TO STAND FOR DEATH & DYING, & YES, FOR MARRIAGE
Daily Meditation, Inspirations, and Practices for the Sacred Masculine, June 20
- Today’s questions: How willing am I to sacrifice, to receive the gifts of this life, this love of mine?
- Today's suggested practice: Day 17 of this month's practice, to prepare to receive it all.
- My practice: 4:30AM: 30 minutes: Yoga, then a series of mantra meditations, ending with Gayatri meditation…
- My vulnerability practice: The rushing. I am pressed —pressing myself. For what? A kind of manic desire to …what? Finally rest.
- ★ Tomorrow, June 21: A #menswork conversation with one of my teachers, Diane Gansauer. Our topic: the rituals and ceremonies in our lives. As a subscriber to these chapters there is no charge. Use the “subscriber” ticket option at https://is.gd/Ohh2DV
Hans Peter Meyer
It’s the eve of the Summer Solstice. Does this mean anything to me? For one thing, the lightest and brightest days are here, and for me this is not always a good thing. But, the shorter days, and the darker days not too long behind them, are coming.
But right now I’m wrestling with having to move. To move myself from the comfort and contures of this moment of this life in this garden…. Yes, I am too comfortable.
Last year I certified as a “wedding celebrant,” someone trained to walk a couple and their community through the ritual and ceremony of crossing the threshold into marriage. This year I certified as a “funeral celebrant,” training to create and hold sacred space for family and community to grieve, to remember, to open to the darker wonder of absence and heartbreak.
I’ve been slow to take the “next steps” in this training: to market myself and these services. I am, frankly, more comfortable with serving the endings and the heartbreak than I am in serving the seeming lighter, happier needs. Because I am too often faced with this: those who want marriage but are unwilling to commit. Or, they want the wedding, but are afraid of marriage.
And so they should be.
I am not here to help you celebrate, not without knowing that are worthy of each other, and most of all, worthy of yourselves.
There is, I have become fond of saying, no shame in reaching the threshold and realizing that “No” is the answer of your integrity. There is shame, however —and rightly so!— , in reaching the threshold and saying “Yes,” then —when the inevitable discomfort comes as it always does, the inevitable pain and suffering of this crucible— and then to recant. To withdraw the “Yes.” As if never spoken. Or, never really meant, because, you know, these vows are, in hindsight, unrealistic. Who can take them seriously?
Move carefully. Know yourself.
Know to whom you would commit yourself, to whom you consider committing yourself, because the calling on the commitment, like a loan to be called, only happens in the most difficult and inopportune moments of your marriage. Know yourself most of all and how you will be in this moment when the loan of romantic love, because that is all that romance is, a promissory note that no one believes they must pay on —know yourself most of all when that loan is called. Know that all of this will be lost. Perhaps found again, yes. But for certain lost. All of it burned away in what others have described as, and I have experienced as, the “crucible of marriage.”
You will be lost. You will be changed.
You will hurt. They will hurt. You may even learn to hate, and so may the one you, in this moment of conjugal imagining adore, even they may learn to hate.
And, everything —and especially these feelings I hold onto so tightly— these too will change.
Stephen Jenkinson talks about diminishment as an important part of our becoming who we are. He suggests we look to wine as the example of how diminishing returns something more profound than what we begin with, the seeming abundance, the juice with which we begin our lives and our relationships and undertakings. In one reference book, it suggests that of 100 litres of juice, only 10 litres —10%— remains after the wine-making is complete.
How likely are you or I to experience this diminishment of ourselves as pleasurable? Or even as benign? For my part, my diminishment has been painful. I am too attached to who I believe myself to be.
Here is the plot of every marriage (please, if I’m wrong, I want to hear about it!):
First, the polarity, the magnetic attraction. Then, the promissory note, the romantic experience that is without equal and inspires me to gush and to strut and to do the most amazing things in the name of something I don’t quite understand —love— but which I feel flowing through me and through her and between us. Beautiful! Inexpressibly beautiful.
At some time a second stage, inevitably felt as what one teacher called the “dead zone.” The promise of romance hard to remember. The firewooks, a dim memory. Even if in this dead time hate is not the consuming passion, there is a dull distaste. Now comes the time for blame. You will blame the other person, the marriage itself, yourself, the culture —you will look for refuge in blame as a way to lessen the pain. It won’t work for you. It never has for me. Again, if I am wrong here, please, tell me.
The loan that was made during the honeymoon of romance must be re-paid, and I will look at everything and everyone as somehow holding the currency of this payment. But there is nowhere to look and no one to blame. It is me. I took the loan. I kept the promissory note. And now, somehow, I will pay. As will you. I pay with bitterness and resentment and self-doubt, and many, many other terrible things I do to myself and those around me.
There is a better way. I think I’m finding it, here, in what call my apprenticeship to love. I think, today, these last few years, I think it’s better to prepare. To develop my individual practice that both toughens me to the discomforts AND makes me infinitely more sensitive to these discomforts. I will need both. I think you will too, dear reader, if you’ve read this far. But especially if you have not read this far.
This place, this marriage thing, it is no place for the cocksure. Bravado will not get me through. Fantastical thinking will not help. Nor the beauty of romance (though honouring and grieving for it may be a good thing).
What will get me through, I am beginning to see, is the courage to face the proverbial 1000 funerals. It’s a relatively newly minted proverb, but I think it has deep roots. But these funerals are not only for my illusions about my beloved, our marriage, or all that it implies and all that I desire for it. These funerals that are the hardest to bear are for myself.
So I ask, Will you join me? Will you, in your marriage (whether you call it that or not), will you stand with me and die for love? Will you diminish yourself, with me, 1000 times? Dead and dying so that this crucible we so light-heartedly celebrate as we step across the threshold becomes our funeral pyre and the fire from which we emerge, again and again and again, every time our hearts more aflame with this thing we do not yet quite understand, only that it requires a dozen or a thousand sacrifices to be experienced, shared?
🌀To love someone long-term is to attend a thousand funerals of the people they used to be.
The people they're too exhausted to be any longer.
The people they don't recognize inside themselves anymore.
The people they grew out of, the people they never ended up growing into.
We so badly want the people we love to get their spark back when it burns out; to become speedily found when they are lost.
But it is not our job to hold anyone accountable to the people they used to be.
It is our job to travel with them between each version and to honor what emerges along the way.
Sometimes it will be an even more luminescent flame.
Sometimes it will be a flicker that disappears and temporarily floods the room with a perfect and necessary darkness. (Heidi Priebe, thanks to Fabiola Perez for this reference)
🌀Polarity and strong opposition create an inner strength that confidently permits change and needed growth. Enter a deeply committed relationship, one that disrupts this false knowledge with appropriate mirroring, and does so with authority...this is the power of committed love; the power of a relationship in which there are no open exits; this is the power of being cornered by the promise of forever.
All the information required for change is present in every moment, but true change takes place when equilibrium is challenged -- this is the deeper nature of evolution. True growth can be chaotic, random, confusing, and presented with anxiety. None of these options are attractive to a ‘perfection’ dancer, but all of these options are present in a “cornered” relationship...a fully committed partnership. (Guru Singh & Guruperkarma Kaur)
🌀I am beginning to trust the “no expectations.” (My beloved, my Oracle & Siren)
TODAY'S SUGGESTED PRACTICE
Day 17 of this month's practice:
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 less than three minutes to do this short practice:
- Stand or sit, with a beautiful and straight spine, feeling your feet or your sit bones heavy and connected to the earth;
- Close your eyes;
- Inhale deeply into your belly, letting it become soft and round;
- Exhale by gently and slowly, much more slowly than your inhale, pressing your navel to your spine;
Repeat three times, letting the front of your body become softer and more open to receive as your shoulders relax and your spine remains firm.
When you’re done, stand for another minute and breathe gently, slowly filling and emptying your belly. Here, as you breathe into your fullness, ask yourself, How willing am I to sacrifice, to receive the gifts of this life, this love of mine?
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.
…for more of what I do, please see sacredbodies.ca