“Reconsider everything you know about relationship…”
After watching red hot lava lick its lips before devouring sand, knowing that it had eaten sacred sites, sucked up ancient palm trees, homes and land, it was mind blowing to realise that paradoxically Pele was expanding the island at will. The reasonable conclusion to the instruction to reconsider what I thought I knew about relationships, would be the antithesis of intelligent if ignored. This was especially poignant, pointed and true, given that I had just divorced my husband because of his insistance that I monetize what I’d retrieved from my Near Death Experience.
Did I contemplate the source or voice of the task? Not that day. Coming face-to-face with my mind-bending insignificance was more than enough to deal with, never mind the little I knew about relationship with myself, another, and as an inhabitant of the planet. All had collapsed after teetering on the edge of the volcano, ludicrous beauty that was real, not just another postcard. My hope was that this thought had been issued by Mother Nature and not Pele, the infamous Hawaiian Goddess of fire who never seemed to hesitate taking what she wanted when she wanted it.
As is often the case, the instant I surrendered and silenced the whiny voice that inhabits a dark corner somewhere in my head and constantly cries, “I’m not good enough. I’m not smart enough.” doubt started to recede. [To this day I can’t reach that spot in my brain with the cobweb duster, but at least I recognize it and know it for ‘who’ it is.] The moment of embracing grace came when I willingly said, “Okay, let’s do this.” Suddenly, insight began to penetrate what was clearly dense grey matter.
My first realization was that ‘love’ is a verb that’s akin to walking the rim of a volcano. The risk is a reward that cannot be calculated. It can only be experienced. I understood as well that safety trumps the illusion of ‘being safe’. Having twirled a stick in lava and tossed it when the flames got to close, the concept of ‘playing it safe’ –again, as opposed to insuring safety– was a preposterous notion because Love is the playground, not a game to be played.
When the group reconvened, we headed south, making the treacherous trek over the black lava. Incredibly, our flashlights stayed in our back packs as the darkness was illuminated sufficiently by the sliver of a crescent moon. This too would be a lesson.
Several hours later, driving home as I approached the boundary of Volcanoes National Park, I saw —as if for the first time — the road sign that I’d passed hundreds of times but in that moment the three simple words, black on yellow, took on a whole new meaning. The sign reads, “END FAULT ZONE.” While my life felt like an active volcano in the six years since my NDE, those words and that moment kick started the knowing that it had actually been smooth sailing up until that point. I felt as if someone had put me on notice, and that my life was about to turn into a rock and roll experience in ways that were, obviously, beyond my control. My strength was knowing that the book ends of my life, my body and spirit were healthy and secure.
Over the next days and weeks I wondered and pondered aloud, contemplating the risks inherent in love and loving without a clue that this wondering would be decades long. My brain often felt like my heart was using it as an Etchesketch, its unseen hand scribbling experiences equally joyous and painful. The widest line it drew was one that circled my fears of crossing the line others had drawn, making a misstep, or trusting someone who was in fact, untrustworthy. This circle in the sand spiraled out of emotional control as tears fell while recalling the sorrow of falling-out of favour and having love withdrawn. Right up there next to it, was the thin line I knew was red that cut smack dab through the centre of my life: it was (and remains) the fear not being good enough or worse, of being judged ‘too much’. Behind this li(n)e was three decades ‘training’, taught that my purpose was to do and be someone else’s idea of ‘perfect’. Hell, fire and brimstone flowed with the realisation that there was ‘who’ in my face at the moment that was the quintessential ‘Phantom of Seduction’. *$#@#$%^&*)*! I’d fallen for someone who promised with his words what he knew in his heart and brain that he was incapable of delivering.
After a lifetime of trying to obey laws, canons and rules written by others that made no sense to me, staying in the relationship and trying to live up to what he thought I was, could be, or should be, was a risk that I did not yet know the math for calculating. My imagination more than ignited by the volcano, I began to reconsider how to articulate an evolving that began to unfold. It was based on understanding myself and then making the effort to relate to others. As my brain churned and turned inside out, my heart did karmic laundry that led to my inner world-view beginning to change. The most dramatic moment was when an unnormal notion arose; think about natural.
Contemplating relationship, I attempted to get what was inside my heart through my thick head and on to paper. It was not simple as humility met the face of fire that said doing so was hubris. The first thing on paper was wondering what might be possible if I changed how I engage in relationships. What would it be if rather than waiting to be asked out or inviting else out, loneliness on one hand, the risk of rejection on the other, what if I opened my heart and let my brain surrender expectations and simply invited another person “in”? Was there actually potential for co-creating by intentionally taking time and making space for communication that was in fact, communion? What would it look like? What values would be the foundation of such a space? How would we respect and honour their multiple intelligences—physical, emotional, cognitive, intuitive and spiritual? How would I determine whether or not another person shared my Purpose to be a catalyst for change, for love, this, what I’d promised to base my priorities on, the vow that let me make promises? How would we make decisions so that let us cooperate and co-create? How might we explore our full potential while keeping the relational space free of fear, tension, pretence, false expectations and projections? What did we require to build the bridge of trust? What were the tools that would let us take down mirrors, the ultimate illusion about how relationships work? If you don’t get it, go look in a mirror and think about what you see. Then turn take it off the wall, turn it around and think about what you don’t see. And what about the rule about breaking a mirror? Shattering glass is a sure way to get hurt, cut, and bleed to death. Ready to end being wounded and suffering paper cuts to my heart only to have acidic tone and words making them feel fatal, realising the Pattern I’d brought back from death was a knot, a love knot no less, it was becoming clear why taking time to make a real connection was the key to intimacy. Having once heard someone say that intimacy was ‘Into me I see’, I realised that in terms of relationship it was a matter of “In time I see”. The issue would be learning to willingly be truly transparent, and yes vulnerable.
Basta! Enough for a Friday! I’ll continue these thoughts on Monday, because right now coffee is calling, and the path into Locarno beckons!
Make it a great weekend!