Friday, December 19, 2008

The Shadow Land

Journey into the Shadow Land

Recently I had the opportunity to visit with both sisters at the same time and was amazed at the familiar dynamics. My younger sister began to tease and banter as if we were in the 1950’s. The youngest, took the place of the observer and I struggled not to do my ‘one up’ response. Our combined 90 plus years in the ‘helping professions’ didn’t change this old programming from our family of origin.

“Don’t go often and don’t stay long”

The holiday season is a traditional time for connecting with family. I clearly remember for years as I drove from Missouri to the ‘farm’ in Oklahoma and my feelings and emotions began to change – preparing for the role in my family of origin. A part of me seemed to ‘dummy down’ so that I would fit into the traditional role of my childhood. My behaviors began to mirror those of the past. The conversations topics were the same. I was ready to return as soon as the greetings were exchanged. The return trip began in silence and gradually turned into a ‘therapy session’ with Pat, which allowed some important insight and understanding. Most of my early adult life I had adopted the philosophy – “Don’t go often and don’t stay long”.

A Wonderful Opportunity!

The holiday season is a wonderful opportunity to gain understanding of those unconscious behaviors and attitudes that are challenges in your present relationship. An important phase of creating the relationship of your dream is to differentiate and define your own style of relationship. It can take several years to do this while defining and developing a relationship ‘identity’. Time spent with families of origin will often reveal the degree to which your relationship has achieved it identity. These times are opportunities to evaluate and create greater clarity of the boundaries defining the relationship with your partner.

Observation Opportunity

During this holiday season observe the traditions and roles of where you came from! What are the traditions of gifts, celebration, decorations, roles of parents, and sibling’s relationship? These can be marvelous windows into the unconscious aspects of your relationship! How many mirror patterns in your present relationship? This allows greater awareness of that which has been hidden enter the workshop of consciousness.

Creating Your Tradition!

Intimacy is deepened with tradition. Anticipation enhances passion! Your tradition can surely include the family of origin while creating a new one – an expression of your true self, your partner and the young people in your life. Creating your unique tradition gives the young people in your life permission to be free creating theirs! Consult one another as you design the patterns of your celebration. Let your celebration be just that! Celebration is another form of gratitude for that which you have, not participating in a social obligation.

Action Steps

1. Design your holiday tradition

As a couple, family or individual

Each one write 30 things that bring joy during the holiday season, then each picks their top 10. This is beginning of a great discussion – especially if the focus is on wants rather than blame or fault. Select activities and experiences that allow for a win-win outcome for everyone. It may take more than one conversation to achieve the plan that works, but magic begins to happen when the focus is on what and comes from the heart.

2. Share your Holiday Tradition – Post in the comment section – Great Idea Source for those wanting to Change or Start their own!

Happy Holidays!

Check out Russ's materials at Your Ultimate Relationship

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Reader Comments

"...My spouse and I have been married for 32 years and I've experienced our relationship from giggly in bed, to passionate in bed, to mad in bed to "sleeping" in bed...As we grow older the intimacy definition changes for me. Intimacy also for me is just sitting quietly, or driving for miles quietly or walking just hearing our footsteps crunch the leaves, holding hands. My usual struggle in intimacy is in my head - I have to intentionally stop my daily to do list, my past and future stuff and live in the present moment..." Pam

it's ... smaller things to celebrate that create the real passion

“We have found that passion ebbs and flows but we set a goal for our relationship a number of years ago that is working for us. At least every six months we do something that will create a lifetime memory. For us, we love to travel, so it's been pretty easy to find something big to do that will create that lifetime memory, but sometimes it's the finding of smaller things to celebrate that create the real passion.” Steve Rae

What'll arouse passion more than the feeling of being forgiven?

“The "typical beliefs that people have when the “fire” seems to have gone out of a relationship" I believe are a) that you feel your partner should have changed or should not have changed and b) that you feel you should change or that you should not have changed.

Acceptance of yourself and your partner leads to forgiveness. What'll arouse passion more than the feeling of being forgiven?” Brian Massey

A word from Russ Hardesty

The realm of relationship is mysterious; filled with magic, surprise, excitement, passion, intimacy, loss, disappointment and creativity. I am fortunate to have a life partner who is at once a mirror, teacher, lover, nurturer, student and companion. In this place of mystery, I continue to grow into a mature, loving and free man. I welcome feedback, suggestions, and comments – which is a gift to me! Thanks for joining the expedition! Russ