Love is something we all want to experience, to enjoy and rest into. Yet it often seems elusive, disappointing and full of hurt and confusion.
We tend to think of love as a noun –something we need, try to get, something we have or don’t have enough of. We search outside ourselves for someone to give us the love we think we’re missing. Most of us have tried to get others to fill the place inside us that feels unloved and un-loveable. This simply doesn’t work.
Here are two ways of contemplating the mystery that we call Love.
“The goal of our life is…to bring more love and truth into the world. We marry to assist each other in this process.” – Leo Tolstoy
My husband and I represent what sometimes seems to be a dying breed—a long-term, happily married couple. Life partners for 39 years, it keeps getting better. To be clear, we have experienced many of the challenges that most couples face. We navigated the rocky terrain of raising three children, faced serious health challenges, stumbled our way through issues of sexuality and attractions to others, dealt with two careers and traveling for work, and negotiated significant differences in energy and style.
Long-term love relationships are like gardens. They can bring bountiful harvests year after year to nourish heart, body and soul. But like gardens, to truly flourish, relationships need to be tended.
Sharing the Path is an opportunity to tend the garden of your partnership. Whether you are happy and confident in your relationship and looking for enrichment and even deeper connection, or if you are struggling and in need of healing, you can learn to become more skillful at creating the relationship you want.
Even in fundamentally healthy and happy relationships we may hear frustrations and upset such as these:
I love him/her but no one else pushes my buttons like he/she does.
S/he gets so defensive.
I get so defensive.
I wish we had more fun together.
Sex ….well Sex – its just not….
He just doesn’t listen.
It feels like we’ve lost what we used to have.
We do life well together, we’re friends, but there’s not a lot of passion.
I’m interested in all this growth and Spiritual stuff – but he’s not
She’s never satisfied – I feel like I can never please her.
He doesn’t talk to me. I have no idea what he feels.
She wants to talk all the time – can’t we just relax and enjoy life
He’s lost in his head.
She’s so emotional.
With our jobs and the kids it’s hard to find the time.
You get the idea and could possibly add in a few others that describe some of your own kinks and frustrations.
Growing up we didn’t have good role models for the kind of healthy, loving, vital, happy marriage we hoped for. We had been not been taught the skills of how to have successful intimate relationships. Imagine a world in which this skill set was required curriculum!
What we did have going for us was deep love and vision of marriage as a living embodiment of values to which we were already committed: spirituality, compassion, caring and service to others. We were indeed, youthful idealists forging our baby boomer way into uncharted territory. And we were very lucky that both of us shared this orientation. But this didn’t protect us from the challenges of love and intimacy.
It turned out to be much harder than we imagined. It turned out that love and good intentions weren’t enough. We discovered that even though we were really committed to each other, we both had to learn to be much more skillful in the way we acted and treated each other. We learned that that we each needed to dedicate ourselves to doing “our own work.” This meant learning about our own emotional triggering and reactivity, learning to open our hearts and trust, to heal our childhood wounds. We needed to learn to really take each other into consideration in deep and sensitive ways while not abandoning ourselves.
We have walked through (sometimes bushwhacking) all the usual challenges of life: from money, sex and power to three children, two careers, significant illness, and differing needs, desires, styles and rhythms–all the opportunities and challenges of weaving a life together. We really had to make our relationship a priority. Our marriage has been a life-long course in how to love and how to be loved. We discovered ways of communicating and ways of being with each other that helped sustain our love and to weave a wonderful life together – a life that is an expression of the best of who we are, individually and together. We are still perfectly imperfect, and still learning how to love each more and more fully – warts and all.
Through this life-long journey we developed the tools and understanding that infuse our retreats.
Come join us. As you can see, the work we’ve developed isn’t theoretical—it comes out of our 44 years learning as a couple….and has been field-tested with thousands of other couples.
Learn to open your hearts to one another in ways you may have never experienced before. Learn how the practices of presence, authenticity, self-responsibility, sacred sexuality, skillful communication, appropriate boundaries and empathy can help your love blossom and your spirits soar. Learn to laugh and love and play and to begin to conjure up a future you are excited to be creating together.
A retreat for couples who want to move beyond the existing boundaries of what seems possible in their primary relationship, into greater intimacy, spiritual connection, and joy. The potential magic and aliveness of our loving connection is too often lost in deadening habits and the pressures of daily life. By embracing our relationship as a vehicle for our own awakening, and by learning the attitudes, skills and practices of conscious relationship, our love and partnership can be rekindled and profoundly deepened.
Judith and Robert weave a safe yet intensive experiential journey of transformation, working with practices of
Most couples experience breakthroughs into deeper intimate connection, healing old wounds, and learning new skills to support their ongoing path of relationship. Suitable for old & new couples, those in love and those in need of healing. Same-sex couples warmly welcomed.