The Secret of Great Relationships| Arielle Ford


I really wanna thank Vishen and Tanya and
Vina and all the Mindvalley staff for letting me share this story with you today, because
it’s something I’m totally passionate about. So here’s what happened. I woke up one morning at the age of 43 with
a horrifying realization, I had forgotten to get married. I had created this amazing career. I worked with all the top self health and
spirituality authors. I had created the career by prayers, processes,
rituals, dancing naked under the moon, and it worked. It worked really well. So over here, life was great. But when I rolled over in my empty bed, kinda
sucked. So, I thought to myself, “What if I could
use these prayers, processes and rituals to manifest my soulmate?” And I didn’t know if it was gonna work, but
I did. I made a list, and for six months, I prayed,
I chanted, I made vision boards, and the I met him. And three weeks later we got engaged, a year
later, we had three weddings. Then something else happened. Did you know relationships are hard? So I discovered I knew how to run a business,
I knew how to be the boss, no partnership skills. Clueless how to be a wife. And stuff started to happen. So, for instance, I would get up in the morning,
I’d go in the kitchen, I’d make my cup of English breakfast tea, and then I’d be done
and I’d put my cup in the sink. And then my husband, my new gorgeous husband,
would come in the kitchen and he’d say to me, “Why can’t you put your coffee cup from
the sink into the dishwasher?” It’s like, “Well, I’ve been putting it in
the sink for decades. I’ll get there eventually.” And then he’d say to me, “And how come there’s
always crumbs around the toaster?” And I’m like, “What crumbs?” So, this would happen almost every day, and
it got to the point that when he started walking towards the kitchen, I’d think, “Oh, am I
gonna get spanked again?” And then one morning the craziest thing happened. He walked in and he said, “Arielle, I got
up at 4:00 this morning to get a glass of water, and I came in the kitchen, and I saw
your cup in the sink, and my heart exploded with love for you. And when I saw your crumbs next to the toaster,
I’ve never felt closer to you.” And I’m like, “What is this? It’s good, but what is this?” So here’s what it is. The Japanese have this ancient aesthetic called
Wabi Sabi. And Wabi Sabi honors all things old, and worn,
and weathered, and imperfect, and impermanent. And it seeks to find beauty and perfection
in imperfection. So imagine I had a big vase right here and
it had a long crooked crack down the middle of it. The Japanese would put it on a pedestal, and
then they would shine a spotlight on the crack. So Wabi Sabi is about learning to love the
cracks in yourself, and especially those of your mate. Wabi Sabi love. So, I started asking all my friends, “Do you
practice Wabi Sabi?” They’re like, “What the heck is Wabi Sabi?” And I’d explain it to them, they’re like,
“Oh, yeah, let me tell you a story.” So one of my favorite stories is from my friends,
Jerry and Diane. And Jerry has an addiction. Jerry is addicted to poppy seed bagels. And every morning, he wakes up, he walks into
the kitchen, he slices his poppy seed bagel, which of course, sends gazillions of little
black poppy seeds scattering all over Diane’s white tile floor. Sometime later, Diane gets up. Every morning, she walks into the kitchen,
she gets a paper towel and wets it, and she gets on her hands and knees, and she wipes
up the gazillion of black poppy seeds. Now, this goes on for a very long time. And one morning, Diane’s on her knees, you
know, wiping up the poppy seeds, and she thinks to herself, “How do I have to never do this
again?” Which is followed by the thought, “Oh, that
would mean Jerry’s no longer with me.” And she begins to cry. And she runs out of the kitchen to go find
him and give him a big hug. And from that day forward, every time she
wiped up the poppy seeds, she felt this love in her heart because it now meant she had
another day to spend with Jerry. So that’s a Wabi Sabi shift in perception. That’s how you take something that once made
you crazy, right? And now you love it. And I also found out that there’s research,
scientific research, that proves this. So there’s a woman at the University of Buffalo
named Dr. Sandra Murray, and she did studies on couples who wear rose colored glasses. And what she found is that couples who wear
rose colored glasses, I now call them Wabi Sabi glasses, is that they have happier, more
satisfying relationships. And she calls it the Pygmalion effect, because
it’s the phenomenon where when you raise your level of expectation for someone, they rise
to meet that level. You and I would probably call it a self fulfilling
prophecy. And what happens when you wear the rose colored
glasses is you begin to look for what’s right in the relationship, instead of what’s wrong. Make sense? Right? How many of us are looking for what’s wrong
instead of what’s right? So I needed a lot of this, me with the no
partnership skills. So, one of the things that really drove me
nuts about Brian happened in the bathroom. I would go in the bathroom to brush my teeth,
and I would squeeze…I’m a bottom squeezer. Any bottom squeezers here? Right? Squeeze from the bottom, roll it up nice. My husband, he’s a mangled from the middle
guy, right? So every morning for years, I would look at
my mangled tube of toothpaste, and I’d have this bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. Like, “Why can’t he do it my way? Why can’t he do it the right way?” So, I got out my rose colored glasses and
I put the tube of toothpaste in my hand, and I thought, “What’s good about this? Nothing.” You know, there’s got to be something. And then it came to me, ready? “Thank God I married a man who brushes his
teeth,” right? Yeah. So now I know as we grow old together, he’s
gonna have all his teeth. Wabi Sabi love, it’s a shift in perception. So another thing that happened was one day
I found myself like this. And I don’t know what I was ragging on him
about, I don’t remember. But when I saw myself like this, I was horrified,
and I stopped. And I said to Brian, “The next time this happens,
and unfortunately, there’s gonna be a next time, could you just kindly, gently, sweetly
say to me, when did Sheila enter the room?” Now, Sheila is my mother, and I love her to
death. She’s totally cool, and she’s a typical, overbearing
Jewish mother. And Brian got it instantly, and he said, “Yes. And the next time I’m too patronizing, just
say, when did Wayne arrive?” That was his dad. So very quickly, we found these code names
to defuse what could have been World War III. And we still do it. He said to me last week, he goes, “I see Sheila’s
here.” And it’s great, because I don’t wanna be this
woman. You know, and he doesn’t wanna hear me ragging
on him about something. And I checked in with some other friends. I said, “Do you have any code names? Are the things that you use and you do?’ And my friends John and Tracy told me their
story. So John, John gets really jealous whenever
Tracy’s on the phone talking to a man, or at a party. One day, they’re at a cocktail party, John
sees Tracy across the room talking to some handsome man, the green-eyed monster comes
up. And John, who is a pretty conscious guy, stops
himself and he says, “What can I do here? What can I do?” And he decides to create a sub personality
for himself called Luigi. And Luigi is this sort of slimy Italian guy
with long curly hair and wears white shirts with big sleeves. And he walks over to Tracy and he grabs her
around the waist and he says, “You are my woman. You are not allowed to speak to any other
man. I’m going to ravish you right now,” and gives
her a big hug. And like that, they’re hugging, they’re kissing,
they’re having fun. And any time the green-eyed monster appears,
John now becomes Luigi. So, I know some of you are out there thinking,
“But, Arielle, does this work for everything? What about if he’s making me really crazy?” And that happens. There will be times when you hate your spouse. Trust me, I know that happens. But, so here’s what it doesn’t work for. It doesn’t work for bad behavior, it doesn’t
work for abuse, it doesn’t work for addiction. So, if any of those are in your relationship,
you need to go get professional help. But for almost anything else, you can find
the Wabi Sabi solution. So I have these other friends, Ed and Deb. And Ed’s this big, big teddy bear of a guy,
warm, friendly, wonderful. And his wife Deb is a real kinda get it done
bottom line kinda girl. She likes to make her to-do list, cross things
off, stay on a schedule. So one day Ed and Deb are off to the farmers’
market. And they’re, you know, she’s picking out stuff
for lunch, and she turns around to talk to Ed and, “Ed,” and Ed’s gone. Where’s Ed? So she goes looking for him, and finds him
sitting on the curb talking to a little boy who looks quite depressed, maybe seven, eight
years old. And she gets there just in time to hear Ed
say to the little boy, “How does a camel hide in the desert?” And the little boy looks up at him and says,
“I don’t know.” Ed says, “Camouflage.” And the little boy lights up and he smiles
and the mother’s smiling, because for the first time all day, the kid’s happy. And Deb, Deb has this Wabi Sabi epiphany. For the first time in 15 years, she gets her
husband, and she sees that Ed has not been waking up every morning thinking, “How do
I make Deb crazy today?” He wakes up in the morning, “How can I make
somebody’s day? How can I make somebody happy?” And she starts to cry. And she totally gets her husband and falls
in love with him all over again. Are you seeing what this can do? I mean, it really, you can totally shift something
that once made you nuts into something that you love. So, I had a really hard one that it took me
a long time to figure out the Wabi Sabi solution too. I’m a HSP, I’m a highly sensitive person. Any other HSPs in here? Right. A lot of you, right? So these bright lights are killing me, I hate
them. You know, loud noises, so painful for me. My husband, news junkie to the max. MSNBC is on 24/7, really, really loud. You know, when I…people say, “Who are your
friends?” It’s like, you know, Rachel, Ed, you know,
right? Right? What’s his name, the cute one? You know, so all the people on MSNBC are our
closest friends. So anyway, every time I walk into the house,
there’s a TV on really loud. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but
when you complain to your spouse about something, no matter how much you whine, bitch, and moan,
and ask them to change, do they ever change? Never, right? No matter how much you complain. So I’d walk in, “Oh, can you turn that down? Could you turn it off? When you leave the room, could you turn the
TV off?” This went on for years. And then one day I came home, and every TV
in the house was on really loud. And Brian wasn’t home. And then I saw the remote, let’s just pretend
this is the remote. And I thought, “God invented this just for
me. All I have to do is walk around the house
and turn off the televisions. It’s really that simple, because I saw that
this wasn’t a Brian problem, this was an Arielle problem. I was the one who doesn’t like loud noises,
and now it’s fixed. It’s just the easiest thing in the world.” So there was also another piece of it that
I learned, and I’m gonna tell you a story about it, but first we have to have an agreement. So the agreement is, we’re gonna leave politics
out of this, okay? No politics. So it’s a story about Barack and Michelle
Obama. So 10 years ago, they almost got divorced. Michelle was working this really big corporate
job, she had the two young girls at home, she was feeling fat, unseen, unheard, Barack
wasn’t around much. He had told his grandmother he didn’t think
they were gonna make it. She had told her mother she didn’t think they
were gonna make it either. And then one morning at 5:00 in the morning,
she woke up and she had this really big desire to go the gym. She hadn’t been to the gym in probably four
months. And it was 5:30 in the morning, and she was
feeling guilty because she thought, “Okay, the girls are gonna get up, they’re gonna
need breakfast. You know, he doesn’t know how to make breakfast.” And then she thought, “Oh, what the hell? He went to Harvard for God’s sakes, he’ll
figure out breakfast.” And she got out of bed and went to the gym. And while she was on the Stairmaster, this
was 10 years ago, before we had ellipticals, she had this Wabi Sabi epiphany. And she realized that she had been waiting
for Barack to make her happy, and she realized that she needed to make herself happy. So when she got home, the girls were at the
kitchen table with Barack eating their cereal, he had figured it out, and she announced to
the family, “We have new rules in the Obama household. One, I’m taking my mother up on her offer
to help me with the kids. Two, Barack, every day that you’re at home
in Chicago, family dinner time at 6:30. Three, every Sunday is Family Day, no matter
what. And four, we’re gonna have a date night every
week.” And it transformed their relationship, and
as you know, they’re a very happy soulmate couple today. They’re still in the White House with mama
bear with them, too, their grandmother. So, personal responsibility becomes really
sort of the cornerstone of Wabi Sabi love. We’re all responsible for making ourselves
happy or figuring out how to get to the happiness. And unfortunately, we’ve all been brainwashed. You know, we’ve all bought into this myth
that we need to be perfect, our bodies need to be perfect, our spouses, our kids. HDTV would like your home to be perfect, furniture
and all, and the truth is, it’s impossible. The striving for perfection leaves us sad,
angry, disappointed, upset, upside down. It’s just not possible. So, I think right now we should have an agreement
to change the word perfection to pure fiction. Right? Because that’s what it is, yeah, pure fiction. And really coming to understand and embrace
Wabi Sabi love has finally made me a good partner. We just had our 15th wedding anniversary,
we’re still blissfully in love, things are really great, and I know that this stuff really
works. Because if you decide to shift from what I
call annoyed to enjoyed, you can change conflict into compassion. Because I want you to think of your partner’s
annoying behaviors as a gift. They’re doing this so you can be a more loving,
kinder, generous person. They’re there to be your teacher, to really
show you how to be a Wabi Sabi artisan. Anybody willing to do that? Yeah. Now, the other good part about it is, you
can do it with yourself. So if you’re beating yourself up, you’re making
yourself wrong, just, you know, just say, “I’m having a Wabi Sabi moment,” and find
something good in it. And I’ll give you an example. I’m a really sloppy eater. If any of you have eaten with me, you know
this, when I eat I’m very, like, into it, and my food gets on me and it gets on you. And I’ll probably eat the food off your plate
as well. So my story is, is that the way I eat is a
demonstration of my enthusiasm for life. So I no longer have any guilt or shame around
my disgusting eating habits. Got it? All right. So, I wanna leave you with one thought. Sam Kean said this brilliant thing, I found
it the other day, I haven’t memorized it yet. So he says, “We come to love, not by finding
a perfect person, but by learning to love an imperfect person perfectly. Thank you. Thank you. So that’s it. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Michael Martin

15 Responses

  1. he is 51 my fault i when out with him….sometimes some people are ment to be alone…I'm happy for you….far and inbetween some people are reL LONERS…

  2. It's all very silly. There's really no separation. Knowing that reality reveals that relationships are not possible. In order to have relationship you require separation and that is a lie. In addition, in so-called relationships you are required to lie all the time so there's nothing authentic about it. You have thoughts you don't want to have and if you communicated these thoughts you'd either be fighting all the time or the relationship would end. 

  3. Hm see ive always been a rose colored glasses person, just naturally, and jt opened me up to so much abuse and being taken advantage of and accepting severe abuse. Id love to know more about that. How to have rose colored glasses but recognizing and not accepting abuse. Maybe this is more obvious to people who havent been abused since childhood? Id love to know others thoughts on it.

  4. This sounds like a blank check to be a total douche to your spouse.  "Yes, I did sleep with your sister, but guess what?  Wabi sabi.  Love me for my imperfections."

  5. I have to say, that while I wouldn't judge a person who puts all tvs in his house, I certainly wouldn't want to live with him, even as a roommate. It simply goes down to choices.

  6. Meanwhile, who cleans the poppy seeds? And where is the care and consciousness of the one who leaves them behind? Would your love for the other not grow in his effort to please you? Where is self-sacrifice; concern for the other; mutual desire for mutual happiness in these stories? Your wabi Sabi seems lopi-sidie. I've had enough teaching, mostly on my knees, cleaning up the other's mess. Maturity might go both ways?

    wabi Sabi is embracing alone-ness and being one with nature. it is a lovely sadness. It exposes a sublime balance. I can't find it in what you say.

  7. "माना की हम पे जोरो जफा कीजियेगा आप, लेकिन हमी ना होंगे तो क्या कीजियेगा आप" Translation: Agreed you may find all the faults in me, what will you do when I am not there". Yes. We should not forget that perfection is pure fiction.

  8. Do you practice Wabi Sabi Love? Share your thoughts, we'd love to hear them 😃 If you want instant transformation you need to be part of out LIVE events happening somewhere in the world 👉 https://go.mindvalley.com/JoinTheTribe

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