Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Out this month, the crazy comedy Couples Retreat (starring Jason Bateman, Vince Vaughn and others) tells the story of four couples who agree to go to a remote island to--they hope--have fun, catch some sun and overindulge. Instead, they're roped into confrontational therapy sessions, trust exercises and yoga classes that bring out the best and worst in all of them. Three of the four couples have gone thinking they're 'fine' and are there to support friends on the brink of divorcing. In the end, they all find out that they each have plenty of issues that need addressing.
I think this is more typical than any of us like to admit. We're in our lives, we're more or less happy and--unless someone asks us to--we're probably not going to change anything or put any additional effort into our relationships and ourselves. But a whole level of awareness, connection and growth is waiting in the wings, ready for us to push to another level, commit to more in our lives and really show up for who we are and want to be.
I wondered watching the movie on vacation in Hawaii--where my husband and I got some much needed time away--how many of us are just in 'okay' relationships with our bodies, accepting that we're kind-of disconnected, a little overweight, struggling with some health issue. Years go by like this; we figure we're too busy and there's too much going on to really do anything. We'll figure that all out and get more connected when we have time.
But our relationships suffer over time from this avoidance, and our relationship to our bodies is no exception. Slowly over time we stop forgetting to check in, stop forgetting how we really feel and what makes us most alive in and appreciative of our physical selves. Tasks take over, we shovel food in on the run, we don't get to exercise. We forget our bodies and ourselves. Like the couples in the movie, we figure we haven't hit a crisis yet and we're doing 'okay,' so we keep going. Like the couples in the movie, sooner or later it catches up with us.
We lose 'that lovin' feeling,' for lack of a better phrase--but who could say it better really? It just feels like it's too much effort to look the subtle malaise in the face. We settle for getting by instead of thriving.
The thing is, in our body relationships as in our relationships with others, it doesn't take something grand to reunite. We don't have to go to an island in the Bahamas and meditate for ten years. But we can make a choice to stop avoiding. We can decide that we're willing to reconnect, to take responsibility for the kind of life and body relationship we want to create. And we can start showing up in the moment with an intention to be present, to be willing to feel, to acknowledge when something is off and do what it takes to make it better.
This is accountability in relationships, and it happens in the moment much more than it happens in big gestures or grand schemes. No relationship on the rocks is truly saved by a trip to a tropical island as much as it's saved by the little sacrifices, the commitment to being in touch with how we feel, the little love note on a pillow. What are the little ways that you can start showing up for the relationship with your body right now rather than ignoring it? What might be different if you committed to really feeling great in your body rather than just 'okay'?
Many of us live for years just like the couples in the movie, putting up with an okay relationship and losing touch with how great it really can feel. If this sounds familiar, ask yourself what you might do differently right now, even if nothing about your life can radically change. You still have to go to work, eat dinner on the run, get up early with the kids. But if all it really takes is a moment, ask yourself: what would romancing your body again look like right now?
Can you decide to listen to it, to hear it when it needs to move, needs to sleep or needs to stop eating? There's nothing sexier than a partner who listens and adores us. What does your body need from you right now that would rekindle the passion in your relationship? Think about it. This is the foundation of the Body Reunion Process and the beginning of a whole new way of being in your body. It doesn't take much more than a shift of acknowledgment and a moment of remembering. You just might move past the seven year itch and into a second honeymoon.