Apprenticeship to Love: Meditations on this Path to Authentic Relationship, October 2, 2023
• Today’s questions: What qualities do I allow, when I discipline myself with practice and patience? What qualities do I deny, when I collapse into habitual appetites and ways?
• Today's suggested practice: Day 4 of this month's practice, to notice & receive while in motion (see my "Short Practice,” below)
• My practice today: 4am: 75 minutes: Yoga for the Equinox, with mantra and pranayama (breathwork).
• My vulnerability practice: Feeling this intimacy, and wondering at where and how it leads and holding my heart —and my sex— with gentle hands...
★ Today, October 4 at 12pm Pacific time I'll be hosting a live podcast conversation with UK men's work leader Jai Singh on "fatherhood." Free to all Apprenticeship to Love subscribers. Register at sacredbodies.ca/events
VIDEO (a short "Sunday thing" from Sunday, October 1)
My beloved once said to me, You were always surprised.
Magic. Love. Beauty. The transcendent. All of it here for me. But, not having prepared to receive, I miss most of it. Certainly, was surprised when it would arrive at my doorstep, unbidden.
Now, I cultivate the receiving. Instead of being surprised I am amazed. And, grateful.
I recently asked, in a broadly distributed questionnaire, If you had a choice to do it over, the beginning of your current or recent relationship, would you wait longer before having sex?
I was not surprised at the answers. Was amazed that, as per what Christine Emba says in her Rethinking Sex: A provocation, many would choose to wait. To "pause," as Emba puts it, their sexual engagement.
One woman answered my question this way: "Wow… I know that soon as I make love ... it changes the dynamics and there is a bond that builds and a friendship that changes. I’ve been wild and consensually made passionate love on the 4th date.. As fun and as liberating as that was… I’d not do it again.
I generally wait three-four months.. and still that can feel too soon... The friendship is so valuable.. and emotions get messy. I haven’t got it right yet…”
The only time I "got it right" I led the relationship not with my undisciplined lust for penetration but with my disciplined parental awareness that becoming sexual with the woman I was attracted to would have significant consequences for our children. I waited. We waited. Three months.
That felt right.
Sadly, I did not carry that awareness and discipline into subsequent romantic engagements. Something was lost in the translation from desire to having.
From a friend: "I share with you because I trust you with my heart. Ha, you my dear, I would never have ... sex with… I love and cherish you too much to change our friendship."
Intimacy has many expressions. Many ways of being. Feeling another's vulnerability, feeling my own, I feel the flood of desire. I am learning, through practice and through experience, to notice. To wait. To allow this seed of something (because intimacy is always a potential for something deeper, something more) to become what it wants to be.
I choose to be amazed, rather than surprised, these days. At least, more often than I used to. It's a slow process, this becoming aware. Patient. Conscious. Awake. Or, "woke."
And now I ask myself a question that is at the root of writing this apprenticeship Did I really miss something, in those other marriages, those other dances with commitment and longing and intimacy? Or is it that I have, in this woman, my beloved, found she who will dance with me as deeply as I am capable, and deeper yet?
It is never too late to slow down. To begin again. To allow this intimacy to become what it wants to be, without hurry. With desire, yearning. But without demand. Without expectation.
How slow do I have to go, to see her, hear her, know her, hold her in all of her feminine complexity and strangeness, that I am amazed? Always amazed.
🌀 Time is the ultimate illusion. Time is the registration of our experiences in this world….
When we pass from this physical body in the process we call death, this registration of time stops… the sensations we’ve experienced as time in life become invisible and timeless.
At such a moment, the struggles we’ve experienced inside the space of our life-time appear to have been effortless. This is when reality hits us, and when we accept this, this is known as liberation… (Guru Singh and Guruperkarma Kaur)
🌀 Willing the good of the other isn’t a religious concept; its a basic suggestion for how to behave well. …it doesn’t say that sex is bad, or that you should feel bad for having it. Considering how the other person might feel and attempting to act in their best interest doesn’t make flirting impossible or knock sensuality dead. It’s the twenty-first century; empathy is sexy. (Christine Emba)
🌀In sexuality, as in birth, we actually lose control, if real alchemy and presence is happening. What a relief. (Kimberly Ann Johnson)
🌀The Conscious Warrior practices the cultivation of wonder and awe. (John Wineland, Precept 7)
🌀You have a right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, nor be attached to inaction. (Bhagavad Gita)
🌀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 3 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, 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, What qualities do I allow, when I discipline myself with practice and patience? What qualities do I deny, when I collapse into habitual appetites and ways?
- 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.