by Karin Chandler
My best friend called me last night and asked me if he has the capacity to love another person. He added, “I’m asking you because you are the closest person in my life and you know me.”
I found myself frustrated that he would ask me this right after he’d expressed finally feeling peaceful and relaxed in his life. Accepting of all the hard work he’d done to arrive in a place where he had no more ambition and wanted to relax and enjoy himself.
I reflected on my own frustration and recognised a trait he and I both shared. The feeling of not “earning love if you don’t try hard.” And the part of me that over functioned in all of my relationships for my entire life. That part was just tired out.
And all of the seductions that had pulled me in in the past no longer tempted me because I could see the price tag attached to each one. The younger, hot guy in yoga class looking for a woman to take care of him after he seduces her and makes her feel so sexy and alive.
The older man who has money and power and wants a woman to reflect well upon him and the “empire” he’s created.
The wounded man who needs some help getting on his feet, who just needs a woman to see his potential.
The man who thinks he’s an amazing dancer when he dances with me and somehow I think I’m being seen.
And the list goes on.
An embarrassing list. A long list of what feels like trial and error. And the longing for love in the midst of all of it. The over functioning, the built up resentments, the final explosion of an ending. The relief that it’s over and no longer exhausting my resources. And the intimate memories of a deep friendship in which we brought one another tea; lay in bed, naked, looking over one another’s bodies, lovingly, curious, like monkeys preening, little jokes and teases, walks in the woods, playing with the dog in the stream, getting groceries and deciding what we want for dinner, traveling to places that are strange and beautiful.
Talking and not talking. Working hard to create a life that feels comfortable. Fighting over money, over sex, over hurt feelings. Realizing the person I thought I knew, was unconscious in so many ways, and even had ill will. Saying things that are below the belt. Calling me names that can’t be forgotten. Using things I’d shared in my most vulnerable moments, against me.
And my confusion around why anyone would want to hurt or harm someone they say they love. My own rage and hurt in response. And the desire to meet somewhere in that field beyond what is right and what is wrong. The longing to find this meeting place with the beloved. To escape the eternal human triangle of victim, persecutor, and rescuer.
I stand outside the triangle. I see the pulls to enter back in and I remain sober, untempted, disciplined in my practice. And I stand alone, with my best friend feeling the same way. Grateful for his company in this world. His dedication to what we both have found to be true. And the sheer, piercing loneliness of exiting the drama circle, waiting, calmly, patiently and soberly for some kind of mature love to arrive.
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book).