Mindfully tending to the garden of your relationships.
Let’s face it, relationships can be hard, touch, painful terrains to explore and journey into. Don’t tend to them, with the right tools, care and equipment and you can suffer, falter, and die. Like a garden, or any act of care, we need to seed, weed, feed and grow them mindfully. Gardens require good soil, fertilizer, to grow. In relationships, our problems, or troubles, offer us the chance show up and work with each other, to “get to the other side”. Seeds to bring forth new life (ideas, dreams, hopes, aspirations) that are shared and nurtured individually through the relationship. Weeding, or pruning, to address destructive behaviors, slights, or missed communications, which strangle a relationship. Growth, independently and inter-dependently, by living a good life both emotionally, spiritually (aspirationally) physically, emotionally and intellectually.
If you view your relatsionship like you would a garden, or farm for some, you’d understand the concept of mindfully growing the By Seeding, Weeding and Feeding your relationships you can grow them mindfully. Good relationships are like gardens, requiring fertile manure, to grow with each other. Problems and troubles offer you the chance to work things through with each other to “get to the other side”. Seeds to bring forth new life (ideas, dreams, hopes, aspirations) that are shared and nurtured individually through the relationship. Weeding, or pruning, to address destructive behaviors, slights, or missed communications, which strangle a relationship. Growth, independently and inter-dependently, by living a good life both emotionally, spiritually (aspirationally) physically, emotionally and intellectually.
The net/net is those satisfying relationships with your loved one, family, friends and your community requires work. Working through problems, by feeding, weeding seed and growing them. When you have satisfying relationships you prevent depression and cognitive decline, as well as reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Negative relationships correlate with negative 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.
The UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center defines mindfulness as “…maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. Mindfulness also 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.”
Which moments are you NOT being mindful?
Common unmindful behaviors that signal that you’ve gotten off track include:
When you get off track “drifting” into negative behaviors and ways of acting, get your “shift” together and move back to a more mindful course of action through breathing. Breath awareness is very important, 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?
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 own negative internal dialogue with yourself and “shifting” those thoughts you cultivate mindfulness in relationships and in 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.