How would your life change if you understood the three options we have for designing relationships? Would you feel safer, wiser, more willing to love, to receive, to give, to say no, to walk away, to hang in, to transform? Below I share the three options. I am certain you will find each one a life-changer, a moral awakening, and a spiritual epiphany.
I’ve been study relationships my whole life always digging beneath the surface. For the last 30 years I have been counseling others as they struggle with their own relationships. Right now my thoughts are full of relationship questions as I redesign my course on the karma of relationships (coming very soon)
The other day I began designing the webpage for the course. Little did I know, this would give me a huge insight into relationships and life.
The theme builder I use for my webpages offers me three options for a new page:
- Build from Scratch
- Choose a Premade Layout
- Clone an Existing Page
These are the very same options we have in every area of our lives, for every day we live, for every choice we make, and for every relationship we have. I’ve seen these options every time I create a blogpost but it wasn’t until I was creating the webpage for the karma of relationships course that I saw the archetype living in these three choices. I laughed and laughed.
Let me share the archetypes with you so you can laugh with me and find new freedom in your choices. I’m staying with relationships as I share my thoughts but don’t hesitate to look for them in all areas of your life. (I woke up this morning considering my relationship to my body: how I eat, how I fail to exercise, how I dress. My behavior in regard to my body is cloned. My judgments about my body come from premade layouts. Maybe these insights will give me the courage to start from scratch and change my relationship to my body!)
Cloning a Relationship
Cloning repeats an earlier relationship in varying degrees of successful imitation. Karmically, we form templates based on our earliest primary relationships…obviously, our parents. These parental relationship clones are the relationships in our adult life that hold the greatest degrees of intimacy. We look to another to be the fulfillment of our met and unmet parental needs. And we usually get just that…met and unmet needs in uncanny imitations.
It is also true that we imitate our parents in how we engage in relationships and this can be tricky. Let’s go a little deeper in the cloning mysteries of relationship. I never wanted to be like my mother in a relationship. I was committed to being her opposite! A mirror imitation. I was too busy working in this template to be myself or to see my partner clearly so I did not get what I desired. I was my mother’s mirror clone!
Opposites are fascinating. My husband was old enough to be my father so everyone assumed I had married a “father substitute.” In many ways all my adult lovers have been like my father, the wounded and flawed genius who wants to reshape the world and the future while hiding in some safe space. Yet, I will never forget the moment years into our marriage that I looked at him reading in his study (and he read all the time) and I saw my mother lying in bed reading unable or unwilling to mother her troubled teenage daughter. I had married my mother! and yes, all the men I have loved intimately were obsessive readers. And whether they neglected me or not, I often felt the trauma of my mother’s neglect.
The big thing about cloning is that it is pretty unconscious and instinctual. Very hard to recognize or resist. But the impact of the imitations is huge.
A Premade Layout
How much have cultural and tribal layouts shaped your relationships? These are all types of relationships? Friendships and work colleagues usually fit into this picture. These layouts take over our relationship pictures as we move into social life outside our families: schools, camps, churches. We want to fit in starting around age 9 and so we conform, meet what is expected and usually feel desperate to sink into the mold. This, of course, is true in work the workplace. This is also true in political and religious groups. These relationships reflect and obey dogmas and rituals, languages and perspectives, commandments and admonitions of ideals and prohibitions.
We can tweek here and there if we have a strong sense of creativity, but it is so easy to conform to expectations.
I remember my uncle telling me he divorced his wife of many years because he wanted what he saw in my marriage, what he felt was a great passion mutually expressed. He hungrily wanted to emulate what he imagine we had. He had numerous affairs and three more marriages all of which failed to meet his longings. But he was superb at school and work. He was outstanding in social groups, churches and clubs. He new how to fit in socially, but not intimately.
What are the premade layouts of relationships that you conform to and obey? Or do you resist this impulse and dismiss and negate any social expectations?
Starting from Scratch
If cloning is about our precognitive, preverbal relationship desires and the premade layouts about obeying the forms and needs of groups we identify with, what does it mean to start from scratch? To start from scratch … OMG, do you feel my stunned laughter? I just realized the scratch we start from is a synonym for self, Ego, I! The first, core, essential relationship is with yourself, knowing yourself from scratch in every way possible. Scratch is also synonymous with freedom and love, Divinity and Source.
Scratch is a blank page. Scratch is the ink. Scratch is the design. Scratch is the words and images of being yourself and shaping unique relationships.
Creating a webpage or a relationship from scratch requires initiating courage, many baby steps, perseverance and devotion. Most of all it requires the self to ask endless questions from lots of perspectives. It’s hard work as we aren’t relying on instincts or impulses and nobody else and no group will chime in and take the creativity from your intention.understanding
And the biggest challenge of all is once you know yourself with unselfish understanding, you then enter into relationship with another soul or group of souls and find the courage to know them with full-out compassion. Do they want to start from scratch, too?
My biggest problem with this option (and this is the one I feel most drawn to or I wouldn’t have spent 30 years developing imagineself.com) is having authentic conversations full of vulnerability and transparency about what I want, what I won’t accept, what I don’t yet understand. I can ask questions that go deep, but it is hard for me to request what I need with family, friends, colleagues, and others in general. I’m working on it…always.
Reflecting on Your Relationships
In the upcoming course on the Karma of Relationships, I begin with three modules on awakening and developing equanimity. Equanimity is needed or we will stay stuck looking for happy endings rather than purposeful outcomes. Then I will guide everyone through 3 modules on Deconstructing the Narratives which is so valuable as wisdom is always in the details. The final three modules will be the work of choosing an archetype and using it as a lens to perceive, understand and know the karma of a relationship: the gifts, the lessons, the purposes.
This work on the three options for the design of our relationships is one step in deconstructing. Most of our relationships, the challenging and the comforting contain bits and pieces of the three design options. When we see these bits and pieces we are on our way to the wisdom and gratitude of karma.
This week choose one or two relationships and check out how they were designed. I am working with three different colors of post-its so I can see the design configuration. Do keep your heart full of humor, a sudden laugh if often the sign of seeing with sudden clarity.. Don’t go to judgment of yourself or others. If you are really brave, take these three options into the design of your spiritual beliefs, identities, and practices.
My closing thought…I wish I could hire a relationship designer, like I could hire a website designer.
My closing meme: Live from Scratch!
If you want to know more about my experience or talk about your own, email me.