Week 18

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You move as a unit...the penis...stays all the way in the vagina and the bodies rotate and move about this primary connection...any number of positions can be found. In fact with every centimeter you move, your bodies configure into a new position. (Richardson,D 2003:132)

In school, you're taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you're given a test that teaches you a lesson. - Tom Bodett

Prologue

Week 18 is a week finds us on the one hand celebrating our progress, but find the week in general to be dominated by crisis. I see this as a Test, but maybe i'm a masochist. Anyway can the balance and harmony engendered by our karezza journey help us withstand external crises and personal weakspots? Do i, in adversity, become better acquainted with himself? Hopefully.

Tuesday 11

Had a couple of good long walks in the weekend.

Last night she was a bit fragile from the burdens of life, and yet in spite of the presence of visitors still managed to be affectionate and reached out to offer to hold me on the couch at one point. Then in bed the same, when normally she would be shrinking inside herself with worry, she allows me to hold her. Again in the morning, instead of getting up, i stay in bed for a half hour to hold her close. As a general rule i no longer get erections when we cuddle, although this morning i did briefly, but it feels undemanding. I tell her she makes me happy.

There’s two things going on with qigong. One, my legs are struggling to keep up with the new series. On one hand they say to persevere in increments, but on the other they say not to cause pain. So I’m not sure there. The other is that as my breathing becomes more natural, it feels like my lungs can’t provide enough air to satisfy my belly. I know this sounds odd, but that’s what it feels like. I’ve had the briefest and lightest of head colds the last couple of days that consisted of about 3 coughs, and 5 croaks. Its felt strange like a cold that isn’t a cold. It will be interesting to see if qigong actually has any noticeable effects on my health.

Day 120 PM0:4,23,10, Post O Me/her:8 days/38days, POST PVI/Other: 2 days

Wednesday 12

Outside in the cool clear morning, qigong takes on a whole new beauty. I’m holding Cohen's/Chen's second position, when a (normally skittish) wild hare comes to visit me. I’m standing like a tree, amongst the trees, the rising sun at my back. The hare comes to rest just above the shadow of my head. It sits there square on to me, upright, ears pointy, calm, watching me for about 10 minutes. Then my little friend takes a circuit around me, then wanders nonchalantly away.

Yes, there’s definitely something changing in my breath. The way the belly inflates feels more obvious, dramatic. That’s the best i can describe it at the moment. I’m on decidedly new ground.

She arrives home in a right state. I’ve never seen her like this i don’t think. She looks like a zombie, and basically ignores me, heads straight to her laptop and immerses herself there. I’m sort of pacing about the house tidying and temporarily adrift. I’m aware of wanting to leave her to it [ie. flee], but once that registers i get some resolve. I have to literally man handle her so that i can hold her from behind while she fusses pointlessly on the laptop. I massage her neck and back, and then brush her hair at length, she’s trying to ignore me but cant. My attention is slowly seeping in, but its like inflating one of those awful air beds, nothing seems to happen for ages, then slowly slowly a vestige of smile forms. She finally tells me about her woes, a nasty combination of things happening in her world. Family, work all conspiring.

As much as these circumstances are quite a bit to have on a worry-worts shoulders, its a macrocosm or larger version of how she normally lives her life. So oddly its familiar to me, even if larger than life. Eventually she falls asleep in my arms, me holding her tightly, about 8. I take her to bed, mindful that tonight's date has gone very very pear shaped. I assume the point of the schedule is to make sure it happens especially when we don't feel like it. In my mind we have three choices, a) try to get her to just even connect and sleep, b) do something small in the morning, c) postpone til tomorrow. On the other hand maybe the best thing i can do to hold the helm is give her some space, and try to stay out of it.

She’s awake now and i start to mention some of this, but she just looks blankly out into space. I ask her what she’s thinking and she says about all the things i have to do. I say to look at me, which she does reluctantly, but as we gaze into each others eyes, she’s kind of there, but not there, definitely in pain. I remind her to take each problem at a time, when each arrives, no point worrying now about things that haven’t actually happened yet, or those things already fait acompli. Still conflicted i turn the light out when she promises to sleep and not lay awake worrying. But she does lay awake worrying and i lay there regretting my decision to let it slip.

Darryl's admonition for the males of the world to grow a spine, and my ardent support of same, is all too fresh in my mind. I know thats my Big Challenge. I am a wimp, thats the reality. I ponder this as we eventually drop off to sleep the date awash in a sea of silent emotion.

I wake abruptly at 4.30, get up and meditate til 5.

I’m all too ready to transfer my want of firm helm into her rejection of me. I can almost see how it could happen, how its trying to happen. It’s fascinating actually. Painful but fascinating! This is all a test upon our newfound stability, and I’m not sure that I’m entirely prepared.

Day 121 PM0:4,23,10, Post O Me/her:9 days/39days, POST PVI/Other: 3 days

Thursday 13

I make the uneasy decision to post something on reuniting about what’s going on. I’m supposed to be tough, i don’t need help, who me, I’m not vulnerable, for a male isn’t that the all american way? The replies mean a lot to me, and are right on, of course.

I did manage to tell her before she left for work that i would make sure we have some time together tonight, despite the fact that we were supposedly having guests. I'm not sure how much strength i have. I also found out yesterday my fathers prostate cancer has spread and he’s been given 6 months. I’m not close to him, and file this to deal with later.

I wouldn’t say i was toppled exactly, but am certainly distracted or flat all day and if it were not for the sensible decision to go work outside straight off, that i would probably have got nothing done all day. After lunch i look at chainsaw websites, the male equivalent of shoe shopping. Finally a little work work around 3-5. Dealing with clients snaps me back into a world where people aren’t stressed.

Then when she arrives home, she’s in a different mood. She’s stuffed it down somehow, and has put on a face of 'professional' 'ok', or as they used to say in the nineties, 'fine'. I stall a bit but finally ask the people who were coming for dinner for a raincheck. It’s a bit uneasy, I’ve had to be staunch.

Once in the bath her angst all returns, and it’s a short bath. For her, now, stopping itself is problematic. And she is yawning prolifically, doesn’t want to do any breathing exercises, and flops on the bed and stares out into space. I can get her to look at me for a bit then she develops a sore neck. We do talk some, and i tell her what some qigong writer said about thinking about a smile, about how infectious it is in terms of body relaxation.

In time, she sees that I’m just here for her, and starts to relax. I read her chapter 14. We laugh about how we’ve already mastered chapter 14, before we even read it. I kiss her and that seems to do the trick. She perks up, stops yawning for a while, and we manage a half hour connected. I don’t think she’s doing it for me, and i don’t think I’m doing it for me, both know that it will be good for us as a whole. I can tell when she’s done and get scissors sorted. She goes out like a light bulb, and still connected i lay and watch over her for a half hour.

When we wake up at 5, i try to cuddle with her, but she’s resistant. I ponder all the things this incident has shown me, about her, about me and about us. It really has been an almost laboratory grade opportunity to study some of the core dynamics of our relationship up close. Specifically how when shes stressed she retreats, and it doesn’t mean anything in particular about how she feels about me, as i have all too often wrongly interpreted. The difference is that we are now experiencing this from an unusually stable baseline space, created by our four month karezza journey. Previously she was pretty much like this 24/7, and taking it personally was more or less inevitable.

Of course i know something about retreated family members well. I had plenty of them. Both in person and those literally departed.

20 minutes of qigong seems an eternity. My jaw is set firm and my tongue not gently resting but thrust onto the upper palette. Thoughts form in abundance. But its kind of a louie style reflection and my thoughts are gently on my progress.

I realise that this is day 10 of my third reboot, and so far there’s no withdrawal symptoms at all. Nothing, except if you count that excuse of a head cold. It’s like with usb ports, with mini-b just when you thought they couldn’t make them any smaller they come up with micro-b. 45 days, brief interlude, 30 days, brief interlude. Where to now i wonder?

Day 122 PM0:4,23,10, Post O Me/her:10 days/40days, POST PVI/Other: 1 days

Friday 14

Kind of a silly question really. But maybe the answer will turn out to be that all this training to overcome my stubborn PMO addiction will turn out to be useful in learning to manage my response to my beloveds disappearing behavior.

I had a good day, but feeling a bit tired, and a bit behind with work and need to apply myself to avoid letting people down. She comes home after a 'frustrating day' a day where nothing goes right. She hits the wine and falls asleep in my arms at 7. I put her to bed at 8, when she asks me for my laptop, she left hers at work. I don’t know what i was thinking, it caught me off guard, after all thursday is date night, but i gave it to her without comment. That was a mistake, not one that i will soon repeat. She consumes an hour on facebook reading inane sound bites from near strangers, while I’m laying beside her quietly fuming.

We hadn’t discussed it, but given the events of the last two days, i had sort of assumed that our wednesday date was in lieu of both tuesday and thursday. But here was an hour where it could easily have occurred. I roll over and bury my head in the covers. She asks me if I’m mad at her, and just say that the light is bright.

But after rising at 4, i ponder what a good opportunity this is to examine my reaction to this recurring rejection pattern. After all, the last two days show pretty graphically what’s happening for her. She’s just doing what she does when stressed. Healthy or otherwise its her business. And it was me who let the date go, so i have no one to blame but myself.

The lesson learned, for now, is that holding the helm means learning to be firm with her [ed. ok i haven’t got it yet], to make sure we connect in at least some way, regardless of whether she’s present or zombified. I need to find the strength for this, she needs the tlc, and our relationship needs the balance and stability. So its a no brainer. But... there’s also a hurt laying buried in me, that remains ever illusive. [ed. uhuh]

After some reflection, the kind that only 5am quiet allows, i imagine how as an adult that i can either help manage the behavior from my loved ones drama [ed. or my own] and the resulting 'neglect', or i can seek other sources of comfort. In other words i have choices. Not so as a child, neither of those options were open to me.

Day 123 PM0:4,23,10, Post O Me/her:11 days/41days, POST PVI/Other: 2 days

Saturday 15

This all gets worse before it gets better. I should have listened to enlightenmentgirl, and others advising to just let her work it out.

After she got up yesterday i go to her, give her a big hug and tell her some of what I’m thinking about my lab experiment, about how I’m learning from this, but she doesn’t like being a science experiment, finds a single word to react to, and we end up arguing about me adding to her woes. I guess given the history it was inevitable that i wouldn’t be able to stay out of it for ever.

We part both of us very upset, this contrasting dramatically with the preceding several months of harmony. I skip qigong because i suspect that ill just worry through it, and instead go do some work outside for the morning. By the time i come inside, almost all of my clients without exception are all trying to get hold of me.

When she comes home she looks like someone who has stuffed all of this and more down. Frankly she looks like she’s ready to explode. She desperately tries to bury herself in her laptop again. I ask her if that’s really what she needs to be doing, and recognising that she might just well hurl the thing, miraculously she does put it down. There are tears forming, which she quickly wipes away.

When in the bath there’s more yelling and for my part at least i have her attention, she’s engaged. Her, 'You cant possibly know what this job is like, how everyone is so demanding, i just need some time to myself without you taking it personally'. Me, 'our relationship has to come before our jobs'. But as we argue, we both gradually deflate, until we are talking quietly. Its mostly me making the concessions, there’s just too many good clues in there to ignore, to stubbornly stick to my indignant hurt. For a start i don’t miss the fact that the comment above about at least i have her attention is very childlike. Then she hits me with, 'its like you think that when i retreat ill never come back'. The inarguablility of this strikes me, and i figure ill never crack this if i don’t accept such gifts of common sense and clarity from a person who is just so way off balance. 'You didn’t plan the schedule disruptions properly', i take on board not as, why was it my responsibility, but as, if i wanted to be firm then that was a good a place as any to use it, making sure the schedule renegotiatons occurred smoothly.

For the first time in 3 days she begins to look semi-animated, de-zombiefied. Ironically our fight seems to have done her some good. For her part she says that expressing her feelings is something she’s been afraid to do in case her SO leaves. I missed the significance of that at the time. I’m kind of glad she got to yell now. I think we have both grown up some more this week.

Day 124 PM0:4,23,10, Post O Me/her:12 days/42days, POST PVI/Other: 3 days

Sunday 16

Its saturday, Im up at my favorite hour, and enjoying a good qigong session, finally completing all 4 sequences in turn. The four stages all play a role, warming up, purification, building qi, and spreading qi. Until yesterday i didn’t even know that the fourth stage existed, its taken me so long to work through the first 3. I probably wouldn’t have had the strength to sustain them anyway.

At 6.30am I’m almost done when she starts getting fidgety, is about to reach for the laptop, so i go to her, slightly earlier than we'd agreed. As she has work commitments on sunday we had previously agreed to move sunday morning to saturday morning. The miracle of all this is that she hasn’t spat the dummy and completely relinquished all commitment to the schedule. I interpret that, and it’s very much confirmed after our session, as that it has become too valuable to her to let go of.

We have a lovely session as good as any previous. We discover, in the pursuit of movement and comfort, a couple more position variants. I’ve given up cataloging them all, positions between other positions, momentary snapshots in time of a dance of limbs. She’s smiling the whole time, and incredibly relaxed inside, which feels so nice. By 8.30am we are done, such efficiency, we laugh, as she gets on with her day of home work.

I reflect on how the role of my penis has changed, how i feel about it has changed. There’s a new association forming between it and the wonderful sensation of being truly connected with her. That’s got to be a good thing, no?

I do some practical tasks to help her out in the morning, then sleep away the afternoon... again, its the second day in a row. She’s happy to have completed her work, and come evening we watch adjustment bureau and i offer to hold her, but shes adamant she wants to hold me. She's buoyant in spite of all that’s going on. All is well in the world of mr and ms treehouse for now.

Day 125 PM0:4,23,10, Post O Me/her:13 days/43days, POST PVI/Other: 1 days

Epilogue

There’s lots going on and my writing this week is likely somewhat incoherent. On Sunday I find out some more about my childhood from my mother which will likely be the subject of next weeks post. But it’s also more and more likely that my beloveds mother will die soon and the subsequent travel will disrupt posting, work and life in the near future. Thanks reuniters for just being here. Thinking about you all beavering away endeavouring to make your relationships more harmonious will keep me going I am sure.

Topic:

Comments

Masterful persistence

even in the face of stiff head winds. It certainly sounds like you're both making progress on several fronts. Once you really get it that she's not rejecting you...and she really gets it that those lovemaking sessions are "meds" for her stress, you'll save yourselves a lot of unnecessary angst.

Sounds like you'll be there sooner than you think.

Whether he's close or not, I'm sorry about your dad (and your sweetheart's mother). Expect to be affected more than you think, and be gentle with yourselves accordingly.

thank you

I so enjoy reading about your journey. I am sorry about what life is handing you and your beloved right now. 

I reflect on how the role of my penis has changed, how i feel about it has changed. There’s a new association forming between it and the wonderful sensation of being truly connected with her. That’s got to be a good thing, no?

That is a very good thing! The penis can have great healing power inside your lover, for sure. And that connection, well...it is in a real sense, to me, the divine.

Open and close cycle

This is something that might help.

All people go through cycles of being open and receptive to others, and cycles where they would prefer to be turned inward and dealing with stuff on the inner level.

My wife has some days in which she is happy, outgoing and affectionnate. She has other days where she is closed off and wants to be left alone. Those phases always pass if I leave her be. However, if I try to force her to open up when she wants to be turned inward, it never goes well and I never get what I wanted out of it.

This is one area in which I may be swimming against the current on this site, but I do not believe that people should be forced to connect when they do not want to. Even if there is a schedule that is agreed to, people should always have the right to say no, I don't want to do that right now. I would rather be alone.

When my wife is in a closed off state I have learned that the best response is to just give her space. I don't try to manage her state, and I do not pass judgement on it. I just let her do what she needs to do and I manage my own state. It usually does not take her long to figure out that my positive mood is better than the mood she has gotten herself into. Then she will come to me, on her own terms, and seek to connect. She can use me to pull herself back up ... when she wants to. If she does not want to, there is nothing that I can do about it.

I like to think of it in the sense that I am a warm and radiant sun of positive energy. I shine on everyone, but not everyone wants that sunlight. If they want it, they bask in it. If they don't want it, it dosent matter. The sun does not stop shining just because the people are all indoors. It shines because shining is what it does.

When my wife wants to be with me, I will shine my love on her. When she wants to be alone, I will leave her alone. That is her business. The sun does not drag people outside to enjoy its light. I will not try and force my wife to open to me, but neither will I close up. The shop is always open. The customers come when they want to come.

I really like the 100/0 rule from Margaret Ruth's book Super-Conscious Relationships. I have 100% responsibility for my own life and my own happiness. I have zero responsibility for anyone else's life or happiness. It might sound selfish, but it is also very true. I cannot control my wife's internal state. Even if I tell myself that I am doing it for her own good, it still dosen't work. I cannot make her want to make love with me. If I try to drag her toward her own happienss (according to me) then I am trying to put my hands into her internal state. That is not my business.

Margaret Ruth also says that in relationship, the best that anyone can ever do is to take care of their own 50% of the relationship. You can control what you put into the relationship. You cannot control what the other person offers in exchange.

The challenge here is to take 100% responsibility for own happiness, accept that you have 0% responsibility for hers, and then ensure that your 50% of the relationship is steeped in love and acceptance for her and yourself. Let your wife own her 50% of the relationship and 100% of her own internal state. Let her do whatever she feels that she needs to do with it.

The mind jumps in and says "what if she is being very negative or closed off with her 50%? Am I just supposed to put up with that?"

That is where you need to trust David Schnarch and his thoughts on the crucible of relationships. The purpose of relationships is not to fullfill us or make us secure. The purpose of relationships is to grow us up. The obstacles and challenges that we face in intimate relationships are exactly what we need to experience in order to push through our personal fears and grow as human beings. It is often true that the very things that we most dislike about our spouses are the things that poke verty sharply at our own insecurities and fears. They trigger in us the things that need to be triggred. That is why they irritate us so much.

David Schnarch also says that when one person changes, the relationship changes. If you are managing 100% of your own state and your 50% of the relationship to be loving and positive then it will become increasingly difficult for your wife to stay closed off. Even though you are not doing anything overt, you are putting tremendous pressure on her. Unbalanced relationships are very uncomfortable to be in for both people. She will do something to try and restore balance. If you are firm in your desire to be mature and loving then she will not (despite many unconscious attempts) be able to drag you back into the old modes that she is comfortable with. Therfore, she will have no choice but to move in the positive direction that you are going in.

These are fundamental laws of how relationships work. You cannot force another person to change, no matter how hard you try. However, you can put enormous pressure on them to change simply by changing your self.

This all sounds good, and yet

it's the kind of logic that leads psychologists to tell couples to "deal with their own libido by masturbating more." As you've figured out, that isn't very conducive to finding the synergy possible between mates. I realize you figured out that latter part, but it's not easy to figure that out using this formula.

Honestly, I like having a mate who can let me know when I'm off course, out of balance...or need to go make love. For me, that's part of the gift of a trusting relationship.

Not saying your advice is bad, just that other approaches may have merit too.

Schnarch and schedules

I got quite excited by David Schnarch a few years ago and read all of his books. Overall, I found his ideas truly original and thought provoking. However, I also found there was an undercurrent of agressivity and need for confrontation in his approach that was altogether less appealing. He talks a lot about 'normal marital sadism', reaching 'gridlock' and 'going through the crucible', so it isn't altogether surprising that on the forum devoted to his work there are a lot of couples (or, more commonly, individuals within committed relationships) going through pain. 

What perhaps is surprising is how much agononising goes on and yet how few breakthroughs seem to be made, despite herculean efforts. The online dialogues can be fascinating, as they are in Schnarch's books; but without his brilliant interventions, people seem to be floundering with his concepts of 'standing up for themselves', 'self soothing' and, most of all, 'differentiation' in their pursuit of the Scharchian ideal of "wall socket sex". As often as not, one person changing his or her appraoch causes an antipathetic or even antagonistic rersponse from his or her partner that furthers rather than lessens their discord. 

My conclusion is that some of his ideas - 'hugging till relaxed', 'heads on pillows while eye gazing' and 'open rather than closed eyed intercourse' - are easy enough to put into practice and can be very helpful; but most of the detailed, truly transformative stuff requires a razor sharp, objective mind to unravel. It's also disconceerting to discover that very few professionals use his approach - perhaps because it's so hard to implement.

I can't help but compare and contrast it to this forum, where remarkable transformations seem to occur with a minimum of fuss through behavioural changes that anyone can do with nothing more than quiet determination and persaverence, and where venemous confrontation is at an absolute minimum.

Concerning schedules, whether for sex or cuddling. I've always felt they should be accorded the same seriousness as anything else on the calendar. If individuals are sufficiently out of sorts to want to avoid dinner engagements, trips to the cinema, regular gym sessions, an agreed game of tennis, a cycle ride, or even - and perhaps most pertinently -  the TV screen - then maybe drop the date. Otherwise, I think it should be kept, assuming it was agreed on beforehand by both parties. I think considering sex and closeness to be a special case, a subject to be tiptoed around, is a mistake.

Thanks guys

I've enjoyed reading your replies, especially as i am so very far from home.

Louie, of all the veritable arsenal of reading you've recomended i most enjoyed superior man. Its a hard message and one im learning to take gently. If that makes any sense. I hope you can give karezza a chance. Its a subtle thing and works a level of magic well beyond its words.

Sood, yes i got the same from Schnarch. Not much to go on for the average person. Also schedule, thanks i think thats a balanced view. We carried on with the schedule right throughout the funeral arrangements, and i honestly belief its keeping her upright. We did lose a day going over the date line though, lol.

>Once you really get it that she's not rejecting you...and she really gets it that those
>lovemaking sessions are "meds" for her stress

Marnia, once again your elegant conciseness is our guide. Thank you! (Big hug too:)

By way of update i wont be posting week 19 and probably 20, as theres too much going on. But just to let you all know that despite my beloveds mother passing away, and being in a foreign place and culture that is quite challenging, away from all our familiar routines and home comforts, things are nonetheless going well for us. Whenever she looks like her blood pressure is rising i just plonk myself into her gaze and we breath together for a minute and she goes on recharged. I can play footsie under the table, as well as holding her more overtly from time to time in short doses, without anyone really noticing all the touch therapy thats going on.

This is really cool, and i have never seen us working together so well, both on the same page. Its really vindication to me that the CPA theory works. This challenging environment is the application of the theory. The sense of balance is simply extraordinary.

All the best everyone, see you when we get home.

Sood

as always you have incredibly enlightening observations. Spot on with Schnarch. I like really his idea of a relationship as a way towards self realization. I think it can be that and should be that. And I think you are spot on with this forum and the practices here. I think the practice turns on the self realization stuff and both feed on each other and are a wonderful part of Karezza and make it far more profound and deep than one would ever think.

Treehouse,

Condolences to your wife. *sigh*

Glad your hard work is paying off under stress. That's the true test of any approach. Isn't it great to know you can help each other with life's challenges? All the best with the funeral, politics and travel.

Interesting comments on Schnarch. I'm pretty direct, but endless processing is just exhausting. Maybe I could stay married that way, but I wouldn't get anything else accomplished.

I sure like the sound of those bonding behaviors though. That's what needs to be taught as part of sex education!

*big hug*

Filtering what I read

As I am reading the responses about Schnarch I am going "Oh yeah, I guess that he did say those things."

When I read a book I always have the attitude that I will pick and choose which parts of this philosophy I like and I will incorporate those ideas into my personal practice. If something does not ressonate with me, I just ignore it and forget about it.

So, when I think about Scharch I think about his ideas on how relationships grow because I like those. I had forgotten all of the other stuff because it was not useful to me.

When I think about David Deida I think about some of his novel ideas on the nature of the interaction between the masculine and the feminine. I ignore all the stuff about needing to pretend that your father is dead or licking your partner's face. That stuff is not useful so I don't even think about it.

Thus, it appears that all reading suggestions from Louie should be taken with a grain of salt. There was something in the book that I really liked, but I did not necessarily like the whole book.