Musings on the Anniversary of our Meeting
MAUDE: This has been an intense week with noisy work on the house, some doctors’ appointments, freezing rainy weather, and a last visit with a friend announcing their imminent planned departure from this earthly life. As a result, here we are on Friday, just writing the Sunday blog.
We had a different day planned for today, basically staying in, enjoying the downpour, shutting off all media and interactions with others and celebrating alone together all day. However, the work on the house will be continuing with three wonderful people pounding and fixing and upgrading all day. And due to the fullness of the week, we have departed from our scheduled blog work time and are left with today and tomorrow afternoon to do it all.
So here we are, on our 18th anniversary of meeting, writing our blog for the week. What could be more appropriate than Musings About Us on Our Anniversary of Meeting? As most of you know, we are dedicated to sharing our direct experience of a peaceful harmonious relationship with the hopes that it will contribute to your participation with us in spreading peace one relationship at a time. So without further ado:
The Night We Met
A dear friend had asked me to accompany her to an over 50’s singles meeting so she wouldn’t have to go alone. We met at the venue after work, signed in and got our name tags. The hosts had created a question game to start conversations, and so I began moving around and getting introduced. After a few exchanges, I sauntered over to the middle of the room, and a man (I later learned was named Phil) and I began talking. He was the first who actually seemed interested in learning something about me, as well as talking about himself, so my interest was immediately piqued. As we were talking, a strange phenomenon occurred, one which neither of us consciously noticed at the time, but in many, many reminisces afterward, we realized we both had the same experience. It got very quiet, the sounds around us fading out. Time seemed to stand still and we stood together in a bubble of gentle connection. After a bit, I said, “Well, this is very peaceful.” Little did we know at the time that the experience of peace: real, visceral, filled with calm and joy, would become the central point of our relationship.
Celebrating Our One Year Anniversary of Meeting at a Cabin in Cambria, Ca
We rented a wonderful little cabin in Cambria to celebrate our first anniversary of meeting. We were together that night in front of the fireplace, and were reflecting on our relationship. Phil said, “Do you realize we have never argued or fought this entire year. And yet, I feel like we have connected very deeply and been honest and open with each other. That’s kind of amazing really!” So started a two year adventure of writing back and forth to each other and examining the essence of this unusual way of being together: where love ruled over fear, and the emphasis was on knowing and acting from the truth that we were on the same side rather than in opposition.
Writing Back and Forth for Two Years About Our Relationship
Phil created a private site online where we could write to each other, and for two years we examined the main ingredients that went into this strangely harmonious relationship. We were surprised to find over and over that we were both experiencing the same thing and could describe it in such similar terms. At the end of that time, we decided to put these writings together under a few major themes and share them in a little personal book. The idea was simply to say “This is happening with us and therefore we know it is possible. If it’s possible for us, it can be possible for others as well. Take a look and see if it might lead you to find your way to having a peaceful relationship.” And right there our project was born: spreading peace one relationship at a time.
Developing Our Process for Finding Mutual Solutions
We were just engaged for a few months when we went to the beautiful outdoor wedding of some dear friends held in Pacific Palisades. We were very moved and on the way home we decided to get married in the Fall, quite a bit earlier than we had first envisioned. And so started the whirlwind process of picking venues, caterers, flower arrangements and sources, guests, gift lists, and a never ending parade of choices and decisions. One often hears how these things create tensions and problems for the couple even before the wedding. Ours was a completely different experience. We found ourselves evolving a process that involved listening and hearing each other as we shared our wants, needs and visions about this wedding. We realized that we wanted the same things, even if how to get them satisfied looked different. The strongest desire was to make decisions that we were both pleased with, and by sharing openly with each other, without defenses or fears, we created new and better ways together. This was a revelatory experience that we honed and developed over our many years, and about which we have written and taught in blogs, books and our courses. We feel it is available to everyone and can greatly improve all relationships when applied.
PHIL: My primary observation is the unusual quality of our relationship – how peaceful it is. I didn’t notice it until our first anniversary, the one in the cabin, when we talked for the first time about how different it was. We even started our first book with that story.
Ever since then, we have explored the nature of our relationship and identified various things that we do and don’t do, but what stands out is how our original insight remains unchanged to this day. We have frequently read old blogs or cards and marveled at how true and perceptive they were. Our way of relating remains unchanged to this day.
Is it grace (good luck, chance, serendipity) that brought this about, or the way we act that makes it happen? I guess both are necessary.
One thing is how effortless it is. In one way, we make an effort to be thoughtful of the other and contribute fairly, but the other way is to say that no work is involved in the sense of “You’ll have to work on your relationship.” That’s a common trope, but it doesn’t seem to apply to us at all.
I suppose you could regard our process as work; some therapists might call it that, and you could see it as a form of repair, but my faith in our shared values is so strong that it feels like a form of self exploration.
So our relationship is both a consequence of all the behaviors we have described in our blogs, and at the same time, a complete mystery.
Photo credit: Robert Milford
Photo note: Phil and Maude in Santa Cruz
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