Of Love and Sadness

fullsizerender-2I fell off the blogging every day thing.  I’m still working on my book though.  🙂  God, I just feel sad.  So, so sad.  And there’s different pieces to that.  One has been work.  One has been my parents.  One has honestly been the election and the denial of science and the elevation of hate.  Spheres of influence; my head, my family, my outer world.  My work has always been important to me, a calling that invokes my mind and my soul.   My parents are important to me because they are my roots and my challenge.  And science is the way we know the world, the way we see past our own lies and how we deceive ourselves.  It is the way we elevate ourselves beyond being merely selfish animals.  To deny that, wholesale, seems like a terrible step backwards.  Not that the earth will care.  It will continue no matter what we do.  But still, do we have to be this stupid?  Do we have to be so selfish?  Can we care about no one but people like ourselves?  I do not believe that love is zero-sum game.  These are the thoughts that I grapple with as the days grow shorter and nights colder and long.

But on the other hand, my inner-inner circle is really good.  My relationships with my kids are still so fun, so satisfying, so deep and happy.  True love.  It pierces like a thorn to the heart of who I am and grows like roses.  Wild ones, the ones you can smell, happy and sprawling and free.  And things with Kevin are really great–easy and happy.  It is a good thing, even if it feels strange, to be with someone who accepts me more than I do myself.  But the darkness sometimes is deep too.

So.  One thing at a time.  Bit by bit, I will change things.  However, not all things can be changed at once.  The first step is my job, and that has now been taken care of.  A pity to leave the one I’m at, I did not leave it lightly.  But you come to a point where you no longer fight the good fight, and it is time to move on.  I have a new position with a startup.  I am excited, it will different.  I will be able to do a lot of good there.

As to the other things. . .well, one does what one can.  I worry terribly about my parents.  I don’t know how much I can help them for afar.  I want them to be happy, but they are so alone out there.  And I have my own responsibilities to my own children who come first.  I don’t know what will happen there.

To everything else, I am not sure.  That is a harder question, one about meaning and how much one can influence anything.  I don’t know what I can influence.  In the meantime, I will do the best I can.

 

 

 

Facing Your Lions

door-knocker

Last week, I was a chaperone at the UW Engineering Expo with a bunch of kids, including my eldest girl.  It was bedlam and pandemonium, but she really liked looking at the exhibits, and I really wanted to go.  As we all got on the buses to trek over to the engineering campus, I ended up sitting near her teacher who told me that all kids in her grade in the school district were going.  So she might end up seeing some friends from her old school.  When Rowan found out about that she was excited about possibly seeing some of her old friends, including her old crush.

As it happened, we didn’t bump into her old friends, but we did meet Boy #1, from her old school.  She  got nervous and didn’t know what to say.  She kept going back to try to talk to him, getting flustered, and leaving.  Good thing he was completely oblivious.  He was hanging out with his guy friends and didn’t pay much attention.  She told me privately that she had always liked him, but that she also liked Boy  #2 from her new school and was nervous about bumping into him too.  Later on, we did come across Boy #2, who left his friends to specifically come up and say hi to her.

When we got home, she wanted to know my opinion about her chances with either of them.  I told her that Boy #1 seemed like he barely remembered who she was, didn’t make much effort to speak to her, and stayed with his friends.  He didn’t seem interested  But Boy #2 saw her before she saw him, and specifically came up just to say hi, alone.  He did seem interested.  But of course, who really knows?

I let it drop and we didn’t talk about it until a few days later.  I was putting the girls to bed.  After I turned off the lights, I laid by her for awhile and we talked in the dark.  There’s something about lying parallel in the dim light, not looking at each other directly, that leads itself to dropped boundaries and naked thoughts.  She asked me again about the two boys and if I thought they liked her.  How can you tell?  I told her the truth–there’s no foolproof way to tell.  The only way to *know* is to put your cards down first and ask.

“But how do I do that?” she asked.

I said, “Just say, ‘Hey, I like you.  Do you like me too?  Do you want to hang out sometime?’ That’s all it takes.”

“But what if he doesn’t like me?” she said.

“Then you know for sure, and you can move on.”

“But what if I get really embarrassed and start to cry and I’m outside and everyone can see?”

“Well,” I said, “That would suck and it would be embarrassing.  But it’s one period in a day and it will pass.  You would get over it and you would be okay.”

She just looked at me, skeptically.

“You don’t have to *do* anything.  If you don’t want to tell him you like him, you don’t have to.  Things can remain the way they are.”

“But I like him! I want to know.”

“Then, you’re probably going to have to take the risk.  What’s the worst that could happen?  If he likes you back, great!  If he doesn’t, you’ll be sad but you will get over it.  But I will tell you this–lessons like this, on courage, come back. This situation will occur again in middle school, and show up in high school, and show up again in college.  You don’t have to deal with it now–but eventually, someday, you will have to deal with it.”

And then I told her the story of The Red Lion.  It’s an old book from my childhood that I have, great Persian art.  It’s about a Prince whose father dies, but to ascend to the tjhrone he must pass the test of fighting the Red Lion.  The Prince is too scared and runs away, but wherever he goes, there is always a different lion challenge waiting for him.  He realizes that until he goes home to his kingdom to fight his own lion, he will never be free.  He returns and faces the Red Lion in front of all of his family, friends, and subjects–only to find that the lion is tame.  Only fear makes it savage.  The moral of the story is, “Never run away from your lion.”

So you can imagine how proud I was that the very next day I got home and she was there, all excited.

“Mom!  I told him!  Well, I didn’t tell him, because I was too nervous, but I wrote him a note, and–HE LIKES ME TOO!”

So, so proud!  We hugged and danced around a little.  This is the part of parenting that I like.

It’s not that I’m the smartest or the wisest, but if I can circumvent the learning process, if she can learn from my mistakes, and the mistakes of others that have lived before her, that’s wonderful.  Because it took me a long time to work on being brave and courageous.  I’m still learning.

How many battles do humans fight over and over again in different generations?  How many wars are still fought, physical, spiritual, group, and individual?  You can relearn the same mistakes from the past–often it sticks more if you do–but for every challenge that is overcome, there is a new future to be written.  If we got over ourselves, got over being worried about being rejected, worried about baring our souls and our naked vulnerability, knowing that no matter how cruel people were, we could handle it–how much more could we accomplish?  This is what I want the next generation to face.

We think we know how to live a life.  Get good grades, go to college, marry and have kids–it a script for the American dream.  The real dream isn’t about being a certain way, having certain things.  The human race has accomplished many things, solved problems that now seem easy, and we arrive into an uncertain future.  We leveled up.

So the boss battles are that much harder, and require a different approach.  I don’t want my daughter to fight the same kind of battles that I did.  I don’t mind that the challenges will be unknown–that is the nature of the game.  Part of the risk is not knowing what you’re stepping into.

But I look at my life–my middle class, comfortable life–and I feel blessed.  This existence of mine, in this location and in this timestream, is a gift.  It is the manifestation of the dreams of people who came before me. It is a life partly of my own making and partly the making of my ancestors who dared to dream this dream.  I want Rowan and her classmates and the next generations to skip the old tests of courage and go into new ones.  That’s how you open new worlds, and start to manifest new dreams.

You Only Need One, Part II [Or, You Can’t Handle Too Many Jams]

jams

Options – they’re fun to have, but don’t let them paralyze you, or distract you from what you really want.

There’s a classic study on choice that shows that though humans tend to think more choices are better, there is a tipping point where too many choices can be paralyzing (Sheena Iyengar, Columbia University, 1995).  Here’s an except from an article on it in 2010:

In a California gourmet market, Professor Iyengar and her research assistants set up a booth of samples of Wilkin & Sons jams. Every few hours, they switched from offering a selection of 24 jams to a group of six jams. On average, customers tasted two jams, regardless of the size of the assortment, and each one received a coupon good for $1 off one Wilkin & Sons jam.

Here’s the interesting part. Sixty percent of customers were drawn to the large assortment, while only 40 percent stopped by the small one. But 30 percent of the people who had sampled from the small assortment decided to buy jam, while only 3 percent of those confronted with the two dozen jams purchased a jar.

If you do the math, 1.8% of customers bought from the 24 jam selection; 12% bought from the 6 jam selection.  That’s a 666% difference.  The sin of envy in a diabolical number.

This is the problem of online dating in a nutshell.  If you’re not careful, it feels like there’s always someone a little bit better waiting around the corner.  Don’t settle!  Look where the grass is greener, it could be yours!  Forgetting, of course, that it’s not just about what you want, or who you want – who wants you?  What do they want? Do these desires and preferences overlap?  Because if they don’t, you are in for a world of disappointment.

Date Here

It’s funny when I read manosphere blogs.  They’re just as bad as ultra-feminist blogs. “Fat chicks, they’re ugly, they should lose some weight to attract men.”  “The Patriarchy, putting us down, I refuse to shave my armpits in protest because a real man will adore my feminine sweat!”  As though there is a right or wrong way to be.  There are only effective and ineffective ways to be, depending on what you want.  Are you a good match for what you desire? That is the thing to focus on.  Or are you a mismatch?

I have certain options–less than some, more than others.  I am 40 – is this a bad thing or a good thing?  Depends on the audience.  For a 25 year old guy, this a liability.  For a 50 year old, this is a nice “younger” age.  I’m not looking for a 25 year old, so being rejected by a 25 year old doesn’t even come into my consciousness.  It’s completely irrelevant.

I have kids – some guys would consider this also a liability.  So what?  I’m not looking for guys that hate kids or want their own biological kids.  Again, a mismatch that I don’t care about.  And personally, all other things being equal, I would prefer a man divorced with kids, if only because he would understand the trials and tribulations that come along with that.

Dating is not about a single ranking number, it’s more a list of attributes that fit with a potential partner’s priorities and interests.  If I was filling out a character sheet for my dating prospects, it might look like this:

Nokomis – Ranger Class

Height/weight proportionate and works out:  +10 in physical attractiveness

New England [Yankee] honesty:   -4 in Midwest social graces

Wear glasses: -2 in facial attractiveness

Bellydance proficiency:  +5 in gracefulness. +3 in sexual attractiveness (based on male fantasies)

Intelligence: +5 in conversation; subclass: interesting topics

Humor: Highly variable.  +10 for deviant freaks like me who are not easily offended.  -10 for those who only like good clean fun.

So, for the right guy, I’m a perfect match.  For the wrong guy, I am not what he wants.  That’s okay.  I am looking for someone specific, someone extraordinary.  I want to adventure on a life quest, and my character should complement theirs. I don’t care that what I’m looking for is a small pool of people.  I’m looking for a real match–I don’t even need 6 jams.  I only need one.

You Only Need One, Part I

cards

Dating is so interesting, you learn so much about yourself as well as other people.

It’s been a few years since the marriage ended and I’ve been on my own.  Though I’ve dated here and there, I finally feel like I’m ready to go back into a long term relationship if I find the right person.  Of course, I’ve felt this way before, jumped in, then realized – nope, not ready.  Thought I was, but I’m not.

I like reading things about relationships.  When I was in my marriage and things were bad, I read the Talk About Marriage forums.  You see people in all stages – new and excited, new and disappointed, old and loving, old and burnt out.  I also like dating advice sites like Evan Marc Katz, who is the perfect advice columnist for me – practical and from a man’s view, but understanding what a woman wants.  I will sometimes read The Rules Revisited for brutal honesty or The Spiritual Rules of Engagement for kind truthfulness.  (Great book, highly recommended, btw).  Apparently, it’s a thing for divorced women to be bitter, which I don’t get.

See, I don’t fear getting hurt.  It’s like, bitch, I ended a 15 year marriage after years of soul-searching and desperately avoiding my sadness.  You think a 3 month relationship that ends will destroy me? Oh, boo hoo.  It might hurt a little, but compared to the emotional Holocaust of divorce that I survived, it’s nothing.  Bring it.  I’m not afraid.  What I am afraid of is hurting someone else – I’m learning to accept that in my search I might hurt someone else without trying to.

When I was a teenager and feeling in despair, I started reading books on relationships.  I figured that if I ever managed to get married, I was going to be worth be married to.  I was going to make my man happy.  I was going to be the awesomest wife.  I read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and learned people want to be accepted, listened to, and loved as they are.  In a marriage be kind – and be up for sex because it means more than you think.  Never criticize or humiliate a man in public.  Be respectful, easy going, and generally happy, don’t dump on a guy when he first gets in the door.  It may have been written years ago, but I don’t think men or relationships have changed that much.  And I was a pretty decent wife.

But it still ended.  Good people, both of which deserve to be loved, can still make a mess of things.  Sometimes people end up going on different paths, growing in different directions.  I forgive him.  I forgive myself. What I didn’t dare to think of though for a long time is what I want.  What do I want in man?  I knew intelligence, kindness, emotional strength, humor were all musts, but I avoided thinking about physical attributes.  It seemed so crude. I didn’t really know what the hell I wanted.  I wanted to be desired, I knew that.  Our marriage lasted for a long time because he never stopped desiring me.  I was always sexy to him.  But we fought about sex all the time!  Years of fighting about sex, god, that sucked.  And it became a pivotal pain point because I never wanted him as much as he wanted me, and I couldn’t admit that even to myself, though he knew the truth in his bones.  I didn’t know why I didn’t want sex – there seemed no reason.  I thought he was handsome, smart, funny–but I just didn’t want it. So I felt terribly guilty all the time and he, terribly frustrated.  Both of us continually compromising and both of us unhappy.  Both of us feeling like we were shitty people, just by being ourselves.

This is one thing I admire about men.  If they can’t see themselves having sex with you, they won’t approach you for a date.  It is completely pointless.  But it’s only one attribute.  It’s akin to the first step in screening resumes – typos?  Not even worth the time to look further.  Not sexy to me?  Well, that’s it then, we’re done.  And usually it only takes a few seconds for a man to decide whether physically he could see it working or not.  Of course, women can still wreck it.  You can be hot, but be stupid or mean or shallow or entitled or psycho and that’s it for a man that wants a meaningful relationship.  Being hot is not an automatic in to a man’s heart.  Just like being a hot man is not an automatic in to a woman’s heart.

We get caught up in our options and stop focusing on the goal.  Isn’t the goal to have a shared partnership in life?  One where you share your body, your time, your dreams, your soul, your fears and your joys?  All of it?  You only need one good match to get there.

The problem is the options.  We have a problem with accepting truth and working with what you’ve got.  And we have a problem with the approach of observing how we feel around a potential partner instead of trying to check off certain boxes, as though that will ensure happiness.  There’s an old joke that women want the three 6’s – 6 feet, 6 figures, 6 inches.  But checkboxes don’t encompass a good match!

So what if he’s 6 feet?  The best sex I’ve had was with men shorter than that.  (I have a hypothesis that people who feel like they’ve been marginalized tend to be better lovers – once they get a person to bed, they make damn sure s/he has a good time.  [Not a theory since I have too few data points, but look for my scientific paper: “Bald, Short, and Hairy: Your Best Next Lover” 😉 ])

Six figures?  Great, but what if he has no generosity?  Six inches?  Okay, I’m not going to lie, that’s nice.  But really the point is can you feel your man inside of you?  It’s pretty much a yes or no question and if it’s yes, there’s no problem.  And that’s a two-to-tango attribute in any case.

These are the things that really matter: In the early stages, do you want the same kind of people that want you?  What do you have to offer a potential partner?  How does a potential partner make you feel?  How do like to be loved?  How does a potential partner want to be loved? (Check out The 5 Love Languages on how you prefer love to be presented. I used to prefer the poetry, flowers, and songs.  Now I want the guy who will take my car and get the oil changed. 🙂  Ooh, ooh and dinner is good too.  My stomach has always led to my heart, ha!)  And the killer question that I’ve been wrestling with as a straight woman – what kind of man would I still want to have sex with 10, 20, 40 years down the road?

This is still on my bucket list

eye2

I’ve seen an article on this before, but the New York Times printed an article on how you can fall in love with anyone.  I have to admit, I’m intrigued.  For maximum effect, you should ask each other questions first, and that makes sense.  It’s all about priming yourself to bring down your boundaries.  I can’t recall ever doing the staring-into-each-other’s-eyes for four minutes with any man.  Four minutes is a long time.  But, I actually have done this with Rowan.

For a long, long time–since I’ve been a child–I’ve been obsessed by eyes (okay, and skulls too).  Growing up painfully introverted, eyes were a sign of judgement, disapproval, or ridicule–and I feared them.  Now, as an adult, I like to paint and draw them, and I like science macro pictures of them in all their filament glory.  But looking directly into someone’s eyes for a prolonged amount of time is a vulnerability.  It can be hard to go that deep if you’re afraid to be seen.  I may find it hard to do with adults, but I don’t worry about it with my girls.

A while back, Rowan had a school concert.  One of those things where I ended up losing half a day, because it was 2.5 hours longs and they had a dental appointment afterward.  As soon as she entered the auditorium, she looked for me.  I’m always near the front, and difficult to miss, so she found me.  That whole concert, she had her eyes locked on mine and I could not stop from tearing up.

It wasn’t about the songs, it wasn’t about the audience–it was about us.  For me, having kids breaks all those walls apart.  There is a vulnerability and a raw power to a child’s love.  I know that Rowan sees me, sees me as I truly am, and yet still loves me.  That may change as she grows older, and I accept that.  But still, to sit in semi-darkness, with her full gaze boring into me, I realize that I have forgotten that this is what is real.  I don’t know quite how to describe it.  I don’t believe that she belongs to me–she belongs to herself.  I am her steward.  But she is my daughter and we are bound together in this life.  It is beautiful to be bound so.

If there is one responsibility I have to her, it is to teach her to love.  I consider these years as setting the blueprint.  To feel what it is to be loved, so that in the future if there is a “love” that robs her of her dignity, of her respect and of herself, she will be able to tell that it is a fake love.  Love requires work and effort, but it should not require that she diminish herself.  I always tell her the truth, even all the complicated bits–and I assume she can handle it.  She will need to someday.  I love loving her, and it’s great that it is so easy to do so.  It may not always be that way, but right now, I enjoy this part of my life.

What’s interesting is that I can fully jump into this for her, but it can be harder to do it for me.  I remember talking to my doctor when I was so unhappy and considering divorce.  She pointed out that kids observe everything–that my staying in something where I was miserable was teaching them that this was normal.  Would I want them to be going through this?  And having made the choice to end it, I made sure that when the divorce was happening that the kids could see how adults would handle something so painful with integrity.

But now that chapter is done.  I am blessed with great friends and family who truly love me.  If my world was crashing down at 3:00 am and I needed help, there is more than one person I could call.  The love I have in those areas is stable and wonderful.  The great thing about love is that when you have it in one area of your life, when you feel that stability and acceptance, then it is easier to take risks with your heart.  Because like most anyone, I would very much like to be in a romantic love relationship.  I would like to experience love again, I would like to be seen again, I would like to connect to someone in that deep way.  And for that to happen, that means being open to possibility.  Knowing that you can’t always direct the flow of things, but you can be vulnerable, without walls–knowing that nothing in the future is set, but that every moment can still be enjoyed.

Love what you can be, Be what you can give

holidaywrap

Christmas is coming and with it, two weeks of staycation.  So excited to stay home with my eldest and not do anything!  I have been feeling burnt out just trying to get traction and order instilled with my multiple projects at work.  I’m still working on being more effective.  But because I have been excited and anxious about work, my life has been grievously out of balance, so it’s time to retune that with the new year.

Back in August, when I went to that workshop on living a conscious lifestyle, it brought up an interesting point concerning relationships.  That people often screen others on the wrong kind of things.  Everybody wants honesty and kindness, intelligence and humor – and most people consider themselves to have all those things.  So that’s not enough.  We know that not all matches have a good prognosis for success, so we screen for markers that means we think we have a good chance of success, whichever way we define it.  We look at political views, religious views, food views, vice views, etc.  Physical markers like height, weight, hair, physique.  Status like money, possessions, job title.

One of my friends was asking me if I was back on OKCupid.  He’s been married for awhile so he likes to hear horror dating stories.  Alas, I currently have no horror stories to amuse him with.  He has some other single female friends that are dating and he said he’s always amazed about they put their hopes up way too fast and try to see if this could be something “serious.”  He asked me, “Why do women do that?”  I told him that some women are lonely or want to be married, or want to have kids, and they’re screening for that compatibility.  But personally, I look for a lifestyle match.

I may not know everything about my future life, but I know what I’m shooting for.  I’m going to live my life no matter what, and the time will pass whether I’m single or not.  I told him, “You know what it’s like, you’ve been married over a decade.  When the infatuation of the beginning dissipates, your life ends up pretty much the same whether you have a partner or not.  If you were fairly happy, you will probably still be happy.  If you weren’t, you won’t.  The things you would do to pass the time, your hobbies, your passions – there are all still there.  So it really comes down to whether having someone in your life improves, has a net neutral effect, or makes your life worse.”

I agree that it’s very easy for women especially to fantasy about a future that doesn’t yet exist.  Probably some of that has to do with our culture and an ideal fostered on women to get married and have kids, as though somehow that makes you a success or a better person.  But when I was growing up, I fantasied about my funeral, not my wedding, so my take on it is a bit different.  (Artisan cocktails and my favorite foods will be a must to toast my passage from this world.  Enjoy what I enjoyed, folks!  Scatter my ashes and get drunk!)

I can know what I want for my future, and of course, it would be great if there was a partner in there.  There are still many things I want to accomplish and many experiences I would like to have–some of which would be better with a partner.  There’s a balance, isn’t there, in being self-sufficient yet being open to love?  Wanting to take responsibility of your future, yet knowing there are always things outside of one person’s control, whether in love or in life?  And trusting that no matter what happens, you will be okay.

One of the best lessons in love I’ve ever had was when I was making friends in college.  In high school and before, I bemoaned how unpopular and alone I was.  In college, I just decided to be me – and I made friends that I still have today.  The people who wouldn’t have liked me anyway, didn’t.  And the people who I could share a deep connection with found me.  But often, it was not the people I would have expected from the beginning.  The ones that have lasted over time were not the ones I would have predicted in my freshman year – but by being open, by flowing with what time unfolded, I found and grew with some beautiful people.

I am setting out my intentions on what I want to find in someone, and I am also putting out there what I have to offer someone.  My deal with the universe, if you will.  I know that someday, as some undefined point, I will find the loving relationship I seek.  Why?  Not because I deserve it, but because I am good at giving it.  If you could feel my heart, you could feel it too.  I love to love people.  I love to feel my heart blaze up like a thousand blazing suns.  And I know, somewhere, there is a great man that needs that light to fulfill his potential.  (Probably more than one, statistically.  I don’t believe in soul mates, but I believe there are many that could complement any one of us.)

What is the Lifespan of a Marriage?

So two of the internet people I follow closely, Steve and Erin Pavlina, have recently announced their separation after 15 years of marriage.  I’m not one to follow regular Hollywood celebrities, but I reacted the same way most people did about the Gosselins–stunned.  It was all very amicable, they’re just growing in different directions and have decided to split to pursue their individual goals.

It was interesting to read the forums the first couple of days, especially when it came to Steve and Erin’s kids.  There was a lot of debate about the impact on them, and frankly a lot of judgement.  But there were a couple of interesting takes on the whole concept of marriage. One person pointed to marriage as a societal more that developed as a way to economic stability, and is supported by religious and government authorities as a way to stabilize (and control) society.  I think that’s not a far off perspective, especially when you consider infidelity (I think there’s a lot of evolutionary biology mixed in with that issue) and fertility (i.e., you can’t tell when a woman is fertile, unlike, say a horse).

Another person also brought up that the whole “happily ever after” was a lot more possible when people died in their 30s.  Marriage would only last about 15-20 years before one of the parties died, and perhaps now that we all live so much longer, we are seeing more of the natural end of relationships.

I think 15-20 years may be the lifespan of a marriage, and when it comes to a turning point, various things can happen–the couple may be different but find they are still growing together, and so the relationship enters another phase.  Or the couple may decide that the relationship has reached it’s end and part ways.  Or the couple may realize they are no longer a match and decide to stay in it, out of fear or apathy, even if it is no longer a good fit.

I guess it all depends on how you look at it.  I, for one, do not believe in the idea of soul mates.  Six billion people in the world and somehow you’ll manage to be in the same geographical location as your future mate?  That does not make sense to me.  But I can believe in a soul connection, that we are fated to meet certain people that will help us on our journey–though they may be friends, ex-lovers, or a person we will marry.

I’ve been thinking a lot about souls lately.  I was Christian, agnostic, atheist, agnostic again, and now I don’t know what to call myself.  But I do believe in something more and I find I believe in reincarnation, though I never thought I would.  I also find that I believe the souls of children choose their parents, though of course they forget what they chose them for by the time they are incarnate.

So from that perspective, I look at Rowan and wonder what her soul wanted to learn, that it could learn from being our child.  And I wonder if we’ll meet again–I kind of think we will (and we have).  But then I’ll talk to my Mom–and I know this sounds horrible–and I’ll wonder if I’ll want to meet my parents again.  I did learn a lot growing up in that household, but as an adult, my path feels miles away from them.  I don’t feel like I have a strong connection to their souls at all.

To be frank, from their perspective the reason my very existence is hurtful is because not only will I die someday, but they will never see me again.  Because I’m not going to their heaven.   I understand that–I grew up with that belief though I no longer abscribe to it.

And then there is my current husband of this lifetime.  I do think there is a soul connection there.  Sometimes he is maddeningly my karmic mirror–showing me all the aspects of myself that I dislike.  But I look back at all the years we’ve had together, and how different we have both become from each other’s influence–there were definitely lessons worth learning there.  And certainly, as the father of my children, he was an excellent choice, no complaints there either.  But I think it is normal–and valid–to wonder if 5, 10, 20 years from now, will we still be on compatible paths?  After all, people aren’t static.  Will we still have things to teach each other?