Like so many others I’ve struggled with relationships my entire life. With my partners I’ve experienced the greatest bliss and the greatest pain. Part of my personal struggle with relationships has been incredible anxiety and attachment. My pattern involved becoming interested and connected with a woman and growing more anxious about losing the connection the closer we got resulting in a fear of intimacy. The anxiety and fear of loss would be so intense at times it would almost reach the level of a panic attack. It felt as if holding onto my lover or partner was a matter of survival. That there was something I desperately needed from them in order to be ok and at peace. And yet I could never seem to get it, I would still feel anxious and upset and eventually the relationship would end and I’d be left devastated only to start the process all over again. This really became a habitual pattern which was incredibly painful because I am a very passionate and loving person and relationship is important to me but I could never seem to make it work to my satisfaction.

My intention in relationship has always been to be free. To be free to be myself and allow my partner to be herself without my needs being projected onto her. In working to realize this intention I began to notice a feeling of lack within me that felt like the core of the anxiety I feel in relationship. In going deeper into this feeling of lack I began to realize that it seemed to represent a disconnection from my own heart which you might call the inner feminine. In working with that I could see that this feeling of lack was being projected outward onto my partners and other women in an attempt to get from them what I was lacking internally. My relationship patterns were being created by me through this process of projection. That was painful to realize but it also felt empowering because my inner process was something I had access to, I could do something about it. But what to do? How to heal this inner wound?

I worked on this in my relationships, in my spiritual process group and in counseling and made incredible progress illuminating more and more layers of this needy, afraid disconnected part of me. My previous partner and I had a similar process with this and we were both conscious enough to work on what was coming up for us in the relationship. We played out the patterns in painful ways at times but we came out of our relationship with much greater clarity as to the nature of the wound and moved an enormous amount of energy related to it. We were able to see it through and remain close friends.

However the real shift for me happened when I began to cultivate a personal relationship with the feminine part of myself, the Divine Feminine or what I refer to as the Goddess. I felt a call from a feminine energy that I could not identify or fully describe. This inner call felt like a subtle pull drawing me into my heart, my feelings and to nature. Slowly I began to make a daily practice out of connecting with this feminine energy and it has gradually been built into an inner relationship with the Goddess which reflects the feminine polarity of the divine. As a man in this patriarchal culture this feminine part of myself has been beaten down and repressed as I tried to step into being the man I thought I was supposed to be. The repression took extreme forms at times especially in my experience in the military where any sort of emotional expression except for anger and lust was violently discouraged.

The more I’ve stepped into my connection with the Divine Feminine the more I have begun to realize that what I was so desperately seeking in women was something I have within me. This opened up the possibility of free relationship for the first time and the potential for unconditional love which is free of grasping and expectations. My relationship with the Goddess is my primary relationship with the feminine and by holding that in my heart always I am free to see women for who they are and not what I need them to be. This process has been cultivated and unfolded for several years now but during the last few months I drew in a connection with a woman which was in a way an initiation into a free flowing expression of the Divine Feminine.

This young lady became of member of my spiritual process group which consists of some of the people I am closest to in my life. We felt a connection to each other right from the first night we met and she seemed to already have the keys to my heart in a powerful way. I felt immediate love and familiarity for this person as well as an incredible attraction. We began connecting and sharing right away and I started to imagine that this person could be an ideal partner for me. However it became clear over time that she was not interested in connecting with me romantically. This brought up a powerful wave of pain and sadness as I saw that I wanted so badly to grasp onto her as the perfect partner. However in creating that inner connection with the feminine and the strong intention to be free of the painful process of attachment to a woman I had another option. I decided I would openly express to her what I was going through but take full responsibility for it and sit with and process my feelings without making her responsible. In doing that I would also continue to engage my connection with her no matter what it brought up, continue to open my heart to her. My friend also happened to be a very wise open-hearted person and she continued to engage a heart based connection with me while standing firm in her truth and boundaries. This elicited incredible respect for her because she held the middle ground, she did not pull away from me and did not enable my projections and needs, she embodied the loving yet powerful Divine Feminine. Slowly I worked through the pain and was able to meet her at the heart and embrace one of the most loving beautiful connections I’ve ever had with a woman. It showed me that love and sex are two different things, I can create deep intimate love with a woman without having a sexual connection. This was powerful for me because I had always linked the two in my relations with women. My friend recently moved away but before she did we spent several days together staying at the same house and sharing another level of deepening love and intimacy after which she reflected to me that she felt seen and respected and loved by me and how powerful that had been in her healing process.

For me this all represents a process of healing the connection between the masculine and feminine within so as to bring it back into balance. I think this is needed on a collective level as well because so many men struggle with the same disconnect from their hearts and their feminine side. This disconnect plays out in many ways including war and violence but especially in relation to the opposite sex resulting in relationships that don’t involve true clear connection because we are in relationship with an object for our needs instead of the actual person. We can only be in true relationship when we accept and see the other person for who they are in this moment without needing to change them. We can only do that when we take responsibility for our feelings and our happiness and realize that we are already complete whole divine beings and we don’t need anyone else to fulfill us. In realizing this wholeness we can then enter into relationship to share the love that already lives in our hearts instead of trying to get it from “out there” which is futile. When we accept people as they are it opens the door to receive incredible gifts which we would otherwise have been blind to. This feels like real freedom to me and I am deeply grateful to the Goddess, the universe, my past partners, women in general and my dear friend for helping me in this healing process.