Archive for the ‘love and laugh’ Category

Our Blended Family

Our Blended Family

 

Love is a Many Blended Thing

 

My friends laughed at me. “He’s so wrong. Move on,” they shouted.

“There’s a smoking gun behind his back, count on it,” my sister blurted.

“It’ll never work,” another said, always quick with the naysays. “You’re too different.”

“Don’t forget the religion thing,” a fellow yogini warned rolling her eyes.

It was true: my new heartthrob was all of what I wasn’t: a born again, meat eating jock, and a single father of two divorce-traumatized youngsters, a recipe for disaster for a person like me, they all said. I was a loner-artist, a lifelong yogini, and at times, known to be allergic to nurturing myself much less anyone else.

My meditation friends all agreed, even those espousing embrace-everyone’s-differences unanimously warned: Stay Away from Him.

But what can a girl do when her heart speaks a different language than the heedings of family and friends? Every time I tried breaking it off with him, and believe me, there were many as we seesawed in the Should We/Shouldn’t We dance, weighing feelings versus facts, clearly seeing the risks of following-our-bliss – I always ended up needing to know this man, even before I knew what he looked like.

It was his voice that first pierced the wall I’d neatly built around my heart.

All those years of trying, always trying, and in the end, failing at love, had left me fearful and cynical. I’d just determined that it would  take a harem of my own, filled with Speedo-clad yogic adepts, men who meditated as passionately as I and then made ravishingly sweaty, athletic love to me – plus a scholar of botany; and a musician, a harpsichordist, perhaps; and a scuba diving, round-the-world sailor to nicely sum up my multifaceted needs in a partner.

Just when I was working on envisioning my harem – Carter called.

~

He’d called because a friend of ours dared him.

“teZa has done what you now want to do, if I’m hearing you right,”  our mutual friend Elsbeth had told him. “She’s off booze and drugs for years now.”

Turns out, he and I had met Elsbeth at different spots in the Western Hemisphere. I met her when I lived in the West Indies and Elsbeth was a tugboat co-captain with five kids. I’d heard her mention Carter’s name a few times over the years I lived in Dominica, operating an island-trade business from there. Carter, back in the States after his own travels took him to South America, had known Elsbeth when he’d worked on her family’s ocean-going tug.

After each of our southern sojourns, he’d first gone to New York to make movies before ending up in Central Florida. The day of his call I was living in East Hampton, making millionaires’ gardens in between art works, enjoying the life of a finally sober, newly awakened seeker.

I picked up the phone that spring morning in the Hamptons. “Hi, This is Carter,” a deep voice resonated within me.

“Oh, I’ve heard of you from Elsbeth.”

Silence on the other line for a couple beats.

“Carter, you still there?”

“You don’t remember meeting me?”

I could hear my swallow, a loud cartoon balloon: “Gulp.”

Nonplussed, Carter related our first meeting, twenty years before, in the top floor Boston apartment I had, back at the beginning of my yearnings, before I knew that what I really was seeking was the inner glory, not the outer shimmers and gold rings dangling from the next adventure, next relationship, next career move. Change was my only career course back then, and I rapidly climbed its rungs of success.

But wait. I was Now sober. I’d been working on my shit for seven years already. It was the Now that drew me in like a fish on the line.

Something about this voice. This man. I didn’t recall him. How could I? I was obsessed with change back when he says we met, ever so briefly, two ships slinking past like far off shadows in an inky night.

“It happened. I never forgot meeting you because you sSshuned me,” he says.

My ear never heard such a sound! The way he pronounced his S’s, as if he whispered them but the rest of his words, plainly spoken. Every time he hit an “S” my belly throbbed. Something weird was getting activated in there. What the heck is going on? Is this guy a magician or something, I wondered.

We talked that first time, he from suburban Central Florida, where he’d gone to lick his wounds, he said, his tail between shaky legs after a disastrous marriage, bitter divorce, vicious custody battle, his first feature flopping and subsequent financial ruin.

“Oh – you have kids?” I repeated what mattered most to me.

With that spoken aloud, my breath got sucked away.

Never once had I identified myself as a breeder. If anything, as soon as kids came around, I’d make a mad dash for the nearest exit. On the phone, I’m confused for a moment in this Now. Should I listen, ecstatically as I had been, to this faceless, formless voice I don’t know, who’s hypnotizing me with his S’s, or should I quickly get off the phone?

“YesSs, my kidsSs are the lightsSs of my exisSstence,” Carter added.

I was his. With that one spellbinding proclamation, both in its content and mesmerizing effect, my heart double-jabbed, knocking all rationale within me senseless.

What followed was something I never dreamed possible. Instead of a harem, true love came for me: because I was ready. So I threw myself madly into the bowl of cherry-flavored S’s: Spiritual and Sensual fulfillment, and not so eaSy Sacrifice. The last was the hardest, but every sweet has a bitter note in its guarded recipe, otherwise the taste and sensation is dull, ordinary, noncommittal.

Within a few weeks I was on a plane to see Carter’s face for the first time. He remembered what mine looked like, he claimed. I didn’t need a face recognition program, if one had been available at that time, the early nineties, because I instantly remarked the beaming aura of light surrounding a tall man, whose features were blurred by a radiance of happiness as he stood in the back of a throng of greeters at the Tampa Airport.

We did our dance. We learned both our stories’ details, each of us coming together with a mixed bag of pre-existing conditions as every over thirty-something has slung over their shoulders.

After a long career making movies Carter was forced to throw it all over when money ran out and kids came along. Somewhere along the way he’d been born again, dunked in a gator pond, and now, as a full-custodial, single dad, was raising his kids to be committed Christians, like him.

Many phone calls ago, when he first mentioned the Jesus thing, I went quiet.

“Is there a problem?” Carter asked

“You know I’m not into religion, right? I love Jesus’ message of Universal Love, and Buddha’s before him and Mohammed’s after him, and the teachings of all the great illuminated beings, forever, everywhere. But I’m not keen on religion. That’s why meditation is my path. I’m a believer of God-is-Energy and the Oneness-of-All: that’s who I am. To me, religion appears to be as quixotic to modern humankind, as fatal as misused politics. Too much bloodshed over both of these. I’m apolitical and nonreligious – but I’m the biggest lover of Spirit who experiences God as Nature, and the interconnectedness of all. You have a problem with any of this, Carter?”

“Naw, as long as you love the Power beyond all understanding, I don’t care what you call Him.”

“Him, Her, or It.”

“Okay. Agreed. But I call him Jesus. That’s my bag. Agreed.”

“Agreed.”

Other differences popped up. To each challenge I said,

“Okay, got it. Weird, but, hey! – it’s your bag. You really live in suburbia?”

“That’s where the courts said I have to be, for the kids’ sake. This is where I grew up. Believe me, I hate it. We’ll move as soon as I regroup and replenish the coffers.”

My stomach did a flip when he told me: “I’m a Republican fiscally, but socially a Democrat.”

“Well I’m a nothing-can and a never-crat. Agree to let me be nonpolitical? I’m a spiritual activist, and on my path we do just as much as any campaigner ever has.”

“Agreed.”

Our many differences couldn’t shut off the steam valve that fed my love mojo. I wanted him. I needed him. His S’s went deep into my heart, soul and spirit. His easy laughter uplifted me, more than anyone or anything had my entire life. He was my harem of a dozen, rolled into one gorgeous, honest-to-God human being, despite his antediluvian political and religious affiliations, the exact opposite of mine.

When I met his kids, aged two and four, I fell triply in love.

The smoking gun?

“Well, you should know, teZ, that my ex-wife is a bit off balanced. She accused me of terrible things trying to win the kids in court. The judge ended up not giving her even joint-custody. In the end, her false charges only backfired.”

Soon after that plane ride to see for myself how a man who spoke a spell of S’s could have captured my restless heart – and discovered for myself that he was, indeed, all my imagined perfect mates, my harem, all rolled into one huge hunk of a sensitive-man package, despite his peculiar bags – I began to wonder if we possibly could make it together, being so different. He was willing to compromise; so was I.

After a lot of pre-marital counseling that preceded and followed our string of breakups in the next two years – we both held our noses and took the dive. None of our family or friends thought we’d make it.

The challenges of our differences is what makes our blended family so similar to so many others in our blended world culture these days. And they are exactly what has led Carter and me, and our now-grown children to become four better, mostly healed, tremendously more balanced individuals.

All our differences, instead of cement roadblocks, have been inspiring boosters, enticers, guiding Lights leading Carter, the kids, and me – our blended family, like humankind’s global blended family, also – to discover what really matters.

That Acceptance is the real power of Love.

On our way to the airport driving son cully who’s joining daughter Fonya in
Missoula Montana where she and her new hubby Kurt live. This is my first post using my iPhone. Testing you might say. Guess later I’ll upload some art but let’s try a photo from my phone okay? Here’s our christmas tree in St Augustine.

hi beloved,
 
i’m glad to hear from you! such a busy time, not just the holidaze, but … this life of ours! everyone is so busy, and that’s good, but i must always take time out to stay in touch with my beloveds.
angelic-interpretati191688
 
ahhhh, the storms and the troughs of life, especially family life.
right now carter and i are in the pleasant place of having-finished-one-crisis and not yet involved in the next, soon-to-come. because that’s what life is all about, isn’t it? one “challenge” or “crisis” or “break-through” or “life-turn” or … “coincidence”… so many ways life can happen to us and it changes us. throws us off our center.  or — challenges us in how well we’ve been practicing keeping centered, within.
 
for me, i find i can’t believe i’ve earned such bliss.  truly hope this doesn’t sound corny, and i know the shoe is probably gonna drop as soon as I verbalize my inner feelings (just as whenever i “used to” say to a friend, “oh, i haven’t been sick for years”—blam!–right then, i get sick. so i’m whispering this … but i have to say it … that all the work i’ve done has finally paid off. whatever happens around me, be it wondrous or horrendous–i seem to be able to maintain my center, my equilibrium, or, as we say in yoga, “equipoise.”
 
the dance of yes and no

the dance of yes and no

our xmas was the mellowest we’ve ever had! why, you ask? because we had no kids around … yeah! no, i’m no scrooge, we just needed a break after 20+ years of kid-raising, and now they’re off on their own (phew!). we had absolutely no company staying over, and it was just us for xmas dinner, carter and lordflea, doing what we love to do, and sharing it with my mom and a couple relatives we never get to see, my cousins Jean and Bill.  mom, who has recovered very nicely from her scary TIA, picked our Christmas feast guests, as she is, after all, the matriarch of our family. i had had 16 of my friends over for thanksgiving, and mom almost didn’t show (“i don’t know any of those people!” she complained and hurrumphed and tried to get out of coming). so this xmas dinner, her 90th on planet Earth, and to be served at our woods-surrounded house, which i named upon moving in: “Veritas Shambho”–mom was the one to delegate whom was invited.  so…we had a mellow xmas by design of there being only a few relatives living around here, in st. augustine.  we were 5 adults, not a single child (Xmas is for kids! that’s my gift-giving mandate!).  we had no razzle dazzle tree or any other kind of decorations up, but we always have xmas lights up outside, all year round. because to me, everyday is the celebration of a Great Being (me! you! everyone!), and everyday is about sharing Love, demonstrating and expounding on friendship, trust, hope.  our turkey and fixin’s, collard greens and apple pie dinner this year was tenderly sweet and calm. Elvis sang to us in the background. being together was all the good things a ritual of peace is supposed to be.  and for that i am grateful.
50th anniversary of the PEACE sign

50th anniversary of the PEACE sign

 
this year, calm. we soaked in the silence of bells and carols and elvis’ blue christmas, and loved every second of it. it’ll probably be our last quiet xmas for years to come, as fonya, our daughter, is moving back east from montana this june for chiropractic school, with kurt her new husband and maya, their new labrador pup. we’ll have tons of family from now on, for both thanksgiving and xmas, and every other event in between. but i’m going to continue to invite my “distanced-from-family” friends for one of the fall-winter feasts, probably thanksgiving. we had a very celebratory event in our house.
 
cully, our son, is moseying his way up to our house, or maybe not, the 28th. we’re leaving it very loosey goosey with him, to visit or not. he’s busy with getting the best grades of his life in school, his wigged-out bio-mom he spent xmas with, and now is camping out somewhere with friends. he needs to chill. he doesn’t need to visit us unless he wants to, we keep telling him. but i hear when he shows he’ll be lugging with him about 300 pounds of wild hog that he killed down in the woods of Hardee County, and is taking up to his college (u. of fl. in gainesville) to provide the meat for a Wildlife Club bbq.  ahhhhh, cully boy….such a woodsman, and a hunter with a heart. we need wildlife biologists like him to help us protect the species of our endangered wilds.
carter gave me a string of delicious looking “chocolate pearls”…. for my b’day, the week before xmas! i might eat them instead of wearing them, being a choco-holic. yes, i’m a sag, how did you guess? wow, are these little glow-orbs gorgeous. of course i picked them out, and told hubby darling where to go and buy them. and for the record my age is sexy-one, having been born in the auspicious year of  ’47 (india freed from briton, israel created by UN; my teacher’s teacher, Baba Muktananda, received initiation from Nityananda; and–let’s not forget! we had visitors from “somewhere out there” in Roswell, New Mexico, when the great cover up about extraterrestrials began in ernest). carter and i didn’t exchange gifts for this xmas, because we agreed ahead that this year was special. we wanted to just celebrate the Love, the Spirit, and not the gift-giving of the season. we did give each other promises of fantastic massages to come, in the future (we do ourselves, have since marrying 17 yrs. ago!). and at the beginning of xmas morning– this day when Christians around the globe, and anyone else who wants to join in, celebrates the birth of the Great Being who brought Love instead of hate, forgiveness instead of retribution–carter and i spoke of our love to each other, and our ….blah blah blah. i know, you think it sounds corny. well, it may to some, but we are addicted to love. we’re also in the habit of vocalizing our love for each other most days, as a reminder of our Great Good Fortune at first having found love, and secondly, to continue to nurture, protect, and honor our love, our marriage. 
the love of mother and child, in planetary proportions

the love of mother and child, in planetary proportions

on xmas morning we both felt utterly filled with the spirit of celebrating the birth of a great being. who brought LOVE to the world, as a reminder in that dark time. and we try to emulate Christ, as we do all Great Beings.
 
yes, i am absolutely positutely so excited about the thrill of obama-rama. i’m just jumping out of my skin with hope, and believe this is the beginning of a new era for all humankind. glory be!
 
love and Light to you and yours, teZ
ps. oh….we’re into the second day of a 10-day cleanse, so eating is not big on our minds for the beginning of the year. as always, i try to begin the year as i want it to go…prayerfulness, mind-ful, creative, friends! we’re dancing with friends tomorrow night, and for new years’ day i, as always, get together with my siddhayogis and listen to the lesson we’re to concentrate on, directly from our teacher. it’s a longstanding siddha yoga tradition. come join our circle!
another gift from me to you, to think about at the ending of one thing (a year) and the beginning of another (the next):
the wave of power

the wave of power