Dating Policy #10 Do I always need to be center stage?

Center Stage cast
Cast of the feature film, Center Stage

This is a post about the love triangle. But it’s also about breath and includes a big dose of Trust. What a party!

Being a part of a group of interesting, inspiring, attractive friends, it wasn’t a stretch to find out that a past love of mine had taken interest in one of my friends. I consider all of my friends highly desirable partners and it’s only due to their own selectivity that they remain single. It was easy for me to understand his attraction to her and hers to him. AND. How could I fully accept this new pairing? She was my confidant throughout my earlier turmoil about him, ready to fight to protect me. He was still my cherished friend and coming back into my life. And now they would be showing up together. Oh Lordy.

While shocked at the revelation of their relationship I found myself automatically beginning to breathe into the confusion. This helped. I kept breathing. Deeper into the belly, ribs, and lungs and out again; I rode the inhale as it expired. Felt the rough terrain of surprise, intrigue, and doubt. Released the feelings with each exhale and sensed greater peace, trust, and support. With each breath I cleared out the darkness of loss and made space for love. 

I can be ok with this I thought to myself. My time with him had passed. And I could hear her say that she didn’t intend for this to happen… it just did. Though many friends were incredulous, I told myself it was all actually a good thing. Yes, really.

I decided I would probably feel better if I cleared the air with him. Yes, that made sense – it would just take one conversation to assure him I had moved on. That it was okay with me that he date my friend. Even, that I approved. Yes, this would help us all breathe easier, I thought.

In the days before the conversation I grew more and more uncomfortable with the thought of bringing up a relationship that didn’t involve me at all. Yes, he was a past interest and had touched my heart deeply, and yes she was one of my closest friends. But this was between them. I was only periphery. And then the perfect analogy came to me and opened up the space to truly accept them together. Over dinner I shared with a close friend the story…

“Imagine we’re in a play,” I said, “and my scene has just ended. I exit the stage and look on from the wings. The two of them are still on stage, starting their scene. Going back to tell him that I was okay with their pairing would be like going back onstage to tell the audience that I’m not in this scene! It’s just not my turn on center stage,” I said, “it’s theirs.” I felt loved and supported from all directions, what had I been trying to accomplish by creating a conversation? I had been bitten by the habitual fear that I would be replaced, forgotten. With the guidance of breath I saw how this association came from a deep primal fear of abandonment. Without attending to this feeling through awareness and acknowledgment it could have manifested unconsciously as anger, mistrust, or spite. Yet it never did. Now, I am satisfied enough with the thought that one day my next cue will come and I will return to center stage… just not today.

I hope that eventually we all come to understand our own life playbill better and see the space where we can recede from center stage to the wings. What is there to observe? What is needing space to explore? Share the stage. There’s enough time and enough room for all of us.

Love,

Natanya

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