“Nutty” Twin Flames

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Last month, I had a session with my friend who is a medium. My grandparents did most of the talking. At one point, my grandfather showed my friend the image of two peanuts in a shell. This was his way of hinting at the “two peas in a pod” idea, indicating that he and my grandmother are twin flames — albeit (in their recent incarnation together) “a little nutty.”

“I understand that you’re interested in that sort of thing,” he said about twin flames. I just sort of smiled dismissively with a trailing-off, “Yeah. . .” I didn’t feel like exploring the topic at the time. But this stands out in my mind — and I find myself reflecting on it still, over a month later — because of the fact that my grandparents’ life together was so, well, dramatically dysfunctional.

My grandparents were not people that most would peg as “old souls.” While my grandmother surprised me occasionally in her 80s and 90s with little hints of her latent intuition for things like energy (She knew where the chakras were, by feel, without ever having read about them.), spirit presences (She felt my grandfather around the house “like he’s just right here with me” for all the years after his death.), and spirit communication (She spoke to his spirit, instinctively recognizing that he could hear her, just like that.) — she was a Christian woman, born in the 1920s, who had never dabbled in New Age ideas. As for her personality, she was outwardly calm, refined-yet-wholly-unpretentious, a woman whose emotionally reserved demeanor grew only warmer with age.

. . . and she suffered nearly all her life from anxiety issues, which manifested sometimes as unhealthy patterns of interpersonal relating.

As for my grandfather, he was a wonderful, humorous, affectionate, adventurous, enjoy-living-to-the-max, light-up-the-room, larger-than-life kind of person.

. . . and he struggled for years with alcohol addiction.

(Notice I say “and.” Not “but.” One does not preclude the other. Individuals who struggle with emotional health issues and/or addiction are absolutely just as likely as anybody else to be amazing people with wonderful qualities.)

My grandfather hadn’t been a drinker when they met, nor for years afterwards. This was in no way something they went into their marriage expecting. But when his problem-drinking did start, it went on for years, and the “cocktail” of my grandfather’s addiction blended with my grandmother’s anxieties resulted in a lot of tumult and mutual frustrations. It was not a “peaceful” relationship.

Still, they adored each other. They were a single unit — a single peanut shell — and they were together for over 50 years, until death did them part. Some of my earliest memories involve pressing myself to the TV, looking for Grandma and Grandpop (by then, sextagenarians) spinning around gleefully on the dancefloor together in televised polka broadcasts. After over four decades of marriage, there was still so much youth to their bond, and each wanted none other at their side. In fact, that’s how I found them on nearly every one of my visits to their house: sitting side-by-side. Though they had independent hobbies, most of the time they preferred each other’s company. There was a peace between them after all; the eye of the storm was very calm indeed.

My grandfather passed away first, in 2004. My grandmother passed away not even half a year ago, and she was sharp as a tack to the end. Throughout my adult life, I would occasionally engage her in “girl talk,” filling her in on the men I was involved with or had my eye on, and showing her pictures of these guys on my phone. “Here’s a cute guy. . .” I would say of each one as I scrolled through, and she would offer her own comments. (Nine decades of age do not diminish one’s appreciation of the sight of a handsome man!) Every once in a while, when showing her these photos, I’d sneak in a picture of my grandfather as a young man too. “And here’s a cute guy!”

Whenever she saw his picture, she would soften and laugh. You could see her heart melt; she adored him.

“Yes, he was a very cute guy!” she would gush. A 90-year-old just as giddy as a schoolgirl over her handsome crush. I even gave her a large framed photo of him, in fact, just months before she died. She chose to place it in the dining room, across from her seat at the table, so she could look at him and feel like he was keeping her company whenever she ate.

Time — and all the drama that had come with it — had not dulled any of the more beautiful sentiments of their bond.

So to be honest, before I ever heard the channeled the message that they were twin flames, I had wondered about that myself. No matter that they didn’t fit the twin flame stereotypes: they were real people, living through some real stuff, bonded in sincere mutual appreciation and deep, enduring, unconditional love.

Let’s talk for a minute about those stereotypes, linked with rhetorical questions to loosen your mind:

  • Only very “old souls” can possibly be twin flames. (In the underlying reality of no-time, what is an “old” soul?)
  • Twin flames can only get together once they’ve “perfected” themselves. (Is the soul’s process not eternal? In that case, define “perfect.”)
  • Twin flames’ purpose for coupling is to accomplish some super-grand “Spiritual” Thingamajig for the Realmly Realms. (What is “spiritual” vs. “non-spiritual” work? Is anything a soul does not “spiritual?” And how can you differentiate “super-grand” from “small,” when every single person whose lives we ever touch is already a microcosm of The All?)
  • Given all of the above, therefore, this is the twins’ final rodeo on Earth, because their relationship will have reflected their “ultimate” purpose, and once that purpose has been achieved, they will have no more reason to incarnate.* (So, the SOLE reason for incarnating is. . . work? Meaning. . . our earthly existence is only legitimated by the projects we have yet to deliver? Meaning. . . we have to “earn” our right to be here? Meaning. . . huh? What ever happened to ideas of Earth as a garden where the Divine explores the joy of its creations, for the simple sake of exploring the joy of its creations? And if each soul is a microcosm of the Divine, then why would any soul see a reason to peace out and stop enjoying Earth, just for having done Something “Big”?)

*The idea of reaching a “final” incarnation also presupposes linear time as a hard reality. But. . . really now?

When you break all of this down. . . it strikes me as absolutely possible that a middle-class, whitebread, Christian couple — a housewife and a police officer with no New Age leanings whatsoever — can be twin flames. Even if they’ve never heard of the concept or wouldn’t identify with a lot of twin flame “checklists.” I believe that the more “aware” we are in any given incarnation, the more likely we are to recognize our twins as such. But that does not mean that we never encounter, partner with, or learn from each other in our other incarnations too.

In other words, we can be “unwitting” twin flames. And our work together is no less spiritual. We’re figuring out love all the same, aren’t we? We’re contributing to our communities, forming friendships, exploring concepts of the Divine through our respective religions and philosophies, helping other souls learn and grow and heal just by being here — is not all of this spiritual work?

Through work on my previous blog and with reading cards, I have encountered many people who have deeply craved some sort of confirmation, reassurance, that they had indeed “correctly” identified their twin flames. I get the reason for this hope, honestly; I understand the reassurance that the label — with its attendant assumptions and stereotypes — seems to confer. Ideas like the promise of eventual reunion, or perfect partnered bliss.

But let’s take my grandparents’ situation. Let’s presume that this channeled message was accurate and they are twin flames: that still didn’t guarantee them a lifetime of pure bliss. They had issues that needed healing, but they weren’t particularly self-aware or self-reflective in that lifetime. . . so their issues translated into relationship conflicts, on top of their own inner struggles. And yes, maybe the fact that they were twin flames sweetened their days, to some extent, despite all the drama. But what all of this leaves us with is this idea:

The question is not whether you are flames; let’s assume that you are. In this case — in all cases — the question is, what kind of twin flame relationship you want to have?

Because even when certain people are destined to be in our lives, the quality of the relationships we build with them is still very much up to us.

We don’t cultivate dream relationships simply by clinging to commitment (MUCH less to labels) while we go on externalizing or internalizing our emotional health issues through unhealthy behaviors. Nor do we cultivate dream relationships by clinging to commitment while we allow our twin to externalize/internalize emotional issues through unhealthy behaviors (much less when this happens to our detriment). What we can do — towards cultivating the dream relationship — is continue to be present, continue to be mindful of what’s going in in ourselves, continue to be compassionate regarding the twin (with healthy boundaries), and continue to be self-compassionate (which sometimes includes pulling away, so we aren’t actively being wounded by our twin while they work out their stuff).

Maybe twin flames can join and remain together for a lifetime, even despite their problems. But it’s not simply being together that brings you the most happiness. Or even that brings them the most happiness! In other words, your problems don’t melt away just because you “have” The Person, and the same goes for theirs. Maintaining harmony in love requires an active, ongoing commitment to personal care, growth, and healing.

So wherever you are in your twin flame journey — separated or coupled — take a moment to reflect in gratitude on all of the opportunities you have right now to work on you. And at every stage, take joy in your perennial opportunity to deepen your own inner peace — as a gift to yourself and your partner.

Laura left a Ph.D. program at age 26 to make good on long-forgotten dreams of nomad'ing and writing. She currently lives in Berlin and writes about the magic of everyday life — most especially, the magic we find when we open our hearts and choose to follow them.

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