We traditionally think of the brain as the command center of our lives, sending messages to the rest of our bodies and controlling our thoughts, behaviors, emotions and desires. Except, it turns out that when it comes to the heart, it’s the other way around.
Your heart sends more messages to the brain, then your brain does to your heart. This surprised me, turned my view of what I’d learn about basic brain biology upside and made me think: Maybe the ancients were far more wise than we gave them credit for. When they said the heart was the most important organ in the human body, the center of our private universes, the seat of the soul and the essence of who we are, our true natures.
If that’s so and by extention, what can we say about the four elements and building sustainable love?
My friend Wendy Strgar of Good Clean Love is in the business of creating sustainable relationships, and her ecology of love philosophy is both green and desirable. Like the water we drink for survival, love is essential to our wellbeing. Maintaining a vibrant and authentic bond with another human being requires specific skills to flourish; emotional tools that we can learn and are as simple to understand as earth, water, air and fire.
The following is adapted from her book, Love That Works, A Guide to Enduring Intimacy, and discusses the parallels of these four basic components of Mother Earth to the inner landscapes of our personal connections. Her message is relevant wherever your call home, including the Middle East, where developing better relationship skills underpins our ability to coexist.
“The [Earth] of our relationships rests in our thoughts. This is the foundation of your relationship.”
Our thoughts are incredibly powerful: They can keep us connected or drive us apart. When was the last time you monitored the emotional quality of your thinking about your partner? Giving people the benefit of the doubt, giving up the need to be right, and looking for what is lovable in your partner will help you choose thoughts that sustain a loving atmosphere.
“The Water of our relationships happens in the ebb and tide of togetherness. This is how we show up for each other and keep our promises.”
Showing up for someone isn’t about creating quality time and special date nights, although these are nice ways to have together time. Adding safety to your relationship has more to do with making different choices about the little things. For example, instead of reading the paper after work, offer to help with dinner. Sharing the details of a life together speaks volumes about priorities. “Your needs matter to me” is an essential message to pass to your beloved.
“The Air of relationships flows with our ability to communicate. What we say and whether we feel heard is the basic currency that enriches or bankrupts our relationships.”
Communication takes the form of words and actions. Not being able to self-disclose or share important life events literally takes the air out of love. The goal of communicating is to connect. Sometimes that may mean engaging in a conversation that isn’t interesting to you, or learning to listen more attentively. This can also be about how you pay attention sitting side by side. Be sensitive to each other, and don’t take missteps personally. Men and women have different ways of expressing and listening to each other, and sometimes have to work to learn to communicate well.
“The Fire of relationships is ignited through physical touch. Cultivating a passionate, tender and safe place to explore sexuality with the one we love is the height of intimacy.”
Many believe that if the physical intimacy in their relationship improved, so would the rest of their love. Usually, the reverse is true. A great sexual relationship and ongoing passion is the result of our thoughts, communications and ability to show up outside the bedroom. Intimate lives that are nourished from the ground up, so to speak, offer partners a place to truly open up, discover their own passion, and be generous with their sexuality.
For more on the concept of sustainable love according to Wendy Strgar, visit Love That Works.
Share your thoughts:
Consider each aspect of your relationship – your thoughts about it, being present for your partner, communicating together and sharing pleasure – and ask yourself: where can I improve? Where would you like to see more from your partner?
©2010-2012 www.TinamarieBernard.com; PARTIAL reposts only permitted with link back to original article.