Holding the Longing AND the Not Knowing
I have some deep unfulfilled longings in my relationship with Pat, as she does with me. I tackled my side of this in a bodywork session today. My immediate posture in this session was to turn aside and gaze into the room, my back turned to what felt to be a black ominous cave — the unfulfilled longing. I wanted nothing to do with the cave, it was too painful to be with. Rather, I gazed away from the cave and into the room. I could feel the joy of being myself, being free, being soft and open. I could spend a lifetime here. Perhaps I had spent a lifetime here! Alone, in my sandbox, doing my own thing rather than facing the pain of unfulfillment in my relationship with Pat.
Was it OK to ignore the dark cave behind me? A “should” said NO, it was not OK to ignore the cave. I need to turn around and tackle the cave. My way, of course, tackling rather than running away from my problems.
But not yet. My therapist encouraged me to become more familiar with the feelings of freedom and pleasure I was experiencing in ignoring the cave. It was great to be away from the pain of the cave. It was great to be me.
But something was missing and so I dared to consider facing the cave. I could feel my unfulfilled longing. I was invited to consider honoring this unfulfilled longing. But this unfulfilled longing was so painful, so sad. “I don’t know what to do about my unfulfilled longing,” I blurted out.
It was a breakthrough in the session. The only way I know to manifest things, including fulfilling any longing I might have, is to do something to make something move or happen. But so many things I had tried here had not worked. I had given up on trying, I had become fearful in trying and constantly failing, and in the process resigned myself to never having some of my longings fulfilled. More fear. More sadness. My not knowing what to do or how to be, heightened the pain of the unfulfillment. The situation became hopeless.
Then I was invited to a new space. “Hold the unfulfilled longing AND the not knowing.” I had to realize that fulfillment lay beyond the capacity of my doing, beyond my knowing what to do. Could I hold both? Could Pat hold both? Do we have an alternative?
Pat and I are celebrating this new space of BOTH/AND. Not that things are resolved, but rather that the mystery of the unknown is indeed tolerable. More than tolerable, a feeling of peace comes over us. It is a space of allowing what wants to happen organically all on its own. Another lesson in patience, faith and grace. A new way of being with each other.