Apprenticeship to Love, April 21, 2024

  • This is your invitation to the first Apprenticeship to Love "Community Call". FREE to all of you on the "1000 Early Readers" list. Please register here
  • Today’s questions: How are you offering yourself to what life and love bring you? Or: What needs burning? And: Are you ready to burn? And: What would that look like?
  • Today's suggested practice: Day 21 of this month's practice, to pause and feel the sacred space within (see my "Short Practice,” below)
  • My practice today: 3:30am: 60 minutes: yoga asanas (physical practice including Sarbhang dande kriya), Humme Hum Brahm Hum mantra meditation to ground and centre.


I was recently asked, Why the generosity?

The short answer, I said, Is that I'm drawn to offering what I can to individuals who resonate, or who've been generous with me. Mostly, I want to offer what I can to those consciously walking the path of their "apprenticeship to love."

My offer is, in its way, an invitation to a kind of spiritual intimacy. I have no reason to expect those to whom I make the offer to accept the offer. In some ways, the offer itself and this question, are part of what I offer: a place to test whether there is indeed a safe and stable place to be who you are, fully. Whether I am what and who I say I am.
I take this seriously. It is part of my efforts to, as I understand Stephen Jenkinson's invitation, to be a part of what I will call "fathering a culture" that I am proud to be part of. That I intend to leave as my legacy, my patrimony.

Fathering, and husbandry, as I've come to realize is about sacrifice. It is about recognizing the necessity of sacrifice in the making sacred (this is, I realize, a tautology, but maybe saying it twice makes it more real?). My title is not just something I push around. Being a "Reverend" is also a reminder to be reverential. To consider the sacred in everything I do, everything I say. In everything I hear and feel and begin to know.
I may be unusual in how I am. But I am pretty sure that I'm not alone, even if I am unusual.

As I learn how to be both more sensitive to the world (how I understand this thing called being reverential and tender to the sacred) and better at feeling it all without being overwhelmed, or making it a problem to be solved, I feel this strange paradox: I am utterly alone; and, recongizing my aloneness, I am more connected than I've ever been to those I love. And those who I do not love, yet.
WTF am I doing here? In this dark. In this silence.

This is —correctly I now know— a perennial wondering. Certainly for me and the man I am learning to be most fully, the father and the husband and the friend I am learning to be. Without this wondering I am truly lost. I suffer the blindness of thinking I can see. The apathy of being mildly happy.
If you've been reading you know that I am slowly listening to the "Forgotten Pillars" conversation between Stephen Jenkinson and Kimberly Ann Johnson. (It really isn't much of a conversation. More a wondering aloud by two who know how to wonder.) In the fourth episode SJ asked KAJ to read aloud a passage from John Berger's novel, In Europa. Her reading moved me. I'm now reading the whole of Berger's book and feeling a kindred spirit. That may be what draws me to SJ, a feeling of kinship, a similar way of experiencing and knowing the world by way of an educated and appreciative wondering. Recognizing something from these years in this life.

I shared the passage with the woman I love this morning. Words offered into the silence, with a request, but little expectation. (We have another book to discuss. There is desire to do so on her part. But the pregnancy of silence is something I'm coming to know as more important and more fecund than I can imagine.) My request: that one day I might hear her read the words aloud. They are plain words. Hard in their way, yet poetic and soft at the same time. They have to do with how we are in our solitude as men and as women, together. Ashes and milk Berger says. Fire and beauty. He doesn't mention grace, but its here, holding the whole thing. And isn't that it?
I was recently asked what words of advice I might have for my younger self, as a lover and as a husband.

I answered: Slow down. Slow down, and yes, slower still. Because the riches of this life have come most slowly, and with the most sacrifice. Trust this.
And again, WTF am I doing here?

Writing. Wondering. Feeling more, and more, into life, what She gives to me. And, what she gives to me, my beloved, with her seeming infinite silence, her distance, her shyly held radiance...

Teaching. Hosting men and women s they walk their own apprenticeships, their own diminishing and revealing. Creating and holding safe spaces for them to learn to dance themselves, as they discover their gifts to life, and love, to each other. And to and for themselves.
Why am I generous in the ways I am? Because I've learned that being stingy with what I have ends poorly, for all of us. Because I'm learning that if I have something —a little time, a little money, a little listening— that may, perhaps, help another I now must offer it. I'm not profligate with what I have. But neither am I stingy as I used to be. I've learned that when I hold back I make my own life smaller and meaner. Today, I don't have time for that. Once I thought I had time to be that way. But now? No.
Sometimes when I offer her a gift I feel the familiar and habitual and culturally-reinforced mantra: What's in it for me?

I could hear it this morning as she poured out the sorrows of a lifetime and I wanted desperately to hold her. I offered everything I could imagine, not to fix but to hold her safe. And in the offering the mantra of fear was whispering.

But, even with the words whispering, I took a breath. I remembered: It's the losing of me, the diminishment and the burning of me, that's what's in it for me. I need this burning. The ashes of my younger and more fearful self. The fire that purifies.
Here is something we know from the forest and the garden. Let us apply it to our lives: the art of husbandry involves the judicious application of fire, and most of all, the spreading of the ashes.

She will not blossom so well as when her roots know the ashes of my sacrifice. So, today, and most days, I am always burning.


🌀You deserve nothing. (Kendra Cunov)

🌀The limited view from a single lifetime creates the illusion of flatness in the world; it creates the fear that there’s nothing beyond the obvious horizons of time and disables the expansion of space.
… extend your infinite reach while remaining grounded in your heart and gut . . . (GS&GK)

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

Day 21 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: How am I offering myself to what life and love bring me? Or: What needs burning? And: Am I ready to burn? And: What would that look like, if I committed to it?
    • 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.

The next Apprenticeship to Love virtual workshop, on May 29 with Sarah Anderson, is now open for limited registration at
NOTE: These monthly (10x in 2024) virtual workshops are no-charge to all Premium, Premium+, and EXTRA subscribers