Sunday, August 29, 2010

Leaving on a jet plane...

We're moving! Not overseas (yet), but to a new blog-space. Come join the make-out session over here:


PS. will still get you to us. and, of course, we'd love to have all of you.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The fun in dysfunctional

This was in the poem in the Writer's Almanac yesterday, and it is a good one for this blog-space.

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

Committed, but not attached

On the SAMBA blog recently, there was a post about The Power of Goodbye that deals with the crippling aspect of fear in business:

"[...] 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 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.

Orbiting, and the runes

From the Book of Runes, by Ralph Blum:

"... 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."

In the spiral

It had been over a month since she found a couple dreamboats in her harbor, but lately, she realized that her relation to them was that of two ships passing in the night. She would be lying if she said she wasn't let down, dissapointed by her own airy aspirations of what could come from the possibilities contained within these vessels. So much she'd been waiting for, that she couldn't help but wonder if her ship had arrived, finally?

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
breathing hard,
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
Certainty comes
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

(Note to self)

You can train your heart to be open and to enjoy to-good-to-be-true-why-don't-you-pinch-me kind of relationship buddings without disclaimers, walls and guards. To be momentous, to be as present as possible, to roll with it, to savor it with a big open heart channel takes courage, bravery and balls - because you know the risk of having an open heart on the line.

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.)

A smashing hit

She needed to short this out and let out all the gnarly emotions as they arose - so they didn't fester and carry a life of their own. Not that she was angry - but more like frustrated, confused, a little miffed - often at no one in particular but perhaps what was spurred by recent events and what was left over from others.

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.)

Uncertain possibilities

When dawn broke on that sleepless night, she knew not what to do first. She was caught up in a whirlwind of emo sea change and trying to sort through the facts as if it was laundry day in her head. But the clear hard truths were muddled with the rest of it.

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

In this twilight

On this eve of July before his month long vision quest, she already missed him (as she watched him shower). He was amazing, and she adored him. For her, it would be a long month - a month of looking to the sky and feeling him there with her, or catching the rhythm of his heart in her dreamtime (she craved that).

[Needless to say, she would be ready for some hot August nights upon his return.]

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Between your heart and mine

"What do you need from me?" he asked.

"I need all of you," she said.

Commitment is not sacrifice

A note about commitment from my favorite Kelly Diels:

Commitment is not sacrifice.

Commitment is trading the things that don’t mean much for the things that do.

Stuck on you

"What are you afraid of?" he asked.

"That you will reevaluate your life, and I won't be a part of it," she said.

When words become superfluous

"A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous." - Ingrid Bergman

Elephant Journal has a great article by Wendy Strgar of Good Clean Love about (my favorite topic) the mindfulness practice that is kissing:

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."

Mystery of you

I am smitten by Marian Bantjes' Valentines projects - and especially, the mysterious love letters she devised and delivered (around minute 11...).

"...there's no passing time with you, only collecting moments..."

Those three little words say so much


Do you hear this enough? Do you say it enough?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sweet nothings

When her eyes held his blue eyed gaze while talking to him, her words fell away. In that space, words didn't matter.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I want you on repeat

"Fascination takes many forms, but all tap into instinctive triggers, such as the need to hunt, to control, to feel secure, to nurture and be nurtured. Some fascinations last only a heartbeat, while others last beyond a seventy-fifth wedding anniversary. No matter how long it lasts, or what behavior it motivates, or which trigger inspires it, every fascination binds with a singularly intense connection. We are, if only for a moment, utterly spellbound. Herein lies the power of fascination: It strips away our usual rational barriers, exposing our minds, leaving us vulnerable to influence, naked to persuasion." - from Fascinate, by Sally Hogshead

Monday, June 7, 2010

Wet dreams

When she was surveying all of the potential suitors on the condo market last fall, she fell in love with a surprise gem. It was small and pristine, downtown and waterfront. The simple mod furnishings matched her style.

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


This makes me want to get a Ph.D. in Anthropology...

Monday, May 31, 2010

Good morning, sunshine

She opened her eyes from the dreamiest of dreams into the gauzy light of sunrise and gazed at the god-like form next to her. She smiled warmly and basked in the glow of a gorgeous day.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Walls, and the lesson of the subversive underbelly

"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it."

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

Pura vida for breakfast

After an improptu morning hike, they arrived back at her place. Her heart in flight from the surprise mountain lark, and her head full of thoughts about the day ahead of her. It was a divide she didn't know how to handle -- that aliveness and boyancy juxtaposed by the immanent feelings about a workday that hung a little heavier on the heartspace.

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.

A little more time with you

As found here:

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Simplify, simplify

"You'll never be able to understand the mystery of guys," he said. "So let that rest. All you can do is be yourself."

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pace of urgency

When it comes to getting what you want, it's all about the hustle. Why wait to 'see what happens'?

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

Sublimate never

The lovely Sharon, our PM correspondent from Pacific NW HQ in Portland, wired me this last week, and it was beyond pertinent and totally worth sharing this thoughtful memo:

"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?

the problem with nice

The numero uno problemo with 'nice' is that while it appears safe, it's actually bound to be volatile. The 'nice' part covers up a lot, and it doesn't take much for that a lot to reveal it's ugly side.

(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...

Oatmeal and one root

In Jonathan Zap's articulate oracle "No Tristans Allowed Beyond This Point - Debunking and Transforming the Western Myth of Romantic Love", he works from this quote from We by Robert Johnson:

“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."

That's why

I Like You by Sandol Stoddard Warburg

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.

One hot mess

(Guys: can I let you in on a little secret? Next time she gets all bent out of shape about how messy things are around the house and how you're seemingly unaware of the state of disarray, don't seem to care, etc., odds are good that it's about more than the mess of heated conflict about dust dirt and dishes. That feely mess might perhaps be the fissure that caused an eruption oozing just the frothy layer of something much greater that's been brewing in her depths for a while...)

Friday, April 16, 2010

20 questions for a creative first date

Find out who you're really dating by asking better questions. Instead of, "So, where were you born?" try, "What 5 foods would you want on a desert isle?" Transform "What brought you to Boulder?" [insert yawn here]... into "When was the last time you had sand in your pants?" Uncover hidden hopes and dreams, and be open to the spontaneous. Better questions make for better answers, which make for all the difference in the search for your possible suitor.

Try these on for size:

1. What did you dream about last night?
2. What's your totem animal?
3. Do you write in books or leave them unadulterated?
4. How would you spend your ideal day?
5. If you had a kiwi, where would you put it?
6. Are you an architect?
7. Where's your happy place?
8. If you were going to have nude photos of yourself taken, who would you want to be the photographer?
9. What do you order at the coffee shop?
10. What are the top 3 things on your bucket list?
11. What's your superpower?
12. How was your day?
13. What's the one article of clothing that you can't live without?
14. What are the top 5 songs / albums that denote the soundtrack of your life?
15. If you suddenly found yourself in Montana, what would you do first?
16. What is your favorite childrens book?
17. Cake or frosting?
18. Tell me about your alter-ego.
19. What's in your freezer?
20. Is it closer to Duluth, or by bus?

Imaginary currency

A note about equal exchange:

Tell me, Steve, is it too much to ask (see: below)? Is it unrealistic? Do we hurl into relationships full force and call it "loving fearlessly"? Are we really just throwing ourselves at the illusion of romantic fantasy?

"Women want their love to be reciprocated in the same way they give it; they want their romantic lives to be as rewarding as they make them for their potential mates; they want the emotions that they turn on full blast to be met with the same intensity; and they expect the premium they put on commitment to be equally adhered to, valued, and respected." -Steve Harvey


"You have to be very fond of men. Very, very fond. You have to be very fond of them to love them. Otherwise they're simply unbearable." - Marguerite Duras

Monday, April 5, 2010

Remove your head

"The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating -- in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life."
-Anne Morriss

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Natural selection

Of all the questions that have been fluttering into my inbox recently about love and relationships and being present, and how and why and what not, etc., (soon to be a new correspondent column, btw - title pending), I feel one of the underlying threads of response to these conflagrant questions regarding the non/existence of soul mates, one-and-only's, what's the glue that sticks a relationship together so mysteriously, etc. etc. etc. seems to come down to one momentous event: choice.

Whatever brings two percipient perceptibles together in the same place in the time and space continuum, and in whatever state of mindful awareness they arrive, how each energy body perceives and is perceived, each can choose their course in the infinite matrix of possibility.

To travel together, or to maintain singular status? etc.

Ditto for each moment thereafter: is there a limit to love? That, too, depends on choice. Every moment is a choice to stay committed, together, present and fully open to the spontaneous present.

Osho wrote about the fleeting nature of love - When it hits, roll with it. You never know when it will be gone. But ultimately, love is freedom. Freedom to choose.

Sherman Alexie wrote: "He loved her, of course, but better than that, he chose her, day after day. Choice: that was the thing."

Kelly Diels eloquently put it this way:

Choice. Chosen. Decided, deciding, every day.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

A private conversation

Private intimacy is more that just pillow talk.

Private intimacy - as noted by Liz Gilbert at the end of Committed - is the heart's language, untapped, pure, true. It's what happens outside of all of the societal infrastructures that would attempt to contain such momentous love with red tape and ramifications. The happening of "I choose one" comes from the subversive flowing wellspring shared between two hearts. In the quiet, in whispers, in shared memories, in the dark, behind closed doors. It is the powerful secret between lovers committed to the ruling body of love.

Friday, March 12, 2010

To dance with your heart

"Chemistry with another person can also mean becoming acquainted with what is best about yourself. Though this critical organ [the heart] should be familiar to us, the gentle, inexplicable sensation of experiencing it is anything but. To feel another's heartbeat mingle with your own - that's a pleasure that's hard to leave. St. Augustine wrote: "The hairs of his head are easier by far to count than his feeling, the movements of his heart." Scientists can locate the chemicals, but what the heart craves is a mystery." - Maria Finn, Hold Me Tight & Tango Me Home

Monday, March 8, 2010

Perpetual sleepover

"You like being married?" I asked my co-worker who moved to the states to be with her beau.

"I do," she replied with her euro-wit.

"Why?" I prodded, entirely curious.

"Marriage is pretty neat," she smiled. "It's like a never ending slumber party."

Tear down the walls

Ala Jake:

"There are no insurmountable divisions between men and women; I believe that with all my heart. We create the walls between us out of the dust of thoughts and memories, held by the mortar of our experience. And our experience is tinted with our prejudices, imagined and real, inherited and newly created."

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ambiguous loss

Anyone who's still-beating heart has been blind-sightedly ripped from their chest cavity by an other of significance knows the overwhelming gravitas and ache in the space that follows. Along with the grappling to understand this new found tabula rasa of reality in the midst of the tangle of memories. Where is the person I fell in love with? What about the life we had planned? The dreams in which 'we' were an integral part?

It was a dream of sweet love
Hours of happiness and loving
It was the poem of yesterday
Poema, by Francisco Canaro

Disbelief enters this space, trying to comprehend that life has become so uncertain. Is this a lie, a bad dream or some sick joke?

When the re-galling, yearning riddle of 'where is my love?' yields nothing but the obvious empty cut-out of where they once were - and the head and heart are still dumbfounded by all of these prevalent facts - nothing remains but the lingering grief and disorientation as the eviscerated body waits to believe the present memo made of fragments of the love it once knew that is not now-fleshy-tangible. The imagination takes to this space, with fervor.

At night when I go to bed
I can't close the door
because by leaving it open
I make believe that you're coming back.
- Mi Noche Triste

The love that nested in the heart, took root in dreams of the future, and that seems to have undergone a disappearing trick only to never return, creates a gaping void, an echoing chamber that rakes ones insides and leaves a dead weight in the vicinity of the heart. The horrible pain that follows - and that nothing can seem to eclipse into oblivion - can become a vacuum that can suck a broken heart into isolation. Unless, one moves through the body-memory one step at a time.

The cure for the shattered heart is (of course) the Argentine Tango.

Long and winding

Memory Lane, by Ryan Adams

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Seduce me, fo reals

This is from over at Jake's place, in response to Kelly Diels massive missive about the Pick-Up Artist Community. And, as usual, both conversations are worth more than a browse. Here's my favorite part from Jake's post:

"Real seduction is still something magic. And it’s on-going. It’s not about being someone else or reciting scripts or doing what some PUA guru told you to do. It’s about having enough confidence to take great joy in honest and playful dance with those you like. Real seduction becomes effortless. It’s a smirk or a playful tease without hidden agenda. It’s leaning in toward each other to listen more intently. It’s the way our eyes move from eye to eye to mouth and back again before a kiss, but not because we know the Kiss Test. Simply because this is just what we do, who we are.

"The magic of real seduction is in the back-and-forth. The thousand little things we do that convey interest and attraction to each other. The tiny little games we play. And all of this can be observed and discussed and shared – by women to women, men to men, etc, etc…

"But the spark, especially the one that lasts, is something that – like enlightenment – can’t be taught. It can only be pointed toward:
we are most attractive to others when we’re being exactly who we want to be. Not who we think we should be. Nor who we think other people want us to be.

"We’re most attractive when we are who we want to be.

"Learn this lesson and take care of yourself. That’s all you really need to know."

Let's do lunch

This love sandwich meditation (from Chez Cleavage) I can't resist:

"Love is a packed lunch. This packed lunch is the future (you will be hungry) meets the present (I made this because I love you and the thought of you hungry pains me) meets the past (I have always loved you. I loved you before I knew you. Love is who we are, baby, and this lunch is our history) meets the real (the apple the sandwich the effort the caring it forward: you can eat love). Love is a packed lunch."

Bon Appetit.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Dance me to love again

As a tango baby who has learned many a lesson about myself-in-relationship in just one short year of dance class once a week, I've learned to love the tango for the reasons I feared it initially. It's about connection - about leading and following with your heart. You have to be comfortable with closeness. Not something that is easy to do in the wake of dissolution with gnarly breakup matter still clouding your aura.

I resonated with My Love Affair with Tango, by Maria Finn as she enumerated its transformational possibilities for the heartsunk and lovetorn based on her experience.

Here's an excerpt:

"I asked him why he had started dancing. “My 7-year-old daughter wanted to know why her mother and I divorced. I didn’t know. And I couldn’t explain how you can love someone so much, then split so far apart. So I began tango to learn how to be with a woman without expecting anything. How to find balance with
another person.”

"He offered a quick lesson, and I accepted. First I had to lean against him—I had to trust the lead entirely. I could smell the nape of his neck, feel the slight slope of his shoulders and the soft pulse of his heart. It quickly felt suffocating, and such closeness made me feel squeamish. He showed me how to step around him while my chest stayed aligned with his. But I was too uncomfortable to be so near someone I didn’t know. My own marriage had just ended, and I still felt dead inside.

"I couldn’t help but linger when this stranger returned to the group. The tango songs were laments of heartbreak, but the dancers brought to mind the perfect state of bliss. I thought of an idea from Plato’s Symposium: People were once whole, but because they didn’t properly honor the gods, they were split apart and doomed to be forever searching for their other half. To find one’s missing half is to once again experience harmony and happiness. That’s what the dancers in Central Park looked like—finally reunited.

"Maybe, I thought, I could learn to tango if I were with a man I loved. But not with total strangers.

"I’d never been so wrong."

This love business

Gwen Bell has a mighty precious rumination on the entrepreneurship of love start ups. From spark to launch to inner workings, through growth and innovation and charting the course on unmapped territory - hers is a great metaphor for the economy of love.

The game of pick up chicks

Kelly Diels, the great mistress of Cleavage, has an epic post series on the Seduction Community - you know, those pick up artists, and how kindacrazyeffedup it is, in case you're interested (and, you should be)...

Here's a (gentler) excerpt from the first post:

"No, you’re awesome, honey. He just can’t see it. He’s a bastard. They all are. That’s why we’re so awesome. Thank goodness for girlfriends. Otherwise we’d have to rely on them.

"If that kind of talk is a two-martini girl-bonding Friday night for me, why am I so shocked when I encounter misogyny in the Seduction Community?

"This kind of misogny and misandry – the kind that collapses The Other into a caricature – is a burlesque. We parody and mock The Other in order to defuse the power they have over us.

"Because sexuality, and sexual love, is primal, spiritual stuff. It is dangerous and divine. We can harm or heal each other, and most often, we do both.

"So, in heterosexual, binary-gendered, conventional world – which is to say, my suburban milieu – groups of heterosexual women get together to bitch about men so that men are less threatening to our hearts and heads. Groups of men get together to figure out a way to manage women so that women are less threatening to their heads and hearts. And then we all go home and drunk-dial our exes."

Read it all - but proceed with caution: it's a metric ton of brilliance.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Don't throw away the key

This question sweetly landed in my inbox this morning, and it was so well conceived that it needed a post of its own:

Q: "I haven't been able to think of a singular question for you, but there's a topic that I'd love to pick your brain about:

"A few people manage to find their perfect match on the first try - the people who marry their high-school sweetheart or are continually smitten by their "soul mate." The rest of us go through a few relationships. In my experience, those relationships have been important to me, and from them, I learned a lot about relationships, about myself and about those I lived with. I know that other people don't see their past relationships that way. Some people think they're always the victim. Some people ARE always a victim. Some people think their love life is just a series of bad choices or bad people.

"The point in my mind is that most people have had a few of relationships that ended before "forever," and I wonder what you think those relationships give us. What you value about bygone relationships, choices you made that didn't work out, choices you didn't make that might have worked out. You've written about a lot of things from your marriage but I don't think I've gotten a sense of what you value about those experiences. And I'm not necessarily intent on your relationships, maybe it's a broader question about what can be valued.

"So my question would be about the missteps people make as they cut a path to their own hearts."

Those missteps are full of takeaway lessons - not necessarily a detour from any set trajectory (there is no map, after all. And, you're generally always where you need to be to fully experience what you need to experience). What souvenirs remain from those sidetracks? What did you leave behind? What did you carry with you?

The value comes in finding all the good in what came before and being able to frame that relationship in a new light. How did that person grow you in ways you wouldn't have grown otherwise? What are all of the good memories that are part of the fleshy tapestry of who you are now? Having gratitude for those things is magnanimous and key for moving on. Incorporating all the fruits of relationship makes it easier to live with the memories that can otherwise haunt you.

On the Solstice of this past summer, I wrote my ex (who I hadn't communicated with for a few months at that point) a note that said I could look back on the time we had together and smile, and that thanked him for growing me in the ways that he did. It felt good, and even though I never heard back from him (I didn't expect to), I felt better. It was as if I had offered my recognition for what good did come of us, and felt a sense of closure.

The experience of cutting a path to your heart involves passing through the wildflower fields and breathtaking scenery just as much as there maybe weeding and wasp nests, and other adventures. What can be valued from relationships past is simply how they enrich or have enriched our lives. How we've been nourished from them and what we can bring with us as we move forward.

All the good things are what kept you choosing that relationship, and perhaps solidified what you want when the next one comes around. All the crappy things on the other hand give you a clear sense of what you know that you don't want, or what not to do. In gardening terms - the whole of the experience is all good compost to fortify what comes next.

The closeness and intimacy touched us - changed us - and left an emotional imprint on our energy body. Perhaps - that is what we need to learn to work with - what to do with that imprint, and who are we in its wake?

There is an article from the Huff Post, Can We Learn From Our Past Relationships? that resonates here:

"Past relationship creates an expansive field of memories, effervescently rich with the potential to fertilize our new life. Keeping alive good recollections ensures that our arteries will carry those memories to our heart, so that our heart will not be deprived of nourishment from our past. [...] Our choice is to tell ourselves that our relationship was always depleted, or that there were, at least for a time, the creation of valuable nutrients we can still use.

"Memory is not only part of the past, it is alive in us now. If its interpretation is negative, it has the potential for self-laceration. You cannot annihilate these memories without also killing off meaningful parts of yourself. You must do something with these memories, as they remain in your bloodstream. When you accept that you have deposited parts of yourself in his or her soul, you can comfortably retrieve all the richness of your experiences, perhaps some pain but joy as well. The memories will have to be stored somewhere; the trick is to not store them in oblivion."

Breaking the bottle

Do you ever feel trapped inside the story of your own making? You know, those stories you tell yourself about what happened, why things happened, what you coulda-shoulda-woulda, what she/he said, why you are the way you are, how you never get dates (ever), you'll be lonely for the rest of your life, etc? Mind Made Misery is just that - when your mind creates the track of stories that your train of thoughts rides on - and then bottles it all so they can't get out (see also: "mind bottling").

What to do with these franken-creative fictions that we tell ourselves, frequently, on repeat, that leave us self-inflictedly tortured? (How to change the mind running rampant into the vortex of self-loathing, self doubt and anxiety?) It's time to take a monkey-wrench to the tracks - and change the aforementioned mind with a new story.

If the old story is a massive stressor to your complex nervous system and messing with your ability to thrive, it's important to note here this one precious, poignant nugget: If something is causing you emotional discomfort, it's probably because you are not thinking big enough.

In other words: you're not seeing something that can relieve you of the mind-and-life-numbing thought processes spinning madly on through your body electric. But, it's a relief to know that perhaps it is that simple. If only you could lift up the curtain and see the bigger picture, to see what you're missing while being held bottled - it would all be more clear. It might blow your mind. It might feel nice to let in the fresh air.

Sometimes we don't have to believe everything we think. The Work of Bryon Katie is a little bit like breaking that bottle over your own head. Hesitant? Just consider her main question: who would you be without your story (i.e. the mind bottled one)?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Apply the organic lip balm & pucker Up: The Kissing Lessons, unplugged

An interview with Ali (a.k.a. Her Royal Cuteness), the mistress of this anthology of vignettes on the course of love

1. Why kissing? Is kissing important to you?

Kissing is loaded with plump red voluptuous connotations: first kiss, last kiss, sealed with a kiss, kiss my ..., etc. I'm not a believer that a kiss is just a kiss.

One of my favorite synonyms for kissing is 'to osculate' which is to "to come into close contact or union." In math class, you learn that to osculate is "To have three or more points coincident with." I like to think of this as heart, heart and gut. Like something that just feels so right it happens without a cognitive plan. This includes the notion that Wolff Bowden says: "May your lips refuse the kiss unless your heart is home." It's about moving on an inner volition, not always explainable by thought. A true Happening, really, and a tuning into the body electric.

In the space between self and other - the kiss is a boundary touched - and crossed. it changes you. Once you get kissed, a good one, can you ignore it? can you go back to how you were before? I'm not so sure I can. There's a great French film that circles around this notion called Shall we Kiss? which is super cute and well done.

All of this said: I'd be the first to sign up for some kissing lessons, or practice sessions! Good kissing is an art and should be practiced more, especially with someone you have a penchant for. My rolfer said to me recently: "the secret to kissing is to enjoy every minute of it." And I had to agree. What a practice of mindfulness that is, to stay in the moment for that intimacy - to stay present and just enjoy and play.

About a month ago - this was one of the notes from the Universe that was sent to me: "Just as it is with kissing - Let your life be measured and thoughtful. (PS. Actually, your entire life is like one very long, very sweet kiss)." That really resonated with me. So why kissing? I'd have to say it has to do with the practice of being present, about having an inner pull or knowing, and not always having a mental map -- but a focus on the spontaneity of the heart. Applied to life and relationships, this is a touchstone-cornerstone.

2. Do you believe in love at first sight?

I do - in a way. I think there is an uncanny magnetism that can bring people together instantly, as if they were destined to find each other or had a connection in a past life (or something equally wuwu). I've heard of so many stories of people who have found each other and have known instantly that this was it, this was the one. Something just felt so right -- there was instantaneous recognition on a non-cerebral level. And, maybe that's the secret - there has to be a non-thinky-centric aspect to this. And, I think there has to be some mutual resonance there, too, otherwise it banks on being sequestered in "Crush Status." (For example - the first time I saw Pete Yorn live in concert, it was pretty much love at first sight. But it wasn't necessarily mutual, so it doesn't really count.) Both parts of the equation need to be open to the possibility, the surprise, to feel it, so there's this element that the stars need to align for both points in the space-time continuum to find each other. It's serendipitous on some level. And, I'm reminded of my favorite line from Rumi: "The minute I heard my first love story, I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lover's don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along."

3. What does it mean when you say: relationships are the new ashram?

Love and being in relationship is a forum ripe for lessons about self - and growing yourself. About becoming your best possible self in this lifetime and finding someone who is a suitable mirror for your personal growth and fulfillment of consciousness. It's about removing all the layers that are keeping you from love (all the ways in which you are standing in your own way). Being in relationship amplifies that personal exploration exponentially. There's a metric ton of inner work involved, and everyone has their own locus of lesson plans to unravel in order to become more of what they truly are. (There's no need to join an ashram for that experience).

4. Let's talk about sex: Are you getting some?

Ixnay on the exsay - LOL! Not so much in the traditional sense (but according to the laws of entropy - it's bound to happen...right?). I'm always working towards the tantric practice of being radically alive and plum tickled with the most simple delights of life, so I like to think that I'm functioning at some sustained buzz of bliss most of the time. There's no climax - just good vibes and a perpetual glow and pure enjoyment of life. Unless I'm having a crabapple day of the moodies. In which case, I rely solely on extra dark chocolate.

5. Why 'The Kissing Lessons'?

I think knowing how to be in relationship is important and frequently glossed over - yet there's so much to learn. It's about the energetics of being human. About having a body with a complex nervous system and what to do with it. So many signals, so much going on. But do we ever take time to learn about it?! Not so much. We learn about modern european history - and how to think our way out of multiple choice questions and thesis statements -- not about trusting our intuition and self introspection.

Also we have these out dated male models of sexuality floating around I think - expectations about how things work / fail to work in dating, relationships, sex - which don't always suit women and don't suit men either. Whether M or F - we're all emotional creatures - and I don't think the prevailing models address that enough. However, I see things changing and moving towards a model that stresses personal authenticity - which in a sense decentralizes the need for 'a model' entirely.

These issues of sex and body and healthy relationships with others need to be talked about early on - with family, with friends. We need to know how to handle situations of 'beings in relationship' - personal boundaries, trusting yourself, knowing what you need and how to ask for it, how to have clear intentions and pure actions, how to be honest with yourself and an other, and how to express yourself with words about all these feelings. That's what makes empowered actions so we're not fumbling around in the dark.

6. Can a healthy, loving relationship last forever? What do you think are the key ingredients to keeping the flame going?

There is so much to this, but I feel like it comes down to some deceptively simple things:

a. Doing your own inner work - being clear about who and what you are, what you desire, what you require. Knowing yourself is a big part.
b. Refusing to settle for what doesn't feel right and knowing how to draw those boundaries for yourself
c. Being real with your other and clear about where they are at and not taking on their 'stuff,' their projections
d. Being open the the mystery of the significant other self that is unfolding in front of your eyes every moment. Knowing that who they are and who you are is changing every day - growing and evolving. There's a lot of letting go of the past and not clinging to an image of them, nor holding on too tightly to past or future plans. There's also freedom in that practice - a freedom to be. This awareness opens you to the wonder and spontaneity of the present - and whatever shall arise.
e. Knowing when to let go of each other is equally important. When both people are suffering / shrinking under the physical-emotional-energetic weight of the other - the relationship is serving no one and is bound to become toxic. Once toxicity levels increase, it's difficult to handle things with clarity and grace.

Can a loving relationship last forever? I think so. It's about showing up, staying clear and open in the present so that you are able to handle whatever arises with grace, and about continually making the choice to practice this with your other of great significance. Once you say no to any of the above - things breakdown. This is neither good nor bad - breakdown makes room for breakthroughs - as long as it's a conscious decision to move away from the intimate space of that relationship.

I don't feel that every relationship has to last forever. We are all in beings in flux. We all can grow each other in different ways at different times. Some growth patterns are more favorable, more sustainable and healthier than others. Some relationships have lifespans - and some can last a lifetime. You learn to roll with it, see what comes up in the spontaneous moment, commit to taking care of yourself, delight in your other and (as Rob Brezsny says) "Pluck all of life's non-crappy treasures" while it lasts.

7. What's on your Man List?

I'll spare the 47 details, but it includes the essence of who I want to bring into my life and the muy importante aspect of mutual into-you-ness: someone who I adore and who adores me back with the same intensity. The nitty gritty preferences boil down to this equation: one divine partner = one part yogi, one shot brilliance, plenty of play, one part mountain man, one part artist, and one big pure heart.

8. What's your fantasy?

It involves a hot chocolate mess, with extra chantilly.

Friday, February 26, 2010


A while back, while I was making out with a boy, it was so hard for me to stay present and enjoy it all simply because my mind was spinning with all of the paranoias from the last relationship I was in. All of the critiques and non-flattering comments were flooding my brain in the presence of the new-cute-kissing-partner - as if I was bracing myself for this beautiful new beau to start saying the same things I'd heard so many times before in the unhealthy part of relationships past.

It was then that I realized that being with another other - after being with an other of significance for so so long - takes some getting used to. Mainly - getting used to the thorns and projectiles that you throw out to protect yourself from experiencing any amount of hurt again. (And it made me think on the flip side: Why am I listening to these repeated critiques from the past so seriously? Why did they stick so deeply in my memory...? Especially when they came from someone who was projecting his own stuff onto my lovely self...)

Whether you're the one projecting your stuff onto your other of the moment, or you're the one on the receiving end of such projectiles of emotional / psychological baggage, it's difficult to stay clear about what's going on and to not take anything to heart - especially in the vulnerable closeness of relationship (and the newness of budding relationship).

If this emo-baggage isn't checked at the curb and handled appropriately - we'll never be able to see who's really shining in front of us because we're too busy tossing our shit at them for whatever twisted and unresolved reasons we hold on to. That's the dose of Kryptonite it takes to destroy a relationship. How do we work with this - in ourselves and our other - when this arises?

A fun new blog called Kryptonite Cupcake Theory talks about an aspect of these thorns and projectiles in their first posts (plural due to the partnered nature of this blog's authorship: Two star-struck souls in love with life and each other, with a twist of "He said, she said").

She said: "In any relationship, there’s a period of adjusting…of teaching the other person how to treat you and helping them deal with your trigger points. I have many of them, and I know you do too. I think a lot of our fighting is testing the other person…seeing how much they want this…making sure they’re not like the other people who disappointed us so badly.

"And I think, a lot of the time, we fight because we both have a certain amount of expectation about what this new person is going to do. It’s based on those old people, sometimes. So, instead of me taking what you say at face value and assuming your innocence, I am holding you accountable for all those bad behaving others who came before you. Because on some level, I’m protecting myself from them when I’m interacting with you. You might not know how to say it in the way I need to hear it. You might not speak my language exactly or understand my motives yet. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t right. And that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. It’s just a matter of being open and not defending myself from threats that don’t yet exist.

"It’s hard. People come into our lives, and they leave their impressions. We get used to being in a certain role. We get used to reacting in a certain way. And it stops being about us…you and me…and it becomes about all the people we aren’t…all those who aren’t. So, how do you love in that crazy, passionate way we do without being harmed by it…without changing to the point of embracing our shadow? How do we stay open and willing to hear and assume innocence?"

He said: "It is so hard to really date one person once you’ve dated others. ... I’m talking about past loves and the imprints our experience with them leave on us. The filters that change how we view the world. But the more we can find the ability to stop the freight train of anger for a moment, to breathe and consider the intentions of this person we really do love – so, so much – and see a glimpse of them through the shady masks of past relationships, the more we can actually deal with the shit that we each do need to address in ourselves, and the more we can relate with complete honesty and love."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

On the mind

If you could ask me one thing right now, what would you ask?

(Send your question. I'll answer over the weekend.)

Monday, February 22, 2010

When you feel it, you know

You know those decisions that seem to pit head vs. heart?

Those ones that start making pro and con lists that go on forever, and so on, ad infinitum? The ones that fixate and mull over the same crux over and over, ad nauseum? The ones that make for really creative answers to your own questionings - and you ramble these same arguments over and over and over to your friends who are sick of the same debate monologue that never creates any action to end all debates?

For example, it might start with an iteration of red flags or other issues, followed by some curious contradictions, and then excuses as to why to ignore all of the above some more: "I just want to be with someone I don't have to emotionally step around. Someone I can be myself with. He still doesn't get me (after all these years). He does this [ insert really awful / hurtful / unhealthy relationship thing here]. He wants me to be someone I'm not. I cry all the time. I'm not getting any younger. But we've made it this far, and there are glimmers of the goodness of what we can be and we must have stuck it out this long for a reason..." ("Tears, really?" you respond as the big-eared friend. "How is that a good thing, again...?")

That nagging battle of rationale and sinking gut instinct leads to pure exhaustion and mind-bottling pressure on the body. Ignoring those inner nudges from another part of your complex nervous system just snuffs your flame - until you can barely recognize yourself.

It's worth reiterating (over and over and over (and over and over and over again)) that in matters of Head vs. Heart - the heart deserves ample air time. Turn it on and tune in to see how it feels. (You'll know.) (You already do.)

As Danielle LaPorte asserts: it's hella rad to say "It just doesn't feel right." And know that is more than enough. (She then enumerates the "Corrosive effects of over-justifying your feelings," which are well worth the tattoo-worthy reminder of how silly all these trains of thoughts are...) Why sell yourself on your own shitty reasons for sticking with something that your heart and soul is just not all up into?

Ah, and this has a flip side, of course, in regards to the good things that flow seamlessly and oh so easily... those things that make you say "yes, yes, oh - yes yes yes" instantaneously and forever.
(Why talk yourself out of it when the heart rings so true?)

Consider this White-(and-feels-so-right-all-over-your-hot-body)-Truth:

"If something felt right, I’d drive all night in a push-up bra to get there. When it really feels right, you go out of your way. When something feels right, you put inconveniences in their place."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The slow tango

I can't remember one tango class in which a pertinent and hella timely life lesson didn't arise in the line of dance practice.

Tonight, as I stood facing my partner, sidled up in the close embrace, and eventually moving through space, my footwork was not lingering enough, wasn't hanging in the moments and musicality.

"Don't rush it," my instructor said. "Make him wait a bit. Don't make it easy. Tango is about playing hard to get..."

And, it was a good lesson for this little moi - because (ala Tom Petty) 'The waiting is the hardest part.'

Turning towards love

I just ventured over to Jake's place and read this lovely note from his lovely heart about his main squeeze and his musings on A Life Full of Love:

"But when someone comes along who understands you, who sees you even through the layers of crap that life sometimes cakes over your true face — who is willing to stand up to your shit firmly yet kindly, and is willing to accept the same from you — not only willing but eager to be challenged, eager to be pushed, eager for growth together… well, how can you turn away from that?

"How can you turn away from someone who can not only keep up with you in every way but sometimes even beat you at your own game? How can you look away from someone who is many of the things you’d like to be, and who looks at you the same way?"

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Check, please.

The imagination is a powerful thing. When it's tied to the heart, it's even more so. As much as I adore the gooeyness of twitterpation, that rush of chemicals that frosts the cakes of expectation eventually stops when a healthy heaping dose of r-e-a-l-i-t-y comes flying at your face.

This scene from (500) Days of Summer is classic:

500 days of Summer - Expectations vs Reality from G. on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

What's holding you back

"...we have only one short life in which to love." (James Joyce to Nora, 27 October 1909)


"What is the code to the lockbox on your heart?" she asked. "I've lost my key, but I think it's in your pocket."

Get what you need

I've contemplated these riddles for a while: What do you require? What do you desire? (especially when it comes to relationships). I've written about it, meditated on it, collaged about it. I know what I want and need, but I'm also ready to be surprised.

Admittedly, when it comes to boys, I'm not a fan of settling for what doesn't suit you - as you should never (ever) do that. And while the word 'settling' is the titillating word in this title that makes me want to be up in arms (initially), I think the author of Marry Him: Settling for Mr. Good Enough has a great point (view the vid here) as she shatters the myth of waiting for the perfect person and replaces it with the wabi-sabi reality.

In defense of The Project Man Initiative , where we here at PMHQ set out to get clear with ourselves about what we are really looking for in a life partner/co-pilot/lover, etc.: yes, we make the Man List, and we check it twice. But, we're well aware that we'd be missing the point entirely if we put precedence on a stagnant 100 point checklist-that-must-be-met over the inherent brilliance of face-to-face energetics in any meet-cute moment.

Who knows what sparks will fly? What will conflagrate? And what will flop?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Going the distance

Carrying on with my subtle recent theme of baring it all - especially these days when transparency is hip and full disclosure is hot - I've unrobed the notion that fully being yourself is more about just showing up (and thinking about it) - it requires going the distance.

"A little less talk; A lot more action" is the mantra resounding in the inner sanctum of your heartspace, and when the heart's rhythm beats true, you must go with it.

What you do matters. Like any good action-hero word, love is a verb. It moves.

The strumming of heartstrings

Here's a smattering of quotes (lifted from RobB's latest batch of loveliness) about my favorite subject that seem to add to each other when juxtaposed/clustered together - like the delights in a box of chocolates:

"Love sometimes wants to do us a great favor: hold us upside down and shake all the nonsense out."- Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky

"For a relationship to stay alive, love alone is not enough. Without imagination, love stales into sentiment, duty, boredom. Relationships fail not because we have stopped loving but because we first stopped imagining."- James Hillman

"True love is a discipline in which each divines the secret self of the other and refuses to believe in the mere daily self." - William Butler Yeats

"The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves." - Carl Jung

"I love you between shadow and soul. I love you as the plant that hasn't bloomed yet, and carries hidden within itself the light of flowers. I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. Because of you, the dense fragrance that rises from the earth lives in my body, rioting with hunger for the eternity of our victorious kisses." - Pablo Neruda, translated by Stephen Tapscott

And I love you.

This just in, from the fabulous weekly love letters of Rob Breszny:

"Your face is true and your hair is perfect and I love you. You make boats in my dreams and you speak without words and I love you. Your fears unnerve me and your questions amuse me and I love you. I love you not only for who you are, but for the interesting person I become when I'm with you. I say I love you and love you and love you until the words become the constant song of your voice in my head and the original ache of memory in my soul. I love you more than life and death, more than everything that's in between the light and the dark. Do you believe me? Try harder. Do you believe me now? I'm always with you, which is why I know you will never abandon yourself."- PRONOIA

Exploding conversations

Over at Elephant Journal, there's a sweet artsy post that hopes to tease out some pillow talk about the big L O V E in the face of some lively Rorschach-esque watercolors.

Makes you think a little about how and when you talk about such (vulnerable, and real) matters of the heart...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

And then...

She had brazenly delivered her latest love letter.
And let out a deep sigh into the aftermath.
The silence could penetrate rocks.
She listened to the crickets chirping -
And then heard a knock on the door.

Friday, February 5, 2010


While I have a hard time keeping my secret crushes to myself, I also have a smidge of an issue with The Secret (that uber popular book from a few years back) -- as it doesn't go far enough into the excavation of self (read: all the inner work) necessary for a blissed out life.

While this piece over at CrazySexyLife has some Secret name-drops and themes, the essence is essential: You need to create space for what you want, take uber good care of yourself (all of you) in the process (and it's all the process), give good intention and set the expectation (expectation frosts all cakes), because (in the words of Clarissa Pinkola Estes) what you are seeking is also seeking you. Make some room for it.

Create that space for what you want. Create the space to be.

Barring the debate on the existence of soul mates and what they really are, the article's top-ten list is poignant for a simple, beautiful and lovely life. It takes cultivation: preparing the soil, planting the seeds, nurturing growth, vigilant weeding and weathering storms with grace and clarity -- which is all part of the harvest.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Signed, sealed, delivered I'm yours

Inspired by Operation Secret Valentine and (my most favorite, ever) the fragments of Sappho, I harnessed my inner girl and busted out this little ditty after a long meditation for a you-know-whom.

There's nothing like the heartpouring out from twitterpated inspiration & exuberance. Why stop it? It feels so good.

yes she said and again yes and his hands and yes she said again she said yes

I like the idea of anonymity being at the heart of the Valentine's tradition. Sometimes it just helps to write a letter to the ether, to yourself, to a future someone, or to someone you adore from afar but you're not sure where their heart is at.

Write it out, offer it up, give good intention and open up the mystery. Who doesn't love a good riddle? I bet someone would love to hear from you.

Here's my secret valentine: 'hold that line.'

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Let 'em in on your secret heart

"This very secret
That you're trying to conceal
Is the very same one
That you're dying to reveal
Go tell him how you feel
This very secret heart"
- Feist, Secret Heart

I'm no stranger to delivering random love note compositions, dropping subtle hints and gushing impromptu crazy crush confessions. It's almost become my modus operandi, and I'm fairly certain that I've managed to stun a handful of unsuspecting guys.

And I do this because life's too short to NOT say something ("Say what you gotta say," sings John Mayer and his Grammy), and after all, what have you got to lose? Nothing (as long as you're not all stalker-freak about the delivery).

On the other hand, maybe I resort to this because the ambiguity is just too much. You know, that whole "I think you're the most amazing thing ever, etc." feeling that wells up everytime you see them and you kinda wonder if the direct object of those affections has any clue whatsoever -- and more importantly, what might they be thinking about you?

We have so many inhibitions to sabotage potential and possibility. It's always nice to untie them, and see what happens.

Enter Operation Secret Valentine. Up for this lovely challenge? Here's the warm-fuzzy red badge of courage and where to sign up:

The best damn thing

Have you ever done something 'ballsy'? Why does the incantation of boy-parts come to mind when doing audacious courageous things? No one ever says "harness your inner girl." Yet, compared to the intensity of being a woman, ballsy-ness is a little limp.

Eve Ensler urges us to embrace our inner girl @

Sunday, January 31, 2010

It's not complicated

While processing the latest in field work reports and sorting through a stack of mixed messages with a colleague from PM HQ, I decided it was time to re-visit the gospel of Greg Behrendt and bask in the most simple truths of masculine actions or lackthereof.

According to Greg, he's just not that into you if:

1. he's not asking you out
2. he's not calling you
3. he's not dating you
4. he's not having sex with you
5. etc.

Because, he says, "if a (sane) guy really likes you, there ain't nothing that's going to get in his way."

"So what does normal look like?" I asked my cohort, needing a refresher about how clear these matters can indeed be.

Not wasting a second, she started the litany of testaments. "He wants to talk to you - for hours. He can't have enough of you. He thinks about you constantly. He admits all of this and tells you how wonderful you are. He can't wait to see you again - and asks when he can see you again - he shows up. He's continually asking you questions and wants to know more about you..." she paused. "Basically, he knows he wants you."

I smiled and was reminded that the heart doesn't talk logistics, doesn't rationalize, has its own schedule and perhaps isn't always fair. There's rarely any ambiguity about the heart's affections.

"The beginning of any relationship is that gooey-hot-chocolate-love that doesn't have a day-planner," she continued. "You want someone who's over the moon for you. There's so little hesitation in that."

But, oh - how often do we get so caught up in matters of head vs. heart? And how often do we let the head win?

Secret heart

She took in the textured richness and breadth of each day's fullness and delighted in her most trusted friendships. She took great care of her mind and body and carved out a space in this life consistent with her most heartfelt values and visions. She was complete unto herself, and yet she had room in her heart that she wanted to share with an other of great significance.