Compassiongreenspun.com : LUSENET : The Garden : One Thread
Dear Cynthia: I believe in compassion and I attempt to practice it. Of course I fall short.
To me, most people do not have a clue really, about what compassion REALLY IS.
It's not the "AW, the poor..." knee-jerk reaction most people equate with the word. That is a form of self-indulgence wherein the partaker assuages his or her own guilt but does nothing for the sufferer in the long run.
To drift into the recently trendy speak: that is in the form of being the sufferer's "enabler" wherein a band-aid is placed on the problem. The sufferer feels good (for a little while) and the "helper" (~not!) feels good for as long as they can remain self-deluded.
Real compassion is more akin to "tough love", and is much more difficult to practice than phony compassion. To practice it one must have the "long view". One must understand that the sufferer will likely continue to suffer even more intensely (for a little while) and (worse still for the self-indulgent) the helper will suffer also along with the sufferer. The practice of real compassion is particularly difficult when there are tender feelings involved, as within the parent-child relationship.
An understanding of compassion has extreme ramifications for parent-child dynamics and I dare say, successful parenting can never be advanced without a healthy dose of it. Nor can real friendships or relationships.
For in the practice of compassion one must allow the sufferer to FAIL. One must do this because to fail is the only way that one can learn from one's mistakes. Compassion involves a letting-go, a surrendering, a release of attachment to the sufferer, the sufferer's suffering, and to one's own suffering. It is not easy. It is easier if you are essentially "clear" inside, with few "issues". But who among us is?
The important thing is too not let YOUR issues impede or impinge upon the liberation of the sufferer from THEIR issues. To drift back into neo-psycho babble, to allow such a negative feedback loop to develop is to cultivate "co-dependency". I've seen it happen so many times among bright, gifted, emotionally needy friends. People who should know better and who, if the just TRIED a different approach to handling their own frailties would become so much more capable of handling life's twists and trurn gracefully and adroitly. Their self-esteem would grow too (as would their esteem in my eyes, not that that means diddley).
Examples abound. The practice of "social promotion" through school is an excellent example of PHONY compassion. "Aw the poor..." But then the student graduates and is unable to compete for jobs in the REAL cruel word. That student might well ask their self "THAT was COMPASSION?" Because it is not. Is is destructive touchy-feely nonsense. Unfortunately "liberals" are more guilty of this type of wrong-headedness than any other political sub-group.
"Give a person a fish and they will eat for a day. Teach a person to fish and they will eat for a lifetime."
"It is cruel to be kind."
OK. Clichés, but perhaps useful here.
To you Cynthia, and you personally, and you alone, and you right now I would say...
Loose you baggage, burn your bridges, and jump.
-- Anonymous, June 29, 2002
I found an hour for a break-fast of words...
On approximately 6/29/02 7:25 AM, you probably wrote:
> I felt bad that perhaps I'd been a bit to harsh with you.
> > I don't want to be harsh at all with you but gentle and loving and
> supporting and (ahem) tender, as you have been with me and have fed me many >
nourishing meals of the heart with your words.
Thank you. It's good to know your Cotton Mather side can be kept in check when I'm slipping past the edge of good taste in the pity-party department. I have learned that I don't do ANYone any favors by stuffing these things.
AND you and I made an agreement early on that we could whine to one another about being lonely, and I assume that must hold open some room for the skeletons in the closet when they start to tumble out now and then.
> Of course I fall short.
> > To me, most people do not have a clue really, about what compassion REALLY
There's a bit stuffed between lines in the Anilogues that mirrors what you say. I know what compassion is. I've held a store on the corner of the poorest neighborhood in the one of the most "excessively compassionate" communities in this country.
I've dealt with legions of people who had very definite opinions about how I should express compassion. Sometimes I'm boycotted and attacked with material consequence for my choices. Since the consequences affect my staff, my family and my neighborhood, my choices have that added pressure of collateral damage.
I do notice people always seem to have thoughts about how OTHERS should express compassion, and yet I also notice that compassion is an intensely personal thing. I don't want to be judged by ANYONE on the manner in which I express my compassion. They have neither the right nor the wisdom to see clearly here, and to pretend otherwise is a fault.
In fact, I've almost determined that when people criticize how I express my compassion (like some "neighbors" over the years), they are actually transferring some guilt onto me for perceived short-comings in their own compassionate response to the world around them.
Others never know what sorts of karmic relationships are playing out. Often, acts of compassion are rituals for the giver and the receiver that operate deeply below the surface, and they simply can't be judged from the outside.
For example, my relationship with Dennis was - in the end - a sort of ritualized re-enactment of what I think my mother may have needed to do with her second husband - the violent one. I certainly wanted her to leave (he beat me, too). By the time Dennis actually hit me, our actions had all the qualities of a performance. It was extremely surreal.
I always said "if mother had left the violence" things would have been different, and they would have been, but I'd never had true compassion for how difficult it was for her to leave, with babies and an inadequate living wage, and how easy it is to put the little violent moment in a box in a closet in your mind (for it pops out, you know - the guy doesn't sit there in a chair with a club) and pretend that maybe it will never happen again.
When Den finally hit me (on top of lots else - you can't imagine the scene in the mountains of Nepal...) it was like I'd reached a place in the ritual where I could finally draw the line and leave. It was as though I was stepping away from violence in the name of my mother, and the small person I once was who needed someone to defend her.
I listed the differences between our situations: I had no babies, we didn't share a household, I wasn't dependent for livelihood. I walked away in her/our name. Den is still a customer. He lives two blocks away. He's affiliated with the Park garden. We talk. He still says he loves me, and wants to date, and every meeting is a struggle to keep the line between us.
For awhile, he made the struggle a game. I've been getting better about saying that part's over, and he just needs to be practical - glad that we can be civil, and even friendly, but not to get confused and think there's anything else beyond that.
I can't begin to tell you how complicated these feelings are. I don't know if you've ever been in these sorts of situations. I don't know if your rules would allow you to get there.
For I've also promised - in the name of true compassion, true mercy, and the honoring of transformation - to leave room for the possibility that someday the person I love may make a terrible mistake and do something to me, or that affects me badly, in a fit of passion that they regret forever. Truly regret. I don't want that to end a life-time investment in a committed relationship, and I'm *willing* to do the very hard work of learning how to forgive without being a doormat. It is NOT black and white. If it is, it's not real yet.
I'm not trying to find a partner that will never make a mistake. I'm trying to find a partner that has enough character to NEVER MAKE IT AGAIN.
It wasn't hitting me that truly ended Den and I (as stupid as that might be). It was the fact that there was fake contrition, and his blaming me for inciting him to hit me, and ZERO grasp of any complexities that he could articulate and face honestly. And I probed for them, which extended the relationship beyond its intelligent timeframe.
Nowadays I wouldn't probe. That might be where the "tough love" comes in. It's more like wisdom, or experience. It says that I understand I will have no influence on Dennis' or Douglas' or my mother's behavior, especially their reactive behavior. They have to be ready to change, and if it's time, then I'll just be the tiny no-effort spark of a catalyst. Anything else means they're not ready. I'm too busy, and now I just move on.
To probe for reasons, and use those reasons to excuse the behavior; to probe for willingnesses to change and feed the person what I want to hear - now THAT is self-indulgent on my part, and is putting off MY work, not theirs. When I'm making excuses for someone, I do know that's about saving my butt from facing change, not theirs.
But what's been happening here, with Douglas, is particularly potent for he's the second of my two longest relationships to have come to me with regret for a way of being together that didn't serve us. Of course, I HAVE to look at my role in this, for I don't want to continue poor interpersonal habits in my next relationship, and I only get the opportunity to look through another's eyes when we're reconnected.
Both Douglas and Galen say they didn't give enough. They weren't open enough. That's true, and they're right, but I also think this points to ME.
I think that I didn't give enough - not to them, as "men" - though I did MUCH better with Douglas than with Galen. If I want to be given to as a woman, then I need to give to my man, as a man. Sure, he's an individual first and foremost. And he's a soul, and a spirit, and a vessel for the gods. But he's also a man. He's a beast - a creature - and, as a woman, I have the chemistry that completes that.
I've been afraid to go there because of all the baggage in the attic. I have to cut myself a little slack, because I don't know how much of the baggage I put there, and how much others trundled up my stairs. But I'm still the only one who can unpack it and get it out.
Imagine being very tuned into other peoples' deepest thought impulses. Imagine meeting an attractive, open-armed free-spirit - a volatile gas with one little electron in her outer shell - easy to pull into your orbit when you tap into your own sincere desire for connection; easy to fling off when you're done.
Imagine what happens when *zing* she gets in, and sees what's really there, and has the brain and processor speed to describe it to you, and all the sudden you're in a mirror. The beast in you is fascinated. The demi-god in you is appalled. You strike out. You hurt her. It feels good to control the mirror.
And it's not a clean mirror - because it's you, and it's she/me, and you're human - so it's easy to dismiss, or to denigrate. It's sort of like a fun-house mirror; you see yourself, but it's distorted, and you know it. You could do the work of working with her, and entraining, and clearing the mirror of HER bends and turns - the beatings, the rapes, the looks, the words, the abandonments - but that would require that you look at yourself more honestly than you have yet. Are YOU up to using the mirror? It's a question that has not yet found an answerer.
> That is a form of self-indulgence wherein the partaker assuages his or her
> own guilt but does nothing for the sufferer in the long run.
Yes, I agree - this is certainly the overall trend. Just hard to pindown from the outside, as it applies to any specific instance.
> The practice of real compassion is particularly difficult when there are
> tender feelings involved, as within the parent-child relationship.
I agree. The same is true with our generic feelings of misanthropy. To become the species haters that I see us becoming is very difficult for me, and I know it's because we're not practicing handling the hard feelings that come with being truly compassionate toward our species - not enabling, but compassionate - and this is a very deep subject for me, and undergirds a lot of "Chasing Spring".
> For in the practice of compassion one must allow the sufferer to FAIL. One
> must do this because to fail is the only way that one can learn from one's
> Compassion involves a letting-go, a surrendering, a release of attachment to
> the sufferer, the sufferer's suffering, and to one's own suffering. >
It is not easy.
> It is easier if you are essentially "clear" inside, with few "issues".
> But who among us is?
And who can know best when the sufferer must fail?
Was it that little chipmunk's "time" - he made a miscalculation and it was just a culling of the herd of chippies that can't gauge truck speeds accurately? Or must we help the sufferer because what they REALLY need to pick them back up is ONE MORE HAND - when they don't deserve anything at all - to learn that love exists in the world? Or do we do nothing, and in THAT still do something, and in our choice for how we exercise our will do we remember to notice that we still choose our world?
I don't know anything for sure, here, Daniel.
So I help others when it works for me. I help when there are lessons for me to learn. I help when I have the energy, and I pray constantly for the tests to be simple enough, and for my desires to be in alignment with the good of the whole...
> I've seen it happen so many times among bright, gifted, emotionally needy
> friends. People who should know better and who, if the just TRIED a
> different approach to handling their own frailties would become so much more
> capable of handling life's twists and trurn gracefully and adroitly.
Again, I tend to chalk this up to "other lessons" they're getting. I, too, refrain from much advice. Well, I have a reputation for no-nonsense, so when people are needing advice around me it's pretty to-the-point. I don't have people who confide in me much, so when they do I know they're feeling pretty desperate. (you have to be to come to the dragon-lady :-))
Douglas is through his bad spell. He's vulnerable to brain-chem mood swings. I gave him a new mantra (he asked for one). He's counting his blessings, for it's hard to be depressed when you have to make a list of your riches, especially when you see yourself in a global context.
I have no interest in re-kindling our past involvement. (and please don't call him a "pathetic worm". cheez...one might think you were almost jealous, Mr. Henklein...)
> Their self-esteem would grow too (as would their esteem in my eyes, not that
> that means diddley).
Actually, in my eyes, it means a lot. Several times now you've mentioned that you don't find something "attractive" - neediness, misplaced-compassion, whining - and I have to work to hear it in a balanced way. On one level, it can be a kind of threat that seeks to control my behaviors that you might find distasteful - a warning that I won't get your goodies if I exhibit "bad" stuff. Luckily, I probe...still. For I very much want to know who you are, and what you need, and what it is I may be carrying for you that's still in mystery.
I want you to think well of me. I don't want you to despise me because you see my rougher places. You don't see them because you're a great sleuth (though I bet you are!), uncovering things I want hidden - not yet, though you're perceptive, and that engages me and has promise. (You do play well).
You see hidden things - at least, the ones you've mentioned - because I reveal them to you.
I reveal them to you because I want you to know me. I'm willing to have YOU know me deeply, risky as that is, especially with only words that you and I wield like swords, pricking with points that draw blood in the flush of the joust.
Handle me with care.
> To you Cynthia, and you personally, and you alone, and you right now I would
> Loose you baggage,
> burn your bridges,
> and jump.
Leave all that I've built? Leave the edifice that sustains me, and binds me with the responsibilities I've created by creating IT?
Should I leave it ONE MORE TIME for the lure of the Edge, the flame that I could beat myself upon, another moth pushing as close to the habit of immolation - like the "excessively tattooed" - as it can possibly get? Does right brain win?
What about my duty to my community? My duty to my daily life and obligations? And do I abandon huge social capital with a clear conscience, when I have no material to my name? Where else will I ever have the experience of being known by thousands of people, and of being respected for doing years of very hard, mostly thankless work? Do I move on from that?
Do I go out into the world, middle-aged, with no means of material support unless I become dependent upon another or be willing to waitress for rent money, and leave my world of material self-reliance behind?
Or is the work to remake myself inside the existing context - to sort the baggage and not just burn down the house because it has an attic? The latter is what I've been working on. The former would be so easy, but you and I both know the real baggage would follow me forever, till the bags were unpacked and the stuff put away.
It's not my fear of leaping that keeps me back, Daniel. If things were different here, and if I didn't have so many obligations, I'd be in Texas by now, touching you and furthering this connection we have between us.
No, it's the work of staying that keeps me here. The job of not quitting is the harder thing. As much as I'd like to, sometimes, and as hard and lonely as it gets. And you make that even more poignant, for we're stuck in our respective kingdoms, you and I - a continent apart, in the old distrances - and we're bonded by service. We may, indeed, grow to love each other but that doesn't release us from our bonds.
This is what I mean when I imply that my world may not hold a partner again. Sure, there's an element of poor-me - a wondering about whether or not I'm good enough, for it seems I would have found someone here - but primarily, this is about a resignation into the duty I've created for myself.
Believe me, I'm applying every ounce of brain power to proper extrication. I'm not beginning any new relationships. I'm cultivating my connection with you, and you're a magnet to me, drawing me out, giving me strength to stay focused on the leap.
I'm working to sell the store - and so the set-back we had with financing on Thursday hurts, and scares me. I've got to get the plants settled in the park and the arboretum before I leave. I've got to get the paths in, and things labeled, and the last of the pots in. I've got to fix the accounting system, and transition it to a PC program (next months' job). I've a huge list. It's July. Winter's next.
And how do I turn down people who are great musicians and want me to make music with them NOW? How do I take care of my soul, when I have no one to hold me or be here daily? I have to hold myself, and so I go dance and I sing, and I make music, and I fly around in my little cage, staring at the mountains sometimes, and trying not to think too much about the songs out there...
> Loose you baggage,
> burn your bridges,
> and jump.
-- Anonymous, June 30, 2002
Responses here - one at a time:
I love the fact that I can find these little moments, during the course of my day (which is why they're so long, and fat, because I fill the interstices up with letters and art and all sorts of tasks and errands and plate spins - remember that guy on the Lawrence Welk show that used to spin the plates on the poles?) - and just dash some thoughts off to you and put them here, in the garden. This is a pretty ingenious little vessel, isn't it?
Yeah there were some mixed messages in there. The jump part was more about leaving behind the old stuff than choosing anything particular from among the new stuff. It was about Burning Man too. There I can be non-specifically enthusiastic for you (I hope) without empossing to many of myown wants/needs/projections.
I hear that. I chose to use your comment to run me more deeply into the connundrum I'm facing here, with all the mixed messages in my OWN field about leaving vs. not leaving.
I don't know if my leaving is the responsible thing to do, Daniel. Don't get me wrong - I'm not backtracking. But I DO look at a lot of sides to a thing, even when I'm in the middle of doing it. And I just want to be sure I'm FINISHED with the stuff I need to be done with before I go.
Early on in our talking you said something about me running away. Maybe you picked up on a subtle truth. I'm trying not to, and it's hard not to when I'm exhausted and fed up. OTOH, if I'm not running away, then why am I going? The list above makes it seem as if leaving this area, and all that I've built, is the most irresponsible thing I could do. And then again, maybe it's time to be irresponsible. Kind of ironic, huh? I'm trying to finish up all my responsibilities so I can go be irresponsible. God, what's that say about ME?
My current reasons for going - beyond the tiredness - run more along the lines of general disatisfaction, coupled with no place that I want to put down roots here, and no fellow to do that with. I can't say the Willamette Valley sucks, but it doesn't move me. I told John that I was ready for bigger vistas, for panoramic scenery that pulls me out into it - maybe some of what moved Georgia O'Keefe.
**I like your idea for a house. It seems like it would be a temple, of materials perfect for the kind of environment that might be good to live in for awhile. It seems like the sort of building that one needs when one spends a lot of time closer to the power of our Star. Can it have a spring, maybe in the courtyard?**
I need something to go TO. That's part of the reason for Chasing Spring. I know the book will pull me on, but as I plan for moving on, I get surprised at some of the boat anchors and barnacles hanging off me. I need a Winnebago or something just to load my technical life into. (Now THAT would be a trip. I wonder if I could strip down a motor home enough to house my technical life? Wannanother projek?)
There's a part of me that feels obligated to stay here, and just live in the stew of all that I'm surrounded by. It would be wrong to split while thinking I'm leaving a - how did you say it so eloquently? - "hippie sinkhole". ;).
Let's talk about that for a minute. I was thinking yesterday about why you and I are lining up. I know it's for a reason. I just don't see what it is yet. If we're lucky, it could be for a bunch of reasons, in sequence, that keep leading to each other, like some giant cosmic treasure hunt, and it could go on for a really long time.
But I bet ya for sure one of those reasons has to do with something WE have in common, from around here in the Willamette, in this sinkhole that you're still carrying some smidgen of - yes, out with it - BAGGAGE around with you. (Maybe you had to go to the Blue Heron because you were enroute to the Red Barn, and just took a detour a couple of years before I came to town. Maybe you smelled me coming and ducked. You know, I had terrible allergies when I first came here and this year they're almost gone.)
So, I bet you we're going to be surprised by some commonality in community. Or baggage. Don't you find that we're often drawn to those that can help us elucidate some next thing we need to work on? Given the portents, it seems like whatever vortex is swirling us into itself is powerful and big - sort of like a huge serpent's tail doing a slow uncoil in the deep underneath our swimming selves, and we feel this little tug and wonder...
That's why it's so important to touch these places with love, don't you think? If we harbor the best intents, then it's like you said weeks ago:
If love is not reciprocal you are WRONG or FOOLISH but still beautiful.
You go back to the well,
you wait for the water of God and grow green (and inoccent again) as grass
in the spring.
If winter comes no matter you will grow again.
I like that. I draw good strength from that. Let's remember and believe that, ok? I'm all right with being wrong or foolish. I know we're playing with fire. But it's not like this is new for us, right? It's more like it's the Burning Man - graduated from the little stick and string beachcomber's bonfire and into a sophisticated construct that is hugely planned but always and inevitably on the edge. You don't know when an arm will blow up early. You don't know when something will go WRONG. So you work, and you communicate, and you plan, and you hope, and you build it, and you see what happens...
So, I can jump. Thanks for being willing to burn a little. Thanks for being willing to say the hard stuff, and keep it in check, and heat up, and look for the coolant, and do all the stuff necessary to run this part of the course in top form.
You said I should "toughen up", and that some serious ride was coming. You're right. I'm gonna. Thanks for holding out your hand.
: : :
-- Anonymous, July 01, 2002
So you wrote:
>Me NOW. US now. You ZINGED me. What? You do this a lot? You do this to all the men you meet? No: wrong. You do this to all the men you become involved with? Or start to become involved with? Or enter into a loving relationship with?
Well, you've really asked a doozy of a question here, my friend. In the name of continuing the full monty, and at the risk of stimulating a jealous response here - but I'm confident you wouldn't have asked these questions if you didn't *really* want to know, so I'm sure you'll deal with it all - I'm going to take my evening time left before bed and answer them.
Some people watch Letterman. I write Letters.
>Me NOW. US now. You ZINGED me. What? You do this a lot?
Do what? Zing? I zing all the time. Zing people? I don't know. Most people don't let on about the zinging as directly as you do. They just kind of fold up and I have NO opportunity to self-modulate. I've been waiting all my life for someone plain and simple and straight ahead, while also being exquisitely detailed and complex and gracefully arcing through unknowns, and CAPABLE of REAL FEEDBACK.
Most people back off, and make excuses - they take an abrupt " break." Then they come back, and they're startled when I've moved on or am changed because I'm hurt at being left out. I think sometimes they are surprised that I can move on so fully. They know how deeply I worked to connect with them. I know that I made them feel special. They made *me* feel special. We were.
And I do hope the fact that they weren't the only man I could share deeply with didn't hurt them . But if it does (like it did Walt a little bit, tonight) I remind them that they took the break; they split; *they* were the ones that said "not now". And I'm sort of a "now" kind of girl.
So, I call It like I see it. I hope for It out loud, the way I want to see It. I'm always trying to see It better, and get closer to It. Each year I'm closer than I've ever been. I've never found It.
*************** You said:
>You do this to all the men you meet? No: wrong. You do this to all the men you become involved with? Or start to become involved with? Or enter into a loving relationship with?
Well, this is going to be tricky to answer. I'll see if I can tune into what you're really looking for here. Let's see how I do:
I love men. I love them deeply. I've never been able to empathize fully with the feminist movement precisely because I never understood the problem with men. Someday I'll frame it up better.
Men are delicious. Men are incredible. I love how they play - like puppies! with chew toys! and fake growls and serious negotiation at the dinner bowl (politics and stuff to be right about) and finally piling up together and sleeping til it's time to do it again. I'm delighted by men.
I love how strong they are. I love how they think. I like floating on them and kissing them and being touched by them and making them feel really good. (This must be the otter in me) I can't think of any women that I've ever wanted in the way that I like men.
I've loved being with men since I was a little girl. I was a serious tomboy. I had NO girlfriends except for my friend Lisa Cook - and we spent all our time running through woods being horses and deer. Truly. I lived off a small woods in a suburb of Huntsville, Alabama, and I could hop rocks in the dark, by moonlight. That was sometimes a game, you know - see how fast you could go and not kill yourself.
It's not a sexual thing (though in our older ages it seems we get stuck in the pattern of that, and forget how to play. My heart wavers inspire me, here). It's a comrade thing.
A s a street-savvy adolescent, I hung out a lot with gay men. They were safe. They took care of me, and included me. I understood what gay men liked about other men, because I liked it, too.
But I hung out a lot with manly men, too. When travelling, I always managed to get rides with Hell's Angels and Truckers (ha, not hard...) I worked at a trucking company for several years, starting out in the office with the girls and by the end of my stay with the company, I'd loaded freight with the guys, been certified on the forklift, and could lump full 55 gal barrels of liquid into a trailer (barrell jack leverage!!!) with the best of them. Truly. I was one of the best loaders and lumpers on the dock - speed and brains make up for a lot! (I also started an inspection program that a VP, passing through Eugene one year, told me nets the company a quarter of a million dollars a month!)
I didn't do this to "get a man". I went here because these were the people I liked to work around. This was the pace I liked to work at. Same with building materials - Galen and I sold them to contractors. I liked contractors. I like solving problems. Good men, smart men, can usually be found solving interesting problems.
My favorite kind of man thinks deeply about stuff. Problems enable focus, which leads to penetration. I can participate here, and most fellows are surprised. I love the something that happens when we engage with one another intellectually and the sparks fly. I love how they wrestle ideas around - and I love it when that has the potential to translate into a rough-and-tumble on more than just an intellectual level, moving into physical and emotional and spiritual and all the rest of it.
Unfortunately for me, I just RARELY get that far. Usually some sort of thing has screwed up the trajectory of flight way before we get to this stage - and ultimately, it usually all boils down to the chemistry of timing and will, and how much ego we're all willing to confront and work through. Guys want the brains. They want the buddy. They want the beauty. They want the mystery. When they get it all in the same package - whew! can you say "check out"?
And then there's Timing. Now, that's been the fly in the ointment. I'm a serial monogamist. I'm almost always "involved", because I don't end relationships quickly (since I don't invest in them lightly). And I don't try to stimulate anything new until a sense of REAL potential emerges. Since that's rare, things kind of just mosey along, even though they seem to be rocketing at a tremendous pace.
Once I moved into my relationship phase (25years old), I really changed my way of knowing men. I spent 2-3 years with Keith. I went back to school, where I met and married Galen - 10 years. I've had several men in my life since my 1994 divorce; some brief - Douglas was the longest. Dennis was the most interesting (he's a quintuple Geminii).
I was interested in marrying every single one of them except for the last two - my aetheric light-line with John (though we flirted with the idea through infinite possiblities ahead - I must say he was pretty adept at keeping me on the line, and I was having a good enough time to stay there), and then a *brief* interlude early this spring with a long-time friend, Walt, whom I mentioned in the Anilogues, and above.
Walt gave me a difficult time in early March, saying that I was extremely intense and that he wasn't used to this much honesty (and he's a pretty direct person). He pulled back. I got a phone call from him two days ago saying he "missed my qualities..." and that he couldn't find anyone to have a grown-up conversation with. Well, yeah! I told him he was blowing it back when he blew it - not in so many words, but near enough.
Walt even moaned a little at "competition" tonight, and I said "You're darned right. Of course there's competition. You shouldn't forget it, nor kid yourself that you're not engaging in it." (I was referring to you, for Walt's in our Burning Man camp and I told him if you were around I'd be fully occupied)
But heck, I'm not going to hand myself around on a silver platter. I offer my time and attention to people who attract me. When they stop attracting me, I reserve the right to change. That doesn't mean I don't hurt. That doesn't mean I don't fall into thinking there's something "wrong" with me - I am, after all, being rejected. I hurt because I mean it, and because I'm sincere.
Walt was a good dancing buddy and really brought me fully into my heart wavers crowd (once there, my own reputation has taken over, so there's no loss of social group just because Walt wouldn't hang), but then he drew the line after a few weeks and said "no more." It was just as well, for we would NEVER have made it long (or even medium) term, but this is probably evidence for you that says I do "this" to all the guys.
John was the first fellow I discovered my real writing-to-the-One voice with, wherein I let myself acknowledge the projections for our connection openly, as they sat alongside the tangible reality of magnetic attraction stimulated into being when we actually met and danced and shared pheromones. And he openly danced along with them, encouraging me when I asked if I should continue, and loving me in return.
We/I had great fun. He said he enjoyed my writing - my "explorations of the heart" - and delighted in accompanying me. He was more voyeur than participant. I agreed to be emotionally watched. It got him through some tough times because he had someone writing to him, sharing intimate thoughts and keeping him company while he flew around and did lonely things.
In my own mind, I agreed to continue writing him as long as it served me - as long as quality writing through my essays and letters was emerging. The quality of writing, and the impulse to write, was my barometer. I knew that there was zero chance of John and I doing more than hooking up briefly on the ground in any foreseeable future, even though he liked to say otherwise, and I liked to hold onto that at the time.
Connecting with John stopped serving me this late spring, when he kept saying he wanted to see me again, and then kept letting the "appointments" fall through - due mostly to his lack of having enough time to do anything that didn't fit perfectly into HIS schedule. I understand this. I allow for this. It doesn't make me care any less about him, but I get no more desire to write to him in the way I once did. I wrote as long as there was juice. Then I stopped.
I also knew that I was building a charge up inside of me. I suspected that I wouldn't be able to contain it, but I had no idea what sort of flame I was kindling. No idea at all. As I said to John just before I took off for San Francisco: "You are too busy and I am too on Fire..."
And then you came along, like real life-giving rain - a rain that feeds fire, and doesn't put it out. You make everything else seem like mist, or fog, or dew...
You're seeing a rare but nascent, just blooming side of me. Actually, just budding. I feel I haven't even begun to bloom yet. Maybe it's not even a bud this time - maybe it's a chrysallis. I don't know yet.
Very few of the men I meet come anywhere NEAR inciting *this* level of interest in me - the one that I have in you is very different. Very unique. I'm sure it's both a function of me being where I'm at, just on the edge of considering running the gauntlet (telling term, eh?) of relationship again, while fully in free-fall with respect to the diving of my heart, and the extremely unique being YOU are at this time in your life.
I don't think I was ready for you until just recently - maybe never, up until now. Maybe barely even now.
I've never done THIS before, Dan Henklein. Oh sure, I've had depth - but not this kind of interactive, reverberating depth. It's an amazing encounter that feels part of the time as though it's with the perfect stranger, and part of the time as though it's a dance with my oldest friend.
I know you haven't had time to read the Anilogues. I continue to post old stuff to them. As I mentioned before, I turn your reception off for these because I don't want to overload your inbox, nor confuse you with prior writings. If you read nothing else, you should at least check out "Walking With Dragons - Warnings, Disclaimers andtherestofthefineprint" at the bottom of Winter, 2001 (I 'd suggested that you read it in the very first paragraphs of the opening).
Maybe these will be hard for you - maybe not. If you become jealous again, maybe this is some of what we get to work on if we hang together, though I PROMISE I'm not saying or sharing ANY of these things to generate feelings in you so that you'll be uncomfortable, or uncertain of yourself. I rattle off all this stuff because it's the way it IS - at least, the way I see it - and not to dance you around by your feelings.
You said I was in control, and that I just put on a sad face now and then to make you think I'm not. Of course, you know that's not true. Of course, you know that I'm not in control. You can shut this down in an instant. You've seen how easy it is to hurt me, so you must know that if you feel hurt I'm not doing it intentionally, for I've made it very simple for you to retaliate. You don't have to exert much effort to hurt me, to let me know to stop something, or change it. I don't walk around you with a huge shell on. Not here, anyway.
In fact, one thing I suspect is that I've been hungry for this kind of contact all my life, but that my field in physical space has prevented this from happening. I have a suspicion that I appear completely different in "real life". I was a street kid for long enough - a smart kid - a wild kid - all those things that make people recoil, and then teach me what it's like to deal automatically with a world that recoils from me.
I don't think my shell in real life gives me a chance to get all these subtleties and nuances out in the same way that writing does, and that people shut down in my field before they understand how fully I consider things, and how little time it takes me to think through a lot of the basics. Most are VERY surprised at how sensitive I am, so that must mean that I seem insensitive. But I've learned that the world punishes people who seem sensitive - it picks on them. It can't help itself.
And you can't run a business or deal with a community if you're seen as "sensitive" (unless you have a Tough Guy Front Man - probably the best arrangement - the strong minister that enables the compassionate ruler mentioned always in the I Ching - but one I don't have) Now I'm just so "old", I'm cantankerous and set in my ways and right so often that it's problematic.
I think I'm abrupt and very definitive in meatspace. The only thing that makes me so acceptable to my heart wavers is that they watch me party and dance til all hours. As my staff and other customers get wind of my other sides (it was funny when everyone was startled when I started singing a few years ago) they look at me quizzically, and I start to GET A CLUE that I just don't see myself the way others do.
So, somehow I think connecting with you in this LIGHT way is an act of deep desperation on the part of my Soul. Not that a soul can be desperate, but it's looking at my biological clock, and it's observing that the field around my body bag is NOT attracting the polar energy necesssary to complete the main circuit, and it does NOT want to waste all the effort that went into generating this field just because an alloy tempered to withstand the heat of entry is not ready at hand.
This is risky business. If I don't succeed at deep connection in this manner, I know I run the risk of making my callous even thicker. I don't even know that you and I will be able to get through the detritus we'll run into on the ground.
I suppose that's why I push so hard, Dan. Yes. Maybe I AM pushing all the buttons, just to see what they do. I HATE the thought of accidentally pushing the ejector button. I thought I did a couple of weeks ago, and I'm not wearing a parachute.
I'm trying not to party on your panel, you know. I'm trying to read the dials and altitude thingies, and go forward, and fly on all engines. But I'm interested in seeing what this baby can do. Aren't you? Don't you want to get a clue about what's under the hood? You know, pedal to the metal in the driveway, up on blocks, and just listen to the hum?
And do you really, REALLY want to wait til we hang out in person to check out the thrusters and the gyros? Heck, that day may not ever come. Barlow joked about he and I being "somewhere between eternity and a one-night stand". I mused we might never get that far. I was right.
So, what if THIS is all we get? What if my tumor fries me and THIS is what we had? I'm not planning on doing THIS with anyone else in the near future. Too much of what's going on between us is perfectly synchronized to mesh with the energy I've already allocated in my ground-life. Burning Man. Earth Guardians. Plants. Writing. Thinking. Music. History. Soul-weaving. Dreaming. Risking. My time is allocated fully for the next couple of years, and you're about the only person I could imagine that comes close to fitting in, in a manner that doesn't throw me off my center.
I have no more room for foundation building. I'm amazed that you and I even got this far, what with all the work I have to do, and I chalk it up to the fact that our foundation seems already in place. Sure, we're doing the inspection - running around with the flashlight, looking for cracks and seepage and poor construction - but so far the temple looks pretty sound. Insta-Temple. Just add the catalyst and POOF! There you've got it - assembled before your very eyes, like the 9th wonder of the world.
Anyhow, how's this for a long answer to the question do "you do this to all the men you meet?"
The short one:
I don't know. Probably. So what?
-- Anonymous, July 04, 2002
Yeah there were some mixed messages in there. The jump part was more about leaving behind the old stuff than choosing anything particular from among the new stuff. It was about Burning Man too. There I can be non-specifically enthusiastic for you (I hope) without empossing to many of myown wants/needs/projections.
I've got those in plenty and I'm having a really hard time controlling them. Yes, Mademoselle Beal, I felt JEALOUSY! And I hated myself for it because I haven't even met and smelled you yet and even then!!!!!! One of those things I was afraid of.
My thoughts and impulses toward you are rushing in TORRENTS now.
I would never encourage you to do anything that was not in the best interest of YOU, long term, and your community and those in it who depend upon you. And I know you know what compassion is: I saw that clearing in the "Mule" story and all the history about your store and everything I see that in you so clearly.
I think I wrote the compassion ditty just so you would know I have those thought too and not in any attempt to try to place those thoughts in your mind. Like "carrying coals to Newcastle" as the old English expression my Mom was fond of goes. In my case, friends have said in the past that I have "an uncanny knack for pointing out the obvious". That's where and when I become tedious and pedantic.
I want to help youand support you the best way I know how and right now the only way I know how is through WORDS. I got JEALOUS! You like me to be honest? You said all those wonderful loving nice beautiful heartwarming dizzying things about me? See how things are just RUNNING?
Gad. You are better than me. Smarter, more sensitive, more accomplished, more open. You've revealed more of yourself and your past and your frailties to me than I have to you. I thought I was Mercurial. I'm a lump compared to you.
Everything you say, every new level you spur our conversations to makes me love you more.
Omigod see! I SAID it! I can't help it no way.
And I already said I LOVE YOUR MIND and that was some time ago and how much can you love a mind? How much can a mind love a mind?
That part in your response where you said "Imagine being very tuned into other peoples' deepest thought impulses. Imagine meeting an attractive, open-armed free-spirit - a volatile gas with one little electron in her outer shell - easy to pull into your orbit when you tap into your own sincere desire for connection; easy to fling off when you're done.
Not ME now: that's why I've hesitated, vacillated, dampened, banked, chilled...
>Imagine what happens when *zing* she gets in, and sees what's really there, and has the brain and processor speed to describe it to you, and all the sudden you're in a mirror. The beast in you is fascinated. The demi-god in you is appalled. You strike out. You hurt her. It feels good to control the mirror.
Me NOW. US now. You ZINGED me. What? You do this a lot? You do this to all the men you meet? No: wrong. You do this to all the men you become involved with? Or start to become involved with? Or enter into a loving relationship with?
I aint got processor speed for shit like you do. I got data banks. I'm essentially a Neadertal.
Forget the "wormhole to the heart" I was talking about. This is more like in "Alien" where the creature bursts out of the chest. My heart is bursting and rending and tearing. Its cracking like a cosmic egg. You are pushing all the RIGHT buttons (just like Burning Man). Hell, you're just pushing ALL the buttons. You just pushed all the right ones first to let me know its you and now you're pushing them all just to see what will happen (I think). You are playing me like a violin.
Now that you've completed the full-frontal assault on the cidadel of my heart and soul you are having a party in there. A real romp. Confetti and streamers and finger traps and my favorite wine and everything else and the best conversation I've ever had in my life. Every now and then you put on a sad face to try to keep me from realizing how totally in control you are. ;)
But I'm wise to it. And you know something? I love it and I love you and I love what you are doing because no one has ever done this to me before but it is what I have always wanted dreamed of. I thought I would die before this. I really did. That friend of mine who pissed me off with the short story I was in must have convinced me subconsciously.
Aaron is climbing the hill behind my trailer but I'd MUCH rather write to you.
You could be the dominant partner in our relationship in the sense that you would be the dancer who LEADS. You are LEADING now. Would you be OK with that?
I would. Oh, I could come up with some ideas every now and then that you would like, I bet. You could lead and I could be the big fluffy teddy bear you collapse into every now and then when you need to. I did say I was a black hole, though, didn't I? You can collapse into me, little, brilliant, irridescent, incandescent STAR. Collapse in and release it all and come out the other side on the other side of the universe and I'll turn inside out like a black silk scarf and follow you. You are the frothy curlicued amber-cystalline meringue on my sustaining but essentially bland banana cream pie.
>And it's not a clean mirror - because it's you, and it's she/me, and you're human - so it's easy to dismiss, or to denigrate. It's sort of like a fun-house mirror; you see yourself, but it's distorted, and you know it. You could do the work of working with her, and entraining, and clearing the mirror of HER bends and turns - the beatings, the rapes, the looks, the words, the abandonments - but that would require that you look at yourself more honestly than you have yet. Are YOU up to using the mirror? It's a question that has not yet found an answerer.
I'm up to it. I've been waiting for this, for YOU all my life. Those other guys? I think you just filtered them out, that's what I think.
You have the most magnificent mind I have ever encountered in my life. You do what you need to do. You "go ahead", go RIGHT ahead, and stay where you need to stay, fullfill what you need to fullfill. As you said we both have things like that we need to do.
I aint goin no where. Thoughts of seeking any other feminine company evaporated about 3 weeks ago. See? Like a VIOLIN.
Oh, I'm up to it, Cynthia. I'm UP to it.
I'll just have to learn to deal with these bouts of intermittent NAUSEA, and when your mind just sort of goes blank?
-- Anonymous, June 30, 2002
Thank YOU for EVERYTHING. :):):):):):):):):):):):)
Thank you for REMEMBERING and responding and always replying and driving our interactions to higher and higher levels.
And I have a new mission now. I said one of my bad points was I was materialistic (an astrologer said that's the Jupiter in Taurus). But then YOU said how much the little "touchables" (or was it "tangibles") meant. The Louvre? The Etruscan section? You felt they were YOUR things? I'm going to try to give some of those things back to you. TRY being the operative word here: it may take some doing: I may have to do some tricks. But I know I'm the only person on the planet who knows enough to do it. Expect intermittent surprises. Don't be afraid when packages arrive addressed to you from unknown parties in unknown places. They won't contain anthrax but might evoke aerosol mnemotic motes distintegrating dust suddenly reintegrated before your eyes and tangible again. You'll LIKE it.
-- Anonymous, July 01, 2002