In a session today, we were talking about all that we try and get from the people in our lives…partners, kids, friends, family…and how often we are disappointed or don’t really get what we need or what we are looking for. The problem, it seems, is that they are also looking for something, and trying to get it from us, and they probably feel disappointed as well.
The conversation was about her partner and how cold he is, aloof and detached, a lot like her father. She lamented why she kept finding emotionally unavailable men and why was that her curse. We talked about this idea that there were all these emotionally available men over “there” and she just couldn’t get there and was stuck in the mud here with the cold fish.
Knowing her quite well, I pushed her a bit. Is it possible there is another way to look at this? Had her soul wanted her to work something out? Had this pattern, initiated with her father, about being unlovable, needed to get resolved? “Well, why would I pick men that can’t love me thus proving to myself I’m unlovable?” she asked. “How does that resolve anything?” “Well”, I said, “it’s a faulty premise and you consciously know that, you know you deserve love and you want to be loved. So why then would you put yourself in this conundrum” – “I wasn’t loved by my father and now I pick someone like my father so that I can heal that wound, but he is just like my father and can’t really love me, thus I remain trapped”.
Why would the soul create such a circumstance? Well, we are all trying to give and receive love and we all do it quite imperfectly. We run around with empty cups asking others to share and they are seeking our water as their cups are empty too. How, then, can we fill our cups?
The First Commandment is to Love God Above All Else. You can see how God is considered jealous. None before me. That’s a turn off, right? I thought so as a child but later I revisited the commandment and asked myself “what is love anyway”. I think we can all agree that love is a verb and includes caring, time and attention. So how would we come to care, give time and attention to God? it is my experience and cultivated from many of the wisdom traditions that we come to know God in silence and in nature. I have meditated since I was 17. It is time in silence and it is very good for ME. What about time in nature? I have yet to hear someone complain that they need to spend more time indoors. Maybe after a weeklong roughing it camping trip perhaps. 🙂 But mostly we long for the outdoors. We learn so much about time, cycles, enduring, beauty, peace, just to name a few experiences. If silence and nature are the ways to “love” God then God is pretty awesome! Those experiences fill our cups. We all need some time, maybe 15 minutes a day, to withdraw into the inner sanctum, refresh ourselves. JC reminded us that we are “in the world but not of the world”. Very true.
Now once your cup is filled, go deal with the second commandment, loving others. Now you have some water in your cup to share. People will be more likeable when they’re hydrated! 🙂 People, in general, are like you and me, petty, grouchy, touchy, edgy and I’m just talking about the one’s you are closest to!
So how does this apply to my client? If she can fill her cup and realize that’s the only real place to heal her wound. No human can make her feel totally, unconditionally, perfectly loved just as you are, and for always. You ain’t gonna get that from a person. If you had or have someone in your life that approximates that, cherish that person and those moments with all your heart. And I would say that that person takes care of themselves. They visit the inner sanctum and come out with a full cup to share with you.
So, you say, “she needs to spend time with God and fill her cup and share it with that cold fish? Whaaaat?” Not exactly, the cold fish has something to offer. I’ve been listening to her as she talks about him. The empty problem is the empty cup. He’s doing what he can and on some level he realizes he’s “defective”. Cold fish usually drink or cover up their hurt feelings in some way. They also feel unlovable. But with a full cup, the fish can be seen for what he really is. He’s not her father. There are many differences. Maybe he wants to learn? Maybe he needs direction? She has been missing those signs. But if she changes, the relationship changes. And he is the best teacher for her. Yes, he is the best teacher for her. The only solution is to feel truly loved and it isn’t coming from him or her father or any man. Once she heals that, she can deal with reality, that she is indeed lovable and he is indeed lovable, and then decide whether or not she really gets her needs consistently met in this relationship. With a full cup, she’ll be more patient, more kind, more gentle, and people usually thrive in those environments. Once the pattern is broken, once she has come to know love, she’s free. And her soul knew exactly what she needed to get there.