I Could Drink A Case Of You
“Oh, but you are in my blood
You’re my holy wine
You’re so bitter
bitter and so sweet.
Oh, I could drink a case of you darling
still I’d be on my feet
I would still be on my feet.“
Joni Mitchell, “I Could Drink a Case of You” from the album, Blue.
Writing about love must be the easiest and the most difficult thing to do. Easy because it is so close to the core of life, and difficult because so many people have done it before, and some of them so well. How can we live up to that? My hope is that my tales here speak to your heart taking you back to what is true for you, because I am sharing the tenderness of my own experiences from my life and also thousands of one-on-one sessions with clients.
Falling in love is meant to be something that happens to us like a clap of thunder from heavens above. And we want so much to dive into it, yet it often brings pain. As Joni Mitchell says in her song “I Could Drink A Case of You”, it is bitter sweet and we want to drink the whole case in one sitting. Yet we also want something that can last, and make us strong, and even help us to get home.
There is something about the yearning for love that is similar to the longing for home. Each time I watch Battlestar Galactica and they talk about their longing to go home, I am close to tears. The television series is a great illustration of the archetypal pull for home that we all experience. Each show is centered around the main theme of fighting to get home.
Even today people fight to connect to ‘home’. Think how much energy people give to arrange their external circumstances in an attempt to reach a feeling of home. But the sense of home that we long for is truly located inside of us.
Funny then that, not unlike the warriors in Battlestar Galactica, we search outside of ourselves for this home, and even try to find it in another person. It is an high expectation to put on our dear ones.
Why do many of us end up with the wrong partner?
How is it then, that with such a strong yearning for this union, we end up with the “wrong person”? And in those circumstances why do so many people keep pushing for more even when the relationship is clearly not working?
I have had a lot of experience in this area, with relationships that made me weep, and made me ache and made me crazy out of my mind watching that phone way more than I should be. Is that love? Is it love when you are crazy about someone and they do not return your adoration with warmth? When you are addicted to the feeling of the boot in the gut when they tell you again, with or without words, why you have not been good enough for their heart to open?
I am going to suggest that this is not love, that love is something that takes you back to your center. An emotional pull that takes you away from your center is a samskara.
“Samskara is one of the most important Sanskrit terms in Hindu philosophy. Yoga, the union with the Higher Self, is said to be achieved as soon as the last samskara has been worked out. Therefore the primary objective of all yogas, or paths of self transformation, is to eradicate the samskaras of the mind. This is why it is so important for those who to want to know themselves, or rather their Self, to have a clear vision of all the mechanisms of their samskaras.”
(p. 6 Sagan, Samuel. 1996. Regression: Past-Life Therapy for Here and Now Freedom.)
Loosely translated, samskara is an emotional imprint or scar from the past that has etched its way into the unconscious so that while we forget the original wound or trauma, it still creates a momentum towards recreating that same wound over and over again. That old saying, ‘like attracts like’ is very well applied to the mechanisms of samskaras.
Falling in love for me has been something of a lifetime occupation, and often a painful business. When I first started meditation and self transformation work 12 years ago I was pretty much done with the whole thing. I came to my meditation class intent on clearing myself of darkness and never opening to a man again. I used to see couples walking down the street holding hands and looking romantic, and I would say to myself, “what are they doing, indulging in that illusion of love, don’t they know that they are only going to end up in pain?”
It is almost laughable now to remember that old broken-hearted self, after all the healing work that I have done, I am kind of amused to see how closed I really was. But what was it that made me cynical about love? It was the fact that I had been in love, head over the heels, devastatingly, deeply and madly in love, and I never really felt that it was returned. It was the fact that I ended up having awful fights with men whom I was in love with, and I was convinced that I would only ever cause a man pain, so better let them have someone else. It was the fact that I grew up witnessing my parents’ bitter battles against each other as they struggled as new immigrants to give the kids everything they wanted, and I was unable to replicate anything else but that war in my own relationships.
Anaïs Nin describes so well the mechanisms of samskaras and how they affect love in our lives:
“Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings”
Revealing the Blockages
I was blown open when I started to work on myself, using meditation-based Inner Space Techniques to see the samskara behind my relationship difficulties. I found that the wound inside of me about relationships came from a deep inability to trust. The inability to trust was a kind of emotionally charged pull out of myself toward the wrong situations. It blinded me from being able to choose freely.
Free choice is only available when we can see beyond our samskaras. Choosing to receive a partner who can love and support me has only been possible since I was able to recognize what that might feel like, beyond the pull of the samskara that made me want to close.
Let me explain it another way. When I went to primary school (grade school) in Cottesloe, Perth Western Australia in 1978, there was a lot of bullying. My experience at that school was rough. I arrived innocent, and unique, with my Southern African/British accent, and my strange taste in clothes, and my wild, free way of being. I believed in fairies, I loved nature, I could make up stories for hours, and I spoke to anyone on the street who would allow me to befriend them, even bringing strangers home for tea to my mother’s surprise.
The other children were not really welcoming to my weird and wonderful self. I was teased, beaten up and ostracized for the first year of school. And I dearly wanted friends. After some deliberation, I decided to try to become more like the other children, basically cutting off from parts of myself that I perceived were not going to be tolerated. I became the tough girl. At the same time, my parents split up and my dear Dad upon whom I had rested my heart, was not around so much. The result being that I closed up shop at the age of 10 years old.
When I was about 16 years old I began to yearn intensely for a relationship with a boy, probably mixed up with an unconscious longing for my dear Dad to come home. Yet the irony was that I could not receive that love when I was in a relationship, and nor could I receive it from my Dad when he came back. The part of me that closed when I was 10 years old, could not open up again except for some very rare moments.
I could fall in love in the initial hormonal flush of desire, but I could not create a long-term relationship that was healthy for me. I could have that initial blast of connected opening when the whole body of energy and the heart flares in a special way, but once that “in love” effect wore off, the tough girl was back, and I would somehow either become bored, or create a lot of unpleasant tension with my partner.
The Child Inside
Part of my own journey to fullness came through exploring and valuing the innocence and the sweetness of that little girl who saw fairies, and who spoke to trees, and who felt no fear even when approached by the most intimidating of adults. That little girl was smart, and she was gentle and she was wise and she was not like the other children. I needed to love her first, before I could let anyone else love her.
Loving the child inside me through knowing her real qualities has been a beautiful process. It remains an ongoing part of my life, creativity and even the writing that I am doing now. She is part of all that I do, and all that I be. She is me.
Now I am not depending on another person to be connected to that sweet soft child-like part of my heart, and the deep sensual longing in my belly. I am content to share that with another person, and I do want to keep exploring what that means in a long-term relationship where there are shared values in regard to love. But my experience of love is not dependent on having that relationship.
Layers of the Heart are Revealed
Learning to open my heart, has meant exploring the layers of closing inside of myself using the Inner Space Techniques and working with some expert practitioners. The sessions took me deep into the unconscious parts of my heart. Much of the experiences of purging old trauma happened through symbolic images.
There was an image of a youthful woman with curly blond hair, a full soft body, and bright eyes. As I sat with the image I sensed that she was a courtesan. It was not imagination, it was something of an Archetypal experience. To my surprise she seemed to derive great joy from her life, including her occupation. She seemed totally in her element. As the scene unfolded, however, she became entangled with a man. She fell in love for the first time with a tall dark stranger who was cruel and treated women poorly. It got to the point where his violence brought about her death.
Such scenes often emerge in these practices, some people would take it as a past life image although you could see it as symbolic of an internal pattern that plays out again and again in your life. Either way feeling that archetypal source has the effect of an unraveling.
There is a principle in this work that emotion is not a problem, it is the reaction to that original emotion that causes the anguish and grief. Often when you see the cause of that original emotion it allows you to let go of the string of subsequent reactions that lie on top of that original hurt or trauma. People have a pattern, and the seed of that pattern creates events. They blame the events outside of themselves for that pattern, but it doesn’t help. This scene or actual past life or symbolic image contacted the original depth of that pain.
In my own healing, I saw that there was a white, soft, vast and deep love that this woman of the past held which I recognized was also inside me. She had a devotional way of knowing another person tenderly, deeply, that I had felt in moments with lovers in this life. This was an empathy for humanity that was unconditional, kind and gentle, with a sweet yin power that could dissolve the pain of the wound.
After that practice my life changed. I let myself be vulnerable in intimate relationship, I learned to cry when I felt wounded instead of always fighting. I learned to be vulnerable, and speak up when that wound was triggered so that a partner could hold me and tell me it was ok. I learned to ask for help to see beyond that wound to the real reality of any one situation before me.
Stripping Back Unconsciousness
The key here is that when the wound inside of each of us is unconscious, it has a magnetic pull towards similar situations, causing us to repeat that trauma over and over again. With our minds, we might say that we want healthy relationships but the samskara will take us to that same old pattern repeatedly until we face the source of the pain.
I learned to use IST to navigate the maze of my psyche, and that of my clients, towards finding the source of any emotional or physical pain, to see how it really began. When we see the true cause of a samskara, something inside shifts. Through the seeing of the reality behind the mechanism, there is a possibility to see the Self as it really is. When you experience the Self beyond the samskara there is truth, and there is choice.
What does choice mean? In this instance it means discerning who can be a good partner for each of us, beyond the initial flush of sexual desire, into a lifetime of love.
I will finish this piece with a quote by Anaïs Nin, a brilliant writer on topics such as love and sexuality and life:
“I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naïve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.”
Mitchel, Joni. (1970) “I Could Drink A Case of You”. Blue. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5782PQO5is
Nin, Anaïs. Wikiquote.org http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Ana%C3%AFs_Nin#Sourced
Sagan, Samuel. 1997 Regression, Past-Life Therapy for Here and Now Freedom. Clairvision, Sydney, Australia.