Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Relationship heaven and hell

Talking to some people at the farmer’s market, I commented that the reason I was writing the book on relationship heaven, relationship hell was that I’d spent so many years in relationship hell, and had discovered that to make the shift only took a few shifts of attention. But without these shifts, the hell was hard to avoid. With these shifts, heaven was easy.

They asked the obvious question: tell us a couple of the shifts. Okay, I said.

One: come into the present. Get quiet in your mind and look at your partner. Let go the stories of what they did wrong yesterday, what they are supposed to be later that day. Just breathe, sense yourself and pay attention to them now. Being in the present and being in love are very close. Very.

Two: use nature as your model. Think of how you approach a redwood tree. Do you want it to weigh ten pounds less? Love you more? Think you are wonderful? Or do you just dig it for what it is? That’s the way to think of your partner, as you would think of anything in nature, a rose, a tree, the ocean. For that is what we all are, a miracle of life and nature.

Three: give yourself what you think they should give you. This is called the “TURNAROUND” in the Work of Byron Katie, found at (The Work of Byron Katie forms a nice chunk of my book; for me it's the way out of suffering when my mind won't shut up and let me back to the present; it's a marvelous set of very simple, very effective tools for transforming unhappiness and confusion into presence, love and peace). If you think they should love you more, love yourself more. If you think they should support you more, support yourself more. If you think they should stop being critical of you, you stop being critical of you.

Four: give them, what you think they should give you. Again, this is part of the TURNAROUND. If they should listen to you more, listen to them more. If they should stop lying to you, you should stop lying to them. (Get brutally, and humorously honest with yourself, and you will always discover how you are doing what you are accusing them of doing.) If you think they should stop criticizing you, you stop criticizing them.

That’s the short version.

Even the long version in the book will be less than a hundred pages. It’s all pretty simple, take the wisdom of now, or nature and love and bring that to yourself and your partner.

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