Crossing the Gateway into Love

Bridges…Collage by Katelyn Mariah BFA


Love is the most powerful force in the universe, even though at times it feels as though fear is much stronger.  It is actually through the gateway of fear that we come to the true experience of love.  It is fear that becomes the mirror for us of that which lies hidden in the recesses of the self.  We fear what we don’t understand in ourselves and in others.

When parts of ourselves that we find difficult to accept are reflected in another, we fear the other.  It is easier to see our disowned selves as part of them than to claim it as our own.  We develop fear, become polarized and a conflict is created.  When we refuse to claim and love that parts of us that are hidden, “unlovable” selves, conflicts cannot be resolved and transformed.

We live in a world that supports the conflict created by duality by categorizing things as black/white, light/dark, good/bad, love/fear, and making one better than the other.  They are seen as opposites, and there is an unconscious programming that happens by using the word “opposites”.

Masculine and feminine are seen as opposites in the age-old phrase “the opposite sex”.  I feel that phrase sets up an immediate conflict between men and women on a number of levels, most of which are unconscious.   The word “opposite” means “things that are opposed” or “on different ends of the spectrum.”  If something is opposed to something else, it would naturally repel or be in some type of conflict with the other thing.  “Opposite sex” becomes a fear-laden concept by the nature of the term–a term used freely in our culture.  We have come to fear the other because we think we are so different from each other.

If on the other hand, we change the word from “opposite” to “complement,” a new relationship is created between them.  I suggest that it is a romance between complements.  There is a natural magnetism between things that are complementary.  Complementary energies support one an other as they exist side by side.  The term opposite sex becomes complementary sex.  In making a simple change in one word, using the word complement to replace the word opposite, we shift the paradigm and release both the conflict and the fear, allowing the journey of love to begin. 

I spend a lot of time in nature and like the metaphors she offers me to explain things.  I often witness the romance of complements as I walk along the banks of the river.  I watch the inner weaving of nature as creatures die so that others might live.  The river swells and envelops the path and then recedes, and the landscape has changed.  I have watched as darkness swallowed up the sun-filled sky and one became the other.  And in that moment when they stood side-by-side, before the dramatic change occurred, I didn’t know if I was looking at the light or the dark coming in.

In the dance of complements, the sun could not shine if there wasn’t a dark sky to light up, and the moon would not glow if the sun wasn’t reflecting its light on her.  Nothing stays the same in nature: things continue to change and grow like a fine romance.  The romance of complements is a dance of service to one another.

Being in partnership can be the greatest mirror to finding self-love and love for the other, bringing us to our knees in fear as it carries us to new levels of mastery.  We live in a culture that nurtures autonomy, rewarding our independence and self-sufficient natures and cramming terms like “needy” and “co-dependent” down our throats to refer to intimate relationships.  To avoid becoming enmeshed with another, many of us have become masters in the art of autonomy, at the expense of relationship.  I know I have.  After all of the inner searching, discovering and returning to balance, we discover we want to be in relationships, yet letting someone on to our island of self-sufficiency can not only be tricky but scary business and being alone might look more inviting than standing in the face of fear.

Partnering with another person is a sacred act and it should be entered into with a sense of reverence.  To open your path to another must not be taken lightly or without a great deal of thought and exploration.  This is the person who will be the guardian of your secrets, dreams, fears and wishes, and it is important that the sense of trust between you is deep.  This is the person who will journey with you to the threshold of death, both metaphorically and possibly literally.  He/she hold the keys to many gateways and doors of exploration, as you do for them, and you wouldn’t want to entrust those keys to someone other than one who holds for you the desire for your highest and best.  Walk carefully to be assured you are on the path with one who holds you in sacred space.  Someone who can stand in your fears with you as  witness, not a caretaker.  This is the future of conscious relating and long-lasting love.

The longing, recognition, remembering and deep inner knowing you have about someone is just the beginning of learning who that person truly is.  The foundation must be firm if it is to support the deep journey and carry you to relationship mastery.   I believe that relationships are becoming sacred ground for our evolution, for us seeing our authentic self and for relationships that are conscious.  It is an experience that can be filled with love and joy.

When you are afraid, stand in your fear.  Welcome it and see what fear wants to share with you.  These are times of great power and when the one you love causes you to tremble in fear, do not run away from them because you are only hiding from your greatest teacher if you do.

The dance of romance between complements can begin to happen as we begin to see and experience the innate beauty and power that is unique to women and the innate beauty and power that is unique to men, through the eyes of love and not fear.  This is not power “over” the other as it is under a dualistic belief system, but power that comes from just being in the unique expression of who you truly are.

When we stand in our power and reflect that beauty, which complements the other person, we will be on our way to healthy male/female relationships, which are a balance of intimacy and autonomy and a reflection of love.

I would love to hear your thoughts and feelings on this in the comments section below.

(Originally published in The Edge Magazine 2000)

Copyright Katelyn Mariah


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