Sunday, August 29, 2010
PS. www.thekissinglessons.com will still get you to us. and, of course, we'd love to have all of you.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Forms of Love, by Kim Addonizio
I love you but I'm married.
I love you but I wish you had more hair.
I love you more.
I love you more like a friend.
I love your friends more than you.
I love how when we go into a mall and classical muzak is playing, you can always name the composer.
I love you, but one or both of us is/are fictional.
I love you but "I" am an unstable signifier.
I love you saying, "I understand the semiotics of that" when I said, "I had a little personal business to take care of."
I love you as long as you love me back.
I love you in spite of the restraining order.
I love you from the coma you put me in.
I love you more than I've ever loved anyone, except for this one guy.
I love you when you're not getting drunk and stupid.
I love how you get me.
I love your pain, it's so competitive.
I love how emotionally unavailable you are.
I love you like I'm a strange backyard and you're running from the cops, looking for a place to stash your gun.
I love your hair.
I love you but I'm just not that into you.
I love you secretly.
I love how you make me feel like I'm a monastery in the desert.
I love how you defined grace as the little turn the blood in the syringe takes when you're shooting heroin, after you pull back the plunger slightly to make sure you hit the vein.
I love your mother, she's the opposite of mine.
I love you and feel a powerful spiritual connection to you, even though we've never met.
I love your tacos! I love your stick deodorant!
I love it when you tie me up with ropes using the knots you learned in Boy Scouts, and when you do the stoned Dennis Hopper rap from Apocalypse Now!
I love your extravagant double takes!
I love your mother, even though I'm nearly her age!
I love everything about you except your hair.
If it weren't for that I know I could really, really love you.
"Forms of Love" by Kim Addonizio, from Lucifer at the Starlite.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
"[...] the fear of loss, drives so much of our behavior. [...] the fact that we're so terrified of the worst case scenario ensures we have little bargaining power.
That's a shame, because as soon as you consider (I mean really consider) the possibility of walking away it changes everything. It changes your your confidence, your creativity, your strength...essentially your ability to be effective in the relationship.
That doesn't mean you should walk away...it just means that just your ability to ask (and answer) the question, "What would happen if I did walk away, leave, or didn't care about the outcome? puts you in a powerful position."
When it comes to this love business, being 'committed but not attached' is a healthy space to hold in order to hold your own and avoid deferring your power to the significant other with whom you're orbiting.
Clinging to a desired outcome in some imaginary future or acting out of fear of losing what you have doesn't support all that can be in the moment-at-large-and-present. It deters and restricts the expansive spontaneity of what is in front of you now. Being unattached to outcome informs a much stronger and much more clear future of possibility.
"... In love relationships, in business matters, in partnering of everykind, you are put on notice not to collapse yourself into that union. For true partnership is achieved only by separate and whole beings who retain their separateness even as they unite. Remember to let the winds of Heaven dance between you."
Or, was it a cosmic tease waving too-good-to-be-true in her face? Perhaps. And yet, she rolled with it because it was what she asked for. When the surprise of opportunities flew from her windowsill as fast as they had landed, as if the alignment of the stars had called them back, she wondered if that was supposed to be a cosmic joke. If it was, her smiler was temporarily out of order.
It was a week after a little heart upset, six months after a similar rendition, and almost two years after another variation on the theme of "I want you, but I can't give you what you want, now."
The light at the end of the tunnel turned out to be New Jersey on all counts. She sat with this for a long time and rolled it around through her emotional spaces, exploring what it felt like from the inside. She found some confusion, some frustration and a side of "WTF?"
To say that she was angry would have been fair, as those intense feelings lived in recesses that she carried with her and fueled an inner fury mildly unnoticeable from her cool demeanor.
Hers was the way of going inside and surveying the other related currents of those emotions - like the flow of uncertainty, learning to let go, keeping the heart open and clear through emotional flutters. Always one to take the high road and see what could be gleaned for personal growths sake, she readjusted her focus and felt good again about where she was and what was up.
She slept on that bigger perspective and awoke to a friday unfolding before her. It began with a poem all too uncannily apropo:
You are there.
You have always been
when you thought
you were climbing
you had already arrived.
when you were
you were at rest.
Even then it was
you were there.
Not in our nature
to know what is
journey and what
Even if we knew
we would not admit.
Even if we lived
we would think
we were just
To live is to be
at the end.
"You Are There" by Erica Jong, from Love Comes First.
That little ditty rhymed with one of the lessons she was chewing on as of late, and was chased down by a true cinderella engagement story as recounted by an exuberant relative including the romantical details that had culminated into the sealed fate of her sexual economy to her now one-and-only. It sounded so planned, and so perfect. So dream-come-true-ish. (She was impressed that some guys were capable of recreating all the magical pieces of the western myth of romantic love with such precision to detail.)
And, while she was genuinely happy for them, a voice in her head kept asking "does this bring up anything for you?" with such resolute clarity that she wanted to bat it down with a flyswatter; because when she looked, there was nothing much to be found other than more questions but no real response from her own emotional terrain with traces of charted paths around these very engaging places. And maybe - maybe those questions were layers that protected the vulnerable spots - that edged the lodged hurt the way the itchyness of pink skin surrounds a wound trying to heal. Questions that never gave the center of that hurt full expression. But, unbeknownst to her, this inquiry was picking at the scab of a deep wound.
She went on with her day, and decided to have yoga for lunch.
No sooner had she packed up her cuteness and sat on the mat in the downtown studio did she encounter another emerging theme from the past week: anger. (Specifically, what to do with the residual feelings of bitterness and resentment that get lodged all up in our tissues and are characteristically sticky - in the sense that they tend to hang on for a while.) Class, today, would be about meeting those vulnerable-hurts in their intensity and losening the grip she may have on them.
"...Run your breath along the texture of your heart," the instructor said. "See what's there."
Oh, she felt it all - every ridge and edge. And they moved from down dog to plank to cobra to lunge to bound warrior to pidgeon, and back again (and again), flowing through the spaces and the places of the physical and the emotional, and the subtle bodies inbetween; trembling and aching from the cycle of the vinyasa until they reached shavasana and the meditation continued even as the body became still, integrating, a little death.
The instructor brought the class back into the realm of the living and glowing with this little ditty: "Let nothing deter you from pouring out your heart." Those words etched a way into the reddest parts of her that felt the most tender, welled up her insides and dripped onto her mat as the nectar of sweet release.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
The matters of the heart are delicate and tender in that space more so than ever, but not everyone is ready to receive that most beautiful gift of the open heart - and therein lies the (potentially galling) rub.
Namely, if an indecisive aspect of a recent pairing is uncertain over the aforementioned pairing with an other more-certain-about-things aspect, then the relationship is bound by uncertainty as the limiting reactant that holds the space between them with question. Until both move ahead together onto certain grounds, they will be at 2 different places in reference to that notion of togetherness.
(Likewise, if the exuberance about an other that is expressed isn't authentic joy, it's simply an attachment to those amazing feelings of in-loved-ness and fear that those emotions might fly away as fast as they landed. It's worth being honest about that in the chemical haze of lovely beginnings.)
On the other hand, to be met with an open heart in its fullness of expression and to be seen for all that you are by another open heart of the same magnitude is clearly where its at. Anything less might not feel quite right - and being able to articulate that vibe (at any point along the way) is a monumental clarion call. Those intuitions are key signals asking for a voice.
Being OK with unknowns is a good practice. Fears, baggage and insecurities fly up in the space of no details or plans, or lots of 'ifs' with no definites in sight. And, sorting through all of that is a worthwhile exercise so that one can learn the beauty of the momentous present unattached to any illustrious future outcome. (Remember: Life is not about answers, but rather uncertainty and handling that with grace.)
And, somewhere in the enmeshment and boundaries, is the lesson of letting go fully. Because enveloped in love's meaning is a clause about freedom from attachments and restrictions - and that kind of love includes being able to let go fully of the being we love with that very same open heart that embraced their wholeness at the start. (Love is a verb. It moves.)
She needed to throw something. She was no good at throwing rocks to channel that powerful energy out of her beingness -- since she threw like a girl and that left her more frustrated. Regardless, today was a day for watching things break - she needed something gutsy.
With her calm urgency, she dialed her friend known for practicing such emotional clearing ceremonies: "Do you want to go throw eggs* later?"
"Uh-oh," her friend replied, not asking further questions. "Yes, let's meet at the studio at 8ish."
"Great," she said. "The eggs are on me."
She showed up with 3 dozen eggs to a studio fit for the tossing. They took turns launching those stifled, delicate creative masses one by one at the giant white wall sheeted in plastic. Each egg flying towards the wall carried with it something from deep within, either freshly lodged or from long ago, and they watched it shatter. And one by one, as their hearts lightened, the performance art piece that remained was stained with streaks of pussy yolk; bits of broken shells littered the space and stuck to the crystalline remains of some bad eggs.
After 36 scramblers, she was back to sunny-side up.
*(Yes, real eggs, but not the ones from Whole Foods.)
That morning in the aftermath was one of pacing and the breaking down of illusions that crashed into a very visceral reality and the convulsive influx of tears. She found herself in the shower trying to wash it all right out of her hair, still shell shocked about the big 'if' that held no certain terms. Not necessarily all 'when' and 'whenever' - but there was an 'if,' and she was quite hung up on that - wondering, frankly 'where did that come from? and why does that one hurt so much? and what am I not seeing?'
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
[Needless to say, she would be ready for some hot August nights upon his return.]
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Elephant Journal has a great article by Wendy Strgar of Good Clean Love about (my favorite topic) the mindfulness practice that is kissing: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2010/06/the-art-and-science-of-a-kiss/
And, here is an excerpt (since I couldn't clip just one enticing quote...):
"Kissing is the building block of intimacy. Done with intention and passion, the kiss is the most profound of all our communication devices and the pathway to sustaining loving relationships.
"Think back to some of the hottest sex you ever had and you might remember that you were fully clothed and that the sex happened entirely between the lips – and what lips we have for the job… It turns out when you study philematology that human lips have the slimmest layer of skin on the body and are among the most densely populated with sensory neurons of any bodily region, more so than fingertips or even genitalia. That isn’t the only place where the human body is wired to kiss. Half of our cranial neurons influence the kiss by releasing a cascade of neural messages and chemicals, which create the intense euphoric sensations and the vital signals about the sexual/mating potential.
"And, no—it’s not just in your mind: everyone has a racing heart and finds him or herself breathless and maybe even a bit sweaty. It turns out that kissing is its own kind of fitness workout that both burns calories and requires significant muscular coordination. In fact, a total of 34 facial muscles and 112 postural muscles are used during a kiss. How can you not be completely present when you are deep in a kiss? It’s no wonder that ancient lovers believed that a kiss would literally unite their souls because the spirit was said to be carried in one’s breath. Two people fully entwined in each other’s kiss are united in connecting to the exclusion of all else.
"[...]It is no surprise that kissing is good for you. Studies show that increasing the frequency and dare I say the intensity of kissing in your relationship is found to lower your stress levels and increase your satisfaction with both your relationship and your life. [...]
"Someone once said that kisses are like tears, the only real ones are the ones you can’t hold back; so in the pursuit of a better and more perfect study of philemagtology—don’t."
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
She fell in love with the bathroom. It felt like a spa. She noticed the view was unimpeded into the glass shower from the foot of the bed. She suspended that moment in a daydream and imagined doing just that someday, yet there was a beautiful beau barely visible through the water drenched glass.
As she awoke that early june morning, the voice next to her mentioned he was going to rinse off. A feeling of deja vu washed over her as she smiled through her daydream and asked sweetly, "Mind if I watch?"
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
While processing the latest in relationship happenings with my physical-psychological-emotional-spiritual integrative healer (a.k.a. my rolfer) last month, he picked up on my habitual patterns and behaviors around boys. After dishing the deets of what he-said-I-said-he-said-I-said, ("I told him 'I kinda want all of you...'" I explained), and then asking how said boy could miss my point of confession, my rolfer called me out (because that's what he does oh-so-well):
"But it's guarded and peppered with attitude," he said. "that's not the true flavor of your heart."
"But then I repeated it and left the "kinda" part out," I replied.
"But it was too late," he said. "You already put up the wall the first time. That's part of your intimidating factor. You need to show your vulnerability, to soften that shell of yours... To let someone in. All that cool snark and wit is your protection mechanism."
Ah. I sat with that one big realization as I faced the wall that I put up around my heart to prevent said heart from the fear of breaking if I said what I really wanted to say in the moment. It was that same fear that made me uncomfortable around guys for as long as I can remember and that made me seem impenetrable to them. Perhaps, too, this wall building was a bit of an unconscious test, or became a game, not simply to keep guys out, but to see if they cared enough to break that wall down. But, instead, I'd find myself sitting on that self-inflicted fortress wondering if I had on boy repellent or if someone put repulsion potion in my water.
Apparently, at some point in my life, I had learned that strong-walled resistance was more comfortable, more safe, than experiencing what might happen if I opened up and let them in - if I really experienced the pure powerful connection of intimacy unriddled with 'unmomentous presence' and without attachment to outcome.
I sat with that lesson and felt the structure around my heart crumble, letting those electric impulses of feeling flow unfettered and with out armour. Perhaps that is how we disarm our fears, how we train our dragons: we drop our weapons and turn to face the fear belly-side first and soften into it. Then, we can really see what comes to meet us.
Friday, May 21, 2010
As he came close and held her in a tight pull that tugged at that tension even more, she felt her resistance rise as his lips met hers. She tried to stay in that moment, oh - how she wanted it, but it was slippery in the name of practical matters void of soul that were already cluttering the route to the 'off' switch in her brain. "I have to concentrate [at work] today," she whispered to him, concerned that she was already distracted by the rhythm of her heart.
"Too bad," he smiled as he kissed her again.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
The phrase: "good things come to those who wait" should come with a footnote that says: "*but the one who got there first got what he wanted." If you wait, you might get leftovers. (Leftovers are all fine and nice - but only if they are your leftovers from the amazing meal that you snagged the night before.)
When it comes to love - nothing says "I'm on fire burning for you" more than going for what you want with resolute clarity and direction in the moment. If you like her, tell her. If you want to ask her out, ask her. If you want to ask a big question, do it. Let her know exactly how you feel. Increase the pace of urgency and let your actions speak louder than words. All talk and no action really falls short.
From the words of David Gray:
"If you want it
Come and get it
Crying out loud
The love that I was
Giving you was
Never in doubt
Let go your heart
Let go your head
And feel it now"
And from the best of Mae West:
"He who hesitates is a damn fool."
Saturday, April 17, 2010
"You know what the one piece of advice is that I wish more mothers told their daughters?
"You are not a better girlfriend if you prevent your boyfriend from feeling anxiety or pain. You are not a better girlfriend if you make sure they are happy all the time. Their feelings are not your responsibility.
"But beyond that, child... If you guard them, it only shows your disrespect for that person. It implies that you can care for them better than they can care for themselves. And where is the equality in that? And do you really want a relationship based on inequality?
"You can't shield them. You can't protect them. And they might not shield and protect you either. But don't leap to conclusions! This is an opportunity to remember that people do not protect us because they assume we have the skills to take care of our own hurt. Do it. Care for yourself when you hurt. Heal yourself.
"You cannot protect each other and sometimes people will become aware of terrible truths in their own lives [about who they are and who they are not]. But you can support each other and care for each other in those tender moments when you are at less than your best. You can approach each other with grace and strive to understand the experience of the other.
"You can be present."
Yeah. Thanks, moms. That's what we all need to hear when it comes to lessons on emotional boundaries and how not to shrink yourself to make your partner feel emotionally comfortable.
Because we all know - there's nothing worse - nothing more soul sucking or life draining - than sublimating your feelings to enable someone's insecurities or to avoid someone's inability to deal with emotions in a healthy way. You might be avoiding conflict by not erupting their reactive outbursts, or protecting your fear of conflict, ...but what else are you turning a blind eye to?
(What's more sustainable than just plain white 'nice' is raw, honest and at the edge.)
The amazing Kelly D. takes apart this 'nice' issue and peels back the layers to reveal the not-so-nice truth below that quaint facade...
“Romantic love is the single greatest energy system in the Western Psyche. In our culture it has supplanted religion as the arena in which men and women seek meaning, transcendence, wholeness, and ecstasy.”
... and explores all of the ways in which the myth has gone oh-so-awry. Yet it's been so wrong for so long that it lingers inexhaustibly as it exhausts us on our (endless?) search for that feeling of transcendant wholeness in another.
(What to do!?)
Zap refers to the "Western Myth of Romantic Love" as "WMRL." And these are my favorite parts of his missive that involve images of 'oatmeal' and 'one root.'
"For now, if you are WRMLholic, admit it and aim at living your life in a way that allows authentic love to supersede romantic love.
"Robert Johnson says essentially that we should replace the contrived, histrionic dramas of WMRL with “stirring the oatmeal” - a humble acceptance and appreciation of “…ordinary human life, with its obligations, its ties, its commitments, its duties, its limitations…” (p. 139) Johnson describes grounded, authentic love with an oatmeal metaphor:
“"Many years ago a wise friend gave me a name for human love. She called it ‘stirring-the-oatmeal” love… Stirring oatmeal is a humble act---not exciting or thrilling. But it symbolizes a relatedness that brings love down to earth. It represents a willingness to share ordinary human life, to find meaning in the simple, unromantic tasks: earning a living, living within a budget, putting out the garbage, feeding the baby in the middle of the night. To ‘stir the oatmeal’ means to find the relatedness, the value, even the beauty, in simple and ordinary things, not to eternally demand a cosmic drama, an entertainment, or an extraordinary intensity in everything.” (p. 195)
"Johnson points out that for many of us this: “…focus on ordinary human beings, is too earthbound, too dull and sordid for our romantic prejudices.” In other words after eight hundred years of hitting the crack pipe of WMRL the transition to oatmeal is a bit difficult."
Another luscious note Zap mentions is from Captain Corelli's Mandolin, in which Louis de Bernières describes the evolution from infatuation to authentic love with what he calls poetic eloquence involving the image of two trees becoming one-in-root:
“Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any of us can convince ourselves we are.
“Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two."
I like you and I know why.
I like you because you are a good person to like.
I like you because when I tell you something special, you know it's special
And you remember it a long, long time.
You say, Remember when you told me something special
And both of us remember
When I think something is important
you think it's important too
We have good ideas
When I say something funny, you laugh
I think I'm funny and you think I'm funny too
I like you because you know where I'm ticklish
And you don't tickle me there except just a little tiny bit sometimes
But if you do, then I know where to tickle you too
You know how to be silly
That's why I like you
That's because you really like me
You really like me, don't you
And I really like you back
And you like me back and I like you back
And that's the way we keep on going every day
If you go away, then I go away too
or if I stay home, you send me a postcard
You don't just say Well see you around sometime, bye
I like you a lot because of that
If I go away, I send you a postcard too
And I like you because if we go away together
And if we are in Grand Central Station
And if I get lost
Then you are the one that is yelling for me
And I like you because when I am feeling sad
You don't always cheer me up right away
Sometimes it is better to be sad
You can't stand the others being so googly and gaggly every single minute
You want to think about things
It takes time
I like you because I don't know why but
Everything that happens is nicer with you
I can't remember when I didn't like you
It must have been lonesome then
I like you because because because
I forget why I like you but I do
So many reasons
On the 4th of July I like you because it's the 4th of July
On the fifth of July, I like you too
Even if it was the 999th of July
Even if it was August
Even if it was way down at the bottom of November
Even if it was no place particular in January
I would go on choosing you
And you would go on choosing me
Over and over again
That's how it would happen every time
I don't know why
I guess I don't know why I really like you
Why do I like you
I guess I just like you
I guess I just like you because I like you.