Healing ourselves can often feel like a full-time job . Healing our closest loving relationships may seem like working overtime! It is odd but true that those people for whom we feel the most love, connectedness, and intimacy are also those same people who can push our buttons the fastest. Loving relation- ships can bring out the absolute best and worst in us. There are some who have chosen a lifelong path of celibacy and monasticism. Others, such as ourselves, have chosen the life of partnership, or as it is called in the East, the life of a householder. We have heard it said by some ascetics that a life of seclusion is the highest way to go and that it is those of us who are not ready for such full-time dedication to God that must still live in family life. We disagree. Monasticism has its plusses and minuses; so do relationships. Many people, including us, have the feeling that they've been ascetics many times in the past and that now is the time to learn to experience love fully and deeply with another person. To master the art of being mirror-like reflections of each other. To support each other in becoming all that we can be, individually and together.
The Being of Togetherness. Vern Wolf, the author of Holodynamics, whom we mentioned in our last article, defines "the being of togetherness" ( B.O.T.) as that entity, or energy field, which is created when two or more beings join together. The B.O.T. has its own unique purpose, mission, and lifespan. Some B.O.T.'s last for only a few days, weeks, or months. Others span many lifetimes. Each B.O.T. is unique and will blossom to its fullest if treated with love, patience, and compassion. Many of us become very confused about intimate relationships. We lose clarity about whether to hang in there or throw in the towel. It is essential to understand the mission of each and every relationship. How many of us stay in relationships for years without having a clear sense of why we're in them, what is our highest purpose together, and when we are ready to move on? By understanding the intention of the B.O.T., we can be freer to engage in the relationship fully and to leave if and when the purpose has been fulfilled.
Loving Relationships as a Spiritual Path. Two of our greatest teachers in the area of relation-ships are Barry and Joyce Vissell, authors of The Shared Heart, Models of Love, and Risk to be Healed. Like all couples, they have had their ups and downs, joys and pains, but have always nurtured a very deep spiritual connection and shared purpose. Now, after twenty five years of marriage, through their books, workshops, and counseling, they have been an inspiration to many of us by showing us that a partnership can be based on seeking the divinity of life together and that such a union can really last.
We first met Barry and Joyce in l985 when we were asked if we would host their workshop at our Center. We had just started the Center and were in a somewhat rocky phase of our own relationship. Over the course of two days, the forty of us in the room became deeply bonded, emotionally and spiritually. Some of those we met there are still our very close friends. On the first day of the workshop, we felt squashed together with barely enough room to breathe. By the second day , the group was so close-knit that we found ourselves seated closely together inhalf the room, feeling perfectly comfortable! Our own relationship was nourished and deepened in the course of those two days. Towards the end of the weekend, Barry and Joyce asked who would like to participate in a mock marriage. We found ourselves stepping forward, somewhat hesitantly. We were pretty iffy about making the commitment to get married up to that point. Somehow the experience of sharing vows in the presence of such loving and supportive friends, and in an atmosphere of seeing God in each other gave us the courage to go for it. . Our fate was sealed. At the end of the seminar that afternoon, we asked Barry and Joyce if they would marry us the next time they came to Seattle. They did five months later. We have grown together ever since and Barry and Joyce continue to be powerful teachers of love for us.