A fellow New Englander (and thus subject to that special kind of guilt) E. B. White wrote that: I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.

Yesterday I quoted that dilemma to my class, and expanded it into three, adding the desire to heal one’s family.  My desire to improve the world causes me to create and be present in this class about doing movement work with kids; my desire to enjoy the world is currently expressed in my favorite art – that of dancing between wind and water on this startlingly beautiful coast.  With the boat practically snorting as it horses against the mooring pennant in the northwest breeze that is bringing clear blue air to our soggy, muggy souls, my yearning to saddle up and head to sea was a physical tug.

But my beloved is in a bad way, a sharp fall in her energy after being in the best shape she’s been in years, and this tug was the strongest of all.  By mid-afternoon I wasn’t responding well to any of these three prerogatives – not managing the class well, certainly not appreciative of the world’s beauty, and not attending to my shaky partner.  So I gave up on E. B.’s choices and went for the third, leaving the class for Jim to teach, leaving the students to handle Jim, and went to wrap my arms around my poor vertiginous wife.

After a doctor’s appointment to set up some tests came a phone call with the funny little man whose encyclopedic knowledge and voluble display of it hides a keen and sensitive observer, as well as a talented healer who knows the depths to which one may fall.  “Humble yourself” Quan said (he’s a student of mine, and outwardly unprepossesing) and I am glad I did, for he seems to have unwound one of those dilemmas / arguments / Gordian knots that every couple I know winds themselves up in – the neuroses winding together over the years, positions hardening into a fibroid in the otherwise fecund relationship.

In this long call, which on the surface was about the details of cranial nerves and capnagraphy, he actually performed an hypnotic induction that synthesized Quan’s and my points of view, leaving us both with hope and work to do, but we are whistling happy to do the work if we see a path forward.  It’s the blindness at the end of a cul-de-sac that drives us both crazy.

So this morning I no longer feel torn asunder – Quan will attend to the animals and people in her care, I will return whole-heartedly to class, appreciating the world on the way (the sailboat, alas, will have to wait for its exercise), and we will work together to a new way of handling handling our individual and dyadic system.

Integration – what we hope to induce with our work – comes from unexpected quarters in unsought ways; indeed, such baraka, such grace or blessing is hard to produce at will, even with years of training and experience.  But without humbling oneself – keep it in the first person, Tom, without humbling yourself – it is hard for God’s cannonballs of change to penetrate the oaken sides of our pride.

Thank the Lord the feminine is still alive in me.  With all I have to manage – or fancy I do, anyway – the masculine gods within me sometimes threaten the female gods with banishment, but this morning I feel the balance again and can approach the tripartite dilemma with inclusive arms.

Thank the Lord for women.


2 Responses to “Asunder”

  1. Quan Says:


  2. Sharon Says:

    The female is about letting go. Knowing nothing. “Humbling yourself.” SO much easier said than done. And I find myself doing this on behalf of you and Quan, and yes, me, this evening and for days to come. How freeing it is to know nothing at all. (From whence all knowledge comes). What a release from the burden of being in charge! Easier said than done, and tedious beyond belief to stay on it, but the more we exhort each other to let go of it all, ah, the freer we are, all in one.

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