Apprenticeship to Love: Meditations on this Path to Authentic Relationship, November 22, 2023
• Today’s questions: What do you need? What do you want? Can you tell the difference? And, can you give yourself this thing, exactly this thing that you belive you most deeply need?
• Today's suggested practice: Day 14 of this month's practice, to notice & receive (see my "Short Practice,” below)
• My practice today: 3:30am: 90 minutes: yoga, mantra, Four-Part Breath, and Meditation for the Lower Triangle
• My vulnerability practice: To sit with this moment. To feel my disappointment. To feel my wonder. To trust myself through it all.
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Yes, the feminine testing can be tiresome. I mean, really, haven't I proven myself already? I hear this from so many men. Why is she testing me when I'm devoting so much of my time, my money, etc to her, to us? And yet, the testing continues. Will continue until one of you stops caring, or dies. And even then, perhaps, it continues.
The paradox is that I —and all masculine-identified men?— am inspired by the challenge of the testing. Yes, it is irksome. But some deep part of me is excited to be tested.
Another paradox: My way through the testing, through to being more of the man I am, lies in relaxing.
Becoming ever more still.
Ever more silent.
Ever more open and able to receive Her gifts.
This feels —and is!— contrary to everything this culture teaches. Instead of chasing, do not chase. Become still.
Breathe, and she will return.
Hold this space, not with rigidity, but with a firmness grounded in the earth and connected to the stars.
Ah, I hear people say, But what about your needs?
Indeed, What about my needs?
And then: How much do I really need? How much do I want?
And then: What am I not receiving, not able or willing to receive because I am so focused on wanting? So absorbed in my neediness?
There was a time, not so long ago, when I couldn't receive much of anything. I had bought and paid for the notion that I am he who makes sht happen. Even the things I thought I wanted at the time, the things I thought I needed —sex, money, success (whatever and however I imagined that to be in that peculiar moment), attention— even these were not enough. Not even having them, and having more than enough of them, it wasn't enough.
Some things can only be learned the hard way. At least for this man. By doing the crazy sh*t that doesn't really matter, though it feels like it matters so much at the time. By experiencing the emptiness of all that doing and pursuing as what really matters disappears, unable to exist in the busy-ness of my inattention.
What I've experienced after having everything I thought I wanted is that, yes it feels good. But there is no slaking the deeper thirst through this acquisition of more of what I think I want. What I think I need.
Breathing, I am here. Now.
I stand on the edge of a very different kind of marriage than one I would have imagined 5 years ago. 15 years ago. 20 years ago. 30 years ago. All those moments when I'd imagined and sometimes realized a vision or version of "marriage."
Now, the only thing I want, really, is to experience her radiance. My beloved, flourishing. It's something that doesn't have to happen in proximity. She is a million miles away, and I can feel it when it happens. And, I can feel it when, as now, she struggles.
To feel this deeply into her is something that requires me to do less. Always less. So that she feels not my distraction with my doings, but the depth and powerful beauty of my presence holding her. Holding her a million miles away.
Holding. And, in the way of husbandry, tending to this garden. Noticing. Supporting. Gently leading as I feel she yearns to be led.
I don't find this easy. Simple, yes. Easy, no.
She once asked, during a test that I did not understand as the gift of intimacy it was, Am I giving you mixed messages?
And, more recently, Am I hard to understand?
These questions were not and are not consequential. It is how I answer, how my heart responds. This is what has consequence.
And the only response worthy of myself is one that comes from a deeply grounded place. "Grounded in gravity," and "expanding in levity" —expanding into joy and love and open-hearted curiousity.
She is the flow. She is a river flowing between source and ocean. I am invited to be the banks of this river, with her always. Always feeling her need to flow, to be free. Always, the choice: do I enjoy this freedom to flow, or do I resist and try to constrain her freedom?
There is, of course, no resisting her flow. She will flow. It is her nature and her desire. Every test is simply mine to experience myself. How stable am I? How deep and present and berautiful am I as the one who helps give shape to how this flow, this love, finds itself, experiences itself both in source and in the endless ocean.
🌀…ground yourself in gravity . . . expand yourself in levity . . . build the world you dream of. (Guru Singh and Guruperkarma Kaur)
🌀We waste time looking for the perfect lover instead of becoming the perfect love. (Tom Robbins)
🌀You must be able to put some trust in your intuition and follow your feeling even at the risk of going wrong. (Carl Jung)
🌀 The Conscious Warrior takes 100% responsibility for the reality he has created — seeking what needs to be changed in him before blaming others. (John Wineland, Precept 5)
🌀 Our “work” is to receive. The rest is preparation. (Leroy Gordon)
🌀I test you. (My beloved, my Oracle & Siren)
TODAY'S SUGGESTED SHORT PRACTICE
Day 14 of this month's practice, to move and to notice, and to receive:
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 do this short practice:
- First, ask yourself: What do you need? What do you want? Can you tell the difference? And, can you give yourself this thing, exactly this thing that you belive you most deeply need?
- 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, Am I ready to hold myself? And if not, am I ready to ask another to hold the space for me while I feel into my own depth?
- 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.
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