Apprenticeship to Love: Daily Meditation, Inspirations, and Practices for Authentic Relationship, September 19

• Today’s questions: How am I listening to the Soul of this moment? How might I better hear it speak? And, What then?
• Today's suggested practice: Day 18 of this month's practice, to practice to receive (see my "Short Practice to Receive,” below)
• My practice today: 5:30am: 60 minutes: Yogic postures, mantra, meditation to Revitalize the Heart Centre.
• My vulnerability practice: This discomfort, I let it settle. Something is here for me, if only I can sit and allow it to speak. And yes, I am afraid...

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Why rituals? Why ceremonies? For so much of my life I've resisted these things. I've seen them as empty things. Dead things. Things that cannot speak to what I am experiencing now, in this day, these years.

Strange that I, who am so resistant to these forms, am now allowing myself to learn their strange language. I, who have been so dismissive of titles, am embracing my new-found title of "Reverend," allowing it to remind me of the sacredness of these days, these years. These breaths.

These days I concern myself deeply with marriage. With funerals. With the non-existent rituals and ceremonies of those things that are so common, so full of import, and so neglected: co-habitation, engagement, births, and, of course, separations and divorce.

And I wonder about the soul of these things, and how we tend to them, that our own souls may expand and be filled with whatever light is ours to know and enjoy.
I am again learning about the gunas, the yogic understanding of the ways of matter (including all that we consider immaterial, our thoughts and feelings and so much more, like our forms: marriage, family, rituals...). The rajas. Sattva. Tamas.

I felt this strongly yesterday, perhaps because of the season and the (many) anniversaries of change that this season brings to me: something tamasic, a dying or an undoing, about this moment. Is it just the dying of the summer season? Or, the integration of the temptations I’ve recently experienced?

Something is moving. And I am not comfortable.

But, there is nothing to do. Nothing to do but allow this something to move. And trust myself. I am enough.
Marriage is a complicated thing. Ushered in by the wedding, itself so much more than the brief flicker of light at whatever altar one choses, in front of whatever community one gathers, it draws me. Has drawn me for years. Is it the gravity that holds me to this apprenticeship to love?

Is it possible to speak of the soul of marriage?

For many men, it seems that marriage is experienced as sacrifice, and sacrifice in the worst way imaginable: the sacrifice of freedom from commitment he has enjoyed. He chooses marriage because he knows there is more. But still, it is a more that looks like so much less, a more that looks as if it will limit all that he imagines is his "masculine" freedom from.

For many women, on the other hand, and indeed for many men who have a strong "feminine heart," marriage and family are a different kind of freedom: the freedom to more deeply express and experience love, connection, the very dance of this life. But even here there is sacrifice. And especially so if there are children involved, extended family involved.

The woman who enters marriage may be drawn to the freedom of feminine expression, but she will know that her life is no longer lived for herself. It will be lived for and through others. The experience of loss of identity separate from others —an idea of identity so important to our Western notion of individuality, self, independence— is powerful, and common. And in the decades since "liberation," the years since Western women began to resist and rebel against the paternalism and nervous system terrorism of —yes— patriarchy, the experience of sacrifice in marriage grows more acute. And so much more like the experience we, as masculine-identified men, tend to experience.

It is my belief and my experience that marriage, what I facilitate as a Wedding Celebrant and as a teacher and coach for men and couples, a public commitment of two people that brings together many energies, is our deepest practice in this life. It is primarily the dance of masculine and the feminine energies, what others sometimes call the alpha and the omega, the structure and the flow. We formally bring these energies together in a public commitment because we need the eyes of our community to witness and support us in this most difficult dance. Through our choice to sacrifice, for something beyond ourselves that we cannot know until we are deep, deep into the dance.
We "level up," to use the phraseology of gaming, in this, our dance with our own lives, by committing, publicly, to another. We take the risk of levelling up to something we cannot imagine. We know it is more. We should be afraid of this more. The sacrifices we make are not insignificant. They are the undoing of all of us. Some of us manage to be undone without undoing the sacred bond we've made with another. It is serious sh*t.
I choose to believe that allowing our marriages to have a soul will help us become the men and women we long to be. And if we speak of the soul of our marriage, then I ask: How do you know this soul? And how do you serve its purpose?


🌀When our 'higher-self' recognizes our emotional body exists to serve us, we shift our perspective, we approach the full spectrum of emotions, from joy and love to grief and anger as valuable messengers from the depths of our being. (Guru Singh & Guruperkarma Kaur)
🌀We can never undo what we have done. We write history with our actions. But we also
write history with our responses to those actions. We can leave the pain and the damage in our wake, or we can do the work of acknowledging and fixing, to whatever extent possible, the harm that we have caused.
You can never unbreak what you have broken.
But with the sincere and deep work of transformation, acts of repentance and repair have the potential to make something new. (Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, On Repentance and Repair)
🌀Only the one who descends into the underworld rescues the beloved. (Soren Kierkegaard)
🌀I am beginning to trust the “no expectations.” (My beloved, my Oracle & Siren)


Day 19 of this month's practice, to receive:

Please read through first, then ...

  • Today, set two alarms, one for the early part of your day, one for mid-late afternoon when you may be feeling low energy.
  • When the alarm sounds, wherever and however you are, take three, five, 11, or 30 minutes to do this short practice:
  • 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, How am I listening to the Soul of this moment or of this marriage? How might I better hear it speak? And, What then?
  • 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.
  • If you want to talk about your experience, or your resistance, or about anything, please set up a short (15-minute) chat for Zoom:
  • It may not be enough, but it'll be a start. And that's always a good thing.