Last week I wrote about being in the flow. Think about the Buddha’s river that I mentioned in that blog. If being in the flow is allowing the current of that river to take us, then imagine if our loved ones were with us in that peaceful river? You and I cannot push our partners into the river. We can’t put them in a lifesaving hold and drag them down the river single-handedly, either. They, like each of us, need to arrive at the flow on their own.
However, being in the flow with your partner, and feeling that balanced sense of being in each moment as it unfolds, is a wondrous path to an even stronger relationship.
When you are in the flow with your partner, there is a seemingly effortless space that you share with one another. You may experience feelings of deep meaningful love, contentment, peacefulness, engagement, connectedness, openness, and oneness.
As I mentioned last week—when you are there it feels easy, but getting there can be hard. The busyness of life gets in the way…work, family, chores, even play time when it controls you instead of the other way around. You “can’t” leave the office until 8 so you miss a chance to sit on the porch and watch the sun going down with your partner. The kids “must have” new soccer cleats today, so the family will eat drive-through dinners tonight. You “have to” pick up paper towels, spark plugs, mustard (whatever) on the way home, at which point your spouse will be at her/his meeting. You have had this weekend’s group hike planned for months and “could not” possibly cancel it now… even though you just want to sit in the yard holding hands with your partner and smelling the autumn foliage/coffee/wood-smoke.
Are you sure? Let’s look at the benefits of “the flow” to your relationship– aka ditching the distractions, shoulds, musts, and have tos of life. At least now and then.
≈ Relationship health. If you are present for your own life, you will be more present for your partner as well. It will just happen.
≈ Trust. Living in a conscious way, with gratitude, allows you to trust what you see, because you really see it. Your trust in yourself will include trust in your partner and your relationship, especially when you are both in the flow together.
≈ Resolution. Misunderstandings will be much easier to resolve. Of course you will still have disagreements. Trying to live in the flow does not mean you become a higher being. You and I are still human beings and, last I checked, we humans are flawed. Big time. But those flaws don’t have to seem so desperate or insurmountable. Flow means forgiveness, understanding, resolution. (Both for ourselves and with our partners, by the way.)
≈ Validation. I can hear you say it. “Why do I need validation if I’m in the flow?” It’s true that your most essential validation comes from within, but let’s face it, part of being in a healthy relationship is having a partner who sees, hears, and appreciates us. That comes naturally when you both are living authentically and honestly within the flow.
≈ Acceptance. People change. Circumstances change. But we can also be rigid, fearful, and suspicious of change. If we live in the flow, it is much easier to accept changes, and even grow with them.
First work on your own experience of the flow, the now, the river. As you do that, you may be able to bring your partner along with you. Share some of the following ideas with him/her about how to achieve the flow together.
≈ Make time. Start with just a little bit of time each day when you simply are present with your partner. Look into each other’s eyes. Sit holding hands in nature, or before the fire. Talk or don’t. Just be.
≈ Center yourself. Find that famously elusive “still center”—it’s really not that elusive after all. Suddenly you will find yourself seeing your partner through refreshed eyes.
≈ Listen. Just as you listen to all that is around you when you are living in the flow, listen oh-so closely to your partner—to the spoken and the unspoken.
≈ Accept. Accept what? First of all, this: emotion as source. As I discussed last week, the flow is about being emotionally centered and aware of what it feels like inside you: calm, uneasy, happy, gloomy etc. Being aligned with your emotions will allow you to feel those of your partner and create a strong emotional alliance.
If any of this sounds a little hard to pin down, take a step back and realize that all this really means is be present. We never hear the bird outside because we are tapping on our keyboard so furiously. We don’t enjoy the sandwich we scarf down as we drive to our next appointment. We all can relate. Be present with that bird, that sandwich, with YOU, and with your partner. When you feel that feeling—that’s the flow. And it allows you to:
≈ be vulnerable
≈ trust yourself
≈ really look at your partner
≈ be empathic
≈ accept yourself and your partner as you are
≈ communicate (not just talk)
When you are in the flow, it will be much easier for your beloved partner to be there too. Set an example. You do not have to commit to this experiment together. It’s for you—an individual choice to let the messy clutter go once in a while, and feel the flow of life all the way to your heart. When that happens, you will be a more present, loving partner and that is good for… everyone.