“Everyone wants to be in a relationship,” declares my vivacious friend, Julie, as we supped on smoky noodles at Saigon. Does everyone yearn to be an us? Cosily coupled, snugly secure in a twosome, I wonder?
“We’re relational creatures,” she continued, as we finished off the bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, “which is why we all keep on searching for our soul mate.” We do?
The astrological birth chart, which is the acorn of our life’s potential, the daemon of our fate, suggests otherwise. Not everyone wants to be in a relationship. Many of us pay lip service to love, and choose to end it with the well worn “you’re too good for me” exit line when intimacy beckons. Like Pandora, we open the box and release a screeching swarm of demons that devour us with fear, turn us to pillars of stone.
Many of us hunger for Love with an appetite so voracious that we gorge on empty encounters that leave us starving and malnourished. Many of us fasten our hearts with love-proof padlocks and swear to never love again. Like the poet W.B. Yeats, who loved an Irish beauty for 30 years with a passion that was never consummated or returned, “we fed our hearts on fantasies” and ache with the memory of broken promises, still-born dreams.
Intimate relationships can be messy and convoluted, often disappointing. Relationships with friends, colleagues, a beloved cat or dog, are often far less rigorous in their demands. To form a committed bond with another, to take the necessary actions to set up home or parent children demands courage, endurance and a sense of safety as we rest in one another’s arms, for better or for worse. Real relationships require the ingredients of two willing people who love each other enough to stand strong as the cruel winds of doubt, fear and hopelessness buffet the bond of commitment.
But, if you have the soul of a gypsy, or the heart of a hermit, you may choose, consciously or unconsciously, to defy social convention and never become “an us”. As the years pass by, the thought of sharing your home with another person, of stretching wide to accommodate differences that jostle you from your routine and entrenched beliefs becomes too big a stretch. So, you stay safe, eschewing the tantrums, the misunderstandings and compromises that polish us smooth in intimate relationship. It’s easier to stay contained, to shop for one, to keep things neat and simple – uncomplicated. Many of us have loved boy-men, or girl-women who fell asleep when we beckoned them to enter the fragrant Garden of Love. They did not – could not – love us enough to make space in their orderly lives for fierce love, for the chaos of the Feminine or the pointed vision of the Masculine. They turned their heads away and walked towards another destiny.
It is when we nurture, trust, encourage, and truly value ourselves, with all our complexity and contradictions, that we begin to dance deeper and deeper into Being. It is then, if we are willing to lower the red flags of fear and judgement, that we will invite The Beloved into the sanctum of our passionate heart. It is then that we discover the comfort and the joy of saying, darling, Stand By Me. And we just know that the answer will be OH YES!
When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we see
No I won’t be afraid
No I won’t be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me