When I moved further along my inward journey, I knew it was the process of integrity which brings me to answer to a long-overdue inner calling to play a part in a cause close to my heart. When I began to take on a part-time administrative duty and facilitator role at a centre which shares the same objectives I had, my life started to turn around from a stay-at-home mom to one who was frequently out of the house due to the nature of the profession. I did not and still would not term it as a job or work (though that is what I would refer to if someone asks) because it was something I loved to do and my meaning of a job or work is something that I will have to do for financial sustenance; which is totally irrelevant in my case – it was a driven passion that was innate and, might I add, still is.
My partner was not used to me coming home late at night. At times, sessions I facilitated ended up pretty late followed by further sharing after that. It was sheer joy for me as I simply enjoyed the whole experience of sharing and listening to the participants. I remember, at the initial periods of some nights, my partner would wait up for me. At first, he showed support from the understanding that I came from a background of never knowing what I liked to do and never being able to step up to what I liked to do. However, it soon came to a point where he felt as if my time while ‘working’ took me away from him to the extent judgments were being made towards the centre I was working with. What I thought was support and blessing from him turned out to be a cross road to me, once again – in honouring what I had finally stepped up to tread or to give it all up because of the relationship we have. This again, was an insidious pattern in my life for I was always giving up something I loved to do just to keep the other happy.
While I pondered upon it, I realised the inner love for the role I was playing was so strong that I could not give up that part of myself anymore. And then, the next question that popped up was – does that mean that I did not love my partner enough? It took some inquiry to realise that what I loved to do had nothing to do with my love for my partner for they are both separate matters. But my partner’s actions showed me that he was dependant on me for his happiness. While this is something that I would be most thrilled about before – for if he depended on me for his happiness, would mean he loves me very much and cannot live without me – now tell me, which woman wouldn’t be elated?
However, having realised some time ago that anyone’s happiness is never dependant on anyone else; to succumb to that every women’s dream would mean I’d have to give up something I found passion in just to ‘keep’ him. Not that there is anything wrong with it, but if that was the case, ould I then not depend on him for my happiness hence propelling this insidious pattern of happiness-dependency in order to keep the relationship sane (which is in fact, insane) and at the end of the day only blaming him and making him my scapegoat when he failed to answer to my call when I asked him to stop doing something that he loves when it seems to threaten my state of being?
Appreciating this, I continued with what I was doing but with more careful planning so to balance out between ‘work’ and my partner. As much as my partner understood that my ‘work’ was important to me, but due to the habitual patterns of the relationship which he was unconscious to at the moment, he started to throw really sarcastic comments to the point of asking me to move out. There were times when I could not rise to the call of integrity of honouring myself, I would apologise and assure him that I would revise my timetable again for the sake of the relationship. But I noticed even with that, he was not happy. He just wanted his old partner back who was available to him at anytime whenever he wished. Only during times when his mind was occupied with things would my duties and sessions be a blessing to us both.
Noticing all these, I still did not have the audacity to have an honest chat with him until I realise what my continuous giving in or compromising was doing to him, to me and ultimately to both of us. He was going to go on with this old pattern of relying on me for his happiness whenever he did not have anything else to occupy himself with and for that, we both could never be free from this type of mould of a relationship. It was as if I was waiting for his permission or blessing in order me to tread my path fully. For that, I was holding myself back in that aspect of my life. What I thought was compassion and love, was actually the approval seeking pattern revealed.
It took much courage to finally sit him down. Although the conversation was merely to bring light to the situation and to express what I had realised and observed in my space honestly, during times when he uttered his expressions, I had to take responsibility for whatever that came up in me. It was indeed a constant call of integrity and taking responsibility and the entire conversation was for myself and nothing to do with my partner.
The end of the conversation resulted in him being silent after his earlier roars upon me as if he too realised things that he did not see before. As much as I could have left the conversation feeling liberated and joyful that he finally got it due to his wisdom, I had to be honest with myself with the discomfort that had arisen in me. The discomfort did not arise because I was the one who had to bring the brutal truth out of the situation and me, but from now also having to release my partner as my scapegoat if I never got to achieve my heart’s calling. That meant that I will have to take again, full responsibility for the ‘career’ path I am drawn to take. My sense of trigger arising from my perception of his actions were once again, only reflecting my inner fears and it is only with much clarity on my own and taking responsibility on my part that we would arrive at this space. As much as his was my mirror, I too was reflecting his and I can never know what arises in his space, except for what he shouts out to me. And if that triggers me – it becomes once again, my own to claim without pointing my finger at him. I am only taking responsibility for myself. So, the permission or blessing that I had perceived was indeed one that I was waiting to give myself.
There were several birds killed in one stone in this whole story, but not possible if we each had not taken the independent step to be accountable for our own sense of peace. That day, while he realised how he had been emotional dependant on my presence and availability to him, I too realised that I was waiting for his approval in order for me to live my life authentically. It was indeed a situation where it brought us closer home to ourselves and also to each other. Today, my partner and I share much more intimacy, doing what we each love to do and occasionally coming together to connect with each other because we want to, not because we have to. Our time together these days is filled with much honesty and integrity without the space of blame or dependency. For that, we experience much closeness and love beyond what can be explained and envisioned in a normal relationship. It is only when I begin to rise up to myself from the space of truth within myself, will my partner begin to rise up to himself. From there, we both become freely available for ourselves and also each other.
It is interesting to observe that this pattern of waiting for the other’s approval, permission or blessing in order to pursue an inner calling is common in relationships. And for that, we keep telling ourselves, “we have no choice” or “what can I do when he or she doesn’t understand?”. It is as if we are waiting for the other to be at peace with our inner calling, before we can go ahead to answer it ourselves – as if it is their job, and not ours. I remember my partner expressing his apology and gratitude to me for highlighting to him his error for making me the beacon of his happiness after that chat, which was an utter surprise to me. As much as I was grateful and appreciative of his expression, I was even more grateful to him for continuously being the clean mirror in order for me to come home to myself. In a very unconscious way, our normal worldly relationship had indeed become a spiritual one where we both became teachers and also students to each other, for our own growth and freedom.
p/s: – part iii, maybe…