Relationship Rites of Passage

Relationships change all the time.   When we commit to someone, as a parent or a partner or friend, we expect some sense of consistency.  However, loss in relationship occurs all the time, things shifts and can no longer be what they use to be.  The question is, how do we face these changes and losses?  Most of the time, we just trudge on, adjusting by ignoring or checking out; sometime we face the shift with lots of resistance, kicking and screaming, or in the adult version complaining and expressing frustration in all the ways we do—walking out, rolling our eyes, lying, cheating, spying, laughing at another’s emotions, reaching for the wine bottle, the list goes on. (I’m being polite in these examples.)  All these ways of facing change make us smaller, not challenging us to show up in our truth or the truth of the matter. 

A relationship that meant a lot me, changed this week.  I found myself being lured into these patterns of avoidance, “Come on Michelle, just watch Netflix all day, you can’t feel this, it’s too much.”  I couldn’t believe how much this thought couldn’t see the courage and strength and reliance inside of me.  Changes change us, if we are brave enough to acknowledge the change and ourselves.  I moved with the change, gathered my firewood and built my pyramid of wood in my fireplace.  I placed the newspaper balls and kindling one by one, honoring through naming all the gifts of the relationship and all I have learned.  I lite the fire.  I blew at the embers to watch the flame rise, now naming what I will miss most.  And I as I watched the flame consume the wood, with tears moving me to new places, I recalled what I would not miss.  And as I tended to the fire, I remember all the moments that I loved, log by log, crackling sound by crackling sound, these memories will live in me forever.  And when I let the flame burn it’s self out, I found myself in gratitude for what was and willing to uncover what may emerge next.

What if we did this in relationship?  What if we honored each other and relationship in this way?  What if we could have a complete seeing of the good, the bad, the neural in our relating to another.  When a relationship changes, we have an opportunity to meet the change, wouldn’t it be amazing if we did so?  What could be discovered about ourselves, the other, and about the world around us? The trees, the oceans, the stars are all constantly modeling relationship change in a natural way.  What can we learn from them?  Is it not our rite, our human nature, to find our way in this passage in a way that reveals our gifts and brings us forth to show up in this world in all the ways we can?