She’s been “leaving” me for years (it’s not really leaving, it’s more like minding the gap that is required to keep our spark moving). In the beginning, I found it heart wrenching, but now I just know it is part of how I am here to love her. It’s not my favorite part of our relationship, but I’m just resilient and persistent enough to let her go, and each time, trust a deeper knowing, that we aren’t done.
This leaving habit of hers pre-dates me. In her early relationships, she stayed in the house, but left the premises emotionally, shutting down and cutting off the pieces of herself she couldn’t figure out to bring into the particular dimensions of the puddle of light of that relationship. I can think of no worse way to love her than to enable that.
In the beginning, it was hard. A wordsmith, she can be quite convincing when she explained that she’d reached her end with me. Even as her heart and my heart spoke differently, her exit was very convincing. Sometimes loud, worse when it was cold stone silent. For a while, it seemed erratic. Over time, I came to understand the paradox that sometimes “both” can be true – that she needed to be away, and also that she was, even in her exit, permanently and inextricably inside our togetherness.
So we have a relationship that is like swiss cheese, and whether that is judged as good or bad is my choice. It is all of one connected piece, and I can focus on that, or it is full of holes and I can focus on that. I’ve learned to now hold those holy spaces with a loving caress. When she goes away, she goes to grow, to feel her own breath, to reconnect to the quiet signal that can sometimes be hard to hear in the cacophony of our robust and gregarious life of family, tribe and community (and my noise?). What I’ve learned is, that signal inside her that is so clear and discernible to me and sometimes so elusive to her is a broad and undeniable call back to community and connection. She lives in connection, and I’m blessed to be one of her chosen connections.
I keep the light on, enjoy time with my and our other beloveds, and look forward to meeting and starting anew with her again and again, each time greeted at my open door by a partner for this next patch of life that is an upgrade from the one that just left me.
Today I pretend that I am a bush woman, collecting firewood for my fire, my knife sharpened to carve goddess figurines when the chores are done.
But I know this is a choice.
It is just as likely today that I might click the up button on the thermostat, and those “chores” involve little more than merely feeding our excess into machines that do the work for me.
This is the blessing of living in the first world; this daily choosing to consume or not, to participate or not, to harm a little less today, handed to me well before the age of deserving, dubbing me winner of some cosmic lottery I never even bought a ticket for.
As if the real Goddess half way across the world has had anything to do with deserving her lack of choices.
No, there is no reason in how we’ve been assigned these very different human experiences. Her yearning for opportunity and justice, the intelligence and strength it takes to care for her babies is something I can’t even imagine, never mind compare mine to.
Today, as I feast with blessed friends, I pretend that I’ve done my part,
but know deep in my bones that being kind to the other elites
and hiding my privilege under gratitude does nothing for the other 7 billion today and their countless ancestors, upon whose suffering my pleasure is precariously perched.
Yes, I feel thankful. And know that simply isn’t the point.
Some times, I get to some new wisdom place where I get the insight, write it down, and then promptly forget it. I think this is one of those times.
Here’s what I know today: This self love thing is disruptive.
It doesn’t feel like the glowing light of an Angel or a Goddess. When it really landed that I’m not just a nice person connected to God, but that I am made of stardust, I am a Goddess, (thanks, HAI L5), first I got really angry. I felt Very UNlovable in this new state brought on by self-love! Interesting response. As a commitment to loving myself unconditionally, I allowed these negative feelings to arise nonetheless.
I felt this blind white fury for all the ways I’d allowed myself to be misunderstood and “improperly” treated. I was angry about how I myself had desecrated my own divinity. It came out (ungracefully) as blame towards those I’d conscripted to taunt myself with – the beloveds who I had put ahead of my own needs so I could blame them for not “letting me” be me.
I believe that when negative feelings come from genuine misalignment of environment, or mistreatment, the solution seems obvious. But when we are all just “walking each other home,” fulfilling the soul-level contracts we’ve made to poke each other in tender places to keep each other awake, well, then what is one to do about the irritation of that action?
Trying to find the gratitude in the middle of all this fury and blame has been confounding, and yet it comes anyway. So now I’m coming to this deeper place of trusting that even my negative feelings – the deep fear, anger, sadness, blame — these are just lovely messengers. It is feedback that there is deeper listening or minor (to not minor) tweaks needed. I wrote THAT 2 years ago – it isn’t about the feelings. As this redawns on me, I recollect that the invitation is to stop fixing others so they can have their own relationship to these lovely little messengers from their souls (in the form of me poking them unwittingly or at least unskillfully).
And here is another knowing that hitched in on the self-love channel: in addition to all the loveliness I offer, I’ve also have been so controlling of others, and I’ve used my spiritual practice to learn to “let go” of some of the wrong stuff. Now, I’m feeling very deeply into the question of what is worth preserving. This controlling and surrender are sometimes just ways of covering, but what am I hiding from? (I don’t have an answer to that, but I’m pretty sure now that I’ve written it down, I’m going to get an answer and there’s a good chance it will also be an uncomfortable paradox!)
So, today I’m contemplating the relationship I have with my own discomfort, and that of my beloveds. On the one hand, I can commit to standing in my own light, letting others know of my audacious asks. The self love thing gets me to a place of at least imagining I deserve my asks. Yet, I’m still telling myself a story that when my choices, thoughts, feelings and actions land in someone else as a trigger to their pain, there’s some responsibility I have to help with that pain. If someone ELSE is the one doing the poking, and I see my beloved suffering, I find compassion. When it is me doing the poking, my compassion compels me to reduce “my part” in their suffering, and then the cycle of controlling and letting go of the wrong stuff begins anew.
My interpretation is: this finding the divinity in me, this finding my Goddess heart, is opening whole new layers of empathy. My heart is breaking for other’s pain in a way I haven’t ever felt before. My compulsive need to make people not feel abandoned that defined my early adulthood had made way for an autonomy of letting people have their stuff because I NEEDED to focus on self care as I entered middle adulthood. I wanted self care, and I knew that self care without self love is just narcissism, and I don’t want any part of that. So good noticing that.
It feels like the next step goes back to loving others, but in a new way. As the self love really lands, as my heart opens and my energy field becomes so much more attuned to the collective, experiencing the pain my beloveds are experiencing is becoming not an intellectual or emotional exercise, but a heart of hearts deep soul thing. It hurts. And when I am helping in their discomfort, ah, there’s the rub. And I want to know what to DO about it.
Fortunately, sometimes I know stuff and write it down. So here’s some advice I have for me that I think wraps up this contemplation nicely:
“Love. This, so simple. Nothing to engineer, nothing to do right or wrong. Lovingly witnessing their becoming and joyously celebrating their choices and empathetically holding them in their struggles, even if their struggles include me, is all I’m required to do. Loving IS doing it right. This isn’t something to work on; it is a celebration of life.”
You seem to think that there is something that needs healing in you?
Without negating your very genuine suffering, I wish to invite you to consider what may be more true than your commitment to the pain of what happened.
There was a moment when you knew. That first time another human held your quivering body and looked into your terrified eyes, we all saw your perfection. And then with that first breath, the layers of forgetting began to pile on. And so it was with each of the 7 billion and their countless ancestors; can you invite yourself to comprehend? Care (and lack of care) comes only from similarly veiled others.
You have moments of reckoning where you are reminded of this. Many call it empathy, or self care. Or love. Or enlightenment. It is that moment, as fleeting as that first, when you become aware that no one has harmed you that isn’t also terrifyingly harmed themselves.
Do not despair at this news! There is nothing to fix. Simply remember. Do what helps with that, hold rocks or slip beads between your fingers, gaze in that way that sees something more beautiful than you think your burdened heart can bear, and simply call your attention back to what you’ve known longer than you’ve known any of these stories.
I beg you, please don’t fool yourself into thinking you must dig through, analyze, or somehow comprehend what has happened. You are not meant to be an archeologist of happenings, and we need you for more essential work. As you grow your tiny protected heart from within this deeper place of truth, it will expand out and all those layers will simply crack and fall away of their own accord.
And there you will be, nothing to heal, ready again as you were that first moment to offer a daily practice and commitment to listen to the call that your only work here is to help others remember as well.
I’m not sure if this helps or just reminds you of your pain, but I want to share this excerpt from a book I’m reading as an example of how what you are experiencing isn’t unique or even a problem. It’s awakening. Call it soul, home, oneness, unity, connection, god. Don’t call it nothing. The people worth spending time with, they feel it too. This lady below didn’t understand until she was nearly 70. We are lucky to hear the call whenever we are ready.
“…Yes… the Longing. The Great, the Endless….
From the very beginning I never knew for what I was longing. Confused, tortured, the mind not working, I did not, could not, analyze it. It was just a longing from the very depth of my heart, the poignant feeling of some vanished bliss…
At first, it seemed just a longing for its own sake, for nothing in particular. At times it was more, at times it was less, but it always remained in the background, throbbing softly. I was never without it and it could grow so terrible at times that I would lose the will to live. There must be a reason for it…
I looked deeper into my self. Deeper and deeper still. And it took me some time to discover that it was in reality the same yearning I had had all my life, since childhood! Only now it was increased to the utmost degree. Even when I was quite small, every time I saw golden clouds at sunset or the sky so blue, or heard lovely music, or saw dancing sparks of sunlight on the trembling surface of the water – each time it came, an endless sadness, something was crying in me.
Often I wondered what this yearning could be. Never understood it, not really. Was it my heredity, the innate sadness of my people’s temperament? This morning I knew…for a few seconds it seemed to be breaking my heart open, so strong it was, causing even bodily pain. Then it ebbed away, leaving the understanding of it’s very nature behind… So simple.
All the time it was never anything but the cry for real Home!
We bring it with us into the physical life. We bring it from the other planes of being; it forms part of the very texture of our soul; it is intended to take us home again where we belong. Without this longing, which is a gift from this world, we, as deluded as we are, would never find the way home…”
– Irina Tweedie “The Chasm of Fire”
Spring is under here, I’m sure.
And no amount of shoveling will make it come faster.
This I know.
But I can clear a path for you.
No amount of meditating will make the sun rise faster.
This I know.
But this breath is a good thing to do while I am waiting.
God has cleared a path for me.
I cannot make spring, or make sunrise,
and some days I can barely make love.
But this I can do.
I can do this work.
God is in the work.
One inch. And then another.
One breath. And then another.
I am a lousy shoveler,
But I have cleared a narrow path for you.
And also for me.