In close personal relationships, it is important to emphasize a secure attachment bond and the co-regulation of challenging emotional states. To practice kindness toward our lovers and friends, listen to the way they are making sense of their experience, attune to what they are feeling, and hold them during difficult times.
It is also essential to be on the lookout for unhealthy fusion, honoring the reality that we are not only connected, but also separate. Any secure attachment must include healthy differentiation, where at times the most skillful activity will be to establish firm boundaries, assert our independence, privilege our own personal integrity, and allow the other to struggle with feelings of aloneness, uncertainty, and confusion.
At times we will disappoint those we love, and this will activate our historic core vulnerabilities… and theirs. For many of us, disappointing another is just not safe, and we will do whatever possible to ensure they do not come face to face with the surging material of their unlived life. But allowing them to meet the reality of their own heart is an act of profound mercy and compassion.
While transpersonally we can speak about unity and oneness, within the relative we are also distinct, with our own histories and ways of organizing our experience. Each with our own fate and relationship with the divine, our own paths to travel; our own unique ways entering the mystery. To dissolve these differences into some homogenized spiritual middle does not honor the sacredness of form.
If we do not consciously explore the reality of our separateness, it will inevitably manifest in less than conscious ways, unleashing unmetabolized shadow into the relational field. Like all work of depth, this art form evolves slowly, as it marinates in the alchemical vessel of the body.
May we be kind to our partners as we navigate this territory – especially during these challenging times – honoring the vehicle of intimacy as one of the most provocative, sacred, and holy that we have in our modern world.
My previous book - The Path is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You
My online community - Befriending Yourself: Finding Safety and Rest in Difficult Times
Listen to two recent podcasts where I was interviewed: