Every Relationship has Shared Stories at its Heart – What Are Yours?
PHIL: I am giving a talk this week on cooperation in society and how it requires both trust and shared intention between people. The intention comes from our shared stories about who we are and what our goals are.
The same forces apply in relationships, too. It helps tremendously to hold the same stories with your partner about how the world is, whether you’re Bonnie and Clyde, Thelma and Louise or Bert and Ernie. They provide the maps that you use to navigate in the world. It’s often not obvious what your stories are because they are rooted in feelings, but finding words to describe them will help in recognizing the role your stories play in your life and make you feel more grounded.
For Maude and I, one story is inner peace. In the world, peace is taken to be an absence of conflict, but on a personal level, it is a visceral experience of calm. We each feel it in the presence of the other because we have come to recognize a kindred spirit. It persists because we choose peace every time. Why wouldn’t we? But whether it arises from intention or grace, we know it is possible and try to spread it as much as possible, one relationship at a time. This holiday is an ideal time to practice because we have so many stories in common about this season – the three Kings, Santa Claus, the feast – so find love, joy and connection in these shared traditions.Shared stories are at the core of relationships and reflect our values and longings #quote Click To Tweet
MAUDE: This is a season where thoughts turn to peace, goodwill, love and celebration. We turn toward each other and our shared stories. Those shared stories are at the core of relationships and reflect our values and longings.
It can be very fruitful to reflect on what the shared stories of your relationships are and to bring them forth in words to each other; to speak of them and acknowledge them. The more you learn of the values that are at the center and foundation of your togetherness, the easier it becomes to dwell in that place and to let the meaningless occurrences pass by without too much energy. Fear and discord melt away and the sense of your bond grows ever stronger.
We have all become so inundated in the media with views that emphasize our differences and promote a sense of separation, that it is more important now than ever before to look at our connections and to speak and treasure our shared visions, to recognize our “collective unifying principle” as described by Nicole Karlis in a recent Salon article. In this same article, Bainbridge said “We have to find our humanity, and [ask], ‘what does it mean to be a human being?… It means that you have to integrate your own darkness, wrestle with your own paradoxes and stop projecting out onto other people the opposite inside of you.”
For Phil and I, we came to realize that our main story revolves around the actual experience of peace as a vital, visceral reality. We have found that we both have this experience of what it is like living without conflict/fear in our relationship and that we recognize this in each other. Once having discovered the actuality of peace, and having learned to dwell within that together, it has became important to us to find ways to share that with others. Out of that arose our shared vision to “spread peace one relationship at a time.”
And so in this season and every season, in all relationships both close and distant, it is our profound wish that you too will find a shared commonality, a connectedness and a caring that grows far beyond any real or imagined divisions. We wish you peace.
Photo credit: Phil Mayes
Photo note: Peace and love from Phil and Maude.
Read what some other writers have to say on this topic.
Get our free weekly newsletter about how to have a harmonious relationship.