there is a new paradigm of partnership that is being birthed right now and there are many who are being called to step up and midwife it by bringing it into their conscious experience and living it by example. these are the way showers for others who feel called down the road to do this inner and outer Union work. and it truly is work- of the Soul/Spirit variety. for those who have been conditioned to believe that relationship is based on security, ownership and fusion- this kind of relationship will necessarily shatter the foundations upon which they have built much of their understanding of love and partnership.
yet there are many who have been feeling the pull to explore this, to understand this, and to experience this. this comes from an inner yearning and resonance that there is something else that is True that has not yet been fully embodied (or at least not by many). this intuition is coming from a deep place that is sacred- and for those who are ready to honor it, the call has been put forth.
what is this new paradigm of partnership? well it is based on two old paradigms, but it is the fusion of the conscious aspects of both, while bringing light to the unconscious aspects of both as well. the first paradigm is an ancient one- that of partnership as a means of security, solidity, and unwavering commitment. the conscious aspect of this paradigm is the desire to think of another in equal measure to the degree that one thinks of his or herself. the institution of marriage in western society (and actually eastern as well when you think of arranged marriages) is based on this premise. you take two people’s resources/energy/lives and you join them. two become one and the individuals then operate as an entity. this is a lesson in Unity and Union. there is a need to think about more then yourself. this type of partnership challenges those of us who are very self-focused and individuated to think of the Other. this kind of partnership in it’s highest expression involves service to another as well as service to the third entity that is created when two join to become one.
unfortunately the shadow side of this kind of relationship paradigm is massively rampant. many people get married and then sign away their individual lives. either that or they think that is what they are supposed to do and then get resentful along the way after they have done so. the shadow of this kind of partnership leads to codependency, possessiveness, power/control dynamics, and imbalanced partnership equations in which one person plays the savior/teacher/parent/provider and the other plays the victim/student/child/beneficiary. this does not have to play out in stereotypical ways of the man or masculine partner being the former and the woman or feminine partner playing the latter. it can be interchanged, but it is role-oriented. it is based on the notion that we each have roles to play in our relationships and that those roles are static. you are the breadwinner and i am the housekeeper/child-raiser. you are the active/dynamic one in the partnership and i am the passive/receptive one. this is based on yin and yang- where you are that which i am not, and you live for me that which i have yet to integrate or make conscious in my own lived experience. this is wonderful in one sense as it is the beginning of integration- being attracted to our opposite. but if we stop there and just stay in our prescribed roles we will get stuck. and stasis is the precursor to infection and eventually death- both scientifically (in the body for example) but also spiritually, emotionally, psychologically and relationally. when we are focused on security and stability we will violently react against change and even growth- as growth needs movement and change in order to unfold. so this paradigm of partnership that has been established for eons has at its core a Truth but is obscured by much and twisted in a way that is unhealthy and unsupportive of real Love.
the other paradigm of partnership which has been in large part a reactionary stance to the one mentioned above is based on freedom, independence, and individuality. think back to the 60’s and 70’s and the Love revolution that ensued. make love, not war. free love! love everyone! we are all one- the one i love is everywhere. this is the kind of Love rumi harkens to in his poems. in it’s core is the essence of Divine Love. the kind of Love that knows no boundaries and sees the Divine in everyone and everything. this Love is beautiful, open and free. it is the kind of Love that helps us dissolve attachments that are based on fears, wounding and a belief in lack. the first paradigm of partnership is all about attachment and ownership (in its most unhealthy expression). this second paradigm of partnership is the opposite. the highest expression of this Love gives us the ability to see the other as Other and to allow them their experience. we don’t want to control the other or dominate the other, we want the best for the other. we love them unconditionally from a place of Soul/Spirit, not from a place of lack or need.
of course this type of partnership also has a massive shadow. many people who gravitate towards this kind of connecting are actually coming from a very wounded place where commitment, stability and security scare them. for those of us who are afraid of form and prefer formlessness, this kind of partnership allows us to *think* we are engaging in evolved relationship- allowing others to be free (which is a covert means to ensure our own freedom)- but we are actually acting from a place of fear and pain. for some of us it seems better/safer to never get too deep into connection because that is where the vulnerability is, and that will bring up our own shadow. it is better to be light and free- connect with everyone, feel the Love! or alternatively, avoid relationship completely and just be solo, independent and self-possessed. either way the point is to never connect too deeply- to never get ‘attached’. attachment for people who are into this kind of partnership is a scary thing and so a judgment has been built around it- a belief that attachment is lower vibration/unevolved/unhealthy, or that relationship takes away their independence. this paradigm of partnership is very self-focused and at its worst it is incredibly selfish. it is about my needs, my desires- and my lack of interest in making space for another in my life. it is a covert way of escaping shadow work as well. it is in deep connection that the worst of us comes up and out, but also the best! ‘love brings up everything unlike itself.’ for those who are afraid of what they might see within- escaping connection and the attachment that comes with it is a means to keep the dragons at bay. a lot of people will even go so far as to sabotage connections so that they never get to a place where they can get deeper. it’s interesting what the human psyche will do when confronted with the ability to transform!
of course attachment to an extreme is unhealthy! but so is non-attachment. as long as we are in the body we have an earthly existence. let’s not try to become pure and angelic before our time. we will go back to that realm one day. for now we are in the body and we have desires, passions, needs and wants. these things are not things to eschew, they are things to consciously embrace and work with. the point is not to obliterate them. the point is to move beyond judgement of them. we contain both the sacred and the profane within us. finding the sacred that lies concealed in the profane and the profane that lies concealed in the sacred is what embracing our light and shadow is all about. ‘both light and shadow are the dance of love’ says rumi. to negate one or the other is to clip one of the wings of the bird off, and with only one wing the bird cannot fly.
so there you have the two old paradigms of partnership. and what is the the third? well the third takes both kinds of relationship and marries them to each other. this new paradigm of partnership asks that we take the courageous leap of commitment and service to the sacred Other, while also embracing independence, individuality and freedom in our connection. this is not about ownership but it is also not about formlessness. it is a creative kind of love that is in constant movement, constant flow. it is free in the sense that constraints are not put on it, but it is contained in the sense that there is commitment by both parties to do the sacred dance of Love in both the light and the dark aspects. this kind of partnership requires radical honestly, radical integrity, and radical respect of the Other. this kind of partnership is organic, it has no guarantees, and it requires risk. it is much like jumping into an abyss. you have no idea what you are getting yourself into, but you just know in your heart of hearts that there is something in that abyss for you. this kind of partnership doesn’t live in form and it doesn’t live in formlessness. it lives in liminal space- that in-between place between fusion and separateness, between self and other. ultimately what this kind of partnership does is confront you with yourself. it provides a container in which all your stuff gets brought up and set on the table and you have to just sit with it. you can’t grab at it (form) and you can’t run from it (formless). you have to look at it, assess it, become conscious of it, work with it. whatever comes up for you is your work. and moving beyond attachment AND non-attachment to a place of being able to just be with it is the goal.
this kind of partnership is so rare that i am considering it to be a new paradigm that is coming into existence. yes there are those who are living it, but they are few and far between. and even they may often find that society’s lack of understanding of this kind of partnership creates insufficient support for them as they do their deep work with each other, so often the best of these kinds of Unions can fall apart due to an absence of understanding in the collective. yet there are some who are doing this work and are shining examples of an organic, fluid partnership that embraces both form and formlessness, light and shadow, interdependence and independence. and there are those being called to pave the path of this new paradigm of partnership today. these are the way showers. and they show the way by making their way through the experience themselves. this is hard work, but it is also deeply fulfilling.
so where are you in this conversation? do you see yourself in either of the old paradigms? do you feel yourself called to embrace the third? i know many people who are going through separations right now. long-standing Unions are splitting up, oftentimes because those very partnerships were based on one of the two old paradigms and the stasis in the connection had gotten to a point where change and revitalization was no longer an option. if this has been the case with you do not judge yourself. every connection has its purpose, it has its beauty and its gifts. we have many soul connections throughout our lives that help move us forward on our path. each connection is profound and sacred. but not every connection is meant to last as long as we’d like it to. many people hold onto things that have passed their expiration date- and that is when toxicity sets in. that can take it down an even more destructive path, as both parties create even more karma to work through. but if that is your path- that is your path. no doubt you will learn something from it ;) but when you hold onto the past you are blocking your future. perhaps the connection you are being asked to release is the very thing that will open you up to the next soul connection on your journey?
there are also couples who are in the breakdown stage but the point of no return has not yet been passed. those couples, if it is in their highest good, can do the deep work asked of them and go through the alchemical fire of transformation- but it will require a radical restructuring of the partnership to date, that’s for sure! sometimes it is in the best interest of an individual to allow something to die so something new can be reborn, other times it is in the best interests of an individual to resuscitate an ailing connection that still has a little life left in it. what is the magic rule for knowing which is which? i don’t have the answer. but your heart certainly does! so listen to it ;) i would advise to not rely on logic either. logic is great when it is used to support the heart’s wisdom, but when it is steering the ship it tends to run it aground. the logical mind sees transformation as akin to death and so it will convince you to do that which is safe. this is important when it comes to making decisions that are truly life and death, but when it comes to symbolic death, at times it is in your best interest to choose to die. the heart will know if that is the case.
on my facebook profile today i posted a note about the triangular theory of love. this theory, based on psychologist robert sternberg’s research, is that love has three components: intimacy, passion and commitment. he says that different combinations of these three result in different kinds of love. intimacy and commitment equals compassionate love (akin to the first paradigm of partnership), while intimacy and passion equals passionate love (akin to the second paradigm of partnership). to me commitment with passion and no intimacy seems more like ludos- game playing love. this is likely the kind of love the celebrities who run to the altar engage in (aka ‘hollywood relationships’). but without intimacy it doesn’t last. sternberg says that relationships built on two or more elements are more enduring than those based on only one. but he says that there is a love that includes all three- intimacy, passion and commitment- and that is consummate love. he says that this is the strongest and most enduring kind of love, but it is also the most rare. the new paradigm of partnership i described above is all about consummate love. it may be rare, but it doesn’t have to be that way. a new paradigm of partnership is being born and the call has been put forth! are you ready?
a clue to start you on your journey: it all starts within.
for part two of this conversation click HERE >>