Fires, Floods, and Relationships
By Scott Kalechstein
I'm going to start with the truth: I do not want to write this article, and I am squeezing these words out of the birth canal with the motivational forceps of an Awareness deadline. I'd much rather deeply feel (and sometimes wallow in) my emotions, take long walks on the beach, stay in bed each morning with a good (not so personal growth) book, eat, watch videos and sleep. That's all I've wanted to do for a while. It's January as I write this. I have brought my body to the computer, my inner child dragging behind in protest. Maybe I will find some comfort in sharing with you.
The closing four months of last year were the busiest of my career, with almost non-stop travel to different parts of the USA, and to Germany as well. For the brief periods of time I was home, I worked in the recording studio birthing my latest recording of humorous personal growth-related music (as reviewed in this issue, see page 7). Then in early December I arrived home for a good stretch of unbroken time, and looked forward to a month of rest and replenishment. Just as I started sinking into the free time that I was craving, the universe decided to cook up a little fire in my cottage. Well, OK, I'll take some responsibility. I was the one, not God, who placed a candle on my heater and left without remembering to take it off.
When I returned four hours later it was all over. The flames had been put out by an indoor sprinkler system before there was significant fire damage. The water, however, created extensive damage, and the rest of my cherished retreat month was spent with repair people all over my home, drywalling, painting, putting in new floors. I got some relief from the space invaders by going out on shopping sprees (in the height of the Christmas-crazed rush) for new electronics, groovy area rugs and colorful house plants. The end result of this disaster/adventure is that my living space is simplified, more organized and more colorful. It actually feels and looks warmer and richer than before. My cottage has been born again!
Just as I put the finishing touches on my fire-and-flood-purified cottage, I had a visitor from Venus - a woman with whom I had been exploring the first steps in the dance of relationship. We spent five days together in consistent joy, with great communication, ease and flow in our relating. An organic blend of honesty and playfulness flourished between us, which is what I aspire to in all my relations. I hadn't put my feet into relationship's waters in three years, and this was a delicious swim. Upon our good-bye's she went to Boston, where she is finishing up her schooling to become a Network Chiropractor. We will not see each other again for a month, which leaves me time to process the layers of grief and joy, loneliness and hope, the fears of intimacy and loss her presence has stirred up. It's a funny thing how an increase in light illuminates a new layer of darkness to be healed. It's been a week since she left, and each day I've walked on the beach, tears flowing, feeling her absence more than her presence. Oh, fudge! I was feeling so whole and complete without a partner!
In adjusting to the arrival of this woman in my life, my psyche seems to be going through a process similar to the five stages of death and dying, as first brought to the world's attention by Elizabeth Kübler Ross.
Stage One: Denial-
"This connection isn't really happening. It's not love, and it will only end in pain."
Stage Two: Anger-
"WHY GOD?? Why did you have to send me someone who is enough of a potential match that I can't find anything seriously wrong with her, not even under my high-powered critical microscope. This isn't safe. This isn't predictable. I want my walls back! At least in my isolation I had some control...."
Stage Three: Bargaining-
"OK, universe, I'll open my heart to her if you guarantee me that within a year she will set up her practice in the San Diego area.
Stage Four: Depression-
"My God, there are no guarantees, anything can happen, and even if she turns out to be the woman of my dreams, I still have fears to face, old pains to heal, and emotional maturing to do. There is no escape from growing up. It's too hard! Why go on? It all leads to darkness, disappointment, and despair. I just want to crawl into bed until Y2K comes."
Stage Five: Acceptance-
"OK, so she showed up. We're getting to know each other, and it's sweet and joyous. Yes, there are sad and scary feelings to deal with, but there is also a feeling of celebration. As for the difficult parts, I now know from experience that I never get a challenge/blessing that I'm not capable of handling, so I'll trust the process and take it one present moment, one conversation, one sacred step at a time."
Does it surprise you that opening to the possibility of relationship is bringing up emotions similar to the stages of death and dying? Perhaps it is equally accurate to call them the five stages of life and living. Every gain involves a loss, and visa versa. Birth and death are inseparably linked, like two sides of one coin. And whether in a human heart or in a cottage, life will move us in strange, mysterious ways, using fire and rain (and love) to get us out of our comfort zones and into the expansive, wild and unpredictable territory of the soul. The flames of opening the heart has led me to the cleansing waters of emotion, washing out old layers of abandonment and other fears, which eventually (I trust) will lead me to a new and re-furnished sense of self.
I am writing this in my cycle of winter, but you are reading it in your spring. By the time you see this I'll probably be springing out of bed early each morning, enjoying my computer more, and donating much less of my income to Blockbuster Video. Seasons are like that. In winter much of life is drawn inward to rest. In spring comes renewal and blossoming. First death. Then rebirth. Fires and floods come along when nature needs to balance and restore. And somewhere in the scheme of things, embracing both joy and pain with arms wide enough to contain the paradox, is the mystery of Love. May I trust enough to delight in mystery, to give thanks for both fire and water, and to accept the contractions of birth as much as the new life that follows.
Scott Kalechstein is an inspirational speaker, singer, humorist, healer, minister and leader of workshops, both in the United States and Europe. He can be found speaking and singing at churches, conferences, living rooms, and wherever people are open to learning through levity and love. A prolific recording artist, his music is known and loved worldwide. Scott will be appearing in concert in Encinitas at the Seaside Church Of Religious Science on Friday evening, May 21st. For more info, or to find out about ordering Scott's music, call (760) 753-2359 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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