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A Moment Lasts Forever

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It was an interesting visit.

Coming from LA I thought I would be cold.

Instead i found that i was

(Briskly happy)

I thought I was moving to Topanga a month ago.

Every day I learn the importance of staying ‘open’ to life

( and all of the secret ways it tricks us

(— into ———change.)

We think we get married and all will be well.

(Then we get divorced...)

We think there is safety in a job or in a lifestyle and then we find...

(Otherwise)

We think we can plan and have that plan work out.

(And then we see ‘working out’ isn’t what we thought it would be)

So we run..

(Toward freedom)

What-is-That-anyway?

(It is courage to live a life of our own beliefs and not the beliefs of others)

opinions too...(in the end? Theirs-just-won’t-matter)


We think we love someone only to find it was

They-were-just-a-

(Habit)

In our heart—

(if we are lucky)

We remember

A Someone

Who made us feel

(Differently)

A Someone who made us feel

(Alive)

If we can remember:  this.

We will know that we have

(Lived)

A life

Well lived...

(Even if only for)

A

Moment

(We never forget:  a moment lasts forever...)

❤️

What’s Love Got To Do With It?


LOVE

Is

The only thing

That authentically

Settles the

❤️

And

Mind.

It is the only experience

That can stop Time

(Or bring us back to it).


This post is dedicated to the one and only,  Tina Turner, whose life is an inspiration for everyone.  While I have always loved her work and what she stood for and believed in, hearing her talk about her life on Oprah’s show recently, I wondered how anyone could not help but to (not)feel her struggle, her pain, her triumphs—her sheer and utter exhaustion and most importantly:  her joy (for life).


She rallied every day. She performed for decades.  The pulse of life ran through her as if a force breathed into her from some distant heaven that she held The Key to!  This is evident to anyone who hears her sing, speak or watch her perform!


I believe she was hardwired to survive.  (Just.like.me.) (Just.like.you) She had that key to life and heaven. It was in her DNA—(just.like.me) (Just.like.you) to live against all odds and in spite of the abuse she endured.  What is it in some of us that makes us survive and what separates us from the others who don’t “make it out alive”?


A lot of negative talk is circulating around the globe about abusive, disrespectful and uncaring men.  (For a long time now.)  Unfortunately I have know many men who are this way. They wear clever and sometimes alluring masks at work and then a different more seductive  mask at home.  They carefully choose which kind or cruel facade they well expose to the women in their life...


I have heard, “she deserved it.”  I have heard, “teach her a lesson.” I have heard, “what is abuse anyway?” Who are these men?  They are our fathers, our brothers, our husbands, our lovers, our neighbors, our sons, our employers, our ministers, our presidents—even the very ‘gods’ we blindly worship. (And sometimes these very men are ruled by the very women who are even worse than they are...)


I know a number of men whom have had the same abusive treatment from women!  But the man who is abused does not yet have a large enough platform to have his voice heard, perhaps because the abuse spectrum has been like a worldwide pendulum tilted on the side of hurting women for too long.


“Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken” She sings (We all do!) I think Ms. Tina is the embodiment of that heart cracked open over and over and over again—pouring fourth all that magnificent love from which she holds this powerful and heavenly key to—for all of us to benefit from!

 

So I applaud all the men and women out there and around the world who have endured unthinkable crimes to their heart, mind and body—may we all learn from your trauma that it is not OK to hurt another.  It is not OK to look the other way.  It is not OK to “justify” mistreating anyone.  (It is not OK to not care.)

Hunger & The Handbag...

There is something about hunger that gives one the authority to act a little crazy, or, let me rephrase this: When one is hungry they act crazy with clarity and I was hungry when I wrote this post.

It is almost a year since I have been Retelling Retail. This part-time position at selling handbags, has afforded me the opportunity to see men and women in a fashionable and trendy new way. While selling leather goods and accessories I am completely immersed in the adventure of assisting individuals with the finer dilemmas of life—the struggle to find the right some-thing, to brighten their day; savvy and sharpen up their tired wardrobes; purchase a nice something-or-other to impress their friends when they are out on a Friday night and last, but not least—to help hide or disguise their more-than-one-shoe box and hand bag purchases from their husbands. (Yes, hubbies it is true! Your loving and trusting wives are lying to you! But if they are lying to you, could you, would you, are you, lying to them?)

And when I hand write the thank you notes to my customers at the end of every shift, I sincerely mean every word that I think and every word that I write to them. My notes always begin with, “it has been a pleasure helping you…” It is always a delight to help others, even the ones who come in with some discord in their demeanor or a boulder on their shoulder, there is always something one can say to help brighten someone else’s day. There is always an opportunity to make someone—laugh. We have customers who continually come into the store chatting away on their cell phones, brushing their hands against the “goods”, all the while not even noticing that you exist, let alone that you kindly and politely welcomed them into the store.

* * * * *

When a woman comes in to buy something for herself it seems to make her feel that all of her efforts with her roles in life are validated. Whether she is a stay-at-home-mom, career woman or just a professional shopper, it is always a pleasure to help someone with the finer dilemmas of life. After all, we are selling handbags, we are not struggling nurses and doctors in the ICU or ER of a hospital, trying to help people hold onto their lives or the lives of loved ones—we are assisting mostly women with their shopping excursions and “needs”. We are accessorizing and selling accouterments that will enhance the experiences of our customers who find themselves in a conundrum over what-looks-and-feels—best! The perspective is easy: If people are shopping for things to decorate their external world, it should not be a chore for the customer or the sales associate.

Yet it sometimes is.

The store is reminiscent of a large and cozy stage if one has any imagination at all to envision it that way and on this stage we have a very colorful cast of characters. Some are funny. Some are droll and some have no personality—at all… There are the Subtle Grumpy’s too, they roll their eyes, make questionable facial contortions when they want to talk about another employee, (I always found this tactic and clever form of manipulation interesting. I have former relatives with whom I have seen do this when wanting to create doubt in how someone viewed a mutual acquaintance or relative—or even me! When someone wants to get a secretive message out about how they adversely feel towards another, they can easily do so by stretching and pulling certain facial muscles; ( raising eyebrows is a real giveaway as well as bulging eyeballs.) A distinctive throwing back of their head or a shifting of it from side to side, along with some very animated negative body language, often creates doubt from our original opinion of another. My experience is that it is always best to trust yourself and your own encounters with someone—then there is no real need to question the trust of anyone …

* * * * *

Every several weeks the entire cast of The Lion King shows up to redecorate the mannequins and rooms with colorful, new and exciting product. Just to see newness makes you want to buy one of every-thing! These animated characters prance and dance around the store with their pirouettes as if they are searching in a tangled jungle for their very own Pride Land, only they must have forgotten the lyrics to the song, “We Are One”, for they not only forgot to bring Mufasa and young Simba along, but they act as though they have a better dressed and more talented God than we do and (!) that their God is separate from ours!

(How does self-importance get born anyway? Are these Window Dressers and employees of this large corporation that is supposed to be founded on integrity and honesty (and not self-importance) aware that there is an entire world out there separate from their egos?)

* * * * *

“A good manager is a (man) who isn’t worried about his own career but rather the career of those who work for him.”

H.S.M Burns

Then we have the main actors in the play: Management; the formally trained dancers and singers and comedians! Personally, I have seen everyone from associate to manager do a little jig on the floor and hum or actually attempt to sing the songs on the repetitive store music track. I have yet to follow suit, as I know better: I cannot dance and I cannot sing but my imagination can create a tune or two…with a twist of a word and a stretching of a vowel, I can even rhyme! But if I were to sing and dance on the shopping-mall-store- floor, what would I sing and dance to?

“Management is efficiency climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.”

Stephen R. Covey

The challenge for upper management is to not give total authority to the chattering and opinions of the staff or for sake of this article, “the extras in the play” no matter the hierarchy of any one given employee. Upper management must be able to discern, based on some of their own observations and hands on experiences, what is good, true and false with any particular situation or person. This is where superiors must have a keen acumen in order to trust their own insight and personal involvement with their staff. However, it is not always possible to be physically present, thus there is fertile ground for misinterpretation, misdirection and misguidance. This is how the seeds of chaos in the workplace are planted and little or inconsistent productivity prevails.

Sometimes the best way to manage a team is to simply watch and observe what is going on back stage: “Point the finger! Point the finger! Point the finger! And pass the buck while you’re at it! Put the light on her and pull the curtain away from him…”

(This is what you will hear when managers do not lead.)

“The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception,

the one who lies with sincerity.”

Andre Gide

One of my favorite quotes is from Socrates, “A lie never lives to be old.” But as I have seen from adventures with people in my own life, that the cover up of a lie can last a lifetime. The true hypocrite is not the uncommon man, rather he or she is quite common. Most of us experience these individuals in all of our relationships, work, as well as in our families and personal friendships. Anyone who has ever been in a sales position or a corporate role knows to watch out for the one who seems to be everybody’s “pal”. In every place of businesses there is The Information Gatherer; the most interested in your life and what makes you tick. We all know the lie in the eyes of the one who takes the sale from their co-workers and offers to “put it through” in their name.  However, often the individual who sold the merchandise is not always the person who gets the credit for the sale as the clever cashier manages to switch the sale to their name.  The birth of competition is unfortunate. A key component in successful selling must have a respectable level of integrity.  When employees do not possess moral uprightness, how can the company?   One should be interested in the success of oneself in how they grow according to one's own personal goals.  However, in the real world,  corporations foster competition, whether you receive commission or not. Brownie Points are given at all levels of employment and the bottom line is always about how much was earned, won or--lost...(or sometimes, stole.)

Yet I wonder: What would it take if we all, for a moment looked into the person we were working with, and rather than find their flaws or inadequacies or our competition, we saw how they were feeling? What if we could connect with them on a deep and sincere level and not need to pocket their information for some future selling opportunity or motive? What if we could take a moment and empathize, validate, nurture and then carry on with our day of selling goods? We would then form a bond with our fellow humans/co-workers rather than the toxic and festering pecking at anyone. When we try to bring one down we end up bringing down the entire cast and when that happens? Tomatoes! Tomatoes! Tomatoes and Pie in the face for everyone!

This is why the world is filled with little Darwinites, in every field and profession, or sea scavengers -- Baby Adults trying to survive by casting a brighter light on themselves rather than sharing the sun with their fellow human being or co-worker.

I am always impressed with the associate or manager who is so subtly condescending in their appearance to guide employees, as they secretly and sneakily hide behind a mask of "helpful assistance" like a kindergartner trying to look good in front of their teacher for extra teacher’s-pet-points. Always they appear to the audience that they are “doing a job well done" always looking for the sound of the audience applauding for him/her, especially when others are watching…Even these tactics, which do not go unnoticed by me are harmless. I chuckle under my breath and carry on with my day knowing that eventually, the curtain will close and the lights will go out and everyone will go home to their other worlds and lives and all the misinterpretations and misunderstandings of the day will be exactly that: misinterpretations and misunderstandings. Yet for the rare few who truly lead and manage, they will see things as they are and guide the others accordingly, without the need for applause or fanfare. For anyone who has ever been in a successful leadership position knows the euphoria of guiding others to achievements and successes over and above their own desires and dreams.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more

and become more, you are a leader.”

John Quincy Adams

In my own life I have witnessed for many years the Boo Who’ers of the world. Individuals, relatives who willingly offer to crash down on your happiness and enthusiasm for your dreams. Have you noticed? The Dreamers are the happy ones! They are the helpers during the hurricanes and tornados! The Dreamers support the Dreams of others. (Remember? Wasn’t that little Miss. Dorothy who ran away in the eye of the storm, chasing a rainbow and some dream? And all turned out OK for Dorothy and her three friends! And it can for you too!)

* * * * *

At some point in all of our lives we are given opportunities to take our place on the Stage of Life, center enter We and it is in this grateful moment where we have the blessed opportunity to make, not only ourselves shine like the brightest star in the sky, but to also show others that the Stage, as well as the unlimited sky and countless stars—belongs to them too! There is no competition for space, for the sky is as vast as our hearts will allow it to be. There is room for us all and when we feel this—know this, we see, without effort how we are all a great big part of some wonderful and wonder-filled Opportunity to not miss. That opportunity is—life.

And what does this long-winded piece have to do with hunger and the handbag? Hunger brings clarity. Ask anyone who has been hungry. They see things with an empty stomach and with an empty stomach your mind has not time and no-thing in it to get in its way to see things as they truly are. And for all of you who do not know what I am talking about? Try it some time. Go into a gourmet shop, on an empty stomach and no credit cards or cash. If you are thirsty—all the better! If you do not leave with some extra clarity in your back pocket, repeat this little adventure until some-thing clicks in your mind or better yet, repeat this action until all clicking is absent!

And if I ever join in the singing and dancing on the mall, store center room floor, with my handbag friends, what would I like to sing and dance to? In my best Rafiki voice, I would roar,

“On the day we arrived on this planet and blinking step into the sun,

there is more to see than can ever be seen or to do or then can ever be done,

there is far too much to take in here or to find that can ever be found

but the sun rolling high through the sapphire sky keeps the great and small on the endless round…

it’s the circle of life and it moves us all through faith and love till we find our place on the path unwinding—in the circle of life…”

* * * * *

If we can all remember that The Stage of Life is all-of-ours we will hear a music so clear and inviting that we will want to be a part of that sound always. On the Stage of Life, we can find the best part of every one, every Story, every Play, every Musical and most importantly, when we look for the very best in others—there too we will discover how the Center of the Stage is where we all really are, to-ge-ther, leading and guiding each other to brighter days ahead…”

So, when that Clock is about to strike 12 and that noon train is approaching around the bend; the tracks are laden with golden bricks pointing in a Direction and your life is asking you:  Decide, Decide, Decide...what is true for you? who are you going to listen to?  Your heart or your mind?

(only time will tell...)

Anam Cara

(a different perspective on what it means to be a soul mate…)

“When the heart weeps for what it has lost,

the spirit laughs for what it has found.”

Anonymous Sufi Aphorism

Q: Why weep at all?

Why not discover what the Spirit found so all can be happy?

While elliptical-ing the hour away at the gym the other day, I came upon an article about a woman who had recently ended a romantic relationship with a man she believed was her ‘soul mate’. The author explained how the relationship was tumultuous and that she and her partner experienced extensive highs and lows. While this romance seemed to be passionate, it was also filled with judgments, incessant fighting, coupled with the on again, off again cycles that challenged relationships endure. Towards the middle of the article, I wondered what the author’s understanding of passion and love actually was. Is the soul really attracted to relationships that hurt? Perhaps there are qualities in people that we are drawn to, whether they are healthy, happy or not. When they are unhealthy, hopefully we recognize how to remove ourselves from them. The experts say that our early childhood conditioning and experiences often determine our perceptions of love and our world. This understanding can be limiting, if we do not allow ourselves the opportunity to see beyond our own interpretations of the world and ourselves.

How and why do we learn to romanticize love?

Why is the aspect of romance in love illusory?

(and so attractive?)

The author’s story mirrored the typical possessive romances that have increasingly become the “attractive norm” in our country today. It didn’t occur to me that what the author had with her partner was necessarily the soulful love that she thought she had found, but rather addictive and unhealthy. My interpretation of the author’s relationship reminded me of a modern-day, Wuthering Heights, with the constant tormenting and possessiveness of Heathcliff and Cathy. Always tearing at each other’s emotions, entangled in loss and eternal heartache.

Love does not = heart-ache…

Love = Happy

(all the time.)

That is why they call it—love…

The author continued to describe how a friend of hers told her what a real soul mate was and how a soul mate is someone who comes into our lives to show us the areas we need to address, reflect on and possibly change. Our soul mates are supposed to be Our Personal Pointers and pivotal individuals to help us grow.

A question we might ask ourselves is: Aren’t we all soul mates to each other? If we rely solely on the opposite sex or a few individuals to mirror us (soul-fully), positively or negatively, then we miss out on the second most important relationship there is: the relationship with humanity. The first, most significant and sustainable relationship we have is ultimately with ourselves.

Perhaps within this model of Soul Mate, we can look at every person that we have a meaningful encounter with as a Soul Friend. Why narrowly limit ourselves to only a few individuals when we can connect with everyone? Even unpleasant relationships give us insight into ourselves; something extra to learn about who others are as well.

* * * * *

Soul mate is not exclusive to our romantic liaisons; the author’s relationship with her partner might have been healthier, more rewarding, had they remained friends, without the attachment of romance. A relationship’s potential can be adversely affected when the idea of romance and sex is introduced. Sometimes sex heightens the closeness between two people, however it can also create an illusion around what love is not. The notion of romance can form a bridge to a deeper meaning within the relationship, yet this is not always the case. When Honest Love is present, sex can be a byproduct or nonexistent as the relationship remains independent of the need for physicality.

With our society being primarily sensory based, we do not always give the necessary time and attention to any relationship, separate from our external objectives. If we gave time to whom we valued, personally and professionally, we would understand immediately that the internal objectives are always where truth and safety resides. (We are protected by truth, even the unpleasantness of what it may reveal.)

The challenge for each individual is to identify for him or herself what it is that they are exactly feeling. When we know how we feel, we understand the higher meaning of the relationship, (if there is one) and allow for each person to be who he or she naturally is, rather than forcing anything. This allowing and freedom also applies in relationships among parents, and siblings.

* * * * *

Romance is a contradiction in that it is illusory and when we let go of that which is not real we see with clarity what passion is in the context of Honest Love. In a sense romance does not disappear, rather it shifts from a fantasy state and evolves into an unconditional one, ever more intense, in the absence of possession. When love is unencumbered we value the Other and we become passionate about Who That Person Is, and not Romanticize about the idea of how we would like them to be. In the presence of Honest Love we discover, naturally, the fragility and stability that love has always been.

* * * * *

If we are here to learn from each other and everyone, how can we not be connected soulfully with everyone?

The word mate could mean ‘friend’, not just life partner or sex partner. Anam Cara in Gaelic means, ‘soul friend’, which I believe is exactly what we are talking about. When we view all of our encounters/relationships from the perspective of the soul, perhaps if there is a departure or shift, in the relationship, we can see into it with insight and understand what we learned rather than what was lost. After all, why do we have to lose anything?

The article led me to think about my relationships, (with everyone) and it also raised a few questions about my Silent Friend, and someone I would call my most ardent Anam Cara. While we are all reflections of each other, soul friends too, loving another unconditionally is rare, but to truly like and enjoy another? That quality gives another meaning to the soul of a true friend. I think Aristotle said it best when describing friendship, but I believe his definition also applies to intimate relationships:

“Friendship is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”

* * * * *

We are all soulfully linked to one another, whether we like this or not, it is what makes us human. Our relationships can be explosive, passionate, loving or rote. Our relationships are in their purest state, when the innocence of our true nature is freed. When we are natural (persona-free) in our friendships, there is an undeniable honesty and vulnerability—a purity that Jesus and Buddha always made a significant part of their teachings. One might interpret their messages this way:

The Cluttering begins, when the Child ends.

All relationships mirror our deepest desires, our greatest fears as well as our strengths and weaknesses. To think that we can exclude ourselves from the Ugly that we see in others is our limitation and inability to understand our human frailties. When we can see our intentions and motives with honesty, whether they are self-serving intentions and motives or intentions that will benefit all, then we can take responsibility in how to see ourselves completely and how to be a true soul friend with everyone.

* * * * *

We are all on this planet to learn from one another, the Good, the Bad and sometime even the Scary. The faces may look different, but underlying each individual there is a core, which, if we are open to it, we can connect to that deepest place that resides within all of us—the most sacred anam cara, our Self.

So, when that Clock is about to strike 12 and that noon train is approaching around the bend; the tracks are laden with golden bricks pointing in a Direction and your life is asking you: Decide, Decide, Decide...who are you going to listen to? Your heart or your mind?

(only time will tell...)

Child-like

James Hillman, author of A Blue Fire and one of today’s most imaginative thinkers, says, “Knowing our fantasy life is to know ourselves profoundly. From that particular kind of self-knowledge that is beyond ego comes a strong sense of destiny. In this sense, imagination provides a solid moral destiny. “

Our relationships thrive on our natural ability  to be creative and intimate.   When we trust ourselves, being intimate with others  is our authentic state.

In the language of fairy tales, what is more truthful and honest than fantasy? It sneaks up on us, and climbs into our minds, whispering truths in a language we don’t usually feel threatened by. Fairy tales reach the most sacred and visceral part of who we are: The Child in all of us, no matter our age. In the land of Fairy Tale, there is a playground of many satisfying fantasies. In understanding ourselves, through fairy tale, we get a glimpse into all aspects of who we are through the villain as well as the hero or heroine. Knowing all the characteristics of our personality—is healthy!

This Child, when comfortable in an adult body, reserves itself for those it feels at ease with—those with whom it trusts. We know intuitively, when we are safe with someone and in that place of security that Child is free to come out and play. Whether this is on a conscious level or subconscious domain depends on how well we know someone, but more importantly, this security is reliant on how well we know and trust ourselves, for we can feel this natural comfort in the presence of a “stranger”. There is a Knowingness to who we can be intimate with and this knowingness is the language of children. They naturally trust and communicate with each other and speak a language that adults know very little about. (They are right. Adults are grown children who have sometimes left the best parts of themselves behind. )

In an intimate relationship between two adults, the Child’s voice is communicated often without words or with few words and say—everything that is needed to be said. Why? In this very childlike way, the individuals are unknowingly speaking the same language. They are flirting with each other’s hearts and they are not always aware of it. The most dangerous and erotic flirtations are those spoken at the level of the Child. When we know ourselves well, we do not hide from this innocent part of us—our most natural and intimate selves. The adorable child in the adult emerges in the company of familiar and safe grounds, often for a fleeting moment. When the moment is captured, it bears a bounty of gifts.

*    *    *    *    *

When two souls meet at the level of the Child, they expose themselves to the vulnerability and invulnerability of Relationship. Grown-ups keep away from this part of who they are, out of fear. If the little boy or the little girl sneaks out to play for a bit, the adult mind immediately snatches them up, lathering the poor Kid in armor, preparing him or her for a lifetime of battling the child within and the adult.

True intimacy is when couples can communicate with each other, comfortably on all levels—naturally. When our relationships thrive it is because we feel alive with that Child part of who we are; with ourselves and our partner. When we die emotionally or our relationships with our partner’s lose their “spark” it is because we have lost that most trusted and sacred part of ourselves in each other, this is the purest and sexiest us. For some men, sex seems to be their door to intimacy. The act of sex, without Honest Love, prevents them from the closeness they desire most. For women, if they are honest and healthy? They want you to ravage them, while reading their minds! How many men know this about women and how many women will admit this truth about themselves?

(They say that you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven unless you are a child. Remember this the next time you try to enter the kingdom of your spouse or lover… Remember: you shouldn’t have to try…)

What attracts us to that Special Someone, whether we are heterosexual or gay, is the soul of the Child. It knows no sex, it knows only how to play, give and be happy! The soul of the Child only knows  how to—love. Cherubs understand this truth. Maybe this is what our Creator really wanted for us all along; simply to share our toys and play nicely with each other and just do what we were meant to do naturally—love

So, when that Clock is about to strike 12 and that noon train is approaching around the bend; the tracks are laden with golden bricks pointing in a Direction and your life is asking you:  Decide, Decide, Decide...who are you going to listen to?  Your heart or your mind?   (The Child or the Adult?)

(only time will tell...)

The Price of Freedom, Dig-ni-ty &...

Hopping Aboard That Peace Train… I received a notice from the Welfare department the other day that my children and I qualify for food stamps.   The three-page form did not say much. Nothing was filled out, only a yellow-highlighted area that read, “approved”.  After several attempts at calling the number listed on the form, I finally reached a pleasant woman who instructed me to return to the Welfare Office in downtown, Newark, New Jersey to get my “pink” slip or a stamp that would allow me to move to the next step, which was to go to 50 S. Clinton Street, in East Orange, New Jersey to get my “card”.  (Ironically I actually have “friends” at 50 S. Clinton Street!)

As I hopped on 280 East in the downpour, Tuesday morning, I began to see how this entire Welfare process was beginning to feel like Food Stamp Monopoly!  You have to visit the worse parts of New Jersey before you get to pass "Go" for the supermarket and collect the Goods! I briefly fantasized that I would land on Free Parking and grab a few bags of Double Stuffed Oreo’s for my kids and if I was lucky I would be able to snatch up a gallon of milk in the process!  As my mind veered off into the imaginary real estate world of Parker Brothers, luckily, I did not land on,  “ Chance” for Camden, New Jersey and did not stop off in scenic Irvington to bear witness to a nice homicide on-the-go or heroin fix…   No, instead, I missed my exit and spent the next hour and forty-five minutes getting lost in lovely downtown Newark, as my navigational system decided not to “redirect” me properly and ran out of battery…”  Yes, I am geographically challenged, but how was I supposed to know that Raymond Blvd. changed into a different street and not a very pleasant one at that!  Still I remained positive and rolled down my window and asked some locals for directions, but few spoke English and the one gentleman who was walking with his young son, kindly instructed me, in between rain drops, where Rector Street was: “just keep going straight, it's down neck, you'll run into it.”  But I never ran into it, the streets grew desolate and narrower and more and more unappealing.  Needless to say, I eventually drove straight into the turnpike and I really didn’t care the direction I was going in at that point.  I was happy to drive on a road that I recognized.   As I headed for 280 West, I called my thirteen-year-old son to tell him that I would pick him up from camp and then I tried reaching out to his father to see about getting some food for our children.

*     *     *     *     *

I had made my children's father aware, the previous day, that we needed groceries.   If we need food on Monday and it is already Tuesday evening, how long do we have to wait for that basic need to be satisfied?  And while I appreciated the food card that his sister’s generously sent last Friday (of which he was probably not aware of) there had been no funds for food in two weeks.   The boys were vacationing with their dad’s relatives the previous week and, I, their mother did not need anything to sustain herself while they were gone? That is OK!  However, two weeks is a long time in this part of the country, let alone the world, to have to ration food.   We were so low on everything that the food from the weekend did not last very long.  Stock items get stored away and everything that does not need preparation gets eaten immediately.  When you are feeding 13 and 16 year old boys you run out of food even before you have unpacked the grocery bags!

I emailed the father, I texted the father, I called and left messages for the father.  The father did not call me back. He called our boys, but our boys do not know what they need.   They know that when they go to the cabinets or the refrigerator they want to find what they want and need to eat!  (Those of us who have boys know:  boys are basic: Feed me.) They do not open the refrigerator door and contemplate, “hmmm, I might need some eggs in a few days and maybe some milk to go with those Double Stuff Oreo’s my Mom’s gonna get as soon as she passes Go!” No they are not processing their daily requirements for meals and treats this way!

*     *     *     *     *

I called the father on one of our boy’s phones as I had a better chance of him answering (and isn’t this story and post really unnecessary? Don’t I have better things to do with my time than to write about this nonsense?  That this nonsense even exists to write about is disturbing.  When you live so much adversity on a regular basis, every day becomes a full time job.  The apparent challenge of finding employment in this economy is exhausting on its own, when you do not have your basic needs met or those of your children, the challenge is magnified not to mention--blinding.  It has been this way for 8 years now. Wouldn’t it be so much easier to just get the mother of these children food every week? Without her having to remind anyone that food is a basic need(?!), especially the children’s father? )

I offered (after not hearing from him on my phone) to drive a total of an hour just to pick him up, as he was without a car for a day and  take him food shopping for our growing and hungry boys.  He said that he was out with his sister and cousin for dinner, “Can I get back to you?”  He said, as I heard him put a morsel or two into his mouth.

Can he get back to me?

Was he kidding?  It was after 7:00 p.m. and our son had a camp trip the following morning and I didn’t want to give my boys peanut butter and jam another day, and there was no milk in the refrigerator! I guess when you have just eaten a nice meal, it is difficult, if at all possible to imagine what a hunger pang is, even if it is  your own children who are hungry.  I don’t know many people, especially parents, whom, upon hearing that their offspring might need food, would ask the other parent, “Can this wait till tomorrow?”  What part of “we need food”, does this person not hear?  Are we living in a third world country where tomorrow doesn’t seem that far away?  Do I really sound like, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf?” I have been dealing with this for eight years?  No really, it cannot be that long, but yes, it is!  Eight memorable years of emotional torture, subtle, (and constant) crisp, private and prolific abuse! Always with the remnants seared into the minds of me and my three and the lingering(s) of evidence for only us to see…

*     *     *     *     *

In every unhealthy relationship there is a form of bondage where we are a slave to some aspect of the relationship, perhaps even addicted to it's suffering.  There are financial shackles as well as emotional, sexual and spiritual ones.  Sometimes suffering is the misinterpretation for love, thus a cycle of abuse is imminent.  My situation mirrors many relationships when a man or a woman leaves an abusive and unhealthy marriage.    Surely the mother of anyone’s children deserves more respect than this!  What was my crime anyway?  That I left him? That I left him because he was Mean? Surely the father of anyone’s children who claims to have loved or loves the children’s mother would want her safe, happy, healthy and his children well fed.  However, our society does not teach this model of love or of marriage.  It teaches possession and that if love is possession, then once the possessed departs (or flees) not only is the love taken away from them, but they are kicked out to the curb and justifiably starved as marital aftermath!

That is love?

Sometimes I wonder if people know the Horror they see around them.  Sometimes those who know the situation on the inside cover up what appears obvious to outsiders.  The horror in the lives of so many, seems to go unrecognized by the masses, or unnoticed by those most close to the situation.  If we look the other way, does the horror disappear? I wonder why we find ourselves surprised when atrocities happen.  We appear shocked at the unexpected, yet predictable events in our lives and the lives of those dear and near to us.   We see.  We are aware, yet we do nothing or we alleviate our guilt by blaming others as we, the Silent Observer excuse ourselves from any responsibility.

Question: Why? Answer:  because we have our Check Lists!  We have our “facts”!  We have our interpretation!

When we are aware of situations and we see that wrong is being done and don't do anything about it, isn’t there a crime in that?  We witness the Ugly and turn away and pretend that we do not really see.  Is this not a form of violence? Is this not a type of neglect?  Is the need for power and control not also a form of violence inflicted upon others?

*     *     *     *     *

“If you put a chain around the neck of a slave, the other end fastens around your own.” Emerson

At some point in every slave’s life there must have been a clarifying moment where some made a choice from accepting the life of slavery to attempting a life at freedom, even if that freedom meant the departure from this world.  (Divorce was my attempt at freedom!)   An African American friend of mine told me the other day, “don’t you remember what a lot of the slaves tried to do when they were being put on those ships? They jumped overboard, because they would rather die than be someone’s slave…”

Disobedience?  Defiance? Could these possibly be places where one chooses the chance of death for the price of their dignity and freedom?

In my own case, I wonder what will go down in the “history book” of my life and the lives of my children.  Whose facts are actually believable and whose truth is actual? In the end it won’t matter.  It won’t matter.  It won’t matter.  Millions and millions of lives have been lost to violence of every kind.  The most damaging and crucifying deaths are the emotional ones where we lose our Spirit, for when we lose our spirit and hope; we have lost our Faith—our faith in humanity and ourselves....  When we lose our faith in humanity we have become foreigners to Who We Truly Are—this is when we participate in the murdering(s) of others as well as jumping off of ships (and bridges) ourselves.

They say that there is a price for everything—especially Freedom.  Yet in the end if we are free?  We die knowing that the price for Freedom is—price-less!

(Every slave no matter our color or gender, knows that subtle, yet profound truth…)

*     *     *     *     *

As I approached the camp where my youngest was waiting for me to pick him up, my exhausted mind settled in Reverie, a safe place filled with a new hope as I heard the strumming sound of a guitar in my mind and I recognized the face of a little curly black haired boy, name Cat Stevens.  He recognized me too!  He whisked me off, taking my hand in his and we sailed on to what I believed was the direction of My Happy Ending!  A clear path, laden with yellow bricks, in between railroad ties, guided us to a perfect rainbow, lacing the bright, cloudless sky.   And little Cat Stevens pointed down the tracks for me to see that, yes(!) the noon train was visible and not far away at all… he sang and he sang and he sang,

“Now, I’ve been happy lately thinking about the good things to come and I believe it could be something good has begun. Oh, I’ve been smiling lately; dreaming about the world as one and I believe it could be, some day it’s going to come.  Cause out on the edge of darkness, there rides a peace train, oh, peace train…"

(… take us all to our Happy Endings…)

So, when that Clock is about to strike 12 and that noon train is approaching around the bend; the tracks are laden with golden bricks pointing in a Direction and your life is asking you:  Decide, Decide, Decide...who are you going to listen to, your heart or your mind?  What will you do?  Tell the Truth or Lie?

(only time will tell...)

We will get our Happy Ending, just you wait and see!

The Dignity of Chocolate vs. Hallway Sex...

(and the ecstasy of having both with Honest Love) I had a conversation with a gentleman recently about the complexities of marriage and the difference between men and women with regard to sex.  He insisted that sex and the desire for sex for a man is more a physical need and functioning of the body than anything emotionally binding.  I have heard this story from many men over the years and I wonder if they think that this belief suggests that they are more virile and in some way keeps women submissive.  Is this theory a way for these men to fantasize that they are the stronger sex or the more sexual sex?  Might I suggest that men with this mentality are sorely mistaken.  With this biased perspective these men just sound silly and naïve.  Sometimes couples are simply mismatched.  When relationships experience the Tired Yawn Syndrome, this might be a lack of interest and not a case of an ailing or tired libido.  When theories imply that the libido kind of falls asleep after a certain age, how are the experts so sure? Libidos thrive when the right heart and mind of two individuals happily and effortlessly unite—no matter their age.

People have sex for a variety of reasons and needs.  Certainly there are individuals with medical issues, but there are also very healthy men and women out there who are having sex with partners out of “obligation”, habit or some other questionable arrangement, whether their libido is active or passive.  (I wonder what Joel Olsteen would think about passive or obligatory sex...  I imagine his adorable, southern drawl as he looks into the camera and his audience, and says,  “I’ll let God be the judge of that...” And his finger would point towards the cameras as he tilts his head slightly in the direction of his millions of admirers, his beautiful blue/green eyes twinkling as the audience clamors for more of his wise words, holding up their bibles, praising the lord for salvation!)

For me, that would be a fair answer, but why judge at all?  Maybe God doesn’t care what we do with our bodies or whom we have sex with!   For me, this inquiry about sex and chocolate is merely observation—a contemplation about what is important to us as human beings, i.e. chocolate, Hallways Sex or something more?

The gentleman tirelessly attempted to convey to me that sex is more of a need for men than women. (I remained poised and quiet and nodded my scalding head as my imagination took reign and my mind watched him toss an entire burial ground over his head as his language grew more inaudible, until his face and words were completely blurred and covered in dirt.)   He implied that men can have sex without any attachment, and that they were more emotional over a golf match.  As he continued to bury himself further, he said, “You know, even if you hate your partner, you can still have Hallway Sex with them.”  At that point I asked him if he needed any assistance in placing his remains in the grave he had no problem digging on his own.  Before burying himself completely,  I curiously asked, “Hallway Sex?”  I inquired as to what he meant, although it doesn’t take a genius to imagine the visuals… He continued to explain how you can meet your partner/housemate midway in the hallway and even though you can’t stand each other you can still have sex with them in the corridor and then go your separate way. (I suggested that that might be yet another form of prostitution but that I would have to contemplate the subject matter further and get back to him...) I then asked how you would divide assets in a divorce with a relationship that sounded more like a compromising of souls and body parts as compensation—and who was the pimp in this arrangement?

*     *     *     *     *

The day closed with my single parent mind reeling about sex, love and My Happy Ending!  While lying in bed, contemplating my Aloneness, I imagined what life would be like with chocolate and the right (!) Someone!  Before turning out my lights I looked to my left and glanced to my right and thought:  No man there, at least, not a touchable one!  A man.  Hmmmm.  If there could be a man to my right or to my left, he would have to be a Some One Special.  He would have to be someone I would want to have wild, passionate, Hallway Sex with and then still want to share a meal with afterwords!  He would have to be someone that I could stand listening to and know that he could stand listening to me—effortlessly. If I am ever to share-any-side-of –my- bed- again with a man, he will have to be funny, cuz I sure could use a good, long, laugh to sustain me for the rest of my life!

(Remember: laughing is as effortless as love!)

And what if there shall be no man to my right or to my left to share my bed with again some day?  Well then, a nice, yummy piece of dark of chocolate would most definitely suffice.  Chocolate makes most of us smile, even if no one sees us.  Chocolate makes us feel loved, even if it is the wrong kind of love!  Depending on the piece of chocolate, quality and texture, if eaten properly, the savoring of a piece of chocolate lasts longer than most orgasms. (Something to consider!) Chocolate, when respected can actually heighten our awareness and experience of life!  When I realized that my “housemate” did not love me, and that love and intimacy needed to partner with the sexual act, having “hallway sex” was not an option worth considering for me, yet chocolate was!  Where would the dignity be in Hallway Sex without love?  If we are in loveless relationships, how, as adults do we compromise our bodies and souls so recklessly? Yes, we can rationalize our sexual encounters as well as all of our life experiences.  I wonder though:  If we are this unconscious and careless with our bodies, where is our integrity?  How can we be concerned with what our children are doing if we are doing the same? Aren’t we consciously and subconsciously teaching them the lessons with our actions? Why not pause before we have sex the next time with the Wrong Some One and just go and grab a nice piece of dark chocolate, instead of a loveless, tasteless, sexual encounter. Chocolate is dignified and so sensual. And with chocolate there is always a sense of oneness and love—for me anyway.

*     *     *     *     *     *

Sex without intimacy seems to be the norm today.  Intimacy is scary—there can be no hiding when you are intimate with someone and sex without intimacy is easier, except when it is over. (When it is over, we all know how the Demons surface.) Have we, as a society forgotten how to communicate and feel and differentiate between what is real and honest passion for someone, over what is just a primitive self-depreciating act?  What does sex have to do with intimacy anyway?  Sex is yet another habit and one of countless modern-day addictions and function of the body, but when you have sex with love? Ah, now, that is the soul bear naked--not the body. Soulful sex is intimacy.

*     *    *     *     *

So how do we not lose interest in the internal aspects of the relationships that are supposed to sustain us throughout our lives? The internal—the soul-loving aspects of any marriage or significant relationship must be present before any physical acts take place.  If it is not, perhaps this lacking soulful presence is what leads to many Hallway Sex partnerships!

Perhaps many of us shut down our emotional, spiritual and sexual worlds at some point between childhood and grown-up-hood.  We close the door to that beautiful world we call Our Selves, where intimacy and integrity originate.  We lose sight of who we are when we are still too young to know which doors we are closing.  If this is so, it is obvious why so many people cling to relationships that are not internally sustainable; relationships that remain on the outside, sexually as well as spiritually.  It seems that the external world is the only world that many rely on.  It is yet another form of grazing. We graze the spirit and we graze the body of another, when we have soul-less sex, but do we ever touch the soul of another, let alone our own?

If we pay attention and pause before our next senseless, sexual encounter, we might notice that there is an open door in all of our lives; a sustainable door that allows us to pass through and change the course of our lives.    Something happens to many of us when we reach a certain age.  An age of comfortable discomfort and we forget that that door to Our Life is still open.  Opportunities are missed and the door closes or goes unrecognized.  Sometimes we forget that we have choices.  We become numb to ourselves.   We function, but we do not feel and the slow pill of misery settles in the bellies of so many of us, thus leading to Hallway Sex and we forget that we can still find happiness if we just keep walking down the Corridor of Our Life, switch on the light and see, really take notice of which act we wish to take part in.  If there is no visible love waiting for us when we turn  the lights on, we can choose to keep on walking.  When we turn right and take the stairs, eventually we will find our way out into the world, where the opportunity for love and joy awaits us all.

*     *     *     *     *     *

Laughter and Honest Love, coupled with sex is effortless, and fills our bellies and our souls in ways that nothing else can—other than chocolate.  When we discover unconditional love, we are uncontrollably drawn to it.  Why?  Because Honest Love is our homing instinct.  Nothing makes more sense in this world than when we understand the direction of our way Home—every aspect of our life becomes clear and we never return to our former sate of not Knowing.  With this Knowing, often we find ourselves in love and having sex with the right Some One.

With this kind of love, we can have our cake (sex) and chocolate too!

So, when that Clock is about to strike 12 and that noon train is approaching around the bend; the tracks are laden with golden bricks pointing in a Direction and your life is asking you:  Decide, Decide, Decide...who are you going to listen to, your heart or your mind?  What will you do?  Tell the truth or lie? Have Hallway Sex—or chocolate? Or the ecstasy of having both with Honest Love!)

(only time will tell...and I will and I will and I will…get My Happy Ending, just you wait and see!) For all you chocolate lovers out there!  Try the below links for some romantic, chocolate  decadence! http://www.thechocolatenation.com. Try Alice’s Tea Cup for some of Tom and Sally’s Chocolate Body Paint for when you meet that Special Someone mid way in the corridor! http://alicesteacup.com/

Commitment vs. Complacency

(and the hidden betrayals of the heart...)

“Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head,

the heart and the senses.”

Lao Tzu

The Mind and Commitment

What is commitment?

When explored deeply, we understand all that commitment is not.  Commitments lose their meaning for us when we see how the mind tries to convince the heart that its version of guarantee will last; yet in the end, the heart always wins.  The heart commits without fanfare, Paper Work or conditions.  Commitments become Riddles when a disorderly mind tirelessly attempts to organize impossible rules to live by.  When unrealistic expectations are not met, impediments are inevitable and will eventually cause the breakdown of how we understand a promise.  The collapses of our vows often come with a change of heart, not of mind, yet this is not betrayal.  On the contrary, when we live within the criteria of the Ethics of the Heart, there is no disloyalty unless we have inadvertently silenced the wisdom of our soul’s callings.  When the mind commits solely to the linear conditions of life in our career and/or personal life, rigid rules become a prison, which leads to regrets.  When we stay on the periphery of relationships (our mind) the internal space (our heart) is left unattended.  Without the tending and nurturing to our heart, there can be no real love and no viable commitment.

The Heart and Commitment When love is present all the rules change, because love changes all the rules… When love is present, commitment is unencumbered and free.  The heart is betrayed when the mind conquers it, leading it to believe that its allegiance is best when we refrain from questioning the social conditioning's of our lives.   This is why Honest Love is so threatening to the average mind-centered individual.  They know that there is never competition with anything that is pure and unalloyed, yet the very nature of its innocence is threatening to minds that believe love needs to be contained and exclusive.  This notion of exclusivity actually prevents the natural beauty and innocence of love to flow.

Commitment is naturally all sustaining when each party knows and loves the essence of the other; when two people do not deceive themselves with pseudo love and they are not using the other for personal gain or hidden agendas. This kind of pledge is spontaneous and unintentional, yet when love is not present, commitment is not available; however, our mind will try to convince us otherwise. Even if the physical body remains in the relationship, without love, we all secretly know when our heart departs…

We might ask ourselves: What is love, actually?   Love is not as many things as we have created it to be.  As a sensory needy society, Love is often marketed as something that it is not.  It is not a thing to possess, but it is a thing to give away… Commitments shift when we realize that what we were being loyal to was in fact not love and perhaps the farthest thing from it.  If we stay in a loveless relationship the commitment becomes a dysfunctional state of mind, complacency sets in like a slow death and our heart is continually betrayed.

Is The Limbic System Responsible for The Chemistry of Love and Commitment?

Where does the soul come into this equation?  Committed love transcends sex and individual boundaries.  There is an undeniable interconnectedness—a limbic resonance where, when we go beyond dopamine, phenylethylamine and oxytocin we reach our highly evolved spirit- state and we commit to what is most natural—which is to love.

Love is real when you can love another the same way as a beautiful wild flower.  To tear it from the earth—it would die. But to gaze upon its Petals, along with the sun, along with the kiss of the wind and with the rain, pure white rain—you watch it Grow—this is love.

How does commitment change courses? The heart will move, always in the direction of life, honoring its need to flow, change and grow.   The clearer we become to ourselves, discerning when commitment needs to be reevaluated is something that can only be determined by an individual’s ability to think independently, free from the influences of others.  Sometimes we feel that we must stay in a job and relationship because of a promise.  However, how can we grow if we stay in a Place that is stagnant and unfulfilling and perhaps detrimental to our overall well being? This is where we address our personal understanding of value and what and whom we value.  This is where we must ask ourselves:  Are we honoring commitment or are we being complacent? Are we committed or are we attached? (Do we know the difference?)

Commitment in Marriages and Committed Relationships

Marriages are an institution and contract.  The origin of them was to build strength and alliances.  Marriages were often arranged up until three generations ago.  Love and romance in marriages is a fairly new concept, perhaps this is why there is conflict.  On one hand the history of marriage was designed to win wars (yet often with marriages, internal wars are created) and love had nothing to do with its success or failure, yet producing offspring did.

How do we choose our right and permanent partner? (Is there just one?) We need to know ourselves very well.  We must have an impeccable relationship with ourselves first and foremost otherwise we cannot fully know or appreciate someone else.

In the end we have to be our own authority and take back what belonged to us in the beginning:  our commitment to the Ethics of our Hearts. What ideology can ever answer for us, what is right or true for us?  Who do we intrinsically trust with our life decisions if not ourselves?  If we are to trust outside authorities is that a life of integrity? Authenticity?  Or is it a life that is only half alive?

(These are not questions any “expert” can answer for us, for whose authority, if not our own reigns with more raw honesty than our own?)

"The heart is forever making the head its fool."

Francois de la Roche Foucauld

Love in a committed relationship happens by understanding and trusting who we are.   With Honest Love two souls recognize the fragility and value of life and hold that understanding and that love above all else in the world.  This kind of sacred love and commitment knows no hierarchy; there is no exclusivity or possessiveness; no mine, no jealousy, no right sexuality or wrong sexuality—just that which is valued.  With the heart, all riddles are answered effortlessly.  When love is not present the heart departs even if the body stays behind, leaving it scrambling aimlessly for its forsaken soul.  When we stay, each individual knows that they are not committed; rather, they are ghosts haunting the body—holding it captive and hosting a relationship that does not really exist.

We must ask ourselves: What could any scientific theory or relationship expert tell our hearts that we don’t already secretly know?  Before there was verbal language, there was first the language and vision of the heart.  It will always be the Master Language; the highest Voice with a universal vocabulary and an undeniable Authority that will always honor a higher truth than any written or spoken word.

So, when that Clock is about to strike 12 and that noon train is approaching around the bend; the tracks are laden with golden bricks pointing in a Direction and your life is asking you:  Decide, Decide, Decide...who are you going to listen to?  Your heart or your mind?

(only time will tell...)

Blame vs. Understanding

Victims are cowards who blame—always one in the same. Splashed across the Internet last week was the latest tabloid-celebrity divorce of a billionaire couple with three children.  Suddenly the beautiful wife is being accused of drug and alcohol abuse while she claims her husband has for years, had a volatile character and is a wife abuser of some sort.  There were comments on whether there was any validity to his alleged behavior, yet not so much of hers—and of course the media is focusing on the children and how it appears that they are being used as pawns in the bitter battle between this high profile couple.  Another tabloid story (one of too many) exploits yet another high profile couple who are going through a very public airing of the husband’s infidelities.  A question the wife was asked:  How do you rebuild trust?

I always thought that trust was intrinsic and natural—spontaneous too.  Children intuitively know who to trust and with whom not to.  They doubt when they are taught to not trust themselves.  Once you lose trust, it is not something you can retrieve in the Lost & Found part of your heart.  Even with the first lie, one loses trust. Yet there is always That Last Lie, no matter the size, in which there is the thread of truth that closes the Door to Credibility.

The questions we must ask ourselves:  Why do we, as a society, have interest in the lives of others when they are not in our immediate world?  Why can’t we just wish these couples our best for a civilized and amicable divorce and or a better understanding of trust?  Why can’t we show empathy for their losses and dreams and not get caught up in making judgments, assessments about who is responsible or who is to blame?  Why is one couple’s abundant material world of value so much more important than the internal nightmare and sadness this man and woman must be suffering from?  While there is obvious anger in their departure, underneath, surely there is pain, sadness and a great deal of suffering.  And the wife who blames her husband for his indiscretions?  Anyone with any amount of intelligence knows that affairs are not rooted in the body.  If affairs are solely a matter of the flesh what does that say about the individual's evolutionary process? (primitive at best?)  If there is betrayal outside of the marriage is there not also the possibility of disloyalty within the marriage? If the marriage is cohesive there would be no need for a third party…any-thing.

It is ironic how the illusion of love and marriage deceives us, only until we are at the edge of its departure.  How does love turn so ugly?  Love does not have a role in divorce and it certainly does not seem to have a place in many marriages.  It is not the love that grows ugly, but rather the discovery of its lacking between the partners.  Divorce happens for many and it arrives, sometimes through a slow process which can take years, before the legalities of Paper Work.  However, when love becomes an important aspect of our life and we do not have it with the person we are supposed to be bonded to, divorce is inevitable or we accept the prospects of a life of internal misery, coupled with deception and no integrity.

In a divorce setting, the Illusion of who we thought each other was is brought to an alarmingly brutal and merciless light. Once seen for who each other truly is within the confines of the marriage, there is no going back to being the Possessed or the Possessor.  Since the early stages of my divorce, eight years ago, I began to wonder if love ever had a place in marriage.   When you look at the Puritanical order of our society and its rules, there is very little talk and interest of any kind of sustainable or honest love with regard to marriage.  There is the wedding, the party, the dress, some gifts and maybe a mini vaca before many of us unknowingly and innocently enter the Horror of wedded bliss.  Stop, or at least pause at the altar and think about what Honest Love really is.  The rules come and the love, if there is any, arrives ala cart with a list of Hearty (and not so appetizing) Conditional’s .  There is talk of responsibility, fidelity, affairs and who possesses whom and what, but there is little talk or action of actual love, sensitivity and compassion to substantiate a viable marriage.

From my single mother/divorced perspective, over the past several years, and much contemplation on the place of marriage in our society, I have come to see marriage as the disease that most people are trying to cure, run from or hide behind!  After all, do we ever question whom and what we are married to? Does liking our partner matter? Do we enjoy their company and value their souls?   If they died, would we care?  Really? With deep introspection about the messages we were given about love as children we would have a better understanding of ourselves as well as the person we intend on marrying or married.  However, during a marriage who we are becomes clearer to ourselves as well as to the person we are married to.   We do not necessarily change, but sometimes we grow and not always in the direction of our spouse.   It is not a cowardly act to leave a marriage that is not healthy or unsatisfying.  If we pay attention during our marriages and question what we have with our partner’s we might better understand if what we have is love—or a business/societal contract of some sort.  Perhaps, if we recognize that we do not have love, we might discover and uncover the courage to leave or redefine for society and ourselves what exactly marriage is.

And the children?  The pawns in many marriages and divorces?  They can either be the scarred victims or they can grow into adults with a better understanding of the truth about love and a clearer reality of marriages. Children scar whether they come from divorced homes or not.  Homes can be broken on the inside, while the marriage appears solid on the outside…(But isn’t what’s on the inside what really matters?)

Children are resilient.  They fall down and they get up—so long as we, as parents do not fuss over every bruise they get, whether it is an external wound or an internal one.   Children know if they are loved in the same way a spouse feels loved or not. Children also feel disharmony.  If the children are cared for and loved during their parent’s marriage, they will be loved and nurtured outside of the marriage as well.

Contrary to the statistics, divorce can been a wonderful opportunity to show children how to live authentically and honestly.  Isn’t it far better to show our children how a divorce is healthier than staying in a marriage that is founded on an inauthentic arrangement?  If we stay and lie to our children, will they not take with them, as grown children, distorted perceptions of love and marriage into their own lives, only to recreate a history of the same mistakes and misunderstandings?  Had I stayed married, my daughter would have had a very unhealthy idea of how she should be treated by a man.  She would have misinterpreted suffering and abuse for love.  Had I stayed married, my boys would have thought it is ok to mistreat their wives and their interpretations of how to treat women would have been justified to them by the example and actions of their father with their mother.  Most of us can agree that example and experience is how we learn how to be in the world around us.  If our messages are unhealthy then we must (and hopefully we will have the sense of mind to) relearn what love is and what marriage should be—outside of the paradigm our parent’s and society bestowed upon us of what love and marriage is.  If things do not work out as we planned and hoped for in our marriage, then divorce is an option for both parties.  Hopefully as mature adults a departure does not have to mean the end of civility.  Perhaps, with a clearer understanding of love, new roles can be established where everyone not only survives, but thrives.

We must remember:  People sometimes stay in bad marriages and relationships, but people do not (normally) leave good marriages or relationships.   Divorce is a revelation of the Lie that one or both parties can no longer live within the confines of.   I left my marriage several years ago.  I loved the father of my children for all the right reasons.  I left the man I married for all the right reasons too.  When I departed I realized that my love for him had conditions as well as his love for me.   While I married for love, I also left due to the lack of it.

Our three children are thriving and while my ex-husband still blames me for things that just aren’t so… our children and I have moved on and accepted our new roles and lives.  It was a bitter divorce, as many are, but unlike the above billionaire story, there was no alimony, no money or home to divide or bicker over and very little child support for our three children.  Instead of houses and assets to fight over, my ex created a story about me as punishment for leaving him.  He turned me into someone that would cast him out to be the victim and I the betrayer. He chose to lie about who I am rather than try to understand why the marriage ended.

Divorce has afforded me the luxury of freedom. The kind of freedom that one earns through living life authentically, the Shakespearian way, “to thine own self be true…” When you do not live your life as a lie, you are Alive with every pulse of your heart and you own every breath you take and every fiber of your being.  When you do not live your life as a lie--your life belongs to you and not some Idea others need to have about who they think you are.  The beauty in this kind of freedom is that you do not rely on external influences to define you or hurt you.  Your posture changes from down- to- the- ground to a Higher Order, tall, proud and closer to the sky… The opinions of others no longer have weight and you discover what a great friend you have in your Self…

My ex-husband accuses me of much.  He blames me of even more and tells me that I blame him.  The irony in this tale (and it is very much indeed a tale…) is that I do not blame him for anything.  Rather, I have an understanding of the nature of what our marriage was and was not—and of life.  It is when we understand ourselves and our world around us that we can be aware and when we are aware we can take action and change our situations; our lives and our selves.  Understanding is very different from blame.   Blame keeps us immobilized, Understanding gives us the freedom and choice to move in a direction that can heal and benefit ourselves as well as those we love…

So, when that Clock is about to strike 12 and that noon train is approaching around the bend; the tracks are laden with golden bricks pointing in a Direction and your life is asking you:  Decide, Decide, Decide...what are you going to do?  Tell the truth or lie?

(only time will tell...)

Wednesday, May 6th 2009

Isn't everything part fiction and  interpretation? (some truth too?) Another good question to ourselves is:  what areas of our lives can we find a truth?

Every day we are confronted with news, media bombardment and tabloid gossip.  Every day we have interactions with others (most of us).  Do we care what the truth is vs. the fiction in our lives and if so, why?

What is a Dream?

Dreams are the courageous callings inside of each of us.  they are the wishes we sometimes dare to follow or wish upon, but when we do...they will often come true.if a dream or wish does not blossom or lies dormant we must pay attention to notice if the dream has morphed into another wishes or dream.   it is at that moment of Shifting that, if  we are alert, we can heed the change that will surprise us with a fresh, new thought of a new dream that can come true.

and a wish and a dream, is always a miracle waiting to be discovered and uncovered, by you...

April 13-April 19, 2009

childhood wounds i don't know why, but this week in between life, drives back and forth into the city and doing homework with my kids, i began to think about the quote from Sartre that always haunted and inspired me: "Childhood decides."

for the most part i think this is true.  if we are conscious of our wounds we try to heal them, but there are so many undercurrents to our wounds that unless one is so passionate about becoming whole and integrated, intellectually as well as spiritually, i don't how see healing can occur.

as creatures of habit and learned behaviors, i think we tend to unconsciously cling to things or people that might superficially comfort us or mask our wounds so they don't fully need addressing-- or more importantly, healing...

think about it: when you look at yourself, and the people you work with and in your personal world-- do you really think childhood wounds have been healed? Maybe they have been addressed, but when we feel vulnerable in the world or need a loving voice to listen to us-- hear us, those very Hurts from our babyhood somehow nastily find their way to the surface of our hearts.

they do for me, and when they do? I am immediately reminded of what love is and is not.  I am brought to Full Attention with my life and the choices I have made and I look at my babies in adult bodies and I see how utterly profound and important being a good, nurturing mother is.  I wish it mattered in our society and in our judicial systems more (but it doesn't).

the week was wonderful in that it was my birthday and i got to celebrate yet another year on this amazing planet of Wonder and Horror, with three of my favorite people--my children.  I love their minds, their thoughts and mostly their hearts...

later on, my daughter and i will watch a taped Ellen show. it makes my daughter and i laugh and reminds us what a living example of an authentic human being truly is:  someone who is not afraid to be who she is and to make herself vulnerable to the world--so much so, that we all cannot help but to identify a part of our Selves with her...