Spacious Relating: The Unfailing Key to Meaningful Relationships
Meaningful relationships take time to develop, we say. But they also take space.
Imagine yourself looking at the sky, or walking in the forest, or standing before the ocean—notice what you are feeling.
Spaciousness is that feeling of ever-expanding openness. Space to freely be. In the ocean's presence, you can be anything you want, anything you are. No limitations. No requirements. Sit quietly or sing or scream. Say anything or nothing. And you will still feel understood and accepted.
How to translate that feeling and that relationship you have with the sky, the forest, and the ocean into your relationships with romantic partners, friends, and family?
HUMAN: Our greatest calling.
We came to the Earth to be humans. Seems obvious. Yet, what does that really mean? We have assigned many definitions to what it means to be human. But how often do we either downplay or exaggerate our capacity?
There are so many ways of achieving how to be a Human. And there are so many ways to limit it.
To re-remember and challenge our definitions, we must start at the beginning. Which is:
We chose to come into this life in this form and during this time. You and I and every person we meet are alive because we want to know what it means to be human, to be THIS specific human. And we are trying to figure it out as we go.
To achieve that we need to have many experiences: light, dark, and chaotic (primal, unpredictable). Human Experience on full blast.
And how does that knowing apply to the everyday situation?
By embracing all aspects of human existence, not just physical and intellectual, but also our emotional and subtle aspects, we embrace our greatest calling, our purpose for being.
It manifests even in our attitude towards the emotions and experiences of others. For example, when someone is sad, let them. Be there, be compassionate, but let them feel what they feel. It is not wrong; it is human.
MULTIDIMENSIONAL: Our greatest capacity.
You are bigger than what I can see. I am bigger than what you can see. Physically, emotionally, intellectually, energetically. And even in the roles we play: I am a daughter, a friend, a lover, and depending on who you are, you might relate to me from that perspective.
Where do I end and you begin?
Consider all our layers: stories and wounds, roots and ancestors -- they are all intermingled.
I sometimes have trouble navigating through the doors. Someone might see it as clumsiness but they are looking at this physical body and not at the galaxy that I am.
With sadness, the surface appearance hides layers of infinite wisdom. And all of them are in constant movement and change. The same with depression, loneliness, anger, fear. These powerful emotions are not monolithic, though they definitely feel heavy.
Everything is in constant flux, transformation, change.
When you experience sadness, it is easy to jump into, “Sad. Not good. Must change.” But if we remember that everything we feel and do is Dynamic and Complex and approach our sadness with that attitude, we might learn much more and reveal more layers to our reality than we could ever imagine.
There is Dynamic Complexity to everything we feel and do; Dynamic complexity is who we ARE. Support yourself to grow spacious enough to accommodate all of your parts in every moment. Becoming more spacious for yourself is to allow yourself to be and experience a variety of things available on this planet.
What kind of person your experiences are shaping you into?
SPACIOUS: The tapestry of the connected world.
Allow the other person to be what they are in that specific moment.
Increase the inner space, your ability to be comfortable with the aspect that they are showing to you.
Giving someone else answers, suggestions, even well-meaning insights, may not be the most beneficial offering. These are your insights. Allowing others to have their time, space, and awareness to lead to their innate wisdom, to perceive their own insights. Each one of us needs to find what makes sense to us and to piece it together on our own.
If you don’t know how to give yourself space, you won’t be able to offer it to another person. This is one of the most difficult lessons--the meaning of boundaries.
If a person is hurting you, staying spacious for them does not mean letting them harm you. Staying spacious means staying present in the moment and setting boundaries from where you are in that moment. Saying, “I am experiencing this as a reaction to your words/actions,” keeps that same spaciousness directed both ways - towards yourself and towards the other person, which is important in order for both parties to grow.
When you are interacting with someone, stay spacious for yourself - for you being fully human and multidimensional, for your pain, your feelings, your lessons. Without judgment.
Staying spacious for yourself also means allowing the other person see you and learn to become more spacious for you.
Many sensitive people are capable to feel the other, to be spacious for the other, but we shrink for ourselves. Letting someone else be whatever they are choosing to be, even if it is harmful to us. And therefore, not letting them expand and learn to feel our space.
We FEEL but we do know how to be FELT.
Do you need to grow more spacious for yourself? This means, growing bigger spaces inside as more parts reveal themselves. And that’s not an easy task.
Some shadows that surface come with a lot of pain, shame, and other darkness. If we haven’t had any space for them, they will feel repulsive.
Yet, like pieces of a kaleidoscope, they are valuable and they need space to move to really show what they are capable of. Accepting them is the first step to giving them space.
When connecting with others two things are important to keep in your awareness:
Know that there are parts to this person that you can never see. No matter how long you’ve known them. What you see will always be just the tip of an iceberg. Keep the mystery of the other person alive.
Stay in awe of the parts that the person is presenting to you at each moment. The dynamic Now.
The more of spacious relating we offer each other the more spacious we become. It is all connected. If I look at you and see only one facet and choose to relate to you in only that facet, and the next time the same and the next time - we train each other that placing others in the limiting boxes is acceptable.
How would our world shift if we became more spacious for ourselves and others?
WHERE TO GO FROM HERE - MAPPING IDEAS
Maps with the themes or the centers taken from the map in this post. You can map about yourself, or another person, or a specific situation.
Centers for the maps:
Human - How can you allow yourself or another person to be more human, to allow more expression and freedom to experience life?
Multidimensional - Feeling your dynamic complexity. What is moving and transforming in your life? A map of some parts of you that you want to get a deeper perception, to see something you haven't seen about yourself.
Spacious - What areas in your life can benefit from more loving space?
Any other topics that you felt inspired by reading this post or watching a video. For example, a map about boundaries. New definition of boundaries, from where you are.