Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Choreography of the Soul

It’s always been curious to me why it is the events in our lives unfold the way that they do. Not in an analytical sort of way, but in a way that beholds the Great Mystery of a larger design; that sense of meaning found in trusting a higher purpose. That random things do happen, but most of the hand we are dealt is not random. That stuff goes down, and people come into our lives for a reason.

That we have an active role to play in living out our destiny.

Maybe there are folks out there for whom life works out pretty much according to plan. But for most of us, I think, life is what happens to you when you are busy making those plans – as the dictum goes. For most of us, things don’t work out at all the way we had expected. You think you got it all sorted out: where you’re going, what success looks like, the kind of person you will end up with, the kind of relationship you see yourself thriving in. And then someone or something happens along the way that turns everything on its head.

As Thomas Moore says, we may discover we are most ourselves when we are furthest from the self we think we ought to be.

I suspect most people reading this blog will know what I’m talking about. People who get married young, endeavor to live the American dream and follow all the rules – they’re another breed. I’m speaking to those who find themselves, at mid-life or older, without a partner, or questioning some major aspect of their life, or embarking on a journey that on some level they know risks shaking up their worldview. Because they’re the ones who are called upon to go deeper, to re-visit old assumptions or belief systems, to question what they held dear or what they were taught. They’re the ones to realize that happiness may come in a form unlike anything they had ever anticipated.

This is why, I think, it is so important to allow relationships to develop organically – to not impose our agenda on them, as much as we can. Especially romantic liaisons. To pursue someone for the sole purpose of steering it toward an end result is as much of a loss to our spiritual selves as it is to have sex with the sole purpose of getting off. The journey, or the lovemaking, is what really matters. As you get older you start to see this more and more. You start to define things differently. You see that a relationship that doesn’t last isn’t necessarily a failure. That we come into each other’s lives for a reason, at intervals that are often impeccably timed.

And if you’re lucky, you become an initiate, entering a world in which autonomy and intimacy can co-exist if you really work at it. Sources of unease become your teacher. You lose interest in molding other people into whatever it is you thought they ought to be. A lifelong courtship with the freedom of discovery begins.

You abandon the quest for life according to plan, and return instead to the call of the wild.

15 comments:

Jonathan Herbert said...

Ah, Jesse. Beautifully written and deliciously true. Life is its own reward, and to learn to surrender to the Grand Unfolding while maintaining strength of character, joy, and the fire of our dreams is beyond even the imagination of those who have not tempered their souls in the alembic. Time may not exist, but change most certainly does.

With love,

Jonathan

Joan Price said...

"We come into each other’s lives for a reason, at intervals that are often impeccably timed." How wise you are, Jesse. And it's not just now, in later life, that this is true, though we may accept it better now. When I look back at relationships through my life, I learned something important from each one of them, and I honor the person who shared it with me, whether or not it ended well!

Jesse Mendes said...

Jonathan, my friend, you have such a way with language, so carnal and immediate; so utterly faithful to the artist I know you to be. You ignite my imagination. I encourage folks to visit your site:

http://jonathanherbertstudio.blogspot.com/

And Joan, I do take your words to heart. Yes, getting older brings a new capacity for acceptance, that is, if we can treat "flexibility as the holy grail", understanding that agility of mind in our later years is paramount. It seems to me that somewhere around the age of 40 (give or take, of course) we start swinging one way or another. (No pun intended)....

Joan, I value your comments here tremendously, and respect your candor in addressing all matters sexual for folks in their later years. I encourage everyone to visit your site as well:

www.joanprice.com

or even better, your blog:

http://www.betterthanieverexpected.blogspot.com/

All the best,

Jesse

retiredeagle said...

Jesse, I have to admit that I was completely taken by surprise when I visited your blogsite which was provided as a link in your Twitter profile. Thank you for "following" me in the Twitterverse. I would guess that you discovered my passion for the "Call" or the "Journey" of individuation. If you haven't already visited my site (http://retiredeagle.wordpress.com/) then I think you will be surprised at what you will find there as we both share the same passion of "self" discovery.

in friendship.
Robert

Jesse Mendes said...

Thank you, Robert, for reaching out. I have visited your blog and appreciate your eye for the beauty in the unconventional, for sure. I hope folks will visit you, and please do stay in touch.

Jesse

DazyDayWriter said...

Profound, Jesse. And, yes, I agree. Life and road maps seldom merge according to plan. But once we discover the strength of our inner self -- our eternal spirit -- the external ups and downs matter a bit less. We become stronger, better equipped to manage change and uncertainty. Courage becomes our hallmark. Life, for me, is an incredible spiritual journey that gets better all the time. Thanks for supporting Sunny Room Studio, which, by the way, is a sunny, creative space for kindred spirits -- see you there!

Jesse Mendes said...

I love that -- "courage becomes our hallmark". Nicely put. I'm not sure I have anything to add! Thank you for taking the time to write.

In solidarity, Jesse

cathrynwellner said...

Thomas Moore's observation is closer to my experience of life than the planned version. The latter began to unravel almost as soon as I left home. During the first major changes, I figured it would get back on track. I'm not sure when it occurred to me the "track" was more of a labyrinth, the discovery of new paths far more interesting than what might have opened to me along a less winding journey. So this post sets my inner tuning fork humming. I look back at two long marital runs and am grateful for what both good men brought into my life. My current partner expands my world in entirely different ways. Life is richer, more colourful because of their gifts.

Jesse Mendes said...

Cathryn --

I love your metaphor of a labyrinth, isn't that always the way it is with a long and winding road, so unexpected and yet so rewarding in retrospect! I also love your "inner tuning fork humming" reference -- nice, now that is something I can resonate with! Beautifully put.

As for a partner who expands your world, this is a real gift, indeed. It seems to me that the ideal partner opens things up for you, and makes you feel larger. Your man sounds like a gem indeed.

Many thanks for taking the time to share, my friend.

Jesse

Debra L. Schubert said...

This post could not have come at a more meaningful time for me. Splitting w/my husband after nearly 27 years of marriage - I never thought it would go down like this. I'm now working on my inner strength so that the outside world no longer determines my moods. (I'm reading Bryon Katie's LOVING WHAT IS - pretty awesome.)

I love you and your blog. It's like you put down in words exactly what is on my mind.

Hugs, always.

Jesse Mendes said...

Debra, what a beautiful note -- thank you!

As someone who has been single most of my life, it is hard for me to imagine being married, let alone being married to someone for 27 years! Re-creating yourself (and your life) after a marriage of that duration comes to an end -- I mean, wow. I admire you for that, although I must admit I was surprised you were old enough to have been married that long! (You look like about 35 in your photo...and no, I'm not just being nice).

Your reference to finding inner strength so that the outer world does not determine your moods -- that resonates. I am going to think about that all day, in fact, I'll make it my mantra tomorrow, when I turn 48 (!).....god, it all whips by so fast.

My gratitude for your friendship and support. You might consider visiting Toronto this summer -- would be great to hang out with my newly single friend!

Jesse

Terresa said...

Beautiful blog, beautiful post.

Jesse Mendes said...

Terresa, how good of you to write. Thank you for your feedback, so lovely to hear. Please do stay in touch. Jesse

Kathy Jordan said...

Totally on the mark for me, especially this:


"I suspect most people reading this blog will know what I’m talking about. People who get married young, endeavor to live the American dream and follow all the rules – they’re another breed. I’m speaking to those who find themselves, at mid-life or older, without a partner, or questioning some major aspect of their life, or embarking on a journey that on some level they know risks shaking up their worldview. Because they’re the ones who are called upon to go deeper, to re-visit old assumptions or belief systems, to question what they held dear or what they were taught. They’re the ones to realize that happiness may come in a form unlike anything they had ever anticipated."

You are an awesome thinker and writer!

Jesse Mendes said...

Wow -- Kathy, thank you. Thank you so much. I looked up your book, I suggest folks look you up on Twitter @kathyjordan -- stay in touch!