I am not sure where I found my strong sense of identity. I think it arrived with me at birth. I was never the timid, frightened child. It was me, after all, that held my fists up to ward off the person bullying my older brother, all tiny me, undaunted.
You would often find me in trees, high up, alone, observing the world and living in the wonder of my imagination.
Solitude has always been my home.
In my early adult life I, like most of my contemporaries, believed that one must be in a committed relationship and marry. It seemed to be what people did. I remember not long after my 3 year marriage ended sitting home one Saturday night, alone. Crying in my self pity. How could I be home along, again, on a Saturday night?
Now, in my mid fifties, it still surprises me that I have spent the overwhelming majority of my adult life as a single person. It was never the plan.
Approaching my ninth year as both single and celibate, I am now considering what occurs to me as humanities addiction to coupling. (Not to say humanities addiction to sex, something I have never been addicted to, as in almost all cases, I have found sex vastly overrated. I get more pleasure from an authentic Pizza and good glass of red – preferably in the company of great conversation with friends.)
The predominant story of our culture is that of being in relationship…intimate, sexual relationship. Long term single status is considered unusual. Yet all around me I see relationships of suffering. I see people lurch from one partner to the next. I see the massive amounts of time, energy and spiritual effort that gets consumed by relational dysfunction. And in this observation I feel liberated. All that spaciousness I have in being single. The increased capacity I have to focus on work I love. The lack of black holes I have to fall into, day after day after day. I observe this in others and feel exhausted for them.
Sure, that first blush of love is sweet, addictive and entirely insane. Anyone who as been there knows it. Natures way of ensuring species survival is to render us temporarily insane. In this state we make decisions that are so irrational, so wild, so ungrounded. It is both delicious and ridiculous.
Do I want that? Do I want to lose my mind in love? To have my whole Universe begin and end with the singular focus of another human? To fall, helpless, down the rabbit hole?
No. I do not.
I have the most amazing relationships. I have friends around the world I love to the moon and back. I have conversations that turn me on so completely I cannot imagine anything more potent. Most of all, I am occupied with activities that I am passionate about. My day is filled with love, human connection, movement, communion, solitude, excitement, adventure…filled…
There is no place I feel empty at all. No place I feel lacking. Nothing is missing.
If tomorrow I found myself in an intimate sexual relationship would I welcome this? Sure. But I am neither seeking it or feeling its absence. I like being with me. I like who I am. I like living totally in the world at the gritty edge…all in…nothing left out. I like the amazing capacity I have to be focused, to not be distracted.
Singleness is something I deeply recommend to all humans. If you cannot find peace, spaciousness, self love and self appreciation in your singleness, then I cannot begin to imagine how you could find it in an intimate relationship. This is, by the way, not a weekend workshop. To really find your capacity to love yourself solo takes time. Months, if not years.
If you are unable to stand alone, naked, raw, real…to hold that stand for a very long time and in doing so fall completely in love with you, not in the way of the narcissist, rather in the way of humble certainty, then I find it hard to imagine how you could stand in your sovereignty with another human as an intimate partner.
And it is sovereignty, my own certainty of who I am and why I am here, that has always been my guide. To be both sovereign and one with all. Not merged, but whole as self and as a part.
A world with more women who stand fully in their sovereignty is the kind of world I want. A world with men who are able to stand in their sovereignty without continuing to fall into addiction of sex and coupling…this is a world I want.
Not this reflexive place where the reptilian brain rules and sex and intimacy and love are blurred into a tangled heap.
Even better, where a woman and a man (or a man/man, woman/woman, depending on your preference), both in their fullest sovereign expression stand beside each other, not out of empty need, not merged, rather with clear eyed choice that today is today, and on this day they choose each other, knowing that tomorrow is so completely uncertain that to promise anything but today is a lie.
To partner with another sovereign being as a sovereign being is rare. It is, to me, the ground of all relationships, be that intimate, business, or friends. It is also our longing.
My sovereign relationships with both myself and my friends are the currency for which I measure the success of my life. And successful I am indeed.