Stepping Off the Escalator

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I can always tell when I have gone off on too escoteric a stream, because my page views drop off!  So let me return to some basic, good old fashioned, chit chat about relationships.  Specifically, let’s talk about Non-escalator relationships.

“Non-escalator relationships can be short term and casual, and they can also be long term, emotionally invested relationships. They are build-your-own-lunch-box relationships, relationships a la carte. But, how do people in non escalator relationships measure the investment? How do they read emotional commitment, security, and the ongoing life of the relationship, when they aren’t defaulting to the regular milestones of dating, moving in, getting married, and so forth?” – Polysingleish 

I respect Polysingleish very much.  She is one of the most authentic, responsible and mature people I have met in terms of grown up relationships.  While I am monogomous (granted, it appears to be seriel monogamy), there is very little that she and I do not hold as common beliefs about healthy relationship.  So I often turn to her writing to explore a new issue.

Here I am, at a point in my life where I do not need a husband.  I do not need a romantic relationship, per se.  If I am with a man, it is because I chose to be. I am not likely to enter into an Escalator Relationship anytime soon.  So, what do I value in relationship right now?

non-escalator-guide

Friendship: What is more important to me is continued friendship.  Sexual chemistry comes and goes.  It is a reflection of the intimacy in the relationship.

Emotional Vulnerability: if I have to seperate this relationship from the rest of my life, what is the use? How can I learn and grow, if this is something that happens on the side?

Inter-relating: Now here is a good one. I feel a responsibility to keep my child protected for emotional attachment that may not be handled responsibly.  I feel a deep empathy at the sadness she feels over her godfather having no interaction with her, despite his many years of engagement and attachment. So while I don’t mind the inter-relating in my adult relationships, the child is not part of that.

Why: my only purpose in relationship is deepening.  I want a co-partner for the awakening journey, to help bring my emotional maturity in line with my spiritual maturity.  The includes deepening in my expression of love.

Sex:  I am fully open to a distance relationship so I don’t know what the edges of this are for me.  I value emotional intimacy very much.  I value sexual intimacy as an expression of that, without limits.

Happiness: A healthy relationship to me looks like a relationship between adults. Adults seek equality in their relationships whereas those who operate from a child’s perspective often assume the role of either the parent or the child in relation to their loved ones.   “People whose actions are based primarily on the adult mode relate to each other as independent individuals with considerable give and take in terms of reciprocal need gratification.” They have developed their capacity for both giving and accepting love and do not attempt to recreate a parent in their partner by forming an imagined connection or fantasy bond with them for safety and security. Psychology Today

Labels: The only term I am willing to accept is Partner.  Not spouse, not friend.  Partner.

Commitment:  I do well in committed relationships.  I expect commitment to be negotiated.  It is a balancing act, and probably the part that is most important to me to surface – are we in the same relationship? Commitment means you are fully emotionally available and you invest in the relationship we are creating.  As soon as we are not both committed to that third entity, there is nothing here but love and friendship.

The Future: I resist anything that closes down possibilities.  While I am not looking for a husband, and probably won’t marry again, I can see myself in a life long partnership that is defined by us, not a legal requirement.  I could see living together once my child is old enough, or gone! I have seen many beautiful relationships, full of passion and power, that were distance relationships or did not involve sharing a home.  As long as my emotional and spiritual needs are nurtured and in balance, form does not matter.

So where does that leave me? “You are a healthy responsible human being. You can handle a grown up relationship,” says my friend. And I completely agree with him.

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Just a Fling

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Like a giggly school girl, I told my friend about a man I have been spending time with as a result of unique spiritual circumstances. And I have a crush on him. Whether there really is attraction there is almost irrelevant. I am enjoying him none the less.

“You know it can only be a fling, right?”, my friend pointed out, since this man and I live in different countries.

Honestly, it didn’t occur to me. I don’t hold on to limits like that. But realistically, our lives probably don’t lend themselves to full partnership.

At first, I was crestfallen. Then I asked my friend, “Well, I don’t need a husband. So what is it I want or need?”

His answer immediately, “A distraction.”

Whether he is right or not, the big question really is what do I want: what does a relationship look like to me now? I recall describing my next partner as someone who would walk his own path but come to my “temple” every few months. Is that still what I want?

Right now, I have an assortment of non-sexual male relationships. The possibility for more is there with a few. I just don’t want more at this moment. A few times I have stopped myself from the “good on paper” type of mind set – this man meets my tick boxes so I should pursue him.

This time, I am practicing being an embodiment of my Self. Very different men are showing up. Even if none of them turn into lovers, the type of man in my life right now is nothing short of amazing. They are spiritually devoted, educated, responsible, accomplished, considerate and compassionate men. The relationships we have are mature, honest, and the boundaries have integrity.

What do I want? A fling? Doubtful. That’s not me. I want what I am being: open, intimate, responsible, fully expressing. I don’t know what comes after that. I am not too concerned. It will be as it will be. Perfect.

Speaking Of Crazy

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Is she talking to a schizophrenic?

That was my first reaction when I read an interaction of a woman working with Byron Katie. If you are not accustomed to exploring and identifying underlying beliefs, the things that are surfaced in those conversations seem a bit…well…crazy.

The Work is simple.  And it works.  But, one consequence is that you see reality as it really is.  You begin to see that what was going on inside you was what was really crazy. Awakening invites us to live outside the context of the mind and to experience an entirely new way of being.

“As I began living my turnarounds, I noticed that I was everything I called you. You were merely my projection. Now, instead of trying to change the world around me (this didn’t work, but only for 43 years), I can put the thoughts on paper, investigate them, turn them around, and find that I am the very thing I thought you were. In the moment I see you as selfish, I am selfish (deciding how you should be). In the moment I see you as unkind, I am unkind. If I believe you should stop waging war, I am waging war on you in my mind.”  —Byron Katie

The Work process is clear cut and easy to do.  It is so easy, there is an App for it.  You can do the work anywhere. The real key to it is the process of identifying and uncovering the beliefs that are shaping your view and experience of reality.

“Uncomfortable feelings are clear reminders that we’ve attached to something that may not be true for us. They are gifts that let us know it’s time to identify the stressful thoughts and do The Work.  Until you can see the enemy as a friend, your Work is not done. This doesn’t mean that you have to invite your enemy to dinner. Friendship is an internal experience. You may never see the person again, you may even divorce him or her, but as you think about the person, are you feeling stress or peace?  In my experience, it takes only one person to have a successful relationship, and that’s me. I like to say that I have the perfect marriage, and I can never know what kind of marriage my husband has.” —Byron Katie

Fighting against reality is the ultimate version of that quotation “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”  So what have I learned? I have done The Work on every difficult relationship I have – my mother, my father, my former partners, the annoying guy at work…and in all cases, I come back to the same thing I need to do: accept the person as they are, accept reality as it is, and stop struggling to make it different. I often hold the belief that if I were somehow different, the relationship with this person would be different.  They would turn in to the mother/father/lover/colleague that I always wanted them to be.  And this is a form of crazy.

Accepting you, accepting me

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Accept the whole of reality.

See the whole, not just what you want to see.

See the love, as God revealed. See the selfish, as God concealed.

I accept that you always loved me. You still do.

I accept that I always loved you. I still do.

All those things you did that hurt were not you hurting me. It was simply you. You are still doing them even without me in your life, so they could not be personal. It was you being you and me being me.

We might have made other choices. We might have tried. We might have grown and deepened together.

But instead we grow and deepen on our own. There is this beautiful little secret unfolding in this. As I accept you, I accept me. In that, I feel that thing we really are – that much deeper awareness. How can I be anything but joyfully at peace? How can I be anything but completely free?

And in seeing that, I also know you meant nothing more or less than any other part of life. You were neither a gift nor a karmic debt. You were no more a teacher than a student. You were not right, nor wrong.

“When someone tells you, “I love you,” and then you feel, “Oh, I must be worthy after all,” that’s an illusion. That’s not true. Or someone says, “I hate you,” and you think, “Oh, God, I knew it; I’m not very worthy,” that’s not true either. Neither one of these thoughts hold any intrinsic reality. They are an overlay. When someone says, “I love you,” he is telling you about himself, not you. When someone says, “I hate you,” she is telling you about herself, not you. World views are self views—literally.”
Adyashanti

I do not share your world view, nor you mine. That alone allows for me to let so much of my illusion fall away.

“We realize–often quite suddenly–that our sense of self, which has been formed and constructed out of our ideas, beliefs and images, is not really who we are. It doesn’t define us, it has no center.” Adyashanti

I accept you. I accept me. Because those are nothing significant.

Illusions: Assigning Meaning to Your Story

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Often, we believe in that narrative in our head. To keep our story going, we will go to great lengths to assign meaning to things. We assign meaning to things as a way of making our story true.

The best examples of the illusion of meaning are our favorite stories: The One, Falling in Love, and Meant to Be.

The One
The biggest illusion going right now is the one that says there is The One for us out there. This One will light us up and bring us to life. This One possesses unique gifts that will enrich my life and give it meaning. The One is you, your deepest truest you. There is no One necessary for that. It is you. You are your One.

Falling in Love
I am not sure why we talk about falling in love. It is more true for me to say I am in a state of love in relation to you. The object of my love is irrelevant. If I feel love, that is a pointer to me as a spiritual awareness. It reveals more of that. It is not triggered by another. There may be conditions that resonate with the needs and conditioning of the ego that make it easier to access. But that is still about me and my love. It is about my willingness to be open.

Meant to Be
Ah my favorite. This is the backwards illusion we tell ourselves when we struggle to accept what is. Everything is meant to be. There is no unique path we need to hand pick or interpret by the stars. What presents itself to us is what is meant to be. Our vibrations will align or not with what we see. We will let the energy of something flow or we will grasp and hold on. All that is presents itself so we can have peace and freedom – we get to experience peace and freedom no matter what life seems to look like.

For the sake of these illusions, I have held on to things that needed to be gone for a very long time. I make decisions by alligning with my true self now, and leaning where that takes me. If I move based on that inner alignment, what follows seems so obvious. So real. So true.

Soul Connection vs Ego Indulgence

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“We’ve had the experience of immediately meeting each other at a very deep level despite having parted ways and not seen each other in many years. That’s because our original connection was not merely at the level of the personality. It was at the level of the soul. And I believe that once you have truly met another that deeply, it’s a connection that lasts for eternity.” – Andrew Cohen

I am a person who goes deep, whether its in understanding myself or talking to another. Most people comment on it – while I enjoy experiences like going to movies or dinner or canoeing, what I value most is connection, consciousness and co-creation. I am always aiming to be in deep connection with my awake awareness. So when I spend time with people, I look to connect with that essence in them as well. For some, it is disconcerting. For others, it is the draw to me.

But when it came to romantic relationships, I somehow believed that revealing your full ego was intimacy. It is only in romantic relationships that I demonstrate some of the truly ugly things about my personality.

How convoluted is that! Ego is the depths of our conditioning. It is the unconscious self, acting neither from love or awake presence. And that “intimacy” was the gift I offered my lover?

“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” – Marilyn Monroe

This quotation is one of many out there that I believe promotes egoic relationship, not true love or soul connection. We long for depth but design relationship as a place to reinforce ego.

“Everyone comes with baggage. Find someone who loves you enough to help you unpack.” -Unknown

Spiritual connection recognizes that you are responsible for your own journey of awakening. In that space, I will witness your inner process as you share it and I will hold the awareness of detaching from holding these things. But I will not indulge your ego. Or my own.

“Soul connections are eternal. Every other relationship we have, no matter how sweet, kind, intimate or apparently meaningful, will in the end be revealed to be only temporary. And this truth can be hard to bear, especially when we experience this in relationship to people we have felt very, very close to. It’s only when we meet another in the mutual recognition of life’s ultimate mystery, that liberating metaphysical truth which transcends anything and everything relative, that we experience a connection that is forever.” – Andrew Cohen

Romantic partnership is lovely. Now, at the time in my incarnation, it is soul connection that is my longing. I am grateful to see my kula extend all around the world now.

Magic Words

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When I “priestess”, the most common question I get is How: how do I let something go, how do I stop feeling upset by triggers?

I have three practices that lead to peace and freedom in me. They are my magic words.

Who am I?
When I am upset by something, I ask who I really am. I feel my heart open and I sink back into a deeper sense of truth. Whatever is arising emotionally in me moves away.

Is it true?
When something triggers me, I identify the belief that is being energized. Then I ask if its true. Truth is something I feel in my stomach and my heart. As soon as I recognize something as not true, it dissolves.

It is absolutely OK if I always feel this way
When I invite a feeling to be loved and accepted, it begins to dissolve. In the total acceptance of what is, the energy flows through and away.

What I find is that no matter the circumstances, the universe is providing an opportunity for me to experience peace and freedom. These magic words help me recognize that. I wish you peace and freedom as well.