Friday, June 27, 2014

His Third Wife: Lessons on Marriage and Becoming

The second husband, the second wife

The husband and I have been discussing his second wife.

"I miss her," he says.

"She was sweet," I agree.

"She did so many nice things," he says.

"Yes." I should know. That second wife was me.

Over the past twelve months - a difficult year, a beautiful year - I've learned new things about myself. I've resolved to honor that person. I've delved into my gifts with fresh vigor. I've grown and challenged myself to paint, play, write, and wander. 

I've become a new person.

Exploring new territory

I'm no longer the wife who makes dinner every night, or joins her husband on the couch for movies. I've stopped scheduling social events on his behalf. I don't ask for permission any more - to put my art on the walls, to make new friends, or to write and create on a Saturday instead of hang out with the hubs.

I know. Some of you wives are gasping in disbelief. Others are jealous.

It's been a process of honesty and investigation - finding out what I'm truly about and discovering how to be this human being. I trust that the more I'm following Spirit, the more I can bless the world.

It's my job alone to become this human being. Gone are the days of wanting someone else to define me, even my husband.

Which means I'm now his third wife.

Situations will arise, and I'll say, or he'll say, "The second wife would've said yes." Ah, but the third wife says no. Or waits. Or says what she really thinks about it.

And in all this, there's a dialogue, a noticing, a freedom, a new way.

I've been grateful for the guides and friends who have supported me on this journey. They've acknowledged how this needed to happen; they've been witnesses to the me who was hiding.

Hiding and calling it service. Calling it wifehood. Really it wasn't so servy after all.

True service only happens when you know who you are. 

Where two rivers meet (the Rhine and the Mosel)

So the other morning, the husband said, "You just keep getting prettier and prettier." Which is sweet. This second husband of mine has always been so wonderful with compliments.

I paused. "You like the way I'm changing on the outside. But you don't like the other ways I'm changing."

"That's right!" he chirped, grinning. 

"Ohmygosh!" I said. "You just told me the truth of your feelings!" We both laughed.

Obviously, this is no longer my second husband.

This one is my third.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Different Kind of Shopping

Added a thing or two to the husband's shopping list . . . .

When he got home he said there was one thing Winco didn't have. 

Funny, my friend Gypmar found it there quite some time ago.

Because, you know, Big Feelings can give way to spiritual insight.

Just a reminder to keep the truly important things on your list, even if you're not sure where to find them.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Journaling as a Spiritual Practice: The Light Gathers

It begins as a blank page when you have nothing to say. It creeps, line by line, into a journal entry on a sad morning.  

But here's what amazes me: how the light gathers. How a journal becomes a beacon.    

That's the beauty of journaling as a spiritual practice.

You don't think you have anything to say. You don't think there's anyone listening, anyway.

But when you go to the place of telling the truth, just telling the truth, to the highest force of Truth you know, there's always light. The light gathers. 

So many times we are caught up in telling ourselves things, pretending we feel what we don't, demanding we be who are not. This goes along with the trap of saying prayers we don't believe. 

Truth is better.

Being where you are is the only beginning.

When you touch the darkest, most honest, most frightening truth, you're pierced by a sliver of light. 

The Presence can't work with you if you're trying to impress yourself or your deity. The Presence has no use for ego-construction projects. The architecture of protection only hides what we need to see about ourselves.

So when you visit your journal today, don't worry about writing something spiritual or profound. Stop protecting yourself from what is.


 What is the most honest thing I can say to God right now?

And say it.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Honest to God

A fog of longing and disappointment is falling over me this morning.

I pretend not to feel it. Needy, lost.

This isn't how I want to be. This isn't how I want God to see me.

Then it comes to me: tell the truth.

I'd rather keep pretending for myself, others, and the Presence, that I am fabulously enlightened and so over-the-world.

It's only when I connect with what is real that I can begin to see. Tell the truth.

I ask myself: What's the most honest thing I can say to God right now?

It's the most powerful question I know. I let go pretending.

There's only me and the Truth - no one else's definition of who I am, or who I should be. And, no one else's definition of God.

What I notice this morning is how hard I'm trying to make myself acceptable.

Noising off in my head, and everywhere, about my efforts, my prayers, my dedication, my meditation.

Merely noise.

Because I don't feel it: accepted.

The most honest thing I can say to the Presence right now is - Hey. I am really messing up here. I'm clingy, chaotic, distracted, addicted.

I'm no good at making myself happy. I know better, and I'm afraid to show you who I am. 

Moody, selfish, erratic, and confused. 

A demanding and apathetic wife. An inconsistent, obsessive friend. A distant, unreliable mom.

Dear Presence: I want to be different. I remember Your beauty inside me. 

Right now I can't find it. 


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Living in My Host Human

"So how are you?"

Such a simple question. But I'm having a hard time with the answer. Does the person want a real answer or a simple one? Does she want to know the status of my survival? The facts of my life? Or does the person want a picture of my soul?

I've been stunt-jumping on a tricky course. I've been slogging through personal growth and healing. I may feel peaceful, jubilant, sad, confused, ambivalent, or all of these things at once.

It's really kind of amazing to step back and watch the weather of the heart.  

Yesterday I met a friend for lunch. "How are you?"

"I'm doing great," I said. "My host human is having some issues, but I'm doing great."

My friend smiled. "Your host - wait." He smiled. He got it.

So I'm seeing all that is going on with me - relationship questions, creative energy, perimenopausal mood swings, adventures, dreams, and heartbreak - all of this is temporary. It's the stuff that comes with living in a human body.

I have this deep-rooted sense of well-being below all of it, in the center of all of it. And as I identify with who I really am, this spirit connected to the Presence, this eternal being living in an earth moment, well - I can experience the ride without judgment. At the same time, I don't have to gloss over the feelings.

Oh, my host human. She's pretty great. But I'm glad she won't be like this forever.

Image Credit: Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Going Public: Being Online and Hating It

I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you—Nobody—Too?
Then there's a pair of us!
Don't tell! They'd advertise—you know!

How dreary—to be—Somebody!
How public—like a Frog—
To tell one's name—the livelong June—
To an admiring Bog!

--Emily Dickinson

There are days I hate social networking. I catch myself trying too hard to be Somebody.

Marketers and publicists talk about how important it is for a business owner and author to be visible. But as a sensitive person, I become stretched and thin.

I'm waving tentacles, trying to get some random, invisible crowd to notice.

Then I realize, this whole online thing doesn't have to be a great fit.

I notice others - ordinary people, saints, and poets, who have chosen to put their energy elsewhere.

My true life isn't in what people are noticing or not noticing. My true life is in that secret chamber of the spirit, connecting to something far greater than "famousness."

The trick then, is participating, but not immersing myself in blogging and networking. Not letting myself feel worthy or unworthy according to the outcome or readership.

Understanding the value is a temporary thing. It's a fleeting but useable tool for my work.

It's living in a paradox.

Really, I could desert the whole outfit, become a recluse like Emily Dickinson, and be perfectly happy, but what good would that do the universe?

Fleeing the other frogs is just as self-centered as getting into croaking competitions with them.

Croak on, frogs. I know who I am.

And what about you? Who are you . . . really?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Swan

The Swan

This laboring through what is still undone
as though, legs bound, we hobbled along the way,
is like the awkward walking of the swan.

And dying - to let go, no longer feel
the solid ground we stand on every day -
is like his anxious letting himself fall

into the water, which receives him gently
and which, as though with reverence and joy,
draws back past him in streams on either side;
while, infinitely silent and aware,
in his full majesty and ever more
indifferent, he condescends to glide.

--Rainier Maria Rilke; translation by Stephen Mitchell