Today, the Winter Solstice in our hemisphere marks the shortest “day” of the year. For me, it will mark a rite of passage of sorts: an emerging from a period in the tomb. Or, on my more optimistic days, what I have thought of as yet another chrysallis phase.
This last quarter of 2016, in particular, has been intense on many levels. I have been stretched, to what I felt was my limit and sometimes, beyond my limit. I have encountered my own inherent darkness and of course, my instinct to run from it. I have done so before: I know how to run reeeee-ally well.
This time, I decided to face my darkness, to stand it down, with no crutches. I will not lie: it has been difficult. I have been brought to my knees, I have railed (not rallied!), I have cried, I have felt sorry for myself, I have been pissed off…sometimes all of these in the same hour! From time to time, I fantasized about my personal favourite ways of anaesthetizing psychic discomfort (like eating obscene amounts of chocolate and hiding for long periods under the covers). I even daydreamed of using some escape tactics I’ve never before tried :-).
One of the things I have been catapulted into, in this Dark Night, has been a deep examination of relationships important to me, precipitated by a recent loss of one. That is the subject of this post.
I have been called to re-assess what “love” means to me and have had to ask myself what are the things I would personally do to serve it. I have become more educated, of late, as to what often masquerades as love, but in truth…never was, never will be. I will tell you my thoughts and my hopes and my dreams about all this.
I believe that the Divine, in Its incredible wisdom, gifts us mere mortals the possibility of understanding... just a tiny bit... the All-Encompassing, Unconditional love It has for each soul, when we are called into meaningful relationship on a human level with another being.
The initial euphoria and the sense of connection and blossoming (the feeling of being in love with love) is needed to get us to set our feet on the Path of Love. Frankly, this path is actually often more of a rocky obstacle course of the most heart-opening and gut-wrenching kind. Were it not, at first, appealing and “pretty” in those ways which best sync with us, we just wouldn’t be inclined to go there!
Given enough time and enough investment of self-in-relationship, the trail narrows and the way becomes more difficult. Not so much euphoria now. Not quite so pretty. We encounter rubs, at the very least….and the dark side of the other person-who-is-us, at the worst. Eventually, we arrive at a crossroads and we must choose. The time taken to arrive here varies widely, but in my experience, it always does and when we get there, the question inevitably arises: how much are you willing to risk to continue? (Naturally, I am not talking about allowing physical abuse or deviant behaviour or betrayal of vows-these are not found on the Path of Love).
What usually happens at this juncture is we become so afraid, or we think we are being used, or we decide we are bored, or we get so wrapped up with being right, or so angry about real (or imagined) trespass, we decide to run away from what is essentially an invitation to more intense interpersonal encounter "in drag". We return alone to the trail-head: drained, sad, disappointed, heartsick, aware of a hole in our chest and knowing that we are still longing to belong. Time passes, again less or more, and we seek, or it seeks us, yet another opportunity in the form of human relationship and the cycle begins anew.
Once in a magical while, and maybe this is purely based on karma….or maybe the stars and planets all align, or maybe a heavenly host of angels goes to bat for us….and we travel the all-too-familiar earlier parts of the trail with someone new, except this trip out, it is Someone who matters so very much that none of the usual triggers actually fire the loaded gun of destruction which we pack for “safety” every time.
We stay the course as it becomes unknown to us, we conquer our impulse to run and somehow overcome the obstacles impeding progress. The ground underfoot is treacherous; we are aware of insecurity and of being so tired sometimes and we wonder if we will be lost forever. But instead of bolting back alone to known and comfortable zones, almost in desperation, we catch hold of the hand of the other-person-is-me and decide, choose, to keep going forward.
We decide that it is worth the risk to see what may be revealed as we journey, because in our heart of hearts, our own Supreme Wisdom Knows that these revelations will be just as much about us as about the other. With this soul-choice made intentionally, suddenly the trail widens again, the sun rises after a long dark night and we glimpse blue skies.
We have been so engaged in the effort this part of the trail required, we did not notice, and so are surprised to find, we have ascended and only now can we see clearly that what was left behind was mostly our fear. We look ahead and wow….from up here, the view is spectacular. It takes our breath away and we understand we were born to embrace this experience, to find the courage at last to make this climb.
In joy, we turn and look at the one we love, our hands still joined, and at last, we know we love truly because we have been tested and confirmed. We look again more closely and behold!....what we see is the Face of the Divine looking back at us, through the eyes of our beloved. We See.
We see that for which we longed, the belonging we have craved for as long as we can recall, was not for that other person per se, but for the Divine Lover within them.
We understand as much as we possibly can whilst our souls are still confined in these bodies made of stardust and elements, how the Divine Sees us and Loves us.
Love-in-relationship is about so much more than the ego would have us believe. Naturally, it does not always “feel good” but who was ever promised that evolution would be painless?
Love-in-relationship is a gateway, a yoga, a conduit between the world of form and the world of spirit. To know and live true commitment is The Way of The Seeker and to experience true and lasting human communion is to experience, in flesh and bone, none other than the Divine.
So on this day of long darkness, at the tail end (I pray) of a long personal night, I offer my gratitude for those in my life who have walked, and are still walking, The Path of Love with me. My Bearers of Light. My gifts from God.
I See the One I Love in you Forever. I thank you for your faith and your loyalty and your perseverance and your affirmation that I am worthy, even when I don’t feel like it, and particularly when I don’t act like it.
I thank you for remembering the Song with which I was born and singing it back to me when I have forgotten it. I thank you for reminding me of my purpose and my dreams when I am low and small. I thank you for carrying me when my legs won’t go any further. I vow to do the same for you.
I thank you for never letting go of my hand. I promise I won’t let go of yours.
I’ll end with a poem I wrote this morning, around this topic and by saying this: I hope in love. I believe in love’s potential to lift us higher than we ever could ascend in its absence. I pray to always retain the courage to open my heart to it.
On my axis here
You, on yours there
Particles of Light in motion
As Life experienced Itself
In two singular ways
And that was Good
And there was some Delight
But then...by happenchance
(Or was it?)
Surprised and a little scared
Our hands found each other
And suddenly our feet were
Lifted off the very ground!
We discovered that alone,
We could Dance...
And that was Good
And there was some Delight
But together, oh together…
We discovered we could Fly!
And that was Incomparable
And there was Purest Incandescent Joy."
I am a field of awareness. Any thing beyond that is identification with form...