Marriage Among the Marigolds

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Everyone is a garden.

And our relationships, like gardens, thrive best when they are tended to with love, attentive pruning, and boundaries.

Out of fear of rejection, fear of limits, or perhaps fear of failing (even though there is no such thing), until very recently my partner, who I call “Tigre,” and I never truly laid claim to each other. You see, we emerged out of stardust, reforming from supernova past particles, never understanding what it was we were building together because we remained firmly planted outside of the future.

We met while I was still married to someone else, during a VERY LOUD time in my path to awareness in which I opened my relationship and declared to anyone with eyes and ears that I was ready to f*ck paradigms, come hell or high water. I was bold, hot pink; light streaming from my skull, screaming for freedom.

Things quickly shifted as I recognized that what I sought by creating an open relationship was simply one partner – the right partner… That I was inadvertently cracking the crysalis so that my true self could emerge to fly.

Within weeks, I left my marriage to be true to myself; infinitely grateful for Tigre’s catalystic inspiration that forced me to go all in on my own life. It was the right move, certainly… and our ensuant divorces (his too) were handled with so much fearless honesty and love that our exes have become like cherished siblings to us.

So we trod this new ground tenderly, only seeing each other at arms’ length because nothing else existed.

The garden of us was fertile, fecund, plowed with laughter, and all seemed well. All was well.

Our relationship emerged organically from the soil of self-awareness.

First, we became “we” – a couple. Partners, even though we never spoke of what we were. Suddenly, I had a boyfriend. Sure, he was living in Perú and I was living with my son in a tiny Spanish apartment in San Diego… but it worked. He followed his dreams of jungle permaculture and began to embrace his divine masculine while I tilled the earth of me and continued the long work of identity dissolution and loamy soul enrichment.

I visited him in Perú. We bonded over dysentery and fist-sized tarantulas. I had my second glimpse at time travel. We basked in the sacredness of plant medicine and I watched as parts of his ego died; staying on a hard wooden floor alone with him until the sun began to rise… I faithfully waited for him to return behind his eyes.

Perú felt like the heartbeat of the Earth, coming alive through the souls of my feet.

Mud mask!

You see, the jungle doesn’t leave you – it stays in the beads of sweat running down your skin; it permeates through the clay you slather on your face; It vines itself around your heart and through your bones until you suffocate with the pleasure of it.

He started designing a dream house.

“You’ll have a beautiful home,” I told him.

Our home will be beautiful,” he replied.

We started becoming us.

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We were not without challenges.

I came back to San Diego and tried to integrate the goddess I was becoming back into “real life” of diapers, production work, friendships, and family. My true nature wasn’t as palatable to my family as the less awakened me had been, even though the flaming side of self-actualization was calming down.

Dreams of moving my son and I to Perú increased the distance inside my family, caused schisms of pain, and started cracking through the joy… thistles of information that clung to my legs like burrs as I tossed and turned at night.

Then came the shattering diagnosis of my son’s autism. Tigre was still on another hemisphere… and I felt like I’d been steamrolled, turned into hardpan, and left in merciless sun to whither and die.

I hugged my baby tightly while I lay in bed and cried my goodbyes to this precious new life; I could feel it being blown away like leaves in a hurricane.

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I didn’t know how deep the taproots of this garden were.

I didn’t trust us to cultivate it.

I fearfully told Tigre about my son and expected him to run. But, thanks to the Universe’s beautiful pattern language, his mother is an autism-related neuroscience brain researcher. Tigre didn’t flee: He has known this territory since before birth.

Instead, he built a scarecrow out of love to keep our fears from eating us alive. He tended to the garden of us tenderly from afar. He chose to stay faithful. He sent me poetry. He made me laugh. I started to believe again that my life was not being scattered to the wind.

My son started therapy. He started to speak. He stopped screaming so much. I started to feel like a real mother.

In the fall, I returned again to Perú, after 100 days apart from my partner and lightyears of distance from my old life.

For three weeks, we played like animals, running through Cuzco ruins; making love under the sky, traversing thousand-year-old paths and flying across the top of the world.

“Life is not a vacation.”

We were told to bring our feet back to the earth, not to smile as much, that real life is rife with harshness.

It was apparent that I had gone (even more) insane.

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We smiled at the misunderstanding. We played some more. We parted ways until he was to come back on Thanksgiving morning.

Crop rotation…

Plans shapeshifted a great deal once Tigre returned to the US. Circumstances aligned differently than we thought (as they are wont to do)… Instead of moving to Perú, we created a home here, in San Diego – which was of course perfect; not only for our literal garden, but for the garden of our relationship and for this beautiful child of mine (ours) to thrive in… What better place for him to blossom than inside the overflowing love everyone feels when they step through our threshold?

We began to see the divine in each other. Each day we harvested together tasted like honeysuckle… Our “vacation” felt endless as we formed a professional partnership and welcomed a rotating slew of guests into our home who remained slackjawed with awe at how much we loved each other.

And then, it came time to deeply understand the importance of compost.

Losing control.

Recent weeks were drenched with joy and travel (a third voyage to Perú – this time together) and awakenings through energy work. But, our garden’s overabundant fruits of ecstacy began to overwhelm… we couldn’t harvest them fast enough.

As we developed an emerging awareness that, in fact, Tigre and I do want to get married, our happiness started rotting on the vine. Hilariously ironic, considering my most recent post on this topic (many of the sentiments of which I still stand behind).

You see, until this week, we’d never voiced who we were as individuals within our coupling. We’d also never fully labeled who we were together. Until now, it didn’t seem important.

But, our garden was overflowing with every possible plant, too many fruits, choking weeds, thorns of unacknowledged pain we’d long caused our family and friends…

What kind of relationship did we actually want? What garden were we actually planting?

It was too frightening to ask before now. We weren’t ready for the answer.

Shortly after acknowledging out loud the innate truth that we are twin souls, that we are (and always were) life partners, I was brought to my knees by inquiry into what kind of marriage we wanted.

All of my past choices exploded into my face; one thousand facets of a shard-filled mirror. In seeing the direction of our conversation, I once again felt myself crumpled like a handful of dead leaves and strewn unwillingly into the sky.

I curled into a convulsing ball and fought to breathe.

I saw, for the first time, the pain I left in my wake when I opened my first marriage. I saw how my mother must have felt when I blazingly decided to uproot everything and depart for the wild distant unknown with her beloved grandson in tow. I saw that even when I lead with love, people get hurt, that intentions aren’t enough of a band-aid, that the only salve to wounds is to really see & acknowledge the people you love and tenderly care for them like the beautiful, delicate fruits that they are.

I saw, for the first time, clearly, what I want in a partner and who I am as his counterpart. I saw that above all, I must tend to my own roots first, even if it means killing the garden I’ve so lovingly co-created because it’s suddenly choking me to death.

I saw just how many people it takes to tend to the garden of us.

And, once again, I didn’t quite trust all of us to nurture it. Some piece of me didn’t believe Tigre could possibly choose me exclusively when faced with the plethora of female beauty on this planet. That he wouldn’t be willing to respect the boundaries and edges we hadn’t yet communicated to each other. My doubts erupted like voles and chewed voraciously on my festering wounds.

Amid the intensity I found my voice. I chose my suddenly crystal-clear values and desires, and I murdered our garden believing it was an either-or decision. I let go of the home and life I’d so carefully and joyfully built. I thought I had no other choice.

I didn’t see that Tigre was simply reflecting my own fears and questions back to me to help me move through my past and into our future. I couldn’t bear the pain of my own former words coming at me through his mouth. I couldn’t hear his truth – that all he wanted was to hear me say that those words were no longer mine… That I needed to give him my boundaries so he could choose to respect them.

I couldn’t hear what he kept repeating; that, when given the choice, he would choose fidelity because he fully embraces me as his partner.

I plummeted to the depths of the earth and lay there, shivering, while he sobbed at the pain of our separation and my inability to gift him my faith in his loyalty. It was the single-most awful time I’ve ever experienced, within days of the most joyful time of my life.

Thankfully, our gardens thrive on decay.

A huge part of me died that day… The she in me that doesn’t believe in us. The she in me that is full of sharpness and pain, the she in me that retreats when it gets tough. The she in me that doesn’t trust my partner or my sisters to be gatekeepers and not plunderers of our intimacy.

The part of me that’s small and afraid has become compost for a new life, together.

Tigre helped me kill her with my own questions from the past and for that I am grateful… because I’m starting to breathe again. I have emerged from the underworld and my inherent divinity within is clearer, brighter, more alive.

I again, choose us. This time, with my eyes open, knowing that inside our sphere, I can stand strong on my own… I see Tigre’s choice to be here, fully present as my partner… As my divine masculine… As my one and only; and I for him. I believe him.

And again, for the third time in ten days, we have decided to marry… Not only on the soul level where we are already united, but on the human plane as well.

I see now that our garden needed borders and edges. It needed death. It needed both of us to choose what we plant here more mindfully, it needed our past to become fertilizer instead of poison. It needed us to let go of what we were holding onto so tightly.

It takes a village.

We are all the keepers of each other’s intimacies. We are the beds our gardens thrive in. We are the compost, dying so that our stems can eat the light again and open to love.

Choosing us, again. With one of our garden's guardians.

Choosing us, again. With one of our garden’s guardians.

Each of us is fertile ground for growth. Each of us can choose daily whether to fertilize or poison each other’s gardens.

I believe we are making better choices every day. I trust you, my fellow gardeners, to care for my flowers just as I care for yours.

This is SACRED marriage with eyes wide open. This is love and trust and truth. This is what really living feels like. This is how we serve the evolution of consciousness – by remembering how to garden, by remembering how to nurture, by reminding ourselves of our choices’ consequences. By embracing all of our little deaths…

This is how to make your forbidden life a treasure hunt for its inheritors.

This is how we come together and light the world.

photo credit: Cath in Dorset via photopin cc

9 confessions
  1. Kat

    This is the bomb.

    Moved by so many beautifully threaded words, as they transport me into tender, open moments that I now get to gatekeep along with the rest of those who see this.

    • emelie

      Thank you Kat, for being one of my caretakers, for helping me plant the seeds that have become this garden, for seeing the light in me above anything else. I can’t wait for you to finally meet Tigre!

  2. BrenBren

    You. Oh, you! This is so haunting and lovely and amazing and . . . true. How terrifying it is to confront the parts of yourself from which you think you draw strength and conviction, only to learn that those parts are remnants of stories you tell yourself for so long you believe them. I sat on a curb on my birthday two years ago after confessing my internal desire to choose Ben, even though he did not understand my choice as explained through the lens of marriage. I lost him in his gut reaction and lost myself in the process. But we clawed and cried and changed and CHOSE. The process was unbelievably raw and painful and, like my favorite Fox y Tigre, we emerged in a different place than where we were. New and shining and scary and reborn!

    • emelie

      Brenna, I love you so much for being here with us, in this space. You are such a sacred sister to me… Thankful for your loving presence in our relationship, for your witness to the everlasting webbing, and for your unconditional love for Rick. I am proud of you and Ben, of us… of anyone brave enough to have these conversations and strong enough to come through the other side, together. It’s absolutely sacred to choose your partner and to have faith in their choice of you – something that is often taken far too lightly or shaded by umbrellas of assumption. Cheers to the new and shiny and scary and reborn!!! <3

  3. Brenda

    Thank you for sharing. It helped me realize that I need several caretakers to assist in tending to the garden that is blooming the relationship with myself. I never truly had one. I’ve always focused on relationships with others. Why? Because I don’t have a relationship with myself. My previous relationship was a mirror of that. As the relationship burned quickly, I started to emerge from the ashes a completely different person.

    I am loving what is blooming. The artist that is rediscovering art. The lover of music that is rediscovering live music. The health coach that is coaching herself and moving her body. Letting go of domain names. Letting go of any expectations for my life and just going wherever the Universe leads me (which is to stay in my neighborhood, to settle roots, this goes against my love to flee when I don’t want to face anything).

    That said, I am scared that I will never see this garden fully bloom to its potential. That I will let weeds (other people and their needs) choke the flowers and veggies that are blooming. That I will not trust the Universe and the process. I am also scared that I will pull too much confusing the weed for what really is a seedling of love and friendship from another person due to lack of trust and pain. I am afraid to date again because what if I haven’t fully broken the bad habits and dating men that want the pretty bird, but prefer to keep her in a cage and not let her fly. Like you, I don’t want this beautiful garden to choke me nor do I want to put up iron gates and keep everyone out.

    So, like you, I am looking caretakers for my garden. Any volunteers?

    • emelie

      Brenda, welcome! It makes me so happy to see you here, and to hear more about your struggles with gardening. =) I used to say that I had two brown thumbs – pretty much everything I touched would immediately die – including relationships I’d let fester for too long, or “plants” I’d put in my garden regardless of “soil conditions…” Relationships that are to last and truly feed us must be planted in their season, in fertile soil. So, the first job for our garden’s caretakers? To get us ready to be planted…

      By setting down roots and not running to the next __________, you are allowing yourself to blossom into the fertile garden of your own potential. It is scary to risk never seeing the trees you plant bear fruit, but it’s even scarier not to plant them in the first place… All it takes is learning discernment, approaching the garden of us as if it’s an ecosystem in our yard… It’s like learning permaculture for our hearts.

      I’ll volunteer! If you want some gardening tips, I’d love to chat sometime.

  4. Stephanie

    Not many words…..just simply beautiful……..

    Truth and transparency, woven intricately like the spider’s web that lies peaceful and quietly within our gardens.

    Thank you for your beauty xxx

  5. Heather Day

    The raw honesty, the deep release of past/present pain and suffering and self-judgement, and power of jungle medicine.. ah Emilie, you are a poetess. Thank you for the gorgeous magic you’ve spun with these words… it is hope and love and beauty on the page.

    love and blessings on your adventures ahead, Fox y Tigre.

  6. Aimee

    Love this, Em. The garden metaphor is not just a metaphor. It is life. Thank you for the compost reminder….about how absolutely crucial it is to a thriving garden…. xoxo

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