Tonight I got a rare, precious private audience with our family patriarch- my brilliant, vibrant 98 year old great grandpa (check him out on Facebook- no joke). He told me the one story I can't ever get enough of- the night he met my great grandma. This was back in the day when everyone was always impeccably accessorized. Her- beautiful, graceful, wearing the green suit her mother had made for her. Him- super handsome, sassy and instantly in love. They met at a skating rink when he purposely knocked her over so he could help her up...and the rest, as they say, is history. Tonight, for the first time, he looked at me meaningfully and told me that that was the most important day of his life. We've talked about the importance and joy of family before, but today he admitted that at first marriage was hard for him- as he put it "Your grandma really got on me" (ha!). But he made a deep commitment and learned to compromise...mostly to her, smart man. He reminded me that I needed to find a nice man to share my life with, to which I giggled and told him I was working on it.
Truth be told, I have been working on it, Grandpa. And oddly enough, I've never been less available for a relationship. At some point recently, I realized two very important things: 1) I am not, and perhaps never actually have been, available for a relationship. 2) I really am happier and more stable when I'm single, and that that's a pretty good argument to stay single until I can keep myself together when relating romantically. I have seen myself lose my shit spectacularly and who wants to be that girl? Oxytocin makes me crazy, yo. Clearly I have some work to do.
The realization that I wasn't actually available romantically was a little hard to take in. "But I'm so loving! I'm so open hearted and I always have been!" Really, Kirsten? Are you sure? A common pattern in my dating life has been my uncanny ability to find unavailable men. And, besides being unavailable, what do all those people have in common? Me! So perhaps I'm attracting men who are unavailable because I don't actually want to be in a relationship. I think I do because I'm lonely and instead of making friends with myself and finding what I need within, I've been looking for someone else to do that work. Ha! How tricky.
My spiritual project over the last week has been to reframe the way I view my aloneness- to enjoy the solitude and celebrate the fact that I don't require outside approval or support to sustain the steadiness of my faith. I can be, as the Buddha insisted, "a light unto (my)self." It's important to know when and how to ask for help, and equally important to know how to walk the road alone. It helps that the 90 day set I'm doing has been creating an inner spaciousness that allows me to contain myself. That is to say that I have a better understanding now of where I end and you begin, and enough room in my head to hold all my satchels and knapsacks and fannypacks...without me feeling like maybe you need to carry them all for me. I know I have baggage, I know what it is and that it doesn't belong to you.
Another key component has been letting go of the idea that I am some how incomplete. I mentioned this before, but in integrating the masculine parts of myself, I'm coming into relationship with myself for the first time. Turns out that I'm not missing anything at all! Everything that I've ever been looking for from other people has been in here all along, just waiting to be recognized. And in coming into this union with my Highest Self, I am really coming into a Divine Union with the God that vibrates every atom of my being. I am the Lover and the Beloved- complete, self-contained and lit from within. Well, I'm working on it...
A good study for this has been looking at the dynamic in my relationships with my girlfriends. I am blessed with a handful of really intimate friendships in which I am able to show up all heart and very few expectations. I've been known to tell these friends that they're my life partners, and I'm not really joking. We share our lives in a way that one might with a romantic partner. The big difference, aside from the lack of squishy stuff, is how the relay flows. There is a really fluid, equal exchange in these relationships, and I never feel like I'm grasping for more. I'm grateful for the love and support they give, and I'm never looking for them to complete me. We have remained distinct individuals, sharing our interests without dissolving into one another. So what the hell happens when romance comes in?
There are many possible theories and explanations, but lately I'm finding that as I experience this Divine Union within myself, the feeling of grasping is waning. I'm beginning to see how a romantic relationship has no hope for success without the relay- I send something over, you send something back and we both win. It's not about getting my needs met. It's about meeting my own needs and offering you my richness and abundance, not my lacking and hunger. That way, like I do with my friends, I can appreciate whatever it is that you have to offer without demanding that you give me what I should be providing for myself- namely, a deep sense of security that can really only come from within. And, my dear ones, it is impossible to be secure within yourself without being in healthy, respectful relationship to yourself. You have to get as intimate with your dark as your lightness, and take gentle, kind care of your sweet self. After all, if you won't be nice to yourself, how can you expect anyone else to be?
Here we are, Grandpa. I am holding out for a Divine Union with another that is complimentary, inspirational, challenging and elevating. Ideally, he would also have a good sense of humor, support my impulsive travel habit and be grounded in some kind of spirituality...and share my love of ice cream. Today I'm not quite ready...but maybe tomorrow. For now, I am perfectly happy flying solo.