Love 2.0…Made Manifest

Being in love is incomparable. 

When in true love, one based on the Divine, a couple ascends to what is perhaps the highest state of human development. In that sacred being/state called Us, we find completion of our purpose…to worship and serve the Divine together, to create a fusion of beings in love (with love radiating out to all), to become instruments of, no, manifestations of the holy and Divine. 

In that state of grace, we function at previously unattainable levels, in the physical, mental, and spiritual realms. We can reach these levels only together. The wisest guru, on the highest mountain, in the deepest state of enlightenment cannot hope to equal this state…alone.

Individually, I saw my skin fill with life (and Hers, as well). My face glowed, and age dropped off me like an unneeded carapace. The sails of my body and soul were filled with the magical, mystical, holy power of Love. Yes, love…the power to heal, to rejuvenate, to grow in places and ways never before imagined.

Subjectively, I was only an individual insofar as I manifested Yang to Her Yin. We were One, inseparable. I was like a flower, drawn irresistably to my sun, concerned only with it. Some psychologists may call this a case of extreme cathection, of an alarming and DSM-quantifiable disappearance of ego boundaries…those who have never been in love like this. 

Neither of us fell off the potato truck yesterday, and we can both distinguish between puppy love and the power of God coursing in and through Us. 

I was full of power…the power to heal myself and my Beloved, when joined with Her awesome power. The power to nurture and pamper and care for Her. I had the strength and motivation of ten men…if directed towards the good of my Love, of Us, of the marvellous present and shining future we envisioned together. 

In that magic synergy of will and intent, the Love we created…the Love we shared…became sanctified, powerful beyond any that could be conceived or manifest individually. 

It was a gift to behold, to experience…together, the only way it can be experienced. It was the pinnacle, the core, the essence. There, we drank the nectar of life, kissed and flowed together as only lovers can. There, we merged at a cellular level, a quantum level, an ethereal level. We were metaphysics in action, God and Goddess, sacred kinetics brought to life. 

There, we blazed. There, we shone. We were eternity. We were harmony.

I have experienced no shallow loves in my life. Every woman was holy, every woman special. The Us we created was always magical and mystical. Yet no other relationship felt this sanctified, this holy, this…ordained. 

No other relationship was this short. Most of my few relationships have had longevity; they shined for years. This is one of the first since my youth that shined for weeks or months. Was it any less eternal than the others? Did we become any less One, merge any less, go as deep or approach each others’ core any less? 

My heart knows the Truth of that, as does Hers…and yours.

Of the myriad beautiful things I learned with this woman, one of the most profound (and obvious) is this; sacred relationships have no precise recipe. They have no timetable or guaranteed lifespan. Their lifespan is up to Us…and to fate, statistics, the Divine, the Tao, whatever you want to call it. No guarantees, despite our best efforts or intentions.

Sacred relationships are a gift…from the Divine, from the Divine within us. Gifts cannot be clung to, just gratefully accepted, allowed to blossom through their lifespan, whatever that may prove to be.

The only response to such a Divine gift is Divine gratitude. My heart overflows with it, as it did (does) with that Divine love.

Amen.

 

Love 2.0

I am here to manifest a newer, better love…Love 2.0. All my life experiences have prepared me for this. All my lovers have prepared me for The Lover, for She who will come.

I manifest this new love, sacred and holy, that I may share it with her and the entire world. I make myself ready. One of my previous loves once told me that if I could just operate from the heart  instead of the head that I would be love on a stick. I listened and learned…and am.

This love is within me, within all I behold. It shines forth like a note, waiting for it to resonate and harmonize with another. Should this gift come, I will start every day with renewed joy, dedicating myself to nurturing and sustaining this newfound love.

This love burns in me, hot like the core of the sun, cool like a mountain stream. It contains passion and peace, the space to grow. It contains the strength to ascend, and the vulnerability to be open and present. It knows how to listen, how to feel. It remembers that the one before me is my Beloved. It shines with my essential and authentic truth.

This love abides. It is true, solid like a rock yet flowing like water. This love is meant to be shared, in sacred and holy communion. For a communion it is. When we make love, we unite on a chemical level, on a spiritual level. With this act of love, She will be within every cell of me, Her scent and her essence. Her laugh will echo in my brain and heart and core for eternity.

Eagerly, I prepare the temple for Her, prepare myself – heart and body and soul. I await Her like the king awaits the arrival of his queen, like a lover awaits his special One. I had mistaken my previous loves for The One, but they were merely handmaidens for Her, preparing the way for Her  – teaching me to make artichokes and make love like none other, teaching me to grow food and grow relationships. They taught me well, and I am ready to unite with Her. Together we will make music, explore the world, discover a love like none other.

I won’t wait around for Her, nor spend my time searching. I will live my love, do the things I love , shine my true light and She will find me. I will not mourn past loves or yearn for future ones. I will be love. If I do this, a Shakti will arise naturally to meet my Shiva.

With a sense of calm, I know She will not appear perfect before me, nor I before Her. I will see and invoke that Divine angel in Her, as She will in me. Together we will uncover and reveal the beauty within each other, polish each other like diamonds in the rough.

Knowing love requires constant attention, I will tend my love like a garden, husband it like a herd. Together, we will plant and sow…and reap the bountiful harvest of love. I will move in Her, and She will envelop and move with me, merging in every cell. I will be strong when She requires strength, and gentle when She requires that. I will always respect and honor Her, treat Her like a queen…for She will be my queen, and I will dedicate myself to Her.

I will place her on a pedestal, but I will love and accept Her as She is – a normal human being with strengths and weaknesses. I will adore Her – yet accept every imperfection as part of what makes the unique beauty of Her. I come with an open heart, an open mind, free of expectations or ptions. I come without ego, knowing that in humility and unity we can frow. What could the individual I want that is more important than Us? Nothing.

I lay my head down to sleep, dreaming of Her, although I’m not sure if I’ve met Her yet or not. I lay my heart down, open and free of past loves and pains. Fly away, for  queen comes and we must make ready.

 

Written Oct 6, 2013…not long before I met the person I thought was Her.

Some Quotidian Highlights from My 2013…

In the previous year (2013), I had some great new experiences:

For the first time, I got my legs into Garundasana (Eagle). 

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This may sound trivial, but it is miraculous, considering I thought this to be a physical impossibility at the start of the year. I am sure my orthopedic docs would consider it impossible, considering the state of my knees and hips, and the numerous injuries they’ve  sustained. It was also virtually impossible, given the state of my mind, spirit, and resultant attitude. Only when I accepted some hard   realities in my life and released them with gentle understanding, did I reach a state where this type of contortion was possible, a state that required not only physical flexibility, but also a more open heart, mind, and spirit.

For the first time, I got my body into Ardha-Padmanasana (Half Lotus).

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This appears to be trivial as well, but is actually a huge step for me. Not only were the physical ‘limitations’ of my knees and hips factors,  but also the series of unexplored muscles in my groin and pelvis, and the (perhaps most importantly) state of gentle acceptance of Self  and others that is a prerequisite to achieving rest in this pose. Like with Eagle, I wasn’t trying to achieve this pose when I did – that attitude  would have precluded any chance of being there. Instead, it just sort of happened as I was being gratefully and gently present in my body,           exploring my ‘edge’ of performance, of being. I never imagined I would ever be able to be in this posture. And it is definitely a posture: physical, mental, and spiritual.

For the first time, I performed Hurdler pose.

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Hurdler is an improbable pose, at best. I wasn’t even trying to perform it; the (magical) teacher just gave the cues and I did what she said (without expectations) and…viola! there I was. It was beautiful; only to be experienced from a state of strength, grace, and allowing. Unlike  Eagle and Lotus, I haven’t been able to (or haven’t really tried to) duplicate it since.

I learned to truly rest in Scorpion pose.

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Scorpion is a beautiful pose. In my current expression, my legs just dangle over my head. In theory, some day my spine will be strong and flexible enough to allow my toes to touch my head (second picture). For now, I just be here, where I am. I learned to do this pose first in  2011, and refined it in 2012. It wasn’t until this year that I came to the point where I could genuinely rest in this pose, savoring the energetic benefits of it, and sublime experience of being it. That is huge…to me.

I began blogging.

Although I began sharing notes on MySpace and Facebook (to selected aurdiences) after returning from Afghanistan, it was only this fall that I made an actual blog, and opened my heart to share it with the world. That is an intimate thing, and a big step for me.

I taught my first Yoga Nidra class, and my first classes at the Neurosculpting Institute.

Yoga Nidra is a super-helpful and easily accessible method of deep relaxation. It is immensely helpful and healing to all of us, especially those who have suffered trauma (PTSD, TBI, etc). It is rarely taught of utilized. I gave my first class on Nidra at the Neurosculpting Institute, which was in itself an honor. Teaching (sharing, guiding) such a powerful method is immensely rewarding. I plan to do more of       this in 2014…

I made my first organic smoothie, and got a Ninja Blender.

With my first organic juice and purchase of a juicer in 2012, I followed up in 2013 with acquisition of a Ninja blender and began to make organic smoothies. I love this method, as juicing leaves a lot of unused roughage, stuff I suspect my body needs. Smoothies leave all those good kale and watermelon ‘leftovers,’ giving my digestive system something healthy to chew on. This may sound like another trivial and questionable benefit, but its implications for my lifelong health and performance are incredible. Bring on the phytochemicals…

I got a garlic press and a vegetable steamer tray, and made my first viniagrette dressing and my first artichoke.

Okay, this one is trivial. Perhaps. But to a single guy who had only the basic cooking utensils around, it is important. Now I can make a  viniagrette dressing for my guests, or steam an artichoke or broccoli for my sweetie, if She comes over. That’s huge.

I began to practice slack-lining.

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People over fifty rarely (or rarely used to) take up new sports that could result in falls, accidents, or injuries. People over fifty usually experience reduced strength and balance, too. That is not going to be me…at least if I can help slow down that inevitable decline. I got my grandson a Gibbon slackline for Christmas, and we are both learning it together (as we are those shoes with wheels on the                       heels…heelies). Not only is this helpful, but fun. I hope to keep it up, and some day be this incredibly old man doing yoga poses on a slackline.

There were many other great things in my year, perhaps not ‘firsts,’ but beautiful nonetheless:

I reconnected with three old junior/high school friends, one of them one of my best friends of the period, one a lover, and one my first love.

I accepted my lover as she was, with all her ‘faults’ and decided to love her not only in spite of those, but because of them.

I began snowboarding again after a five year break, something I love and previously did a lot of.

I learned a lot more about recent development in neuroscience, and about PTS(D).

Naturally, a little rain must fall as well, if nothing else but as for leaven for the high points.

I broke up with my last girlfriend, someone who made a special impact in my life and development. Even though mutual, it was very hard.

My relationship with my brother shattered, partly in conjunction with the above-mentioned breakup.

Overall, it was a pretty good year – hard, but ultimately good.

Perhaps the most important thing I did not mention, perhaps because it is early and perhaps inappropriate to speculate on the future at this point:

On a Friday the 13th, after more than five months alone, I met the woman who is my koan; in Her presence, my mind stops and I drop instantly into the heart. I met the woman I suspect could be the woman, the partner and soul-mate I have been looking for all my life. If this is true, then meeting Her would be the most important event of the year, if not of my life.

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An Addendum/Review/Afterword:

These activities (achievements, experiences) are all relatively mundane, in the big (or even smaller) scale of things. Yet they are important to me and my personal development, or reflective of it. As I look back, the things I’d like to have added to this list are not fascinating journeys or trips to far places, not material or career related. The ones I want to have on next year’s list are about service, to society, to others, to myself. They will be examples of where I helped in practical, tangible ways to make this world a better place.

Sure, making the world a better place starts with making yourself a better, nicer person; I know that. Yet I find a desire (need?) to effect change in more positive ways, more directly helpful ways. Still, the three primary foundations of positive change are effecting it in self, in family, and in intimate relationships. From that basis, we can then branch out to help others.

I am excited to see how next year’s list looks, and to experience the things I plan to add to the list.

Stay tuned…

“Some people pray to God: be here now to help me. I pray: help me to be here now.”

Mark-Francis Mullen

A Zen Love Letter

A Zen Love Letter

 

My Dearest Beloved:

 

You are an illusion; everything is.

Everything IS.

 

You are enlightened, and enlightenment.

You are liberation, and the source of suffering.

You are the mustard seed, and the desire…or is it the Other Way around?

You are the Buddha. The roshis tell me I should kill You if I find You.

You are void; imputed by my mind, projected from my desires.

You are impermanent; You fade from me like the sun, You flow away like the breeze…or water.

 

You are one hand clapping, and I am the sound.

 

You are the tree falling alone in the forest. I am the ear that hears when no one else is there.

 

Mu!

 

You are I and I am You. We are All One in this perfect Zen moment.

Gate, gate, Parasamgate, You are gone beyond and beyond.

You never were, I never was….wisps…fragments

Passing by like clouds in the infinite sky, we meet.

We pass.

I rain and You drink my gift. Between us there is no subject and object; You are the raincloud and I the parched plain; one and the same.

 

Namo Budaya.

 

I am mu-shin, no mind…Thou art mu, Thou art shin

Tara art Thou. Black Tara, white Tara, all the same. Tara.

 

Thou art God, yet there is no God except the void speaking within.

Within me, within You.

Within…

 

Nothing.

 

To.

Say.

To.

Do,

 

Just IS.

You ARE

 

Thou art.

 

Together, we are

fingers pointing at the moon

The gibbous Zen moon, the impermanent Zen moon.

 

Mu!

 

The space within us, the space between us, the space around us.

US…

 

All void.

Moo.

Mu!

 

You are Zen

 

 

I love You, dear illusion, dear passing cloud, dearest projection of my mind and ego and desire.

 I.   Love.   You.

You are my right dharma, my right action. You are my sangha.

 

You.

Mu.

 

 

The teacher held up a single flower, in the palm of Her hand…

 

 

 

Then the flower smiled…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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© 2013, Mark-Francis Mullen

Pope Francis, The People’s Pope

So powerful…

Person of the Year

To read about TIME’s choice in Spanish and Portuguese, click below.
EL ELEGIDO: El Papa Francisco es la Persona del Año 2013 de TIME
A Escolha: O Papa Francisco é a Personalidade do Ano eleita pela Time em 2013

On the edge of Buenos Aires is a nothing little street called Pasaje C, a shot of dried mud leading into a slum from what passes for a main road, the garbage-strewn Mariano Acosta. There is a church, the Immaculate Virgin, toward the end of the ­pasaje—Spanish for passage—where, on one occasion, the local priest and a number of frightened residents took refuge deep in the sanctuary when rival drug gangs opened fire. Beyond the church, Pasaje C branches into the rest of the parish: more rutted mud and cracked concrete form Pasajes A to K. Brick chips from the hasty construction of squatter housing coagulate along what ought to be…

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Some Quotes from Pope Francis

1. “In ideologies there is not Jesus: in his tenderness, his love, his meekness. And ideologies are rigid, always. Of every sign: rigid. And when a Christian becomes a disciple of the ideology, he has lost the faith: he is no longer a disciple of Jesus, he is a disciple of this attitude of thought… For this reason Jesus said to them: ‘You have taken away the key of knowledge.’ The knowledge of Jesus is transformed into an ideological and also moralistic knowledge, because these close the door with many requirements. The faith becomes ideology and ideology frightens, ideology chases away the people, distances, distances the people and distances of the Church of the people. But it is a serious illness, this of ideological Christians. It is an illness, but it is not new, eh?”
~Pope Francis, taking aim at ideologically obsessed Christians, October 2013

2. “We don’t want this globalised economic system which does us so much harm. Men and women have to be at the centre (of an economic system) as God wants, not money… The world has become an idolator of this god called money… To defend this economic culture, a throwaway culture has been installed. We throw away grandparents, and we throw away young people. We have to say no to his throwaway culture. We want a just system that helps everyone.”
~Pope Francis, criticizing “savage capitalism,” September 2013

3. “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods … It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time. The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.”
~Pope Francis, criticizing obsessed focus on abortion, same-sex marriage, and contraception, September 2013

4. “We have become used to the suffering of others. Has any one of us wept for these persons who were on the boat? For the young mothers carrying their babies? For these men who were looking for a means of supporting their families? We are a society which has forgotten how to weep, how to experience compassion… the church is with you in the search for a more dignified life for you and your families.”
~Pope Francis, taking up the plight of immigrants and the poor, July 2013

5. “A way has to be found to enable everyone to benefit from the fruits of the earth, and not simply to close the gap between the affluent and those who must be satisfied with the crumbs falling from the table, but above all to satisfy the demands of justice, fairness and respect for every human being.”
~Pope Francis, calling for social justice, Address to the Food and Agricultural Organization, June 2013

6. “The popes have spoken of human ecology, closely linked to environmental ecology. We are living in a time of crisis: we see this in the environment, but above all we see this in mankind … Man is not in charge today, money is in charge, money rules. God our Father did not give the task of caring for the earth to money, but to us, to men and women: we have this task! Instead, men and women are sacrificed to the idols of profit and consumption: it is the ‘culture of waste.’”
~Pope Francis, standing up for the poor and the environment, June 2013

7. “We human beings are not only the beneficiaries but also the stewards of other creatures. Thanks to our bodies, God has joined us so closely to the world around us that we can feel the desertification of the soil almost as a physical ailment, and the extinction of a species as a painful disfigurement. Let us not leave in our wake a swatch of destruction and death which will affect our own lives and those of future generations.”
~Pope Francis, calling for protecting the environment, Evangelii Gaudium, November 2013

8. “As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems. I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor! It is vital that government leaders and financial leaders take heed and broaden their horizons, working to ensure that all citizens have dignified work, education and healthcare.”
~Pope Francis, blasting “unfettered capitalism,” November 2013

9. “Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.”
~Pope Francis, attacking trickle-down economics, Evangelii Gaudium, November 2013

10. “While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.”
~Pope Francis, attacking tax evasion by the wealthy, raw capitalism, and the interests of the rich over the environment, Evangelii Gaudium, November 2013

11. “The Church acknowledges the indispensable contribution which women make to society through the sensitivity, intuition and other distinctive skill sets which they, more than men, tend to possess. I think, for example, of the special concern which women show to others, which finds a particular, even if not exclusive, expression in motherhood. I readily acknowledge that many women share pastoral responsibilities with priests, helping to guide people, families and groups and offering new contributions to theological reflection. But we need to create still broader opportunities for a more incisive female presence in the Church. Because the feminine genius is needed in all expressions in the life of society, the presence of women must also be guaranteed in the workplace and in the various other settings where important decisions are made, both in the Church and in social structures. Demands that the legitimate rights of women be respected, based on the firm conviction that men and women are equal in dignity, present the Church with profound and challenging questions which cannot be lightly evaded.”
~Pope Francis, speaking on women’s rights and women’s role in the workplace, Evangelii Gaudium, November 2013

12. “We Christians should embrace with affection and respect Muslim immigrants to our countries in the same way that we hope and ask to be received and respected in countries of Islamic tradition. I ask and I humbly entreat those countries to grant Christians freedom to worship and to practice their faith, in light of the freedom which followers of Islam enjoy in Western countries! Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalisations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.”
~Pope Francis, telling Christians to stop hating Muslims, Evangelii Gaudium, November 2013

13. “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!”.. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”
~Pope Francis, reaching out to atheists, May 2013

14. “… We have done little to adequately accompany women in very difficult situations, where abortion appears as a quick solution to their profound anguish, especially when the life developing within them is the result of rape or a situation of extreme poverty. Who can remain unmoved before such painful situations?”
~Pope Francis, calling for having sympathy and compassion for women who choose abortion because of extreme poverty and rape, Evangelii Gaudium, November 2013

15. “When we talk about the environment, about creation, my thoughts turn to the first pages of the Bible, the Book of Genesis, which states that God placed man and woman on earth to cultivate and care for it. And the question comes to my mind: What does cultivating and caring for the earth mean? Are we truly cultivating and caring for creation? Or are we exploiting and neglecting it?”
~Pope Francis, advocating for taking care of the environment, June 2013

16. “Fighting poverty, both material and spiritual, building peace and constructing bridges: these, as it were, are the reference points for a journey that I want to invite each of the countries here represented to take up. But it is a difficult journey, if we do not learn to grow in love for this world of ours. Here too, it helps me to think of the name of Francis, who teaches us profound respect for the whole of creation and the protection of our environment, which all too often, instead of using for the good, we exploit greedily, to one another’s detriment.”
~Pope Francis, on poverty and the environment, Address, March 2013

17. “A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy. When that happens, the Holy Spirit inspires the priest to say the right thing.”
~Pope Francis, saying we should love people even if they are gay,

18. “This is happening today. If investments in banks fall, it is a tragedy and people say ‘what are we going to do?’ but if people die of hunger, have nothing to eat or suffer from poor health, that’s nothing. This is our crisis today. A Church that is poor and for the poor has to fight this mentality.”
~Pope Francis, condemning hunger, inaccessible health care, and poverty,

19. “The times talk to us of so much poverty in the world and this is a scandal. Poverty in the world is a scandal. In a world where there is so much wealth, so many resources to feed everyone, it is unfathomable that there are so many hungry children, that there are so many children without an education, so many poor persons. Poverty today is a cry.”
~Pope Francis, decrying poverty and hunger at a time of great world wealth during a meeting with students of Jesuit Schools, June 2013

20. “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well. It says they should not be marginalized because of this (orientation) but that they must be integrated into society. The problem is not having this orientation. We must be brothers.”
~Pope Francis, putting the brakes on hating gay people, July 2013

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/12/11/pope-francis-quotes/

An Open Letter of Thanks to My Exes

Dear former lovers (and former wife of so long):

I not only forgive you, I thank you. I thank you for every challenge you gave me, every tear I cried on our behalf. I thank you for the lessons and experiences, both good and bad…especially the bad. I thank you for it all.

Through my seemingly unsuccessful relationships with you, I have learned some valuable lessons about life and love and women (and myself), done some incredible growing (and at times shrinking). You have helped make me the man I am today, and prepared me for my Real Lover, the one I hope and pray will eventually come.

You taught me how to love…and how to fight. You taught me to cook, and how to get cookin’. You taught me so many things, were the vehicle through which I learned so many lessons and experienced so many things. I grew, and you grew. Hopefully, I helped you grow enough to have wings of your own, to eventually fly from me to a better future.

I don’t mourn the past now. Sure, I might cry a little bit now and then, but the sadness has evolved into thankfulness, into gratitude for the gifts I learned at your feet, in your arms, and far away from you, alone.

Thank you, here’s a turkey.

No, seriously, I set aside a special day of thanks just for you, O Former (and supposedly forever) Lover. So thank you. Very much.

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Dear Women Who Left Me Alone and Crying, I love you. I love you in spite of your lack of faith or effort in sustaining the holy creature US. I love you regardless of the pain you caused me (or that I allowed you to cause me). I love you for it all; the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly.

Dear Women I Was Glad to Be Rid Of, I love you. I now know my ignorance of the special gift that was us, that any of your foibles were not the show-stoppers I thought they were, but chances for me to forge a newer, better type of relationship, based on acceptance of what you are, rather than insistence on what I want. Karma has paid me back in spades, and I know now the sanctity of the gift of relationship, and the importance of working it out together (whatever that is, for it will inevitably be something…with anyone).

Until today, my life was pervaded by an unending sense of separation and loss. Now, my life is again mine, as I give you yours. I again have a purpose, as I let you to yours.

So fly, little bird, fly with my blessing. I have given it and given it, and now truly give it again. No longer will I fight what is, try to superimpose my idea of what should be on the IS. I accept, and in this learn perhaps the greatest love lesson of all.

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I sit here in gratitude, experiencing the most valuable lessons of love…gratitude…and being fully present, for whatever it is.

‘Get along, sweet little woman, get along’

-Aerosmith/Unknown

‘Now when I find myself alone and unworthy, I think about all those things I learned…from those fine, fine women with nothing but good intentions, and a bad tendency to get burned.’

-SuperSonic/Chemistry

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