In his book, The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships, Neil Straus says, “They say that when you meet someone and feel like it’s love at first sight, run in the other direction. All that’s happened is that your dysfunction has meshed with their dysfunction. Your wounded inner child has recognized their wounded inner child, both hoping to be healed by the same fire that burned them.”
This is not the first time I have heard this dating advice. Somehow our natural instincts are perceived as dangerous and letting us down.
What if it is true that we are attracted to people who will highlight our confusion and misunderstandings? I have seen enough couples, where what initially attracted them to their partner became the very thing they couldn’t stand, to see that it does seem to work that way. I know in my own relationship I was magnetically drawn to Angus and loved his happy-go-lucky approach to life until I decided he was irresponsible. Me deciding/judging being the operative word.
But this does not mean attraction is wrong and that we need to override it and ignore it. We have an internal guidance system that we can trust. It is always going to point us toward growth and freedom. The problem is not with the guidance system it is with the misunderstanding we have about where suffering comes from.
The typical course of a relationship is a honeymoon phase where a couple falls in love. The relationship feels fresh and exciting. The good qualities of each partner are seen and their perceived challenging qualities are minimized or ignored. The couple feels on top of the world and invincible. At some point, self-doubt and insecurity creep in. All of a sudden, they don’t feel invincible any more, and their partner looks like they are the source of their problems. If only, he/she loved you more, were more understanding, were less demanding, were less boring, were more motivated…
The person who was the light of your life now looks like the dark shadow of discontent. They fall off their pedestal. You start to see “the warts and all” side of them. And they can become highly irritating.
It is understandable that the higher you were flying in the honeymoon phase with desire and ecstasy the more painful and shocking this fall can be. So from one point of view, it makes sense to say run in the opposite direction from someone who you are going to experience the heights of connection with, in order to avoid the depths of despair when feelings come crashing down and heartbreak looks inevitable.
But what if the fall from grace is just a normal part of the learning curve of love and intimacy and not something to be avoided or feared. And, more importantly, what if the disappointment has nothing to do with the other person and everything to do with your own state of mind shifting and you feeling destabilized by the illusion of your own fear and insecure thoughts?
What if you were actually more sane and clear during the honeymoon period, and coming down to earth is actually an experience of losing your mind?
What if the call of the wild inside of you is the deepest calling to stretch into the possibility of you living the fullness of your human experience and going beyond made up limitations and misunderstandings that you have gathered over the years like layers of debris sticking to you? What if you have got lost in the debris of thought thinking the debris is you? Mistakenly thinking the swirl of thoughts is who you are. Then you fall in love and the swirl disappears temporarily. You wake up to more freedom and aliveness. You feel truth more deeply. Your whole being is vibrating with love. You feel your true nature more fully, and of course, anyone you are with, in this state of mind, is going to look lovable and amazing because you are seeing them through the eyes of love.
Then through no fault of your own, the window of freedom shuts, and the debris comes back. You innocently vacuum it back in. And there is the swirl. It is hard to see your partner clearly now because the murkiness of your judgments gets in the way. It is the same person you are seeing, but the lens you see through now is tarnished. They look different through it. They no longer look good enough or safe. They look dangerous and threatening to your wellbeing. It looks like you have to protect yourself from their danger. You have to control them so they don’t hurt you. You do your best to manage them.
If you don’t leave, you chip away at them to help yourself feel more comfortable. You do your best to mold and shape through criticism and judgment presented as helpful tips and advice. I know. I’ve been there.
If they stick around, this wild, exciting human you found so alluring has now been tamed. The taming process does not get rid of the qualities you don’t like. They may be dampened, but what is gone is the freshness, the aliveness, the desire, the appreciation, the inspiration, and often the sex.
What is the alternative?
To accept the call of your wild. To walk toward it, not run away from it. And to realize wild is not in another person it is in yourself. It is the untamed true nature of your being. It is beyond your preconceived ideas of who you should be. It is who you are. The fullness of you: human and divine, sacred and profane, flesh and spirit. They are all you. They are all from the same source. There is no separation.
You are not here to live a tamed life. You are here to wake up to who you are. You are not here to avoid the human experience. You are here having the human experience in service to wake up to your Self.
Running the other way isn’t an option really. Living small and trying to avoid heartache and disappointment doesn’t really work. It creates an experience of dissatisfaction that is feedback to let you know more freedom is available to you.
My encouragement is to listen to the call of your wild and see the wisdom in what is true for you rather than avoiding it because it looks too scary or you think it will lead to suffering. Remember, suffering comes from the debris of our own thoughts. It is not done to you. It is created within you. Seeing this allows you to identify less with the debris of your conditioned thinking. This makes it easier to see through the swirl of it. You get to see the clarity of love and the distortion of upset.
You get to see that the honeymoon experience is not time limited. It is clarity dependent. In the honeymoon, you are given the gift of your conditioned thinking falling away, and you drop into the experience of love. This experience is you. It is your true nature. The honeymoon experience lets you know what is possible and available to you.
Then the swirl of thoughts comes back, but rather than that being a problem with the relationship, it just lets us know you are lost. You are now identifying with thoughts and concepts rather than feeling who you are. But you have the coordinates. The feeling of love is the compass point to guide you. Love exists not in another person, but in an experience within yourself. It is your true nature, and you can look toward it.
You have a deeper knowing that guides you in love and life. I call it the wild divine. The infinite intelligence that is expressing through each one of us. Trust that. Don’t try to protect your precious psychology. The wild divine will transform it. There is nothing to run from, only the divine light of your being to run toward.
To fully experience who you are, listen to the call of the wild within and run with it.
Rohini Ross is co-founder of “The Rewilders.” Listen to her podcast, with her partner Angus Ross, Rewilding Love. They believe too many good relationships fall apart because couples give up thinking their relationship problems can’t be solved. In this season of the Rewilding Love Podcast, Rohini and Angus help a couple on the brink of divorce due to conflict. Angus and Rohini also co-facilitate private couples' intensives that rewild relationships back to their natural state of love. Rohini is also the author of the ebook Marriage, and she and Angus are co-founders of The 29-Day Rewilding Experience and The Rewilding Community. You can follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To learn more about her work and subscribe to her blog visit: TheRewilders.org.