We are in a constant state of change and flux. Are you feeling it? Evolutionary progression is happening every minute and certainly during the last 4 years it feels like the Universe has put her foot on the growth accelerator and we are doing our best to hang on as the changes come thick and fast. Our body’s cells are in a constant state of birth and death and the cycle of life takes us through day and night, good and bad, happy and sad. Phew!
The symptoms of accelerated growth appear to me to be; the increase in people leaving the planet through disease (particularly cancer), planetary shifts (more natural disasters) and relationship breakups seem to be reaching an all time record. Divorce rates are levelling the marrieds at 50% a piece and long term 30-50 year marriages seem to be as rare as rocking horse dung. Maybe we are choosing at a soul level to experience our growth much quicker? Just a thought.
Firstly of all let’s get growth defined for the purposes of this article. Growth, for me, is about the willingness to look at the murkier /muckier parts of your inner world (the blocks and negative bits) or personality construct and move beyond them into more love and joy. Those bits are how we have defined our world inwardly and outwardly according to our lifelong relationships with particularly our parents / caretakers. Our intimate relationship creates the ripe environment for us to work to heal and move beyond those mucky bits and allow our delicate inner child within our grownup body to fully mature into adulthood.
We all grow and expand otherwise we would die. With each inhale we take life force into our bodies, but some peoples inhalations are bigger than others and they’re meant to be. I believe we are literally propelled by Grace/God, whatever you will, to grow at whatever pace the “inner calling” demands of us. It’s a wonder then that we ever manage to have successful relationships!
If you have chosen the clichéd “spiritual path”, which I liken to clearing out your internal closets by turning to “look within”, then chances are you have put your head above the parapet and said to the Universe “beam me up Scotty” as quick as possible to where there is an abundance of happiness and daily love. And of course as the Law of Attraction kicks in the changes in your life landscape start to occur. You start to grow and change quickly. You feel clearance of negative blocks and the release of painful past experiences which have held you away from God/Grace/Your Essence. But with change and growth where does this leave your relationship?
Living in Brighton/Hove, Sussex, one of the UK’s biggest spiritual mecca’s, people are hungry for growth on every street corner. We are bathed in every type of self development course/seminar you can think of and yet according to Ambrose Harcourt, Juice FM’s Dr Lurve, we have the biggest singles population anywhere in the country. So does growth help or hinder your intimate relationships, particularly if you are growing at different rates? It seems, the latter!
I have a dear friend who is big into spiritual development / growth and has been most of her adult life. She’s been dating Mike (names changed for obvious reasons) for just over 3 years. Jane is a lady who is ever expanding and doing new things in her life and whilst her goals with Mike seemed common when they met on the internet, they have experienced, what I would call a knocking against each other’s growth edge for a good chunk of their relationship which has caused untold angst and periods of silence and disconnect. And while they both thought they were up for growth together, the reality has been different. Which begs my question, if you are growing at different rates, can you still have a healthy relationship?
That’s a tricky question to answer because I would say it depends on the growth gap that can open up and if one person feels like they have to run to catch up or feel intimidated to “grow or get the hell out” then it becomes an awkward relational space.
Here are some ways you can notice if there is a growth gap starting to form in your current relationship or if a previous one suffered melt down because of it.
Firstly understand that we all have different ways of growing and that should be honoured and respected. What I like you don’t have to like and I have to get that! As Byron Katie (BK) would say “stay out of each other’s business!” However be mindful that growth acceleration can and does cause rifts.
Here’s what to look out for.
1) You seem to be spending more and more time deep into your separate passions and find that as you communicate about the latest technique or book etc. your honey just isn’t engaging or supporting you in your joy. This can be corrected if you have a good way to communicate your feelings and thoughts about it, but if left, carries a relationship health warning. “Caution - gap widening”.
2) You find communicating during conflict increasingly difficult because it is obvious one person is less willing to look at themselves and take responsibility for their actions within the relational space. This is a common complaint. Conscious relationships contain 2 people constantly willing to do whatever it takes to add depth, expansion and energy to the relationship and this HAS to be about taking full responsibility for words and actions. Constant blocking, shutting down and not facing up to the change that needs to be made faces the “growth willing” person with a dilemma. You can’t force your partner to face what needs to be looked at. You can only “do” and hope they will follow.
3) One person in the relationship is doing “self/spiritual development” and the other is not. Again, this can be misconstrued. I say to couples in this situation, self development is a hobby and to judge Golf or Zumba classes as non growth pastimes, is a mistake! Golf can be a great way to meditate, reflect and contemplate. It offers me time, the chance to bond with like minded souls..see my point? It depends which way you choose to look at it. Watch for the Your partner’s “dragee” behaviour. Symptom enough to let you know how they feel about your hobby!
Note : I would comment however that people on “the path” are generally hungry for fast growth and as they experience the hunger and deepening inner connection to Grace/God/Self Love, they shift quickly and that can be a shock to partners who may start to act jealously, insecurely or controllingly as they fight to feel safe within this shifting space. It is absolutely possible to work beyond this place to deeper more satisfying connection but again BOTH people must be willing to look at their ugly bits!
4) Gay and Katie Hendricks, a renowned US conscious couple and both experts in the relationship arena, say that to have a healthy relationship, you must identify what your 3 absolute must haves and 3 absolute no-no’s or dealer breakers, are. If you are needy for a relationship and get into one because you just have to have him/her then during the honeymoon stage these essentials can be overlooked. As a relationship progresses, however, you become aware that you are in fact poles apart. The gap can widen into a chasm over night and then you are faced with some tricky communications about your future together. Advice is to be discerning right up front.
5) Lastly I turn your attention to that little word, loosely defined as destiny. What if the growth gaps were just meant and when you have completed your healing and growth with that person, it’s time to move on? At the risk of sounding like a blazé “in then out” relationship guru, I would like to capitulate that this should take a good long while, years hopefully, to come to this conclusion! But if you are deeply in tune, here’s the thing. If you spend 3 years with someone and after 2 years all signs start appearing that the relationship is done...is it worth going that extra year allowing the gap to cause you both more angst and pain? I know I have outstayed my healthy welcome in several relationships and the timing to exit is rarely clear but what keeps you hanging around when somehow you know it’s done? A subject for a further article I feel but for now, something to think about. This type of growth gap could be just meant!
So there you have it. A few more things to think over! As ever, the aim of my blog is to offer you the questions about relationships and love and offer up my vast relational experience blended with my training, to encourage you into deeper enquiry with your inner God. Your intuition is your guiding force in every moment and will show you your path if you ask. Use it because you can’t lose it!
If you want more help, I offer a plethora of ways in which you can save time moving your relationship to new conscious heights. If you are licking your wounds from a past growth gap ending, I am very happy to look with you at why it happened and how you can install some new ways of thinking and acting.
Blessings and love for a great March