Three years ago, I didn’t know he was “the one” when I first met him. And if you were to ask me last year in February if we would ever get married, I would have told you it’s unlikely.
Fast forward to three days ago, when I didn’t know my wedding gown would be “the one” when I first tried it on.
And all of this has got me thinking about choices. Particularly, making the “right” ones.
Last year, my now-fiancé and I were walking a tightrope of feeling like our love was “right,” but struggling with the everyday experience of rightly loving each other. To me, right love is unconditional acceptance and care for one’s partner as he or she continues to grow and evolve… no matter if they eat a whole peanut butter jar before you get to have a bite.
We were both having a hard time with the peanut butter jar — the little things that turn into greater things that destroy relationships because you only treated the symptoms and not the source.
I kept asking, “Is this the right relationship for me? For us?” until I realized that you can buy more peanut butter. There’s plenty at the grocery store.
You can’t buy unconditional love.
Struggle in relationships usually happens due to zeroing in on the differences between each other. But long-term success in relationships isn’t achieved by compromise, if you ask me. What you need is shared vision.
Compromise means someone (usually both people) isn’t getting what they want. Shared vision means you’re co-creating what you want together.
Ten months after it looked like we’d end our relationship, my boyfriend proposed to me. After we fell off our tightrope, we chose to grab each other’s hands, pull each other back on and walk to solid ground. It was a scary choice at the time, but the alternative felt scarier.
Which brings us to this week. After visiting five bridal shops in two days, I grew overwhelmed. What if I didn’t find anything I liked? What if I didn’t know “the dress” when I saw it? My mom told me that on a reality TV show, one lady tried on more than 500 gowns and still couldn’t make a decision even though she looked great in all of them!
After I whittled the dresses down to two frontrunners, a salesperson gave me the best advice I’d heard all week: “If tomorrow you discovered you couldn’t buy this dress anymore, how would you feel?” I thought about Dress A and Dress B and how I would feel if each wasn’t available anymore.
Instantly, the answer became clear.
Sometimes, to move forward you need to think about what it would be like to move backward.
You need to think about what you’d lose, and feel that loss. Not just think about the loss, but feel it. That’s how you determine if something is worth fighting for. That’s how you determine the “right” decision.
There will never cease to be a multitude of decisions to make in your life about any number of things — from the more frivolous clothes shopping to the more serious question of whom to spend your life with.
These decisions are not solely cerebral. The answers are lying somewhere in your body. And the more open and curious you are about what’s going on inside your body, the more effortless it will be to make those decisions.
This is what mindfulness practices such as yoga postures have to offer you. They can’t let you know for sure if what you’re choosing is the “right” choice, but they can assist the decision-making process so that you feel in control and confident about your choice.
And the best part is, your inner teacher is open and available 24/7, even if your partner is not.
So, back to the question: Is your relationship right for you?
If there’s anything I’ve learned from the last year of my life, it’s that wonderful things are worth the effort. And maybe, to be worry free and live the life you’ve intended with someone else, you don’t need to have all the “right” answers.
You just need to know what’s right for right now.
Practice: Thread the Needle Pose (or Supine Figure 4), Sucirandhrasana
One of the best ways to safely open and clear out any indecision in your hips is through Thread the Needle Pose, also referred to as Supine Figure 4.
You might experience anger, tension or frustration with the openness of your hips in this pose. Where does that parallel in your life? Is there a relationship in which you are dissatisfied with the current direction of things? Soften into your physical tension and trust your body to dissolve old patterns that are keeping you from the life you’ve intended.
- Lie on your back and plant both feet on the ground, knees up to the ceiling. Draw the left knee in and cross the left ankle on top of the right thigh.
- Draw both legs in, hooking your hands around the back of the right thigh (or the right shin, if you feel more flexible today). Relax your shoulders and head down to the mat. Use your left elbow to hook into your left knee, if that’s comfortable, encouraging the left knee out to the side. As best you can, allow the left knee to remain in line with the left ankle.
- Gently flex through both feet and guide the right leg toward you as you open the left knee wide. Soften all the places in your body that do not need to be tense, like your face, neck, shoulders and abdomen. Breathe deeply and evenly for six breaths.
- To come out, release your hands and allow your right foot to drop to the mat. Uncross your legs, planting both feet down. You may wish to drop the knees to the left and then to the right, like windshield wipers, to release the low back before practicing the other side.