Apprenticeship to Love: Meditations on this Path to Authentic Relationship, December 11, 2023
• Today’s questions: If you allowed yourself to feel it, what do you yearn for? And what do you need to do to allow yourself to feel all of this yearning, AND to be stil, to know that you are enough, and that this yearning is perhaps the greatest experience you are capable of, if you would only allow yourself to feel it, to hold it, gently, as it expands the man or woman you are?
• Today's suggested practice: Day 7 of this month's practice, to step into your polarity (see my "Short Practice,” below)
• My practice today: 4:30am: 45 minutes: yoga, mantra, Lower Triangle Meditation
• My vulnerability practice: She tests me, and I breathe, and step forward...
★ Are you married? Are you preparing to marry? I'm preparing a panel of "Why Marriage?" for an upcoming Apprenticeship to Love Virtual Workshop. Free for Premium and Premium+ subscribers. LMK if you're interested in being part of the panel or in being a part of the workshop. Send an email to email@example.com
Everything is in motion.
I am the awareness of this "everything."
We were gathered around the fireplace. Feeling cozy after a winter's dinner. I'd been out in the dark woods that afternoon with the dogs. Now, with friends.
The firelight. The candlelight. The light of their love.
She asked, What are you writing about?
As I told her about this Apprenticeship to Love book that you've been reading, chapter by chapter, I realized how important the "diminishing," that Stephen Jenkinson refers to as an integral part of apprenticeship, is to me. It is, as I told me friend, a disabusing of myself of the stories and fantasies I've created or been born into about this thing, romantic love. And the excercise of writing, of living, of love —it is all a disenchantment. In an interesting way, it is also a re-enchantment.
But first the disabusing, diminishing, the disenchantment: the pain that is so often associated with love. And yes, after the initial rush of pleasure that I associate with love, there is always this. Because I am so attached to what I think love should be. What it should feel like. What comforts and delights, large and small, should be baked-in, required, for love to be.
Cycling through several labyrinths of romantic love, which means cycling through the bliss and the dead zones and the heartbreaks of disappointment I am arrived: Here. Now. Beginning to understand that it is only real & lasting, this thing I'm coming to know as love, when I have dropped all expectations. When I am stripped of them. When I stand naked. Absolutely vulnerable.
She, this divine flow of feminine feeling and beauty that is love, as well as the woman whom I love, is always both Oracle and Siren: portenting unimaginable joy that may be, and unavoidable shipwreck of what is.
There was a moment, a few months after the end of my first marriage, a year after the crisis of my accident, when I was in a strangely delicious state. It was, I was fond of saying at the time, as if I were "living with my skin ripped off." Not a pleasant image. I was feeling everything —so tender to the hurts, so tender to the pleasures and joys of being alive! I had no choice. It was, as my therapist at the time said, Not an accident that I had a head injury: all of my protections, all the tricks my beautiful mind had created to keep life and Her pains and pleasures at arm's length, these were broken. I was vulnerable.
For a few months I lived like this. Without the "thick skin" to protect me. It was glorious! And, it was exhausting.
I wanted, desperately, to sustain this, and especially as I began the relationship that would be my second marriage.
However.... Lacking a practice to both ground me and sensitize me, this glorious shining moment and that tenderness faded.
Years later, another heartbreak helped me to understand.
It's taken this book —these chapters— and all the practice I do to remind me that the beauty of this life is best experienced without a "thick skin." Without the expectations that I want baked-into marriage. Without any expectations of "normal."
Do I have the depth and the commitment to stand here and be stripped of all that I expect and want and think I "need," to know love?
I go, often, to the dark woods, and especially in this darkest time of the year. I listen to the trees in their silence. I hear the ravens, speaking things beyond me. I allow the deer trails & my dogs lead me astray. To get a little lost. Amongst the wet and grey and green I become a little closer to the man I am.
I've made my invitation. Bent my knee. Declared myself.
Now, stripped, vulnerable, to breathe and let myself know the love, the light of this man I am. This man I love.
🌀Recognize that the other person is you. (Yogi Bhajan, Aquarian Sutra 1)
🌀 Everything in this universe is in motion -- nothing can be stuck -- motion is the natural law of matter.
…embrace reality, and move with your intentions knowing nature is on your side. (Guru Singh & Guruperkarma Kaur)
🌀 I test you. (My beloved, my Oracle & Siren)
TODAY'S SUGGESTED SHORT PRACTICE
Day 7 of this month's practice, to step into your polarity:
Please read through first, then ...
- Today, set two alarms, one for the early part of your day, one for mid-late afternoon when you may be feeling low energy.
- When the alarm sounds, wherever and however you are, take five minutes to consider this short practice:
- First, ask yourself: If you allowed yourself to feel it, what do you yearn for? And what do you need to do to allow yourself to feel all of this yearning, AND to be stil, to know that you are enough, and that this yearning is perhaps the greatest experience you are capable of, if you would only allow yourself to feel it, to hold it, gently, as it expands the man or woman you are?
- Then, follow the short practice here:
- When you’re done, sit or stand for another minute or two, breathing gently, slowly filling and emptying your belly. Here, as you breathe into your fullness, ask yourself, Do I feel right? In alignment with the man or woman I am? Do I even have an inkling what that might feel like? Do I even have an inkling of what it feels like to be out of alignment with myself?
- Notice if your body-mind feels somehow changed. And whether you notice a change or not, be content with yourself, exactly as you are in this moment.
- Continue with your day until the next alarm sounds, and repeat.
★ In 2024 I will be hosting a series of workshops and retreats with feminine colleagues, for couples. Please see the "upcoming events site" sacredbodies.ca/events for more information. For some of these there will be discounts for Premium and Premium+ subscribers. If you're ready for the Premium experience in 2024, please see https://apprenticeship-to-love.ghost.io/#/portal