Sunday, May 6, 2012

Garden Gestalt/ Commiting to Growth and Health and Fulfillment

Two plants, in a garden, living there;  not unlike each other in that they are both plants, with needs for nurturing conditions. There the similarity ends. Both have their own identity, their own needs for growth and health and fulfillment.
There are times when two plants can be healthy and beautiful together. There are times when two plants have growth patterns or needs that are at odds with each other. It does not necessarily make either plant a bad or wrong plant. It just simply is the reality of their individual needs.

I was reflecting on this as I worked in my Garden today. I thought back to a time in my life, as a teenager; when my family would go out to my Pappy's summer home and spend a few weeks. Along one of the rural roads was a mountainside. On that mountainside, someone had spray painted a passage from the following quote by Dr. Frederich Perls:

I do my thing and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you, and I am I,
and if by chance we find each other, it's beautiful.

Powerful words. So much so, that my family took the time to look up the full script and we hung the words on one of the walls in our home.

I had forgotten about the words until today...they came flooding back from my memory..reminding me how important it is to do the following:

Always assess how healthy our relationships are, as we progress through our life with others. Unhealthy patterns can emerge without our realizing it. In which case our ability for health and growth as an individual can be severely damaged. Or conversely, we can do damage to someone we love.

Ask our self if our expectations from the relationship, for our self, are of equal importance to what we expect to provide for the other person? While loving and nurturing others is beautiful, we must not deny our self the level of fulfillment that we would want for others.

These are not easy questions to ask our self, as it requires us to step outside of our comfort zone, or rather the relationship that we feel accustomed to, and take stock of whether our own needs for growth and health and fulfillment are being met. It requires us to examine our own ability to love and nurture our self and others.

Does it mean that you must end the relationship? Not necessarily. That depends on whether you can each do your own thing, live and grow your own way, and still be in harmony with each other, healthy and fulfilled together.

Does it mean that you no longer love the other person? Again, not necessarily. On the contrary, if we truly love another, we want to ensure that our presence in their life is loving and nurturing. If our individual needs run counter to that effect, then there is consideration that has to be given about the direction of the relationship. Care should to be taken to ensure that open and honest expression of needs be shared with each other.  Anything less is an abuse of fairness and respect.

What was true of our relationship yesterday, may not be true today. What is true of our relationship today, may not be true tomorrow. What was true of us as an individual  yesterday, may not be true today. What is true of us as an individual today, may not be true tomorrow.

Much is made of committing ourselves to our relationships, particularly in religious and societal dogma. Committing to each other is a beautiful thing. But I would submit to you, that the  most important commitments we can make, are the ones we make to ourselves; to love and to nurture our self. Because if we cannot commit to our self, it devalues what we have to offer to others. If we have no love and caring for ourselves, we can have no love or caring for others.

If I could alter anything about Dr. Perl's quote, it would be to add the word Harmony to the last sentence. Harmony, I believe is the operative word. Harmony is both the means by which we should deal with others and live for ourselves; Harmony, as well, should be the end result.

My own personal quote along the lines of Garden Gestalt: I hear your call in the distance, bird of another song. How sweet the sound when the notes are in harmony with mine.

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