Marriage and Holding Space

Marriage is not a love affair. A love affair is a totally different thing. A marriage is a commitment to that which you are. That person is literally your other half. And you and the other are one. A love affair isn’t that. That is a relationship for pleasure, and when it gets to be unpleasurable, it’s off. But a marriage is a life commitment, and a life commitment means the prime concern of your life. If marriage is not the prime concern, you’re not married….The Puritans called marriage “the little church within the Church.” In marriage, every day you love, and every day you forgive. It is an ongoing sacrament – love and forgiveness…. Like the yin/yang symbol….Here I am, and here she is, and here we are. Now when I have to make a sacrifice, I’m not sacrificing to her, I’m sacrificing to the relationship. Resentment against the other one is wrongly placed. Life in in the relationship, that’s where your life now is. That’s what a marriage is – whereas, in a love affair, you have two lives in a more or less successful relationship to each other for a certain length of time, as long as it seems agreeable.

-Joseph Campbell,  The Power of Myth

H and I were married in the desert, last week, at the Temple, David Best’s first unnamed temple and ostensibly his last temple altogether. It was beautiful. Sunset. Right after we finished, a dust storm came through.

Lots of our friends were there, but not all of them. One of my sisters.

The night before the wedding, he said, “Just because I can walk this life alone, doesn’t mean I want to.” He turned around, boyish, adventuresome, epic in his big fur coat and mane of hair. “I don’t know what’s coming, but I know we’ll be ready for it.” My desert vows, he told me.

And I said, “On your behalf, I will rise to any challenge.”

In the wake of this beautiful moment I experienced a cacophony of emotions, doubt in myself and discomfort that I was on acid, (although fitting, really, since we were engaged in a similar state of mind) desire to express to him then and there all of the joy and hope and love in my heart, disappointment that the words did not come, desire to be present, anxiety over the fact that my present moment included unwanted doubts.

On Sunday night, we had gone to a Temple Guardian training. During the training, we were taught to hold space for other’s sacred experiences instead of imposing our own. We were taught that being a Guardian does not mean Guarding the Temple, but holding the space for the community to experience their own sacred, holding the intention of the purpose of the space.

That night/early in the morning h helped an extremely distraught man find his camp. He spoke of needing to hold space for himself as an imperfect holder of space. Through my turmoil, as I watched my own doubt and discontent begin to drag me backwards from a beautiful, loving moment towards the fear and void of a bad trip, this message took hold, and I began to hold space for the doubt, for the void itself, which is not an eternity but a limbo, the becoming, the magma, the as-of-yet unresolved conflict.

I realized that in order to be a rock for h the way he is a rock for me, I need to really good and love myself, through and through. And some of that self is unresolved conflict, and some is becoming, and some is doubt, and some is fear. And now I know how to love it al, not by actively projecting affection onto it, but by holding patient, sacred space for its existence.

And we moved through that night together, with some joy and some fear and some purpose and some doubt, and then the next day was a whirl of joy and love.

This man challenges everything I am. Calls out to everything I can be. Wakens in me the vision of the things I might otherwise allow to wither and rot.

A note, though, on substances.

I think it might be useful to see them as scaffolding. They have tangible benefits, not to be overlooked, and there is nothing wrong, per se, with using them. But as with all things there is a tradeoff. Entheogens and such can get us closer to our personal reality and give us more liberty in that realm, but they do it by suppressing some of our connection to consensual reality. It’s not that you shouldn’t be allowed to access the cool benefits that they offer. It’s just that there’s a way to access those states of mind and still retain a sound connection with consensual reality.

And while I wasn’t being punished for taking them via doubt in a moment I would have liked to be filled with uncomplicated joy, punishment is not the issue here. The issue is what I would like to experience. So now I have an even greater imperative towards total sobriety.

In any case. Lots of magma. Lots of renewal. I feel like something of a new person. Our marriage thus far is thriving, thanks also in part to 9energies, a description of nine different ways of translating things from the energetic world to the world of matter. The idea is that knowing which one we are can help us maximize our power and better our relationships. H is a two and I am a four. He is far and away the best at relationships with all of the other energies, because he is the most capable of meeting and connecting with people no matter where they’re at. I have the ability to create a space of complete and active acceptance of others, a “bubble” of safety and love.

They told h that he needs to cuddle me a lot. They told me that I need to be conscious of my bubble, not withdraw it from h when I feel hurt or rejected. Both of these pieces of advice have loaned themselves to a lot more harmony in our relationship. I’m definitely skeptical of the whole 9energies idea, why nine, where did it come from? The lens has proved useful, though. Which is the point of lenses, right? To help you see in a new way.

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