When love comes in an unconventional way, the ripple effect can profoundly affect family and friends. The adjustment from a typical marriage to a deep and meaningful same sex relationship is the perfect example of how helpful the Wabi Sabi principles are in real life. Wabi Sabi Love happens when you focus on the value of imperfection and the freedom in accepting your partner’s flaws. I can’t imagine greater pressure in the outer world than shifting to a same sex relationship.
I am grateful to Julia and Colette for the courage to step up and tell their story. Be sure to leave your comment — I am curious how many women can relate to this story.
Julia & Colette’s Story
Life was sweet. Nearly picture perfect. Julia and her husband of 20 years had a really fabulous life together. They had raised a family, had admirable careers, a wide circle of friends, traveled the world extensively, and participated in important philanthropic activities. She fully expected to spend the rest of her life with him.
Julia began working on a creative project with an old friend, Colette, with whom she had recently reconnected. The two women, opposite in so many ways, discovered that they were very much in sync and shared a very deep connection on so many levels. Gradually, they fell in love.
This initially wasn’t a problem for Colette, who had never married, and had been in several torrid affairs with women. But, for Julia, this situation was completely out of her comfort zone. The most frightening part for her was learning to trust her feelings as she entered this unconventional romance.
“I knew if I made the choice to be with Colette, my life would never be the same. I was falling in love with a woman, and I knew it would dramatically impact my friends and family.”
But, early in their relationship Julia had a premonition in which she knew she would have to say goodbye to her old life. It came in the form of a dream:
She was on a freeway, going in the wrong direction. All the cars were parting for her, much like the Red Sea. She sensed no danger, just a moment of suspension and calm.
When she approached a Jungian therapist about her dream, the therapist remarked, “I guess the wrong way is the right way.”
This dream became Julia’s Wabi Sabi moment. She knew her heart was speaking to her, giving her permission to accept that her feelings for Colette were real and true regardless of how it looked. On the deepest spiritual level, Julia knew this was the direction she was headed: a deeply loving, romantic partnership with a woman. She knew she passionately loved this woman and would pursue the relationship no matter what. In fact, she knew there was no turning back from the beauty and grace of two people falling in love.
Julia had previously been a bit of a people pleaser, always trying to make everyone else happy, making sure that they liked her, and doing the right thing. She admits that trying to hold on to all the perfection took enormous amounts of energy that she no longer had. As her new and unlikely relationship became known to those who loved her, all hell broke lose. She actually created a name for it: The Tsunami. At the same time, she knew in her heart of hearts that this was where she needed to be. She was in the midst of a “choiceless choice.”
And the benefits, ultimately, far outweighed the downside.
”When I am with Colette, I feel more like myself than I have ever felt. There is an aliveness and a sense of wholeness and purpose that makes me feel like I’m aligned with the Universe. She invites more joie de vive and seemingly infinite amounts of laughter into every area of our lives. Colette is much more energetic, kinetic, and just plain fun. She is fast and impatient. I am slower and more laissez faire about things. But to us it all seemed so natural. We have come together as a whole.”
For Colette, inviting Julia into her life meant taking on what seemed like a village that consisted of numerous kids and friends whose approval Julia felt she needed. Exploding the status quo created chaos within Julia vocal and sometimes hostile inner circle, causing her much depression and guilt. In fact, Julia would sometimes ask Colette, “Who are you and what am I doing?”
The continued chaos and turmoil often left Colette feeling as though she was losing her mind and the experience literally affected her heart.
With a history of heart disease, Colette went to see a new cardiologist for a stress test. While on the treadmill she felt a pinching sensation in the middle of her chest but didn’t really think much about it until the doctor informed her that she was having a heart attack and was about to be rushed to the hospital. While in the ambulance, Colette called Julia and told her to meet her at Lenox Hill Hospital. They were in the cardiac ER when they witnessed another woman in the midst of a full-blown heart attack.
At the same time Colette’s heart monitor was constantly beeping to signal that her blood pressure was dropping. Colette could see that Julia was on the verge of losing it so she sent her on some errands since she couldn’t figure out a way to comfort Julia and herself at the same time. The doctors determined that one of Colette’s arteries was 98 percent blocked. They operated the next day and inserted a new type of medicated stent, one that would re-open the artery while delivering medicine. The doctors assured her the stent would solve the problem.
Yet the chaos and uncertainty continued.
It was so clear to Colette that she really did have a “broken heart.” With that conclusion, she felt she had no alternative but to move out for awhile to do some serious soul searching. Not only was her physical heart in need of repair, so were her dreams of having the kind of relationship she always wanted. A self-proclaimed incurable romantic, she had wanted romance and deep sexuality, not conflict, chaos and tumult. She also felt a lot of sadness that they never really had a honeymoon period – they met, fell in love, and immediately were in the emotional deep end of their relationship.
Slowly she and Julia managed to work things out and discovered ways to lessen the stress and anxiety. Colette’s Wabi Sabi moment came when she went back to the cardiologist for a checkup and was told that the new medicated stent had closed up. And there was nothing they could do about it. This artery could no longer supply blood to her heart. It was at that crystal clear moment she realized that if she kept letting the chaos and stress get to her, it just might kill her.
Knowing how deep the connection was, how much she loved her and how important she was in her life, Colette knew she was going to keep choosing to be with Julia. Colette made a conscious decision to adopt some of Julia’s slower, more laid back style of living. Rather than moving at her lifelong “jitterbug” rhythm, Colette now spends more time “slow dancing” with Julia’s more languorous, sensual pace. Today, she now understands the significance and importance of this decision… it has without a doubt saved her life.
Julia, on the other hand, began to take on some of Colette’s strong and confident qualities that allow her to be more assertive and speak her mind without fear of disappointing or hurting other people’s feelings.
While their differences and styles of expressing themselves in the beginning were at times troubling and often frustrating, ultimately they both found the gifts in their differences: beauty, healing and tremendous growth.
At the end of the day, this unlikely twosome plan on spending the rest of their lives together appreciating every moment and taking their love to new heights.