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Marriage Crisis and Affairs of the Heart as a Doorway to Unconditional Love
FIRST PUBLISHED September 2012
In the last year *(written 2012) I have personally experienced a lot about conscious relationship and love.
…Although I posted one previous blog during a particularly sorrow-filled moment, I’ve not been able to share this vulnerably painful and beautiful experience …until now.
I do so, with this prayer:
that my personal sharing may serve others in long term relationship and marriages that are conflicted, confused, in crisis, or the midst of an affair.
~ ~ ~
There is a path between the most obvious ones of staying or leaving; love and resentment; freedom and dying inside. It is “the middle way” – the way of presence, patience and revelation. This middle way is beyond right or wrong, and pledges it’s allegiance to that which is most honoring to the path of Life itself.
“Out beyond ideas of wrong doing
and right doing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”
My Story from that Field Beyond:
I and my SoulArts partner, and now husband Matt, had been together for 7 years when it happened. This past year (“the 7 year itch year”) was a true breakthrough year for both of us.
Over 2 decades ago and coming home on a plane from Europe, I met the one man I believed then I’d truly loved and wanted to have a family with. Circumstances then did not permit it and we went separate ways with tender tears — he to Harvard, I to Ojai and 2 decades of depth spiritual study.
A year ago this month, he and I reconnected for the first time in 24 years when he walked into a meditation circle I was sitting in just as the women leading the process came to the heart chakra. And Oh my!
In that very heart-centered moment, our eyes first met again after 24 year. And we recognized the presence of that very same immediate and mysterious connection of love for each other …still vibrantly alive and just as magnificent as it was over 2 decades ago when we were still in the prime of our young adult lives…
~ ~ ~
What is more delicious and exciting and life affirming than the rush of delight and joy in early new found love? Is it any wonder that people in midlife and feeling stuck or half dead inside from the monotony of daily life year after year, leap at such an electrifying surge of life!?
Is it any surprise that such a renewal coming through the form of another is so easily projected into a new romantic story — a story we unconsciously use to amplify and justify the whole new exciting affair? Is it any wonder those on the other side of the marriage feel so shocked, abandoned, and displaced?
It takes tremendous conscious presence — and a fair amount of grace — on both sides of a disturbed marriage relationship, to meet such an upheaval to the marital status quo and to walk this new path of awakening and growth together in an honorable way. It’s easier, really, to project the stories (freedom and abandonment) and move on…
For me, this past year was one of the most painful — and consciousness demanding – years of my life. My heart was broken open and so were the hearts of 3 other people in this quadrangle quagmire.
Because of my life path and sense of what the sacred art of living is truly about, I felt beholden to share with Matt my heart-wrenching experience of falling in love with another man. I told him as it occurred. I did not hide it or justify waiting to tell him in order to “protect him”. We shared it — with vulnerable rawness of heart and with deep intolerable pain — and with love. It was a horrible grief: the pain of such an unexpected betrayal of heart on the one side; the intolerable heart stabbing sight of hurting someone you love on the other.
We both howled and clutched our chests for different and the same reasons that first night…
What a miracle new path evolved from this painful honest journey of heart we entered together!
In this past year we both grew and opened in ways we could never have imagined – together as well as individually. …Truly, there is a field beyond right and wrong … It is the path of trust in the journey and an unconditional willingness to share it from love — in all things.
During the first days and weeks of such a shake down to our 7-year relationship together, Matt and I sat (together and alone) in 2 juxtaposed biochemical positions: he in the cortisol crisis of loss within love, I in the dopamine high of found within love. We learned to stay aware and present to the chemical changes in the body/mind that occur during such life shattering shifts.
Over the weeks and months, we learned how to stay open to one another within the unknown of where we were heading — both in pain and in truth and from love. We learned how to sit with and deepen into the rawness of vulnerable honesty and loving communication. We never once deviated into blame or justification or petty meanness as an excuse to be set free of this terrible vulnerable place. Not once!
And we were blessed with the direct experience of what it means to meet the unknown — together. We discovered what it is to stand, willing to follow that which serves and honors truth as it unfolds within each moment of conscious presence.
It was an awesome year, to say the least!
The two of us remained steadfast in our commitment to vulnerably exploring, sharing, and being honestly open students of consciousness within this new place on the trail of relationship that presented itself. We remained friends and lovers of truth and communion. We took ourselves on our own SoulArts private retreat to an old stone cabin on the mountain top for 2 nights, where we put ourselves through a very intense honoring process which we now share with other couples in crisis.
In that sacred scarey personal retreat (as in the year ahead) we grew together in the art of honoring and supporting the movements and revelations of truth as it revealed more and more about itself and the nature of loving. We found our way (alone and together) in serving truth unfolding, as the highest unconditional love that we could offer one another.
I remember the second night of our retreat at the height of our unknowing, how we honored what we did know: Love, steadfast.
And so we honored each other and our next unknown path. We did this by ceremonially bathing each other in a sacred gesture of deep love and respect for what had been between us and by symbolically washing it away as an ending and grieving for what had been, as well as a cleansing preparation of trust and love in following whatever was to be.
It was a most tender and sacred act of love. And it opened the doorway to a totally unanticipated healing alchemy.
As is often the case in the energetic pools of a life work such as the one I live as soul midwife, people have started coming to me in the midst of their own relationship and marriage crisis, unexpected affairs, devastating hurts, and those utterly confusing midlife surges of renewal that often come from feelings of love outside of the marriage.
Yesterday a woman called me crying and on the verge of suicide at the sudden shock that her husband of 30 years had just left her — for another woman. He texts his wife of 30 years that he will always love her.. and yet he’s lost to her: He’s in the throws of a great biochemical dopamine-high that has given him a feeling of having his life back! She is in the throws of a terrible biochemical cortisol-low that is clouding her ability to think or feel with any clarity or hope for ever feeling loved and safe again.
Both are in dangerous places. Both are in story-projections that are placed onto an”other”. Both are missing (at least at the moment) what is ultimately a call to awaken to a greater presence of being and honoring of love at its deepening pools of awareness.
This open field beyond right and wrong is not an easy one to see! And it is not an easy field to walk together!
… If only these two would pause long enough to honor their 30 years together – even if it is in leave-taking.
The honoring field takes a willingness to see and remain a little bit outside of story (justifications and projections). If you can be even a little outside of the story, you are poised to see that no judgement is correct and unconditional love is the truth. You stand to breakthrough old patterns that have held you each back, and to awaken to the deeper currents of truth, in Love.
It takes a great stamina of heart and a willingness of mind to abide in th field of unknowing — and, from there, to walk vulnerably together until the path either diverges into separation or converges again into a new union of sacred marriage.
In either eventuality — in remaining together or in parting — the movement becomes clear when one abides in this field beyond the story projections of “right and wrong”.
The way becomes clear because it is simply taken one day when the honoring trail shows you this is so.
In June of this year, Matt and I formally married.
What a miracle is relationship, and the deeper sense of marriage, when it is met from this most sacred ground of true being!
Ronda & Matt offer private couples intervention (and occasional small group) SoulArts relationship awakening intensives with couples in crisis and seeking to breakthrough the story-projections and onto the great field of soulful and conscious loving and the unknowing freedom ways of truth.
- Come find out for yourself: that there is no greater journey than your own...