Where Relationships Exist
Last March, just as the pandemic descended upon us, I went on a short spiritual retreat with a dear friend. During part of the retreat, I got in touch with my desire to be the best partner and husband I can possibly be for my wife, and I thought about the challenges that I (and many of us!) can sometimes experience in these life partnerships. Out of this reflection, a beautiful insight arose.
Relationships don’t exist in my memories, stories, or other thoughts. Relationships exist in the engagement with another.
It’s one of the things that most teachers enjoy and cherish about our jobs: the opportunity to authentically engage with young humans, especially within a mutually shared intention, like learning and growth.
My personal practice, now, is to extend that insight to my colleagues and others.
When we have a conversation with another person, it’s easy to fall into a default engagement that minimizes the value, perhaps even the sanctity, of the exchange. Thought is an infinitely creative, powerful, and magical gift of being human, and sometimes it gets in the way of us fully experiencing our lives and the people in it.
It's in the engagement with people that our relationships exists. What you bring to the interactions and what you accept from them, that becomes the nature of the relationship.
I invite you, whenever you remember and whenever you’re able, to simplify and deepen your engagement with others by taking two steps:
Create an intention for the interaction, perhaps something you'd like to bring to the person you're with, and then communicate from that place. Generosity, ease, enjoyment, compassion, vulnerability, attention, love?
Get curious about the person actually there in front of you. Chances are, there's much more to the person in front of us than we're immediately aware of.
From this insight last year, I’ve experienced a new level of freedom in my ability to enjoy the people in my life. I often forget it, however, and that sometimes results in my minimizing myself and others.
This post is a reminder to you, and hopefully you’ll remind me back, of the opportunity, joy, satisfaction, and love available when we’re authentically engaging with another person.
Thanks so much for reading. ❤️
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