Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Driven crazy

I just embarked upon Thelma & Louise style road trip to the West Coast via Vegas. As we left colorful Colorado behind and entered the varied landscapes of Utah, I realized that I felt good. I let out a calm breath as I scanned the vista of the place that held so many memories for me. And then it hit me: for over the past half-decade I've always touted and advertised how much I despised driving, but I was having fun on this delightful road trip while feeling at ease. "Why is this so different from all the other road trips I've had with my significant other in which this was not the case?" I asked out loud to my co-pilot.

According to our respective men, neither of us had ever driven for more than an hour on a road trip and on a good day couldn't read a map and were probably not going to make it to our first day destination in the south of Nevada -- oh, and Utah is desolate for miles and miles, by the way, so we should have a back up plan.

We mused what it was like when we would drive and the boys would ride along: constant commentary from the passenger seat, criticisms, demands, abrupt questioning, gripping the 'oh shit' handle.... Egad. Nothing but stress and distraction for someone trying to operate a vehicle from point A to point B safely.

Who would want to share driving responsibilities when scenarios unfold like that?

"Fine." we say, "YOU drive." And we hand over the keys and try to stifle it in the other front seat. And thus, we resort to what my delicate flower of a significant other likes to call Driving Miss Daisy or Driving the Bus.

Stop the bus, stuff it, and move over, Hoke Colburn. We'll take the wheel from here, thanks.

With limited maps, good conversation and a solid sense of direction, we arrived safe, sound, sane and ahead of schedule each day of our 'ill-fated' adventure.

We talked about big things, little things, listened to good music, analyzed lyrics, we advised and questioned each other with grace and kindness with sensitive vulnerable issues and hard questions we faced. We solved the world's problems and drew up a plan for a peaceful world domination and harmony in less time than the current administration. And, we talked about how we dreaded road trips with our past significant others. "How big of a turn on would it be to have a great road trip with a guy? Do they even have any idea?" we mused...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Fools rush in

I asked my therapist what he felt the ideal course of a relationship should be. He said that the courtship period of a relationship is undervalued in this culture. In his view, there should be a 3-6 month get-to-know-you period before getting in the sack.

Based on my casual research on courtship in America, I kinda hafta agree with him. These days, pre-relationships seem to move at the speed of "How soon can I make you comfortable enough to have sex with me?" instead of peaking infinite curiosity in the midst of attraction such as: "Who are you - and are you a good fit for me and my personal growth?"

Sex-too-soon complicates things by putting out feelings of attachment to someone you may not even want to be attached to, chemically speaking.

But this is where others fear to tread: According to my therapist, there are 5 main topics that a couple looking for an intimate partner needs to agree upon (or fully respect the others position) not only before the M-word, but before things start getting hot and heavy on the physical plane: religion, children, money, sex and marriage.

It sounds so catholic and processed. Where's the heat of the moment, the passion - right? But energetically speaking, it can take the aura up to 7 years to clear from each sexual partner that we have due to the deep emotional imprints of each relationship or encounter. That's a long time - and also a testament to the power of intimacy.

Separation anxiety

A schism of sorts is upon me in a matter of days. I don't know what to expect besides more closet space and one less piece of furniture. The timeline is indeterminate as of now - one to three months.

I have my wits about me and am fairly grounded about all of this, but I am wracked with subtle questions. Can I wait that long? Will anything change in the interim? What will happen in the space between?

I sense that a dissolution is happening, perhaps it is already underway. But in this moment there are no definites. No certainties.

"The waiting is the hardest part." - Tom Petty

Loving & leaving

It's scary to leave a relationship when we're comfortable and content even though we know in our heart of hearts that it leaves us terribly unfulfilled in ways we may not be able to articulate. You can tell yourself things are so wonderful, but inside at the core you know you're not happy. You can tell yourself that you are loved, you have posh idyllic digs and dishes, someone to come home to, nothing to really gripe about. But a nagging voice echos a resounding truth from deep within and cannot be muted for long -- lest she wreak havoc on the body to get your attention.

Is this yet another battle between head vs. heart? How incredible is it that the heart gets shushed by the head all too often, for way too long? The heart whispers her veraciousness from what we pass off as the pools of emotion -- those ethereal pools that don't always get cred on the map that our head puts together.

"A map is more unreal than where you've been or how you feel" - Feist

Friday, July 25, 2008

When love isn't enough

Earlier this summer and within the span of 24 hours, two distinct friends of mine in two separate conversations on two wholly different days echoed the same sentiments while musing on the topic of relationships: "Sometimes love just isn't enough!"

Today, an articulate friend from many memories out west emailed me a sweet little ditty full of rich thoughts about his latest love gone awry that pondered this very same statement and called one of Lennon's quintessential lines into question:

"I came across this the other day and I've been thinking about it a lot regarding my last breakup. She and I got along really well; we enjoyed each other's company and had similar values and interests and each of us had a lot to love about the other. That's what's important, right? John Lennon (along with most of the western world) sang "love is all you need," right? Except that he wasn't talking about me and my girlfriend. Love is what gets people into trouble because it only accounts for half of a person: the half that we don't want to do without. I love Her smile, I love Her laugh, I love that She won't take any crap from me… When you love someone you only see the best of them. Lennon said we need only love because that what we need as a community, as a people, as a world. Love is what lets us see the best of someone who is different from ourselves and maybe befriend him instead of fearing him for the ways he's different.

In the end, I think that She and I fell apart because we had more love between us than understanding. Love is an act of putting someone on a pedestal, of enhancing what is desired and denying what is not. We needed our love to have romance between us but we also needed an understanding of each other's whole self. We needed a better friendship to know how to give each other the benefit of the doubt, to have faith that the other's intentions are the best and to know how to forgive each other not because the love we shared outweighed our failings, but because of the value of our relationship. We each lost the other because we had more love between us than friendship.

Anyway, here's what got me thinking about all this:

"It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages." - Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche's a lot more concise than I am."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The science of love, and the future of women: by Helen Fisher

The beautiful club

"The beautiful people have it so lucky," my friend Brian says.

My friend Bella belongs to the beautiful club. Tall, slim, perfect skin, long dark hair with the buoyancy of natural curls, a great personality and smarts, and a smile that shows in her eyes. She has the casual elegance that you'd find on the pages of J.Crew or Banana Republic.

Doors are opened for her by eager men. Waiters fumble and drop things in her presence. People forget what they were saying when she walks into a room. Heads turn when she strolls down any street. Complimentary drinks and dishes are bought for her willingly. Tips add up fast when she's working the floor at her restaurant job.

She looks like any number of female celebs from any number of roles on any given day. While sitting at the bar for lunch at a restaurant, a waiter trying once said ever-so-delicately to her: "Excuse me, Beautiful, so you want sugar and cream with your coffee?" And I knew he was just trying to decide if he should call her Anne Hathaway or not.

Back in high school, while I was fawning after the tall, dark, handsome, fit and more mature guys(you know, the ones in their 20s) and could rattle off a handful of crushes, she once looked at me with nothing but good intentions to redirect my affections to objects that knew I existed, and said: "You need to shop in your price range."

This made sense on many levels: I would probably not land Brad Pitt, so I probably shouldn't even concern myself with that delusion. Such young energies could be channeled elsewhere for less hopeless pining and more mental space for more realistic delusions.

While I never spent too much time preening myself back then, er, well... ever, I wasn't one of those kids that you wouldn't sit next to on the school bus even if there were no seats left. I'm a wash and go kinda gal. I look 5-10 years younger than I am, and what I lack in physical stature, I make up for in spunk and brain power. But nevertheless, classified with all diminutives and little things, and not sure if I've ever been taken wholly seriously.

Later in life, I've determined that if there can be a 'beautiful club', then I must certainly belong to the adorable club. It's like the beautiful club, but cuter.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Waiting for a good O

Sex complicates things. So does trying to talk about it over instant messenger while at work. Sometimes an email sent ex post facto of an IM session gone awry in hopes to clear things up doesn't always get the point across, either. Sigh. And, in the meantime, I'm still waiting for a good O.

SUBJECT: Let me explain
Date: spring 2003
To: him
From: her

Re: "...but the thing is, I am interested."

So, you said you were interested. Well, I'm calling all interested parties...there's just so much to say. Let's pick up where we left off: talking about sex re: what works, what doesn't, what isn't, what does and/or very well could, and why this conversations are to be had in the sanctity of rapt attention.

Sometimes it is hard to talk to you, whether via msn or face to face. Even on the phone at work it sucks to try to talk because you are doing so many things at once, all at the same time, in perfect ADD fashion. Work is no place for these discussions anyway. And sometimes, you can change a subject so fast that I am left wondering what the hell I was just talking about that the conversation took off on another tangent entirely. Even though you ARE listening, to the person talking (me) it is difficult to pick up the "I am being listened to" vibes. And it feels like I am talking for the sake of talking, and you are not in the same conversation long enough to really dive into the conversation and get a feel for the concerns. And it is frustrating when it feels like the reaction that I do get is a reaction to a point that was not a main concern. Then it really makes me wonder what happened to the listening half of the party. And it does get frustrating. (did I mention that?) It is like I am there, but only there to get done or finished or solved in a very 'project' sort of way. Not everyone works on the short synapses and lightning fast responses that a well-oiled multi-tasker can respond with. It's a different mode of course, a slower one. A fine-tuned ear.

Simultaneously, it is about the connection part of the communication. The connection that holds the conversation together, the glue of the dialog. It takes two to dialog, not as sultry and sweaty as a tango, per se, but it instills just as much in terms of an erotic connection. I was trying to get to this point when the MSN convo went down the crapper. Sometimes I feel that the connection is lost on matters beyond the coital act. That sometimes it is not about the O, but the little touches and excitations, before and after your O. It makes me feel more like I just shared something with you rather than feeling like a good moist hole. Sometimes it is as simple as pillow talk. Or something where I know you want to understand where I am, want to find me where I'm at, laugh with me there, some response connecting from your end. Something so I dont feel like a squeaky blowup doll with gumby parts. That's where the grocery list gets written.

I don't want to say that I get that feeling like a sidedish everytime, but there are many times when I feel like I could be any warm moist hole underneath you. I realize that it is difficult for you not to lose all coherence with the warmth of the apple pie. And maybe I am still clinging to some meaning that doesnt exist in sex, as you have stated before, but seriously: without an intense sense of connection, I can feel like a whore for your pleasure only. And that is not right. It takes two to tango.

If your interest perks in regards to how I feel about sex with you, then here it is as candid as I can make it. There's no quick and easy formula for this, but I can point off little things that do rub me the right/wrong ways, so to speak. That may be more simple than going down and tongueing depths of the Mysterium Tremendum for answers.

What works is as individual as the women themselves. I am a new open book -- and more than just a two page picture book. I have obviously not found what unlocks the full explosive potential of the mighty O. You are my first. There have been times which the clit was raving, and the tremors began in the vaginal walls, the blood was surging. Sensations started to woft up my body, like a sublte wave. Sometimes something made me shudder. Sometimes it would vanish faster than it came. Sometimes it was building, and then you came first. That sensation came from down there being warm, lubed, and pulsing with hearty circluation. A feeling that something was working, was flowing. It was rhythmic, undulating, like waves crashing upon the shore. Like the deep pulse of blood through the heart... But that's as far as it got. A lot of those times, I really felt like I was almost on the same page as you. We were crashing on each other's shore, or riding the wave together, and then you just ended.

Funny thing about that clit, it needs attention - but don't stop there. There are times when the spontaneity works, and there are times when I feel so not ready physically, like I can't catch up to your extent of warmed-up'd-ness as fast as you get there. I need to be primed, to wake up the sensitivity everywhere, to make the back of my knees goose-bumpy, to make my toes curl with giddyness. I need the sorts of touches and tingles that wake the nerves, and help my thoughts reside for a while and relax into the realm of sensation. I always feel like finding you after a yoga session. There is a relaxed and subtle energy that makes wanting to be laid a desired next session.

PS: Sorry to meddle in your astrological blessings, but how rowdy is this?

ARIES: I've been scouring herbal textbooks and tantric literature to find out if there's such a thing as a labor-intensive aphrodisiac -- in other words, a stimulus that would inspire you to work hard to become a fantastic lover. I'm not saying your amorous skills are inferior, Aries, just that there's room for improvement. The coming weeks will be an excellent time, astrologically speaking, to apply yourself to this worthy project. And if I do run across that labor-intensive aphrodisiac, I'll let you know. In the meantime, pursue the leads that your intuition provides. And remember this: The capacities that make you a great lover have only marginally to do with physical techniques and mostly to do with emotional intelligence and spiritual ingenuity.

And remember this part: The capacities that make you a great lover have only marginally to do with physical techniques and mostly to do with emotional intelligence and spiritual ingenuity...this is what I was trying to say all along.

Do not disturb

According to the myths of India, waking someone up from a dream is like disturbing a 25 year coitus.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

This is your brain on love

The Brain in Love: a TED talk by Helen Fisher:

Maybe Robert Palmer rocked it right way back then?

"Might as well face it, you're addicted to love."

Lips are always burning


by Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky, from the book *The Subject Tonight Is Love*

I taste what you taste. I know the kind of lyrics your
Soul most likes. I know which sounds will become
Resplendent in your mind and bring such pleasure
Your feet will jump and whirl.

When anything touches or enters your body
Never say it is not God, for He is
Just trying to get close.

I have no use for divine patience -- my lips are always
Burning and everywhere. I am running from every corner
Of this world and sky wanting to kiss you;

I am every particle of dust and wheat -- you and I
Are ground from His Own Body. I am rioting at your door;
I am spinning in midair like golden falling leaves
Trying to win your glance.

I am sweetly rolling against your walls and shores
All night, even though you are asleep. I am singing from
The mouths of animals and birds honoring our
Beloved's promise and need: to let
you know the Truth.

My dear, when anything touches or enters your body
Never say it is not God, for He and I are
Just trying to get close to you.

God and I are rushing
From every corner of existence, needing to say,
"We are yours."

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Callipygian assets

Chiseled, sculpted, taught -- oh my!

Here's a descriptor for savvy people watchers with a penchant for word-smithery:

cal·li·pyg·i·an [kal-uh-pij-ee-uhn] –adjective: having well-shaped buttocks.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Contractual agreements & marital bliss: an excerpt from the wedding diaries

I went to the Shakespeare Festival with a well-traveled friend who posed this question: "Why don't we re-envision marriage as a 5 year contractual period, with the choice to renew or not?"

I had to agree whole-heartedly. I hear about/see too often the relationship that doesn't work, looses zest, and is loosely bonded together by ideals and fear, at which point both spirits have most likely suffered something awful by not honoring themselves and their soul's duty. While there may be a light that never goes out, some spirits dim when their fierce light is hindered or sacrificed.

In which case, the 5-year up-for-renewal-plan is a new take on old bondage. Which makes perfect sense to me on the logical & rational levels. It made me at ease with the process -- since I wrote my cutesy (and honest) vow-poem and there was no "forever clause" in my marital preamble (and of course I added the 'Pete Yorn Clause' which stated that if I was ever alone with the man, I was allowed to make out with him). Best of all, the K-ster was in agreement of this penti-annual re-avowal cycle, and said: "I thought that's what we'd do every year...?" I just smiled as a resounding "yessss" echoed through me.

But I can't say that I was overly detached through the whole thing (was I?). As Ghandi said: "If you want something really important to be done you must not merely satisfy the reason, you must move the heart also." So, I must have felt semi-romantical about it...right?

"Kaizen": an excerpt from the wedding diaries

My horoscope this week mentioned an advertisement for Barclays Bank that read: "Welcome to the never-ending brainstorm session." In the same breath of astrological wisdom, it echoed the similarities to the ethic at Toyota - Kaizen, "a Japanese word meaning "continuous improvement," though it can also be translated as "to take apart and put back together in a better way." A blend of these attitudes is what I recommend to you during the coming weeks, Virgo: *kaizen* meets the never-ending brainstorm."

I just had a spark of illumination while reading this and am wondering how Kaizen relates to what I've been through with my relationship with my main squeeze, and if that is a forever never-ending brainstorm that will deconstruct us and put us back together in a better way sort-of-way? That seems like continuous self-improvement...

I also think it's interesting that in Jewish wedding vows, there is no "till death do you part" clause. And, I still wonder why anyone gets married in the first place. I feel like I've been married for at least the past 4 years, so it comes as little surprise why the honeymoon excitement is lacking for all things party-planning. There is a reason that budding newlyweds can get hitched in record time and think about things later. Because simply: if you think too hard about too many things all at once in the face of all things legally married, you're bound to flip out - at least a little bit.

I find myself resipiscent after having signed the marriage papers. It was at once a relief and a subtle form of entrapment, one that made highly palpable what I had committed myself to. It was a shedding of the weight of all the questioning and analyzing, and a refreshing step forward, instride with my special K in a way that (I daresay) we hadn't been in a long time. There was a part of me that was pleasantly surprised by that last bit, and the little skeptic on my shoulder squawked something in regards to how long that would last... Time will tell. But the trappings of this situation weigh differently than the pressures of "are we going to do this, or not?" ... and the subsequent banter that ensued. I feel like I've shut the gate on that issue, obviously resoving to carry on into other pastures, with new fencelines to learn and other gates to cross.

Avowel: an excerpt from the wedding diaries

I have the David Gray song, Tidal Wave in my head. It's a rhythmic, delicate and fluttering tune. And it's short, which makes it perfect for an all eyes are on you wedding dance song that might be in my future unless I can be a peaceful warrior and passively resist the first dance ritual.

After my last session with the wonderful and clarifying therapist, I started waxing poetic on what happens in reality and new-agey philosophy when two souls join togetha under the law. Pearls of thought involving words like 'growth' and 'reverence' and 'honor' (which can be challenging nuggets to cultivate and embody) came up.

Perhaps not enough wax on the lovey-dovey poetry lately, but I'm thinking of real metaphors for vowage, since my passive resistance towards more traditional views inclusive of ceremony are clearly at great odds and simply not working. I'm afraid that my iconoclast nature will have to surrender to the ways of tradition, unless I can harness my inner bridezilla, and though I'm not quite sure where she's at, I'm pretty certain she's an iconoclast too. As resistant as I am to ceremonial hoopla, I read a passage or two in TRUCK: A Love Story that eased my mind. If Michael Perry can get hitched the ol' fashion way, maybe I can too...?

"But he needs it for the sake of meaning," I said to my therapist while debating ceremonial pros and cons.

"Ohh," she said. "Then you're going to have to do it... You can do it. Keep it small."

And that subtle invocation made me feel better, as if I could do it all with grace and clarity. And, really, that's the most I could hope for at any given moment.

Later, in a moment of afflatus this vow / poem came to me. It encapsulated all that I could do, and between the lines was an utterance of 'I expect this in return...':

now, avowel

oh k my k
my succulent strawberry, my mirror, my rock
i pray thee, giveth me
a love that is true and honest and brave
and thusly shall I return such love with a love at once raw and unruffled,
expansive and radiant
that will defy love with constant renewal
through the effervescent changing tides, cycles,
and dirty laundry
as we adventure together

"Less Caveman, more poetry"

I am trying to convince my snuggle-buddy that tantric is the way to go. We are energy centers after all, and a little intimacy never hindered anyone's bliss vibe.

I got my haircut a while back with Rob. As always, it was stellar. We talked about a myriad of things, talked through things, saw both sides, came up with more questions, options for solutions. Eventually, we began talking about sex: how some guys want it, just it, and come home thrusting.

"Yeah, that just doesn't work for me." I admitted.

"You mean, you need less caveman, more poetry?" he asked.

"Heck yes. Is that too much to ask!?" I said.

In the movie Trust the Man, there is a scene that I re-lived a couple weeks ago. I wanted to ask some fellow boys in my life a pertinent question along the lines of "So, why would guys think that they should be able to "get some" without being decent grown-up human beings and have a real honest relationship?"

Why can't they look you in the eye? Why the speed and roughness? Why so animal like? Why is it such a problem to have decent foreplay? Why can't we all have tantric sex like Sting? Who wouldn't want to go through some emotional / intimate leg work to have that connection?

Men are not as strong as we give them credit for. They weren't meant to ride with clouds between their knees..."I'm only a man, in a silly red sheet," sings Five for Fighting's frontman.

A friend once told me: "Just remember, that they're not as important as they think they are. All that posturing and what not is just to cover up their incompetence."

(Another once told me: "It's better to have a few good men, than a flock of morons.")

But I really think the question has to do with how men deal with the weight of patriarchy -- the pressures, the ideals, the invisible subconscious programmings that generations of patriarchy has implanted on the male psyche -- a weight that's difficult to shrug off in the space of social convention and convenience because it calls for a paradigm shift and a new way of being in the world and in relation to the world's inhabitants.

Reeling: an excerpt from the wedding diaries

If anyone ever tries to tell you that all things wedding are a stress free piece of cake, please do yourself a favor and laugh them out of the room or ask them what they are on. So far, there is little about this process that is keeping my giddiness for this ritual intact.

I mean, we've bought cars together. We have a dog together. We've bought a house together and have been living in it for 2 years. We've been through long distance, too-soon closeness, graduate school and some bouts of workaholism. But, the question is, can we get hitched? Why does the M-word make things so insanely difficult? What does it change? What will be different? Why are questions that I thought had been answered or had become non-issues suddenly rearing their unsettling heads?

Someone, please tell me. I'm all ears.

For now, I'm in a bit of a tailspin or a whirlwind or both as my mind is reeling with scenarios and possibilities and real-time re-runs.

And my koan for the week, courtesy of my horoscope, is "Spontaneity leads to truth."

Marriage & other demons: a short story of imaginative fiction

"Mind-bottling. Like your mind is trapped in a bottle." - Chazz Michael Michaels

Her emotional pendulum swung from apex to apex. She was torn between moments on both ends of the spectrum, but she sat in the middle and watched the back and forth, the intense ebb and flow. Torn between scenes of comfort and warmth that make forever seem more than possible, that make denying what they have together an incongruous point of departure, a silly incredulous thought (they would look at each other and feel it, the excitement, and the desire to always be in each other's life....), and between feelings and situations that turn the question fountain on full blast, swimming around her head at no moments notice. Scenes that she could imagine happening with near visual clarity as if it's a memory waiting to happen...

She would look at the ring on her finger. It was always a little to big. She would slide it off, look at it and then to him.

She would catch his eye and say: "Why don't you take this."

He would look at it, puzzled and unsuspecting.

"You can use it to buy something you'll enjoy." she would say resolutely.

The music airing in the background provided sentiments for both emo-polarities. One song riffs how 'they won't sleep better alone / no they won't feel better alone' and the next how it was 'easier when we were younger / we could put it back together / it was there if you ever wanted it / but you closed the door / and said good bye for good' and then back to 'someday I'll look into her green eyes / and know that she'll come with me.' And that's only one CD....

There were plenty more songs and lyrics floating around in rotation that would match any current mood and sea change. She wanted to wait out the storms for better clarity, knowing full well that there are no answers in the game of life, but there had to be ways to relax the pressure and the need for a hasty decision.

Dress you up in my love: an excerpt from the wedding diaries

I walked this morning with a fun friend who related an overheard wedding story to me: A bride and groom asked their parents -- who had been wed for 30 some years -- for marriage advice.

"Have you both ever thought about divorce?" the kids asked.

"Yes, but never on the same day," the father replied.

Ah, this is what I'm signing up for.

Similar themes were brought up at a bridal shower I was at last weekend when the bride asked for advice / words of wisdom from her quaint group of strong friends. The best advice from that circle was (note to self) to cut each other some slack: "As long as you are both moving to the same goal, or the same end, realize that each person will have their own journey along the way, but will eventually end up there. Knowing that you each have your own paths, but that you're moving in the same direction together gives each other room for their own way of [doing things]."

In other news, I've started looking for some cute dresses for the party. We've got 4 postcards back and 6 people are coming -- I don't know who two of them are, either. Anyway, so the dresses: I'm drawn to the iconic, classic, wear-it-again-with different-shoes-black-dresse-with-a-babydoll-cut. To be compliant, I thought I should hold out and find something not-black. So, I could go with something artsy, swishy and cute -- it is at a gallery with bluegrass tunes, afterall. But, the color thing isn't that easy.

I've been online, where you can go to Womens dresses and look at pretty much all the styles out there for 189 pages covering everything from yay & yawn, to pricey & not so pricey. I've decided that some colors and anything too stylish of the times is just to novel and short lived. And I flock back to the black frocks. I'm not saying that I haven't seen some cute dresses, but nothing I would pull off a rack or wear again or actually buy in the first place.

Looking for the perfect dress for any time and all the time is like looking for a divine partner: novelties wear off, but iconicism lasts. Or, maybe, I'm looking too much on the outside. There is a chance that divine partnership is within you rather than residing in something else outside of you. Which all seems like too much waxing esoteric on cute party-wear...

Peradventure: an excerpt from the wedding diaries

I hear the wedding doubts get worse as the day approaches. Just when I wanted to stop thinking about all of this... there are some things in my inbox that make forgetting difficult, such as the recent word-a-days. But on the other hand, invites have finally been sent out, and though there are moments of doubt that linger, it can only be normal, ...right?

previse, v.tr.: To foresee or to forewarn.

premorse, adj.: Having the end abruptly truncated, as if bitten or broken off.

strident, adj.: Loud, grating, strongly expressed.

peradventure, adv.: 1. Maybe; possibly. 2. n. Uncertainty; doubt.

dehort, v. tr.: To discourage from doing something.

Lately, I'm questioning marriage in it's most common form of social extravagance and the heart of its meaning. I could go on a tirade re: "the silliness and the absurdity: How I really feel about all things wedding." I just read some Slate articles from their wedding issue, and I have to say I agree with all of it. Weddings are severely overrated. There is a sick amount of cost involved on this one day. And despite history and common practice, money has everything to do with the day itself, but has nothing to do with the reality of fostering and entering into an aware relationship.

If I had to tout my recent experiences through a class list, it would be as follows:

Us & Them: the myth and the narcissism of "my day" syndrome

Craziness & Emotional Upheaval (see also: theories on Marriage vs. Reality: pre-marital talks & brave questions (see also: personal excavation & 'why am I really doing this?', threat of pre-marital divorce)

Single vs. Couple: a discussion

Compromise 101: Metamorphosis into the sum of the parts, without losing the parts of the sum.

He still talks about getting a tux. I talk about something in Patagonia. Or another cute black dress.

"Nothing in black," he told me.

"But a tux is black," I reminded him.

A wedding is, after all, the death of one thing and a transition into another in some circles of parlance. Really, it's just a party. I've tried to streamline this for my own sanity, the sanity of others, the very possible and attainable simplicity of it all: an overall lack of pomp and circumstance, and a chill evening for the enjoyment of even those who despise going to wedding-related events, like me specifically.

Good vibrations?

I stood in an aisle amidst other aisles of jelly-filled phalluses, looking perplexed. So far, the scenery was doing nothing but freaking me out. Sex has to be more than all of this, I thought to myself. But for the sake of fulfilling my homework assignment, I gravitated to two boxes with contents made in Germany that were unintimidating and...cute.

"Can I help you with anything?" one darling employee asked.

"Yes, I'm looking for the letter O," I wanted to say, though I'm sure my presence in the store kinda said that already.

"Yes, actually. Do these work?" I asked, holding up my selections.

Her face lit up. "Well, I manage returns, and I never see these. I think that's a good indicator..."

I'll take a dozen.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Holding onto what, exactly?

"My fingertips are holding onto
the cracks in our foundation
and I know that I should let go
but I can't"
- from Foundations, by Kate Nash

If we look at relationships as opportunities for intense and focused personal development, the barometric reading of any coupling will naturally vary as events unravel between partners because of love's ebb and flow. Being in a relationship takes work -- not only 'us' work, but individual work.

When the task at hand shifts from 'being perfect mirrors for each other's personal and intimate growth' to 'slaving just to keep the relationship from flat lining,' staying together can become a thankless job.

At what point is it just not worth it to stay in a relationship? And, why is it so hard to leave even though there is such bipartisan unhappiness? What keeps us holding on? Is it the hope for the possibility that things will change? Is it being in love with the potential of our mate, while our mate still leaves something to be desired? Is it being bound and immobilized by "what if's" and "just maybe's"? Fear that the grass is not greener on the other side, anyway? Etc. etc. etc., and so on ad nauseum.

If the history of the relations in question hasn't been learned from, tries have been made, talks have been had, and nothing has changed, why does the moxie to be single again elude us at times? Why would we rather shrink behind a crumbling relationship, than chalk it up to a learning and loving experiment, bid adieu, and move on to shine on like the crazy diamonds that we are?

It takes clarity, balls, and bona fide integrity search within the self enough to own up to the honest truth behind one's inability to let go... and grow. Dredging up insecurities, fears, co-dependency issues, lack of personal empowerment, emotional un-intelligence, parental issues, and other gnarly psycho-emotional baggage isn't ever pretty. But this inner stuff can't be ignored lest you're building a life / relationship with bent nails. With or without a significant other, these self-inflicted interventions are a perennial must-have.

We need to feel breathless with love, not collapsed under its weight (or so sings Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol). This breathless buoyancy is not a heavy list of rationalizations avoiding questions with scary answers. There's a difference between leaving too soon when things get tough, and toughing it out when it's already way past due to leave it all behind. Sometimes leaving is the most loving thing to do -- but not only for the other person -- for you.

Love notes

The enchanting and riveting Griffin and Sabine Trilogy, by Nick Bantock, is a series of creative storytelling of two unlikely lovers revealed through their correspondence. It is the perfect book for a coffee table or a musing gift and is a lovely testament to the art of the love letter.

I wrote a little love letter once to a smart and poetically attune boy on whom I had a sizeable crush in undergrad. After a fury of typing what felt like a dissertation with the thesis of "I think you're the shit" -- and which ultimately begged the question "do you like me, too?.... you know, like that?"-- I delivered it through the winter-spring snow, in broad daylight, and with bravado, to his mailbox. Then I ran back home and waited for a response.

I got nothing as I waited in twitterpated agony that at times hinged of the dark night of the soul.

So the next day -- needing to talk about this crazy thing I just did (I mean, was I too crazy? Did I cross the line? Was I off my rocker?) -- I took it to class, a small seminar contemplating 'What is a Woman' with 3 of my most favorite & trusted classmates and mentors.

"I gave him the letter." I said, exasperated.

"What letter?" they asked. I showed them the 2 page letter in all its stanzas. My professor read through it and looked at me. "well, he's probably never received a letter quite like this...!"

And, he hadn't, of course. But I think it made an impression on him. When he wrote back, it wasn't the answer I had hoped for, but it was kind and honest and just as lengthy a response about the nature of love. I was sated.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ladies first

My therapist's jaw almost crashed to the floor. "You've never had an orgasm?"

I shook my head. "Not in 6 years. I'm kinda done with shitty sex."

I was a late bloomer. I didn't go the distance until I was 21. When the moment came, the maiden voyage wasn't so hot. What followed never seemed to get better. So, I talked myself out of the idea that sex was important -- I mean, I didn't want a dependency relationship based on gettin' in on. I let my mind downplay the importance of incredible lovemaking and settled for an unfulfilling substitute.

"Sex is very important. Good sex, that is. It is the restart button for the Autonomic Nervous System. Are you familiar with the ways of tantra at all...?" my therapist asked, still seemingly floored.

"The Art of Sexual Intimacy was one of first books I picked up once I got started...," I admitted. I was quite familiar with what sex could be. I failed to mention the Hindu Tantra course I took in Grad school, that Daniel Odier was a favorite author, David Deida's work carried the same essential themes, and Sera Beak's The Red Book rocked my world.

But maybe that was the problem: it was all between the pages, and not between the sheets? How can text translate to physical texture? I mean, I could identify anatomy and all, even in real moments. But nothing worked for me - no matter what position I happened to be in. Sex became the 'Ol' in & out', until I saw my partner's O-face and he rolled over and passed out.

When I got my chart read by the vedic astrologer last summer, he told me: "Love is very important to you. You were most likely a practitioner of the left-hand path of tantra in a past life..." The fact that I felt like I knew -- from the depths of me -- that there were greater expanses of lovemaking and intimacy, couldn't be a figment of my very vivid imagination. My soul knew what she needed, and she was not getting served. And, my requests for something greater between the sheets was either met with rejection or frustration. And she was done with that. Done with the lack of intimacy that failed to exist in the space between my partner and I before we even made it to the bedroom.

"Your homework assignment for the week is to have an Orgasm." my therapist said very matter of factly.

"I wish I had that kind of assignment in college," I said, and I set out to put that O back in my alphabet.

Sweet surrender

In his book Intimate Communion, David Deida writes that we are inherently radiant love-bugs:

"Love is native to our being. When you are in love with a man or woman, the love you feel does not come from him or her; it is the love flowing from your own heart that you feel. Your partner is simply giving you an excuse to love. Love is always found flowing in your heart, not in your family, lover, career or art.

"[...] You will suffer the illusion that love is coming to you from someone else, unless you learn how to open your heart and be love, relaxing any resistance and surrendering into the flow of love. [...] to surrender the whole body into the radiant flow of love, so the whole body becomes radiant with love.

"We know love in this moment by opening our heart, relaxing our body and breathing love, now. When we are not closing or adding stress to our heart (when we are not adding defense or resistance), our heart is naturally open. And from our open and unguarded heart, love naturally radiates." (p. 257)