“Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature…into that love which is not possession, but participation…It takes a lifetime to learn another person…When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is often rejected.”
I first heard the story I posted below, The Marriage of the Princess and the Dragon, during Tara Brach’s podcast, Part 1: Vulnerability, Intimacy, and Spiritual Awakening. It has stuck with me since I heard it.
On more than one occasion throughout my life, I have been the Dragon. And on more than one occasion I have been the Bride. With C – and with K – I may have been both.
What caught my attention about the story is the willingness of both the Dragon and the Bride to both face the discomfort and pain of revealing deeper and deeper truths about who they are. To go through the struggle. Their every deeper revealing of truth required effort and intention. I long to move through this pain with C and reveal deeper truths of myself…but she doesn’t hear me.
And I need to be done trying to be heard.
In this story, the revealing of truth happened in one night but in the real world, each dress, each scale, could easily represent a different day, week, month, year, decade, or life event. Nothing happens on the timeline we want. Few things mean what we think they mean in the face of sacrifices.
I told C once that I never wanted to be married again. I was wrong of course.
I realized early on in my relationship with C I knew I never wanted to be with anyone else. I wanted to spend the rest of my life exploring the world with C. Every day. Every moment. Everywhere.
For this reason, I was actively working to remove the scales that were separating me from her and our family. I knew they were there. I knew I carried this armoring and desperately wanted to peel it back.
These were scales I struggle with removing. I needed help and didn’t ask.
I use to refer to her as perfect for me. I believed it was just me that struggled with the vulnerability in our relationship. I thought it was my responsibility to make it right. I know now C had her scales too. We all have scales we use to defend or heart. Sometimes we just don’t realize it. I know now my secrets, my lies, and my behavior are the scales I wear out of fear of vulnerability.
It is the scales I wear to defend my heart from vulnerability.
I want to shed those scales but it isn’t an issue of simply willpower. We can’t just say we are going to drop our strategies for looking good and avoiding vulnerability. All we can do is deepen our attention to where our hiding behind armor.
“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage,” wrote Rainer Maria Rilke in his Letters to a Young Poet. “Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”
I long for the chance to show C what is under the armor. I long for the chance to explore what C and I could create together…but that life is dead.
The danger is re-armoring myself to move away from my vulnerability. I have a choice, I can lean into the experience and use it to learn how to be more vulnerable, open and real; to strip myself of the scales that brought me to this place of desolation. The other option is to re-armor myself and return to what brought me here; to repeat the cycle.
The right Partner will walk through it with me regardless because they have faith in the story and they have faith in me. More importantly, they have faith in Us.
C helped make me a better man. I’m grateful to her for that experience. I don’t want to lose that gift. I want the pain to have meaning.
I cannot survive this again.
I don’t ever want to ever go back to being the same dragon.
There is only forward. Everything else is simply a story.