Celebrating our 3rd anniversary and more in love than ever…

June 17, 2015

Dressed up in our wedding clothes for our celebration

Dressed up in our wedding clothes for our celebration

Landon and I just celebrated our third wedding anniversary and continued our tradition of going down to the river and repeating our vows. We sat on a rock as the river flowed by and the sunlight sparkled on the water as we said the precious words to each other.

I love our vows, and saying them again, they mean just as much to me or more, as they did on our wedding day. I especially love the one where Landon promises to be open to my point of view and to value it as he does his own. (I’ve had to remind him of that one a few times.)

I let Landon’s words sink into my soul as he told me that he promised to love and cherish me all of his days.

For one of my vows, I promised to love him, to look for his goodness, his strengths and his greatness. It felt so good as I said those words again to know that I do that, I’m committed to that and that is where I stand.

Over the past three years, we have continued to explore the depths of our relationship and have been thrilled to discover deeper intimacy and that we’re more in love than we were on our wedding day, and that is saying something.

We dressed up in our wedding clothes and went to the New Moon restaurant to celebrate, as we’ve done each year. Buzz, one of the owners, remembering our tradition asked, “which one is it, #3 or #4?” If you’ve read “Falling in Love Backwards,” you know that our first ever date was at the New Moon, though it wasn’t really a ‘date’ or very romantic. That has changed!

As someone whose parents didn’t get along and modeled disharmony, it is especially powerful for me to be living a ‘happily ever after’ scenario in a relationship. We are committed to sharing what we have discovered with others because if we can have this, then others can too.

The path requires knowing yourself, clearing up as much of your own personal baggage as you can and then being committed to using the intimacy and the wounds that surface in the relationship as a deep path to more freedom. No blame, but surrendering to authenticity, truth telling, powerful listening and compassion for the humanity that is guaranteed to appear once you get close and vulnerable.

Landon wrote his book, “The Awakened Relationship,” as a handbook to go with our book and to outline how to set your relationship up this way. Please let us know if you have any questions or comments or if we can be of any assistance.

Wishing you a summer full of love and blessings,

Diane

 

 

 

More “This Isn’t Iting”

January 1, 2015  Nevada City, CA

In exploring the dynamic of “This Isn’t It” at an ever deeper level, I have come to some realizations.

First, the whole notion that tomorrow will be better than today if I do something about it–work harder, fix something, or just get lucky–I can now see as a trick of the mind. The collapsing of the two distinctions, “satisfaction” and “how something is” into the notion of “I will be more satisfied if things look different, or better, than they look right now,” leaves me in a constant state of being dissatisfied now and under pressure to do something or fix something today. It is never ending, and robs me of being satisfied with the way things are now.

Of course I have many things I think about from this distorted context of “this isn’t it.” For example, I need to get better in my rowing or I need to accept my waning abilities better. I need to fix the mower or complete my taxes or start a promotional campaign to make things better. It is never ending as the satisfaction is never reached and as I grow older, it just seems more and more hopeless to go down that road. Something has to change.

The solution involves living in the paradox of being satisfied, grateful and appreciative of what I now have (I find I have to actually look for it) and enjoying the process of making tomorrow better than today, just because it is fun to do and gives me a sense of accomplishment. The satisfaction is always now in the doing, the living, the appreciation of my life now.

Second, I recently realized that all my life, I have had a pattern of looking for faults or flaws in the beautiful women I was attracted to. Once I saw that, I could also see how odd that was and how it has also led to a “not seeing the world and the women in it as beautiful.”

Possibly, by finding the flaws, I could then justify in my mind not “having” that woman. As if in some bizarre sort of primitive DNA programming, I was the alpha male and I wanted all the beautiful women for my harem, but I could pass on this one because I found some flaws.

This could be the source of a pattern of looking for what doesn’t work or isn’t up to my standards or needs to be corrected. Which means I have a hard time living from my preferred reality, or creating my preferred reality of finding and seeing and acknowledging beauty all around me–seeing the good aspects of the half-full (usually a lot more than half-full) glass.

Diane often says, “you could tell me I look beautiful” and even though I want to see Diane as beautiful all the time and know I should say it more often, it doesn’t occur to me. So this is a practice I need to take on to counteract my programmed normal (dysfunctional) way of operating.

The third aspect of “this isn’t it,” that I have just seen relates to the ‘phantom lover’ who has stood behind my female partners in the past. This phantom “ideal lover” would whisper to me that the woman I was with “wasn’t it.”

Now what is fascinating is that this “fantasy ideal phantom” wasn’t even fully defined! If I looked closely, I could not see her face, or exactly how tall she was, her hair or her body. So in actual fact, she was less formed than a phantom, yet she was always there as my ‘hold out’ for not fully committing to the relationship I was in.

I might see glimpses of aspects of “her” in the pictures of women in a magazine or in some woman in a restaurant or walking down the street, but of course never the entire perfect woman.

Luckily with Diane, I know that she is my chosen partner and I have often seen her as radiantly beautiful and I am grateful for the life we have together, so these dysfunctional patterns seem easier to see against the backdrop or perhaps the looking glass of our relationship.

I can see that these are all mind tricks, ways of taking me out of present time and fooling me into continuing to carry out patterns that do not give me the happiness and joy I want in my life.

When I am in the present moment with Diane, my life is full and I am happy. Our love making, after we clear away any upsets that have surfaced, is ecstatic.

So why can’t I just stay in the moment, why do I have to keep fighting my own mind? I do not know the answer other than to say that this seems to be our nature as human beings and our challenge to see if we can resolve the dilemma by straddling the paradox of NOW and a life lived in Time.

All the best for 2015

January 1, 2015, Nevada City, CA

An “Owie” in the kitchen

During 2014, Diane and I participated in a nine-month course to become more conscious about our money and our life directions. It is run by Dave Ellis, Lynne Twist, and Tammy White and we both found it excellent. They are doing it again in 2015 and if you want more information contact us.

As part of the course, we periodically go over our finances and our budget. Our end of the year time kept getting put off, so on New Year’s Eve, we finally set aside time for what turned into a two-hour process of making sure all expenditures were in the correct categories.

At the end of it, Diane expressed that she was disappointed because she didn’t want to do our accounting on New Year’s Eve and that she had hoped we would have a date and then go to a friend’s party. When she said it, she sounded annoyed, then slammed the door and went outside to put the chickens away for the night.

I felt a little blamed in the process, as if I had somehow forced us to do this long tedious process. But I was able to see that feeling blamed was just my old pattern when my partner or my mother was upset and that in this instance, we had worked together the whole time, and Diane had an opportunity to object to what we were doing at any time along the way. So I let that go.

When Diane returned a few minutes later, she said that she was not blaming me, but was just expressing her dissatisfaction with the lengthy process and on New Year’s Eve. She also stated her desire that in the future we should do it monthly rather than the three-month interval we had just accounted for.

I agreed that this was a good idea as well, so in the end, her slight upset led to a good outcome. We would have a better chance of correcting our spending if we were getting feedback once a month rather than every three  months and it would take less time if we kept up with it each month.

In reflecting, I saw that because of our love and trust of one another, Diane has the space or permission to express feelings and desires that in the past would have been unconscious, covered up or ignored. And I can notice and let go of feeling blamed which Diane wasn’t doing. She was just expressing her pent up frustration, musing to herself out loud.

However, in the past this outburst could have resulted in some form of withdrawal by both of us. I would feel blamed and hurt, feel resentful and angry on top of the hurt and withdraw my affection and affinity. Diane could have retained the anger and blamed me, rather than seeing it was her unexpressed and unfilled expectation that was the source of her upset and then withdrawn her love and affection.

Instead we recognized that her outburst was a result of our deepening relationship and in essence it was an old wound of hers coming to the surface to be healed–all in the space our love creates for that to happen.

After we talked and cleared all this up, we then had one of the best love making dates ever, deeper, more in sync, and more ecstatic than previously. But I have to say that it is hard to codify the mindless space and the experience of being with each other in that beautiful way of making love.

So once again it confirmed for me that if we can keep letting the old patterns and wounds surface, talk about them and explore the mechanisms of our own minds, that it will lead to an ever deepening connection and more freedom to express ourselves just as we are.

By the way, we also made it to the party and had a great time. So Diane’s expectations were fulfilled after all!

All the best for 2015,

Landon

The Dysfunctional Role of Judgment

 

It happened like this.  I was in the kitchen and irritated that Diane wasn’t putting things away the way I would.  My thought was, “She should do it the way I do.”  And I wasn’t liking her at that moment.

I realized that judgment is my ego’s way of pushing someone else away and decreasing the love and connection we normally experience.  In fact the statement, “She should do it my way,” is a denial of the reality of the way she is and puts me in this narrow angry box of fighting for the rightness of my position to the detriment of what I actually want.

I want the connection and love I have with Diane and I don’t want to live in a world in which everyone is exactly like me – how boring!  But my ego/mind seems dedicated to not giving me what I really want

As I looked deeper, I realized I was already feeling frustrated with the lack of progress in the projects I was working on.  And that this “helplessness” in regard to the actualization of my intentions, brought up a deep fear, the solution to which has been my propensity to keep things in order, to have “a place for everything and everything in it’s place”. My solution to my discomfort with chaos.

So rather than just notice my fear of chaos, I judged Diane for a little disorder, making her wrong, me right, and me loosing the love and connection between us. The price I pay for judging and being right!

This is my notion of how judgment always works.  Something in yourself that is not complete and you are not neutral and unattached to, gets triggered by outside circumstance and you judge it or them and push it/them away form you.  “That is not part of me,” you say.  It is the pushing away and the loss of affinity that distinguishes judgment from discernment.

Discernment is a way of recognizing distinctions and making choices that can define who you are choosing to be and the life you are choosing to live.  Judgment is the negative side of that same process.  And they have two very distinct accompanying experiences – one is fulfillment and satisfaction and the other is only righteous alienation.

May we all be letting go of the suffering judging brings.

All the best,

Landon

Love Letters on our Anniversary

 

We just celebrated the Fourth of July Holidays with Landon’s daughters and granddaughters and an extended family reunion with Landon’s brother Terry’s family. We had three generations swimming together in lakes and rivers, jumping off rocks and floating down (gentle) rapids, watching a parade and fireworks and enjoying yummy meals together. We shared such fun and sweet times and created such rich memories that we’re going to make it a yearly event.

Here at the farm, the garden is producing zucchini, growing tomatoes, and the plump and ripe blackberries are a treat each morning. Our chickens are robust and happy and about to start producing eggs. Life is good.

One month ago, on our second wedding anniversary, June 9th, Landon and I were across the planet from each other–I was in Paris, at the end of my 70th anniversary D-Day tour and Landon was at home in Nevada City.

Before I left, at the end of May, I suggested that we write each other a love letter that we could each read on our anniversary. So he handed me a letter to tuck into my suitcase and I put his card onto his desk.

I wrote my letter on a card I’d saved for many years, which had the Chinese symbol for ‘Journey’ on the front of it. I’d had it on my desk as a reminder that life is a Journey. I know that our life together is a shared journey, so it felt right to write my love letter to Landon on that card.

As I sat in my hotel room under the shadow of the Eiffel Tower and read Landon’s deep and loving words, it felt so good to know that he was reading mine on that same day. When I got home and after I got over some jet lag, we sat together and read our letters out loud to each other.

Soon we’ll go down to the river and repeat our vows, which we did on our first anniversary, then out to dinner at the New Moon, our favorite restaurant, wearing our wedding clothes, to celebrate.

In the two years since we exchanged our vows here, surrounded by family and friends, our relationship has deepened and we feel even more harmony and joy. We’ve discovered that without the drama that can come from upsets and disharmony, our space has opened up tremendous creative energy and expression.

In that space, I just completed my book, “Reunion, La Réunion, Finding Gilbert,” which I had been working on since before I met Landon. His support made completing the book possible and it is now available on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Finding+Gilbert

Our book, “Falling in Love Backwards, an Unlikely Tale of Happily Ever After,” came out in 2013. And now we’re working on a “Handbook for Happily Ever After,” to share in a simple, “how to” format, what we have discovered works so well in our relationship. I am also creating a “Handbook for Attracting your True Love, Life Partner,” based on what I did to create the space for Landon to show up in my life.

We’ve started working with couples here at the farm, who come to stay for a weekend of coaching and breakthroughs. And we’ll offer a weekend workshop in the near future. So life is rich and full with time for each other, time for family and time for discovering and exploring our amazing lives.

So stay tuned! Good things to come. Send us an email and let us know how you are.

Wishing you blessings on your life and love,

Diane

Shaking my isolation

It is encouraging how the space of our relationship provides a mirror to show me when I am not connecting to Diane and others; when I retreat into myself or become isolated or controlling and short with people.

A recent example: during the 4th of July week, two sets of children (mine and my brother Terry’s) and grandchildren arrived for a mini-reunion, 18 people including babies.  During that week, I experienced a range of levels of participation, from fully engaged playing with my grandchildren or talking to my daughters or Terry’s gang to sitting isolated reading my book, to being irritated and rigid as I gave instructions on how to pitch a tent or do something or other.

As I reflect back on my participation, I noticed that I don’t like chaos.  As a matter of fact I am afraid of chaos and have organized my life to know where things are (a place for everything and everything in its place) and to be in control.  While this has greatly diminished as I have gotten older, it surprised me to see that I had wanted the children to visit, but then I missed some of the action, by being isolated.  I actually felt tired and needed a break from time to time, yet I seem to have plenty of energy to row in regattas and do the training to keep me in top shape.

The nice thing is that when Diane pointed it out to me, we were able to talk about it without me feeling “not good enough”.  In fact I got interested to learn what original trauma made me so resistant to the normal chaos of life.  I know I was very unhappy with the chaos following my birth and I think when my brother was born 13 months after me, I withdrew in response to my mother withdrawing, but other than that I am not sure.  In any regard, I can now be more aware of my isolating, kind of cold, tendency and do something to change my behaviors around it.  Get more into the action.

All the best, Landon

GRUMPINESS WITHOUT A CAUSE

Diane and I had recently had a great date and were happy with each other and our life.  Appreciative and thankful.

So why was I Grumpy and Irritated with little things that she did, using too many spoons, not hanging up dish towels, stupid stuff that usually I don’t care about?

In looking into the pattern, I have discovered two things.  One, I am full up with everything I want and not used to simply appreciating what I have without wanting something more, or better, or different: like setting an athletic goal, going on an adventure, doing something like skiing that is fun.

And second, is that I have been entrained in the pattern physically.  It was my way of punishing others for not getting what I want.  Or it was a reaction to my physical pain, or my not being as good as I used to be in things like rowing or skiing.  What I actually saw was that I was physically grumpy, and emotionally grumpy, and I was desperately looking around for a cause!!  And I couldn’t find a cause because I have what I want. So in this instance there was the grumpiness looking for a justification, caught in the act: a grumpiness without a cause!

I realize I now have all this extra time and energy being happy with where I am.  I am no longer looking around for who I am going to be with and I am not so interested in just another goal or project to fill the empty space of boredom.  And I am unpracticed at appreciating what I have.  Finding beauty where I haven’t been looking.  Counting my blessings for all the abundance within which I live my life.

In the past, irritation and grumpiness have gone hand in hand and I have been reluctant to say I was irritated about since the things I was irritated about were so petty.  Now I have enrolled Diane in telling me if she notices me being grumpy and I am committed to getting off it, not being grumpy about her telling me I am grumpy!!  Such are the benefits of having the relationship we have.  I recognize that my grumpiness has just robbed us of the pleasure we so often experience together and I am committed to getting rid of that pattern.

May all our days be free from grumpiness!

All the best,

Landon

Our Second Anniversary

 

June 9, 2014

Nevada City, CA

Diane’s and my second anniversary today; she is in France with the WWII veterans and their families for the 70th reunion of D-day and I am at home, keeping the cats and chickens company.

I haven’t written my blog for a long time, as I have had little that was a “problem” to deal with.  My usual modus operandi being that I would share how I resolved the upset.  However with fewer and fewer upsets, and living more and more in the reality that this is it, it has dawned on me that my normal life is enormously satisfying just the way it is.  So I am writing about that, a happy new phase in my life.

I am married to the woman of my dreams, I live where I want to live, do what I want to do, and the only thing missing is for me to find more ways to contribute to others and it would be nice if I was bringing in some money.  But we have enough money, so even that area is not a source of concern, just an area of intention.

I guess in fairness, I should mention that I have some aches and pains in my body, and of course it would be nice if they disappeared, but they have come from a very active and wonderful life, so they seem to come with the territory of being 71 and I am not burdened by them, just work around them.

Diane and I have been participating in a course about money, how we spend it, save it and make it and it has brought up some deep conversations mostly based on childhood programming and some later life experiences.  We are doing this so that we are on the same page about money.  People say that most arguments in marriages are about sex or money.  Sex has been so good, we wanted money to be just as easy and nurturing, hence the course.

In the process of doing this course on money which has really brought up every aspect of our life, “what do you want in this or that domain and how are you going to get it?”  Mostly I realize that I have what I want and if I had buckets full of money I would still choose this life.  What I really need to practice is appreciation.  I am unpracticed in living in gratitude given that most of my life has had the undercurrent of “this isn’t it.”   So I declare I am alive, happy, and prosperous.

I have also realized that in my relationship with Diane, there isn’t any subject that isn’t readily available for communication, nor an area in which we have any basic differences.  The process we have gone through to get us to where we are, has cleared out all those potential areas of conflict.  So now I find myself living with a partner in a transparent, open, and responsible relationship.  Transparent to each other, open to any conversation, and each of us responsible for our experience.  It is wonderful.

So now the ordinary is wonderful.  We look forward to finding upsets and subtle aspects of life that throw us off and take us out of present time.  It is an adventure of discovery, because we know that anything we can discover becomes the doorway to deeper connection, more time spent in a kind of mindless, experiential state, and more freedom to be ourselves, loved and accepted by the other.

Now we would love to be able to share this methodology with others.  It is a guaranteed method for making a relationship work, if both people are genuinely committed to personal growth and enlightenment.  It kind of turns your relationship into the space of an ashram with all the benefits of a loving relationship. So that is our challenge at the moment, how to get the word out there in a way that people understand what is possible for them.

I hope this blog finds my reader happy.

All the best,

Landon

Thanksgiving and what blocks the experience of giving thanks

 

This last weekend I had the good fortune to meet with a Frenchman named Sami Cohen.  We had both been asking the same question, “How does this reality we live in work and how do I work it?” for most of our adult lives so our conversation was deep and wonderful.  The model of the ego Sami shared with me, led me to a deeper understanding of why it has been so hard for me to experience the gratitude from which giving thanks is a natural expression.

The behavior I will share is a great way to once again say, “this isn’t it” and to make yourself feel “unworthy and not good enough”: not the best space from which to give thanks!

According to Sami’s model, each of us constructs a mental “ideal self” made up of all those qualities and abilities to which we aspire.  In addition we have another mental construct of our “the way I am self”.  The gap between these two “selves” is what both motivates us and demoralizes us.

If it looks like we can close the gap between these two constructed selves, we frantically go about trying to do so.  This state produces stress, anxiety, worry, fear and dissatisfaction, not gratitude!  For all of us achievers, we never seem to realize that this “ideal self” is an ever-moving target, that can never be fulfilled as that “ ideal self” would then not survive.

Doesn’t your mind bring up justifications as you read this?  “We need ideals because it gives us something to aspire to, how else would society evolve?” “My ideals orient my actions.” Etc.  Now all of this may be true, but by focusing on the gap are you really creating a grateful, thanksgiving frame of mind or are you driving yourself into a fear based, frenzied state of self flagellation, struggle, and dissatisfaction.

In the recent rowing race I won at the Head of the Charles, I watched my mind take away the joy of the win by saying I didn’t set a new course record as some others in different events had.  Diane was such great support when she said, “Let yourself have the win, stop letting your mind take it away!”  And that ideal self was only invented after I won, not months or years before!!

If the gap is too large, we are once again reminded of our “not good enough” judgement of the constructed (supposedly real, the way I am) self.  And since the gap is too large to ever close, we might as well give up.  The pain and disappointment of this resigned state usually gets suppressed by some form of addiction whether it be drugs, alcohol, sex or as in my case the excitement of the next great project or adventure, the next relationship, or the next sport goal.

According to Cohen, these two mental constructs of the Ego are not going to go away.  They are a part of what it is to be human.  However how we view them, how we interpret the gap between them, makes all the difference in one’s experience.

Viewed for what they are by the Actual Self, the Real you that exists just the way you are in this moment, the GAP and the constructed selves start to lose their power over you – as the awake you ceases to be lost in that mental construction, your Ego. The You that can observe your thoughts and images and see them for what they are and the you that can choose how you wish to interpret what you observe, can withdraw your life energy from these forms and redirect it to some way of being that is more consistent with who you truly are.

In playing with Sami Cohen’s model, I discovered that my ideal self was a composite of different characteristics from all my best friends and I wanted to be like them in those ways.  But rather than make myself wrong for falling short in each quality, I realized that in order to recognize those qualities in my friends I have to have some percentage of each of those qualities in my authentic, Real Self.  I also realized that I didn’t want to trade lives with any one of them – even though they have each had good lives – I was happy with being me, having my life.

It does not mean I don’t have some goals and qualities I want to manifest more fully.  It is just that by seeing once again how my mind continually wants me to suffer by saying that the way it is Right Here, Right Now is not it, I am able to shift to another way of Being.

Now how to make that shift to a state of Love, Presence, Connection and Gratitude is the trick or perhaps the skill to be developed?  First it is important to realize that the mind can only think about one thing at a time.

When I find myself ‘this isn’t iting”, I stop and start to notice my breath and  follow it in and out, and to feel my feet on the floor.  This brings me into present time.  Then I look at what I can learn from that experience of feeling upset, disconnected, anxious, unhappy, and depressed, this helps me understand the mind mechanism more so I can catch myself faster next time.   Next I start to look around me at Nature and see the beauty and that brings me to thoughts about how happy I am married to Diane and having the life I have.  I am once again thankful for being alive and overflowing with Thanksgiving.

May we all find and live more out of that natural Thanksgiving part of our Real Selves.

Happy Thanksgiving and all the very best for the holidays.

Landon

A Thanksgiving wish for you…

One of the beautiful Americana chickens from our flock...

One of the beautiful Americana chickens from our flock…

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

The sun shines through the glass doors leading out to our deck on this chilly, late November day. I’m sitting like a cat in the sun, enjoying the warmth after hurrying along frost-covered ground this morning to let out the chickens. We can feel winter closing in day by day.

This Thursday brings another Thanksgiving, another day to stop and feel grateful for all the good that life holds.

Each night before we go to sleep, Landon and I take a moment to share what we are grateful for from the day. I most always have a list, but when I stop and look, one or two things will stand out. They are usually experiences, or involve another person—an interaction that touched me, or a moment I slowed down and admired some aspect of nature that I could have breezed past.

This morning, as I fed the chickens, I noticed how beautiful they are, with their gold, orange, black and yellow feathers glinting in the sunlight. A chubby bird with a red belly helped herself to the chicken food trough and the chickens didn’t seem to mind. The water in their water dishes had frozen over and cracked—I took all this in with just a few breaths and the openness to let it in. Those moments left me feeling nourished and alive as I walked back to the house.

I chose to live close to nature when I moved to Nevada City twenty-three years ago. When I bought this little apple farm seventeen years ago, I made another commitment to up the ante of my relationship with nature. Suddenly, I had all these living things dependent on me to survive. Both the farm and I have thrived in our journey together.

When Landon first arrived four years ago, he didn’t think I was ‘it’, but he loved my farm. He also loved the river, sleeping outside, showering outside, the quiet, the fresh apple crisp from my apples, the lake ten minutes from the house where he could row. In other words, my relationship with nature seduced him. The experience of being here, with me, seduced him. His mind, which was committed to the pictures he carried of what his partner should look like, gradually got taken over by the richness of life here.

We just put our outside bed (on the deck) away for the winter and now sleep in front of the fire again, falling asleep as the flames flicker and crackle, throwing shadows around the room. As my teacher John O’Donohue once said, ‘a fire can be good company’. It feels like another warm presence in the room as we drift off to sleep.

Our two nighttime rituals now include saying what we are grateful for and acknowledging each other for something from the day. Gay and Katie Hendricks, in their book ‘Lasting Love’ say that we should acknowledge each other five times more that we criticize each other. They also recommend practicing by trying to tell each other something positive once an hour for a while, to get into the habit. That can be a stretch, but sure will get you to start to pay attention to the lack of acknowledgement in your relationships.

It feels so good to have the last words we share, before ‘I love you’ and ‘sweet dreams’ be some way that we appreciate each other, some way that we see each other. It’s a way of saying ‘you are seen, you are loved’. We all need more of that.

So as Thanksgiving comes around again on Thursday, I’m feeling so blessed and grateful, and thankful that each day I stop to let it all in and to share it with Landon. The more I slow down and feel how rich and full life is, the more joy I feel and the more inspired I feel to express that back into life.

Love was the missing piece in my life—love with a committed partner who I loved back with all my heart. I have that now and know that a major piece of my life’s purpose has been fulfilled. Moving forward from here, it’s exciting to watch as the journey unfolds. How can we give back from all that we have? How can our joy contribute to others?

That is the ongoing inquiry that Landon and I continue to explore. Thank you for sharing out journey.

May you be blessed with love and joy on this first Holy Day (holiday) and beyond,
Diane

Below:  a flock of wild turkeys that visited the farm for a few days and then left…

croppedturkeys

Two examples of the mind machinery from Landon

Since my last blog, I have participated in two fulfilling activities. I went to Boston and won the Head of the Charles, my third rowing goal for this, my seventieth year and I attended a reunion of the 6-Day Course staff near Kingston, NY.

After being sick and worrying about my training, I finally felt healthy and strong going into the weekend of October 19th. Two weeks prior as part of my training I had raced two head races of 5000 meters (about 21 minutes each) back to back, a double with my rowing partner, Bill Erkelens, and my single sculls event, winning both. So I was fairly confident I was on track. My major competition was my rowing partner in the double sculls from the Henley Master’s Regatta, Henry Hamilton who had won the event last year. I won in 21:20 only beating Henry by 5 seconds!!

Now I have been trying to win the Head of the Charles for 15 years since the last time I won in 1997, so I should have been very happy and as I write this I am, but at the time I didn’t think I had my best race and a number of records were broken in other age categories, so I was down on my self for not breaking a record – the mind trying to make me unhappy, taking the win away, and trying to repeat the “I’m not good enough” pattern.

Thankfully Diane was there to say, “Don’t let your mind take your win away, let yourself have it.” She would also say when people congratulated me, “Let the acknowledgement in, you won, you did what you set out to do!” I am so grateful to have Diane as my partner who is awake when I am not and with whom I can share my inner mind chatter and feelings and we can together look at the machinery of the mind. Once again I conclude that my mind is not my friend!! Sometimes a tool, sometimes a field where positive thoughts, intentions and feelings are expressed, but not my friend – as in someone I can count on.

Regarding my rowing, I won every race I entered in my single whether practice race or international regatta. I am gratified that I have a body that can perform at that level and I have learned a great deal about life through my rowing, another thing for which I am grateful. Of course, I am already thinking about next year!!!

The staff reunion for the 6-Day Course which I created while working for est in the 1970’s was an unexpected joy and validation of the magnificence of who we are as human beings – something Werner Erhard turned me onto when I first took the est training in 1972. Some of the original staff where there, people I remembered and have stayed in touch with since the 70’s, but the surprising thing was that the vast majority of the 75 people who attended I had never met as they worked at the 6-Day after I left in 1980.

What thrilled me was to see the continuity of experience people had as they stood before us and shared about their time working at the 6-Day (lots of starting in the kitchen stories) and more importantly how it changed and affected their subsequent life. It was enormously fulfilling to know that something I started and put so much of myself into had produced so much benefit in the lives of so many people – or to say it properly, that so many people had used the experience to create positive benefits for themselves.

The 6-Day Course was a very demanding and intense environment in which nothing but a person’s best efforts and highest standards was acceptable. This was especially true of the staff who were there “in service” to contribute to and make sure that breakthroughs were produced for each of the 100 participants each week. There was little time for socializing and almost every waking minute was about going beyond your previous limits. People blossomed and especially the staff.

Now to share with my reader the power of the mind, I will relate the following incident. Here we were in this reunion love fest and on Saturday evening Diane and I and Lon and Sandy Golnick were to lead a discussion on relationships. Well I started in, and something got triggered because several people shared that they had worked at the 6-Day and they were not known for who they were. In other words, people did not know their history and that they had not gotten to know each other as people regularly do in the normal world – “I’ll tell you my story and you tell my yours.” For a few people this was an enormous upset and was shared forcefully, full of anger and hurt and a bit of resentment in that it had never been addressed or completed and perhaps for the people involved even somewhat suppressed. So we, in front of the room, became the targets for this outpouring even though we had never interacted with most of these people prior to the reunion. Interesting.

What it once again showed me is that even the most evolved people sometimes get triggered and in discharging the previously suppressed emotions most often start from a position of being a victim, victimized by someone or some situation, where they felt abused, hurt, angry, etc. and blaming others for those feelings. Now this is a good start if the emotions have been suppressed and are now starting to be acknowledged so they can be dealt with. But if it simply stays at that level, the level of you or they or it did it to me, and I am just looking for agreement from others of how right I am and how wrong and bad you/they/it was, then there is no freedom in it. The upset will happen again and you and others will suffer.

But if you can use the upset (and these people were upset!) as an opening to see what got triggered, and to answer the question, “How am I creating myself being upset and unhappy right now?” Then from that responsible stance there is the possibility of great healing and increased freedom to create who you choose to be. That is the magic of being Awake and it is this process that has made my relationship with Diane to be beyond anything I could have imagined possible.

Eventually we did get to share a few things about relationships, but at the time we did not say what in hindsight would have been perfect. “Isn’t it interesting what is coming up right now as this is exactly what happens in relationships – people get triggered by something, blow their stack and blame their partner.”

May your life be filled with increasing love and happiness as you view each upset as a door to freedom.

With love,
Landon