Archives for posts with tag: love

A mother is someone who dreams great dreams for you, but then she lets you chase the dreams you have for yourself and loves you just the same.

– Unknown

REFLECTIONS

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. I wept with joy tinged with sorrow. Joy because love is flourishing once again in my family, and sorrow for those years when love struggled for breath. I am utterly grateful that a human being’s desire to love cannot be contained, confined or entombed. Mine has withstood years of neglect and harsh conditions, but it has prevailed. When given even a modicum of attention, love has bloomed. Of one fact I have become certain, love will find a way.

Love, like this Flower, is Determined

Love, like this Flower, is Determined

Love Will Find a Way to Bloom

When I snapped this photograph several years ago, I was not consciously relating it to my struggle to find love. I do remember irritating the people I was walking with, because I abruptly stopped to capture this image. Unconsciously drawn to it then, only now do I fully grasp its power. Once again, this is synchronicity…being drawn to an external event that is symbolic of an internal, unconscious complex. Transformation occurs in making the relevant connections between an external impulse and one’s internal complex…this is when the ‘aha’ happens…that hard won, but wonderful moment when the light dawns and a new depth of understanding is reached.

 Flower Power – Flower as Guru

1. First, and most importantly, I came to understand that the seed pod contains the plant. Its capacity and ‘desire’ to bloom resides within its tiny cellular structure. Therefore, like the seedpod, I too was born with the capacity to bloom into the woman I was meant to be. When I relied on men to define my life, it was their ideals I tried to give life to, rather than my own. I was left frustrated and unfulfilled and blamed them for not getting it right!

2. Secondly, the seed pod is alone in the dark ground. Other seeds lay near by, but each pod is responsible for its own survival and growth. Alone, it must source nutrients and work hard in creating a path to the sunshine. Analogously, if I am unfulfilled, bored or unloved, it is up to me to create solutions, rather than demand satisfaction from those with whom I share my life.

3. Thirdly, the shadows underlying the little blooms, are shaped like the cross, reminding me that in the life-death-new life cycle of transformation, at times I will feel crucified. It is no one else’s fault if my life is difficult, painful and demanding…life is this for everyone.

MOTHERING  – To Thine Own Self Be True

I’ve just spent the loveliest weekend with my elder daughter. This was our high-water mark after weeks of rebuilding our relationship. We laughed, but mainly  cried over our early days as mom and daughter. As all children are, she was perfect, but I lacked what I’ve come to see as the essential quality of ‘good’ mothering. I now believe that a good mother, first and foremost must have self-knowledge…she must learn to discover her authentic self and then have the courage to live from this place of knowing.

Only now, as I have unearthed my authentic voice which includes my true personality, my dreams, hopes and desires, my talents, my sense of humour and heartfelt emotion… can I really see my daughters. And in finally seeing them as they are, and not through a cloud of what I thought they should be, can I be a loving presence in their lives. Only as I’ve begun to be true to the person I am, can I support them in becoming the young women they desire to be. Initially one may think it selfish to take the time to live as author of one’s own life, but paradoxically, I have discovered that in being true to myself, I am more compassionate, patient and now possess the ability to sacrifice and to listen. This is love.

Going Home

I’ve been away for nearly 2 months. Once I post today’s thoughts, I will begin my drive to British Columbia! Although garden weeds await me, I leave Alberta knowing I have finally found and shared my love.

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“The garden of leaflessness: who dares to say that it isn’t beautiful?”

Iranian poet Mehdi Akhavān Sāles

REFLECTIONS

This post is dedicated to my nephew!

My love affair with fictional detectives seems to be over. Until very recently, and for decades, I have been mesmerized and transfixed by the antics of detectives. Now, whether reading or viewing, I fall asleep. The ending of any love affair compels one to analyze the arc of its life.

 My enchantment began when I was 7, with ‘The Secret World of Og”. This book launched my fascination(possible compulsion), with detectives and their ability to uncover the truth. I wonder if others know these characters as well as I do… Trixie Beldon, Nancy Drew, Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, DCI Wexford and Dalgleish, Inspectors Morse, Lewis and Lynley?

This cadre of detectives is brilliant, witty and perspicacious! In their efforts to solve what are known in the publishing world as ‘cozy crimes’, they display an uncompromising morality. Primarily motivated by a commitment to the truth, they use a complex process that combines logic and astute observation with intuition and instinct, while maintaining a sense of humour. My deep devotion to the genre no doubt resided in my need for role models, whose raison d’être, was the truth. I don’t think it was unusual that I focussed on such types, from an early age. Children have an innate sense of justice and  abhor the ‘bill of goods’ parents try to sell them. My parents, like most, justified their harsh punishment and high expectations of us by uttering the usual rhetoric …”We know best.” and “It’s for your own good.” Clearly neither was true, but my opinion wasn’t solicited. And I was far too afraid to be defiant, as the consequences were dire. But one of my brothers, being the precocious middle child, felt compelled to share his unsolicited views, and was cruelly beaten. I still am brought to tears by these memories. Hitting a child is never justifiable.

I have spent my life on a mission to discover the mystery of family love. Just like any eccentric detective, I’ve poked around in the detritus of family life, hoping that through an examination of broken promises, heavy hearts and discarded dreams, I might find the clue to explain the survival of its love. Familial love endures the harshest of realities, even though this love may not be easily expressed. But begin the arduous task of truth seeking, and a spark of love will be ignited into a flame…no different than the power of a tiny ember regenerating the life of a dying log.  The seed for this unassailable truth was planted a year ago when I saw a luminous vision in New Orleans, a city ripe with the imagery of life and death.

Saint Louis Cathedral New Orleans

Saint Louis Cathedral New Orleans

This arresting image, has two notable themes for me.

Firstly, I have come to believe that even in the darkest of nights, there is still the light of the moon to guide my way. I am never entirely alone… symbolized by the statue’s brilliance in the dark.

Secondly, I found Christ’s open arms, mysteriously compelling. Only now do I understand its significance. I have always been an idealist, demanding life and those in it, function at the highest level, in a state of perfection. But Christ’s gesture of surrender, can also be interpreted to mean the necessity of holding both the dark and the light in balance….good and bad, joyful and miserable, love and hate…withstanding the tension created when simultaneously holding both positive and negative emotions for all situations. It may seem trite to say that a family always has both, but to an idealist, it’s a revelation! As much as I wanted my parents to ‘come clean’ and admit their failings, I perpetuated the family myth of perfection, by demanding it of myself, my children, my husband(s) and my friends. 

I’ve come to realize the power of the confessional. In it lies the secret to fanning the flame of love, for oneself and for others. Only through the experience of my confessional, The Other Woman Blog, where I have openly admitted  my frailties, my faults, my dreams and my desires, have I come to accept, as true, that love flourishes between people when we present ourselves as humans, not demigods. I now embrace the sententious moralizing thrown at me over the years…”Life’s not just a bowl of cherries, sometimes you find yourself in the pits.” Life is simultaneously cherries and pits! Love is simultaneously fulfilling and excruciating. Family provides simultaneously the best and the worst of times!

Below is the collage I have been working on for the past week.

Balancing Death and Life

Balancing Death and Life

ASPIRATIONS FOR WEEK 28 OF 52 

CHANGING MY PERCEPTION OF IDEAL FAMILY LOVE

SCIENTIFIC SUPPORT FOR ABOVE THEORY

Studies done by the Psychologist, H.E. Hershfield, counter the long held belief that negative emotions are linked to increased risk for illness, while positive emotion leads to health and longevity. His 10 year study reports that the greater the frequency of people’s mixed emotional experiences over time, the slower their age-related health declined. Every situation has both positive and negative aspects. Identify any situation, extremely positive or negative, and a balancing reality can also be named…the birth of a long awaited child is balanced by sleepless nights…my near death infection was balanced by my move to consciousness…infidelity in my marriage…what I’ve learned will take an entire post!

Choosing to suppress, ignore or deny negative experiences and emotion, rather than express them, acting as though everything is fine, is not only unhealthy, but it limits the flow of love. Like breathing, that is as much an inward motion as an outward expression, love flourishes in our humanity, in our dark characteristics as much as our light, not in an idealized state of perfection.

So for Week 28 of 52, I will embrace the duality of life.

Christ of the Deep - Key Largo

Christ of the Deep – Key Largo

REFLECTIONS

A month of productivity and joy and then yesterday, Saturday, was a day on the couch watching yet another British Mystery Series. At 7:30pm I drank 2 glasses of Malbec, ‘fell asleep’ and missed the 7.7 earthquake off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Sunday morning is now upon me, and I pause to ask ‘Why?’ and not to the reason for earthquakes, but the reason for my melancholic state. I know I will not evolve into The Other Woman, if I say to myself, “One day of laying around, eating poorly, having a couple drinks, is nothing, you deserve a break, some down time.” I am aware that I have a super charged work ethic when it comes to ‘Personal Growth’ and relaxation and fun are therefore, valuable experiences for me. But what I did yesterday was not fun or relaxing. The feeling I had throughout the day was one of disquiet and self loathing. This is the feeling I have whenever I try to burrow my consciousness into the bowels of the earth. The season of blooming is finished and I am descending into the dark. What lies beneath the surface? What faulty belief have I internalized, that begs to be revealed and subsequently released, allowing me to live closer to my heart?

I was then startled from this reverie by the ‘ping’ of my iPhone, alerting me to a new message…and here is the miracle of the Universe’s guiding hand! Below is the poem delivered via GoodReads….

The day misspent,

the love misplaced,

has inside it

the seed of redemption,

Nothing is exempt

from resurrection.

             -Kay Ryan

Kay Ryan, the American Poet Laurteate, reminds me that there is nothing more exquisite than the feeling of having the burden of oneself borne off by a poem…not the self, just the burden…just for a moment. She writes in her PJs too!

Creating in PJs

What am I to redeem from that misspent day? that misplaced love?

First I will reflect on my week’s virtual chats with men. A mere 7 days ago, I had not spoken to any man other than my husband and male friends, for 20 years. Thanks to Plenty of Fish, that has changed. Boldly, honestly and clearly, I have spoken from my heart. Amazingly, only one man out of the 11, has stopped writing to me. I have promised nothing, use only my pen name Between2Marys, and decline requests for my name, email address, phone number or coffee dates. I am creating a new me vis a vis men. I have liked the positive, ‘low-key’ attention from men. So why then did I collapse into a tiny ball of angst? Heavy sigh, deep breath….preparing to be honest…my life long lament…I’m not attractive enough for a man to love me for who I am, so I must transmogrify, from the Loathly Lady, into the lovely princess. Only then will I be loved. What this means for me, is, that I must subjugate my desires and attend to ‘his’, as a compensation for my physical lack. Sadly, I have believed this behaviour necessary, even when I was young.

Naturally this perception of the price I must pay for love was born out of my relationship with my father. I loved yet felt intimidated by him. He was unpredictable. I believed I had the power to lessen the parental tension in our home, by being desirable in my father’s eye. I believed that my father’s behaviour towards my mother and my brothers might improve, if he felt pride over his creation of me. I tried to be any and everything I thought he might value. My father was a man’s man, a good looking ‘bad boy’. My mother married him against the advice of her more refined family. He was not a philandering husband, except for his Irish lass, during the Second World War. But, he made no effort to stifle his ‘appreciation’ of a women’s exterior. His entire life, he whistled  with reverential glee at women who epitomized the 1940’s ideal; a thin hipped, well endowed, blond haired bombshell…as I remember him saying…again and again…oblivious to me standing before him with dark hair, average cleavage and above average hips.

Bad Boy Stan, My Dad

I could never have achieved his idea of physical perfection. My physical appearance, demoralized me from age 12, when he counselled me with the following bit of unsolicited, soul crushing, fatherly ‘advice’. “My dear, no man likes a woman with hips as big as 2 battleships.” Being a Navy Officer, he liked to use nautical terms, to drive a point home!

Me around 12 with my Brother

I never again looked at my strong, muscled thighs with any feeling but betrayal or derision. So began my efforts to compensate for my looks. I became attentive to the whims and desires of men, at the expense of my own.

This painful, yet liberating insight, is what I have redeemed from my misspent day, my misplaced love.

 I went into a funk, because I faced a dilemma. Can I continue to speak of my desires as boldly and freely as I have written them?  Or will I continue to compensate for my hips, by cloaking my desires in niceties and placations? Or more likely, will I avoid the issue entirely by burying myself in another British Mystery Series?

ASPIRATIONS FOR WEEK 17 OF 52

CHANGING FROM THE LOATHLY LADY 

 In the Fairy Tale, ‘Sir Gawain and The Lady Ragnell, the loathsome Lady Ragnell, bargained with King Arthur. She agreed to tell him the answer to the riddle, “What do women desire above all else?” in order to lift the spell over his life. In exchange, she desired to be married to his nephew, Sir Gawain. He was known as the most handsome, skilled and compassionate knight at the Round Table. Sir Gawain willingly chose to marry the Hag Ragnell, so that his King’s life would be spared. The spell cast over Ragnell, had turned her into a loathsome Hag for half of each day, but left her as a lovely princess for the other half. When Ragnell asked her husband, Sir Gawain, if he would rather she be beautiful by day or by night, when she is alone with him in bed, he wisely gave her the right to choose, having learned that above all else, women desire the right to have sovereignty over their choices. Sir Gawain understood the greatest dilemma of any woman’s life. In giving the Hag Ragnell the right to decide when she would be beautiful, the spell was lifted, and she was beautiful all day long.

So now, in Week 17 of 52, I must have the courage of Lady Ragnell. She was transformed, not by the kiss of a handsome Prince, but by the pursuit of her own needs and desires. Ragnell symbolizes the journey all women must make to achieve a self-determined and therefore, fulfilling life. To this end, I will talk(on the phone) with a man, as myself, hips and all, maintaining the confidence I feel in a virtual conversation.

I want to acknowledge the wisdom of the Analyst, Polly Young-Eisendrath. For a more comprehensive elucidation of this topic, read, ‘Women and Desire, Beyond Wanting to be Wanted.

REFLECTIONS

-the bloody stubbornness of getting

someone born.

Rowan Williamson, the Archbishop of Canterbury

Last week I laid to rest my loveless marriage. It now lies deep, at the bottom of a lake, absorbed into the surrounding beauty of trees, singing birds and majestic mountains. It will decompose, change shape and one day, become part of something new. And after this burial, I sat and wept the cold, cold tears of grief. I didn’t stifle my sound, nor care about how I appeared… for once I let myself sink deep into the sorrow of my unfulfilled dreams, sink deep into the agony at the loss of the husband I love. I had to surrender to what is, and not continue to cling to my desire for the life I had planned. I have had to feel and observe the unsightliness of death.

It does me no good to choke back my tears nor numb my pain with alcohol or food. That just postpones what is inevitable. As I young child I cried openly, whenever I saw injustice, but by age 10, I cried alone… hidden from the ridicule of older brothers and the judgement of parents. I’ve had to relearn the cry of the soul. The cry that mourns the injustices of life, the cry that rejoices at the  miraculous…the cry of an unencumbered child, who breaks into sobs when a robin crashes into a window and drops to the pavement below. The cry of the soul is different from the cry of the child in the supermarket desiring candy, or the cry I had when my beautiful Italian candlestick broke into pieces. These tears are rooted in the desire of the known, the tangible, the material world. This cry is more temper than soul. This cry will not see the heaving chest nor the sobs that interfere with breathing, leaving the crier gasping for air.

But my cry at the shores of the lake was the cry of a broken heart. It was the cry of the soul, the cry for which there is no consolation. It was the cry of me surrendering.

THE WEEPING OF SURRENDER

This week, Week 13 of 52, marks the 1/4 point of my year long project of my transformation into The Other Woman. It’s fitting that I am at the point of surrender. I’m surrendering to what never was… I’m surrendering to what never will be…and I’m  surrendering to what is. I have felt relief after this week of soulful tears. And every time I chastise myself for not surrendering sooner, I remember that I had to be strong enough to bear the weight of such a staggering grief.

In the deeply felt experience of grief, I acknowledged the finality of my dream. Gone is the dream that one day he will gaze into my eyes and say, “I love you!” and I will feel the truth of these words. Gone is the dream to walk through the streets of Europe, hand in hand, sharing our observations, our humour. Gone is the dream to grow old together, watching the next generations as they stumble upon life and love. Gone is the dream to lie side by side after death, entering the realm of the unknown, somehow together. What’s done is done. What’s gone is gone.

goodbye

ASPIRATIONS FOR WEEK 13 OF 52

CHANGING FROM NEEDY TO SELF-SUFFICIENT

Last week I believed to be true, that which I have most dreaded. My husband doesn’t love me. In a tyrannical rage, I have hurled this accusation at him countless times, praying he would refute it, being mollified when he did. Thus was the collusion of our marriage. Ending this collusive agreement, meant facing the truth of what is. It meant pain, upheaval, loss and eventually, maybe, transformation.

In the hopes of becoming The Other Woman, I have been dissecting my notions of love. Not agape, the diffused love and good will towards all humanity, but the love shown towards one man or one woman, at close range. I believe all humans need love, but how is this need for love different from being needy. When I met with my husband a few days ago, I timidly said my mantra of the week, “You don’t love me.” Having only ever yelled these words, I wanted to experience the impact of just saying them.

(BTW A mantra is a collection of words that is considered capable of creating transformation)

Unexpected Dialogue #1

Me: You don’t love me.

Him: Do you think that was love you showed me or just behaviour born out of your neediness?

Me: (demoralized) Good point, maybe you are right – my sacrifices and thoughtfulness, and the love I felt for you existed just because I was in desperate need of your love. Hmmm, maybe that isn’t really love. sigh

…some silence…followed by a heightened alertness in the core of my body…leading to a surge of anger which resulted in assertive behaviour in defence of myself…

Me: Yes, I was needy and I was loving. I can see now that a person can be both. But my neediness blinded me to the fact that you refused to share your heart with me.

Unexpected Dialogue #2

Him: But I gave to you! I cared about you! Don’t you see that as a manifestation of love. Isn’t this what you just said you did? What you gave to me?

Me: (not quite as demoralized)You did give to me …but you gave material goods; a beautiful home, exotic trips, a BMW, a Rolex watch, an Armani suit to name but a few. There is an element of control though, in materialism. You decide how many dollars you want to spend and when you will give. But in a gesture of open-hearted love, the giving comes from a different source. Through your open heart, you access the unified field of infinite energy. So a gesture of love that costs nothing from your wallet, becomes a source of ever replenishing joy, inspiration and fulfillment. This priceless gift, I never received from you.

Him: You are right, I never gave you that. 

Finally I spoke from my heart, without rage or self pity. I spoke clearly about my experience of not being loved, without regret or expectation. I also accepted that having love in my heart for him, is not a guarantee of reciprocity. And in fact, such a belief can eventually contaminate the purest of loves.

So for Week 13 of 52, I will be receptive to love while I learn the art of being self-possessed, remembering that a needy woman is a blind woman.

A Needy Woman is a Blind Woman

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