Sideways

I wrote a story in the book of life today!

Shut the fuck up!

Thursday Morning
Sideways
angeofleak
I was walking to the train and walking toward a guy that was acting funny, swaying, almost falling over. Another man didn’t give him any attention as he walked past. There was a bag of groceries on the ground near this guy and he was eating what seemed to be Chihuahua cheese. He didn’t seem drunk so I asked if he was ok and he said he was a diabetic and I have no idea what to do about that! I gave him my granola bar and laid him on the ground since he was convulsing and called an ambulance. A couple ladies going in opposite directions came out to help me in case I didn’t know Spanish and ran to get him juice. Eventually the ambulance showed up and the ladies and I hugged and walked our separate ways…

Once I got to the train I began knitting. It was nice not to be knitting with super tiny needs and I thought about how I can make all my xmas gifts and even some for some extra cash, which is always a huge endeavor. As I got to my stop and started to get up, I felt a bump on my arm and a lady showed me her knitting bag and said, "Hello, fellow knitter!" I asked what she was knitting, for whom and what yarn. We geeked out for a couple blocks and I went into work.

(no subject)
Sideways
angeofleak
http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-16994/20-ways-to-love-the-one-youre-with.html

Hello, friend.
Sideways
angeofleak
It's been a while since I took the time to get my thoughts together in this safe place. Sometimes this feels like such a feat, similar to avoiding yoga when I need it most. It just goes to show that it really is difficult to show up for yourself through these times.

My life has been a whirlwind with working to balance Aaron's recovery, my new work life and just plain me. I think I've always struggled with this growing up because I was always so busy raising my brothers, in a hectic relationship with my ex and not knowing how to navigate my own doings.

Tomorrow Aaron has his first freelance shoot. This whole journey I have witnessed and been there for him through has been incredible, uncertain and trying. He decided not to go back to work with his old boss as the roles and expectations have been so far blurred. His current physical challenges would have made it difficult to take care of himself in a way that he would have to learn how to do all over again without falling into his old role of being the muscle, talent and glue of that family like organization. He finally is off his pain meds but is having withdrawal symptoms but that seems to be the latest and hopefully last few challenges at the tail end of this situation. He has become a different person and learning to grow from a difficult situation.


I am very proud of him through all this and have wanted to maintain unconditional love and understanding which, at this point, is getting difficult to endure. It's not normal for me to hope or, honestly, work for something that has to do with someone else, let alone a relationship that has been impacted in such a way. I have wanted, and perhaps tried to sabotage this to return to a life of control where I feel most comfortable dealing with chaos but had to find myself within all of the uncertainty and remember why I am still around and that jumping ship would not serve anything but my past habits of not knowing how to handle the situation. A form of surrender has been necessary for me and gentleness with myself realizing that I can't control this, change or fix the dealings he has had come and go.

I have settled into my "new" job over the last two months as a project coordinator. It's exhausting thinking about what this job means...because my ego wants it to mean so much for some reason. It's the first "real" job I have obtained on my own, not networking and through the experience I have gained over the years. I went to school for project management and this is my first foot in a completely new industry which brings a sort of new language to learn.

I am at a company, one of the leading in the industry of eDiscovery which offers managed data services for law firms. We have seen at least 4 people, one of each level in my office, leave with no more than serving 1.5 years in their roles. Although alarming, somehow, through being on a "break" with Aaron and his recovery, I managed to keep it together as best I could and sort of thrive with half the team that started and way less support but the high expectation to adapt and perform. I am finally feeling less discomfort and more confidence in myself and the position. I didn't think I would see or feel the end of the tunnel after everything that happened since May 23rd, Aaron's accident but at the end of the day, we somehow got through it together.

We both have seen each other at what we both could say was our lowest and most triggerable points. I have seen a man who was known for his talent and physical strength get to know emotions, himself, humble himself and really process his choices. After all this, he really values what he calls my strength which confuses me but gives me encouragement to allow us to just be right now and settle into what our new reality, our new relationship is and will become.

Somehow I didn't run from him or myself because I didn't know the outcome and I can honestly say that I am proud of myself for seeing this through and harboring no regret or resentment on my decision to be there for a man who really needed it. I wanted to be the person he relied on and he let me in. But now, I seem to struggle with letting him in...however which way that is possible, I have no idea. It's my habit to protect him from my feelings and thoughts as I've seen him so down and unable to take more than he can process. I know I can be intense.

If I have learned anything, I am grateful for this situation to teach he and I to grow as a team and as individuals and communicate honestly with each other on where we currently stand. I just want to love him and be nice to him. I want him to take care of himself and that is all.

It's all been a whirlwind and the last couple weeks were hard because he sensed me distancing. I didn't know how to gracefully handle slowing down and not having to be on such a high alert vigilance but, I had to remind him it wasn't personal, it wasn't permanent and will ease with time. It's a drastic occurrence and I only know how to handle it as best I can. He completely understands where I am coming from.

So, I hope to continue to update and get my thoughts in order like I have been the last bunch of years. I want to get back to myself, my routine and doings and let this all sink in. It's only been about 2.5 months since the accident which feels like time has moved both slowly and too quickly.

I have let go of fear a lot lately and when it tries to enter again, I try and remember that it's a choice to love him and be by his side and I wouldn't want it any other way. We both are works in progress and I am proud of us both for being able to somehow withstand all the tests we have endured. The honeymoon ended the day of the accident and I have hope that it will return but taking a new, graduated and mature form for the both of us.

I am trying not to doubt myself, him or us and just let things work out the way they will but also keep in mind the need to take care of myself in order to be happy with myself. It's time to take a step back from over protection mode of him and start paying attention to my heart and how that has influenced me to shut my heart down a little bit. I'm not afraid of the process and know it will poke it's little head out in due time and show itself because I want it and don't want to give up.

Just honesty
Sideways
angeofleak
Aaron has been stressed lately with getting his things together for his probation deadline, which he put off, even last week. He's been feeling really anxious with his position and possibly stepping down, his parents stressing him out about the bike he has to build and sell on top of trying to relax and heal his body. He never was good at sitting still, even when I first met him. We are similar in this way. So after the last couple months, we're both learning to slow down and reflect internally a little more. It's clear it's not easy for him since he sees it as forced and not as a choice.

We went to breakfast yesterday and he was feeling stressed. He told me how a man near the door "eye fucked the shit out of" me and that's why he stared him down. I pretended not to see. He usually lets me handle social situations like that on my own so I knew something was really bugging him.

We headed back to his place where he incinuated being alone. I offered to stay and knit quietly if he needed help or support and be obliged. Then I asked if he wanted to be alone and he said that might be better. I wish he would communicate what he wants but how can I ask that when he has no idea right now? So I quietly observe and remain present.

I walked him to his door and he began to cry as he hugged me goodbye. I told him we can go upstairs for a minute to talk since we were in public.

We cried on his bed as he apologized for being emotional. I feel so much empathy for this man and just want to comfort him. I don't even want to fix him or let him know my feelings because what he's going through and the emotions behind it have nothing to do with me. So I continue to try my best to reflect unconditional love in a way I didn't know possible.

Sometimes this is scary but less for my heart and more for his. He is feeling really low right now and we just have to ride it out.

I checked in on him in the evening and he told me it's best for him to be alone tonight. I obliged. Then he sent: "I am sorry. I am just kinda low right now and i know i cant be the man you need me to be. You are having a lot of fun in your life and i dont want to be the factor that drags you down with my down. I have some work to do on my life in a lot of ways, and i see how it is effecting you and our relationship and i dont know if i can do that to you any more."

This triggered me completely and my mind started to race. I found myself at his apartment. Can a girl get an explanation? This is a lot to take in and from what it seems, he doesn't want to continue to hurt me so wants out of this relationship? I needed answers. As I entered, I heard him crying in the kitchen and he asked what I was doing there. I began sobbing and apologized for being there when he said he wanted to be alone. He told me he was grateful and squeezed me tighter and tighter. We sobbed in the dark kitchen.

Involved by observing
Sideways
angeofleak
The last few weeks have been wonderful and challenging at the same time. It's understandable given my partner's circumstances and it is my choice to support him through such confusing, trying, low and inconsistent times.

I have had to come to peace with the situation and surrender to what currently is. Working really hard on staying present and enjoying us for what it is. Aaron has been feeling the lows, although less and less, they are pretty strenuous. I've been trying to stay strong for the both of us because that's what people do in committed relationships, right?

I'm clear with him and myself that I have no intent but to be here and support him in his journey through this.

I've seen him grow and listen to his body as well as his heart. There have been hiccups along the way, but who am I to say what those are? He's been feeling me distancing and we've openly discussed both our feelings of the same. I assured him it's from the uneasiness of being on high alert for the last couple of months and adjusting is just that.

I'm different these days. I still have emotions but am processing and letting them marinate more. I'm not trying to run out the door and hurt someone who sees me completely vulnerable. In a way, this challenge has brought the focus back around to me. We are both vulnerable, individually and together. I've never been here before or completely honest with my heart and him.

At the end of the day, he has my heart and has had it. That won't change because he is questioning his worth or identity. I love his beautiful soul regardless his scars, bodily changes and struggle to find himself. He can break his heart if he wants but I am committed until we won't have each other.

I know this is a challenge and risk of placing a wedge between us, but for once, the first time ever, I believe we can get through this. We built something wonderful and I am confident we can, if he can accept my love.

Which slingshots back at me. I have to check in with myself. Am I taking care of myself and listening to my inner voice?

(no subject)
Sideways
angeofleak
He texted me: "Baby, i know we aren't on the best of terms but i need to get to target."

As if I wanted this break...

You want another favor, of course you do. I'm not sure favors come with breaks.

I know he has issues with asking for help but why call me "baby?"

I'm confused as to why he is asking me for help right now when he clearly needs to do his "own thing right now."

Would it be putting myself aside to drive him to Target? Is it wrong for me to want to talk yet? Can I get a goddamn answer about something or is this him being selfish?

I lasted 3 days, barely.
Sideways
angeofleak
After working the wedding with Sara, I secretly found myself at Aaron's house along the way home. I called twice, no answer. I texted, "can I say hi?" No answer. Instead of leaving I went inside.

I crawled into his bed where he was fast asleep. I kissed his forehead and rubbed his hair out of his face. He woke up, rubbed my arm and said, "hi, baby..." I kissed his face a bunch and asked if it was alright to spend the night. "Whatever you want." He said his arm was pretty tender and I told him I would be sure not to touch him.

He rolled over toward me once, causing him to wince while holding my shoulder. "I want to snuggle you so bad..."

He came back from the bathroom in the middle of the night and kissed up my leg to my stomach to my chest. He eventually rested his head on me and I cradled his head with so much love and adoration it almost made me cry.

He extended his injured arm toward me and held my side as best he could.

I woke up in the morning to him asking how I was doing. I rubbed his hair til he fell asleep. I kissed him goodbye, didn't tell him where I was going and didn't ask when we would speak or see each other again.

I worked a shift at bongo after that and haven't contacted him. I was surprised to find a lack of alcohol in his apartment but he also removed our fantastic photobooth pics from his fridge.

I am so confused but I did it to myself. I tried not to make this situation about me but I did because I miss him so much and now I'm hurting all over again because of it.

What does it mean to be on a break? I guess all I can do is trust and have faith that things will work out however they do. He always asked me to have faith in him and our relationship. Rather than try my best, I asked him to hold my hand and teach me about it. Now, I'm trying with my all to be patient and have faith and trust he means break and not break up.

Lately "faith" has been popping up everywhere in my life, from what the foster lady was planning to name the dog my friend and I transported, people bringing it up in conversation to songs with the word in it and many more ways.

I tried to open my heart and let him in. I feel that I did more than ever in my life. So now, when I sit with the discomfort of heart pain, I battle the urge to do what I always do and react out of fear and abandonment and want to break it off immediately.

I fucked up and shouldn't have gone to his house. Regret. Heartache. Anxiety. Loss. The clock starts all over again.

(no subject)
Sideways
angeofleak
Aaron suggested a break a couple days ago because he needs to focus on himself right now. He's in a world of hurt with the uncertainty he will be taken back at work. He is on a lot of pain meds that seem to make him less himself and he is distracting himself with lots of doings after being "cooped up for two weeks." The meds give him a false sense of strength and I worry but I have to take the time to respect myself and the relationship. I wonder if him being off his antidepressants in the hospital has anything to do with his mood changes. This all seems obvious. He says I'm overprotective and I tell him he's lucky but he doesn't want to hear that. He wants to be alone to do whatever he pleases. The first day out of the hospital he was having a couple beers while, I'm pretty certain, on these meds. He doesn't want to be mothered and I can't witness the person I love be self destructive and have no regard for his need to heal, recover and general well being, this is my perception, at least. I was relieved and sad when he suggested a break. His decisions and lack of regard for his safety were causing me much anxiety. I'm sure he feels very low right now and guilty for putting me, everyone, for that matter, through so much so suggesting a break could be a fucked up way to protect me from more disappointment.

I wanted to be reactive when he suggested a break, meet in person and just cut it all off. That's how I've always been, so in a way, honoring myself and well being means sitting with the discomfort of the uncertainty and not having to make a decision right, right now.

I've always wanted him to find his peace and to be safe. If this is his way of finally doing that, that's my hope regardless the sadness I am getting acquainted with. If this is him setting boundaries with me, I want to respect that because I think we both deserve that chance. He isn't a bad guy, he is "relearning" himself and "doesn't need to be directed."

I hope this isn't a cop out. I asked to talk and he said "not tonight due to the meds." I feel that he has isolated himself to meds and maybe drinking, given this has been his habit. I want to trust he can get through this and time to reflect on the relationship and what I want is something that is necessary.

I will not return to our relationship as it stands. I will not be with someone who is reckless, does not want my help and has a substance abuse issue. My boundary when we speak again, hopefully when he isn't all doped up on pain meds, is that he needs treatment or therapy of some kind. I am doing the work and show up for myself, we need that in this relationship. It's not healthy for me to be hindered in my life by worrying about his safety. I'm no mom and he isn't my child. This substance issue is a huge deal breaker and trigger for me and takes away from us working on this relationship. Before he suggested a break he wouldn't even sit to have a conversation with me. He busied himself like I had never seen. This also triggered my abandonment issues.

I feel as though I am not a priority when I personalize the situation. I feel hurt and taken advantage of after not having him around for two weeks while in the hospital. Now he's back to his life and wants to do whatever he wants so I have to let him go and realize he may never get help or want to show up for himself. This does not reflect on my worthiness or capability to be loved. This was not a failure and I am trying to feel grateful for the lessons he helped me learn and the incredible love he has allowed me to feel, show and receive.

People keep telling me to get a new boyfriend when this is not what the situation is about. I truly love this man who has his own demons to deal with and I have to back off right now and take advantage of what I can learn and the ways I can grow like never before.

(no subject)
Sideways
angeofleak
My mom really does give the best advice.

After Aaron assured me to take a nap at his boss' lakehouse yesterday, 4 hours away in Michigan, I woke up refreshed and regretful I slept til just before the sun was setting. The view of the lake from the room we were staying in was beautiful. The water was rippling from the wind and the sunset perfectly reflected every fiery bit of sunshine left. 

They're an hour ahead here and I called for him as I was getting up. We also don't get phone reception here. By this time the sun had gone down and I got the willies and walked to the garage he said he was going to be in. I couldn't remember how many four wheelers were there to begin with but noticed one BMW street bike. I think back and "should've known" he took a bike and it wouldn't make sense to have 3 four wheelers. I drove to the trout stream he wanted us to check out the following day. No luck. 

We ran out of gas on a four wheeler once. It was the universe saying something when 3 young dudes wave me down and are stranded at the same spot Aaron and I had been last year. We were fortunate enough to hitch a ride back and forth and borrow $20 from the gas clerk for a gas can and fuel. 

"3 dudes is too many. I can take and drop off one of you." They abided and were very grateful. Poor 20 year old, near my brothers', age witnessing me do a huge favor but at the and time fluster with disappointment and worry about trying to find my man. By this time I sent texts and called and it was 11pm by the time I received a vague text that he was in an accident on the other bike and was in the hospital but being transported 50 minutes away in Grand Rapids. 

My initial reaction is anger then panic which I tried to dissect. I just left without thinking. Left the doors and garage open. I was worried and didn't think, period. 

I beat them transporting Aaron to that hospital and knit while I waited in the ER waiting room. It was a series of calming myself down to prevent the downfall of tears and coming from unconditional love to decrease the anger and disappointment I felt out of fear. 

There were many people around him when they took me back to see him. He was beat up, had a neck brace on and burns from the tail pipe of the bike on his left hand side. I cried from a distance where they offered me Kleenex and a chair, both of which I declined while trying to swallow my emotions and get it together. One nurse said, "You can step closer, if you'd like. You won't hurt him." 

It was an amplified Full House moment when Stephanie cut uncle Jessie's hair then he crashed his motorcycle and didn't trust herself to be near him for fear of being the curse of death. I acknowledged my inner little Stephanie, got closer, sat down, accepted the Kleenex, rubbed his hair and said, "hi, baby..." 

He apologized profusely and I looked into his beautiful brown eyes and said, "it's really ok. I'm more than relieved you are ok." He thanked me as I cleaned the tears from my cheeks. A nurse came over, touched my shoulder acknowledging my emotions and explained it could have been much worse since he is wiggling and moving appendages but they need to take him for an MRI to confirm the fractures in his thoracic spine. I asked for the restroom at this point and a social worker offered to accompany me. Once out of the clear from Aaron's view, I asked for a minute and stooped just outside the double doors and apologized. "I get very overwhelmed when I step away from a situation where I try to keep it all together and the minute I can let emotion back in, it takes me a minute to get back on my feet so I always have to get away to compose myself." She stooped with me making me feel less alone which I was grateful for. She said she would wait til I was out of the restroom and walk me back. I thanked her.

They were about to move him to another room to prep for MRI where I fell asleep on 3 chairs lying side by side at 2am. People kept coming in to ask questions and I was finally moved at 3:30am to accompany him. By this time we hadn't eaten since 4pm the previous day, and after his gallbladder surgery, I know what the impact of not eating before surgery does to a body when taking meds for pain. I tried to sleep, he did too but there was too much pain, hustle bustle and an awkward neck brace he had to wear until he was "completely sober".

He kept having anxiety about what to tell his boss who's cabin we are staying at for the weekend, who's bike he took out while I was napping, what to tell his probation officer and his parents about the whole situation. I swallowed my anger and just tried to comfort him as best I could, mainly holding his hand and rubbing his hair, his favorite thing I do to express love. He kept trying to make eye contact and even more so, I tried to do the same and tried to put my shit aside. 

This morning he started to feel nauseous. It could've been the alcohol in his system, the meds or a lack of food and water. He puked a few times and took the neck brace off when he wasn't supposed to. I tried to be as helpful as possible and get him back to sleep before he was worrying about leaving the garage open, etc. 

Throughout the evening and this morning I felt my queasiness come several times and asked to be excused to the restroom. I think it's info processing overload. I try and keep track of every detail but leave no room to process emotions. I get very hot and clammy, lose hearing a little bit and get disoriented but know it will pass, as long as I step away. 

I left the hospital at about 8:45am Michigan time, tears welling and remembered the nurses urging me to call for support, even if not in the area. I called my mom and she sounded happy to hear from me. I broke down and she could barely understand me. She sounded shocked at the story and relieved I wasn't on the bike with him. She's given me this advice before, "cry cry cry, as long as you're alone, cry all you want but eventually you have to get it together. Be strong for him regardless what you are thinking about your relationship or the future. Have some coffee or eat something or whatever you do, it's been a long night and you have to take care of yourself. Being upset without facts isn't helping anyone. I can come pick you up even if it's 5 hours away but you still have to get it together for yourself and him."

6 ways to show love
Sideways
angeofleak
How To Practice Compassion In Relationships.

A couple asked me recently what the Buddhist view is on marriage.

They were planning their wedding and in the process of writing their vows. I don’t know what the Buddha would have said, but what occurred to me in that moment was how committing to loving one person for the rest of your life is taking compassion practice to a whole new level. In the Buddhist teachings there are many guidelines and methods to help us become more compassionate people. When we apply these practices in the space of intimacy, with the person who triggers us, drives us crazy, irritates, and bores us–the person we are closest to–we begin to walk our spiritual talk.

Compassion has three aspects, a feeling of warmth, a sense of openness, and a pervading wisdom that sees through the illusion of separateness and duality. The general guidelines for practicing compassion suggest cultivating a quality of energy, inspiration, and motivation as well as a sense of lightness, ease, and gentleness. We are careful not to become aggressive or self centered in our efforts to be more compassionate.

Before you get started, remember that to genuinely be compassionate to another, you must begin by extending that kindness to yourself. By appreciating and understanding how we get stuck, we can naturally extend that awareness when our loved ones act crazy. The most important point here is to accept people as they are. Putting your energy into trying to change someone, even subtly attempting to shape their behavior, backfires over time because there is always this feeling that love is conditional.

One of my mentors said that there are three requirements to making relationships work. 1) Both people are “into” each other, there is some attraction, energy, or juiciness that keeps them connected. 2) Both people must be willing to work with what comes up for them as individuals in the context of intimacy and 3) Both people must be willing to work with what comes up specifically in relation to each other.

The Buddhist tradition presents compassion in action as the six paramitas or transcendental virtues. These compassion practices are best worked with slowly over time, starting with small steps such as subtly shifting the trajectory of current patters, whether it be one thought, one action–whatever you can do that is genuinely selfless. You are doing it for the simple reason of being kind, and there is no agenda that your partner will change, the relationship will improve, or you get points for being “good.” That’s not what this is about. This is about using everything in your life as a means to open your heart further.

Generosity

Generosity is centered upon selfless motivation. You give up any notion of who is giving, what is being given, and who is receiving. You just give without any attachment or fixation to what happens next. We have some idea of the small things that make people happy. Therefore, you might spontaneously clean up your clutter in the living room, cook a special meal, plan a nice evening out, take care of the nitty gritty small stuff. Other ways to give spontaneously are sharing appreciative statements, compliments, and expressions of affection.

Generosity can also be about giving up our need to be right. Because we are offering up our egos, we can also let go of beliefs about the way things should be. We can give up doing things our way, winning arguments, and knowing what’s best. This is generosity practice because our ego-centered beliefs are what we hold most sacred, especially those of the spiritual kind. The other aspect of generosity is protection from fear, which means listening when your partner is struggling at work, has health concerns, or financial worries. Don’t problem solve. Just listen and gently ask how you can be helpful.

Discipline

Discipline has to do with bringing mindfulness and awareness to all of your actions of body, speech, and mind. This means slowing down the momentum of our reactivity. We may already be skilled at mindfulness of body (we don’t sock our partners when they irritate us), but we can now begin to work with slowing down the momentum of our speech (holding back our judgements, criticisms, nagging, and venting). The more we practice mindfulness and awareness in every day life, the more we can trust ourselves without second guessing what we say and do. We don’t need to call up our friends to have them validate us. We simply trust ourselves and become curious when what we say and do causes conflict. We don’t have an ego to defend so we don’t need everyone on our side.

Patience

The meaning of patience here has to do with not reacting impulsively when our partners misbehave, get angry with us, or shut down. This means that we learn to work with our emotions through meditation practice and individual therapy. We can’t blame people for making us feel a certain way. We can learn how to tolerate our emotions. We can become curious and undefended even when people are making everything our fault. Just staying open and calm can rapidly de-escalate fighting and bickering. In relationships there is often disappointment over getting what we didn’t want and not getting what we wanted. We can have these feelings without taking them too seriously or personally.

Patience also means tolerating our feelings when we try earnestly to help someone and they don’t accept it or get better according to our ideas about what’s good for them. An example of this kind of patience is listening to our partner’s frustrations without being their job or fitness coach, nutritionist, therapist, or psychic. Just let them be and listen with an open heart. People don’t like being told what to do to improve. It has the result of affirming the part of them that is already feeling inadequate. Ask them if they want concrete suggestions or if they just need a hug.

Patience is also practiced when people have wronged us and we feel so much resentment that we cannot forgive them. People often ask me how to let go of the anger and resentment that has built up over time. When I sit with that question and reflect on the anger and resentment in my own heart, I come back to the hurt that gave rise to the anger. When I sit with the hurt, I see that the hurt is there because of how deeply I loved. When I connect with the love that was behind the hurt, anger, and resentment, I can begin to let go of the whole thing. Abiding in the love gives me a sense of space and peace where I can see things from a wider perspective. At some point it becomes important to let things go and make space for new things to happen.

Diligence

Diligence or exertion is about working hard, but not in the sense of self sacrifice, being a martyr, or doing things that you don’t want to like folding the laundry. Exertion here means taking everything that happens to the path of dharma. We walk our talk and stop expecting our relationship to be perfect or to make us feel good. We see the day to day challenges that we face as our practice and what we’re working with off the cushion.

Exertion here also means learning to tolerate our feelings without indulging them or acting them out. It means showing up for couples therapy with some measure of enthusiasm rather than being late and sighing while your partner is talking. We see that this whole relationship thing is helping us open our heart and learn about ourselves, our partners, and all of humanity. We stay with the struggle that it takes to work things out. The opposite of diligence here is laziness. Along with zoning out while your partner is talking, laziness also includes overworking and staying continually distracted with activities and projects. Business is another form is laziness.

Meditation

Our commitment to our meditation practice underlies all of our compassionate activities. It is our time to go within and take care of our own mind. It is best to practice every day, ideally at the same time each day, even if just for ten or twenty minutes. Connecting in with our innate wakefulness and inner vision helps us maintain a perspective that nourishes and regenerates our mind. Sometimes it helps to take ten minutes to calm down when you come home from work, just enough to transition and let the day go. Meditation is about the willingness to stay with our practice of mindfulness and awareness no matter what is happening around us. We take everything to the path of dharma by making space for our practice. Otherwise, we’ll get lost or burned out along the way.

Transcendental Knowledge

Here is where our dharma study in the nature of selflessness becomes key. How we show up for our partner is how we show up for ourselves, there is no difference. The more we can integrate this concept into our living and felt experience, we will see how so much of our struggle is for nothing. The teachings become very personal here as we see how they apply to everything happening in our life.

Finally, in your efforts to be more compassionate, be careful about mistaking “idiot compassion” for compassion. Being open does not mean we have no boundaries. Our openness affords us both clarity and panoramic awareness which helps us discern what would be most skillful. We know what to do and say in the moment. Sometimes we need to say the thing that no one wants to hear, or be the one to point at the elephant in the room, or call people on their stuff. It doesn’t serve anyone to go unconscious when things get hard. In these situations, the harmony created is a false harmony where the real issues get swept under the rug. This is a conflict avoiding, fear-based, relational style which only leads to furthering distance and infidelities where partners go outside of the relationship to get their needs met. Real compassion is to speak to what you see going on while staying connected to your heart. It is about clear seeing joined with warmth and kindness. This kind of love is what heals and brings intimacy to a deeper level.

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