Jeff Foster: To see and be seen 

Conflict in relationship is not a sign of failure.It is inevitable, just as pain as inevitable in the body.

Pain is not the problem; it is our relationship with pain that defines the quality of our connection.

Are we willing to connect, despite the pain?

Are we willing to let our hearts break together?

Each instance of conflict is an opportunity.

For misunderstandings to be brought into the light.

For recognising the places where we have stopped listening to ourselves, and to each other.

Where we go into fantasy, where we dissociate from the living truth.

Where we blame each other for our own unhappiness.

Where we blame ourselves.

Where we forget our true nature.

In conflict, we can come together, or we can be driven apart.

A wound has cracked open, and wants some loving attention.

Conflict is inviting us to growth, to know our triggers more clearly.

To touch the parts of ourselves we have been pushing down, the thoughts we have been suppressing, the feelings we have been denying, the truth we have been running from.

We must go beyond this dualistic language of ‘failure’ and ‘success’, and return to the living truth of the moment.

A relationship that seems conflict-free may simply be a relationship of quiet desperation, two held-back hearts holding terrible secrets, bodies numb to pleasure and pain, agony and ecstasy.

Two unhappy people, addicted to each other, afraid to share their truth, afraid to lose each other, clinging to comfort and an old dream of security…

And all in the name of ‘love’!

Bound by the image, numb to pain, blind to the depths of presence.

Love is a risk, a challenge; a journey, never a destination.

And love will destroy every single concept you have about ‘love’.

Sometimes healing involves the upsurge of uncomfortable feelings.

Sometimes breaking free involves feeling more pain.

Sometimes when we avoid conflict, when we hold back from truth, conflict only buries itself more deeply in our bodies.

We are traumatised, but we claim we are ‘happy’, and relationship becomes an image instead of an aliveness.

Conflict is inevitable, but if there is love, we are willing to work through the conflict together, to share honestly, and to listen with the fullness of our being.

To feel our pain, and listen to the pain of the other.

To let go of our dreams, and fantasies, and futures, and meet each other, almost as strangers, in the Here and Now.

So conflict becomes the fertiliser, and trust can take root.

So conflict is not ‘negative’, but opportunity and opening.

To begin again. Yes. To begin.

Love as a beginning. Love as a curiosity.

Love as a great mystery that helps us find each other in the darkness, a great beacon of safety and presence.

Love not as clinging, love not even as letting go, but love as connection, authenticity, listening, the courage to be vulnerable.

To hear, and be heard.

To see, and be seen.

– Jeff Foster

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