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On My Way

house for saleA couple of years ago, I wrote a post called Leaving This Life.  It was about really examining where you are, who you are and whether or not the compromises you’ve made in your life have taken you so far from your intended path that you aren’t able to fully live as the person you know yourself to be.  It was a post full of joy and wonder, excitement and self-awareness.  It was a call to change – not just change –  intentional change.

Well, it’s been two years now, and the thing that strikes me is that while I haven’t moved as quickly as I thought I would have, I have stayed committed to bringing together my surroundings, social views, relationships and personal integrity in a way that reflects me as I understand myself in this moment.  Key words: in this moment.  I’ll get back to that. 

Being deliberate and thoughtful about what I want and need, really weeding out what I thought others wanted and needed from/around me, has been a really long process.  I know that I am a people pleaser.  What I didn’t realize is how deeply that is ingrained in me.  How I actually try to anticipate a desire and have it ready, which paints a false image of who I am.  In examining what I want, I was really torn – over and over again.  Not by anyone’s expectations or desires, but my perceptions of these things.  I really had no idea that I had so few concrete knowings of what I want.  I have many concrete knowings of what I don’t want, but it’s actually taken two years to come up with wants.  Funny how we can know another’s desire, but not our own.

Along the way, there have been distractions and derails from making forward progress, but even for those, I have to be grateful – patience isn’t my strongest suit.  So the gift of being prevented from jumping before I really, really thought is one I have to thank the Goddess for.

So, I am moving out of the suburbs.  I am not moving to a rural area as I had thought I would.  I don’t ever want to mow a lawn, shovel snow, pick a weed, maintain anything ever again.  I am moving into a city.  A small city, that is vibrant and eclectic and has reasonable rents.  It is also very pedestrian friendly.  And I am manifesting an apartment  by water and in a park.  With a washer and dryer in the apartment.  Because when I looked at myself, and my personal needs, without considering anyone else, I rediscovered some things.  Valuable things and silly things – things I like and things I want to reframe.

As I start the packing and culling process, I am amazed at the ways I have changed.  This is where I get back to that “in this moment” thing.  I have found, stored in boxes, hanging on hangers in the back of the closet, in the way back corners of the kitchen cabinets, in the titles of the books on my shelves, the vestiges of who I was in a moment and was sure would never change.  So funny! 

So, I’m intentionally trying to leave room in this process for the unexpected.  I don’t want to lock in to any one idea or belief about myself and set up my world around that.  It’s taken me 24 years to recognize and extricate myself from the box I put myself in, in my early twenties, I sure don’t want to do it again! 

Music for Today:  Changer and the Changed – Chris Williamson; Only Thing That Stays the Same – Indigo Girls; Me and Julio – Simon and Garfunkel; Follow Me – Sarah Bettens

Reading: The Bachelor Brothers’ Bed and Breakfast Pillow Book – Bill Richardson

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The Meta Phrase

Been thinking about that three word phrase, “I love you.”  I know someone who doesn’t use it often, because, as she says, “‘love’ is one of those meta words that can mean different things to different people.”  She prefers to go straight to the detail, the aspect of love that would inspire an ‘I love you,’ and make comment on that. 

It used to bother me.  And honestly, sometimes it still does.  I like being told that I am loved.  I’ve been looking at the whys of that, and what saying ‘I love you’ means to me.  I totally agree that it has become a catch-all phrase, and sometimes I am guilty of using it that way myself.  As I become more linguistically aware, and more intentional about what I want to convey, I have also been examining what I mean when I use the meta phrase.

My truth is that ‘I love you’ has different meanings for me in different contexts.  In order to use that phrase with someone, I need to have a clear, defining conversation about what it means in connection to them.  This is something I am learning to do, and it is something that has made me stop in my tracks on the way to saying ‘I love you.’  I think that’s a good thing.

‘I love you’ is more than just an expression of strong feeling.  It is a promise, a commitment, an acknowledgment, an appreciation, and a sharing of joy.  Beautiful, “here is my truth about you,” joy.  It has no expectation of reciprocation in any form.

For some, it’s a bid for attention, a contract, a binder, and a softener of blows (“I love you, but…)  In other words, it is conditional and part of a power grab.  At its mildest, it’s a statement of insecurity (“Do you love me too?”)  At it’s most damaging, it is coercion, a non-consensual expectation of ways of relating.

I saved this blog entry to drafts because I didn’t have time to finish it, and recently told my lover about it.  It led to a really deep conversation about what we mean with ‘I love you.’  It was caring, and sweet, and unpacked baggage, and was really, really clear. 

One of the interesting things we discovered is how often ‘I love you’ means, ‘I’m grateful’ and ‘thank you.’ May we always be so lucky as to be blessed with appreciation and gratitude for each other first and foremost.  lifetimes

LDR

One of the things that I’ve found interesting about being a teacher and being in a long-distance relationship has to do with summer vacations.  First off, let me say that my lover and I are both people who value our alone time.  At the same time, we enjoy sharing  the small events of our days with each other.  Gotta’ say, texting is perfect for that. 

The other thing I should mention is that I like to be busy.  My mind is always going, even if my body isn’t.  Summer is my time to travel, explore, catch up and visit.  And there is the odd part.  The visiting.  As I said, my lover and I value our alone time.  At the same time, I miss her and see summer vaca as a great opportunity to go visit, spend some quality time, spend some not-so-quality time.  She and I are all up for it – before the visits occur. 

Honestly, it messes with our equilibrium a bit.  Neither of us is looking for a live-in lover, but being long-distance, we look forward to having more than just a long weekend together.  But, the visit always ends up a bit like playing house.  Goes well for 5 or so days, but then it takes on a different tone and while we might not be ready to end the visit, we are ready to not be living in the same house.  But not ready to sleep apart, either.  It’s an interesting dynamic.  I’m on vacation; she is not.  Our internal baggage starts to show in really kind of sweet ways.  I worry that she’s not getting enough alone time.  She worries I might be bored.   What I love is that we notice what is happening and talk about it.   And I have to say that she is one of the most caring, gentle womyn I’ve ever had the good fortune to be loved by.

So at this moment I’m back home, having some alone time for the first time in a couple of months, and I’ve been thinking about that.  I’ve also noticed that with my still being on vacation, I am able to send a few more emails, and a few more texts than usual.  I’m enjoying the flexibility in my time and activities, but our equilibrium will not really settle back in until work starts back up for me.

In the meantime, we’re enjoying those extra moments, and I’ll be going to visit again sometime next week.  Yay!

Blessed Life

When children are little, they go through a stage where they can only have one friend.  The best friend.  The only friend.  And they want that friend to have only them.  Inevitably, the one friend makes another friend.  For the original friend, it can be devastating.  They aren’t willing or able to share and anger and hurt ensue.  Later, we learn that there is room for all friends.  That no one person can be the only friend.  It’s not healthy.

As adults, however, society has trained us to believe that this is the way of lovers.  To find one and only one.  That person has to be the sole partner, and if they turn out not to be, if it turns out that we are not the entire reason for their being, anger and hurt ensue.  I could go into the whole patriarchal reasoning behind single partners, having to do with ensuring that the offspring actually belong to the particular male that chose the woman, but that’s really another post.  What I’m more interested in is the delineation we keep between friends and lovers.  When you’re my friend, there’s more than enough love to go around.  I can have lots of friends on many levels.  I can have all sides of me fulfilled by my myriad friendships.  But when it comes to lovers, I have to choose one.  If I find myself physically attracted to another, I must fight it, or be seen as betraying my first lover.  I don’t get it.

It took me awhile to really examine my beliefs around lovers and what fit me most, and then even longer to put it into practice.  It took some experimenting and some tweaking, but I’ve been living my truths for some time now and every day, I feel so good, so happy, so blessed that I can’t believe I am in the societal minority! 

Don’t get me wrong.  I believe in love, commitment, and happily ever after – I just believe that a person can do it with more than one partner at a time.  And right now, I’m living that blessed life, with two fabulous people with whom I share a committment to be together, as friends and as lovers for at least this lifetime.  Today I am grateful.  Today I am blessed.  And today I am humbled by it all.

Halvah

So this is going to be really quick.  I have all of this lovely tahini that I made and while I love it in my salad dressing, I wanted to do something more with it.  I vaguely remembered a wonderful dessert thing that I had when I traveling through Turkey a few years back and I thought it was made with tahini.  So I did a little research and found out that yes, indeed, halvah is a simple, simple dessert made with just tahini and honey.  Yay!  This dessert is nutty(ish) and not too sweet – kinda’ just perfect.

Halvah

1/2 C raw tahini

4T honey or enough to make a doughy paste

raw cocoa powder

In a bowl, mix together the tahini and most of the honey.  I do it by hand, not too hard.  When the halvah dough is almost to a dough-like consistency, divide it in half.  (It should have the texture of peanutbutter fudge on a hot summer day.)   Add 1/2 t cocoa powder to one half and mix.  Taste.  Decide whether you want to add more honey or cocoa powder to achieve the right consistency.  It’s all in your personal taste.  To the other half, add a wee bit more honey.  In a pan lined with parchment or waxed paper, spread the plain halvah.  Then top it with the chocolate.  Put it in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.  I made mine up in a small bowl, and when it was turned out, it was lovely for company.  To serve, slice into small squares, like fudge. 

You can also mix it up by eliminating the cocoa and adding pistachios.  Enjoy!

Last night I was missing the days when I used to have dessert for dinner, so I came up with this lovely meal.  I’m going to have to get a camera so you can see what all of these look like!

This pudding has an intense raspberry flavor and is not too sweet, so it’s best with lots of fruit in it.

Raspberry – Chocolate Pudding

1 young Thai coconut

1 1/2 C fresh or frozen organic raspberries

1/4 C honey

2 small handfuls raw organic cocoa nibs

3 C mixed fruit – mango, berries, banana all chopped up

In a blender, mix the raspberries, meat from the coconut, and the honey with enough coco water to make a pudding-like consistency.  I use a Vita-Mix, so even the seeds are pulverized.  By hand, add the cocoa nibs, so that they don’t get pulverized.

Pour over the bowl of mixed fruit and enjoy!

Serves 2

Fool me once…

Bless my child’s heart.  Keep a lookout for his safety.  Let him have enough food and shelter in a storm.  But not at my house.  Never again at my house.

There is such a mixed feeling involved in relationships that are abusive.  More than that, when the abuser is your own child, there is guilt, shame, responsibility, anger, helplessness, even this weird sense of sympathy and a need to justify why your child had to do what they did – make it understandable or something.

My son has been homeless since last Christmas, when I had to have him leave my home for stealing from me.  He’s been back twice when he needed a place to sleep.  The first time, we had had 8 inches of rain and I did feel so bad for him.  It’s so hard for a mother.  I never know where he is, and unless he posts on Facebook, I don’t even know if he is okay.  So when he called, after almost three months, I was so grateful that I let him in.  Evidently, so he could case the joint.

I should have known better.  My son does not have a good track record in my world.  He has stolen from me for the past five years.  We go on and off; he appears to hit bottom, comes to me for help, starts to make progress toward where he wants to be, then something happens and it all falls apart within days.  And in those days, my stuff goes missing. 

It makes me feel like a callous, unfeeling mother that I cannot allow him in my home ever again.  Not, at least, without tangible changes in his world.  But I am so tired of feeling victimized.  I think I’ve learned finally, at last, that where he is right now is not in a place where he can even consider others.  He is so desperate to fill  his own needs.  (Okay, this is me trying to justify where he is.)  The truth of the matter is that in this moment, the child I raised and tried to instill a deeper truth and sense of purpose in, that I love with my whole heart, is a thief.  And he doesn’t care who he steals from.  And I have to somehow let him go, with love and compassion, but even minimal support must end.

How will I get through this?  It’s not so much the gone stuff, it’s the deliberate saying ‘no’ to his infrequent requests for help.  It’s having all this love that spills out just for him that cannot be manifested in the normal ways we show people we love them.  It’s the pain of crying every night that your child is so lost and you are so helpless.  I can’t even offer him shelter in a storm. 

And it’s always that unanswerable question – why?