When I had my first major awakening experience at the end of 2012, I was nowhere near able to have a healthy relationship. I just began the realization that the almost decades of sexual trauma that I had experienced in my early teens to late 20’s were not only stored in my body, but were also a product of my own habitual mental patterns. My lack of self-love, awareness of boundaries, and understanding of consent prevented me in having any ability to honor and protect myself and for a really long time, I made myself out to be a victim of these patterns. Eventually, as the experiences of these traumas released from me somatically, I noticed how my mind still found it inconceivable to be in a healthy, loving, relationship, because I had only experienced a great deal of the opposite. Yet, as inconceivable as I found it, I knew I truly wanted one, and I still believed in love. I knew that I had a lot of work to do on myself, and there were multiple things I had to clear out of the way before I would even be close to ready to be in the type of relationship I wanted to be in — one where I felt connected emotionally, physically, and spiritually to my partner and could join my life together with them for a greater purpose.
I couldn’t even have recognized this type of relationship until I developed that type of relationship with myself, first.
I’ll list the steps I took to get to this space, and this is in no way the same path for everyone but I feel that for many it will be similar and hope it will help someone who is at one of these stages. I realized today that not even a year ago I still didn’t think it was possible to have a type of relationship with the depth of love I experience now with my partner Bernhard. Eventually, after years of yoga, meditation, plant medicine ceremonies, and time spent alone in the forest – I felt I was ready. I felt vulnerable again. I didn’t even have to believe that something was possible in order for it to happen, I just had to clear space within my heart, be present and open to receive whatever did.
1. I had to develop a healthy relationship with my body first.
In my first year I ran, swam, did yoga, and experimented with different diets. I started to treat my body as a temple. I was coming off some extremely intense prescription medications and learning how to be a normal person who can feel their emotions and their body, again. I was also recovering from an eating disorder, so I had to learn how to love and accept myself at different weights. I learned how to give my body foods that nourished it and avoided eating anything that had chemicals that fogged and dulled my senses (using food as a drug), give it the exercise and movement it needs, and developed a body/mind practice (yoga) which made me capable of releasing the stored up stress and trauma in my body. I was very hard on myself at first, wanting to “detox” religiously, and I had to learn how to be more gentle with myself as well. This was the primary focus of at least the first 2 years of my journey and is a continuous daily practice that continues to unfold and change to this day.
2. I had to release all the traumas stored in my body related to past relationships and I also had to find forgiveness for those who I had relationships with, in the past, who hurt me.
I remember the first time I cried in a yoga pose, it was in pigeon pose (a hip opener) that releases the psoas, often referred to by yogis as “the seat of the soul”. I cried for the last relationship I had that ended, with someone who I foolishly believed I was “meant to be with” but which ended very dramatically, violently, and deeply triggered one of my biggest core wounds: abandonment. The situation was so traumatic that I experienced high anxiety afterward and symptoms of PTSD, and I feel like this created a disconnect that didn’t allow me to actually FEEL the emotions I was experiencing. The break-up was so intense for me that I feel like a part of my soul exited during the experience, and when I returned to my body I felt everything again: the grief, the sadness, the fear, and also the love I felt and then felt I had lost with this person. I also had to find forgiveness for myself for the ways in which I had hurt them, not guilting and shaming myself for the experience or having had done anything wrong — and that was even harder. Even further than that forgiveness was that I had to find the greater lesson in this relationship: this traumatic circumstance was actually the ground I had to reach before I could rebuild my life, the darkest part the night could reach before dawn. I believe it was a soul contract I made, not between me and him, but between me and God – as it was only in my moment of bleakest desperation that I learned how to pray and ask for help from the Divine forces. And they came.
At the end of the day, I would see that there was no one to forgive in the first place as this relationship matched me at the level of my wounds at the time and showed me what I needed to see. Only when going through this transmutation of forgiveness and seeing the “bigger picture” behind these traumas, could I release all the feelings I had; good and bad, towards this partner and any others who I had hurt and been hurt by along the way.
3. I had to find forgiveness for the toxic masculine — in general.
I realized that what happened in my most toxic relationships was like a micro-perspective of what’s happening to the earth on a macro level. Men used and exploited me and didn’t see me as a living, breathing human being — they saw me as an object. Similarly, this is how the toxic masculine treats the planet; they wish to dominate, exploit, rape the forests and land, all for resources and personal capital gain. They don’t care about fostering the relationship, giving back, or have the capacity to see that everything which is alive we are in a sacred relationship with, regardless of if we choose to see and feel it or not.
I held many beliefs (mostly unconsciously) about what men were like, that made me incapable of recognizing a kind and compassionate one if I saw one.
I did several 40-day meditations and prayers that focused on forgiveness; forgiveness for those who hurt others, forgiveness for the way I hurt myself, forgiveness for what is happening to the planet right now. It did not help me to seek to blame or find an enemy to target for this destruction. I needed to feel a deep sense of forgiveness to open up to a deeper feeling of compassion for everyone who must experience this pain. I asked the Divine multiple times to help me reveal more unconscious beliefs I had about men and relationships, and each time I did I just shown more I needed to heal within myself.
I realized that my beliefs about “men” were actually like a cloudy filter over my perception, and this filter was what was still attracting to me those who weren’t emotionally available, weren’t ready to cherish my heart, and weren’t ready to be in a relationship. I couldn’t see people for who they were and often projected qualities into people that they didn’t have, either over-idealizing them or not giving them a fair chance. Eventually, I realized that men and women are all just humans, with varying levels of consciousness and awareness, and I had to be discerning on who I chose to surround myself with in general, but most importantly is I would have to let go of any preconceived assumptions about who a person was before I actually gave them a chance to show me who they were themselves.
My first and most powerful ayahuasca ceremony I cried tears of compassion for what is happening on Planet Earth right now and realized that I am just one single experiencer in this traumatic global experience, and must do what I can to not perpetuate this culture of wanting to blame it on something outside of me. In order to find a healthy relationship, I had to develop a healthy relationship to the masculine and feminine element within myself, uniting them together, and then witness how that relationship reflected upon my relationship to the planet and to everyone and everything around me.
4. I had to learn to be alone. This was EXTREMELY painful at times.
I spent a lot of years during my trauma as an introvert; I would close myself off from the world and then escape from myself even further by using substances to numb and distract me. But this time, I had to learn to just be with myself, as I was, no matter how it felt. This was painful most of the time, especially in the beginning, but it was also incredibly healing. I ended up spending a lot of time by myself in the forest, after work, and I loved it so much that I left the dense metropolitan city I lived in and moved to an island off the West Coast of Canada. I learned to be my own best friend and felt like a child again, riding my bike, going for hikes, and spending many hours in the forest communing with nature and purifying my being.
Then, there came the hard periods, like the time I ended up in an uninsulated cabin in the forest by myself in the freezing cold winter and felt a visceral whole-body pain of deep loneliness, which I had to just BE with as the cold wind howled back at me. This feeling of deep pain, of longing for connection, revisited me during many nights alone throughout the years. Often, I would reunite with nature after these experiences, and felt alive, felt, and seen by the consciousness which is in all things. The deeper I went inwards, the Higher I climbed afterwards.
5. I had to find my purpose and deeper meaning in life.
It’s so easy for women (and men too!) to still define themselves by their relationships due to embedded ancestral patterns where one had to rely on the other for elements of their survival. I still do think that we NEED each other to grow and to bring this planet back into harmony, but it must be more of an “interdependent” relationship not a codependent one, as at the same time we need to stand on our own as individuals. We cannot “lose” ourselves in another being at the cost of not knowing ourselves. I had to realize that my life had a bigger purpose completely outside of any relationship I would ever have, and I had to draw inspiration to be of service to the world using my gifts and talents and commit to my own individual purpose, and not use something or someone “outside of me” as a distraction from it.
6. I had to develop a deep relationship with God first, and understand this relationship would be the most important relationship in my life.
I really committed myself to my sadhana (daily spiritual practice). At first I was doing yoga and meditation because it made me “feel good”, but later I realized it isn’t about me just “feeling good”, it is about my own spiritual transformation. I committed myself to do what I could to erase my embedded mental patterns, free my mind of the endless parade of useless thoughts, and experience pure embodied heart centred presence; and for my dedication to my practice, I was rewarded with incredible experiences of divine love which felt like it was redeeming me from all the illusory suffering I was experiencing. Often these moments of redemptive love came to me after going through these periods of extreme loneliness and suffering, like the sun comes after the rain. It was in these moments that I realized that we are never alone, even though it may seem like it at times, and there is always this Divine love inside of us waiting to be tapped into and also, a Divine protection watching over us, at every step of our journeys.
7. I had to really get clear on what type of relationship I wanted and clear out any leftover patterns from my childhood and family dynamic that got in the way of me BEING the type of person who could be in that relationship.
Whenever I met someone who I felt potentially interested in and then realized they had qualities in which I didn’t exactly match with — I would look for that trait in me to make sure I wasn’t shadow projecting. I also realized that the people I met were mostly matching me at whatever level I was at, so in order to change the type of people I met – I had to further develop my own state of being.
I also noticed that by seeing what I didn’t want I got a clearer picture on what I did want and started to compile a detailed description of what kind of relationship I wanted. I realized that in order to meet people who had these qualities I desired — I had to develop more of these qualities within myself. If I wanted to meet someone who was emotionally available, I had to become more emotionally available. If I wanted to meet someone who would be able to appreciate me, I had to learn how to appreciate myself — and to be able to appreciate others as well. Any trait in which I wanted in a partner, I also felt I had to develop in myself, otherwise, I would still be expecting someone outside of me to “give” me something that I felt I was “missing”.
8. I had to completely surrender and let go of the chance of having that relationship.
Surrendering is much different than defeat. I had to accept that this life is not my own, and some of the biggest plans for me in this universe are divinely arranged and beyond what I can willfully create. This trying, this grasping, this clinging to the idea of this relationship, was also becoming the thing that made it not possible for me to have the relationship I wanted. How could I be with the love I wanted if at any point in time, after I found them, I would react in fear of abandonment at the slight sign that they were or would one day “go away”? Unless I learned to let go of this habitual pattern leftover from past relationships that didn’t work out, I would never be able to love another with the freedom that I feel a true love relationship needs in order to blossom. I also had to fully accept that maybe the type of relationship I wanted wasn’t destined for me in this lifetime, like really truly accept this in the core of my being. This certainly wasn’t easy but was only made possible because the relationship that I developed with God was so fulfilling to my soul that I began to realize that anything else I experienced in life is just a bonus.
The reason I wrote this is because whenever I go on social media I see an incredibly toxic relationship culture. People don’t know how to connect, the Tinder generation wants fast and easy relationships, and when the relationship doesn’t work out (because it wasn’t founded on anything solid and real, to begin with), they resort to blaming the other and keeping themselves perpetually stuck. The consumerist world in which we live thrives on us exploiting ourselves, and this attitude of exploitation is also destroying the planet we reside on. The forces that want to keep humanity from accessing their true potential thrives on creating pain, drama, and a feeling of separation. Thus, a culture of toxic relationships is bred. When we can divide the people from uniting with one another, we can conquer them.
I think its also important to note that not everyone has the soul lesson to be in a romantic partnership and that may be perfect for them too. Also, even if it is ‘meant to happen’; none of us knows or gets to choose the timing WHEN it will occur.
The most important thing is to develop a relationship with yourself, develop a relationship with God, develop a relationship to your purpose and to your community. This is what will resolve that feeling of aloneness and separation.
And after you’ve found this, ask your soul if it really feels it wants a partner, to help you learn and grow, on top of all that. Be really honest with yourself. And if the answers is still yes; ask yourself what it would look like, really imagine yourself being in it, and then ask the divine forces to assist you in finding it. Then, let go. And be patient ❤️