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Who’s side are you on anyway?

Who’s side are you on anyway?

She asked me, “Who’s side are you on anyway?”

I’m not on anyone’s side.  And here’s why:

As soon as we believe we have a “side”, we take ourself out of the relationship.  There are no “sides” in relationships, only points of view.

If we have taken our self out of the relationship, then we need to look at what we’re expecting.  Are we expecting a specific response?  an apology? a coming over to our side, in order to be ok in the relationship again?

What we really need is to feel heard.  We don’t have to agree.  We don’t have to “give in”, or expect, or demand, or acquiesce, or call a truce. We just have to hear each other.  To take our personal feelings, our ego, set it to the side for a moment, and look at another point of view -without our own agenda for what the result of that look should be.

I can listen to someone who feels passionately about a subject, in direct opposition to how I feel about it.  We don’t have to agree.  We DO have to respect.

We are not actively taught how to hear other people.  And we should be.  Think about how different the world would be if leaders could hear each other, respect each other, and then allow for disagreeance.

We wouldn’t see forced acceptance of the beliefs of the controlling powers.  We wouldn’t see violence in the interactions between disagreeing groups.

And in relationships, in our special personal companionships, being heard is what we need, not sides.  That “other side” still wants the same end result, to be heard, and to be with you.

Take a minute to hear your people today.

Love and light to you

Fun_Friday_Agree_to_Disagree

 
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Posted by on 27/10/2015 in partners, relationships

 

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A difficult but necessary conversation with my dad: Red Flag *Consent

A difficult but necessary conversation with my dad: Red Flag *Consent

As the first few weeks of living in Montana unfolded, I was seemingly teleported back in time to my childhood.  It really was as if grown up-me was in a dream  watching child-me go through the day-to-day of living with my father.  He and his wife are raising her granddaughter.  I really am sitting back and observing day-to-day, moment-to-moment foundational occurrences in this girls life, that were part of my childhood, and being fully aware of how it has impacted my life, specifically in my tendencies towards abusers.

I am, and will always be, grateful for the fact that my father has been a willing listener and participant in these conversations since I’ve been here.  He has listened to me bluntly, honestly open up about how I feel about  what I’m seeing.  Neither of us have been perfect at these conversations, but we are both giving our best effort to have them, and keep a positive relationship with each other.  If he weren’t being so amazing at taking in, thinking about, and accepting what we’re discussing, I would not be healing as quickly as I am.

A Conversation about CONSENT

We were in the kitchen, M and I.  He had walked by us three times, going back and forth to get something he needed.  Each time he walked by he touched her, touched her shoulder, poked her side, patted her butt.  It was routine.  It’s what he does.

He thinks he’s showing endearment; he doesn’t mean anything by it.  He doesn’t understand, I tell myself.

But I remember the same thing happening to me.  I remember being young and all the little pokes, the little rubs, the playful pats.  I remember the duality of not wanting to be poked all the time and missing the pokes when he was upset with me.  I remember feeling that it was an endearment; it was how he showed me he cared.  And he’s my dad, I want him to care.

Everything we learn about society is built up from what we learn at home first.  How we interact with the world outside the home is a version of what we’ve learned about how to interact at all.

I asked my dad, “If you had a magic lens and you could see into M’s day at school, and there was a teacher or another student that touched M every time he walked by her, innocently enough, nothing overtly sexual, would you be ok with that?”

He quickly sat up, offended, “No, that’s not ok.”

So I looked at him and I reminded him of how he did exactly that same thing to her, every day.  I could clearly see the confusion on his face.

Without realizing, he is teaching her/ taught me that men can touch her/me without her/my consent; that it is endearing to have someone touch without asking first.  We were taught to ignore or not pay direct attention to the fact that our body was not our own to decide what happened to it.  We, being children, were property, he being the patriarch was in charge.  And seemingly without intention, he put himself in charge of our bodies as well.  (We, being girls, would later also be socially inundated with objectification to tack on to the back of being raised as property.)

Our fathers are our first interactions with men.  That relationship helps us learn what to expect of ourselves and others in our future.

I learned not to pay attention to being touched by boys/ men.   And that lack of response is a test abusers use.  It’s a red flag test I blew through time after time.

As hormones hit and life becomes the erratic whirl of our teens, we all begin trying to figure out the differences and similarities between love, sex, and all the chaos in between.  What was endearment touches are now possible love touches by others.  And don’t we all know that, in our teens, each and every love is our eternal soulmate and each loss is devastating beyond measure.  Our need/ desire for physical contact is all mixed up with our need/ desire for the goal of our own partner.  Then add in all the unhealthy, abusive ways we are shown to expect from one another.  How are we supposed to come out of that and into adulthood with a healthy understanding of how to be in a relationship?

If we don’t know how to be asked consent, how to expect to be asked consent, how to ask for consent, how are we supposed to all of a sudden, in the midst of new mature physical bodies with hormones running amuck, start expecting and understanding consent?  Yes, this goes for boys too.

“So”, my dad asked, “then what do I do”?

You ask for consent to touch her.  Teach her how to listen for it.  Teach her to expect it.  Set the example for boys/ men to follow your lead.

“Hey, can I have a hug?”,  “Fist bump”, “Come here, I wanna tickle ya”

Anything, but something verbal that announces to her (him) that you want to engage in healthy, acceptable, endearing physical contact and gives her (him) the chance to disagree or agree.  It should become natural habit, not forced, example

“Awww, can I have a hug”, vs. “M, is it ok if I give you a hug?”

IMPORTANT * Accept the response.  If she says no, don’t coerce her, make her feel bad, do it anyway, or anything else except not do whatever it was you announced wanting to do.  Without any negativity, show her that her no is accepted.  Teach her see the response you want her to expect from others in her future.

Also, don’t withhold physical intimacy.  Children need that physical assurance of your love.  Just make sure it’s appropriate, healthy, and asked for.

Here is where my dad is starting to struggle.  But, that’s normal I think, for this new into an understanding.  He’s having to work through a lifetime of being “the boss” at home.  Letting someone else be in charge of their own bodies means he’s not in charge.  He’s staying “in charge” by not doing anything while he works through the massive change that knowing brings.

I think this is one of the Let Go and Let God type of understandings.  But no change is easy, comes right away, or perfectly.  It’s a process.

Consent for sexual touch has to begin with consent for any physical touch.  Each step along the way, from innocently holding hands, to knowingly going through a sexual act, consent needs to be asked for and given.  There is no point, in any relationship, that you should touch another person without their consent.

Certainly consent is given a kind of implied sense within a romantic relationship, but there should always still be the ability to show or say, “not right now” and have it be accepted, whether it’s a hug, touching the shoulder, or sex.

As I type this, and maybe as you read this, you’ll think, “That seems pretty obvious to me.”, but I’ve been talking through this with other people, and you’d be surprised how many looked at me with the same confusion my dad had and said, “I hadn’t thought about it that way.”

We learn how to interact with the world in our families.  We build our understanding of what is acceptable or not, behaviors to look for or ignore, with those earliest moments.  Everything we do as parents affects long-term, especially if it is a pattern.  We are creatures of habit.  We like the comfortable and used-to things.  We migrate towards people that make us feel secure in our patterns.

We need to look at the patterns we teach our children about consent while they’re young, before we send them out into the world and expect them to just know.

I sent my kidittos out with mixed messages.  The more I learn about the patterns I didn’t see, the more I see how many patterns I passed on in ignorance.  But I also see the many ways I did better than I thought I had.  Parenting is rough business sometimes.  We don’t get a handbook.  I wasn’t being parented through my teens, and I was practically a parent through my pre-teens because I had to basically raise my siblings, so I was mostly able to parent my kidittos without preconceived ideas of how to do it.  That was good and bad.

What I taught them through my words to them, my actions to them, was good, but they were counter-balanced by what I taught them through my actions with their dad and to myself in that relationship and the others I had post divorce.  They saw my words for them and my actions for myself being juxtaposed and incongruent.

I learned what to do to get out of, but not what to do to not get into an abusive relationship.  That’s got to mess with their heads a little.  It messes with mine.

For me the good news is, that no matter what age, if we talk to our children about what we see from our past, we can help the future.  I talk to my kidditos about my relationships because I want them to be “informed consumers”.  That’s not the best term, but it gets the concept across.  As I have walked through life, so many of the relationship mistakes I’ve made have been because I didn’t know any better at the time.  Having more information will help them make better decisions in the relationships they have in the future, I hope.

Fighting through the fear of talking to my dad about these relationship issues has been difficult.  This was only one conversation, one red flag.  But I think it’s a big one.  Pushing through that fear and actually having the conversation was tremendously validating and healing.

What are your thoughts on this?

 

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Life is about relationships/interactions

The topic, as suggested in a comment,

I think life is all about relationships/interactions , no matter how brief or seeming insignificant they may seem at the moment.

I’m not sure I think life is ALL about relationships and interactions, but I would definitely say 85% of it is.

The other 15% I think has to be completely about self.  Simply and solely about self.  The 85% is about self and others, but, that 15% is really important.  Without it, how we interact with others wouldn’t be the same.

That said, our relationships and interactions are extremely important.  They shape who we are, how we think, and react.  They help us decide how and when to begin acting instead of reacting.  They teach us how to be us.

Every face we see, every action we notice, every person that accidentally brushes us, they all mold us.  How many happy faces do we see each day vs how many angry or sad ones.  How many people do we see sitting quietly or animatedly reciting something to the person next to them.  I think these glimpses into other peoples lives help shape our lives.   We instinctively make decisions and judgments and run scenarios through our heads about it.

Once upon a time a long time ago, some one told me, “Never talk about something you don’t have personal experience about.  If you haven’t been part of an event you can’t really know what it’s about.”   I can’t really remember what spurred it on, but I’m sure I made some hasty decision about something and got called out on it.   I was young, maybe 10 or 11, but that has stuck with me.  HARD.  It made a profound, subconscious effect that I still can’t shake even though it can actually cause problems.

Cause problems you ask?  How can that cause problems?  Quite frankly, people can get thrown off because apparently it can sound as if I only want to talk about myself.   This is really not the case, I’m just thoroughly unable to talk about a subject I haven’t had something to do with in case I get the whole thing wrong.

Now, I have learned how to talk about subjects I have only experienced through reading, watching, etc, so it’s getting better, but the point is that, that one brief moment made a HUGE impact.

I have met so many people along my path, that I have only known briefly, that really have significantly impacted my life, in ways they will never know.

For example, for a short time I was training a couple in their home.  I had some car issues come up and was strapped for cash to get them fixed.  Never ever expecting it, this couple gave me a check to help fix the car problems on their last appointment.  All this happened at a very personally difficult time.  A friend was able to help me fix the car myself, saving hundreds of dollars.  After a singularly difficult evening with the personal issues I had at the time, I made a split second decision to buy a ticket to San Diego and go meditate at my Ocean.

I needed to clear my head, figure out how to get through what was happening, and how to take the next steps.  I needed my ocean to do that.  Living in New Mexico, thousands of miles from ANY ocean, was difficult.  I needed to sit by the ocean and hear the sounds, smell the smells, and let her work her magic on my crazy life.

I never saw that couple again, but, that trip was the pivotal moment in an extremely important time in my life.

I’ve always been a people watcher.  My parents were hardly an example of how to parent.  In fact growing up the best examples I had for parenting were the TV parents.  I began running away early, I knew it wasn’t healthy for me to be there.  Most of my early teen years were spent in several institutions, so really after about 12 or so, I didn’t have any example of parenting.

It has been all the many amazing, terrible, wonderful, average parents out there, that I’ve watched and asked, and read about, that helped me become a good parent.  All the interactions with other parents helped shape the parent I was becoming.  I never shied away from asking or listening to advice.  I would gauge it against what I knew or had seen or had tried already.

Every parent I saw, every where I went, great, terrible, and everything in between, knowingly or oblivious, helped me decide how to act during situations with my children as they came up.  Hells bells I screwed stuff up!  And yet, I know that in spite of their dad’s influence, I raised three really great kids.

I have lived in so many places……  and I have met people who changed my life in every one.  The neighbors in WA that came to look after me when Cori was born.  My old housemates when the ex and I were first married.  The couple we shared Christmas with in CT.  The teacher in NJ.  The many people at the dinners we attended at Princeton.  The other wives from the submarine days.  The dear friends I’ve made that have stayed my friends for so many years, and the momentary friends that helped me understand me and my world better.  The woman who taught me to belly dance in order to avoid being put on bed rest.  The guy who drove me to get my tire fixed.  The guy who told me to “just open the lid and pour it in”.  My classmates in college and university.  My amazing amazing instructors and professors.  The new friends I am making as I go around the world.

The guy who told me I had a nice smile.  The lady who stopped and picked up something I had dropped and gave it back to me.  The girl who moved over on the bus so I could sit down.  The man who politely gave me directions.  The woman who stared in amazement as I asked for directions from two black boys without reservation.  The girl confidently reading a book by herself at a crowded restaurant who still gives me strength to do things by myself even today.

I could go on with this list for HOURS!

These seemingly insignificant interactions shape how I choose to behave.  I try to make sure there is room on the bus.  I try to help people smile.  I return things to their owners.  I share anything I can.  I try to be gracious.  I try to be a good friend.

I know that I can be someone’s example of how to be polite, or unafraid, or unbiased because so many people have been mine.

Every interaction you have affects your life.  Large or small, they affect who you become, they affect how you see the world.  These interactions, no matter how fleeting can later become the thing you look back on and think about the most.

That 15%  of self is important because

You decide if it’s for negative or positive.

You decide if you are going to harp or heed.

You decide if you move backward, stay in limbo, or move forward.

You decide if you are going to blame or learn.

But once those decisions are made:

Life really is about the relationships and interactions you have with the inhabitants of planet Earth.

 

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Poetry – a look back through the pages of my journals

We are the same 

Soft quiet wind rushing through glimpses

Many faces seen through your eyes

Hazy, drenched

Reflections of you

Who you are today

You turn from me

Why turn? Thoughtless in me of you

We are the same

Sift through pebbles

Stones of recompense

Grant me serenity

A stone under a stone under a stone

We are the same

Face me

Touch me

Envelope our oneness

Thoughts of the wind, of treetops

Circling

They are still grounded by their love with gaia

We are the same

I Will       95

I will climb and conquer

I will misstep and misjudge

I will reach and achieve

I will stumble and fail

I will learn and grow

I will overcome and

I will love you the whole way through

Grateful for this time    04

Your kisses are meadows I long to lie down in

Soft grasses, flowing breezes

They are canyons reaching far below me

Into the depths of who I can be

The pleasures of nature

In the air

Whenever your breath enters mine

I seek after your embrace

which claims my soul in its tender hold

Caressing the being I am inside

gently coaxing like the pleasant water edges

which invite the weary wanderer to bathe

and be enveloped by its healing motions

When our essence entwines

I feel the earth below, the sky above, and everything in between

like the vines of the morning and the evening glory

along the same lattice

intermingling at noon as one unfolds

and the other gently lays to rest

I am so grateful to have this time with you

To love you and feel loved by you

Telluride  7/05

Telluride

Music floats around me

Mountains engulf my soul

Thousands of stars blinking, shooting

Shifting who I am

People, thousands of people simmer in the pot of humanity

So many different gifts together in one place

for peace

and the joy of music and mountains

Grasp the concept

Grasp the concept

Give back

Keep only what is given

Live life around the concept

Stand in the middle

Be only afraid that life is still turning

And you are standing still

Don’t be afraid

Throw in

Go out

Take the risk and live

You may think it’s not worth it

But really

It is

ARE THERE MOMENTS NOT SACRED ENOUGH TO REMEMBER?

We don’t all have

I saw a man today

Walking on the street

holding a sign of help needed

I gave him pistachios.

I went to school

In my car

From my home

As I left school today

I saw a woman

by the corner light

It was hot and she was sitting

I gave her my bread and butter

From my dinner

that I bought at a restaurant.

I drove home

wishing I had sunscreen to give the woman

Grateful for what I have

And saddened that

We don’t all have

Hollow Woman

Hollow woman

Your shell is intact but your eyes have gone

I can see through them as if they weren’t there

Come back

I will offer you what I have

Can you find what you left behind

With my help?

Are you ready to find it?

Is that where you are?

Oor have you run because it is trapped in your shell, So there you cannot be?

May you find peace in your journey

May you face what you fear

and triumph

May I have been one who helped you today

The dream gift  02/06

I dreamt today of a gift

Yet to be opened

I don’t know where it came from or from whom

A beautiful box wrapped simply

It spoke and said, “not yet”

A treasure I’m sure awaits inside for me

What can it be?

I am drawn in my waking moments

To find and open it

If I close my eyes I can reach for it

Yet still it says “the time has not come”

I can feel the tender craftsmanship of what awaits

The love put into the work of creating my gift

I can sense the excitement at being discovered

The building up until the moment arrives

My beautiful dream gift

I am willing to wait

But please not too long.

Lines

Arbitrary lines drawn through the boundaries

borders put up to keep out the rifraf

what if just because I’m “pretty” I can cross the line?

maybe I’m an arbitrary line?

maybe the arbitrary lines are just bridges helping change the way people see each other

does everything have to be in order all the time?

maybe order is chaotic and I am chaos and I have changed the order as a rifraf line of arbitration.

 

My Prayer to The Universe

May I never greet the day without gratitude for my breath

May I never greet the sunset without gratitude for my days work

And may I never gaze at the tapestry of the night sky without gratitude for my place in the world

May I always be known for my giving nature

May I always be seen as a gift to ones life

And may I always be looked upon as one who lived and enjoyed every moment

 

FLIGHT: WIND TAMED UNDER WILD WINGS

 

Because 6/06

Because I believe in me

I can believe in you

Because I can feel

I can feel for you

Because I am free

I cherish your freedom

Because I can learn

I want to learn from you

Because I can dream

My dreams can include you

 

Falling in love with a shoulder

When the heart is broken the head needs a shoulder

When you realize you love someone who was never there

You need a shoulder to help make it stop hurting

Love doesn’t hurt so much with the simpleness of a shoulder –given freely- to cry on

Why does love hurt so much?

Why are there old loves and new loves?

And why is it all so painful?

The one thing I want I cannot have

A shoulder to cry on.

If I ever fall in love again

It’s going to be with just a f@cking shoulder.

A shoulder attached to a strong arm and a helping hand.

But really without the unconditional caring understanding perfect shoulder to hold a weary head

What good is the rest of it?

 

My Look

Moments strung together on an empty line

They keep falling off the line

Won’t be tied

Grandiose pictures of love

That isn’t, wasn’t, and won’t be

Moving pictures that capture the still frames of passion without momentum

Half truth half light

Secret purposes

One more night

What do I do now?

I wanted to feel kept

I needed to feel loved

Instead I feel lonely again

While you went away

back to another’s arms as soon as you left mine

My forehead felt blessed

My heart felt comfort

My arms were filled

And now

I am hurting again

While you give my look

To someone else.

 

Tides turn

Tides turn coming in

Beach and ocean come together

Going out

Tides turn

Knowing they’ll meet again

Under the sun, the stars, the moon, the clouds

Giving to each other everyday

Gifts of love

Day in day out

They see each other change

They create the others change

Endless tides

Blessed unions.

Tides turn

The seas can be rough

Pounding the beach

Great stones can be heaved

Churning the sea

Then all is well again

‘A shell my lady’

Tides turn

In and out

Back and forth

Singing the notes of life

Together

Look Upon Them

Rising quarter moon stare

The darkness of your gown with slender light

Engulf the passion of the storm which rages

Bathe the waters

Call upon your sisters the stars

To guide the lovers to the secret beaches that only you can see

And while still high in the night sky

With your crescent smile

Look upon them

Be me  04/06

I will always be free

I will always be torn between wanting to unite

And needing to be me

Unless there is another

To whom I am the perfect compliment

For then I could unite as me

 
 

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