Apprenticeship to Love, March 29, 2024

  • Today’s questions: What threshold invites you to obliterate yourself, and are you willing (you can never be ready for this; it really is too much) to step into that dark unknown?
  • Today's suggested practice: Day 29 of this month's practice, to pause and feel the sacred space within (see my "Short Practice,” below)
  • My practice today: 4am: 45 minutes: yoga, breath, stillness
  • Did I do my vulnerability practice today? N How about you? Y/N?
  • For Intimacy, the March 30 Apprenticeship to Love virtual workshop is free for Premium subscribers. Regular pricing: $111


Christians didn’t invent sacrifice. Though today, on Good Friday, it may be hard to remember that.

It is probably also hard to remember that, even as much as the culture, Christian or not, offers forms and celebrations to protect us from the real work of love & marriage (& culture-building, which is what every marriage & every family is doing, or not) this real work requires us to experience a “making sacred.” A sacrifice. And this is, as I’m recently reminded, by Stephen Jenkinson, a bloody affair.

And this is how we change ourselves, our world.

And this, more importantly, is how we redeem ourselves, our world.
It's Good Friday, and it's good to remember that this date changes every year. Not fixed on a date in a human-made calendar, but fixed astronomically with a pagan or animist or pantheist reverence for the moon and Her periods. Yesterday I was again listening to Stephen Jenkinson wander amongst what Kimberly Ann Johnson considers to be the "forgotten pillars" of this, our post-modern North American culture. Several things, as always, struck me. Made we wonder. It's no coincidence, I think, that these words and this wandering happens on this Easter time.

One of these things has to do with SJ's insistence that our ceremonies are the punctuation marks in our lives. We live in a kind of stream of consciousness —or rather, a stream of unconsciousness. Our ceremonies interrupt that stream. They draw attention to and ask questions of the lives we are living. Or, rather, they could and perhaps should be interrupting our unconscious stream of life with this awareness.

A second thing is SJ's etymology of "blessings" as rooted in "bloodied." In rupture. Disillusionment. A price to be paid. We are most comfortable living in the illusions of our lives, in this unconscious stream of our successes in life. Work. Career. Riches. Children. Husbands & wives & lovers. Born of luck? Or of blessing? And if blessing, what disruption ocassioned their presence in our lives?

Our blessings and the ceremonies that bless our lives, they break something. Drawing a line. Mostly they are rites of passage, from illusion to disillusion. From comfort to discomfort. Not celebrations (of love or of life) so much as acknowledgements that, despite our misgivings and doubts, we are ready to face, and perhaps cross, a threshold.

When I perform ritual or ceremony —wedding or funeral or divorce or reconciliation or naming or unnaming or otherwise— I charge myself with this: to invite a profound change in all who participate, all who witness. I hope always to be bringing sacred disillusionment to the proceedings. I hope to honour those present with this bloodying, this blessing.

A third thing from SJ: A reminder of what I now believe is the necessity of sacrifice in my life. This is not just a renunciation, though it is that as well. More importantly, it is a making sacred through renunciation. A submission to disruption. To the bloodying and the blessing of life's punctuations.
Once upon a time a woman was called into my life. She asked for very little, except the hardest things. And I was afraid, but full of bravado and bluster. I thought, in some superficial way, we wanted the same thing (I was —and remain— a master of self-deception, aka "bullsh_tting myself," and —thankfully— an abject failure at lying to her). But what I wanted, and what she said she wanted, they were hardly acquainted.

That one particular conversation, about what we each wanted in our union, I recall it now as a terrifying conversation. She had revealed herself. Laid herself open. And I, being called to a threshold, I would not accept the consequences of crossing or not crossing. I was fairly certain of one thing only, not consciously, but in my body, as an overwhelming uneasiness: I did not want to cross that threshold. Far better to do my usual: argue for mediocrity rather than risk stepping into the dark unknown she was calling me into, calling because she knew a greatness in me that I feared to awaken.
She came to me with her own fears. Her own scars and illusions, her own yearning for redemption. We were and remain among the wreckage of this culture. Afraid, scarred. Yearning. Serving what purpose?
I've read that, statistically, the earlier we wed the more likely our union is to last. Conversely, the longer we wait to wed, and the more we wed and unwed ourselves, the more likely we are to break the vows we long to keep in our first saying, whether we say them silently and under our breath or proclaim them to our community. The reasoning, I'm told, is that by joining in our youth we experience life and life changes together. If we make it through these early trials we are more likely to make it through subsequent trials. Perhaps, successfully holding each other through Priebke's early "1000 funerals" of committed relationship, we trust each other and ourselves as we experience the remainder? Perhaps we really do experience the "being there" for and with each other that we think marriage is about?

If, however, we reach our 30s or 40s or 70s and are still seeking this kind of union... Well, by that time the "1000 funerals" with others and with ourselves they've taken their toll. We've not experience the "being there" with another through the breakage. Indeed, it's the other who's been the cause or the effect of the breakage. So much disappointment. So much hurt. So many steps towards the making sacred, but that threshold not yet crossed... Or, thinking we've crossed that threshold to discover there is another, and we are alone, and still wanting...

By the time she'd answered my call (because I called her first, though I'd forgotten this) I was fully protected. No sacrifice for me, no thank you. And she too, in her way, protected. But responding by opening to my words of openness. My words of willingness. Words. But my body closed. And eventually this is what she knew: my words meant nothing because my body told the story of unwillingness when faced with the threshold she was calling me to, and through.
What did she want? Connection, she called it. Whatever that might be. Later, done with the fearful husk that was the man who said good but empty things, she put her cards on the table: she asked me to make our lives sacred to each other. She wanted a kind of blood here, between us, in this thing we'd created that was bloodless and so far from the sacred and deep and dark experience of love that she knew was possible, and perhaps knew also that I'd be too afraid to plumb. So no, no crossing of that threshold for me. No thank you.
It has taken deep silence for me to begin to hear this call for blood. For sacrifice. I recognized it several years ago, and wept. That I had been too afraid to do what love requires, what marriage demands.

It is still terrifying for me, to stand in this still silence, and know she is calling me into a terrifying greatness I cannot imagine.

I'm not sure that this ever goes away. The fear of losing oneself, all the illusions about what this means. But I do know this, I am more ready now than I was for the sacred and the bloody in my life. It's a small offering. But here I am, hoping to change the world. Knowing that only this will change the world.


🌀 . . . when you stretch, you fully enter the moment; you experience what a moment is; you identify who you are… Stretching ignites your cellular chemistry . . . a knowingness.
…When you stretch into your body cells, you’re able to capture a glimpse of some of this ancient [‘dream-memory’] . . . it activates the desires, plans, and goals that apply directly to this present moment. (Guru Singh & Guruperkarma Kaur)

🌀You are beautiful. (My beloved, my Oracle & Siren, She who must be ravished by my presence)


Day 29 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: What threshold invites me to obliterate myself, and am I willing (because I can never be ready for this; it really is too much) to step into that dark unknown?
    • 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.

★REMINDER, DEAR "1000 EARLY READERS"... The next Apprenticeship to Love virtual workshop, on March 30 with Sarah Anderson, is now open for limited registration at . Free to all Premium, Premium+, and EXTRA subscribers