Today would have been my dad’s 79th birthday. He’s been gone 5 years now and I miss him more each year and continue to learn so much from his presence in my life. A quintessential Libra, my dad was a relationship guy. He had a unique ability to forge and maintain deep, productive bonds with many, many people. He was aesthetic, charismatic, and warm, always interested in seeing who was in front of him, always willing to dig into a connection. He lived a good life and was at the center of many of my life’s most precious memories. As a leader, while he was always at the forefront of activity, he shared the spotlight, surrounded by a close team of collaborators, including his own family, creating these experiences together. He had just enough of an ego to drive him forward but I could always tell that his relationships came first. He never walked away from a conflict unresolved. He always stayed and saw it through. While he himself was a hero, he lived like he was one of many heroes, always knowing he couldn’t, and didn’t want to do it alone.
As we go through the eye of the needle of transformation, I can’t help but consider the example he set for collaborative partnerships and strong teams. We’re in an age where many of our leaders are trying to divide us to keep us from evolving. The media who has our attention, is fueled by celebrity. Our corporate cultures reward individual achievement and personalities over shared value and collective growth. There is a loss of center and connection that can only be recovered through softening our edges and leaning into relationship with each other.
One of the best pieces of advice I received from a boss was “Don’t always try to be the hero.” For someone who gets validation from helping, that was hard to hear. What if I let others be the hero, made space for a 12-pack of heroes, looked for the hero in others?
I’ve been re-reading Gary Zukav’s, “Spiritual Partnership: The Journey to Authentic Power.” In this great guide to relationships for our current age, he outlines a blueprint for sacred partnerships that are used to create authentic power in individuals and together. These relationships are a fundamental part of our new evolutionary process…and they’re not just for lovers. They are for everyone. Gary says, ‘Individuals in pursuit of authentic power are as courageous as the mightiest warriors, but their goals are different. Their purpose is to recognize the armor they wear (such as irritability, righteousness, superiority, and inferiority) and remove it; to find weapons they hold (such as anger, jealousy, and vengefulness) and put them down. This is the spiritual path.” It makes sense to me that if we helped each other evolve in this way we could fix a lot of stuff, together.
Victoria Erickson wrote in “Edge of Wonder,”
“Some people open up new worlds within us.
Don’t always assume there will be many more to come,
As a great understanding
Between two beings is often rare.
Be sure to nurture
And fiercely appreciate these beautiful friendships
You already know who they are.”
This all sounds great…but ouch, my edges. I had to start somewhere so I outlined a little blueprint for myself, tailored to my personal challenges. First of all, it’s all about seeing, really seeing, myself, then the other, looking for the best that my limited understanding can find, then back again. People’s reactions to us are as much an indication of what we feel inside as our reactions to them. And when you stop to really break down what’s happening, there may actually be an underlying thread of sameness. Matching shadows looking for acknowledgement, comfort, and freedom to be and to heal.
While feedback goes both ways, the best feedback is conscious feedback. What my awareness chooses to see in the moment is what grows in my sacred partnership. Am I looking for something that might make me feel more worthy of this person who I will always hold in higher esteem than myself. Am I desperate for validation or am I looking for a shared opportunity to uplift, magnify the hero and share the spotlight. In her book “A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course In Miracles,” Marianne Williamson says, “…available people are the ones who are dangerous, because they confront us with the possibility of real intimacy. But often, like Emus, we bounce away from intimate moments, afraid of the feeling of connection, afraid to be seen, afraid not to be seen, and even more afraid to see.
Release the need to hold a relationship. The most critical sacred partnership we encounter may be brief. A moment in time designed by our souls to heal something together. The momentary connections that light a spark of transformation we will never know about in this lifetime. That’s a tough edge between desire and loss, dependence and freedom, the quest for validation and the acceptance of obscurity. Do we have the courage for that?
My latest and most profound intention is to treat each human I encounter as a sacred partner whose presence in my life matters to the universal plan and mine to theirs. I intend to trust that our shared higher good means more than momentary satisfaction.