The call of my life has meant I’ve been doing a lot of long-distance driving recently, so I’ve been acutely aware of, and deeply thankful for the well developed road system in North America. I also really appreciate all the technology that makes this kind of travel easy.
Especially because these arenas are definitely not where my passions lie, I’m particularly appreciative of those who’ve invested their masculine life energy (and I don’t mean male here – I mean the focused, tangible, linear kind of creativity) that’s played a big part in the co-creation of all this. Their contributions have made what I’ve felt called to do waaay easier!
At the same time, I’m equally aware of the challenges we as a species face as a result of our unconscious, conditioned, seemingly voracious drive to acquire and consume more. As a species we face a huge creative tension here.
All this driving over the holidays and in these first days of 2016 has been triggered by changes in my personal life. I’ve been supporting my children as they respond to a whole new chapter in their lives. Their Dad (my first husband) had a stroke in early December, and they’re dealing with all the tasks involved in moving him into a retirement residence where he has access to the additional care he needs.
In doing this, I’ve been brought face to face with another creative tension – one I lived with over the 35 years I was married to their Dad, and continue to in the now almost 5 years I’ve been married to Bruce.
Although it’s only been in the last 4 years that I’ve been able to articulate the principles of Realizing RICH Relationships as clearly as I have, you’ll often see these themes show up in my writing – you’ll find one example here. Yet as long as I can remember I’ve had a deep sense that there had to be better ways for us as humans to relate with each other.
Expanding our capacity to “Nurture juicy, co-creative relationships with ourselves, others and life!” is not only the tag line for Realizing RICH Relationships, it’s been the compelling notion that has always drawn and driven me on what my friend, mentor and colleague Lissa Boles calls the Mastery Path of my life.
For years I’ve taken this deep longing, and vision of possibility I can feel in my bones, and honed the skills and practices of Realizing RICH Relationships. I practice them myself, and share them with those whose lives I touch. And yet, with all this passion and practice, while my relationships are now far RICH-er and more ‘juicy’, I’m clear we’re still very much on the path towards the fulfillment of this vision.
There are times when despite our deep desire, the clarity of our vision, and our best efforts we feel as frustrated as that now retired Sesame Street character Don Music! You might remember him as the eminent singer and songwriter who often resorted to banging his head on his piano when he couldn’t find rhyming words to finish his songs!
Those of you who have been around me for a while have heard me say many times – we aren’t incompetent or slow learners, we’re pioneers in the expansion of human consciousness! We’re discovering the way. We’re creating new patterns and ways of being with each other as we go. We’re changing eons of deep conditioning, and this means it’s crucial we honour our own and each other’s humanity when we find ourselves in challenging or frustrating moments where change isn’t happening the way (or as quickly) as we wish it would.
I was reminded recently of the (possibly apocryphal though still powerful) story I’ve been telling for a long time. It’s of the Japanese businessman/philanthropist who wanted to start a new school to teach people a different way of doing business. He was asked by a somewhat cynical reporter how long he thought it would take to accomplish this kind of culture change. His response was immediate “I think it’ll probably take several hundred years, but that’s exactly why it’s important to start now.”
This week I’ve been reflecting on our current pioneering journey in conjunction with another story. This one from Lynne Twist – who for many years worked with The Hunger Project, and more recently as co-founder of the Pachamama Alliance, as well as her work with the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict.
She spoke of this century in which we live as the Sophia Century – the hundred years in which women will take our rightful role in co-equal partnership with men, and the world will come into balance.
In her TED Talk in 2012 she recounts the story of the bird of humanity which until now has been flying with one wing. This masculine wing has been flapping violently in its attempt to support the bird, and the feminine wing hasn’t fully extended or expressed itself. So the bird of humanity has been flying in constant circles.
She says that according to this Native American prophecy, the 21st century is the one in which the feminine wing of humanity will fully extend itself. When it does, the masculine wing can relax and fly normally, and the bird of humanity can finally soar.
The truth of this story resonated deep within me. Though often not as quickly as I would like, the shift from the diminishing to an honouring of the value of kind of care and wisdom that has historically been the domain of women, is changing. As the fuller expression of the feminine in all human beings emerges, and concurrently we women expand our capacity and take our rightful place in that co-equal partnership with men, we all benefit.
As Lynne says:
“When the power of love replaces the love of power the world will flourish – and that’s our job.”
It’s such an incredible privilege to be alive in these times where we can offer hospice care to those unsustainable old structures and systems that no longer serve us and are dying – doing what we can to give them a natural and graceful death. As Lynne Twist says “We don’t need to kill them. They’re dying.”
And right alongside this hospice care, we are also midwifing the birth of the new structures and systems that many of us in this 21st century can feel in our bones will serve humanity, and the future of life. Lynne reminds us that “hospicing and midwifing are both acts of love, and witnessing. What’s called for is love. What’s called for is consciousness. What’s called for is being the kind of human being we’ve always dreamed we can be.”
These conditions and circumstances we’re living in call our greatness out of us. They call us to live in alignment with the RICH principles – that combination of respect, intimacy appropriate for the relationship, enormous courage, and an honouring of the humanity in ourselves and others. Though it may take a very long time for the bird of humanity to soar in the way we can best imagine it, those of us active in the Realizing RICH Relationships community are engaging that practice.
Do we do it perfectly? Of course not! But in those moments when our energy or our courage flags, or we find ourselves in that painful place of losing touch with a sense of possibility, we remind each other of the things we know to be true. Together we say yes to the invitation of our lives to notice and accept where we’re at, and nurture ourselves right there. If you’re feeling drawn, I’d love to hear from you.