“Think of me, but not too much.”
What does that even mean? I thought to myself with a growing cold-sweat-anxiety. Mustering up the courage, I asked him to explain. He didn’t truly understand it either and was at a loss for words. A week later he timidly asked, “Do you think of me?” “Yes, always,” I replied. We both smiled, but with a shared level of uncertainty.
In the most unexpected way, someone is placed on your path. The resonance is very clear that there is something important to discover together. But what happens when the both of you are unsettled within yourselves? Two minds, two different ways of seeing, timing, and life experience all play a crucial role into the development of this “contract of the soul” you have made together .
Perhaps… long before you ever met your soul mate. Yet the resistance is so strong because the mere thought of giving into something or someone on such an unconditional level is daunting. Knowing that this will change you forever can be both exciting and terrifying.
We enter this world and depart from it alone. But in the meantime, relationships and encounters with others shape our experiences; both internally and externally. I recently spent a beautiful fall Monday morning in a small mountain village outside of Rome. I had the honor of meeting a loving couple. Lino, 88 years old and Maria, 78, continue to work their land together — side by side. He harvests their produce and she prepares their meals with care. I observed their admiration and could see the shared respect they had for one another. They briefly shared their life story with me and Lino placed his hands on my shoulders — telling me to listen to his advice. I was eager to learn from him as his sparkling blue eyes revealed great depth. “In life, we need someone to lean on. My wife and I have raised our children and our grandchildren. But it’s the comfort we find in each other. I know my wife is always there for me and I am there for her. Why live life alone when you can share it with someone and benefit from each other’s support?” I thanked him and let him know that I would never forget the kindness of his heart. Ever since, I have been contemplating his words and am most impressed by their level of unwavering commitment for the life that they have created together.
From a global perspective, the technological age that we live in allows us to share with others through social media in the blink of an eye or click of a mouse. It’s the need to connect, feel that someone is close by, cares, is listening to what you think is relevant at that time. But also it stems from the fear of perhaps being alone in your thoughts for too long. Face to face gestures, sounds of voices, and touch present a whole new level of interpersonal exchange. But a new issue arises. How much of ourselves do we actually want to reveal to another? Moreover, how much of ourselves are we willing to accept and reveal inwardly? It’s finding the balance of wanting to create with another, but first having to authentically remove the walls; brick by brick or through heavy demolition.
Nowadays, we have many choices — at times too many whether it be with various partners, job possibilities, studies, or simply choosing a book to read, a playlist to listen to, or a dinner entrée while dining out. We’ve also become accustomed to keeping one foot in while having the other foot out. This ensures that when we want to venture into something new, we can without rejection, making a commitment and taking responsibility. With all of these choices however comes just as many decisions — weighing them out and over analyzing them. At times, we reach success and sometimes we have to face the consequences.
Once we can overcome the fear of failure, letting go of unrealistic expectations, and releasing self imposed and external pressure, we can become more familiar with who we are as individuals.
We can make the decision to commit to ourselves; our basic needs, the desires of the heart, what feels good and right and what doesn’t. In turn, this new freedom and openness allows us to commit to others. Slowly revealing and exposing the beauty hidden within ourselves will help others clearly and transparently share their hidden treasures as well. The heart and mind will be ready to see when that special person crosses your path and you both lean on each other as you walk it together.