Meditation and Relationships
I am a daughter, mother, grandmother, wife, sister, friend, cousin. I have been a business owner and a boss. Somewhere entwined amongst these roles is a relationship I have with myself, ‘me’.
It was when one of these relationships went confrontingly wrong that I realised the ‘me’ involved was not the ‘me’ I thought I was. She was not someone I recognised, and it was definitely not someone I felt proud to be. I realised that it was probably the stress of running a struggling business alongside managing a family that had released this nasty ‘me’, and I also realised I needed to do something about it.
Discovering Lifeflow and learning how mindfulness and meditation can guide one through the challenges faced in everyday personal relationships has helped me navigate such tricky situations much more effectively.
I began to realise that the emotional ‘me’ involved in that confrontation was a ‘control freak‘. She played the lead role in the stories created by my thoughts; these stories, often based on mere assumptions, could be so well told that they created intense emotions, which somehow had to be released, often causing all sorts of damage.
The Three C Technique is one of the first mindfulness skills we are taught at Lifeflow. Catching the challenging moment, Creating the space to stand back and clearly assess the situation, and Changing the habitual reaction, has become one of the most used tools in my mindfulness kitbag. Rather than losing control of myself in emotional reactions to things family members or friends are doing or saying, I find myself able to pause and consider alternative, more constructive responses.
‘If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you’ (‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling) became my mantra!
Funnily enough, I discovered that if I changed the way I behaved in such situations, the other person had to change the way they behaved because the circumstances had changed.
One of my trickiest relationships is that with my sister who lives in the UK. We were never close as children, and have lived half a world apart for nearly 50 years. Communication was difficult in the earlier years and neither of us tried particularly hard to nourish the relationship so when the challenges surrounding our parents’ ill health, death and finally wills, confronted us, all the old emotions, in both of us, reared their gory heads.
The Three C Technique became my greatest friend in responding to emails, Facetime conversations and finally face to face when we had our rare meetings. Whilst we still do not have a relaxed, comfortable relationship, we managed those tricky times successfully enough to be able to enjoy a week in each others company last year in Barcelona.
The Three C Technique, for me, has now become a habit in itself. As soon as I begin to sense that ‘drama queen’ about to make an entrance, I ‘catch the moment’ and move through the process. Whilst I could never say that I have mastered the art completely, or that my relationships are completely drama free, this skill has helped me navigate potential disasters in a more constructive and rewarding way, and I am happy that that ‘nasty’ me has not shown her face in recent years.
COVID-19 restrictions have presented us all with challenges in managing our relationships with others, from close family to work colleagues, to people we do not even know. All these relationships will be changed, and sadly some will not survive.
Personally, the restrictions have created space and time for me, not only to nourish relationships with those closest to me, both near and far, but also to take my meditation studies further and get to know better the ‘me’ beneath those stories in my thoughts.
Lifeflow now has its courses online, so if you are tempted to add mindfulness and meditation to your life skills toolbox, you can come and try without leaving the warmth and safety of your own home.