Whether we are discussing a relationship between partners or a relationship between mother and daughter or father and son, we are discussing intimacy. Do you know what it feels like to allow another person to get close to you or to allow someone to know the real you? In order to create intimate relationships with others, we first have to look at the relationship we have with ourselves. At the Center for Integrative Healing, we like to compare the relationship between people to the relationship that exists between the mind and the body. In the mind body scenario, it is easy to understand how channels of communication must be open and flowing between both sides in order to be healthy. This analogy is true whether we’re referring to channels of communication between both sides of the brain, the mind and the body, or communication between people. All healthy relationships depend on open communication and cooperation. All “parts” must integrate/work together to operate as one. Whether we’re talking about a relationship between mind and body or between ourselves and others, we firmly understand that all good relationships begin with what we call the ABC’s of Wellness:
Awareness, Balance and Connection.
As individuals, we communicate with the outside world through filters; each one unique to us. We perceive our world and we perceive other people through filters that we have built from our past experiences. We continually evaluate, compare and contrast our present situations with our past experiences. No doubt you’ve probably heard the phrase “Perception is reality” before. But is it? Isn’t it more accurate to say “Your perception creates Your reality?” Did you know that you color your perception and your reality? Every one of us creates our own truth based on our version of reality and that reality is different for everyone.
· What if our filters could be removed?
· What if we could see every situation and every person objectively without adding our perceptions to them?
· Could our realities change?
· Could we empathize more with others?
· Could we be more understanding of differences?
If we could remove our filters we could begin to change the way we perceive everything and everyone in our world. If “You don’t know what you don’t know” how can you know? We believe the first step to change is Awareness. Having self-awareness empowers us as individuals to change. Having Awareness of others empowers us to empathize and to accept people for who they are.
At the Center for Integrative Healing, we believe that all healthy relationships in the universe depend upon Balance. Just visualize for a moment a child’s see saw. In order to maintain Balance, both sides need to be equally weighted or someone falls off and gets hurt. We could be discussing any relationship here and that reality would remain true. In our own lives, we must maintain balance in order to be healthy. Anytime one thing outweighs another, we have created imbalance. If we work all the time and don’t eat, hydrate, nor rest we will eventually collapse from exhaustion. The same is true for relationships between people that are in a state of imbalance. If one person talks continually and doesn’t listen, the flow of communication will eventually cease. Either that will person will stop talking or the other one will stop listening. Either way, the communication flow will stop and the Connection between them will break. It is a universal truth that imbalance creates disharmony. Consider the emotional center of the brain and its relationship with the thinking center of the brain. If one center of our brain had continual control, how Balanced would we be? We would either be feeling our way through life, void of logic or we would be wandering through it without feeling or having any sense of wellbeing. We believe that harmony can only exist when Balance exists.
Lastly, we believe in importance of Connection when we are discussing relationships. But how can we connect with each other if we are disconnected from our true selves? The answer is we can’t. We can only project outward what we have within us. In the analogy between the mind and the body, we can see how the two must maintain a continuous connection to be healthy. During a stroke, for example, the signal between mind and body is interrupted and the body function is impaired. When a Connection between two people is interrupted by emotional blocks within one or both of the individuals, the communication is impaired and thus so is the relationship. We work with each individual to help them become fully connected with their inner being in order to help them learn to connect with others.
In our practice, we know from our collective experiences that Awareness, Balance, and Connection must all happen first within ourselves before they can happen in our relationships with others. Consider for a moment that one of us was falling down and the other tried to help, without being balanced first. We would both fall down! The same is true of a rescue worker extending a rope down to an individual who had fallen off of a cliff. Wouldn’t it make sense to be Balanced and Aware of his own situation before he could be in a position to extend a Connection to assist the fallen individual? Without being firmly secured where he is, any rescue attempt would be futile as he would not be able to maintain his Balance and would go toppling over the edge. No matter what relationship we are talking about right now, the same truth exists.
When we work with couples, we work together with our clients to bring Awareness, Balance, and then Connection to the relationship by creating it first within each individual. We know that it takes two healthy people integrated together to make a healthy relationship. We work together with our clients to help them grow as individuals and to grow in their relationships with others. We strongly believe that change can and does happen when our clients are invested in their own growth and healing. Healing comes from Wellness and a well-integrated mind and body work that together in perfect harmony. Until one becomes thoroughly integrated within themselves, the true process of connection has yet to begin.