Tag Archives: relationships

napowrimo: when the world changes

when you sit up and
scream into the night
and you’re not alone
but who’s beside you keeps on sleeping
when you pad out into the kitchen
open the fridge
and the white and the light stare at you like a morgue
when you sit down with a glass of juice
your hand around it on the table
and the table is not real
and the glass isn’t
and you aren’t
when you don’t use your voice
but you’d want to
to know that maybe maybe
it wouldn’t sound like it’s coming from a cave
far away

when suddenly he shows up
stands in the door frame
looks at you, sleepy
comes over
and
hugs you –

the world changes.
falls back into place.

divorce: a ballad

he screams at her
and she screams back
he in this corner,
she in the other over there.
the children, they run back and forth with
“who will fix our toys?”

she screams at him
and he screams back
but only in their heads.
their mouths are silent and
their eyes don’t meet.

the children look from one and then the other,
they smell something, or is it feel,
they don’t know where to go.

he screams at her
and she screams back
and often in their dreams.
a thick and heavy web of secrets
lies gray between them
and dusty spiders leave a trail of poison
for woman, man, and child and child
to trip over and fall into.
it’s best to stay and not to move
and not to say a word.

everyday life, it forces them
to do some things together.
out on the street, a bag lady
walks up to them
and whispers to them
from between her gappy teeth:

“i see, guys, what you’re doing.
your hearts so heavy
and your brains so hot.
your child covered in wounds,
and this one, too.
i’m talking quiet
and probably you two can’t hear me.
but still, you need to know
that you don’t have to suffer just like this.
you want, or need, or think you have to
go your separate ways. and that’s ok.
but your paths need not,
really, they need not,
be strewn with broken glass.”

with that, she disappears
into the shadows.

the four come home.
melissa finds her trains.
katrina talks to mom.

he scowls at her
and she scowls back.
the creases down her cheeks
are maybe just a little softer
than an hour ago.

love every day

is it valentine’s day yet?  what?  i missed it?  drat!  yup, that was one of the things that fell between the cracks during my trip to europe.  what also fell between the cracks was telling you about an ebook that chelle kindly invited me to participate in.  as a gift to her readers on valentine’s day, she put together love everyday e-book.  a nifty idea, the book looks at marriage and romantic relationships through the lends of the little things we do each and every day: waking up and hitting the snooze button, drinking that morning cup of coffee, sitting through traffic, going to work, doing housework, grocery shopping, logging onto the internet.  some writers use these lenses as metaphors (“how do you fuel your relationship?”), others talk directly about the topic; for example i write about how the internet and marriage interact with each other.  you can download the book here.

two entries particularly caught my eye.  one was “what are you waiting for?” by pat flynn.  i like the urgency of the tone:

what are you waiting for?

a sign? something to happen that tells you it’s the right time?

signs aren’t always things that happen. more often than not, signs come from the things that don’t happen.

what are you waiting for?

are you waiting for permission? someone to tell you that it’s okay?

permission from someone else is never as important as the permission that you have to give yourself first.

complacency is probably one of the biggest stumbling blocks in a marriage.  i like how pat challenges this attitude.

i was also impressed by lori lowe’s contribution, pour on love: how to love your spouse generously.  an excerpt:

gaining a little more happiness is like gaining a little more money; you always want more. but giving and receiving love generates fulfillment. there are myriad ways to show love, but we know love when we see it, hear it, read it, and feel it. love is in the details, the thoughtfulness, the caring.

when you act in a loving”even sacrificial”manner, you experience the paradox of giving. this is the secret your grandparents knew about: it is in giving that we receive. the joy and love you give returns to you. yes, it is risky to invest yourself fully …

how can you pour on love?

voraciously study your spouse. put as much energy into that research as in your career and hobbies. try to understand and participate in their interests as they change over time”recreational, musical, romantic, sexual and culinary interests. ask about your partner’s hopes, preferences, desires, dislikes, and fears. encourage their dreams. communicate your needs and desires as well. be the one who knows them best, and help them to know your heart.  …

do it without keeping score. do it without stopping. do it with love.

here are the other contributors to the book:

success in 2009 – part 2

here’s part 2 of my social media friends’ nonmonetary successes in 2009: (the ones with the @ are people’s twitter accounts).   part 1 is here.

darren barefoot: i wrote half a book, which, it turns out, is a shocking amount of work.

hamish: two of my former clients (and now friends) successfully landed new jobs thanks in part to some extensive CV rewriting that i did for them – it was great to see the constructive criticism received well, taken on board and integrated into the finished product. it was then gratifying of them to keep me posted on how their job search progressed – net result, two great people in new jobs doing great things for their new employers!

vivien (@inspirationbit on twitter): my biggest success and the proudest achievement in 2009 was to teach my daughter how to read. so now, at the age of four she’s already fluently reading in english on her own, and we now started learning french with her 😉

jonathon narvey from writeimage: learning and understanding more about how organizations (business, non-profit, whatever) succeed. i’m very grateful to those who have shown me how to get it done. it seems as though some of the greatest lessons you can learn in this field come much easier when times are tough. and it’s not just important to understand these things to make a buck — it’s important to understand them so that you can truly enjoy and remain passionate about the work.

probably the most important lesson, which i had heard many times but perhaps never truly internalized until recently, was the importance of working with good people. you just can’t do it all yourself. when you’ve got good, talented people all working in an organized way towards a common goal, success is inevitable.

dan: teaching my kids things they ask about and hearing them say “c-o-o-o-l”

dave: my success really was regaining my independence. i was in a relationship for nearly 3 years, 2 of which we lived together. to escape some costs and administrative burden, i didn’t have a copy of our joint credit card and our chemistry wasn’t where it needed to be in order for me to be 50% of our relationship. i didn’t get lost in the relationship, but i got lost because of it. i didn’t realize this until a month or so after leaving – regaining my independence came out of nowhere to be my biggest success and i didn’t even see it coming.

@evanhadkins written lots of stuff, survived a new job with zero support, maintained healthy relationship despite working 6-6.5 days a week

@barkingunicorn learned to let go of money, possessions, home, people, worry.

@mollena i was awarded the title @mssfleather2009. i performed in the most difficult and wonderful show i’ve ever done. i’m still sober.

brenda blackburn: my biggest non-monetary success of 2009 was the live meeting startup and growth of the DVT support group of the lower mainland (held in burnaby, bc). “deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that usually occurs in the leg, most often on one side, although it can happen in other parts of the body. if the blood clot dislodges, it can travel to the lungs and cause a blockage known as a pulmonary embolism (PE) or lung clot. lung clots affect over 530,000 people a year and 300,000, or almost 1 out of 3, are fatal.” “national alliance for thrombosis & thrombophilia (NATT), USA. in this group of “survivors” and supporters we support, educate and advocate. as the first known live support DVT group in canada, (with no other provincial or national DVT patient organization existing to date), we are striving to make a difference at a grassroots level. we hold affiliations with vancouver general hospital, burnaby hospital, the north american thrombosis forum, peernetbc, and more.

want to tell us what your success was?

christmas, love, agape

these days i really seem to enjoy to quote from books.  here’s one i have talked about before: the priority of love: christian charity and social justice, by timothy p. jackson.  let me give you some quotes.

jackson puts the christian virtue of charity in close context of agape.  according to the stanford dictionary of philosophy, “‘agape‘ has come, primarily through the christian tradition, to mean the sort of love god has for us persons, as well as our love for god and, by extension, of our love for each other”a kind of brotherly love.”  says jackson, in his often woolly and overly academic yet nevertheless deeply touching way:

agape is beyond all economies of exchange, all questions of desert or contract

one does not determine love to be the universal human good the way one might discover a dime in one’s pocket.  love makes itslef the good by enriching whomever it touches

the love awakened in us by god’s own love has priority in relation to other basic values … it is their necessary source and end

he quotes liberation theologist juan segundo

to love means to lose our autonomy and to become dependent on another … all love is a gamble … it is an act of faith launched into the air, without any precise name or clear content.  it is a belief that love is worthwhile …

then ..

there is a sublime excessiveness to charity manifest in words as diverse as jesus’ sermon on the mount, lincoln’s second inaugural address, and etty hillesum’s letters from the concentration camp

jackson maintains that their charity (and by extension he points to all christian charity, i would assume) is indiscriminate, indomitable egalitarian, “made perfect in weakness” (2 corinthians 12:9) and almost paradoxically expansive.  he also suggests that

because of its chronological priority (loving care is the first thing we must receive as infants), its axiologocal priority (without care individuals do not mature into responsible persons), its lexical priority (without care we have no substantive access to other human goods) and its priority of itself (care’s agenda is to make others caring), agapic love is rightly deemed the first virtue in all contexts.

and of course jackson cites the famous, beautiful words of saint paul in first corinthians 13:4-8

love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.  it does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.  it bears all things, believes all things, endures all things.  love never ends.

if the jesus religion (or any religion, for that matter), please don’t throw out these words with the biblical bath water.  while they are written from the point of view of a theologian deeply rooted in christianity, i think they still have something to offer to anyone who thinks about and wants to contribute to good relationships among people, or/and with the divine.

and, what can i say, it’s a fitting post for christmas day 🙂

motivation, marriage and work relationships

as you can see, i haven’t been a very busy posting beaver lately.  i’ve been watching my energy level and need to put some things on the back burner.  every morning i come up with all kinds of wonderful ideas for blog posts but by the time i find a moment to post something, there’s not much left in the ol’ battery.

but let me just say a few words.  here are some things i’ve been thinking about.  motivation is one.  motivation is something i think about a lot.  how come there are sooo many solutions to problems out there (and more importantly, in here) and we don’t reach for them?  doesn’t that baffle you, too?  “there are more solutions than problems” said one of my clients today.  i totally agree.  what is it that doesn’t let us go for the solutions?  there is a lack of drive, of motivation.  how can that motivation be increased?

i’m also mulling about a 7-part relationship model, comprised of physical, sexual, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, social and cultural aspects.  obviously, that goes for romantic relationships.  not entirely sure why i keep insisting on separating the physical and sexual aspects.  will the model hold true for non-romantic relationships as well, say, for friendships?  and why don’t i have a financial aspect?

talking about romantic relationships.  some of you are probably familiar with the work of john gottman, one of the most important researchers in the area of marital relationships (my blogging friend from coffeeyoghurt talks about it here).  i’ve been wondering how to apply his findings to work relationships.  among other thingsm he talks about the “four horsemen” that herald a breakup or at least a major crisis in a marriage – criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling.  probably i’m not the first person who’se been wondering this; maybe i’ll have time one of these days to check it out.

so there it is.  a few things to ponder.  hopefully i’ll have something a bit more substantive to say soon.  in the meantime: peace and love to you all!


living authentically

an unself-conscious violinistmy friend evan has just launched a new project, living authentically. authenticity has long been an important topic for him, and i’m looking forward to seeing how he goes even deeper into it. here’s a bit about the project:

the book
the living authentically book i wrote with my partner. it is a guide to living with authenticity. it is 130 pages in hard copy pages and contains many practical exercises for each of the eight stages of authentic living. it also explains in depth each stage of the process of living authentically.

the course
the membership course is forty emails – five a week for eight weeks. each week is devoted to one stage of living authentically. after an introduction the emails are primarily devoted to guided experiences of that stage of living authentically. each stage deals with the physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and social aspects of the stage. the course is also supported by a student only forum where you can ask questions and discuss the course with me and other students.

… and there’s more, here on evan’s new site.

in announcing this site, evan asks some questions, and i’d like to pose a few of them to you.

what major benefits does living authentically offer you and others you know?

my immediate reaction to that is: freedom. freedom to live without the burden of a mask that is worn involuntarily (i see nothing wrong with temporarily putting on a mask if that’s something that you’ve consciously decided).

what do you think?

***

what tips would you offer to others to make it easier for them to find their core?

it’s interesting that evan links the ideas of “authenticity” and “core”. the authentic person as the one that exists underneath – what? disguise? a necessary protective layer?

here’s one tip: spend a week asking yourself: “what makes me smile?” and jot down your answers.

what are your tips?

***

what pitfalls would you warn them of ?

evan gives an example: don’t try to go too fast! going at a comfortable pace is likely to be more beneficial in the longterm. i would add to that what joanna mentioned a few weeks ago: as you become more yourself, it’s possible that you will lose people who feel threatened or confused by this “new you.” also, with my buddhist background, i’d like to say that we should not expect this core to be something stable and unchangeable. perhaps it’s a little like the weather: there will always be clouds in the sky but they’re never the same.

do you have any warnings?

image by carlo nicora

beating ANA – one relationship at a time

women singingrelationships replace eating disorders. period. the end.”

this is the central message of beating ANA – how to outsmart year eating disorder and take your life back by shannon cutts. it’s a book i’d recommend to anyone who wants to work their way out of an eating disorder.

the more loving, supportive, therapeutic relationships that exist in your life, the more the odds of recovery shift in favour of a return to health.

what kind of relationships are these? for shannon cutts, these are mostly mentoring relationships.

a mentor is a trusted guide who has knowledge and experience in a certain area, and is willing and able to share it.

a mentee is a person in need of guidance and instruction, and is willing to receive it.

shannon describes how being mentored made a huge difference in her life, helping her turn away from anorexia and bulimia to a place where she says

i sing again
and i speak
i speak out against some
but mostly towards all of us
who have splintered off our hearts and souls
from our minds and bodies …
who have forgotten that we are all whole by design
and that whole is the only way.

whole is beautiful.
whole is worth living
and loving.
whole is exquisite – utterly unique.
whole is believable – the only believable you and me.

and most of all, whole is the only thing worth dying,
living and fighting for … do we ever really realize –

you are the only you who ever was, is, or ever will be.
and i am the only me.

TRUST. HOPE. FAITH. LOVE. LIVE. TRIUMPH. BELIEVE.

more at her web site, key to life.

this is a great book, and i’m hoping to speak more about it in the coming months.

image by thomas hawk