"For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation." Rainer Marie Rilke
Once Half Now Whole
Katharine and Jack, Brisbane, Australia, 1993
Two Halves that made One Whole Great Love
The theme of SOULMATES is one that attracts many of us. I experienced this with my third wife, Katharine--we created and sustained a Great Love to her death in my arms from cancer in 1996.
Each of us as individuals are psychologically only HALF as Plato's myth expresses. We need another to make us WHOLE.
I define Love as the Exchange of Equal Self-Worth and Mutually Identical Values. Love is two Equal Parts creating one Paired Whole that is more than the sum of the Parts.
The quote by the American cardiologist James J. Lynch taken from his The Broken Heart expresses the Dilemma of Mature Love:
“The reality is that all relationships inevitably will be dissolved and broken. The ultimate price exacted for commitment to other human beings rests in the inescapable fact that loss and pain will be experienced when they are gone...It is a toll that no one can escape, and a price that everyone will be forced to pay repeatedly. A prescription to nourish human companionship is, therefore, a unique type of health tonic. Part of the inescapable human dilemma is that the same companionship that keeps people healthy can also seriously threaten their health when it is taken away.”
A video explaining Plato's Myth of Soulmates
“According to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with 4 arms, 4 legs and a head with 2 faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search for other halves.”
"We are always trying to be relieved of our incompleteness and to bridge the gulf between one human being and another. Are we not like those pieces of coins broken in half for keepsakes with each of us forever seeking our missing part? May we be among the happy few to whom it is given to meet our other halves and be made complete."
–Plato’s The Symposium
“Morality begins in the awareness of our incompleteness. Humans are seekers of completion. What is required for wholeness stands outside of us. Our restoration is not something we can provide ourselves; thus, it is not so much a question of self-development but of being developed by another. As human beings we stand in absolute need: we come to wholeness only by suffering a good other than our own. We are restored by someone other working on us; we are healed through an agency other than our own. The distance between who we are now and who we are called to be is the work of one whose love provides for us what we could never provide ourselves.” Paul Wadell, The Primacy of Love
“Love is the desire for contact or communication with another being like ourselves who makes his presence felt in a manner that reveals his essential nature to us and by so doing reveals our essential nature to ourselves.
The need for love is a need, not for strength in the self but for strength in the bond between selves. It is a need to discover our personal reality in the only possible way, by discovering the personal reality of another being of our own kind in a relationship that is reciprocal.
So the search for love is a search for recognition and our desire to be loved is a desire to be recognized, not for what we do but for what we are. Love is the need to see one’s own reality attested in the reality of another human being.”
Kenneth Walker and Peter Fletcher
The Lesson of Loss -- A Whole Great Love
So few of us seem to actually learn this lesson before we die. I was fortunate enough to have learned it through Katharine, my SoulMate, and our WHOLE GREAT LOVE we created and maintained together. Her death from cancer 1996 made me the man I am today: one who practices Personally Responsible Freedom as Care for Equal and Intimate Relationships.
My purpose here is to give you a glimpse of WHO KATHARINE WAS and very roughly sketch our relationship as it matured through its early stages of my wanting to keep my independence to my final acknowledgement of her SUPREME VALUE to me and committing my life to hers as mine.
I only regret one thing in my life: that I did not commit earlier to a PERMANENT PARTNERSHIP with her. In fact, from when we first met in May 1989 until her death from cancer in December 1996, I was never with another woman sexually or even in friendship.
At this period of our relationship I still wanted to retain my independence and still was not yet intelligently mature enough to give up this independence for what actually was the far greater value of our INTER-dependency. It took her leaving me in America, August 1992, to return to her home in Australia to wake me up to WHO SHE WAS and the HIGHEST VALUE of the LOVE she was offering and was strong enough to wait for me to grow to choose to be FREELY RESPONSIBLE FOR.
We were formally married on July 4, 1993, the American Independence Day which we called our Interdependence Day.
I begin with etymology, the “true” meaning of words as they can be traced back to their origin in some cases thousands of years ago. Katharine and catharsis both derive from the ancient Greek katharos which means "pure, clear of dirt, clean, spotless; open, free; clear of shame or guilt; purified". I cannot find a more accurate description and expression of who she was than this ancient Greek word’s meaning.
Now, an introduction to her short writings below.
These words were written around 1989, about six months after we first met in May 1989. We lived together for a few months shortly after we met. But this was a time of grieving for me—my second wife, Elaine, had died from cancer in April 1989 and I had been her sole support during the difficult nine months of her dying. I was tested by those demanding nine months and proved my self-worth to me by remaining steadfast to her despite our often great disagreements of how to manage her mental despair and physical pain. I fell into the well of my grief and was too self-absorbed to allow Katharine’s bright sunshine smile and attentive care to to help me out. I was not yet mature enough to use my suffering to connect me to others.
So Katharine left me to live with a friend about an hours drive away from me. I think the writings below are from this period of us living separately and mainly seeing each other on the weekends.
From Katharine’s notebooks on Jack:
You even gave a name and a reason to the way I think.
A gift I will take out and turn over everyday for the rest of my life.
[Note: I have approximated the layout of her writing in her notebook.]
Waking up in my own time
Sharing thinking projects with a mature friend
(life is an adventure!)
Garden, spa & sun
Jack [a line drawn through my name] Having time to myself
Shops & art galleries
very very very nice but I
have to know I would be
The following is from Katharine’s notebook written around 1990 when we were a couple living separately and together from time to time. I had not yet come to where I would, finally, in October 1992, propose marriage to her realizing her supreme value to me over anything and everything in my life.
This entry in her notebook describes her ideal day with me—or the ideal man I would become through her. What I hope this writing shows to all is what a wonderfully mature/wise person and woman Katharine was as all who were fortunate enough to know her well knew. And what a blessed man I was to have met her at just the right time in my development and hers.
“I would live in a cosy house with a large & varied garden (the house & garden maintains themselves). I would have a lover who was also a mentor & guide but one who let me chose what I want & simply showed me better ways to get there. He would feed me ideas & discuss them with me in a logical & creative way without having to ‘win’ any points & being endlessly patient with each others’ explanations.
“I would have a private spa & pool in the garden for thinking & resting. Nearby would be a variety of restaurants & exceptional clothing, jewelry & accessories stores with exquisitely tasteful, inspiring & sensual things.
“I would have two female friends who were also able to discuss ideas of any kind & who shared my curiosity & intelligence & were also interested in a wide range of things. They would live independent lives, be well rounded & wealthy & generous, introducing me to new ideas, places & activities.
“A university nearly would offer science & psychology courses. The qualities that would emerge in me would be independence, sexiness, curiosity, discipline, creativity, productivity, & inner peace.
“I would enter into writing, research & business projects with my friends that didn’t require constant full time work. “
[Change of topic here to directly describing her relationship with Jack]
“I am waking up gently, about 7:30. Jack is there to cuddle & make love if I feel aroused. We get up. He is preparing breakfast while I spend time in the private garden, enjoying the sun & new flowers & composing haiku.”
“We eat a light, delicious & healthy breakfast in our courtyard. After breakfast in our robes, we get dressed—both casually. I choose a cream coloured natural knit dress that is figure hugging, bare legs, businesslike shoes & make up, jewelry & perfume.
“We both move to studios at opposite ends of the house. Mine opens onto a set of small very tasteful offices where my partner is already at work. We have a small easily managed consulting business & a no strings attached business management. We offer a consulting service for individuals & businesses who require problem solving & personal development.
“At 5pm she leaves & I meet Jack for aerobics & gym work at our gym nearby. I’m wearing very soft, comfortable boots under a full skirt in rust or deep green soft silk or knit, belted & clingy.
“We take a drive along the coast for an early meal at our favorite Thai restaurant & have coffee (Jack his favorite fudge cheesecake dessert) watching the sunset & talking about ideas or new twists on our old new ideas.
“We drive back home & Jack lights the fire. We read, sharing thoughts, kisses & massage until 9:30 when we undress & slip into the warm spa outside under the stars. We can see the city lights& & classical music drifts out from our living room.
“At 10:30 I am snug in bed still enjoying the music & the stars I can see through the bedroom windows as we fall asleep.”
All I can add to the above: WHAT A MAGNIFICENT WOMAN SHE WAS!
And what a LUCKY MAN I was and STILL AM.