“Our interactions with one another reflect a dance between love and fear.” ~Ram Dass
In my personal experience, I’ve learned that it is sometimes easier to dance this journey of life solo rather than in partnership. Many of us have experienced life both in relationships and outside of them. Both are just as sweet.
I’d like to offer up some lessons I have learned in my dance in and out of relationships:
1. They are not meant to last forever.
Our society seems to put a lot of pressure on the idea that things will last forever. But the truth is, everything is impermanent.
After a recent breakup, I found myself feeling as though I had failed the relationship. Then I stepped outside of my conditioned thinking and discovered that love and failure do not reside together. For when you have loved, you have succeeded, every time.
It was Wayne Dyer that introduced me to the rather practical concept that “not every relationship is meant to last forever.” What a big burden off my back! Of all the souls hanging out on this planet, it seems to make sense that we might have more than one soul mate floating around.
Relationships can be our greatest teachers; it is often through them that we discover the most about ourselves. In relationships, we are provided with an opportunity to look into a mirror, revealing what we need to work on as individuals in order to be the best version of ourselves.
Each relationship will run its course, some a few weeks, months, years, or even a lifetime. This is the unknown that we all leap into.
2. Attachment is often the cause of suffering.
We sometimes cling to people in an attempt to hold them closer, but this often pushes them further away.
In love there is nothing to grasp; it is so expansive that trying to capture it is like trying to capture water with a net. When we attempt to control where a relationship is going, we become disconnected with the sweetness of the moment.
Ram Dass shared one of the most exquisite paradoxes: “As soon as you can give it all up, you can have it all.”
It is silly to think that we can own someone’s love, but many of us have tried to do it.
I often find myself fantasizing about how my future will unfold with a new partner, but it is in that moment when I fall out of the present.
We have the opportunity to surrender to the natural flow of relationships, letting go of our proposed outcomes and taking ourselves out of the driver seat.
This means being fully present in moments of intense love, conflict, uncertainty, vulnerability, and joy.
3. Being vs. doing.
In the beginning of relationships, we strive to show up as our best selves, hoping to impress the other person and to receive their love in return. In most cases, we are focused on doing simply because we want to make an outstanding impression on the person we fancy.
But if you’re anything like me, being and doing are extremely hard to keep up at the same time.
In relationships there is work, but there isn’t much we have to actively do. In fact, doing can often be associated with attempting to control a situation.
The place where we should hang out is in the being. Being allows us to show up as our authentic selves. When we show up as humans being, something magical happens. Being is our natural state. Love thrives in this space.
4. Allow for change.
Don’t be attached to any particular way your partner is showing up each day. Change is inevitable. As humans being, we are constantly growing and discovering new passions and experiences.
For example, next week your partner might wake up with the realization that they want to leave their job as a lawyer and become a yoga instructor. How will you respond? The news might be shocking and somewhat unusual, but change happens. The question is, can you allow space for that?
Oftentimes it is harder to embrace change within others than it is to accept within ourselves. If you are anything like me, consistency is super important; however, completely unrealistic. Someone once told me “you are consistent with your inconsistency.” I initially took this as an insult, but now I see it as a practical strength. It shows movement and willingness to change.
Love is the greatest dance in life. Surrender to each step. Hold your partner close to your heart, but don’t grasp. If we can allow ourselves to enter into partnerships with this awareness, it may dramatically shift the way we see and experience relationships and love.