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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Seeing with a different eye

I was on the phone with my sweetie who lives away, chatting about this and that, and she said, “I got hit on today.  He was a nice looking guy and when I said I was going away for the weekend he asked me to take him with me.”

“Did you want to take him with you?”

“I don’t know.  He was kind of cute.  But I said to him – and you’re not going to like this -- I said to him, “Go ask your wife.”

Sweetie was referring to the fact that I don’t appreciate when people ask my wife what kind of relationship they’re allowed to have with me.  I know it’s the usual way partnerships are arranged but not mine; and I often feel like the odd one out when I share that I’m in charge of my relationship decisions.  To me it seems like the adult way to be, but I often see with a different eye, walk a different path.

Before my sweetie and I started to get intimate, to my annoyance she asked my wife if it was OK for us to play.  She doesn’t want to encroach on a sister’s ‘property’.  To the vast majority of folks I meet it just seems ‘natural’ for there to be an ownership between couples, and when hooking up, the first thing to deny themselves is permission to love freely.

Anyway to get back to my story, when she told him to go ask his wife, he hemmed and hawed. 

“And then guess what he said next,” she asked me.  “You’ll laugh.”


“He said, ‘She’d never say yes.  She loves me too much.’”

I did laugh a bit, not because it was funny but because she knew if she ever asked me the same question my response would be, “I’d never say no.  I love you too much.”

Maybe in the next blog I’ll write about what love is for me.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Heart

Someone wrote to me, "Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone"

When someone decides for me who I am, I usually get triggered. Ms Stone didn't say "my", she said "your".  So I got to thinking about my children.

My wife wanted a baby, and then didn't, and then did, etc.  I was easy either way.  One day she said the reason she waffles is that I wasn't committed to one way or the other.  So I said, "OK, I'll commit to one way or the other."  I think she thought I would say let's not.  But instead I said we're going to have a baby, and I stuck to that, making sure it happened through her continued waffling until Christopher was born, thirty five years ago on Christmas Day.

When my wife and I broke up, Christopher came with me.  Does my heart walk around outside my body?  That doesn't seem a fitting metaphor for me.  I love him and my heart is open to him, just as my heart has made a huge space for my step-granddaughter, Ava, who basically lives with us.  And... my heart is mine; mine to burst with the thrill of love and break with the pain of loss, to feel pride and shame, to feel compassion and fear.

Over all I'm responsible for what my heart does, and it goes where I go. To picture my heart outside my body conjures implications of loss of choice, and abdication of responsibility. 

And that's me.  I love it when people talk about themselves.


Thursday, June 9, 2011


I was asleep, alone in my room in the darkness of night.  My mother, who had been dead for several years, appeared in the doorway.  Was I asleep, was I awake?  I cannot say.  She looked at me and said, “It’s your father.”

By now I was surely awake, and checked the clock.  4 AM.  It would be midnight in California.  My logical brain said, “Don’t be silly.  You can call in the morning.”  And so I waited.

At 7 AM Pacific time I dialed my father’s number.  He answered.   

“How are you?” I asked.  “Fine,” he said.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Relaxing Fear

I recently received a Facebook post that described someone running terrified into the house because there was a snake in the garden.   My heart sank for a bit, but then I recovered.  People are people.  But just in case anyone is willing to stretch or risk a different picture, to throw off some fear, here's a little picture story Diana and I made for Ava at two years old.  Fear, or lack of it, has to be taught.  And I'd rather teach caring when it comes to our reptile friends.  Click on this url to see the picture story.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Love on my birthday

Ah so many lovely birthday wishes.  I especially liked the e-card that said, "If you care enough to click."   :-)

A friend wrote, questioning their love-ability, and I'm getting so much love from you guys right now, it prompted me to answer.  So here's what I wrote about love.

Hi S,

Everyone I say this to knows it already but I'll say it anyway:  What
other people think of me is none of my business.

It goes more to the (fruitless) question, what if they don't like me,
but I find it true as well for those that judge me positively.  Oh don't
get me wrong.  I bathe myself in folks' appreciation (today being my
birthday and the cyber world what it is, I'm getting lots of love) but I
don't spend much time deciding if their love is misplaced.  Suppose it
is... I don't care.  I'd rather just soak it up.  Now maybe you would
call me indiscriminate.  OK.  If it means accepting more love I'll
cultivate my lack of discrimination.

For me, the above is what I call loving myself.  It's not about judging
myself, either positively or negatively.  I was going to say it's also
not about judging others... I realize I do judge others.  But I'm not
going to castigate myself for it.  I do find myself laughing at myself
from time to time.  Self love is about letting myself off the hook and
opening myself to love.

I want to tell you that I felt like I'd failed my first Level two:
"Loving Oneself".  I got in touch with all my insecurities, the defenses I
use to separate myself, the pain of not being picked, my anger, my
jealousy, my paranoia.  It all came to the fore.  A few days later I had lunch with Stan Dale who created the HAI workshop and told him all this.  His response was, "Wow, Eric, you really got it didn't you?  You took Level Two right to your core."

His statement started me on a new adventure, an exploration of self
along a divergent path where the sights to see are all my
'shortcomings'.  I'm still on it and loving it.

S, you know I love you.  My request is don't look to see if I'm
making a mistake, or misguided, or if I'm actually so perceptive it must
be true.  True shmoo false schmaltz.  My request is take it and use it
to feel good.


Eric Nagler
597214 2nd Line W
Shelburne, ON, L0N1S7
519 925 5902
519 925 0009 (day)