The bitter sting of autumn mist graced the beaches of Northern California. Against my feet the course gray sand was wetted by the unpredictable rhythm of crashing waves. The icy cold seawater engulfed my ankles, leaving a film of white foam on my skin. Thirty meters away, a seal bobbed beyond the wave break, staring intently as if to close the gap between ocean and land. For a moment, I forgot my life and what I knew about myself. I was just a being in a foreign landscape with nowhere to be but there.
I spent the weekend at a small farm in Napa Valley. I was awoken by the sound of roosters crowing at the dawn, just like they used to in my childhood. We slept in the top of a barn that had been converted into an apartment with the smell of hay lingering on the wood siding. We drove through vineyards. We drove to the coastline to sit in the sunshine and breathe in the smell of the ocean. And while I was there, I spent time watching families on the beach.
Children are not born knowing how a relationship or marriage SHOULD go. They naturally embrace situations or reject them according to the reaction of their parents. We are the ones that set them up to think that divorce means they are losing something or that marriage should last forever or that there is something wrong about being with someone new. We create the duress they experience in such situations. We think their negative reaction to the situation has to do with them, when it has to do with us and the picture we are painting for them (in other words the meaning we are teaching them to assign to the experience). This is not the way it has to go.
I lead a very non-traditional life. I lead it by choice. Part of this non-traditional life is that I still live with an ex fiancé (Blake) and have a vey close friendship with my ex husband (Mark) and the two of them are now so close, after 8 years of living together, that they see each other as brothers.
The ego does not have to rule relationships. It takes a high degree of consciousness and willingness to face painful emotions but I believe humanity is ready to evolve beyond the limits of the ego and what the ego says is normal. It may be normal to hate your ex spouse and normal to separate for good and not be friends. But ‘normal’ is no measure of healthy.
My ex husband, Mark was the child of a nasty divorce where his parents put all the kids in the middle and vented about one another to him and his 4 sisters. When Mark and I divorced, we both agreed that the most important thing was for our son, Winter to not feel like he was loosing anything. And neither of us wanted to trade our son back and forth. Because of this and the fact that we genuinely like each other, Mark decided to stay on as part of the community. We both faced our shadows together instead of apart. Believe it or not, we actually supported each other through the divorce. And now we get along even better than when we were married. Mark and I play beach volleyball together and consider each other family and our son has not felt the impact of the divorce. We wanted to teach him that love does not have to turn to hate. Now, we are both full of gratitude that we chose each other to have a child with because we can rely 100 percent on the fact that we will be aligned when it comes to our son. Mark is now in love with one of my close friends. We have shown our son that love can naturally evolve and even if you’re not romantically involved anymore, you don’t have to get rid of someone; they can simply play a different role in your life. If you try everything to make it work as partners and it doesn’t work long term, there is no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Love is about inclusion. Inclusion is the key to making relationships between people work. If people are willing and inclusion is the creed, it is possible to embrace new partners and new lifestyle arrangements.
If I could go back in time to when I was young to give myself advice, I’d tell myself that life is messy and that the cleaner you try to make it, the messier it gets. It seems like the older you get, the more baggage comes with relationships. So many people understandably long for the fantasy they’re sold in fairy tales where the prince meets the princess and lives happily ever after. Snow white never had to worry about the prince’s ex wife and children accepting or rejecting her. She certainly wasn’t bringing her own son from a previous marriage and 4 other intentional community members to the castle when she moved in. That being said, if we weren’t trying to make it all perfect according to the way we think it ‘should be’ in our heads, life wouldn’t feel so impossibly complex. We wouldn’t feel like we’ve made all kinds of mistakes so the shame would not follow us like a shadow everywhere we go.
I am feeling particularly called to teach people how to consciously allow relationships to evolve. I want to end the old paradigm of how we deal with relationships. I want to help people to release their attachments to the idea of how relationships should be. I want to expand people’s consciousness so that they may have access to the possibility of inclusion.
My life has been blessed by the fact that many of my romantic relationships have evolved into deep, lifelong friendships. My life has been blessed by the fact that I have embraced many of my partner’s ex partners. My life has been blessed by the fact that I understand that love is about inclusion and that inclusion dispels jealousy. I want to give that blessing to other people. Divorce does not have to mean two people are separated from one another. Once you love someone, you include them as yourself. To separate from them is to try to separate from part of yourself. This is why it hurts so bad. It’s as if you’re cutting part of yourself off. And you feel the severing of the separation in your heart. This is not necessary. Given enough desire and conscious intention on both sides, it does not need to happen. I want people to experience what this new form of relationships is like. I want to help people to have conscious relationships. I can feel that in the future, a whole section of my teachings will be about this specifically. If I did not experience the pitfalls and pain of relationships firsthand and if I did not experience the ‘problems’ firsthand, I’d never have recognized this aspect of my purpose here on earth. This is a genuine need within society. A need I plan to meet. We need to learn how to have conscious relationships. But to do this, we have to let go of our pre-conception of how relationships should be.