Human relationships are a huge melting pot of different experiences. They can be a chaos, especially in times of great change. People move at different speeds through different areas. They choose then they un-choose. They change alliances.
These situations could be compared to going for a walk. At times you walk the same pathway with certain people. Then you realise that there are other walks available. Many walks. You may want to try a different walk for a change. Others might not choose a different walk. Maybe they are not ready. Maybe they don't need or want to walk this new pathway that you are choosing. Maybe they are choosing a different walk too, but not the same different walk than you. There are just so many potential walks to choose from.
How to deal with these changes of pathways, and not hurt yourself and the people with whom you shared the previous walk together. How do you move pathways in a graceful way? For you and for others. How do you notice when you changed a pathway or that others have moved and are now walking a different path. How do you handle feelings of betrayal when others have chosen a different walk for themselves. How do you deal with others feeling betrayed by you when you have chosen a different path from the one you were just on.
There is so much at play when we open up to the depths and the multi-layered nature of each experience. When there is not just one story. When there is not just one truth. When there are limitless angles and perspectives. When so many different layers come into play, the matrix that always interferes, the play of different aspects, the unhealed wounds from the past and the broken hearts, the cultural and language differences, the unconscious shadows that are part of it all, different expectations, different values, different priorities, pressing peoples buttons, hitting the raw wounds and all the rest. There may be other people involved that have a vested interest in you continuing on the same path. And of course, there is also a bigger picture at play.
It requires subtlety, artfulness, awareness and presence to be able to see and meet yourself and another at exactly where you are at that moment.
The speed of change within people is now so quick. Full of contradictions, full of changes, a whole spectrum of experience. If we are not aware, we may wittingly or unwittingly, keep stepping on other peoples toes, stab their wounds, hurt their feelings. And have the same happen to us. Is it possible to navigate break ups with grace?
Walks themselves can have different dynamics to them.
Some are a closed circle. They go round and round the same old emotional, feeling and experiential territory. You always come to the same place where you started if you walk along this path. It includes feelings of boredom and sameness. Many people stay on this path because of the habit and because it can feel safe. It is familiar.
Some pathways can change into a downward spiral, when each decision and a step we take leads us deeper into the darkness and a feeling of being stuck.
And some pathways are an upward spiral. An upward spiral is the most satisfying way to experience life because it is filled with the new, with change, with excitement and the love of life. It is not a pathway that must include a lot of effort and hard work. The words can be misleading. Upward spiral can be likened to being new not to the 'hard upward struggle' in the old sense. It feels like we are moving 'up' because it includes lightness of being.
Any pathway can transform at any moment. Any pathway can become an upward spiral. They don't necessarily have to look new. We can walk an upward spiral along the pathway that may look similar to the one we walked many times before. We can transform a pathway into an upward spiral when we include subtle new choices, new experiences, new feelings about the same issues. That is why some people don't have to change partners, jobs, homes etc and still walk the upward spiral. The trick is to keep allowing the new into the experiences.
How do we apply this to our story about human relationships and changes?
When people in our lives have chosen change that may not include us and our feelings of betrayal, abandonment and similar come up, it is easy to go on a downward spiral of 'I must have done something wrong' and/or it is their fault. They hurt me so I must hurt them back. The mind brings up and replays all of the similar experiences we had in the past. Many of them have not had any resolution then. The downward spiral can become a closed circle that keeps going round and round. We experience the same old emotions, we keep walking the same walk and we keep returning to the same place. We experience the internal struggle and we keep trying to stuff the unpleasant emotions into dark hidden closets. Nothing changes. We can't find a way out. Or it takes a long time to finally step out of that circle, so that we can step into an upward spiral again.
What if it is ok to experience all the emotions and multi-layered feelings that come up with break ups. What if we don't have to blame ourselves or the other for the situation. What if we don't have to hurt ourselves or the other to try and feel better. What if we don't have to put anybody down. What if change is natural and all the feelings we experience around change are natural too. What if it is not a failure or shame to experience emotions like betrayal and abandonment. What if it is ok to experience feelings of shame, blame, failure. What if we don't have to act on them. What if they don't have to lead into a closed circle or a downward spiral. What if these emotions can also be a part of an upward spiral walk. These difficult to feel emotions can experience transformation and change.
They don't have to exist in dark closets and act out unconsciously. Emotions that we try to hide in our dark closets are only hidden from us. They are very active and others bear the grunt of them. That is the reason why there is a big disparity of how we perceive ourselves and how others see us when we have many emotions in dark closets. Other people are aware of our shadow long before we allow ourselves to look at it.
What if all that is needed is to feel self love and acceptance with these emotions. And to be ok with all that surfaces. Compassion for it all, for the full spectrum of human experience. This is what transforms these emotions into an upward spiral experience. Acceptance, self love, gentleness and compassion are the only lights that illuminate a way out of the closed circle and the downward spiral. It is the newness of the situation. Self love enables that first step out. And the courage to take another step out, and another and another. Into an upward spiral. Into the new. Into the unknown.