Are You Recreating Your Childhood With Your Partner?

Got a new column over at elephant journal, and I’m talking about marriage.

Here is the first post:

The Soul Reporter on Growing Up Your Love.

The other day, my husband informed me via text he was going to do something he knew I might not approve of. Him sharing this with me is a new behavior. In the past, I found out these things by accident or because I was snooping around.

I told him how I felt about what he was going to do. I threw in the kids: “Do you think it is a good choice considering we have children?”

Turns out, I had no influence. He was still going to do what he wants to do, and I fell into a funk and sent him this text:

To continue reading…

>What Two Kinds of People Am I Talking About?

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Earlier this month, I entered a writing contest offered by Susan Bearman, at her site 2kop: Two Kinds of People.  Here is my entry. Read the winning entry here.

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There are two kinds of people: those who watch TMZ and those who don’t. I don’t, but my family does.  But, I won’t be writing about those who watch TMZ and those who don’t. Instead I will be writing about what I heard on TMZ as my family watched.

Jennifer Love Hewitt is walking arm and arm with an actor no one has heard of.  In the room where they all gossip, a young girl says, “There are reachers and there are settlers.” According to her, Jennifer is a settler.

So, there are two kinds of people, those who settle and those who reach. No one wants to be a settler, right? But I think I am, at least with men (Honey, before you think I settled with you, keep reading. It will get better).

In high school, I really liked a wrestler named Joel. Perfect body. Nice smile. Smart. Seemed kind.  But he was definitely out of my reach. He would never like me. I didn’t like me. So, I hid from boys like him, and settled for the boys who could smell my low self-worth from the shadows.  These boys pulled me out with their words that made me feel special.

One such boy, Michael, who was not really a boy, but 19 (I was 15), spotted me in a teen dance club. I, smoking my skinny cigarettes while dancing the wop (the 80’s version) could feel him looking at me.  I wanted him to pull me from the shadows. He was so cute, but I knew he was bad.  After I wopped my way off the dance floor, he left the girl he was with and pulled me to him with these words: “You are so fine. You have such beautiful green eyes.”  Hooked, and settled.

You can guess where that relationships went.  I continued to dream of reaching the kind and confident boys like Joel, but always ended up settling for the smooth-talking boys like Michael. That is until, I met Chucky.  At first, I kept running into him, but we never talked. Then one night we were at a rolling skating rink. It was dance night. I was sitting on a chair, wearing a green skirt, holding a place for a friend, with my leg propped on another chair. I felt someone looking at me. It was a young boy, with a baby face staring directly between my legs. I suppose he thought I was trying to give him a peep show, but my exposure was completely innocent, and I closed my legs.

Chucky pursued me for the rest of the night.  He wasn’t smooth talking, but he knew what he wanted (hopefully it was more than what was between my legs). I tried to avoid him, knowing I was “bad” in relationships. But he kept calling, and then one night, while I was taking a bus downtown, he got on the bus with a big smile on his face, and I was sold. No one had ever gone out of their way to be with me like he had.

Twenty-three years later, we are still together. Married. Two children. Life.  Through the course of our relationship, I have thought I’d settled.  He wasn’t the man of my dreams. Nothing like Joel.  He doesn’t look like Joel. He doesn’t act like Joel.  He doesn’t even smooth talk me like Michael.  Instead, he is himself.  It has taken a long time for me to accept who he is rather than try and change him. And why would I do this? Because I feared I settled.

Recently I read a blog post from someone who is wondering if she should stay married.  She isn’t happy, and thinks she might be happier with someone else. I imagine she feels she has settled.  When I hear stories like this, I understand the dilemma.  But I also hear the warning signal going off.  Don’t leave. Don’t go.  The grass won’t be greener at another man’s house.

We are a culture afraid of settling. We fear the present moment, as if somehow it is a mistake.  But, truly how can it be? Every moment in our lives is perfectly orchestrated to the tune of our own beliefs, to the magnificence and possibility of our own souls.  And within this soul, is a rhythm. We are beings who evolve and change. How then, can we ever settle?

At 15, knowing how I felt about myself, and the messages I believed about who I was, I could not receive Joel, or anyone like him.  Of course, for all I know Joel is a big beef head, not worth my time. But the truth is what is true in our minds. I believed he was better than me.  I didn’t deserve him. He could never like me. To reach for him, would cause immediate failure. I didn’t know then, what I know now- if we dream it, we can reach for it. Or as Sarah Ban Brethnach says, “Trust that the same power that gifted you with your dreams knows how to make it come true.”

What I reach for, as a wife, is to be the best woman I know I can be within a container I feared would shrink my being, instead of expand it.  In my reaching, I have arrived in heinous places, which made me believe my deepest fear had come true: I am settling for less than what I dream and desire. This is the challenge- and where sometimes what we fear the most does come upon us.  But, to understand these dark moments only arrive to clear us of all that isn’t truly of us, we can remain in trust of the process.

To answer my own question, there is no such thing as settling. We are always reaching.  Striving. Processing. Growing.  I must then change my two kinds of people to this:  There are two kinds of people, those who trust the process of their evolution and those who dwell in the illusory fear of settling for less.

I’m growing into a woman who feels better about herself.  Who allows the man she feared she settled for, love her and show her his loyalty.  In seeing his loyalty and love, I find my own for him, and together within our matrimonial container we deepen and expand. To my women, and men friends out there- if you feel you have settled, but have space and safety within your relationship- stay.  Allow the relationship to slough off your weak spots and your illusions. Let yourself stay in process, and grow. The grass is alive and green right where you are. Be the kind of person who allows that possibility.

>A Lion’s Roar: A Lesson in Pride

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Thanks to those who rev up our pride so that we may see its face

I went to the gym to workout with my husband this morning.  After our work out, we sat in his car and talked. He asked me if I was hungry. I said, “I’m not sure.”  My body was fed by my workout, and I had all the nourishment I needed.  
He was hungry and suggested bacon, eggs and toast. We went to the store for bacon, and on our way home my stomach started to grumble.  I said, “I feel hungry now.” My husband chuckled and said, “I find it funny how the person who says she knows herself wasn’t sure she was hungry.”  Pissed….and feeling threatened, I let him know.  
Dammit, I do know myself. What the hell are you talking about?  I told you I wasn’t sure if I was hungry because I didn’t know. That was my truth at the moment.  Then, 20 minutes later my body felt hungry and I told you. I always frickin’ share who I am in the moment. How many people do you know who do this?  And I always try to share honestly and with integrity.  Just because I change my mind or feel something different doesn’t mean I don’t know myself. I pride myself in knowing who I am.
And there it was, pride. A word which came up again last night by my lovely daughter who pointed out her momma’s pride as I went on and on about how I hate when people use “2” instead of “to” and “b” instead of “be” and “u” instead of “you” and “lol” for a laugh, when they write texts and updates.  I write with full sentences and always use periods and commas, and even add paragraphs. Alyssa said, “Wow mom, you are really proud of yourself for that, aren’t you? 
Fuck, she was right.  I am really proud of this. World, see me shine with my use of the written word.  Aren’t I wonderful…..?” (You don’t have to answer)
Pride was not an anchor I believed I possessed. I thought it best used by men, like my husband, whose pride I often call out. But, as I defended myself against my husband, I realized he hit me in that place of pride and our argument wasn’t him vs me. It was me vs me.  Me showing me a glimpse of my pride.  Me showing me how pride is at the bottom of many arguments. Me showing me how pride ruffles my feathers and paves the way for attack, which seems essential to maintain my livelihood.  But is it?    
How important is it to have a high opinion of one’s self and then to let others know?  Apparently, very important until we see our shadow in the light of pride, or perhaps see our light in the shadow of pride.
Today’s Soul Tip


Watch for signs of pride.  What are you most proud of? To what lengths will you go to defend it? What might be its remedy?  Perhaps instead of a proud lion’s roar, we take a deep lion’s breath. When pride shows its face, be silent and trust in truth, for Truth is who we are and the Truth needs no defending.

Namaste, 
The Soul Reporter

>It’s Time to be meMighty

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The other night, my husband sent me a text: How is your might?
He meant to say, night. But his typo got me thinking, how the heck is my might?
My first response would be, poor. In fact, I haven’t felt mighty at all, for a long, long time.
Being mighty means to posses great and impressive power or strength; an action which requires great strength.
As I mentioned in my last post, the last time I felt truly strong and brave (mighty) was when I chose to have my daughter no matter who or what supported me. Since this time, I have been in somewhat of a metaphorical purgatory. According to wikipedia, since I am not a bible reader, purgatory is the condition or process of purification or temporary punishment- or karma, which sounds better to my soul.
Yes, it is supposed to be a state, which occurs after we physically die, but we don’t have to physically die to die, or to be in purgatory. I remember having a conversation about reincarnation with my father when I was pregnant. I said to him, it seemed that even in this one life, we have many deaths and rebirths. So then, it would make sense there would be a time of in-between- a time of limbo- a time of purgatory.
I suppose then, through these states of purgatory I have been quite mighty, believing as I do, that I have died and re-birthed hundreds of times already. Than, how is it I don’t feel mighty? Why do I feel I have lost some deep strength? And why, am I resurrecting it now?
Last night, I saw the movie Avatar. I could write several blog posts just on what I gathered from watching this amazing film. But one of the most intriguing pieces I gathered, was from the character, Neytiri (pictured above. My new hero). I am not sure I have seen a more balanced female. She displays the perfect amount of strength. She is wise, interpreting subtle energies from all living forces. She leads, and also follows. She loves, while also staying true to herself. And even in her blue glow, she has sex appeal and allure. She is fierce. Mighty. Real. Deep. Full of heart and soul, and she spoke to my heart and soul, and has since helped to pull out my might.
Neytiri is in all women. She is all women, but the obstacles for women are numerous to capturing this energy as well as James Cameron was able to capture her in his screenplay. One of these obstacles has to do with pleasing others. Women are open, as our sexual anatomy portrays. Because of this, energies are constantly being penetrated inside of us. We feel these energies inside of us, but because of our upbringings, where we were not taught about our true nature, we do not navigate through this maze of emotions and subtle energies easily. Instead we feel overwhelmed, missing the divine opportunity to interpret, and perhaps use these energies as guides and lessons for us in our personal lives and relationships.
I have heard many women say, they feel off center, overwhelmed, and irritated when they are around their family. This is because we feel them. We see them. We understand them. On levels we don’t even understand, and we just don’t know how to navigate, interpret and use these energies to assist others, and ourselves. In the movie, Neytiri was teaching the male character the ways of her people. She spoke of the subtle energies of the forest, and how they assist her people to survive and live. The same is true of us, if we pay attention.
Which brings me back to might. I am sensing its subtle energy inside of me. It reawakening tells me I am in need of its gifts and lessons. One of its lessons, is I understand how, once I became married I gave away a chunk of my power, thinking the man in my life had more wisdom and strength than I. I did this in small ways: Honey, do you think we should do it this way or that way? Should we go here or do this? Do you like me like this or do you like me like that?
I also did it in not so small of ways, Honey, I sense you aren’t feeling very confident and strong so I will make my self smaller so not to intimidate you, or make you feel worse. Honey, I feel like I understand things in a deeper way sometimes, but instead of following that deeper way, I will allow you to lead, and my wisdom will go astray. Honey, since I feel so damn mad at myself for giving up my power to you, I will punish you and try to leave you because it is all your fault, and I want myself back.
I would say it is difficult to be a woman in our culture, for these reasons and so many others. But in the movie, Avatar, women were respected. They were equal. They were sought for their wisdom and healing. Their insight, and knowledge. (and not just sex) I have struggled within my marriage, because I have a husband who does not (at least outwardly) seek me for my wisdom. For my healing. For my insight, and yet I have it all to give. (Another reason why I am grateful for this blog.) When he asked me what tie to wear a couple of weeks ago, I felt like a dog who never gets a pat. (Excuse me as I air my personal laundry with all of you- I am processing some big stuff- again)
I suppose this is one reason why I feel so stifled. Why I don’t feel mighty. I am not being used or using myself for all that I have to offer. So when I see a character such as Neyteri, I feel captivated and inspired, but depressed, as it makes clear how far away I feel from the true source and potential of my being. There has been no greater hell for me than this- I suppose this is why I call it purgatory- the process of purification hurts like hell (and it so goddamn long). And I always want it to be over, even though I learn so much. Yet, I know the cycle continues, and continues, and continues….
Which brings me to another lesson from Avatar. As I watched the “bad” guys, with their ego-driven ways try and destroy a culture of Natives, I realized life on Earth, or whatever planet we may end up on, may be hell for a long, long time- you know that space of purgatory. But those of us who understand the deeper parts of ourselves, and this human experience, we must continue to fight and stand for what is true inside of us. And this fight isn’t about sides, as Neytiri said. It is about balance, and it is God, or the AlMIGHTY, or who Neytiri’s people called God (which the name escapes me and I can’t find it on google) that understands what needs to happen so balance and harmony prevails.
Personally, for balance and harmony to prevail in my life, I am sensing from the AlMIGHTY it is time for me to be meMIGHTY. For so long, I have stifled this mightiness and strength I feel in me for I feared it meant I would not be nice, or compassionate, or “spiritual” or God forbid hurt someone’s feelings (you know that people pleasing thing, I mentioned). But my might cannot be stifled any longer, for with my mighty might, I can also love fiercly, act creatively and live fruitfully, and this would be worth losing anyone or anything that may be intimidated.
To assist in this reawakening, today I was advised by my Aunt Flo who reminded me we come from a family of strong women, and to call on them. It is no coincidence then, I received this advice, and saw Avatar, and now writing this blog.
It is time to be mighty, once again. Why? I still do not know. But I trust it has something to do with Balance.
And go see Avatar. It is a true winner.
Namaste,
The Mighty Soul Reporter

>Starving

>I’m starving.

This is why I eat.
But food is not what I am hungry for.
It’s you. 
All of you.
Not just parts, your insignificant parts, but
you. 
Your messy parts.   Your mysterious parts. 
Your every part.
You.
I need you, and you’re here.
I can’t wait for someone more perfect.
As I speak to you.
I speak to me 
And all of my parts.