Dating til I’m 80

I was at dinner with a friend last night. Our conversation turned to those deep topics that can only occur when you are having a fine dinner. He is the type of man with whom I can discuss consciousness and business and emotional topics. I admire his ability to integrate physics into our conversations around consciousness.

We began the conversation about how relationships have been changing across time. We discussed the changes in how society views and values marriage. We discussed how long term relationships serve a very different purpose and are being reshaped by the current generations. “You will be dating til you are 80,” he observed. I paused as the truth of that settled in to my awareness.

My brother and sister have each been married for over 20 years. I admire their relationships for many things. And yet there is an aspect to relationships that still gives me pause.

I believe that I value freedom more than I value relationship. My friend asked me to become more specific in the freedom that I so value. Was it financial freedom? Relationship freedom?

Possibly the biggest freedom that I value is more of a spiritual type. I am finding more and more moments where I am released from the influences of identifying with ego. My life has become amazing as a result. I am happy. Not because of anything. Just as a natural state. And I cannot remember a time in my life that this has ever been the case.

It is also true that I value financial freedom. I enjoy demonstrating generosity and supporting people on their journey in any way that I can. I also like to just have fun when it feels like that is something I want to do.

But quite possibly the freedom that I am trying to understand when it comes to relationship is emotional freedom. I recognize that codependency has been a part of my life since I was about 14 years old. For the first time in my entire life I am NOT attached to another person in a relationship. As much as I enjoyed demonstrating love and compassion and expressing my nature with another, I do not enjoy feeling bound or confined or held back by anothers journey. I know this does not necessarily have to be true about relationship. And that is how I know that there is something more that I value. And that is connection.

I experience connection with others more and more frequently. It is not bound by relationship or by compatibility. Connection is occurring as a result of my own consciousness and shifts in the ways that I have learned to communicate with other people. I have amazing spiritual partnerships, evolving with both men and women, and I am feeling deep gratitude and blessings coming through those relationships. I am not that concerned about dating or about relationship form at all. It’s something more than that.

Will I be dating until I am 80? That is hard to say. But I know that from now on, this thing that I value the most in relation to other is building and recognizing deep connection with all those around me.

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Just because it’s not there now, doesn’t mean it wasn’t real.

Dear one we once loved,

There was a time, wasn’t there? There was a time that we shared ourselves with each other. We shared laughter, tears, experiences, traditions. We shared our most intimate secrets with each other. We shared a bed — but even more importantly we shared wants, needs, desires, dreams, and visions for the future. We were completely exposed to one another — both physically and emotionally
Uncensored. Trusting. Fully immersed. Unaware of what the future would bring. Ah, there was a time, wasn’t there? A time we created memories.
A time when a person, once a stranger — became our everything.

And then, eventually, seemed to somehow become a stranger again. A stranger who will forever leave a space in their shape on our hearts and our minds. One who leaves memories in the way that one leaves a carving on a tree. A carving that someday may have other memories grow over it, making it invisible.

But, it will always be there, no matter how deep it becomes buried.
The memories of experiences shared are now silhouettes in the backs of our minds that softly emerge when the right song is heard or the right scent is smelled. Memories that manifest themselves as a gentle smile across our faces, reminiscent of those that we once shared across the room. Smiles we shared when we were different people than we are now. When we were learning from, growing with, and just enjoying each other. Smiles we shared when we had no idea what the future held for us, but didn’t care. We were us.

And now you are you, and I am me.
We still don’t know what the future will bring. Maybe someday our paths will cross again. Paths that have traveled the world separately and somehow reconvened in line at a coffee shop or passing on the street. Maybe one of us will be married, or have children, or have lived a life of great experiences. A life full of stories to be told.

We will have laughter lines from laughs we did not share together and wrinkles from pains that we did not shield each other from. We will have traditions we have built with someone else and special occasions that were once only arbitrary dates on a calendar. We will have photos on our phones of experiences we did not share.
♦◊♦
We will talk, reminisce, and part ways again. We will hug, and for a fleeting moment our hearts will recognize each other and beat in unison if only briefly. We will linger, remembering the times we shared. Then, before fading back into our separate lives and away from each other once more, one last smile of understanding and shared memories.

We will fade from each other’s lives but burn brighter in the ones we have created for ourselves with the one we now love. The one who taught us that it was okay to move on. The one who taught us that we could love again. We will have new smiles. Separate smiles built by separate memories. Smiles full of love and family and the person who has accepted us fully, as we have accepted them. Smiles of contentment that reflect the silent comfort that we have found happiness when, at one time, we did not think it was possible without each other. Smiles that understand that this is the way things were meant to be.

It always was.

This article originally appeared on James Michael Sama’s Blog. Follow James on Twitter and Facebook. – See more at: http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/letter-loved-loss-hesaid/#sthash.pZJxse1E.dpuf

The Alien Inside Me

“It’s amazing to think about the pace of change in our lives today, in contrast to the fact that for most of human history, most people stayed in the same place with the same 150-odd people doing the same thing for their whole life. When that is our history, is it any surprise that the accelerated pace of the 21st century is so challenging for us? We are now, on average, living three or more lives in each lifetime (in the sense of three or more careers and/or partners and/or homes etc.).In this context, it can be so hard to feel a sense of rootedness, of belonging, of home; we long for a more intimate sense of community, and like to refer to our “tribe” but of course you don’t really have a tribe unless you live together (or in close proximity), hunt & gather together, and raise your children together. So many of us feel we have a tribe, but one we are exiled from most of the time. It’s not sustainable. The alienation we feels leads us to consume more in order to numb it, and the more we consume the more we need to focus on making money, and the more we do that, the less time we have for friends etc. and thus the more alienated we feel. There’s the cycle of samsāra, in one version at least. Furthermore, we substitute electronic connection for in-person connection, which doesn’t serve us well because it blunts the edge of the pain of alienation, and therefore we are less likely to change our situation.” – Christopher Hareesh Wallis

My beautiful loving teacher and friend said the words I’ve been surfacing for a few weeks. I have not felt a sense of belonging for some time now. The cycle he described is my life pattern.

The beauty in that feeling coming forward has been an escalated desire for awakening. It is too late for me to turn back and everything in me is driving towards that deep longing.

I set the intention a month ago to heal the feeling of not belonging and my partnerships have increased significantly. A friend raised my awareness to notice the spiritual partnerships I’ve been forming.

It was moving to have Chris say the words out loud, somewhat randomly, and be a space of connection in that experience on the path. It was one more way in which spiritual partnership is flourishing in my life.

And so it is.
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No Looking Back

baby-looking-backwardsDo you ever re-read your blog, or your journals?  I did that, as part of a new movement I am creating.  I am laughing at what I see in my writing.

I am stuck.  Stuck like a stick in mud.  Stuck like a tire  in snow.  Stuck.

Part of why I am stuck is that I had alot of energy work to digest.  I have years of things I did not process fully, and that takes time.  So it is normal, and good, to be in a space of reflection.

But at some point, you close the book, and raise your head.  I have been stuck looking backwards.

I have near sightedness, and energetically that is linked to looking inwards, reflecting near the surface and beneath the surface. It can also mean you do not see clearly, or you only see what fits your belief system.

For a very long time, I struggled with visioning.  My vision is fairly shortsighted, literally and figuratively.  I do not vision the way I encourage others to do so.  I look back too much and build with incremental change.

A small part of that is because there is little in my personal circumstances that is not satisfying. My child is amazing.  I have a lovely home and car.  My work is really fulfilling.  I have the spiritual teachers I have longed for, and every minute I am moving into a state of deeper awakening. So there isn’t much there that I am missing.

Yet I cannot help but ask if it is because I do not know how to look forward.

On Friday I am engaging in a process that will change my experience of the world.  There will be no looking back when it is done – for good or for ill.  It is a significant turning point, in the same way that my trip to Brazil was last year, or my trip to San Fransisco.  I know it is right.  I know it is energetically going to change everything.  It will be a final reference point in the fact that I am truly a different person than a few months ago, a year ago…for as long as some people have known me.

No looking back. Everything is about to change. Cool. 🙂

Loving Betrayal

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I was asked once what betrayal was.  My Truth answered it was when one person is no longer willing to sustain the illusion between you and ends that agreement unilaterally. I have come to believe that betrayal is the most loving gift there is, at least if your deepest desire is Liberation, Awakening and Consciousness.

“People think that relationships will make them happy, but you can’t get happiness from the other person or from anywhere outside you. A relationship is two belief systems that come together to validate that there is something outside you that can bring you happiness.  And when you think that’s true, growing beyond your common belief system means losing the other person, because that’s what you had together.  So if you move forward, you leave this old belief system behind in what you call the other person, and then you feel it as separation and pain.” – Byron Katie

The biggest lesson of the endings of relationships I have experienced is how deeply I held on to story, and how much I denied I was doing it.  I held on to the belief that love is enough for a relationship to work, and it is not.  A relationship is a set of agreements, but it is not love.  Love requires nothing – it just is.  But a relationship, and the space you co-create, is a set of agreements that need to be revisited and revised regularly for both people to grow together.  Otherwise, you grow apart, and that is ok.  Mostly though, people grow apart unconsciously, and the separation and pain is felt as part of the story.  I believed in “love is enough” so deeply that I blamed myself for things that were not right in the relationship and I accepted things that were not loving towards me. There was no room to revise agreements because I accepted things that hurt me as something valuable. That is the ultimate betrayal of love.

My teachers continue to reflect to me that one of my obstacles in my process of awakening is the belief I hold that I am not as I should be.  I have turned that evaluation inwards, and blamed myself for things that made me unhappy.  An example is supression of anger.  I have blamed myself for times I have become angry.  What I know now is that anger is my natural response to when something I value is being ignored by another.  The anger itself is not a problem – it is a sign post telling me something needs my attention, that something needs to be surfaced.  The only time I move to rage – which I fear very much – is when I have accepted the denial of something important to me by myself and allowed another to do so as well.  I fear it as a karmic debt I will have to pay; now I understand it for what it is, and will not attach judgement or fear to it anymore.

I know now that I value love more than I value relationship form.  My evidence, as always, is demonstrated by what is. This weekend, my cat died and it was a sad and sorrowful time.  I was prepared for this to be lonely and painful. Instead, the universe conspired to make it something loving, and a process in which I was fully supported (thank you to my friends who snail mailed me gifts of support).  My daughter was with me when he died and we supported each other in this. After the death, an order of food was mistakenly sent to my house, which was something we needed very much. A close spiritual partner showed up on my door step, and stayed with us to process our feelings.  A very new friend went out of his way to support me, including a two hour phone call at 2 am. One of my closest friends, who is very busy right now, spent 10 hours with me on Saturday, just being with me – just being present and doing silly every day things.  By coincidence, he spent the next day with me as well, getting me to play video games.  I am grieving, and have sort of checked out for now, but he has managed to pull me back to knowing that I am on my path, and that it is a good and right path.  Every day he allows me to share new insights and he pushes me to my own Truth. And he says he isn’t a student of consciousness!

I do not care about finding a relationship of two similar belief systems.  I grow too fast for that! And I have learned the lesson of loving betrayal.  I value deepening, and I value co-creating. Maybe someday I will value a lover as a reflection of that.  But for right now, today, I am amazed and in joy over how life is reflecting what I value, what I learn, and how I am liberating myself from old paths.

When You Say It Out Loud

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour.” ― William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

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The Aha moment for me in really seeing the levels of poetry came when I read Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience.  I often return to them, to be reminded that others too live in a world of layers, of deeper meaning, and of enlightened awareness. To me, the quotation above tells me that Blake got it – he understood higher consciousness, and he could feel the paradoxical experiences that go along with that.

I live in many levels of reality.  I have known this for a long time, and I can feel very alone in that.  I have struggled with a sense of Belonging (see I Want To Go Home) and took that feeling on today in my counseling session.  I am blessed that my counselor will do energy work with me, and address levels of consciousness in our process.  I rely on the tools we use there because I can give voice to truths that get jumbled and confused in my mind.  Possibly the downside of being an academic is that my mind can talk me out of my intuition and out of my own Truths.

I faced a truth today, that was a root cause of alot of my suffering lately.  I said out loud something that I knew, something that drove my choices and pushed my emotional reactions…and that was too threatening to claim.  Instead of facing it, I blamed myself and wove a story around my shortcomings. This week, I began Peace Begins At Home where we looked at how we  blame outwards, and how we blame inwards.  I recognized how I have done both as a way of defending myself from a truth that threatened my emotional needs.

I have been angry about betrayal.  I have found it hard to trust.  As I write that, I recognize I have both focused my feelings on men who have betrayed me and men I am unwilling to trust.  Then I internalized the question to how I betrayed myself and how I can not trust myself.  No matter what, I am creating a story instead of looking at the Truth.

The truth is I created a story.  The truth is I confused love for relationship.  The truth is I accepted limitations in relationship in order to meet my needs.  And so did he.  The truth is I knew it was not working, and my body knew it too.  The truth is I handed over responsibility for my life, my growth, and my happiness to someone else and was angry when he couldn’t fulfill my needs. The truth is I was desperate, and accepted too little because it was more than what I had.  And when you are starving, you will eat crumbs with gusto.

My body knew I was starving.  It is not coincidence that since I have ended my intimate relationships I have lost a dress size and that my energy levels are triple what they used to be.  I tried to fulfill myself with food.  I tried to heal by partnering with someone who perpetuated my pain.  I offered all of me, all of my potential, all of my openness to grow, and all of my commitment to a conscious relationship – and it was not a fit.  There was always a rejection of the offer.  I invited deepening, and there was always a rejection of that too.  And I kept trying, because it was the only source of spiritual and emotional nourishment I had.

So back to the quotation. A year ago, while I was in Brazil, the story began to end.  I felt acceptance of myself.  I felt belonging and what it felt like to  be part of a larger truth.  My beliefs were challenged one by one.  My journey of awakening has been exponential in the last year.  Because it is mine. I am no longer running from partner to partner, begging them to teach me, heal me, take care of me, and accept me.  I do all of that myself.  I am no longer living for the moments I am with a partner – I am living.

And when you say it out loud, when you own the truth, you can see the world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wild flower.

 

The Art of Letting Go by Sofia Sundari

From The Elephant Journal

The commitment to my spiritual path sometimes seems like the most devastating thing.

When I look back my biggest transformations—they feel very much like death. And it’s even more so when I am in the midst of it.

During these times, having people around who have clarity and give me honest reflection and support is huge.

It feels like death because I am letting go. Letting go of layers and layers of who I think I am, what I’ve identified with for a long-long time.

That’s why it hurts so much.

But that’s the path towards the beauty of who I am.

My mind has a-really-convincing-story about who it thinks I am based on everything that has ever happened to me. For example—the family I was born into, where I grew up, where I went to school, how many times I changed schools (around 10—seriously), jobs/titles I held, friends I have had, traumas I suffered, how I’ve been wounded and need to heal.

This is not really who I really am.

And it hurts to identify with these stories—hurts so much.

Do you know what I mean?

To touch and feel of the mystery of who we really are, we can only do one thing—let go.

Drop all attempts to define, figure out or understand anything that is presently arising. Just for a moment.

And it is scary.

Everyone is afraid of the melting. Of losing ourselves. But it’s the only way to find ourselves. Only the false parts of us burn away.

The more deeply we surrender—the stronger we become.

We emerge with a completely different view of ourselves and with a lot of love that can defeat anything.

“For a star to be born,

there is one thing that

must happen: a gaseous

nebula must collapse.

So collapse.

This in not your

destruction

This is your birth.”

~ Noor

Exercise for letting go:

When thoughts come claiming reasons why—in this moment—letting go is not possible, simply let that thought go.

And when another thought comes that says, “yeah, but…” let it go too.

Just keep letting go until there is nothing left to let go of.

It is not enough to understand this concept with our minds.

For the letting go to have significance, we should actually experience it.

Then it will bring a shift to the energetic perspective.

And things will never be the same again.

Layer after layer we become more real, more beautiful, more authentic and more vulnerable.

Being vulnerable is one of the most difficult things. And key. Being vulnerable means stepping away from playing games and being real. Staying with what is and living from there.

The last few months have been a time of a big change for me—I have entered the time of my life that is called the Saturn return.

This is the time when your whole world turns upside down and once you are through it (it may take years) you are reborn and completely deconstructed—everything that you believed in, everything that you believed you were is not valid anymore.

It is quite scary when we think of it—a normal reaction is to hold onto the parts that we’ve been relying on most of our lives.

At the same time—the more we hold onto the old—the more painful it gets.

It’s all about the art of surrendering to the divine.

The big thing here is to fully acknowledge and give ourselves space to grieve for what we are leaving behind, or letting go of.

To achieve our greatest expression—to tap into our greatest depth—we need to crack the shell that surrounds us, just like a seed.

What is within us comes out—everything changes.

To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it seems terrifying and completely destructive.

And yes, it may hurt. Honestly—it will.

Letting go is as easy as you make it—just like death.