Cultivating Our Inner Life – How to Take First Steps – Ryan Couples Therapy _ Tacoma, WA

Cultivating Our Inner Life: How to Take First Steps

Practice #9: How to Reclaim Your Life and Strengthen Your Marriage.

Cultivating our inner life can be richly satisfying and simultaneously daunting.

It is important to spend regular time cultivating one’s inner life, because this is what feeds the soul and leads to a deeper sense of connection to oneself and to one’s partner.

Cultivating our inner life, leads to increased emotional awareness, which leads to waking up in our marriage, which leads to strengthening our intimate connection with our partner.

I was in a conversation last week about the necessity of cultivating one’s inner life with my all-time favorite poet, Ansley Clark.

She talked about the influence of capitalism and how it pulls us away from cultivating our inner life. Capitalism teaches us that any time not spent working and producing is just wasted time. She described that, in spite of this dominant discourse, the importance for all of us to find the time to just BE and reflect, to visit our interior spaces.

I love the idea of “interior spaces”. This is the space deep within us that helps us discover our true nature, which has been the focus in this blog series.

“Interior spaces” evokes images of breath, light, rest, ease, spaciousness, nourishing one’s hunger, quenching one’s thirst.

And when we visit our interior spaces, we indeed are fueling our hearts and souls with these essential components in experiencing own freedom and joy.

If we have lived a life that only pleases others, if we have ignored our true self in order to survive, if we have abandoned ourselves to keep everyone else around us happy, it is likely we have been experiencing a process of psychic starvation. It’s likely we have ignored and been cut off from our own true nature.

If so, it is crucial that we begin to nourish our souls again through the cultivation our inner life; through the acts of “just being and reflecting and visiting our interior spaces”.

I encourage you to move slowly if you are just beginning this work. I am also encouraging you to not waste another minute of your life and to get started today.

As you begin the process of cultivating your inner life, you are beginning the process of reclaiming your life .

And when you do this, you simultaneously create space for the seeds of love, happiness, and intimacy to grow in your marriage.

We cannot sustain an intimate relationship if we are starving ourselves. In this series, I have emphasized that when we abandon ourselves, there is not much of us left to be loved.

Cultivating our inner life protects us from the impulse to abandon ourselves when we get anxious or stressed. The more we nourish this deep well-spring of our being, the less likely we are to leave it untended and unloved.

Therefore, it becomes crucial that we are  present to our inner life as a way to not only discover who we truly are, but to honor and love who we are. This is the rewilding process. 

It may feel daunting and anxiety-provoking, if you have been avoiding, or ignoring, or neglecting your inner life and your own true nature for a while. Or maybe you have never spent any time getting to know your truest self.

What matters most, is that you are ready now. So go slowly and be intentional.

Respectfully and lovingly, take some time to get to know yourself again by taking these first steps.

1. Carve out 10 to 20 minutes to sit quietly. This could be in nature or a favorite spot in your home.

2. Close your eyes and go within.

3. Take several deep breaths and focus only on your own breathing.

4. Notice the thoughts and feelings that come up without judgment.

5. Allow thoughts and feelings to flow in and out of your awareness. Notice them, but continue to go back to focusing on your breath.

6. Once feeling settled, ask yourself:

  • What did I love doing as a child?
  • What did I give up doing, once I felt it was not important or I had to take care of responsibilities and of others?
  • What do I find most pleasurable?
  • When I have the rare day to myself, with no expectations, how do I spend my time?
  • What do I look forward to most in my life?
  • When do I feel most at home? Most like myself?
  • What fills me with excitement and passion?

These questions might be a good start to help you on your journey of cultivating your inner life, reclaiming your true nature, and strengthening your marriage. If it helps, write down what came up for you so that you can continue to reflect on your discoveries.

When we nourish our true nature, we thrive. We live our most authentic life. We are capable of truly loving another in the most intimate, sustainable and loving way.

I hope you take time today to go within. To visit your interior spaces. To be and reflect. To cultivate your inner life and discover your true nature.

In doing so, you will strengthen your capacity to love yourself and your partner with the most open and fully present heart.

Peace in the journey,
Jane

Practice #8 in Series  |  Practice #10 in Series  

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Jane Ryan

Jane Ryan, M.A., LMFT, is a Licensed Couple and Family Therapist with twenty years of clinical experience and a speciality in helping couples navigate the challenges of intimate relationships. Jane also has a sub-specialty of helping couples navigate the relational and sexual effects of breast cancer.