Updated: Feb 3, 2018
It was through the task of fulfilling the need for meaningful connection that I first came across Authentic Relating Games. Sort of. It was actually from across the table at a support group meeting that someone looked at me and told me to go there. What I found when I finally attended was much what I expected. Except for tables- there were no tables. It was a group of people, all craving connection, attention (YES! It's ok to say that!) and acceptance.
Much of what goes on there is magical, but even from the very start, the guidelines of the games are so intrinsic, so transcendent, that I have chosen to share them with you, defined in terms of every day life, in hopes that you find them as beautiful and necessary as I did. I encourage you to share this with your lovers, your friends and family. And to redefine and interact as wanted, on this page or anywhere else.
Care for yourself in the very best way that you see fit, and exhibit kindness when you do it. If you have to take a moment to compose yourself, if you have to cry, if you have to laugh out loud, DO IT! Think consequently about your actions, or inactions. Allow yourself growing room. TRUST that you are surrounded by others who are also respecting themselves, and understand that this frees you from needing to "take care" of them. It is only through respecting ourselves (and the fact that others are also doing this) that we can truly be free enough to speak openly, to act lovingly and to be authentic.
This is your LIFE. You are here for yourself. You create and own your story.
That beautiful blue moon that you see all over your Facebook? It's also right outside your window for you to gaze at with naked eyes and naked soul.
The background noise of your 9-year-old's ramblings is also the story she wants to share with you- her reaching out to connect. The radio will still play the same 15 songs so TURN IT DOWN. Look at people in the eye. Practice paying attention. Pay attention to smells (didn't you read my post on this?), to the creases in someone's skin, to the way their cuticles look, to the sound of their laughter. Pay attention to your heartbeat. Right now is all we have. It exists (or may not even exist) only for this second.
Lean Into Your Edge
Since I assume you are already respecting yourself, and I believe you are already present and aware of what you are feeling, learn to identify where your comfort bubble is. And when you feel it, push it out! These cages we built for ourselves are not just ribs around a heart- they can keep you from taking the deepest breath you can. When you feel a little uncomfortable, learn to just let it flow through you. It's ok to feel uncomfortable. It's ok to fear that person who is completely setting your soul on fire. And it's ok to let it happen despite that fear.
Confidentiality by Request
Be someone that people can trust with their secrets if they ask it of you. You create your deepest, most beautiful relationships by baring your dirty and clean laundry to someone. Sometimes over workouts, sometimes over glasses of scotch on the rocks with orange twists, sometimes with pieces of bodies hidden inside of each other. Let your soul be a resting place for them. Be the safe haven. Your love and life will thrive for it.
Exhibit kindness when your mind makes assumptions. There are words that trigger us (I can think of two that literally make me ill), that might not trigger others. There are stories, grimaces, smells. You do not take ownership of someone else's expressions. The things that come out of someone else's mouth do not mean what they mean coming out of yours- don't you dare tell me I didn't earn my #metoo moment! Words are just words and positive regard means I give you the benefit of the doubt when you put your foot in your mouth and you do the same for me.
And then there is the less spoken about other side of the coin. Show yourself that same kindness. Be understanding when you are frustrated with yourself. Know your intentions. You deserve it more than anyone you know.
For more information about Authentic Relating Games visit https://www.authrev.com. Feel free to join us also at the Houston Facebook page here.