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Soul Connections

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By Marcia Wolff

Love is, at first, not anything that means merging. It is a high inducement to the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world for himself, for another’s sake.

¾Rainer Maria Rilke


Most of us don’t read 15th-century poets for advice on love. We learn about love from movies, novels, magazines, and what we saw with parents and grandparents in our families.

Without having much say in the matter, from birth through eight years old, we internalize an identity though the family we are born or raised in. Our religion, our gender, family beliefs, and cultural and political ideas become an automatic part of us. Additionally, we draw distorted conclusions about ourselves that become a foundation that runs our lives. By the time we’re 12, this conditioning creates our personality, which we believe is who and all we are. When there are emotional upheavals, losses, conflicts, and trauma, we have few skills to deal with them. We create adaptive behaviors and develop defense mechanisms. In school, we strengthen our mental capacities, and in adolescence, we grow our physical abilities, but when we move into young adulthood, most of us aren’t emotionally skilled.

Rilke suggests that before we engage in committed love; we need to ripen, to become “world,” or whole. Learning to discover more of ourselves often brings a blank with it. How do we do it?

When we do enter relationships, we trigger each other, our conditioned imprints get joggled; we react, attack, shut down, or run. Rather than rushing into marriage, a time well spent would be to observe how we feel, to begin to communicate our feelings in a respectful way, and to learn what our triggers represent from our past. Not only can we come to know what behaviors to cultivate toward love, we can discover our core gifts, those qualities, values, and talents that show us our truer self. When we lead with our gifts, we can better discern the right relationships.

Becoming whole is a process. Breaking out of long-held beliefs that don’t align with our core values might be a challenge. It’s a challenge if we only want to fit in. It’s a challenge if we don’t want to make waves by setting boundaries. It’s a challenge if we fear we will be rejected. Becoming whole is about dropping defenses and making inroads toward being authentic. Becoming whole also requires stretches of quiet, alone time. Becoming whole requires courage. It is a muscle that needs to be strengthened. In doing this deeper work, we develop more clarity, wisdom, and inner strength. In living from our truer nature, not only are we contributing to the evolution of our species, we are cultivating qualities needed for healthy relationships. We are becoming world, for our sake. And for another’s sake.

Marcia Wolff, MA, earned a Masters of Counseling and Psychology from Southwestern College in Santa Fe, NM. A class in the History of Consciousness focused on transformation from egoic to soul consciousness informed her that one of her core values is evolution. Contact her at


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