Let’s face it; relationships can be hard, harsh, and painful. They confront you, reflect you, and show you who you are. Like gardens, if you don’t tend to them, with tools, care, and water, they suffer, falter, grow old, wither and die. Can you seed, weed, feed and mindfully sustain and grow an abundant, ever green, garden of beauty?
Gardens require good soil, fertilizer, and manure. We till the ground, root out issues, then plant seeds, under the surface. In our relationships, once we go deep and get into problems or troubles (all of us have them) we need to be ready to do the same.
In seeding our relationship garden, we plant new ideas, dreams, hopes, and aspirations. In the dawn of a new day, we intentionally nurture and grow our relationships.
By weeding and pruning our relationships, we can bring light to destructive behaviors, slights, or missed communication that strangle trust in a relationship. We are mindfully SILENT and LISTEN (note the same letters) to each other. We speak from the “I FEEL” place, and go deep into our wounding. We do not blame, insult or lash out in anger at the other. We do not whack at plants (our loved ones) in the garden either. Instead, we communicate and offer up intimacy or (Into-Me-See) to shine warmth and light. We listen, accept and nurture the goodness, and god that exists in the other, with the heat of love, care, and respect.
Our relationship garden grows when we nurture it with love, care, and respect. How do we bring our aspirations, energies, and attention into our growth process? Like any good gardener, we do it with patience and giving of ourselves. By living a full life, spiritually (aspirationally) physically, emotionally and intellectually, we can better recognize and choose our behaviors. Not blaming the other for our shortcomings, judgments or inconsistencies of character, and integrity, in what we say, do or don’t do. We hold ourselves responsible for the growth of the relationship.
By Seeding, Weeding and Feeding our relationship we grow it mindfully. Good relationships are like gardens, requiring rich manure, to grow with each other. Problems and troubles offer us all a chance to work things through with each other to “get to the other side.” Seeds bring forth new life (ideas, dreams, hopes, aspirations) that are nurtured individually and through the relationship. Weeding, or pruning, addressing destructive behaviors, slights, or missed communications, which strangle a relationship, are essential. Growth happens with ongoing care, nurturing, love and respect, as independent and interdependent partners in the relationship. We do our very best to live healthy lives, mindfully, spiritually (aspirationally) physically, emotionally and intellectually, and intentionally wish the best for the other, and act accordingly.
The net/net is those satisfying relationships with our loved ones, families, friends and our community requires a lot of work. Working through problems, by feeding, weeding seeding and growing them is required. The upside is that when you have satisfying relationships, you prevent depression and cognitive decline, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Negative relationships correlate with adverse health effects a general decline of body, mind, emotion, and relations.
By using mindfulness skills, you can improve relational skills, emotional resiliency, empathy, and communication skills as well enhance your intuitive abilities. Using mindfulness in relationships increases relationship satisfaction, makes each person in the relationship feel more optimistic and relaxed and makes them feel more accepting, caring and close to one another. Maintain a moment-by-moment awareness of your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment. Mindfulness involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment.”
Standard unmindful behaviors that signal that you’ve gotten off track include:
Get your “shift” together, when you get off track “drifting” into negative behaviors and ways of acting. Move back to a more mindful course of action through your breathing. Breath awareness is essential, counting the breath and “holding your belly” to increase the mindfulness in your relationship. When you find yourself in a more un-mindful moment with someone (as we all do), take a breath, observe your body and ask yourself the following questions:
How can I accept this current situation without judgment or struggle?
How can I allow these feelings to exist without letting them drive my reactions?
Am I buying into any false thoughts about the other person or myself?
Take 5 and continue to pay your attention to your breath until you feel your body and mind move into a more relaxed state. By becoming aware of your negative internal dialogue with yourself and “shifting” those thoughts you cultivate mindfulness in relationships and all your interactions. Think what would be possible in your community and our world if we were all able to interact from this place within ourselves.