As all awakening beings recognize, these are extremely challenging times. Many of us wonder, on an almost daily basis, what in the world compelled us to be born onto this planet in the first place. The challenges are everywhere — both inside our personal worlds and without us on a global and galactic scale.

Everybody is talking about oneness. We are all one, the enlightened say. We understand this to be true, but, secretly, some of us wonder: “One what?” “Have we even decided yet who or what we are?”

Coming together…

The planet is getting smaller. Consciousness is calling us to unite in an effort to transform our planet. While we are seeking community and coming together, we are, simultaneously experiencing separation. Many are finding they can no longer effectively work with or live with the people who have been part of their lives for years.

As a friend reminded me last night, this is a time for getting clear and for choosing what we really want. And sometimes, the only way we know what we really want is by experiencing the opposite.

There are times, as I have experienced myself, that situations simply spit us out. But, if you are like me, this never occurs before we have an awareness that we don’t fit vibrationally with the experience. I’m always aware of the misfit before I find myself booted out the door.

Recently I was talking to someone about romantic relationships. We are both single right now and share common interests in conscious living, awakening, and exploring the truth.

My own thoughts wandered to our almost universal quest for intimate relationship. Some of us are looking for our twin flame or soul mate (and there are so many different descriptions of what that may mean) and others are open to anyone or anything that life may bring.

(The sane ones out there are probably the ones who just enjoy their own company, have some lovely friends, do creative work, keep it simple and then head back to the spirit world when the body gives out.)

For some of us, those born with lovers’ souls, the idea of intimate relationship is deeply tied to our quest for transformative personal growth and happiness.

For someone with a lovers’ soul, romance or magic is really found everywhere, in all sorts of loving relationship — whether sharing kindness with other humans or walking barefoot on the grass.

This morning, as I thought about my previous romantic relationships, an image appeared before me of the fire swamp from the movie “Princess Bride”.

In the movie, the main characters find themselves working their way through a swamp filled with pitfalls, quicksand, monsters, misdirections  and other assorted terrors. To get to the freedom they seek, they have to make it through the swamp — facing one fear after another.

In my re-created version of the fire swamp, this dark, mysterious forest cannot be entered alone. Access is only given to those who have the courage to take another’s hand.

This swamp has official signs posted all about it, warning potential adventurers of the extreme dangers involved…warning explorers to choose their partner carefully…warning lovers that they may end up hating one another — but only until they come to realize it is themselves they’ve never fully loved.

Instruction manuals and declarations can be found tucked along the perimeter of the swamp. These contain warnings and more warnings about the masterfully-crafted illusions designed to fool even the wisest of beings. Beware, they say.

Beware, be aware, but don’t be afraid, they say.  If you wish to be fully alive, you must take the journey, no matter the risk.

Yes, they say, there will be illusions of love, illusions of danger, illusions of safety, illusions of conflict, illusions of right and wrong… but you must learn to discern an illusion when it appears. And being fooled by these illusions is the only way to learn to see through them.

There are hand-written warnings posted by previous adventurers, some of them written in blood. They warn that lovers may end up completely confused, or be taken prisoner, or have their heart ripped out, or even be eaten alive. They warn that nothing is real, especially not love. Play it safe, they say. Stay away.

At the entrance to the swamp, there is a small sign posted at eye level. One has to look closely to read the tiny print.

Secrets

1. Don’t be fooled. You are never with the wrong partner while you are still with them.

2. If you or your partner disappears, you will find yourself no longer in the swamp.

3. Take your time before re-entering. Forgive your own lack of wisdom. It was really to be expected.  Access your new self-knowledge. Expand your awareness. Heal your wounds. Then try again.

An even smaller, hand-written sign is spotted as you take your first step into the forest.

Keep moving and keep still. When you both understand what that means, you will make it through. The next adventure is even greater.

So, here’s to our time in the swamp, together — two by two, or two million by two million.

As romantics, we have not come here to do this alone. We are creating something powerful and amazing — by coming together. By finding our stillness and moving in our power.

All of us.

Could it be true that the game isn’t over ’til the last man’s in?