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A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. September's Theme: "Relationships"
Volume 4 Issue 6 ISSN# 1708-3265
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Building Bridges Not Walls
by Rev. Cheryl Jewett

Everything is relative, Einstein said. Absolutely. The other day, a dear friend said to me, "If my sister's husband's uncle's son…" He paused, appearing puzzled. "What would he be to me?" Smiling, I shrugged my shoulders and responded, "He's a relative." Wow, quick thinking. Coming from a small family, I'm not big on figuring out roles within relationships, although I do have a friend who could have figured it out quite readily.

Seriously though, relationships can be tricky things, the bane of an existence as Garfield's owner used to bemoan, for example, whenever the cat would do a cannonball on his chest first thing in the morning. Or, these ties that bind have the potential for sublime bliss, a sharing of an intimacy unbeknownst previously where each knows the other at the deepest level. And though they would deny it, many people are afraid of that kind of intimacy. These are people who are better at building walls than bridges. For whatever reason, they've learned to keep people at a distance.

But, our mission here is to learn how to build bridges, not walls; how to transcend the subject-object relationships in our lives, and view the world with more feelings of harmony and flowing acceptance. Beginning with yourself, of course. Why 'of course', some might ask? Because we have been taught that to think of yourself first is selfish. But, aren't you now and forevermore the one true and primary relationship? Body, mind, and spirit. First and foremost after meeting your basic needs for food, water, and shelter, create a space of safety for yourself by loving and approving of yourself, a place where you find deserving, trusting, and accepting thoughts and feelings. This is your true centre of consciousness, where the Illuminated Real You resides, where you know what you feel is coming from the heart. Seek that light within and know it is divinely inspired, a powerful source of healing.

Sending out this energy-light can create harmony in your relationships by raising the vibration of ALL within and around you. Affirm, "This loving energy-light of my Real Self is felt and reacted to positively as it is received in communication with others." And just think, when that compelling energy-light returns to you, it is multiplied. Now, that's the power of reaching out to others, knowing we are all interconnected. Changing the "me" to "we", as Michael Moore has said in his newest movie, "Sicko", is needed to solve our country's health care crisis. That, dear friend, is world-changing!

All relationships are simply mirrors, reflecting how you relate to yourself. By using the mirror process, you can recognize what you really feel and learn to be more honest with yourself. You cannot give away something you do not have, so how can you authentically give away love and compassion to someone else if you don't give it to yourself? Are you kind to yourself? Then, you'll be kind to others. Are you forgiving of yourself? Then, you'll forgive others because you'll realize the vital interconnection that this act of forgiving others has - a capability to release you from negative feelings. Just as mirrors can reflect the physical embodiment, so they can reflect emotions - hate, contempt, dejection, joy, support, and the list goes on. If you embrace hateful thoughts, then you will give away that venom, also.

If, in the course of your day, you key into an internal conflict, fully acknowledge it, and then think about asking the Universe for help in resolving it and integrating your feelings. Often, a good time to do this is at night, so your subconscious can work on it as you sleep. Know that any emotion-charged bond offers you the opportunity for personal and spiritual growth. Remind yourself, "My Real Self expresses, through the wisdom of God, communication which heals and builds bridges, not walls."

As a member of the human race, each one of us is connected to the other simply by that affiliation. We walk through life, side by side, some closer in proximity than others. Each playing different roles to and for different people. Touched by another, in some way, shape, or form. And, not just people, but pets, trees, birds, and books - all of nature. These are your relationships; including of course, the relationship with yourself and with the Sacred God-Spirit.

Because we are each unique individuals, it is a caring and supportive act to try and understand each other's likes/dislikes/desires/fears. Learn to surrender your need to always be right. "I see it differently. I wonder how you came to that conclusion." In other words, there will be times when you agree to disagree. If both of you think and speak the same way, it seems as though one of you might not be necessary to the relationship. So, let there be space in your togetherness.

As you recognize the quality of the bond, you then decide comfort distance. Not all people will you feel like being close to, and that's OK. Listen to each other so your lives can be enriched, rather than formulating your argument as they speak. And learn to listen with more than your ears. Listen with your heart. Love is accepting someone, foibles and all, knowing everyone has strengths and weaknesses yet are still lovable.

So, what life roles do you/have you/will you play? Becoming aware of these roles can be enormously enlightening as you come to realize the countless variety of roles you play. Not only is this insightful, but the exercise has a tendency to put relationships in perspective. With some bonds, you were, are, and will always be a certain relationship such as daughter or son. The behaviours within that relationship might change over time, for example, where once your mother took care of you, you might find yourself caretaking your mother.

By recognizing the many roles in your life, your emotions come alive. People in your life are thoughts which produce feelings. Some, you feel comfortable with; others, you don't. Some, an upswelling of love fills your heart. Others, the lump of fear in your throat feels like you swallowed a baseball. Through opening the door to these emotions, you begin to see self-value, self-confidence, and ultimately self-acceptance. So, put on your thinking cap, and think about roles in your life.

Let me get you started. I was a figure skater, a ballet/tap/toe dancer, even a dance teacher. And, a bookaholic. I was a daughter. Today, I am still a daughter. I am a mother. I am a nature-lover. I am a writer. I am a cat-lover. And, I still love books. Tomorrow, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I will still be a bookaholic. And, I'll still love my kitties. I will always be a writer, always be a daughter and mom. Now, it's your turn. Make three headings on a piece of paper and get started: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. What roles predominate in your life?

The very cornerstone of relationships is giving love with no expectations. So the more you open your mind and heart to love, the better your interactions with self and others, be they animate or inanimate. Continually, I encourage myself to be quiet and go inside to connect with my Intuition, my Silent Centre. This keeps the flow of the universe easily and effortlessly moving through me.

Each role is a relationship of some type. Each relationship holds within it certain attributes, unique to that bond. Each role teaches us we are not alone, that we are more similar than different. With each relationship, we see how we really are interconnected. We truly are as ONE. Take the time to explore the interactions in your life. They can range from close to distant, personal to public, active to passive, passionate to platonic, daily to yearly. As you increase your self-love and understand what mirroring the affiliations in your life can teach you, the ties that bind you together with ALL ELSE will significantly improve. Daily, use this affirmation, "I love myself and I stay centred, calm, and secure with my relationships."

Cheryl, from Michigan, says, "Having had Multiple Sclerosis for almost thirty years, I've learned much about adapting and squeezing joy out of life. Therefore, I am a metaphysical minister who believes God is in everything, everywhere. And, the Sweet God-Spirit surely lives in my little Maya-puppy, who kept me connected with life after my youngest son was killed in a freak automobile accident ten years ago."

Cheryl seeks to inspire healing, so she developed a website dedicated to those who are grieving.

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