My heart is so heavy. I long for you to be near me. You've left me and I know it's of my own doing. I've been so harsh with you. I've taken you for granted. I've not appreciated your beauty, gentleness, or your love that you so freely offered to me. I turned you away. I didn't see all that you had to offer me. I didn't value you. You were so much more than my wife, my lover, my friend, but I only saw you as a burden to me. I was disgusted by your presence, I admit it. Your love felt like suffocation...like a trick to keep me in your possession. I didn't understand all that you were. I only saw you as a weight that I had to carry, but it was you that carried me. Your love was given over and over until the vessel had run dry. Now I'm alone and yearning for you. I was so foolish to make you run away from me.
I'm asking now that you please forgive me...forgive my ignorance, my fear, my struggle. I know that I am far from the perfect man, but I want to show you I can be the perfect man for you. I want to laugh and cry together, share our deepest and most intimate secrets. I want to be the shoulder where you lie your head and find solace. I want to be yours and yours alone. I didn't know it then, but I know it now. I want to be your protector, your cheerleader, your love again. We belong together. You have no reason to forgive me, but if you did I would be eternally grateful.
Art: 'The Other Side' by Dean Cornwell (1918)
My love you are not solely to blame. I too did not appreciate all that you had to offer. I wanted to prove my worth and so I worked tirelessly doing for you and coddled you like a child. I was afraid of losing you. I wanted you to know how much I loved you, and in doing so I made you feel like something was wrong. I pushed you away because I was certain it was over. I was certain you would abandon me. I ran away from you because I was ashamed. I just knew you would be happier with someone else.
I'm asking you to forgive me...forgive my ignorance, my fear, my struggle. I know that I am far from the perfect woman, but I want you to see that I can be the perfect woman for you. I too want to laugh and cry together, share our deepest and most intimate secrets. I want to be a presence for you when you need to find solace. I want to be yours and yours alone. I need you just as you need me, too. We do belong together. I forgive you, completely and I ask that you forgive me, too. I am eternally grateful that you are still a part of our lives. I'm coming home.
I woke up at 3:33 this morning, it's pretty typical these days. I have a lot on my mind that my subconscious wants me to work out. I've learned a lot over the last 50 years. I've learned you carry your past with you everywhere you go. It doesn't matter where you are, it's there. The mistakes you've made, the little wins. They're permanently etched in your soul. You'll hear it in your breathing. You'll see it in the expression on your face. You'll feel it in the dull ache of your heart and the tears that come when you least expect it. There's no hiding it.
You'll lose people you love to death, to differences of opinion, to marriages, divorces, separations, to anxiety and to misunderstandings. And every single one of them will hurt as if a part of you has died.
I've learned that your past does define you, but so do the actions you take to move forward. I've learned that every single one of us wants to give up sometimes. Every person you meet carries their past, too. I've learned that not everyone recognizes their unhealed wounds, and I've learned what it feels like to be the mirror for those wounds. I've learned that I see myself in everyone I meet and that if I don't like what I see, I turn away.
I've learned that someone can be head over heels in love with you one moment and resent you the next. I've learned that when an illusion is dissolved, another illusion is easier to pursue than to create something that's real. I've learned that facing your demons isn't something everyone can or wants to do.
I've learned that the strongest people I know have had some of the most painful life lessons; and some of the most loving have felt the least amount of love.
I've learned that there's no such thing as having no regrets. If you're living your life, you're going to make mistakes. I've learned that being present is the only way to live no matter where you are. Sometimes it hurts, but feeling is the only way you can be present in the moment. And feeling is how you know you're alive.
I've learned it hurts when you let go, but it hurts more to keep holding on. I've learned that kindness is the single most important thing in life. And I've learned that being grateful and loving, even when you're feeling like things aren't going your way can really help get you through the day.
I've learned that there are beautiful people all over the world who understand me. I've learned that the more you're grateful for them, the more of them that appear in your life.
I've learned that life isn't easy, but it's beautiful even in its struggles. I've learned that there's nothing more beautiful than having a life to live. For this, I am grateful.
I've been attempting to write a Science Fiction book for the last five years or so about a race of beings that have been living among humans undetected since humans have existed. The premise is that in order to prevent their race from becoming extinct, they create a human cross-breeding program that goes awry.
I've written five first drafts of the first ten chapters. I've tried telling the story in many ways and finally I figured out how I need to tell it. This epiphany came when I started reflecting on romantic relationships – what went wrong, what worked, and how to sustain them.
A good story needs chemistry to sustain the reader, just like a romantic relationship needs chemistry to maintain it. I started researching what to do when a romantic relationship has either lost its chemistry, or never really had it. I found a good article about what to do when you're in relationship with no chemistry, but it didn't really explain why it happens. Certainly there are some biological reasons why people have chemistry, but I wanted to additionally understand what causes a partner to continue to pursue someone from a psychological perspective.
I think fairytales hold a lot of insight into this phenomenon. The knight and his maiden are a perfect example of our biological and psychological needs in a relationship. I'm going to explain my thoughts using a heterosexual relationship as the basis, but it can be applied to homosexual ones if you apply it to dominant and submissive roles instead of gender.
The knight longs for someone to save; it's his purpose. The maiden longs for someone to save her. This storyline has been written in fairytales for centuries and it can be traced back to our beginnings when the cave men were the protectors and the females they rescued, their mates.
In modern times women have become self-sufficient, and this has changed the chemistry between the sexes significantly. What does a knight have to offer a maiden that doesn't need to be rescued? This is where things break down psychologically and goes against our ancestral programming and basic biological makeup.
Because the maiden doesn't need to be rescued, the knight becomes complacent, depressed, and resentful. This is where the term "chivalry is dead" comes into play. The maiden still wants to be rescued but can't show it, because that would make her vulnerable. The maiden needs to be vulnerable so she can attract the knight to come to her aid. She becomes exhausted constantly having to save herself, and unable to ask for help. She becomes bitter, resentful, and cruel. This is is what is happening to us psychologically, but perhaps on a subconscious level.
Ladies we have to allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to attract the right partner. It means understanding that our romantic partner will need to have meaningful work within our relationship to keep him satisfied. It doesn't mean not being strong, but perhaps finding strength in our vulnerability. Being receptive to his outstretched hand instead of insisting we do everything ourselves.
Gentlemen we need you to look for ways to rescue us, too. We don't want to do it all. We want your help. It doesn't mean dominating us, but continuing to see us as in need of your loving support and tenderness.
Over the course of our lives, we develop personas. As a child we learn about who we are by playing, I was particularly fond of superheroes and Barbie. I look back now and I can see the parts of me that are reflected in those characters. I also liked to pretend I was a famous actress, singer, and dancer. It brought me incredible joy. It seems to me that these are parts of me I've been neglecting while playing my other, more responsible roles.
When we start to mature physically, we start to explore the more adult types of roles that we will play. I took on the role of employee for the first time shortly after turning 16. I learned what it meant to have a job and the responsibilities that came along with it. I was still also playing the role of student, daughter, sister, and friend. I had other roles I was playing as well. I've always been a caretaker feeling incredible responsibility for the well-being of my friends and family, including the family pets. My mother instilled a sense of social responsibility in me early on in my life, volunteering at the fire department, police department, and nursing homes.
Somewhere along our journey we become fragmented, playing many different roles. People are often surprised to learn that I'm highly intuitive, took ninjitsu, lived in Japan, or grew up on a farm. The role that they've assigned to me in their story suddenly takes a plot twist.
I've adapted my "story" in the past to make others feel more comfortable. I've separated parts of me into digestible portions so others don't choke, but my authentic self wants to be a complete expression.
I think this personal fragmentation is a reflection of what happens when we incarnate here. We perpetuate the illusion of separation individually as well as the whole.. Many of us are starting to feel this incredible shift that is happening, where we are coming back together within so we can all feel more whole.
Don't be afraid to be all of you. That's what we're all meant to do. It's a process. Lean into it. Open your hearts and minds to all that you are. You are a perfect expression of all that is.
Photo credit: Joy Reactor
In alchemy there is a masculine and a feminine energy that lives within us called the divine masculine and feminine. They can be seen as a sun and moon in traditional alchemical representation. The sun being masculine and the moon feminine. These energies start out pure, untainted by our life experiences.
During the course of our lives we alter, forget, and sometimes even replace them with imposters. The result is a sun that burns too hot (anger), and a moon that withdrawals completely (depression). I call it the angry sun/sad moon dynamic. But this is also a part of the alchemical process that transforms us.
Art Credit: Vickie Wade
The only way out is through and the only way to heal those parts of ourselves is to identify the seeds of fear and doubt that we bury deep within our subconscious and love them anyway.
I recognize that I have been in an alchemical transformation for many years. Trying to understand who I really am. I decided to honor my inner masculine and feminine by telling the story of how they found one another. I hope that this short story awakens the true masculine and feminine fires that are aglow within you.
Samuel and Isabella: A Love Story
Samuel opened the blinds. It was morning and the sun pierced through the blinds illuminating his face; he greeted it with a gentle grin. It had only been a week since moving into his new apartment, but he was already settled. He kept his things to a bare minimum giving him the resources he needed to travel and experience all that life had to offer. He didn’t spend much time watching television, though he enjoyed a good film from time to time. He spent his childhood exploring the outdoors and observing both animals and plants. He reflected on it often, keeping many journals that he had started crafting as early as nine years old.
He wasn’t antisocial or withdrawn, having many supportive friends with whom he spent a lot of time laughing. He just didn’t need to be surrounded by people all the time. He felt comfortable in his own skin and enjoyed his own company. One of his absolute favorite activities was going camping under the stars, finding solace in the stillness and a kinship with the stars. He was outgoing and kind and often found himself losing track of time sharing stories with people of all ages. He was grateful for the time he got to spend with his family and loved them dearly. He enjoyed music and dancing. It was almost as important to him as sleeping. He felt equal love for the beach and the forest spending his time in both when he could. He had a deep love of horses and felt drawn to them, not just for the pleasure of riding but for the mystical connection they seemed to have with each other. Samuel felt complete within himself. He never felt alone even when he was physically so, knowing that his angels, guides, and ancestors kept him company in his heart. He was guided by love and grateful for every breath he could muster in his human body. Samuel only had one solitary goal in life, to find happiness wherever he found himself.
Isabella sat quietly on her deck wrapped in her favorite blanket looking up at the stars, sipping her warm spiced apple cider. The fall brought early darkness to the earth, slowly and gently preparing her for winter’s slumber and Isabella loved it. The full moon revealed the stillness of the night around her. Her small fire table providing enough warmth and light for her to sit outside every night before bed, weather permitting.
Isabella had always been fond of the night, the quiet calm. Even as a little girl she wanted to be outside with evening’s creatures – the bats, owls, and other nocturnal wonders that were hidden at morning’s light. She felt the rhythms of nature, and knew that fall was coming when the fireflies stopped dancing and the frogs stopped sharing their stories.
She stayed up way too late in the summers chasing the moon through the fields, sometimes being caught in the rain intentionally. All of the seasons meant something to her, but fall was her favorite. It was calming and relaxing – a nice change from the hectic daily life that so many of Isabella’s friends endured. She loved to sing and dance and found herself doing so when no one was watching. She was a very private gentle soul that exuded a sort of strength just by being. She always seemed to make people feel at home no matter where they were. People loved her and she loved them, but she always found her best moments were when she sat quietly one-on-one with someone in the silence. Peace was all she wanted in life and she made it wherever she went, it made her happy.
Isabella felt something familiar when she started walking in the woods, the moon guided her to a clearing where the trees had covered the forest floor with leaves of gold and red. She giggled as a fox dashed off from its hiding place, seemingly laughing that it had been discovered. She sat on a log that nature had left nearly hollow for the foragers that would certainly go to bed for the winter. The evening was bright and Isabella could still see her fire pit from the distance. She heard her keys drop and frantically searched for them, but it was no use. She would need to return in the morning to look for them.
Samuel decided to go for a walk in the woods one morning, but he didn’t understand why. He just felt the need to go and be with the trees. That’s when he saw Isabella for the very first time on her hands and knees in a small clearing digging in the leaves. When she looked up at him, he thought his heart would leap out of his chest as it wanted nothing more than to be a part of her world. She smiled at him gently and he became immediately connected to something invisible. She was mysterious and still and exuded a quiet strength that seemed familiar. She was the most beautiful creature he had ever laid his eyes upon. The softness of her face and the curves of her body seemed to call him home. He wanted to share everything with her and he knew immediately that she felt something, too.
“I know this looks funny, right? I came out to this clearing last night and dropped my keys. They’re here somewhere unless that silly fox came back and put them somewhere.”
“Yes, I startled a fox last night. I think it was probably getting ready to get up anyway, but it was laughing. They’re so clever.”
Isabella looked up at Sam and noticed the warmth of his face and the kindness behind his eyes. It was a familiar warmth. It reminded her of her father when she was a girl. The man who had shaped her life and given her mother the support and love she wanted and needed. The man who had given her the courage to be completely genuine. He was the reason she had become a writer. He saw something in her – a reflection of himself and his potential and had encouraged her all her life to seek her joy. He had taught her about the constellations and all the creatures of the earth. Her mother had taught her things, too. Her love was dancing and music and she shared her gifts with Isabella. She knew her parents were gifts to her – and her gratitude swelled for them even now as they had begun to age.
Isabella couldn’t take her eyes off of Samuel. She was mesmerized. He was the perfect embodiment of a man. He seemed strong and confident and sure of his footing. He seemed to know exactly where he was going and then he found her keys.
“Are these your keys?” Samuel held them up almost laughing.
“Yes, those are my keys. Thank you…”
“Samuel, I’m Samuel.”
I’m Isabella.” As Samuel handed Isabella her keys, their hands brushed and she got an electric wave of energy surging through her. A tear escaped from her right eye. Samuel noticed but didn’t call it out, thinking how beautiful it was that she felt so deeply. As she started to leave the clearing she turned to him.
“This may sound a bit odd, but would you want to share a cup of coffee with me? I started the pot before I came out here. You can see my home from here.”
“Yes, I would love that. I have a little time this morning.”
“May I ask what you were doing in the woods this morning?”
Samuel pulled out a small leather journal from his pocket, “Oh, sure. I just moved here about a week ago. I was collecting leaves and documenting the plant life here. I’ve been studying plants and animals since I was a boy. I wanted to get a few together before I got too busy today. Saturdays are my day for exploring and errands. Why were you in the woods at night?”
“I was following the moon. It sounds crazy, right? I love the night sky. There’s nothing more peaceful.”
Samuel and Isabella arrived at her home and she walked into the kitchen from the deck the smell of freshly brewed coffee lingering in the air. They stood face to face in the kitchen in a moment of silence and knew it was the beginning of their happily ever after.
Life has its ups and downs, that's why the rollercoaster is such a good metaphor. You get in line. You're forced to wait (sometimes for hours) for an experience that lasts for maybe a whole minute if you're lucky. The anticipation builds, a feeling of both fear and excitement. The closer you get to the platform the more you start to question your judgement. Do I really want to do this? You get into your seat, you buckle up...and you're off.
My first really memorable rollercoaster experience happened in May of 1984 during my eighth grade class trip. We took a school bus to Six Flags Over Mid-America in St. Louis, Missouri. Our adventure extended for two days and two nights. Our class was small and our fundraising abilities, extraordinary. We made so much money over the school year we even got $100 spending money a day while we were there.
I've always been, cautious. It's just a general part of my nature. So I was selective about which rides I would experience. On top of my cautious nature, I have a crippling fear of heights. A gift from my mother along with a fear of spiders.
The most famous ride of the park was the Screamin' Eagle. A large wooden roller coaster that the Guinness Book of World Records listed as the largest coaster at 110 feet (34 m) high and as the fastest coaster at 62 mph (100 km/h). Every one of my classmates took a turn or several on this majestic, historical coaster. I was going to take a pass, but two of my friends convinced me that I had to give it a chance, so I got in line with them.
When I got up to the platform everyone had someone to sit with, except for me. They got onto the train in front of me and when it was my turn, I was on my own. I got into the very back car. I have to admit I wasn't paying attention, because when they told us to push our bar into place mine didn't securely fasten and there were no seatbelts. At the time, I weighed in at about 105 lbs. soaking wet. When the car started up the hill, I started to panic. I couldn't get my voice, I couldn't scream. I was tragically silenced during a time when my voice was desperately needed.
Once we got to the top of the hill I managed to get out two words "Help Me." The couple in front of me noticed right away that my bar was not secure. The male was large and strong and managed to hold himself into his car with his legs, while he and his girlfriend held me tight so I didn't fly out of the cart to my death.
Fast forward to a few years into the future when a good friend of mine invited me to join her and the high school German club for an outing at Six Flags. I agreed to go as long as I wasn't asked to ride the Screamin' Eagle and after telling her what had happened to me, she agreed we didn't have to ride it.
When we arrived at the park, Mrs. Pyrtle, the German Club sponsor and high school German teacher gave us three rules to abide for a successful trip. The first rule was to use the buddy system. We were to be with another student at all times. The second rule was to return to the school bus at promptly 6 p.m. and the third rule was to simply not die.
The day was absolutely beautiful. We could not have asked for better weather and the park was not packed because it was during a school day. We rode rides over and over again. There was lots of laughter and happiness. It was getting close to time to leave the park and my friend asked me if I would ride the Screamin' Eagle. I was overwhelmed with dread and disappointed that my friend had asked. I had a very hard time saying no to people, but this time said "no" immediately.
My friend went into a long speech about why I should give the ride another chance. No one had ever died on it before. People had been riding it all day and no one was even mildly injured. I remember her saying "You can do this. Conquer your fears. You'll be glad you did." So I got in line with her. She promised she would ride the ride with me. She wasn't going to abandon me to ride it alone and we didn't have to sit in the very back or the very front.
We positioned ourselves carefully so we could sit in the very middle car. She climbed in first and I sat next to her. We made absolutely sure that our bar fastened. My heart was racing and I was sweating profusely even though it wasn't very hot outside. She made me laugh and reminded me that everything was going to be okay.
When we started up the hill the car was jerking. It was making unusual noises and there seemed to be a faint smell of something burning. It took more than 30 minutes for us to make it to the top of the hill. When we did get to the top we sat there for another 30 minutes or so, but it felt like an eternity. I turned to my friend and said "I think we're going to die." In her very calm and soothing manner she turned to me and said "Mrs. Pyrtle is going to be terribly disappointed."
A helicopter and men in harnesses came up the side of the coaster and removed us two at a time, slowly down the side rail that was maybe a foot across. I remember gripping the railing so tight that when we got to the bottom of the hill my hands were blue from the paint. The train had derailed, but we survived.
I don't think I'll ever get on that coaster again, but I think there's a lesson in this. Even if we think our lives have derailed, we can survive it. Be strong. Be courageous. Take chances but know when it's time to say no.