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Baby, I have been here before

Baby, I have been here before


Strange, isn’t it, how a frisson of a fragrance, a sliver of a song, can reverberate like the striking of a bell, redolent across the veils of time. Long after my tears have dried, I cannot now listen to Imogen Heap’s haunting voice singing Hallelujah, or Mark Knopfler’s Romeo and Juliet, without connecting instantly to two men I have loved with wondrous, wild abandon.

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah” (Leonard Cohen)

Love.  “A broken Hallelujah”. Or a place to rest in the Heart of God.

Love. One syllable, that has divided kingdoms, fractured families, glorified, bankrupted, enslaved, enraptured, broken open, annihilated, made holy, triumphant with Joy.

Love.  An act of courage and truth that pierces the darkness of separation and time.  

“It’s been seven months now,” says my neighbour, a stoic veteran of several over-40 online dating forays. She has  garnered enough first-and-last dating experiences to hold a dinner table in stunned disbelief. I admire her courage and fortitude; her resolute belief that she will find her Prince if she kisses enough Frogs.

It’s easy to become shut-down, cynical.  To barricade ourselves behind emotional barbed wire. Love hurts, love scars, love wounds and marks… movies, songs, literature, portray Love as the sacrificial Flame that consumes. Passion always means pain. And anyone who has loved and lost will say that it bloody well does.

The day-to-day minutiae of committed relationships seem sawdust after the intoxicating ambrosia of a passionate, heroic love affair.

We have assimilated the belief that True Love is a form of suffering that paradoxically vivifies and “completes” us.  And so, as dangerous, magnificent, desperate and tragic as Love is, we find this an irritable impulse that draws us to the sacrificial flame.  Western culture has no history of romantic Love within the convention of marriage. The concept of romantic love did not even exist until the 12th Century.

Only in Hollywood do the love stories (mostly) have a happy ending. Watch a French movie to find out that life and love are more often messy and always open-ended! Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, Lancelot and Guinevere did not grow old together, or live happily ever after.

Historically marriage was a social, economic, or political construct, usually involving some exchange of Power – land, livestock, jewels and gold. As we evolve spiritually, this old paradigm is just not working any longer – witness around you the age of Disposable Marriage and Broken Hallelujahs.

According to spiritual teacher, Gary Zukov, we have now crossed the threshold to partake of the sacrament of Spiritual Partnership. He writes, “spiritual partnerships have four main requirements—commitment, compassion, courage and conscious communication.”  Gary says a spiritual partnership is a dynamic that can be entered into with just one intention…spiritual growth. “It doesn’t mean you go out and you say, ‘I’m going to create a spiritual partnership,’” he says. “It means that your intention is to become aware and responsible for yourself.”

It requires a heroic heart to nail your colours to the mast of a marriage or committed union.  Setting sail on a spiritual partnership comes at a cost – personal growth and differentiation always does. Your well-polished beliefs, the stories you tell yourself about the world and The Other,  and the “self” you thought you were,  will  transform with a seismic shudder. Being in a conscious partnership is not for the faint-hearted!

Ingrid Hoffman

  • Rachael S

    August 19, 2011at12:27 am Reply

    Thanks for the powerful thoughts Ingie
    I read this and thought mmm. A person can have more than one spiritual partnership at any one time; but yet only one love at any one time.
    Is there more to the ideology that monogamy doesn’t work?

  • Ingrid

    August 19, 2011at9:09 am Reply

    I’ve often wondered about having only one love at one time. We can love our children, and it is possible to love two or more people in a profound way, yet chose to focus energy on being with one of them. For me, Love is so expansive that it cannot be neatly contained within the Judaic-Christian world view or psychological theory. One size does not fit all! We are all unique in the way we love. Gary Zukov writes about a spiritual partnership, which does not bind us with shoulds and musts, but rather allows each partner to differentiate and to come from a place of self love and self awareness into the partnership. David Schnarch, in A Passionate Marriage, states that is it impossible to grasp the reality of marriage solely through the intellect. It is experiential, and constantly evolving. The Imago theory ( Harville Hendricks ) proposes that monogamy creates safety in whicy we grow up, become adults, become relationally mature beings. I guess, it is about finding that personal yardstick. Discovering and experiencing what feels True for you, in terms of your own values, your own Heart. Thank you for sharing and for contributing to this forum of like-minded people, Ray.

  • Ingrid

    August 19, 2011at9:24 am Reply

    I would so love this page to be a forum for like-minded people to share thoughts and the music that has moved their spirits… to think a bit and to laugh too. Thank you so much for taking the time to drop in and to share! Namaste!

  • Amy Brunton

    August 19, 2011at12:37 pm Reply

    I have and will again trust in my heart, to the love it feels and allow the flow of this powerful yet subtle energy to guide me, some say that its a fools dream to live a life with your heart, maybe its thought by those who are most afraid too. I for one embrace the teachings, and some have been painful and sorrowful lessons. But if i choose to close my heart to the unending flow of truly living through the heart, then i have not truly lived…

  • michel

    August 19, 2011at4:46 pm Reply

    i agree totally amy….if we choose to live with closed hearts then we are not fully experiencing the blessing of life…..if we are not in harmony with ourselves then how can we possibly be in harmony with anyone else and love fully……we all want to live lives with love and open forgiving hearts…..

  • Maeve Murran

    August 22, 2011at1:36 pm Reply

    How beautifully you write Ingrid. My own belief is we come from the Oneness of Spirit into the World of Dense Form and Duality. In seeking out that one Soul who will complete us, we are really only trying to reconnect to our own Divine Essence, to the best and most loveable parts of ourselves. But for our hearts to truly open, we must first look at everything that is the opposite to Love that we have stored inside the depths of ourselves. Not an easy path to walk!! In Love and Light. Maeve XX

    • Ingrid

      August 22, 2011at8:52 pm Reply

      I resonate with what you say here, Maeve. Thank you thank you! Namaste!

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