Apprenticeship to Love: Meditations on this Path to Authentic Relationship, October 7, 2023
• Today’s questions: How are you protecting yourself from the risk of tenderness to feeling everything life —love!— is offering you? And what would happen if you accepted the risk, besides, of course, the falling apart of all that seems safe and predictable and important to you?
• Today's suggested practice: Day 7 of this month's practice, to notice & receive while in motion (see my "Short Practice,” below)
• My practice today: 4am: 75 minutes: Yoga, with mantra, and pranayama (breathwork).
• My vulnerability practice: To remember that this silence speaks louder than I am willing to hear. So let me listen...
★ On Sunday I'll be doing an Instagram live "Sunday thing." Watch instagram.com/sacredbodiesca for details... Or catch it later at sacredbodies.ca/youtube
This is rarely a pretty dance. What brings us together? Chemistry? Polarity? Animal or spiritual magnetism? Circumstance? All of the above? And then what?
Yesterday a women's teacher asked men share our wisdom about men being "avoidant," and especially in the early stages of a relationship. But as I replied, asking us —certainly me!— to share "wisdom" on any topic is an invitation to avoid actually talking about the topic as it relates to me.
This dance is rarely a pretty dance. I am so often out of balance and am self-conscious of that, and so rein myself in. I want to look good. I want to feel in comtrol. So I step back from the necessary risk that intimacy —and by "intimacy" I don't mean sex; I mean revealing myself, allowing myself to feel tenderness to the world, you, myself.
Here's a tip to the women, to anyone who is feminine-identified: your capacity for intimacy is connected to your heart, and your risk of intimacy is connected to your womb space, a sacred space that is worthy of protecting. But it is otherwise for most of us who are masculine-identified men. Our tenderness is not in our sacral chakra, our sexual and creative centre. Our tenderness is in our hearts. Pause before trading your tenderness for what you think is the portal into my tenderness. Allow the masculine-identified man you are attracted to to begin to feel the risk of opening his heart to you. Take your time. Slow him down. Slow yourself down. The dance is awkward so slow, both of you, both of us fumbling for balance, revealed in our incapacity to be balanced when so much is at risk.
And here we reveal ourselves. And, maybe, perhaps, become trustworthy enough to take the next risk of sharing ourselves.
Here's a tip to anyone who is doing the daily practice this month: The slower you go, the more you are on the edge of "losing" your balance. The practice is designed this way. To show you, me, whoever chooses to "do less," as Justin Patrick Pierce says, whoever chooses to slow down so much that you are on the very edge of your masculine edge, however you identify yourself sexually, there is where the dance begins. There is where I begin. Do I choose to dance? Or, do I choose to sit this one out, to avoid what that feeling of out-of-balance, unprotected, vulnerability brings me and brings me into?
I was reckless, she said.
Yes. I understand. At least some of that.
And, I know your heart knew something. And, knowing something and being reckless with your unreasonable knowing (your intuition), you were able to give me something I needed. Something more precious than you can imagine, perhaps. A lifeline to life, again. A lifeline to love, again.
It's all a risk. And most of my life (yours too, perhaps?) was and is spent in avoiding risk. Mitigating risk.
To hold my heart open, without any guarantees, certainly without conditions or clauses. (There is no such thing as "unconditional love," there is only "love." A bold and reckless willingness to open and experience the other and myself as fully as I know how... All the rest is, well, apprenticeship. The learning of it. The failing of it.)
The only thing I can really trust is that this risk of love is a willingness to feel the vulnerability to life that is always and by necessity painful. It hurts even to imagine it! Yes, there is always a sweetness here. But with it, the pain of feeling everything, always new. This is what my tenderness and my vulnerability and my openness to love necessarily requires.
So, why wouldn't I avoid this intimacy with pain? I am trained to defend, to protect. It goes against everything I was raised to be to allow this risk of pain to freely be in this moment, with me. With us.
You were reckless. And I am grateful. You suffered. And I am sorry. Your heart knew me, but did not know how vigilant my protections were. And for that I am forever sorry. Please forgive me. I have great regret, that you suffered, that I was so afraid of the pain that I —so cleverly!— decieved myself into believing I was being present. Loving. Trustworthy.
I wasn't. I am sorry. Please forgive me.
And with these regrets I fuel my willingness to risk it all, to feel it all, to see you and feel you and know you and hold you. With my commitment. My constancy. My awareness. With all that your recklessness calls from me, I am here. For you. For me. For this. For love.
This is rarely a pretty dance. I am always falling through balance, and afraid to reveal myself. But, I persist. And from this falling and through your suffering and through my regret, I do not avoid the pain but strive to make this my art. And to hold you safe. Tight. Trustworthy.
And, to demand less, of you, and of myself. Maybe by becoming less concerned with how I feel and how I am seen as I necessarily fall through balance, stumble through tenderness, maybe then I am more myself. And more able to receive love, more able to give love, more able to be love.
🌀Love is a risk. One with a strong lower triangle will throw caution to the wind to fulfill their hearts desires. The heart may want something, but your mind and people around you are telling you that you are crazy. Many things in life when seen in black and white may not make sense. The heart is the color. The heart wants what the heart wants and it doesn’t always feel comfortable, yet if you are not living from here, where are you living? Whose life are you living? (Nihal Singh)
🌀 Infinity is indescribable and undiscernible . . . it’s like everything and nothing. This is the nature of ‘zero’ and the nature of ‘love’ . . . an absolute constant that you're only able to experience when you’re as consistent as it is.
…Our prayer is that you breathe yourself into this exalted state on a daily basis; that you become the absolute zero of shunya and enjoy the vast sense of safety; and that you allow your intuition to replace all the mysteries, and trade in your limits for infinity . . . (Guru Singh & Guruperkarma Kaur)
🌀A man's authentic edge of practice isn't to do more.
It's to do less.
Much less. (Justin Patrick Pierce)
🌀I want to be seen. I want to be accepted as I am. And loved for that. (My beloved, my Oracle & Siren)
TODAY'S SUGGESTED SHORT PRACTICE
Day 7 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 three, five, 11, or 30 minutes to do this short practice:
- When you’re done, stand for a minute or two, breathing gently, slowly filling and emptying your belly. Here, as you breathe into your fullness, ask yourself, How are you protecting yourself from the risk of tenderness to feeling everything life —love!— is offering you? And what would happen if you accepted the risk, besides, of course, the falling apart of all that seems safe and predictable and important to you?
- 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.
- If you want to talk about your experience, or your resistance, or about anything that, as one reader has put it, "lands while reading these chapters," please set up a short (15-minute) chat for Zoom: http://sacredbodies.ca/chat.
- It may not be enough, but it'll be a start. And that's always a good thing.