÂable from AmaÂzon as paperÂbacks.
The easÂiÂest way to check out all of the books is to go to our pubÂlishÂing site, The Phoenix CenÂtre Press.
In order to have The. Best. RelaÂtionÂship. Ever., you must have a new modÂel for relatÂing. This requires rigÂorÂous self-exploÂration, and openÂness, honÂesty, and curiosÂiÂty.
MostÂly, because weâre lazy, we tend to repeat what doesnât work. Or, we try out a techÂnique for a bit, and when thereâs a bump in the road, we pull out old, non-funcÂtionÂal ways of relatÂing.
We get stuck in a rut, and blame the rut
Failed relatÂing folÂlows a patÂtern â the same one Sam and SalÂly folÂlowed. There are not many variÂaÂtions on this theme â get into a priÂmaÂry relaÂtionÂship at a young age, flounÂder about, get lousy results, end the relaÂtionÂship, and then, do it again!
We do this in othÂer areas of our lives as well â for examÂple, in acaÂdÂeÂmÂic fields we donât like. We donât take the time to learn a new way â we just repeat what doesnât work, and whine about our lousy results.
Hereâs an examÂple: Iâm not so good at algeÂbra. I got through it in High School and UniÂverÂsiÂty, but nevÂer realÂly figÂured it out. I did enough to pass. I memÂoÂrized a few patÂterns, and studÂied old tests, and learned what I call âbrute forceâ algeÂbra. I have a few rules in my head, but absoluteÂly no underÂstandÂing.
Because I like to torÂture myself, when DarÂbelÂla (who is great at math) taught algeÂbra to her 8th grade Math stuÂdents, Iâd occaÂsionÂalÂly try one of the more comÂpliÂcatÂed probÂlems.
Iâd just loop endÂlessÂly, tryÂing to âsimÂpliÂfy the equaÂtion.â Then Iâd spend a bit of time movÂing things from one side of the = sign to the othÂer.
I did what I always do with algeÂbra probÂlems. I guess, I try a few things Iâve tried before, and I hope that I will luck into an answer. Believe me, it is not a pretÂty sight.
Dar, on the othÂer hand, just looks at the probÂlem, applies logÂiÂcal and eleÂgant steps, and solves it quickÂly. She can do this (and make it look simÂple!) because she âgetsâ what underÂlies algeÂbra.
Hereâs how this applies to relationships
I donât âgetâ algeÂbra, and I am unwillÂing to expend the effort to learn.
This is how most peoÂple deal with relatÂing. They learn a few ârulesâ in adoÂlesÂcence, typÂiÂcalÂly from othÂer ignoÂrant peoÂple. Once they estabÂlish a patÂtern of behavÂiour, they apply the techÂniques out of blind habit and Ego, and think that, this time, theyâll get the ârightâ answer.
They lack understanding, and may even be unaware how little they know about relating
Now, someÂtimes, rarely, this âbrute force, unconÂsciousâ approach does work, givÂing one false hope. As I said, I passed algeÂbra. I just nevÂer got good at it, or underÂstood it. For me, to this day, algeÂbra is a misÂery.
ActÂing from âunawareÂnessâ is limÂitÂing, disÂreÂspectÂful and leads back to the âIâm right and you need to see things my way.â
Itâs a rule: if all I do is what I always do, plus cross my finÂgers, mostÂly, all Iâll get is lousy results. If I want to sucÂceed, I must first deeply underÂstand, and then apply, eleÂgant soluÂtions.
The crux of Elegant, Intimate Relating â a new model for relating
- The eleÂgant part is this: an eleÂgant relaÂtionÂship is both dynamÂic and flexÂiÂble. Thereâs a flow â an ease. While there are difÂferÂent roles to explore, nothÂing is rigid, and everyÂthing is availÂable.
- The intiÂmate part is this: everyÂthing is out in the open, revealed, and honÂestÂly disÂcussed. It is all about truthÂfulÂness, a relaxÂation of boundÂaries, and clear focus.
- EleÂgant, IntiÂmate RelatÂing is dynamÂic: while the methodÂolÂoÂgy of relatÂing stays the same, there is accepÂtance that âlifeâ is conÂstantÂly in flux. EmoÂtions arise, and shift, and change. Roles shift, dependÂing on the needs and desires of the partÂners. NothÂing is graven in stone.
- Both partÂners are open and vulÂnerÂaÂble: everyÂthing is acceptÂed as real, and all feelÂings are fulÂly felt and shared, withÂout judgeÂment, withÂout tryÂing to get your partÂner to behave some othÂer way.
- EleÂgant, IntiÂmate RelatÂing is RespectÂful: itâs recÂogÂnizÂing and celÂeÂbratÂing the worth of your partÂner. It is imposÂsiÂble to respect someÂone for what he or she is going to do or be, someÂday, if all is well and âthe creek donât rise.â Respect is acknowlÂedgÂing the present worth of anothÂer perÂson. ThereÂfore, I can only ârecÂogÂnize and celÂeÂbrateâ someÂone right now.
- EleÂgant, IntiÂmate RelatÂing Requires Patience: itâs knowÂing that all I can do right now is what I can do right now. Patience is the abilÂiÂty to be present with things, sitÂuÂaÂtions, and peoÂple â while fulÂly graspÂing that everyÂone and everyÂthing is in flux. âThings are as they are, until they arenât.â
EveryÂthing is comÂplete at every stage, while at the same time is movÂing with time toward a state of âmore comÂplete.â This is a difÂfiÂcult conÂcept.
Think about buildÂing a bridge. At every stage, each step â say, setÂting the pylons into the rivÂer â is âcomÂpleteâ as it proÂgressÂes. When they are digÂging the hole, thatâs it â they are digÂging. Then, mixÂing conÂcrete. Then, pourÂing conÂcrete. Each step is, in its moment, a whole. In terms of each stepâs âbridge-ness,â it is also part of that process.
Thus, how it is right now is what to focus on â not how you wish it was, nor about how it used to be. EleÂgant, IntiÂmate RelatÂing is about livÂing fulÂly in the present moment.
Elegant, Intimate Relating is All about Intent
EleÂgant relatÂing requires findÂing new ways of seeÂing and proÂcessÂing what is hapÂpenÂing.
This is best accomÂplished by havÂing a clue as to what I am tryÂing to accomÂplish (my Intent,) all the time. OthÂerÂwise I will find that I am going off half-cocked.
So, if my goal is to relate with honÂesty and intiÂmaÂcy, any behavÂiour that does not facilÂiÂtate this goal must be stopped as it emerges.
ExamÂple: AbsoÂlutist phrasÂing (âYou are [always, nevÂer, every time, right wrong, etc.] doingâ¦â) leads to fightÂing about whether the absolute is âtrue.â Itâs also limÂitÂing, disÂreÂspectÂful, and leads back to âIâm right and you need to see things my way.â
Once I know this, I can stop myself from makÂing absolute stateÂments, and say instead, âIâm noticÂing [whatÂevÂer] and I wonÂder whatâs going on for you.â
Good comÂmuÂniÂcaÂtors will ask their partÂner, âWhat was your intent in askÂing me that?â Itâs also a legitÂiÂmate quesÂtion for you to ask yourÂself. Just donât stop too soon. Because intent is often not what you first think it is
Intent has to be expressed with total honÂesty. HidÂing your intenÂtions leads down a path weâd best avoid.
Weâll be fleshÂing out these conÂcepts in the Tools SecÂtion, but I trust youâre getÂting an inkling about how difÂferÂent The. Best. RelaÂtionÂship. Ever. is from a ânorÂmalâ relaÂtionÂship. Weâre going to conÂtinÂue to flesh out the conÂcepts â next up â letâs talk about DiaÂlogue.
The key to elegant relating is dialogue
OngoÂing diaÂlogue is a hard choice, and is selectÂed by perÂhaps 5% of couÂples. Open, honÂest, vulÂnerÂaÂble diaÂlogue leads to a sense of aliveÂness, vibraÂtion and vibranÂcy, and enerÂgized livÂing. Its charÂacÂterÂisÂtics are curiosÂiÂty, pasÂsion, integriÂty, and co-creÂativÂiÂty.
Wise souls take conflict personally
In othÂer words, they examÂine themÂselves â to their perÂsonÂal parÂticÂiÂpaÂtion â rather than placÂing blame. The wise soul looks at his behavÂiour â whatÂevÂer isnât workÂing â and choosÂes to do someÂthing difÂferÂent.
LetÂting go of the need to be right is a vital part of eleÂgant livÂing, and essenÂtial for EleÂgant, IntiÂmate RelatÂing.
UnderÂstandÂing that difÂferÂences are difÂferÂences of opinÂion, not fact, is the mark of the beginÂning of matuÂriÂty. LetÂting go of the need to be right allows me to become curiÂous about who my partÂner is, and how he / she operÂates â difÂferÂentÂly than I do, yet nevÂer wrong.
A bit about fighting
âI nevÂer want to fight with my partÂner again!â is unreaÂsonÂable. A fight, in a sense, is endÂing up on the othÂer side of an issue you and your partÂner are pasÂsionÂate about. PasÂsion is good!
Things go off the rails when either or both parÂties are neiÂther aware nor present.
Hereâs the story of all âbadâ fights
PerÂson A notices someÂthing. It could be a âthing,â or behavÂiour. Letâs say itâs an unwashed cofÂfee cup.
The cofÂfee cup has no meanÂing â itâs neuÂtral.
1st fork in the road:
PerÂson A could say, âThereâs an unwashed cofÂfee cup. Iâll wash it.â No fight.
Or, PerÂson A could say, âGeez, you forÂgot to wash the cup! Youâre a lousy houseÂkeepÂer, and besides, you do that to annoy me!â Hand grenade.
The first response is âwhat I am noticÂing.â The secÂond response is: âI have a belief that my partÂner disÂreÂspects me, and this is anothÂer examÂple.â
PerÂson B now has the ball.
PerÂson B might bite. âUp yours. Iâm not the only one around here with hands, you know. Besides, I pick up for you all the time, and donât bitch about it. Iâm sick of your attiÂtude.â PerÂson B lobs the hand grenade back.
Or, PerÂson B could say, âI notice you seem to be upsetÂting yourÂself, and Iâm curiÂous as to your intenÂtion.â Attempt to neuÂtralÂize, and enter diaÂlogue.
There is always a choice!
The rest of this book is about learnÂing to pay attenÂtion to our process, how we upset ourÂselves, and how we talk. Fights start because both parÂties get caught up in provÂing the othÂer perÂson is either wrong, an ass, or both. Fights are short-cirÂcuitÂed when one of the parÂties choosÂes to stop the draÂma, and becomes curiÂous.
This is done through dialogue
Weâre alive, I believe, to learn who we are â to expand and deepÂen our self-knowlÂedge. We must do this in diaÂlogue, because we are so good at self-jusÂtiÂfiÂcaÂtion â othÂerÂwise known as lying to ourÂselves. WithÂout diaÂlogue, we conÂtinÂue to make our crapÂpy lives a misÂery â all the while focussing on what the othÂer perÂson (or the sitÂuÂaÂtion) is âdoingâ to us.