This week, a familiar friend of longing came by to sit with me inside my chest. It came to pulse in me as piercing ache of vulnerability and missing a connection with a friend that hasn't been present. In my past, I wouldn't have called longing a friend. It was something that I wanted to "fix," fulfill, do something about or make it go away.
I have known this longing directed out and unrequited several times in my life. Through the yearning as a child for my father's love. With my shadowed misunderstandings that if I showed up exactly how I thought he wanted me to be, then maybe I would feel that restoration of a connection where there had been a gap. This conditioning was brought forward into partnerships, always wanting to be the "perfect" partner and if I everything "right," then I would get the love and connection. This conditioning and misunderstanding of longing, moved me in a way that desperation moved me, always ahead of myself, molding myself into some acceptable cooker cutter identity which was guided by some attempt to gain worth with this missing gap in which I interpreted as something 'wrong with me.'
During the course of the past years, I have been pulled into longing's mystery. As the shadows get stripped away, I have grown to trust the wisdom contained within these bittersweet aches. Longing at it's core is a divine urge for the sacred and an impulse of life.
Longing lets us know that we are in fact relational beings. In our culture, there is much conditioning which tells us to disassociate from life or be unattached. We have been cut off from the wisdom of tribal ways of knowing cellularly our inner-relatedness and the dynamic exchange with each other and with life. Spiritually, many traditions and religions tend of overemphasize transcendent models of being. We may idealize the paths of peace where we aren't 'bothered' by life, relationships and the many challenges we currently face on our planet at this time. The undigested pain in our lives and passed on to us generationally through our ancestors, has created shadows that cover the light of this inner-web of being. No matter how much we have tried to fill this gap of belonging to each other and something greater within us with inessentials, this primordial ground, etched in and as the matrix of our cells, yearns to call us back into sacred relationship.
Longing is a precious force which carries within itself the secrets of connection. I believe longing needs to be honored through boundaries, through honoring it as sacred and creating a sacred space, for it's wisdom ways to reveal its greater mysteries.
I know for myself, I have had the tendency to knock on doors to other people's inner worlds that have been closed for one reason or another. My misdirected longing comes from my early childhood conditioning. Maybe, if I try it one more time or wait long enough, then things will open or change. It takes courage to bear this force of longing when it feels like it is this other person that we need. When we yearn to make a connection. When there isn't the responsiveness or availability, our honoring of longing by holding it close to us and bearing the impulses to reach out one more time, creates the alchemical cauldron for transformation. This is a secret fire. Or as Rumi once said, "Longing is the core of mystery. Longing itself contains the cure. The only rule is suffer the pain." Can we bear the heat and allow ourselves to be forged in the flames of longing's transfiguration?
This mystery of fire calls us to this burn and bear our shadows, offering the heat of alchemy of transformation when we are wiling to bear this naked pulse of aching tenderness that arises from longing's loving aliveness. Longing yearns to slowly dismantle the brick walls of our indifference and unmoving guards that keep us immune to feeling the depths of life's inner dependency. It calls us to settle into the empty places of what we feel is missing, so we can discover the hidden gems awaiting in the heart of longing's darkness.
It takes trust and patience to find a fellow traveler who shares in the same interest in transformation. Where there is a shared desire to know the intimate depths of our own inner worlds, as well as someone else's. Where we want to be affected by each other. We want to be affected by life. Where we yearn for life to birth us into a more intimate existence. Where we are willing to be molded by the divine transfigurations that happen through our depths. It is here in the holy fields of darkness, where we mine the gems that birth us into our intimate radiance. A radiance that dances through the trees, sings through the birds and lives as the indwelling mystery of matter living within all things. Can we be willing to undergo this alchemical transformation, until we can once again hear the songs that sing from the heart of stars and can revel in the light that dances in the darkness?
To contact Courtney and learn about her work, please visit www.courtneydukelow.com