Sometimes when I leave the loft, I grab a book that I own, but perhaps have never read, or read years ago, or read only a few chapters of. Today I picked up Joseph Campbell’s book “The Way of Myth” to read on the subway on my way uptown. The first chapter of the book talks about how many people come to the later years of their lives and wonder what it was all about? Was it worth the effort to acquire things, or power, or whatever, what was the point of all those years of being driven? His description: “You’ve got to the top of the ladder and found it’s against the wrong wall.”
And then he goes on to talk about marriage and that really hit home for me:
“We see it in marriage, for instance. There are two stages. First is what I call the biological stage, which has to do with producing and raising children, and the other is what I would call the alchemical marriage – realizing the spiritual identity that the two are somehow one person. There comes a moment in marriage, if you live long enough and stay with the game long enough, when you realize that a spiritual marriage has happened, that the two individuals are two aspects of one identity. It is the image of the androdyne, the male/female being. That is the image of what is realized through a marriage. In that mythological reference the two are one. But how many people do you know who, after the children have left the nest, get divorced because they haven’t engaged in the second, spiritual marriage. We’re not given those lessons now in our educational systems, and we don’t know how to handle these situations when they arise. It’s a shame.”
This seemed like the perfect message for me to read today. Not that so many couples don’t get divorced long before the kids leave home (we all know many who have), but that I see couples who have a really deep connection and their love and support for each other is so evident, but not in the public display of affection way – just that they are – a couple. They’ve grown together, and It’s not about sex, or attaining any kind of lifestyle, or any of those things. I find it inspiring when I am with those couples.
But I love that in these very dark days of this past year, despite the sadness, and the losses. and the tears, I have managed to make my way through without antidepressants, without drinking, without spending unnecessary money, without abusing myself in any way. And that is very simply because of my incredible support system of the greatest friends and old boyfriends who ever lived, my (imperfect) meditation, and the spiritual practice I work on daily.
And the good news is that now Steve and I are both off the ladder and moving on to other buildings.