Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

Love means not testing the other person

More and more it strikes me that life is a series of tests. Now, when something happens to me or a person does something to me I don’t like, I ask myself, “How am I being tested here? What is the wise and loving way to respond?”

It has therefore also occurred to me that, in a committed relationship, one of the major things to which the two persons are committing is to not testing each other. Rather, they are committing to facing life’s tests together as a team.

There is no doubt that, once two people thus commit, the world will sorely test the mettle of the commitment itself. It will attempt constantly to turn one person against the other through various means. They who can remain adamant in their commitment, however, and retain their dedication to the team, can take on the tests that come at them as individuals and as a pair with much greater strength and stamina than they could without such unity.

One of the greatest ways to show one’s love for a person is to refuse to be party to the world’s testing of that person.

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BS and meta-BS

I’ve written more about a particular relationship on this blog than about anything else. It’s the relationship about which I wrote the poem “DRY” and numerous posts.

The interaction has finally ended, as it should have more than a year ago, with a lack of ending: there is no bold statement or move to make; there is only the acceptance of what was and wasn’t, what continues to be not, and what will never be–acceptance that came with my recent “Acceptance Revolution,” about which I plan to write soon on this blog. Stay tuned.

My message today is a small one dealing with a lesson I learned from this relationship: don’t tolerate BS, and be wary of meta-BS.

BS refers simply to the modes by which one permits oneself to be mistreated in a realtionship. It’s just a truism that, in general, we human beings are willing to put up with quite a bit when we love and care about someone. It’s an understatement to say that I loved this person a lot, and thus I put up with a lot over a long period of time. I had a romance with her that failed. I tried to rekindle the romance, and that effort also ended in heartbreak. I tried to be “just friends” with her several times, putting a lot of time and effort into even that diminished relationship, but ended up her spiritual whipping boy each time.

Meta-BS refers to a person’s “going meta” on his or her BS, apologizing for it, explicating reasons for it (i.e., making excuses), and promising and perhaps even demonstrating efforts to reform it. Meta-BS differs from genuine apologies, reasons, and reform in that the person, either consciously or unconsciously, lacks the intention or the ability to do right by the target of the BS.

Meta-BS can keep you on the hook a long time. Think about the addict who cleans up and falls off the wagon in a never-ending cycle, while his or her family members in turn celebrate the reforms and suffer through the rock-bottoms. So it was in this unhealthy relationship, in which the person in question continually served up the BS and then apologized for it. Meanwhile, I was myself like an addict, unable to kick the habit as the aforementioned poem describes.

My Acceptance Revolution provided me the means of final (I believe) extrication. Contrary to past practice, in which I would try to push away the pain the relationship had caused me and the feelings for her that lingered, I simply accepted all of my internal content, committing myself only to the management of what I am able to manage: my words and actions.

The remarkable thing is that the pain and the feelings immediately subsided to the point where now I am truly beginning to forget her. Or, to paraphrase the country tune, “More and more I think about her less and less.”

Now that I have (I feel) extricated myself from one of the most painful situations of my life, I have little doubt that she will contact me again, show me her baby pictures, and try to do the little things that, in the past, pushed my buttons and roped me in. Come what may; that’s just how these things work. There is little more for me to say to her than, “Congratulations. Blessings.” I will continue to accept my internal content while managing my words and actions as well as I am able.

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Dropping the L-bomb

Under what circumstances do you say, “I love you,” also known as “dropping the L-bomb,” when you enter a new romantic relationship?

In considering the matter, one digs into a veritable sundae of sociological, psychological, and spiritual issues:

  • What is the vision of romantic love in the society?
  • What phrases, if any, in the society indicate a person’s belief that he or she is feeling romantic love of a particular level for someone?
  • Regardless of a particular society’s vision of romantic love, what actually is happening in “love” on various levels: sociological, psychological, physical, and spiritual?

One could write a book about how love has veen viewed through the ages and what phrases were used to indicate one’s recognition that love is present. Here, however, I’d like to talk about how things are in the US and Japan and how they jibe with my opinion of things.

Whereas in the past love and marriage were viewed in a more (but not necessarily exclusively) sociological context (i.e., marriage was more for practical and economic purposes, such as procreation and bringing families and even countries together), in the US we see marriage as existing for personal fulfillment: i.e., we want to find the person who complements us and experience love with him or her. The experience of love is primary; procreation and other aspects of the partnership are definitely secondary.

The following seem to me to be the basic principles of feeling love and using the phrase “I love you” in the US:

  • People in a loved-based partnership or relationship (e.g., marriage, living together, girl/boyfriend) ought to be feeling love for one another. Contrariwise, people who don’t have such feelings ought not be in such a partnership. For, there is a general belief that married people that don’t “really love each other” should get divorced and find partners they “really love.”
  • People who feel love for each other ought to express those feelings verbally (“I love you”), and something is wrong if they don’t, either with the relationship or with the partner or partners who won’t say the magic words.
  • Mutually saying “I love you” is a major milestone in the development of a relationship.
  • One ought not say “I love you” without really meaning it (whatever “really meaning it” means).

How about in Japan? The vision of romantic love in that country is not tremendously different from our own, and the way people approach dating is roughly the same as well. Furthermore, the phrase “ai shite iru” (literally, “I am loving [you], with the object of the verb usually left implied, as is common in Japanese grammar) has approximately the same sociological import as “I love you.” Once people are in a relationship, however, there seems to be much less of an expectation for verbal reinforcement.

So, according to the unspoken rules, we need to feel love for someone before we say “I love you.” We know as individuals what it’s like to feel romantic love for someone, but what is really going on? What neurological patterns are at work? What is happening in the spiritual dimension? We must confess our ignorance.

Furthermore, we cannot assume that a person who says “I love you” is necessarily feeling the same things that we are. We may try to judge through our five senses and even through senses beyond these whether the person is sincere in his or her words, but I have yet to see anywhere a table or chart that tells us what what degree of love goes with what facial expression or amount of light shining from the fourth chakra.

No, here we are definitely working in a world of fuzzy logic, in which a person must self-assess his or her feelings of love to decide whether to release the three-word trope, and we must in turn assess through uncertain signs whether that trope has been released appropriately. To complicate matters further, people drop the L-bomb even when they do not “really feel” love. For example, they may drop it in hopes of placating their partner now and “really feeling” love later. Or they may, like myself, be willing to say it under a rather lax standard, in which romantic love is conflated with altruistic love.

It’s true: I drop the L-bomb rather easily and retract it rather cautiously, as I try to “love everyone,” and hey–even if my romantic feelings for you are deceased, still “I love you,” right? I need to ponder more whether it is proper for me to use these words in this way.

All that said, there are of course times when the feeling of love is so strong on both sides and the energy working between and emanating from the persons in combination so great that only a fool would say, “We don’t know what’s really happening here in the hidden dimension; therefore we cannot say if they are really in love.” I would even venture to say that most of the time, when people say, “I love you,” they are expressing something sure and true, an apt symbol of something important and mysterious. Although I may be lax in dropping the L-bomb myself, I am no cynic when it comes to this most important of things.

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Step away from the karma

I think I finally got something: I will sometimes have opportunities in life to be with someone or influence someone that I ought not take. Step away from the karma. Don’t force the puzzle piece. Let semi-awake dogs fall back asleep.

This was the great lesson of 2007 and 2008: I took the sales approach to life: it was about selling my product to people, convincing them that I had what they really needed. I not only sold my business products, I sold myself as a product: have a relationship with an awesome person. This is what you want, isn’t it? Isn’t it?

Recently, my readers have seen me return to this post again and again: “If the energy is not coming toward you….” My message for today is related but not quite the same. I should not try to force something if the energy is not coming toward me, certainly, but I also should not involve myself in something when the energy that is coming toward me is negative or conflicted.

In the past week I have had an epiphany about a relationship that began in late 2007 and affected me greatly throughout 2008. She was in a huge karma war with her then-boyfriend (now the father of her unborn child); she wanted to be with him and wanted to escape from him at the same time. She used my energy toward her to “escape,” but she was not done with the old relationship. To be sure, I was sold a bill of goods: she told me she loved me, emphatically; she told her mother we were getting married; and so on. Nevertheless, had I been more perceptive or more honest with myself about what I did perceive, I could have saved us both a huge amount of trouble (the relationship ended in what these days is called an “epic fail”).

In May of 2008 I took a new approach to business that has given me both more money and more harmony in life: I don’t sell myself or my skills. I network a bit, I talk about my work as a writer, and if people think, “I can use this guy to make money and make my life easier,” then they give me a try; if they don’t, they don’t. The upshot is that I only end up working with people who are excited to be working with me. I let the energy, the karma, come to me.

It has taken longer for me to learn this same lesson as it pertains to relationships. The type of woman for whom I have been searching is rather rare, and thus the temptation has been to see her where she is not. Accept no substitutes. At last, I may be prepared to do what I need to do: Keep my eyes open. Engage in appropriate search methods. But wait. Wait. Wait. Let the her energy, her karma, come to me.

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Reflections on three recent posts

In this post I reflect on a rule of thumb recently given to me by a wise man:

If the energy is not coming toward you, then there is almost no skill or wisdom you can apply to the situation to make it succeed. On the other hand, if the energy is coming toward you, then you can lack skill or wisdom or fail to apply them and still succeed.

Addendum: Make sure it is a lot of energy! “Coming towards you” means, “Wow, I can’t believe all this energy is coming at me!” This is more advice to myself than to you, gentle readers: I often tend to put more energy into a system than it deserves and reap a pretty awful ROI. Had I followed this rule more closely, I could have avoided some serious nonsense this past week.

Regarding that nonsense, in this post I told you I was “ready for whatever comes.” I was! The fox has had the sour, sour grapes shoved down his throat for the final time. Enough! They are sour.

Finally, in this post, I said, “Now I can feel you out there, soul mate.” I still can. That is energy that is truly coming toward me, and I eagerly but patiently wait for its arrival. When she arrives, we are going to make serious waves and rock the oh-nine! It’s going to be fun!

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Brilliant rule of thumb: if the energy's not coming toward you…

A very wise man passed this piece of advice along to me earlier in the year. I think he got it from someone else, so I’ll have to ask him about his source, but here’s how it goes:

If the energy is not coming toward you, then there is almost no skill or wisdom you can apply to the situation to make it succeed. On the other hand, if the energy is coming toward you, then you can lack skill or wisdom or fail to apply them and still succeed.

To wit:

  • If you really have to sell someone hard on a new relationship or business partnership or your idea or product–give up.
  • If you really have to carrot-and-stick someone to stay in a relationship or partnership or put effort into it–give up.
  • If you really have to sell yourself hard on a relationship or business partnership or opportunity or idea or product–give up!

That’s putting it negatively. Let’s try the positive side:

  • To find love, put yourself out there–online and in person. But don’t sell yourself. Wait until you meet someone who is as crazy about you as you are about him or her. The person who gets it without too much strain is the person you want.
  • Advertise your product appealingly and honestly. Get out and talk to a lot of people about it. Sell to those people to whom you really want to sell and who really want to buy; work with those people with whom you really want to work and who really want to work with you.
  • Spend money only on the things that practically demand that you buy them. Spend time on the people that practically demand that you be with them.

The beautiful thing is that the rule is so easy to understand and apply. For example, you have a friend who is hard to get hold of, who always gets five phone calls when you do, who never has room for you on her schedule… and so on. Stop calling her! When and if she feels the need or the desire to get in touch, she will. In the meantime, spend that effort on the friends who are blowing up your phone. If you don’t have any such friends, go throw it out there and meet some new people.

Back in May or so, I decided to stop fighting the world, and people especially, and the less I fight, the more easily and abundantly things come to me. It’s been a little Napolean Hill, a little Dao De Jing. Give this rule of thumb a try; I think you’ll see immediate results.

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Now I can feel you out there, soul mate

As 2008, the year of harrowing, draws to a close, I can feel your approach. There is a stunning naturalness to you that I never thought possible, and a fineness of the code, as if our two sets were sand and water, sand and air, sand and sand and the heat of the sun on us. You exceed all of my expectations in your genuineness, in your ease of being, in your orderliness of spirit, and in your love. Already you challenge me to be more than I am, to grow in worthiness of your greatness.

How long now have friends and spiritual advisers said to me, “Be alone!” At last I have accepted your absence, and in paradox I can sense at last that our time apart shall not be long. The melancholy has lifted; the gods and the world are good!

I can already feel our sharing music, food, philosophies, and everything else that a soul may devour and use for growth in togtherness. I can feel us walking in Indiana’s state parks, looking at art in this city’s museums, rummaging through the resale shops of Broad Ripple, and discovering new indie coffee joints hither and yon. I can feel two souls taking joy in union, surprised at the vastness of the joined terrain even in excess of our biggest hopes.

Thank you, soul mate! I can only suppose that you too have suffered without this connection. But the era of heartbreak and privation has ended. In the few months before our meeting, I shall prepare for you, I shall ready myself for the greatness, call it the excellence, term it now the exuberance that you and I, and we, and the family we create shall bring to this beautiful world!

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10 signs that you've found your soul mate

  1. Looking looks back.
  2. The fear is gone, especially of the future.
  3. The free and easy chance to snap, dig, cut, one up, or smack down is not taken.
  4. 2/3 of the way.
  5. You feel a hand on your shoulder when you sit and think.
  6. Four lungs make sleep easier.
  7. Iron loyalty, lapidary trust.
  8. You don’t have to sell.
  9. Dreams written down overlap much and conflict little.
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Rouge Musings for November 17, 2008

You can’t really make anybody do anything–including yourself. I have been meaning to write a whole post on this, but the one sentence suffices, I think.

One thing I always wonder when the GOP is chanting, “Lower taxes, lower taxes,” is just what tax rates they think would serve the country best? You can’t assume that taxes should always be lower than what they are, and basic math tells us there is a rate than which nothing lower is possible.

I am in love with Brahms’ second string sextet. The tonality reminds me of Debussy. In the second movement, the scherzo, Brahms delivers one of those sinuous dances with tears in its eyes. Brahms, Brahms, Brahms–how much you have taught me in the past five months, I cannot even begin to relate. Thank you, dear friend!

I continue my relationship with Beethoven’s 8th Symphony; for more than a year now it has been a shot in my spiritual arm, so to speak. Four movements, four melodic tours de force. It’s Beethoven, so of course you are getting brilliant instrumentation, but this has special appeal to me. This symphony is short (Beethoven’s shortest, in fact), punchy, upbeat, and unforgettable. I am curious why it is not more well known.

I have this two-CD set as well, “The Best of Boccherini.” He is, in a word, great. I really need to explore his work more, as does the world, for he has been overly ignored.

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I got over you today

Three months ago you made my heart sing: you told me we were getting back together after a seven-month hiatus. Within a week you found out you were pregnant. I made a trip to Nebraska to help you, yet within six weeks we were no longer on speaking terms; my last email to you was on September 22, 2008.

It has been a torment to reach into the ether and feel you out there and know how much you’re suffering. But two days ago or so ago I reached out and all I perceived was cold and mean. This is not how I wanted, or expected, to see you, but this is how I saw you. It was not, to be sure, all of you, the whole you, but it was a part of you; is; and I saw it very clearly and felt it most deeply.

Yesterday and today I have been dealing with a person whom, like you, I love deeply and want to see succeed in life, but who, reminiscent of you, has been using and taking and not fulfilling promises. I got angry. I got frustrated. And I thought, “I’m done with this.” And I really was done, and I’m not going back.

Being done with her means being done with you: I thought, “If I get rid of promise-breaker B, then I am emotionally done with promise-breaker A.” And so it was: I became emotionally done with you, not merely by dint of the logic of the situation: I wasn’t convinced that you were not someone desirable, not someone to clutch within the white corpuscles of my spiritual heart; rather, in elegant extension of the negative emotion I felt for this other person–to wit, frustration, anger, and resignation–I finally rejected you, threw you out of my heart as someone undesirable, as someone who fails to meet the standard and feels like someone who so fails.

That’s not all that has caused this; there are other bits and pieces. I saw a woman the other day who just looked so beautiful and cuddly and kind; I just felt such a warmth in my heart toward her, and, after a long time of not finding anyone toward whom I could feel such emotion–even in such an admittedly low-information, fantasy-based manner–that feeling was like a shot in the arm: it reminded of me of my ideals, of why I loved you so much and gave so much of my heart to you in the first place.

I also did the Reiki Level 2 class with you-know-who yesterday. It’s sad, in a way, that such a class would (if I perceive my own experience correctly) catalyze not beneficence, not magnanimity, but instead a pissed-off desire to take out the garbage of the soul; but that, apparently, is one of the things it did for me, and I do think it to be something that will lead to greater health in me.

No, I had never expected the emotional transition described above to be the method by which I finally got over you, but I am happy that I have. That’s not the whole story, however. I still love both of you; I still want both of you to succeed. I also perceive, however, that your success at this point is up to you. I gave what I could; I shall not give any more, I shall send myself into the ether toward you no more.

That does not change the fact that you are most intelligent and intellectually gifted woman I have ever met. You are stunningly brilliant. You have powers and gifts about which the average person can only dream. You have beauty and charm. In this blog post I offer my final prayer for you; I send out my final increment of energy toward you: I pray, Great Spirit, to all the powers of goodness and wisdom in the Universe, that you become a light to yourself and your child and the world and fulfill the potential of your gifts and your magnificient soul and achieve happiness in your journey. I love you forever. Buona fortuna!

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