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