Social isolation and the fun of learning more about one another

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I was chatting with an old friend today and we were reflecting on the impacts of this corona virus isolation and especially on our own relationships. He was saying that he and his long time partner were enjoying getting to know each other in new ways. And specifically how they each experience empathy and emotion differently. His partner is very intuitive and described her experience of empathy as picking up the other persons feelings as her own. My friend described his own experience as focusing more on his own feelings in contrast to what the other person may be feeling. So where his wife is seemingly more about the other persons feelings, Jeff is more about his own feelings in relation to what the other is feeling.

I loved this obseravation and dialogue Jeff and his wife are having. It caused me to reflect on how spending more time with my wife has deepened my own love and appreciation of how we each experience life uniquely. That my partner has gotten to the understanding that her thinking is free flowing and not to be taken literally. She is a sparkling Aries and a real doer, procrastination is a foreign concept to her. So for her having little thinking about what she is wanting to accomplish has been very freeing. For me, I’ve come to realize that being sensitive and having a lot of feelings that wash through me are not things I have to diagnose or ruminate on. I get to have a lighter relationship with my own experience which has allowed me to deepen my savoring of the experiences I love and to more easily let the less fun feelings just pass through.

So though my wife and I have have a similar understanding of all of our innate well being, we each experience this in different ways that has led to a greater appreciation of these differences and each other. For as a dear departed friend’s life mantra was, pleasure is conditioned by contrast. By more deeply seeing each others ways of experiencing the world, whole new levels of intimacy can unfold.

The gentle art of Refining

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Yesterday I had some time to replant a front strip of our garden. We had planted a really tasty border of plants that were fragrant and colorful. Yet we noticed over time that this bit of the garden didn’t relate to the rest of the garden plantings. While lovely, it felt disembodied from the whole. So we decided to move things around and replant it. And this sense of redoing and refining over time feels like a neglected art in life.

So often we are told about creative endeavors that seem to happen like a lightbulb flashing on. Yet for me there is a real joy in treating all of life as a work in progress. When I do strategic planning with clients my foundational belief and vision is to ‘have a plan and hold it lightly’. This sounds so simple and almost mundane. Yet we so often get invested in the sunk costs of so many aspects of our lives. A project. A relationship. And maybe most powerfully, ways of thinking.

With the garden we had a plan and implemented it and then noticed over time that one bit didn’t feel quite right. In the old days I may have kept the garden how it was given the time and money we invested in that plan. But it is so freeing to realize most anything can change, and with an open mind, often for the better. So we stayed open for some new perspectives and ideas to emerge and when they did, we redid this bit of the garden. And it feels better and more related and more coherent and we like it better. And we found places for the initial plants that also feels better and fills in some gaps we had very nicely.