Walt Whitman writes in his Leaves of Grass:
"O living always--always dying!
O the burials of me, past and present!
O me, while I stride ahead, material, visible, imperious as ever!
O me, what I was for years, now dead. (I lament not--I am content):
O to disengage myself from those corpses of me, which I turn and look at where I cast them!
To pass on, (o living! always living!) and leave the corpses behind!"
There has been re-carpeting and painting going on in my Georgetown office, so when I arrived for work on Wednesday afternoon, I had to use my colleague's office. Look at this sky over the Potomac & the Kennedy Center from his approximately 10x15 ft bank of windows. Poor picture taken from my web cam on my netbook, but wow.
Living and loving can seem so complicated at times. And then there is a moment when everything becomes clear. I had such a moment last night, New Year's Eve, in the Target parking lot. I was in my car, on the phone with my mother, finishing my dinner before going inside to grab a pair of cheap shoes for dancing (I can wear out a pair in one night.) Suddenly, as I'm talking to mom, fire trucks and ambulances pull up. The EMT's jump out, and one returns out of the store in a moment with a tiny infant in his arms. Behind him runs the mother, shaking her hands in a terror stricken way. I do not know anything else about what happened. I asked my mom to say a prayer for them. In those minutes of observation my current struggles seemed to diminish into a place of simplicity and singular commitment - a renewed commitment of living in the Here and Now as much as I am able. A renewed commitment to loving and giving and caring and forgiving as much as I am able.
I also made a commitment with my Georgetown hairstylist/new bff, V, yesterday about not committing in a romantic relationship for six months. The term of a lease I just signed; which I'll come back to below. Wagers for a substantial sum have been placed betting that I (RWG) CANNOT stick to this. V and I are in this together. Neither of us will, according to the terms of our contract, commit to a Man at anytime in the first 6 months of 2010. Operational definitions for exactly what this means are still being negotiated. One standard is obvious in the current socio-cultural realm: We cannot update status as "In a Relationship" on Facebook. (Find V to do your hair at www.hairloungesalon.com)
Why, make a commitment to not committing, a curious reader might inquire? Because V and I and others of you out there, admit it, like to have a sense of certainty, a feeling of security, an idea that you know what lies ahead for you. We also love to fall in love. What a lovely and wonderful thing to meet someone you adore and to feel so giddy and filled with all those amazing neurochemicals and to make each other promises that you truly intend to keep because you want to at that time, with all your heart, want to be with and love and cherish this sweet person forever and ever. And some of you out there with greater impulse control, better ability to delay gratification, and more secure early life attachments, particularly with your opposite sex parent, some of you are much better at handling the uncertainty, taking things slowly, loving, but waiting and seeing, before you make those promises to yourself or to the other. I'm not saying that I think there is a "right" way to do these things. I've studied and closely observed and counseled relationships in the scholarly/professional realm for the last 13 years, and there is little that can be concluded about love with any certainty. I'm just committing to trying something different - for myself.
My friend SP endorses this plan as she has just found that her new "committed love" was sleeping around and on Match.com. She figured out his password and updated his profile to reflect the man she really knows. She also responded to a few of the women with whom he'd been corresponding.
NOT diving in -- it is hard to convince myself of something so foreign to my own gut/heart experience - all the cognition/knowledge is just not nearly as strong as those other, deeper, more primal feelings.
Here's some relationship advice that came across my email recently:
Five tips for a woman.....
1. It is important that a man helps you around the house and has a job.
2. It is important that a man makes you laugh.
3. It is important to find a man you can count on and doesn't lie to You.
4. It is important that a man loves you and spoils you.
5. It is extremely important that these four men don't know each other.
In spite of such deep and meaningful advice, I fell deeply, passionately in love with MFC in September 09.
The mutuality was amazing. Everything about us seemed amazing. But of course there is no such thing as a perfect person or a perfect relationship and we let each other down by not being the perfect solution to all of life's problems, and then he made a mistake that truly hurt me, damaged the trust and so here I am, committed to not committing again for six months.
But MFC and I had already purchased tickets to a formal DC New Year's Event - a James Bond, 007 party. Silly, fun, with music, and dancing. And with much deliberation, we decided to attend, together. It was fantastic fun, and I'm glad we went. MFC is truly a wonderful person, and he was a hot date and a great dancer. The party was filled with somewhat cheesy but fun 007 allusions including a room with ice sculptures, a mock casino, golden girls, etc...
Here's what is currently playing on my iPod: lyrics from COLLECTIVE SOUL:
In my silence I would love to forget
But restitution hasn't come quite yet
And with one accord I keep pushing forth
I stretch my heart to heal some more
It used to be all I'd want to learn
Was wisdom trust and truth
But now all I really want to learn
Is forgiveness for you
As my seasons change I've now grown to know
When one's heart creates, one's soul doesn't owe
So I wash away stains of yesterday
Then tempt my heart with love's display
So, I needed a place to call my own in DC, even if for only two nights a week. And yesterday, I found the place - a tiny room in a great shared row house in the Shaw neighborhood -- more to come on my new digs, I'm sure -
So onward, not committing, but giving, loving, living well, caring, forgiving, moving forward, excited about new possibilities, staying connected, being real, being me, in the hear and now -- Happy New Year!