For years I wrote letters of longing to my beloved. I would write him that I yearned for his touch, the feel of his breath on my neck, the warmth and safety I felt in his arms. I would write letters in which my heart ached to feel him. “I miss you. Where are you?” I would plead. “I want to laugh with you again.” At times it was excruciating to not know if I would feel his heart again. If I would live out the rest of my days alone, in the desolate void of his absence.
These letters were never written to a man. Although often I would think of a man my heart was yearning for as I wrote them, they were to “The Beloved” within and in all things. They were to my beloved somewhere out there in the flesh in male form, and also to the joy and bliss that lived inside me, lost to my awareness in that sad time.
In “Dear Lover” David Deida writes, “Deep heart yearning is not a problem to be solved, but a divine pull to open as devotional surrender...” He implores us women to “...trust open as love’s ache.”
When you are in that yearning it absolutely feels like a problem to be solved. “Calling in the One”, “Manifesting your Soul Mate”, Dating coaches and match makers, seven different dating app profiles, I did them all. I wanted to solve this problem of this deep longing for a relationship I so desired. And it was painful to just live in the longing. In fact, I didn’t know how to do that. I would fight it. The longing was too vulnerable and would kick me into fear that I wasn’t doing enough to “put myself out there” or anger that “things are so hard for me.” And those were true too, it was really hard and I did have to put myself out there, but what I have learned in this process is to begin to let myself feel the pleasure of the longing itself. Living from that place is what truly shifts energy. Both in yourself and in your current and future relationships.
Can we let longing fill us with the sweetness of desire without contracting around all the uncertainty?
There have been times since then that I have gotten everything I wanted and yet I felt hollow. I had pushed away all the longing in place of certainty. I had created structures and demands that I thought was what I wanted. That was not a vital place to live, and something felt off. Because what we truly want is connection to God, whatever that means to you. And that connection itself is drawn in by yearning.
So I had to ask myself, Can I be whole in myself? Even when it hurts and when I have no idea how things will resolve. Can I try to feel the longing as that one force that creates all life? “What is the force that makes these trees grow up towards the sky?” A partner once said to me as we sat under a full moon next to mossy oak trees. “Only love.” Longing to meet God, the sun, the breeze, and that, my dear, is love.
David Daeda writes “Even when you are tense or upset, you can practice surrendering your body and heart to be breathed open by this love that yearns in everybody’s heart.” And, yes we won't know how to do it at first, just as we didn't know how to ride a bike before we did it. We will stumble and forget, and that is what we call practice.
So next time you are thinking about something you really want, whether in relationship, career, or life, instead of collapsing into frustration, hopelessness, or disappointment, can you feel into the longing in your heart and live from that sweet innocent place? To live from longing is a constant practice, and yet the practice of it will open your heart and relationships in ways you would never imagine.
Karen Wolfe, MFT offers depth therapy with practices to deepen your connection to your Self and to others for individuals and couples in the Bay Area and via video conference across California