Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I can relate to this side of me....

"The Nuisance"
by Marge Piercy
Circles on the Water. New York: Alfred A Knopf, Inc, 1982.

I am an inconvenient woman.
I’d be more useful as a pencil sharpener or a cash register.
I do not love you the way I love Mother Jones or the surf
Coming in
Or my pussycats or a good piece of steak.
I love the sun prickly on the black stubble of your cheek.
I love you wandering floppy making scarecrows of despair.
I love you when you are discussing changes in the class structure
And it jams my ears and burns in the tips of my fingers.

I am an inconvenient woman.
You might trade me in on a sheepdog or a llama.
You might trade me in for a yak.
They are faithful and demand only straw.
They make good overcoats.
They never call you up on the telephone.

I love you with my arms and my legs
And my brains and my cunt and my unseemly history.
I want to tell you about when I was ten and it thundered.
I want you to kiss the crosshatched remains of my burn.
I want to read you poems about drowning myself
Laid like eggs without shells at fifteen under Shelly’s wings.
I want you to read my old loverletters.

I want you to want me
As directly and simply and variously
As a cup of hot coffee.
I want to, to have to, to miss what can’t have room to happen.
I carry my love for you
Around with me like teeth
And I am starving.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Unconditional Love - Love is always love

This is the same message as my last blog posting, expressed in art. Love is always love! Do you want Love? Or do you want something else... "Amarantine" means everlasting or immortal.

Enya - Amarantine

You know when you give your love away
It opens your heart,
everything is new
...And you know time will always find a way
To let your heart believe it's true
You know love is everything you say
A whisper, a word, promises you give
You feel it in the heartbeat of the day
You know this is the way love is

Amarantine Amarantine Amarantine

Love is always love
You know love may sometimes make you cry
So let the tears go, they will flow away
For you know love will always let you fly
How far a heart can fly away

Amarantine Amarantine Amarantine

You know when love's shining in your eyes
It may be the stars fallen from above
And you know love is with you when you rise
For night and day belong to love

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The word "love" and the word "relationship"

"That for which we find words is something already dead in our hearts. There is always a kind of contempt in the act of speaking." ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Or writing ;) Words, oh words, how they can divide us. So I'm going to cast out far beyond the ends of division and words. I'm going to try to say that Love is Love. And Relationships are relationships. Two separate things!

When it comes down to it, for me it seems there are three big stages of a romantic relationship. 1) finding each other - friendship, 2) engaged to be married, 3) marriage [with marriage vows].

Now I'm cheating a bit and going to say that 'relationships' is not really the topic of this posting. The meatier topic is Love. And to me, Love means forever. Love doesn't mean "relationship". Relationships can change, relationships are here in the field of time and require agreement and participation of two people.

What I really mean by love in this discussion is "unconditional love". Unconditional love requires and necessitates "unconditional forgiveness". I've talked about this in previous blog postings. Love, to me, is timeless. This aspect of "unconditional Love" often seems confused by society. So I'm going to post a series of quotes to try and point in the general direction of what I mean by unconditional love...

If you Love a mountain because it does not argue with you... If you Love a tree because it does not argue with you... If it is possible that I can say a few words that cause you to "stop loving me", then it's probably the meaning of the word "Love" that we argue about... (~RoundSparrow)

“To be able to say how much you love is to love but little.” ~Petrarch

“In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities.” ~János Arany

“Love is born with the pleasure of looking at each other, it is fed with the necessity of seeing each other, it is concluded with the impossibility of separation.” ~Josi Marti (1835-1895)

“In the arithmetic of love, one plus one equals everything, and two minus one equals nothing.” ~Mignon McLaughlin

“Love is most nearly itself When here and now cease to matter.” ~T.S. Eliot

“Love works in miracles every day: such as weakening the strong, and stretching the weak; making fools of the wise, and wise men of fools; favouring the passions, destroying reason, and in a word, turning everything topsy-turvy” ~Marguerite De Valois

“True love is knowing a person's faults, and loving them even more for them.” ~Mandy Hampton

“You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly.” ~Sam Keen

“Love is not blind - it sees more, not less. But because it sees more, it is willing to see less.” ~Julius Gordon

What is love? Not the Ego, Knowledge, Appearance of the person... it is their spirit, and it is that which I seek to share. Let's try this quote to really shake up the realization:

“Ego is a social institution with no physical reality. The ego is simply your symbol of yourself. Just as the word "water" is a noise that symbolizes a certain liquid without being it, so too the idea of ego symbolizes the role you play, who you are, but it is not the same as your living organism." ~Alan Watts

And again, to me, Love is not the same as a Relationship. As I see it, Relationships take two, relationships take time, and many more things that could be said about Relationships...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

On giving... Unconditonal True Love...

The creative act is not hanging on, but yielding to a new creative movement. Awe is what moves us forward. ~Joseph Campbell

On the matter of Unconditional True Love of which love does not involve clinging, attachment or expectations I start to scratch on Life itself. Is Love my own reason for Life? This, to me, is the story told by in Tristan and Isolde... and echoed in Romeo and Juliet, and of the quote I give in earlier blog postings from Marilyn Monroe (or Norma Jeane Baker behind the mask).

Joseph Campbell said some very interesting things about art. I would like to say this same quote could be used to describe my own personal experience of Unconditional True Love. As you read this quote, think of Love instead of the word "art"...

For the reality to which the artist and the mystic are exposed is, in fact, the same. It is of their own inmost truth brought to consciousness: by the mystic, in direct confrontation, and by the artist, through reflection in the masterworks of his art. The fact that the nature of the artists (as the microcosm) and the nature of the universe (as the macrocosm) are two aspects of the same reality (respectively, as a minute part of the whole, experienced from within, and as the whole viewed from without -- equivalent, respectively, to Schopenhauer's "world as will" and "world as spectacle or idea") accounts sufficiently for the creative interplay of discovery and recognition which alerts the artist to the possibility of a revelatory composition in which outer and inner realities are recognized as the same.

In his early novel A Portrait of the Artists As a Young Man (written 1904-1914, published 1916), James Joyce quotes Thomas Aquinas to the effect that "beautiful things are those that please when seen" (pulcra sunt quae visa placent). Beauty is thus a value, a good, an end in itself. Ugliness depresses, beauty exhilarates, heightening the sense of life, which again is a good in to itself. Normally art aspires to beauty and thus to a sensuous glorification of life: so that Nietzsche could write of the aesthetics of art as "nothing but applied physiology." Whereas l'art pour l'art, in his view, was an aberration of the "Decadence" of his century: "the virtuosic croaking of cold-blooded frogs, despairing in their swamp."

Beauty we may regard, then, as a normal and proper intention as the Way of Art, affirmative in the sensuous glorification of life, thus grounded in physiology. To this degree, the Way of Art coincides with the Way of Beauty. However, there is another and further possible degree or range of the revelation of art that is beyond beauty, namely, the sublime, which has been defined as "that which arouses sentiments of awe and reverence and a sense of vastness and power outreaching human comprehension." Cosmic space and great distances experienced as sublime; also, detonations of prodigious power. If beauty so heightens our sense of life that aesthetics may be termed "applied physiology," the sublime, transcending physical definitions, suggests magnitudes exceeding life; not refuting, but augmenting life. And from this perspective, viewing art, the same Nietzsche declared: "Art is the proper tasks of life, art is life's metaphysical exercise....Art is more worth than truth."

For many... the Art of Life is the practice of Unconditional Never-ending Love...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Love, Forgiveness ⟸ Acceptance ⟹ Forgiveness, Love

Friedrich Nietzsche (15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philosopher, whose critiques of contemporary culture, religion, and philosophy centered on a basic question regarding the foundation of values and morality:

Ihre (Predigern des Todes) Weisheit lautet: "ein Thor, der leben bleibt, aber so sehr sind wir Thoren! Und das eben ist das Thörichtste am Leben!"
Their (the preachers of death) wisdom speaks thus: "Only a fool remains alive, but such fools are we! And that is surely the most foolish thing about life!"

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Love, Loyalty, Mutual Consent = Making Love!

This will seem insane to many of you. It is thinking in duality and infinite terms that took a lot of consideration. It comes after a spiritual awakening of being "born again". Plus, language and time is limited. A slip of word-choice can let something of great beauty be tarnished by imperfection. I accept and embrace imperfection, part of the theme of Erotic Irony you find mentioned earlier on this blog.

At age 83, Joseph Campbell in 1987, who was a college professor for nearly 40 years in the USA:

Joseph Campbell: One must discriminate between the mortal aspect and the immortal aspect of one's own existence. In the experience of my mother and father who are gone, of whom I was born, I have come to understand that there is more than what was our temporal relationship. Of course there were certain moments in that relationship when an emphatic demonstration of what the relationship was would be brought to my realization. I clearly remember some of those. They stand out as moments of epiphany, of revelation, of the radiance.

Bill Moyers: The meaning is essentially wordless.

Joseph Campbell: Yes. Words are always qualifications and limitations.

Bill Moyers: And yet, Joe, all we puny human beings are left with is this miserable language, beautiful though it is, that falls short of trying to describe --

Joseph Campbell: That's right, and that's why it is a peak experience to break past all that, every now and then, and to realize, "Oh. . . ah. . ."

Love Comes First
I do not want to have sex with someone I do not love. I had this once in my life. It was my second sexual partner. She took advantage of a breakup with my first true love and first sexual partner. I was 19 years old.

It was awful. I did not enjoy it! It was not the "rebound" aspect, I just didn't enjoy the unfamiliarity. I could not read the emotions, it took away the part of love making that I liked - the LOVE!

I can have a form of that experience, it's called "self love" - and it isn't very satisfying to me. If you enjoy it, knock yourself out. It leaves my emotional and spiritual self more lonely. It is nothing more than a physical and chemical hormone relief, it does not satisfy my love or compassion. There is no giving, no "unconditional love" in "masturbation" self-gratification. That doesn't mean I hate myself. I emotionally and spiritually love myself, as I Love all of The Universe. And for the record, yes, I masturbate, but I'd rather not need to. I'd much rather Love a woman and Make Love!

I believe it's possible to fall in love with other women, but also not cheat! Cheating requires a physical act. Moving in with someone, sharing a bed, having sex. Is a kiss of another woman OK? In some circumstances, maybe. It depends how long it lasts. ;)

Love of more than one person, that's OK! Love, flirting, and Joy from another woman... I'm just going to bring that home to my chosen lady! That is loyalty! "Why go out for hamburger when you have steak at home?" I'll be in a good mood, isn't a good mood a good thing to share with your selected partner?

I'm not going to say more, it's that simple! Depersonalize...

Bill Moyers: Do you in your own life just leave it there as a mystery? Or do you think that one can successfully have a marriage and a relationship other than the marriage?

Joseph Campbell: Technically, one could say, "Why, yes, of course."

Bill Moyers: But it seems that whatever one gives to the love affair is barred from the marriage relationship and diminishes the loyalty to the relationship.

Joseph Campbell: I think one has to work out these things oneself. There could be a love seizure after you have a commitment to marriage, and it could be such a seizure that not responding to it might -- what can I say? -- dull the whole experience of the vitality of love.

Bill Moyers: I think that's the core of the question. If the eyes scout for the heart and bring back that which the heart passionately desires, is the heart only going to desire once?

Joseph Campbell: Love does not immunize the person to other relationships, let me just say that. But whether one could have a full-fledged love affair, I mean a real full-fledged love affair, and at the same time be loyal to the marriage -- well, I don't think that could happen now.

Bill Moyers: Because?

Joseph Campbell: It would break off. But loyalty doesn't forbid you to have an affectionate, even a loving relationship to another person of the opposite sex. The way in which the knightly romances describe the tenderness of the relationships to other women, of one who is being loyal to his own love, is very graceful and sensitive.

Bill Moyers: The troubadours would sing to their ladies even if there was very little hope of furthering a relationship with them.

Joseph Campbell: Yes.

Where am I going with this?
For the past 3 years [well, my whole life], I have been working on:

1. Loving quicker and easier. Falling in love quickly. Love is self-sacrifice to me. It is giving of oneself to another. I have a "open heart". My heart is not greedy, it is not selfish, it is "unconditional love".

2. Letting go of the past, forgiving, absolute and true forgiveness. "Unconditional Forgiveness" is part of "Unconditional Love". The facts and details of a situation can still exist and be discussed, for the sake of historic record and learning, but the negative emotional and punishing side is entirely erased!

3. Mutual Consent. Understanding my feminine side, my male side. Focus on arguing, rhetoric, consent, permission, debate, discussion, talking, communications. Oh I love to argue with a woman. I'll gently talk to her while I give her back rubs, while I hold her hand. It's a form of arguing silently while I kiss her. We can silently argue all we want about which way to kiss - as long as we keep kissing! Oh boy, oh boy! I can argue in silence, I can argue without a word. Consideration, compassion, mindful, loving sharing. sharing, sharing, sharing. Mine is yours. "no expectations, no clinging, no attachment". Take me, only if you wish to have me. I do not want to be with someone who hates me or dislikes me!

Roundabout Way to One Night Stand?

1. If a pure and entirely open and selfless heart can fall in love in hours...

2. I do not cheat, I am loyal... I have no record of this in my life, I am pretty confident on this.

3. We both consent? No drunk situations or rushed, just two people who do their best and both say "yes".

Is it possible to have a "one night stand" - that the first night I meet someone, I have sex with them? I suppose: Yes! Is it a goal? NO! Working together, Mutual Consent, both agreeing to details - that's what I'm after. If it's weeks of months, that's fine if that's what we both agree. Both parties have to consent, say yes, in a relationship! All aspects of a relationship!

The Morning After, Fear
Now, a woman may say Yes at night then wake up with me in the morning - and like the famous "Coyote Ugly" reference, chew their own arm off to get away from me! But that is their own indecision and mistake. Remember my prior blog posting, "trust first, ask questions later..." is my approach.

I have been married only once. I did not get married until I was 30 years old. We lived together for 3 years before we got married. I knew exactly what marriage meant to me: unconditional love, unconditional forgiveness. I was loyal to her for 13 years. In the end, she pulled a "coyote ugly" act and chewed off my arms. All she had to do was leave, but she choose to burn every bridge into town... out of fear.

I've seen other marriages last for 25 years, and still end in horror. How long exactly is long enough? How long is too short? Where does eternity end and begin? AUM ॐ?

Adam and Eve? Garden of Eden? Joseph Campbell:

In the Christian tradition, Jesus on the cross is on a tree, the tree of immortal life, and he is the fruit of the tree. Jesus on the cross, the Buddha under the tree -- these are the same figures. And the cherubim at the gate -- who are they? At the Buddhist shrines you'll see one has his mouth open, the other has his mouth closed -- fear and desire, a pair of opposites. If you're approaching a garden like that, and those two figures there are real to you and threaten you, if you have fear for your life, you are still outside the garden. But if you are no longer attached to your ego existence, but see the ego existence as a function of a larger, eternal totality, and you favor the larger against the smaller, then you won't be afraid of those two figures, and you will go through.

We're [Adam and Eve] kept out of the Garden [Eden] by our own Fear and Desire in relation to what we think to be the goods of our life.

All about Making Love?
Yes ladies, I can indeed fall in Love in a matter of hours, days or weeks. Don't be scared! I'm real, my Love is real! I will stick around and prove it. Drop the fear, please please please drop the fear. I will not be greedy with my desire, we work and discuss together.

Consent... I will Consent... if I Love you. I will be loyal and faithful. Do you consent to Love me?

Bill MOYERS: I've often thought that if you could get in touch with your feminine side, or, if you're a woman, your masculine side, you would know what the gods know and maybe beyond what the gods know.

Joseph CAMPBELL: That's the information that one gets from being married. That's the way you get in touch with your feminine side.

Bill MOYERS: But what happens to this self-discovery in love when you meet someone else, and you suddenly feel, "I know that person," or "I want to know that person"?

Joseph CAMPBELL: That's very mysterious. It's almost as though the future life that you're going to have with that person has already told you, This is the one whom you will have that life with.

Bill MOYERS: Is that something coming from within our inventory of memories that we don't understand and don't recognize? Reaching out and being touched by that person in a way --

Joseph CAMPBELL: It's almost as though you were reacting to the future. It's talking to you from what is to be. This has to do with the mystery of time and the transcendence of time. But I think we're touching a very deep mystery here.

Now what's this all about? Why am I always referencing quotes and Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung and Philosophy? Well, I'll let Joseph Campbell speak for me here...

[Regarding Carl Jung] And very soon discovered that through the realm of myth—of dream, rather, he was himself moving into the sphere of myth. This gave him a basic principle for the psychological work. And I think that it is one that we can all live with. He calls it amplification: Amplify your own fantasies by finding in the field of the cultural heritage of mankind analogous images. And these will pull you out; they will depersonalize your life. And that is what the function of myth is.

And some say I have no sense of humor. Aren't I such a disgustingly forward and aggressive man? It's all about Sex, I just want to Get Laid!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My Life Experience has shown me to not Fear Sorrow...

Kahlil Gibran, 1883-1930

Then a woman said, "Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow."

And he answered:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that hold your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What I've learned...

Ladies, I have some feedback for you. This is not conformationally biased, this is the result of tons of homework on the history of human society and relationships. This Feedback does not come from a place of bitterness, pain or hate. My Feedback to USA Society comes from a place of truth, effort and experience:

1. A guy who wants to meet in person is not a serial killer, stalker, Internet Predator, over-aggressive, etc. Let's get it out of the way, please? If you are so pre-occupied with your body and meeting, probably missing out on a lot of good things in life. Nothing happens that is not mutually consented and agreed, so start agreeing! It's just dinner or a movie. If you really are that fearful, bring a friend along for the first few dates - I'm not joking! We are adults here. Stop treating me like a stranger, we aren't going to get anywhere that way.

2. Your own Ego has to be mostly left at the door. Your Ego is the picky part that says you have your mind all made up about what you want in life.. I've done a ton of work to crush and discard my Ego, so I ask that we both make serious effort to be honest, open, truthful. Working together and good communications is the name of the LifeLong Relationship game.

3. I am seeking mutual Love. I entirely enjoy and am mutual in sex. However, as I've stated, I'm after long-term mutual Unity of more than just physical. This "Cougar" thing I keep running into with middle age women just isn't my thing, sorry. I just am monogamous at heart, doesn't mean I'm not a "real man".

4. "I'm not Ready For a Relationship" is one of the worst "lines" a woman can use. If you don't like me or have a better guy lined up, just say the truth and end the relationship with honor and respect. Talk openly about your other dating activities and romances. I will. If you are 30 years or older, you are ready for Life. I am wanting to share Real Life, not some sterile fantasy you think Disney shows on movies. How is a marriage supposed to work if you have to have period of time in your life when you "are not ready" and run away? You can have your own time and space in a relationship - it's called working together and good communications with your partner.

5. We work together, so all of this is negotiable. I hope you enjoy conversations that involve back/forth sharing and holding hands.

I think for now, I've spent enough active effort on this dating game. Based on my life to date: My mind is clearly one taste that most women do not enjoy. Maybe you can help change that taste, you only know me as I am now - before your influence? I'm here and available if you are willing to work together to make us both mutually happy. Frankly, I'm rather submissive and understanding in almost all ways. If you are open minded to unique ways of thinking... I'm really a pushover. Soft cuddly women have my full consent to use their charms to get what they want out of me. I really don't want to be with someone who doesn't want to be with me.

I'm not a fool being Open and Honest, despite those who think "Fools Rush In". What am I rushing into again, Living Life? My Love is my gift to give, you stick around and you will keep finding unconditional Love, unconditional forgiveness, unconditional acceptance, unconditional interest in you, unconditional service. Let's truly Work Together, we both listen until we both understand and accept each other...

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Best to you.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Masked Marilyn Monroe meets Tristan

Joseph Campbell in 1987:
In the Tristan romance, when the young couple has drunk their love potion and Isolde's nurse realizes what has happened, she goes to Tristan and says, "You have drunk your death." And Tristan says, "By my death, do you mean this pain of love?" -- because that was one of the main points, that one should feel the sickness of love. There's no possible fulfillment in this world of that identity one is experiencing. Tristan says, "If by my death, you mean this agony of love, that is my life. If by my death, you mean the punishment that we are to suffer if discovered, I accept that. And if by my death, you mean eternal punishment in the fires of hell, I accept that, too." Now, that's big stuff.

What he was saying is that his love is bigger even than death and pain, than anything. This is the affirmation of the pain of life in a big way.

Now, Tristan was a fictional character, a fantasy constructed by the Troubadours around the Year 1180. Tristan set the ideals of Love. But they seem to aim so high, no real human would ever be that serious, would they? Would you really accept someone and Love Them no matter what?

I found a more modern quote that expresses to me the same Ideals. Tristan was a warrior Independent Male... Interesting, this second viewpoint is from a warrior Independent Female...

Marilyn Monroe:

I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.

It takes Two Brave and Fearless people who Independently Consent to come together. Marilyn Monroe was a Mask Stage Name for an Actress, do you think it was an Actress reading her lines? or the True Norma Jean who was speaking?

I truly speak, don't let my lack of Mask scare you off, I am not acting like almost Everyone Else. I know it can seem shocking if you are used to only Actors. I am Not Afraid of The Universe, to Live Like a Candle In the Wind! I am seeking that One Perfect Lady to Cling To but Not Hold Too Tight. Fear will not drive My Life, Fear will not drive Her Life. Love will Drive Us into Unity.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I am a "Unity Freak", including Atheists

Some people are called "Jesus Freaks" for being too serious and outgoing with their religion and preaching. I guess you could call me a "Unity Freak". I want all religions to get along, I want all people to get along. I strive really hard, but am not perfect, in accepting and understanding all points of view. Joseph Campbell, while not perfect, was an awesome teacher on this matter. Including science game.

How do people disagree but live in peace? The virtues of arguing, nagging, persuasion, rhetoric, consent, "hug it out". Yes, nag me and "hug it out", if I'm not taking care of my health or doing my job that I promised - push my love buttons and motivate me. Positive button pushing, yum yum yum. I want that from a lady! If I'm scared, motivate me by holding my hand. yum yum yum. I like those fruits of the spirit! Will you take mine? And help me grow new ones that I can share with the world?

I want a tolerant and understanding woman with a mind who can accept and love me. Is it about ego? No, it is about giving up ego. I want to also give of myself, as equally as we can work this out. Joseph Campbell:

There are two completely different stages of marriage. First is the youthful marriage following the wonderful impulse that nature has given us in the interplay of the sexes biologically in order to produce children. But there comes a time when the child graduates from the family and the couple is left. I've been amazed at the number of my friends who in their forties or fifties go apart. They have had a perfectly decent life together with the child, but they interpreted their union in terms of their relationship through the child. They did not interpret it in terms of their own personal relationship to each other.

Marriage is a relationship. When you make the sacrifice in marriage, you're sacrificing not to each other but to unity in a relationship. The Chinese image of the Tao, with the dark and light interacting -- that's the relationship of yang and yin, male and female, which is what a marriage is. And that's what you have become when you have married. You're no longer this one alone; your identity is in a relationship. Marriage is not a simple love affair, it's an ordeal, and the ordeal is the sacrifice of ego to a relationship in which two have become one.

My necklace... I do wear a Happy Humanist and a USA Apollo capsule on my neck. The Apollo capsule represents 1969, the year I was born - and scientific learning. (I like the religion implication of the name too, and searching out heaven - Joseph Campbell loved that theme also.) It's a bonus that this charm was my mothers, I got it after her death. She had never even removed the charm from the cardboard. I wonder if she purchased this charm in 1969, when I was born? Yet, I ramble on... that's sometimes my connections (James Burke Connections reference).

I've been dating an atheist. She calls herself a Secular Humanist. In fact, I purchased my Humanist necklace because of her. Prior to that, I had a crappy infinity symbol charm that I didn't like, I removed it.

I want you to see what's behind the necklace. In both the human spirit - and the ideals. As I am both.

I consider myself a Spiritual Humanist to put a name on what I believe - spiritual. So a Secular Humanist has been dating a Spiritual Humanist. At least that is what we CALL ourselves, what we are may not agree with our animal self - and Campbell talks about that too.

Now I have asked this girl, the Secular Humanist, for another type of unity. I invited her to consider and work toward marriage. Can I move in with her, can we start to work toward "forever"? Alas, she won't agree. I can't decide if she likes that we disagree or likes that we have fun together. Maybe both? Maybe I'm just an asshole that not many women like, and I don't do it for her. She wouldn't be the first to turn me down. I try to be myself and improve myself, and on this blog I have talked before about being an acquired somewhat bittersweet taste. I can't ever figure women out, if you haven't realized that.

I try to figure out women, I offer my hand in marriage to her - and it's her decision. Consent - so I keep trying to talk women into marrying me - but they know I'm serious about it, so they won't agree. Oh, Erotic Irony!

How many women have I suggested to that I wanted to marry so far this year? FOUR. Run for the hills lady. I clearly must be obsessed about marriage ;) Well, maybe I am a bit obsessed with Campbell's teaching, a "Unity Freak". But at least I'm not obsessed with cheating on my wife with the bar girls, my car color, where I live, or having things "my way". See, it's about giving up ego - freely and with respect to each other and that life itself is difficult, including doing it alone.

Did I get on my knees and propose to these Four women? No. I did see these were strong willed women who could put up with my mind - and I would like to start building a relationship. I used the word "marriage" to make it clear to them I wasn't kidding. Was I being literal in really wanting to get married -- well, see that's another spiritual tricky thing about timing. Eternity, forever, messy concepts.

I want to build the relationship together - which means we decide those kinds of things in unity/we/together terms. Yet, I get to say "I want to be with you the rest of my life, let's get started today" - and that is what I was trying to say to these women. Once the consent is given by both, then we start working together on the logistics and details. We have the rest of our lives, marriage license itself may prove optional. I guess you could say sometimes Fools Jump In.

Some of you might consider this insane, but I consider it giving up my freedom - and respecting that I'm in love with the woman in front of me - and that's a great starting point. She also has to decide, well, that she is in love with me - and she wants one guy for the rest of her life. It's all very complicated, I'm trying to "cut to the chase". Probably making a fool of myself, including being honest and open about it here on this blog.

My first marriage we lived together for 3 years before marriage. I think counting months and years with love is a bit absurd. It's about me being ready and her being ready. Again, I'm just talking moving in together - giving "consent" to try and get closer to "forever" and "lifelong". Working together, in unison, toward that.

Was I always this driven, behave this "desperate" as some would say. No, in fact, I kind of decided that was my fault in life. For not taking what I believed serious enough. Now I'm a "unity freak" and I focus on my own inside to out. That if it is in my heart, go for it. Open my damn heart right up, know myself, and be ready.

The virtues of arguing, nagging, persuasion, rhetoric, consent, "Hug it Out". But I want the surprise of the rest of my life. I don't need to know everything there is to know like favorite colors - that stuff comes in due time. I want to work together, for real. I want her to be HAPPY with me, and me happy with her. Who is her, are you her?

Song to go along with this theme: Steely Dan: Time Out of Mind. Album "GAUCHO" - am I your Gaucho?

If you are serious about me, learn this song. Learn every word, pretty please? You don't have to like it. We could write our own version if we can consent. I'd like to start singing it with you in unison. I didn't write the song, the universe did! It's about living in the moment, and being ready, letting go of your ego.

Son you better be ready for love
On this glory day
This is your chance to believe
What I've got to say

Keep your eyes on the sky
Put a dollar in the kitty
Don't the moon look pretty

Tonight when I chase the dragon [Campbell's Ego]
The water will change to cherry wine
And the silver will turn to gold
Time out of mind

I am holding the mystical sphere
It's direct from Lhasa
Where people are rolling in the snow
Far from the world we know

Children we have it right here
It's the light in my eyes
It's perfection and grace
It's the smile on my face

Tonight when I chase the dragon [Campbell's Ego]
The water will change to cherry wine
And the silver will turn to gold
Time out of mind

Children we have it right here
It's the light in my eyes
It's perfection and grace
It's the smile on my face

Tonight when I chase the dragon [Campbell's Ego]
The water will change to cherry wine
And the silver will turn to gold
Time out of mind

I'm obsessed about a healthy unity. One where Unity is the love. Where two independent free adults decide they want regular monogamous sex, good times, bad times, shared finances - and well - kind of what marriage was supposed to be about. lifetime loyalty. It's a labor of love, including this writing and your reading.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Affirmation of Life

Do I go too quick in the first stages of romance or does everyone else go too slow? Is it my goal to be compatible with every single women in life? No, but I'm open to it - but it seems really hard. It is my understanding to be compatible with life itself, including me. Affirmation.

Bill Moyers: "I will do the best I can."

Joseph Campbell: "I will participate in the game. It is a wonderful, wonderful opera -- except that it hurts."

Affirmation is difficult. We always affirm with conditions. I affirm the world on condition that it gets to be the way Santa Claus told me it ought to be. But affirming it the way it is -- that's the hard thing, and that is what rituals are about. Ritual is group participation in the most hideous act, which is the act of life -- namely, killing and eating another living thing. We do it together, and this is the way life is. The hero is the one who comes to participate in life courageously and decently, in the way of nature, not in the way of personal rancor, disappointment, or revenge.

The hero's sphere of action is not the transcendent but here, now, in the field of time, of good and evil -- of the pairs of opposites. Whenever one moves out of the transcendent, one comes into a field of opposites. One has eaten of the tree of knowledge, not only of good and evil, but of male and female, of right and wrong, of this and that, and of light and dark. Everything in the field of time is dual: past and future, dead and alive, being and nonbeing. But the ultimate pair in the imagination are male and female, the male being aggressive, and the female being receptive, the male being the warrior, the female the dreamer. We have the realm of love and the realm of war, Freud's Eros and Thanatos.

Heraclitus said that for God all things are good and right and just, but for man some things are right and others are not. When you are a man, you are in the field of time and decisions. One of the problems of life is to live with the realization of both terms, to say, "I know the center, and I know that good and evil are simply temporal aberrations and that, in God's view, there is no difference."

Bill Moyers: That is the idea in the Upanishads: "Not female, nor yet male is it, neither is it neuter. Whatever body it assumes, through that body it is served."

Joseph Campbell: That is right. So Jesus says, "Judge not that you may not be judged." That is to say, put yourself back in the position of Paradise before you thought in terms of good and evil. You don't hear this much from the pulpits. But one of the great challenges of life is to say "yea" to that person or that act or that condition which in your mind is most abominable.

Bill Moyers: Most abominable?

Joseph Campbell: There are two aspects to a thing of this kind. One is your judgment in the field of action, and the other is your judgment as a metaphysical observer. You can't say there shouldn't be poisonous serpents -- that's the way life is. But in the field of action, if you see a poisonous serpent about to bite somebody, you kill it. That's not saying no to the serpent, that's saying no to that situation. There's a wonderful verse in the Rig Veda that says, "On the tree" -- that's the tree of life, the tree of your own life -- "there are two birds, fast friends. One eats the fruit of the tree, and the other, not eating, watches." Now, the one eating the fruit of the tree is killing the fruit. Life lives on life, that's what it's all about.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Myself transformed, a new openess in love; the ladies speak and are heard

Poetry of life has transformed me this day. My journey has born fruition in my own realization of unconditional love expressed in female form. These new words tie nature to my inner feminine spot -- touching me deep inside.

The words of the Troubadours have spoken for me as to the embrace of endurance and affirmation of the sorrow in love. This was my male expression of unconditional love - my historic focus on what my heart felt and knew.

Now, through the poetry of life, I have been transformed. I have added a new expression of love and relationships. This transformation journey is perhaps best illustrated by Joseph Campbell's discussion of Nietzsche:

Nietzsche, in Thus Spake Zarathustra. In a kind of parable, Nietzsche describes what he calls the three transformations of the spirit. The first is that of the camel, of childhood and youth. The camel gets down on his knees and says, "Put a load on me." This is the season for obedience, receiving instruction and the information your society requires of you in order to live a responsible life.

But when the camel is well loaded, it struggles to its feet and runs out into the desert, where it is transformed into a lion -- the heavier the load that had been carried, the stronger the lion will be. Now, the task of the lion is to kill a dragon, and the name of the dragon is "Thou shalt." On every scale of this scaly beast, a "thou shalt" is imprinted: some from four thousand years ago; others from this morning's headlines. Whereas the camel, the child, had to submit to the "thou shalts," the lion, the youth, is to throw them off and come to his own realization.

And so, when the dragon is thoroughly dead, with all its "thou shalts" overcome, the lion is transformed into a child moving out of its own nature, like a wheel impelled from its own hub. No more rules to obey. No more rules derived from the historical needs and tasks of the local society, but the pure impulse to living of a life in flower.

What was the outcome of this recent transformation? A true understanding of unconditional love and working together in my future relationships. A new way of relating my heart to the world, a new way of living. Nothing less than an entirely new life.

A reader of my blog shared interaction with me and provided me with a female version of my Troubadour ideals:

Molly Venter; Can I Love a Man the Way I Love a Mountain
(Available on iTunes)

The day is over and I'm standing outside
Watching clouds drag their shadows cross the hillside
And the streets are all empty now, the kids have gone home
So I walk the gardens alone
I'm in love with the way I am touched by the wind
It is soft as a lover on my skin

And I don't cling at it or grasp at it or tell it how to change
I don't make up stories I don't beg it not to go away
Can people hold each other close and still feel free
To have that kind of love, you know I would let die part of me

Can I love a man the way I love a mountain
Can I love a man the way I love the sea
I let the beauty of a sunset break my heart a thousand times
And I keep coming back to feel it beat?
I keep coming back to feel my heart beat

And I read about the raven and how it mates for life
And when one passes on, it isn't long,
You'll hear its fading cry
I have loved like that before but I did not die of grief
I learned the more I open up my heart the more I'm gonna bleed
(But it's a good thing my friend)

So I will take these broken wings
I'm gonna take these broken eyes
And take these broken wings and learn to fly, fly....

I want so bad to let you in this house
The way I run out in a storm and let the rain fall in my mouth
I've been holding up so scared to feel the pain
Oh but I still love the fire and I have
Been burned by the flame

Can I love a man the way I love a mountain
Can I love a man the way I love the sea
I let the beauty of a sunset break my heart a thousand times
And I keep coming back, I keep coming back, I keep coming back....

I'm here ladies, no promises have been made; invitations to all the universe have been sent out. Take as much time as you need. I suggest Facebook messaging as the way to reach me.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Adopted for a day, These Seeds May Life Grow

Something very wonderful happened yesterday on Facebook. Three ladies from the same family came together to mind me. Trust was given to me, flirts exchanged. All done in a growth-inspiring way.

I was provided some validation of my intended message - my openness tested, in a way. I am hearing that my message was being received.

So if these seed I have planted are fertile, then I have decided that perhaps for some time I should just let them grow. I have exercised enough openness to show what I mean by it - but it almost becomes wasteful to become too routine in public display of it. I want a relationship with one specific person, this "open blog to all" is only a tool to get me along that path.

So ladies, I'm here. I'm going to sit back and let you come to me. I've shown many of my feathers and warts.

Please call or contact me, make sure I get your message. Understand that I don't make all the rules, there may be more than one of you. I keep my promises that come from my heart and friendship is offered to all.

I will probably be back to post in a few weeks - for now, let's hope for germination.

Karlfried Graf Durckheim: "When you're on a journey, and the end keeps getting further and further away, then you realize that the real end is the journey."

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Man is a Man

1982 Pete Townshend (The Who), when he was midlife.
(I could not find a song version on Youtube, it's an excellent song...
It is on iTunes for $0.99 )

yes, I used to listen to this song probably 250 times when I was 16 to 19. Probably contributed to my crazy beliefs system. One never knows...

You talk about crazy affairs
You talk about your life as though it really mattered
You get attention 'cos you block the stairs
Bragging about some bottles you have shattered

Well I met a man who really lives
He really does it all
But what really matters is the heart he gives
He makes your talk seem small

When a man is a man
He doesn't act to a plan
He don't have to perform like John Wayne in some B feature flick
A man is a man
When he can offer his hand

Not afraid of appearing insane if he can't break a brick
I know a man who's a man

Can't you sometimes crack a smile
Do you think if you did we would run and tell
I know one day your big villain style
Will collapse as they turn the key in the door of your cell

I know a man who was once like you
But he opened his heart
No one is really bad right through
He's just another part

When a man is a man
And he drinks 'til he's canned
He can drop to the floor, he can weep, we won't ask the price
A man is a man
He can fall, he can stand
We won't love him more if he keeps his soul on the ice
I know a man who's a man

Every one of us is looking for fame
He's a looker
He's a dresser
He's a genius under pressure
I know a man who could tighten your rein
He's a father
He's a brother
He's a rock
He's a lover

He's a man he's a man
He doesn't act to a plan
He don't have to get hitched to a train in some muscle beach trick
A man is a man
When he can offer his hand
Not afraid of appearing insane if he can't break a brick
Be a man who's a man

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Better half...

I openly declare that at this point in life, I'm going against this society's current common wisdom and education...

I want a relationship that changes me. I am not perfect, I want someone who helps make me better. I want to help someone else be better. I want us to both be a better half for each other.

I'm saying... I have issues, and I hope the other person helps me with those issues. I'm saying: I have issues!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Dating, A Girl like you, The Girl that is you

Honesty and openness. I want long-term. I'm dating adult women in their 30's and 40's. All have moved cities at least once, some have even relocated continents.

A relationship is one of the biggest changes and impacts in your life. Yet, why is making time to get to know each other such a drawn-out thing? I question this social practice. It isn't time apart that magically makes relationships stronger, it is experience and attention. Yes, we need personal time to reflect, but there has to be a real experience to reflect on.

Part-time relationships seem all the rage. Priorities: Careers, hobbies, alone time. It isn't just me, I observe it all over the place in study of society and relationships. I've had shallow love, it seems easily found - I'm after a deep and lasting relationship.

If we can't work together to coordinate 10 hours of quality time a week, then perhaps a long-term relationship isn't what you want. If you are dating others and spreading those hours, then be honest and open - I'm dating, so I know that there are various stages of getting to know a person and it's a bit of a juggle act.

More important: is your life so independent that I'm not the right one for you? If you can't make time for your dating relationships now, how is the future going to be in hard times together?

You seem like a nice girl - but I am not wanting a fantasy of you. I don't really know you. I want to know the real you. I want you to know the real me. I am open and honest - faults and all - so you can decide and I can decide. Grow together and decide together. What's holding you back? I want to know the girl that is unique you, the total package, good and bad - not some dressed-up actress who is only on stage when presentable. I seek The Girl that is you. I won't get bored, you are ever-changing, I'm after that!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Gettin' in Tune

Gettin' in Tune, Pete Townshend (The Who)

I'm singing this note 'cause it fits in well
With the chords I'm playing.
I can't pretend there's any meaning
Hidden in the things I'm saying

But I'm in tune
Right in tune
I'm in tune
And I'm gonna tune... Right in on you
Right in on you
Right in on you

I get a little tired of having to say "Do you come here often?"
But when I look in your eyes and see the harmonies And the heartaches soften

I'm getting in tune; Right in tune
I'm in tune...
And I'm gonna tune
Right in on you (right in on you)
Right in on you (right in on you)
Right in on you!

I've got it all here in my head
There's nothing more needs to be said

I'm just bangin' on my old piano
I'm getting in tune to the straight and narrow
(Getting in tune to the straight and narrow)
Getting in tune to the straight and narrow
(Getting in tune to the straight and narrow)
Yeah, I'm getting in tune to the straight and narrow
(Getting in tune to the straight and narrow)

I'm singing this note 'cause it fits in well With the way I'm feeling
There's a symphony that I hear in your heart, Sets my head a-reeling

But I'm in tune
Right in tune
I'm in tune
And I'm gonna tune...
Right in on you (right in on you)
Right in on you (right in on you)
Right in on you!

Baby, with you (Baby, with you)
Baby, with you (Baby, with you)
Baby, with you

I've got it all here in my head, There's nothing more needs to be said
I'm just bangin' on my old piano
I'm getting in tune with the straight and narrow

Getting in tune to the straight and narrow
Getting in tune to the straight and narrow
Hey, I'm a Getting in tune to the straight and narrow
Hey, I'm a Getting in tune to the straight and narrow

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Competing with Fantasy, working together

One reason I like Joseph Campbell's writing and work so well... is that his work is a form of compilation of various writers and philosophers. In particular, I find that it helps me sort out what is new about society and what is old (historic).

Confusion over love is not new. Some well-meaning people who think I must be "doing something wrong" just seem to not understand that love has many depths (shallow and deep), and many different forms. I'm not here looking for a one night stand or casual friends, although friends are always welcome. I am offering and seeking to share a much deeper and richer form of love. In this current society, it is more rare - and considered difficult...

This deeper form of love is time-consuming. It will require me to grow. I will endure sorrow of loss and pain of compassion. That mutual love will have substantial passion. That passion will sometimes take the wrong expressions, and working together to resolve that will require time and patience.

Working together, us/we/unity. That means time and effort. It can't always be scheduled, it can't always be deferred - and not all conflicts can be resolved. We do our best, we share our true selves, and we mend our errors as best we can. Each tick of the clock is a new opportunity.

Joseph Campbell:
Heaven and hell are described as forever. Heaven is of unending time. It is not eternal. Eternal is beyond time. The concept of time shuts out eternity. It is over the ground of that deep experience of eternity that all of these temporal pains and troubles come and go. There is a Buddhist ideal of participating willingly and joyfully in the passing sorrows of the world. Wherever there is time, there is sorrow. But this experience of sorrow moves over a sense of enduring being, which is our own true life.

Shiva's dance is the universe. In his hair is a skull and a new moon, death and rebirth at the same moment, the moment of becoming. In one hand he has a little drum that goes tick-tick-tick. That is the drum of time, the tick of time which shuts out the knowledge of eternity. We are enclosed in time. But in Shiva's opposite hand there is a flame which burns away the veil of time and opens our minds to eternity.

Shiva is a very ancient deity, perhaps the most ancient worshiped in the world today. There are images from 2000 or 2500 B.C., little stamp seals showing figures that clearly suggest Shiva.

In some of his manifestations he is a really horrendous god, representing the terrific aspects of the nature of being. He is the archetypal yogi, canceling the illusion of life, but he is also the creator of life, its generator, as well as illuminator.

There are plenty of people who are happy in their lives. Great for them. I get to live my life. I'm not unhappy, I'm seeking something that is in my heart, something eternal. I can do it alone, but I choose not to cancel out life - I choose to embrace it. It is about discovering.

Look inside your own heart... can we share? A form of love that you have never known, never experienced; nor have I. It will involve knowing enough about life to embrace the unknown and not yet solved. I stand before you saying: see that mountain in the distance, do you wish to climb with me?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Critical feedback of my blog's message

A new person in my life was discussing my blog (I invited them to review it), and they said...

I think that love would avoid the writer of your blog altogether. Love would find your search through your blog similar to looking for a butterfly so you can tack it to a peg board. I personally felt a continual thread of latent bitterness throughout your entries, which confuses me.

This honestly comes as no surprise to me. I know myself, I have dug deep inside. I am also not looking for an animal to capture! I'm looking for an adult, mature woman - who is both honest and loving of life. Who has achieved independence yet desires to give it up freely to the mutual sharing with a person they love. This blog is to help explain (provide a roadmap) my future behavior, motivations, and innermost feelings. A human woman is a sentient being, not an animal I wish to capture - but someone I wish to invite with love and poetry. My poetry may be crude, the words on this blog page, but it is mine! To the right ears, I hope it sings of beauty.

Let me poorly (imperfectly) stab at the opposite of me. Professional mask wearers.

Politicians and actors on a screen are often not telling the truth! They are not seeming bitter, but often you find out behind the scenes (of politicians) that these people are hiding their private lives and feelings - but seeming as though they are not bitter. "Crowd pleasers". They are mastering expression, they are not mastering their spirituality or their self-knowledge.

Nor do I believe that being bitter itself is an accomplishment. Being bitter does not make me smart. I am not bitter, I am loving, but I am an unusual and seemingly unpleasant taste for most. I am like black coffee, scotch wiskey, black pepper, vinegar, and blue cheese. Take what analogy you like.

If you read my first blog posting, I reference the Erotic Irony - which gets into this. Being honest about myself is ironically driving away the very love that I desire. I am entirely aware of this, I have a name for it, and this blog is affirmation of this aspect of myself!

Do imperfect people deserve no love? Do you think that once you achieve success in life it is permanent? Life is a struggle, sorrow is part of the opera, and this sparrow is learning to sing his own song! It is a song of spirituality, mutual love, unconditional love - and unconditional forgiveness. I don't think anyone is perfect, including myself. Imperfect people deserve my love, everyone has love. I love myself. If you love yourself... are you willing to help create an us/we/together that loves each other?

I know how to be independent. This society, USA in 2010, is all about independence. Children are raised by single parents, people aren't bothering to get married, divorce rate higher for second marriage than it is for the first! It takes a brave person to stand up and say - yes, I am in an imperfect world, people are imperfect - but I will do my best! Including trying to fix my mistakes, learn. I also forget, and try to re-learn. I strive to both know how to criticize the world but also to love it!

Yes, I hear the feedback, but I suggest that the person who wrote it to me - I think isn't hearing nor understanding the deep meaning of Erotic Irony and why I identify it with the true me of me.

Joseph Campbell: "The writer must be true to truth." And that's a killer, because the only way you can describe a human being truly is by describing his imperfections. The perfect human being is uninteresting -- the Buddha who leaves the world, you know. It is the imperfections of life that are lovable. And when the writer sends a dart of the true word, it hurts. But it goes with love. This is what [Thomas] Mann called "erotic irony," the love for that which you are killing with your cruel, analytical word.

Bill Moyers: I cherish that image: my hometown love, the feeling you get for that place, no matter how long you've been away or even if you never return. That was where you first discovered people. But why do you say you love people for their imperfections?

Joseph Campbell: Aren't children lovable because they're falling down all the time and have little bodies with the heads too big? Didn't Walt Disney know all about this when he did the seven dwarfs? And these funny little dogs that people have -- they're lovable because they're so imperfect.

I can love all the world, that does not mean I have sex with just anyone. I can not even learn everyone's name if I spent the rest of my life. I can not spend all my time with all the world! Not practical! There are 6,800,000,000 alive on this earth - and many forms of love, perhaps more than people! I am not looking for a new brother, sister, or father. I am not looking for a one-night-stand of romance - I am looking for an equal partner in life's imperfection! Bring your imperfections, I bring mine, let's forge unity!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Relapse, Repeat, Remission

A wonderful woman I am dating right now doesn't want me the way I want her. She wants my occasional company but she just isn't interested in cohabitation. What can a guy do? At least she is honest, at least she gave me much of her time to get to know her. So I bark a lot to her about how she is welcome to break my heart, welcome to convert this to a friendship, and welcome to end the romance. The romance lingers... as love is love, life is life, even if it doesn't fit what I may seem to want long-term...

That doesn't mean there aren't rules to the game. We have already agreed to inform each other as soon as we have so much as kissed another person. We have fully disclosed our past sexual history. I've been strictly monogamous my entire life; cheating or wide-open relationships isn't in my past playbook. I'm after love and intimacy, I'm loyal. These are me, parts that have both their good and bad sides.

Such is the world of modern romance; Long-term, she says she doesn't want what I want. I don't particularly choose life to be this way. I feel that I have to meld my personal beliefs with society and the other person. That doesn't even get into compromise and working together - we haven't gotten that far as making such a commitment. I had hoped that she would change her mind after she got to know me - but truth is that it isn't really happening. In some ways we have grown closer together, in others, further apart. Logic and emotions don't always meet.

Joseph Campbell speaks for me, perhaps explaining better what I have witnessed about life first hand:

This is the threat to our lives. We all face it. We all operate in our society in relation to a system. Now is the system going to eat you up and relieve you of your humanity or are you going to be able to use the system to human purposes? ... If the person doesn't listen to the demands of his own spiritual and heart life and insists on a certain program, you're going to have a schizophrenic [like] crack-up. The person has put himself off center. He has aligned himself with a programmatic life and it's not the one the body's interested in at all. And the world's full of people who have stopped listening to themselves.

She enjoys my attention, she enjoys my affection, she enjoys my company. Intellectually I think she finds me boring and repetitive. I often am fascinated by very subtle differences in life, and she often knows of it but thinks it a waste of time. I also sometimes bridge massive caverns of ideas, relating things that most consider absurd - you can't compare apples and oranges in a serious conversation. Oh, but I can! When dealing with people - I am pretty sure the grocer does know that people consider which one to buy depending on season and what flavor they are after. It's all a matter of what level the microscope is turned on 10x magnification or 10,000x. I admit, I do seem to switch magnifications in ways that people often get frustrated with.

Life is just that way to me! Complex and rich, but also fine and detailed. Does it seem at times I randomly pick things to mind and others to ignore - yes. It isn't even a matter of preference. I sometimes just stop at a random time and place. For example, I may spend 40 minutes looking to discover what I might have overlooked. I even try to close my eyes and listen, or block the sounds and look. But even with these attempts, I expect there is always far more than I can sense or measure. I honestly observe we are all this way, I just feel more self-aware and articulate about it. Furthermore, I don't even consider my self-awareness as better! As I seem to irritate people and frustrate them more often then not with my way of thinking...

As I posted on my first blog posting some 3 weeks ago - I am not trying to be a player here. I'm trying to be loud and clear that what I want is a long-term relationship. How many months does it take to get to know someone? Should we move in together after one-month so we can get to know each other? Should the process be rushed? Should I use my flexibility and freedom to what I consider important in my life? At my age, I'm finding most women are divorced with children - so that's a complication.

Love is mine to give, unconditional love takes only one. A relationship takes two. Working together takes time.

Jumping topics a bit... I may relapse, I may repeat mistakes, I may have months of getting worse and worse. This is life to me. Think of it this way: Are all movie sequels better than the first? Does every book author produce a better book with each new year? Is every day always warmer and none ever colder? - yet I feel like our society expects me, a human being, to always: learn from mistakes, get my act together, to be what everyone else wants me to be. Life, and me, don't seem to work that way. I'm not going to fake it with denial.

I'm still looking... is that spark there, will you make the time? Will you put up with my inevitable declines and remissions? Do you accept all of me into a newly developing we? Will we find each other and let love clear the cruft and crud of life from our eyes?

More questions than answers. I expect this will repeat. I don't make the rules, we do.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Rarely sacrifice, mostly about participation

Couples often grow apart in long-term relationships.  I'm not talking just about the stereotypical 7 year itch of marriage, it happens far more frequently in dating in the third or fourth month.  Does it mean the couple isn't exciting enough for each other?  That the person isn't the one?  To me, that's missing the point.  The foundation of a good long-term romance is ideally friendship; the fallback during dating should be friends.  I feel it should be openly talked about, the dual development of both the romance and the friendship.  Now, we humans are less than ideal on this front, I'm fully aware of this.  I only emphasize: are you, 1/2 of the participants, strictly acting out of circumstance and emotion - or is growth and learning a factor in your life? I'm far from perfect in my relationships, so I feel I have to work at it.

An example from my own history of relationship conflicts.  Yes, I have some unsavory character flaws that I must struggle with each day.

If I become emotionally attached to a person, I can get upset if they are upset.  It can become a form of feedback loop, bringing the worst out of both parties.  When positive is going on, it feels great - I can sometimes 'tune in' to the heartbeat or mind of a partner.  Alas, it's the negative that seems to accumulate over time in memories.  Something a recent romantic partner outright admitted to me.

Modern relationships seem defined by the counting and severity of failures.  I suggest it isn't the failures that mater, it is how you choose to avoid, resolve, and grow from them.  I have experienced that those who reach too far for perfection or accomplishment end up getting attracted to denial and lies.  In my experience, denial does indeed seem to satisfy many people.  By not admitting problems or drawing arbitrary boundaries. For me, denial is a lingering poison that accumulates like toxins in a relationship.

It isn't about the short-term to me. It's about the long-term.  I can surely do idiotic and angry things in the heat of negative passion.  What I ask, clearly in advance on a calm day, is that you consider that the relationship we build is not defined by sacrifice, please don't stand there and take anger. Help me in my weak and tired moments; hold us to a higher standard.  Participate!  Participation trumps sacrifice in most common situations.  Let sacrifice be reserved for the rare times when time, effort and love has not bridged the gap.

P.S. partly, I'm writing this blog to acknowledge that I do struggle with relationships. I hope that anyone who chooses to become close with me considers that my own words, published here for all to see, could be of use in confronting me over my own denial or failure of ideals. I was born into this world as an animal, unable to speak English - I had to be taught to read and write - and some aspects of character are learned... and sadly forgotten. I hope such lapses are only short term, and I ask for your partnership participation.  I know I can survive without people in my life, I choose to be open and invite you freely. GROWTH WANTED

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day inspiration - through the eyes

So through the eyes love attains the heart:

For the eyes are the scouts of the heart,

And the eyes go reconnoitering

For what it would please the heart to possess.

And when they are in full accord

And firm, all three, in the one resolve,

At that time, perfect love is born

From what the eyes have made welcome to the heart.

Not otherwise can love either be born or have commencement

Than by this birth and commencement moved by inclination.

By the grace and by command

Of these three, and from their pleasure,

Love is bom, who its fair hope

Goes comforting her friends.

For as all true lovers

Know, love is perfect kindness,

Which is born-there is no doubt-from the heart and eyes.

The eyes make it blossom; the heart matures it:

Love, which is the fruit of their very seed.

-- Guiraut de Borneilh (ca. 1138-1200?)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I'll let someone else present some of the issues...

A report from the chaotic postfeminist dating scene, where only the strong survive. I suggest you read the entire story, even if you don't agree with specifics.

I surely do observe our society is in a major cultural shift. Currently... freedom to experiment has not freed people from expectations, it has created many conflicting and chaotic expectations.  Such is the point in history that I see us currently in the USA.  I have experienced this, I have witnessed this, I have studied the history of this.

From the article:

The woman may be hoping for a hookup, but she may also be looking for a husband, a co-parent, a sperm donor, a relationship, a threesome, or a temporary place to live. She may want one thing in November and another by Christmas. “I’ve gone through phases in my life where I bounce between serial monogamy, Very Serious Relationships and extremely casual sex,” writes Megan Carpentier on Jezebel, a popular website for young women. “I’ve slept next to guys on the first date, had sex on the first date, allowed no more than a cheek kiss, dispensed with the date-concept altogether after kissing the guy on the way to his car, fucked a couple of close friends and, more rarely, slept with a guy I didn’t care if I ever saw again.” Okay, wonders the ordinary guy with only middling psychic powers, which is it tonight?
This article puts a lot of the questions and experience on the table for discussion. There's a point where even if I'm talking about it, I don't care to solve society problems. I've just been trying to figure out where I am standing, who I am, and to find someone who likes the flavor of me.  In the end, there is me. And there is you. That's all it takes, two of us.

I'm here. Sharing me. Inviting you. That much of me, I have figured out. I have my freedom and independence, including my choice to seek to give it up. My heart says... Partnership, imperfect, is perfect.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Preventative. High Maintenace

Last night, I got my first dedicated car since 2001. This car has survived 185,000 miles without engine overhaul, and I expect it can easily go another 100,000.

Thinking about the used car, the relationship metaphors of High Maintenance and Preventative Maintenance came to mind. My thoughts were already dominated by some short-term friendship issues and lingering romantic interest. In reality, no matter what, I consider a relatioship a labor of love... which, gasp, requires labor.

I have owned several airooled VW engines, such as those used in the Volkswagen Beetle 1938-1979. Owning one and driving a car as old as me...in Seattle, I learned all about high maintenance. The heater that works off exhaust heat, the Seattle moisture condensation from old rubber seals. On the engine front, only in the final years were hydraulic valves introduced. A poorly tuned hot-running aircooled engine has a way of turning high quality motor oil into black muck in a rather short number of miles.

In personal relationships, I'm probably on the high-maintenance side. My valves can need manual adjustment. A nice greeting and "glad to see you" or "glad to be your friend" will go a long way.

This blog and much of my discussions when I become closer with people is to focus on preventative maintenance. For example, discussing certain somewhat predictable tripping problems and how to avoid them. Further, I focus on trying to accept that conflict is part of life - and can we just make the best of it?

I find that treating people all the same invites them to put on their social mask. I want to know the person, not the mask. Each person I meet in life is unique. Unexpected, Unanticipated. Differing in experience and viewpoint. Even that same person seems subject to change from Monday to Friday, or in some circumstances - hour to hour.

I'm in for the long-term. The total experience. I try to share mine, but realize that mistakes aren't always timely or desired. Preventative maintenance will perhaps help us deal with my rather high maintenance requirements. Some tips and suggestions:

  • I think about people in my life; but I don't always know how and when to communicate it. Each person is different, and I'm probably more expressive than most men. Writing this blog for all to see is somewhat an admittance to this characteristic of myself. Can you help me? Can you understand my inner need to say I'm thinking of you without always making me have to go first?
  • Have an emergency plan for conflict. I encourage gentle repeating that 'we are in this together'. 'Even if today doesn't go the way we planned, let's make sure we end this conflict on a good note'. In a conflict, you can't get the time back - but I believe you can restore the peace. Reach out, together.
  • Bring concerns up that are on your mind... but establish and remind that the main purpose is to share and express. You may need to remind me that you aren't looking to treat all issues as a "problem to solve"... as it can sometimes be my nature to want to help and fix - even if all I should be doing is learning and listening.

Most of all, I'm not suggesting any conflict or lack of effort is your fault. That's too simplistic of a view. It takes two, it's more than just me or you. There is no absolute one-sided cause and effect. We are always learning. Hopefully, with effort, always growing together.

Not my best writing today, that's part of me too.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Metaphors of time & relationships

Let's jump up into the sky like Superman. Let's open our minds to impossible topics.  Let's let emotions blur tomorrow and yesterday.

Why do conflicts sometimes stick in our minds but good times often get taken for granted?  Why does time fly when you are having fun but drag on when impatiently waiting?  Let me suggest a song to listen to while you read...

The human mind can be awful funny about time. That means your mind, my mind. Religions of past and present, East and West, often get into concepts of Eternity and Time.  Is Eternity coming up after your death, or is your mind interfering with the now?

Joseph Campbell:

It's almost as though the future life that you're going to have with that person has already told you, This is the one whom you will have that life with. ... It's almost as though you were reacting to the future. It's talking to you from what is to be. This has to do with the mystery of time and the transcendence of time. But I think we're touching a very deep mystery here.

Joseph Campbell:
transcendent means to "transcend," to go past duality. Everything in the field of time and space is dual. The incarnation appears either as male or as female, and each of us is the incarnation of God. You're born in only one aspect of your actual metaphysical duality, you might say. This is represented in the mystery religions, where an individual goes through a series of initiations opening him out inside into a deeper and deeper depth of himself, and there comes a moment when he realizes that he is both mortal and immortal, both male and female.
 Joseph Campbell:
The Garden of Eden is a metaphor for that innocence that is innocent of time, innocent of opposites, and that is the prime center out of which consciousness then becomes aware of the changes. 
Joseph Campbell:
I think what we are looking for is a way of experiencing the world that will open to us the transcendent that informs it, and at the same time forms ourselves within it. That is what people want. That is what the soul asks for. ... Not only to find it but to find it actually in our environment, in our world -- to recognize it. To have some kind of instruction that will enable us to experience the divine presence. In India there is a beautiful greeting, in which the palms are placed together, and you bow to the other person. ... The position of the palms together -- this we use when we pray, do we not? That is a greeting which says that the god that is in you recognizes the god in the other. These people are aware of the divine presence in all things. When you enter an Indian home as a guest, you are greeted as a visiting deity.

I suggest... when you are in conflict, you are in conflict with yourself.  Both your left and right hands must let go, the conflict ends with a mutual release.  If someone or something has conflicted a dozen times in the past, do you really let that determine your future?  Who exactly is in charge of compromise?  Who determines when you are tired but the other is wired?  Consider that, in a few special circumstances, 1+1=2.5 or even somesum greater.  A relationship is all in your head, isn't it?  That there is something bigger than you at play, regardless of the metaphor your mind associates it with.  Please to you and me: do not let what we call "transcendence" or "god" keep you and I apart... let it bind us together.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Trust first, ask questions later...

I know all too well how often I seem misunderstood. I am well aware of my differences. It is those differences that I seek to share. It is the differences in others that I love. This gets into the Erotic Irony concept again. I love the "faults". As for my own differences, they are part of what I have come to peace with myself, except when they keep me apart from people in life...

I am not trying to play some act of a "misunderstood genius" that "knows more than everyone else." I am not acting, it isn't fake. If I had to explain what I am today, I would say this: I believe we are all unique, that the differences between us as individuals are vast. However, society and common culture requires us to wear a mask that washes away many of the details. I have spent much of my life with the freedom to explore myself and culture, to find out what I feel inside and contrast it to outside. Further, in the past three years, I have taken the time to study past cultures, primarily through the teachings of Joseph Campbell. I find that these 'masks' that individuals wear differ greatly throughout history and even other parts of the current world.

It's not an act or game. It is me. I have lived a rather unique life: my travels, working at home for over a decade, my learning-centric career. Alas, my unique style seems to be unpopular with many people who get to know me closely. To me, based on my own personal observations of life, the concept of "trust is earned" seems backwards. I know why people do it, but I don't personally agree with it. I am only trying to follow my own heart. For me personally, "earned trust" in relationships is living in fear.

I was in conflict with a friend who just told me I was going to get into trouble trusting people blindly. I don't trust people blindly, but I do trust those I consider friends and romantic interests. This friend was 100% on the "trust is earned" approach. I have come to terms that in my heart this was 'me', a part of me that I had wrung out thorough life's experiences and found to be true. Later, reflecting on the contrast with my friend, my creative mind thought of the phrase "Trust first, ask questions later". I decided to put that phrase into Google and search for it.

I found a book that uses that phrase. Most interesting, the book summary gets into much of my life and ideals.

Unnatural Leadership: Going Against Intuition and Experience to Develop Ten New Leadership Instincts. I quote:

Dotlich and Cairo challenge conventional wisdom about leadership such as "be in control" and "hide your flaws." Instead, they identify ten "unnatural acts" that effective leaders regularly commit and are, in fact, the best response to an "irrational, chaotic, and unpredictable universe." These include: Refuse to be a prisoner of experience. Expose your vulnerabilities. Create teams that create discomfort. Trust others before they earn it. Coach and teach rather than lead and inspire.

Unnatural Leadership is a realistic and truthful road map that provides a practical manual for anyone who longs to be both authentic and effective.

The authors' ten unnatural traits challenge other traditional assumptions such as:

* Rely as much on innocence as experience.
* Surround yourself with people who create some discomfort.
* Acknowledge the "shadow" side--your failings--publicly.
* Connect instead of create.
* Trust first, ask questions later.
* Grapple with right-versus-right decisions.
* Coach and teach rather than inspire and lead.

That list really hits home to me. That gets into the concepts I posted earlier about the outer garment ("effective") and inner garment ("authentic").

I don't really wish to be a leader of a 300 person company. I have never wanted that, I just don't have the social grace for that. I also favor a peer-to-peer approach, more like one finds in the Open Source software community

More to the purpose of this blog, I want to lead my own life and find a partner who understands this aspect of me and accepts me for who I am. It seemed like any parter close to me might benefit from this book. I haven't read it yet, but that summary page and chapter listing sounds like exactly what has been evolving in my head and life the past 15 years. I don't feel the need to lead, I just want to share mutual/us/we/unity.

Perhaps I am destined to be a loner and more isolated most of my life. I am reaching out. This blog is an attempt to give away what I have to offer. I'm not out to hurt anyone. If you can't tell, I take all his rather seriously.

Two years ago, I was President of the Austin Linux Users Group. I was a relative newcomer to the group [& Austin] and could sense that I likely wasn't going to make lasting changes. I had been an effective president of several groups in the past, but Austin seems different to me. Yet, I tried to make change anyway. Nobody really wanted to lead the group in new directions, as many had failed in the past. So, I was elected. I felt there were some new directions to explore, regardless of the outcome. I used the phrase "A leader without followers is just a guy taking a walk" (not my original phrase). It rings true to me in many parts of my life.

In my personal life, I'm not even trying to be a leader. I am just being me. I am inviting you to walk with me. Two independent individuals who choose to come together. The only real changes I ask you to consider are changes that help us get closer, to become we/together. I'm not after a clone of myself, I see no purpose in that. I am after someone who helps me grow by sharing what they have. I am trying to share what I have.

Share what is under your mask. My mask is already off. This is why I describe myself as "open". And yes, I'm a trusting fool.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Where to live, who to love, business, personal time

Joseph Campbell in 1974 Audio Lecture:

Now the problem that all of the great masters give us is that of finding the inward way and holding to the outer way. This is a formula that the old Sufis worked out in the following way: they spoke of wearing the outer garment of the law—that is to say, the order of society in which one is living—and wearing the inner garment of the mythic way.

Now in order to find the inner garment you have to take off the outer garment and let it go. There is a long season very often of inward turning this way, and throwing the world away.

But unless you can put the other garment back on again, you haven’t really come to the sophistication that lets you know that this is that, and that is this—that this outer garment is the outer reflection of the same laws and principles that you’re finding within, so that you should be at ease somehow in the two worlds. This is an old mythological story.

My inward season is ending. I am putting on my outer garment. Like anyone else, I have to juggle the realities of self and society. But for me, many specifics of my life, what most people would anchor around, are up in the air:

  1. Do I live in Austin, Chicago, or even India/Tibet? The next 2 months or the next 9 months?
  2. Growing friendships and relationships takes time and effort, together. I have to make decisions based on who wants to spend time with me.
  3. I own no car, I have been renting. This was partly in anticipation of moving overseas.
  4. I have several new business ideas and projects underway... but this decision is intertwined with who I know and where I choose to live.
  5. Visit my friends in Lake Havasu City and Fort Wayne, Indiana. Both cost and time considerations.
  6. Visiting my father in Central Florida. I choose to spend the holidays here in Austin, but I want to visit my father in the next 2 months.
  7. Financial considerations. Not all choices are financially practical. Going to India/Tibet is far more of an investment and harder to return from. Do I live cheap and share a place or get my own private space?
  8. My health. Food allergies have been rearing their head the past 2 weeks and it has made me more irritable and tired. Being in North Austin away from a place to lay down (San Marcos) is a practical problem when I'm feeling ill. So far, I haven't been able to nail down a specific cause of this allergy. The good news is that it isn't nearly as serious as my gluten allergy was one year ago. I'm damn glad for the health I have now, but experience has told me to take these allergy symptoms seriously - no matter how minor.

I'm debating at the moment if anyone truly wants me in Austin. I have a couple really great friendships, but they are not filling my romantic needs. These friends will be there no matter where I go, I appreciate that.

As far as romance and dating... I don't want to be hanging out where I'm not wanted howling at the moon - irritating people. No person at the moment may share my romantic ambitions, but I feel I need to actively extend my hand. I am not of the school of thought that I should give up on what is in my heart. I do not feel I have a greedy heart, I feel I have one that is actively seeking.

I continue to feel the need to continue seeking a mutual partner in life's crime. However, I'm closing out the active hunting season soon. Partly I started this blog to acknowledge with self-awareness: I know I'm complex - which means difficult to most people. But to the right person, I hope to be wide open simplicity.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

More on why... and Who I am...

Joseph Campbell, describing what I have come to accept as a defining characteristic of me:

And that's a killer, because the only way you can describe a human being truly is by describing his imperfections. The perfect human being is uninteresting -- the Buddha who leaves the world, you know. It is the imperfections of life that are lovable. And when the writer sends a dart of the true word, it hurts. But it goes with love. This is what [Thomas] Mann called "erotic irony," the love for that which you are killing with your cruel, analytical word.

My analytical and honest nature is really what most people dislike about me. I have discovered this through experience. I am not afraid. I am not perfect. I believe in being open and honest, that there is something bigger to life than self-preservation and this-moment's identity.

Society wants me to behave certain ways, even in a personal relationship. These are often called expectations, assumptions, conventions. Where do I begin and society end? where does inheritance taper and new growth form? Where do yesterday and tomorrow meet, in the moment. We are all unique individuals, yet we can all come together.

Joseph Campbell: Is the system going to flatten you out and deny you your humanity, or are you going to be able to make use of the system to the attainment of human purposes?

These are not ideals ordered from a shopping catalog. These are what I came to know of life and myself through 40 years of experience... and only later study of books helped me put it into perspective and words. The books and words of others provide outside reference and communications tools for me. Just as the English language I use to craft this page is not something I invented. The words provided by hundreds of books, movies, songs were studied... but only a tiny fraction comes close to resonating and reflecting what I found inside myself.

I do not consider it a strong ego to have high ideals. Through the trials of my life, I have learned I can shed my ego - that my identity can be both flexible and firm. To most people I meet, this is confusing to them, so I try these days to educate people in my life on why and what it means. It is part of my individual humanity. Yes, there is a real me, it is often the person in front of you. I have come to realize that I do not wear a "public persona" as frequently as most people do. There is no "social mask" like most people carry. me, is me, is me. My mistakes are openly expressed, my truth is the best as I know it at the moment, always open for challenge and growth. Yes, I can put a mask on for fun, I can role-play and wear hats for business and entertainment. Yet, I do not love my mask. I do love myself, the true inner being. I affirm life. I invite you.

It is this inner being that allows me to connect with others who choose to open their heart. It is what connects me to the universe. I am not detached from life, we are one. I affirm life, even if I express myself imperfectly. I am not important, time is important. It is that we make time for each other that is the topic of today... unity/we/together/us. Physical body, mannerisms, choice of words, smiles, how tired one is, persistence, effort... these will all factor into our working together, but there is more to it all than a pile of characteritics. There is the freedom of each new tick of the clock, to learn and grow, to be something more than the total sum...

You see, I'm not looking for a one-night stand. I'm seeking out an open heart, one that accepts who I am, including my ability to change. I am seeking unity/we/together/us. I'm here in this moment, open and looking... are you? Friendship is the basis, time spent is the construction, let us start building...

Monday, February 1, 2010

Monday - February 1, 2009

My current status: Alone on the field. Not committed or promised to anyone. I'm not in any regular/committed sexual relationship either. I'm monogamous, but available. Not after "one night stands", but not afraid of "first of many nights". Isn't that special ;) ?

Monday, tonight's event: Erin Ivey show at The Ghost Room - 7:00pm. I'm in San Marcos.... so have to get to Austin. I'll probably have to borrow roommate's car. Roommate is wanting to stay home tonight, so just me.

It was 1099-MISC tax stuff today, so I'm looking for relaxing time... 7pm to 9pm at Erin's show is the kind of thing that sounds good. Open to a movie or whatnot if you wish. Let's work together...

My roommate: you are always welcome to go with me. There is no such thing as imposing on me when it comes to you. Why you put up with me is beyond the reach of my mind ;)

Girl #1 - well, I was married to you and loyal for 13 years... these days, I know there is less chance of you going out with me than there is the sun will explode tonight. Anyway, my heart has been purified on this matter, so I'm always open to see you. Friends or old times, ball is in your court.

Girl #2 - I'd love to see you tonight. I like you, but you decided you don't like me enough. Oh well, such is the way things go. But I still am pretty fresh off that romance, so the invite is very real. No matter what, I am your friend.

Girl #3 - well. I seem to step on your toes but I don't even know my way around. You seem so concerned about fixing yourself that you can't seem to realize that I just want to get to know you - even if it is just friends. I like you, but I don't know you... and I have strong desire to know you - better! Isn't that amazing‽ You are rather likable, nice, attractive... if I knew the right words, I'd bark them.

Any guys: Sure, of course, but there are lines drawn on how far love goes... I'm strictly hetro... at least as far as I've discovered to date.

Any unknown or overlooked love interests, business interests, friends, etc: Sure, of course. Contact me, I'll probably be alone tonight anyway ;)

I don't expect anyone is going to go out with me. That's just reality. I'm not trying to make a fool of those I'm pursuing, I'm just trying to be honest and open as to what's important in my life.

Tuesday: went alone, had a good time, enjoyed the show and being out of the house. I'm not afraid or unhappy being independent, I'm just trying to find a partner in crime.