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Thursday, October 21 2010




Partner Picking


       I'm preparing to give a talk on relationships later this week to a wonderful group of divorced, widowed and separated folks.  A question for many of them has to do with the challenge of picking a partner in life – a challenge, I believe, that invites a balance head and heart.


       An all-time favorite quote of mine comes from Mary Oliver's poem, Wild Geese:  


       "… let the soft animal of your body love what it loves." 


       What a delightful invitation to honor one's heart in all of life, not only in matters of love.


       Balancing Mary Oliver's wisdom are two wise authors in the love department – Elizabeth Gilbert (Committed) and David Whyte (The Three Marriages) – who offer a perspective I hadn't encountered before.


       Here's a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert:


       "People always fall in love with the most perfect aspects of each other's personalities.  Who wouldn't.  Anybody can love the most wonderful parts of another person.  The really clever trick is this:  Can you accept the flaws?  Can you look at your partner's faults honestly and say, 'I can work around that.'?"  (p. 129-130)


       Just last night, I discovered this passage from David Whyte: 


       "In a very personal way we are marrying not only a person's ability to love and take care of us, but also that person's particular species of selfishness and particular form of egotism.  It is only a question of time before these appear.  One of the tests of finding the right person is to ask ourselves if this is the particular form of selfishness and egotism we can live with … A sign of possible success is our ability to answer in the affirmative.  It means the chemistry is right …"  (p. 244)


       I have a long history of romantic idealism.  It's a gift to encounter a balancing perspective – twice already, in the last week or so.  Life is a generous teacher.  Perhaps, in the balance of head and heart, a practical romantic emerges.






Posted by: AT 09:33 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, October 14 2010




       After last week's venture into the political/cultural arena, I heard from a number of you.  Thank you.


      Many expressed support for my speaking up – support much needed and appreciated. One of you (thanks Betsy) made the wonderful suggestion that I send love energy to Glenn Beck.  I've long taught that if we want anything to grow or change, in ourselves or in someone else, we have to love it first. And it's always a good idea to walk one's talk.


       I was most struck – both touched and humbled – by the unexpectedly gentle response from a couple of folks whose views differ from mine.  My surprise reminded me of how easy it is, in these polarized times, to paint each other in overly broad strokes, to miss the complexity and nuances of individuals, to avoid one another, to forget the humanness and divinity we all share.


       As I do my best to follow a path of love, I look for balance – a "both/and" that includes engagement and disengagement, doing and not doing, showing up and letting go.  I acknowledge mystery, contradiction, ambiguity.  I live with knowing and not knowing – and questions like:


       Can I make room inside for the peaceful warrior?



Posted by: AT 10:28 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, October 05 2010



The Right is Wrong



       I believe a new paradigm is coming, one in which, at the level of belief and behavior, humanity breaks through the myth of separation and embraces unity consciousness.  I realize old paradigms typically put up one heck of a fight – a desperate, last-ditch effort, to preserve the old view – just before what's new emerges.  I know it's darkest just before dawn.


       Still, I'm unnerved by the violence of the right-wing response to the president and his efforts to create a better America for all of us.  I'm dismayed by pundits making millions using misinformation to preach fear, hatred, self-righteousness and greed.


       Reluctant – and a bit fearful, truth be told – to challenge this vehemence and to share publicly my cultural/political orientation, I've been standing on the sidelines – until now.  Recently, Glenn Beck advised listeners and viewers to leave any church that teaches social or economic justice, which he claims are codes for Nazism and Communism.  Dumbfounded, I need to speak.


       At its center, Jesus' message is: Love your neighbor.


       The political and (sad to say) religious right have been narrowing the definition of "neighbor" for some time now, by teaching intolerance and advocating policies that increase the chasm between "haves" and "have-nots".


       In this case, the right is wrong – and terribly short-sighted.  We all sink or swim together.  "What you do to these least of my brethren…"



Posted by: AT 09:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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