Only A Breath Away
I have been struggling to finish a post. Which usually means there is some aspect of the post that I am not ready to articulate, see, or that I am writing in the wrong direction, the wrong avenue of deepening into insight, truth.
To allow ourselves to see our resistance, to allow myself to see that my heart was asking me to attend to something else, something deeper, perhaps harder.
Oh, the post I’d been working on was the post that followed chronologically the journey I’ve been traveling–from the east to the south to the west, to Sedona, to Nevada, to Oregon, to California, back to Oregon, to California, to Arizona again, and then the Four Corners, and then the journey back to the northeast––but the post was not the words, experiences, that needed to be articulated. In fact, the post I needed to write, I was told, would free the energies of the post I’m struggling with.
Honesty. Chronology. Spiraling…
Honesty: to allow the heart to take lead instead of the head.
And we want chronology to make sense of things. But our lives, our experiences of knowing, understanding, spiral more than move in any forward, linear motion. We revisit and deepen into understanding––though outwardly the days pass, the miles pass, and the scenery changes across one state-line after another. But honesty, deepening, and spiraling eradicate the easy chronology of our lives. Instead, we re-visit, re-turn, spiral back to deepen into our knowing, understanding. The whirling dervish of our heart, our Soul…
We return to be more honest not only with others but with ourselves–to see and acknowledge all the things within us that we don’t want to see, to find expression for. We deepen into and revisit them in unexpected moments, ways. Suddenly, we’re back in the town of our childhood, or back in an argument with a past lover, or suddenly in some misunderstanding, some prior loss. And to know those experiences, know their gifts, takes being present with them. Being honest with them and ourselves.
Authentic presence is honesty–allowing ourselves to be in the truth of who we are.
And don’t let anyone tell you it’s easy–it takes courage, resilience, and desire to know oneself in the truth of who and what we are. It takes a willingness to reveal our truths to ourselves, to reveal the limiting ideas we’ve held, and then to articulate, manifest in expression, our True self. I’ve always appreciated what the Guides, channeled by Paul Selig, have said: “There’s nothing convenient about these teachings, about aligning to the Truth of who and what you are.” And for me, part of that alignment, that expression, occurs through words. Always words.
Words carry power: they are energetic containers, vessels, conduits of intention and Being. There is a reason, the Guides begin with “I Am Word. Word I Am Word.” It is not ‘the’ word, but “Word.” Articulated, expressed, by each of us. And when we are honest, authentic with those words, we create intention, we create worlds.
To not acknowledge this creative aspect of words is to fundamentally deny the expression of who and what we are. “In the beginning was the Word.” Voice. Source. Creation. Expression–the world as we know made manifest. Each of us, the creator of narratives, ideas, stories that bring things into form, matter. And the ‘beginning’ is happening over and over again with each breath, with each articulation of our experience, each story, each structure we build and claim as ‘us’, ‘me’. And then, we hang onto those stories, identities, words, and limit ourselves to them, because we want security, familiarity. We develop limiting beliefs that align with the structures that we then have to acknowledge and dismantle to grow–to experience the new, to allow the true nature of our Being to express once more.
We are that powerful, that creative….
And so it was that I came back to Woodstock. I followed a story I was trying to understand, a sense of being of who and what I thought I was, and where I should be, and who I loved/love, and allowed it to take me on its deepening journey. And it is a story of love…an ongoing story of love…as all stories are. Love of family, love of another, love of life, and love of humanity itself…
All stories are love stories.
They are born and dissolve through passion, desire, growth, and finally, conscious awareness, the realization of who we are.
Love stories though are often filled with learned expectations, desires, hopes, potentials–not just the love they are. And to allow the Love to be greater than all these was/is the story I was beginning to learn, know, in a such deeper way… a conscious way. A spiraling deeper way.
For it is/was in fact, not a story, but a state of Being…
But Being Love, returning to that state of Being over and over…that’s not always an easy process if we are in the authenticity of who we are. It’s a practice, a practice that includes stories that are messy and unclear at times in the world we live in. It is easy to talk about Love in the abstract, but we are not here in the abstract–we are here in bodies, in the deepest and rawest humanity of our expression. To be love in this…this is a practice, a way of Being…
Here is part of my story, Being: I made choices because of love in all its variations: I left a career, I shed so much of who I thought I was, am; I left my home to travel, to be near my mother who passed, I learned so much about Being, about the land we walk on and call earth, its sacred nature, and I carried inside me this deeply abiding love for a another…
And then I returned.
Always deeper…always deepening into greater presence, greater awareness, Being…
In “There We Are: Somewhere Between the Earth and Sky” I wrote about T.. His presence in my life: the love I experience for him, as well as all the self-judgment, the rejection, the sense of loss I experienced within myself. And finally, the acceptance that our not being together was not about ‘rejection’, but about Choice.
T. was simply choosing something different, even though he’d been half present for over five years. Even though he had offered so many gestures towards a real ‘yes’… Had struggled himself with how to live, be love, allow love… I couldn’t know the judgments he was making–of himself nor of me. I knew they were there, but what they are, or were, were never articulated.
He struggled…that much I knew. Like so many of us…
And you may think, I have been incredibly naïve or that he was/is simply a narcissist–someone simply unavailable emotionally, someone incapable of feeling with or for another. But neither of these things would be accurate. I’ve covered this territory, spent time with it, thinking, feeling it–but it’s never ‘rung’ true in the truth of my experience, in my Being.
A deep entanglement, yes. A Soul entanglement. One felt so deeply that we recognized each other immediately as not just potential partners, but family–deep family–with ‘unconditional love’ already aching and joyous at its heart. I called him my ‘blue monk’ because of his solitude and the fact that I had had visions, dreams, of prior life connections–other timelines filled with love, monastic love, tribal love... And he too within the first few conversations had paused and quietly suddenly said, “We’re going to be all right. We are.” How much truth was in both my vision and his statement….
We all want it. We all desire it with another. We all look for that in a relationship, partnership. And sometimes we experience it in friendship, with animals, in our families (but not always in our birth families). The thing is, once we’re truly in connection with someone, so many of us forget what unconditional love is… We come to experience it instead through ideas about it we’ve been taught by family, culture, society.
There’s nothing convenient about Love, about true love if we want only to stay in our small self, the self that is fearful and looking for safety, familiarity, stasis. Nothing convenient about aligning with the truth of who and what we are…accepting it, embodying it, and being the Love we truly are…
To experience conscious love, conscious connection, conscious partnership…
To recognize each individual, each human being, as a sovereign Being of choice. And to recognize simultaneously that we are all connected, all united energetically in ways most of us can’t see or are only now truly learning to see, allowing ourselves to see. This Love accepts that consciousness is choice. This Love sees the humanity of another unconditionally, without judgment.
This Love nurtures the self, loves oneself, and has kind boundaries because gentle boundaries–and not defensive boundaries–simply mean attending to oneself in kindness. This love does not give itself, its sovereignty, its power away to another ‘to please’ or ‘make things all right…’ This love for the self and another does not allow one person to take and take and take without giving… This love means, we recognize we’re not getting what we need and responding to that within ourselves without blaming the other, without saying it’s someone else’s fault. We start there. We become responsible to our own selves and the love we are.
Beneath judgment is resentment, anger, pain, hurt. The realization that some expectation, some desire of ours has not been met, fulfilled. That was my desire now––to live without the judgment. Because to live with the judgment of either myself or T. was to live in pain, resentment, disappointment–and those emotions, that have intention in them, keep others away, keep others at bay. They keep us from experiencing true intimacy–with ourselves and others.
And who was I to condemn, judge, another’s choice?
Spiritual partnership recognizes the true nature of intimacy. The intimacy that acknowledges each other’s humanity, acknowledges that each person, each human, is responsible for themselves and is Love itself, an aspect of the Divine itself. True intimacy is the capacity for each person to stand entirely present in themselves, in their humanity in the presence of another, and know they are safe, appreciated, seen. Intimacy is not sex. Sexual union is a physical deepening into the sacred nature of the divine feminine and masculine within each individual. Intimacy opens the door to this expansive union, exploration, and moves sex beyond being only about the body’s pleasure, beyond physical gratification, release, though these are beautiful in themselves. It moves it into the realm of Shakti, the raising of sacred life-force, union, connection.
We are all intimates––each and every one of us walking the planet. We are all endowed with the truth, with Love, the sovereign right to be safe, be seen, appreciated. It is this that we are slowly revealing to ourselves ever more widely. Choice comes in our choosing with whom we decide to explore the divinity of physical union, the sacred nature of touch, and/or the machinations and negotiations of cohabitation, partnership, or commitment to a particular other in some form. But we are all intimate in our humanity–so much more alike than different. And we all desire the experience of this intimacy in expression.
To be loved. To Be love.
I’ve heard the ‘Zs” channeled by Lee Harris say––and acknowledge that many of us really don’t want to hear this––that we could be having the deepness of the experience of ‘unconditional love’ in every connection we have. And the Mindful Heart says over and over again, “It is only a breath away…connection, love.” And the Guides channeled by Paul Selig point out again and again with tenderness, “It is we who have condemned ourselves into separation,” into not experiencing Love, intimacy, connection.
Many of us experience this unconditional love as a kind of ‘blissful high’… a spiritual state of being we separate out from our normal every day experience, but as the Guides say, when we do this, we’ve separated it out from our true nature in the world, our physical nature. And then, in the lows of our experiences, feelings, the ‘unconditional’ of the love gets lost, becomes selective to certain moments, circumstances, or to those we determine deserve it.
And then when those moments or people disappear from our lives for whatever reason, we often think ‘we’ve lost that sense of connection, that unconditional love’, that we don’t have it in our lives, when in reality, it is around us, is us, and our connection to every other human.
That is what I was learning more deeply: I could let go the judgment, the resentment, the loss, and the fear I would not find it again, this connection. I could be moment-by-moment the connection, the Love. I could let T. be ‘out there’ in the world, in his own choice, and still have the unconditional love, because the love was larger than ‘us’–him and me. Larger than any blissful spiritual moment. It did not belong solely to our connection––it was a state of Being. It was me.
I could have the love without the judgment. I could simply Be love.
In this way, I could experience my love for him, feel his presence, learn what I needed to learn from this connection, and still nurture myself, love myself–respond more responsively to my own desires, needs. Make choices that in themselves were nurturing boundaries for me. Especially, as I recognized he was not choosing to be in partnership, not reciprocating in an equitable manner, was somehow unable, or simply not choosing it.
It is not easy to come back to this ‘unconditional love’ when we’ve attached it to a single other or a selective few as we’ve been taught to do so in our cultures, our families and throughout much of history. We reserve ‘unconditional love’ otherwise for the likes of Christ, Buddha, Allah and other ascended masters or exceptional beings like Gandhi, Mother Theresa, King. We’ve separated ourselves out from it. But in this New World, this new consciousness so many of us are evolving into–opening and growing into–we understand that Love, enlightenment, is not for the select few–but for all of us. Love is each and every one of us. Available to us, as we become responsible to it, as we equally recognize the divine in everyone else.
We are that powerful, that creative.
And when we open to this love beyond our moments of ‘blissful high’ and we meet someone in the particular in which the energetic Soul connection goes immediately both deep and high, we can know this is the seed of all connection. Choice, our individual will, is deciding to partner in the specific with a particular person––when we become consistent mirrors for each other to grow within. When we allow another to be both sovereign and energetically entwined with us. When we choose this as a pathway of learning.
And the companion truth to this Love is the recognition that we cannot ever know another in entirety; we cannot know the full extent of their personal lived experiences, feelings, and perceptions, nor how they combine into the uniqueness of who they express, manifest, as. They are a sovereign Being. We can however recognize the divine nature of who they are. We can know them as the expression of love itself, and in doing this, we support the growth of this awareness in them as well. How much more tender then we allow ourselves to be not only towards them, but towards ourselves.
Each of us, an entire universe…. Somewhere between the earth and the sky. Star seed. One breath of light recognizing another.
To be that conscious–authentic, present, honest...
As I drove across the grasslands of the mid-west., watched the sun set over the vast fields of this country, my personality-self who lived daily in physical form did imagine, hope, that somehow T. would see me and recognize he too wanted ‘us’ in a similar way––wanted ‘us’ in the particular. But as I did this, I was also witness to it–I observed it from that place, that consciousness within me that was deeper, wider, more expansive. I recognized this hope as that part of my self who wanted her desire met, her wish met. And I loved her, without judgment, as she did this, knowing that love held her too…
Entering the northeast, I felt the energies change and saw the rolling hills of Pennsylvania, the small towns tucked into the folds of valleys and felt the winds move through the maples, ash, the trees of heaven. I felt deeply again too not only the presence of T. but the ‘potential’ with him–to cohabitate, to build a shared life together, a potential that I had been in truth making decisions based upon for a few years. Decisions that in many ways had cost me a great deal and a part of me did not want to acknowledge that I may have ‘foolishly’ done this.
But all of this was my learning… To be willing to make choices with/for another in love, in the full presence of who I am. With joy and gratitude. What he experienced or could acknowledge within himself, be responsible for within himself, I couldn’t know. That was his to hold, see, experience. I had to allow that to be without judgment, without my ideas of what it was.
And I had to love me–and all my choices–unconditionally, without judgment.
I had to take care of me with love…
It was an odd feeling driving up the long drive I had come to know so well…loved well. Tall firs lined each side, a small bridge brooked a stream, and the drive formed a beautiful ‘S’ as it snaked its way to the front door. A spray of flowers hedged the house. I had seen T.––watched him plow this drive in the deep winter snow, walk it as he headed out to the day’s chores, and watched his back disappear around the bend as he’d stride off with the dogs. Once, in an email, he had described in detail moving one large pile of large rocks from one place to another, a Zen-like episode of a summer’s month. Each rock some internal burden, some thought, perception, being re-claimed, re-seen, known again.
As I approached the house, I realized, as I had experienced so many times before, T. was not home, even though he knew I’d be arriving. My heart sank momentarily, for part of me had known this experience so well. Inside, I sat down and took in the space I had seen in so many photos as he’d worked on each facet of the house–the antique lights, the bathroom sink, the double doors, the stair landing and entry to an upstairs room that had for a couple of years been only accessible by ladder. The rafters loomed. Their rose-yellow hue making of the interior a kind of sacred light. Upstairs, the bed positioned to see this, to be witnessed by–bathed by this light.
What I loved most about this space was T’s presence in it–it was not one of clutter, but carefully selected, chosen items, pieces of furniture, art, carpets. He knew that material reality has presence and that clutter only closed down a piece’s native energies, clarity. In this way, I had recognized him quickly, loved him dearly for it…and felt his presence even more deeply.
It was not long after I was there, I received a text and then a phone call saying he’d be home shortly.
I walked his dogs. I fed Ruby.
When he arrived, it was hard for him to settle—he had driven a long way back from an appointment. It was hard for us both to settle–I wanted to just be in his presence for a bit, to feel his energies, to know him in the physical presence and space he took up. He was/is a large energetic Being. And when he was ill-at-ease, I became ill-at-ease. His presence took up a lot of space. And I knew this to be one of the struggles in his life with others. His energetic presence was intimidating to many... And in truth, I did not know if he understood that it was this that for many made them feel like they wanted, needed, to be more assertive, defensive, in his presence–that it was not their aversion to him, but simply the truth of who he was/is that became a mirror for them to see aspects of themselves they did not necessarily want to see.
He is that powerful, that creative…that present when he is comfortably within himself. Allows this.
When I was with him, I sometimes became an unconscious empath and simply disappeared into his largeness, his feelings. Doing this though, I realize, took away the dialogue–deflated both our presences. Doing this, I saw now, kept things one-sided, flat, and contributed to his ill-at-ease. To be with him, I had to stand in my own largeness–for him to know himself with me.
It is one of the gifts of his being that I loved so well: his largeness. I met this largeness of presence, this expansiveness in so few men I was attracted to, felt a natural attraction to. With him, I simply wanted to experience it, stand next to him. I felt, and have always felt in thought, “Here is someone who matches me, someone I can stand next to–like two living trees in the forest…one sky opening to another…”
This always was the confusion for me when around him, as I felt that it was his space, his capacity, to be in his own self, his own expansiveness, authentic presence and directiveness, that he felt I or an ‘us’ threatened.
Whatever the case, that night, we went to bed tired, unsure… Awake, but tired. Awake and sensitive, but unsure.
And under the light of the summer’s night, I placed my hand upon his chest, upon his heart, as I had done so many times when I left, or ending a long email missive in my travels in prior years… ‘My hand upon your heart’ I would whisper across the winds, the wires of our connection…the field of our Being.
My fingers ever so lightly upon his heart….
When I woke in the morning, T. was gone. He had another appointment.
At moments, I thought, “Had he not recognized that I had driven across the country to see him?” Was he still unable to break through the fear of connection, the pain of past love, or allow himself to feel the space there was for him to be present with another, with me. It takes time to acclimate to another in one’s space. It takes time to allow oneself to breathe deeply, easily, when one has so long lived alone. One has to allow oneself to move from one’s head to one’s heart. To breathe.
I knew this, as I too had lived long alone.
I was not naïve: I knew T. had seen other women as we lived in different states. I knew too they didn’t last. I had asked him once, “Am I simply the go-between relationship? The woman you fall back on when you are lonely, between other interests?” It was the quickest reply I had ever received from him– “No. You are not the ‘in-between woman’.” I wanted to believe that, and in the depths of my heart, I did. Part of me understood I was the connection beneath all these connections, but the connection too he couldn’t allow himself to choose, or had simply decided, he didn’t want to choose.
When I went downstairs I made coffee, then noticed a note on the counter…
“I don’t think I can do this. I think I am a loner… I’m sorry… I’m sorry I’ve hurt you. I hope one day I can…”
He went on to explain he’d be gone in the afternoon, then evening out on his boat…
I sat. Deflated. Unspeakably silent. It was not expected, nor unexpected. But regardless, it felt like him running away, unable to tell me in person what he felt, wanted, experienced.
I couldn’t think. I felt like I couldn’t even experience the moment–allow myself to experience it. I walked the dogs. I showered, dressed. I sat, asking somewhere deep inside, “Now what?” Now what, after all these months, these years, the decisions made, the love…
I had not expected to leave so quickly.
How vast and open and map-less the universe was again….
So many times, we’re told in relationships to listen to the actions of the other, not to the words of the person. An action came out of a state of being. And in spite of what he had written, saying he’d be gone, T. showed back up before I left.
Startled again, I was confused.
Over the next hour, we brushed the dogs––his shepherds shedding profusely in the summer heat. And as we did so, I tried to articulate the choices I had been making in my life and what it was I was doing––I knew it confused him.
When T. spoke of energy, he spoke of it as a scientist, an engineer, a programmer. He had the uncanny ability to envision something electrically and make it happen, bring it into form with a logic that dipped deeply into the intuitive. When I spoke of energy–I spoke of the light infusing the body, the energetics of emotions, the human heart and how energy affected the nervous system, each cell, and human memory embedded in the body. Energy psychology and healing. Intuitive vision–being able to see the light and densities in the human energetic body.
There was not time and space enough as we brushed the dogs and watered his garden–because of what had already been set in motion, and I wanted to respect him, his words, his choice. His saying, “He couldn’t do this….”
And yet, there we were, being together, easily, and beginning to feel the depths again–his hand reaching out to lightly touch my arm, and then that singular gesture.
There in the yard, the dogs around us, he took my face into his hands and placed our heads together, forehead-to-forehead. The stillness, the expansiveness of his heart, our hearts, present to each other.
One sky opening to another…
He did not say, “Stay. Stay for a while....”
And so I left. My heart as wide and open as it could possibly be. My mind blank as visions of the universe poured through the portal of my heart.
My emotions momentarily at bay…
And I knew too I had to love and honor me–the strength and resolve it took to drive across the country to see him. To know for certain what I knew. That there was love. A love deep and abiding beneath all the day’s machinations. That I had not fooled myself about this. He may not be choosing it in the way I would like him to, but it was–vibrant, honest, authentic…
I drove for an hour or so through the mountains and then stopped along a river that I had come to know so well having driven to see him so many times.
Ruby and I walked down to the river’s bank. I threw a stick for her and she swam: in out, in out. The sun glinted over the waves, the trees shadows flickering on the water…
And then without thought, I walked into the water. I laid down in its soothing caress. I laid down in all the wisdom and knowing and memory that water carries.
The life-blood of the earth, the substance of our bodies, the cherished waters of our Soul…
The water that cleanses and fortifies.
The baptismal of unconditional love....
And so I let the tears flow into the