Truth, is

Truth, is

I am not as here as I like to think I am

I have become thin

Petty annoyances piss me off

Can someone just say yes for fuck sake?

The no’s are our teachers, wisdom echoes

 

Truth, is

I am not as here as I’d like to be

It’s not rocket science

I know the calculus of sufficiency

Yet I do not use it

 

Truth, is

It all comes back to me

My reality orbits around my choice

As long as I choose to see it, and willing to answer

which is worse, the tyranny of smooth lies

or the brutality of naked fascism?

 

Truth, is

The impermanence of my cocoon will be upon me

Either I choose, or my choice will be made for me

 

On Marriage, Détente and Higher Peace

Of all the chapters I have posted online, this one by far has been the hardest to do. And I am not entirely sure why? I mean really, I’ve written about much more difficult things in my life than the challenges that Teresa and I have had over the last twenty-seven years of our marriage (Chapter 2 for example). Yet this one…

After my last edit, I gave it to her to read with the full option to say no to publishing it. I was nervous in giving her final say so, though I knew it to be the right thing to do. This was not going to be one of those things where forgiveness over permission would be the better path, as I’ve used up too many of those silver bullets. I didn’t hear back from her for a couple of weeks and eventually convinced myself she hadn’t even read it. I finally mustered the courage to ask, fearing the answer.

“Hey, by the way,” I asked as nonchalant as I could make it one recent Saturday morning as she lounged on the couch in her pajamas, the cat and dog draped over her as she sipped her coffee and surfed the net on the iPad. “Did you ever read the chapter I sent you?”

“Yes,” she said without looking up. Great, I thought, certain on what was coming next.

“Are you okay with me posting it on my blog?” I asked.

“I guess,” she said, still not looking up.

“Are you sure?” Jesus, Rick. Are you kidding me? Take the money and run!

“Mmm-mm.”

“Okay.”

 

That was it. No discussion, no questions, no ringing endorsement. A yes, nonetheless and such as it is, it is posted below with perhaps a thought or two more for context. Slow Climb covers a short, but intense period in our marriage when multiple things were converging – a struggling business, unreconciled grief from the deaths of my parents, unrealized dreams and aspirations of whom I thought I was, and what I would accomplish. All of these and likely many more crisscrossing all at the same time.

As I think back on it and read through the chapter, I’m still not sure how we made it. And yet as I look over the span of the twenty-seven years we’ve had together, a more profound understanding begins to emerge. You see, the relationship Teresa and I have is not what one would consider as perfect soul mates. We are very different people. We have very different interests and value different things. Yet there is this intersection, like two circles on a Venn diagram that converge. The convergence includes the kids, friendships and many other things in this life that we have made together. And yet it is more cellular than that. Like mitochondria, our relationship is endosymbiotic (new word for my vocab, had to look it up). Literally, we exist in partnership within each other.

This deeply embedded relationship has implications, however. As individual as the non-intersected aspects of who we are may be, we cannot truly act on our own accord, out of our own individual desires without it affecting the other. At times we are at such a state of intimate union with the other, and at other times finding ourselves recovering from disconnections and working through détente. In fact, managing through détente has been, and continues to be, a great teacher in my life. Letting go of the individual self. Surrendering to the union.

This I know. All the things that used to, and occasionally still do annoy me – like the remnants of flour on her hands she leaves on the refrigerator door handle, or whatever other food she is cooking hand printed around the kitchen – are now treasures. They are but small blessings of the gift she has for cooking and expressing it through the preparation of amazing food made with love. And I clean up behind her, not with a muttered curse but with whispered reverence and thankfulness for what they represent.

This is my higher peace – finding the joy of the relationship with my wife through the veil of all the things that used to piss me off.

The Underage Traveler – Chapter 13_Slow Climb

 

 

Sanctuary

Morning is my friend

enveloping me in darkness

as I shuffle my way to the coffee maker

feet on cold floors and sleep eroding

under the assault of activity my mind is manifesting.

The limitless possibilities of imagination

and I grin at the luxury of sanctuary with myself.

Rabbit trails of thoughts, conquered empires and

improbable loves.

The curtain between this life and the other is translucent,

shadows miming to each other hard earned wisdom and possibilities.

Sometimes I write.

Sometimes breathe in the scent of Nag Champa.

Sometimes I listen to the white noise singing in my head

while the caffeine makes anything possible

until dawn breaks the spell

and my solitude goes to sleep until the early hours

of the next day when I will again relish

the sanctuary with myself.

Attraction: What our relationships tell us about ourselves

Attraction ‘at trac tion’ late Middle English denoting the action of a poultice in drawing matter from the tissues

I’ve had numerous conversations with my brother-in-law, a clinical psychologist who focuses his practice on children and early childhood trauma. A revealing dynamic he has shared is the difference in play between healthy children and those that have experienced trauma. For healthy children, they experience play where conflict, say over a mutually desired toy, is experienced in the moment and then passes as quickly as it came. Children who have suffered trauma, however, hang on to the conflict and repeatedly experience the drama projecting it into one play interaction to the next.

The implication of the latter case is profound as the children grow into adults; the cycle of transferring and projecting the unresolved trauma and drama from one relationship to the other becomes relentless. Most of us can think of a person or two whom we have known that continually is trapped in this cycle. Whether at work, in our family or some other community circle, there are those that are prone to conflict and drama and often just the thought of interacting with them creates stress. Or perhaps, others become stressed when they know they have to interact with us! You see, we all fall victim to this transference and projection of unresolved trauma to a degree because trauma in our childhood is unavoidable. Even for the most well adjusted person, whether through a loss of a pet, a grandparent, a frayed friendship, or the divorce of parents or worse, we all experience trauma which then sets in motion the lifelong pursuit of our nature to heal. Yet many don’t.

For many, and as has been the case for myself for years, healing can be nothing more than a slog of repeated drama. Life is like a hamster on a wheel, just more of the same conflict transferred from one relationship to another. To understand this, we have to unpack the nature of relationship. Relationship, like a poultice, draws out what we need from others, and draws out what they need from us. And yet neither person is prepared for the bitter medicine of what results. The problem comes from our expectation of the relationship. We expect that it will make us better, make us whole, and yet that is not the purpose of it. The purpose of the relationship is to draw out of each other what we are meant to learn. And in many cases, we are unwilling to learn what we are confronted with; that perhaps it is us that is the problem. That we need to make changes and choose another way of being.

When we do choose to learn from the relationship, often the purpose of the relationship itself is fulfilled and comes to an end. A sign of healing is knowing when to let go or continue in the vein of an entirely new contract where both parties have come to a new depth of understanding of themselves and the other. It is rare, but it happens. A few years ago I made the decision to stop initiating contact with my friendships. This was primarily an inner exercise to challenge my need for validation and approval of others, but it was also an experiment of sorts to see how many of them would reach out to me, and for what reason. Several did not respond to the silence, another handful did but had something specific they wanted, much of little to do with relationship. A precious few sought me out in service, inquiring how I was doing and expressing concern and appreciation for the friendship. It is with this last group that I continue the friendships today, learning and challenging each other in the continual journey of healing. And as the proverbial door closes, a window opens and I have discovered a whole new set of friendships and relationships that are enriching and offer a further healing and lessons to be learned.

Inasmuch, there is deep wisdom in relationships and what attracts us to them, and them to us. They speak to us – drawing out what we have to learn from the other. When we recognize this then question becomes, are we prepared to accept the brutal truth of what the relationship tells us about ourselves?