One morning a pair of peacocks showed up at our back door. We have no idea where they came from; we just figure they were roaming the neighborhood and God gave them our address. They were a mated pair, a peacock and peahen, so we named them Alan and Dee.
The two birds were never more than a few feet apart. They were majestic to behold, curious, and funny, so we decided to let them adopt us.
One afternoon I stepped out onto the patio and startled peahen Dee. Flustered, she flew to the other side of the house, out of peacock Alan’s sight. Suddenly she began to honk vociferously, and the other bird responded. Separated, the two tried to locate each other by calling to each other repeatedly.
The honking went on for about 20 minutes until Dee found her way around the back of the house and the two had a glorious reunion. It was touching, I tell you ― even more stirring than Jerry Springer. Reunited, the couple spends their days displaying their feathers and picking bugs off each other.
I have taken many relationship seminars and dealt with lots of relationship questions and issues in my seminars and my life. But no lesson has been as clear and poignant as the one those two birds taught me. Their natural state, you see, was togetherness, or intimacy. When they got separated, the honking began, and it went on until they found each other. They were calling to their beloved.
If you are hopelessly (or hopefully) romantic, you will interpret this story as a search for your soulmate. And it is so. Yet there is much more:
When you feel lonely, separate, or outside of love, your pain and what you do out of pain is your honk to be reunited with your beloved. Your beloved is not just a person; it is the Beloved, the divine love from which you came, to which you will return, and which walks by your side until you take its hand. A Course in Miracles tells us that every act is either an expression of love or a call for love. What we do from joy expresses love; what we do from fear calls for love. So all of our searching, primping, finagling, match.com-ing, falling in love, fabulous sexing, item announcing, arguing, weeping over breakups, and buying Celine Dion CD’s and Girls Gone Wild videos is our honking to be reunited. It’s that simple. We just want to go home, and until we get there, we will keep honking.
Outside the Los Angeles airport I saw a marvelous billboard advertising the BMW Z4 convertible, a sleek and sexy sports car. (I have lusted after this car for years, but never lived on a road flat enough to justify buying one.) The billboard touted the new model and proclaimed, “It wants you, too.”
Ah, another great metaphor. What you are seeking is seeking you. If you need a new home or job, there is one out there that matches you; it is trying to get to you as much as you are trying to get to it. Romantically, it’s the same: the person you are longing to be with is longing to be with you. You have a right partner, and you are on course to connect. Spiritually, the metaphor is most significant: The God you long to know, longs for you to know Him/Her. The peace you desire awaits your return. The love you yearn to know, already knows you, and calls you to find it.
Your journey of relationship is an adventure to reunite with yourself. It’s not that you have a missing piece you need to find; you have a missing self you need to recognize. The more you have struggled to meet your mate, the greater your memory of the love you have lost and know you deserve. Your quest is quite justified; it’s the most natural thing in the world. It’s just that you have sought for love in places outside your own heart. The musk deer searches mountains and valley for the source of a heavenly aroma, only to discover that it was emanating from its own self.
T.S. Eliot noted, “The end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” Finding true love is not about getting something we don’t have; it’s about coming home to the place we left; asking for what we already own; claiming the happiness we miss because it is more natural to us than anything we substituted for it.
February is the month for lovers. If you have a Valentine, honk to get a little closer. If you don’t have a Valentine, honk to get a little closer to yourself. Love will keep driving you until you’re all the way home.
By Alan Cohen