Recently I had the privilege of guiding a couple who came to Mount Shasta to consciously complete more than 30 years of being together. They came all the way from England, believing that a guided retreat on this magical mountain would support them in a huge life transition.
I’d been through a sacred separation myself back in 2006. Francie and I had a deep commitment to maintaining our love and deep friendship while ending our marriage. Six years later, we are still dear friends who are very much part of each other’s lives.
Peter and Jan came to Shasta with their love for one another still strong, but with a knowing that it was time to live separate lives. Our journey began with a sharing of appreciation and gratitude for all the gifts of the marriage. This opened the space for honest communication about several issues they’d had difficulty talking about on their own. I introduced them to some tools from Nonviolent Communication, as well as some I’ve developed. Both Peter and Jan were able to express their profound sadness, as well as their anger and fears.
We then hiked to a beautiful spring where we did some cleansing rituals. This allowed Peter and Jan to come into the present moment and fully enjoy being on this magical mountain.
Next, we hiked through the forest to a special power spot. The energy there helped Peter and Jan to connect powerfully with their own Divine Presence. They both received fresh insights on the importance of the separation for their soul growth.
After another hike to help them ground the energy they had received, we arrived at a sacred site where I’ve often taken couples to renew their marriage vows. Here, Peter and Jan looked into each others’ eyes and made their separation vows, promising to continue to love and support one another.
Now, Peter and Jan are back in England, no longer living together or being lovers, but following through on their vows. They have realized, as Francie and I did, that the form of a relationship may change, but love doesn’t come and go. When two people have the courage to stay open to love, rather than closing down their hearts in fear, their separation is truly a sacred one.