Are you ready for love? Lola and Nathan share how they deal with life and relationship when the struggle feels real.
This “talk” is electronically transcribed. Please excuse any errors or omissions.
Lola: There’s a lyric in there, it’s something like, to call forward a man that’s interested in the spirit world, and thinks with his heart. And I just kept affirming that that could be possible, that I could be in relationship with someone that was interested in another dimension of reality. And that was willing to move beyond just their cerebral capacity, into something greater.
Lola: And I held that, and I feel like this guy’s been a demonstration of that. So I’m really grateful for his willingness to pick up the mic and join me today. This is Nathan Wright, one of your licensed spiritual practitioners.
Nathan: So this last week, the struggle felt real. I’m an entrepreneur, I have a landscape business here in Chicago, and the winters here seem long. And I have a commitment to my family to provide a certain amount of income every month, and this past week, I couldn’t do that.
Nathan: And it appeared to me that there was just not enough money. Lola was in Mexico on a yoga retreat.
Lola: Happy as a clam over here.
Nathan: And I was at home, in denial. I was spinning. I was trying to figure out, okay, how can I be good on my word?
Nathan: This week was our son’s seventh birthday. It was our 12th anniversary, and on top of all of that I was feeling the pressure of Valentine’s Day. And I was not feeling the love.
Lola: So what is this thing called love? Because this week has been filled with ideas of what love is, and I’d like to take us back to perhaps a more deeply rooted context for what love is.
Lola: In the Science of Mind glossary it says, “Love is the self-givingness of the spirit to know itself through creation. It is a cosmic force whose sweep is irresistible.
Lola: But we weren’t feeling it. So where in the world was it? Our intention for our 12 years of being in relationship has been to be deeply curious about our realm of beliefs. Because what we affirm, what we know, what we practice, is that our world of beliefs creates the world in which we live in. And the relationships that we are each in are the perfect mirror for what you believe.
Lola: If you ever wonder what you believe to be true, just take a little pulse on the relationships that are showing up in your space. It’s a great indication of what you’re rooted in.
Lola: Our intention for today is to invite you into shared practice, to see relationships as rich, rich soil for learning. And I’m not talking about intimate relationship. I’m talking about any relationship. It just happens to be that we have a kind of intimate relationship. But the truth is that every relationship is the opportunity to rub up against one another, and see, how deeply do I believe in this cosmic force whose sweep is irresistible? How quickly do I say, “Not here. Love can’t be found here.”
Lola: Our theme for the month of February is The Struggle Is Not Real. And what we have been exploring is that, and yet, it can still be experienced. So how do we reconcile all of that?
Nathan: So what was frustrating for me is that, when I met Lola 12 years ago, I actually had designed my life such that it was a spiritual practice. I was very disciplined with my meditation. I’d quit my job, and I had all the money that I needed just to live a very modest life.
Lola: Just to be clear. And really, at the time, there was no real intention of going back to work. And you had done just that. Created a place and space where you could live a sort of monk-like lifestyle.
Nathan: That is true. And occasionally I would have different things come up that I would, different blocks that I could just systematically disassemble, because I had great tools that I was learning here.
Nathan: And then, everything was just manifesting quite easily for me. One example that I have to share is that basically, something I was doing is I was meditating every night, I was using affirmative prayer for whatever’s coming up in my meditation, I was speaking a prayer for that thing.
Nathan: And one night it became clear to me that I was calling in a romantic partner. This was a surprise to me because I had no intention of being in a relationship. But I just did my practice, and after I’d spoken my prayer for myself, that presence felt real, it felt like it was here.
Lola: Just to give a little context, Denise said this when she opened, but the kind of prayer that we talk about here is not some kind of Santa Claus wishlist. It’s really listening deeply to something that is stirring in, through and as each of us, and then aligning ourself with the vibratory match of said thing.
Lola: And then availing ourselves to its revelation in our life. So something stirred in him and said, “Ah, it sounds like a relationship is up.”
Lola: Meanwhile, I’m over like, “I want a relationship!” We’re in different spaces.
Nathan: So two weeks later, after having that awareness, I came to [Bodi 00:06:43]. It turns out that Lola was seated two seats down from me.
Nathan: And we didn’t know each other at all. But something within me at that moment knew that she was the one. And so basically, not long after that, I mean within minutes, I walked up to her, and I said, “I think we’re going to be married.”
Nathan: And then, 12 weeks after that, we had closed on a house, we were living together, and we were actually married.
Lola: Yeah. A cosmic force.
Nathan: So, life, in that moment, manifestation was quick, it was easy, and that’s when things changed.
Lola: There’s this great Rumi excerpt, and it says, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
Lola: It is one thing to call in, and it’s one thing to say, “I want love, I want love, I’m ready for it, I’m ready for it, I’m ready for it.”
Lola: And then you got it. And everything unlike it shows up. All of a sudden, the exaggerated ego construct, your identity, starts to go into self-preservation. And it starts to construct itself, because to be open, to be available, to be vulnerable, to be accessible, can feel really scary.
Lola: And so, for us, the experience has been that we really notice our work in relationship to one another. And that’s not always easy, it’s not always comfortable. As Nathan was having his struggle this past week, and I was on a yoga retreat, I was also having my own mental thing going on. Because this has started to develop and unravel the night before I left.
Lola: And as you know, because I reveal this about myself quite regularly, my automatic response to struggle is, I’m out. And this really was like … I know I said I wasn’t going to say this, but 48 hours ago this talk was not possible. And it was really like, “We cannot do this. We’re so [inaudible 00:09:45].” And the gift of practice is you rise up out of the miredness. If we stayed in the state of consciousness in which we found ourselves 48 or 72 hours ago, we couldn’t be here.
Lola: But then the inquiry becomes, how willing am I to practice? If, in fact, there is a cosmic force whose sweep is irresistible, how ready am I to let that in? Or am I digging my heels in? Because my perspective was that I was right.
Lola: And so there’s gotta be that softening from me. If you remember, a few weeks ago we came back, how quickly things can change. There was life before the couples retreat, life after the couples retreat. We were in wedded bliss. And then you hit some kind of upper limit. You can only take the good for so long. And then you take yourself out.
Lola: The self-sabotage will sink in, at least for me. And then I will get fixated on the world of form, the evidence before me that indicates something’s not right here, something more if possible. This isn’t the way it should be.
Lola: I said I was ready for love. Love is like fairytale. This is too much work.
Nathan: So … So I recognized very quickly that I was stuck in the struggle. Thanks to Lola’s prompting. And I got honest with myself. I think that was the first thing I … I wasn’t able to actually be honest with myself about what I was really feeling, I was too busy trying to fix the problem.
Lola: And I sensed that. I was like, there’s something going on here. And it was really interesting for me. I sensed that there was something going on here, and I said to Nathan, “I’ve never felt this way in our 12 years of being together. But this feels like a deeply familiar pattern from a previous relationship.”
Lola: Now, the last relationship that I was in, the person could not have been more different from Nathan on every, every aspect of being. And yet the pattern felt deeply familiar. I felt betrayed. I felt that there was something being withheld from me, and I became deeply triggered.
Lola: Now, whatever is occurring on planet Nathan, that he’s navigating, is what’s occurring there. But my reactivity is what’s occurring over here, and that’s what I have to take responsibility for.
Lola: It is not to say that there isn’t something going on over there, but how do I be in loving, committed relationship, again, it doesn’t have to be with a lover. Imagine that all beings on the planet are your lovers. Imagine that every place or space where you commit to a barrier remaining, is where we breach integrity around this idea. Emerson says that the synonym for love is God.
Lola: How willing am I to be in conscious and intentional relationship with the God of life? The love of life. The one before me. When I found myself in that triggered, reactive place of feeling like I had been hoodwinked, sort of bamboozled around our financial situation, I went into my own state of survival. Very little was possible there.
Nathan: At this point, I just … once I was able to get honest with myself, I was able to recognize that I was feeling fear. I was feeling shame for not being able to provide. But I knew that we had the tools that we needed to rise out of that situation.
Lola: I sent Nathan a text from [inaudible 00:14:19], and some of you are familiar with this work, but I said, “Would you be willing to just acknowledge what is occurring? Because it feels like there’s something in the space that’s not being acknowledged. There’s a disconnect us. It was related to this topic of money. Two most challenging topics in relationship? Money and sex. We were hanging out with money. Would you be willing to just acknowledge that this is occurring?”
Lola: Because I could tell that there was some kind of skating around the issue, and that felt very unsafe to me.
Nathan: I started by just looking at my actual balance, and getting related to what was actually there.
Lola: Is there anyone here that can related to a set of circumstances that are going on in your life that you’d prefer to deny the reality of? It would just be better not to look, and perhaps if we don’t look, it won’t be so.
Lola: And yet the great truth is that if you can be with what is, anything is possible, and a shift is available. One of my great practices that when I’m really disciplined gives me sense of great freedom is balancing my checkbook. Because the number at the end of the little ledger in fact matters not when you have clarity.
Lola: When you have clarity, you have access to power. When you live in the fogginess of life, very little is possible.
Nathan: So then the next step for me was just to allow that. To allow myself to be okay, and not make that wrong.
Lola: Yeah, its like, can we allow ourselves to just be afraid? What’s here now is that it appears as if I cannot follow through on the financial agreement that we have. Am I willing to just say that’s what’s so? And can I allow that to be okay?
Lola: When something is going on in our lives and we start to fearfully make it be different, it’s not your best self. And in fact your highest and greatest solutions are not made available. Because you’re in a sort of scarcity state, and your trying to fearfully construct a solution. Your creativity is diminished in that moment.
Lola: One of the great awakenings that I’ve had in the last year is that Nathan and I have spent 12 years in a single’s match. Sometimes there have been great volleys. And they’re long. And I like those times. And then sometimes it’s sort of grimy and challenging, and you lose point here, you lose a point there.
Lola: But it occurred to me that we could actually shift the paradigm, and become like a international couples team. We could actually join as a doubles team, and be like world winning. And that’s a very different context, to work with one another as opposed to working against one another. Because no matter how good the volley is in a singles match, he’s still my opponent.
Lola: And then the question in a doubles match becomes, “Who must I be such that we actually have a workable team here?” I would have to organize myself, I would have to commit myself, to a higher state of being. The last 48 hours has been the opportunity to ask myself, “Are you committed to being on a singles team, or are you committed to being on a doubles team? Because if you’re committed to being on a doubles team, how you show up in the next 48 hours is going to be very different.”
Lola: I had breakfast with my brother on Thursday and I was just like, “Oh my gosh, this is just like a really challenging situation that I’m dealing with.” And I said, “The absurdity is we’re supposed to speak on Sunday.”
Lola: He was like, “Well, you gotta hurry up. You better hurry up and get to work.”
Lola: But sometimes we really do get seduced by the struggle, and we camp out. We camp out in our righteousness, we camp out in our point of view. And it actually sucks the life force energy out of you.
Lola: Step one, acknowledge what’s so. What’s going on here and now? Would you be willing to allow it to be as it is? Would you be willing to let me know the fear that is in you? Would you be willing to actually trust that I have the capacity to sit with the fear?
Lola: For me, I can be with anything, but if you lie to me, [inaudible 00:19:56]. I would be better served to know that you’re just scared. I can be with that.
Nathan: So then moving from allowing to accepting was a subtle, it’s a subtle difference. But it was like learning, the first thing with allowing was just letting it be. But then somehow there was a subtle peace that came over me once I knew that it was okay.
Nathan: And this was without really saying anything to Lola.
Lola: Yeah, so I just invite you to take a deep breath right now. See if you’re holding your breath. See if there’s something that’s stirring in your life that you’ve been unwilling to acknowledge. The fear, the discomfort of acknowledging, perhaps a diagnosis. Perhaps some unworkability in a relationship. Perhaps the state of your finances. Is there something that you would like to deny and just gloss over?
Lola: Would you be willing to give yourself the gift of allowing it to be here exactly as it is, free of the need to change anything?
Lola: I’m all about solutions, and I’m great at creating outcomes. But if I skip over just being with what’s so, I actually rob myself of the gift. If I start interacting with Nathan, like, “Okay, well, here we go,” and that’s what I’ve done historically. I can pull rabbits out of hats like nobody’s business. Magician-level quality of solution-making.
Lola: But what that robs me of is sitting in allowing, allowing life to be. What that involves is me muscling through life, and then fixating on a story. “Well, I can’t count on Nathan, so let me be a magician again.” Do you see? He has to show up this way. The pattern preceded him. All of a sudden I could see the history of men in my life that I required to show up a particular way.
Lola: You will never allow yourself to be wrong. In your unconscious state, you will always orient the chairs on the deck such that your perspective remains intact. So, as much as he has to acknowledge and allow, so do I. Because my tendency is to just bulldoze through to solution. And there is a wake, and it is mighty, and the recovery is long.
Lola: So there we sit. Can we just acknowledge, okay, here’s the situation. It appears that the money that we had intended on coming through, is not here now. Can we just acknowledge that? Not the truth. Now can we just allow whatever’s here, feeling scared. Feeling scared, feeling angry, feeling sad. Noticing the one in me that wants to sweep in, muscle through it. And yet knowing that that pattern will not yield the next iteration of my evolution.
Lola: Remember that Rumi quote. “The opportunity of and for love is to notice the barriers we’ve constructed to give us the illusion of safety.”
Lola: It is an illusion.
Nathan: So the final step was the hardest, was to appreciate. And for me this just started off as a subtle thing, and trying to notice that somehow this was for me. I had a belief that somehow this was for me. And I just had to play with that a little bit. But by honoring the presence of the situation, and just continuing to breathe and feel the feelings, I just was able to get, just little by little, a more positive feel.
Lola: One of the things that I love and appreciate about Nathan is that he allows me place and space to be my fullest expression of self, and doesn’t make it about him. If you’re in relationship with another human being, whether it be an intimate relationship, a working relationship, a familial relationship, would you be willing to grant the one before you permission to be their full self-expression, and not make it about you?
Lola: It is a genius quality of his. I can be my most [inaudible 00:25:25], and he just is like [inaudible 00:25:28], like the monk life comes in handy. And what’s interesting is that the bigger he allows me to be, the less of a need I have for that. Because it’s neutralized, it’s not being resisted. That is the great gift of some of the work we do here, like the drama triangle.
Lola: Two minutes, Jerry Springer, go crazy, get it out. Because otherwise you’re like this, moving through life.
Lola: So, really, the practice of just being with one another. And if you locate yourself in your breath, things can move.
Lola: In our financial freedom class right now, Nathan shared with me the inquiry that’s being extended to the group. What is that?
Nathan: If this were true for me, would I be more free?
Lola: The question is, if it is true that the struggle that the struggle is not real, would you be more free? If you were to try on that in fact the struggle is not real, would you experience greater aliveness, greater expansion, greater possibility, or would you contract?
Lola: My guess is we would unanimously experience a greater awareness of life itself. If this were true for me, would I be more free? Imagine relationships that don’t require hiding. Imagine relationships that don’t require lying. Imagine relationships where the one before you has a capacity and a practice to be with all of you. Are you ready for that kind of love? Are you ready for that kind of relationship?
Lola: That’s the kind of relationship that can move mountains. When you can be with all of someone.
Nathan: And so, for me, the learning about if it was true for me I be more free, is just that I had noticed how I had such a fixed idea about myself and my business, what I’m capable of earning, what happens to my business in the winter time, and the limitations that that puts on my family.
Nathan: Where I got to at the end of this was that, really, anything is possible. That life is a mystery, and that if I open and expand my mind, I can really create anything for myself, my experience of abundance, and my ability to support my family.
Lola: For those of you who have been following, to some degree, the journey of the Enneagram, you know I’m an Enneagram 8. And the Enneagram 8 has big, fierce energy, highly functional. And a ridiculous capacity to go, go, go, go, go. But the shadow is the denial of the needy one. And so my partner, Sameer, and I, are in a practice of inviting the one in us that was x-ed out. The needy one in me was x-ed out, as a little person.
Lola: What a perfect opportunity to shift up the game, and not go into overdrive. To take a breath, and go, “I don’t know, Nathan, I trust you can figure it out. I’ll be here. Let me know when I can go on my next yoga retreat.”