Monday, May 12, 2008
Want A Paddling Soul-mate?
Every now and then I hear someone mention how much better their life would be if only their spouse or one of their friends was closer to being their 'soul-mate'. Most of us have heard that term applied to paddling couples. Perhaps we even think we know some soul-mate paddling couples. Personally, I believe the paddling soul-mate idea is a bit of a fantasy, a phantom relationship, which can lure us away from what we really want in life. Here are my thoughts on the subject...
A healthy relationship is one in which each party is devoted to supporting the well-being of the other. A mature relationship is one in which each party assumes responsibility for his or her individuation, and supports others in their efforts. Sounds easy on paper, but we all know, it is often difficult to carry out in practice. The level of maturity it demands of both parties often asks a great deal of each of us. However, if I can reasonably assume my companion is not here to make my life work for me, but intends instead to support my own efforts at life-building, then I will have made a huge stride towards cleaning up the debris which hampers and impairs our relationship. In turn, I am not in a relationship for the role purpose of seeing that my companion enjoys my idea of a full, rewarding life. That's their business. Instead, my role is to support the life that individual creates and to celebrate whatever it becomes.
To set out on a soul-mate quest as if I was missing some critical component of my life is thus a false endeavour. Far better, to try to become who you really want to be independently, asking for help when you need it. When you encounter others on the same path, support their similar efforts. Don't try to direct or control them. Don't try to grab on to them in an effort to complete yourself. Let them be. If it happens your paths become parallel ones, then enjoy that relationship. Call it 'soul-mating', if you like, but be prepared for the storms and calms as they appear. Learn to weather them. Remember you will always be two individuals, perhaps even paddling similar routes side by side. You'll never become one.
Perhaps that's why we love dogs. They support us, but don't try to change us or control us and ask impossible things of us. They love to walk along side of us. Such healthy, mature beasts! Soul-mates!