This kind of love “is distinguished from other types of love by a greater intensity, by a more engrossing character, and by the possibility of a more complete overall reciprocity. Only this love can lead to the real and indissoluble union of two lives into one.”
~ Vladimir Solovyov
My lineage, without question, is Christian, and I’ve had a number of unbidden visitations and experiences with Jesus, showing me where my life was leading as he held my face with tenderness. My eternal husband, and beloved, Peter, who is no longer in this world – looked exactly like the images we have been shown of Jesus and was a carpenter from Berlin, born on St. Michael’s feast day and Rumi’s birthday. So clearly, my experience of love is inescapably being shaped by unseen forces that I continue to discover and understand, 99% of the time, after the fact.
Cynthia writes in the preface of her book: “As with all lovers who have lived to the full the wager that love is stronger than death, the faithfulness of their two hearts resonating across time and space forms a particular kind of energy channel through which divine compassion pours itself forth as wisdom and creativity.”
Here’s something I wrote a few years ago that I would like to share with you..
We had a small one-bedroom apartment on the border of Hells Kitchen and Columbus Circle. I could see my dear friend Marsha standing in the kitchen through the pass through – tall, beautiful, an ex-model from St. Louis.
Sitting on the bar stool, listening to my 7 year old son, Alex belly laughing at some ingenious move made in the monopoly game he was playing with Leah – his friend and dance partner of 6+ years.
I casually reached for the wall phone as Marsha poured boiling water into our teacups.
“Is this Patricia Albere?” an official sounding voice asked.
I said, “Yes” tentatively.
“Do you know a Mr. Peter Gaertner?”
“I’m sorry to inform you that he’s been in a very serious car accident and right now he’s being helicoptered to Hartford Hospital. His condition is uncertain.”
Her voice then trailed off and I hung up.
Quite honestly, I don’t know how I felt or what the exact transition was from that moment – to the kids being with my former husband, Keith and Marsha and I in her car headed for Hartford.
Peter had been working as a carpenter at a friend’s country home and was clearly rushing home to see me. He had asked me to marry him only 2 weeks earlier – which was merely the recognition of the truth of our relationship. Relationship? It wasn’t really a relationship. We were more a unified field, sensuous, sinuous, attuned, morphing and moving, flowing and displaying various qualities like different colored lights through liquid.
This field of being “us” was simultaneously traveling in different dimensions of reality and in many dimensions all at once.
We could touch, dance, kiss while being one consciousness.
It was normal, to experience in lovemaking, my experience and his simultaneously, from first kiss to orgasm and relishing in the manna created afterwards.
Peter was German, 6’1” tall, 28 year old mystic with a body that closely resembled Michaelangelo’s David. I would gaze at the shape of his knees, arch of his foot or broad perfect shoulders – strong enough to lift me over his head like a ballet dancer – and just seeing any part of him would evoke waves of desire on all levels of my being, body and soul.
Since his death, psychics, astrologers and people that knew him from other places have reacted similarly when speaking about him. They pause and then say his love for me is so intense, compelling, passionate, deep and unconditional. I was blessed to not only be on the other end of his generosity but to feel it equally for him. Being “met” – full on – there’s nothing like it.
To accurately portray the darkness that I ended up being submerged in and dragged into it was like being tied to a nuclear submarine moving to the bottom of the ocean. To understand the darkness you need to have a sense of the light. The light we were in. The light we were. The light that burned without ceasing. The light of my soul and his ablaze with God and the simple sweetness of human love.
Movies like the Titanic are record-breaking blockbusters not because of big budgets and amazing special effects. They capture a glimpse of the love we know exists. Most people have never known it directly and will never live it for themselves. Many people over the course of history have. It doesn’t seem to matter.
This kind of love speaks to a deep and passionate place in our souls – a place that recognizes that even one moment is worth everything..
It isn’t love as a noun or a verb – it’s something else – a phenomenon, a place, a continuous movement out of time. It’s a fundamental reality that we all know and exists within us somewhere – even if it’s not being lived in an embodied way.
To live it, though, even for a few moments, with another human being, changes you forever.
It’s the kind of love you never get over. You never want to.
I can say that truly. It’s been 30 years since I watched Peter move towards me, slowly, on the dance floor at Rajneeshpuram. His intense blue eyes holding mine – his body perfectly proportioned, rhythmic, sensual and confident. I have a theory that everything you need to know about the dance of any relationship is evident in the very beginning. Even now, he is here, influencing my capacity greater intimacy, depth and the unfolding magic of the moment demanded by his very existence.
In my first kindergarten report card they said I was doing well, blah, blah, blah but that I tended to be “bossy”. So having a man take control and be unquestioningly confident, strong & attuned was beyond sexy to me. He took me where I didn’t know I wanted to go. Masculine power used to take a woman into her depths is one of the great wonders of the world. It’s rare. So often the beautiful power a man can possess is used against the feminine and is self-serving and dominating. But that’s another story, not this one.
As my Marsha & I drove speedily to Hartford Hospital that icy winter night, I stared at the dashboard. My mind was lucid and quiet, my heart smooth, tender and exploding into new regions of love like the firework finale’s on the fourth of July, where one incredible display is just about to dissolve and another sky full of color comes out the fading of the old and then another and another.
I loved him completely and this moment of love was an outgrowth of the one before. I never needed to be reminded of how much I loved him. It wasn’t ever like that. I experienced being “our love”. It was a presence that was in my very cells. I felt him all the time. No matter where our physical bodies were, we were one body. It was normal to feel and recognize exactly how the other was whether we were in the same room or countries apart. I remember when he was in Germany and I was in New York, I missed him, started to cry and the phone rang and before I could say anything he said, “What’s wrong?”
This kind of thing happened all the time. It only seems unusual after the fact. It felt completely normal and natural at the time.
Love like that does. It feels like coming home and finally being able to relax.
A poem by Rumi:
The minute I heard my first love story
I started looking for you, not knowing
How blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
They’re in each other all along.
As I leaned back into the car seat, I realized that I had no regrets whatsoever. I had loved him completely. I had given him everything and then some… I was confident that I had opened myself to receive all of who he was and taken in all of his love. That’s all you can do. I was grateful but wanted more.
No one wants to be kicked out of heaven.
Sounds idealistic, maybe exaggerated, unreal, full of projections and fantasy? No. It’s more real than my body or the room I’m sitting in. Some things are real. They exist beyond time, distance and form. Our love is real in that way.
I don’t know how it happened but somehow the unique combination of our coming together evoked a sustained intensity of living and loving that burned on fuel that never burned out. It only became more wild and still.
Spiritual teachings all agree that it’s best to live as if each moment is your last. It’s important to be fully present. The samurai would live as if death were on their shoulder, fully awake, fearless and in deep gratitude.
We were Samurai lovers, I guess, dueling with precision and subtlety, but risking everything gladly.
The darkness was not the two-week coma, the brain injury or seeing a man who had been the best windsurfer in Germany be unable to do a simple jumping jack without falling over. It wasn’t watching him literally beat his head against a wall in frustration or his suicide 20 months later.
It’s been every moment of living without him. Having to find a way to live without the best expression of my soul as our soul. It’s been not being able to look forward to our adventure of love as the unfolding now – shared..
Martha Beck in her book: Leaving the Saints writes of a painful but enlightened journey she lived. It became an open-ended tragedy.
An open-ended tragedy is something you have to bear that is unbearable. God’s tough that way. The bitch is being in the middle of the joke feeling confused, annoyed and clueless. Some punch lines are long in coming and in my case it took a long time and taught me lessons I wasn’t all that interested in.
After he died, my inner world was dark and empty. I might be making French toast, getting my young son, Alex ready for school but I was someplace else, in a void of sorts and nothing felt real or substantial.
I moved from one activity to another but the ignition was gone, like trying to light a match on a damp summer evening after everything’s been rained on. The harder you try, the more soggy and flat the match becomes and it just doesn’t work in the end anyway.
In all these years without Peter, I was forced to learn and mature and discover what I am now able to share with others in my teaching and the book I am now writing. In the last few years the punch line has finally arrived. It never occurred to me that ‘timing’ included cultural cycles and what the world is ready for – not just what I might personally be capable of. As a spiritual teacher – it is vividly clear that evolution is demanding that we evolve together – the ‘sacred we’ is the very depth of the inter-subjective space that Peter and I lived in & shared. It has been said that the future Buddha will be a group. We will need to deeply transform together – as Peter and I did.
Van Morrison knew how to say it simply:
No teacher, no method, no Guru. Just you and me in the garden.
Finally, I am living in a field of oneness, experiencing ‘multiple Beloveds’ in the Evolutionary Collective, the space that Peter and I shared together, with other open, committed human beings. It is a flow of revelation and grace and I finally know why I’m still here. Cynthia writes, “the sphere of intimacy accessed in the totally transparent lovemaking of Fifth Way partners becomes itself a dynamo of creativity and establishes the vibrational field in which they will continue to stay connected when one of them is no longer in the physical flesh.”
Yes, love is stronger than death.
Just you and me in the garden, in the garden wet with rain…
Thank you for letting me share this with you.
With deep love and appreciation,