That is because, in the absence of anything else, we are not.
Fortunately, there is not a one of us who does not have a relationship. Indeed, all of us are in relationship with everything and everyone, all of the time. We have a relationship with ourselves, we have a relationship with our family, we have a relationship with our environment, we have a relationship with our work, we have a relationship with each other.
In fact, everything that we know and experience about ourselves, we understand within the context that is created by our relationships. For this reason, relationships are sacred. All relationships. And somewhere within the deepest reaches of our heart and soul, we know this. That is why we yearn so for relationships-and for relationships of meaning. It is also, no doubt, why we have such trouble with them. At some level, we must be very clear how much is at stake. And so, we're nervous about them. Normally confident, competent people fumble and fall, stumble and stall, crumble and call for help.
Indeed, nothing has caused more problems for our species, created more pain, produced more suffering, or resulted in more tragedy, than that which was intended to bring us our greatest joy-our relationships with each other. Neither individually nor collectively, socially nor politically, locally nor internationally, have we found a way to live in harmony. We simply find it very difficult to get along-much less actually love each other.
What's this all about? What's up here? I think I know. Not that I'm some kind of a genius, mind you, but I am a good listener. And I've been asking questions about this for a very long time. A few years ago, I began receiving answers. I believe those responses to have come from God. At the time I received them, I was so impacted and so impressed that I decided to keep a written record of what I was being given. That record became the Conversations with God series of books, which have become best sellers around the world.
It is not necessary for you to join me in my belief about the source of my replies in order to receive benefit from them. All that is necessary is to remain open to the possibility that there just might be something that most humans do not fully understand about relationships, the understanding of which could change everything.
Essentially, what God tells us in CWG is that we -- most of us -- enter into relationships for the wrong reasons. That is, for reasons having nothing to do with our overall purpose in life. When our reason for relationship is aligned with our soul's reason for being, not only are our relationships understood to be sacred, they are rendered joyful as well.
"Joyful relationships." For far too many people, that phrase almost sounds like an oxymoron-a self-contradicting, mutually exclusive term. Something like military intelligence, or efficient government. Yet it is possible to have joyful relationships, and the extraordinary insights in the Conversations with God books show us how.
End of book Forward.
Now...from the CWG Blog, the week before Valentine's Day, 2007...
You must never give up.
No matter how hopeless it might seem, you must never give up Love's Dream.
And no, it is not required that living The Dream must hurt. If it hurts, you are not living The Dream, you are living a nightmare and calling it a dream, hoping that it will become one.
Stop it. Stop the struggling. The Dream has no struggle in it. If you are struggling, you are not living The Dream.
Now "struggle" does not mean the small discomforts or the once-in-a-while feelings of not-okayness that are encountered by any two people who have chosen to be together intimately. It does not mean the little differences that from time to time have to be worked out. "Struggle" means just that: struggle. Ongoing difficulty. Frequent and recurring and serious discord, disharmony, disagreement.
"Struggle" means that things that ought to be simple become complex, moments which could easily be serene erupt into turmoil. Nervousness replaces excitement, sadness replaces bliss, walking on eggshells replaces walking on clouds.
You are struggling in your relationship when wariness overcomes eagerness, when pain pushes happiness out of the room...and when this happens often. Not once in a while. Not now and then. Often.
One can't ever fully relax anymore. Just when it seems like, well, this isn't so bad, I can make this work...boom...the door slams, the bomb drops, the sweetness crashes and reveals itself to be not the stuff of sturdiness that can be counted on, but an oh-so-fragile thing that cannot withstand even the gentle touch of intimacy.
I am asked, more than any other single question about relationship: When is it time to leave? When is it time to quit?
I am asked: How do I know I am not supposed to be here, learning something? How do I know that this is not all for my own good, my own evolution? How do I know that I am not just "giving up" -- again...?
I am asked: What does it take to make "love" work? And I answer, "Love should not be work. Love should be play. It should feel playful and joyful, not stressful."
The intimate relationships in many people's lives have not been long lasting. Happily Ever After has not been a universal (or even a common) experience. Indeed, it must sometimes seem to many that there is just no way to do this thing called Relationship and do it well.
People look in the mirror and ask, "Is it only me who has not been given the necessary equipment? It is only me who lacks sufficient understanding? It is only me who falls short on willingness or commitment or determination or skill or patience or selflessness or whatever-in-the-world-it-takes to make Happily Ever After work?"
Or is it that human beings are simply chasing an impossible dream? Is The Dream of real and lasting and wonderfully joyful love nothing but a fantasy that can never be fulfilled?
No. I don't believe that. And I believe that people who have tried and tried and failed have, at least, the opportunity to learn from their experience. There is no such thing as a lost cause. Love's Dream can be lived. That is God's promise.
There are couples who have lived it, who have made it to the Promised Land. Some found each other early in life, some found each other later, after much trial and error with others. All has not been perfect on their journey, all has not been smiles and laughter in every moment. But much of it has been. And all of it has been worth it. Every minute has been worth it.
There are those who say you have to "work" at relationship. Anything worth having is worth working for, the mantra goes. Okay. Fair enough. But this should be the kind of "work" that feels soooo good to do. Like Barbra Streisand singing. Like Richard Gere dancing. Like Nancy Kerrigan on ice. Like Anna Pavlova and Vaslav Nijinsky and Mikhail Baryshnikov in ballet shoes. Like Roger Clemens throwing a baseball. Yes, there's work involved...but oh, the joy of it, the sheer joy of it!
Yes, love -- real love, true love, lasting love -- may be "work," but it should be a work of art. It should be something you love to do. A wise person once said, "May you always love the loving you are doing."
Look at your relationship right now. Are you loving the loving you are doing?
If you love the loving you are doing, it is not "work" in the sense of being a struggle. It is a joy. Working to create something is very much different from working to hold something together. Everyone who has done both knows the difference. You can feel the difference, and no one has to tell you what is going on.
It has to do with effort and ease.
You know if, in your relationship, you are at a place of effort or if you are at ease.
Barbra Streisand sings effortlessly. The breathless grace of Nancy Kerrigan is effortless. That is precisely what makes it breathless grace. This is not to say that no "work" went into it. Surely it did. But joy came out of it. Work went in, and joy came out. When work goes in and joy does not come out, then "work" has become "effort."
This is the state of many relationships.
When is enough enough?
That question cannot be answered by anyone other than the person asking it. But the question rarely goes without answer. The issue is not whether the person asking the question KNOWS the answer, but whether the person HEEDS it.
The next day's blog
Many people marry or partner with the same person throughout their adult lives. Some people actually remain with the same human being, other people partner with several different human beings over the years, but it is the same person.
Many people remove themselves from relationships because they are not going well, not serving either partner, really, but then go out and create a new relationship with the exact same person merely wearing a new body. There is a different human being in the room, but not a different person...if you know what I mean.
I know a woman who has married the same man three times. Each guy was different, but exactly the same. (In this case, they were all alcoholic abusers, sorry to say.)
Why do we do this? Why do some people "marry their parents," as the saying goes? Why do others choose the same kind and type of person to be their spouse or life partner over and over again? Some say it is to pay off a karmic debt. But Conversations with God says there is not such thing as karmic debt. There is, however, a Cosmic Wheel; a cycle of life that brings us back to the same starting point, and that gives us an eternity of opportunities to heal/experience what we choose to work with in our physical lives.
There is a way to break this chain, however. It is not necessary to keep running into the same problem in every relationship. It is possible to find and create a new kind of relationship, where we finally give ourselves a break from the age-old pattern. A relationship that is happy, healthy, and fine. The relationship of our dreams.
Yes, it is possible to have-find-create such a relationship.
The next day's blog
The first step in finding-creating-having the relationship of our dreams is to get clear with ourselves about the real reason to enter into a relationship to begin with.
The purpose of relationship, CwG tells us, is not to find a person who can meet all or most of our needs, but to experience ourselves in the most extraordinary way...which is, basically, a person who has no needs.
Our relationship with everything was designed as the perfect vehicle through which we might announce and declare, experience and express, fulfill and become the next grandest version of the greatest vision ever we held about Who We Are.
We cannot do this in a vaccuum. We can only do this in relationship to someone or something else. Therefore it could be said that, in a sense, all other people, places, and events exist so that we can create this experience of and for ourselves. Indeed, we call these people, places, and events into our lives for that precise reason.
They call us into their lives for the very same reason. We are all co-creating together, collaborating in the biggest enterprise the Universe has ever seen: God, godding!
We cannot enter into this experience with the most beneficial results, however, if we have not taken the Second Step necessary to the creation of all fulfilling relationships. Fascinatingly, this is a step that most people fail to take, have never taken, and have in many cases never even heard about.
The Second Step necessary to the creation of all fulfilling relationships is, fascinatingly, a step that most people fail to take, have never taken, and have in many cases never even heard about.
You must decide Who You Are and who you Choose To Be.
Very few people do this. Very few. Over the past two decades I have counseled privately and in group sessions with well over 15,000 people. Most of them have had issues in one of three areas: prosperity, relationship, life purpose. Nothing surprising there, because there isn't much else going on...however, here is something that, at first, did surprise me:
Virtually none of the people who were coming to me had any idea what in the world they were trying to do with their life. They had no thoughts about their True Identity, no clarity about The Process of Life, and in no insight into the Journey of the Soul upon which they were embarked.
They had not made the most basic life decision: they had not decided who they are or who they chose to be. This made it extraordinarily difficult to live their lives in any rewarding or fruitful manner. They were like children running around with blindfolds on, playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey. They kept walking into walls and bumping into the furniture of their lives. They were getting nowhere, and tiring themselves out doing it. This led to anger, frustration, emotional upset, unexplained outbursts, and an underlying sea of discontent and disharmony upon which they set sail, hoping to reach the distant shore of goals they had not even set for their lives.
Very little in their lives seemed to be working, least of all their most important relationships. Flailing about in this sea of discontent, they reached out to others in the hopes of saving themselves from drowning. But rather than finding themselves being pulled out of their discontent and dysfunction, they pulled others into it along with them.
Relationships -- and, most significantly, romantic relationships -- can never work optimally in the long run if they are entered into for the wrong reason. They can seem to work, but even those relationships that appear to be providing some modicum of happiness are only touching the surface of what is truly possible in a Sacred Relationship that is entered into for the true purpose of the souls.
There is only one reason to enter into a relationship, and that has to do with providing oneself the opportunity to announce and declare, experience and express, become and fulfill our highest notion of who we really are.
Masters enter into all relationships -- from the most casual and seemingly insignificant to the most intimate and important -- not as someone who seeks to receive, but as someone who seeks to give. And what it is that they seek to give is the Essence of who they really are. Masters do this not for altruistic reasons (that is, to please the other and to serve the other), but for self-creating reasons (that is, to experience the Self as Who They Choose to Be). The irony is that by accomplishing the second, they accomplish the first as well. They do please and serve the other.
We can do the same as Masters do...yet if we have not decided who we really are, there is no way that we can express the Essence of that.
Therefore, the second step in creating fulfilling relationships is the making of the most important decision one could ever make: Who am I, and who do I choose to be, in relationship not only to this other person, but to all of life?
This decision will set the course of our lives. It identifies the shore to which we would set sail. It creates the target. It becomes the destination. And no matter how stormy the sea becomes, it is our safe harbor -- one which we cannot fail to reach -- for it draws us to it like a magnet. The attraction of the Self to the Self's highest idea about the Self cannot be overcome by the momentary storms of day-to-day encounters with life.
This does not mean that we will never "end" a relationship -- or that we never should. It does mean that we will enter them and "end" them for entirely different reasons than we might have used as our summons before. It does mean that our relationships can be healthier than they have ever been. Even those that we are changing can be healthy, for a change in the nature of a relationship need not lead to anger and upset, sadness or frustration, and need not produce the experience of damage or hurt.
I have put the word "end" in quotation marks in the above paragraph because it is important to understand that one never truly "ends" any relationship, but merely changes its form.
The next day's blog
It is not really possible to end any human relationship. That is because there is no such thing as "time" and there is no such thing as "another".
These are very advanced spiritual/metaphysical concepts, and the average person may face a challenge in wrapping his or her thoughts around such ideas. Embracing or accepting such thoughts as one's innermost reality can change one's life in an instant. It can certainly change one's experience of relationship.
Relationships, in the normal human understanding of that word, take many forms. In advanced spiritual understanding, relationships take only one form, for there is only one form of relationship: the relationship that one has with the Self.
There is no one else but the Self. There is no other time but the Present. In the Present and Only Moment of Now, I Am All There Is.
I am aware that saying such a thing could be seen as remarkably narcissistic and arrogant is not considered in a spiritual context. I am aware that saying such a thing even in a spiritual context to an audience that does not understand or accept the context which is being embraced would also be considered unbelievably arrogant. Perhaps even blasphemous.
Therefore, I say these things here with some caution, presuming to be speaking to an audience that fully understands, fully accepts, fully embraces, and attempts to fully practice the messages of Conversations with God.
Given that there was no one but the Self -- that God is all there is -- everything we do with and for another we do with and for the Self...and everything we fail to do with and for another we fail to do with and for the Self. Our awareness of this changes, for us, the entire nature of relationships. It alters our understanding of how we are invited by Life to "be" with each other. Indeed, it changes the whole purpose of our relationship with every person and every thing.
The purpose then becomes quite simple: to create the Self, to express the Self, to experience the Self, to become the Self in One's Total Experience. By Total Experience I mean one's spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, relative, and absolute experience.
Relationships, in the normal human understanding of the word, take many forms, as I have said. It is not necessary to take or retain any form in order to retain one's True Identity. It is not necessary to function within the framework of any particular relationship form in order for the relationship with the Self to be fully developed and totally realized in the ever-present moment of Now.
Given the True Nature of our Identity, we are always in relationship with everything that exists. Therefore it is impossible for us to either "begin" or "end" any relationship. When, in normal human terms, we say we are going to "end" a relationship, what we mean is that we are going to change the form of that relationship. We are going to change the way we experience it. We are going to change the way we are creating it.
This is important for us to understand, because if we think that we are ever going to end a relationship, we are mistaken. You will always, and forever, have a relationship with every person with whom you have ever had any kind of relationship at all. (Which means, of coure, everybody on the planet.) You cannot "end a relationship." You can only change the way it is being created and experienced.
Likewise, you cannot "begin a relationship" or "enter into a relationship." You can only create and experience your relationship with any other person, place, or thing in a new way. That is, in a way in which you have not experienced it heretofore.
When you approach a person you have never "met" (encountered in physical form in this present lifetime), you may therefore wish to ask yourself a simple question: How do I now wish to recreate my relationship with this "new" person in my life?
Remembering that the True and Only Purpose of relationship is to announce and declare, express and fulfill, experience and become Who You Really Are... there can be only two questions that are asked with regard to human relationships:
1. Where am I going?
2. Who is going with me?
Do not invert the order of the questions.
Do not -- under any circumstances -- invert the order of the questions.
Is that clear?
Are you clear about that?
Good. Then we can move on.
And finally, another blog, the final entry, from the same week...
So this is the week of Valentine's Day, yes? Then it would be very appropriate for us to take a look at what Conversations with God has to say about love and relationships.
Most people, God said to me, enter into relationships for the wrong reason. The purpose of relationship is for us to create a context within which we might announce and declare, express and fulfill, our highest notion of who we really are. Very few people understand romantic relationships in this way.
I certainly didn't in my life, and since I have been given this information I have found myself challenged at the very highest level. I have not always met the challenge. Indeed, I have failed time and time again to fulfill the highest notion I have had about myself in my relationships with others. Yet I believe that by my failures I have grown, and come to know more and more about what it means to be truly loving.
The first person that I have to be truly loving with, is myself. I know that sounds like nothing more than a shallow cliché, but I assure you that it is profoundly true -- and immensely important. Loving oneself does not mean being selfish. It does mean not becoming a chameleon, not allowing yourself to change colors and change truths and change intentions and change the way it is that you are as an individual human being simply to keep another person in the room. It means loving yourself enough to be authentically YOU even if it looks like doing so will cause others to depart.
What will happen, in truth, is that certain people will depart, but certain other people will join you in your life in a new and powerful way. They will join you because they resonate with who you are. They are in harmony with the very essence of your being. They agree with your agenda. They hold the same intentions. They are compatible with you in many ways. They are not the same as you, but they are compatible. I cannot begin to tell you how important this is. A person cannot know -- nor can you -- whether or not they are compatible unless they know who you are in your Truthful Being.
This is a phrase that I have coined to describe a person who lives in, and comes from, his or her truth in every moment. I made a New Year's resolution a few weeks ago. My resolution reads like this: "Tell your truth as soon as you know it." For years I did not do this. In fact, for most of my life I have lied. I told small lies and big lies, trivial lies and important lies. And I did it because I felt that it served me to do it. Now I see that nothing has disserved me more. So old so soon, so smart so late.
And so on this Valentine's Day I invite you to love yourself as you have never loved yourself before. Love yourself enough to speak your deepest truth to everyone whose life you touch. And especially to your Significant Other. Please speak to your Beloved from your place of transparency and total visibility in every moment. Hide nothing. Shield nothing. Stand naked before your Beloved not only physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as well. Let yourself be seen, let yourself be known exactly as you are. This will be the greatest gift you could ever give to anyone, and the most wonderful present you could give to the person with whom you share your life.
And so, this is not only an act of self-love, but an act of enormous love for another as well. For the willingness to be absolutely vulnerable and completely without defense in the space of another is the highest tribute that one heart can pay to a second human being. It says more than all the store-bought gifts could possibly ever convey. And it tells more about you than anything else you could possibly do in order to communicate who you are and how much you love.
The willingness to lose another rather than hold them in your life under false pretenses is the highest act of love. And the irony of all this is that having the courage to share what it is that you are certain will drive the other person away... is very often precisely what inspires them to stay. For they then know that they are not living with an "image" of you, but with a reality. A truth. The authentic article. The real thing.
Most people can live with reality. What they can't live with is false hopes, misplaced dreams, and the knowledge that they cannot trust the words that come from the mouth of the person they love -- not because that person is mean or cruel or deliberately trying to be hurtful, but simply because that person is so wounded that he or she cannot speak in words that can be trusted. They do not know their own truth. Because they have never identified it. Because they have never had the urge to speak it and to declare it and to announce it for fear of losing another. The result is that they have lost many others, over and over again in their life.
People with whom I counsel ask me how they can announce their truth to another when they do not even know it. They ask me to help them identify their truth, to come to understand who they really are and what they really want. I tell them that they must begin by simply verbalizing their truth. They must begin by talking. Out loud. To others. About everything.
How they feel. What they want right now. It may be quite true that many people do not know what they want in the long run, but it is not true that people do not know what they want right here and now. Everyone knows what he or she wants right here, right now. Everyone knows that. It is merely a question of whether we will have the courage to speak our truth about that. If we hold that truth in, and if we have done so for years, we literally lose touch with the essence of who we are and what we desire. We fall into a quiet resentment. We begin living lives of quiet desperation. We say less and less. We think more and more. We turn inward. And our significant relationship with our beloved other becomes unfulfilling -- and we don't even know why.
So this Valentine's Day give the gift of truth. Forget the candy, forget the beautiful card, forget the flowers, forget the dinner out and the negligee and whatever else it is that you thought would be the "perfect gift" on Wednesday evening. Just tell the truth. Tell the good truth and the bad truth. Say the words that you know will be welcomed, and the words that you know will not. Be brave. Be courageous. Be authentic. Be truthful. And in so being, be the essence of love itself.
© 2013 ReCreation Foundation - http://www.cwg.org - Neale Donald Walsch is a modern day spiritual messenger whose words continue to touch the world in profound ways. His With God series of books has been translated into 27 languages, touching millions of lives and inspiring important changes in their day-to-day lives.