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Stand by me

Stand by me

“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

John Lennon.

Ingrid Hoffman

  • Storm Hawkins

    November 14, 2011at8:53 am Reply

    Wow, Ingrid. Very powerful words. “Many of us hunger for Love with an appetite so voracious that we gorge on empty encounters that leave us starving and malnourished” makes so much sense and hits home for many people I’m sure. I love reading your articles and your insight into the way of love. I find myself drifting into another world. Incredible work.

    • Ingrid

      November 14, 2011at10:02 am Reply

      Thank you for your passion and your energy, Storm, and the knowing that we are all interconnected in our longing and in our Joy! Love, Ingrid

  • Lauren du Preez

    November 14, 2011at9:42 am Reply

    How beautiful – thank you Ingrid!

  • Beverley

    November 14, 2011at4:08 pm Reply

    They say you stand
    By your man
    Tell me something
    I don’t understand
    You said you loved me
    And that’s a fact
    And then you left me
    Said you felt trapped
    Well,somethings you can explain away
    But the heartache’s with me till this day
    Did you stand by me
    No,not at all
    Did you stand by me
    No way
    All the times
    That we were closed
    I remember
    These things the most
    I’ve seen all our dreams
    Come tumblin’ down
    I can’t stay happy
    Without you around
    So alone I keep the wolves a bay
    And there’s only one thing I can say
    Did you stand by me
    No,not at all
    Did you stand by me
    No way

    So the heart of the hermit stays safe for now….my dear friend

    • Ingrid

      November 15, 2011at10:12 am Reply

      And after all is said and done, it is now your destiny that those who truly love you now link hands to stand in a circle around your Hermit Cave where the light shines forth so brightly.

  • Joanna Watters

    November 14, 2011at5:25 pm Reply

    Another poetic work of art from Ingrid’s huge heart. I would add that as long as there is SOMEONE who “stands by me” (sister, friend, dog!)it can stop us from rushing into the next feeding frenzy… allows us that space to taste, savour the first flavours and see if we want more… oh how I wish I’d known this years ago! Maybe one day I’ll be ready to work my way through the whole menu again xx

    • Ingrid

      November 15, 2011at10:07 am Reply

      Thank you for your insights and your wisdom. I love what you share here, Joanna!
      In my own life, it is only when I have taken the time to stand still and silent for long enough to connect with my own brave heart, to pause in the stillness… long enough to pledge that I do deserve so much more than the crumbs from the one who adds me to his to-do list, or the relentless pull of the energy-sapping vampire, or the tantrums of the narcissist … long enough to say no more!
      My love and gratitude for taking the time to visit this blog.

  • Wayne Cresser

    November 16, 2011at3:13 am Reply

    Two, no three quick things here.
    1) What she said—goes double for me.
    2) Am I going to be the only dude (besides the quoted Mick Jones bit) who weighs in here?
    3) Three, okay, you’ve brought out the musicologist in me, “Stand By Me” should be attributed to the guys who wrote it-Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller (although John Lennon covered it beautifully, as did Mr. Ben E. King)

    • Ingrid

      November 16, 2011at10:05 am Reply

      THANKYOU for your succinct and intelligent comments. I so hope you are not going to be the only dude ( besides Mick Jones ) who drops in to visit, and to share from the Masculine perspective, which is so valuable, and so powerful. THANKYOU for guiding me towards the more apt attribution. How wonderful to have a musicologist drop by. Much appreciated!

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