On Sunday, while I was dancing with my friends, one of my exe's exes broke down in tears in the corner of the room. Two people embraced her as she cried. I have no idea what she was upset about, but I have a feeling she is sad and lonely during the holidays. Perhaps. like many single women over 40s, she feels abandoned and unlovable.
So many of my friends, male and female, are breaking down in tears right now or feeling isolated and alone. The connection we seek isn't just with a partner or a lover -- its a connection we want with each other, will all of humanity, with community. Right now, I feel like many of us--the ones who are awake and not snuffing our our emotions with drugs and alcohol and distractions -- are feeling this collective pain, and it's starting to well up inside of us and pour out.
When I received this essay today, I realized I am not alone. Reach out to someone this week. Dance with them. Hold them. Give them an embrace. Send them a note or a card and remind them that you love them and that you care.
UNDERSTANDING RELATIONSHIPS: Icing OR Cake?
I should be really happy to be in charge of my life,
to live the way my heart calls me to. But I also feel emptiness now, in spite of the
seeming full, interesting and down right adventurous
life I lead. There is something missing, and this year
it has become painfully clear, not just for me but for
so many. I feel emptiness because I do not have a deep
and intimate personal relationship.
adventures are dulled when there is no one home to
share them with. When I was finished, Connie said,
"Sounds like you have all the icing without the cake."
Now Connie has led a blessed life with very little
chaos, at least from my perspective. She married her
one and only, and still to this day glows from the
love they share. They have raised 3 sons together who
are all exceptional adults and delivered Connie, and
husband Pete, with a house full of beautiful
grandchildren. The respect they have for each other is
amazing and the glow of real deep intimacy shows.
Connie knows what cake is, and she works hard to keep
cake in her life.
And what stops us from having it all! Why do so many
on the spiritual path endure traumatic relationships
or have no relationship at all?
This conversation -- cake icing theory -- led me into
a whole process of thought over the next few weeks. I
looked at where I was not fulfilled and where my
extended family felt unfulfilled. I knew of some who
had lived the solitary life for many years were now
coming to a place where they were beginning to feel a
deep loneliness, and I had to ask myself why.
at the world in general and looked at how we try to
fill those empty spots inside of us. And I had to ask
why the empty spots seem to be getting larger, rather
than smaller, with our spiritual growth. Maybe this
has something to do with the Star Elders statement
this past March about this being the year of the
I began to see a pattern in various groups. First
there are those who crave the depth in life, but seem
to have an abundance of sweet icing. They want the
home, the intimate family and loving partner, the
garden in the back, and a kitty in the window still.
It isn't that they do not appreciate the icing, they
do, it's just the icing has no home base, no roots in
which to rest after a great adventure or victory. The
icing doesn't fulfill the spirit and these ones know
there is more to life than they have been getting.
Then there are the ones who would rather grab the easy
fix and go for the icing. They feel if they get the
new car, the big house, the perfect job, or Barbie
Doll girl friend or Prince Charming, that they will be
happy. Let's face it -- the new car will get
scratched, the house will have to be cleaned over and
over, and the job will become a boring routine once
again... and Barbie doesn't have a brain, and Prince
Charming never gets off his white horse. It's all
icing, very sweet upon first taste -- but it will make
us sick if we eat too much of it.
We run from fear
of being hurt and from the hard work it takes to bake
the cake that is the very foundation for the icing we
Then there is the really sad group who forgets there
is cake at all. They are like squirrels on a treadmill
going around and around working night and day to keep
the icing up high. These ones have no idea what they
are missing. They have only tasted icing and the cake
has eluded them completely. My question is, if you
never tasted the cake how do you know what you are
missing.... Maybe you don't.
Don Miguel Ruiz in his book "Mastery of Love" says
that we need to fulfill ourselves first before we can
fulfill ourselves in a relationship. I believe we need
to know ourselves to be able to draw in the right
person, BUT still in nature nothing exists without an
intimate connection with something else. We are part
of nature. Do you see anything under the sun that does
not need something else to survive?
We are not
autonomous beings, as much as we would like to be. Are
we using spiritual new-age concepts and teachings to
avoid intimacy? Are we using them to protect ourselves
from getting hurt? Are we using this kind of teachings
to build a wall in which to protect our wounded hearts
and to avoid possible future pain, instead of risking
and opening ourselves to God's magical gifts of Love?
Now don't get me wrong here, I love Marianne
Williamson and Don Miguel and other teachers like
them. Without a doubt they are opening us to look at
ourselves in new and expanded ways. These teachings
are profound yet they also seem to create a lot of
confusion about relationship -- relationship to
ourselves and each other. We are torn between living
in the idealism of spirit and the reality of being
Christ said to go into the kingdom of heaven as a
little child. Children do not approach life with fear.
They don't worry that if they take their first steps
they will fall and hurt themselves.. . and when they do
fall, they feel it, get up, and go do it again and
again until they get it right. They live with wonder,
curiosity, and LOVE. Most of all their hearts are not
yet closed, their minds not programmed with limiting
concepts. They take life as it comes to them.
Do we? Have life's challenges closed us down? Have our
painful experiences made us jaded, cautious, and
cake! Cake needs icing. And we need each other, so
let's quit pretending that we don't. Let's quit
twisted profound spiritual concepts to hide behind.
Let's quit professing everything is wonderful, when it
isn't. It is time to get real. It is time to feel the
heart not just speak about it. It is not codependent
to desire a deep relationship with another human being
to feel fulfilled! It being human, it is being real,
it is natural.
I began to think in deeper terms about relationship
and how it relates our planet. If we can't get real
with each other, how can we assume we can get it right
with humanity and manifest harmony!
We crave relationships and
community that will support us on our worst days and
that will be there to celebrate our victories.
One day all that we have owned, created, and done here
on this plane will pass away. It is a fact. All that
we will take with us is the love we shared, the
connectedness we have experienced with one another,
and the lessons we learned. This is the real stuff --
the stuff that makes life rich. It is the soft and
crumbling cake we need -- to gobble up every crumb
while it is still warm from the oven like it was the
last crumb and to lick the plate like a child when we
are done. We need deep and intimate connection with
others, and with God. What we crave most is eternal.
The Star Elders say this is the year of the Heart.
They didn't say it would be easy. Opening the heart
and living with love takes work.
We are all working together -- to deny
this fact is to deny nature itself. I am beginning to
see that the days of the spiritual hermit, the lone
seeker are over. We have all done the hermit thing. We
have fasted on the mountaintops and we have gone to
the desert. We have isolated ourselves from each other
because of hurt and trauma. We have learned who we
Maybe the loneliness many are beginning to feel is a
universal push to bring us together once again. First
a partner, then community, country, and planet.
The Maya have a saying, "In Lak'ech - A La Kin". It
means, I am you and you are me. It reminds me we are
simply wanting to re-connect the other parts of
ourselves. It is time to recognize that we need each
other to create our dream and to feel fulfilled,
because we are a part of each other. In fact we have
never been separate. It has been the greatest
I don't have any more answers than when I began this
quest for understanding relationship. In fact I seem
to have more questions. I have shared many things I
have been feeling. Sometimes it scares me to do this,
but I try with all my heart to live open and be
I know things are changing and we are not
really sure how things are going to end up. All we
know is what we have been doing is not working anymore
and we are all looking for the answers, the new path.
But the one thing I am sure of it that the answers can
only come from our open hearts.