The Size of Your World is the Depth of Your Consciousness

Monday, May 31, 2010

The End of the Affair

"What is sex in a relationship?" A reader me asked several weeks ago.

"Why, anything you want it to be," I replied. Do you feel he uses you for sex? Or is it something sacred you both share in vulnerability and trust? Are you using him to escape the dreary monotone of life?

Talking of escapades...
Having been married for more than 20 years, in all honesty I say that being married doesn't render one, dead. Therefore one isn't completely protected from being attracted to the one who pays attention and who shares your interests. Suddenly you feel the exhilaration of spending time with someone who you can pour your heart out to. The crescendo of heartbeats that feel for the very same things!

Suddenly you're dreaming of someone other than the man in your bed. You're looking forward to time spent with another whom you think shares your passions, hopes, and dreams, whom you believe understands you better than your husband. At least, he shows more interest.

Mind you, it's all intellectual... so far. Your mind begins to imagine more than that. Yet you don't imagine that he might actually spurn you --- because, well... you're married.

So that's where it ends. You know it could never become anything. And so the friendship lapses. It dies a natural death. You see each other less and less. No less does your heart hope that one day... someday... someday soon...

But no. Then one day, cloud hanging heavy from the internal chaos that has been going on inside your head for all this time, you confess. "You know Joe Blow... well... I had feelings for him. I thought they were strong enough that I might, you know, go off with him. But it came to nought. I wanted you to know..."

The man at the breakfast table, grunts. "You didn't, and that's what matters." He goes on reading his paper. Then he looks up and says, "The sad thing is that you don't realize you have everything right here."

I look at him, thinking I'd find some emotion. Uh uh, none. Straight arrow. Is that empathy right there, I wonder? Is that him feeling what I'm feeling?

And what am I feeling? Like a good thing got away? Not quite. Just that a bit of variety might have been nice.

And what made him respond so generously? Would that be reciprocal understanding for one of his own liaisons? Maybe.

Anyway the affair that wasn't, turned out to be an exploration of what meanings I've given to life and love. Seems that the meanings are many. Just as many as there are facets of me.

The variety is nice.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

When people ask for help

I was contacted by a reader of my column who said she wanted to meet me. She had suffered considerably, cancer it was. And although I do not usually meet people like this, I agreed to see her. Anyway long story short, I found it difficult not to offer support - through my network of friends - easily done, without much trouble at all.

Anyway, the reason I write about this is to reflect on what makes us go out of our way to offer help. Isn't it so much easier to turn away? No one can fault us after all. But when we can easily do something - that costs us no more than what we would pay for a new tee shirt or a nice meal... I wonder what prevents us from doing so? More importantly, what prevents us from asking for help and support when we need it for ourselves, our family, and friends?

We feel embarrassed to ask... I know I do. But from just asking my friends who are doctors, donors, concerned individuals... so many are so prepared to step up. Perhaps we might consider lowering our defenses, sharing our vulnerabilities, getting our ego out of the way. And just share. Just show others what we need. How is that so difficult?

Could it be the law of reciprocity? We feel indebted to the point of feeling we have to return what we are given? Perhaps. But oftentimes, people just want gratitude. People are happy with smiles and the knowing that they have made someone's life better.
At least that's what I'm finding out now through my own assistance with this lovely person.

In learning to help another, I am learning to know myself.