Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Reflections & Musings: Who said you have to be perfect to be in a relationship?

"With every action or thought, 
we are displaying an open heart or a closed heart." 

In about a week, my beau and I are moving in together. This was not without fanfare or lengthy discussions, which many of my good friends can attest to and in fact, the final decision came when we had reached a crossroads in our relationship, where we were deciding whether it would be best to honor one another by being together or by respecting our individual paths in life.

A few weeks ago, my dear friend and former roommate encouraged me to sign up for the Enchanted Love Workshop that Marianne Williamson had recently recorded and I'm glad I did. Because I did not grown up with positive role models when it comes to love or marriage, much of what I've learned about these concepts has been through trial and error, hopeless romantic comedies and fables, and the types of relationships I've witnessed through friends and acquaintances. Ultimately, I have been pursuing a hodgepodge-constantly-shifting definition of what I wanted my ideal partner to be and how I envisioned my life with him would look.

And, I bought into the belief that I first had to learn how to love myself and be perfect, before anyone else could love me. Marianne Williamson's response to that idea is, "Bullshit. Who ever said that you need to be perfect to be loved? You learn more about your divine nature while being IN a relationship. That's why you're there in the first place!"

She emphatically teaches that you will meet the mate who inevitably is there to trigger your old wounds. The Universe is in perfect order, and it will continue to present opportunities where you have the choice of growing more or closing up. Your true partner will be that person who helps you reconnect with the divinity within and who encourages you to grow past your past — though the ways in which these lessons are learned may not always be pleasant. Simultaneously, you will be that same energy and impetus for them. Marianne believes that if you don't learn it this time around, the Universe will continue offering these chances until you learn what you're meant to. Mostly, she asserts that your ideal partner is not meant to be the shining knight who fixes all your problems with a swish of the sword or an act of valor. Instead, they are there to support you in becoming your own hero.

That is exactly what my beau is to me, which is what I realized so clearly on that night we were chatting on the wooden bench overlooking the ocean in the dark evening hours. We spoke and listened and asked each other, as well as ourselves, whether we had it within us to learn to genuinely love and unconditionally accept one another. It was then, after months of consideration and deliberation, that it became exactly the right moment to decide to move in together.

My beau shows me again and again how to love myself more, how this process of learning to do so not only inspires greater compassion for myself where I begin to accept the parts that aren't my favorite, but also how in turn, I learn to grow my heart bigger and include him and others with the same sun shower of respect, honor and care.

It's not easy to be with someone who triggers your old wounds. Just last night, we were talking about whether we wanted to have children, what gender roles and finances mean, what our ideal future would look like. And, all throughout it, old ideas and painful stories came up, giving us an opportunity to evaluate our present moment with a fresh pair of eyes, a different mind, a clearer heart.

It's also not easy to let go of the things you thought you had always wanted — the things you thought you had always needed — to make the past wrongs become right. But, as Marianne touts in her workshop, "You are born again in any moment where you do not bring the past with you."

I shake my head in amazement at times, when I realize that we truly were brought together to help elevate one another individually and as a partnership. It doesn't look the way I had scripted, but the Universe is wiser than my ego, and our higher selves knew exactly what they were getting themselves into!

In truth, when I'm okay with the vulnerability and not acting from a place of severe protection, I believe that my beau teaches me how to love myself more. He teaches me how to genuinely love others without expectations of things in return, without attachments or preconceived notions, without judgment. He shows me what an incredible impact I can make on those around me — including him. We are not without problems and there have been several times where we thought the challenges were insurmountable. But, through clear communication and a deeper ongoing learning about ourselves especially within the context of one another, we have created a unifying presence between the two of us that is real, a love with roots and seedlings and blooming flowers in all sorts of vibrant hues.

One of my favorite yoga teachers signs her emails, "Student of Life." And I am learning again and again that perfection is not only unattainable, it's an ever elusive goal that only serves to make me feel like I'm failing in ways minute and major, a driving tendency that keeps me from being in a state of pure bliss for the fact that I am whole just as I am right now.

I'm excited for the adventures ahead. I feel like there's a greater life than I could ever have dreamed of, one that opens up to me in each and every moment. Through grace, gratitude, love, and support, I am blessed and I wish for every one in this world to meet the person who will help them love themselves more, be it a friend, family member, confidante, partner, beau, or sometimes, even a complete stranger walking down the street...

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