Learning experiences come in the oddest formats and many times as surprises. It would appear my destiny for personal growth exists in the context of that dreaded word, "relationships." What is love between a man and woman and why are our paths intertwined with specific counterparts? One of Webster's definitions that seems appropriate states the sentiment as "to actively desire and cherish." An Internet acquaintance of mine, Rebecca Brents of Enchanted Spirit Ezines, expresses the concept in a way that hits home to me: "love is more than a feeling...it is a promise."

In my quests for answers - and these always deal with who I am and that being I am choosing to become - I have met the most charming, giving, and absolutely delightful participants in this development called humanity. Marc Gafni, the author of Soul Prints, talks about receiving soul prints from another. In his view, biblical consciousness deals with the move from loneliness to loving and that Kabalistic mystical knowledge regards "receiving" as the "highest fulfillment of biblical vision." We want to share ourselves with others and to have them reciprocate. Doing so with like hearts and souls is the ultimate fulfillment.

Joining my life frame as one of the most entertaining "studies" in my particular quest is a man of strength, a heavy New York accent, a delight with people and most especially a connoisseur's palate for women, and one who has awakened a well spring of interested attention within me. He reminds me on an elemental level of the woman of courage that I want to be. I have met no one - male or female - with whom I can so easily be totally me, without judgement or evaluation. The only other men in my life with whom I could express myself in such open fashion - those who understood and appreciated my sense of humor and perspective on life - were my dad who passed away in 1973 and my brother with whom I am out of contact. This genuinely remarkable man exudes warmth, determination, charm, and an animal magnetism. His success comes from a high sex drive transmuted into all manner of planning and action, shown by his entrepreneurial endeavors. The spark of danger I feel rippling from the man exhibits the extreme elements of virility and sexual vibrancy. It is obvious that he knows who he is - as a lone actor; being part of an intimate team may pose another affectation.

Paradoxically, this gentleman in gruff individualistic guise wishes no commitment or hint of future connection that might detract from his sense of self and the boundaries he creates to portray this persona. His delightfully accented voice serves as a marker in place and time. This fellow can say things - that coming from anyone else might raise more than an aggressive hackle - although truthful, the edges are always brushed with the merest hint of compassion, splashed with a coat of hinted sexuality. With all this apparent courage, underneath flows a river of questions about his own reality and consequences of opening to another. As these questions present themselves and as the accoutrements to courtship manifest, I find myself wondering about the "truth" of the persona offered. It makes me directly face my concerns about my abilities to evaluate the "realities" and motives of others.

We women tend to give the benefit of the doubt frequently. Such a fine line works between the desire to "see" another underneath all the decorative facades and refusing to acknowledge unpleasant familiarity with our own bases of practical knowledge. My generation finds occasionally strange behavior from a minority of men within the Vietnam era - more along the lines of manufactured bravado. If quantum mechanics offers answers, it might be in the arena of differing dimensions of ourselves and the doorways of experience which permit us access to strengths and traits from these presences - for shared evolution. Dean Koontz writes a work of fiction using these same thoughts, From the Corner of His Eye. His characters eagerly embrace love and connectedness and one might conclude that this in itself offers a key to living fully and richly. The act of stepping onto unknown territory doesn't necessarily make life easier. It does, however, expand awareness - of ourselves, others, choices, repercussions, and pathways available in this lifetime. Ultimately we must trust our own "feelings" and handle any consequences.

Herein lies my dilemma. As a "relationship" person, how may I experience this crossing of paths if I cannot allow myself the exuberance of "possibilities?" My battle cry as of late echoes my heart's plea, "just let me give of myself" without barriers that are supposed to protect me from ultimate pain. By continually creating stops along my path, not only am I pulled short of the creation of love, but I am drained of energy and enthusiastic life force - the failure to have my own essence perceived and valued.

This is the crux of love between soulmates. There exists more than the complexity of love and lust, there is a gusto for the adventure of life. A promise must blossom to weather the storms, grow to honor another, and have that special someone to whom your thoughts automatically fly in moments of joy and sorrow. This is the one being to whom we can turn to tell our story: the being who can accept us in all our human frailty and take on our happiness when appropriate. The loved one I describe is the one with whom we feel we are truly "seen." This counterpart to ourselves makes us feel like we are "home" because with this being we can be us - the one we acknowledge to ourselves and the one we feel comfortable portraying to the world. A truly meaningful relationship opens itself to sharing inner journeys and being unafraid to risk exploration - to show "feet of clay."

A channeled entity, Alana from Sandy Brekenridge, proposes that we have opportunities not only to connect with "a soul-mate," but that many who could be called soulmates exist for each of us. In addition, we have the ability to build new connections which will elevate love and friendship to the plane of soul-mate. In my particular situation, I feel the gentleman is indeed one of this unique group, but he - although perhaps recognizing me as a special presence in his life - feels no compunction to grasp the reins of this path and willingly lets this moment's intensity slip away.

In true melodramatic form, a scene unfolds in my mind's eye. Veils of reality reflect my unobtrusive and seemingly passive nature in the mirror of this plane of existence. Underneath, however, a warrior rides the currents of the "here and now." Unlike the presence seen by so many outsiders, I radiate confidence, strength, self-determinism, and a ferocious courage. Embodying the personality traits of the Dragon in Chinese

Astrology, I want to share these hidden parts of me with a special love. I desire to shed this world's beliefs, which create layers of restraint and conflicting ideas. My ideal would be to find the counterpart with whom I might release my clouded memory as to my true identity and allow my spirit to shine with the individuality it craves.

Life offers a montage of experience. The New Yorker and I saw something in our time together, but only I have been willing to seek exploration of this new territory. He chose to move into another relationship where the woman could provide more along the lines of traditional physical radiance and more flamboyance. Traveling to the coast to further the contact, he returned after six months to see if the two of us might rekindle our impact and move forward. The pain keenly felt with the first loss did not involve trust as the old clichés indicate, but the loss of some dearly cherished essence. Taking my courage in my hands once again, I agreed to this newly charted trek between the two of us. A fairytale ending would have us live happily ever after. At this moment, I suspect the idea of limiting his operating area with the confinement of commitment has produced serious doubts, hesitation, and even fear. I would surmise the questions for the man run deeper than merely stagnation of a one-on-one arrangement - they most probably touch on boundaries of self and the ability to express as an individual within the vessel of "togetherness."

It takes remarkable humility to accept the idea that each of us must be free to follow our own destiny; especially when the threads of life touch others. Communication, humor, and accountability rein as guidelines in this pursuit. Somehow, we must access the memories of connectedness to know and feel that we are not alone. The passionate heat experienced when we recognize a soul-mate must be transferred to our own senses of being. The other party to this dramatic play may never decide to join the festivities. The ideas of the movie, "The Never Ending Story" come to mind where the Nothingness takes over a reality. Imagination and a desire to be "more than ever before" restored that realm as grandly as within the parameters of love. Energy, drama, action, and self-expression can be used to create the union - its own essence - from a love. The flow as of inspiration feels like the first scenes from a science fiction film where lightening cracks and the sky breaks. Static awareness awakes in sentience. A writhing thread of brilliant light rips through the old existence and momentarily frames an instant of determination to create a gateway between choices. And so, it is truly we who must acknowledge our own worth and find ways to take part of love on a grander level even than the heightened displays of emotional energy found within a fascinating union of two people. There exist so many realms to explore and perceive. Meaning splashes enchantment everywhere - we need only to open ourselves to experience.

Passion raises one from the point of ineffectual essence to a new presence of heightened direction. There is a hunger to savor actions which make us spring to life. Perhaps personal revelations occur only when we undergo the trial of "separation." It may well be we need to feel what we miss to decide what we wish to gain. It is a bit like standing in awe of a lightening storm, waiting on the sideline, and seeing the landscape differently.

However, the quest for finding that remarkable love with which one can explore the depth of passion and energy for productive, meaningful life must be greeted with agreement and a willingness to join forces and destinies. So, until that moment…and even with the horizon holding such a promise, we must always look to ourselves first for finding "wholeness." As Emmet Fox states in his book, Power through Constructive Thinking, fear is the absence of faith. It takes courage to risk and reach toward intimacy. Time and awareness also become factors. Kahlil Gibran describes the essence of sought love:

"Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself....
But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh,
But not all of your laughter,
And weep,
But not all of your tears."


© Melt Magazine 2002