About this marriage thing -- Revisited and Revised

May 2015

May 2015

July 2017

July 2017

About 2.5 years ago, I wrote a post about marriage that seemed to resonate with many people.

And life happens. Time passes. Relationships change. People change. I thought about rewriting this post from where I am/we are now. But as I reread the words, much of it still stands. 

With respect to my relationship, so many conversations we are in with individuals and couples, and our process of evolution and growth, I have edited the original post, and made notes which are in parentheses and  italics


Marriage is an interesting endeavor. Two humans join together, supposedly for life, many times not TRULY knowing the other person, not knowing if they can actually LIVE together, and each participant being on their best behavior (for the most part) in order to woo the other. Most importantly, and likely most truthfully, neither of them

discovered who they are, first.

Additionally, if you’ve been married for over seven years, you’re very literally not the same person you were when you got married. Neither is your spouse. Your biology, the entirety of your cellular structure, turns over completely every seven years. You’re not the same people.

Sever year itch?

More like seven-year switch. (And 14, and 21, and so on)

Then, take into consideration the myriad of life situations that happen within a relationship over a period of time that have the potential to cause tension:

who sleeps on which side of the bed, one develops a love for fly fishing, the other for jigsaw puzzles, childbirth, how many kids to have, who stays home and who works, do both work?, (what are our roles), in-laws, sex, job stress, (sex), moving, (money), career changes, (sex), death, betrayal, (sex), the kids are all out of the house – now what?, (sex), vacations, friends, family dynamics. (Did I mention sex?)

Add these fun elixirs to two people who have not yet measured their own way of being. Before tying the knot, they hadn't given five minutes to figuring out who they are and what they want out of life. They run on autopilot of what marriage is supposed to look like. Give it a shot of fear, a (twist of expectation),  and two shots of insecurity, (shaken with assumption and judgment.)

How can that possibly be successful?

Does anyone ever stop to ask:

What do YOU want?

What do I want?

Who are we?

Do we want the same things?

(There are so many questions to ask your partner, and yourself, these are a good beginning. I would now add, "What's it like for you to be married to me?")

We HAVE asked those questions. It’s not as easy as you think. It might be easy for one (Scott), and not so easy for the other (me). Or maybe it's difficult for both. 

These are intensely serious questions that go way beyond the immediate, non-thinking, knee-jerk answer, “Oh yes. We are married. We love each other and there is no other way. I know exactly who my partner is (maybe with an eye-roll.) We took an oath in front of God. (This is just who we are.” SIGH.)

(There is much more possibility for life within your relationship. Honor yourself and each other with radical honesty.)

Look back at those questions.

Sit with your partner and look into their eyes. Then ask those questions of yourself.

Marriage is not always easy, but it has the potential for unlimited spiritual gifts. (Truth.)

I happen to be ... (scratch that old language -- I have created myself to be) in a marriage with someone who challenges (in a mature, constructive and necessary way), and loves, me greatly. Sometimes, it’s exhausting and I just want to walk out the door. Not forever. Just for relief. But that’s because I don’t always like to face things and I just want to punch him in the face. But I don’t because I do really like his face. (Now it's mostly me standing in the face of my resistance and punching that bitch in the face.)

From the time we met to the day we got married was only 18 months. And we never even lived in the same city prior to our honeymoon.

He is much more aggressive, and I am much more passive and cautious. He is the hare and I am the tortoise. He’s always looking for his keys and his wallet, I always know where the keys are. He is big picture, and I take care of (and can get mired in) the details. I fill out the paperwork and program his watch and all electronics. He is the one who wants to talk. I am the one who needs to be coaxed out of myself. He is all about action and power. I am more woo-woo Spirit/Nature driven. He is very much outward in his processing, I am the classic introvert with my thoughts banging around in my head like a pinball machine. He has no filter. I wear my filter like a fucking suit of armor. (I'm laying down my armor, freedom is where it's at.)

We’ve been married now for 22 years and have essentially grown up together. We had absolutely no idea what we were doing or who we were when we got married. We made a shit-ton of mistakes, and hurt each other, and loved each other and had amazingly gorgeous experiences. We have two wildly wonderful children who light up our sky every day. (So incredibly true.)

By some greater Divine plan, (intention, work and love), it has worked. Not always smoothly, but we are still together. And dare I say, now in a beautiful, more mature, relationship. Far, far, FAR away from how we began. (And even farther still. There is no limit to how far we can go.)

We have spent over twelve+ years working on ourselves and our relationship, mostly with him leading the charge. Much more than anyone outside of us knows.

Sure, early on we spent our fair share of time numbing, running away, looking away, pushing things down, bickering, avoiding…but not anymore.

We have conversations that crack us open, shine a light into a seemingly dark place, and heal what could have remained an insurmountable fissure…

all before lunch.

(Now with much more flow and intention.)

I subscribe to the idea that everything is in Divine Right Order. We are exactly where we are supposed to be at all times. It’s not that nothing is perfect, it’s that everything is perfect, always. When things get tough, we just might not understand and or see it yet. We sometimes forget who we truly are (Love) or can’t always see through our beliefs to the Truth.

In the times where I feel challenged and exhausted by the relationship, it’s my responsibility to remember that is MY perception of the situation. Not the reality.

I have my worldview, and he has his.

The reality is I am supremely fortunate to be with someone who exercises so much patience with me. (And I with him.)

We desperately want to understand each other, so that we can rise through this life together. And raise two more human beings with these principles of what real relationships are and what Love is. (Truth.)

For me, Love is the infinite source of Life. The great field. It is from here where we tap into our power. It is from here that we receive patience, understanding, compassion, and the ability to see through another’s eyes; feel through their heart center. (It is not a thing to be given or received, but a place to come from. An experience. An ability. A way of being.)

(Love is where being present lives.)

There is no building, structure, gospel, doctrine, document or round jewelry that keeps me committed to my relationship.

It is a choice. Every day we have a choice.

A piece of paper doesn’t wipe my tears. He does.

A ring doesn’t give me power. I do. (Yes.)

We don’t stay together out of stubbornness or greed or laziness or fear.

We make a choice every day to walk through this life together. No matter what. To join in communion as One…two like minds joining together to further the growth of a shared experience.  (The individual "I" in service to the "We.")

To live through love, to learn, to have fun, to laugh, to feel, to grow, to be free – to FULLY experience and express life with a soul partner.

My relationship is my greatest teacher about life, love and ultimately, realizing my Self through another. 

I believe the purpose of marriage is to clear the channel to Love with another person from whom you have the most (or something) to learn. Sometimes, when you’ve learned everything you can from that person, the relationship is complete and you move on. It’s just done. And that’s OK.

I am grateful every day that I continue to learn from my relationship. That we continue to make the choice to walk with each other through this beautiful playground of life.

And every time we make that choice and face each other and see the crack and jump in and shine the light and forgive ourselves for forgetting who we are and chip away at the channel…

We are lighter. And we rise.

Together. In love. With love.

Not always easy. But always worth it.

(While having some fun along the way. I love you babe.)

 

The Fallacy of Thinking

Photo by Alyssa Crouse on Unsplash

Photo by Alyssa Crouse on Unsplash

“Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

~ Albert Einstein

“I don't believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.”

~ Joseph Campbell

 

Information. Knowledge. Learning. Technology. Study. Research.

All noble and necessary pursuits in the furthering of our lives and planet.

And all come with risk.

For example, the implications of and conversations around Artificial Intelligence, cryptocurrencies and private space travel are fascinating topics that live somewhere in the future, but are eerily close to current reality.

There is no argument that deeper knowledge, science and technology can change our lives for the better.

But are we forgetting what life feels like? Do we look up long enough from our phones or keyboards or books or tasks or travels or monitors or lists to stop and …

Pause.

Look around at life: nature, trees, flowers, animals. At our people. To experience what living from our deepest alignment feels like.

You might be drifting or bumping around in the space of seeking meaning in life, and not really have a clear idea of what that even means for you. You might not even realize this is what you are actually seeking. It most likely looks externally like anxiety, or dis-ease or the affliction of busy-ness or overwhelm or climbing higher in an artificial (yet seductive and productive) ranking. This is not a judgment, but an observation.

I have a few questions for you.

What’s underneath the striving?

What’s behind the thinking?

What do you want your experience of life to be?

Recently, I was at a conference for women, and was witness to one of the most powerful women I’ve ever seen. Her name is Clare Dubois and she is the founder of Tree Sisters, an organization that, “is a global network of women who donate monthly to fund the restoration of our tropical forests as a collective expression of planetary care.” Their mission is to plant 1 billion trees per year, resulting in the reforestation of the rainforests in 10 years. Trees are crucial to the quality of life on Earth.

A successful business woman for many years, this mission came after a car accident where a tree actually saved her life.

Her work and the work of the women involved is making an enormous impact on the quality of Life in our world. During her talk she was passionate, powerful, purposeful, emotional and every cell of her femininity was lit up. The core of her message was that our planet is being raped of its natural resources at an alarming rate, and it’s up to the leadership of women to save her. It was incredibly inspiring and a moment I will never forget.

It caused me to pause, and look at the times when I am most at peace. Most in my power. Most in harmony with the world. Most passionate about what I’m up to in my life. Most filled with love for humanity.

So, here are my answers to those three questions above -- the answers that are below my thinking mind:

  1. Service and love.

  2. A desire to make an impact, where women are empowered to use their voices to create an equal world. Where women see and experience themselves as mattering in every part of their lives. Where women see themselves as leaders in every part of their lives.

  3. A life where I feel, the meaning I create. I have an experience of living in full color, sound, texture, taste and love. In harmony with nature, the people I love, and the work I create using modern tools.

 

From this place, thinking happens from the Being of living.

I live in awe and wonder of Creation.

Full Love,

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Where leadership matters most.

Photo by Kevin Delvecchio on Unsplash

 

We always have an opportunity to lead. To be a leader. To demonstrate leadership.

Whether within a family, a business, a friendship or any environment where there are people in relationship, we can lead powerfully with grace. This is our gift. We can even lead ourselves through self-leadership.

Sometimes we don’t always see a specific situation as a chance to lead. It may be so close to us, so personal, so triggering, that we feel like we are in the quicksand of the thing. It can feel as if there is no way out, or, so many choices we get stuck in the muck, afraid to make the wrong decision. Or we just flat out don’t know what to do.

Note: there is a huge, gigantic difference between control and leadership. Control is NOT leadership. Control comes from ego, from fear, from the needs of the “I.” Leadership comes from love, from service to the greater good, from the “we.”

(Purposely switching pronouns…)

This is when it is extremely important to be awake and have awareness of yourself. Any reaction you are having has everything to do with you. This is a perfect opportunity to look within, with wonder and curiosity, to make a shift and become the leader you are.

With grit, but in service of grace.

See yourself as a leader. See yourself not IN the quicksand with the person or circumstance, but standing on the edge, on solid ground, with many tools at your side to lead out of the situation. See from a place of objectivity of what is happening, without judgment. Keep breathing. Neutrality is the place to come from.

There could be an immediate resolution, or it may take time. Patience and stamina are required.

Some questions to ponder as you’re standing on solid ground:

  • Who am I being right now? Is this serving this situation/person?
  • What’s it like in there (in the quicksand), for them?
  • What must I be thinking in order to feel what I’m feeling? (This question may need to be asked several times to get to the core of what’s happening.)
  • Am I acting/reacting with force, frustration and/or fear? Is it working? What else could work?
  • How can I see this differently?

Leaders who operate with

Love          Grace           Commitment

Action        Power          Clarity

Intention    Presence     Humility     

Humanity   Patience      Listening

Heart…

 

Are precisely what our world needs.

These elements are naturally present in all women.  We just need to put down all of the old expectations and stereotypes and struggles and judgments and what the world has told us we are, and create a new way. A way that merges the best of the feminine and the best of the masculine.

“Strong back. Soft front. Wild heart.” -- Brené Brown

Without highly visible role models of what this looks like (they do exist…) we must step into our power and BE what we seek.

Where we start is right in front of us.

With the people who matter most.

Love,

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Let it be funny.

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Life is funny.

If we let it be.

Everything we see, everything we feel, everything we think, everything we think we think, may not be how it is. It may be something totally different. Resting on, "I'm just this way. It's how I am. It's my personality. It's how I was raised. I took this test and I'm an ENFPJRTIKGNQ234$#1@) decider #2 on the PLANE scale passionate surveyor quick-start." That's a lot to be and keep up with.

Sometimes, the things I think and do are so ridiculous, and I'm most likely taking it sooooo seriously, that I have to stop myself and say,

"Hold on there hot stuff. Who do you think you are? Listen to that back. That last thought. That's f*cking hilarious. Let's lighten that up a bit and try again. Why are you believing that shit? Go outside and stand in the sun. Put your feet in the grass. Take a really deep breath. There....isn't that better?" (That Voice swears a lot. It's helpful and lightens things up. I'm also pretty sure she wears a black leather motorcycle jacket and has a tattoo. I'm fine with it.)

And then I laugh out loud at myself. On purpose.

And I know, I KNOW, for these people that live with me in my house that I love more than anything, it's so much better for them when I can see some humor in everything. (Scott, I promise you are funny.)

Adding some lightness to who we are being, automatically lifts some of the pressure off this big computer in our skull we call a brain. That thing, when operating unsupervised, will run off in all sorts of directions. It's just doing it's job. If we could delete all the old, non-performing programs up there, our lives and relationships would undoubtedly function with higher performance. Smooth. Efficient. Light. Happy. Powerful.

With Ease.

Today, I'm hitting delete whenever possible.

Love,

ANGIE_Signature.png
 

 

 

 

 

"It is achievable."

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Sunday morning, Dr. Tererai Trent, Oprah Winfrey’s favorite guest of all time, stepped onto the stage of Emerging Women Live in Denver, Colorado. She was the last speaker and closed the conference.

Chantal Pierrat, founder of Emerging Women, introduced Dr. Trent as a true queen, and defined a queen as a woman who, “steps into her own power and reminds all of us we are only one step away from our own.”

Yes.

I cannot do the story of Dr. Trent justice in one short blog post. Nor relate just how powerful it was to be a room with 400 other women, somewhat tired from a very busy weekend and at the same time exhilarated from all that we had learned, as we were taken on a journey of perserverance, dreaming and humanity.

One of the main threads that came out for me during this talk, and the entire conference, was one of the dream.

When Dr. Trent was a young girl in Zimbabwe, she met Jo Luck, a white woman who at the time was the CEO of Heifer International. Little Tererai shared with Jo her dreams of coming to America to get an education. Jo Luck looked into her eyes and responded, “It is achievable.”

Tererai then shared her dreams of education with her mother, who told her to write down her dreams on paper and bury them, so they would plant seeds in the earth and keep her connected to her dreams and her community. Her mother also said that Tererai would have to come back and share with her community once she achieved her dreams.

“Your dreams will have greater meaning when they are tied to the betterment of your community. They have to be tied to the greater good.”

It can’t just be about you.

The sacred dream connects humanity.

During Dr. Trent’s talk, there were lots of tears. And an equal amount of laughter. Deep emotion for her presence, and her story of commitment, dedication, hardship and victory against every imaginable odd.

And I would also speculate, tears for our own dreams.

Dreams that were never realized. Never written down and buried and sprouted to life. Never spoken aloud to take flight. Never given a chance.

Why? Because they were too big? Too scary? Not realistic enough? People will think you’re crazy?

Many of us are walking around, holding on to past and current dreams like a trapped secret, never to be shared for the fear of .... what exactly? Or they are casually thrown about with a laugh, downplayed as silly or nonsensical.

But what if?

It took Dr. Trent 8 years just to graduate high school. She brought her 5 children to the United States and went to college. With nothing. With no one to support her. She went on to receive a Master’s degree. Then finally her PhD.

Oprah gave her 1.5 million dollars to open a school for girls in her Zimbabwe village.

It is achievable.

What if we got back in touch with our dreams? What if we spoke them and wrote them down and buried them and watered them and fed them and paid attention to them and one day… one day… there is a green shoot. A sign. A signal of the possibilities to come.

Possibilities for a new world.

And what if we continued in our commitment, no matter what, to our dreams? Even in the midst of our daily actions of doing what we do in our “normal” life. Also making the tending of dreams a priority -- watering, feeding, paying attention. And what if they grow? What if they happen?

We don’t have to know the exact steps of how they will occur, or what the process will look like. We just have to keep them present. Keep them nurtured and cared for, like they matter.

Every woman on that stage over the weekend came from a dream. They took care of their dreams. They didn’t back away from their dreams.

They are creating a new world with their dreams.

It is achievable.

Love and big dreams,

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P. S. Oh, by the way, on Friday night, we walked on fire...

It is achievable.