How Did We Get Here! Where Are We Going?

Sometimes Pat and I are in situations that take us down memory lane to times 15 to 20 years ago when each of us was on a life journey pretty much in accord with our culture, family, and our religion.  We were each more or less happy, but also increasingly aware of our unhappiness.  Eventually each of us made a break with our past and took a new course.  It wasn’t pretty.  It wasn’t easy on anyone affected. And it was not stepping into some new world that we knew much about.  By contrast, it was stepping into places we knew little or nothing about.  Stepping into mystery, but not aware of The Mystery.  Each of us made mistakes, sometimes huge mistakes, but somehow kept trucking. And here we are, together, reflecting on our paths to here.

My experience over the past few days was one of being put into a picture from my past. A picture that had a lot going for it.  Oh could I see that clearly these past few days.  There was stability, a sense of normalcy, a sense of certainty about issues such a death, a sense of fitting in and belonging to the structures of family, business, church, and other organizations.  It gave time for family, for hobbies, for socializing.  All enjoyable.  And I could put myself into that picture from my past and see how great and relaxed retirement could have been.  If only.

But it was not to be, as Pat remarked this morning.  Each of us was eventually moved to take actions that separated us from our past in some significant ways. There was divorce, leaving the church, retiring from careers and all organizations of which we had been involved, leaving familiar friends with whom we had socialized, sometimes frequently.  Creating strain in family relationships.  Not a pretty picture.   What moved us to tear up so much of our lives? These were the questions we found ourselves exploring as we sat sipping our morning coffee after meditation this morning.

Our memories are foggy. But let me limit my comments to my own journey at this point.  If someone would have asked me why I did such a drastic and destructive shift in my life ten years ago, I would have said, “In search of a whole relationship with a woman — whole physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.”  I really meant it! That is what I thought I was searching for and thought I could not have in my then current relationship.  The goal, the longing, was crystal clear in my mind.

But oh the distortions and confusions not faced and confronted in all of this! My journey led to many “mistakes” in pursuing my quest.  Mistakes that in hindsight are very painful to face in honesty.  My divorce and other relational “mistakes” being the main and most heartfully painful themes of my life.

However, in retrospect these mistakes were incredible learning experiences. Even, it seems to me, necessary learning experiences.  I do not think I would have grown had I not risked such mistakes.  I could be wrong here, but that’s the way I see it in this moment.  Each step taught me so much, painful as it often was for all parties involved.  I am truly sorry for my missteps and the pain I have caused, and I can only hope that others grew through these experiences as well.  And hope that I have grown enough to end my patterns of bringing pain into the world in these ways.

What I learned most was that I was simply too immature to even understand what a whole relationship with a woman would look like or feel like. I had  and have so much internal growth work to accomplish before I could or can come to what I say I long for.  I had tastes of different aspects of what I longed for, but, in my immaturity, I neither appreciated what I had nor did I believe the pieces I thought were missing could be filled in.  And even in saying this I see premature and immature judgments.

So where am I today? I could boil my journey down to a few key points.  Perhaps one is: Do not give up the longing for what I sense my heart and soul are drawn to.  This is not about resignation regarding what is not yet here.

Secondly, trust the organic arising as I do my personal and spiritual growth work.  Trust that all my heart and soul longs for will at some point manifest.

But never use a forcing current.  This point is tough for my willful and prideful little ego to abide by!  This is where I have made many missteps in the past.

Let go of preconceived images of how my heart and soul’s longing will manifest. I do not know what I do not know.  I have tended to hold up idealized versions of perfect relationships and thereby missed the richness of what was being offered.

Finally, continue to do my personal and spiritual development work, all of which is a prerequisite for me to have the capacity to hold and experience all that my heart and soul long for.

This is the space at which Pat and I have have arrived.  It truly takes the pressure off, allows for organic unfoldment of each of us and of the relationship between us that is perfect for our present state of development.  No hurrying.  No forcing. No resignation. Accepting what is. Dropping expectations, but not expectancy.