My husband and I went to a couples workshop yesterday. I so did not want to do this. I don't really like these kinds of things. First off, I have a really short attention span. And so sitting for a day of talking about our relationship and our feelings and better ways to communicate - maybe for an hour or so but an entire day... well this is a bit too much for me. Plus, I don't really like to talk about our relationship and our feelings and better ways to communicate. (Which is very interesting to me since I really love to write this blog which is basically writings about my relationships and my feelings and better ways to communicate.) And, to top it off, I find it hard to be in a room with people when there is intention in the room. I pick up all their feelings and get really overloaded. And I knew - absolutely - that the room was going to be heavy with intention.
So I didn't want to go. Participate. Do this thing. But I went because it was really important to my husband and my husband is really important to me and sometimes that's how it works.
So once I got over the not wanting to go and had made the commitment that our Sunday would be spent together in this way, I disengaged from the emotions that I had created around it. I let it all go. Not consciously, which in of itself is kind of interesting since I usually have to work on letting things go and this time the letting go, well it just happened by itself. I just stepped away. There was no investment in the event. And no expectation. I was going and was just present and aware. And that was it.
And the day, it ended up being pretty fantastic.
It was up at the Ojai Foundation and, as anyone who's ever been up there knows, this is an incredible place. Lovely views, intricate winding paths with places to sit. And a beautiful building where we met - soft and round, in a sweet pale stucco with a high ceiling which held golden wood.
It was cold when we go there but the room was heating up. And as I walked in, to find my place - our place, as my husband would sit next to me - I didn't feel anything thick and needing. There was no judgement in the room. And no worry. It was... well, just what it was. Nothing more. It felt how you feel when you are in a pool of water that is the same temperature as you. Where everything is neutral and the space contains and welcomes you because you match it just right. This is what it felt like walking into the room.
And this neutrality continued even with the other couples in the room. I didn't pick up all those emotions that seem to seep into my skin and settled there uncomfortably when I am out in the world. There was no overload of energy. These other couples surely had their own thoughts and feelings and perhaps worries and wonderings about what was to transpire during the day, but I was in this peaceful place and didn't take that on. I felt clean and open and aware without the usually having to dumb down my intuition and replace my open heart with walls of protection.
It felt good to be open. And surprisingly, I was not surprised that I was. Though thinking about it now and writing about this here - I am actually surprised I was not more surprised at how accepting and available I was in this place that I originally didn't want to be in. (Wordy but true.) And so the day began in this place where anything is possible.
And so everything is possible.
And now, today, I am thinking about two things specifically. First a reflecting back on the actual skills we learned and have committed to incorporate into our marriage. A new way to communicate where we hold space to share our thoughts with each other and mirror back to each other in a way the reinforces that we are heard. Sounds simple yet I think we - meaning me, but also meaning the greater we, as in you, too - seldom take the time to listen because we are so ready to respond. And so learning a new listening skill is a very good thing.
The second part of my reflection sits in the fact that this event was so perfect because it was allowed to be just what it was. Because I went into this day without an agenda or an expectation. This is a theme that I have thought about a lot lately - and have written about here a number of times. The idea that we miss the potential of every moment that we live when we set an expectation about how this moment should be. And what was so lovely for me yesterday was that this letting go - this not planning or worrying or visualizing - it just happened. And I think this is because I have been practicing. Practicing not worrying. Practicing not expecting something to be a certain way. Practicing being in each moment as I live it rather than wishing for something to have been different or hoping that something will be a certain way.
And this practicing, it is becoming muscle memory. A way of being that is, without having to think about it first. It feels very solid. And very peaceful. I will continue this mindfulness and centering into what is happening as it happens. And catch myself when I wander back to what was or rush down my path to what may be sometime soon. Because this letting it all just unfold, this is where I believe the true experiences live. And I don't want to miss a single one.
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Dog and Cat lover.