Making Change in Relationships: Mondays Mindful Quote with Sharon Salzberg
By ELISHA GOLDSTEIN, PH.D.
There is a tradition on the Mindfulness and Psychotherapy Blog. Every Monday, I cite a quote or a poem that is related to mindfulness and psychotherapy in some way and then explore it a bit and how it is relevant to our lives. For me, quotes and poetry can often sink me into a state of greater understanding. So for today, here is a quote by Sharon Salzberg:
Life is like an ever-shifting kaleidoscope – a slight change, and all patterns alter.
In 1951, David Bohm wrote Quantum Theory, a book that redefined not only the way we understand physics, but also the way we see relationships. He said that if you were able to separate an atomic particle into two subunits and send them to opposite ends of the world, or even the universe, changing the spin of one would instantly change the spin of the other. Since that time, this theory, known as nonlocality, has been repeatedly validated in empirical studies, leading us closer to the understanding that we are all literally interconnected.
Relationships and community are foundations to mental health in our lives, to really feeling well. When our relationships are unhealthy or out of sorts, we’re affected. In the New Year we often take stock of our lives and think about what we would like to be different. It can be great to look at your current relationships. Are you spending time with the people that are most supportive to you? Is there someone at work or school that you have issue with? Do you have family you haven’t connected with in quite a while that you’ve been thinking about? Is there a grudge you are holding with your partner or loved one that is keeping you both distant?
As Sharon Salzberg says, a slight change in our behavior can also alter the patterns within us and our relationships.
Whether you’re reading this post at the beginning of the New Year or you’re picking it up later, the question still remains, how do you feel about the relationships in your life today and what changes would you like to see?
This post is not meant to be a “how-to” in this moment to jump in and fix relationships your want to be different. The first thing we need to do is collect what or who comes up in our minds as we ask ourselves this question about our relationships. Allowing it to be a seed in your mind to see who comes up when considering this question. Are there people you want things to be different with and what are some actions you might take to alter the patterns of your relationships?
This is how a system works, when one part of it changes, it changes the cycle.
Stephen Levine, author of A Year to Live: How to Live This Year as If It Were Your Last asks some searching questions: “If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?”