I want to talk about the post by Sheryl Paul from Conscious Transitions “Not Attracted? Learn to Unblock the Flow of Love” that landed in my inbox on Sunday.
I was interested in the title because this is a question people ask in session:
It is possible to revitalize and restore attraction in long term relationships?
I was also particularly interested when I clicked on it because she starts off by mentioning Mark Nepo (one of my favorite writers) and his Book of Awakening.
Then, of course, the central point of the article is about clearing space. Through acknowledgement. A well timed follow up on last week’s post.
There are two points from her article I want to highlight.
ONE: Identify what is in the way of feeling the attraction and connection.
She quotes Mark Nepo to talk about this:
“The weather of simply living jams things up, and we, like every generation before us, must roll up our pants and sleeves, step into the river, and unclog the flow. Of course, we need to ask, ‘What are the stones pushed about between us? What are the heavy things that keep getting in the way?’
“No doubt, they are infinite and particular, but often, they are made of habits of not: not seeing, not hearing, not feeling, not being present, not risking the truth, not risking the heart’s need to live out in the open.”
I like how she focuses in on this quote because it is normalizing and instructive. It is not that people have been being bad partners or that there is something wrong with love or relationships themselves. It is life that can jam things up.
And, wouldn’t you say that the relationship’s invitation to re-engage us in seeing, hearing, feeling, being present, risking the truth and risking the heart to live out in the open is a pretty life affirming call to action?
I mean, if someone came to me and said this opportunity is going to arise to invite you to do the above things, I would sign up immediately.
Yet we resist this call when it comes dressed in the unsavory cloak of “not feeling attracted”.
Instead of thinking what’s wrong with me or them, can you ask: where can I see, hear, feel more, be more present, risk the truth or risk my heart living out in the open just a little bit more?
Start with a tiny piece and build from there. You don’t go in and pick up the biggest boulder right away without warming up. You’ll throw your back out. Just start with the parts you can access now. Acknowledge “hey, I noticed I haven’t been as good about washing the dishes, let me do that.” Or, you can just practice listening more or being more curious about your partner and see what happens.
This is accessible. This is something you can do today and build on. The closer you feel, the more ready you are to get to the bigger boulders.
This next one goes a little deeper.
TWO: Relationships are a mirror to support your evolution as a human being.
Sheryl talks about this in a pretty blunt way. She is not wrong about the fact that relationship is a mirror. I think being unaware of this fact is a detriment to relationships both for the person who has the complaint and for the person being complained about. The inaccurate assumption that your partner is the source of either your pain or pleasure is easy to fall into, but, ultimately, it can cost you your relationship.
What I would add to what Sheryl says is: the mirror is sneakier and more nuanced than you think. What I mean is, when you read the translations of your complaints about your partner, you might immediately be like “No! That’s not me!”.
Before you dismiss how your complaints about your partner are a mirror to your own stuff, consider this: if you were easily consciously aware of these things, you wouldn’t need them to be projected on someone else for you to see.
If your issues are projected onto someone else versus readily available to your conscious awareness, that means that there is something about that issues about yourself you might not want to see. Follow me?
So, of course, you are going to protest. It is protected information. But can you soften? Can you open to the discovery about yourself that might actually be liberating? Like: Wow. I really struggle to feel approved of if I am not doing EVERYTHING and running myself ragged.
This is probably an old underlying storyline that is running from childhood that is outdated.
But the way that information is coming to you is you are thinking your spouse isn’t doing enough.
What if you pull that thread? And you start to learn to put some limits on how demanding work and taking care of your home gets to be? You outsource some tasks, you focus on restructuring things so you can actually start to enjoy parts of life instead of “taking care of things” all the time. And, you release this complaint about your partner by realizing the complaint isn’t about them. And you actually feel more connected and attracted.
Friends. That is an exponential, life-changing win.
All that came from your willingness not to take your complaint about your partner at face value. And to just dig a touch deeper and reflect.
What if you had two people willing to do that work?
If you need support in how to decode your complaints or find ways to see, feel, hear, risk the truth and risk your heart more, we are here for you. Reach out to us and we’ll match you with one of our therapists.