May 25, 2012

{Inner Missing} Part Two

[This is an excerpt—shared here in two parts—from my upcoming book, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride and is extracted from a chapter titled "Longing To Be Loved."]

Holistic counselor Simone Simmons, assisting Diana build a stronger, healthy foundation in the last years of her life, confronted her on many fronts. But one issue that came up for the princess was facing her affections for men that weren’t based in reality; when life with them was not feasible for many reasons, but certainly not for the mother of the heir to the throne of Britain. “‘Why don’t you let me dream a little bit more,’” the princess asked her friend about what was possibly her most poignant love affair. But Simmons felt that Diana’s “most womanly emotions were not quite engaged.”

How many times have you hidden your heart’s true desire behind some daydream that you couldn’t justify, nor could you let go? That empty longing and yearning can send us looking for love in all the wrong places. (Isn’t that a popular country-western song from the 80s? They are usually the best for wringing out every bit of that break-your-heart yearning and pining—and sometimes speaking deep truths as well!) When someone brings a sense of “something missing” into their adult life from their childhood, they tend to lose themselves in the pursuit of love. (Or in the pursuit of what they think will fill the hole in their heart—one illusion or another.)

For Diana, the illusion continued. “Diana’s relationships survived only as long as the fantasy could be sustained,” Tina Brown suggested. Or as biographer Sally Bidell Smith expressed: “She often started up relationships to fill the vacuum.” Yet when it came to repairing any damage caused—in her marriage as well as relationships with lovers, family or friends—it was “not accompanied by an adequate capacity to stand still and be self-reflective,” explained Ian Alister in his essay, “Your Cheating Heart.”

In her biography written after the princess’ death, Diana: The Secret Years, Simmons said she advised the princess many times about the men at the center of her secret affairs that “she had been misreading signals” or “she was asking for trouble” or “there is no point in pursuing a happily married man.” Simmons was courageous enough to talk straight to Diana when others weren’t—or they simply weren’t around anymore to do so. At the time of her separation from Charles, Simmons felt Diana “wasn’t ready to cope” with a deep emotional involvement. She explained: “Even though I know that all human beings have to learn by their mistakes, I couldn’t let her continue on this path of self-destruction without a few more sharp words of warning.”  Astrologer Steffan Vanel put it this way: “Diana had a lot of karmic lessons and placements that relate to the specific experience of personal relationship. More than the average person.”

When we don’t look within for our “self-acceptance and self-reliance” and look outside of ourselves to relationships to shore us up as Simmons wrote that Diana was wont to do, we can be left even more off balance. “When romantic involvements left Diana rejected and stranded, her self-esteem—never very high to begin with—dropped…and she became almost wholly dependent on the bolstering, if often fickle or false, affections of sycophants and public opinion.”

Instead of looking for love “out there,” transformational and spiritual teachers tell us to go deep into our heart until we feel self-love there, within us. (And for some of us, this can be a journey that becomes a lifelong practice.) According to relationship counselor Kathy Freston in her book, The One: Discovering the Secrets of Soul Mate Love: “We all too often look to our partnerships to define us and focus on them in hopes of filling the empty hole inside us, which can only be filled by a connectedness with Spirit.” Or as the wonderfully courageous Helen Keller shared about her journey of self-discovery: “What I am looking for is not out there, it is in me.”

In my own life, when I reconnected with my inner spirit—finding a way to enter the quiet hub of my heart and simply be in the pleasure of that stillness—my “outer” world then seemed to fall more peacefully into place. Even though circumstances were far from “perfect” in relationships (I was at times self-conscious, not letting go of attachments, nor willing to deeply connect; or I broke promises to myself, even sacred ones; or my fears led to less than ideal responses and actions), there was an overriding serenity when I found my heart center again. From that quieter place within, I acknowledged my “imperfections,” forgave myself and reconnected with the abundance all around me. Remembering that “love is, above all, the gift of oneself,” as Jean Anouilh shared. ~

[This is an excerpt—shared here in two parts—from my upcoming book, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride and is extracted from a chapter titled "Longing To Be Loved." Another book excerpt will be posted soon. (Scroll down, or click on "Inner Missing" in the labels group below, to read Part One.)]

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