Deep Relationship

©2009 Carlisle Bergquist, MA, MFCC, Ph.D.c.

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“If you’re here because you want the person next to you to change, then you’ve come for the wrong reason.”  I said to the couple sitting before me in my counseling office.  Like many others I have seen, they came for help–help resuscitating a relationship on life-support and already in critical condition.  Getting to the intersection of “screw you” and “kiss off” doesn’t happen overnight, and despite the justifications each person feels, it likely isn’t only one person’s fault.  The descent from oxycitocin driven bliss into strident, high volume, emotional discord, happens in inches.  The fights themselves are often each person’s desperate attempt to reawaken the deep relationship they knew with their partner at the beginning.  Somewhere along the line, their efforts failed and now only add to the deep disappointment and despair.  The good news is that when both parties are willing to take responsibility for their own change instead of monitoring the others, real healing can begin.

We enter relationships–all of them–anxious for an energy exchange with our new partner.  Whether it is a romance or a friendship, we can’t wait to hear the other person’s thoughts and feelings, and share our own in return.  In a healthy relationship, this exchange is a positive, empowering dialogue with energy flowing freely back and forth that builds both people up, even if it includes criticism that is lovingly given.  Unfortunately, sometimes one person does not give equally; they horde the attention and resources of the partnership diminishing the other until they are left wondering why the person they love is bitter, resentful, and angry.

We are also part of another relationship, one that is even more primal than sharing life with a mate.  It came easily with the innocence of childhood.  Once we approached nature with wide eyes, fascinated by every firefly, tadpole, and daisy.  We couldn’t wait to talk to our pet, converse with a passing toad, or find a unicorn in the clouds above our head.  Our storybooks told of adventures shared by fairies, elves, and frogs that turned into princes.  As children, we drank in our surroundings anxious to learn from–and about–the world we had come here to inhabit, not as observers but as participants.  As children, the world was our lover; we cherished every offering it provided and traded our wonderment for the blessings of creation.  We were eager for the exchange.

The cosmology expressed in Andean mysticism describes our personal existence as occurring within a universe of living energy with which we constantly exchange.  Adding to our childlike wonderment, we enter into a deliberate, respectful relationship with this energy at large.  Ayni (pronounced I-nee) is a state of reciprocity, a sacred interchange with everything–yes everything.  In Christian terms, we might think of it as doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.  In the Q’ero culture of Peru this means not only helping the people in your community, but also caring for and respecting your neighbors who may happen to be mountains, forests, plants, animals, or minerals.  The idea is that we are always giving and taking with everything around us.  Therefore, be conscious of the exchange and “give at least as good as you get” to everything.

Now, back to our befuddled couple stranded at the corner of “screw you” and “kiss off.”  Clearly at least one of them has not been giving back as good as they got.  They end up keeping a scorecard of their partner’s transgressions and start holding back emotionally, sexually, and mentally.  This of course gets the other’s attention, worsening of the situation and soon both parties have a long list of crimes against their personhood over which they can fight at anytime.  The exchange of energy has turned negative and will likely increase in volume and violence until the connection breaks apart.  One partner feels disparaged, the other is self-absorbed, and now the relationship starts to get a little noisy.  The ground beneath it begins to shake, dinner conversations turn into volcanic eruptions, and the once blue skies of romance fill with lightning, thunder, and gale force winds.  If only both were willing to give a little better than they got–without keeping score.  That’s what’s happened to so many of the couples I have seen but isn’t it also what is happening in our larger relationship with creation itself?  

As with the troubled couple, disenchantment didn’t happen over night in our relationship with creation either.  Maybe the split did happen in the Garden of Eden or–maybe it crept slowly into our lives as we left childhood behind and begin to redefine what “real life” meant.  In either case, we have slipped inch by inch into isolation staring at the road ahead, or the screen before us walled off from the magic of the world in artificial environments.  We rarely look down to smell the roses or look up to find a billowing unicorn all the while self-absorbed in the belief that we are too busy.  And, all the while we are too busy, our Partner in this greater relationship is being depleted, diminished, ignored and longing for our attention.

If you’re here because you want the person next to you to change, or if you’re waiting on the world to change, then you’ve come for the wrong reason.  Crisis in a marriage ultimately comes down to a spiritual problem but the answer isn’t in a sacred book, it is in acknowledging the sacred Spirit in each other and only you can change.  Crisis on the planet is a bit more difficult.  Perhaps you are one of the lucky ones who can see nature spirits, or sense the presence of a great planetary sentience; you can build your relationship directly.  I have always appreciated the Native American tradition of offering a little tobacco to the Earth, acknowledging and thanking the sacred ground upon which we walk.  One need not change religion to appreciate our place in a creation of living energy, only our attitude.  Whether or not you can frolic with the fairies, or discern an elfin tongue, conceding that this universe has many mansions and respecting where we tread can only enhance our experience here.  The quintessence of global warming and its subsequent climate crisis is also a spiritual problem and only you can change.  When one accepts that sacred Spirit is all around us and respects all the worlds of living energy, solutions begin to appear.  Spiritual crises, whether personal or planetary, is resolved one heart at a time and one pure heart changes everything.  Consider the simple concept of Ayni, let it lead you to deep relationship with all that surrounds you and watch as real healing begins.

“We are stardust, we are golden.

We are caught in the devil’s bargain,

and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.”

(Woodstock – Joni Mitchell)


Article Summaries

The Coyoté Oak: Burgeoning Wisdom

The Coyoté Oak: Burgeoning Wisdom (Preview Chapters)
by Carlisle Bergquist

A modern-day parable for planet in transformation.

"The Coyoté Oak:  Burgeoning Wisdom by Carlisle Bergquist lives up to its name.  Like the trickster Coyoté, this fanciful read informs with unpredictable authority.  The visionary novel weaves deep ecology, shamanism, quantum physics, Native American spirituality, Taoism, mysticism, and even Christianity into an engaging healing adventure.  No small accomplishment as its wisdom rings loud and exquisitely clear.  The author’s vivid descriptions engulf the senses; you can almost taste the pancakes, smell the moss, see the sunsets and you will certainly fall in love with the characters.  Expect to be drawn in deep, transformed and left howling for more." Share Guide - San Francisco, CA

Available wherever books are sold

ISBN:  0-9791750-6-2
Published by Reality Press

Transcendental Creative Systems:

An Exploration Using General Living Systems Theory

Creativity is the merger of matter/energy with new information.  The process of bringing something new into existence, is an inherent characteristic of life.  To live is to create whether we do so unconsciously, or with full awareness.  This essay is an academic approach to the creative process using James Miller's General Living Systems Theory to model the course from non-being to created work.

A Comparative View of Creativity Theories:
Psychoanalytic, Behaviorist, & Humanistic

Three streams of thought in contemporary psychology view our humanness is distinctly different ways.  This is nowhere more evident than in their efforts to explain creativity.  This essay explores and compares these divergent views and provides a foundation from which to develop a new transpersonal theory of creativity.

Dancing With The Whole:
A Theory of Creative Entrainment

The holistic theory models entrainment as a communicative occurrence. Examples are given from several disciplines and four stages of entrainment are delimited. The essay compares theoretical quantum physicist David Bohm's notions of order with the realms of spirit, mind, and body. It proposes stages of entrainment operant throughout these realms and suggests that they perform cumulatively in the creative or unfolding process. The systems perspective develops the thesis that humankind is an iteration of a larger system and that entrainment is a central factor in the transduction of information between individuals and across system levels.

Doorways In Consciousness:
An Exploration of Resonant Being

Many cultures around the globe embrace sound in their exoteric and esoteric traditions. This essay reviews the role sound plays in the religions, creation myths, and sacred technologies of various peoples. This review connects creativity with healing which is considered an act of regeneration thus creating health in the body. Several varieties of healing through sound are discussed including music, drumming, toning, chant, instruments, Kabballah, and prayer. The essay proposes that techniques of sound healing and therapy currently rely on the intuitive ability of individual practitioners. Acknowledging the need for effective healing modalities, it calls for research that can qualify the elemental effects of existing sounds, tones and prayers. Such categorization may help construct an applied holistic healing technology.

Building A Better Thought Trap:
Nutrition for Colossal Creativity & Peak Performance

Colossal creativity is a state of balance amongst the mind, the body, and the spirit that actuates human potential. This article concentrates on the vitamin and nutritional components of our system so that they resonate more clearly. The focus is on the brain which rests at the focal point of our physical, mental, and spiritual worlds. It traps and interprets inspiration that comes from deep within, transforming it from one world to another. Colossal creativity unfolds when we nourish every part of our being. Digest new thoughts and ideas to nourish your mind. Develop a daily practice -- whatever your faith -- that invites active participation from your Spiritual-Self.

Accessing Your Inner Creator

An essay for general audiences that explores the creative process comparing it with the duality described in many philosophical and spiritual traditions. Techniques are given to apply these strategies to ones individual work.

Creativity, Healing, & Shamanism

An academic, yet deeply personal essay about exceptional encounters in Brazil with alternative healing and spiritual tradition. It details a dynamical systems (chaos theory) model of creativity: at "The Valley of The Dawn" a spiritual healing community; in Amyr, a physical medium; and in my experience using Ayahuasca with "The Santo Daime Doctrine" in Rio de Janeiro.

Guest Articles

How Money is Created

by Paul Krumm

Toward an Economy Based on Curiosity and Caring Instead of Greed

by Paul Krumm


  • While the network of money transactions around the world is very complex, the way money works is really rather simple, and is understandable by the ordinary person.

  • The study of the operation of money is pivotal to any discussion of cultural values and social justice, as money is the basic language of economic relationships, and the values built into this language impact all social relationships.

In this paper we will describe how the present money game is structured.  We will show that the idea that money is value neutral is not correct, and go on to describe how money functions to promote greed.

Some preliminary suggestions will be given, based on theory and what has worked in the past, to change the values built into our money to ones that are more congruent with a curiosity and caring driven economy.

We will also show how the present money game is not sustainable, note that the same changes that lead to a curiosity and caring based system are the same changes that make money and our economy sustainable.

Transforming Reality Through The Arts

by Coni Ciongoli-Koepfinger

Could this be the key to CREATIVE EVOLUTION?  Is the creation of a society that questions the reality of its fiction and the fiction of its reality be but a page turn away. Conceivably it is no longer a question of controlling what is real; instead, is it a question of controlling the market analysis that controls what the individual assumes to be real? Perhaps then, we will able to give birth to the new science that is no longer bipolar in its relations of the art and the social – a new science that is born out of a culture that was modified to be the perfect blend of both fact and fiction.

Staying Centered in Peace
by Lisa Hepner

An essay written in the wake of events on September 11, 2001.  This piece addresses the struggles we experience to see beyond the pain.  The author draws together the thoughts of many personal growth writers into an inspiring tonic for our wounded souls.