Have you noticed how some interactions leave us inspired, fulfilled, and rejuvenated while others leave us dull, drained, and exhausted?
In a world saturated with burnout, overwhelm, and adversity, choosing regenerative relations is not only an act of self-love, but also a necessity for sustainable resilience, health, growth, and fulfillment. Regenerative relations provide the critical anchor of safety we all need to co-regulate and thrive.
I have been pondering this for a few years now... studying how we interact with one another, with ourselves, and with the planet as a whole. Where we feel empowered and nourished, where we feel victimized and drained, and how our reality can shift when we choose to design boundaries that promote regenerative relations over extractive relations.
Regenerative relations are those that nourish our mind, body, and soul. They are those relations where we feel safe, seen, appreciated, and supported. Regenerative relations are built upon a foundation of acceptance, appreciation, and reciprocity.
When we feel truly seen and accepted, we are liberated to express the whole of our being; our vulnerabilities, our fears, our dreams and desires, and the full spectrum of our creative capabilities.
In regenerative relations, we commit to seeking to identify and highlight the good in others, to find more and more appreciation opportunities, to practice acceptance even if we are not in agreement, to search for beauty in every turn, and reflect the beauty we find with generous authenticity. We seek to find the gems in each person's soul and nurture and celebrate the gifts of each being. We hold no agenda, want nothing in return, and we allow love to guide our words and deeds as we seek to leave every person and situation better than we found it. We hold healthy boundaries, take responsibility for how we feel, give generously and authentically for the joy of giving, and never expect anything in return.
Regenerative relations are built upon each individual's commitment to nurturing themselves and recognize that they can only ever truly give from a place of surplus. They take responsibility for self-regulation yet know when and how to reach out to co-regulate with one another. They feed their spirit through sharing positive reflections and celebrating beauty in all forms every chance they get and they are well-rewarded by the simple joy of living in a perpetuating state of love and appreciation. They seek to inspire, encourage, elevate and support the dreams and endeavors of others knowing that a simple unexpected act of kindness or word of support is the difference between hope and hopelessness, creativity and destruction, joy and despair. They take the time to understand the struggles of others with deep compassion and unconditional love. Their love is a river that flows without agenda, without exclusivity, and without bounds... Their attitude of gratitude is the endless well that feeds their soul and those who are blessed to cross their path... They regenerate gratitude and appreciation everywhere they go and that feeds their soul a hundred times over.
When we choose to prioritize regenerative relations and commit to also showing up as a regenerative force in our relations, our very presence becomes a healing force that nourishes not only those around us but also our own being. When we choose to surround ourselves with kind, supportive, and nourishing forces, we are in essence designing an environment of self-regulation and co-regulation allowing us to thrive in connection.
Regenerative relations serve to preserve and reinforce beauty and harmony not only within our relations but also as a powerful framework for how we relate to ourselves, our environment, our vocation, and our planet as a whole. Regenerative relations are one of the most powerful resources for finding and maintaining a state of Ventral Vagal safety, connection, and engagement in our nervous systems.
Extractive relations on the other hand stand in strong contrast to the healing, expansive, and life-affirming principles of regenerative relations.
In extractive states, the main objective is to obtain resources and power at all costs. This is often rooted in past trauma where our unmet needs for safety, attunement, connection, and trust have given rise to a world view of scarcity, fierce competition, greed, and survivalism.
Extractive relations challenge our sense of vitality, inspiration, balance, and hope. Whether we are engaged in extractive relations with our own bodies through overworking, pushing through, and substance abuse, our relations where we take more than we give, or our planet where we extract resources indiscriminately for pure monetary profit, the end outcome is one of exhaustion, overwhelm, isolation, and devastation.
There is no pathway to sustainable resilience through an extractive mindset.
While most of us are likely engaged in some form of extractive relations with our bodies, our relations, or our environment, simply holding this critical lens as a guiding principle can have a profound impact on the choices we make. As we become aware of these distinctions in our day-to-day interactions, we are instantly empowered to design kind and mindful boundaries that support and nurture our personal, interpersonal, and environmental regeneration.
I invite you to take a tally of your current relationship with your body, with your loved ones, colleagues, and community, and with both your immediate and the larger global environment. Where are you engaged in regenerative practices? Do your daily habits nurture or drain your vitality? Do you find yourself giving and receiving positive reflections or judgments? Does your vocation inspire you or leave you feeling hopeless? Does your environment fuel your sense of capability and resilience or leave you dull and drained?
There is no better time than right now to get curious, identify what must change, and take active steps to prioritize regenerative relations with ourselves, our relations, and our environment.