Dating and Relationships Are Not Four-Letter Words

The alchemy and spirituality of love and relationships as part of the Hero’s Journey

My closest friends laughed with incredulity and disbelief when I first told them I was approached by a woman I know, who runs a number of social communities, to help her single and looking tribe learn how to date smarter and become more satisfied with their lives, by developing coaching programs specifically for them.

“How could that work?” they wondered – these being the same friends who had, a few years ago, secretly plotted to audition me for a dating reality show, believing that my approach to dating would make for some good stories and high ratings. (Yes, that’s how off the rails my dating experiences were at the time – I was the poster child of dating and relationship disasters so their astonishment was not unwarranted.)

But I’m a spiritual counselor and a coach, so as I meditated on this request, I realized that this was a much bigger invitation – I knew that I was not being asked to address superficial strategies, like giving advice on how to approach a potential partner at a bar (for example), as it is about helping people on their journey to harmony, support and mutuality, reciprocity, compromise and partnership both within and without. (Remember the Law of Correspondence? I’ll keep referring back to it until the end of time.)

From my experiences, as I moved through all of my own pain to reach The Promised Land of insight and understanding, I know that the Journey to Relationship represents sensual, emotional and spiritual growth – through relationship, we seek our own completion.

It is the journey of becoming whole…in mystical terms, it’s an alchemical transformation… in mythical terms, it’s the Hero’s Journey.

Mars and Venus in Love

Mars and Venus in Love

Whole not simply because we are in a relationship and certainly not because one person has the ability to complete another, but because our relationships (including those with our friends, family, acquaintances, co-workers, employers) reflect our values since every single one of our choices mirror back to us the kind of person we are.

Relationship with another person forces the development of values and self-knowledge, particularly if we experience conflict that arises from our choices. When we remain unconscious or unaware to this deeper purpose, we do not grow; we do not attain harmony, because we cannot see that all choices have consequences for which we are responsible. I mention this in my webinars on Becoming the Chooser or Creator of our lives:  Without understanding how we create our own futures, we instead blame the results on fate, chance, someone else.

Relationships and Our Inner Game
Our relationships point to our inner game — being in a relationship is also about our connection with ourselves. When we are in harmonious relationship to ourselves, we are more likely to trust, to feel independent and serene. When we have a dysfunctional relationship with ourselves, our relationships tend to reflect that dysfunction.

I’ve discovered, through my own torturous journey to relationship, that the key to having a harmonious relationship with ourselves is learning to integrate male and female principles, which are more than sexual identification (and not gender specific). They are the opposites within us.

My entire life struggle has been about allowing these sides of myself to have equal air time. Which is harder that one might think, given our culture’s preference for more masculine traits, such as action and logic. (My blog post At the Crossroads of DOING and BEING touches lightly upon this core struggle because DOING is a masculine principle while BEING is a more feminine principle.) Indeed, I had allowed my inner warrior to do all the talking, which didn’t allow any room for inner exploration of the feelings and beliefs that kept me locked in a cycle of failure.

At the deepest level, we all yearn to experience and integrate feminine aspects with masculine – to balance care and nurturing with ethics, morals and rules, intuition with physical expression, feelings with the logical mind, community with solitude, harmony with conflict, gestation and receptivity with action, body with spirit.

This is not to say that all men are only concerned with action, logic and all women are only concerned with intuition, receptivity and gestation – all of these principles are opposites within each of us and within the world.

Often, however, we deny these opposites in ourselves and in life, because we’re uncomfortable with them, and so we repress and cast these sides of ourselves away. Or we project the uncomfortable half on to another person or something in the outside world and expend our energy battling with something that is really within ourselves.

I find it worth mentioning that every time I talk to many men about relationships and feelings and integration, they recoil, thinking that it’s not manly. But yet by repressing this very human tendency, they are actually reinforcing their own isolation and separation. No man is an island, entire of its self.

Ours is really the journey of discovery through the opposites of our being — we become whole – or catch a glimpse of this unity — when our warring parts have at last come together and some inner resolution has brought peace.

Being in relationship with another is the opportunity to experience, test and further along this integration.

The myth of Eros and Psyche tell us a lot about the deeper meaning of relationships.

The myth of Eros and Psyche tell us a lot about the deeper meaning of relationships.

Relationship as a Historical and Spiritual Symbol
On a broader, cultural level (and even on religious or spiritual level since culture emanates from religion), relationships symbolize the journey of the Divine Feminine to conjoin and be in equal association with the Divine Masculine.

Over the course of the world’s history, the Divine Feminine in religion (represented by the presence of Goddess worship) began to be usurped by the Divine Masculine, culminating in the near total exclusion of the feminine in the collective unconscious. Many problems have arisen as a result of a worldview solely considered in masculine terms – our society mostly honors masculine traits (proactive, aggressive and initiating; action and movement) – at the same time largely ignoring the more feminine aspects of ourselves (nurturance, receptivity, love, compassion, empathy). While our more masculine worldview has been responsible for tremendous initiative, it hasn’t so far inspired a greater sense of responsibility and nurturing for our planet.

Without the Divine Feminine incorporated into our lives, by neglecting it within our selves, our current worldview is out of balance; our realities reflect that imbalance. The results are all around us … from polluted skies to dying oceans.

The suppression of the female (literally and in attributes) has also lead to back lash in the explosion of the Girl Power or Feminist movement, which often downgraded the masculine as the enemy. This Polarization has further alienated us from the other – when there is blaming, there can be no healthy dialog.

And yet when both male and female principles are allowed to share the stage, we give space for women to express their power and their inner divine feminine while also allowing men to step into their own, to be the very best of what they can be, retaining the ways that men can still be men, but in an environment that completely accepts and supports the feminine presence in our midst, being accepted and supported in turn.

On a deeper level, our work together seeks to integrate and harmonize the inner masculine and feminine so that we can reach a higher and holistic awareness and manifestation. By developing healthy, integrated aspects of the divine masculine and feminine both literally in the world and within ourselves, real progress can be made in gender reconciliation and establishing an egalitarian society.

My Vision & Role as a Coach
I view the Journey to Relationship as an invitation toward change and the opening of life’s horizons. When we’re called into something greater, we can either leap off the cliff into painful, damaging situations – or with support that coaching provides, we can step into wonderfully creative beginnings. If we never respond to this invitation, then we sink into drab, meaningless, banal lives and wonder, at the end, what we have missed and why the world seems empty.

You stand at the beginning of your journey.

It’s my job to help you determine what direction to take, what choices to make, which often means making choices that require some risk. Together we’ll work to help you develop inner resources so that you’re not doomed to travel on the same worn track as everybody else.

By taking the first step, the journey becomes possible. If you’re ready to deepen your experiences, let’s talk! Email me by clicking here.

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