Nurture Newsletter October 2023
Balancing “me” with “we”
Hello to you,
You may have noticed the absence of September’s newsletter last month. This was not necessarily planned but more directed by external forces that hindered my writings & reflections. The “We” of family commitments & unexpected needs within the family meant the “I” of newsletter writing was very much down the list of priorities. This balancing act between my commitment to my passion of sharing in the “Nurture Community” & my commitments to my familial relationships gave me pause for thought & inspired this month’s topic. Interestingly this theme coincides with Libra season, the astrological sign of harmony & balance.
Libra is ruled by Venus & very much loves & prioritises relationship. In fact, it is common for Libra to sacrifice the “me” in order to keep the “we” in harmony. That sounds positive doesn’t it?! Yet the truth is, both dichotomies must exist because without the tension between me & we, stagnancy would occur in the relationship. This theme is further highlighted by the current series of eclipses that occur on the Libra/Aries axis. These began in April this year, followed by much relationship review happening throughout the Summer with Venus going retrograde. We now see another eclipse occur in Libra on October 14th & the series will continue all the way through to March 29th 2025. The changes that occur in relationships at this time are for our highest good & will help us realign with our authentic path. The challenge is to be open to this growth & change.
“Can you remember who you were,
before the world told you who you should be?”
So let’s look at the continuum from “me” to “we”. In times of harmony we experience an intimacy; that feeling of being seen, heard, understood that unites us. In this bonded union our boundary between self & other can dissolve for an instant & we feel met at great depth. We are not designed to stay here however because to do so means to lose the me entirely & to only become the we.
When we consider what life would look like if we were all the same, we can come to understand how boring & stagnant our lives would be. To be in constant harmony can mean collusion, enmeshment & co-dependence. In that dynamic there is a lack of creative flow, no energetic spark to enliven the union. You can also assume that one person in that dynamic is sacrificing their needs, wants & desires in order to please the other or avoid opposition or even conflict. Yet how often are we expected to bend ourselves out of shape in order to make the other feel more comfortable? If we consistently do so, it means we are enabling the other to act out their insecurities without taking positive action towards inner resolve & healing. We can so often go along with unhealthy dynamics “for a quiet life”. While peace is wonderful, it must not be at the expense of autonomy & certainly not at the expense of health & vitality.
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you”
If we push to the extremity of independence, the result is isolation & often loneliness. Often on this pole we hear the accusations of selfishness or even narcissistic tendencies. Along the spectrum towards this extreme brings a myriad of experiences of finding the self, touching into ones autonomy & satiating the desires of self-hood. It also aids our ability to be alone & find our inner sense of solitude. But of course, getting stuck in that pole brings it’s own unhealthy dynamics. We are, after all, social beings & relational in nature therefore need interdependence to survive & thrive.
“Solitude vivifies; isolation kills”
In interdependence, we lean on each other at times but ultimately hold our own responsibilities. We have those to walk the road with but we do not walk another person’s road. We can only walk our own. Those who are in alignment with us will meet us along the way; our paths will naturally cross. In interdependence we meet the tension of difference & allow it in for learning, growth & even desire. Here we can become curious & look to understand difference without judgement. Instead of asking the other to change we can focus on the inner challenge to evolve & change into the next version of ourselves; a more understanding & accepting version. We are called to expand our capacity to tolerate the other & in doing so, reach into undiscovered parts of ourselves.
A practical support to aid this curiosity & understanding is a method called “Intentional Dialogue” by Imago Therapy.
This involves three steps: Mirroring, Validation & Empathy.
Mirroring: When your partner shares, ask them to pause for a moment while you repeat back without analysis or criticism what you have heard them say.
“Have I got this correct, …………?”
“OK, I think I understand, what you are saying is………?” “Did I hear correctly…..?”
“This is what I heard you say……….. Did I miss anything?”
Validation: When you have heard all of what your partner needs to say, begin by validating all that makes sense to you.
“That makes sense to me because…..” “I can totally see why would think that…..”
For the parts that you cannot understand or validate ask for clarification.
“Can you help me understand this part because I want to see your point of view?”
“Can you tell me more about this part because I am having difficulty understanding it fully or correctly.”
Empathy: This is where you take a guess what it feels like for your partner in regard to what they have just told you & check if it is true?
“You must’ve felt so alone when…….” “I can imagine you felt abandoned when…..”
“It must’ve been frightening for you to experience……” Check…..”Is that how you felt?”
When this process is complete, reverse for you to speak & your partner to mirror, validate & empathise.
“To listen is to lean in, softly,
with a willingness to be changed by what we hear.”
When we can come to a place of accepting each other as we are, we both feel more vitality in our lives but also within the relationship. Without communication, we are going on guess work & failing to truly learn what is now important at this stage of the relationship. Assumptions don’t work so take the time to check in with the important others in your life & gain a new understanding of the individual “me’s” so that the “we” can function in aliveness.
As a listening exercise & in tuning in to the needs of those subscribed to the newsletter, I wonder if you would share your learning needs for the season ahead? I have given options in the poll in the email sent but if you have other ideas please feel free to email any suggestions you may have. I would like to bring the “Nurture Community” together to connect & share & am open to hearing the current needs of the group & expanding my capacity to meet you there.
Wishing you well with all you experience in the month ahead.
Happy eclipse season!!!