I found a feature of relationships that appears to be a sign they are working really well. I call it the breath of the relationship. I discovered that often people don't feel comfortable allowing a relationship to fully breathe and instead prefer to be with a stuck or dead relationship. When there is no breath there is no life, or more realistically, when the breath is limited, the life is limited.
What do I mean here?
For me there is a cycle to how a relationship flows and transforms, developing through phases in a cyclical fashion, each cycle beginning with a birth phase, proceeding with a consolidation and ending with a death phase. After the death, the cycle can restart. If this cycle is allowed to regularly progress through all its stages, then the relationship is alive and exciting, producing positive growth for everyone involved. A dead relationship is one that allows the people involved to stay the same and not grow and develop, so really a dead relationship can only be had by dead people. What I mean by dead people are those who have become numbed to the flow of life that runs through them, this numbness is supported by external stimulations which I call addictions. Addictions provide the numb person more of the ups and downs of the life that has been shut off. Addictions are often drama based, arguments and wars in relationships to me are a form of addiction to replace life (so are real wars for a whole society), and so are drugs, tv, work addiction and internet addictions.
People who want to stay dead (consciously or more often unconsciously) will not want to have a live relationship that breathes and will not be interested in any of this discussion. But for living people I think it is helpful to understand the living dead. Dead people are very attracted to living people, physically, emotionally and energetically. They are attracted and literally want to 'get' the energy of a living person. I believe this is why the vampire story is so prevalent in our culture. We live in a world of the undead, the 'living dead' person. While our society continues to educate kids into numbness, we will have a world full of living dead energy vampires looking for live force to feed on. It’s good to see how death can work next to life, especially if we are healing the dead parts of ourselves.
So how does this breathing work?
Two people meet and there is a strong attractive force between them. This force is created out of a yin yang polarity, the dynamic force of polarity between the intrinsic natures of each person in a couple. This force propels the couple forward in a growth driven motion. This is the birth phase, the fresh and exciting 'shared' discovery of new territory through reflection. (By reflection I mean seeing new/deeper aspects of oneself through experience with another who communicates it in some way, often non verbally).
After some period of time, which can be days, weeks or sometimes even months this territory becomes known and understood, and there is a consolidation period. The reflections are better understood and integrated with the support of the others presence. This consolidation can be wonderful if it is shared consciously, but in my experience it is often not for a key reason. The shared awareness of consolidation in a relationship brings with it the shared awareness of possible ending and this can bring up fear. To me it is this fear of ending that leads to relationship plateau or deadness in the relationship. It is because people fear the death of the relationship that the relationship becomes stuck and dead.
I found three places where I have seen things get stuck for different reasons:
1. Rushing the birth phase. Aiming to get to consolidation way too quickly.
2. Not admitting consolidation. The birth phase was really great and wanting it to just keep going.
3. Avoiding death. Not wanting to face and truly be with each other in the possible ending.
1. Fear of the birth seems to stem from the unknown newness, it is fear of the amount of raw energy that is coming up and moving inside one. I have noticed this as a constant want to move to a place of security where we know we are 'together'. This security is often established with expected guarantees of in the form of ideas about seeing each other, 'being together' or some monogamy agreement etc. To me these guarantees are never really what the fear is about deep down; they are simply ways to hide from it. Avoiding this creative birth energy is avoidance of being present in the here and now with someone. At the end of the day it is fear of one’s own sexual energy that drives a rush to 'tone it down' and be safe with someone. If you are seeing this happening in someone you are relating to I would recommended you stay honest and true to what feels right for you, ie don’t provide any guarantees unless they feel absolutely true for you. If you do to 'make someone feel better' you are already manipulating your life, you have already entered into a lie. Lies are a good way to support deadness in a relationship and in you. More TV comes next.
2. Fear of consolidation I have already covered. I would recommend exploring it in whatever way is true for you. Most importantly keep aware of the hovering spectre of death! If you can talk and share it consciously, it can't move into the unconscious. Make it your friend, learn about it and come to know it as OK. (In fact you don't even need to talk about it if you are super aware of it in yourself, but sometimes it can really help another if they are not used to this level of presence in a relationship. And in any good relationship helping another is simply helping yourself.)
3. Avoiding death. I already covered; this seems to happen by getting stuck in the consolidation phase. How many drama addictions in relationship are really just about this avoidance, creating an energy dynamic to try and feel more alive, while death is creeping in all the time? If one or both of you are brave enough to consolidate consciously and not avoid the natural time for an ending, then death will come, and it can come strong and unpredictably. This death can be the most transformative and rejuvenating time for a relationship if you make it through, but to make it through you both need to be able to be present with the possibility of a real ending of the whole thing. (It can also help to individually clear in the practicalities of how this can happen, money, house living arrangements etc)
Unless you have experienced this directly yourself it’s hard to get across really how it feels. I have sometimes experienced this as often as every week. One moment a powerful wave of everything falling away comes through both of us. Its a bit of a shock sometimes. I call it a letgo, you just have to let go and ride it. I think the key is the ability for both of you to stay fully present with yourself on your own, while you are with the person you love, knowing absolutely it could be over. This can only happen if there is no game, done in truth and honesty of really being with the other, while letting them be free to go. The love and gratitude you can feel for each other often magnifies. Its like a reset button has been hit, let it reset fully in the death of letgo and discover what you both feel on the other side. Its a ride.
There are only two outcomes of this, a good clean ending or an instant new birth phase and the cycle beginning again on a whole new level.
This is the breathing cycle of relationships to me. I keep seeing this cycle in holographic ways in all aspects of life, it is the cycle of life; things come together and then move apart. These cycles happen in all sorts of ways in a relationship, big and small cycles all interweave the hologram, but the features remain the same. Let your own relationships breathe more and I reckon those relationships can be more alive.