Apprenticeship to Love: Daily Meditation, Inspirations, and Practices for Authentic Relationships, August 5, 2023
• Today's suggested practice: Day 1 of this month's practice, to practice for yourself, your wants, the things you yearn for (see my "Short Practice to Relieve Anxiety,” below)
• My practice: Sitting in the woods, breathing and being breathed by the woods (Left Nostril Pranayama)
• My vulnerability practice: To feel it all…and stay standing, shaking sometimes, but still standing. Breathing, being breathed...
For any number of reasons, I have made it my life's work —at different times of life— to occupy the centre of other people's attention. Yes, "I know: It's not all about me." My friends have told me this. And, yes, that's something for me to work on, but...
But right now I'm talking about other reasons for being the centre of others' attention: the work I've chosen to do. In these cases, several different kinds of "social start-up" over the decades since my 30s began, I've sewn myself inside "good works." Community building. Community economic development. Etcetera etcetera. I was at one time accused of generating the "cult of HPM." But, sadly, no ranks of Rolls Royces came of that. Instead, good things came from me putting myself in the limelight, on the front line, etc. I don't regret that. (Though I do regret my inability to live a life outside of this all-consuming work.)
But on the private side... my habit of attention-seeking has cost me. It's a hunger that no-one can satisfy, that the women in my life —the wives and lovers I've looked to for the attention I've felt I needed— well, it's been exhausting for them.
I see that I am not alone with this habit, and with expecting the woman in my life to fill me up with her beauty and love (the forms of attention that I seek). I talk with many men and women. I watch as this neediness drives so many relationships onto the rocks. I've written elsewhere about the value of having Her siren song sing me onto rocks that smash my ideas of success, self, etc and release me to a deeper experience of life and love. But this reef of neediness, this is not about that. This is about his (my) childish attachment for a kind of attention —for love, actually, but almost always in the form of ejaculation-focused sexuality– that we are not, as men, taught how to deal with. It's "nervous system training" that we've never had. And we make our women suffer for this lack of training that should be on our fathers and uncles and grandfathers. But in the absence of their leadership, it's on us. And I've yet to meet a man who's excited about taking this on. I have met men who take it on, but almost always from a place of pain, often despair. Divorce. The end of a good thing. The end of dreams.
I invite you to do something about your ship, your marriage, your long-term relationship, before it hits these rocks, men. I implore you. For your sake, your woman's sake. For the sake of your children, if you have any. Your parents and her parents and your friends and the community that looks to you with love and hope.
We, we masculine-identified men, are privileged in our marriages. We have so much and having so much, we still know so little of what we have. Most of us.
Today I am in another privileged place, but this is the privilege of writing and teaching from a place of experience. I've earned this privilege.
I'm sitting in my garden of delights, watching the flow of divine feminine energy as She dances through the flowers and grasses and trees and fruits of this place. My dogs, "furry angels," are beside me. My beloved is a million miles away. And I am content. Or, as close to content as I've ever felt. I am, finally, able and willing to sit and enjoy Her —all aspects of this feminine flow— without wanting it to be different. Without needing attention.
And I wonder, How is this possible? How did this happen in this life of mine?
And, How can I share what this masculine body-mind has learned and is learning with other masculine-identified men?
It has become my practice, and my work: to learn how to satisfy my own need for the various forms of attention I've weighted my relationships with in the past.
I'm finally allowing myself to be the centre of my attention. To be breathed by this moment, without demand. Without neediness. Without anxiety or doubt.
I am grateful beyond words.
🌀You deserve nothing. (Kendra Cunov)
🌀Become the experience of breathing, not the breather, or the producer, and when you’ve experienced this meditation for a few minutes, you’ll begin to experience yourself as the center of your existence . . . and then like you’re everywhere. (Guru Singh & Guruperkarma Kaur)
🌀You are beautiful. (My beloved, my Oracle & Siren)
When you’re done, stand or sit or lie for another minute and breathe gently, slowly filling and emptying your belly. Here, as you breathe into your fullness, ask yourself: Are you willing to feel everything, and just let it breathe you, rather than feeling the need to do anything about anything?
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, open to the gifts it brings.
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