He told me one day on the phone, reminding me of why we were enduring nearly a year of being apart and still had this deep yearning to be together. I asked him to explain what he meant.
“We are whole beings.” he said, “You are one and I am one.”
Oh yeah, I remember.
We want to be together because we are whole. He is not my other half. I do not complete him. 1 + 1 does not equal 2 for us. We are not merging. We are 11. 1 and 1 together. Separate individuals with great love for themselves, the Earth, all beings, and one another. We have simply found that the container of this relationship is extremely fertile soil for us to plant ourselves in so that we may grow in ways we couldn’t have before. It’s a massive permission slip to be myself. The words UNCONDITIONAL LOVE written at the top, I’d imagine. And that self can be whoeverthefuck she wants to be. We are still free to be us, to be whole, we still have our own responsibilities of healing and inner work. Now, I just have someone to be a consistent reflection of my highest self, someone who sees all the love I hold within, even when it gets cloudy for me.
Deciding to get married was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever made. *queue gasps* That’s right, I said it. I was never someone who had “planned” to get married. I’d never had a wedding Pinterest board, I’d never considered who would be my bridesmaids, I’d never even thought about a ring, dress, venue… any of it. Literally had never crossed my mind.
I was too busy living my life to think about that stuff. Traveling, exploring, working, moving… getting married was the last thing on my mind. Even when I met Juan, I said no to being his girlfriend at first. I knew I was only staying on the island for the length of my study abroad and then we’d never see each other again. He knew that too and reminded me that it didn't matter. We both could have as much fun as we possibly could those three months without worrying for one second about what the future would hold. He was right, of course. So we did! We fell in love with ease and promised that we would stay present through it all. And I hope this is something that you know already but... the Universe works in mysterious ways. That mystery landed me a job I didn’t even apply for that allowed me to stay on the island for an entire year following those three months. You should’ve seen the look on his face when I told him that news a day before we were supposed to say goodbye “forever.”
Fast forward a year of actually living together under the same roof (I had to sneak him into my host parents house when I was a student… shhhhh…) and we found ourselves in the very same position we did the year before… on the brink of saying goodbye… forever? But this time it didn’t feel quite as right, it didn’t feel like saying goodbye was the move we wanted to make, neither of us wanted to live an ocean and two continents away from each other. I didn’t want to continue working my job as an English teacher, which was the only thing legally keeping me on the islands. My contract was up, which meant I had to leave. We both knew Juan would have a hard time getting any visa for the U.S. and foreigners can’t live in the Galapagos unless employed for specific jobs or if they’re married to a local. So, Juan asked me to marry him and
I said no.
Like I said, I literally did not ever think that was something I wanted! But now, I had to wonder... wait a minute, can we actually create a life together? Is this what we both really want? We sat down over the course of some time and talked it through.
And guess what?
I changed my mind. Because we are humans and we are allowed to do that once we gain better understanding about something. It shocked pretty much every single person I told. Except my grandpa, who bet that I'd be the first of the grandkids to get married because “it’s always the last one you’d think that gets married first” (thanks Poppy, love you). It's a funny thing when you break peoples expectations they set on you, when you break through the box that other people put you in, they start to project. They start to question. They start to show you how afraid and uncomfortable you just made them by basically blowing their f*cking minds.
“I never thought your free spirit could get tied down!”
“There’s other ways you guys can see each other besides getting married.”
“You realize this is forever, right?”
“Are you just going to go live in the islands and never come home?”
“Are you sure?”
All fears. All fears I thought I had to carry. Until I realized they aren’t mine.
It took awhile, really almost the entire year of 2020, to work through my own fears surrounding commitment let alone anyone else’s. Life can get murky when people project their fears onto you and you don’t know how to draw boundaries just yet. A big growing point for me this year was to realize I don’t have to deal with anyone else’s fears but my own. Recognizing what was mine to sort through and what wasn’t, and kicking what wasn’t mine right out the door was a huge weight off my shoulders.
Next was realizing that this commitment Juan and I decided to make was the deepest form of surrender I had ever been presented with before. Could I let someone love ALL of me? Could I love ALL of someone else? Ask anyone about marriage and the first thing they’ll tell you is that it isn’t easy. Whether or not it’s worth it depends on who you ask. I can confidently say that I take the time and effort it takes to love myself, but could I open myself up enough to let someone else do the same? It was a matter of safety. Could I feel safe to bring all of myself, the good, bad, ugly, and beautiful to the table and still be held with grace and patience in whatever form I show up in? Could I find it within myself to expand my love beyond myself and love him in all of his forms?
Sure, I am a free spirit but, aren’t we all? Don’t we all just want to be loved in all of our forms? Don’t we all just want to have the space and freedom to be ourselves and be loved for exactly who we are? Don’t we all want to be able to show up to life knowing that we are supported, loved, and cared for no matter how we look or feel that day? Don’t we all want love to set us free?
I think the difference between the people who find that kind of love and the ones who don’t boils down to how much we are willing to open, surrender, and let go of any identity we try to hide ourselves behind. It depends on how much we’re willing to look at our wounds so they can be healed instead of fester, how much we’re willing to grow, how deep we’re willing to go for the sake of experiencing everything this life has to offer us.
I said yes to marrying a man and then spent ten months apart from him over the course of a pandemic before we got married. I said yes and I was terrified. We spent such a long time apart, of course there were days when I wasn’t sure. There were days when I really did not know what I wanted. But after I sat with my uncertainty, my fears, and myself for that long, something remarkable began to happen. My heart started to speak louder than my mind.
My heart began to tell me that I knew exactly what I needed to do. My heart began to tell me that any decision I made was the right decision. My heart reminded me that in order to transform we must go deep within ourselves and change from the inside out. She whispered that these dark days were simply nutritious soil covering a seed that would eventually bloom with easeful divine timing. She reminded me day after day that I am fearlessly committed to the path of transformation.
And so transform I did. It is through the darkness, through the fears, through the shadows that bring us to the light. We need to hold space and love them all in order to be whole. There were many fears that came up for me, but I’m grateful for them showing their faces because now I am able to see them for what they are. Just fears. Anytime I tuned into my heart, anytime I got quiet enough to hear the calls of my intuition, everything became clear. I had reached a point in growth that my spirit knew, if I wanted to grow in ways beyond what I have before, I was going to have to do something I had never done before. After that, the decision, and everything after felt easy.
“The agony is in the indecision."
~Blu Cosmic Eagle
Once we make a choice, life follows right behind us creating something we never could have imagined with all that scattered energy floating around. There are no wrong decisions. Only opportunities for learning. Whatever door we choose to walk through, we will be supported.
The night before Juan and I got married, we had ourselves our own version of a ceremony. We wrote down all our fears about anything, shared them with each other, then burned them. Returned them to Mother Earth so their energy could be reborn into something new because they were not serving us any longer. Then we sat down together and covered an entire sketchbook page full of our intentions, what we want to cultivate, what is most important to us, and so on. We took turns writing and talking things out. The entire page became filled with different colored inks imprinting our deepest promises and vows to one another and to this Life. Once the white space on the page began to run out, we looked at each other, realizing the gravity of what we were doing. Tears brimmed our eyes. The last thing we wrote was Take care of what we love.
And drawn in big blue bubble letters right smack in the middle of that sketchbook page surrounded by our scribbles of devotion?
The number 11, of course.