Cycle Of Love
There is a Life/Death/Life cycle of love that Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes about in “Women Who Run with the Wolves,” that I find most interesting. She believes that every relationship has this cycle and that in order to know the deepest kind of love, we need to embrace it. The Life part of the cycle is easy to embrace. We all remember what it was like to be in love, fueled by passion, at the beginning of a life together. But what happens when we are faced with an obstacle (the death part of the cycle) that threatens the relationship? Is it time to cut and run, or can we see it as an opportunity for growth?
Beginnings and Endings
All of life has this Life/Death/Life cycle. They are beginnings and endings that happen as a natural part of being human. It is necessary therefore, to recognize when it is time to allow “Lady Death”, as she calls it, to enter into the relationship so we can let go of what no longer works and allow something new to enter. This is how couples evolve.
As a society, we have been taught that “Death” is to be feared, and so we run from it. But Pinkola Estes maintains that death brings us to new life, as a Phoenix rising up out of the ashes, if we are willing to stick around to face her. And face her we must. Because if we let her pass by because of *fear she will return until we are ready to face what needs to change. We’ve all heard about couples who divorce when they are faced with Lady Death (obstacles), only to repeat the same patterns in a new relationship.
It is difficult to love someone when they have hurt you. We tend to carry that image as the bulwark to prevent us from loving again. But taking a chance on love is not dependent on the other person to not hurt you, but on your ability to be able to heal any wound that comes your way. Love is the path to healing. Unlike what we have been taught to believe – that admitting a wound is a weakness — being able to admit to another person that you have a wound takes courage. It is especially difficult for men who have been taught that boys don’t show their emotions. But women appreciate men who are not afraid of their feelings.
The Death/Death/Death Cycle
But what about those couples who should, and do, divorce? Have they missed something in this Life/Death/Life cycle? Should they have stayed together to work things out? And if they can’t work things out, how do they know when to end their relationship?
Perhaps it takes two people who are willing to face Lady Death together. If one partner is afraid, there can be no growth. Maybe this is when the other partner turns elsewhere to have their needs met.
Let’s not forget about those people in abusive relationships. They may live in a spiraling cycle of death. In this instant personal safety for themselves and their children is more important than working with the Life/Death/Life cycle.
Intuition and Death
Suppose there have been too many “deaths” in the relationship, with no sign of new life. Perhaps this is the time to make a break. I have observed that the end of a relationship happens over time until there comes a moment when a person just knows *(intuition) that there is nothing more that can be done to save the relationship and it’s time to let it go. In this way new life comes out of a death.
No relationship is ever wasted. I believe that in each encounter we are meant to learn something. Sometimes we learn these things very quickly, and other times it may takes years. But once we have learned what we are meant to, then it may be time to let the Phoenix burn in the ashes so it can rise up into new cycle.