Sunday, September 30, 2012

Jumping for joy.

Chapter One.

When I was about 5 years old, I thought I was Dale Evans.  (Vestiges of that remain as I am loathe to remove my cowboy boots generally from October through the end of April.  Then I prefer to be as close to barefoot as I can get.)

My parents were so on my wavelength that they bought a swingset with Trigger and Buttermilk as the slider seats.  I was in heaven.  The little boy down the street, whose name was Terry Joy, happily fulfilled the role of Roy Rogers.  If my memory serves correctly, he sported a cowboy hat, packed a plastic pistol, and wore rubber cowboy boots.  (In fact, the heel of one of those boots ended up in my mouth as I, patiently waiting for him at the bottom of the staircase at school, watched, mouth agape, as he slid down the banister.  Not stepping out of the way in time, I lost a front tooth and a little dignity.)

I don’t remember much about him after kindergarten.  He must have moved away.

Chapter Two.

Fast forward to this week. I was at Presence having a lively conversation with one of my customers.  She talked about how much she loved her palomino horse and I immediately went into a lovely reverie about Roy, Dale, Trigger, Buttermilk and Terry Joy.  I hadn’t thought of him in years.

The next day, another customer and I were talking about high-school reunions.  I said that I never went to them because I now lived on the west coast and most of my classmates were still back east. I didn’t keep in touch with enough of them to warrant my traveling back.  Besides, I joked, I didn’t want to be the only single one there.  She guffawed at that one and said, “Are you kidding? A lot of people go back and end up finding out that their childhood sweethearts are available and a lot of fabulous romances do get sparked.”

So, with my own personal Roy Rogers recently on my mind, and what sounded to me like a challenge from her, I said I would search for him on Facebook.

Chapter Two and a half.

So I found someone that could have been him.  Looked possible.  Lived back east, graduated about the same time I did, but didn’t mention Peterborough.

Okay.  I admit.  I was curious. I bit the bullet.  I wrote him and asked if by any chance he hailed originally from Peterborough.  Because if he did, then I told him I had a great story to share.  And, Terry (yes, you, the one who I know is reading this), you need to know that my motivation was not to spark a fabulous romance, but to answer a question about why I wanted to know where my Roy Rogers had gone. Was it just to get some reassurance that synchronicity is alive and kicking? Whatever… it was a strong enough impulse that I couldn’t not do it.

He wrote back and said he wasn’t from Peterborough originally, but that there was a family cottage close by.  Did that qualify to hear the story?  We are now friends on Facebook and I suspect that we will continue to communicate.  At least until he hears the tale!

Chapter Three.

I am going to send this to him.

Branded by unbridled joy,

Buns xo

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Breaking All The Rules

I am not a fan of rules. As a matter of fact breaking them is part of my nature, you know that adolescent “You are not the boss of me….don’t tell me what to do”, way of reacting. So some may find it strange that in the book I am writing on internet dating I am creating a map for empowered and pleasurable interaction that you may consider rules.

It’s not that I don’t encourage following one’s intuition (the antithesis of rule following) its more that in the realm of romance, until one decides to wake up to the internal program we are wired with, often ruled by fairytales, projection and past experience, some external guidance could be helpful.

Think of it as a handbook of healthy guidance that considers male/female dynamics, as well as encourages you to get clear about your criteria when picking a partner. And you can’t get clear about what you want if you are not clear about who you are and what you are offering. I am my own guinea pig for this project as I observe my mental gymnastics in this field fraught with cultural conditioning. I am called to get very real and accountable, owning my own patterns of resistance…all implemented to avoid the pain of being hurt.
I see my process as one of dismantling the old and metamorphosis in the now. The working title of this book says it all. How To Turn Finding The One Into Finding Yourself.

And so my new adventure begins. We started communicating on my birthday.

 Rule number 1. Invite all of your senses into the process. He is very sweet looking, soulful, aware and lives just a few blocks away. In his profile he said he was looking for a woman who was true to herself. I resonated with that and with the depth of our exchanges. I felt tingles.

Rule number 2.  Talk on the phone. Ask questions and listen, really listen. Do an auditory check to see if there is a pull toward knowing more. This is not a date, say my rules. It is coffee to see if you want to have a date. Think of it like a process of discernment meant to ensure that you stay awake to what is driving you, as well as a rule to keep you safe.
Coffee was good…beautiful eyes. Check. He wants to set up a date for the weekend.

 Rule number 3. Do not take charge. You do not get to create the date. It’s important throughout the courtship process for masculine energy to feel like they are pursuing and leading. Your task is to stay inside yourself, soft and open and let him be in charge of making the next meeting happen. I used to have to work at this, now it has become natural. So far I am following my own rules.

Saturday dawns Indian summer sunny and as we rendezvous at the marina. 

Rule number 4.  Meet in a public place.  He then leads me into Stanley Park, a populated part.  Ok I suggest the exact spot on the sand but that doesn’t count as a rule break since he asked me to pick. He laid out a table cloth and a delicate spread of guava, figs and chocolate and offers red wine. Check, check, check. We had a lovely, soothing kind of day just sharing and meandering in conversation, soaking up sun until the tide turned and literally came splashing up to engulf my coral painted toes. He snaps a picture on his phone. Foot fetish? I hope so. Maybe my toes just look pretty? Maybe it’s not about me at all; he’s got a thing for tides? Wow, time had passed quickly.  He wants to walk me to my door and I let him.

Rule number 5.  Do not give out your last name or address on a first date.  Broken.
He offers to help me screw on the leg of my sofa that I had mentioned earlier was askew, I accept.

Rule number 6. Do not invite him into your home, do not meet alone. Broken.
We start with drinking water on the balcony until the words just magically slip out, “Would you like a cocktail?” 
Rule number 7. Broken. Avoid alcohol on a first date.

I lose track of which rule I am breaking as I continue to get to know him. He doesn’t get defensive when I ask probing questions.  He has an understanding of what to do in a relationship when there is struggle or conflict and he is just plain cute! And time plays tricks…suddenly it is dark and the sun has set. I realize I hadn’t enjoyed myself this much in ages. Nor have I been this authentic and vulnerable since Toronto with Paul. Not only is it dark out, the clock reads 10:30 pm and I realize I am hungry and I offer him a meal.

We barbeque a feast and before you know it it is 5 am. What!! The whole night had passed as we cocooned on the balcony talking. Yes…talking. That is one rule I will not be breaking. I will tell you more next time.

In retrospect I realize how lovely it feels to have no expectation or future flashing fantasies about all this. I was in the present moment, alive, laughing and loving the mystery of that alchemical connection that can occur between two people.
I think that is the key to breaking rules that were set up to keep you empowered. Make sure you ARE empowered and not being driven by a desired outcome.  Maybe I need to add that to the book under construction.

We have continued to see each other. Each time just as easy as the last. That is new for me. Feels like progress in the melting of my fairytale romance program, a program filled with good guys and bad guys.

 I do not know what this interaction with this human being is for. I do know I feel good and soft and open inside and when he says there are only two goals worth having, unconditional love and absolute vulnerability….he means it. I believe him.

So I surrender to radical curiosity and to honoring my goal, the only one I feel is worth having… from the core of who I am, owning all the parts of me that are a barrier to love.

Wish me luck.

Branded by surrender,

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Between a rock and a soft place.

I have been profoundly moved. 

The young woman whom my son was very fond of for many years, got married a couple of weeks ago.  I was a guest. It was a perfect day.  Held in the “church of the great outdoors”, the ceremony was natural, honest, authentic, and joyous.  Prior to his passing, I had harboured the hope that she and Duncan would be the ones standing at the altar of lifetime promises.  The man who she chose is wonderful and I am very happy for the two of them.  They make an adorable and solid couple. It is an absolute “meant to be” and I look forward to being witness to their evolving as a couple and family.

When I arrived at the ceremony, one of the attendants handed me a little rock that the bride had painted.  It had Duncan’s name on it and a little star.  It was so he could be there and sit with me.  I still well up with emotion at the beauty, depth and simplicity of her gesture.  I will never forget that tenderness.

So where did this all take me inwardly?  The entire weekend was held at a place where we as a family would go on summer trips with friends.  It was nostalgic being there even if there were no nuptials to attend. While I was thrilled on the one hand to be there, the weekend also served to nudge me into a deeper “thawing” of my still pent-up sadness. 

Rather than shy away from feeling what I was feeling (after all, haven’t I done all this already? Haven’t I done well processing my grief?), I let it in.  And what I found was that I didn’t harden around it so as to protect my aching heart.  I softened, and realized that I could have Duncan in such a bigger way if I just stop trying to manage my process.

That little rock sits by a picture of Duncan.  When I hold it, I swear he is telling me to stay soft and open.

And, just a couple of days ago, I had the luxury of spending some time with my 16-month-old godson.  What joy to have him scamper into my bedroom first thing in the morning so we could make a fort with the pillows and then snuggle in.  He brought back some treasured memories.

Ain’t love grand.

Branded by softness,

Buns xoxox

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Birthday Shadows

Here is what I love about birthdays…they resurrect buried feelings from childhood. Here is what I hate about birthdays…they resurrect buried feelings from childhood.

I don’t know how to escape it nor do I really want to but I recognize that the day one is born and how that is celebrated in one’s family of origin is a day that as kids we personalize and interpret, making it mean something about ourselves and the world. It’s as if we are imprinted with this (usually incorrect) message and now when birthdays roll around it is activated.

How we respond to that activation is a matter of awareness and choice.

Some people minimize birthdays or even ignore them.”It’s no big deal”, they say.
Others are sensitive and hyper alert, making meaning of every interaction. (Yes that would be me)
There is a stigma in being sensitive; it’s often called high maintenance while downplaying the celebration is held as a sign of humility.

Neither is true.

Birthdays ARE important AND offer great opportunities to go deeper into oneself. They are not calling to be minimized OR maximized. They are calling one to awareness, to enter and feel one's shadow. Certainly that is the loudest invitation that I am hearing.

It used to be only a whisper, “what people say or do means nothing about you” and yet the little one in me would feel alone and yearn for a different story, a story filled with good company that accepts her.

Today I am happy to say she has good company that will never let her down or judge her or leave her alone again.


 As long as I allow the feelings to arise and can accept and love this part of myself I find I open softly into the present moment and can open to life. Celebrating oneself to me means accepting all parts of oneself, dark and light, wounded and awake. This life is not about getting rid of aspects we don’t like or judging them. It IS about loving them so the unhealed aspects of self can grow up and transform into an experience of wholeness.

I have a friend who is just beginning her journey of getting to recognize that the hurt part of her is quite young and is calling for a response, not from the world or lovers or family, but from herself. This young aspect yearns for recognition, gentleness, unconditional love and acceptance. Sadly we look to the world searching for those things from other people. That is such a set up. One will always be disappointed because that void in us can only be filled with the light that is already in us. This setup, which I call Divine is meant to invite the knowledge that there is a part of us always whole and perfect and nothing we do can ever change that. We are invited to identify and act as this radiant essence as it enters the darkness.

 I love watching her shift and learn to nurture what she yearns for from without…internally. Her process reminds me to do the same. It reminds me that we ARE ALL THE SAME. The human condition is universal.  Spirit in a human body with all our human frailties.

I am not big on “oh I have learned that and I am done”. As long as I am in a human body I will continue learning, healing, being with all parts of me and having the courage to reveal the most tender and vulnerable. That really is the hardest part. As long as theses parts remain in the dark, hidden from view, the message is you are not worth knowing or being seen.

As soon as I feel, accept and reveal them I am saying yes… I have this part and it is not who I truly am. All of me is acceptable, even the part that feels unacceptable.

And with that level of authenticity I am able to give fully. What better time to be a gift than on one’s birthday. What better time to honor others by receiving their gifts of love. Letting love in is often much scarier than giving it, at least I feel that for myself.

 So today I choose to open to love, within and without.  As cliché as it sounds love IS a choice. And love calls for giving and receiving at the same time

Ok universe…bring it on!!  I am off to generate mischief!

Still branded by Love,