Friday, December 28, 2007

Still Standing (barely)

The title is lifted from the subject line of a sympathetic e-mail I got from an e-pal.

Another exhausting Christmas, fortunately in the rear view mirror.

My mother says she wants to do the whole thing at their house next year. Has anyone read, "The Corrections" by Jonathon Franzen?

Interrupted by a kid. Telling me that if you "eat a bullet you can die". "Don't even ever eat a bullet."

This might be one of those posts, riddled with interruptions. Sent him downstairs to find some root beer that isn't there, and he brings back sparkling cider. So that means I need to get up to open it.

"Mom, what would happen if you drink a trillion beers?" This is a favorite question, with variations. I get desperately tired of answering: "Well, I guess you would die." "No, you would get very very sick and you would get drunk." I think we've been through this question-answer ritual at least a trillion times. I feel badly for finding it tiresome; I try to imagine what function it serves for him, to keep asking the same question over and over.


A time when the whole of the western world suspends its disbelief in clinging to an article of faith: that this is a 'magical time'. A sort of mass hypnosis.

Oh God. Here they come again. One leaves, another one comes.

The problem with the 'magic of Christmas' is that you have to have drunk the koolaid. In my case it would have to be a lot of it. The other problem is, the members of my family HAVE, and so I have to participate. So I do, just making the minimum of effort to give the illusion of taking part, and wait for it to be over. The worst part for me, though, is that Connor and Scott are wholehearted believers (tho, to my dad's dismay-even though he himself is not particularly religious at any other time of year--they're believers in only the secular part) and I feel badly that I don't share their enthusiasm. They seem to chug on fine without me, though.

I guess this is a rant, huh?

Take a picture of this: My parents and Gary's dad sitting at the dining room table watching me cook and prep for cooking in the kitchen adjacent. My mom either drinking or trying to not drink. Looking at the clock, is it time yet? I'm preparing the sides since MIL is bringing a ham. My mom has a nervous habit of inappropriate laughter. It pops up in situations that don't really call for it, like when I'm cooking and they're going on and on about how much I'm doing and won't I sit down and take a break and look-at-this-she's-at-it-again. Well, I'm just trying to do the stuff ahead so that I'm not having to do it on Christmas Day, and I wish they'd quit commenting on it. I feel uncomfortable, wondering if the extent of my efforts make *them* uncomfortable, but it doesn't seem to make them uncomfortable enough to offer to help. Or better yet, to size up the situation for themselves and just step in and do it. I'm reprimanding Scott, who has just told my mother for the second time that she laughs "too much". I hate having to reprimand my kids for telling the truth when the truth is inconvenient for an older person. My father and Gary's stroking their right-wing penises in agreeing that *Muslims* are 'the problem', that 'they' hate all the wonderful things America stands for, they "hate America more than they love their children--they strap suicide vests on them", "Barak Obama is a Muslim because 'they' don't let you convert: once a Muslim always a Muslim". Add Gary's mother into the cacaphony on Christmas Day when she brings the ham over. She has a childish nasal pitch to her voice that lends itself to whining, which she does. I let Gary handle her; she follows him room to room whining: "It's not *fair*. Just because I don't have a computer I don't get the pictures you send your dad. Why don't you print them for me?" Then of course Gary and I are cold and distant---

Oh, this is useless. They're bugging me to make ice cream with the spherical ice cream maker they got for Christmas. I was probably degenerating into whining myself anyway. Gotta go help them.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Our beautiful dog Riser died yesterday

Sheila curled up next to Riser on her last morning

Riser before we knew her--a champion show dog

The boys and I took her in the morning to put her to sleep.

It *was* like putting her to sleep; her eyes just gently closed and she was done.

I picture her shoulders, and the space between her shoulder blades as she laid her head down. The magnificent coat she had, yellow with the hints of red that made an almost orange color. Her long neck that I stroked. This image is emblematic of that experience; that, and the shaved spot on her leg where the needle went in and the bit of blood that oozed from it.

(Then I feel troubled by images that have to do with the death-by-injection controversy for humans where supposedly they die in great pain only we don't see it because they are paralyzed by the first drug. I hate to think that maybe it only *looked* peaceful. I was then troubled by thoughts that maybe she hadn't really died, and that they were going to 'finish her off' after we left. Lastly I was troubled by images of them tossing her body like so much garbage onto a heap of carcasses burning in a furnace somewhere. Second-guessing my decision to not have her ashes returned to us. Bringing in financial concerns.)

I hope it was the right thing to have taken the boys. Intuitively, I think it was important for us to have gone through the process together.

Over the weekend she was off her food. I was uneasy about that because that's unusual for her. I noticed Sunday night that a lump she had by her nipple had grown. I'd been trying to ignore that but thought if it was growing it was time to have it excised. So I took her in only to have the lump take a backseat to the fact that she had fluid in her abdomen.

A very difficult day with Gary just home from Asia the afternoon before and the cool atmosphere between us. I'd decided to take her that day, Monday, as well as do the little bit of Christmas shopping I was willing to do because Gary was not going in to the office. I took Riser with me and after concluding shopping went straight over the hill to the vet's. When the fluid was discovered I left since they couldn't do the tap right away. I drove home to get the message from the dr. that it was bloody fluid and most likely a blood vessel tumor that had caused a rupture and internal bleeding. Essentially she was bleeding to death. I'd been weighing options about how far to go, even drew a sort of algorithm to help me separate the strands of my options; blood in the abdomen had been a stop-go-no-further. I felt ashamed about how the financial costs were such a factor. The vet was so kind and talked to me for quite a long time to help me sort out what I needed to be able to decide. I got back in the car and went and got her to bring her home so the boys would be able to say goodbye. Scott had a vision therapy appointment so I barely had time to drive down the hill, pick up the dog (as well as a list of prices for euthanizing), run over to the school to grab Scott and take him. Then later that night when we were all home together I told the boys that our dog was going to die. We spent the night with her on the floor then woke up yesterday with her weak, but still alive. I wasn't sure if she'd be able to get out the door let alone into the van, and I worried how I could get her up without hurting her belly.

When I talk about this experience I keep saying 'the three of us'. Me and the boys. Gary played only a peripheral part, if he could be said to have been involved at all. He did bring up the sleeping pads and bags for us and spread them, but he didn't sleep with us on the floor. I can see that just being 24 hours back from Asia he needed a good night's sleep before going in to work. However, he did seem to be outside of our grief circle. He never did bond much with the dog. At one point Connor accused, "You don't even care." I think part of that accusation is the awareness of how detached Gary had been all along. Should I have made more of an effort to include Gary? Did I in effect exclude him? Did he need a more positive invitation from me in order to include himself?

It was definitely the shared experience of the boys and me; I hope that they got a sense of the comfort they can take in shared loss and the need to show lovingkindness to each other. Intuitively it seemed right that we make the day an official day of mourning and do nothing else. Cry together in the sanctuary of our home.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Wow. I have to wonder what all that was about.

The door is complete. It took as many as 10 visits and maybe more.

He is a born-again Christian, the fundamentalist kind. Not obnoxiously so, to be fair. He seems to go deeper than doctrine; the fundamentalist path does seem to connect him to the Divine. There were ways I met him there, from my own connection to the Divine. It's clear to me though that he would not recognize any other Way to that Divine, because that's the nature of fundamentalist Christianity. I made no effort to talk about my Connection, but he seemed to get it when I said that I believed that we were all manifestations of God and that our human lives are about seeking that connection. There were a few places like that where we found common ground, and there was no spiritual struggle.

I do think it cures me from that odd feverishness I had, and there's some relief in that, and some sadness.

I'm done for now.

Friday, December 14, 2007


Today my thoughts are just not bonding to words very well--I feel like the whole edifice collapses of its own weight when I try to do any articulation. So things are not only incoherent, they're fragile.

Here's a fact of today. I'm in a waiting posture that is inappropriate to the situation, and it's uncomfortable for me. I'm not supposed to feel like I'm a single person being stood up on a date when the guy who fixes the door calls to say that he has a quick job and he'll call when he's ready to come--and then 4 hours pass.

It's almost amusing, the predicament of blurring roles. If this were a pure professional/client transaction I might be annoyed at the unprofessionalism of his failure to update me, but I wouldn't have that peculiar waiting-with-hunger feeling. I probably wouldn't have hesitated to call *him* either, to ask if he's coming-today-or-what.

The problem is, there is something I'd hoped to say to him when we saw each other for the final fix on the door. I just wanted to tell him that it had been a nice experience for me, meeting him. That perhaps the 'grace of God' he alluded to accounts for it: he's been successful in allowing himself to be transparent and let the grace of God shine through. That what prompts me to say that is the fact of feeling lighter as a result of his presence; of wanting to do better and be better. That this is a remarkable quality to have, and surely has been remarked upon before. That it has unexpectedly shed some light on some spiritual lifting I've been doing--and thanks. I've been afraid of starting to say this and messing it up. And it's been tough to wait. He was to have come yesterday, but I called and asked that it be today on account of keeping Scott home from school after a night of vomiting. I had already waited nearly a week after the last time I saw him, when he scheduled our appointment for a time slot just before I go to the school to volunteer, the day before yesterday. He still hadn't finished but anticipated it was just assemble-it-all-in-25-minutes and it would be done. That was to have been this morning, and it appears that the words that have been burning a hole in my mind are going to have to stay parked there for a while longer. Contemplating that, I realize how tiring it's been.

So I guess I'm about to call and to ask if he's coming-today-or-what. It's kind of perplexing that he didn't update. Perhaps that's a clue that maybe the client/professional model is messed up a bit for him too by that friendship field I'd sensed between us. It makes it a little difficult to know how to proceed.


I did call. Tomorrow. 10. Whew.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Oh man, it’s taking a long time to get settled and I’m still thinking I need a couple of other things which necessitates getting up and then having to go through the settling process again. I don’t know why I’m reluctant to settle and write.

I suppose I’m afraid. I feel uncomfortable inside, a weight when I feel inside a desire to steer things when Daniel is here. Steer them to create more of that nice feeling before he goes. Knowing that steering has usually worked out with less than happy feelings, I feel fear that I will act uncomfortable and create discomfort and an atmosphere that is uncomfortable.

But now I’m thinking about my dream, the one of the river in particular. As I told Sharon last night, one of the reasons I quit kayaking was that I felt I couldn’t trust myself to not get paralyzed with fear and thus make a bad decision. Sharon is proposing that I can trust that I am being taken care of and the good news is I don’t HAVE to be so alert for openings and afraid I’m going to miss them.

But it’s tricky, because I can see myself on a path to that becoming a part of Old Pattern that’s shutting down this new way of being. I feel like I’m wavering on the crux of the pattern emerging and a strong compelling voice that wants me to know that I can screw it up by being afraid, get stuck to feelings of Old Pattern again. And stay stuck…I see how the fear is a part of that Pattern—and I can begin to discern that there are signs when it’s coming…perhaps to the extent I can also be part of Ground as opposed to totally Figure I have some advance warning of a force magnetizing me toward the …old way.

That’s peculiar how in some ways I get this and then in some ways I don’t. I guess it just makes sense to me for the first time how realization of the possibility of bad feelings in the Environment could cause me to split from it (in a de facto sort of way) and locate full responsibility for all feelings into myself and feel it is my duty to change them for everyone

I might as well admit that the happiness I have at the anticipation of Daniel coming is part of what triggers the currents of tension running through me—the fear that I will do something wrong—the fear that my Fear of doing something wrong will make me do something wrong. Will make an uncomfortable atmosphere between us and I’ll be responsible for having created it and responsible for fixing it. I'm afraid my fear of doing something wrong will render me powerless to fix it.


So Daniel just left. And the job’s still not finished so he’s got probably one more trip left. Gee, he’s a nice guy.

My guess is that he’s a born-again Christian. It’s probably unlikely that he’s of the metaphysical stripe…though he seems to respond to things from a place of depth (and to appreciate the humor that is there)…so maybe his Christianity is the true kind, that is a gateway to the divine in himself. I feel like my gateway to the divine in my self is a far broader interpretation of Christianity than I think most mainstream Christians are comfortable with; but the themes are there—loss, cut off from God, sacrifice, redemption, heroic journey. It’s there in Christianity and it seems to be there in the way that’s called me all my life. Some Christians recognize there are many paths to deep inner communion with God. I think most Christians, at least in my experience growing up that I encountered, do not see Christianity as a doorway at all, but an end in itself. They’ve gotten enamored of the trappings, the rules, the rituals and so it is an imposition from the outside-in (and all that implies about will-power and obedience). A certain part of the person has to die in order to live like that.

He just seems to respond with delight when our eyes meet talking. He seems happy talking to me too.

It’s just unmistakable that I like the way I feel after I’ve seen him. It gives me pleasure to look back on it. Perhaps I’m experiencing these feelings as being in the Ground (and not crammed up inside of Figure, causing anxiety). It’s kind of nice to think that if these feelings are in Ground, then it’s not just me—that it’s in the Ground *between* us. And that’s kind of neat to acknowledge it. It’s in the Ground between us.

It’s also sweet to have it feel so uncomplicated, this happiness. It’s been special and unexpected, but I think it’s also something that doesn’t require anything…so I’ll be able to let go of it when the time comes.

It’s very funny what a difference it made, the quality of the time with Daniel today. I felt free of the second-guessing and the self-consciousness that comes from that. I felt what it was like to wait until I had an internal prompting telling me to do something before I’d act, and I think I had an experience of the difference.

I know that before seeing him today I was inclined to be embarrassed and afraid of being more embarrassed.


I flashed on something…about how happiness IS people’s best natural state. People who are happy, in that deep abiding sense inside, behave well I would be willing to bet.

So perhaps what I’ve been experiencing, especially yesterday and also today, is happiness that’s located in the Ground. It’s not necessarily located inside of me, or inside of Daniel, or even in the enjoyment of his presence (Presence). There is some temptation to locate it inside of him.

So anyway, this happiness seems like it should be the foundation from which humans move. Because the best behavior is inspired by it, and it’s like being held. Yes, lifted up. I feel lifted up, and I feel happy. That’s a lot, for me to write that down.

It certainly does reach into a sexual pulse, though. Or I experience Life Force as a heightened sexual awareness.

When I have no internal input coming in I try to fill it with some activity: I imagine a Voice inside and wonder if it’s God telling me what to do. Or substitute “True Self” for God. Every impulse (often prompted by anxiety). That’s what I was describing to Sharon—the realization that I feel jabbed inside about an action to take and I don’t know if it’s my Real Voice or not…and so I feel afraid to act on it and I feel afraid to not act. Afraid I’ll act too soon and fuck something up and miss an opportunity and afraid I’ll wait too long and fuck up and miss an opportunity.

The slightest direction toward falling has been enough to push me full-on into falling. And a good deal of my life has been occupied with anxiety over that. Fear of fear, anxiety of anxiety.

Something was going on that was nice. Period. And it was like there was an undercurrent when he first arrived of a bit of checking: did I guess right when you seemed like a friend? Is it still ok to not be guarded with you? It IS? Hooray! I think just that brought a certain ease, the eye contact we made and there was a smile behind that.


It seems the primary happiness has passed into memory, where it becomes available to second-guessing, self-doubt, a little distortion.

We had a nice encounter. It was generative, for whatever reason, which makes it easy for me to divert that energy into a sexual realm. He may not do that. He may not experience it as sexual at all, but as a manifestation of God in me, and what I was experiencing was God in him. That’s a way of saying it, is that feeling lighter, better, while talking to him is a direct result of his living his life as such to let God shine through. That’s why, I guess, I feel maybe it’s ‘wrong’ or something to go ahead and let it express for me sexually.

I guess what’s dangerous about letting my thoughts go full tilt with the sexual aspect of the energy between Daniel and me is that it might ‘spoil’ it. It’ll become tasteless and then I’ll feel restless and unhappy; sated when I don’t want to be. Stale; I’m afraid it will become stale if I allow images and fantasies through.

What I was experiencing was the afterglow experience of having been in his presence…it was like an afterglow. It’s not so much I was thinking about him in specifics, like what he’d said and what I’d said, but more like being in the influence of his field. And liking it. Just feeling positively influenced by his field.

Maybe he’s a person who is gifted that way and does it wherever he goes. Leaves behind a field that brings out the best in people.

I suppose one of the reasons I revisit this is because it’s reassurring: it helps reassure me that I didn’t imagine it, or make it up.

What I seem to be noticing is that there are many lights to shed on a same experience, and it’s very possible that while one may think she’s holding a bouquet of flowers in one light she may see the same as a handful of wilted weeds in another. Can that be true of anything, any experience, thought, or concept?

There seems to be a way that there’s something magic in the experience I’ve had with Daniel. And paying attention to staying with what I really wanted inside seemed to enhance that and lead to a nice experience for me for sure and possibly us both. With that sense of magic comes some sense of future magic. Again, I don’t know if that would be him specifically, or if he just represents it.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Like Learning to Swing

I'll write a little further here while the back-up's going on.

I just moved into a new understanding of the concept of "figure/ground". I've been 'seeing' that theme a lot in my life in much more personal application than the old Gestaldt (?) illusion that appears to be a vase when you look at it one way, or the profiles of two faces nose to nose.

It's a strange day. I feel very restless, not quite able to settle down to anything yet unsure which is my best direction. I wonder if these feelings fit into 'ground' at all.

Anyway: new understanding of figure/ground. The water the fish swims in; the tip of the iceberg, the wind beneath my wings: figure/ground. The Ground hiding in plain sight.

As a child I attempted to cut myself off from the Ground, tightly squeezing myself into Figure. That meant that though I may have been protected from some of the dangers of the Ground, I also didn't have access to its pulse, its...I don't know what to call It. "Power" is a very inadequate word to describe It--I picture It as the movement of the waves a boat is floating on. Bob Schwartz, in "Winning Through Enlightenment" describes It as Context.

A consequence of trying to split away from the Ground is that I mistakenly attribute elements within Ground as being located inside of me. Trying to keep Ground out is futile; information leaks in in the form of feelings. Which I attribute wholly to me as their generator. If they are uncomfortable feelings I feel totally responsible for them and I fear that they might mean something bad about me. I see now that I can relieve myself of some of that responsibility now: for feelings that exist and for other people's feelings.

I see that being cut off from Ground has meant that I haven't been able to operate out of a whole Self. I've been like a child learning to swing, pumping furiously and going nowhere...because I haven't yet learned the part about letting go of effort, or at least excess effort, in order to work in harmony with the forces that make swinging possible. A certain amount of allowing in 'emptiness' and trust is required to swing oneself.

As a person who has always tended toward excessive effort, I am trying to let my nervous system tolerate some emptiness as I try to learn the cues that will enable Us to work together.

hung mac

About 1/2 an hour ago I was looking forward to sitting down to explore some more that happy feeling that I feel in the presence of the door man. It was leading me to some questions about the nature of simple and spontaneous happiness like that...what it would have meant when I was younger; it changes my perception of the scope of happiness. Plus, writing has been a way to wring a little last juice from an experience--to experience the last little bit of life in it before it becomes a *memory* of a feeling.

However my Mac is hung up on a blue screen with a mouse present and movable, but it will not boot past that. I'd done a software update installation that Apple's been offering me forever; now I read via google that some people have had the same trouble with the security update download. And it doesn't look like it resolved easily. It seems it may be way beyond my technical skills, and level of patience to do the digging to improve my technical skills. I'm trying the first line of defense: reboot. And so the power is off and I'm scared to go turn it back on again.

If this has crashed I lose my e-mails, I think, since I couldn't figure out a way to get the external hard drive to copy them. Fortunately this time my documents are backed up to about a week ago, so I just (JUST!) lose this week's writing. If I've done the back-up right.

Well, it looks like first-line-of-defense worked for me. I feel so relieved.

Note to self:

1) get more familiarized with external hard drive
2) find out about 'archive install'
3) back up more often (go back up NOW)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

An infatuation

While knowing it's completely inappropriate to act on (but I still nurture it in my private thoughts), I've had a crush of sorts with the door guy. I feel foolish and silly saying it; but I guess it can't be that foolish considering the facts: I feel pleasure in his company. I'm reminded of something Jeff said to me once: "You en-lighten me. You make me feel lighter, better." That's how I've felt. Lighter and better, and it's a distinct contrast with how I usually feel. So I take notice.

It's like that fox (I think) in the Little Prince who allows the boy to tame him. In describing for the boy the process of taming, he walked through the stages of (1) presence, then (2) looking forward to presence, then (3) becoming so eager for presence that when a time is coming that's associated with the presence you get so excited you can't contain yourself and run around the room while waiting for the arrival. That's what it's been like with this man, and like I said, it seems worthy of considering.

I do feel warmed by the clues that he likes me too. It's either that, or he is naturally a person that puts people at their ease and they find it pleasant to be around him.

I'm sorry that today is the last day he'll be working on our door because I've come to associate these feelings with his presence or anticipation of his presence. So it seems that his leaving may take them...

It's been nice to feel happy and buoyed up by potential for a while.

That seems enough for now.

Friday, November 30, 2007

A Hostile, Barren Environment

A friend I made in St. Louis moved out to the west coast with her husband and daughter, to a city about 4 hours away. She is someone I felt an affinity with very quickly when we were new to her hometown, and I was delighted to have her within visiting distance.
When we had a reunion in Astoria shortly after their move just over a year ago, I found an ease and simple happiness in being with her that I hadn't felt for some time. They came for a visit just this past Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

Gary had hesitated a little when I proposed her visit. Once it became clear that there wasn't going to be enough snow to make a ski trip worthwhile, and his father said it wouldn't be a good weekend for us to come visit *him*, he said I was free to invite her.

On Friday when she was within an hour of arriving Gary said he didn't want company. This was the 'only time' we'd be able to 'have our time as a family'. I said it was too late to withdraw my invitation. It was 5:30; he'd offered to 'get' dinner (warm up Thanksgiving leftovers). I said I wanted to wait dinner for their arrival so they could eat with us.

When they arrived he made it very clear that he'd been inconvenienced by having to wait dinner. The presence of his resentment was the elephant in the room and a fact for the duration of the visit.

Sun 941

Helena and Emma are here; arrived Fri evening. Gary very resentful and a negative presence. The kids self-centered and restive. Not quite what I’d hoped for in terms of atmosphere with Helena. I’m sorry, because I feel like this subjected her to some real discomfort, coming into this atmosphere where Gary’s attitude was more of a weight than I’d expected. I just feel sad, and have with just about every hourly check-in.


I feel really low. I feel about as low as I did at Christmas in 2004. I feel beaten down. Ground down.

Yeah, this visit with Helena sat heavily. Part of it because Gary was truly unfriendly and passive-aggressive, from the start when she asked him how he was and he said he was “not in a good mood”. I’m not sure it entirely recovered, the visit, from the spectre hanging over, that Gary resented the presence of my guests and didn’t do much to conceal it. Helena asked me about it and at first I denied that Gary’s behavior had anything to do with their presence, that he was just mad at me in general, but a part of me felt uneasy in denying her perception and experience of the truth. I felt weird lying about it and conflicted: would telling the truth be indulging MY uneasy feelings at the expense of hers? Would telling her that yes, Gary HAD changed his mind about it being ok for me to invite them (but he’d done that AFTER they were already en route) be worse for her? I told her that he would have been resentful about anyone I’d invited because it was a way he could express his resentment toward me. I apologized several times for her having driven 3-4 hours only to have to be subjected to that atmosphere

There was a 24 hour hangover after the visit, where I was reminded of having slipped off a rubber raft as a child. I sank to the bottom and laid there on my back looking at the sunlight that was illuminating the lake. The water filtered it and made it appear yellow-green. I felt a sensation as if I had always been there. I had no urgency to breathe and no fear. I might still be lying there had my father not pulled me out. I had the same sensation after Helena left, of having reached some sort of bedrock from which I could go no lower.

Now I see that I was living in 'a hostile, barren' world. And the contact with it sapped my will to a point where I lost the will to keep myself from sinking. I guess I have to have respect for Gary's personal power, to have been affected to this extent by his smoldering anger. How did he do that? For that period of time it was as if the very atoms of the world were constructed from a base of resentment; it was the air we breathed.

And what precipitated it was he changed his mind about whether or not it was ok with him that we have company. I have been in situations too where I've wondered what I was thinking when I gave a permission or agreed to something that I fiercely regretted. But my agitated feelings belong only to me, in that case, because I did give my agreement. I can be angry with mySELF for my short-sightedness, but I really can't legitimately be angry with the person I made the agreement with.

It seems that if this is true, then the threshold for setting off one of these cold wars is pretty low. That suggests that staying may mean more periods of nuclear winter, set off by just about anything.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Don't know if this makes a difference...

I had a protracted time in the mate-search. Met Gary at 31, re-met at 33 (long story), married at 35. Then, with the casual assumption of youth, that motherhood would be available to me any time I wanted, we waited 4 years before attempting pregnancy. Passed our 5 year anniversary with me 7 months along with Connor. I was 40, 4 months from my 41st birthday when he was born. Again the casual assumption that the opportunity would be there for me when I felt ready to add a sibling to our family. I'd heard a 3 year spacing was optimal and it made sense at the time. In the meantime we'd moved from our city in the Pacific Northwest to the midwest. Pregnancy did not come easily this time, in fact we scraped together what funds we had and a credit card for our one shot at fertility treatments: injectible fertility drugs and interuterine insemination. To our enormous good fortune this resulted in Scott. We had a 4 year spacing between the boys, and I was nearly 45 when Scott was born.

My own baby gave me baby hunger and for a while I intensely longed to try again and to hell with spacing. Fortunately there was no pregnancy before Scott's turning 3 with an older sibling sobered me up quick. I was pretty maxed out with two, and the dynamic between them.

So, I became a mother in my forties. Since the oldest is now 10 I'm 51. Married for 15 years. An at-home mom for 8 years (our move to the midwest was partly motivated by the prospect of a family wage by one earner so I could be home with the kid(s). We moved back to the northwest just 3 years ago after 5 in St. Louis.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Information Needed to Guide My Decision...

I realized recently how much my historical approach to decision-making impacts this. It's only recently that I've realized how far back it goes, or to what extent it affects my life.

The book, "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy spoke directly to that issue, and made me realize how I've always tried to decide-by-not-deciding. Blind to the fact that not-deciding is a decision too. In this story a man and his young son are survivors of a nuclear holocaust (I presume) and are on the move (the boy born within days of the event). The boy's mother survived the disaster as well, but at a certain point has chosen to opt out of the life that's left. She's deaf to the husband's pleadings saying she'd rather not wait for the inevitable to happen, and that she would have 'taken' the boy too had it not been for him (her husband). It is an unrelentingly bleak book, with a constant struggle for food and shelter. It made the instinct to survive seem sub-human and terrible. Things were going well if they were 'only' struggling for food and shelter. There was constant threat of marauding bands of degenerated humans who'd sunk to cannibalism and other barbarities, such as enslavement. There was no indication that life would ever be different. Obviously the father had made HIS decision (and the boy's), but I questioned it at every step. In such extreme circumstances, wouldn't the most ethical thing to do be to kill the child and put him beyond the reach of the horrors of this world? Is it not a cruel thing to do, keeping him alive and suffering? It seems the father's motivation was to have the chance of propogating a bit of decency into humankind's future. Which trumps which--the present suffering of one's child, or the duty to humankind?

In my mind I could not decide this, and I could see that this was a situation where clearly by not making a choice one is making a choice. Kind of a roundabout way of making a choice, the purpose I guess is to obscure one's own responsibility in a matter. Otherwise, why not just make the choice you'd have 'chosen' anyway by not-choosing?

So I either stay married to Gary, or I don't.

The question I really need answered that I don't think is unambiguously answerable is if it's doing harm to my sons to be in the environment of this marriage. And since it's not possible to both raise them in this marriage, and raise them OUT of this marriage and then compare the two results to see which has the best outcome, I'm not sure. Are they being impacted in insidious ways by the tension in our marriage, the culture they're growing up in? When Scott (6) has been aggressive at school is it due to an internal agitation that he can't name, but still lowers his thresholds for acting out? He was such a sweet baby. Yesterday my older boy, Connor darted out in front of a car. Not close enough that the driver had to slam on brakes, but enough to scare me. He said he 'wanted danger'. He's affected bravado and professed to admire a sort of outlaw lifestyle (such as skateboarders), and is quite fearless skiing and playing sports, but I've never seen him do something stupid like that before. Is this a manifestation of his internal state that comes from exposure to our mutual atmosphere?

I don't expect them to be able to tell me if and how it's harming them. But intuitively, it seems that a culture of happiness would be an entirely different base to be operating from. Surely that would affect their trajectory?

Gary is truly dealing by not dealing. The marriage is mine to leave because he's not going to make a move to leave it, or a move to heal it. His choice is to ignore it and hope it will go away, and even the prospect that it's harming his sons isn't enough to make him take action.

So the choice is mine.

The counseler I'm seeing I saw for 7 years 14 years ago. When we ended it was a very unsatisfactory way of terminating a therapy relationship. We pretty much had no contact for the 14 years, last year about this time I was reflecting on the gift that her therapy had brought me--the ability to 'listen' to internal processes while suspending judgment--and I contacted her. I'd found she was leading a study group of an author I was interested in, and I wanted to see about joining. She asked me to come in for a session first, and to bring my dreams. I agreed, but I thought it was to talk about the study group...I had no sense of a need for therapy.

In the years since I saw her last she became a Jungian analyst (hence the dream assignment). In the dream I brought her my youngest son was in my arms. We were on a beach on the bank of a stream that had cut its way through the sand. I was annoyed with my son who was squirming but fussing when I'd try to set him down. Then he fell into the stream and there I was, poised above, angry, and I couldn't decide whether to jump in after him as he floated downstream, or run along the top calling assurances to him and getting him where the stream met the ocean.

Sharon's take: I'm facing some important decisions, and I sense danger to my son. She feels she has the skills to help me 'have all of myself with me' when I make those decisions. I agreed to return.

I'm still not sure what it will look like to 'have all of myself with me' in making my choices. For again, I suspect this about much more than a divorce.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Under Construction

This blog is under construction while I learn the skills to customize it and make it more viewer-friendly.

I'm a diaryist (?) and have kept one since I was 14. It's been a place where I can speak with my authentic voice; though sometimes that Voice comes through obscured by the straitjacket of the darker, more authoritarian side of western, quasi-Christian, 'traditional' (50's and early 60's style) American values.

So why would anyone want to read my thoughts?

I honestly don't really know. But, along my way I have often read and listened to other voices that were speaking from a place of authenticity and have felt enriched and helped in my journey. I've used my diaries to explore what may be themes common to humanity. (*Some* kind of theme has led humanity to seek a god, to seek salvation.)

In reading over my old diaries I see a process of unshackling my thoughts and being able to claim them as mine. The thoughts of others before me have encouraged me, and my hope is that I can give back some of that encouragement to others who are seeking.

My current manifestation of a theme of choosing and being responsible for my choices is a decision whether or not to divorce my husband of 15.5 years. We have 2 sons, one 10 and one 6.

As I weigh my options and potential consequences I see that this is about much more than divorce.

So I'm going to take a leap and write my process.

I'm in therapy with a Jungian therapist right now, and I'm all about archetypes and metaphors. Making this decision about whether or not to divorce has exposed layer upon layer...of whatever it is that has gotten me here. When I set up the blog I was asked to choose a name. I couldn't think of anything better (I'm terrible at things like that), so I chose excavator, but I don't know if I'll keep it.

Everything is under construction, this site, my decision, my life.

I have to go pick up a son from school for his vision therapy.