This is a piece written about a year ago when I was again decieved by a man who suddenly disappeared from my life after a few months of courting on the internet. I had had a very dramatic break up six months earlier, but I thought I had matured into an independent state of mind that would help me attract someone who would be good for me. I should probably mention, that I have always shunned co-dependency, as my childhood experience of love was not wholesome. I had grown to believe that love is draining you, and was unfortunately repeating the pattern when at a late age in my life allowed myself to be "allured" into relationships. It's a strange paradox, that I finally allowed myself to be co-dependent, and that it might have been a necessary phase for me to go through in my search for a more wholesome way of conducting a relationship. This entry is about the shadow side of love.
My experience of love has always been, that it is a trap, and a painful one at that. I have had a deeply desillusioned attitude regarding the love that has occasionally been offered to me. This is echoed in a dysfunctional childhood, of course, where I suffered neglect and emotional abuse. For many years I resisted the sticky love game. I held members of the opposite sex safely at bay and did not allow any ingoing or outgoing feelings to penetrate the walls of my fortress. Although I soon realized that this is not a way of life that is conducive to personal growth and a joy in life, it took me years and years of hard work to let down my armour. I had to rush into some relationships in a way that would take the controlling element, the Gate Keeper, in me with surprise. I would so as to speak, sneek the love feeling in through the backdoor. This made me very vulnerable and broke down my nervous system. The whole scope of my sensitive nature came into the open. What a scary place to be! Although I experienced several burn outs - not least due to the ensuing chronic insomnia and ill physical health - I managed to somehow retain my sanity. While all this was going on, one tangibly positive thing did happen. I became more discerning.
I truly believe that discernement is the prerequisite for a balanced, spiritual way of life and possible enlightenement. I can see that traps abound. Life is a maze that can keep you captive as long as you go along with the human tendency to think in terms of either-or and allow your mental self to make judmental arguments for or against. I like the idea of discernement simply because even though it doesn't remove you from the human sphere of preferences, it allows you the occasional restful moment in What Is. The further you advance on your quest for a deepfelt and honest life, the greater the likelihood that your senses, subconscious mind, and higher awareness will co-operate harmoniously to tell you what IS and what needs to be. While for a long time I thought I was plagued by fears, it seemed that after I had made some tough deciscions that helped me release the tension, I had actually had gutfeelings about things that where dangerous to my welfare. For a while it also seemed that I had premonitions telling that I was heading for a nightmarish experience but could not avoid it because it seemed that it had to be! I did not really feel that I had much free will, and believed that my higher self was always guiding me.
Although maybe those experiences did have to be in order that I would learn some valuable lessons about myself and other people (thus I was guided to enter the situations by my higher self), I have now seen that I probably do have some choice in the matter. Lets put it this way: if I clear out my own Shadow issues, my desperation is decreasing and my ability to choose a better life is increasing. All these things go hand in hand. It seems to me that becoming aware of your own deeper problems (Shadow issues) will open you up, thus creating more flow of information between you and the outside world as well as better attuned instinct and intuition. This again facilitates discernement and a better realization of what has to be and how to deal with it emotionally.
I have not really changed my opinion regarding human love. While sometimes people do see something beautiful in each other, the main driving force seems to be the Shadows that they harbour in their own subconscious mind and project onto the other person like a movie on a screen. I have no doubt harboured love in my own Shadow (good things can be there too), but have worked on it sufficiently to believe that it's one of the deepest issues in my life but also one that I am supposed to resolve. Very often spirituality is in a person's Shadow. I believe that was the case with the guy that I was trying to have a relationship with the longest. A lot of people want so badly to be spiritual, but refuse to see the entire scope of that kind of a life style. Spirituality is not in my opinion a very gooey state of mind, at least not to begin with, because you have to integrate your Shadow and learn to tolerate every aspect of yourself and the surrounding reality. It's downright dangerous to think that you know and see more than you actually do - but by that I mean it's not good for yourself either. Some men also pretend to be spiritual in order to allure a woman into liking them better - someone who was keen on me did that to me and I've seen it happen to others. In the end my spirituality was naturally thrown back into my face by this guy. One day I saw that my best match on a datingsite was this very person due to the very fact that spirituality was listed as a priority in this person's life. Ha! But I know he's my worst match in reality! So beware...
I recently had the experience of a spiritually minded man who was very much fascinated with my preoccupation with the matters of the physical world. I am defenitely not one who mingles much with other earthlings on the social arena, but I've worked all my life at trying to understand the dynamics of this reality. Basically, I feel that we need to embrace all aspects of reality in order to transcend them. Ironically, although there is no earth on my astrological chart, it seems that I'm more in tune with Earth than many a person whose astrological sign is an earth sign (mine is water). Haha, practice makes a master, I guess. It is a known fact that the most creative people are the one's working hardest at it, and I see a similarity here.
Seeking to understand mundane reality and human behaviour is a pursuit that requires that I deal with a terrible amount of details and sensorial input, and it's totally overwhelming at times, as I'm not physically all that strong and tolerant. I had almost given up on finding a man who would be understanding of this and also see why I have to be selective with the information that keeps bombarding me. Although I admit that I have been a bit of a control freak because of this and other reasons too, it really also connects to a feeling of having to keep things orderly and under supervision so they don't end up stressing me too much. Well sure, of course it's not an ideal situation and I hope I can in time find greater equaniminity that would take care of that issue.
Anyway, when I did find a man who did see and understand my preoccupation with the matters of the physical realm, I was naturally quite taken by it. I was, however, not able to feel the same kind of love that this man said he felt for me. I felt that I needed more information than what I could get virtually, through the internet. I also felt that I was being idealized. In fact I started to feel anxious about it. I felt pressured. It's terrible to want to feel something that you cannot feel.
One problem we had was a mutual fear of being used, although in different ways. Not an uncommon scenario, I gather. To me it was mostly a matter of not having to be the one who pulls the wagon (i.e the one taking care of the practical issues in life and taking on responsibilities that are way too heavy for me alone to carry), because I've had a tendency to attract similar experiences all my life. Having pursued the relationship on a virtual level through the internet for quite a while, I was becoming increasingly anxious to meet up in real life. In the end I had to voice my need very strongly. I have been made to wait, grilled, many times before, and I was not going to take it one more time! I decided that I need no longer wait for anybody. And that was the end of it, he backed off. One object was propably that an encounter in the physical would have required a lot of physical actions from him. The person in question probably also got scared of my strong sense of realism as well as the physical, mental and emotional boundaries that go with it. I figure this characteristic of mine was part of his Shadow and not something he really had the guts to confront.
What kind of a love is a love that ends that abruptly, anyway? To me it's just another shadowplay. One reason I think this might have been the case was the strong blamatory reaction that I got. Most men I have met have blamed me for things they are also guilty of themselves.
The thing is, we cannot ever offer to help anyone else even when we feel sorry for them. All we can do is try to be in tune intuitively with the situation at hand and keep in mind that the other person deserves that same kind of respect that we expect for ourselves. They have a right to their own choices although to the extent that these affect others some consideration might be expected. Anyway it's not altruism to think that you know what someone is about and then try to manipulate them into accepting your gracious gift of help and compassion. Besides, an exaggerated need to help others can be a way of disguising one's own problems, by kind of steering one's own and everybody else's attention away from them... So even in a relationship, we are sometimes less powerful than we wish we would be. A relationship will necessarily involve some work, but there's a limit to how much one has to put up with all the same. However, it seems that it's up to each and everyone to use their discernement and determine that limit.
There is an idealistic view that positive desires will not lead to any kind of karma or that a relationship should be happy. Of course we all wish this would be the case! And while I probably need my sceptical stance in order to get to grips with the way things really are here in this realm, I should maybe also open myself to a more optimistic view of love. Not because it can ever be an easy thing to deal with, or that humans will change their ways all that much, but because I deserve a better experience of what it means to love and be loved. I would really like to share my life with someone and practice this in my daily life. And yet, I may never get there, because it might cause me to create karma that I should be without. Or I may simply never find a man who is on the same wavelength as myself. It's a curious thing that I have shared some important things with some men, but I have never felt in sync with anyone. I do not want more "sticky" love from anyone. Real and honest love that doesn't hurt or require sacrifices is so elusive... And of course a love that doesn't hurt others either. It is very hard not to ever hurt or harm anybody, isn't it? Maybe it is impossible, even.
The above story with its harsh ending was a pretty good replica of a childhood scenario, where I was feeling that I was giving plenty of myself, while all I was getting in return was complaints that I am being selfish. Somehow I need to truly accept that I should not become a martyr and sacrifice my wellbeing for anybody so that they will get what they want from me. I have to admit that the last few days since the events took place that I was talking about earlier, I've felt a prescence of an energy that wasn't there before. It hasn't gone away yet, so I am starting to assume that I'm empowered by what seems to have been a clear break with a typical behavioural pattern in me. I guess I'm starting to have a realistic view of how much I can take in that respect. Ideally, one should not have to sacrifice anything at all, but can that really happen here on Earth? In any case I must not sacrifice the seed of kindness and empathy that makes me want to do that. Instead I have to trust that nature takes its course and grows a plant out of the seed in some way that will be beneficial to me as well as to the collective that I belong to.
Artwork: "Don't Let Smoke Get In Your Eyes" handmade collage by author, all rights reserved 2005