Apprenticeship to Love: Meditations on this Path to Authentic Relationship, March 9, 2024

  • Today’s question: Where in your body does the will to perservere, to push through and against your fear, where does this power lie?
  • Today's suggested practice: Day 9 of this month's practice, to pause and feel the sacred space within (see my "Short Practice,” below)
  • My practice today: To sleep. To rest. To make time later, in the forest, to allow myself to feel deeply into that silence.
  • Did I do my vulnerability practice today? Y How about you? Y/N?
  • Coming up on March 27 (free for Apprenticeship to Love Premium and Premium+ subscribers), For Intimacy a virtual workshop with Sarah Anderson and me. Register at


How can that happen? she asked, when I told her of my dreams with her.

She wants to know. More than that, she needs to know. She needs to know that I have the capacity to hold her. To protect her. To be the place, here in these arms, in this heart where she stops thinking about the how and the what and the where and the when. The place where she can simply be the why for all of this to occur.

Feeling held in my courage to be all that is required, she becomes herself.

Feeling her as herself, I am further emboldened to be, as John Wineland once encouraged us to be, we masculine-identified men who'd come from around the world to learn our arts as men, what I now understand as the sacred arts of husbandry, "he who must be trusted." Must not because it is commanded. Must, because we are so deep, so powerfully ourselves, that trust flows from her.
Now, let me add this: I misunderstood her question. But I did not misunderstand the answer.

Days later she elaborated, as I gave her my answer: How can this happen when the experience of you being less than the sacred husband is imprinted in my body?

That gave me pause. And then I knew: This will happen when I trust myself, when I have this unreasonable courage to face everything, for her, for us, for myself.

This will happen when she tests and tests and tests again. Never risking her nervous system without confirming the depth and presence of my courage.

We are not young. The habits and patterns of doubt and pain and avoiding pain, these have made a home in our bodies over years of practice. Her testing will be forever. My courage, forever.
The conversation with Katie Dove reverberates. I'd wanted to talk about what I was calling the "sacred womb," that energy that changes us, as masculine-identified men, when we are near a woman flowing with her power. Katie kept drawing me back to this: We are all sacred. A feminine-identified woman's capacity to alchemically transform is related to her capacity to attract and hold the seed of life that we men carry. She will always be attracted to this.
If we follow our polarity in nature, to be a life-energy seed source, or to be a life-energy alchemist, we become magic. Artists. Parents. Creators.
I've been thinking a lot about how we men hold our hearts. These thoughts draw on things Katie Dove said, on things I've read about the Taoist conception of men's and women's sexuality and power, on the practices I've learned, and on what I've experienced as a man, as a lover, a husband, a father. As a man who has chosen to be tested rather than be comforted.

There is a lot here, but the simple version is this: a woman's body holds a form of courage that is borne in her womb-space; a man's body holds a form of courage that is borne in our heart-space. I experience the sacred within myself when I honour —and risk!— revealing and sharing my heart. But I am reluctant to do this. So why would I expect her to reveal and share her courage without relentless and infinite testing?

Breathing into this heart, I know myself this strong.

And so I tell her, I am here for everything. This is how it will happen. You will test, and test, and test again. And I will always be here, with my heart open.

That sounds hard, she said, after I told her how I was learning this art of sacred husbandry.

I don't know that, I answered. I do know that this feels right. And I am happy, the happiest I've ever been.


🌀Love is not a feeling of happiness. Love is a willingness to sacrifice. (Michael Novak)

🌀The feminine is a bottomless pit of desires and it keeps the world creating. (Esther Guggisberg)

🌀She can smell your desperation. She can smell it in your voice. As long as she smells your desperation you are not safe for her. (My wise friend)

🌀In Hinduism the term Kali Yuga referred to the last of four "world stages," a period of strife, discord, and destruction that was the necessary precursor if the cycle was to start again. Kali was the dark mistress, the "Black Madonna" of that final world stage, but it was important to remember that she had no malice or evil intent. Only those who saw death as the end would fear her. Only those who had lost touch with the ancestral rhythms of birth and rebirth would fly from her embrace. She was the Mother of the Universe, the Queen of Heaven who manifested in different forms as needed in order to defeat arrogance. Her role, then as now, was to restore balance by bringing the powerful to their knees. (Charles Strand)

🌀Love is a constant process of tuning in, connecting, missing and misreading cues, disconnecting, repairing and finding deeper connection. (Dr. Sue Johnson)

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


Day 9 of this month's practice, to let these thoughts and feelings move through you, with less resistance:
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: Where in my body does the will to perservere, to push through and against my fear —where does this power lie?
    • Then, follow the short practice here:
      • Stand, or sit, and bring your attention to your posture.
      • Feel the ground beneath your feet or sit bones, tilt your chin slightly to lift your chest open and straighten your neck.
      • Take a deep breath, through your nose, and hold it gently for the count of six. Relax the breath for the count of eight. Repeat three times.
  • When you’re done, sit or stand for 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.


★ My conversation with Katie Dove, about marriage, the "sacred womb," men and women and sex...