Learning from Nature-Seasons
Springtime: The early, falling in love part of a relationship correlates with spring. Everything is beautiful and full of promise and hope. There’s the promise of what’s yet to come, what’s going to grow there. It’s easy to be excited and happy in this stage.
Summer: After spring comes summer. That’s a glorious time of growth. That’s the season of a relationship when we commit fully to each other and start to build lives that are intertwined. This may be the season of having children, or career focus, but, the warmth of summer expands us and kind of opens us up to everything that life has to offer.
Fall: Then you move into fall. Fall is typically a time of harvest and gathering in. It can be a really beautiful time with the lovely colors that we enjoy so much about autumn. Underneath this lovely autumness, something is decaying. We don’t notice because we’re distracted by the loveliness that fall holds. The cooler temperatures in the fall also cause us to gather inside or layer up, becoming protective of ourselves. Conflict and stressors in our relationship tempt us into defending ourselves from each other as well. We close ourselves off and start to create coolness when we enter into the “fall” of a relationship. The aloofness inside our most important relationships can sometimes be a signal that something is changing there, dying maybe and we need to pay close attention to that.
Winter: When winter is upon us, the cold weather becomes nearly unbearable. If we’re going to venture out in winter then we really have to protect ourselves. Even in approaching our partner there may be hostilities that are at a crescendo. Maybe we’ve withdrawn so far we can’t even find our partner in the chill of winter. But, there’s another aspect of winter that we can call into play. It’s also a time of warming up by the fireplace or sipping hot cocoa snuggled up under a warm blanket with someone that you love. A season of winter can be a time of reconnection and we know it’s going to lead to a new spring.
Just like the seasons demonstrated by nature, our relationship is going to move through these cycles. If we recognize this, we can rest assured that winter leads to fall and it doesn’t necessarily signal the end of a relationship.
We often get into those fall and winter times when our relationship isn’t as close and we see it as the death of the relationship. Winter is when we leave relationships because we feel there’s nothing there, nothing green left there. In winter it’s all covered up with snow. If you didn’t know better when you looked around in winter, you’d think everything is dead. But, our life experiences now tell us if we wait it out, grass will start to come up again in the spring. So, the same thing can be true when we sow into or nurture our relationships. We can grow through those cold times.
Practice time: What season is your relationship in? Are you allowing the season to grow your relationship, or are you looking at it only from what it appears to be on the surface? Ask yourself honestly those questions and, how can you make the most of the season that you’re in? You know, there are seasons, there are tasks to do with every season in nature as well as in our relationships. There are seasons to sow into; seasons to defend, protect, go within, and turn towards each other. How can you make the most of the season that you’re in? If you’re willing to share, make a comment below and tell us what season your relationship seems to be in. Remember, every season has it’s own beauty because even conflict is an opportunity to grow. How are you going to make the most of this season?
Let me know how it’s going with you! Email me here.
Our experience is made up of what we think, how we feel and how we behave. Learn how these facets impact each other and how to change them to improve your relationship.
Let me know what you think! If you have any questions, I'd love to hear from you. Email me!
Feast on Success
A Thai feast I shared with my family when we visited Thailand a few years ago.
A while back, I heard this phrase and it stuck with me. I can’t attribute it to its proper author, but I heard it from Brian Johnson over at Philosopher’s notes. If you haven’t heard of Brian, he has a YouTube channel where he summarizes all sorts of motivational and inspirational books from the very old to the very new. I really appreciated this one phrase and our relationships could benefit from this practice.
When things are going great, we just float along like there’s no effort to be done. But when things are going poorly, we pull out all the stops to turn it around. It would be great to shift this way of thinking. When things are going great, we need to drink it in, soak it up, and amplify it! Use the good times to solidify the foundation of our relationship, and that my friends will carry us through the bad times.
How exactly can we feast on success? I came up with a few ways:
1. Be present. When things are going well, stay in this moment. That doesn’t mean that you avoid issues because you don’t want to rock the boat. That means you don’t play the negative past over in your head or talk about history when you can’t change anything about it. Maybe you’ve even agreed to leave it in the past, yet still you live there! You can’t enjoy the present if you’re bound up in the past.
You also can’t enjoy the present if you’re worried about the future. There’s a lot of value in planning your future. In fact that can be great team building for you and your partner. But worrying about whether your partner will be there for you or how you’re going to handle your in laws next Christmas takes you away from the present.
2. Acknowledge it. Talk to your partner about it. Tell your partner how happy you are about how things are going at the moment. Sometimes you might have to just feast on a conversation that went on without an argument. What’s wrong with saying, “It makes me so happy when we can talk without getting into an argument. I look forward to many more times like that with you.” When you feel good about it and you make sure your partner knows it, it increases and amplifies the positive emotions.
We are geared to acknowledge the negative in our culture. It’s usually not our nature to go around recognizing the positive. Our brains are geared to solve problems which predisposes us to look for them. Changing the way you look at the world may take some effort and time on your part. But acknowledging more positive is only going to make you happier.
3. Reminisce. While it might seem beneficial to play over negative past situations, it’s really not that helpful. However, playing over some positive situations can be very helpful. Talking about good times or about troubles that you overcame as a couple can be reassuring to each other when the going is rough. Remembering times you acted as a team or truly enjoyed each other, brings up those feelings of support and bonding.
4. Focus on the Success. Immerse yourself (or feast) on success. Don’t let feelings of failure be your focus. If you see failure, take it as a successful learning lesson. Fill your thoughts up with success and let your behaviors reflect those of someone in a successful relationship.
Feast, or gorge, yourself on success. If you’re going to be successful, you have to think, feel and behave in successful ways.
Where in your relationship are you starving in the land of failure? Are you feasting on that? Can you see a way of turning that around? What behavior, thought or feeling needs to change for you?
If you’re in a good season in your relationship, how can you amp that up? How can you use some of these suggestions to further strengthen your relationship?
Practice time: pick something that you can feast on, acknowledge, reminisce about or focus on and do it today and every day.
Leave me a comment about what you’re willing to do to create a relationship you love. As always, email me if I can help. Nothing’s going to change unless it’s you!
The Downside of Denial-Audio
Denial can be frustrating and wreck communication. Curb your denial related behaviors for a relationship boost.
Hope you gain some insight from this audio! As always email me if you have any questions!
Is couple’s therapy expensive?
It can be, but a divorce is more expensive.
Your provider may charge based on licensure level, demand, or average costs in your area. I charge $100 per session for on-going counseling. I can provide a cash discount if you aren’t using health insurance. Your provider should be able to provide you the cost per session or for a package of sessions. If you attend group therapy (with other couples) the cost should be less.
There my also be some nonprofit agencies in your area that offer couples therapy at a lower cost. A therapist should be able to offer suggestions and options. Use online information or programs if you feel that could be helpful to you also.
You do want to make a wise investment however. Unless it’s just impossible, go with a therapist that has experience and training in relationship work. You wouldn’t learn a language from someone who’s not learned to speak it themselves. Navigating relationships is like a language. It doesn’t pay to use someone who isn’t trained to help.
If you'd like to send me a question, I'd love to help if I can: Email me.
Hope that helps,