If you’re human, you’re in relationship. There’s simply no avoiding it. Whether you classify yourself as single or partnered, poly or monogamous, consecrated to the Divine or a serial dater, this being human is about being in relationship. Relationship to Nature. Relationship to the ones who brought us into this life on the physical level and all the ancestors who came before. Relationship to the cast of characters who feature in the daily show of our lives. Relationship to ourselves.
So if none of us can avoid being in relationship, why are so many of us utterly lost when it comes to this territory? Why are relationships simultaneously the focus of our deepest desires and our fiercest fears? Why do we so often call suffering love?
Being in relationship doesn’t come with a road map, simple as that. So it’s no wonder we tend to get lost along the way as we traverse the twisting, turning, rising, falling paths into our own selves and others. Because that is what relationship is really all about. It is delving into the uninhabited terrain of our inner landscape, reflected to us through the landscape of another. And whether that other is the outward manifestation of everything you believed you ever hoped for or your mortal enemy incarnate, if they have shown up in your lives in any remotely significant way, they are there as your mirror and they are there as your teacher. They are there so you can learn to navigate these uncharted places and come deeper into the relationship that truly matters most: your relationship with yourself.
As for relationship being the common denominator that lies between our most ardent longing and that which scares us beyond belief, well of course. Did you enjoy eating all your vegetables as a child no matter how many times your parents told you it was good for you? Likely not. That’s still how we often learn, no matter how much we have grown since then. This is not to say that everything of intrinsic value to our growth is painful by default. To the contrary, pleasure and delight abound, both on the dinner plate and in the relational field. Yet we tend to receive the most significant nourishment from the sources that aren’t always the most outwardly compelling, making them at once deeply attractive and perhaps even repulsive. Relational equivalents of a candy bar, sticky sweet, wrapped in catchy packaging and consumed on the go, don’t offer us the chance for true satiation and fulfillment, the chance to receive what we truly need to survive and thrive, tasty though they may be.
We suffer for love and we love to suffer because deep down, we still haven’t integrated and embodied the Truth of our very nature. We are whole and complete. We do not arrive here broken, in need of fixing and healing. If we need anything it is simply to remember. Remember our inherent innocence. Remember that we actually are worthy of all the love we could possible desire, and the pain comes in thinking that this love exists outside of us. We attach ourselves to what we perceive as external sources of love, clinging fast as if our lives depended on it. Certainly it feels that way. How to breathe without the love of another? How to feel safe and at ease in the world without their protection? Of course it will feel that way until we unlearn the conditioning that led us to believe love and safety only come from external sources. They do not. They are ultimately self-sourced. And while it is so profoundly beautiful and precious to share in love with another and to feel a sense of safety while you are in relationship to them, the source remains unchanged. At most all anyone else can do is reflect to you that which you already are and already possess.
With some understanding of the whys there to satisfy our curious minds, the path is clear to get down to the heart and the body of this matter, the heart and the body that your soul is inhabiting at this very moment, the heart and the body that are in relationship with everything and everyone around them: how to be in relationship in a way that brings you closer to your soul’s calling.
Stay tuned for the next post to find out.