The Inter-Dependent Relationship Model

blue and brown yin yang illustration
Photo by Fancycrave on Pexels.com

You’ve heard of independence, right? Dependence? And co-dependence?  But how often do you hear of interdependence? This is not surprising in a society that uses fear as a tactic to motivate us.

Imagine making a journey across the country, before the industrial age, in a horse drawn wagon traveling dirt roads.  You are driving your horse to pull your wagon full of precious cargo through undiscovered terrain to an uncertain destination.  Upon this journey you meet with another and decide to travel together.  But how do you proceed?

To travel independently, in your respective wagons side-by-side, each wagon retains autonomy in decision-making, planning and action.  Individually each wagon will experience a different journey because though they are next to each other they are not traveling the exact terrain.  One may hit more bumps, ruts or rocks. Another may get stuck in muddy ground.  Pieces of cargo may fall off a wagon unnoticed. With two wagons to maneuver side-by-side going through narrow passages proves impossible so one must take the lead.  Who goes first?  Keeping exact pace may also be difficult when one tires quicker than another, or one may have a quicker horse or lighter cargo.  Coming to a fork in the road they may each feel a different direction would be best.  If one does not acquiesce to the other, then time and energy will be wasted in arguing may which could lead to separation.  At one time or another one will feel disadvantaged while the other will feel impeded.

To travel dependently, the respective separate wagons are positioned one behind the other.  While each retains control of their reins, one wagon is in the lead and the driver of that wagon has the decision-making and planning authority, directing the action of the other.  Although they travel the exact same terrain they are not experiencing it together.  Pieces of cargo from the first wagon may fall off and be trampled underfoot of the following horses, while pieces of cargo from the second wagon may fall off unnoticed.  In time both will feel resentful; the lead driver being overly responsible and the following driver being under valued.

To travel interdependently, resources are combined in an organized collaborative measure.  The horses are joined under one rein, to one wagon where the precious cargo has been combined orderly and secured. Together the individual drivers discuss their vision for the journey and their destination.  They agree upon the division of roles and responsibilities each will execute. One person is the designated driver and is responsible for the direction the wagon will go based upon the mutually agreed upon destination.  The driver directs the horses and judges how best for them both to arrive safely and accomplish the mission they’ve outlined together. The other person is the designated shotgun and is responsible for keeping an eye open to dangers that may not be visible to the driver. The shotgun is also charged with managing the precious cargo, making sure items are secure and do not fall of the wagon unnoticed and left behind.  Whereas the driver is responsible for the maintenance of the wagon ensuring its continued function,   the shotgun is responsible for managing the precious cargo to ensure that they have enough resources for the journey. Though they play different roles, each is valued and honored for their contributions as they share equal responsibility for the journey.

Each of the above scenarios represents different models of relationships and could respectively be characterized like this:

  • Independent = “I need to take care of me. You need to take care of you.”

  • Codependent = One says, “You need to take care of me.” And the other agrees, “You need me to take care of you.”

  • Interdependent = Each says, “I want us to take care of us.”

The interdependent relationship dynamic offers a collaborative approach with collective responsibility, creating a vehicle for individual growth as well as growth as a couple. People in interdependent relationships do that which is best for both partners by making sincere, reliable agreements with each other based upon their individual wants and needs.  They agree upon and establish solid boundaries and limits within the relationship. Then they honor those agreements. Those agreements should be as unique to the couple as fingerprints to an individual.  However, in every relationship, no matter how different the agreements, each person holds themselves accountable for their part in the relationship and absolute loyalty to the relationship is expected.

Each one charged with giving themselves wholly to the success of the relationship over the success of the individual and developing an intense level of trust, integrity and respect.

The symbol for this model is the Chinese symbol, yin yang, that represents the interaction of two energies, “yin” (black) and “yang” (white), which cause everything to happen. They are not completely black or white, just as things in life are not completely black or white, and they cannot exist without each other.  The two energies are often referred to as male energy (yang) and female energy (yin).  In this symbol the two are recognized as indivisible as they swirl to compliment each other and each holds a part of the other. Each partner has a different skill set that is valued and cherished by the other.  They do not oppose each other or compete, they are complementary.

In the wagon metaphor above, the driver’s role would be seen as the yang (male) and the shotgun’s role would be seen as the yin (female).

In the fight for women to be treated as equals, male dominance has taken on a negative connotation, rightfully so. Yet women across the globe swoon for the likes of Rhett Butler and dream of being bent over in a possessive kiss like the one he planted on Scarlet. There is a natural inclination for women to want men to display dominance. But the character trait of dominance is not the same as being domineering.

Like the yin to the yang there has to be a balance of energy in the relationship. So the counterpart to the active yang male is the passive yin female. However, being passive is far from being subjugated and it is definitely not a meek role. It is a consent to ride shotgun in the partnership. It is understanding that she is an interrelated partner to him. She is the defense to his offense, working on the same team to achieve the same goal, just with different roles. It is this dynamic that Kings with their Queens and Lords with their Ladies employ.

A dominant male is not an oppressor of women, nor is he in any way domineering. On the contrary, a dominant male recognizes that females are the source of life providing a feeling of strength and consistency to his life. A dominant male honors the passive energy of the female. While to the untrained eye the dominant male role may seem more dictatorial and active and the passive female role as submissive and meek, this could not be further from the truth.

Likewise, a passive woman allows the male to provide for her, just as readily as she provides for him. She does not view herself as weak in receiving, merely because she is yin. Yin is as powerful as yang. It is not a power struggle, but an allocation of power. “Here’s the whole pie of power. Yang, you are responsible for this half and Yin, you are responsible for this half.” The collaboration of the yang and yin roles in the interdependent dynamic, perfectly fuses maintained individuality with selflessness to create a passion-fueled relationship.

The feminist movement, though well intended, actually sabotaged itself by inadvertently devaluing the woman’s supportive passive role. The insistence that “equal” means the “same,” (ie: men and women doing the “same” job to be considered equal) rather than “equal” meaning “of equal value,” (ie: men and women doing different jobs that are held at the same value). Our modern movements for gender equality are fought by opening up jobs, traditionally populated by men, to women instead of also assigning due respect and equal value to traditional women’s roles. This is because our society is built upon patriarchal hierarchy where something has to better than another thing and if that something is male it is automatically worth more. As it is, our societal system has no ability to measure value independently of comparison.

Just to prevent any misunderstanding, let me emphasize that I am not saying women shouldn’t take jobs traditionally populated by men. Not at all. The feminist movement rightly opened up the opportunity for women to have free choice in the matter. I am merely saying that those women who choose to work in traditionally female populated positions need to be valued equally.

Author’s note: There is nothing to say that a female cannot or should not be in the yang role (or both roles), however for fluidity I chose not to use the PC he/she. There only must be yin and yang energy for it to work. It matters not, which gender fills which role.

Touchy-Feely Never Killed Anyone

The news of the mass shooting in Las Vegas at the Country Fest struck me deep in my empathic center this morning. It has brought to mind a lot of thoughts and I need to get them out.

As I was growing up I often heard, “you’re too sensitive” and “you’re too emotional”. They meant it like there was something wrong with me, and I should change to be more like them. I had feelings and I talked about those feelings. It was no wonder that my dream then was to become a therapist. I wanted to help others talk about their feelings in a safe environment.

While I stopped talking about my feelings to those people, I did not stop expressing my feelings. I expressed them in poems, in short stories and to others who would listen. But along the way, I can’t tell you how many people I came across who said, ”I don’t believe in that touchy-feely shit.” Or claim “I’m not one for touchy-feely stuff.” Or just plain “I’m not a touchy-feely kind of person.” Or “Should we all just hold hands and sing kumbaya?!”

People think touchy-feely-kumbaya people are weak. But they aren’t the ones who break, are they?

Mass shooters, serial killers and mass murderers aren’t the touchy-feely ones. You never hear of a ‘flower child’ suddenly snapping and using a gun against another. Those who commit violent crimes, especially of mass proportions, are the ones who have gone out of their way to avoid touchy-feely. They are the ones who stopped when someone said they were too sensitive or emotional. They were the ones who had no outlet for the organic touchy-feely parts of us.

And you wonder why they pop?

This is a pressure cooker situation we’ve created, of course there will be mounting explosions…

…unless people start getting touchy-feely.

Lately I had been feeling as if the ‘Life Coach’ genre was becoming a bit over saturated and I pondered whether it is just another fad (yes, in part). I will be the first to tell you that half the life coaches I run across, have no business being “Life Coaches”. I use the umbrella term “Life Coaches”, but it includes many other titles, including Spiritual Advisors. Many of these people are carefully camouflaging themselves with touchy-feely leaves whilst not actually dealing with their own stuff in a healthy manner.

There is another breed out there though. Those people who truly are looking to facilitate transformation for others but doing their own touchy-feely stuff as well. People like Kyle Cease who gets on stage and says “hey can you help me process this?” And goes on to stand naked on the square as he works through an issue with an audience member. Him facing his own shit, was the ONLY way that guy from the audience was able to hear the message that was meant for him. Kyle didn’t PRETEND to work through his shit, he authentically did it.

This new breed does deep down dirty touchy-feely work. Its not life coaching and its not therapy. Mystic Midwifery is what I call it, because it is the birth of your authentic self. The one that got put back into the box little by little with phrases like “you can’t do that, you’ll never succeed” or “you need security” or “you’re not good enough” etc…ad nauseam.

There is a plethora of transformational facilitators who are truly motivated and authentic in their practices to assist others in their journey though the rough parts. They do this by demonstrating on a daily basis how they apply certain practices and philosophies in their own life. They don’t take a template and place it over your life, but instead assist you in making your own template. Its about giving you the tools once to use over and over again. Their goal is not about growing a ‘list.’ It’s about being authentic and real, then spreading that.

The numbers of these “Authenticity Coaches” is growing. I don’t think this is a fad, I think it is needed. I think the world is ready for a change and here are the change-makers! Here are the people ready to hold space for others to relieve the pressure in that pressure cooker. Here are the people ready to say “you are sensitive, here’s how we manage that”, “here are the tools to express your emotions”, people ready to throw touchy-feely life preservers.

We don’t need gun control, we need emotion control. We need cohesion. We need community. We NEED transformation.

As I sat at a bonfire this weekend, it occurred to me that sitting around a campfire was a part of everyday life for our ancestors. It was around the fire that feelings were shared, stories of experiences were shared and bonds were built. It was built in touchy-feely time. Silence was not uncomfortable as everyone gazed into the hypnotic flames of the fire. This was meditation for our many of our Western ancestors.

Then came the radio which provided a more entertaining form of gathering. People gathered around the radio listening to the news and shows, but then talked about it. It wasn’t a diversionary tactic, it was a tool. It was used purposely and then put away.

With the inventions of whole house furnaces, making fireplaces a luxury and TV providing distraction (and becoming addictive), the organic ways our families and communities bonded, decompressed and meditated disappeared. As a result our society is disintegrating. Literally dis-integrating. Even weekend bonfire are an excuse to party, not to be bond and connect. With of course the exception of certain religious sects where it fire has retained it’s sacred purpose. And again, it is not those people who end up in the headlines as murderers.

Its time to get back to touchy-feely.

Its time to embrace the transformation movement, because if EVER we needed a transformation it is NOW. I don’t want to see how far things can get. I don’t want to the worst humans can do to one another. I’ve seen enough.

I’ll close with this, only because I didn’t know where else to put it. I’ve heard so many people make statements around how they were raised ‘tough’ or how they avoid expressing emotion and then they end that statement with “…and I turned out just fine.”

It never ever fails. My only thought in response to that is, “did ya, though?”

I love you.

~Jade

If you are looking for a L(i)fe Force Energy Healing Session please email me at jadewillowsong@gmail.com. I work with all budgets so please do not let temporary financial resource blockages stop you from taking this step.

Human Up!

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The energy of the recent white supremacy rally in North Carolina has not eluded me. I have had no words to share…up until now.

I read something today that felt like spiritual bullying or spiritual shaming and I intended to respond to it point by point. The article, was directed specifically at ‘white spiritual women’ regarding white supremacy. I had quotes and responses amounting to ‘please don’t bully me into a certain type of behavior because you think my way of taking a stand isn’t good enough.’  I don’t appreciate anyone trying to bully me into a particular form of action by shaming my philosophy. However, about mid-way through I decided to change direction a little bit.

I believe wholly that ‘what you resist, persists’. I’ve seen it time and time again in my experience. I have seen more progress standing UP for something than for standing AGAINST something. And how I stand UP is my business, not to be judged insufficient by anyone else. I think response is more important and potent than resistance. How we as human beings respond to injustices is more powerful than staging a protest.

My entire life I have experienced discrimination because of the way I look, life events I had no control over, my gender, my weight, my age, my choice in partners, my employment and my socio-economic status and even my skin color just to name a few. “White privilege” isn’t an automatic free pass. White privilege is stacked odds, but not just against people of color, though that is what some would have you believe.

White privilege is really RWASPM (rich white Anglo Saxon Protestant male) privilege.

Believe me just being white does not open doors magically as people of color have been led to believe it does. While it may appear that the door is closed to you because you are of color, it is really closed to you because you are not a rich white Anglo Saxon Protestant male and there are more of us that don’t fit into that club, than do.

But that isn’t really what I decided to talk about either.

Many POC have discounted my experience of discrimination because they imagine that I cannot fathom what it is like to be discriminated against as they have been. I have already revealed to you the many ways I have experienced discrimination. This article that I mentioned above, however, asks the reader to imagine what it is like for people of color, specifically people of the color black. I don’t have to imagine it, my daughter is a person of color and I had many personal experiences related to that on top of what I’ve already shared with you, so I know.

But people of color have told me that my experience is not the same because it was not MY skin color that initiated the discrimination.

Do you see the contradiction? On one hand we are being asked to imagine ourselves in their place in order to empathize and on the other hand our empathy and personal experience is discounted. Even that assumption, that it wasn’t my skin color that initiated the discrimination, is inaccurate. I have always embraced people of other cultures and ethnicities, especially for my daughter’s benefit so I have often ventured places to be the only white person in the room, so to speak. I know what it is like to be rejected, hissed at, talked about, shunned and laughed at because ‘who did I think I was encroaching?’ I have received so much anger and hostility from black women in particular.

The true fact is that just as I cannot understand exactly how your experience has been as a person of color and thus cannot judge it, you cannot know how my experience has been and thus cannot judge it. No one can truly know another’s journey! Each of us only have the experience of being us. One black person cannot speak for the entire experience of black people, they can only speak for their own experience.

And this gets to where I wanted to speak today.

Racism is not the problem. It is problem but it is not the problem. Discrimination is the problem, yet by dividing us all up into nice segregated factions, the system remains forever intact. The system has us so busy dividing ourselves into special interest groups that we diminish our power by lowering our numbers. Special interest groups keep the division going and thus discrimination lives on.

Notice how there has been a civil rights movement, a woman’s rights movement, a gay rights movement, a transgender rights movement, black lives matter movement, blue lives matter movement…and how many more I am overlooking now…doesn’t that sit strange with you? It is as if the founding fathers established that rights were only for heterosexual white Anglo Saxon Protestant males and the entire rest of society has had to battle for their inherent human rights, piece by piece!! Don’t man up, HUMAN up! Realize that we are all entitled to the same treatment, rights and privileges regardless of color of skin, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, sexuality, religious beliefs, disability or socio-economic status. Do the right things across the board because we are all humans.

Comparing wounds is dangerous.

Each one of us that is not a RWASPM has experienced discrimination and the subsequent wounding of it. To say that one wound (like racism) is worst than another (such as transgender discrimination) is absurd and dangerous. Can you imagine grief (another extremely painful emotional wound) being divided like this? Can you imagine someone saying to a wife that their grief/loss is not as bad as the mother who lost a child? Or how about veterans who come back from war? Do you think in the VA the vets discuss whether the loss of this arm is worse than the lost of that leg?

Discrimination is a cancer. It doesn’t really matter which type of cancer you suffer from, it wounds everyone involved and those affected by it have a better chance of surviving it by banding together and maintaining a positive outlook. We don’t compare cancers and rank them, we know all cancer is ugly and scary. We also know some paths with cancer are longer and uglier than others, we lend them the support they need and we don’t deny another’s struggle because their path was different.

Comparing wounds is dangerous. I once was in an abusive situation and could not recognize it for what it was because I kept comparing it to ‘worst’ stories. I didn’t have broken bones or a black eye, so I denied my own experience. As a result of that I didn’t get the help I needed when I needed it and I lived with those scars for most of my life.

Human Up!

The gay and lesbian community expanded and embraced others by transforming into the LGBT community, and then the LGBTQ community, and now the LGBTQIA community!

We need to expand further and realize we are the human community.

We have to human up. We have to start recognizing ourselves in each other. Much like soldiers on the field do not refer to each other as anything other than ‘brother’. We have to start seeing Source in each other and loving each other as we love ourselves. We do that by not giving attention and credence to that which is not harmony. We do that by being an example, thereby being a mirror for the ugliness to view upon itself and judge its own reflection.

The article I mentioned above diminished those who would say “I prefer to focus on love and light.” Well, that is the only thing that is going to change the world. Now, do I think the author has a point that some white spiritual leaders are fraudulent and talk the talk but not walk the walk? Absolutely. I’ve been addressing that in many forms for a couple of years now. The author states, “As my friend Jess Sells Wertman said, “Know the difference between a leader and a marketer. Many marketers like to style themselves as leaders, but that doesn’t mean they ARE.”

I could not agree with this statement more! But I don’t want to digress, lest this become convoluted.

“Focusing on love and light” as a true leader is different than putting your head in the sand like a good marketer.

Focusing on love and light for me means doing whatever I can to infuse my world with love and light, because I know that will spread. It means treating all my fellow human beings as human beings without prejudice. It means that I provide service to everyone regardless of any differences we might have as long as they treat me with respect. It means I wish no one ill will. It means if I can help I will. It means that I see the Source in everyone and promote others in seeing it as well.

This is how I do battle. I do not resist. I allow love to flow through me so that it finds those who have been wounded and promote healing. I hold space so that anyone who finds me, will find a safe place to fall.

I will keep my vibration as a lantern to provide light in the darkness.

It’s Not O.K.

It’s not. It’s just not O.K. this culture of violence that permeates our days like the gut wrenching stench of a garbage strike in the middle of August.

This latest shooting, this morning, of Republicans practicing for a charity baseball game has done me in. I’m not a Republican. I’m not a Democrat. I’m not even political, to be honest; but no one should be subjected to terror like this. It can’t be O.K. for people to just pick up a gun at the first sign of frustration and disagreement. Violence is only acceptable as a response to violence initiated upon you.

I get it. You’re angry and disappointed. I’m angry and disappointed, too. Out of an infinite amount of possibilities why choose the one that escalates a situation? The one that continues discourse and harm? The one that ensures that the anger, disappointment and violence will continue?

Every moment we have the opportunity to make a choice that either raises the vibration of a situation or lowers it. And sometimes the best choice is to allow something to play out. Not in a wait and see when you can say “I told you so”, kind of way, but in a wait and see when you can say “Ok, we tried it your way, now what can we do?” kind of way.

So many people laugh and make fun of sit-ins of the flower power era, yet things got changed, the energy shifted and much less blood was shed. Not saying none was shed and that violence wasn’t still chosen, but there was no random terrorizing of individuals.

I know the problem. I also know the solution…well, since there are infinite possibilities, there’s probably more than one solution, so I know one of them.

Problem: No one is feeling heard, because no one is listening. And no one is listening because they aren’t feeling heard.

We’ve become so desensitized to disagreements that no one listens until shots ring out. It feels a whole lot like mother asking why no one listens to her until she is yelling and flipping out.

Mother is flipping out, people.

Except that we are not the ones in power here the politicians are…or are they? Do we or do we not have the right to vote (and conversely the right NOT to vote)? How many of those votes (voted or not voted) contributed to the situation we are rebelling against currently? (Hint: all of them)

So what can we do now in lieu of shooting at charity baseball playing politicians? Hmmm….I can think of several things off the top of my head.

Start by spreading peace around you. A peaceful mother raises peaceful children. If those in the shooters life had encouraged peace instead of anger, then perhaps he would’ve seen those infinite other possibilities. You never know who in your circle is going to do something stupid in a moment of anger, so teaching people there are other ways of dealing with anger is number one. The number one way to do that then is to model it.

Anger is O.K. It really is. It’s the ‘check engine light’ of our lives. <ding> “I’m angry”, ok, what in the situation needs to change? Me? The other person (if there is one)? Or the situation? It’s my anger, so I am the one who needs to change. Change my perspective, if warranted. Change my engagement, for sure. Change my actions, most definitely.

Violence cannot be the answer to a disagreement. It just can’t be. Where will we end up if we keeping choosing violence?

…on a baseball field with republicans bleeding from bullet holes, that’s where.

…on city streets with babies too young to walk killed by stray bullets, that’s where.

…in cemeteries instead of at commencement for our young leaders, that’s where.

It’s time. It’s time to stop acting like naughty children. It’s time to stop acting like mother flipping out. It’s time to stop being a bully, but it’s also time to stop being bullied!

Let someone grab my pussy, President or not, and I’m filing charges of assault and battery. Let them try to shush it, I’ll be on the television and using my platform as best I can. If I disappear, let there be an uprising, but please no violence!

Let them run this country in the ground, and from its ashes something truly great will arise, I promise you…but violence will not be a part of it.

I extend my love and support to all the victims present at today’s shooting and their families.