A frozen, rigid idea I held about myself since adolescence miraculously thawed during 24 hours of a sacred, reverential psilocybin ceremony.
This was also accompanied by a beautiful man whose commitment to truth vastly outweighed any self-created fiction he had or anyone tried to impose upon him.
Imagine my surprise when, conditioned to hide, to dwell in shame since my breasts first began to bud, I found myself twisting and swaying naked around my room, beating soft rhythms on my drum, embodying “woman” for perhaps the first time in my life—under his neutral gaze.
More than once throughout our six week trajectory, I caught myself rejecting the textural experience of being with him, while projecting unmet expectations onto our connection—essentially, the very definition of suffering.
Thanks to his patience and my commitment to radical self-responsibility, this brief, deeply meaningful alliance has been one of the most challenging and profoundly beautiful experiences of my life. I got to see that my soft skin need not be slashed by falcon talons, hauling me off into fairy tales of my own making.
This man chooses not to meet anyone’s expectations of him if they are in conflict with his expectations of himself. I was so triggered by having to forego almost every expression of validation or admiration. Triggers, which, if I let them, wake me up into clear vision; they are my truest guides.
We even, or perhaps in spite of my ego’s clamouring for recognition, shared thousands of fragments of ordinary moments drenched in awareness. This was due in part to his unwavering presence, and my commitment to show up in vulnerability and truth. I repressed and denied nothing, was as me as I could possibly be, while he softly but persistently reminded me that there is no “me.”
There’s the rub, the razor’s edge of truth. So often, the most beautiful parts of ourselves are so buried that we’ve forgotten what it actually feels like to be who we really are. Uncovering them can be a long and torturous process, or simply a momentary, heroic choice to risk rejection. And yet, where is this “me” who could be validated or rejected? Where is she located?
The last two years have been a ceaseless exercise in questioning the belief that love needs to take a certain form, as if the vastness of love could ever be contained by parameters, or certificates of ownership.
Love has no form.
It is fluid like the ever-present, yet ever-shifting tides. Trite and overused though it may sound, my journey has revealed that genuine relationship must be built on a foundation of acceptance and love for myself. That is the primary spiritual gesture, the one that opens the door to real intimacy, and it feels as though all my recent years of “spiritual work” have led me to this point, and to this man.
Shall we call off the search for love in all the wrong places? Shall we refrain from elevating people to a pedestal that sets them up to fail? Shall we end that violence right now and instead acknowledge that we alone have the power in every moment, to love and honour these tender beings? For, despite the occasional blinding despair of habitual beliefs, who we are is whole.
Undeniably, to let love remain undefined takes great courage. It is to allow expectations to melt like ice on a hot tarmac so that we may bathe in the field of love that is ever present. There is just this moment. If I can welcome equally the storms and the cloudless skies, that which I seek is effortlessly revealed. Conversely, and to my great irritation, I notice that it’s almost impossible to feel good about an imaginary future when I am so busy feeling bad about an actual present.
Let’s love openly so we can all be liberated. Let’s embrace our messy humanity while staying anchored in our divinity. Let’s live like one who has forgotten how to be cynical. Let’s dare to meet reality on its own terms, commit to growing strong enough to wear the undefended heart. Let’s love wholeheartedly, yet remain empty enough to hold love lightly.
If it comes, let it. If it goes, let it—nothing real can ever be damaged or destroyed.
My lived experience repeatedly demonstrates that when I choose to inquire into the truth of life, suffering really is unnecessary, although inexplicably, I still give it a damn good go. Gradually, the inquiry itself renders me less capable of inflicting pain on myself or others. Beauty and perfection arise in the seeing of this spiraling dance of waking and sleeping—and not in the outer circumstances—which as far as I can tell, are just a dream-like play of consciousness.
There is nothing then to reconcile.
Still…when all else fails, or seems ruptured beyond repair, love remains. Just love. These happenings of my life—the synchronicities, pitfalls, plot twists, metaphors, and symbols—appear to be a sacred dialogue with the universe, a conversation with my own divinity. Mysteriously, life moves through me with little intent or effort that I can measure, and yet it appears that I curate my own dreams, turn thought into matter. It’s a cosmic headf*ck alright.
So I let go, and bow to each cell in this body, forged from the strength that holds the whole planet together. By grace alone, we are capable of holding the most intense joy and sorrow in the felicity of love, in full surrender.
I celebrate our courage to dare to feel it all the way through, to avoid numbing out or shutting down. And when courage fails us? Well, life will break us open, forcing us to locate the valour we forgot in our search for comfort’s shackled embrace. I chose to love a man I knew would leave, a matter of weeks after he arrived. A man that made my cells dance.
With his departure, there is a felt sensation of pain, a longing for what was, originating from an ancient, misguided, ragged sense of lack (otherwise known as The Human Condition). It’s compelling as f*ck. But with inquiry, that story of lack, of need unfulfilled, is revealed to be full of holes. The story holds no water. So I trust that something will be born of this goodbye, and no doubt its growth will surprise me with its vigour.
Meanwhile, each time we allow our precious hearts to overflow in the direction of another, the ineffable light of our being serves as an antidote to the gut-wrenching expressions of hate in the world. That which our beautiful, beleaguered little planet so urgently needs.
I read somewhere recently, “Awake or not, you cannot miss the boat of your authentic life, because your authentic life is the one you are having.” And with this, I breathe a sigh of relief, and I keep going, deeper and deeper in, turning away from nothing that I find.
Author: Aly Hazlewood
Image: Flickr/New 1lluminati
Editor: Travis May~
Copy Editor: Callie Rushton
Social Editor: Sara Karpanen