This weekend I went to a yoga retreat. At the end of the retreat I did impromptu tarot readings, and was very struck by one I did for a younger woman with whom I had no contact over the weekend.
Her reading focused on the tension she felt between being in a romantic relationship and being able to fully express herself professionally. It turns out she had ended a relationship over this. She also had no examples of successful balance in her family. Instead, the women she knew had sacrificed themselves for family.
I wanted to draw this woman into my arms and tell her that was all illusion. I had an image of sitting in my hut, chatting with her by the hearth. At one level, I am a professional woman who had great support from the men in my life for my career. On another, I’ve had to psychologically address the same fear to have a child.
But at the core of this is our definition of relationship. Marriage has emerged from roots as political and economic arrangements, into a romanticized Happily Ever After. Others I admire have written about the shift from traditional views of relationship to spiritual partnership. But as I listened to conversations at the retreat this weekend, I would guess that very few of us are consciously moving to spiritual partnership.
I listened to women telling their spousal stories even though the majority of people on this retreat were women. Of course, part of why that occurred is because the yoga teacher got engaged at the retreat. But I suspect this is also because of how women still create identity.
Is this an awakening issue? Do we need to move from feminism to humanism to Soul-ism? Is this just one more layer we’ve created between our true selves and the Divine?
Perhaps the answer is in ideas like the Divine feminine and Divine masculine. These are not male or female – rather they are aspects of our selves that are in balance as we grow and awaken.
I realize I may be one of very few people in my life who can see the rightness in this. Marriage isn’t necessary; love is. Living up to roles isn’t necessary; love is. I suspect our social structures will be sorely challenged to adapt if we move more to spiritual partnership. But women’s social equality is a first foundation for this (gay marriage too) as this asks us to question our assumptions and values. True spiritual partnership requires deep awareness, love, and personal responsibility.
Wow, does my world look different from over here.