“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” Mohandas K. Gandhi
As I write this advice about love, I am flying over the pacific on my way home from my favorite place on earth, Hawaii. It is the only place that I have ever traveled that I never feel ready to leave. Maybe it’s because I more readily can find a slower rhythm of life here in the tropics, or because the days start so much later than everywhere else or maybe the truth that one of the shop clerks shared with me this morning, that Hawaii is known as one of the most healing places on the planet is deeply resonant. All I can say is that I feel grateful without trying when I am there and aware of the passage of time in a way that makes every moment awake.
Laying on the beach, listening to James Taylor’s voice croon, “the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time….” over the sound of the surf, I am teary watching the young couples with small children and the young adolescents on their boogie boards, remembering the moments of my family life we spent on this beach. In fact the older I get, the more that this song rings true. In the decades leading up to now, I just caught glimpses of this truth – that there really is nowhere that we are getting to, there isn’t any destination that will make your life’s work once and for all. Rather, it is learning to wake up to and appreciate each moment (beach or no beach), like pearls on a string that captures life’s meaning and truly makes us who we are. I don’t know how many times I have to learn and relearn that it is in my capacity to relax into and trusting my life where success finds me. Here is my quick tip list for women and finding time to love.
- Let things be as they are
Mostly I go to Hawaii to swim in a warm ocean. There is nothing quite like the buoyancy and thrills of bobbing in the waves to bring you to the moment. Yet, the waves on the first days were big and being in the water made my heart race. Instead of basking in the glory of it all, I was anxious and then judging things, wishing they were different. Sadly, the same could be said for how we often approach ourselves and our relationships. We lose so much time and turn our back on so much love because it doesn’t look and feel quite like we expected. Relaxing into life literally translates into embracing ourselves and our partners – in all our imperfect perfection. For me, the shift on the waves just took a little boogie board to change how I experienced the moment. When we let things be as they are and adjust how we think about it, we release the destructive tension between what/how we think life should be and what/how it is. Accepting things as they are makes life more enjoyable and relationships work better.
- Have more fun
Of course it seems like it would be easier to have more fun on a tropical island than on a rainy street. And maybe it’s true – but looking for fun is an internal choice that we can bring to any circumstances. Many recent studies show that increasing the number of sweet moments of fun and celebration in your loving relationships actually creates more connection and intimacy over time than showing up in the hard times. The deepest rut that most relationships suffer from is when we place greater attention on getting things done rather than enjoying a moment together. Not enjoying the time you are in is a slippery slope to not enjoying the people you are around. Voltaire once said that “pleasure is an obligation of all rationale beings”, so be deliberate about adding more fun to the endless to-do list and start scheduling your days to include some laughter. This advice is key in developing a remarkable love story.
- Give up multi-tasking – especially digital
Laying on the beach, the phone was often more glaring than the sun. While it was great to capture photos, the incessant call of distant agendas and people too far away to disturb was deeply disturbing. Not only do our devices rob us from our full presence on the beach, but they take a huge toll on our capacity to relate. So many relationships suffer because they rarely have a moment of enjoyment to themselves. It is impossible to be really present with someone when you are texting three other people at the same time. Our technological capabilities have far exceeded our fledgling ability to relate. Often we don’t even see the damage that our constantly shifting attention wreaks on our relationships. Finally, as days progressed, I was able to leave my phone and spend an hour uninterrupted; listening to my husband, myself and the ocean. This is what love feels like; Time.
Stay tuned for more women relationship advice from Wendy, here at Good Clean Love.