Romeo and Juliet’s Journey #5: Allies and Powers
“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
-Romeo, in Act 3, Scene 2, as Mercutio offers to protect Romeo in battle
The fifth step of the Hero’s Journey, “Acquiring Allies and Gaining Powers” is simple acknowledgement that we must learn and grow. Do different things, see the world in different ways. If you do what you’ve done, you’ll continue to get what you’ve got. If you want different results, you MUST do different things.
I recently got a query from a student (“George”) who had become enamored of a lady on a social media site. They had corresponded, they had some mutual social media friends, and when she finally agreed to meet him in person, his heart was about to pound out of his chest. He had wanted love, connection, passion for years, and here was the chance right in front of him!
She had expressed a desire for a fancy smartphone, and he decided to buy her one, and present it at their first date. With his heart full of hope, he did just that…and then watched as she took it and then backed away, “ghosted” him, leaving him confused and angry.
It is easy to say that “George” made a mistake. Harder to put your finger on what he could have done differently. Wisdom is the result of experience, and experience is painful.
If “wisdom” is one of the “powers” Romeo needed to keep from committing suicide (the knowledge that the love he felt for Juliet came from within HIM, if he was complete within himself, he wouldn’t’ have killed himself, knowing that he would recover, his heart would heal and that he would find love again. Paradoxically, allowing Juliet to “go” would have resulted in her awakening and a joyous reunion.)
How do you get wisdom without the experiences? ASK OTHERS WHO HAVE BEEN ON THE JOURNEY. It is simple, really. So simple that we forget that ALMOST EVERYTHING we’ve learned in life we learned by modeling the behavior of others: how to walk, talk, ride a bicycle, read, write…everything.
Love is no different. The beautiful thing is that even among people our own age, experiences will vary. You will be more advanced in certain arenas, your friends in others. But the very best mentors are people who are older, who have experienced the journey of life for longer, and are further along the road.
“But things are different now!” yeah. They always are. But there are things that are the same. FOCUS ON THOSE.
I had the extraordinary pain of courting the woman of my dreams and watching it all fall to ashes. The more I gave the faster she backed away. Sound familiar? As my marriage had recently gone the way of the dodo, I felt horrible, desperate, confused. Was there something broken about me? Was I so ugly and stupid? What kind of idiot was I, that everything I tried to do was wrong?
WHY DID IT HAPPEN? I had to learn by painful experience: relationships have a thing called “rapport”. Each person is traveling at a given pace, in a given direction. If they have experience, they know that people lie, and cheat, and wear masks.
So if a beautiful woman has had any experience at all, she knows that there are predators, men who will pretend to be what they are not. And she will reveal herself one bit at a time, an unfolding, like a flower spreading its petals slowly. Imagine that each of you is holding a deck of cards. You put down a card: “Hi! My name is Steve!” she puts down a card to match you: “my name is Mary.” And you proceed, putting down one card after another: what you do, what you like, where you’ve lived. Bits of your relationship history, your hopes and dreams and values.
One at a time. You put down a “card” and then she does. MAYBE you put down two at a time. If she still only puts down one…OOPS! Slow down.
The “power” there is awareness of incremental progress. Building rapport and not breaking it by moving too fast. You learn either by experience, observation…or modeling friends and mentors. ASKING.
What had “George” done? The same thing I did. I gushed out my guts, dumping them on the table in a steaming pile: I LOVE YOU!!
From the way I’d come on, I had to be either a fool or a predator. George had gone from zero to Engagement Gift before they’d shaken hands. There is no way a
woman with self-respect and experience would not look at that and wonder what he wanted.
And if SHE was a predator? A user? He’d simply fallen into a trap. She got the goodies and ran. If either of us had unfolded more carefully, revealed ourselves more gradually, MATCHED THE PACE OF OUR PARTNER…
A lot of pain could be avoided. I asked, and observe, and finally learned. Applied what I learned. And when I had integrated that understanding, almost immediately I met the love of my life.
How do you learn? ASK. Find people who have been married happily twenty years or longer. Talk to them. A LOT of them. You will begin to see things in common, form your own theories. Compare them with others. This is a game for awake, aware, adult human beings. You are playing with the circuitry that creates helpless baby humans. Whether you are using birth control, are gay, or even beyond the time of reproduction, the circuitry, more ancient than human thought, is still there, make no mistake.
If you have problems in an arena of life…if you want to rise to the next level…you need to find guides along the road ahead.
If only Romeo had done such a thing, that immortal play would have been a comedy rather than a tragedy. Probably a minor work, yes. Don’t let YOUR life be memorable for its tragedy. Please
Love yourself…and share the love!