Here I am in a whisper of town nestled in the elbow crook of the Sacramento River valley. Alone, eating an omelet at a tiny café surrounded by a retired crowd of locals.
A long way away from Southern France and the last home place of Mary Magdalene, Jesus’s most beloved disciple. That was my other choice for a vacation.
Where is Mary Magdalene here? How do I find her? What is her message? Kindness, Forgiveness. Feeling the iron coverings of my heart softening, a sweet buzzing warmth melting off the chains. Cracks in the armor, light touching the wet flesh inside my chest.
Struggling to be present with my lover. Creeping back into my body—things have not been safe here for a while. Tests were conducted. Results still out. He says to stay steady; he holds my clammerings with a mixture of tenderness and distraction.
His body a tidal wave of exhaustion. Taking over his mind, going down under where I cannot find him. Swirling in a damp mess of fishy parts, guts, spines. Fish hook stuck in his mouth. Gasping for air.
How much do I help? How much do I offer? I want to support him and hate to see him suffer, but also realize he must find his own way. He must come face to face with paths offered him. To stay with the known or make a new way. Make a new way with me or make a new way with past. Clearly, the man is altered from his time with me. Regardless of his steps, they will be forward. Even if sideways for a while.
Love changes a person.
Love opens up channels previously closed down. He now has access to these for himself to do as he chooses.
I stand in trust of the Divine Plan—for both of us. So fucking ironic that I have been faced with this pattern of men I date looking back to a past relationship. Each has had such a different response. I feel the shifting sand reality of how MY mind sets things up to align with the trauma of my past—of my father’s infidelity and my mother’s violent shutting down. Of dating teen boys confused by my intensity—both inexplicitly drawn in by me, simultaneously repelled by the sheer force of me, of the connection. A dynamic I will play out over and over, bringing me to the present day.
I have learned to be careful with my will. Being a force of nature, I want my relationships to be mutual, of free choice, not a magical magnetic clutching.
However, I have seen the transformation happen, from magnetism to true love. I have felt the shift in surrender that a man can do when he allows me into his inner world. I have knocked up against the locked chambers and compartments. Sometimes I will feel around for the secret release button and be allowed to sit inside the dark tiny crevice, holding the small boy inside.
So much of developing intimacy is relaxing, staying present, not speaking even. Allowing for the feelings to just be there, happening, without pushing or pulling. The feelings can even be “negative,” but having the other there, letting them in to see these vulnerable place inside ourselves. Bravely, for true bravery is acting WITH the fear. If there was no fear, there would be no need for bravery.
Telling my lover what my mind is really thinking, the deep anger, sadness, feelings of betrayal, manipulation, lying, cheating. Is this even real? He looks at me.
He has trouble saying the words, “I love you.” I have felt in the pure flow of love with him, had him say those words, just to feel the flow stop abruptly.
That wordless place, where the mind is not in charge, where we are free to experience without comment from our minds, our internalized judges, passing evaluation on every detail of the situation. Giving us unasked for advice, putting fear, doubt and worry into the cells of our bodies.
Once, he held me down, one hand on my forehead, one hand on my throat. He said, “I see you.”
To stay with that look, to let myself open up to his gaze. To breathe into the intensity of his seeing. Of dropping the coverings—any stories, any doubts, any fears. To just BE myself: expansive, wise, open, calmed down, pinned down by the gaze of my lover. Soul to soul.
I see you.