Leave Me Alone (Don’t Ever!)

I once had a friend who was in a relationship crisis, and he was completely distraught. His life had been dedicated to spiritual practice, and increasingly, to teaching meditation and spiritual thought. He said to me, with a look of confusion, “I can go into deep Samadhi (Samadhi is a high state of meditative awareness) in meditation, but I can’t figure out relationships.”

I’ve experienced the same struggle in my own life, and I have a feeling we’re not alone. But increasingly, I am learning that the real spiritual juice is in the full spectrum of life, of a life fully lived, in all it’s complexities, with all it’s colours – from glowing sunrises to deepest darkest shadow. Spirituality is not about inner peace necessarily – it’s about full engagement with all that is.

Last year Sera Beak and I interviewed LaSara Firefox (author of the books ‘Sexy Witch’ and ‘Yoga Mama’) for the film Redvolution: Dare to Disturb the Universe and she told of a time in which she became convinced that her busy life, her children especially, were keeping her from her quest for union with the divine. After some deep soul searching, she came out of that place, and realized that in fact, G~d lives and breathes, laughs and cries, in relationship. In relationship to each other, in relationship to the world, in relationship to ourselves.

It’s such an important lesson to learn for those of us with a spiritual bent. Being spiritual is not about the time you spend on a meditation cushion. That is incubation, that is preparation. The real work, the real Work, takes place in the real world.

While disembodied spirituality can doom relationships of any kind, embodied spirituality is the pathway to true love. Author and cultural theorist bell hooks defines love as “the committment to another’s spiritual growth.” Sounds like a great recipe for mutually enhancing relationships-the kind of relationships that leaves both parties expanded. It means meeting beyond the ego, beyond the limited self to the divine person we all are. A committment to being a source of inspiration and transformation for each other is the key to a deep, spiritual relationship.

Another way of defining love is “being seen” – being truly, wholly seen. That means recognizing and seeing all of who a person is-their perfection, and their very human imperfection. We’re all works in progress, and that is the exciting thing about being alive. We are all made of light and shadow. No one exists without both. If we were all light, we’d float away. And if we were all shadow, we would sink into the swamp. Recognizing the fullness of who we are, and being seen for that, appreciated for that, and understood for that, is a fierce love.

Here is a short film I made that pokes fun at my own spiritual foibles when it comes to relationships. It’s called “Leave Me Alone (Don’t Ever!)” and is part of a collection of short films called “Breaking Up in Three Minutes.” It’s actually a true story, based on the break up with my first true love – I was about twenty-two or so at the time. In the wake of that loss, I set off on a great voyage of internal discovery, spending three months hitchiking from Montreal, to Newfoundland and back again. I returned to the city, certain that my new found spiritual realizations would win her heart. Alas, it didn’t work. But at least I got the catalyst for some true reflection and growth, reams of bad love poetry, and a funny film out of the deal. When all else fails, there’s always laughter!



  1. Great little film! I can really relate to the story, because I’ve recently managed to let go of a destructive obsession I’ve been clinging to for years and now I know than nothing works better when you’re wallowing in self-pity and you want to snap out of it and break free than a healthy, self-deprecating laugh! Peace!

  2. So many who adopt a long-term committed spiritual path do choose celibacy. Monks and nuns usually are celibate. The Dali Lama doesn’t have a wife and kids nor the Pope. The Buddha left his wife and child to seek enlightenment, thus we cannot ignore what it may offer. It seems with it such a common theme in most religious orders, there must be something to it?

  3. Yes, there most certainly is something to it. Just what, is up to each of us to decide. Just as there is most definitely something about religion itself – for some people. But for me, I am much more interested in infusing spirituality with every aspect of life, including sexuality and relationships. Spirituality for me is not disconnected from life. It is life.

  4. i would most definitely agree with you there :)

  5. V,
    Hope you\re feeling better and the Ashland workshop went well.
    IWe spoke fri nite last after the screening, both super tired.
    Maybe you’ll get this before you leave Ashland or not, anyway ALL that you said about grassroots groups, immunity respondents, springing up around the world to give hope and love and connection is what prompted me to stay to speak with you.

    The group I am with, the international association of infant massage is all about that and in our quiet mission empowering parents/caregivers one family at a time, one baby at a time to start life fully connected to others. We need you to tell the story, to help people remember.
    People are yearning everyday to be touched, to be connected, so many react violently without it later in life. Touch is the first communication (before words and film) and the foundation of life on this planet. I know you know this and yet people are forgetting this fundamental ancient life tradition passed from grandmothers to mothers and fathers to the babies, to communicate love through the complete touch of massage, to nurture the baby from inside to live in the outer world. We are all massaged in the womb by the water and movement of our mother, completely connected and them we must make the transition to the world of air, to breathe it, to move in it with help, with love. Please help us connect others to this understanding, to remember the time, energy, conscious connecting takes to meet the needs where it counts the most, registers the deepest and lasts the longest, in the beginning. Help all the babies of the world who will become the big people, our society.
    I start and cannot stop to speak of the importance of this movement to restore our humanity, it drives most of my moments…. especially when I watch in all of the films the way different cultures positively touch each other more than westerners now. Even now in those small villages where babies are massaged everyday as they have always been, I see the people forgetting in the violent cities of our older cultures, too.
    It brings me to tears for what we are losing if the tide doesn’t turn on how we begin to care for our babies. We need you to bring this awareness to light for all of us, please
    -JoAnn see infantmassageusa.org or iaim.net or call me at 541-227-8181

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