I am grateful for being in a relationship with someone who is on my wavelength. I am grateful for the things we have in common. It’s great when the cogs mesh and everything runs smoothly.
I am also grateful for the ways in which we differ. The complementarity makes for a more rounded unit. More recently, I have grown to be grateful for the times where our cogs fail to mesh nicely or begin turning the wrong way. This poses a number of opportunities.
Cog-mismatch helps me recognise that we are different, that we have different operating styles, that we have different needs. It helps me become more aware in general, which is never a bad thing!
Cog-mismatch invites me to step into the shoes of my partner and to see reality from another perspective, helping me to empathise and bring about connection.
Aware of out differing styles or current needs, I am given the opportunity to forsake or adapt my own behaviour so as to accommodate the ways of my partner.
In practice this looks a lot like a dance. Neither partner is right or wrong, neither partner is 100% leader, 100% follower. It’s more of an ever changing flux. Taken as an opportunity, cog-mismatch becomes a dynamic and rewarding collaboration.
And like any collaboration, if both partners are playing by the same rules, that is to say, both partners are viewing cog-mismatch in this sort of way, we can expect a more free-flowing and rewarding dance.
And yet, I have found that even if one partner is less aware of the cog-mismatch opportunity in any given moment, it only takes one partner to adapt their style in order to free up the cogs.
This last point has been made clear to me over many years of relationship. Being able to allow for this inevitable variability (a healthy degree of non-practice) is essential for any sort of applied philosophy to work in a real life setting. This point is especially apparent when approaching a lifestyle based wellbeing approach such as Ayurveda. You only need to pick up a few books on the subject before you realise that you are caught between books titles like “Perfect Health”, “Ultimate Balance”, and endless lists of nutritional and lifestyle do’s and don’ts. Finding a realistic applied version of these idealistic teachings merits a chapter or a book all to itself.
Thankfully, for myself, my partner, my family and friends, I have learned to find a more middling way. A way that keeps both sides in sight: acceptance and tenderness towards anything that appears as being limited or dysfunctional, whilst at the same time keeping a healthy degree of aspiration towards betterment and liberation. It’s a work in progress!