Evolving Relationships
In the 21st Century

Article One

Personal Responsibility
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Jay Whitham and Wendy Nethersole co-founded The Anam Cara Foundation in 2000.

The Foundation is dedicated to helping people to become clear about their true identity and purpose, and integrate that into the essence of their lives.

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Personal Responsibility in the Visioned Relationship

Perhaps the greatest challenge we face as spiritual beings having this human experience we call life is to come to terms with the truth that we are responsible for our life experience. The thing that makes this such a daunting challenge is our resistance to accepting this level of responsibility. We have devised and, with the help of our ego mind, we continue to develop an astounding number of ways to avoid, deflect, deny, and outright refuse responsibility for what we experience in our life. As we move more deeply into our path of spiritual and personal growth; as we study, read, and learn, we inevitably come across one or more of the many teachings, both ancient and contemporary, that tell us in no uncertain terms that we are a co-creative force and that we possess the ability to engage with the creative power of Source to manifest whatever experience we desire. As John Randolph Price has written, "You must have the consciousness for that which is desired. Without the consciousness, it cannot come to you; with the consciousness, it must come."1

Our understanding of this power is not focused on our responsibility for creating events but rather our responsibility for how we respond to what shows up in our life. We are the only ones who decide what meaning to give to any circumstance: whether to decide that it is good or bad, positive or negative. Think of times in your own life when something happened that seemed, at the time, to be a tragedy or horrific situation with no possible good in it; and yet, in time, it turned out to be a key factor in other blessings that would reveal themselves in your life and which you now would not wish to give up. And yet we resist accepting full responsibility for our life; we seek to blame or shift responsibility to other people or forces outside of us for those things we are not happy about. What we too often fail to recognize is that only by accepting full responsibility can we claim our full power as human beings; secure in the knowledge that we do have the power to create our experience and that we are not controlled by people or forces outside ourselves.

This does not mean that we will no longer have challenges in our lives. We will always have challenges; this is the nature of soul growth on the Earth plane. The difference we are alluding to here is the space of awareness where we choose to live. The freedom that we all have in every moment, no matter what the circumstance, is the freedom to choose how we feel about what is happening in our lives, what meaning it has for us. This is how we accept full responsibility and empower ourselves from within. From this centered space, we as human beings can know our oneness with Source.

In this vibration, we are in alignment with our soul self and in this space we have the power to create that which we wish to create. This is the message we have sent to the Universe, to Source; the Universe will respond to this vibration as long as our communication remains clear and unclouded by doubt. So it is our feelings that provide the key to the freedom to co-create with Spirit that which we wish to experience (Peace, Love, Trust) as we live in a world where it can seem that we are controlled by people or forces outside ourselves. We always have a choice. Choose to empower yourself through your feelings. Through your feelings, you add the mental filter or thought vibration to each and every circumstance in your life. There may be those who choose to use greater force in an effort to control us, but no one has power over us as individuals unless we allow it to be so.

This is particularly true in our relationships. So often in our relationships of the past we have not accepted full responsibility for ourselves and instead engaged in blaming our partner for not making us happy or fulfilling our needs. How many times have we thought or expressed about our partner that "if only they would . . . or if only they would not . . . " (you fill in the blanks) then I would be happy? How many times have we held expectations of our partner that they could not possibly meet, and then harbored resentment toward them when they inevitably did not meet them? We believe that the only true thing we can say about expectations, regardless of whom or what is the source, is that in most, if not all, situations expectations will not be met. So when we hold expectations of our beloved we are almost guaranteeing a resulting resentment or disappointment. When we expect our partner to be responsible for our happiness, our fulfillment, for making our life be or feel a certain way, we set ourselves up for inevitable failure.

So you ask, how can I be in a relationship without holding these expectations, and you may be asking why you would want to? The answer is deceptively simple and yet by no means easy. What you must do is come to the relationship a whole and complete person. This means taking full and total responsibility for your own happiness, your own fulfillment, and your own wellbeing. If you come into the relationship not needing your partner to "make" you happy or to "make" you complete; if you come "needing nothing" then it is not possible for your partner to disappoint you. When two people come together not out of need but with the total freedom of their choice to be together and to share their whole being with each other they are liberated. Far from being a cold or distant joining, when we need nothing and yet are open to giving and receiving love without conditions, we are blessed with the opportunity to experience a joy and intimacy that exceeds anything we could have imagined. We are able to share all of who we really are, because being whole and complete we can choose to offer that to our beloved without fear that it will be used to hurt us in some way. When our beloved comes whole and complete to the relationship and offers to share all of who they really are, we are able to accept this gift of sharing with reverence and respect for the immense and awesome gift that it is. It is in this reciprocal, free will choice that we move our life and our relationship to a level that was not available to us before.

"Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for
each other exceeds your need for each other."      —Dalai Lama

In the Visioned Relationship we must start with honesty —with our self and the beloved. To the degree that we are unable, afraid, or otherwise unwilling to be honest, the relationship is limited in its capacity to achieve the level of the Visioned Relationship. (Please read "The Visioned Relationship - An Introduction" for more detail regarding the process for creating a Visioned Relationship.) A key aspect of honesty is assessing one's partner's willingness to embrace the acceptance of full responsibility for themselves as well as one's own willingness to do the same. If both are not equally committed to the quest, then honesty requires that you accept the fact that you will not achieve the Visioned Relationship and then decide if you are willing to accept that. If so, then accept responsibility for whatever the relationship brings as a result, knowing that it cannot become the Visioned Relationship. If you are not willing to accept that then you must be willing to let go of the relationship because the Visioned Relationship is not possible unless both are equally committed to, and in agreement with the shared vision.

The willingness and commitment are more important (at least at the outset) than any particular success or difficulty in accepting responsibility. This is because the willingness and commitment allow situations, feelings, and other key parts of the relationship to be looked at deeply when things do not measure up to the desired level or are not in alignment with the shared vision. This, in turn, allows each person to re-commit to the vision and make choices that support them in learning to do better. It is hard to unlearn years (if not generations) of conditioned ways of being in relationship and it is not usually going to change overnight. But when we are in a situation in which we know that our shortcomings will be acknowledged and addressed with loving compassion, and we will be supported in our effort to improve, we are much more able to allow our self to accept the vulnerability we feel and explore the matter within our own heart as well as with our beloved. This means that we can learn to do this, and as we get better at it—as accepting full responsibility becomes part of our conscious way of being who we are in relationship—we grow—powerfully, as human beings. The relationship also grows and becomes ever more the manifested reality of the Visioned Relationship.

Paul Ferrini, a masterful writer, healer, and teacher writes "You have heard the expression 'haste makes waste.' It is true. What is deeply valued has your full loving intention and attention. It is nurtured, watered, and brought into fullness and truth. It does not happen overnight. It does not happen exactly how or when you want it. It flourishes through your commitment, your constancy, your devotion. What you love prospers. It unfolds. It gets roots and wings. This is the movement of grace in your life." 2

And so it is with the Visioned Relationship. By virtue of our mutual commitment, our willingness to be honest, our desire to be and share the fullness of who we are, and to gratefully and reverently accept the gift of our beloved's offered self in return, we nurture, water, and bring our Visioned Relationship into fullness and truth. When we accept full responsibility for our self in our relationship, and our beloved does the same, we create an environment that fully supports the manifestation of our vision.

The organic nature of the vision that underlies the Visioned Relationship is worth exploring and understanding. It is important to remember that the vision upon which the Visioned Relationship is built is a living thing—it is organic and needs to grow and change as you and your beloved grow and change. It is what Emmet Fox would call "The Mental Equivalent," or you might think of it as an etheric model for the relationship. It is the model upon which the creative power of Source can act to bring you the manifested result of your desire. The essence of the vision—the core values, beliefs, feelings, characteristics, and intentions —are not likely to change very much, but the vision is a creation that reflects who you both were at the time it was formed. As you grow and change together, as you gain experience in life and in the relationship, as you gain wisdom and insight, your vision needs to reflect the changes in each of you —who you have become and who you are becoming. And more importantly, it must reflect the union of your two souls that now comprises its own being, containing all of you, retaining your individual autonomy, yet becoming something unique and whole unto itself, somehow larger and greater than the sum of its parts.

It is also crucial to avoid what we call the "destiny trap," which can happen when a couple's commitment to a vision is so attached to the forms contained in that vision that they try to stay with those forms—or what they come to see as their destiny—even when Spirit is offering them something different, greater, and more in-line with the intention and desire expressed in their hearts. To paraphrase a country song, it can be a case of, "That's my vision and I'm sticking to it!"

We suggest that your vision for the relationship be committed to writing and even spoken aloud. We call our written vision our "Sacred Covenant" and we have printed it in color on beautiful paper. When we created it we spoke it out loud in unison as a form of declaration to the Universe. The written word has power and the spoken word has even more power to affect the causal body of creation. We believe that it is important to review, together, the covenant, or written vision, on a regular basis to remind you of what it is you have committed yourselves to, and to once again speak the words out loud. You will feel a strengthening of your connection to each other and you will feel the power of the Universe rushing in to help you manifest your clearly expressed desire.

Periodically (maybe once a year on a special date such as an anniversary, New Year's, or some other significant time for you) it is good to do a shared, aligned visioning meditation like the one you did when you created the original vision and revisit your vision or covenant. In this meditation you can ask questions of your Higher Selves about anything that you want to know regarding your vision, your relationship, or any new areas in which your vision may need to expand. As before, the intention is always to act in love and to seek consensus by continuing to rise to the highest possible perspective so that each person's wishes, needs, and concerns can be satisfied without either having to compromise or give up parts of themselves to please the other. Most often, you will find that the vision already contains what you want it to reflect, but with your new perspective and shared experience you will see and feel it differently than you did the first time. If, however, you want to expand or change it you can clearly do so; it is your shared vision, after all.

In order to have the Visioned Relationship, we must learn to accept full responsibility for ourselves in the relationship. When we learn to accept full responsibility in one part of our life, particularly this very crucial part, we become much more present as our Authentic Self. As we come to experience the Visioned Relationship in our primary relationship, we inevitably begin to carry over this same level of acceptance of full responsibility to all the relationships in our life—the more intimate ones, such as family and very close friends; professional relationships such as those with our doctor, lawyer, co-workers, or boss; casual relationships with friends and acquaintances; and even transient ones with those who serve our meal at the restaurant, work on our home, fix our car, or check us out at the grocery store.

Most of our life experience on a daily basis (that is, how we feel from moment to moment) is determined by the quality of the interactions we have with others—our relationships. The better they are, the better our experience. As our Authentic Self, we naturally radiate the gift of our perfect and unique being to those around us. We become a catalyst for others to find this in themselves. We become models for others to see what is possible, both individually and in relationship, and this changes their belief structure, making it possible for them to create and manifest in their own life in ways that would not be possible without that change in belief. As they change, they, in turn, have a similar impact on those around them. As more people experience this level of change the ripple effect becomes significant. When considered as a quantum experience, it becomes possible to have a very joyous and beneficial impact on many, many people—in places we may never go, by being who we are, our Authentic Self, by being in the blessing of a Visioned Relationship. The miracle is that we don't have to do anything, we simply have to be.

The Divine Partnership —By Paul Ferrini

Imagine living with another person without trying to change him or her in any way. Imagine that your only calling is to accept where that person is, at any time, and to accept where you are in that same moment. Imagine not having to put pressure on others to meet your needs or expectations and knowing that others will not put pressure on you.

Imagine that every moment you share with another person is a moment in which you are fully present and attentive to each other.

Imagine feeling connected in your heart to your partner in the same way that you feel connected to your own breathing. When your breath becomes shallow, you automatically become aware of it and take a deep breath. When your attention to your partner becomes attenuated, you make eye contact and allow the mutual consciousness of your love to flow back and forth between your minds and hearts.

Imagine feeling that your most profound gift as a human being is to honor your partner with every breath and every step. Imagine considering your partner's thoughts and feelings every time you consider your own.

Imagine not thinking of yourself as a separate being any more.

Imagine knowing that you are capable of being alone, but that you can never be alone now that you and your partner have joined as one greater consciousness. Imagine having a "we" awareness. Imagine being as devoted to your partner's comfort, pleasure, and well-being as you are to your own.

Your unconditional love and acceptance of your partner is your best and easiest pathway to [unity with Source]. With your partner, you learn to be both lover and beloved. You learn to give and receive unconditional love and acceptance.

When you have learned to do this with one person, you become capable of doing it with all people. That is when [there is an awareness of the Divine Oneness], when the one becomes the many and the many become the one. What you give to one, you give to all. What you receive from one, you receive from all.

But none of this will mean anything to you until you learn to love one person as you love yourself. For most of you, this is the doorway you will open to divine bliss. On the wings of your mutual love and acceptance of each other, you and your partner may come as close to the divine as you can come in this lifetime.3


1 The Success Book, John Randolph Price 1998 Hay House
2 The Silence of the Heart, Reflections of the Christ Mind Part Two, Paul Ferrini 1996 Heartways Press
3 excerpts from Miracle of Love, Reflections of the Christ Mind Part Three, Paul Ferrini 1997 Heartways Press

2005 Jay Whitham and Wendy Nethersole

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Editors note:

We are honored to have Jay and Wendy's participation and contributions to Pathfinders and look forward to learning of the ways our readers have benefited from their articles and guidance.
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