By Nwasha Edu. Photography by Eric Michael Ward.
A quick Google search of “relationships are…” and you’ll find “hard”, “pointless”, “not perfect” and “work” as your first suggestions. There are roughly 500,000 books related to relationships listed on Amazon. Black and Brown women are constantly bombarded with statistics about how hard it is to find our soulmate or be faithful. If we’re “lucky” to find someone, we’re told it’s almost impossible to stay together.
I used to feel that relationships were complicated and that the thought of making love and life simple was overwhelming until I learned that there is something the happiest, healthiest and oldest people in the world all have in common. It’s their belief that relationships are the most important part of life. The people who are most fulfilled keep loved ones near and build relationships based on social circles… essentially, they’ve found (or were born into) their tribe.
Part of being in a tribe is sharing tried and true wisdom from generation to generation. Indigenous wisdom tells us love is who we are and is never really complicated. In our current culture, we’ve lost touch with some of the ways to keep love simple. This article is going to share 3 ways to keep it simple in love using sacred ancient wisdom.
1. Find the Purpose of your relationship.
A core belief in indigenous wisdom is that everything has purpose; the elements (air, fire, water and earth), plants and animals, and of course- you. Flashback to highschool chemistry-You are connected and literally made up of all of the natural elements on the periodic table! Every relationship in your life serves as a great gift. That gift is to help YOU perfect your character.
So what is the purpose of your relationship? Seems like a loaded question, I know, but it’s extremely important. Purpose guides you and helps you grow. And, as the saying goes, if you’re not growing, you’re dying. The same can be said about relationships. One reason you might be finding your relationship to be “complicated” is because there is no clear purpose.
But finding purpose doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Purpose is really about how you choose to share your gift with the world. Who are you? The REAL you… And remember the real you could never be boiled down to a social media profile! You are so much more than your profession, position in the family or religion. You are a literal gift to the community. It was decided before you were conceived that you would be here at this moment to share the gift of who you are. Taking the time to (re)learn who you are can help you find purpose. Whatever it is, knowing and affirming your purpose simplifies how you relate to yourself and to others.
2. Uncover your limiting beliefs about love
Most of us learn about the five physical senses when we’re in grade school. We learn that we interpret our environment through sight, smell, sound, taste and touch. What indigenous wisdom teaches us is that there are also two “spiritual” senses: thought and emotion. One way we complicate relationships is by attracting and engaging with people based on our limiting beliefs on love. Limiting beliefs are any thoughts or emotional responses that hold you back and keep you from getting to the heart of love.
Holding on to outdated or limited beliefs about yourself and love are the surest way to end up in a toxic relationship!
Some of your limiting beliefs are conscious but many of them are unconscious. You may have limiting love beliefs if you think or say any of these:
I’m not ___ (smart/beautiful/thin/rich) enough to find love.
I’m too ___to find/keep/have love.
I’m afraid he/she will leave me if I ___.
I suck at relationships.
All men/women are ___.
I’ll never be able to trust anyone.
I’m not lucky in love.
What is it that you think or say over and over that is limiting your relationship?
Once you are aware of your limiting belief, ask yourself if it’s even true! So many times our limiting beliefs are fear-based and on autoplay. Once one thought comes in, the others start rolling in to support it. But ask yourself, is there even one example of your belief being untrue? Do people who are not “smart” find love? Are people who are not “rich” in committed relationships? Once you’re aware of your belief, you can replace it with higher vibrational thought which will lead to higher vibrational emotion and a simpler, higher vibration love.
Replace your limiting belief consciously with a more empowering or energizing statement like:
I am enough… (period).
True and unconditional love is my birthright.
I attract happy, healthy and harmonious relationships that serve my highest good.
My heart is open to love.
I share my gifts with passion and joy.
I enjoy sharing my real self in relationships.
I’m ready for more love, friendship and ease in my life.
3. Create rituals to simplify your love.
We each participate in personal and communal rituals daily, but we’re often unaware of them. Practicing love rituals allows us to connect to the deeper subconscious understanding of our symbols, words and behavior. Creating sacred space in our lives for communication, intimacy, adventure, fun or forgiveness heals the heart, mind and body and helps simplify our relationships. In ancient times, we used ritual above all other methods to ensure the “knowing” of a person, place or thing.
What words, symbols and gestures do you use to express and celebrate love? How did you learn them?
One of my favorite communication rituals is the Sand Timer Ritual. It’s great for check-ins or heated and emotional conversations. You use a sand timer, or a sand timer app, to set 2-5 minute speaking and listening intervals for back and forth conversation. This ritual has been a lifesaver for me in more than one relationship! Using a sand timer helps me be concise when I’m running on and on. It also encourages me to express more when I’m feeling choked up. Best of all, it creates space for active listening. So many “complicated” conversations happen because we’re distracted by what to say next, how to defend ourselves or offering unsolicited advice.
The amazing thing about relationships is that they allow us insight into who we are at a powerful level. There is no better reflection of your beliefs, values and commitments than the feedback you receive relating to another. There is no greater level of accountability. Our intimate relationships provide our most intense opportunities for growth. If we let them, relationships can be our greatest teachers in Earth School.
There are things we must learn and unlearn to simplify our love… but it’s worth it. Spending a little time finding purpose, cultivating empowering beliefs and creating love rituals will simplify your love and improve your life.
Nwasha is a holistic relationship coach living in New Jersey. She loves sharing the art and science of love, indigenous culture and the sacred space of the BGIO community. You may find Nwasha online on Instagram (nwasha) and Twitter (@NwashaEdu).
If you want to start improving a relationship, without waiting for the other person to go first, click here for a free “heartwork” download.