Dreams of Kindness, Love and Grace by Carolyn Berry
"...gift was to impart to me the Truth that it was my belief I was a victim that left me powerless."
The hero’s father lies dying on the cave floor, blood oozing from a gunshot wound to the abdomen. As Indy scans the bewildering array of goblets before him, the Nazi commander confidently swipes the most ornate vessel high into the air. Dipping it into the magical waters, he drinks deeply. What begins as a toothy smile of victory dissolves to a ghastly grimace. Wild winds and piercing shrieks fill the room as flesh melts from bone, until all that remains is a mound of fine dust. The camera pans to porcelain skin and the ageless blue eyes of an ancient knight who kept lonely vigil for centuries, awaiting this – the ultimate moment of Truth. He calmly utters three simple words: “He chose … unwisely.”
You may recognize this as a scene from “Indiana Jones and the Final Crusade.” For me, it symbolizes my experience with committed relationship. More than once I have felt tremendous solidarity with that miserable Nazi soldier. Holding steadfast to the purity of my beliefs, errant as they may have been. Certain of my mission. Clear that I’d found … (*gasp*) … “The One.” Ultimately rendered a pile of smoking ash.
I was born in the heat of America’s Baby Boom, a waif weaned on our cultural myth of “The One.” The reality of my life has presented me with other Truths. That life is a series of hello’s and good-bye’s. That we encounter many “intended” souls on the path. That stuffing each deep soul-connection into the binding box of “The One” is sure to wound … not just us … but others.
I’ve been struck with the frequency that I hear the term “Soul Mate” of late. It fits nicely in sentences that would have formerly been constructed around “The One.” Our culture seems to be innocently distorting a pure Karmic theology to fit our magical myth. Consider this: perhaps we don’t have one “Soul Mate” to find and to claim, but instead … a number of souls who we are meant to encounter, with whom we share deep affinity, in whose eyes we see timeless recognition … “Ah—there you are!”
At age 21, I gave my virginity to my first intended, Mark. I was clueless how to be certain he was truly “The One”… but he was a muscular blue-eyed blonde surfer and I believed we would have beautiful children. Four years after we met I sank to the realization that my physical survival hinged on breaking away. A painful window of inner examination followed—who was I, what did I want, what did I believe? Virtually all I knew of myself had been given me by someone else. It was time for Carolyn to be born.
Bau entered my life. Raised in the Bay Area, he seemed wild and progressive. He sported a pierced ear and wore Berkenstocks. I was a wide-eyed child in an adult body and he the most excellent playmate. He endowed me with a love of new intriguing foods and a passion for eclectic styles of music. After 20 years, we are still connected.
John entered my life as my marriage to the father of my children was gasping in death. Ten years my senior, John was a sage amidst my victim tantrums about love and men. I’d been undone, done to, done in. John’s gift was to impart to me the Truth that it was my belief I was a victim that left me powerless. More than that, he taught me that love isn’t always about coupling. After 15 years, we are still connected.
In Karmic traditions a soul mate is someone we have known in a previous lifetime: our current friends and lovers were actually companions from the past. Karma is interwoven with our relationships and experiences. I am realizing that we encounter many soul mates in our lifetimes … and that many are never meant to be our mates or lovers. A soul mate brings us a sense of greater meaning and purpose. Our soul evolves through loving them.
One thing is certain—love is inextinguishable. Regardless of the heartbreaks we suffer, love can manifest itself in every unique and wonderful possibility. Finding a connection with another is not difficult if our hearts are open. It’s the “knowing” that’s hard. We all seek love by joining with others, as friends or as lovers, by offering our individuality and our uniqueness, by finding it lovingly mirrored back to us in the eyes of another.
Carolyn Berry serves professionally as a public policy dispute resolution coordinator throughout Oregon. She is also a writer, a social/environmental activist, and public speaker. Contact Carolyn at [email protected]