At the end of a tempestuous relationship, I asked myself, “What have I learned from this person?”
No one comes arbitrarily into our lives. We attract people because of who we are and the lessons we’re learning. They are our reciprocals, our mirrors.
My relationship with Rebound Guy was a case in point. I chose him because I thought he was everything my former husband of 27 years was not. Rebound Guy said I was “the perfect woman.” It was like a dream!
Then, I woke up.
Rebound Guy began wanting to change me. How I spent or didn’t spend money. The way I cooked. How I washed the dishes. The gifts I gave him. How much time I spent with my women friends (the coven of witches, who lured unwitting men to their doom). The way I hung clothes on the clothesline. My fluctuating and sometimes contradictory moods. How my hair smelled. My priorities as a mother. The way I walked uphill (I’m not even kidding).
So what happened? How did I go so quickly from being the perfect woman to being so wrong?
The more I connected with the feminine side of my being, the more uneasy and untrusting he became. He tried talking me out of being with my women friends. He began to blame, criticize, and diagnose me. I was illogical and unreasonable. I was unloving. I was crazy and didn’t think straight.
My sister likes to tell the story of when he called her to express his concern about my advancing senility.
“Really?” she said. “I just talked to her last week and I didn’t notice anything.”
One day, he worked up the courage to tell me I might have early Azheimer’s disease. And he was crying.
Dumbfounded by the tears in his eyes, I said, “But my friends haven’t mentioned anything to me.”
“That’s because they don’t know any better.” He insisted that I make an appointment with a neurologist, and convinced me to take several online tests for early dementia, which–fortunately–I passed easily. I cancelled the appointment with the neurologist.
What I came to realize was that I was the same woman I was with my ex-husband. My “dementedness” was related to how little I accepted and trusted my feminine wisdom. Even though there were red flags galore with Rebound Guy, part of me ignored or discounted them.
That part of me understood why Rebound Guy thought I was crazy or untrustworthy. From a masculine playbook, I was. There were no logical reasons for my preferences, and they would often change without notice.
That part of me sympathized with the plight of the masculine, and understood the need for a rule book, a policy, a solution, consistency. But the feminine is not about consistency or logic or anything that has any permanence. It’s the flow of life, ever-changing and always moving. I wasn’t logical, but I wasn’t a liar, either. I was either feeling and responding to whatever was happening in the moment, or I wasn’t.
When I wasn’t feeling and responding to what was happening, I wasn’t listening to me–the wisdom of my feminine body. I tried to talk myself out of what I was feeling because it might hurt or disappoint my partner, and this almost always led me astray. Instead, I ended up hurting and disappointing me.
I stopped trusting him and I pulled my energy back. If I’m being authentic, I’d admit that I often had one foot out the door. And the real person I didn’t trust was me.
“A man will treat a woman almost exactly the way he treats his own interior feminine. In fact, he hasn’t the ability to see a woman, objectively speaking, until he has made some kind of peace with his interior woman.”
We often demonize women when we haven’t come to terms with the mysterious shadow side of the feminine. This powerful life force is represented by the Hindu goddess, Kali. She is often depicted standing naked, bloodstained, and disheveled over the body of her lover, Shiva, after having decapitated him. Kali is the dark, often terrifying feminine in all of us. Passionate and intoxicated with life, she is intent on chopping off the head of our masculine nature, so that instead of thinking our way through life, we actually feel the life force in our bodies, and allow it to move.
Life is without logic or reason. Life just is. Yet life, while chaotic at times, is not always this. Alongside the chaos, there is a natural sense of order pulsing within us. If this equilibrium doesn’t exist, we will create polarity to bring it about. Just as a man cannot fully be in his masculine unless he trusts and even lays down before his feminine, a woman cannot fully be in her feminine unless she surrenders to her femininity.
So, when I looked deeply into my mirror, I saw myself and my lesson: trusting my feminine, opening to it fully, with love, and inspiring the right man to do the same.