The Myth of a Soul Mate
10 Myths to Live Without
The Myth of Family Bonds
The Myth of Fairness
The Myth of No Consequences
The Myth of Sex Equalling Intimacy
The Myth of Absolute Truth
The Myth of Altruism
The Myth of "Shoulds"
The Myth of Right and Wrong
The Myth of Scarcity
The Myth of a Soul Mate
The Myth of a Soul Mate
I'm going to be semi-quick with this one. I suspect people have heard the "one perfect person for me" crap for years, and run around aimlessly looking for this mythic being. There's a flaw to this, however. The person sought isn't perfect, nor "just right." The person being sought in this case is "someone who will do exactly what I want and be exactly who I want them to be." In other words, it's Peter Pan looking for Wendy. And vice versa.
This is not to say that we shouldn't seek compatibility (and be willing to leave those with whom we cannot reach consensus) in our mate and friend picking. The List of 50 is all about this. When you do your list responsibly and without short-cuts, you discover many people fit your temperament and nature. I guess 5% of the population will fit, once you actually know what you are looking for.
That being said, the real work of communication and intimacy begins. Not so with the soul mate as described above. That's not relationship - that's manipulation.
My friend Marielle Croft is an astrologer. She just sent out an e-mail to her "list" (excerpts reprinted with her permission.) on love. I enjoyed what she wrote and it dove-tailed with what I was writing. Here goes:
For the longest time, we all have been mislead (and have mislead others) by the great fantasy that one should be looking for the "Prince Charming" or the "Princess Charming", that there is a One for everyone, that when we find that perfect One a miraculous occurrence shall make us live the Perfect Dream at last and for ever.
Another fantasy exists which gained in power with cinema and television: sexual attraction. The tendency to look for the sexiest, for the hottest chemistry, holds the hope that there too the Perfect Dream will prevail.
Unfortunately, none of those fantasies deliver what they promise. Natural laws have a way to stubbornly defeat our attachment to control the outcome; to overlook the power of inner truth; to seek in the wrong places what is right here in the centre.
In the art of relating, Libra suggests that we must create the right relationship with ourselves first. No "Prince or Princess" charming can give us what we don't give ourselves in the first place.
The scales symbolize Libra. Its axis holds a bar to which are attached two plates. Here is a symbol of the human body. The axis represents the spine and the plates signify our right and left brain; our feminine and masculine expression; our imaginative sensitivity and our logic linear thinking.
Libra has a reputation of not making up her mind; of changing her mind all the time. That's how we are when we look to the right, look to the left, thinking that we must choose one side over the other. Total satisfaction and being "happy for ever after" occurs (as the above fantasies promise) when we stand in the middle (the axis; the spine; spirit within) and hold still in balance, expressing equally the right and left brain.
The simultaneous expression of the inner feminine and masculine leads to a superb awakening into higher mastery called "androgynous consciousness". An individual having reached this "androgynous" level of consciousness will live in peace and will manifest a perfect reality for her/himself.
Before becoming "androgynous", we too behave like the unstable scales (Libra) in choosing one side over the other, in not being able to choose at all sometimes as well. We seek external satisfaction and keep changing our mind about it because what we picked didn't deliver what it promised. Nothing external can dissolve the spiritual loneliness we all suffer from. We must reconnect within first (the right relationship with ourself), and then we attract what is a great match to our nature. Never the other way around. Never.
The "androgynous" person will allow the inner feminine to call upon vision and inspiration from the Immortal Source within, and the inner masculine will bring it out into manifestation. That's the only way to live in perfect harmony with natural laws and to complete our total realization. In our younger ways on the path of self-mastery, often we'll express too much our masculine style without including the feminine. We then manifest, quite successfully sometimes, but in the end we still remain dissatisfied (spiritual void) with the results. Sometimes we'll express too much of our feminine in dreaming a lot, exquisite dreams, but we'll never bring them into the world. Those are the expression of the unstable scales symbolized by the sign Libra, THE sign of relationships.
At the Fall Equinox, when nature is in equilibrium, it's the easiest time of the year to realign with the central axis and to bring our right and left brain into balance. This leads to self-honouring, self-love, compassion and self-forgiveness, inner acceptance and calm.
With Mercury in Libra (with a Retrograde period allowing for revision), we want to include more attention to communication in the art of relating: communication with oneself and with others. When we were sold the fantasy of the "Prince and Princess" charming, we were not told that daily life with the beloved is quite down to earth with socks on the floor, dirty sheets, body functions, toothpaste lids lost, moody mornings. The shining glow of the "Prince-Princess" charming fades quickly and dramatically after the first chapters of the "happy ever after" book are read.
Neat, eh? Check out how this dove-tails with our relationship booklets. As we've endlessly said, if your relationships never seem to last, have a look at yourself and, as Marielle suggests, your balance. You only get what you are willing to give to yourself. Partners are not there to remind us to be whole. That's our job. Partners witness our wholeness and our fragmentedness - not to fix, but simply to witness. (see the exercises re. expressing emotions in the next article.)
Thus, the only "soul mate" I want is one who agrees that we'll work on ourselves first, and will do so through intimate dialogue. We'll remain curious about each other, without trying to change the other or control the other, and especially without becoming dependent on the other. My partner is, above all, my equal. And lest you doubt, her name is Darbella.
Soul mates? Maybe. Intimate partners, engaged in intra-personal growth through dialogue. Of course!
Next week: The Phoenix Philosophy. Stay tuned!
Dealing with Emotions - a Primer
One of my Haven buddies dropped me an e-mail after last week's Into the Centre, in which he indicated he thought I might have "dropped the ball" by not providing some guidance re. grieving - some approaches for dealing with emotions. Needless to say, most of us experienced great swings of emotions following the World Trade Centre and Pentagon attacks. We at The Phoenix Centre agree with our colleagues at pd Seminars - we all need to "have our emotions." Now, what does this mean?
Some of the following are excerpts from a book I am writing:
Emotions have received a bad rap. Or, at least emotions judged to be "bad or difficult" have.
Now, because in the West we are used to living in our heads and passing judgements on everything, (right/wrong, good/bad are most common), we have also likely segregated our emotions into two camps. Grief and pain and anger are likely on the "bad" list, and we therefore want them to be over, or to not exist at all. Love and joy and happiness and passion are usually on the "good" list, and we want them all the time.
I've lately been using the analogy of a coin to describe feelings, the balance of life and how chi "looks." In a three-dimensional world, there can be no such thing as a one sided coin. If happiness is on one side of a coin, sadness must be on the other side. If love is on one side, fear will inevitably be on the other. And so it goes - to have one, you have to have the other. To experience one, you have to be willing to express and experience the other.
The first step in this process is to go into your head and give yourself permission to simply have your emotions. Then, as an emotion arises, it is important to acknowledge and name it, and express it. So, when you feel sad, say to your partner, "I'm feeling sad right now." If the emotion "feels" like it wants you to cry, then simply allow yourself to cry.
If you find yourself escaping to your head in order to ignore or judge the emotion, instead return gently to the feeling of the emotion.
Being honest about our emotions
Often, when we feel an emotion emerging, the first thing was ask ourselves is, "What bad thing will happen if I express this?" I was working with a client, doing both counselling and Bodywork. I had a bit of the story of her tumultuous upbringing, which had a lot to do with her parents ordering her to be whom they wanted her to be (not uncommon, eh?) I was working on her chest points, and was seeing a lot of sadness rising to the surface. She cried exactly one tear.
I waited. Her jaw shook, but no sound came out. I whispered, "Can you remember when they first told you to keep your mouth shut?" The nodded and sighed. For that session, for that moment, this was enough.
What happened here is quite common. A kid will grow up in a household where the expression of emotions is severely limited. Dad (or mom) might get angry and yell and scream, but this is written off as "You kids (or work, or the spouse or the baseball game, whatever) made me so angry I just couldn't help myself." Often, kids subjected to this retreat from any feeling of anger, and learn to repress it. Others decide that if it's OK for dad to have a temper, it's OK for them too. In either case, the denial aspect is this: no one causes you to be angry, nor is there ever a time when we can't choose to control our anger, releasing it in a healthful way.
Our natural state is not happiness. Our natural state is awake, aware and feeling our emotions in their fullness. To do so requires the willingness to feel it all, at maximum intensity.
In our quest to avoid pain, we teach our kids to run away from their emotions, lest they be hurt. How silly, eh? We KNOW they're going to be hurt, yet we think we're doing them a favour by protecting them from being hurt. All we really do is send them out in the world completely unprepared for failure, for pain, for heartbreak, and even for passion. Out they go, and they get to figure it out by themselves. And they also feel betrayed, because mommy and daddy lied to them. Or they feel that they must be bad, because this stuff shouldn't happen to "normal, good people."
In protection mode, we teach our kids, and continue to reinforce in ourselves, the techniques of denial and minimizing. "I'm not heartbroken, I'm just a little blue today." "I'm sad, but it's not important and I'll get over it as soon as I get up and cook supper." So, we learn to make our emotions small, shove them aside, and secretly judge ourselves to be weak and stupid for having them in the first place.
Think about this: Because we have been taught to suppress our emotions, we think (too much!) that we have to have a clear-cut reason for the emotion. So, rather than saying, "I'm really angering myself right now," we go "Those people made me angry." From there, we go on to make a case for the guilt of "the other." Ultimately, we end up building up to an internal rage, directed at another. We then consider the emotion "justified."
Sure, sometimes people do things to us. Witness the planes into the tower. We feel anger, rage, want revenge. Our words, our rhetoric, gets bigger and more bombastic, but there is no release. But because we haven't learned to empty ourselves of the anger, all we end up doing is getting angrier and angrier, blaming the other, until finally we snap. This goes on all the time - in families, at work, politically.
We need to learn to vent the emotion - to release it from our bodies. Then, from a place of being "clean" of the emotion, we can work through the issue and decide a course of action..
What Happens When Catastrophes Occur
Because of the above "training in containing," people seldom have the resources or the experience to deal effectively with strong emotions. Typically, we see this when family members die. Most people simply don't know how to grieve, so all sorts of weird things happen. People shuffle from foot to foot, wondering what to say. People try to get others to stop crying. Displays of emotion make people uncomfortable. Comments are made, like, "You should be over this by now," or "You're not grieving correctly."
Last week's tragedy brought forth a series of emotions: anger (from discomfort to rage), sadness (from melancholy to grieving) and fear (from being scared to existential angst). (Good point to throw out a grammar lesson to those people who toss out the word angst as if it means "anxiety," as in "I'm feeling angst about my date tonight." While the German word angst does translate to anxiety, it's usage in philosophy always refers to existential angst, or fear of death (non-being.) So, instead of coming across as sophisticated or wise, the person is saying, "I'm feeling a fear of death about my date tonight." (Jeez, if you are, run!!!) If you want to pretend to understand any of this, at least get the language right! J ) From these emotions came mental confusion and physical symptoms. (My blown back comes to mind…)
The way out is through letting go of the feelings, by expressing them. This can either be done alone or in a group. The work goes like this:
1) Name the emotion or feeling. This actually might be difficult, as we are not taught to differentiate emotions. A client this week, who has been yelling ineffectively for years, spent the week dumping the anger (see below) and not stuffing anything. He said, "After I let the anger go, I was aware of a ton of other feelings - sadness, grief, confusion." So, find the feeling in your body, ask your body what it is, and then name it, out loud.
2) If you are working with a partner, say, "I'm feeling (fill in the blank) right now over (whatever) and I'd like to get it out. Will you stay with me while I do that?" If you get agreement, let your partner know where you feel the feeling (in my back, my shoulders, my stomach, etc.) Without a partner, just say and do all of the suggestions yourself.
3) Find a quiet, safe place. If you have kids and haven't taught them about expressing emotions, it might be best if they aren’t around, initially. I suggested to a couple this week that they go into the basement rec. room after the kids went to bed on the second floor - and it might be best with the kids out of the house. (see below, on teaching kids.)
4) Decide how you want to express the feeling.
- Anger can often be expressed by yelling and stomping one's feet. If you think you need to hit, try beating a mattress with a tennis racket. Or, go buy a heavy bag to clobber. Or drive nails into a board.
- Sadness needs Kleenex, and a pillow to hug, and lots of breath and sound.
- Anxiety might want to express by cuddling with someone, under a comforter. Or, in it's extreme manifestations, you may want to go throw up. Anxiety is a stomach issue.
5) Invite your partner to press firmly on the area where the feeling seems to be.
6) Set a timer for 3 to 5 minutes. Start expressing. Use colourful words and language. Although many will find this difficult, as many have been taught "Keep quiet!' as kids, volume is essential to getting the feeling out. So, don't just cry, sob. Don't just swear, scream, don't just whine - really, really, loudly whine. Stomp. Hit the mattress. Flail. Rock. Just let go. Really lose it.
7) When the timer goes, ask yourself if you are done. If you are, thank your partner. Or thank yourself. (You may want to do that anyway.) If you are not done, or have another emotion to work on, ret-set the timer and go at it again.
8) Following the exercises, above, talk with someone about your feelings and this experience.
We need to do this (regularly, and especially in the face of tragedy) in order to keep from blowing a fuse or actually hurting someone. The rage people felt last week needed expression - but primarily at inanimate objects. Otherwise, the firebombs fly and innocent people get shot. We need time to scream at "them" - those that we judge to be perpetrators. (This goes for couples too!) This mindless, pointless rage is a part of all of us, and needs expressing. But, and it's a big one, not at someone but just "out." Once it's out, a reasonable response is possible. (Who would have guessed? That's actually what the U.S. government is doing.)
Suppressed emotions always hurt us, and can kill us. Strategically expressed emotions, when expressed fully, simply leave us.
What About Kids?
Kids need to be taught to do the above work, and always with an adult present to guide them. When kids hit people, they need a Time Out, facing a blank corner. After they calm, there is the simple reminder, "We don't hit people." (or cats, or whatever.) 15 minutes later, ask, "Are you still angry? (sad, whatever.) Let's go work on it." Follow the above ideas.
Finally, if your kid is in school, or making contact with other kids, you must talk to your kid about tragedies, death, accidents and sex. (I could probably extend the list but you get the point.) Last week a friend indicated she was not going to tell her 4-year-old about the planes and the tower, as they were flying somewhere soon. I didn't say much - I missed it, I guess. The kid is in a Waldorf School.
Now, you've probably noticed how much your kids bring home from school. Kids learn to swear, to steal, to cheat and to lie, primarily from their friends. (I'd hope they weren't learning this stuff (other than swearing J ) from their parents!) Same goes for sex, when they get a bit older.
Now, here's the question. Should my friend's kid hear about the planes from mom, or from a group of 4-year-olds? The kid will hear about it.
Let me know if this helped, and share it with a friend!
? 2001 Wayne C. Allen