Quechua (pronounced keCHwa) is the name given to the language of South American Indians living in the Andean highlands from Ecuador to Bolivia. In Quechua there is a word, Ayni (pronounced Aini). Roughly translated means “today for you, tomorrow for me”. Ayni is the concept of being in reciprocity or what I like to think of as right relationship.
When I first heard this term, I just remember thinking, wow what a beautiful thing. Since I have been embarking on my own journey these past few months trying to get back to my own wisdom empowered self, I have been returning to this word and its meaning. Ayni is after all being in right relationship with all that is. I had been easily showing up for family and friends, giving to them when they called or needed me but one day on a call with my amazing warrior sister Diane, she asked me if those relationships felt like they were in Ayni. I had to admit that some of them didn’t.
Now, I am not suggesting that Ayni is about keeping score in your relationships, it is not but it is about ensuring that there is a natural energetic flow back and forth between people, places or things as we relate with them. Yes, Ayni exists between us and the earth too.
As I looked at my relationships there were some that felt really good to me, I gave in those relationships, I received in those relationships, it didn’t need to be accounted for that is not what I did, I just felt how that relationship was for me and it felt good.
Other relationships felt seriously out of balance, I recognized that in some of my relationships I was giving more and for whatever reason I didn’t feel like I was receiving, these relationships were out of Ayni, this was not right relationship.
My relationship with my children is a great example of this, there have been times in the past when I was consulting, traveling away from home a lot and they felt abandoned by me and as hard as it is for me to admit, they were right, they were without their mother when they needed me. When I was home, they wanted my attention and yet I always returned with a to do list a mile long of all of the things that I thought I needed to take care of when I was home. I think in some ways it was my own relationship with my mother that made it so hard to relate to my kids when they needed, me. I felt ill-equipped and didn’t want to “mess them up” so I in my hyper-capable self just went to work making sure that I could afford to buy them what they needed. This was out of Ayni.
Over these past few months as I have tried to bring my relationships into Ayni, it has resulted in a ton of change, in a really powerful way. My relationship with my older children is better than it has ever been. They are both showing up for it, giving to it and so am I and it has been fun to get to know them from this balanced place. I am and always will be their biggest cheerleader!
My relationships with friends have changed, some new friendships have shown up in unexpected ways, soul sisters sharing similar journeys each of us meeting each other in the best possible ways to support and love each other through life’s changes. Some friendships taking space due to the limitations of a pandemic but never too far away. Even my primary relationship with my husband is changing and continues to change in some expected ways and some not expected as we each try to find our own way through this difficult time.
Being in right relationship will never be a destination that I reach, it is a constant awareness of the health of my relationships. The key to knowing that starts with my own awareness, getting in touch with myself, how am I feeling, am I giving and receiving in relationship?
At the beginning of the pandemic when I reignited my meditation practice this along with my writing wisdom practice this supercharged my awareness of what was working and what wasn’t. The hardest thing to know was the fact that where my relationships were out of Ayni, this didn’t happen because of something that the other person did to me, it was because of what I had done to myself. I had allowed myself to get so distracted by the doing of my life, I lost touch with being in my life. Slowing down enough to know what felt good and what didn’t. The pandemic forced me to be in my life rather than escape from it every week.
My meditation and writing had me peeling back the layers of the onion about how I felt in my own life. Sitting with the principle of Ayni, examining the state of my relationships was a powerful step to implementing my own Wisdom Empowered Life.