redfeather
The prompt this month concerns “sacred intimacy.” Divorced times three, intimacy for me meant disappearance — the classic “urge to merge.” Energetically attuned to each of my partners, I would vanish into them. Now my quest is to recover the Sacred Soul within. For me, the true quest is for union with the Light within.

I was raised with the white lacy dress dream. A person who lives alone is labeled dismissively. She’s deemed single, divorced, desperate. Cedric’s wisdom teaching on the matter is that it “takes intelligence to live alone.” I agree. When I refrain from medicating with television, cell phone or DVD, I eventually come face to face with the daunting prospect of creating my own existence — moment by moment.

Some will say this sounds like a rationalization. I must be “avoiding” the couples issue. That is entirely possible. As an empath, my urge is to help, nurture, save. That is what draws me to another in a close connection. Ram Das talked of the “Yog” of relationship. “Yog” is the prefix meaning “union.” Ram Das said we can cultivate union with The Beloved, as in the Devotional realm, or enter into sacred union with a romantic partner. Either way, there’s the “work” to be done. The “work” concerns a life focused upon spiritual growth.

I ponder this dilemma constantly. The Spiritual realm I am in, that of the Singer, is a devotional realm. I can enter into a sacred union with the Creator — the Beloved — or I can pursue the drive toward complete oneness with another human being. Love, in any of its forms, is elevating; it becomes other than beautiful when we become possessive, controlling or smothery.

Part of my own growth and identity is the recognition that we can love everyone, friend and stranger alike. If we are all a part of Oneness, why would we choose one individual over another? I could just as easily fall in love with a man or a woman — both are masks of the beloved, manifestations of the Creator. But what would be the point? Why would I favor one human being over another?

In the movie Sherrybaby, a woman (played by Maggie Gyllenhaal) struggles to rebuild her life after years of substance abuse. She falls in love with an Indian guy (played by Danny Trejo). The two connect at an AA meeting and forge a bond. Sherry becomes jealous when she discovers her new date is seeing another woman. They argue briefly. Soon, she calms down and climbs protectively under his strong, tattooed but tender arm as he stirs a pot on the stove. He just says in a soft reassuring voice, “Nobody owns anybody.”

Much as we hate to admit it, this is the higher truth we strive for in Sacred Intimacy. It’s a seeming paradox: to truly love someone and be with someone, you have to be willing to let him or her go. It’s just like the old pop lyrics from Sting, “If you love somebody, if you love someone, set them free. Free, free, set them free.”

So I have searched my heart and soul for some truth and peace on this issue of Sacred Intimacy and how we need to make time for it. To me, intimacy is not something that takes place only on vacation or during a commercial. I seek the Beloved — the Divine — in every waking moment. I pray, reflect, meditate. When I’m not doing that, I am slowing my own growth through involvement in frivolous pursuits.

Wise Tibetan masters have urged for centuries, “This human life is precious. We have an opportunity to work on our karma.”

Every day, with folded hands, I thank Grandfather for another Holy day of life. It’s not a ritual: I’m grateful to be alive. My journey keeps expanding. If another person ends up beside me sipping cocoa on a brisk winter night, that’s beautiful. If not, I’m not sad or regretful, and I’m never, ever, lonely. I am one with the Intelligence that created me. I have things to express through words, song, and artwork. I hope my words offer light in another’s path.

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Janet Michele Red Feather
Janet Michele Red Feather, J.D., M.A., has taught literature and composition for 18 years at the university, state, tribal and community college levels. She is currently a tenured English Faculty member at Normandale Community College. Janet enjoys her role as Ceremonial Singer for Native American ceremonies, singing traditional songs in Mandan and Lakota. She made a career shift into teaching after serving nearly eight years as a defense litigator in California. Her life changed significantly after she traveled to North Dakota in 1993 to fast and pray for a way of life. She welcomes correspondence at JanetRedFeather77@gmail.com.

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