by Nina Nisar

Relationships are mysterious places, so natural to us human beings, so vital for us - and they bring up so much. We are hard wired to connect, it is in our nature, more vital to our wellbeing than anything else - and relationships are also the hardest often.

In an AIKIDO training early this year, a structure lit up as my body was moving with my partner: As I practice, my body exists in the space of two lines meeting – a vertical one, my individual connection to myself and source, and a horizontal line, my connectedness to all around. That is how my body moves, that’s how it is held in the practice, my weight dropped into the ground, yet flexible and responsive to what is coming my way.

It struck me how vital and interconnected both of these lines seem in building healthy relationships. How awake am I to myself? Am I receptive and available to what’s around me? Moving with these questions seems to expand my connectedness both deep inside as well as into all around.

For many, becoming awake to oneself comes with a sweet mess of intensities to be with – conditioning from our pasts, traumatic experiences, scars we carry that all show up in patterns and automated behavior, especially in the intimate spaces of our relationships.

And then there we are, in the rawness of our triggered, not-knowing, becoming self, with patterns having their ways, plus both of us masterfully scratching the pain points of the other. Natures design has it that we get to do some of our most important work with the people closest to us - such challenging and intense moments that crack us open.

That’s when relationships can become practice - and spaces for practice. 

How can we, in the hot moments in our relationships, stretch and hold both - our own vulnerability and messiness, as well as the other persons? Can I be generous with myself and the other, so we can find a different place to work this from?

Its become a practice to us to make the madness part of what we expect in our relationship - the becoming, the messing up, the growing up. We have built a container around our relationship that includes that I will be messy today, and he will be tomorrow. We strive to show up with and for more, and sometimes, messy is all we have.

Dojo madness, in our experience, needs a place to come home to, to relax and find a different place to come back into our relationship from, one that supports our sanity and care for each other. For many, that space has to do with physical relaxation, with a new perspective, a walk in the snow.

What is it we can include in the context of our relationships so we can feel held by it even in moments of conflict and intensity?