Do you know that feeling of watching dancers perform on stage - the pristine formations, top-tier turns, and the downright amazing stamina that makes it seem like they’re not even working hard at the moment? EFFORTLESS! Is the word that comes to mind when I think of a dance well-done. Well, guess what? If it appears effortless, it means those dancers have worked day and night to appear seemingly flawless. (I’d know because I grew up in the dance world!)
The journey of a conscious relationship is like a dance in many ways. It’s about showing up, practicing over and over again, and realizing that it’s not perfection one is striving for, but rather embodiment. There will be countless moments where you’ll be put on stage with your partner and given the opportunity to shine your heart out - sometimes you won’t show up in the ways you wish you could, but you’ll still be there, giving it your all, doing your best and pushing past your preconceived notions of what you ever thought you were capable of.
The dancer on stage might be panicking on the inside and killing the performance simultaneously! This is possible because they’ve devoted hundreds of hours to training their mind and body to nail the moves, regardless of the fact that the mind is perceiving the crowd as a threat. Similarly, we can train ourselves to respond even when the mind is convincing us that we’re being threatened in the middle of a conversation with our partner over whose turn it is to take out the trash. See, when we are triggered by our partners, our systems automatically perceive anything being said as a threat which causes the adrenaline to spike, our defenses to go up and “irrational” decisions to be made.
You might be wondering… well how do I train my mind & body to show up differently? The simple answer is mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of observing and noticing the ways in which the mind and body are responding to internal and external stimuli. The more we explore the mind-body connection and get curious about how our thoughts are affecting our body & vice versa, the more capable we become of embodying a state of relaxed awareness.
When we enter a state of relaxed awareness, the body and mind are no longer working overtime to produce stress hormones. Instead, we are able to make well-thought-out decisions from the part of the brain associated with executive functioning - these are decisions that have been made from a place of calm and ease or what could be perceived as a more rational state of mind. Creating a mindfulness practice can help you learn to spot when you’re being triggered, notice the ways in which you’re reacting to the triggers, and ultimately develop new neural pathways to help you make more rational decisions whenever you find yourself on the stage with your partner - which can be at any moment if you haven’t noticed already!
If you’d like to dive deeper on your journey towards making the dance between you & your partner be approached with more ease and grace, feel free to book a couples therapy session with me by visiting the portal and requesting your first appointment!
Amanda Vazquez, M.A. is a Marriage & Family Therapy Student Intern at Cypress Wellness Center. She works from a holistic approach, taking, mind, body, and spirit into account to help clients create a better sense of harmony in their lives. To schedule an appointment or free phone consultation, click here.