I’ve been reflecting this last month on how I show up in conflict. How I seek to avoid it, how I also create it, and what that means for my relationships (Libra) and how they play out.
Not cos I think this is a particularly fun bone to chew, but rather because some key relationships have demanded it. And for all that it hurts like hell sometimes, and I could not count the number of tears I’ve shed, feeling shattered in relationship… still, I know that navigating this terrain well is the key to staying connected.
During the Leo New Moon cycle two months ago, I was digesting how I’ve thrown the puzzles pieces of myself up in the air, and I’m not sure how my identity is going to land, in this new Canadian context (given that environment shapes us so strongly – LINK). That’s a theme I associate with Leo: being seen, shining in my own unique way, who am I? etc.
This last cycle, starting with the New Moon in Virgo a month ago, I’ve been emerging from a Wilderness Solo experience (as part of facilitating the Four Seasons Journey) that invited me to reflect on my identity (still that Leo thread) in the context of how I face conflict and judgment, where I need to be humble, and how I determine right action (Virgo).
Mark Jones speaks of Virgo as a transitional archetype, a humbling of the Self who has journeyed through Aries to Leo, in order for us to enter into relationship with the Sacred Other (Libra).
And, of course, this New Moon we just welcomed gathers us into this Air sign of equality, beauty and diplomacy.
I articulate all that with a wondering as to whether you can relate to these themes.
Have these themes been present for you?
What have you been integrating this last month (Virgo), in order to show up differently in relationship (Libra)?
Also in the midst of this last cycle, we marked the Spring or Fall equinox, depending on our hemisphere. So the theme of ‘balance’ has been emphasised and the questions of ‘what do I need to call in for greater balance?’ and ‘what do I need to let go of for greater balance?’ have added to the dialogue.
In the Southern hemisphere, Spring is vibrant, warming, and the creative potency is tangible, catching and delightful! The sexual fecundity of Beltane fast approaches, alive in our bodies and the Earth in whatever way we experience that!
In the Northern hemisphere, the land speaks of harvest and letting go. Canada celebrates Thanksgiving, this New Moon day. We rest in the bounty of the Earth (when we can step past the supermarket enough to see it) fundamentally held and nourished. There is so much to be grateful for – particularly our relationships!
So, conflict. To me, this is the heartland of the good life! Conflict is guaranteed – it’s part of being an authentic human. If we can do conflict well, then any relationship has the chance to thrive. If we struggle to do conflict well, then the relationship is sucked of its energy.
This Virgo New Moon cycle just past, I’ve been invited to examine my way of doing conflict with a great dose of humble pie. Whether it was the idea of my children being unwilling to bring things up with me for fear of my judgment, whether it was witnessing judgment creating a situation that felt wobbly for all involved, or whether it was realising that some conflict-avoidant behavior last year had brought about a worst-case scenario with my brother… I have and am being invited to dream into a new way of relating.
Hello, New Moon in Libra!
Not only that, but Venus, ruler of Libra, went retrograde a few days ago on the 5th of October, symbolically ‘retracing her steps’ for six weeks until the 16th of November.
This is a loud call to assess our relationships and ourselves in relationship, and the pathways to greater harmony with others, which require greater harmony within ourselves… a welcoming of the Lover within…
For me, this has looked like thinking back over all my pained or unresolved relationships, my ‘burned bridges,’ if you like. Contemplating my part in their demise, my propensity to postpone conflict, and what I could have done differently.
I come by my conflict-avoidance honestly.
In an ironic parallel, this last week I had the chance to witness my Mum mid-wrestle with herself, deeply pained by a very similar dynamic.
Both of us face a fundamental dilemma: how can we speak our needs when the odds are we won’t be heard? Is there any point sharing our needs if the other will not listen?
But to not go there KILLS us in relationship, singing up resignation, resentment and rage.
I wonder at the ancestral nature of this dilemma. For how many generations has this fear been passed down, this unwillingness to advocate for our needs in the likelihood of not being well received, or having to face conflict?
And even more of a conundrum: what if the thing I need is the very thing that makes you feel deeply unsafe? What if I need to bring conflict into words, but that’s the very thing that triggers you into a sense of unsafety … what then?
What do I need in order to feel safe?
What do you need, in order to feel safe?
And what the f*** do we do when these are exactly opposite things??
Oh this dance! It has pained me my whole life, essentially informing all my striving. An embodied thesis, written in tears, one I cannot put aside, for I know it is at the heart of my purpose in this lifetime.
Dark Moon Prayers
Without any answers to these questions, these Dark Moon prayers were sung up within me:
I let go of my fear of being in conflict.
I let go of my habituated blindness to the value of conflict and the possibilities it opens up.
I let go of my Red and White thread ancestral inheritance around conflict – both that it is something to avoid, and also entering into it in a volatile, heavy, unwieldy fashion.
I let go of absolutely anything that dams my energy.
I let go of needing to contort myself to accommodate someone else.
I let go of the habit of being angry in conflict, rather than simply very very clear about my needs.
I let go of subtext.
I continually shed my judgment.
I let it go.
I wipe the slate clean.
Speaking our feelings
I went out for dinner with a dear friend last night, a fellow Journeywoman on this winding path towards Authenticity. We spent our time wrestling with these relational conundrums, seeking insight in our parallel experiences. Seeking principles to live by. Seeking hope for our needing selves.
We didn’t manage to solve it all, there at Jade Kingdom over bowls of Malaysian food, but I was able to catch a glimpse of a new possibility, a third ‘way’ that helped me shift out of my dichotomised thinking.
What if, when in conflict with someone, I was able to be both true to myself and gentle to them?
What would happen if I spoke my concerns, spoke my needs, in real time, without judging that the other person couldn’t hear it?
What if I was able to duck under my self-protective judgment and anger, rendering the situation safer for all?
And so, in this perfect and potent soul-crafting called Life, I find myself here at the New Moon, wondering (once again!) what it looks like to create safe spaces, to be a safe person to talk to. What behaviours create safety?
Characteristics of Safe People
We all embody such different perspectives and experiences that in many ways, desiring to ‘get on the same page’ as someone else is ridiculous, a pie-in-the-sky dream. The best we can do is be curious about how we each ended up with the needs and perspectives that we have. Ideally, this curiosity and story-telling can sing up our empathy – that magical state that bridges and weaves us together.
Acceptance for Self and Other
Judgment kills safety. Any sense of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ shuts down the room for someone else to hold a different clarity. And if we don’t feel safe, it’s very hard to speak up for ourselves or to absorb what someone else is communicating to us. Acceptance is the fertile ground in which connection and respect are grown, and feeling safe is a natural flow-on from feeling connected and respected.
Noticing our inner terrain and dialogue is essential for catching judgment and other closed thinking that shuts us off from others. The effort of a lifetime, because many of these patterns are hard-wired in our brains, from experiences that happened to us when we were very young that have been reinforced over and over throughout the course of our life. Consciousness is the only way to dismantle judgmental thinking and fearful decision-making.
Making a consistent choice not to retaliate, to slow things down, to call a time-out if necessary, to digest and reflect. A commitment to non-retaliation, and choosing to see a triggered state as evidence of the need to take some time.
A necessary corollary to taking time out of a difficult conversation is to return to it, rather than leaving it hanging. We all have the right to be replied to, and well as the right to reply.
What qualities help make a relationship feel safe for you? In what kind of contexts do you feel able to fully show up as your true self?
New Moon Prayers
I welcome my judgment as a clear signpost to my needs and values, and I commit to moving past judgment
I am tender with my perpetual dilemmas, my familiar amygdala hijacks.
I steer a new course in relationships.
I have my back, 100%. I speak what I need.
I commit to being the safest person I can be, in relationship to the Sacred Other, without compromising myself.
I commit to learning how to do this, and honouring this desire to learn as one of my strongest gifts and safety-creating abilities. This commitment to ‘Know Myself.’
I commit to change.
I believe I can change.
I hold the world and my relationships in a spirit of Curiosity, Acceptance, Consciousness, Peace and Faithfulness.
What are your New Moon prayers, dear heart? How are you Journeying with this Libran call to Love and Connection?
Sending much love!