“Everything in life is a choice of love or fear.”
~ Marianne Williamson
I couldn’t resist your smile from across the room. Your seductive brown eyes and beautiful dark curly hair. We were attracted by our curiosities, our desires, our truth and also our wounds. From previous pitch battles and peripheral skirmishes and sheepishly hiding in the shadows licking our scars.
When I hugged you I felt a voltaic chemistry that I hadn’t felt in what seemed a millennium.
I could see and feel from our first days that you had been tormented in the past by the Beast. A Beast with a hunger and thirst for female flesh and feminine souls—like Cerberus. Not all your wounds were just superficial cuts and abrasions. Often the most insidious and lasting are camouflaged and deeply internal.
All men are not Beasts. All men are not barbaric hunters, tracking the doe by day and Artemis by night. All men do not reach out warmly to embrace you with one arm and beat you down like a backwoods sheriff with the other.
Yes, Muse, there are monsters in the forest. Terrible monsters with fangs and razor sharp claws to tear relationships to shreds. But they are gone and banished. History is only our thoughts and contrivances of our ego, which choose fear instead of love.
When you close your eyes you still see shadows of the Beast and your former life.
Everything around you coaxed and pushed you back into the past.
The sound of twigs breaking under our feet as we walked the cool forest with leaves turning golden colors brought you back to the hunter. The musky scent of bikes and road races transformed the peloton into a private penitentiary. Noisy conglomerations of crowds and people brought you back to the dark thoughts of mistrust. Amorous embraces and affectionate hugs brought you back to times when you thought you were safe but you were not. Even the feeling of sand between your toes and the sun on your olive skin precipitated flashbacks of the Beast.
You constructed thick stone walls for protection. You built an entire castle with a treacherous and murky moat and perimeter defenses to protect yourself from the Beast.
I promised you to keep watch and be on guard for it.
Every night I faithfully and dutifully checked the castle parapets before we went to bed. I searched the walls for any sign of intrusion. I promised you I would never let the Beast near you again.
Every time you detected a scent, every time you saw a shadow and every time you perceived a scant remembrance of the Beast, fear overcame you. You scanned the horizon during the day for any clue that he might be approaching.
When it was good for us, Muse, it was great. I imagine few men have felt the wonderment I did in sharing my life with you.
The last night we kissed was preternatural. If the Golden Halls of Valhalla hold half the joy my heart felt at that moment I would’ve gladly died a thousand times to return there and have that feeling just once again.
As I looked into your deep brown eyes I could see genuine joy spilling forth like a rushing tsunami. Abundant joy. The most I had seen in our time together. Deep down in your soul part of you believed you were worthy of exceptional love and the shared meaning we were building together.
But part of you kept looking back over your shoulder for the Beast. And the belief you were not worthy. Part of you believed it could not last, as other relationships have not. Part of you feared attaching your heart to one man only to have it ripped out of your chest still beating.
You deserved great love as much as any Greek woman. As much as Aphrodite or Athena. But when fear overtook love, you ran away. Like Orpheus I did whatever I could to bring you back when you sprinted away and vanished into the abyss. You promised each time if I helped you escape the Beast you would not look back, but fear made you turn your head.
And you were lost again.
As time passed I shared my deepest fear with you. Only a trusted few even know of its existence. With that revelation I gave you the power to love me fully and wound me critically. When fear gripped your heart you used it to eviscerate me deep and wide. My emotions strewn across the pavement like droplets of blood.
I am not a white knight in shining armor come to save you from the Beast. I am not Hercules come to dismember it. I am not a dragon slayer with razored long sword come to vanquish fiery demons and dark nightmares from your keep.
I’m just a simple man with simple dreams. With deep loyalty and love for just one woman.
My quest is to help you conquer the eerie shadows you see, the anxious and icy vibrations you feel, the musky aromas you smell of the Beast who tormented you for so many years.
You have run away so many times I’ve lost count.
Each time you saw even a brief glimpse or slivered remembrance of life that resembled previous skirmishes with the Beast, you ran fast and ran far and hid. Each time I came after you to calm you. To remind you that fear is not a true measure of the present. It is only an arcane vibration from the past. I came after you let you know and see and hear and feel that I loved you. To show that not all men are Beasts.
I asked you to step out of the shadow of the monster and into the light of love. Trust the present not the past. To believe that you are truly and deeply worthy of great love.
I know you don’t chase after those you run from. You shared that paragon several times. I prayed that one time—just one time, Muse—you would come back to own your choice of fear over love. And to show me that you were all in. But you didn’t.
A relationship cannot survive so unbalanced.
It’s true that everyone enters our lives for reasons and purposes that aren’t always immediately apparent. I thought the universe brought us together to share all that we wanted our future to be and to create our own shared meaning that was worthy of Paris and Helen.
You were the queen of my realm and my love, even though I often felt like the court jester of yours.
I gave all I had in my life to be your equal. Deep down inside you had doubts and fears of your worthiness. Yours fears bubbled up and spilled over like Hippocrene whenever insecurity crept in.
I made more than my fair share of mistakes in our relationship. Some terrible blunders. Times when I chose fear over love. Embarrassing times when the gentleman I am was usurped for short moments by the fears in my heart that you would run again. I am deeply grateful to you for helping me realize I must grow and morph in those areas. But none of me was ever defective or broken. That which was never broken cannot simply be fixed.
In the end I realized I could not share all the love in my heart—and all of my life—with you, because I did not fully love myself. Without love and compassion for ourselves, fear always inches to the surface and wins.
In the end I honored my solemn promise to protect you from the Beast. But I was unable to protect you from your own fear.
Everything in life is a choice between fear and love.
Don’t run away because a mirage you see in the corner of your eye resembles something that tormented you for so long.
Don’t run away because being serenaded with chivalry and softly engulfed by honor is so contrarian to the Beast.
Don’t run away from the future because it feels like a past we are destined to relive. We do have a choice to choose a loving future. To choose love over fear.
Don’t run away because your friends and family and children blessed us and that scares the crap out of you. Don’t run away because you fear that even your father might smile.
Don’t run away because the thought of having an exceptional life scares you so much more than letting go of now.
Don’t run away because of the galvanic and tingling feeling when our lips meet. A current starting at your soft olive Cupid’s bow, slowly engulfing your senses and permeating to the very corners of your soul.
Don’t run away because having a man genuinely and lovingly support your thoughts and goals and dreams scares the living sh*t out of you.
Don’t run away because you fear together we are powerful beyond compare and everything you wanted to see, feel and experience in love is possible for us.
Don’t run away because it seems easier to throw everything away than to attack the challenges that come with fighting for something worth having. Because ordering up another relationship online seems as easy as ordering pizza to go.
Don’t run away, Muse, because this time I can’t come after you no matter how much I love you.
In the past I came after you to remind you what an exceptional woman and beautiful soul you are. How in choosing love, our time together became more meaningful and more intertwined.
Your love makes my heart fibrillate and sing, but I also need to love myself. You promised me you would run no more, but disappeared again. I know in my heart I need a partner I can count on to not run away when things don’t seem perfect and when the present feels like the past. To choose love over fear.
That’s what I meant when I said don’t run away.
Author: Dr. Michael Morgan
Editor: Toby Israel
Images: Christiane Birr/Flickr