Creative works which make such powerful impressions that we never forget them hold valuable lessons because they always depict the themes of our soul’s journey. This can be true of something as simple as a folk song or as complex as a symphony.
In the early years of our marriage my husband and I saw the film Blume in Love, starring George Segal and Susan Anspach. As we used to say in the 70’s, it “blew my mind!” There on the screen was a couple I could identify with. Blume was a successful young attorney blithely immersed in his work. Nina was a touchy, serious-minded, idealistic social worker who sought inner peace and wanted to save the world. While these two loved each other very much, both were self-absorbed and neither had a clue about the other’s inner reality. Nina’s discovery of Blume in their bed with his secretary resulted in their divorce and initiated a painful maturing process in which Blume came to see Nina’s significance as an individual in her own right, and Nina empowered her true self while softening and forgiving Blume for being human.
While the plot details were different, this romantic comedy portrayed our theme and the theme of every couple in an intimate partnership. As a shockingly innocent and ignorant product of 1950’s social conditioning, I was finally getting it that marriage is not a happily-ever-after instant fix involving two separate individuals whose roles and feelings will never change, but a container for soul-making. Every committed relationship is, in fact, a crucible in which two souls are melted down, refined and transformed in the evolutionary fires of change.
Blume in Love showed me that both partners will make sacrifices, suffer, be tempted, and make mistakes. And if love is to grow and last, each will need to understand that the other has equal merit and deserves equal rights and respect. This is how we learn to love. The film’s ending in which Blume and the pregnant Nina are reconciled in Venice’s Piazza San Marco taught me another archetypal truth: In a relationship that survives this ordeal, both partners can experience a revitalizing new birth. If you’ve been reading this blog for very long, you know this is my soul’s theme!
Coincidentally, during the writing of this post I received an e-mail from my editor who thought I’d be interested in the following quote by Adyashanti (from Emptiness Dancing). It’s a very apt ending for these musings about relationships:
“Most relationships start out as unconscious relationships. When the light of awakeness comes to shine inside of that relationship, the unconsciousness within it is going to be revealed. It’s very important not to spiritualize it when it gets revealed. Some people want to spiritualize their relationship instead of making it conscious. They want to make it into a spiritualized fantasy in which their partner meets all their spiritual ideas about what a relationship could be. They think they know what it’s supposed to be like, what it could be like, where it’s going to go.
“When you ease back from that, you return to something that’s very intimate and innocent, where you are finally willing to tell the truth, not to hide, not to force consciousness into some relationship agenda, but to simply let it emerge. Then you never know what it will be like at any moment — how consciousness, awakeness, and love are going to want to emerge.”
What books and movies fascinate you? How have they helped love emerge?