Apprenticeship to Love: Meditations on this Path to Authentic Relationship, December 17, 2023
• Today’s questions: Are you feeling yourself balanced and aligned as we head into this most testing of seasons? Do you trust yourself to make art as you lose this balance?
• Today's suggested practice: Day 13 of this month's practice, to step into your polarity (see my "Short Practice,” below)
• My practice today: 4:30am: 60 minutes: yoga, mantra, Healing Heart Hum meditation
• My vulnerability practice: I am aware of how terrified I am, of losing this precious balance I've practiced for. And, terrified, I allow myself to fall...
★ On December 28 my colleague Sarah Anderson & I will be hosting a 1-hour virtual workshop, Practices for Intimacy. This workshop is free for those registered in our winter Arts of Sacred Intimacy for Couples retreat (see https://bit.ly/40TPqhX ), for couples who are registered in my Mini-Retreats for Couples ( see https://www.sacredbodies.ca/coaching ), and for Premium and Premium+ Apprenticeship to Love subscribers (see https://bit.ly/3v0vO02 ). Otherwise, please save $100 when you register by December 26 at http://sacredbodies.ca/events
One of the lessons of polarity that I have learned on this, my apprenticeship to love and what I call and teach as "authentic relationship," is that tension, pressure, friction are gifts we give ourselves and each other in this life. When they are vanquished or denied, we are either dead, or as if dead.
I look around. I see many of us who are dead. The walking dead in our lives. The walking dead in our relationships —marriages, parenthood, as sons and daughters.
In the name of quiet or peace or, perhaps, believing we've "suffered enough," we settle for so much less than we are. And sometimes we call it "balance" or "contentment."
There is so much more.
We strive for balance in our alignment, whether in our marriages & our bodies & in our tango. But, as I tell my students in every class & workshop & retreat: the juice & the richness of life comes not in this (inevitably transient and momentary) state of balance, but in how we make our inevitable falling out of balance our art. I call this art our art of “falling through balance.”
We will arrive in some semblance of balance. But in that space between departure from self-alignment and arrival at self-alignment is where we are tested, judged, and proven. The tango master Gavito described it this way: The secret of tango is in this moment of improvisation that happens between step and step. It is to make the impossible thing possible: to dance the silence.
Afraid of failing, afraid of not having the capacity to make art, some of us choose to never experience this terrifying “falling through.” But of course, not all things are of our choosing. While we may not volunteer for this falling out of balance, our lives are a testament to how we, artfully or not, respond to Her inevitable testing & judging.
My advice, to you dear reader, as to my students: Practice. Practice yoga. Practice meditation. Practice tango. Practice trusting yourself. Practice trusting the one you love. Practice so that when tested —and you will be tested!— you know at least a little of your capacity for art.
When we step from one foot to another, from one moment of balance into another, this is the "silence" or empty space or "falling through balance," that invites us into our art.
As we develop our art, this moment may also be when we are tested in our polarity. Stepping from one grounded moment into another, and along the way feeling the tension, pressure, and friction that life brings to test us.
In our most artful relationships —with a beloved, within a marriage, as a parent, as a trusted friend— one of us feels drawn to the calm, deep stillness of awareness. The other, to feeling and movement and flow.
In this relationship I am always invited to be more quiet, more calm, deeper than the one I love. She is silent. Speaks little. But, as I deepen into my own stillness and calm, her words begin to speak.
From a yogic perspective, this is about polarity, but also about the throat chakra, Vishudda. In this culture and for millenia, the voice of women has been silenced. How quiet and patient can a man be, before the woman he loves begins to whisper the things her grandmothers have longed to say? What deep still calm is required from this polarity, that her whispers begin to flow? My beloved reminds me, with her silence, of this test of my trustworthiness.
I am only beginning to understand how deep I need to go into myself, to trust myself, first, before she begins to experienced me as trustworthy.
And: To remember, the other person is you. I become still so that, in our polarity, as she begins to trust me, she also begins also to feel and express —in her words, her movement, her dance— the things I am not yet sensitive enough to experience and know in myself. It isn't that I deny my own feelings. That I have to become a stone —anything but this!
I practice to open my heart and my belly and my throat. To soften even as I become more firm and more deep. My posture is the frame, the structure that gently holds my softening front-of-body. And I breathe. Breathing into this softened, more receptive and oh-so-vulnerable body, I hold myself, gently.
I practice so that I can feel more, know more. Of myself, and of her, she who reflects and embodies another part of myself.
I practice that I become more capable of my art: to lead this dance by feeling into her, following her feeling and movement as a guide to how I can go even deeper, lead her even deeper. A spiral that, fuelled by polarity, draws us into greater self-awareness, self-experience, self-expression, more subtle being-together. In other words, intimacy.
Her testing is not for spite or rebuke. It is the judging of my trustworthiness. It is the proving of my depth and capacity to make art of the inevitable falling through balance that this life —and especially the commitments and sacrifices of love— invites every one of us to know. The only question: Am I a volunteer to step into this silence that is this falling through balance? Or am I still resisting?
(... continued in Part II)
🌀…crisis will be the determining factor . . . trust will be the judge. (Guru Singh & Guruperkarma Kaur)
🌀 You can shift from being a reflection of your past experiences and beliefs towards becoming a projection of the reality you wish to create, a future in which you are healed and whole.
…it's useful to take into consideration that this energy is nonlocal, meaning it doesn’t come and go in the way we think of ‘coming and going’. This energy is omnipresent and it is eternal, not bound to time and space. You are not just influenced by this energy, you are a part of it. (Kundalini Yoga School, Heart Healing sadhana, Day 5)
🌀 When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory. (Friedrich Nietzsche)
🌀 I test you. (My beloved, my Oracle & Siren)
TODAY'S SUGGESTED SHORT PRACTICE
Day 13 of this month's practice, to step into your polarity:
Please read through first, then ...
- Today, wherever and however you choose, take a five minutes to do this short practice:
- First, ask yourself: Am I feeling yourself balanced and aligned as I head into this most testing of seasons? Do I trust myself to make art as I lose this balance?
- 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.