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in these anecdotal,
sometimes inspiring, sometimes personal meanderings of the Heart's opening in the every-day-ness of life...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Dukkha with Revelations Please...

No, this is not the name of a new Cappuccino that I whipped up.  Dukkha is a Buddhist word that basically means suffering.  I am not a Buddhist, but the word best describes my recent experience.

It was December 29th, our 34th wedding anniversary.  It unexpectedly came with a load of *unconscious* expectations of how I *thought* it should be.  I had a lapse in consciousness and was operating in an old paradigm mode, wanting the day, and Dear Hubby, to be the way I wanted them to be, because after all it was a “special” day.  You know, like “The Holidays.”  It said so on the calendar, and in my mind.  We both *intended* for it to be a “special” day, so we orchestrated the day, trying to make it happen the way we envisioned it – or should I say the way *I* had it pictured in my mind.  DH was just fine with the way it was – of course. J  But disappointment was lurking on the horizon for me…

It started out fine.  We exchanged cards and expressions of our love for each other.  We drove to one of our favorite places about 40 mins outside the city-burbs to get away from the erratic, knotted, stuck city energy and be in the fluidity of open space and nature.  The shift in energy was dramatic.  We both felt the flow of energy change to a sweet, comforting embrace that surrounded us.  It was cold and blustery out, so there would be no walk in nature.  But we sat in the car in sweet silence at the trailhead, enjoying each other’s presence, basking in the warmth of the sun, enjoying the idyllic view of the surrounding foothills with a small town nestled in its curves, and trains slowly winding through the valley.  Picture perfect – so far… J  We were both content to just BE with each other…

Later that evening we went to dinner.  Darkness set in as I sat across the table from DH who stared at his plate not saying anything.  There it was – the familiar view: detachment, disengagement, non-participation.   And me feeling like I wasn’t on the radar screen, or at least a tiny blip that he could choose to see or not see.  It was a mirror of how I have often felt in this relationship.  (I know some of you must know what I’m talking about. :)  And the defensive responses when I raised the issue - with him saying that conversation can’t be forced, must be spontaneous, that I could not orchestrate *how* he was.  Well, okay, true, yes… But…

But I started feeling old emotions again - feeling invisible, unimportant, disappointed that the evening was not living up to my expectations.  There was that word again…  I wanted that wonderful feeling of resonance, of partnership, and an in depth spiritual/philosophical conversation that was also a hallmark of our relationship – which admittedly was usually spontaneous.    And I wanted to feel – important – the gaze across the table that says I will love you forever – even though he already said as much in his card.  But I wanted more…  I wanted Romance, attention, acknowledgement.  I wanted to *feel* special!   I-I-I…

Aye-yi-yi…  Enough already…

I couldn’t see then what I see now because the darkness of silent anger veiled the truth.  It was the anger of deep hurt – which came from believing that DH, and our relationship, should be other than what he/it is.  The feelings spilled over into the next day.  Ego was having its way with me - seducing me - and suffering ensued: Dukkha…  So it was time for a little authentic, heart to heart conversation with – myself - journaling…

Through writing it was revealed that I had been holding onto the thought/belief/expectation of the way the relationship/marriage was supposed to be, to feel; the expectation that it would provide *me*/ego-self with something concrete to hold onto – like a sense of security, of safety, a sense of being loved, or special…  I wondered how many of us live this way, thinking that “contentment” in life depends on feeling loved and secure by a partner.  And yet – I also realized that even in relationship, we are really still emotionally on our own journey in many ways.  No one person can meet our needs – I know this…  But I am not completely empty of “self” yet – the fabricated, conditioned self with its expectations of how relationships are “supposed” to be.  Just call me Eeyore…

I was faced with the truth, I must let go of my illusions/delusions *about* the relationship or suffer.  I needed to, once again, let go of the myth of marriage that I obviously have unconsciously still held in my mind all these years, as well as the myth of myself – the myth of the fabricated self.  The myth would no longer do, no longer satisfy.  I realized that the myth I held to was only a fantasy I had *believed* to be true.  The myth had cowled me, leaving me in darkness.  But I don’t want to remain a prisoner of the myth, or the darkness…

So – maybe this is the place in the story of “us” where I finally step off the edge, letting go of attachments, expectations, and old images - seeing things as they really are, allowing the relationship to be what it is and unfold as it does – appreciating the truth of it and loving the parts that work…

btw – DH has been looking up from his plate… J


This is the original image of the above photo

Which just goes to show
there is always light in the darkness
if we are willing to adjust our perspective
and *see* it…


  1. Very honest and intimate. Wonderful sharing and yes we can all relate to the ego wanting more. The journaling to self-discovery is an amazing tool. There is no self-delusion here. Very poignant and wise. Andrea

  2. great, deeply honest post. who of us in relationship hasn't felt the imperfection of it in one way or another? You have expressed it here so clearly.

    it's interesting because just this morning I had the same relationship with the day; wanting it to be something different, special, after all it's the 3rd day of a new year.

    and then I realized how rude and ungrateful this was, always wanting something from the day, never just being grateful for "having" the day, never thinking what can I offer to the day, to this world, not embracing the magic of the world.

    A turning really, just a small one or a very large one depending on how you see it. Many bows to you for sharing your insights.

    1. Thank you Carole for your heartfelt response... After writing and posting this I thought, geeze, this sounds really *self*-centered... But that's the point really - how we get so self-focused on our own needs, and what will make *us* feel good - wanting life to be on our terms... And how humbling it is to see that reflection! :)

      Definitely cranking up the awareness meter makes a difference in how we see our relationship to everything, and how relationships can show us what we need to see about ourselves... I think my word for the year is "relationship." I expect I'll be learning a lot... :)

  3. as difficult as these failures are (and i have just recently experienced my share of them) what they hold inside of them is the sweetest kernel of opportunity to see and to grow. sometimes i suffer but always when i am able to see - i see i have suffered with good reason. what would i see otherwise? each failure, each blindness, is my opportunity to develop sight. i kiss each of my short comings and ask myself for patience. i hope to be more still in my future failings.

    kiss that man and kiss yourself. none of us is perfect. and then kiss and cherish that reality as well. in the crevice of imperfection between us our love and understanding grows. (this is marriage:))) this is a good good marriage))))


    1. Sweet erin - for sure :) To clarify, I don't see any of this as "failure" - but as you say the "sweet kernel of opportunity" to *see* differently, to see reality as it is clearly, as well as the causes of "suffering"/blindness that keeps one from seeing. But maybe that didn't come through in what I wrote... In the future I will need to be more clear, especially for my newer readers who may not know where I'm coming from :) It's a story about "relationship/marriage" but only as a vehicle to greater seeing, greater awareness.

      There are many causes of our "suffering" (and suffering is not a failure either:) - but the biggest "cause" is forgetting, or misperception, or not seeing clearly what we truly are - meaning our Divine Nature, Spirit Beingness, Essence, or True Nature as the Buddhists call it. And all our experiences are an opportunity to wake up to That. I saw that through this experience, even though I didn't say that specifically. I don't know what your frame of reference is, so the languaging may not resonate with you. And obviously I forgot this and got caught in the blindness of the ego-self, the shadow-self... But it's all a window to greater awareness - as you point out...

      I hope you will come to not see yourself as "failing"! To not see yourself as less than, deficient, or lacking, but as the sweet loving Being that you are! :)

  4. Oh, the honesty and discovery shared here, Christine--what a gift this post was! And new Cappuccino ...LOL! ;o) Happy 34th anniversary--a nice, long milestone that. It's funny how we get hung up on how we think an occasion should go or be. And it's always amazing how we can let a place's energy invade us. I admire how you fell back, and took time to just be present with each other. And I think we've all experienced moments of detachment, disengagement, non-participation with our partners. My hubby & I soon celebrate 13 years, mostly very happy, but there have been "those moments"... LOL...To have the courage to be more spontaneous within relationship is a great thing. To be more flexible definitely improves mood and energy. I know when I stop compartmentalizing and dissect the relationship, the happening, the moment--breathe!--wow, the freedom. I learned so much reading this. Thank you! And wishing you 34 more year togetherness still discovering yourselves. :o) ((HUGS))

    1. Thanks Tracy! :) Yes, discovery, ebb and flow, paradoxes... It's all there in "relationship" isn't it. So much to learn!! lol I agree about the need to *allow* for more spontaneity, and more space :) less expectations... There's a wonderful quote about all that that a fellow blogger posted a couple of years ago I think. I'll have to dig it out and post it. :)

      Oh dear, 34 more years?! I can't imagine living that long!!! lol


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