Welcome to Wellness Weekly coming to you every week. This is a weekly series, sort of like a Letter from the Editors, that will rotate between Morgan, Lara, and Luigi with the occasional guest. We'll hold space on the Dirt to check in on our Sixth Sense: the term we use to refer to our spirit, intuition, and inner power. And because while we exist in the world alongside our other Five Senses, we'll do a check-in of those, too.
This week we are diving into what the power of Commitment looks like when we are shining its light on our relationships. For me, and I suspect many of us, honoring the bonds we have with the people in my life looks a lot like a juggling act. When done with the right mix of grace, control, and levity, they look like a beautiful acrobatic dance all moving together in sync. Shift the weight too much on any of those dimensions, and my relationships feel the opposite: clumsy, rudderless, and heavy. Commitment becomes its evil twin sister, Accommodation, and I feel depleted to my core. Quite literally: spiritually unwell.
So how do I keep the right balance? Well, dear readers, the secret is that I often don’t. As a parent, a child, a spouse, a friend, and a business owner -- especially this month -- it feels nearly impossible. Each of these relationships, and the people on the other side of them, are hugely important to me, and I strive to give my everything. But that can take its toll, and as I devote more attention to thinking about what honoring the connection I have to other people means to me, I am taking a personal inventory of what I need to authentically commit to my people rather than accommodate.
I think this inventory is likely different for all of us, and I invite you to make your own list of what you need to feel like a successful partner. Here’s the list I came up with -- special shout-out to the people and things that provided me with the inputs that led to these conclusions (e.g. Colin Bedell and his thought-provoking birthchart reading, Esther Perel and her remarkable Mating in Captivity, Brene Brown and the roughly 100 hours of lectures I’ve listened to, and my morning walks with my dog and Clear Quartz):
- Gratitude: not to be confused with praise (which I actually actively avoid and don’t really enjoy), it pains me to admit that I actually do need some acknowledgement from those I love when I’ve been putting a lot of my bandwidth into something for them. It doesn’t need to happen every time, but even the tiniest or simplest gesture of gratitude fuels me in a big way: a “thank you” from my daughter when I’ve made a special dinner, an appreciative text from my husband when I’ve been steering the ship back home when he’s away on a business trip, or (a specific example from last week) a friend asking me what I want to do that night when she knows I could use a break from planning. It can feel like a departure from the self-sufficiency I hold as a personal bedrock to call this out as something that is important, but I also know makes my relationships more likely to thrive. (Crystals I lean on for gratitude: Amethyst, Aquamarine, and Rose Quartz)
- Reciprocity: I do not seek out people for what they can give back to me and assume that those I’m closest to feel the same. But there is an implicit give and take that I think needs to happen in relationships that allows for them to feel like equitable commitments. I don’t need a spreadsheet to keep tally (tbh that sounds like my worst nightmare). I think of it more like a pile of energy between two people that is at its most sustainable when both people are taking action to contribute to the power source. Intuition plays a role here -- if it feels in my gut like something is lagging between me and somebody else, a lack of reciprocity is often the culprit. It’s in those moments of energy suck where I’ve been trying to become more self-aware that it’s happening and take proactive steps to see what both of us can do to make the other feel less taken for granted. (Crystals I lean on for reciprocity: Smoky Quartz, Sodalite, and Kyanite)
- Vulnerability: Hands-down, this is the hardest power for me to harness. Also hands-down, being able to share the deepest parts of myself and the deepest parts of others is where I have found the most meaningful and truest forms of commitment in my relationships. Without fail, if I am skating along the emotional surface in any partnership I have (including and especially my professional ones), or feel like others are doing that with me, the relationship has entered the Accommodation Zone. I’ll feel sapped. I need to know how you are doing -- really doing -- to honestly care about what we share together. And I expect you to want the same from me. (Crystals I lean on for vulnerability: Malachite, Selenite, and Black Obsidian)
Honoring the commitment we have to others is no easy feat -- a gazillion dollar industry comprised of self-help books and couples therapists is all the proof we need that this is hard work. But conduct a mini spiritual wellness check-in on the energy you need, from yourself and those you are bonded to, and keeping all those balls in the air can feel like less of a mess.
P.S. Happy Anniversary month to David, my husband of almost 19 years. Here we are feeling all the commitment energy back in 2002.
Now let's check in on our other 5 senses:
I am finishing up a round of personal memoirs that have been deeply moving and emotional (nothing quite like reading about other people overcoming huge obstacles to put things in perspective!). The latest one, Between Two Kingdoms by Suleika Jaouad, is a brilliant meditation on life before and after a life-threatening illness.
Both of my kids are music obsessives and have created pretty great Spotify playlists that I’ll admit to listening to even long after they have been dropped off at school. Among the old and new faves on my 10 year old’s latest playlist: Kali Uchis, Mitski, Marina, and Britney Spears (our work here is done).
My garden is going nuts right now and one of the most exciting things to come out of it this season are Dragon Tongue Beans. Yes, they are very eye-catching -- nature! -- but they are also very tasty. I’ve been loving them for my favorite dips and throwing them in weeknight quick stir-frys.
While I’m usually paying attention to what I am smelling, it’s what I’m not smelling this week that is piquing my interest. After several weeks of large wildfires in Northern California, one of which was causing a lot of damage in the Lake Tahoe region, we are for the moment in the clear (if still a little hazy). It has become an unfortunate part of the season where I live and I am extremely grateful when we have a moment to appreciate clear air and the hard work of firefighters keeping us safe.
Luigi and I spent some time in Tuscon last week checking out some new crystals (stay tuned for some new goodies!) and there’s nothing better than getting to hold so many incredible stones in our hands. The shows have been largely paused due to the pandemic -- was wonderful to be in person to check them out again.