Monthly Archives: July 2014

thoughts on white picket fences

new amor mio

I read a post in this morning’s The Elephant Journal newsletter and felt moved to write. (This post actually started as a message to Waylon, but I’ve now rewritten it as a blog post.)

I was approaching 30 and felt much the same way about time shrinking. Back in the late ’80’s and early ’90’s I think maybe a woman’s time clock ticked a little faster than it does now (although in my case my mother was my example of what was possible – she had been an anomaly as she birthed me, in 1964, at the age of 45). I was intent on finding someone to share my life with because I felt that my real life – the one we’d build together – wouldn’t / couldn’t start until that moment that co-creative union occurred.

Well I’d finally met someone who I thought would make a good husband and a father some day – I’d scrutinized his family and how they related to each other (because much can be learned from family dynamics) and marvelled at how few vices he had (because I’d dated far too many pot smokers and party animals in my time). The fireworks weren’t going off gangbusters but I always figured that sex was something that improved with knowledge and intimacy (and I was right).

We married in April of 1993. I moved from Montreal to California, not to L.A. as I had initially expected, because my new husband had taken a job up in the south South Bay and he’d found us a place to live in Gilroy, garlic capital of the world. The truth was, I wasn’t prepared for the shock of marriage, for the trauma of moving away from the place I’d lived in for 29 years (which was so familiar that I could almost navigate it with my eyes closed), where my family (though dysfunctional) lived and for the loss of the friendships that I had, which had begun long ago and still thrived (the distance would make it much more difficult to maintain).

I think I knew almost immediately that we’d made a mistake. Although he was a good man, my husband and I couldn’t seem to communicate in a way that we both heard each other, in a way that we both felt held and safe to speak and listen, and we both lacked the ability to come up with mutually beneficial solutions. We were both intrinsically selfish. I had a long ways to go with growing into myself, and I really can’t speak for him. We plodded along; marriage was a life long commitment, to my mind, and I was determined to figure out how to make it work even if I had no idea what I was doing or how to achieve success.

My husband became a workaholic. Perhaps he was always one, but the initial distraction of having a regular sex life had come to wane and with other issues encroaching (financial ones, because money is one of the greatest sources of marital discord, probably right up there with sex) he threw himself into work even when he didn’t have to. I felt abandoned, mostly, and he became more emotionally distant.

Despite that, we decided after a couple of years that it was time to have a child. I’d turned thirty-one and by the time I got pregnant (it didn’t take long) I would be delivering right around my 32nd birthday. My son was born in 1996 by c-section, one week earlier than his due date because the doctor felt he would grow too large. We’d bought a home even farther away from my place of work; the house was in Hollister while my job was in Sunnyvale. Back in those days family leave was perhaps three months, from start to finish. My heart broke every day that I drove away and left my son with my very reliable neighbour, who had also recently become a new mom and my $100 a week for having her watch my son was helping to supplement their income. In many ways I felt envious of her, that she was able to be with her child (and mine) and have a husband who would step up to the task of supporting the family.

The gruelling commuting, heavy and demanding workload, nursing/pumping, care-taking eventually undid me. I held in until another move elapsed (this time back down to Southern California, where I had merely traded one long commute for another one and 500 more square feet of house to clean), and our financial stress (because I’d taken on being single earner so that my husband could try getting a freelance photo business off the ground without having any savings to supplement the lack of a regular second income) shattered what little composure I had left.

I had a ginormous meltdown. I was contemplating suicide, and admitting this to my husband was tantamount to saying “I don’t care about you or our son” and he thought I was the most selfish human being alive for even considering it in my thoughts. And there was the matter of dropping the financial ball and pushing our house into potential foreclosure (we sold before it got there, for a profit, but it marked our credit with a big black X and it was something that he never forgave me for). Things weren’t looking good. We split up shortly after and were apart on a trial basis. I think if I had not lost my job nine months in, and teetered on possible homelessness (because I couldn’t afford a decent place to live on unemployment), we may never have gotten back together, but we did.

My mother died shortly after we had moved back in together and I felt truly orphaned (my dad had passed away in 1991). I did a lot of self-exploration. Spirituality had always been of huge importance for me, but when death comes knocking, especially with the loss of significant people in our lives, we are compelled to re-examine our own.

I grew… the situation made it so. For several more years our relationship ground along, like metal to metal. I held out the hope that perhaps he would come to see me as an asset rather than a liability, but I felt intuitively that his feelings toward me had changed and he had lost interest in rekindling them. Our relationship finally ended seven years later when I finally had the nerve to ask him whether he still loved me, to which he said “I care about you, but I don’t love you.” I think maybe that was the crux of our relationship – we had become friends with benefits – and had created a child together.

After a 16 year hiatus, I returned to Canada with my son. I tried dating for the first couple of years. It was never a simple thing to do, but at this age I find it even more complicated. I’ve learned more about myself. The learning process is endless, but relationships are interesting beasts.

We want different things at different times of our lives but at their core, when all the other things are stripped away, we want only to be heard, understood and loved, despite our flaws, despite the angers and disappointments that come and wash over us when the expectations we have set for ourselves and each other fail to reach acceptable levels, when the kids are tucked in or are growing hair on their face and looking to launch themselves into their own lives and we find ourselves alone with each other or ourselves… that is all we want.

It is the most difficult thing to find, even if you are looking. For the most part, I think, the only way to find it is by selectively looking – or not looking – because looking too closely will surely show the things that you don’t want to see. The inevitable failings of every human being that is so much less than perfect.

I wish all you brave ones who soldier on luck, though…. from the heart. I hope you find that impossible love. I’ve yet to see it… I’ve yet to see others find it. Relationships take work, no matter how we cut it. They gain an aged patina and must be polished every once in a while to keep them shiny. Love is sustainable only if two people lean in to each other’s wholeness and pull each other through failings and triumphs with appreciation, kindness and compassion.

The picket fence vision was a far different experience from what I thought it would be. I had to factor in myself – who I am, at any given time – and the Other… who for so many reasons is unquantifiable… the “unknown” in a math equation.

I have learnt a lot about myself though. I’m at once humbler and more full of myself than I’ve ever been.

I know that gentle persuasion works better (with me and others) than does passive aggression or outright aggression. I can learn and lean in and feel safe even when exposed to someone intimately (not only in a physical sense).

I’ve learned that many people have a similar reluctance to allowing that breach to occur. And it’s probably the cause of most of what ails humanity – breaking down of a sense of community, and of having differing visions of what that entails. A distinct need for autonomy and self-actualization.

I entreaty you to enjoy your walk in this world… I know you do… but anxiety for something other than what you have is inevitable… we humans are always desiring things, even if what we have is awesome and once one desire is met another emerges. It is our duty to ourselves to visit these desires and determine whether they serve us well, whether they fit into the core of what we want from our lives, holistically.

I am fifty now and I still don’t know shit. After several attempts at dating I’ve given up on it – for now. I think I have more figuring out to do in relation to how I fit into the world before I want to explore that some more. It gets lonely, sometimes. And even peri-menopause doesn’t alleviate the longing for intimacy. But that will have to wait a little while longer until I grow up a little more.

Happiness to your heart and blessing on your feet…
Adriane xo

reverse engineering desire

Durga

It’s been a month+ since we’ve started our The Desire Map journey and I have yet to really engage in any meaningful journaling on it.

Desire is such a touchy word. I suppose that’s where the “core” part comes in, in this context.

Desire.

The task we had set for this week was to take two things overall that we resonated with and two that we felt were foreign and to discuss them at our next Spreecast book group meeting.

In any case….

Not much of what is shared in The Desire Map fails to resonate with me. In fact I can’t think of a single thing. The heaviness of goals versus inspired inklings led by deep inner-belly intuitive knowing especially speaks.

Life is juicy – Danielle says so – but it doesn’t take her telling me for it to be so, or for me to know the truth of that statement. It simply is a good and sometimes much needed reminder of it being so.

With that said, though, it is at once both simple and complicated to live in this world post The Desire Map reading.

I overheard someone once say that after one reads The Four Agreements, one is forever changed – almost curse-like, if you will – and can never go back to seeing the world in the way it was perceived prior to having read it. In many ways that was true and it empowered me in a way that will forever remain with me, but its’ lessons were gently pervasive rather than slam in your gut *pow*.

The Desire Map is different.

As much as Danielle’s full admission to “Shakti” being one of her core motivators is obvious from the get go, there is an element of danger in all of this desiring business. As with all god-like archetypal energies, there is as much destroy as there is create in Shakti (in fact it is really rather a continual cycle of each). The trick is to embrace each aspect of it throughout the process – that’s the hard part.

That is the part that begs me to pay attention – to be aware – because without awareness and balance, footing is lost.

Several years ago I had reached a stalemate with desire. Through the process of elimination I knew what I didn’t want, an ever-growing itemization of things that didn’t work. I went looking for Shakti too.

No, really – in a literal sense. I had even posted a photo of adi-shakti to my Facebook page with the following:

Adi Shakti, Adi Shakti, Adi Shakti, Namo Namo! Sarab Shakti, Sarab Shakti, Sarab Shakti, Namo Namo! Prithum Bhagvati, Prithum Bhagvati, Prithum Bhagvati, Namo Namo! Kundalini Mata Shakti, Mata Shakti, Namo Namo!

Translation:

Primal Shakti, I bow to Thee! All-Encompassing Shakti, I bow to Thee! That through which Divine Creates, I bow to Thee! Creative Power of the Kundalini, Mother of all Mother Power, To Thee I Bow!

“Merge in the Maha Shakti. This is enough to take away your misfortune. This will carve out of you a woman. Woman needs her own Shakti, not anybody else will do it… When a woman chants the Kundalini Bhakti mantra, God clears the way. This is not a religion, it is a reality. Woman is not born to suffer, and woman needs her own power.”

“When India and Indian women knew this mantra, it dwelt in the land of milk and honey.” ~Yogi Bhajan (Harbhajan Singh)

I scoured the shelves of the Little India shops up The Main for a figure of Devi that I could take home. You can take the girl out of the ashram, but some things just stick, and though I know that no goddess is *actually* embodied in the moulded metal I funnel energy into, I know that concentrated energy and intent makes shit happen. I ended up with the one above who I believe is Durga.

I also felt compelled to reach for balance, so I found this lovely yab-yum, representing both aspects of deity united and balanced.

Yab-Yum

Sitting here at my current vantage point, I realize that it would probably be far more productive to get to where I want to by reverse engineering rather than by using the process of elimination. Start with a clear idea of what I want and work backwards rather than search for the absence of the things that didn’t work previously.

Our lives are a metaphor. I’ve come to realize as I go along. As with all metaphors, they can be interpreted in myriad ways, depending upon how they are viewed.

The Song Remains The Same
(Led Zepplin)

I had a dream. Crazy dream.
Anything I wanted to know, any place I needed to go.

Hear my song. People won’t you listen now? Sing along.
You don’t know what you’re missing now.
Any little song that you know
Everything that’s small has to grow.
And it has to grow!

California sunlight, sweet Calcutta rain
Honolulu Starbright – the song remains the same.
Sing out Hare Hare, dance the Hoochie Koo
City lights are oh so bright, as we go sliding… sliding… sliding through.

poem-ish

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MY SKIN

I feel much better in the summer,
much better while it brightly shines (though my crispy sunburnt shoulders from a week ago may argue).

I learn to sleep through the light and to suck it deep into my pores when it’s there for the taking.
Weight is lifted and my spirit exalts.

No wonder the dark feels like a void I fall into in the sun’s absence.
Right now I want to love.
I want to be kissed on every bare inch of skin (oh it’s bare!).

I want to feel the world on my skin, the fluttering of leaves and wings like thoughts, hands held by blossoming prehensile branches.

Don’t you?

Dreams don’t come so easily now, in this light slap happy fugue state.
Those seem reserved for the dark; sleep now is either sound and impregnable or so light it flits like dancing sunlight chasing shadows.

My son asks “why are you feeding the demons?” when I set out salmon bits.
He refers to the crows living in the big cedar. “We are friends,” I shrug.

Just in case, I also set out some tobacco for the ancestors, not local wild but stuff from Havana – maybe they’ll like this too. I hope.

I could use all the help I can get to find my way in this in between.
If they help even a little I will be that much further ahead.

(c) 2014 Adriane Csicsmann Giberson

fresh & exciting

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One of my favourite summer salads is the one pictured above. Very simply made, you cube watermelon, cucumber and feta. I rinsed the feta before adding because it was soaking in brine and was very salty. Splash with a bit of balsamic vinegar (I used apricot chipotle), squeeze half a lime and grate some of its rind in, sprinkle with ground coriander seed, mince 2-4 leaves of fresh mint (I used fresh spearmint from the garden) and toss. Add salt to taste. Mwah…! Delizioso!

summer

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teeming summer bees and things
dragon fly-by buzzing the town
looking to give a ride to a damsel
it’s that time folks, step right up
trills and thrills mingle into one so
that neither are discernible from
the other; lake water lapping on
a shore beckons a toe then a foot
oh what the hell, let it claim all of
you – in neck deep now, might as
well dive in, even without the tire
swing to careen off of for leverage.

(c) 2014 Adriane Csicsmann Giberson