Do you consider yourself on a spiritual or personal growth journey? Do you have a committed relationship (or want one)? If so, you probably have already or will soon experience this big bump in your road.
I call it Partner Spirituality Dissonance and I see it in my clients and peers constantly, especially with those couples that are more of an “opposites attract” type rather than “two of a pair.”
It looks something like this:
A woman* absolutely loves all things consciousness: Meditation, yoga, kundalini, chakras, you name it. She’s been on this beautiful spiritual journey for years now. She’s done workshops, gone on retreats, and experienced things she never could have imagined before she started on this path.
She’s in love with what she’s discovered and desperately wants the people she loves to have this beauty in their lives, especially her husband. She has a hunch that if he can go on this journey with her it will strengthen their relationship and deepen it in a whole new way. Just imagine going on a retreat together! Imagine what he’d be like if he found his energy body and really opened up!
She starts inviting him to join her in various classes or workshops, but he’s never interested, sometimes to the point of being dismissive. Occasionally she does manage to drag him along, but he seems bored and irritated by the exact things that light up her world. When she confronts him about it, he says that he’s supportive of her doing her “woo-woo thing” because she seems to enjoy it, but he himself just isn’t into it.
This sets off alarm bells for her. Perhaps they’re not compatible anymore. Perhaps she’s outgrowing him. Perhaps it’s some past trauma or childhood issue that keeps him from seeing the inherent deliciousness of this world she’s discovered. If that’s the case, he definitely needs to start coming to these workshops and really doing the work so that he can heal that! If only he’d be willing to really try…
And the cycle of resentment continues. An otherwise healthy relationship begins to sour as the perspectives of both sides solidify. The soul-growth that inspired this whole mess slows way down, if not stopping altogether.
This is such an excruciating place to be.
It’s so painful to hear “no” when you’ve discovered something wonderful and you want to share it with the one you love. There is real heartbreak in recognizing that the person you love most doesn’t want to go on the most profound of journeys with you, or at least not in the way you want them to. It hurts to really admit to yourself that they don’t want to follow your, or perhaps any, path of growth and transformation.
In addition to causing a rift in relationships, this dynamic can bring friction to your own exploration. By focusing so much energy and worry on your partner you are undermining your own expansion. Unconsciously, you’re hitting the brakes on your own journey for their sake. Subtly, you are waiting for their permission to let yourself grow.
This is a heavy hitter for women in particular because of the amount of patriarchal conditioning we carry. For thousands of years, women could barely do anything without someone’s (usually a man’s) permission. When faced with deep, soul-level transformation, it’s natural for this type of age-old conditioning to crop up.
So what’s a conscious person to do?
Move forward as an Initiatress (or Initiator).
An Initiatress is one who goes alone on her soul’s journey and makes absolutely no demands of others. She strives to become awakened in herself alone, or alongside a community of other dedicated seekers that have also chosen this freely. She experiences all the healing and joy that she can find and transforms herself in a graceful way that carries no expectations that her partner, mother-in-law, or anyone else does the same.
When you approach the world as an Initiatress, divinity pours off of you into the world around you. On an energetic level, your cultivated wisdom begins to trickle into them like osmosis, even if they don’t do a single practice.
By taking 100% of the pressure to follow off of those around you, they are much more likely to see the changes in you. They are subtly and energetically drawn to you and may even follow in your footsteps and start their own journey.
Keep in mind that the Initiatress effect will not inspire everyone. There will be plenty of people that don’t notice any difference in you at all, let alone follow you.
Give yourself permission to blossom and flower into the person you are meant to be, even if that means going on the journey alone. By doing so you give yourself, your relationship, and the world the most beautiful gift you can: the most joyful, alive, loving version of yourself.
This world is full of pain. It’s full of people wrapped up in story and unconscious triggers. It’s full of people who are asleep. It needs you to be awake. It needs you to love. It needs you to be the best that you can be, no matter the cost.
You be you. Let your partner be themselves. Celebrate the differences between you. Whether they go on the journey with you or not, it ultimately doesn’t matter. What matters is becoming the most full version of yourself and let your the scent of your blossoming fill the world with the delicious healing fragrance of joy.
Say yes. Stop giving your power away. Give yourself permission to follow your bliss, no matter what anyone else does.
*Can be anyone of any gender in any relationship style, but I see this dynamic most in cis-hetero-monogamous-relationships