Harvesting Love

by Jayson Gaddis on · 29 comments

My wedding anniversary was last week.

10 years ago I said I’d never get married.

I also said I’d never have kids.

Now I’m married with kids and it’s the most brilliant ride I’ve been on thus far.

And, anyone with a spouse and two kids under 2.5 knows, it’s a lot. I mean, a lot. Life has turned up the heat and I’m ripening in the most helpful of ways.

The more I resist the heat, the more painful my life is. The more I surrender to the heat and what is occurring, the more I enjoy the ride.

The Fall Equinox just happened and this past weekend was my wedding anniversary.

The Autumnal equinox is a time of transition where light and dark are balanced. Darkness is now slowly overtaking the light as we move toward winter.

The equinox always asks me to pay close attention to my life. It is a wonderful time to focus on balance and to reap what I’ve sewn from the summer.

What am I harvesting right now?

And since I’m all about love these days, what am I harvesting relationally. How are my intimate relationships?

My relationships help me see how much joy or pain I am experiencing in life. By using other people, mainly my wife and kids, I can begin to see where I am opening and closing down to love.

If I want to experience more love, I evaluate my relationships.

Four years ago my wife and I married ourselves in the Utah desert. This past Sunday we had our baby sitter watch our kids while we walked to the park hand in hand (This kind of date is a rare moment for us sleep-deprived new parents).

Our intention was to review and update our wedding vows.  To “check in” with where we are as a partnership.

So, under the shade of a giant maple tree we pulled out our journals from that time and took turns reading our vows and commitments.

We gazed at each other as we read each one and reflected upon it. As our eyes met, they welled with tears of love and gratitude. The depth of our connection was right there, pulsing and vibrant.

We noticed how true each vow still was and how “on” we were with each back then. Each vow was a bold, yet vulnerable statement about connection to self and other.  We didn’t add any new ones as our original vows are still hitting the mark.

My heart kept opening wide as I gazed into her eyes. I felt so awake and clear. I felt my deep love for her and we smiled and cried.  We laughed at the insanity of raising two amazing kids and the relentlessness of our lives.

A simple yet profound connection in a short window of time.

We walked back home to baths and bedtime stories with our children.

So ask yourself, how can I harvest more love using my close relationships?

Here are a few ideas…

  1. Take inventory of your closest relationships. Reflect on “what is so” about each one. Notice which are nourishing and which are depleting.
     
  2. Make a list of people who you want to move closer to (friends, family, co-workers etc)
     
  3. Now pick only one.
     
  4. Ask yourself if you want more closeness and connection to this person. If yes, move on to step 5.
     
  5. Do a relationship review with these friends. This can help you determine what’s been in the way and if the other person also wants to move closer. Are they a person that is worth the potential investment? Practice honest truth telling and trust they can take care of themselves. You don’t need to protect them from their feelings. If it’s your spouse, perhaps it can be a time to review your wedding vows or commitment to each other.
     
  6. Notice if you are making your desire to move closer dependent on the other person changing and instead, consider working with the practice of acceptance. Check in with your real motives. Am I trying to change them so that I can feel less agitated? Or am I willing to stay on my side and work with whatever my agitation is about in me?
     
  7. How was this process? Share your experience with each other. Let them know what it was like and what you learned about yourself.
     
  8. Pick a new person and share this process with them as an example of how you want to move closer to them too.

In a way, my wife and I are starting this autumn anew, freshly connected, and actively engaged in our partnership. We are harvesting the love big time.

I’m using my family to practice accepting more and opening to more and more love. When I treat my relationships as “practice” in this way, it takes me out of a victim stance relationally and into a place of awareness, choice, and strength.

Decide what you want to harvest and with whom. Then, dive in and practice.


by Jayson Gaddis

Jayson Gaddis, MA, LPC, CGT is a relationship psychotherapist devoted to helping people awaken through relationship and intimacy. He's calling in a new paradigm of connection, deep relationship, and family. Jayson is a husband and part-time stay-at-home Dad getting schooled by his two kids.
Jayson Gaddis
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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Tess The Bold Life September 28, 2011 at 8:30 am

Hi,
This is beautiful. One thing that goes a long way is kindness. We can be harsh with the people closest too us. My question of the morning is “How can I be kind today?”

I got married when I was 17 and pregnant. Our 40th anniversary is in January. Crazy, eh?

I’m going to no. 5. I woke up wondering today about a friendship and I need to reflect on my part in it.
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Jayson September 28, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Tess, I like the question for today. Mine is “how can I accept what is so today?”

40 years? wow. hats off to you. Are you still a full-on YES to that marriage?

J
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Daniel M. Wood September 28, 2011 at 9:47 am

Congratulations on your anniversary!

I just got married this summer. It is incredible the power being a team is. Instead of going after a problem alone you can rely on each other and combine your strength.
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Jayson September 28, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Thank you!
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Lynn September 28, 2011 at 12:00 pm

That’s a lovely story. Romantic love has kind of eluded me, but I am surrounded by love from family and friends, so it’s all good.
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Jayson September 28, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Lynn, I don’t buy into romantic love so much anymore. It comes in waves for me. Here’s my two cents on that topic: http://www.thepracticeoflove.net/is-she-the-one-is-he-the-one/
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Andrew Walker September 28, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Hi there Jayson.
Thanks for sharing this lovely story with us. It’s really nice! And also, thanks for sharing the tips. It’s a very nice list of tips!
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Jayson September 28, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Andrew, you’re welcome. any “tip” in particular serve you?
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Dolby September 29, 2011 at 11:21 am

Hi Jayson, I loved your blurb on The Practice of Love, which lead me here. I am a firm believer in the ‘Never say Never’ clause. Growing up in Los Angeles, I use to swear I would ‘NEVER’ live in certain places, guess what-I lived in everyone one of them, ugggggggggg. Laffing at myself. Needless to say, that applied for pretty much anything I attached a ‘NEVER’ too.
The Universe has a way of saying, “Uh Huh”, I will show you. It is exactly the law of attraction. Because what you focus on, the Universe doesn’t know if you love it or hate it, it just knows you are focused upon it. I too said, I would ‘NEVER’ have kids, now I have 2 grown sons the sunshine of my life. Oh well . I love your blog, thanks for coming into my life Jayson.

OM Shanti ~ Dolby
You are important.
Your actions matter.
Your thoughts create.
Your presence changes everything

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Jayson September 29, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Dolby, Love it. Thanks for the share. I know that “never” one too.

Right now, I seem to be saying I don’t want to focus my work on parenting and life just keeps pointing me in that direction. will I surrender? is there any choice at this point? smiling back.
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Debbie @ Happy Maker September 29, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Thanks for sharing your story Jayson. It is wonderful what love can do! It just brings out the best in people. Love does make the world go around.

When we get married that love should just grow deeper as the years go by. I know with my hubby that is what has happened.

I like the idea of picking one person at a time and building or rebuilding a relationships with them.

Enjoy those kids, they do grow up quickly.
blessing to you,
Debbie
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Jayson September 29, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Thank you Debbie. I’m with you on the deepening over time. If the waters get stagnant, what am I doing in there?
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Jody - Fit at 53 September 29, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Lots to think about here.. is the relationship worth the potential investment., does the other person have to change, how about acceptance for who they are. A really good post! Honestly, I have had to move away from some friends in the past because they wanted me to be something I was not OR act differently & I could not do it. I had been the giver to much in my younger years & always wanting to please everyone. As I got older, I had to re-evaluate how I worked that. It does not have to be all my way but I am who I am..

Happy Anniversary! I hi 28 years next month!
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Jayson September 29, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Jody,

Yup. I had to let go of old friends too, partly b/c they wanted me to stay the same “old me” and partly b/c I was unwilling to accept them as they were. It’s two ways in my world.
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David Stevens September 29, 2011 at 6:52 pm

Hi Jayson,
Hope you are still going strong @ 30 years marriage (where I currently sit).
” I’m ripening….” that got me, what a great term!
Keep ripening Jayson & may your Life together as a family be a great one.
be good to yourself
David
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Jayson September 30, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Ha ha. thanks David!
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Dolby September 29, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Jayson, I guess the word ‘surrender’ comes by, ‘go with the flow’, not always easy to do. Sometimes I don’t feel like flowing, sometimes I feel like being a brick wall. Life is about the polar opposites in my world. That is what is so great about ‘Choice’ we get to choose. I am going on 34 years of marriage-can we talk! LOL Hell yeah! The best damn roller coaster ride I have ever been on. We are still crazy for each other after all these years. It is all about the ‘art of allowing’, allowing each other to contribute the sum parts of our whole selves to the relationship, without having to make a major change, unless each wants to. The love of ‘self-love’ has been a blessing, for it allows you to give ‘love’. You can’t give away what you don’t have. Row Row Row your boat, gently down the stream, merrily merrily merrily merrily, life is but a dream. I love it! Shanti

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Andrew Walker September 29, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Hm.. Interesting. Thanks for sharing this. I really agree with your tips there.
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Dolby September 30, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Thank you Andrew, I have a ton of wonderful POVs on life! I love sharing wisdom, as much as being the receiver. OM

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Justin | Mazzastick September 30, 2011 at 9:20 am

Hey Jayson,
Being married and having children really does cause us to grow and change in productive and positive ways. I love Autumn, it really is the most beautiful time of year in my opinion.
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Jayson September 30, 2011 at 2:52 pm

you are speakin’ my language.
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Genie @ Healthy Living Now September 30, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Wow! I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Congratulations to you and yours Jayson. I will take the challenge you have above and really do some evaluation of my relationships. Very interesting, informative, and encouraging post. Thanks for sharing!

“If we all treat each other like we treat ourselves – what a wonderful place earth would be.”
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Jayson September 30, 2011 at 2:53 pm

We do treat others the way we do ourselves which is why there’s so much judgmentalism and violence in the world. that’s living inside of us. self-love = loving you IMO
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Jen September 30, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Hi Jason!
Love that you took just that small bit of time with your wife and had so much connection.

That is what really drew me in. Too often with my husband and three kids, we have a hard time finding that space in our schedules to connect.

Yesterday, he took me fly-fishing (of all things–he is a fishing guide). I had a list of things “to-d0” and was a little weary about going. But then I paused and decided I MUST take advantage of this time…all kids were at school, and the other things could wait.

We had a great day of reconnecting, laughing, and being together after a summer apart d/t work. But it also made me realize that it only takes a few minutes of quality time to “check-in” and make the effort.

You paint a beautiful picture of your day in the desert. Congratulations, and Happy Autumn!
In Harmony,
Jen
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Jayson October 1, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Jen, i so hear you about the time or lack thereof and yes, it doesn’t take much to “drop in” to our connection. we just have to make it a priority.
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J.D. Meier September 30, 2011 at 9:11 pm

> What am I har­vest­ing right now?
I like the question and it’s a great reminder to invest in the tomorrow I want to have.
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World of Finance October 1, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Congrats on your anniversary! Nice harvest analogy. Harvesting takes work but is definitely worthwhile 🙂
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Megan Bord October 3, 2011 at 11:50 am

What a beautiful tribute to love, your wife, and the broader scope of your life. I enjoyed reading this, and laughed when you wrote about initially thinking you wouldn’t get married and wouldn’t have kids. I can relate to the kids thing, for sure! (And still don’t have any, nor am I married.)
Your words softened my heart a bit today, and had me thinking, “I hope ‘my guy’ feels that way about me someday.” You and your wife sound like pretty incredible people to be so open to love. Throughout my adult life I’ve found many reasons (conscious and subconscious) to shut down to love, yet I crave it. I seek that intimacy with another human being. Never sure I’ll achieve it or not, when I read stories like yours I’m re-inspired.
Thank you, friend.
And happy anniversary!

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