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Susie and Otto's Relationships Article

"What Buying a Christmas tree taught us about relationships. .."

By Susie and Otto Collins

Like so many of you, one Christmas we bought and decorated our Christmas tree. The 9 foot tall tree is beautifully shaped and immediately brought the Christmas spirit into our home. The tree was placed in a very sturdy stand and decorated with plenty of lights and ornaments from years past. Everything was great until the tree and all of its finery crashed on top of 5' 2" Susie as she edged it into its corner.

After righting the tree and recovering the ornaments from the floor, we discovered that the reason the tree fell was because 70% of its weight was on the side that initially attracted us to its beauty. For safety reasons, we were forced to turn the beautiful, full side to the corner and face the side that was thin to the outside. This is the side we decorated!

A lot can be learned about relationships by looking at this Christmas metaphor. When we begin a relationship, we show the wonderful parts of ourselves and even if we don't mean too, we hide the not so desirable parts of ourselves from our partner or people we work with. We may not consciously hide those parts of ourselves but the "honeymoon" period conceals those parts that are unhealed.

But as the relationship grows, our unhealthy patterns start to emerge and our "bare" spots start to show. Gary Zukav talks about this "post" honeymoon experience as being when the "real" relationship begins. No amount of beautiful ornaments and lights can hide the "bare" spots. In fact, if you're doing your "work," you shouldn't hide them. This is because no matter how much you try to cover them over, they're still there. We've found that in order for your relationships to really work, you have to tackle those "bare" spots within yourself.

Another aspect of our Christmas tree saga that reminded us of relationship dilemmas was the uneven weight of the tree that caused it to topple over. In all of our relationships there are power and vulnerability issues. In a spiritual partnership or conscious relationship, both people are both powerful and vulnerable at different times and in different situations. But if one person is more powerful or more vulnerable than that makes for a very unhealthy relationship.

Yes, people stay together and might not "topple over" where there is an imbalance of power and vulnerability but this doesn't empower either one. If both people feel empowered, they will experience more passion and joy in life. We feel that being conscious of the power and vulnerability issues in your life is a step toward having outstanding relationships. Look for the patterns of power and vulnerability in your relationships--you'll soon see them emerge!

Another aspect of our tree metaphor which we discovered was that we had unconsciously selected the tree based on the side that was shown to us and did not take a close look at its structure.

What we are encouraging you to do is make sure that you are conscious in all ways in all your relationships. What this means is to decide what your intentions are moment by moment and live in accordance with those intentions. It also means making conscious choices in your life.

We've found it essential to practice looking beneath the surface of a situation to see what's really going on. When you look beneath the surface, you finally reach an understanding and empathy with the other.

Any of these issues we've talked about simply require good, honest, clear communication based on what your intentions for the relationship are. Get clear on your intentions and then talk openly and honestly.

This Christmas tree may not be the most beautiful one we've had but it has taught us some great lessons about being conscious in all things--a lesson we continue to learn!

Susie and Otto Collins are married, life partners who are Relationship and Life Success Coaches, and authors of several books on relationships, including "Should You Stay or Should You Go?" "No More Jealousy" "Creating Relationship Trust" "Communication Magic" and "Attracting Your Perfect Partner." In addition to having a great relationship, they regularly write, speak and conduct seminars on love, relationships and personal growth. To read more free articles like this or to sign up for their free online relationship tips newsletter visit or

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