The cure for pain is in the pain.

September 10, 2016

Some weeks ago, I had major surgery. I have been recovering since, and that recovery has included a great deal of physical pain. The surgery itself was a success; after my recovery, I expect to have a knee that is much more functional that the one that was replaced.

Extreme physical pain is a new experience for me. I did not expect it, and was unprepared. Even though I had excellent medical care and a variety of medications, I found it hard to endure the pain of the first ten days and nights.

Like every life challenge, it was an opportunity too. I believe it deepened my compassion as I thought of the millions of people who must endure such pain without the medical and personal support I am privileged to have.

So gratitude has been interwoven with pain and trying to keep my spirits up. Through the years I have spent deeply immersed in Rumi, I have learned more and more to find gratitude embedded in every challenge.

I offer these you these lovely words by Rumi:

Inside, you are sweet beyond telling. There is a sun in everyone.

I become a mirror that cannot close its eyes to your longing,

my eyes wet with yours in the early light,

my mind every moment giving birth,

always conceiving, always in the ninth month….

 

Another aspect of this experience has been the extraordinary kindness that has been shown to me by my partner, family members and some close friends. Even my young physical therapist has shown me such gentleness and kindness.

Dorianne Laux says:

For the Sake of Strangers

No matter what the grief, its weight,
we are obliged to carry it.
We rise and gather momentum, the dull strength
that pushes us through crowds.

And then the young boy gives me directions
so avidly. A woman holds the glass door open,
waits patiently for my empty body to pass through.

All day it continues, each kindness
reaching toward another–a stranger
singing to no one as I pass on the path, trees
offering their blossoms, a retarded child
who lifts his almond eyes and smiles.

Somehow, they always find me, seem even
to be waiting…
.

A cousin I love has these words on her answering machine:

“Make it a good day for someone.” May we all heed and practice this wisdom.


Let Me Have One More Day

March 12, 2016
Love Poem by Tim Hicks
Let me have just one more day, 
let me have this day and let it not be my last.
Let me have just one more day to feel the sap in the stems, 
to hear the language of birds and the wind,
one more day of light, one more day of turning,
one more day balanced on the precipice, one more day
to bask and revel, one more day of the exquisite pain,
one more day to risk a bit more, just one more day 
to feel the tide’s pull, to be swept and tossed, 
to fear the loss, one more day to empty and be bereft.
Let me have one more day that I might find you and 
find myself in you, to allow the wonder of the dance, 
one more day to reveal and conceal, one more day 
without words to say what I can not tell you, one more day 
to be willing, to allow time’s victory and defeat,
one more day carried on the upwelling, my body 
salt in the tears, some kind of habitation, some kind of crystallization,
some kind of membrane between. 
I don’t mean to be trite but
I love you like water loves gravity, like lungs love oxygen,
like the grasses with the breeze, like the torrents over the rocks.
I’m serious here. My gaze wants to linger longer on you.
I have not had enough of your demands. I have more of laughter to learn….
This poem reminds me to celebrate my great good fortune in having people I love so very dearly in my life. May I cherish each day, knowing that the number of those days is beyond my control. I learned from Rumi to embrace it all, though, and I truly do. Gratitude flows through me from the first playful wags of my dog’s tail as soon as I open my eyes till the last kiss at night. To make this authentic, I must admit that between those two events, I often slip into my ego’s demands and complaints (“I took out the trash last time!”). I try not to linger there though, and usually I don’t.
Please visit my website at www.coupleswisdom.com.
Thanks to Larry Robinson for sending this poem, and blessings to all!

My Happy Marriage

February 6, 2016

It took nearly 18 years together to learn to be truly happy. Perhaps we are slow learners; I’m pretty sure I am. For one thing, I had to learn to choose recovery instead of addiction. That was 13 years ago. I don’t think a truly happy marriage can exist if one partner is pursuing an active addiction. Even being an intermittent, functional alcoholic–as I once was–is a barrier to the kind of relationship which is authentic and includes profound bonding and deep communication.

Saying goodbye to addiction:

Perhaps I should define my terms. “Intermittent” alcoholics have periods of time when they drink normally or not at all. In my case, when I went on diets several times a year, I would not drink at all for weeks or months. “Obviously, I don’t have an alcohol problem,” I’d say to myself, because denial is not just a river in Egypt. When the diet was over though, I’d have one glass of wine at dinner, and within a few weeks I’d be drinking every day and too much. “Functional alcoholic” means I had a job, I never drank while working, and very few people knew that I had a drinking problem–only those who had seen me ruin a special occasion because sometimes I could not control how much I drank or my behavior after the first glass of wine. Sadly, it was primarily those who were nearest and dearest to me who witnessed or were hurt by those occasions; recalling this brings back the regrets I will always have.

By grace, the day my younger son’s first child was born, everything changed. Holding that precious baby, and overcome with love for him and for my children and their children, I knew that continuing to drink would fatally compromise those relationships. I stopped drinking that day, and never looked back. 90 AA meetings in 90 days, working the steps, making amends–through grace I did it all. The results have been profoundly positive. The classic alcoholic’s fear that I would never again have fun was the opposite of the facts.

“I love you just as you are.”

Just as important, on the road to a truly happy marriage, I had to become totally willing to accept and affirm my husband just as he is. I think it was a turning point when I began to feel and say, “Not only do I love you, but I am 100% satisfied with you.”

Having a deeply joyful and committed marriage is grace, it’s joy, it’s one of the greatest sources of gratitude in my life. In future posts, I will have more to say about this path and how it can be your path as well.

Blessings to you and yours, dear reader! Please visit me at http://www.coupleswisdom.com.


Finding True Love and Passion Again

December 8, 2015

The show mentioned below is now available as a podcast.

Would you like to know the secret to true marital happiness? Check back here and on my website: http://www.coupleswisdom.com. Soon I will post the true secret to long term sexual joy, and finding true happiness together.


“Let the beauty we love, be what we do.”

April 3, 2015

Dear Visitor,

Reviewing the statistics for this blog, I’ve found that more than 83,000 have visited since I began it. You–visitors from many states and countries–are my community, my fellow travelers on this journey of developing our spiritual lives as deeply as we can, and of trying to make a difference on this planet through our compassion and commitment to service.

I write this on Good Friday and the first day of Passover. Ramadan is six weeks away. So many worshipers, singing different verses of the same song. And of the many who do not identify with any organized religion, most are seekers too. As Rumi said, “I see the same altar in temple, mosque and cathedral.”

Here are some of Rumi’s lessons for us all:

• We are here on earth for the purpose of soul-growth.

• We are capable of profound joy and compassion in virtually every circumstance.

• Pain and loss can be the gateway to our greatest joy.

The last point touches me in a new way as I–like many of you–face a serious health challenge.

Rumi also says:

Lo, I am with you always.

You promised that, and when I realized it was true,

My soul flared up.

Remember and be back with the Friend.

===============

Please visit me at my website: http://www.coupleswisdom.com

Blessings to all!

 


When Love Calls

May 2, 2013

 

When Love Calls You, Follow Him

Gibran says:

When love beckons to you,  follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep….
.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.

Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.

To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

I first read these words many years ago. They touch me still, but the interpretation I give them now has deepened.

In a most fortunate meeting with a wise person I know, I was reminded  that love’s deeper task is finding the Beloved of the Soul. Instead of the endless, futile search for perfection in a partner, we must look deeper. A workshop I did years ago with Stanislov Grof was called The Mystical Quest. Such lasting grace came to me from that event! I learned that I have an infinite Source of joy inside me. I can access it in a second at any time, regardless of circumstances.

Rumi says:

Lo I am with you always.
You promised that, and when i realized it was true
my soul flared up.

Any unhappiness comes from forgetting.

Remember, and be back with the Friend.

The wise ones of every path agree: infinite peace and joy cannot result from anything we may achieve, buy or be given. Through grace, that joy is available to all of us through inner discovery. “An intense inner life,” as Mother Teresa put it, is the path.

“Ask and you shall receive,” but we must ask.

A thousand thanks to Stan Grof whose work has clarified the journey for so many.

Blessings to you, dear visitor.

Please see the Poetry and Inspiration page at www.coupleswisdom.com for some of Rumi’s other gifts to us all.


The Ways of Love Are Hard and Steep

June 26, 2012

The Ways of Love May Be Hard and Steep

June 25, 2012

Gibran says:

When love beckons to you,  follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep….
.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.

Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.

To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

I first read these words many years ago. They touch me still, but the interpretation I give them now has deepened.

In a most fortunate meeting with a wise person I know, I was reminded yesterday that love’s deeper task is finding the Beloved of the Soul. There is a better choice than the endless search for the perfect partner who inevitably disappoints since there’s no perfection in this life. The wise ones point us toward an ever more profound embrace of life and of what is right now.

Rumi loved all of it–the worship, the failure, the music, the poetry, the silence. When “everything is soul and flowering,” there is no circumstance or loss or confusion we cannot welcome as an unexpected visitor with lessons to teach us.

May you be blessed with the grace to see things this way today, dear visitor. For help with relationships and sexuality, please visit me at www.coupleswisdom.com.

Blessings!