Tag Archives: intimacy

thoughts on a Sunday afternoon

Thoughts always come to me circuitously, prompted by something external, harvested like resin on the barks of trees, occurring by virtue of the cuts inflicted upon the tree’s surface.

They are like disparate threads gathered from things people say, or things that I see and hear that have a common resonance, an emotional coalescence.

Yesterday I read several posts on Facebook, one from a friend who had gone on a date filled with hope only to return home disappointed. Another post I read spoke to how language is largely an inadequate method of communicating a description or explanation of the energy which underlies the more mystical aspects of this existence, which my friend had said was more appropriately expressed through emotion rather than termed as energy.

I have also been reading The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, a book that I had begun a while ago, got about a third of the way through and then parked. I picked it up yesterday morning and became reacquainted with it as if it were an old friend.

Without laboriously going over its contents, in fact skipping over that altogether, what culminated from these disparate threads was this thought: I think the poets, bards and lyricists have it right – the only way to share the numinous is through story, the telling of them meant to evoke within the reader or listener the sort of emotion that mirrors the state they are trying to describe.

Words ARE inadequate, in and of themselves, to express the depth of an experience that is such an internalized process that it often lacks description.

An experience must be shared in such a way as to allow the readers to intuit the meaning of it on a personal level – to have it move them and thereby establish an emotional connection to the material – in order to understand the progression that one is meant to take internally in order to get to the desired place.

The dating experience my friend described largely mirrored my own, which was an endless stream of disconnection and repeated disappointment in finding that those who were moved to meet me were either horribly bitter about their previous relationship(s) or were looking to be intimate rather than for intimacy – sometimes it was both.

I realized then that I had to step away from it all, and come to terms with myself. If we are essentially drawing like with like, then they were mirroring parts of myself that I had not come to terms with, and it seemed to me that I was best served by becoming the person that I wished to find.

It’s been a long, difficult, journey, and one not yet completed. That’s not to say that I haven’t made progress – I have – but I continue to struggle with the very things that disturbed me in the potential suitors. Things like bitterness resurfacing after a hiatus, after my having declared myself its victor, requiring me to find ways in which to sit with that bitterness without allowing it to consume me so entirely that it would end up funnelling down into hatred and despair.

Other things came to fore too, like the realization that I keep people at arm’s length because I am incapable of trusting them or myself with the enormity of emotion that might perhaps expand between us if the relationship progressed naturally, and I (and my partner) were to show ourselves vulnerable to each other.

What is natural, anyway? I tout being “natural” as thought it was some sort of badge of honour but I wouldn’t know it, some days, if it bit me in the ass.

Natural.

I’ve spent a lot of time – my lifetime, so far – reigning myself in (that would be as far from natural as one could get, I imagine). So much so that it appalls me when I realize that in order to survive this next part of my life with an intact soul I will need to deconstruct everything and every way I’ve learned to be and figure out a new way.

I don’t know if I’m brave enough. I don’t know if I can take the torment that accompanies this process… not alone, and I truly am alone. Alone, surrounded by people, just like the girl in my tiny book on loss.

There are tiny losses, like some loose change inadvertently falling out of a pants pocket down into a sewage grate, or chipping a nail and having to cut all of the rest of them to even them out, but others are far larger than that, like losing your sense of dignity even before you really knew what that meant, or never really knowing what greatness lies within you because you got lost along the road to finding out what truly lies within.

The thing about discoveries is that you can’t not see them once you’ve seen them. You have few choices in how you will choose to live with them. Only two, really: pretend that you didn’t see them, and let their truth gnaw away at your insides while you maintain the status quo, or you choose to acknowledge them, which also necessitates figuring out how to make a better life by humbly embracing those truths and sitting in the discomfort until a better solution presents itself.

Neither is an easy route, really. One can potentially bring me closer to becoming the person that I would want to spend some time with, perhaps even the rest of my mortal life, while the other would cause me to continue to harden and shrivel, becoming but a husk of my former self, never really knowing just how close I was to finding my way back home.

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I’m tired tonight. Bone tired, despite resting for most of the weekend. Despite the appearance of the sun yesterday and today, and absorbing same like a sponge during forays outdoors over the weekend and at lunch time today.

This is a tiredness of the soul, I think. I sit this evening in semi-darkness, light filtering from the overhead stove light and the lamp at the kitchen entrance into the dining area where I sit at the table with my iPad propped up, the wireless keyboard submitting without complaint to the tapping of my fingertips as I type this. From the lamp’s switch hangs a tiny porcelain rabbit charm with a carnelian bead and faceted crystal strung on a red knotted string – a talisman that is supposed to bring luck and prosperity. I am not feeling very lucky. Or prosperous. Still, I hope that the tide will shift. Soon.

A dream that I had (last night? the night before?) resurfaces as I dig deeper into this sorrow that has bobbed to my surface: I dreamt of Steve and how he pulled out these haphazardly folded, crumpled up blue jeans from one of his travel bags and it is teeming with insects – worms, mealy and earth varieties, pill bugs, grubs of all shapes and sizes, and hands them to me to wash. My aversion to the bugs is outweighed by a sort of stoic resolve in knowing my responsibility, so I drop the pants into the washing machine and get the cycle going. I can’t remember much more than this. Perhaps more will come, but I think this is enough to work with, if I choose to dissect this message from my psyche.

I haven’t examined this dream too much yet. I’m sure it means many things, on several levels. Today I finally popped our marriage dissolution agreement into the mail; I’d signed it about a month ago but then it languished on my desk at work for another month. The signing of it took about a year for me to accomplish. Why this has been such a difficult process for me, I have no idea. It will be four years that we have moved apart (geographically) at the end of this June. By that point it had already been ten months that we had made the decision to part ways, on the basis that whatever love that may have been present at some point during our marriage was no longer there. This end of April would have marked the twentieth anniversary of our wedding. In many ways I am still mourning the end of something, or perhaps mourning the fact that the something that I had hoped would be our marriage never was, and now I am old. I’m not so old that I can’t function or take care of myself, but my youth is gone, and with it, it feels like, also my dreams, particularly those regarding a loving, nurturing, intimate relationship with a another.

All this talk about loving self first in order to be able to love another… on some level it makes sense, of course, but I think that growing to love self through loving another and receiving that other’s love makes more sense to me. I think we all like, maybe even love, things about ourselves. Wholly loving every aspect of ourselves is a more difficult task, and certainly doing so with another is perhaps as difficult. Yet I think it is possible, but it all hinges on how two people relate to each other.

How can we be accepting of our shadow parts when the person closest to us – the one we so desperately wish to entrust the secrets of our soul to – is unable to fully embrace the very parts we ourselves are appalled with, and mirrors back to us the same disgust and nonacceptance we perceive at our core? If the dark sides of ourselves aren’t acceptable to the person who is supposed to love us, then how can we function in the relationship, how can it thrive? How can we evolve and shift our view of our shadow parts if we are asked to disown them, to “fix” them, instead of integrating them in a more positive way and shifting them so that they serve us rather than stymie us?

So I put it to the Universe: let it bring me someone who can see these shadows within me and find them to be beautiful facets of who I am – tweaked a little, perhaps, but still wholly acceptable and loveable in spite of them (and that I may do the same in kind).

on being vulnerable and open

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Blogging has once again slowed to a crawl. Between fits of writing (both poetry and prose) and shooting the odd photo when I am awed by my surroundings, I also fulfill other functions: single-parent mothering, full time office working, part time (and very novice) yogining, friend being (to many, far and wide, and close), and occasional knitting. (That Hogwartz/Gryffindor scarf is creeping along slowly.) And soon to be (officially) a divorcée. Weird, this final severing. Such a huge chunk of my life tied in to this now defunct part of who I was and identified with, still searching to pick up the threads of where “I” left off and veered off from so long ago, in order to reclaim myself.

My ex-husband has been in a relationship with someone for quite some time now, and yet I continue to be alone in my life. Not because I don’t wish to share it with another, but because I wish to share it with the right person, and we just haven’t met yet. I also continue to nurse past hurts; it is surprising to me how long they take to heal. I wonder, sometimes, if they heal better when you let them show and share them with others, allowing them to be loved away. Still, I can’t seem to do that yet, even though I long to be able to do so, to be able to open my heart again to another.

I am happy, though, in this simplicity. Each time I look around me I appreciate what I have, the beauty that I see, in nature and in those whose lives cross with mine. I see kindness and humour and fearless vulnerability. And love. I am blessed.

the birds and the bees

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Memory is such an odd thing. The things we remember. The things we forget.

Yesterday morning a friend posted a poem and with it was pictured a painting of a monster that had chewed off the head of a body which it held in its hands. I can’t remember what I ate a week ago for dinner, but both the title of the painting (Saturn Devouring His Children) and the painter’s name (Francisco Goya) chimed brightly in my mind as though I’d just seen it in one of the art history books I used to pour over in my teens.

There are so many things that I’ve forgotten over time; some out of choice, others out of neglect or atrophy. It seems that choosing to forget some things somehow makes other things disappear as well. I fear my memories, sometimes, and I fear for them. All of them. The good ones. The bad ones. Even the mediocre ones. Perhaps especially those.

I spent the weekend lying in bed in my underwear, swaddled in my comforter and watched the first season and a half of Being Erica. The menu mostly consisted of chocolate, spelt and flaxseed rice cakes, freshly brewed coffee with milk, bananas, apples and buttered toast. On Sunday I even sparked up the stove and made scrambled eggs and pan fried potatoes. But I digress.

I love this show. I love it because the writing is fabulous, the characters authentic and the acting stellar. I love it because on so many levels I can relate to the main character, despite our disparity in age. Who doesn’t have regrets? Who doesn’t wish there could be do-overs? Who doesn’t wonder, if they are alone, whether they will always be that way, wonder whether there is something fundamentally wrong with them and thus forever deemed unlovable or to never have the sort of lasting intimacy that I’m certain we all long for?

This morning I got my daily email from Neale Donald Walsch reminding me that intimacy is not a physical thing, it is a condition of the soul, or rather two souls or more. Maybe “soul” is too esoteric of a word, or elicits the impression that it’s something bigger, better or of higher insight that the self. Maybe I should correct that to say that it pertains to the authentic self instead.

I think intimacy is to allow another (and self, in the end) to unfold and be witnessed by another without shame and to be held (beheld!!) in love.

During my marriage I had hoped that my husband could, and eventually would, meet me there. In a more recent relationship, I had had these same hopes. Both came to an end and were devastating to me on so many levels, leaving me to ponder on the same issue that Erica did just before she broke up with the person who she thought was the One. Was she simply not meant to have such a relationship?

To me there is no greater connection and yet it seems like such an illusive improbability. For me. And yet I am hopeful. And so I wait.

Soul Mates ~ I have something to say (you aren’t surprised, are you?)

So much talk about soul mates in the mainstream, and how “everybody” is looking for theirs. This morning I was reading a journal post on a dating website that I’d joined (and unjoined)*** by someone lamenting on how so many are looking for theirs, and is there really such a thing possible.

I think the interpretation of this concept, if you will, is inherently faulty. I think what we as humans mean by a soul mate is really a mating of the soul. Ahhh… interesting to consider, right?

Okay, I’ll go there… The last decade and a half of my life has been spent with someone who was a decent human being. We all have quirks~tell me you aren’t surprised to hear that I have some too. So it isn’t surprising that some differences are bound to be uncomfortable to live with, but do they constitute reasons to discard a relationship entirely? I don’t think so, but that’s just me. It seems it all depends upon your level of tolerance and what your expectations are of a partner. Fair enough.

If two people are engaged on a soul level, you function from a different place. Wouldn’t every aspect of your exchanges of energy be of an entirely different vibration? Love making be that much more … ecstatic? Wouldn’t every thing you do for each other, for the Whole, be set upon with a different mindset than the “what have you done for me lately?” viewpoint? Engaged. Both (or however many are involved in the dynamic of your relationship) partners, if practicing mindful engagement would feel validated. “I see you” ~ past the fluff of physicality right down to the core of who you are ~ and I honor who you are, in your perfect imperfection.

The other thing the board members were commenting about in regard to soul mates was the expectation of longevity… the “this is THE one” expectation. I would like to propose that every relationship (regardless of the level of intimacy), if approached with that expectation, can only be richer and more meaningful. Whether for one day, one month, one year or one lifetime, if your focus was on exploring the depths of another human being in a reciprocal exchange, wouldn’t the journey be worth the trip, regardless of its length? Is this so hard to grasp?

There, I’m done. Plunge in… 🙂

*** okay, I feel the need to correct… I joined (again) and after I stopped stressing about the whole process am meeting some pretty awesome folks, virtually and not-so-virtually.

Mantras… and peace

 

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

 

om–O my Lord; namah–my respectful obeisances unto You; bhagavate–unto the Personality of Godhead; vasudevaya–unto Lord Krsna, the son of Vasudeva. 

TRANSLATION 

O my Lord, the all-pervading Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You.  (SB: C4:8-54)

 

While many young people visited India in person, I merely joined an ashram in Montreal midway through my first year of college (hence only completing a quarter of the fine art program). Somehow, at the time, that had sounded like “the right thing to do.” I imagine I would have gotten a whole lot more out of the actual experience of living in India as opposed to being immersed into their philosophies in a culture that thought white women wearing saris had been brainwashed by some cult (while the folks at the ashram thought that 18 year old young women would be safest married off to like-minded young eligible brahmacharyas from the men’s (read: boy’s) ashram). The thought of someone else picking my mate seemed like an anathema to me. Besides… I hadn’t done that yet, and I wanted to do it with someone of my own choosing… someone who I had some kind of chemistry with. Really, I wanted to be a gopi and just be one of Krishna’s consorts. Now Krishna… he was something! I even found his skin color scintillating… ahhh… how I wished I could be his Radha.

As most 18 year olds are wont to do, I left after about 6 months, to pursue the next thing that felt like “the right thing to do.” I took with me, though, some philosophies that remained with me and continue to influence my perception of the world. While most people finished their higher education, found mates and started families, I was busy trying to figure out the purpose of my existence… and humanity’s as a whole, essentially. Can’t say that I’ve definitively figured that one out, but I do feel a whole lot more comfortable with my place in the whole… though that may not be saying much… LOL  And I still think that Krishna is hot.