Apprenticeship to Love, Chapter 189, June 29, 2024

  • Today’s questions: What does this moment feel like? Is the feeling known, or is there confusion? Can you hold this, gently, and allow it to move in your body?
  • Today's suggested practice: to sit with your own resistance to learning what you know will change your life... (see my "Short Practice,” below)
  • My practice today: to sleep in and feel the discomfort of no-practice


This garden of riches in which I sit. Sometimes I am overwhelmed. So much, so much.

And all of it for me.


There is here, in what in summer I call me "garden office," an ocean of green. Textures upon textures. Hues upon hues. Green.

There is some plotting to the garden, but this ocean of green was not something I imagined. Very little colour, though that will show itself early in July. I can see hints right now. Pink showing itself as a shadow in the green.


Yesterday —and still today? We'll see— I felt myself in a similar ocean, but of feeling. Textures upon textures. Hues upon hues. No hint of a tide change. A gentle swelling and ebbing, and me, somehow afloat.


Two things I feel clearly in this ocean of confused feeling:

  • that I am grieving my wise friend, and my own dependence on his wisdom, and to feel this is good. Not easy. Hard, in fact. But still, good;
  • that I love her and need her and that grieving my beloved and how she was (this is, as per my colleague Fabiola Perez as per her quotation of the poet Heidi Priebke, one of the "1000 Funerals" of every committed relationship) draws me ever deeper into who I am as a man.

These two things I know for certain. But these too are simply textures and shades of this ocean of feeling. I have no sense of direction here. I do, however, have the intuition to open. To hold myself as I've practiced: firm, but not stiff; firm, but yielding; firm, and opening ever wider and deeper to this ocean of feeling.


I have no direction, but I do have a compass: my intuition.

One of the points of this compass is a reminder: there are few women who have known love "correctly" in this life, and that to love any woman who has not been loved, truly loved, is to volunteer for the painful exercises in the learning of the skill patience.

Another point in this compass is commitment: Committing to this learning of the skill of patience I begin to know my own soul.


My wise friend often talked to me about the most important thing in his life in the last decade or so of his life. More important than his children and grandchildren and his marriage —and these were of powerful importance to him— was the knowing of his own soul.


I learned many things from this man. Chief among them:

  • beginning to see the way to know my own soul, its care;
  • recognizing and appreciating this stranger, this woman, who will not be made familiar, limited, tamed, understood.


I am today lost at sea. The wise friend who previously helped me to feel my way no longer here by my side. Not here for me to walk with. Talk with. To be held as his own. Today I have to do this myself, for myself.

Remembering him I remember to follow my soul's North Star. I surrender, fully and unequivocally and without expectation or grasping, to serve love. To allow myself to be held in this ocean of feeling. To hold myself here.


It is a strange beauty, this ocean without landmarks. Textures upon textures. Hues upon hues.



Always moving.


Two things I know:

  • this grief I feel, and the goodness of it;
  • this forever-stranger, my soul's North Star.

And this too I know: to breathe and to feel it all.


There are the ways I want people to behave; there are my expectations of how they should behave; there is my capacity to be compassionate and remember we're all struggling to open to give & receive love. This is my capacity to hold myself and this ocean of feeling.

In my conversations with my wise friend I felt like he was always encouraging me towards compassion and away from expectations. Not that I didn't want but that I cannot even get close to giving & receiving what it is I think I want. And especially when it comes to love, because I have learned the wrong lesson about love: that it is scarce, painful, risky.

What I am learning, and remembering as I am held in this ocean of feeling: loving is the easiest thing for me to do, once I lay down my expectations, once I recognize that I need nothing, I deserve nothing. It is all here for me.

Am I ready to receive?


🌀You deserve nothing. (Kendra Cunov)

🌀[This astrological season of] Cancer teaches us to listen because our feelings guide us to what we need. They are an entry point to our intuition, which often communicates through feelings. Blocking your ability to feel deeply cuts off this crucial source of information. (Kundalini Yoga School, New Moon in Gemini)

🌀…Emotional pain arises when you attempt to fit in and be just like others . . . liking to hide the anomaly that’s you. You're the very first and there will never be another . . . this is the nature of each incarnation. Your task is to be the most anomalous of the phenomenon of you. (Guru Singh and Guruperkarma Kaur)

🌀The Conscious Warrior takes 100% responsibility for the reality he has created — seeking what needs to be changed in him before blaming others. (John Wineland, Precept 5)

🌀Thank you. (My beloved, my Oracle & Siren)


This month's practice, to breathe and feel the tension, pressure, friction, and stress, and then allowing it to become more beautiful than you can imagine:
Please read through first, then ...

  • Set two alarms, for times of the day when you have a five-10 minutes to become conscious of who and how you are in this day.
  • When the alarm sounds, wherever and however you are, take a few moments and:
    • Ask yourself: What does this moment feel like? Is the feeling known, or is there confusion? Can you hold this, gently, and allow it to move in your body?
    • Then, follow the short practice here:
      • Stand, or sit, or lay yourself down, and bring your attention to your body.
      • Feel the ground beneath you. Allow the earth to hold you with gravity. Feel how dense and heavy you are. Feel also how lightly you sit or stand or lay on the earth. Feel yourself between the pull of earth's gravity and the subtle but persistent pull of the sun, the stars.
      • Slow your breathing so that it is long and deep into your belly. Slow the inhale to a count of four or six. Slow your exhale to a count of six or eight or ten. Repeat three to five cycles of breathing, going a little slower with each cycle. Continuing to notice yourself held by the earth, raised by the sun and stars and sky above. Feel the subtle tension and pressure and friction and stress that allows you to be and rest and move in this body.
  • When you’re done, take another minute or two, breathing gently, slowly filling and emptying your belly. Here, as you breathe into your fullness, ask yourself, Do I feel right? Am I in alignment with the man or woman I am? Do I even have an inkling what that might feel like? Do I even have an inkling of what it feels like to be out of alignment with myself?
  • Notice if your body-mind feels somehow changed. And whether you notice a change or not, be content with yourself, exactly as you are in this moment.
  • Continue with your day until the next alarm sounds, and repeat.