And…. It is a story of a living breathing human being… A ‘perfectly imperfect man’ who I fell in love with. Integrating the Shadow Dance came first… Integrating my experience with the man, came later.
We began in a profound way, I know when something is meant to be. I recognize the potent presence of what I call ‘Factor X’. (Almost 30 years ago, while laying on a Kauai beach discussing life, my friend Sandy and I came up with the term) He and I had ‘it’ from that first dance together. What is Factor X? A strong blending bond between two people. It is different than simply finding someone ‘attractive’. I have watched this phenomenon in my own life for a long time.
Factor X has 3 main components:
It is immediate, it is felt strongly on the first meeting.
It is mutual, Factor X is not a one way experience.
And in my experience, it never goes away.
I have had the experience of Factor X with a number of men, most lovers, a couple friends. The most incredibly was with my Beloved late husband Joe. Factor X can be the weave between two people that makes a relationship exceptional. A source of ambrosia or life force that can sustain each individual and also blends to form the core of a relationship that will continue to grow deep and wide. The ultimate nourishing well to drink from and a safe refuge, which is a ‘soft place to fall’.
Along with the 3 components above, Factor X relationship’s are some of my greatest teachers. The impulse of Factor X, is one of passion, creativity and pushing edges. They are never neutral. Also a Factor X relationship can be quite difficult and as I experienced with ‘the perfectly imperfect man’ the ‘fall’ can be far from ‘soft’.
I had fallen in love with a man who I believed had the capacity to love as deeply as I do. A man who was quite articulate in speaking emotional intelligence. He said he understood my wounds and would always be gentle with them. A man who said that he considered with me, the potential of a partner for a lifetime. Yet, I soon came to know it was a facade and as he struggled in his own life, a facade he could no longer maintain.
Sharing this story is only my voice. My perspective. It is not right to share the details of his story. My intent is to only do so as it affected me. Only to reflect the presence of a mutual Shadow Dance.
He left Hawaii before I did and when I returned to Portland, we only spent a week together. He was edgy and distant. I soon realized that separate from me, parts of his life were becoming quite difficult. He said he needed time to focus on those difficulties so we went over a week without seeing each other. All of this completely engaged my fear of abandonment and at times, I became reactionary.
He completed some of the details he was struggling with and we made a ‘date’ to talk over our relationship. I knew I had been in the reactionary mode of push/pull and wanted to share from my Heart, where those reactions came from. He came to my house in the evening and we decided to wait till morning to talk… We would let the comfort and closeness of our bodies smooth the way all night.
In the morning the first words of us both were how much we loved each other and wanted the relationship. Laying in each others arms, we talked for several hours. This included me sharing my deepest fears and while I had done so before, this time as I lay on his chest, tears flowing, I described the actual experience of ‘being left behind’. As I shared the agony, still present in my soul, of literally watching the slow week by week, day by day, moment by moment, breath by breath… Horror of my Beloved getting ever closer to last breath. And how that wound, elicited my reactionary tendency of ‘push away/pull back’…. The reactionary expression of ‘Love Traumatic Stress’.
He shared his fears and vulnerabilities, the places he was struggling with in his life. I thought in that conversation, we had allowed each other the safe shelter of each others arms, the steady witness. I thought we offered each other the trust of Hearts opening. All necessary steps in deepening a relationship. I was in love and optimistic.
Then he got up and went to the bathroom… And came back crying so hard he couldn't really speak. I was alarmed and asked what was wrong. Then I looked into his eyes… And suddenly I knew what was happening.
He walked out my door and out of my life, 20 minutes later. Sudden and complete abandonment.
I will only say this… What I saw, heard and felt in that 20 minutes, was some of the most profound despair I have ever experienced in another human being. He never said that he didn't want to be with me, he only said that he could not be with me. That the despair was flowing out of someone I dearly loved… Allowed me a calm as it was happening, I am still surprised at.
My despair, my pain came later… When the silence of ‘being left’ settled into my Heart. When I faced one of my deepest fears: That if I am ever ‘less than perfect’… If I ‘need’ rather than give… If I ever show my soft vulnerable belly… I Will Be Abandoned. My deepest fear ‘came true’.
What followed for me was a conscious choice: My first impulse was to close my Heart and never get close enough to a man to allow myself to be hurt so deeply again. I quickly knew, that would not be my choice.
I reflected on my tendency of reaction with push/pull when my Heart feels like it is not being seen. I slowly came to a knowing… That since Joe’s death, I have been attempting to love and be loved from a place of fear. I no longer wanted to be in that place of hesitation. I was ready to dive deep…
I made the conscious choice to reach into my broken Heart and crack it wide open. To seek the roots of my fear and hesitation. To invite my Shadows to look me in the face.
Quickly I knew ‘the man’, was only a catalyst. The amount of pain and despair I was experiencing was not reflective of a six month relationship. To begin with, I thought the main source of my ‘Love Trauma’, my wounds around giving and receiving love came from the death of my Beloved. And while that trauma was a powerful contributor, as I wandered in ‘The Interim Time’, I later realized something I had never quite touched on before:
That steady, less dramatic, yet lifelong wounds… Create a less obvious although deeper wound. A wound I have tended to slip into when I have the intent and desire to open my Heart. This part of the story I have already written about, although in the Spiral Dance of a lifetime, I continue to refine, heal and integrate.
Now back to the intent of this post. Integrating not only the experience of my personal Shadow Dance… But also integrating my experience with the walking breathing man. The man who I believed was the second great love of my lifetime. I did so by recognizing that the presence of ‘Factor X’, invited a mutual Shadow Dance.
Next: Shadows, Patterns and Understanding...