Elizabeth Gilbert recently offered a liberating flake of wisdom about soulmates – a term I try never to use, because I also try never to use the word soul. She said, paraphrased, that it can be a mistake to try to make a soulmate into a life partner, and described her own life partner as someone supportive and comforting, in contrast to the soulmates of her life who have usually been disrupting, upsetting and intensely challenging.

To me the idea of a soul is not very different than outer appearance – a formless other side of the coin. So a soulmate implies someone who has access to, even traipses too freely around that (hidden) side, maybe someone one might even experience as that side sometimes. I remember once imagining introducing someone to my mom for the first time, and the way I might say, he is me. One does not let a person like that into their heart, they are already there.

That person was an intense familiar who revealed so much of that other side of myself vividly, shockingly, instigating a hyper growth of character in some ways, appearing for a short period of time. For a year after I felt as though I had been poisoned though, and shattered … heavy price for that intensity.

Of course there are so many metaphors. Most friends we spend time with on earth, with some we see heaven, but how few do we trust with our hells. Maybe they only appear when we trust ourselves to go there. And go there and return over and over again until we don’t need to return, until there is nothing to escape from.

And after all, that feels like reality, that as creatures we continually wound one another knowingly and unknowingly in ways we can never make up for, yet we can’t resist. Wound and bond are one.

I like to consider many kinds of love… adoration, companionship, whirlwind desire, comfort, joy, celebration, challenge, fate, friendship, one-sided, mutual, collective, devotion, trust, bliss …

My instinct is that a well-suited relationship can be chosen and cultivated intentionally with a person of like capacities — but I haven’t experienced that, yet. For now there are mirror fragments and deep wormhole-like fractals of such… along with that intuition of wholeness.

Dating Profile

I may have found the solution to the obstacle between dating sites and me. It goes something like the following, but I’m still tweaking:

“I’m not interested in a perfect man, but I am probably not interested in one who poses for his photo behind the steering wheel of a car with his shirt off. I would prefer he would be at least 20 lbs beyond ideal weight, and allow me that too. Continuing that line of reasoning, he might do well to be more intelligent than his education and achievement level, while also taking good care of himself and his objects in basic ways. He shouldn’t expect me to be impressed with his car, although I might be. Ditto house or apartment. Shoes are important. He should have an appropriate amount of romantic baggage according to his age level, and the good humor to handle mine. He probably needs to be intuitive beyond reasonable expectations, withstand long quiet vistas, and not mind occasional tests, both open and closed book.”

on my own

I’ve been ill lately. Lately being quite a while now. I’ve been ill in the way a lot of people these days are ill, with a borderline fuzzy “floating” diagnoses and shifting symptoms that are dealt with differently by every specialist one sees. To complicate matters, I don’t look ill. Even my last new doctor said to me that if she didn’t know my story, she would not see it at all.

13 or 14 years ago, another doctor said that I would live my life just a little smaller. He held up his two pointer fingers and said “Most people live in this range.” Then he narrowed his fingers by about a third and said, “but you will live in here.” At the time, it felt like a relief to have a label that I could work with and help others to understand. At the time I was also married and though isolated and unhappy in that marriage, not as compelled to make a living. These days it is different, and these days, after many years of successfully coping and of the illness going into a kind of remission just with small residuals, I’m ill on my own. Often terribly ill. With responsibilities. And with dreams that stubbornly won’t die to let me accept my situation.

That’s something people don’t write about often, maybe because people don’t write about illness often, unless it is about coming to terms with the end of life: people don’t write about the deep wrestling match with the life they’d imagined for themselves and those around them.  For me the dreams are accomplishments I deferred early on to make room for the family life that seemed urgent to build, or journeys that I’ve only recently been smart enough to set out on. It took me a while to see some things… to satisfy the longings and neediness enough to open my heart. It is hard to realize what one knows, that this is okay… how things are naturally… that feeling of figuring something out just as the time for it closes.

There are practical reasons why people don’t write about their illness as well, a political suppression that exists in countries that don’t offer healthcare as a basic right of citizens. To talk about one’s illness is to give evidence that might be used by systems employing healthy, sharp minds, to deny coverage. So it takes a surprising amount of bravery to reach out.


I think that I’ve found the, or a, reason for my recent fascination with Korean dramas. It has been unlike me to enjoy something so often blatantly materialistic and formulaic. Yet I’ve been compelled.

At first I thought that it was about open-heartedness, and returning to a kind of simplicity of youth. Then I thought that it must be the music of unfamiliar language. But now I think it was a hidden quest to meet with a particular character who is written as closely to what I peculiarly imagine a bodhisattva to be… spontaneously responsive, sensitive without sentimentality, ordinary, missable.

One scene captures it best. With the circumstances of her life unfolding around care-taking that arises within hardships and unusual encounters, she is dragged along to the home of strangers, one of whom is the mother of a daughter who has been killed – a mother suffering fragmentation and memory loss.

The woman is drawn to the character as though she is her own daughter, and suddenly, from a moment in which there might be clarification of the delusion, instead, the character breaks down, sincerely, in the mother’s arms. She tells her that she’s been away playing, busy, and that she’s sorry not to have visited more. As the episode goes on, she lets the mother feed and tend to her, love her as her own. And, though the situation is a lie, the love that enters, is real.

Truly one the most moving moments I’ve ever witnessed. I’m amazed that it was actually written. Centrally important to the story so far is that she isn’t seeking out benevolence: she is just responsive. She just doesn’t have a lot in the way.

Before the scene above, we see her on a bus ride, laughing wholeheartedly, noticing others and being fine when others notice her. She seems to become whatever is needed, warranted, appropriate and authentic; it isn’t that she is operating from some high philosophy. It is just what happens.

“Is that so?”


Just now, wanting to glean insight about why I began it, I read every post on this blog. What did I see? That I wrote about things more gently, more inclusively, not placing as much arbitrary importance on certain areas of experience.

Perhaps it is the miracle of age kicking in. I liked myself better. Compared to? Compared to the several blogs I’d opened previously and written in manically for periods of time before abruptly closing them… blogs that were more impressive in specialized areas, but less sincere.

The irony is that it has been a difficult year, with many upheavals, and I’ve hardly been able to write at all. Still, after reading what I feel is just a strong, quiet atmosphere of trust.


With a loss like Robin Williams, purposefully from the world, it is hard not to succumb to the concentrated pull of hopelessness. For me, the news came along with another article, about what the journalist called the “fall from grace” of a monk who after a decade had lapsed into previous drinking habits, and whose sense of shame had bullied him out of the monastery where he had been content.

After decades of sobriety, and a lapse several years ago, maybe the climb back up seemed too far for Robin. Or maybe the support for such a climb wasn’t there in the same way it had been years earlier, with new children, a bright mind, and a thriving career.

I’m not sure. What I do know is that I feel it… the collective pull, a wordless “If he couldn’t make it, how can I?” Maybe it isn’t my pull, I remind myself, just something I’m feeling, a world is feeling.

Even the Antidote

First night of a conference I’ve looked forward to for months, and I come away with just a few notes. A note of appreciation for progressive tones, awareness of female inclusion (although there were only 4 of us in the group of 20), and discouraging of deferential treatment.

Basically, K.D. is classy. The message itself was simple and even, reaching sudden depths during questions afterward. The main thing: inclusion of all religions (as all beings) as carrying basic insight, while making a distinction for the sake of teaching, between having come to terms with what that means. Recognition of recognition.

I found myself considering a phrase that has come up several times over the last few days: “drop even the antidote.” Religion could be seen as such: the answer to a problem, or to rational thinking which is problem based. Rational thinking could also be seen as an or the answer, to magical thinking and superstition.

Both are dropped.

Lag Time

Lately it feels as though each part of my body is in a different dimension: I can’t quite gather the parts nor make them work in conjunction, although I have an acute sense of where they all are – near to reach.

I’m reminded of a game my son told me about, in which one plays as an large and gangly octopus; the object is to do ordinary human tasks, such as talking on the phone and stirring cake batter at the same time. I see it as a symbolic representation: a multifaceted creature out of its element.




Attended a family event today – a warm and loving gathering that for once, I didn’t feel envious of as not my own and which surprised me for the affection I was greeted with by each there, also those who later arrived. Most I didn’t know, but felt familiarity and kinship with, although there were a few moments in which I feigned memory  and one case in which that feigning backfired, and I failed to remark on a tragedy the year before.

Especially touching was the beauty of the frame in which they’d displayed a print of a painting I gave them maybe 5 or 7 years ago, about the time I stopped painting, and the way my uncle spent time with my son as though filling in as grandfather for his brother.

On the way to the event I’d said to my son that where we were going was a place where there was no need for defenses… no sarcasm, no criticism or even inquiry that doesn’t come from a place of concern and care.

This time there was also me, and this time something missing from me, mainly my usual loop of comparisons, my usual defensiveness. I didn’t want to make up for anything, didn’t feel apologetic for not being around more nor injustice for their being so easily supportive of each other, and my having been left out of that growing up. I just felt appreciative for being there … sincerely at home. Not packing armor and resistance myself, there was no need to burden him.

That is all.

 No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.  -Aesop