When Your Tribal Sparkle Goes Walkabout
Ever glanced across the room at your other half as he/she stares vacantly at the TV and wondered at which point the conversation ran off the cliff with Wiley Coyote?
Ever counted the number of times you’ve been out with friends and not oiled the night with copious amounts of booze?
Ever wished your relationships could feel richer, deeper … sparkier (like they used to)?
For millennia, humans have been living, working, playing and loving alongside each other. We have developed sometimes simple and often complex channels through which to connect and socialise with each other. Eating together, moving our bodies together (ie. dance or exercise), storytelling and collaborating on ideas are just a smidgen of what people do to connect through the richness of relationship.
Yet many of us aren’t utilising the full spectrum of how to relate.
In the stresses and pressure of modern living, we’re reducing our relating to a slither of what it could be.
And for this reason, our relationships may begin to feel flat.
The other day I wrote an article called “The Benches Where Bottoms Collide” in which I talked about a return to the heart of community. Today I’d like to share with you something I have discovered that can help turn your dry, scorched relationships into lush, flowy, oasis-like ones again.
It involves a list.
… A list that captures lots of the ways in which human beings relate.
Here it is.
FOOD: Let’s go for lunch, dinner, brunch, bbq, cake etc!
DRINKS: Come around for a cuppa / let’s go for coffee!
ALCOHOL: Fancy a beer? Glass of wine? Let’s do some shots!
SUBSTANCES: Going for a smoke/ recreational drugs
SOCIAL MEDIA: Sharing stories, pictures, jokes, memes
CONSUMPTION: Let’s hit the shops!
SCREENS: Watching a movie, boxset, soap, series
MOVEMENT: Dance, running, walking, exercising together
CONVERSATION: Storytelling, gossip, news, conceptual discussions around world events etc
INTIMACY: Sex, flirting
TOUCH: Massage, tickling, stroking, hugging, hand holding, leaning on
MUSIC: Composing music, watching a band, singing, choir, festivals
CREATIVITY: Crafting together, painting, making stuff
COLLABORATION: Manifesting a project, idea, garden, home, business, putting up a tent etc
CEREMONY AND RITUAL: Weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, funerals, Christmas, Women’s Circles, Religion etc
ADVENTURE: Trips away, holidays, travelling, exploration, trying new things
COMEDY: Banter, wit, jokes, play
When I originally wrote this list, I sat and stared at it.
I thought about how many things on the list that I do with Ads.
I thought about how many of the things we no longer get to do since our family grew.
For example, we used to go on A LOT of adventures together. We’d take spontaneous trips around the country, explore cities and museums. We once went to a Siberian ballet, during which Ads fell asleep and snored whilst I endured the most painfully, boring, torturous show in the history of pink nylon and lace. As new parents, we tried to bring back the adventure with a date night here and there … but as our lives became busier and busier many of the channels we used to relate through had closed down.
It was sad.
It was also true.
I thought, “No wonder relationships get tough once kids come along!”
Picking up the list, I put a star next to all of the ways we used to play pre-baby.
Then I thought of all of the way I could help open those other channels of relationship up again.
I put an extra massive star next to Adventure/Exploration.
That night I announced to Ads that we are going to buy a campervan.
Then I looked at the list again.
This time I applied it to my three children individually.
* How little I do creatively with Reid … whilst I do a lot with Pix and Roo.
Then I got to work making time to make things with Reid.
* How I need to relate to Pix more through touch – hugging her and cuddling her – though I hug Reid and Roo all the time.
After this Pix started to getting a lot more hugs and sofa squidges.
* How rarely any of us relate through music these days – apart from in the car.
The music came back. I made a drum. I got the ids drumming … and singing.
After this, I repeated the process with friends, family and my mum.
With every list I made, it became clear where the strengths and weaknesses in my relationship activities lay. I could see EXACTLY what I needed to do to broaden, deepen and enrich those relationships and what I needed to reduce and move away from.
Finally I made one more list.
This list highlighted the activities I do to relate to myself.
This was the most meagre and powerfully eye-opening list of all.
I realised that some of the ways that I relate to myself are unhealthy. I also realised that I avoid some ways of relating to myself because they are completely outside of my comfort zone.
For a long time I sat, looking at the list and thought out ways I can introduce connecting with myself through comedy, adventure, movement, ceremony, concepts that ignite me, creativity, music, touch, Tantra, conversation, music and movement.
And after that I felt very sparkly.
And ready for some fun.
I’m going to make an exact list of what’s ahead – and will share it with you beauties soon (for the lols as Pix would say!)
Today I invite you to look at the list in this post.
Think of some people who you love and would like to deepen your relationship with and choose an area or two that you would like to concentrate on. Make a note of what you currently do in your relationship. Consider a time when your relationship was at its best and see what ELSE you were doing from the list at that time. Now, work out some ways to reintroduce other elements from the list into your life and commit to actioning those things.
I’d love to hear how you get on.