Recently I’ve noticed a question popping up in conversation and my inbox:
How do you step more fully into your creative life while tending lovingly to the relationship(s) you are in, particularly your marriage or partnership?
This is a big one. When we start to rediscover our creative capacity and wake up to our dreams and desires, there is always a ripple effect. We live in a complex system of relationships and when we roll over, lie down, stand up or dance, we impact others, especially our nearest and dearest.
Let me say right off that I find this question very difficult to answer because at its core is often a request that I will share something that will assuage a deep underlying fear, the fear that coming alive may be so disruptive to our relationships that we may lose them. This is terrifying, so terrifying, in fact, that many of us stay dormant, stay small, stay squished into the role we’ve been playing up until now because we’re so afraid of losing love.
I wish I could tell you that the change you’re feeling in you, the desire that’s drawing you like the sun draws a bloom out of the ground, I wish I could tell you that you can follow that without fear of loss or change but I can’t.
Some people will grow with you and it will be a joy to share the journey.
Some people will be delighted to re-experience a “you” that they know and love and maybe haven’t seen for a while.
And some will wonder what the heck is happening to you?
One thing to remember is that those who react with negativity and discomfort are often responding not to the changes in you, per se, but to what feels like an implicit ask for corresponding changes in them and in your life together.
It’s a natural human impulse is to get grumbly about change, especially when we didn’t instigate it. It doesn’t mean we won’t adjust. We might even like things better once they’ve shifted but our first reaction is almost always, “Grrrr.” It helps to know that and to anticipate it in others and ourselves.
Also keep in mind that sometimes people react strongly to the change in us because they’re afraid that we’re leaving them – and the truth is, sometimes we are.
As we come creatively alive, we get excited about things, often things that are outside of our regular scope. We find ourselves drawn to new places, spending lots of time and energy on new interests and often connecting with new people. This can make particularly our partners nervous that we’re unhappy with how things have been and so we’re looking elsewhere. And no wonder. If you think about how full of energy and delight we are as we step into our passions, it’s a lot like falling in love, isn’t it?
On the flip side of things, as we come home to our true selves, as we begin to delight in life, as we come deeply, creatively, profoundly alive, we literally radiate all that goodness into the world and our relationships. We have more to offer: more love, more laughter, more ideas, more resources, more energy, more creativity and most importantly, more of our selves.
Our most sustaining relationships are the ones that are rooted in the truth of who each of us are and that flow with the person that each of us is becoming. The building blocks for these relationships and for navigating change are honesty, compassion and love. That is the place to begin.
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