in the past months and years I’ve made millions of decisions based on fear, based on preventing something I don’t want from happening. The prospect of encountering these things I fear fills me with so much resistance and dread that I can spend hours turning them over and over in my mind, rehearsing scenarios and imagined conversations, trying to impose some control on the approaching chaos.
I’m now noticing that although these things that I fear are convincingly scary on approach, they are usually much emptier upon arrival. i’m driving towards mirages that look so scary as they’re getting nearer, growing bigger and bigger, but then, when i actually reach hem, i pass straight through. The experience of the thing I’ve been so scared of is totally different from my imagined version. I can handle much more than my mind thinks I can. So when it finally arrives it’s often like, oh…is that it?
hmmm… what can I tell you? I see a girl in London who lives with her other longer-term-than-me boyfriend. They’ve had a ‘no rules’ relationship for 2 years but now I’ve come along to really test their philosophy (and my own). She thinks monogamy, or ‘rules’ in relationships are backward, or at least having rules about what your excitement will be on any given day, and if it’s ok to follow that excitement or not. There’s a group of new friends I’ve met in UK who hold a weekly ‘sharing group’. They are into this guy Paul Lowe. Basically, among other things, they’re questioning how our culture has made a group agreement to sweep our sexual jealousy issues under the carpet and enter into untrue relationships where we hide our other attractions to protect our partner’s (and our own) feelings. (Check them out at www.lucid-living.org ) But maybe that protection isn’t really protection. Maybe we need to sit with what comes up when our lover inevitably fancies someone else, or even wants to go and spend intimate time with them. How does that sit with you? My (gorgeous) London girlfriend says that when our partner wants someone else, something uncomfortable arises in us. If we say ‘I don’t want this feeling’, deny it, it’s really a way of not loving ourselves. A feeling is arising. All our feelings are part of ‘us’. We are feeling more of ourselves when those waves come. Like part of us is coming home to be felt, waking up. It’s not the ‘trigger’ of our partner being attracted to another that is the problem, but the feeling in our own self. And that feeling was lodged there long before we even met our present partner. It’s been there, a wound of loneliness and rejection and abandonment, since we were tiny. So are we going to live our lives being untrue about our attractions and excitements to protect our lovers from feeling their core fears? Are we going to ask them to do that for us? Is that love? Or are we going to be 100% authentic and risk what comes up? Sit with each other, hold each other, but let the other feel their hard feelings without trying to fix it or save them from them.
My mind is accustomed to attempting to protect me (and others) from impending, traumatic feelings. Yet my truth says, the only way out is to go deeper in. The experience of allowing these waves of pain to hit me and keep moving through me rather than hit me and get stuck in my mind’s analysis machinery, is a great release, but it takes courage. To override the busy busy mind and say “Yes! I’m going to feel this fully, breathe, let it come, let it be felt!”, is, I believe, the most healing thing we can do for ourselves. Suddenly I realise what ‘embracing your fears, embracing your pain’ means. Part of me is waking up. Daring to feel discomfort is the same as self-love. It’s accepting all of me, even the scary chaotic parts. I am loving myself when I let myself feel what’s going on instead of escape.
Despite all this, I mostly still feel like I’m a 1-on-1 relationship person and would love to, through Freedom and fulfillment, not rules and fear-suppression, go deep over decades with a brave and beautiful partner-in-crime. Most of the folks in that sharing group live largely monogamously, even with the agreement that they should be Free to follow their excitement. But I don’t want to use my lover as a band-aid to cover my raw insecurities or depend on anyone to fill that hole in my soul.
Now I’m half way through separating from my wife. We’ve been together 12 years and have 2 small kids. The scenario I’m now living in is brimming with challenges I would never have dreamed I could face a year ago. I’m missing my kids. I’m jealous of how her new boyfriend has been spending more time with them this year than me. I am traumatised by the image of him walking them to school or reading them stories. I miss my home, my house. My chair where I read. I am renting a room on a monthly basis and constantly on the move giving talks and playing solo gigs. But without my kite string, my home-anchor, traveling is very different. There’s a thin line between Nomad and Vagrant. And I haven’t even started to grieve the 12 year relationship itself yet!
This aloneness has always been with me, this homelessness, this lack of belonging. My previous, gorgeous home life might have anesthetised it for a while, but it has always been lurking there. Now, for the first time I’m feeling it, not running from it. No relationship or success in the world will ever remove it. A little boy who felt too alone to bear once hid in my ribcage, took refuge in an invisible place. Can I love him? Can I love all of me? I can talk to him gently like I talk to my kids when they’re upset. I trust that voice. I know I’m a good Dad. I can hold myself.
This feels like a true path to me. The journey to wholeness. Not dependent on anyone else. I want to bring this wholeness to all my relationships.
Please let me know what you feel. And do we let our kids witness us crying fully? Really?