Heart Opening Moments

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Together We Are Stronger

Aikido Wrist lock

Does your partnership make you stronger?

Lately I can’t help to notice the subtle dynamics in various relationships. Sometimes being with another person adds to our energy and enthusiasm and other times being with another takes away our mojo. Do you have someone in your life that contributes to your wellbeing and another drains the life energy out of you? Have you ever wondered why that is?

This is something I’ve been dealing with for a while now. I didn’t fully grok the impact until a recent aikido class.

My partner and I were working together on a movement that could become completely powerful without a single ounce of aggression. His body was stiff and not easy to connect with. His stiffness felt like an energetic wall that blocked me from harmonizing with his energy. I quickly took offense to that and wanted to put up a fight. I noticed the momentary aggression in my body and decided to act differently. Instead of fighting against him, I worked with the direction of his energy along his stiffness. Within a split second, I took his centerline by softening up my touch and he was down on the ground in no time. What happened was that I decided to let go my ego’s instinct of wanting to put up a fight. I had to see him in a whole new light – he is my brother and not a threat to me. His stiffness comes from years of fear stored within the body. His inability to relax is no fault of his own but a trained habit. In order for me to connect with him, I cannot judge him for his stiffness nor fault him for it. I must accept where he is, maintain my center, and melt myself around it in order to redirect it. The surprising part was he and I both felt connected and we laughed how powerful the move was. There was no resentment. He did not feel as if I did something to his body. Instead, he felt as if we harmonized to work together and achieved a mutually desired outcome.

Another partner behaved differently. Her grip was soft and barely there. I became frustrated by her unwillingness to assert herself. I couldn’t feel her so how would I be able to work with her? So I adjusted myself to be even softer and that back fired. This reminded me of being in a relationship with a man who always catered to me and my needs. He came over whenever I called. He canceled appointments just so he can be with me. He even came over and washed my dirty dishes. Soon enough I no longer felt the same way about him because he was no longer who he is. He became whatever he thinks I need him to be.  In turn I felt guilty how nice he was to me and I adjusted myself to cater to him. I cooked the food he likes. I put on a few pounds to add the the curves he desires. I helped him with his work and stopped working on my projects. I attempted to even out the relationship and all I felt was resentment. He adjusted for me and I adjusted for him. Both of us lost our own centers in the name of our relationship. I no longer felt our partnership strengthened the both of us, instead our combined energy was less than we were on our own.

What’s different between the two cases? In the first case, I had to accept where my partner is, let go my ego, and work with his energy. I must be softer than stiffness to harmonize. In the second case, I became even softer but gave up my own integrity. Being too soft made me lose myself in that relationship. I’ve noticed that I adjust myself in my relationships quite a bit. Often times I don’t tell the truth because I am scared of hurting someone else’s feelings. Other times I back away from my truth in order to give someone else more space. I find whenever I become too passive and not asserting my truth, I become weaker in the process. Any relationship that is build on mutual sacrifice does not work in the long run. A healthy relationship is supposed to make us stronger and not weaker. Only by asserting ourselves we then find the mutual balance point where both of our strengths meet. That is the point of power – where one plus one equals infinity.

Ask yourselves is your relationship making you stronger as a person? Is your relationship adding more grace to your life? If not, it is time to self-exam to see if you are sacrificing too much of who you are. It is never too late to make adjustments and gain back your center. Only from a centered and self-empowered place we can then chose wisely going forward. It’s time to allow our partnerships to make us stronger!

March 15, 2010 Posted by | Aikido Wisdom | , , , , | 8 Comments