I got a message from a woman: “I really believe that a relationship can be about more than romance. I really want deep soul connection. I think it’s possible. But I’m not in a relationship right now, and so I don’t know if I should wait to work with you until I have someone in my life to focus all this stuff on.”
Here was my reply:
You do have someone to focus all this stuff on. She is you.
I value this woman’s question, because it suggests understanding that A) both partners are vital to the creation of the path of loving, and B) this woman’s own longing for spiritual partnership is guiding her individual search. What I want to add is that the longing for deep, sacred & spiritual partnership does not end when we get into relationship. There isn’t a missing piece if we’re without current partnership. Because actually — and I’m not being poetic or esoteric here — the partner we most long to connect with is already in us — both as the Divine, and as the physical (human) manifestation of the Divine.
So the longing for spiritual partnership is a real, physical thing. We can (and do) direct our longing at our partners. As it should be. But the sacredness of connection we’re looking for already exists within US. It is simply through partnership with another that we get to see ourselves reflected back to us. It’s the Divine in us experiencing itself through another person, and when we touch the Divine in another person, it somehow seems more real. The physical being revels in “proof” that it lives. Relationship honors and supports our physical being, our mind: the outward manifestation of who we’ve come to be in the world of matter. And because we’re physical beings, it’s through the world of matter that we often experience the Divine: in other people, through Nature, music, lovemaking.
What I sense quite often in the women I work with is the fear that longing is somehow without the Divine. That longing cheapens the experience of Spirit. And that being without a partner — but still longing for sacredness in partnership — somehow removes her inherent sovereignty. This is an understandable — but confused — conundrum.
We’ve unfortunately been taught to swing the pendulum very far away from intimate interdependence; I see this especially in women in relationships with men. Men have somehow become the enemy; the ever-present road block to spiritual union. As though longing for spiritual partnership — with a man — turns the longing into something needy or not valid. And yikes! It really is unfortunate — believe me I’m not diminishing the suffering of women at the hands of men — but this has nothing to do with who we are as spiritual beings, and everything to do with the separation of ourselves as reflections of the the union of the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine.
The outer worlds of women have been controlled and manipulated and dishonored by men for centuries — this is true. But the inner worlds of women are eternally sovereign; as they are for men. To forget this is to hand over our spiritual power on a silver platter. (Also: the Divine in each of us is not limited by gender; we know this. We each possess Masculine/Feminine. I use gender as language that generalizes for accessibility and simplicity, not to diminish the extraordinary complexity that exists within every and any gender.)
So what can I say to women who are not in romantic partnership, but who want spiritual partnership, now or later or forever? And what can I say to women who are already in partnership, but are craving deeper, more intimate and sacred connectedness with their partners? It’s the same thing:
Love is a practice.
When the path is clear, when the vision is felt,
We’ve come to associate relationship with something that is outside ourselves; we have relationship with other people. Out there. And therefore, we think that the kind of intimacy we crave is dependent on “them” if we’re going to experience what we most long for in relationship.
To a certain extent, this is true. But in a larger, more zoomed out way, this is common misunderstanding. Any person who has ever felt themselves unfold before a partner in deep vulnerability can attest to this: we unfold not because of the other person, but because we long to be deeply known. And we do this work on the interior. To be truly known by another requires — it is an absolute, unquestionable necessity — that we become available to know ourselves. When this happens — and gets witnessed by our partners — we get to experience it in an obvious, I-see-you-you-see-me kind of way. But when this happens and we sit with our personal power and responsibility — and our own capacity for truth-telling and vulnerability — there is a subtle melty, oh-my-God-I-just-did-that feeling of stars exploding and worlds being born inside ourselves.
And thank God we have the gift of a mirror every so often in our partners to experience that with. But it can — and does — happen anyway, in the inescapable solitude of Spirit. That relationship between you and the great Mystery: the holiest, privatest relationship we will ever have. The one where you and Spirit see and recognize yourselves as reflecting and animating one another: as One.
The gift of relationship is that our physical beings get the satisfaction of experiencing of this Truth, of seeing it and feeling it through emotion and the glory of the body. But the Soul will be satisfied in a sometimes much more subtle way, sometimes without us knowing. And what propels us toward relationship is that inner guidance, the inner reaching for Soul to know itself through another, but first: to know itself.
So. You’re not in a relationship, but you sense that it’s time to return sacredness to connecting? Good. You’ve arrived.
[Image: Morgan Wade]