She makes notes
To write her poems
To keep my story straight
I didn’t know I had a story
She pays attention
Wants to know it all
Shares in the gathering
She writes them in a shorthand
I can barely read
Recites them like a prayer
What I drink
Where I go
What I do
Nothing at all about who I know
Or where I’ve been
Only where and who I am now
She taps them out with her fingers
On my skin
Makes a rhythm with them
That she keeps while making love
With everything she does
In the morning she leaves them behind
They are hard to read
But their meaning is clear
I touch the pen she wrote with
The warmth of her remains
I trace the impressions in the paper
Like the lines in my palm
and find her there
Image by Annie Spratt
We sit close in the grass
Embraced by Love
Watching the stars
Like a cosmic play
Performed by jealous gods
Myth and legend
Who feast on the sight
Of The Lovers below
So rare and welcome
To their ancient eyes
Our dancing fingers
Find the constellations
That bear our signs
Drawing a line between them
To see where we connect
Hands mingle and fingers tease
As you point to stars I strain to see
The warm breath of your laughter
Tickles my neck from behind
I turn to kiss
And we roll back into the wet grass
In a sweet entanglement
Of clothes and bodies
So eager to explore
Yet we move with tempered passion
Heating the night air
Which joins our embrace
With welcome rain
A gift from the Divine
As we reach for Her shores
We escape our earthly form
And the stars fall away
In a swirl of light
In a new constellation
Made in our image
Image is a quick edit I did from Stellarium
In order that I may understand the path to peace:
Let me be able, upright, and authentic, impeccable with my word, gentle and caring.
Let me be content and easily satisfied, without pride.
Let me cultivate a boundless, limitless, unconditional love and compassion for all beings and all things in the world.
Let my prayer be:
“May all beings be well and safe, may they be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be, whether moving or standing still, without exception, whether large, great, middling, or small, whether tiny or substantial,
Whether seen or unseen, whether living near or far,
Born or unborn; may all beings be happy.
Let none deceive or despise another anywhere. Let none wish harm to another, in anger or in hate.”
On October 8th of 2017 I drove 1,774 miles straight into hurricane Nate to find out if my Beloved and I had a future together. It appears that answer is “no”.
She is an extraordinary woman. Extremely intelligent. Highly creative. Spiritually evolved. She has a great career and is upwardly mobile. She is vibrant and alive. Sensual and sexual. Healthy and active. Has great kids. In short, she is everything I hope to find in a partner.
Almost everything. She would tell you the same about me.
Because I love her and have a deep respect for her no matter what, and because we are making the effort to remain friends, we spoke quite a bit before making this post.
What follows applies to everyone, including myself.
The two things I address most often when talking about relationships is our ability to manifest love through faith in action and our obligation to be as prepared as we can be.
Being prepared starts by knowing yourself and your needs. No one can ever truly know you if you don’t know yourself.
It means we acknowledge and address whatever issues we have as best we can. That we understand that we are complete as we are and that we embrace our wholeness.
It means we have a pretty good idea of what we want, and do not want, in a Lover. What type of person are they? What do we expect from them and what do we offer in return? How might our lives affect each other? Are we able to commit to the effort it takes to build a relationship? Are they?
It is so much more than “I want to be loved”. That sort of open ended desire leads to suffering. How do you want to be loved? What does it look like? What actions are involved? What do you bring to the table? What expectations do you have of your partner? Have you made room for them in your life?
I will not point to any of these examples and say “this is why we are not together” because the simple truth is that neither of us was fully prepared. Not in the way we needed to be. We are both worthy and deserving and I have no doubt that we will both find ourselves in incredible loving relationships. Just not with each other.
We do not see this as a “failure” and neither of us have any regrets. Making the move to be close to her was the right thing to do, there was no way for us to learn these things from a distance, and the opportunity to find real love is always worth the risk.
Our last day together as a couple was sweet. We went for a walk. Set up her porch swing. Did a little arts and crafts shopping. We sat close and talked and laughed. We kissed.
Two days later we mutually called an end to it and offered each other metta, a spoken intention and meditation of loving kindness: “May you be loved. Be happy. Be healthy. Live with ease.”
That is what I will always want for her, and for myself, because even though the relationship has ended, the love remains. We continue to communicate regularly and do our best to carry these intentions of loving kindness into action. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it, we are worth it.
I am grateful for our time together and will continue to learn from the experience as I do from everything that happens in my life. It was good to love and be loved, even if only for a little while. Love is a gift and loving her was a privilege.
I am not sure where to go from here, I guess I’ll discover that along the way, all I know for sure is that my journey continues.
“Lord, make me an instrument of peace.”
With that single line St Francis defined a life of mindfulness and loving kindness long before those terms were first used. Long before pop culture turned them into an industry. A t-shirt slogan.
He goes on to describe how that instrument looks. It is one of understanding and giving. A life in service of love.
“Lord make me an instrument of peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
Oh divine master grant that I may
not so much seek to be consoled as to console
to be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life”
This is how I want my life to be yet I often fail in these intentions. Instead, I want to be understood. To be consoled. To wade deeply in my sorrow. To be loved despite my shortcomings.
When I find myself on the needy end of the spectrum that runs from giving to receiving I remember that I can not only offer these gifts to myself, I should.
My efforts to be an instrument of peace must begin with myself because to offer peace to others I must first have it within me. The good news is that inner peace is often gained in the offering of it to others. It is a beautiful, endless, self-sustaining circle.
This was my meditation this morning:
That I forgive myself and not beat myself up for being human.
That I keep strong the faith that brought me here.
That I keep the flame of hope ever burning within me to light both bright days and dark nights.
That I be willing to find and feed my joy, especially when it seems so far away.
That I love myself as I wish to be loved by others and that I share that love regardless of my pain.
That peace isn’t just something we feel, it’s something we practice.
I believe I need more practice.
Peace be upon you.
It’s okay, Love
Lean back into me
Let me wrap my arms around you
Rock you gently
Kiss your neck
Silence the day
With wordless passion
As we watch the Moon
Now round and full
Light the clouds that gather
and will away the worry
Image by Bruno Lemos
Time is as often friend as foe. It flows steadily. Never ending. We can tell ourselves that it is an illusion. That only “Now” exists. But that’s a half truth. Now is the only place we exist but we live in a progression of time. In our human form we have a beginning and an end. We are born, we live, we die. What happens in between is a combination of circumstances and events guided by will or careless indifference and interpreted by intention and understanding or misunderstanding.
I chose to embrace that knowledge some time back. To acknowledge that I had a beginning. That this body will at some point fail. That how I live now is entirely up to me. Not everyone gets that choice. Some are born into short and brutal lives. Some never get the chance to live at all.
I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I see glimpses from time to time. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets in the arms of my Beloved. Compassionate days that flow into passionate nights. A flow of energy between us that builds and shares and expands. Perpetual. Timeless.
I want those things.
Time, however, often chooses the pace and, thus, can affect the quality of Now… if we allow it to. Plans made need to be shuffled again and again before they can be implemented and even then I must remain flexible to last second alterations.
This is where I am now: Making the best of unexpected changes. Unexpected changes making the best of me. Guiding the future with intention and understanding with one difference, mutual desire.
Not the base and often destructive sexual or sensual desire of immature love, though certainly that exists, how can it not? I do desire the physical connection of my lover. Intensely. More than that, however, is the desire to give and receive love. Physical. Emotional. Psychological. Spiritual. To create something together under the guidance of those intentions of compassion, connection, union, care, growth, and so much more that I so often describe as simply “love and gratitude” and through those intentions build something lasting. Eternal. Timeless.
Today the flow of Now across which time passes and at the edge of which I exist is both friend and seeming foe. It prevents immediate satisfaction of our goals. Blocks access to the woman I love. But every second that passes brings me ever closer to her and to Divine Union with her. In this it can only be considered friend.
I could focus on the obstacles or focus on the goal. The choice is made easy by these facts:
The obstacles are temporary.
Love is timeless.
I choose love.
Image: from the “Timeless” series by Moe Shirani