Our Only Route to Freedom and Love
Our Only Route to Freedom and Love
Here’s the deal:
One: If you had perfect parents AND
Your partner had perfect parents , THEN
You can have a grand relationship and be mindless
Two: We are either mindful or mindless
Three: If we did NOT both have perfect parents, things are always going to get awful unless we are mindful.
This isn’t to say they will always be awful.
In mindlessness, we can coast through good times, or stay busy enough to be out of each other’s hair, but there will be times when one or the other (or both, as often happens) have stressful/ bad/ shitty days.
When that happens, and we are mindless, guess what?
Not being mindful, we don’t get to chose what our reactions are going to be?
Where does most of our heavy duty programming come from: our parents.
So, that’s the formula: stress, plus mindlessness equals we fall back on the rather funky examples and programming of our parents and act them out on our poor mate.
And our poor selves, because we aren’t really home when we are acting out the mindless game.
We are a pawn of our programming.
This would be bad, bad awful news, if we didn’t have an alternative to being mindless.
But we do.
To be mindful.
Remember number two at the start of this chapter: we can be mindful, or we can be mindless..
Mindful, we can notice:
Oh, darn, my buttons are being pushed. Better say something about that.
Or, wow, look at the way my words have caused my loved one to tense their breathing and look hurt in their face.
Maybe those weren’t the words I really wanted to say.
So, that’s that deal: Mindful we have choices. We can notice our own reactiveness.
We can notice the effects of our words and actions.
We aren’t lost in our own little world, but are paying attention to reality.
We notice the birds and our breathing and our skeletons holding us up in gravity and the look on our loved one’s face and the tone of our voice and the feelings that are coming up in us.
The world is new and fresh when we are mindful and if things aren’t “going right,” we can notice this, and say something about it and get curious.
And make suggestions.
All that, the making requests, the diffusing our own reactivity will come later in the book.
For now, we are going to practice pointing our attention to what we like in life.
What we are aware of in the present and what we like in life.
In couples, so much conversation is either planning out the business of what to next or later. And a lot is complaining about what happened in the past.
And the lovely blaming the other for when we feel bad.
So, let’s get our attention on what we like muscles build up and spend three days talking about what turns us on in life, what we like in life, what we are aware of in the present.
The Liking Game
In some religions they lay it out like this: Two biggie commandments, Love God. Love your neighbor as yourself.
Check that out closely and it’s three rules for the good life:
And now, gentle reader, we’re going to take a short cut, a short cut to happiness, contentment and bliss.
A way out of a bunch of conceptual tangling and fussing that has waylaid humanity for way too long.
Instead of God, we are going to say Life.
Capital L Life.
The miracle of the flowers and the creeks and the salmon and smiling children and tuba’s and kissing and square dancing and redwood trees.
So the Big Three rules become:
Love other people.
And guess what?
You are your partner are going to practice that for twenty minutes a day for at least three days.
And you are going to start by noticing the big three: yourself, another person, and Life.
Here’s the game, sit as before in two chairs close to each other and look each other in the eyes as one speaks and the other listen.
Be present to your voice as you speak.
Both be present to the voice and the breathing and the body, both your own and the other’s.
And talk in two turns of talking and two turns of listening like this.
For five minutes cycle through these six sentence stems, finishing them as the words come to you.
1. I notice in the present this about myself…
2. I notice in the present, this about you…
3. I notice, in the present, this about Life around us…
4. I like this about myself…
5. I like this about you…
6. I like this about Life…
Pause for a couple of sweet breaths as you look each other in the eye, and then go back through the six sentence stems again.
Until the five minutes are up.
Notice the delight in just talking about what you like.
Notice the delight is just listening to your love talk about what they like.
Do this two turns each.
See if it changes how you talk in the rest of your life!!