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Archive for November, 2013

Your Sacred Spaces, Part I

Some of us will see that title and think we’re talking about a new agey concept that potentially could threaten existing common beliefs about spirituality, religion, and so forth.

Not so much. We’re going to explore something that you need, and you probably already have in some form. Something very practical and we would say necessary.

We all need some activity, some “place” (whether physical, mental, emotional, metaphysical, whatever suits you) we can go where we are absolutely loved and accepted. In the old Cheers TV show, it was a bar “where everyone knows your name”, for some people it’s a favorite retreat, a hunting lodge, a church. Whatever it is for you, we challenge you to create another one, one that can recharge your relationship and make it vibrant and crackle with energy and passion.

Think about it for a moment. Can you go to your partner with anything? Can you trust him or her with all your secrets, all your worries, all your hopes and dreams? Too often in our society, that person is one from whom we keep secrets, and if you’ve grown accustomed to doing that, then you must think we’re out of our minds on this one. But hear us out. There’s a lot to be gained here.

“Intimacy” isn’t just sex, of course. (A pause here to let you adjust and, to maintain decorum, naturally agree!) Intimacy refers to an intensely personal level of sharing and connection. Too often we teach our children, as we were often taught, to not share, to close ourselves off from deeply personal connections. And if we had any question along the way, popular music tells us that love leads to pain, that love can’t be trusted, and that it will lead to heartbreak in the end.

So how can you be blamed for not creating such an intense level of intimacy in your relationship? Wouldn’t that just invite disaster?

Again, not so much. Murphy’s Law is a cute, quaint way of explaining away an undesired outcome. But it’s hardly scientific, you could even call it downright superstitious. And there’s no reason to believe that loving completely, trusting absolutely, and sharing intimately with the right person will lead to anything but bliss.

Note our caveat – for anything good, someone will come along and attempt to exploit it. That seems to be a given, so one of the skills we teach and advocate is assessing someone’s intentions, evaluating whether they are worthy of this amazing gift. NLP calls this skill “calibration”, and it can be incredibly effective in separating those who would take advantage of us from those who want to share themselves as fully as we will.

So what we’re suggesting here is that, in addition to the peace you derive from fishing, from knitting, from kayaking down white rapids, whatever you do to achieve a sense of “sacred space”, that you create such a space with your partner. it produces very fertile soil for your relationship, and we’ve seen people who complained of “getting into a rut” fall in love all over again, rediscover their partner as an exciting, engaging, and vital force in their lives. Don’t you deserve such a powerful experience yourself?

Perhaps you’re put off by the adjective, “sacred”, but in many traditions, the notion transcends religion. After all, even if your religious faith is very important to you, don’t you also have activities that most would consider secular, that nonetheless rejuvenate you and spiritually recharge you?

We hope so because those moments are powerful touchstones in life. Without them, it would be easy to see your life as one routine overlapping another, from birth, through adolescence, to adulthood, eventually to death. The routines may become more elaborate, but without those sacred spaces, points along the way where we reflect, think, or for many of us, stop thinking for awhile. Just be ourselves with no abstractions or complications.

Life challenges us every day, offering opportunities for growth and chances to struggle a bit, to remember that we’re really alive. We need more than just facing them like a machine. Remember Terminator 2, in which no matter what Arnold and Sarah Connor did to escape, the Robert Patrick new-and-improved Terminator model just kept mechanically coming after them? We’re not actually like that. With enough adversity, haven’t you felt yourself want to shout, “Damn! Why can’t just one thing go right today?!” That’s the kind of thing we say when we lack a sacred space. For one friend of ours, it’s the middle of a pond on a fishing boat. No cell phone, no noise, just him, fish, bait, and an ice chest of beer. (No judgments here, your sacred spaces are your own, and we won’t criticize!)

How much easier would it be for you in your relationship if you and your partner could really talk, really share, and really be there for one another? What if you could create a sacred space together, one you could retreat to when life becomes a bit too demanding?

In Part II we will explore ways you can create this. For now, let’s just consider what kind of a powerful difference it could make in your life and relationship.

It could be like magic.

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