In Part 1 of this look into relationships as mirrors I discussed what relationship means and how some of the different relationships form when we begin to look outside of ourselves. I showed how each relationship has both a healthy and unhealthy aspect and, briefly, touched on the nature of what a healthy relationship might look like.

In this edition, cleverly referred to as Part II, I am going to further examine and expand on why there seems to be so many unhealthy relationships today – both with ourselves and with others. In addition I will talk further about how we can use relationships as tools for learning when we look at them as mirrors of ourselves.

So why all of the unhealthy relationships? To help answer this I am going to refer back to the symbol of the (smaller)circle within the circle. The smaller circle represents our Center- our conscious connection to God/Source/Spirit – however you understand the Ultimate energy. The smaller circle is the Source of the entire circle but that little nugget of information seems easily displaced/forgotten/hidden and that is where the unhealthiness begins.

When my awareness and attention is focused toward the Center (looking inward) there is a clarity, a peace and a sense of unconditional love that guides me forward on my path. I understand (or begin to, in my case) that life is happening for me, not to me. And….I feel full of energy for whatever is unfolding in front of me. There are definitely more smiles on my face and I feel more at peace.

As soon as I begin to turn away from the Center (outward) the relationship to myself in this world (ego) begins to form and I must now draw upon my own energy for sustenance. Finding my Center now becomes more of a challenge and a struggle for that energy (power) ensues with relationship to myself and with others. This is supported in society as, despite religious popularity, the general focus is not on the Center but on the outward trappings of the mind and the allure of the material (physical) world.

This power struggle manifests in unhealthy ways in my relationship to myself in two ways: 1) Addiction and 2) Over identification with the mind. At the core of this self struggle is the conflict between head and heart. I am constantly pulled in different directions as my heart (Center) is quickly overridden by the mind and all of its tricky maneuvers – I am confused and not sure of myself.

Since I no longer strongly feel the connection to my Center, I feel a bit depleted yet I just want to feel good again. This is where addiction comes into play. I can turn to drugs, sex, alcohol, sports, electronics, food, etc in order to numb the feeling that I am turned away from the Center and feeling discomfort. It has been my experience that the reason I  began to turn away is rooted in painful experiences in childhood that I wasn’t able to process and express. Society is all about numbing and suppressing emotions and I became addicted to it.

I can also be unhealthy with myself when I over-identify with my mind and thoughts. When this happens I can’t “hear” guidance from the center and feel like I have to do it all by myself. That gets heavy and stressful quickly. So when I do get an exciting original impulse from Center (which, thankfully, always comes) my mind will tell me one hundred reasons why not to do it – I won’t have enough time, enough money, I’m not good enough, I don’t know how……..the excuses are endless, huh? The mind literally tries to keep me from realizing the boundless energy of Source in order to stay in control. It (mind) has forgotten that there is a Bigger, Better Me in there.

Another thing that happens when I over-identify with mind is that I become stuck in time, literally trapped in my mind. I find myself either constantly focused on the hurts of the past (replaying that broken record over and over) or looking ahead to a better future(if I just have this relationship, this job, that raise, that vacation, etc.)  so I don’t have to feel those past hurts. The problem with this is that the Center only exists in the present moment. So I am constantly being distracted backwards or forwards from the power of right now. It is constant chatter that takes will to break free from.

As the power struggle grows within myself I find the manifestation of it begins to spill over in my outer relationships. When this happens I find myself judging, labeling and determining what is right and wrong for everyone else. This leads to constant angst and the need for control – I think I know what is right or wrong for someone else and I tell myself it is for their good. The reality of it is I am in my head, in their business and playing God for them.

As a result my relationships devolve into codependent struggles as I need to get the energy to feel good that is normally found within my Center. My mind, wanting to maintain its control, obliges completely and I proceed to get that energy from overpowering them (victor mentality) or making them feel bad for me (victim mentality). Those are opposite sides of the same mechanism. My mind works to control the conditions – here is the conditional love that marks many relationships and a primary reason they tend to go awry. I love you as long as you do as I say, think as I think and always agree with me. As soon as you do not – let the battle begin. This is not a sustainable relationship for either side.

So is there a Higher Purpose to a relationship with myself or others that is beyond temporary relief and control? Yes – ultimately I strive to accept myself and others as they are, resting in the notion that Life is perfect as it is in this present, centered moment. Relationships help me to get there by mirroring back to me where I’m at this moment. They are my great teachers and it is often those closest to me that are my most intense reflectors.

If I am feeling any angst or stress with myself I can now see that those are hurts of the past signaling that life is out of balance and I am not focused toward Center. When I feel stress in relationships with others than I can now see that is a mirror back to me showing me that I am out of alignment. It is not about the other person – it is always about me. Those stressful relationships are showing me where I need to work on myself. I used to think that there was something wrong with those people and that they needed to change but I can now begin to see that those people are perfect as they are and that my thinking was just backwards. Whoa – deep breath!!!! I am a work in progress.

Please join me for the conclusion in Part III where I will look at some solutions I have found helpful to bring the awareness of my journey back inward and toward my Center. Blessings to you, my mirrors!!!






When hurts come up from past – that is a signal that something is out of balance.







So what does relationship mean? One cool definition I found was – the state of being connected. What are we connected to? In reality – EVERYTHING!! And since we are connected to everything each relationship can mirror back to us where we are at in our lives. But, since I am a work in progress, I don’t yet fully realize the power of that last sentence.  In order to guide myself toward that realization I feel there are 3 major relationships (listed in order of importance) that are essential to explore:

1) Relationship to God/ Spirit

2)Relationship to self

3) Relationships to other people

To help understand how these relationships connect I am going to use the metaphor of the circle within a circle. The entire circle, of which we are a part, is God, of course, because life is whole. The inner circle represents conscious connection with God – the experiencing that there is no separation from God (Oneness). In my limited view, this is the only relationship – it is a return to our true Being. I can feel this as moments of clarity, unconditional love, service, inner peace, gratitude, etc. As I work toward and bring my focus to the center of the circle these moments become more frequent. I feel whole.

As I turn away from the center circle and my conscious connection to Spirit I begin to form  another relationship in an effort to feel connection – the relationship to self (ego). In this relationship I am not quite centered and feel a degree of separation from God/Spirit. As I indulge in this apparent separation I find myself in my head….a lot –  with constant thoughts of past and future. This focus seems to make moments of angst, stress and frustration seem to be the norm.  A healthy relationship to self realizes the need to turn around and head back to the Center and loves itself enough to know that it is a process. It is like the mirror image in the picture above – it realizes that everything seemingly outside of it is leading it back to the center (or away from the center). It senses the need for present moment awareness to be guided Home.

As I continue to venture out away from my Center and indulge in my separate sense of self I find another relationship begins to form – the relationship to other people. I can relate to others as family, friends, lovers, coworkers, etc.  As I place all of my awareness into my relationship with others I find my mind believing even more thoughts of separation – My “I” (ego) begins to view others as separate and different from itself. This goes against my true nature of Wholeness and the angst I consequently feel quickly manifests into judgement….lots of judgement and having to be right.

This is where the story from the introduction of being married back to back shows the potential for a healthier relationship. As I stand face to face with someone it is as if I can only appreciate them from the outside. And the more outside my awareness is the further away I am from my Center of Peace. So to compensate for not feeling Centered I seek that love outside  – I will love you as long as you look this way, act this way, agree with me, etc. This results in codependency, neediness and….lots of conditions – I love you as long as you are….(fill in the blank). When you are no longer that – screw you!!! With conditions, it is easy to forget that this relationship is a mirror image back to myself.

But when we stand back to back with someone there seems to be more of an inward focus. I have my 180 degrees of the circle in front of me but I am aware that I am not whole. In the above example I don’t seem to have that awareness yet and look outward. So I have to trust that my relationship with you will show me what I am missing. That you will mirror back to me where I need balance. But here’s the rub – the focus is inward because, to truly trust (or love) someone, I will need to have trusted (or loved) myself first. I will need to have recognized that inside of myself first to recognize it inside of another.  In this way I accept you as you are and only need you to be who you are to teach me back to Center.

These relationships build on the others from the outside in and infuse awesomeness from the inside out. The relationship to others and ourselves help us to get to the relationship with God/Spirit. Once we begin to realize the relationship with God/Spirit then every other relationship we have can go to ever deepening levels and exist in peace and harmony. That is what I consider  healthy relationship.







145   Above is a popular picture taken in Sedona of Cathedral Rock. This view serves as the backdrop for the many weddings performed in Sedona and is also a famous tourist picture as one can see the mirror image of Cathedral Rock in the Oak Creek below.

Within this picture lies a beautiful story that was once shared with me by a wonderful couple that I once took on a jeep tour. In the middle of the rock it looks as if there is a couple standing back to back with one another. To the left of the couple is a rock that looks like a podium with head on it overlooking the couple (the person giving the service). And on each side of that are the large rocks that represent the rocks/support in our life – Spirit, family, friends, faith, etc.

When I shared this scene with the couple they shared that they were of Ojibiway origin and that they get married back to back. One person has 180 degrees of the circle which is their energy and responsibility. The other person has the other half. They shared that, if you were looking at the person in front of you, you couldn’t see behind their back and they couldn’t see behind yours. But, if you stand back to back, each person can share their perspective and, together, they can see the whole 360 degrees. In this way, relationships become less about who wins (energetically) than they do a mutual sharing of each other. They finished by saying we attract people into our lives who have a piece of the pie (about ourselves) that we don’t understand and that, if we trust them, they will share that piece with us and bring us closer to wholeness.

I have always loved to share this story because it just has so much depth and possible meaning. We will be using the story of standing back to back and the concept of the mirror image to show  how important our relationships are by mirroring back to us what we need to learn to return to our natural state of balance and harmony.

I am sharing these ideas in response to an article I saw on Facebook that claimed that only 2 out of 10 marriages last. I was a bit surprised by the statistic but, when I really looked at the all of the relationships around me, perhaps I have just been fooling myself. The amount of relationships that I would deem happy/sustainable are so few and far in between that I began to wonder if I  knew of any truly healthy relationships, including my own? Why is that?

To explore this a bit further (for myself and to share with you) I am offering ideas in three parts: Part 1 will look at what relationship means and use the concept of standing back to back to illustrate the potential for a healthy relationship. Part 2 will explore some reasons for why we see so many unhealthy relationships today and how we can use them as learning tools. Part 3 will offer some ideas for how to bring ourselves and, thus, our relationships, back into balance.

Perhaps by shining some light on the subject we can uncover the true power of relationships and begin to build ones that help us to take our journeys to deeper levels of Being.